"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Friday, May 21, 2004

Was reading an old post from last year in which I explained my reasons for using BC Transit to get me home from work after I did the bicycle thing to get there...

...this is, of course, before I discovered Don Holborne could give me a ride home every day.

Well, Don went and got himself another PT job with a Rona store in Vancouver, and my rides home got less frequent. BC Transit's (or should I say "Translink")fares went up again, and I got fed up paying 3$ per trip.

So I began riding home.

Just once or twice a week, at first. Now I do the two-way trip every day. I am doing a grand total of 175 km per week!

Riding is good. Sucks when the weather is bad, though.

When I wrote the post last year, I was still a little leery of riding home because of the time issue. I wrote, "I will need to get my time to work down around 40 minutes if I want to ride home in reasonable time." The assumption was that being able to make the ride there in 40 mins would mean I was in good enough condition physically to do the ride home again in an hour or so.

I was correct.

A few changes have taken place. I had a "mirror moment" a few weeks back. I saw myself in a full length mirror - 'au naturel' - and noticed that although my GUT is still with me, my LEGS have gone all hard and sinewy. I'm down about 30 lbs too.

I still have a ways to go, but the newly-found physical resources, coupled with the new bike(s) I have built, mean that I am getting very close to that 40 minute / 1 hour benchmark. I can even beat old men and children up most hills!

The new bike is a story in itself...

I got a couple of Raleigh Portage ATB from an ad that I posted in Craigslist.org. These were early 80's models - really just ordinary steelframed road bashers with 26" cruiser wheels and badly fitted cantilever brakes. I traded some parts with Dave Ferguson and built the 'male' frame (I got a matched set of his 'n hers)into a roadie hybrid. It had skinny tires, but also a triple ring crank, ATB pedals, and a wide-stance bar with bar ends. The combo of the roadie frame with the wide bars made for an almost upright seating arrangement, while still being able to hunker down over the bars for sprints. Altogether, a very comfortable ride, and about 10 lbs (!) lighter than my Schwinn ATB.

Problem: Remember how I said the Norco Kodiak was too small for me? Well, the Raleigh frame was just a leetle outside my comfort range when standing flatfooted on pavement. The top tube was pushing my ... Well, never mind. Spring cleaning had arrived by this time and I kept an eagle eye out for what I KNEW I would find: a complete 10-speed roadie that I could give a similar treatment to as I had the Raleigh.

Sure enough, a beautiful Canadian made 10-speed was 'ditched' by the roadside near NDSS. "Tour du Quebec" is a brand I've never heard of before, but it was in good condition and, most importantly, had a working 6-speed rear wheel.

The gearing on the 5-speed hub I got from Dave was all wrong. That, and the cogs were so worn I had severe slipping problems in top gear. I had 3 chainrings, but could use only 4 of the 5 cogs on the cassette; making this a "sort-of 12 speed". The wheel on the Tour has a six speed hub with barely any wear on either hub or chain. It is sooo nice to have a top gear again.

Unfortunately, the hoops I went through trying to fix that slipping 5 speed wheel led to a few mishaps. I tried swapping the chain for a (nearly) new one. I tried changing out the rear derailleur, and wound up with chain suck damage on what WAS a very nice Shimano Deore ATB derailleur. I finally put the 6 speed wheel on, and dug my old Shimano Altus derailleur out of the parts bucket it was banished to. I was up 'till almost MIDNIGHT getting everything just so. Managed to make the Deore derailleur un-usable in the process...

...Which brings me back to that 40 minute trip goal: In staying up so late, I overslept my alarm by over an HOUR. I finally peeled one eye open at 6:10 AM. Knowing full well I could NOT reach work on time, even if I left that very second, I still ran all out to get ready and ended up with a 6:21 AM departure. I arrived at the DC at 7:02 AM precisely. A 41 minute trip, and a new personal best.

But I still clocked in 8 minutes late...I could barely walk!

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