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Monthly Archives: March 2016

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.

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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!