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Through the windows

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The other day I was on Pinterest and  I saw some old windows hanging on a wall and thought that it was a great idea. It looked so vintagy rustic. Then I remembered that somewhere in a barn I had a set of 3 old windows gathering dust and cobwebs. I got them in the house and cleaned them all up then got some hardware to hang them. They are now in my office gathering dust on the wall. I’m thinking of doing something with the panes. Seeing the wood wall is nice but I’m thinking that a frosty with a motif effect could put a nice touch.

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I really liked the little pieces of hardware and the crack in one pane. It brings a little special touch to the look. I’m quite happy with how my office is turning to be. These windows were found through Kijiji. I picked them up many years ago thinking of turning them into some frames. As with many of my great intentions the windows found their way in the pile of things I can transform. I’m glad to put them to use after all.

I could see them being painted in a off white shabby chic style in a more modern house. There’s many ways to customize their look or to use them.

Building the Single Speed

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I always liked fixed gears bikes. They are so “rad”! It was time for me to have my very own. Buying one already made remove all the fun to build your own. Since I love dismantling bikes it was a good lesson to actually build something for once. So there I was looking for a frame my size I could use for this purpose.

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I was looking for a older frame that had beautiful classic lines and not too many decals or colors so I could make it sleek looking. I didn’t had far to go to find it. I already had a sad looking 12 speed silver with black accents Norco Monterrey sitting in my pile with a crappy drivetrain that was rusty and in bad shape but the frame was in very good condition. I then stripped the Norco apart to leave just the bare frame. It was relatively easy to do. Most of older frame gets seized parts on them and they are very hard to remove. I didn’t even had to use the torch on this guy. Once all the parts were removed I hung the frame and fork in my shower stall in the basement and cleaned it all up with Dawn dish soap. I find that soap to be very good for that purpose. Then it was left to dry.

I then had to pick my color scheme. I debated for days until I re-discovered an old dusty rose suede Turbo saddle while looking for parts. I knew I wanted to stick with that color. I also found a vintage Nitto black quill to go along. Then I payed a visit to my friend at Cafe Roubaix in Cochrane (www.caferoubaix.ca) and he showed me a nice set of Suzue classic deep dish aluminum wheel he got. That was love at first sight! Those wheels have a 10 speeds freewheel. I had to get a spacer kit to convert to a single speed. He also showed me a few options for square taper cranks that were available. Pake makes those great single speed cranks and they made the one I like in a dusty rose color. A perfect fit for my Turbo saddle. I ordered the parts and took my new set of wheels home. My build was going very well.

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One week end I decided to pay a visit to my friends at Good Life Community Bike Shop (www.goodlifebikes.ca) in Calgary. If you don’t know these guys and you love vintage or rad bikes, they are the ones to go see. I like to go there to find odd ball parts for my bike builds. That day I left with a set of Soma track bars and a matching dusty rose seat post. That was a lucky day.

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I started assembling the bike together and I realized I needed some brakes. I picked a set of cross bike brakes to go on the flat portion of the bar. They fit very well and are not too bulky looking.

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The build was a process. The thing with building a older frame with new parts is that things don’t always fit. They often don’t fit. You got to use some tinkering to make things work but they can work.

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So here I am with the my single speed bike that I can’t call a fixie because its got brakes and a freewheel. I like it anyways.

 

A ridding milestone

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With the nice weather we have been blessed with lately how is it possible to not ride? I decided last Sunday I was going to ride in to work on Tuesday. It’s about 12km from home to work. The weather was nice, not too windy but a little cold. The ride was nice and I made it in 30 minutes like expected.

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I rode my 2004 Eclipse hybrid. I like it’s stability that allow me to carry lots of stuff on the rear rack. I recently had to change the cassette and the chain so I picked a cassette better geared for the terrain I have to face around Cochrane, AB. This area is well known for it’s great hill. I went from the original 11-28 cassette that was perfect for the Ottawa region to a 11-34 mega range which is better suited for the climbs we have around here. I was lucky to have lots of B screw on my current derailleur to permit the Mega Range cassette. Otherwise I would have had to change the derailleur to accommodate it. I also added a set of fenders to it so I can ride on wet terrain. I don’t usually like being wet while ridding. Today, it helped with the gravel that’s still on the road this time of the year.

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As the day went by I almost chickened out and took a ride with one of my co-workers. Having being freezing at work all day almost made me go the easy way. I’ve been trying to achieve bigger goals lately to set me on the right path. The big one for today was to ride back home through the Glen Eagles alternate climb to avoid the “crazy” Cochrane Hill. Glen Eagles is an easier way to get back home on a slower incline with some flats but it runs longer than the actual hill. You have to ride the Hill for a few hundred meters to access the Glen Eagles route. I was committed to the alternate route when I decided that it wasn’t too bad and that I should try it. I was actually curious to find out about how much easier the new cassette was going to make it. My commuter’s weight must have been around 50 pounds with the saddles bags on. I shifted between the 34 and the 26 cogs. I have a triple at the front where the lowest must be in the 28 teeth range. I made it to the top with much more ease than I thought. That gear ration on my bike is great and quite effective. I made it home through the other hills with no problems.

The Cochrane Hill is a known hill by the cyclists that use it for training. It’s 3.5 km long, around 700 meters of elevation for a 7% incline. Beautiful and scary at the same time.

I had this hill in my 2016 ridding goal. The original plan was that I made it up with my 17 pounds carbon fiber road bike by June. Well, I guess I need to find another goal since I’ve already beat up my all the parameter of that one. I’m proud of myself for this achievement. I rode the alternate route twice prior to tonight hill climb. Once in the summer of 2014 and the next one in the summer of 2015. The first time was quite hard but the second year I had more millage under my belt so it was easier. I can even remember telling myself that I should have tried the actual hill. Tonight was the night I guess. I made it!

Full Carbon saddle

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A while back I was asked if I’d like to test a full carbon saddle prototype. I thought it would be fun to see how my butt would hurt on one of those. That was going to be a nice experiment. We have been blessed with beautiful days lately so I’ve put the prototype on my vintage 1988 Fiori Piquante and off I went for a ride. I have to specified that I had a 20km ride in the morning and that my behind was already a little sore. I was honestly expecting pain, lots of it from the lack of padding. There’s no padding whatsoever on this thing. To my surprise it was absolutely wonderful. No pain no sore points, nothing after a 45 minute ride. Usually, I can feel it after 30 minutes of riding and the days following the ride. I’m hooked! I want one when it’s going out on the market.

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I was against the idea that a saddle with no padding could possibly comfortable. This one was. It does feel strange at first but you get used to it quick. I totally forgot about it after a while. A must try, a must have. The saddle I tested weight just a little over 100g. I have yet to go try it for a longer ride.

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No bells or whisles

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After watching many black and white movies I fell the need to have my very own rotary phone. I thought it would look great on my old secretary oak desk. It didn’t took too long for me to find one. Jason’s Corner in Calgary is one of my favorite place to shop antiques and vintage. Unfortunately the phone I like the best didn’t ring it’s bell. But I still got it. It’s 50’s look was too appealing to leave it behind.

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Once home I played a bit with it and then decided to opened it up to find out why the phone had gone mute. These old phones are quite simple and a ringer should not go out of work for a simple reason. Here’s how I did it. On my Automatic Electric phone there’s 6 screws on the bottom. Only 3 of them are for the base montage. The other 3 are holding the gut of it. On mine, the montage screws were indicated.

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Once the screws were removed. The top easily gets off to expose the guts. It is very important that the ringer parts are not touched. They are filled with electricity and they old a charge even when not plugged.

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So, I followed the wiring of the ringer to see where they led. They were doubling up some of the numbers on the one side leaving a free space. I wasn’t too sure which of the 2 doubled up was the one I needed to move but I assumed that it would be the one red sitting on top not the blue wire under the number 9. The number 7 was free of any wires. I then moved the red to the number 7 and called my land line with my cell phone. Success! The phone rang loud and clear.

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Later I made a quick research on my phone and I was reading that they used to make that wrong wiring to mute the phones as there are no mute on those. Makes total sense and it’s a real easy thing to do. The loudness can be adjusted but even on the bare minimum it can still be loud.

My phone works nicely and I use it from time to time. It’s been a blessing for when my cordless runs out of batteries! I don’t even complain when I’m forced into using it. No one can tell I’m talking to them from a rotary phone. I’m not sure it would work when you need to press numbers on a call but to dial people there’s no issue. Now when I don’t want it to ring I just pull the cord. It’s a nice decorative item and practical at the same time.

For those who would like to visit Jason’s Corner. Their address is 3714 17 Avenue SE, Calgary. They have lots of nice things. Go check ’em out!

Roadies Goodies

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roadies1With the decent temperatures we had in the last few days I felt the itch to go for a ride. After the ride I remembered that I had promised my mother a picture of the single speed I just finished building which gave me the idea for a quick photo shoot of my main three roadies cycles. For the first time they are together in the same picture. It made me feel proud. There’s no Campagnolo involved but for me they are worth gold.

From right to left: 1992 Miele Alba LX, 1992 Bianchi Squadra and 1988 Fiore Piquante.

Tour du Québec cycle

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This morning I got woken up by a phone call from Greyhound courier services. My old Tour du Quebec bicycle had arrived. During my last visit to my family in Quebec my mother had asked me to see if I could fix her old 10 speeds bicycle. I was happy to help her. I took the opportunity to assess my old friend that had been hung in the rafters in my mother’s garage for over a decade. This was my chance to ride it again and even pack it up and get it home with the rest of my crew.

My tour du Quebec was made in the ,early 70’s where the 10 speeds were the trend. My grand mother bought it new but didn’t used it much. In the 90’s, when my 24″ wheeled ATB bike got too small for me my grand mother gave it to me so I could get around and my bull nose bar Mountain Tour would be passed to my younger sister. I have to admit, as a 11 years old, I was less than thrilled about giving away my mountain bike to get an old clunk that couldn’t do trail riding with those skinny tires. Being already 5’8″ or so at the time, the 24″ wheels made the Mountain Tour was way to small for me. A bigger bike was in order. Perhaps one with 27″ wheels would do. I admit it I was not the kind of kid to love changes and I must have thrown the fit of the century about it. My poor parents! But eventually I grew attached to this bike. Red was not my favorite color (blue was) but there was a notion of speed the drop bars were giving me that couldn’t be experienced with the bull nose ones. I often played race in the neighborhood streets. There wasn’t many opponents besides my shadow but I still enjoyed the feeling this 10 speeds clunker bike gave me. This lasted until I got pulled over by a cop. He escorted me to my home where my grand mother was sitting my sisters and I during the summer break. He went to talk to her. I was petrified. My grand mother was less than proud. I’ve never raced that bike again.

Another good side of riding this clunker was that no one wanted it. The craze of the ATB or no suspension mountain bikes left those old 10 speeds to slowly die in peoples garages or even forgotten behind peoples sheds under the elements. One day I went to school and I to stay late for some sport practice. When I left I noticed that my bike was the only one in all the bike racks. As I approached it I noticed that  had not locked it. Yet it had not moved from the spot I had left it in. Those step through 10 speeds were definitely not desirable. This gave me a sense of security because you could hear about a stolen bike from those racks on a regular basis. I was also proud to have something I like that no one else liked because like me this bike was different and a left over in a way. My bike understood me!

Many years after I kept getting new to me bicycles but I never forgot about the Tour du Quebec. I kept begging my mother to keep this bike until it could make its way to me. This fall I was able make it happen. It got cleaned and then packaged in a box with other of my belongings. Then made it to my father’s house and last week was shipped. It arrived today and is now sitting in my car at my house. I had to take it out of its box to bring it home. when I opened the box it felt like a time capsule. My mind filled with many memories. I was rediscovering it once again. I’m real happy to have this piece of my bicycle love history join my cycles family.

In the following pictures there’s my mother’s 10 speeds (blue) and my older 10 speeds (red). Both my father and my mother purchased a Tour du Quebec at the same time. They were identical except for the size. They were more recent than my red one. My mother’s bike received a complete tune up, a new saddle and new bar tape at my last visit. She’s happy to be able to ride it again.

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