26 April 2011

Mothers' Day Critical Lass

Now that the snow has finally melted and the street cleaners are making the rounds, we can announce our first Critical Lass ride of 2011! We'll be riding on the afternoon of Sunday May 8th.

(Now, we realize that a lot of you might have other plans on Mothers' Day. However, it was the only date when all our organizers could make it that didn't coincide with EBC's women-and-transgendered-only days for May. So we are choosing a route that will allow people to easily meet up with us late or leave us early, so they can hopefully work around their brunch or dinner plans for the day. We also encourage you to bring your mom along. If you want.)

So here is the route:

1ish - Angel and I will be possibly meeting for lunch at a nearby restaurant beforehand, then starting off from Century Park LRT Station. That's right, this is going to be a bicycles-on-transit adventure for us! We figure the new-ish South Light Rail Transit extension hasn't been seen much on the local bike blogs (which are mostly written by core-dwellers), so we should show it some love. LRT is an easy way to extend your bicycle explorations, and the rules & usage hours are all commonsense.

1:15 to 1:30pm - We will be hanging out on the platform at McKernan / Belgravia Station, where we expect those who live in the neighborhoods around the U of A to meet up with us.

1:45 to 2:15pm - Having taken the LRT to Churchill Station, we will meet on the steps of City Hall where we'll catch up with our north-side friends, have a nice chat and use some of the brilliant architecture (Art Gallery of Alberta, anyone?) surrounding Churchill Square as the backdrop for some sweet photos.

2:15 to 3:15pm - We'll ride via 102nd Ave to the 4th Street Promenade, where we'll grab coffee at Credo or wine at deVine, browse the gorgeous green goods at Carbon Environmental Boutique, swoon over the fabulous furnishings at 29 Armstrong and fresh frocks at Coup, and/or partake of the pastries at Queen of Tarts. Yeah baby! The Promenade is also notable for its architecture, as per the website of the City Market:
In addition to the variety of shops and restaurants, make sure to check out the architecture of the many buildings that line 104th Street. There are currently nine “A” level heritage buildings on the 104th Street promenade, including the prestigious Birks Building on the east corner of 104th Street and Jasper Avenue (built 1929) and the Phillips Building (10169-104 Street), which was built in 1912 as one of the first completely fireproof buildings in Edmonton. 
Anyone who needs to leave at this point can catch the LRT at nearby Bay Station.

3:15 to 4:30pm - We'll head for the Ledge grounds then over the High Level Bridge, some of us will no doubt split off to head home via Saskatchewan Drive, and the rest of us will head through the University grounds to Health Sciences / Jubilee Station, from whence we'll all set off for home.

We'd also like to extend an invitation to our male friends, since some of you have said you'd like to bring certain gorgeous, droolworthy vintage bicycles and join us on our Loopy Ride... Please do! Just expect to be outnumbered, for a change, and wear something you'd like to be photographed in. ;-)

Oh, and preview: for Bike Month we're thinking that We Believe In 118...

22 April 2011

an Earth Day ride and Eliza

To celebrate Earth Day today, Audrey and I went for a ride around the neighborhood. It was a gorgeous day, sunny with a cool breeze. The snow has mostly melted, and street cleaners have started to remove the winter debris from the roads in our neighborhood.

Audrey dressed in purples to match her bike.

We practiced signalling - Audrey is almost as good as me now - and also spent awhile practicing turns in the parking lot of her elementary school. She's ready to have the training wheels pulled off her bike. Actually, she's ready for a bigger bike. We're going to see if we can get a bit more life out of this one by adjusting seat and handlebar height. Once she's done we might cannibalize this bike to get the little blue Deelite working for when Dom outgrows his Tigger bike.
{Update: Audrey's bike appears not to have adjustable handlebars or seat. Not impressed! So we're going to prioritize getting the Eaton's Glider frame fixed up for her ASAP, and her current bike will become a part donor for Dom's Deelite and Damien's Rapido. Vintage kids' bikes FTW!}

I rode Eliza, the 1978 Raleigh DL-1 Lady's Tourist that used to be Fiona's.
Everything except the skirtguards and basket is original. 
I haven't changed anything on her yet, so the seat is still a bit high for me.

Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub marked 78 7 AW
The plastic trigger shifter has lost its adhesive label.
I think I'll get it replaced with the chromed SA shifter with a screw-on faceplate that came with Bert.
Front rod brakes.
I didn't remember to look for marks on the Westwood (rod-brake-only) rims.
The tires (or should I say tyres) are labelled Raleigh Roadster,
40-635 (28 x 1 1/2), 50 lbs/in2 - 3.5 ATM
Heron chainwheel, rear rod brake, pedals marked with the Raleigh crest.
Both the headbadge (hidden under the basket) and the decal on the rear mudguard are marked Nottingham.
Notice that the fenders have a rounded profile, instead of the ridged versions on Mary Poppins and Ms Trudy.
The Brooks B66, nicely broken in. I can see how a B66S might be more comfortable for me,
since the nose on the B66 feels a bit long.
Closeup of the OTT Simeli crocheted skirtguards.
Eliza still needs a thorough cleaning and some lemon-and-foil to really make her shine, and I might touch up her paint where it's been dinged - her front forks are especially scratched. At the advice of uber-mechanic Keith, I'll be considering an imported Dutch centre stand (the kind that attaches to the back wheel) to allow me to carry a grocery-loaded rack - this is crucial for me, since I need Eliza to earn her keep as my errand-running bike, and installation of any of the other double kickstands is made impossible by the rod brakes. (It is possible to install the specially-made DL-1 Pletscher prop stand, or to grind down a prop stand and install it with a shorter bolt, but those solutions aren't stable enough if you plan to carry heavy loads.). If I'm not happy with how the brakes feel after new Fibrax rod brake pads have been installed, rebuilding the rear wheel with a 3-speed coaster hub (like Velouria did) will provide secret stopping powers. 
{Update: it seems that Steco make a black-powdercoated rear rack for 28-inch bicycles with an integrated swing kickstand, and this is what comes standard on the Achielle Oma - so now I know what I'm asking the guys at RedBike if they can special-order for me. Or am looking to bring back as a souvenir from Japan.}

As you can see behind me, in installing the (wave-style) bike racks at Audrey's school in a sheltered location they managed to ensure they'll be buried in a snowdrift after the rest of the snow is long gone. Oops.

14 April 2011

Running on Sky

Hi folks, my name is Jennifer and I’m a friend of Deborah’s from our U of A days. I grew up on the Canadian Prairies, but have had a rather nomadic life as an adult, moving back and forth across North America for the past 10 years. My family and I have been in Seattle for a few years now and we’re starting to call it home.

Now…on to the bicycles! I’ve enjoyed riding bicycles since I was a kid and bought a mountain bike for recreational use throughout college. This was mostly moderate weekend rides of about 5-6 miles on protected bike paths. A couple of years ago, I bought a road bike which I use for my commute to work (about 6 miles) and occasional week end rides. I still have a place for my mountain bike, though, as it’s more stable for pulling my kid on a trail-a-bike. I also plan to use it more this year for short errands and outings around the neighbourhood.

Unlike the other LFL bloggers, I don’t have a vintage bicycle and I’m not really interested in restoring them as a hobby, though I do admire their style and design. My initial interest in cycling centered on practical questions of choosing a bicycle, finding routes, and figuring out the logistics of commuting. However, I’ve become steadily more interested in cycling advocacy and urban planning, particularly with respect to cycling and public transportation. Of course, I always like photos of happy people on their bicycles!

I ride a bike for several reasons – it’s great exercise and I find it much easier to stick with cycling than going to the gym. It’s cheaper than driving my car and paying for parking every day and vastly cheaper than buying a second car. Riding my bike reduces my contribution to the pollution and congestion of city streets. All of these reasons are true and they do have some motivation. However, the truth is that I ride my bike because it’s fun. There’s a greater sense of speed and control with a bicycle than a car. I see much more of the city and the seasons on my bike. And, in the end, it’s fun to go fast.

A couple of weeks ago, I hooked up the trail-a-bike and took my son, who’s five, to one of the local parks. He loves riding it – it’s faster than a little bike with training wheels and he gets to ride on the street. That night at supper, he turned to me and said “Mommy, riding a bike is so funny! It’s like your feet are running, but they’re running on sky!"

That's why I love riding my bike.