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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.


I’m back!

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I can’t believe I am writing this. It’s been so long since the last post. After a lot of computer torment I’m finally back online! I have done so much and so much happened. I can’t wait to tell all of my many stories. I might even have a picture or two. I’m excited to be able to share again. I really missed this blog.

I have been quite bad lucked with my desktop computers. The last one died about a month ago after running for a few days. It was just enough to post some online ads. In the last year I found out that a tablet is not the greatest tool for blogging. It can handle most of the surfing and reading I do but blogging and even Kijiji is beyond its capacity. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tablet to pieces. It’s been really helpful and will remain a good companion for a desktop computer or even a laptop. After the month of being patient I manage to find the right computer for the right price for my needs. It was to arrive next Tuesday but came in today. I was watching the tracking through the post like an hawk to see when it would arrive. I guess I was that blog deprived! I had to hold myself to not jump on wordpress right away. Steps  needs to be followed when you get a new computer such as initializing the os, establishing and internet connection and installing a good web browser. This takes time but it all happened smoothly and relatively simply.

So that is about it for today. I have so much to put here that I should write a plan to what will come first. The weather is supposed to be not so nice for tomorrow so I will able to split my time between some bike repairs and my blog. I’m glad to be back!


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.


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.


There’s some slight differences but they might just be because of the age difference.

Then let’s look at the headsets.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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).


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.


I hope this post was informative.


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 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 ( 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 ( 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