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My Ride pt 1

For some of us, having photos of our bikes is as normal as a parent with photos of their kids. Sure it’s an inanimate object but the bike can be a liberating, self-empowering means of transportation/fitness/pleasure so a lot of us take pride in our steeds especially those who have taken the time to customize and build it to their own liking. I’ll be posting a few posts on my bikes which I use for commuting, training, fitness, and anything else in between.

First up is the bike I put more ride time in than any other bike – my KSH Flite 100 track bike AKA Free Bird.

Bought in 2008, it was my first big bike investment I’ve ever made. Previous to it, I was riding a single-speed road bike I built out of a Canadian Tire frame which wasn’t bad but was far from good. I have used this bike for nearly everything from everyday commuting, road rides with the bike club and track cycling in the velodrome. Riding fixed gear in the city and on the velodrome has helped improve my cycling and made it much more fun. This bike opened up a whole new world and I suddenly found myself engrossed in cycling culture and biked to places all over Toronto and even Ontario. This bike literally took me places my education couldn’t, which is why it was nicknamed Free Bird.

The current configuration is for road riding use, it has a low 48×19 gear ratio which allows me to tackle a lot of the rolling hills I face outside of Toronto

This is the bike’s old track setup. This one has a gear ratio of 48×16 which is around the same range as most beginner track bikes. Like all track bikes, this bike does not have brakes installed since you cannot have brakes when riding on track (ironically, brakes in the velodrome is less safe).

Lastly, my bike as my commuter. The simplicity of fixed gear bikes means less finicky parts require maintenance which is perfect for riding in adverse conditions, I just swapped out the clipless pedals for flats with toe cages and I slapped on a fender and it’s ready for anything.

Taking photos and talking about my bike is fun and all but I think riding it is even better so I’m off to go for a ride!

Posted: April 11th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
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A sign of the times

You know something is mainstream when it’s being sold in Walmart:

Some bike bloggers on the intertubes are going crazy about Walmarts new bike, the Mongoose Cachet. Though Walmart is quite ambiguous about the specs of the bike one look at it clearly indicates that it is the big-box attempt at entering the fixed-gear/single-speed world of cycling. It’s heavy, it’s cheap, it’s got no-name componentry, and it probably comes in only one size but this is still big news in my books. From a anti-big box consumer’s perspective I think this is pretty funny that Walmart is trying to reach out to this niche crowd, but from a cyclist’s perspective there is a lot of potential with this bike.

Most new commuters I see don’t jump into the bike scene with a hybrid or a cute Dutch bike, rather they are toting around heavy-than-needed too-much-suspension mountain bike that they purchased at a big box store like Walmart. They aren’t practical and the components are of poor quality since they need to cut corners in quality to make it affordable. This bike can change all that. Now, new commuters have a chance of owning a bike free of uneccessary extras like dual-suspension or super heavy frames. This bike could have a lot of potential as a commuter as its single speed drive train is easier to maintain than a multi-geared bike and it’s chunky 700c wheels are much better for city streets over knobby mountain bike tires (it also looks like the wheels are 48 spoke? If so that could mean a practically bomb-proof wheelset). I can’t wait to see these in Canada.

Posted: March 27th, 2010
Filed under: Review
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Track Cycling!

This is actually a mix of 2 posts from my blog:

Good news, spring is in full swing and so is cycling in TO.

Bad news, winter is just around the corner.

Winter here in Toronto with its snow, slush and bitter cold forces many cyclists into hibernation from as early as November until as late as March. For many, this means losing that toned butt and superb stamina they developed over the summer, but it doesn’t have to end there. Imagine being able to keep cycling during the winter in an environment free of potholes, red lights, head winds and angry motorists. The Forest City Velodrome provides a unique cycling experience as riders can ride on an indoor cycling track capable of reaching speeds in excess of 60km/hr. Located 2-hours outside of Toronto in London it has been open for cyclists since 2005 and is one of only 4 existing in Canada. it is maintained by the Forest City Velodrome Association, a not-for-profit organization of passionate volunteers.

Special bikes, known as track bikes, are used to ride on the velodrome. These bikes have only 1 gear ratio which is ‘fixed’ to the wheel, this does not allow the rider to coast. These bikes also lack brakes and water bottle cages. These things aren’t necessary since everyone is going in the same direction and in a predictable manner without any obstacles in the way. Though riding on the track may be a bit scary at first it is actually a thrilling experience shared by cyclists of various ages and levels. The Forest City Velodrome is the shortest and steepest in the world and when you ride it feels like you’re on a human powered roller coaster. Beginners must go through training sessions to understand how to ride a track bike and how to ride on the track safely. The drills are as much fun as they are necessary to enjoy the track.

Aside from the thrill and the speed of track riding it also offers many benefits for cyclists of different styles/disciplines. Track bikes are great for improving pedal performance since the bike forces riders to constantly pedal, often at a high cadence. This helps smooth out pedaling technique and really kick the nasty habit of coasting. Workouts can also be done efficiently without having to stop or slow down for red lights or canceled due to bad weather.

Here are some other photos I took:

Posted: March 18th, 2010
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