Thursday, May 19, 2011

Caribou number two

Any old iron?
The great cycle (can you see what I've done there) of my bicycle ownership continues. My previous pile of vintage scrap-iron had outlived it's usefulness for me, and to adhere to my self-imposed "one in, one out" rule... it had to make way for an even older pile of junk. It was sad to see the Kona go, but I'm sure it will live again under a new rider. With our impending move to China, I need a robust bike that is somewhat inconspicuous and can be used for heavily-loaded touring. The Kona wasn't really ideal in either aspect and my other touring bike is a bit too high-tech for this adventure... so I felt fate was playing a role when the brother of my Devinci Caribou (a Canadian-branded, grey, steel, bike with yellow writing on it) appeared at OCB in the form of a 1982 Nishiki Caribou (a Canadian-branded, grey, steel, bike with yellow writing on it). In 1982 I was probably riding something like this (no that's not me), so I've never owned a bike from these early days of mountain biking. I don't really know what mountain biking consisted of in 1982, but the relaxed ride of the bike and simple components seem to make it perfect for a sturdy touring bike. It was also cheaper than fixing up the Kona.

Add some fancy new tires, my old Brooks seat, some funny Ergon grips, and it's a nice ride. I've been rolling around town on it for the last week or two and just need to give it a try loaded up some time.

Hewn from the finest Mangaloy

Monday, May 9, 2011

Snow to Surf, Vancouver to Yongchuan

I am going through a bit of a lazy period for writing on here, mostly due to having been doing quite a lot of things in the real world and less on the internet. However, here I am for a few minutes now to synchronize my real-life events with my online persona. If only the was some elegantly designed contraption to make this process possible, and also stylish. Oh, that brings me conveniently to...

Last week I officially joined the hipster-generation and bought myself into Steve Jobs' range of tactile electronic accessories. I bought my first iPod. So far I've enjoyed sending emails, using Skype, and browsing the internet on it... but haven't really used it to listen to music. There's something wrong there. Still, I think it will be a useful thing for travelling and hopefully I won't lose it, break it, or decide that now I need an iPad, iPhone, and a MacBook.

Now, speaking of travelling... it looks like Lina and I will be leaving Vancouver in August and going to live in Yongchuan, China for a year. Lina will be teaching (something) in a Canadian-run high school, and I will be teaching English at the same place. This has meant a lot of running around for me to get my references and other pieces of paper in order. Also, I am enrolled in an on-line Teaching English as a Second Language course. All exciting and rather intimidating stuff.

I'm pleased to report that the weekend before last, Fig Rolls Racing had a fun mountain bike ride in Cumberland, slept in Darcy's yard, and then remained dominant in the Comox Valley Snow to Surf. We came in 11th place overall and 1st in Open Mixed... with a gripping sprint finish (that Lina and I lost) with 2 other canoes. The protagonists in order of appearance were: Paul, Nikki, Angie, Kala, Marc, Johnny, Dave, and Lina and myself... and we all put in some great efforts. When I suggested we all draw straws for the events next time, Dave replied "Why would you do that, when winning is so much fun?" Maybe he has a point... I do like the chocolate medals. Here are Paul's photos.

Paddling our way to the finish

This weekend, Lina went off to do some more paddling on Lake Whatcom on Saturday, while Andy, Alex, and myself went for a birthday-ride on the Shore. It was really, really wet... but I'm enjoying being out on my bike so much lately that I didn't care. I didn't care so much that some rather over-zealous riding got done and on the last trail of the day I punched holes through both my (tubeless) tires by landing on some rocks and left myself carrying the bike around that last few corners. It's been a while since I did that. To conclude Alex's birthday we drank some excellent beer and while some went off disco-dancing the rest of us retired to Andy and Marg's to watch Breaking Away, which I definitely recommend... despite the rather excessive product placement of Cinzano.