Bike Fitting Night

Tonight, Liz ran a bike fitting seminar at Bow Cycle. It started at about 6:30, and ran until near to 8:00. She went over a lot of the basics on how to make a bike fit better. Basically, you’re always compromising among comfort, efficiency and power. She went over seat height and reach to the bars, amount of “drop” to the bars, etc., etc.

Liz, with her test dummy, Mark

I got a couple of measurements done:

  • My shoulders are 42 cm across, which determines the optimum handlebar width (should be the same, plus or minus 1 cm).
  • My sit bones are 117 mm apart, so the optimal saddle width is 143 mm. Interestingly, my Norco’s saddle is 143 mm, but my Roubaix’s is somewhere around 136.

It was fun to be there, and to see some of the new 2018 bikes. Curiously, Bow has some Cube road bikes in this year. As I discussed in my 2016 bike purchasing decision, I was interested in a few different Cube models, but Bow hadn’t ordered in any of their road bikes. They only had mountain bikes and cyclocross. This year, apparently they ordered some “Attain” models.

Service School with Miranda

Today was the first day of two days of bicycle service school at Bow Cycle. Yes, the same complete overhaul course that I did in 2016 and in 2017. But this time, I took Miranda!

Hamid, Mark, Mike, Phil and Miranda. My bike in the foreground.

With her joining the club, I thought it would be a good idea for her to know how her bike works. It’s also a really reasonable cost for a complete top-to-bottom rebuild of her bike, which is six years old this year. I took my Giant Seek commuter bike, for the same reason. I tore down my Valence in 2016 and my Roubaix in 2017.

Miranda did very well, keeping up with everyone else. The funniest part was about mid-day, Colette (one of the ladies taking the course) was amazed when she came over and looked at Miranda’s workstation. She was being her usual orderly self, which is to say completely amazing.

Miranda’s ridiculously organized workstation

Both of our bikes have been torn down to nothing. We’ve started putting our stuff back together. She will have new bar tape and new brake callipers, as well as new cables and tiers. My bike is getting new cables, but also a new 1×11 shifter system (no front derailleur, and a wide-ratio 11 speed cassette at the rear. Look at this thing. It’s amazing. The lowest gear is bigger than my disc brake rotor!

New 11-speed cassette

We finish up tomorrow!


The course is now over, and not without any last-minute drama. Both Miranda and I were finished early. I was waiting for one of the instructors to have the time to take a look at my rear hydraulic brakes, which had gotten squishy late in the year. I replaced the original mechanical brakes in 2015. I didn’t think much of it, and at about four, Mike quickly bled the brake line. That was when he noted a leak, and persistent air getting into the master cylinder. It took until almost five to definitively say that the brake needed to be replaced, which meant that I actually finished late. Oh well. New brake on the rear.

It made me think about how much of this bike I have replaced. When I bought it in 2012, cost was a major factor. It was $600. But as with most bikes that you buy to a price point, the long-term costs add up. If you compare the bike in the photos in 2012 to this one, there’s a short list of what is still the same.

Is it still a 2013 Giant Seek 3?

The things still the same:

  • Frame
  • Seat post
  • Handlebar
  • Disc rotors
  • Fenders
  • Front reflector.

That’s not a long list.

Weather, if you’re going to be this nice…

… I’m going riding. I needed to go out to the mall to do some targeted Christmas shopping, but I really didn’t feel like fighting for a parking space. I asked Tammy if she would just drop me off, and she suggested that I ride my bike.

So I did. I had to dismount three times due to compacted snow that had turned into ice, but other than that it was clear sailing. I was a little nervous about the cars in the mall parking lot, but I escaped unscathed.

Club ride tomorrow. December 10th…


The nice weather keeps me rolling. Seven of us made the Sunday Bow Cyclist ride on the 10th, and it was gorgeous.

Yours truly

I’m not going to be over the top and claim it’s summer-like, but considering it really should be snowy and icy, this seems like a gift.

And today (the 11th) I rode to work. In the dark coming and going, but I have lights. Based on the forecast, I should be able to tomorrow as well. After that, I have to travel for work on Wednesday and Thursday. Who knows what Friday will bring?


December 12th: rode to work. 10 degrees in the morning.


December 15th: rode to work. Might be the last, if the forecast is accurate.


Aaaand… yet another Sunday ride! 48 km inner city loop on road bikes on December 17th.

Paul, Tommy, me, Phil, Mark, Conrad, Colette. Kurt took the pic.

Christmas Tree Up, Ikea for Miranda, Fat Biking

It’s been an action-packed weekend. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, given I have a lot on my plate at work this week, but it happened.

I guess things kicked off Friday night with the Bow Cyclist Christmas party, which Tara hosted at her house. The turnout was good. It was potluck, and Tammy made meatballs and rice and candy cane fudge. I had a good time. Tara and Ryan’s house is very nice. They just moved back from Houston, and renovated 95% of it.

Saturday was piano lessons, and Tammy made french toast brunch, but then it was time to put up the Christmas tree. It didn’t take too long. Many hands make light work.

Miranda putting on the garland

The sour note on the day was that Squeak was acting strangely. Tammy was worried that there was something hurting her in her mouth, so she and Ian took the cat to the vet in Royal Oak, while Miranda and I drove to Ikea.

Since we finished her room in August, she has been moving the furniture around, trying to find how she likes it. She had been pestering me for shelves, but I wasn’t going to build/install any until she finished moving the room around. We’d finally decided on what to do, with a new desk and some shelves.

The vet gave us some medicine for Squeak, but she was still not doing well today, so Tammy took her back to the same vet (and transferred over to it: she really likes this one). The blood test results will be back soon.

At the party on Friday night, I wished Kurt a happy birthday, since I wasn’t going to see him today (Sunday). There was a fat bike ride scheduled, but I hadn’t signed up. There were demo bikes, but they were spoken for already. When he heard that, he immediately set about texting Bob at the shop to see if there were available rental bikes. There were, so I was supposed to show up at 8:30 this morning at the shop, which I did.

We went for a 15 km ride in West Bragg Creek, but man, talk about a misleading statistic. That was 15 km that felt like 100.

On the trail

Even though all the bikes had studded tires, the ice was treacherous. Tommy and Kim were the only two who actually wiped out, but it always seemed like disaster was around the corner. I escaped unscathed, but I am very tired now. 🙂

We’ll post updates on Squeak.

Kurt’s Rollers

On Wednesday night, the Bow Cyclist Club had our first Zwift ride at the shop for winter 2017. It was a good time, with five riders in the shop and Brett joining us online. We’ll do it again next Wednesday, too. But I also picked up a set of cycling rollers to borrow.

It started with Kurt posting a workout on Strava. He has a daughter who swims competitively, and he had taken his rollers to the swimming pool to work out while his daughter was in the pool at 5:30 am.

Kurt’s Rollers

I thought it was a neat picture and a great idea to get a workout like that. Rollers are good for taking with you, because they are lightweight and don’t require power. I commented on the post, and Kurt replied.

Simon: Are those the Tacx Galaxia rollers?
Kurt: Yup
Kurt: Wanna try em?
Simon: I’d be interested, yes. I have used a set of Kreitler rollers before, but I would like to see the difference.
Kurt: Let me know bro. Offer stands

That then led to emails, and I picked the rollers up Wednesday. Last night, I gave them a shot. I had borrowed a set from Brian a couple of years ago. They were designed differently and a real challenge. These have conical section rollers and the ability to rock forward and backward.

I was successful… with only one crash. No injury.

I had fun and I’ll give them a good trial this week. I’ll give them back at the next Zwift ride on Wednesday next week.

Zwift Onboarding Night

This evening, I went down to Bow Cycle to give a presentation. Last year, we ran a couple of Zwift group rides at the shop and we want to do the same this winter. But tonight was the orientation night, where people could ask questions and I demoed how to get going with Zwift.

It was a good crowd (about 12). Mark had the projector set up and I brought my bike and my iPad and spoke for about an hour. Well, sometimes I had trouble speaking, when I showed how it was tough to go up hills. 🙂

It was well-received. I think we will have our first Zwift night next week. I don’t know if anyone took any pictures tonight.

Updated – Tara took some pics and posted them to Facebook!

Me, Kim, Alice, Hannah… Mark’s arm 🙂

Kim, Allison, Allan, Kim, Paul, Adam, me, Hannah

Cycling Year End Party, Customer Appreciation Night

The 2017 cycling season is definitely winding down. We’ll see how long the Sunday rides will continue. Last Sunday was windy and chilly, but a fantastic ride, nonetheless.

Riding up and over Nose Hill

Wednesday night was the club’s season wrap-up party, which was held at the Last Best Brewing pub. I walked over from work and Tammy picked me up on her way home from work. There was a really good turnout and it was a good time. The photo below was only about half of the attendees.

Hannah, Phil, Alice, me, Peter, Collette, Kenny, Paul, Tommy, Allan, Kim, Mark and Wing

Then last night, it was the Bow Cycle Customer Appreciation Night. I’ve stopped by almost every year since I moved to Calgary, and bought my old trainer at the 2013 edition. There is food and drinks and deep discounts on pretty much everything in the store. This year, Tara arranged that the Bow Cyclist Club would have a table at the event, and Peter and I volunteered to help her. It was a good excuse to be at the event for a long time. Got to see lots of people I know and answered lots of questions for people.

Me, Tara and Peter

New Trainer, Fall Riding and Weatherstripping

Fall is truly taking hold in Calgary. Gone are the 30 degree days, replaced with 7 degree days. Soon, snow will take over. In anticipation of the long winter and slippery roads, I have purchased a new cycle trainer. In 2013, I bought a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, which is still going strong. However, in the time since, I have taken up Zwift, which along with other similar apps has really driven the market towards computer-controlled trainers. These are trainers which vary the resistance and measure wattage directly for apps like Zwift.

Using my Bow Cycle Ambassador discount, I brought home a Wahoo Kickr Snap.

Wahoo Kickr Snap glamour shot

Continue reading

Highwood Pass

And hot on the heels of yesterday’s MEC ride is today’s Highwood Pass ride. Considering I was going into the weekend wondering if either ride would happen, I ended up with two.

Highwood Pass is something of a local legend in Calgary. It is high enough and steep enough that it deserves respect, but it’s accessible. The road is closed between December and June 15 every year, and a lot of riders take advantage of there being no cars on it on those weekends right before it opens. I had never ridden the north side before, and my MEC rides didn’t take me all the way to the summit this year or last.

The ride was put on by The Lead Out Project, and sponsored by Bow Cycle. It wasn’t technically a Bow Cyclist Club ride, but there was great attendance.

Some of the gang, ready to roll. Photo by Wing.

Continue reading

Glass Half Full Ride

Today was one of those tests to see if I’m a glass half full or glass half empty guy.

It was the MEC Fall Century Ride, and I was signed up for the 160 km distance. I did it last September and today was the capstone of the cycling season. Unfortunately, the weather has turned from summery to wintry in the span of two weeks. Two weeks ago it was 30 degrees, but this week it was trying to snow.

The glass half empty person would complain that it was barely two degrees this morning in Turner Valley.

Paul, Adam, Tommy, me and Phil

They would also complain that I didn’t get the 160 km ride that I signed up for. Phil and I ended up riding together for the day, and when it got even colder as we climbed into the mountains and the snow was coming closer to the road, we turned around.

But, I’m not that guy. I dressed warmly, and felt strong. We were within visual distance of the front group until almost the 30 km mark. We took it easier after that and had a great ride up into Kananaskis Country. While we didn’t go all the way up, the scenery was beautiful.

Me about a kilometer from where we turned around

We got a 122 kilometer ride, when I thought for sure I wouldn’t get a ride at all. Then, when we came back down, the weather perked up and got warmer, but not too warm. Sunshine makes everything look better.

The road back to Turner Valley

Finished in about four hours and 20 minutes, and got to eat the after-ride meal with everyone I started with. My toes weren’t even numb by then. 🙂