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Bicycle comparaison

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A thing I have been wanting to do since a while is to show the difference between 2 bicycles of the same brand. When I say difference I mean quality difference. This might help to be able to shop with more confidence and get a better value for your money. Yesterday I happened to pick up another Bianchi road bike. I already had my Bianchi Squadra road and my Bianchi Ocelot “mountain”. Now having 2 roadie of the reputed italian maker I was able to bring this comparison to life.

Our rivals are a  white 1980’s Bianchi with no model name and a pink Bianchi Squadra from the early 1990’s. The white bike is a level entry and the pink a mid quality one.

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ImageThey both have 12 speeds and steel frame. The only notable difference is that the white one is on 27″ wheels and the pink one on 700c wheels. This will not affect the comparison.  First I’m looking at is the lug work. Some bikes are very basic where some others are more elaborate. The basic ones do not mean it’s of lesser quality. In this case they are pretty similar.
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There’s some slight differences but they might just be because of the age difference.

Then let’s look at the headsets.
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The white bike’s headset is made of chrome plated steel. They tend to peal with time and pit. I couldn’t identify the brand of it. Those type of headset are common on 10″ speeds bike of the period. On the pink one the chrome is nice and polished and made differently. We can read Ofmega on it which is a Bianchi home brand for their components.

Now the brakes.
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Both bikes feature a side pull caliper brake made by Dia-Compe. The white one got the 500 series and the pink the 5000 series. The 5000 is of better quality. The 500 got a mat finish to its metal it also doesn’t offer a “release” lever to make it easier when you remove the wheel. The quality of the brake pads is also different. The white one’s got average quality ones where the pink one’s got a longer breaking surface and better quality surface which makes it easier to stop your bike. This is a little detail as break pads are inexpensive to replace for better or lesser quality.

Let’s have a look at the derailleurs.

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The white bike is equipped with Suntour AR which is quite bottom of the line. I’m not saying they are not good but they are less expensive. The pink one is equipped with a Bianchi Premier rear and a Bianchi Ofmega front. Both bikes have similar looking derailleurs but the difference might be the quality of the material. Perhaps the Bianchi derailleurs might be lighter in weight than the Suntours.

The cranks and chainrings.

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The white bike chain rings and crank arms are Custom-A brand. The rings have a kind of chain guard and are made of a metal blend. The rings can’t be removed. The pink one got the Bianchi home brand. The rings re made of good steel and can be changed if needed. The arms are made of aluminum (I believe).

The brake levers.

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First thing I notice is the hoods present on the pink one and none on the white. It’s basically just the metal. There’s worst! The Dia-Compe levers are good but the fact that they don’t have hoods to ride on makes it less comfortable and eliminate a riding position. On the pink bike the levers are Shimano 105 which is a good starter lever. The hoods are made of flexible rubber that are comfortable to ride in. The rubber hoods can’t be put on the Dia-Compe as the levers model is not made to accommodate it.

The wheels.

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The 2 first pictures belong to the white bike and the last one to the pink (both wheels are the same). On the first picture we can read Ambrosio which is a good name to have on wheels. They are made of hardened metal (maybe alloy) and are quite durable. To find this on a 27″ wheel is great. The front wheel on the other hand is a basic chromed 27″ steel. They are easier to bend and require more straightening than the Ambrosio wheel. In this case the Ambrosio was fairly straight and the chromed one wobbly to the point where I’m not sure I can bring it back. The pink bike’s got nice Ambrosio Elite Durex. A good quality wheel made of alloy. I’ve owned and rode this bike for a while and they don’t seem to want to go out of true. Quite durable. Both Ambrosio wheels are made in Italy which is a good sign of quality. The chrome one is probably a china one.

The quills or stems.

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Here both quills have a similar shape both are also made of alloy. The difference lay in the finish the quality of the material. The white bike quill doesn’t show any brand but still seems to be of an ok quality. On the pink bike you can read Cinelli and you can note the nice satin finish. Knowing Cinelli it’s a brand you can trust. This quill is a 2013 one bought to replace the old Nito (another good brand) that had some previous owner issues.

The bars

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The white bike got a KUSUKI (Japan) brand drop bars. The drop is qualified of “vintage” and is made of chromed steel. Not a bad bar but can be heavy. The pink one got a Deda Elementi Piege (Italian) alloy bar with a ergo drop. Again this bar date from 2013 as I needed a wider bar. Note that both the quills and bars are replaceable. In my case I had to invest about $100 to replace the ones that were not fitting me right.

And the last part is a comparison between the two bikes head badges.

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They are the same, only the color change. Some brands have different badges depending on the quality. A good example would be Sekine.

More things you can note to find out about a bike’s quality.
The decals for the Columbus tubing is good to see. Note that sometimes the Colombus decals can be located on the frame, on the fork or both. On the fork means only the fork is Columbus steel, on the frame read the label to know if it’s only the middle frame (top tube, down tube and seat tube) or the whole frame set. There’s also many levels of Colombus tubing quality. It can be confusing but either way Columbus steel is good. Look for the bird.
For an example the pink bike got a nice fork and a lesser quality for the frame (Tri-Tubi).

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Some undesirable things in my opinion would be rust where it can cause problems long term. I’m thinking about the seat post area. You don’t want it to snap one day. Rust is not desirable anyways. It shows a bike that have been in the elements and not well maintained. You can check the chain and other components for signs. A bike that is not well maintain will have the tendency to break often and will cost you more money on the long run than a little bit more expensive bike that have been babied.

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I hope this post was informative.

Cheers!

Bone Cancer: Hank’s new battle

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Hank, my 7 years old great pyrenees, got bone cancer. It took me a while to be able write about this. I got him in at the vet early November for a limp. Nothing you can’t see in the winter time. The vet seemed worried about it so we did x-rays of his leg. Came back that the humerus bone was like a sponge. Hank was definitely in big pain. The vet told me amputation could be an option but chances were he wouldn’t make it. We went back home with pain killers and anti-inflammatory to make him more comfortable until it’s not bearable. I will admit it. I cried and and cried for days. My friend Hank at my side not knowing what was up with me but always patient and gentle. Often nudging my elbow for some petting.

Then one day I woke up refusing this fate for him. I had to do something. I got in touch with facebook friends which dogs had cancer. They recommended me to chat with the fellows at tripawds.com. This forum is about amputation and cancer treatments. Very nice people. As per their advice I went to meet and oncologist and a surgeon in my area. We had a good chat and I approved that amputation was an option for Hank. They made further x-rays of his lungs and saw not mets. I cried of joy because this gave me the green light for the surgery. The surgeon gave me an  estimate. My hopes went down. There was no way I could afford the amount. I had already spent all my saving in the diagnosis and the consults.

They then showed me a leaflet for ACTSS (actss.ca). I applied and after filling all the forms they approved me. I was crying again. But then I hit another obstacle. The amount granted to me was not even half of what the estimate was. I lost no time and started talking to people. A friend told me about Clearwater vet Clinic (www.clearwatervets.com) in Rocky Mountain House. They made me an estimate that was fitting my grant without putting my dog’s life in jeopardy. They were amazing.

So December 7th I drove the 2 hours between Calgary and Rocky Mountain House to bring Hank for his amputation. The surgery went well and he recovered nicely at the hospital. He got tons of love and treats from the staff. Two days later I was finally reunited with Hank. I was so happy to see him. He stood strong on his three legs like he was born that way. I never saw that boy not looking strong and majestic. The staff at the hospital had bandaged him  and I got told to have his bandage removed in 3 days.

Hank getting out of the Hospital December 9.

Hank also had some neuromas issues. This is caused by the nerves healing a little wrong. It give the dog like a quick jolt. Apparently it’s normal. It’s started randomly and now he as them less often. I hope they will stop because they hurt him. Then the 10th day arrived. The vet undid the wrap and removed the stitches. Everything looked great. Since the cone was not a good option for us and because Hank tried to lick so he had to wear a t-shirt.

The stitches on the 4th after surgery

Hank had to stay quiet and adapt to his new life. Eating was an issue. It was a challenge to find something he would eat. Then he hadn’t had any bowel movements in days so I was getting worried. In between all my worries he seemed happy. He would spend some time on my bed while I was reading. I got lots of support from the tripawds community. That was really needed.

 

Things went to be better and better. And easier and easier. The fight for the food eased up when the medication stopped. On the 10th day it was suture removal. It was perfect. Even his hair was growing back nicely. I then took the boy for a romp at Nose Hill park.  He loves that park. He had a blast hoping.

 

Now I’m working on getting another grant with ACTSS for chemotherapy. There’s no bypass, I have to fill all the paper work again. I’m bless to have a family vet so cooperative in sending files everywhere for me. Then the other plan is to get him on a holistic regimen. It might seem much to do but every step is worth it. Hank is doing good. He’s made at home in a chair and runs me over like a bulldozer every time we go outside. He also resumed going to the hospital to visit sick people. He gets lots of attention on his three legs but that’s what he loves best.

Stay tune for the updates on Hank’s fight.

To anyone who as to go through cancer in their pets. There’s hope. My way of dealing with Hank’s osteosarcoma is the way I think is the best for him and for us. You might want to take another route. One thing I’ve learned is that there’s no right way with cancer. Also if you need support or to someone to talk to, send me an e-mail in the contact section. I’m always available to help another guardian.

Hair day

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For a while I have wanted a special place to hang my hair clips and some other hair accessories. I’ve browsed the web in search of ideas. My main requirement was that it need to be easy and do not require too much assembly nor any expensive materials. After months of research and tinkering I found something easy and quick. It took me only 10 minutes to put it together.

My new hair accessories holder

All you need to replicate this hair accessories holder is:
– a horse shoe (mine was already painted)
– a ribbon (mine was from a pajamas I bought a while back)
– a hot glue gun
– some rhinestones (I got mines from the dollar store)

To assemble it just glue the ribbon to the horse shoe. I overlapped the ribbon in the back so I glued fabric to fabric to ad some strength. Then glue the stores as you please. Being a debutante in the glue gun thing I had quite an hard time gluing those little stones. But that’s me and my clumsiness.

Close up on the shoe

 

another close up

 

Don’t mind the glue in the last picture. I didn’t post a picture of what I looked like. I had to battle the glue webs trying to embed me to my seat! The horseshoe is just an idea that I had. You can use practically anything you like to create your very own hair clip holder. It would also be a nice Christmas present for a lady or girl you know.

Happy Crafts!

A recent find

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Just before the leaves started falling I found a nice BMX bike. I have to say that I’m not a BMX fan. I do not collect them and usually they are just a good pretext for stripping or resale. This one didn’t made any difference but it was yellow and blue which are my favorite colors. So the little guy got picked up with other two wheeler friends that were meant to be crushed. Once at home I started scrubbing it to see it how much I could get out of it. Paint was in descent shape, decals good and everything was working. Good I thought. I removed the old dried out tires and outfitted it with new ones. Then I had a crush on it. I couldn’t help it but to try and ride it. Then my lips started stretching. What was it… a smile!? That was it I fell in love with a BMX. Impossible! Never say never they say.

Here’s my boy a 1980’s Venture GT series Free Style.

Venture GT Series

Another thing I really liked about this bike was the grips.

Star grips

Aurora Borealis

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I live in an area where we are lucky to be able to see Northern Lights. Every year in the fall we can admire them dancing and flashing all their colors. It’s quite something do see. They fascinate me. We were blessed with a light show on September 30th. My boyfriend called me and urged me to get out to see the show. I  grabbed my camera and I was able to capture a few great pictures. There two I would like to share.

The green shape

This one makes me think of a Phoenix or a witch face. I like that you can see the stars too. The night was beautiful and clear of clouds leaving the whole sky for the Northern lights to dance.

Above the cars

The previous picture was taken very close to my house then the lights started to move north where my upper pasture is located. I ran as fast as I could camera and tripod on hand. The lights were like a flying ribbon above the old cars row. The neighbor’s farm light reflecting on the side of them. I really like that picture.

This year it was mainly green. I hope to be able to witness another one with more colors before 2013. It’s something fascinating to see.

Beat up

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Apparently if you can put things together you can find ways to make something  go a few more miles. This time I have the case of a Falcon Sherpa bicycle I brought home today. It was a few weeks I was seeing it standing with other bicycles in dire need of repair or beyond repair. This guy stood in the same place for weeks. Almost no parts were disappearing of it.

The Falcon Sherpa

This bike was made in England. I believe from the 80’s. The tubing seems to be decent (804) forks included. This bike as been badly neglected and have more than one owie. First thing is all the grime caked on the rear derailleur, free wheel, rear hub and chainring. Then the right side pedal have been replaced by a hook rod some washer and nut, the left crank is of an earlier bike and doesn’t fit so it wiggles, last the left pedal is now one from a older road bike. This is a sad looking bike.

Grime on the free wheel

 

Grime on the rear hub

 

Grime on the chainring

Ill fitting crank arm and wrong pedal

Rod pedal

I don’t know much about that brand of bikes. I’ve made a quick research on the web which led to nothing. If someone knows about the English Falcons please leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

King of the pile

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I’m building a pile of scrap frames and other parts in my yard which are going to be recycled at the end of the summer. Now I’m at the point where the pile is quite high. After stripping a Raleigh Record mixed frame I brought it to the pile and it ended up staying up right on top of it. As if it was surveying a kingdom.

King or Queen of the pile

 

The pile

I don’t know how long this pile is going to stay like this but it’s sure getting bigger by the day.

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