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Author Archives: disapyr

Reaching goals

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I’ve always love cycling. It gave me a sense of freedom and help me get into shape. At one point in my life, about the time I started blogging, I was quite sick. Cycling became out of reach. Even walking or driving were made near impossible. Between vertigo attacks a few times a week and the lack of energy on top of the recovery time from the vertigos and other health issues made things hard to live through.

As soon as I was able to start getting better I started cycling again. I started out with my hybrid Eclipse. A big bike but it got the job done. Then came along the Miele Alba Lx, which had a broken rim. Then I was lucky to find my Bianchi Squadra in a pile of garbage. It was stock with 12 hard gears on it. At that point I had met Dan at Café Roubaix and his cycling club gave me the chance to be a part of a group. It didn’t took long before I knew I had to get a better bike (the drive train was not in great condition) but I cycled along by myself to improve my strength. When you don’t feel good a 20km ride seems so far and so hard. The area is hilly and it made things quite challenging. But I didn’t give up.

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Bianchi Squadra with old drive train

 

I remember one day where my car broke down and I had to go to work. I took my Bianchi determined to not missed work. I cycled the 23km to my job and came back. I remember clearly how hard the ride back was after a day of physical work. But I didn’t give up.

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Bianchi at work

 

Then I found my second road bike in 2012 (I think). A 1988 Fiori Piquante with 14 hard gears. The 2 extra gears and the much better drive train made it possible to achieve a little bit more with a bit of more ease. Still it was an hard bike to ride but it made me stronger. I rode the Fiori for a full season with a bike club. Do I have to mention that I was always the last one when we started? Practice makes perfect they say. Well, with time and dedication I improved my average speed and I soon found myself in the middle of the pack. At that point I was also commuting to and from work with my Eclipse hybrid. You can read about the first time I climbed the big hill with it.

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Fiore Piquante

Then the Dedacciai came along in 2014 and I made sure I could climb anything on that one. It took me about 2 years to build it, buying piece by piece. I have been riding this carbon bike for 2 years now.  I made lots of improvements to my riding and my strength with this one. I also started riding with the Cafe Roubaix team once more. I started at the back of the pack. The 50kms rides were still hard and I wasn’t very fast on the climbs. The group was very encouraging and help me to keep going. I rode my bikes as much as I can. For the most part, all I was able to to do was 20km during the week as I was still too tired to do anything else. Strength came back and my pace improved. By October 2016, I could go 85 or so km.

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Dedacciai Nerissimo

This year have been a great one. So much progress have been made. My team mates are noticing it. It still feel unreal that I can keep the front at times and lead for much longer period of time. Today another goal was checked off my list. I’ve achieved my goal to cycle 600 km this month. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without pain. I suffered at times but I made a point of always keeping a smile and remembering where I came from. I am also very grateful to have friends that encourage me through this journey. I’m not sure what is the next step but I think I foresee some cyclo touring. For now, I know the Dedacciai needs a bit of an update on the drive train and a new set of custom wheels is on the way.

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Goal!

 

Small goals and patience made this journey possible. It seems like it was yesterday that I wasn’t able to get out of bed and was barely able to walk. Now, I can cycle 100 km and still have the energy to do other things. I still have my struggles with vertigos and other things but not near as much as they use to be. Cycling and bicycles have always helped me getting through things and I’m grateful I still have that passion burning inside me, pushing me further and further into bigger goals. Never give up!

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All of my bikes mentioned above are still in service. The Bianchi as now gotten a retro fit to get rid of the malfunctioning parts and is now used on club rides and commutes. Steel is real!

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Retrofitted Bianchi

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Rapha 100 woman ride

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Rapha 100 woman ride

On July 23rd, I had the pleasure to lead the Rapha 100km ride sponsored by the Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio. With the influence of Liz (who set up pretty much everything to have our ride registered with Rapha) and the help of other team members of the Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio, we, a group of dedicated woman, took part in this great challenge to ride our first 100 km on our bicycles. This ride was done through Rapha Woman 100 challenge which is an international ride. Woman around the globe rode their 100km on the same day. The ride was opened to any woman that wanted to attend. We were 4 of our current team and we met a 5th rider which is now a part of our team. The route we established was not that easy as out neck of the woods is filled with hills, but riding with these fierce and strong woman was a treat.

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I can’t say enough how proud of my team mates I am. They are brave women that are strong and that do not give up without putting a fight. They pushed themselves hard and they achieved something big through this ride. I know the last 10-15 km were hard on them and I tried my best to cheer them up and encourage them as best as I can. It was hard for me too, it was also my first 100 km, but knowing that they were there, giving all they have, gave me that strength I needed to help them go through these hard last kms because I knew they could make it.

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My wonderful team mates have been working hard training for months to get where they are today and achieve this big ride. It seems like yesterday that I led this group of woman out on their first group ride with our beginner group rider program. I can’t believe the amount of progress they made in such short period of time. To be honest, I’m amazed by their dedication. Week after week they showed up for the Tuesday ride. They motivated me to show up too and ride with them.  I owe them more than they think. I’m proud to be a part of this group.

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Team Café Roubaix is a group of dedicated cycling lovers and they are always ready to jump in to help make things possible. We had the support of 3 vehicles at our disposition for anything we needed. Our men member (Jeff with his dog Reese, Ally and his son Benjamin and dog Brody, and Jerold and his son Sidney) on the support team carried everything we may have needed from food to spare parts and lots of moral support too. We even had a 4iii innovations vehicle following us to insure our safety on the road. The best way to feel safe while riding and not having to think about anything else but our bikes and the road. Let’s not forget Dan and Rita (and and their daughters Danica and Leah) from Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio that hosted this even for us and that welcomed us with some bubbly and lots of food. They made this event something big that I will remember forever.

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You can see our route segment 1 and Segment 2. I had a little issue with my Garmin VivoActive watch from a fault of mine so I have the ride in two segments. A silly side note about our route. I was once called a mountain goat by a team member for my love of climbing. I’m nowhere near fast or anything special but I have a thing for hills. When I saw the rolling hills coming through our ride, that kept me motivated.

Congratulations to Stacey, Linda, Lizzy and Halyna for completing this challenging hilly 100kms ride. It was a pleasure to ride with you all.

This ride was made possible by the dedication of passionate people that donated their time and efforts for us.

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Note: I can’t remember who took all of these wonderful pictures. The credits go to Ally McLean and Jeff Simpson. Thanks you!

 

 

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!