So Much To Say, So Little Time

It’s been a crazy couple years for me. Luckily, and by the grace of God, I’m getting through it. In fact, it’s starting to look a whole lot better and I’m getting excited for what might be in store for me. I haven’t stopped cycling or having fun, going on adventures, or living life, so I’m excited to write about some of the things I’ve been up to. Hopefully I can put together some decent posts individually about these things, but here’s a quick preview of what I hope to write about soon:

Canadian National Cyclocross Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October 2014. Un-be-leivable! This was one crazy weekend of watching high-end racing and cheering on my local racers as well as some big names (Ahem, Geoff Kabush and Mike Garrigan) that I look up to. Not to mention racing myself in two open races, and racing with ex. Cyclocross Magazine writer and current Bicycling Magazine contributor Molly Hurford, plus chatting with her afterwards!

Living in a “cabin in the woods” for the entire winter in lake country. A long-term rental, portable internet, and a mountain bike. Rocks, trees, animals, bike tracks, ski tracks, and wolf tracks. What a great winter! Pushing my MTB skills and breaking derailleurs, exploring new places, meeting new friends, tuning bikes for Bible Camp and building brand-new bikes for Bible Camp.

My first 100km gravel backroads ride to the beach and back last summer. What a great day spent with friends and bikes. Pacing ourselves on packed gravel roads, scaring ourselves on short sections of highway, but ultimately having a great day of riding and a great destination. And one failed railroad track bunny hop and blown rear tire.

Building a home made bob trailer from discarded lawn chairs to pull behind my bike. Taking apart some old steel lawn chairs, learning to weld, machining a few parts and buying some others to build my own trailer for errands was pretty rewarding. With the ultimate goal of parking my car most of the summer and doing as many errands as possible by bike, my new trailer is going to be the biggest help. I hope to tell you about my successes and failures, trials, and lessons in building something from scratch.

Finishing up about a half-dozen draft posts. I’ve been excited about winter riding and hope to continue telling my story about how winter riding can improve your MTB skills. Also, over the years I got into cyclocross racing and have lots of race reports and pictures to show about this exciting sport. Maybe I’ll even post them.

Until next time, enjoy life and get out and have fun. I’ve been trying my hardest to do so!

Posted in Cycling, Cyclocross and Racing, Repair and Maintenance, Winter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fixing up an Old Bike: Bottom Bracket Overhaul

In my last post about fixing up an older CCM mountain bike, I thought I was done tinkering with the thing. I believe I said: “Leave well-enough alone.” Yep, I did say that. But I didn’t do it though; oh no, I had to go mess with it even more.

CCM Riptide, brought back from the dead.

CCM Riptide, brought back from the dead.

Last time I worked on fixing up The Beast, I knew that the crank bearings (Bottom Bracket, or BB for short) were really bad; the crank wouldn’t spin a full revolution with no chain on. Since I was both waiting for spring and waiting for a recent knee injury to heal, I had nowhere to ride with any of my good bikes and I was itching to just do something relating to a bike. So I delved into the bottom bracket issue with my CCM Riptide. Continue reading

Posted in Cycling, Repair and Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Winter Riding can Improve MTB Skills, Part 1

This spring I was planning on learning and practicing a few new mountain bike (MTB) skills to get better and more confident on the trails. I was also wanting to teach my father-in-law a few small things I’ve picked up, since he’s gotten into some trail riding.

My father-in-law was telling me about the friends that got him into MTBing on some local ski hills, but his stories were more scary than exciting. These friends are getting major injuries (brake-lever-impaling and breaking bones) and I really don’t want that to happen to him! I like him too much! It sounded like he wasn’t getting enough guidance and was just being thrown on the trail and left to his own devices. This isn’t really the case, as his friends are really nice and do give him instruction, and some of their injuries are apparently random bad luck on the trails. Although I think with some more basic skills in the toolbox we could be safer on the trails. I really want to learn and teach some of the ground-level MTB skills that develop confidence and safety on the trail. The problem is he lives 6 hours away and I’m not likely going there with a bike nor is he likely to make it here with his anytime soon. Continue reading

Posted in Cycling, Winter | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments


I recently found this blog, bikeyface, and realized that sometimes we forget the reason we cycle. For the fun of it. Just for fun. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. On her page, “What is a bikeyface?” Bekka illustrates (very well, I might add) that a bikeyface is the face you get when you’re enjoying biking to it’s fullest. Cruising around, fast, slow, whatever!Here’s my favorite bikeyface from her website:


Too often we get bogged down by the negativity of complaining about the bad side of cycling: lack of space, respect, cars, people, dogs, etc. Sometimes I forget that I cycle because I enjoy it. Go read her blog; its pretty funny and reminds us of the best reasons to cycle and enjoy life! Don’t forget the reason you started and don’t get lost in the negative aspects, otherwise no one will want to join you. Get out there and enjoy some fresh air, and have fun!

Oh, and who cares what kind of bike you have? NO ONE can tell you how to enjoy something, as long as you enjoy it yourself. Ride a cruiser, singlespeed, BMX, mountain bike, road bike, tri bike, 26-er, 29-er, 27.5-er, TANDEM (oops, slipped on the CAPS for a second, oh well), 3wheel, 4wheel even! Ride in the sun, ride in the rain, and even ride in the snow if you want (it’s fun). Or don’t! Grab some panniers, get a trailer, pack a tent and go for a camping trip, or just ride to the end of the block and back; it doesn’t matter. Just ride when it’s fun for you and for no other reason. Ride fast, ride slow, but most of all ride fun, and try to be nice to people. Respect and get respect and enjoy the wonderful sport of cycling.

And thanks for reading my blog! I hope I can keep it positive and uplifting for you and will try to keep the complaints to a minimum. Cheers!

Posted in Cycling, Fun Stuff, Funny | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Replacing Grip Shifters on a Mountain Bike

Grip shifters were prolific on mountain bikes during the late 90’s, were replaced with thumb-index shifters, and recently made a comeback due to the fatbike craze. For that reason, it’s worthwhile learning how to replace/install a grip shifter.

I recently decided to fix up an old mountain bike to sell in the spring. Among other things, I wanted to replace the broken grip shifters that didn’t work anymore. The bike would autoshift about four gears (of 7) whenever I started from a stop in 1st gear. This made it so that I had to constantly keep my hand on the grip shift while riding. The reason for this is that the shifter body was cracked and the detents (or click-stops) wouldn’t hold the shifter in place at each gear. Here’s how I replaced my grip shifters.

Replacing the Grip Shifters

This is a job I’ve never done before, but was willing to tackle because I’m mechanically inclined and careful. The best advice from my repair class instructor was to go slow, take pictures, and be careful of flying parts and springs.

The first step was to detach the cables from the front and rear derailleur and remove the grip shifts from the handlebars. I like to work on one side at a time so that I don’t mix-up cable housings. To remove the grip shifters, the bar-ends were removed, then using a bit of soapy water, the grips were removed. My trick for this is to slide in a flat screwdriver a ways, then pour in a dribble of soapy water. The grips loosen up and slide right off.

Grip Shifter and grip.

Grip Shifter and grip. Cracked shifter housing is obvious around the setscrew.

Continue reading

Posted in Cycling, Repair and Maintenance | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Fixing up an Old Bike: Is it Worth it?

The Bike

I own a 15 year old CCM mountain bike, which I rode as my only bike for about 11 of these years. Until I got new bikes in 2010 and 2011, this bike was mostly ridden for leisure and a bit of commuting to school. I started commuting to work by bike and quickly realized this bike wasn’t going to cut it. It was slow. It was heavy. Older women on cruiser bikes were passing me (no joke, they really did; multiple times).

Now the bike has been sitting in my basement gathering dust. I stole the tires from it to make winter studded tires for my new MTB, so it doesn’t even have tires anymore. I want to fix it up and sell it, but the question is whether it’s worth fixing or not.

RIP the CCM Riptide or Resurrect it? Is it belly-up because it's dead?

RIP the CCM Riptide or Resurrect it? Is it belly-up because it’s dead?

Continue reading

Posted in Cycling, Repair and Maintenance | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Cheap DIY Winter Cycling Upgrade

Riding in the cold always has its way of highlighting the weak links in your equipment: foggy glasses, too many layers, too few layers, frozen derailleurs, and the latest one: a bike light that only lasts 1/2hr on low.

In December, we had a day that was -30C with a wind chill of -42 or so (that’s -22F/-44F for the ‘mericans). Naturally, I went out for a ride! I was out for an hour and learned two things:

  1. There is such a thing as too many layers for -30C.
  2. My Light and Motion Urban 500 bike light does not handle -30C.
Light and Motion Urban 500

Light and Motion Urban 500. I’m sure it’s a great light in summer, I wouldn’t know, I mainly use it in winter.

Continue reading

Posted in Commuting, Cycling, Winter | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments