Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEWS: Charlottetown Transit planning on adding bike racks to buses

So it looks like cyclist are finally being heard in Charlottetown.  We have a series of bike lanes being created around the city.  Additional signs to help remind drivers that we exist, and now bike racks for the buses.

Charlottetown Transit is planning to add bike racks to most of its buses, and the first one is already installed on the bus running between Cornwall and the capital city.
The rack added $1,500 to the cost of the new $400,000 bus. The two-bike rack sits on the bus's front bumper.
Coun. Marlene Hunt, chair of Cornwall's transportation committee, said using the bike rack is a lot faster and safer than dragging a bike onto the bus.
"To have a bicycle loose inside the bus is a little bit dangerous," said Hunt.
Hunt was the first to use the new bike rack. "For myself and probably for a lot of people, they get off work maybe an hour before the bus arrives to take them back to their town," she said.
"That gives me a chance to bicycle around Charlottetown and get some exercise before I head home."
Charlottetown Transit intends to install the racks on all its buses, but it will take a little extra work on the trolley-style vehicles that run around the city. The small front bumpers on the trolleys will have to be modified to carry more weight.
"Machinists could make something very easily, and then with the right engineering we could put it in," said company general manager Bobby Dunn.
"It's just a matter of getting someone to design something, and then implementing it. And getting the money to do it too."
Dunn estimates it will cost $50,000 to outfit all 20 buses in the capital city area. He hopes to have bike racks on most of them by next year's cycling season.

Read more:

Friday, September 10, 2010

HOW-TO: Field Repairs

So you're out for a ride, and things are going great then suddenly life throws you a curve ball...  Your bike breaks.  Maybe it's just a flat, maybe you snapped a chain, maybe it's extreme enough to break your frame.  The point is you need to be able to fix things enough to limp back home or if you're lucky finish the ride without further issues.

Frame Repairs
Now in most cases if you break a frame on a ride, you're walking home.  However depending on the location of the break and the materials available, you might be able to patch it together well enough to limp back home.

In this case, the frame broke at the top of the seat tube.  The seat post still had a few inches into the rest of the frame but every bump resulted in the seat post popping off the bike.  The solution wasn't elegant, the draw string from a pair of shorts was used to tie the seat down to the frame.  It still pivoted at the break but was secured in a way that it couldn't fall off.

Tire Repair
If you bike, you've probably found yourself fixing a flat.  A simple patch kit or spare tube should be considered essential tools for all cyclists.  But what if it goes beyond a basic puncture... what happens if the tire itself failed and you have a hole in the tire itself?  Obviously the tube will bulge out and puncture very quickly.  However is you happen to have a piece of  sturdy plastic, or duct-tape, or even some paper money (US money works better than Canadian and comes in smaller bills), you can apply any of these to the inside of the tire to prevent the tube from bulging out.   The reason money works so well is that it's not actually paper, it's a combination of many things and is closer to fabric than paper, but it stays strong when wet.\

Chain Repair
Another essential tool is a chain tool... it does not have to be huge, my small multi tool has one.  But if you ever need it on a ride you will never ride without one again.

A broken chain is actually quite easy to repair and be on your way.  Simply use your chain tool to take out the broken link and re-attach the now shorter chain.  You will have to be careful not to shift into gears that require longer chains such as the larger chain ring to larger cassette gears, but that's a small price to pay for finishing your ride.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MISC: Nine short workouts to deliver big results.


The average pro cyclist trains 20 to 30 hours a week and logs 20,000 to 25,000 miles each year--farther than the average American drives in that time. Too many of us mere mortals mistakenly believe we need to approach that sort of volume to reach our peak. But if you work 40 or more hours per week, cramming in another 20 on the bike may wear you down rather than speed you up.

The best results come from a smart blend of rides of all lengths and durations. Long, steady efforts are still important for boosting your circulatory system's network of capillaries, which enables you to deliver more nutrient-and oxygen-rich blood to your cells and increases your body's fat-burning ability. But don't turn up your nose at outings that last less than two hours. Exercise science shows that you can build speed, raise your sustainable pace and even ratchet up your endurance with rides that last between 30 and 75 minutes. To meet your cycling goals, mix it up: Each week clock one long ride--three hours will do for most riders--and take at least one day off. On the other days, choose from among the following workouts...

See the remainder of the article HERE at

Monday, September 6, 2010

RACING: Ironman Canada through the eyes of an amateur athlete

Paulette Dalton recently competed in her third Ironman Triathlon at the Subaru Ironman Canada in Penticton BC.  She competed along side her father Paul Dalton, and this is her story.

The pre-race: 

Everyone was weary about the weather and even a bunch of tents blew over in the expo Wednesday afternoon and registration/check-in had to be closed down for a bit b/c the winds were too strong! The normal Penticton weather of 35+C was replaced with 15C! 

The Swim: 

Felt good during the swim, aside from a few knocks on the head, which is to be expected with a 3000 person mass swim start! I came out of the water @ 1:26 (7 minutes faster than last year).

The Bike:
My strategy for the bike was to conserve in the first half to save my legs for Yellow Lake and of course the marathon. This strategy was fine until I hit the 60k/h head wind around 130Km in which slowed my average pace wayyyy down. I heard the pro's were met with rain, wind and HAIL! I also heard some of them stopped at the top of Yellow Lake to get emergency heat blankets to wear around their shoulders before descending the mountain! Looking back maybe I should have pushed it a bit harder in the early part of the bike ride when I had the wind in my favour. I was a bit disappointed with my bike time, but it is what it is and you can't always control the weather. 

The Run:

My favorite! Nobody passes me on the run :) This is where I made up most of my time and finally passed Dad! (It also helped that I speed through my transitions!). Just past mile 12 I was figuring I'd see Dad soon on his way back into town, but then I looked up and realized he was just a head of me. Just the motivational push I needed to push past the half way turnout in just under 2 hours! The way back into town my strategy was to just run a steady pace and not worry too much about the time. I was reallllllly tired at this point and didn't need any discouragement from seeing that I was a couple minutes slower on any km/mile markers. 

The Nutrition:
For food during the day I ate clif bars, clif bloks, gels, sharkies, bananas, gatorade and red bull on the bike. For the run I had 2 gels then stuck with bananas. I tried pepsi, but wasn't a big fan...I go from starving, to full, to bloated to starving again every 2 miles. No nausea or barfing this year at the finish line though! Yay! :)

Paulette finished this grueling event ahead of her father with a time of 12 hours, 48 minutes and 12 seconds.  Next on her list is the 2011 Ironman Switzerland in July.

Friday, September 3, 2010

HOW-TO: Tune that pesky derailleur

So you get on your bike.. your riding along you get to a steep hill and shift, the shifter goes "CLICK" then your rear deraileur and cassette go "GRIND" "SCRAPE" "RATTLE" and you go nowhere....

As we pack more and more gears into our cassettes the space tolerances for your shifts need to be more and more precise.   What this means for you is that as your shift cables stretch (even sligthly) the precision alignment of the derailleur and cassette will get out of wack.

So what do you do?  It's actually quite simple.  If you're mid ride and this starts to happen, in all likelyhood the cable has stretched, especially if it's new.  To fix this simply look at the deraileur where the cable enters it.  You will see an adjustable barrlel that can be turned.

Turn this adjuster to alter the alignment of the deraileur in relation to the cassette.  If your cable is stretched you will want to go counter clockwise by 1/4 turn increments and then test it.  If you make it worse... try going the other way, again in 1/4 turn increments.  The key here is to be patient and eventually you will find the sweetspot where all your gears are working smoothly.

If you have an issue with getting into the top or bottom gears on the cassette, you might have to adjust the max movement screws.  On the side the derailleur you will see these 2 screws.

Adjusting the one labeled H will affect how high the derailleur is able to travel (easier gears), while the one marked L will affect how low it can travel (faster gears).  Simply increase the allowable distance that's causing you trouble.  If you find that you are shifting right past the top or bottom gears, use these screws to back off the maximum travel so as to hit the limit while inline with the gear.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NEWS: A new home to discuss cycling in Prince Edward Island

Well it's finally happened, has expanded with the opening of the new forum.  (notice that new link in the top left corner?)

This new message board is to provide a place for all cyclists, particularly those from P.E.I. to get together and discuss this great sport we all love.   Use it to organize a group ride, or to share the conditions of your favorite trails.  Maybe you want to share your latest touring discovery.

The point is, we're all cyclists, and we're always looking for fellow cyclists to share the joy of this sport with, so come join us!

You can get to the new forum using the link in the top right, or by going directly to

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why we ride

On the surface, we ride for a wide variety of reasons.  To keep fit, to race, for the adrenalin rush, to save the planet ect.  But when it comes down to it, those are all variations on the real reasons we ride.   When it comes to riding while all the above reasons are great, they don't really justify the pain of road rash, homicidal motorists, heat stroke while climbing a never ending hill, bonking while miles away from home, shredding your knuckles on your bike while performing some maintenance, emptying your bank account for that new bike you've been lusting after, and the many other things that drive us nuts but don't stop us from getting out.

So again, I ask the question.... Why do we ride?  Well we ride for the feeling it gives us.  That rush as you set a new personal best time up that brutal climb, the sound of the wind rushing past your ears as you bomb down the other side.  The burn in your quads that tells you you're accomplishing something.  The silence as you ride out early in the morning to just the sounds of your wheels on the ground and your chain clicking through the gears.  The euphoric feeling after pushing yourself to your limit and the endorphin rush that follows.  The familiarity of your favorite helmet and gloves. The crazy tan lines.

I could go on all day, but when it comes down to it, we ride because it's fun, even when it's not.  It's that enthusiasm of a kid riding away from mom & dad without training wheels for the first time.... It never leaves us.  So next time you're grinding up a nasty hill, or commuting to work in the pouring rain, and start asking yourself why you do it, remember the excitement of your first solo ride and realize, even at it's worse being on a bike is better than being on the couch.

So I leave you with words of wisdom from my father (pictured on the triathlon bike above)
"Keep the air in your tires, and the wind at your back"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Motorists... Please pay attention!

After another incident involving me on my bike and a vehicle (this time a truck), I feel compelled to say it again...


I make a choice to commute by bicycle, if you don't, that's ok!  I won't stop you from driving, and I don't want to.  So why is it so hard for so many drivers to accept that a cyclist might not be an obstacle or a nuisance, instead of the part of traffic that we should be?

The incident that has prompted me to get up on my soap box again involves all the key ingredients for a disaster, no paved shoulder or bike lane (more on this later), a semi, rush hour, and a crash....

Riding on a stretch of road that has 2 lanes going in my direction, the right lane tapers out and merges into the left around 100 meters ahead.  There is no paved shoulder or bike lane, and the right edge of the road is curbed so I'm essentially in the lane with no place to go.  The truck comes up behind me, and next thing I know I have 2 options... crash into a curb, or crash into a rapidly moving truck... I chose the curb, and down I went.  After getting up and making sure everthing still worked, I got back on and continued my ride home, catching up to the truck a few blocks later.  I tried to catch a plate but could never get close enough.  I did catch the company name on the side of the truck.  When I get home I looked up the company, and sent off an email expressing my displeasure with the caliber of their drivers.

The next day I get a call back from the driver which I did appreciate.  He told me he was sorry but also said something that is the source of my anger over the situation... He saw me...  Which means:

  • He knew I was there.
  • He did nothing to go around me
  • He did nothing to slow down until he could go around me
  • He chose to continue with his truck inches away from flattening a cyclist.

On to the subject of bike lanes... the city of Charlottetown currently has 1 bike lane within the entire is a few km of the road through Victoria Park on the waterfront.  Great for a leisure ride, but pretty useless as a route to commute.  However common sense has broken out at city hall and several construction projects in the city will be incorporating bike lanes, and several more will be added to other streets.  Unfortunately there simply isn't the room to add these to many of the important routes through the city, so motorists and cyclists will need to learn to get along.

Sadly, this is not my first and probably won't be my last incident with a car.  I just hope that next time I'm still around to complain about it afterwards.

Motorists, I leave you with one question.

Is the time spent slowing down to safely pass a cyclist more valuable to you than my life is to me?

Friday, April 16, 2010

EVENTS: West Prince sprint triathlon - May 15

St. Edward's fitness enthusiast Paul Dalton wants West Prince residents to get hooked on cross training and he thinks he knows how to hook them.  

Dalton is one of the organizers of the West Prince sprint triathlon, set for May 15.

"I know once this is done the interest will catch on," he said.  The sprint triathlon, which is half the distances covered in the Olympics triathlon, consists of a 750-metre swim in the Mill River Aquaplex pool, followed by a 20-kilometre bike race starting and ending at the aquaplex,
followed by a five-kilometre run.

Anyone interested in registering for the sprint triathlon, or willing to
help out, should contact the West Prince Sport Council at 859-8856, the Mill
River Aquaplex or one of the organizers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

HOW-TO: 11 Routine Bike-Maintenance and Repair Tips

See the full article at

11 simple ways that routine bike maintenance and timely replacement will make your rides better.

These are things that you should either replace or at the very least take a close look at now that the season is starting.
  1. Chainrings
  2. Chains
  3. Shoes
  4. Saddle
  5. Tires
  6. Disk brake pads
  7. Rim brake pads
  8. Cable housing
  9. Cables
  10. Handle Bar
  11. Cleats

For details on what to look for and reasons why you should be replacing these, check the full article out here

Monday, April 12, 2010

HOW-TO: Simple bike rack for home

This is a neat little bike rack, great for keeping your bike upright without having to lean it against a wall and hope it doesn't fall...  (obviously don't expect this to be a secure option... so don't lock your bike to it in your back yard.)

Bike Rack - More DIY How To Projects

Thursday, April 8, 2010

GEAR: Review of Louis Garneau Trail Grip Shoes

These are the entry level Trail Grip Shoes from Louis Garneau (msrp: $89.99 CAD).

When I started using clipless again last season, I did not have the money, or the desire to invest in a high end set of shoes, rather I was more interested in something entry level.  The shoes do have some moderate weight, and are not waterproof but are quite comfortable, and breathe quite well.  I'm using mine with SPD cleats and had no problems mounting them, or using them with this cleat style.

The shoes come with a set of soccer style toe cleats, I found them to be more trouble than they were worth (walking with these attached isn't that easy (or quiet!), so I removed them (tool was included), and replaced them with some screws (also included) to fill the holes.  The only problem with this is you might want to use some lock-tight or something similar on them as they have a tendency to work loose and fall off (I'm down to 1).

Whoever designed the soles of these shoes was smart... they knew that if somebody was buying entry-level mountain shoes, they would probably be spending some time walking up hills with them, so the grips on the soles are simply amazing.  Walking up steep inclines with these gives you the confidence of a mountain goat.

The closures are simple Velcro straps, with no laces, so entry and exit are a simple exercise, as is on trail adjustments for comfort.

Conclusion:  While these shoes are not going to be as light and waterproof and breathable as much more expensive options, these are a great way to get switched over to clipless on a budget and I would highly recommend them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

HOW-TO: Tips traveling with your bike


If you plan on taking your bike anywhere,read this first. From smashing up your bike on highway overpasses and parking garages, to cooking the rear tire with exhaust fumes, we've made all the mistakes so you don't have to.

Read the full article here

Monday, April 5, 2010

RIDES: First ride in Brookvale - April 3rd

The trails in Brookvale look like they will be in great shape, the single track sections we hit were all good, nice and dry (mostly) but not soft so we were able to ride without causing any damage.  We cleared a few trees from the trails as we could, but there are a few trees down that will need some chain saws to clear.  The fire roads / ski trails however are still in rough shape... As you can see from the pictures below, they're still mostly snow covered and quite difficult to ride, I say give it another week of this weather and things will be good to go.

In either case, it was great to get out and get muddy...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HOW-TO: Tips for fixing flats


Shift to make life easier

"For rear-wheel flats, make sure you shift the rear derailleur down to the smallest rear cog before taking off the wheel. It makes removing and installing the wheel much easier."--Andy Gonazalez, mechanic, Bike Barn, Katy, TX

Prevent pinches and blowouts

"Inflate the tube a little before inserting it into the tire. Use just enough air to almost round it out. This makes it a lot easier to get the tube in place straight, and it helps prevent the tube from getting pinched underneath the bead of the tire, which can cause a blowout."--Marc -Divall, service manager, Contender Bicycles, Salt Lake City

Avoid the wire-bead headache

"Many riders have trouble dealing with tires that mount very tightly to the rim--people with less hand strength often have this complaint. So I recommend staying away from wire-bead tires and going for fold-ups. Wire models never get any easier, but once a folding tire has been installed, it stretches and is much easier to remove and reinstall."--Steve Williams, shop mechanic, Newbury Park Bike Shop, Newbury Park, CA

Remount that last bit of tire

"The hardest part is getting the last couple of inches of the tire back on. It can be daunting. Try squeezing the part of the tire that's already on toward the center of the wheel to make sure it's fully seated. That gives you just enough slack so you can get that last bit of tire over the rim."--Aaron Corso, senior mechanic, Belmont Wheelworks, Belmont, MA

Inflate smarter

"Be careful that the tire is properly seated when you inflate it--especially with high-pressure road tires. When you're pumping, stop every 20 psi and check: Hold the wheel in your hand, spin it, and look for a bulge or a dip. If you find one, let some air out and wiggle the tire into its proper place. If you ignore a bulge or a dip, 100 psi of pressure can blow the tire right off the rim."--Gareth Jones, service manager, Free Flite Bicycle, Marietta, GA

Keep just one tire lever

"Usually you don't need more than one lever to remove a tire. Just pop a lever under the edge of the tire and pry the bead over the side of the rim. Then just slide the lever around the rim--it should peel the whole side of the tire off."--Shane Meadows, service lead, Bicycle Garage, Indianapolis

Inspect your rim strip

"When you have the tire off, inspect the rim strip. Rubber strips can migrate to one side, which can expose a spoke end and cause a flat. The cloth kind of rim strip is much better--it's adhesive-backed, so it stays in place. Reinforced strapping tape (with filaments running the length) works great, too. Just find it in the right width for your rim."--Mike Chapman, shop mechanic, New Mexico Bike and Sport, Santa Fe, NM

Find the puncture culprit

"After you remove the tube, pump in a little air and hold it up alongside the tire to align the valve with its rim hole. Look for something sharp--a thorn, glass--in the tire at the spot where the tube was punctured. Sometimes whatever caused the puncture has fallen out, but it's good to check. Just remember which direction the tube was facing."--Dean Whipple, mechanic, Pedal Power, Middletown, CT

Boot your tire to get home

"Check the tire and look for cuts. Anything more than a quarter-inch long needs to be booted--reinforced with a patch. If you don't do it, the new tube is going to bulge out and pop right away. You should always carry a tire boot in your seat bag--Park Tool makes adhesive-backed ones; a dollar bill is the old trick. You can ride it home, but then take it to a shop. If it's cut badly, it should be replaced."--Tyson Myer, service manager, Penn Cycle and Fitness, Bloomington, MN

Use your spokey poke

"People come in all the time with multiple flats in the same week, so we always say to be very careful to check the tire for embedded pieces of glass. We use a rag to sweep the inside of the tire. Then we pick any bits of glass from the outside of the tire with a spokey poke, which each mechanic has. It's just an old spoke with an end sharpened to a point, but a paper clip or tweezers works too."--John Teske, mechanic, Gregg's Greenlake Cycle, Seattle

Monday, March 29, 2010

RACING: Whitten wins 2nd gold at track cycling worlds

Canada's Tara Whitten has secured her second gold medal at the track cycling world championships, winning the women's point race final on the last day of the event at Ballerup, Denmark.
Whitten, of Edmonton, earned 36 points to beat second-place Lauren Ellis of New Zealand by three points. Tatsiana Sharakova of Belarus took the bronze.
Whitten also won the omnium event on Saturday, and said she was surprised to get a second gold.
"I didn't think I had anything left after winning the women's omnium yesterday, so I'm thrilled," she said.

Read the full CBC article: HERE

Friday, March 26, 2010

EVENTS: Biking for Breakfast

A 5 leg tip to tip race across the island in support of Breakfast for Learning (PEI).

The money is used to (a) support current school breakfast programs as well as (b) to start new breakfast programs on P.E.I.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

NEWS: Bicycling will get space on University Ave. upgrade

The Guardian

A wide shoulder specifically designed and labeled for bicycling has always been part of an expansion now underway on University Avenue, says Terry Bernard, chair of Charlottetown’s public works committee.
Media reports to the contrary, bicycles will be welcome when the Avenue expands to four lanes between the main entrance of UPEI and Enman Crescent, says Bernard.
The shoulder will be one metre wide on each side, he said, and will be marked with signage for bicycling.
“We have been working with Cycling P.E.I., consulting with them all along and they are OK with this,” said Bernard.
There is a chance that construction variations may allow the shoulder to be even slightly larger than one meter and the hope or aim of Cycling P.E.I. is to try and get the shoulder out to 1.5 metres, which is the national guideline for an official cycling lane.
Still, the one metre is just fine, says Mike Connolly, executive director of Cycling P.E.I.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SECURITY: 2 Bikes 1 Lock

It's spring, and theBIKE is back with a simple way to lock 2 bikes with 1 small lock.

Tricks of the Trade: episode 1 from Tim Lillis on Vimeo.

This won't work so well to keep you wheels from getting stolen unfortunately, but still a slick way to do this.