Tag Archives: bicycle

First week

We’re here!

The ecstasy is setting in.  We deliberately planned to spend several days NOT zeroing in on any projects (very tough to do-required a strong intention), just arriving, adjusting, recalibrating, and observing.    We didn’t want to barge in with ideas and impose them on the property, but to plan with and around what presented itself here.  So we walk around looking at stuff and talking about it, and making many lists.

The place is crowded with life of all kinds- birds and rabbits and squirrels and chipmunks and porcupines and owls and hawks and snakes and coyotes and bald eagles and maybe a lost or feral tabby cat.  It’s a little awing.  Everywhere one steps or moves someone might already live there or be using the territory.  I feel awkward moving in, like excuse me, mind if we just budge in here?

Besides the tumbledown structures, everywhere there’s work to be done, work to balance and assist and improve the ecology.  Lots of areas in the forest are choked with one type of tree, the fruit trees are struggling in overgrowth, and piles of debris are cluttering up corridors.  There’s a ton of work.

IMGP6598H.W. can’t resist some manual labour, so he’s started to take apart the collapsed barn and also haul rock in the wheelbarrow from the nearby mine site gravel pile to reinforce our access road/“driveway”.  I dug out a rotten culvert and built it up and “bridged” it with big stones so it will endure being driven over without further collapse.

Also he’s been exploring on bicycle in all directions from the former rail trail and unmaintained road that form two of our boundaries.  He’s over the moon-ecstatic about the possibilities, and the wildlife.  In all directions, woods and wetlands and animals, and adventures.  So he’s off on his bike every evening, happier than I’ve ever seen him.

The air is incredible -truly fresh (as H.W. says, “the tress just made this oxygen”), and .  The weather has been lovely- the beginning of summer, with days full of warm sun, smatterings of rain.  Some days clouds are constantly coming and going overhead, but they keep it moving.  The trees are just popping leaves and buds.

IMGP6612Our sleep pattern has adjusted so quickly.  Seems instant.   Asleep at dark, awake at light.  Amazing how fast it happens without artificial light.

The change in me has come on fast!  I feel relaxed, I feel safe, my energy is returning, and that knowing that everything is working out the way it should and is right and whatever happens is right and ok – that’s back.   It’s been gone for so long.  My headaches are decreasing and my skin’s improved- everything feels better.   Like plants.  Slow if you sit to watch them grow, miraculous if you watch them over a few days.

We’re home.

Woman seeks saddle for long-term compatibility

In preparation for potentially  bike touring Iceland, I’ve been riding regularly, trying to get my equipment all dialed in to fit my body and fit my needs.

I’ve never had any piece of gear be so finicky and challenging to refine. Funny thing, I don’t remember ever having any issues with the saddle of my road bike in my teens, which I did decent distances on, and certainly discomfort never crossed my mind on my BMX in my early 20s, which I rode quite seriously for hours a day.  However, recently exploring a new style of using a bicycle, for loaded, day after day long distances, has been an arduous hit and miss experience of seeking correct gear, especially the saddle.

The three places a bicycle interacts with you (hands, feet, and butt), are crucial comfort points.  If the weight distribution to your handlebars isn’t right or the right height, then one can get major aching and cramping in the shoulders and neck, like I do, which can also rapidly cause tension headaches.  The wrong shoes, or pedals, or pedal-to-seat ratios and alignment, can cause numb toes, sore feet, and all kinds of knee trouble.  Most serious of all, IMO, is the seat interface.  An uncomfortable saddle is just a recipe for several kinds of hell. Continue reading Woman seeks saddle for long-term compatibility

Long live the Covered Bicycle…

I truly love my bicycle and I treasure the times we spend together pushing each other to the limit and beyond, exploring the edges or just relaxing on a sunny afternoon. I take care of my bike and my bike takes care of me, as it should be for any quality friendship. But what of those moments in time when I am not sitting proudly atop my two wheeled chariot or faithfully de-greasing and re-greasing the simple inner and outer workings?  What of the times when I must park my bike overnight outside or store it for a extended duration inside of my old dusty barn?

My Machine

If I truly want this incredible machine to last a lifetime or at least to look good and work well for years to come then I must wrap it in love as much as possible. What I mean is that I must protect my bicycle from the elements when I’m not riding it. The best way to protect a bike or any vehicle for that matter from elements when not in use is to put a cover over it. This will add years to the life of a bicycle, guaranteed.

I recently was contacted  by Empire Covers in response to my “Adventures of the Bicycle Life” blog and was offered an opportunity to review the company’s bicycle covers. I checked out their website (empirecovers.com) and was impressed with the materials and wide selection of covers they make, from R.V. covers to bicycle covers and everything in between.

About the size of a football rolled up in its storage sack

I am always in need of a quality bike cover when I am camping during a bicycle tour or even just when I have my human powered machine parked in the dusty old barn between regular rides. For years I have used military rain ponchos as my bike covers. They work pretty well as they are camouflage (for when I camp) and waterproof, but they are not a perfect fit, especially when my bike is tour loaded with panniers. Then the poncho gets blown out of place easily by the wind.

Empire Covers make 3 well-designed bicycle covers: the standard, sun-proof, and waterproof covers.  I have utilized and am in the process of long-term testing all three. For the bicycle cover testing I’m using a 58cm Surly Long Haul truck with 700c wheels and Surly Nice Racks , and 22.5  inch Marin Larkspur with 26″ wheels and a rear Surly nice with a Jandd Extreme front rack.

"TaDaaa! Bicycle!" Standard bicycle cover.

The standard cover priced at $25 with a 2-year warranty is made of a silver, lightweight, high quality, breathable polyester material, that folds up to about the size of a football when stowed in its (included) storage sack. According to the Empire Covers website this cover has high protection ratings against dust, rain, sun and mid-range protection against snow.  It is very simple and quick to use. I pulled it out of the stow sack, unrolled it, located and positioned the “front” labeled side and slid it down over my bike, snugging the elastic band at the bottom of the cover around my wheels and drive train. Total installation time, 30 seconds. Now my bicycle looks happy, all sealed up, impermeable to dust, moisture and sun. I think it will be my perfect long-term indoor storage bike cover, as I always store my bicycles indoors at home.

Sunproof cover

The sun-proof cover priced at $35 with a 3-year warranty is made of a high quality lightweight, breathable Du-pont Tyvek material. It is a very nice and well-engineered cover as well, with the same elastic band at the bottom that keeps it snug around the bike. It installs over the bike with the same process as the standard cover. This cover boasts a 100% sun protection rating, with rain and dust ratings not far behind and a mid-range snow protection rating also. This cover would be ideal for the bicycle owner that stores their bike outside exposed to the hot sun.

Waterproof cover.

Then there is the top-of-the-line waterproof cover. This cover is by far my favorite  cover for outdoor expeditionary  type use (i.e. tour camping) because it is made of a heavy duty nylon material with an extra tough elastic band around the bottom and it is an easily concealable black color, requiring the same installation process and time as the other two covers. This cover boasts a 100% rain, snow, dust proof rating and a sun proof rating of at least 75%. I would say if  I was to buy just one of these three covers then the most versatile, long lasting and weather proof  option for me would be the waterproof cover.

I also had the opportunity to test a set of Gust Guards. These handy little items are located in the automotive accessories department of the Empire Covers website, but alas they are just as practical for use on bicycles and I was glad to give them a test run on my bike.

Gust Guard in action

Essentially the Gust Guard is a set of short black bungees and four clips that attach to anywhere on the bike cover. You attach the clips at the base of the cover on opposite sides of the wheels and then hook the bungees onto the clips, which pulls it all snugly together so no wind gust will blow through and blow the cover off the bike. I think the covers are super snug and secure on my bikes on their own because of the form fitting design and tight elastic hem around the bottom, but the Gust Guard will give added security for the person that feels they would like it.

All three covers where large enough to put over my bicycle and racks when it was tour loaded with four large front and rear panniers.

These covers are great for protecting during storage all kinds of bicycles  in the garage (or barn in my case) because they protect against standard dust or sawdust and protect the bike frame from the occasional bump when I am working in close proximity.

These covers are great for the person that stores their bikes outside whether at home or during a tour because of their sun/water/snow protection, which is crucial to maintaining  the long term integrity of the bike frame and components.

These covers are well designed and made, well worth the $25 to $40 investment in protecting the beloved bicycles for a lifetime of riding, one pedal stroke at a time.

A bow and a solid hand shake to Empire Covers, well done.

– H.W.

Bicycles, Get Some!

Bicycle trailers:Pushing/Pulling the Limit

Bicycle trailers. Pushing/pulling the limit..

Well hello, and welcome back to “The adventures of the bicycle life”.  I am pleased to report that my love for the human powered machine has continued to grow.  This past week I have heard from people of all walks of life from every corner of the globe expressing their love of and/or connection to bicycle culture.  It reminds me of how the bicycle is like a universal language, a language of personal freedom, of connection with the self and nature, and a language of living life to the fullest.  A language that we all innately understand and is expressed in one way or another in our own unique lives.

H.W.’s machine, saddled up and tour ready.

I find that bicycles are such versatile  machines. In this post I intend to expand upon the human powered machine’s capabilities in our daily lives as a more than just a “bike”, and to take the musing to the next level. What non-recreational activities have you engaged in with your human power machines as a tool en-route?

The possibilities are  endless, to say the least. I have seen some awe-inspiring bicycles engaged in all works of life in many parts of the world.  This past spring the “sustainability bike tour” that I have guided for since 2007 decided (with a little help from me) we would go totally car free as a company. We would no longer be using use a “support” vehicle that was combustion propelled (a van).  We would be facilitating support vehicle duties from our staff Guide bikes. This is a week long educational camping bike tour of about 25 people, so there is a pile of gear and food that needs to move from one bivouac site to the next every other day over the week-long expedition. Group tents, stoves, pot/pans, cutlery, and of course food. We were going to need some trailers for the staff to pull that had capacity and versatility. Continue reading Bicycle trailers. Pushing/pulling the limit..

One pedal stroke at a time

Rode my bike to work today- first time on those creaky old wheels in ages, but it was awesome, and far too easy.

The best part was finally being able to take this elusive picture of my favorite local view- Kokanee Glacier across the lake, from the summit.  I get to see it so often at 7am, but it flashes into view only for a moment, and it’s impossible to take a picture from a vehicle.  I love this view so much- it’s different every single time I see it, for the clouds, the tree and snowline; sometimes it’s shrouded in a weather system all its own.

Yay for bicycles!