The second leg of the LGRAB Summer Games contest has begun! For this challenge I have merged two tasks into one by reading some classic bike literature on bike maintenance while overhauling a vintage ride I had in my garage.
There’s something about vintage bikes that we can all appreciate whether it’s the simplicity in their construction, their ruggedness, or even their timeless look and I certainly love older bikes for all three reasons. My first real bike was a 25+ year old Peugeot UO8 which I rode all over, even on a trip to Niagara Falls, I loved using it because I didn’t have to worry about things like pre-load on a fork or cycling through a gazillion different gearing combinations.
Though these bikes were rugged they were still required maintenance which is hard considering bike technology has really changed over the years. Luckily, I managed to nab the Compelte Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair, a hefty book dating back to the days when bikes weighing 25lb was considered light and neon coloured frames were all the rage.
The book covered a whole slew of things from removing a cottered crankset to changing out the cogs in a freewheel, tips and tricks which have long since forgotten by many since we’ve moved onto cotter-less cranks and cassettes. I had to read up on a lot of stuff in order to tackle the task at hand which was a complete overhaul of an 80s road bike I managed to get my hands on.
This right here is a no-name Canadian made road bike from the mid 80s. When I got it it was barely in ride able condition; the hubs were creaking and needed to be repacked with grease, the headset was on too tight, the gears would not shift properly, the brakes were really loose, cables were rusting and the handlebar tape was just ick. After scrounging around nearby dumpsters as well as Craigslist I managed to secure most of the parts I needed. I got a sweet fluted seat post, leather saddle, crankset, and handlebar off dumped bikes and I bought a New Old Stock (NOS) set of Campagnolo (Italian…mmmmm….) wheels.
After many hours here and there I managed to get her in beautiful condition; the swept back handlebars gave a relaxed, yet low position, the new crankset and rear derailleurs shift responsively and the reflectors keep me safe ‘n visible. Not bad for a weekend of wrenching, I’d say.
Continuing on with my earlier blog post I am blogging on the Summer Games contest hosted by Let’s Go Ride A Bike. Yesterday’s game was to go on a group ride so I grabbed two of my friends from my bike club we went out on a 50km road ride.
The boys and their toys (from left to right) - Giant OCR, Trek 1.2, KHS Flite 100
We met up in downtown Toronto and made our way eastward along the lake towards Port Credit. It was a super hot day that day with the high being close to 34c and there was little wind to keep us cool but we still pushed on and it was totally worth it. We rode during the work day so we didn’t have to worry about rush hour traffic and the drivers who were out there were very courteous and gave us plenty of space. Midway through the ride we started getting a bit competitive and had some friendly sprints from one set of lights to another.
I managed to record the ride via helmet cam
After a quick rest-stop at a coffee shop in Port Credit we worked our way back to Toronto at a more leisurely pace soaking up the sights and sounds of the waterfront and soaking up some sun. In my opinion, this is honestly the best way to earn a tan.
Fellow Biking Toronto member Duncan gave me the heads up of this fun summer game that’s on the internet hosted by Let’s Go Ride A Bike. For my first event, I took my girlfriend out on a bike-date. I rarely get to see her as she now lives and works in Ottawa, a good 4-day bike ride (3 if I pedal really fast) from Toronto so when I found out she was coming to town to visit I insisted we go out by bike. Going on a bike date is a lot of fun since it the end destination and the trip there can be equally enjoyable rather than wasting time sitting in traffic in a car or squished amongst strangers on the subway. She took my 1-speed folding bike while I took my dad’s new Beater Bike.
It was a lot of fun wearing khakis and a straw fedora instead of lycra shorts and a road helmet
It was a quiet, but hot Sunday morning so we rode at a very leisurely pace to avoid breaking a sweat. Honestly, it was a nice change of pace for me as I’m either weaving through downtown traffic on my track bike or hustling about on my road bike so it was nice to just soak up the sun and enjoy the ride. It was also a really different and relaxing experience to just ride around aimlessly rather than worry about time or cadence or anything else; all I needed to focus on was enjoying the ride.
We hopped around to different shops in my area to pick up snacks for our little picnic. First we swung by my usual hang out to get some caffeine in our bodies to kick start the day followed by a stop at a French bakery and a pastry shop to satisfy our sweet tooth. After biking around through some quiet neighbourhoods we found our picnic spot by Casa Loma, a massive castle-like house turned museum and big tourist attraction. The day was pretty much just spent laying around munching on some delicious snacks and enjoying the great weather and company.