Category Archives: snow

RIP: Snow Studs

I’m putting the snow studs to rest (for now) for two reasons:
1. There be no snow/ice on the roads as of late, and its > 5 degrees outside
2. They keep popping inner tubes!

Despite my best efforts, and lining each tire with 3-4 layers of duct tape, the occasional screw would be able to wear through the protection and put a cut into the inner tubes. Its quite unfortunate, as they were really quite amazing ice tyres. The only way I can thing of salvaging them is buying a few rolls of Mr. Tuffy or some other tyre liner and completely covering the insides to protect the tubes.

They really only seem to pop in hard cornering or trail/ off-road riding. I was caught out the other day up to my ankles in mud, where I had to change a tyre. I was not happy, needless to say, when I ran out of patches from how many punctures there were.

Fully Completed.

I’ve done it – the bike is completely finished, and it has been distance-proven; I took it for more than 40 km of wintery riding over the past two days. All the riding and abused has allowed me to ‘dial in’ all the settings of the bike: the Brooks saddle has been moved foreward, the derailleur cables have stretched/settled and been adjusted, the handlebars have been positioned, the STI levers have been re-positioned, and more than all these other combined, the new brakes have been worn in and re-positioned.

Ta daaaah!
Hells yeah – ‘Standard’

That’s right; new brakes. Those old Shimano low-profile cantis are gone, and are replaced with one of the widest-of-wide profile brakes; some Tektro 720s. They really have cleaned up the problems, so now there is about 1/2 cm of clearance each side of the rims and more than double the braking power. The quality of workmanship is superb – they come with 6mm allen key fixing bolts, a stainless-steel bushing, both sides adjust, and the cable yoke has and indexing screw so that cable pull can be equalized. It’s the attention to detail that makes them hard to beat. That, and the fact that they look (and work) pretty darn good, too. When running drop bars with cantis, I can now recommend them wholeheartedly.

It even comes with V-style brake pads, that have  a replaceable insert.
The little things really do matter.

The front derailleur problem has also been (mostly) fixed. While, unfortunately, neither my bike frame or the STI levers have places to mount adjustment barrels, I have managed to get the indexing to near-perfection by simply using a cresent wrench, a pair of pliers and some finesse upon the cable adjustment. The other outstanding problem was the difficulty with which my now 16-year-old Shimano Alivio mountain front d. now moves. I was not able to shift without nearly breaking my fingers pushing on the lever! I had read online that problems could occur beacause of a different pull-ration between mountain and road front d’s, but, to my luck, all it really needed was some WD-40 to lube it up gud! Now, it is (relatively) easy to shift with, but still harder than on most road bicycles.

No, this is not the derailleur. But, it does say Alivio…

Update on the Snow Studs: The homemade tyres have held up fantastically, with very little wear on the screws even after >50km of on-road riding. No screws have come lose or rusted, or pushed back into the tyre – BUT- the duct tape liner on the front ripped and let a screw head have its way with the inner tube. Needless to say, I was not happy about having to remove/patch an innertube in a -10C and snowy environment. There are now 3 layers of duct tape in the tyres. Feel free to add more if you decide to make a pair.

Sadness.


I can’t remember what was going on here, but if I had to guess,
I was a little miffed. And cold.

But, I made it downtown before the tire popped. Downtown TO. is always has an interesting look in the snow.

Looking North on McCaul St.

South

Warm Breakfast … Cold Adventures

Happy New Years everyone! A bit late, yes, but better late than never. Now school is getting busy – exams come in a month, and many final project on the way. But, before all this business started, I managed a few more ice-capades during the last bit of the holidays.  Woke up, and made the best darn breakfast you could hope for – eggs a la over-easy, a few strips of my special cheese-filled pork strips, and an improvised hash-brown-like-thing (involving a few fried onions, potatoes, carrots, and a mushroom or two for good measure). Mmm.

It tasted much better than it looks

I needed a good load of carbs for the day, if I was to be out, so I complemented the protein from the eggs, cheese and meat with a few slices of toast. Can’t be the smell of toast and fried eggs in the morning. Met up with my pal and we biked out to the lake, finding a bay partly frozen. Knowing it wasn’t (too) deep, we ventured out on the ice-floes to see what it was like. Not deep enough to make it over the head, but one could be very uncomfortably wet until they get back home.

On the ice. 
Chris, steadying himself for the jump

Then came ice-bowling.

It’s actually more like curling. With the object being…
…just to even knock the other person’s rocks.
Sunset/ Stormy

The Guild Inn is full of interesting sights… it is essentially an abandoned place, and good for some UEing. But I wouldn’t enter the actual hotel part (well, what’s left) as they supposedly have a silent alarm to alert the police.

The abandoned green house.
My snow-covered steed. O’Malley
prefers an MTB.

We next went cycling a bit west to explore the lake front near Rosetta McClain Gardens. My camera’s battery died, but I would have loved to take a picture of the homeless camp down there. Why? Exactly. Why is there a homeless campout here of all places? I wouldn’t have expected. Well, it looked like it may have been abandoned, but we didn’t want to disturb if it wasn’t.

This ride more than confirmed the unsuitability of the waterfront trail. Kingston road took 15 minutes on the uphill return, but the waterfront trail path took 45 minutes on the downhill to get to Rosetta McClain gardens. However, I was almost sideswiped by a truck on K-town Rd…. frightening, when you have to deal with ice already.

Family Visits

Went to visit family in Kingston this past weekend. The Clan is getting larger by the year… I’ve too many cousins to count. Well, 13. Or is it 14? Oh, and enough aunts and uncles to sink the Titanic as well – which, for all we know, they may very well have. We (my immediate family) who live in Toronto, however, are not that numerous, but still manage to have a very poor track record for being punctual, despite not having to deal with as many bodies to get organized. The plan this Christmas: we get packed Friday to leave by 8:30 AM Saturday for K-town. The actual result: finished packing by 2 AM Saturday, left at 10:00 AM after we dragged ourselves out of bed. And then we got caught in a snow storm:

Scary drive up – hit snow squalls in Trenton, the average speed on the 401 dropped to ~50 km/h, but yet a few intrepid drivers (a crazy in a wee hatchback and then a redneck in a hummer) plugged away at high-speed. And with them too went many of the 18-wheelers (one started to split lanes as we were passing! f@*&!) – any that, my friends, is why I like freight trains.

We arrived 4 hours late, and so missed ice skating w/ the rest of the clan (*sob!*), as well as arrived ‘fashionably late’ to the Christmas party. All else went well, till we were nearly late for church the following day.

We weren’t so late as to miss the sunset at the lodge, however!

Oh – one interesting (well, odd, at least) thing that I saw this weekend, travelling back at night:

Just a TV, Chillin’ outside 

It’s a TV set, on at 11 PM in the cold, outside, in front of a closed eatery. Any takers? It’s somewhere near the intersection of MacDonnell and Princess streets in Kingston. Sorry about the blurry photo; it was late and the car was moving too quickly to take a good shot.

A Winter’s Outing

Went for a few hours’ ride today – the first full test of the ‘new’ tyres; they are actually 16-year-old ‘Dual Sport’ (i.e., wide as a mountain tire!) Chen Shins which came with the bicycle. They did a real swell job, once I let some air out to run them at ~45 psi, handling the snow, road, gravel and even some ice without slipping.

.
 My GT has lots of extra room for an
even wider tire, despite already having
on 42mm ones.
 The steep hill down to the buffs is
 salted and in use by dump trucks




I headed down to Guild Inn to access the bluffs’ lakeside trail, and enjoyed a pleasant photographing and sight-seeing session. The bluffs change so much from their summer appearance!

 The bluffs look even more awesome in person. Sadly,
they are predicted to gradually turn into steep hills,
some as soon as 15 years from now.



Even in the winter, dump-trucks laden with dry-fill keep on tipping their loads to complete this soon-to-be Waterfront Trail section, which will eventually connect the beaches all the way out to pickering, without interruption; it will be all path without any streets/roads. Most of the path is already done, with only a few connecting portions missings. With the rate at which construction has increased over this past summer, I expect it to be done in under 5 years, but we’ll see if the project ever gets finished when Rob Ford starts slashing Toronto’s expenditures.
The lonely trail in the winter.

For one strange reason or another, a good lot of car parts have accumulated at the base of the bluffs. Maybe someone drove them over the edge a long time ago?

My favorite photo depicting the car parts down by the lake. This one really
 shows the density of the car parts strewn about.

Most of the parts seem like late 1950s to early 70s vintage – a lot of old OHV V8s are hanging out amongst the engine blocks. Dating them is also made easier by the drum brakes; they were replaced by discs on most performance vehicles by the 80s. Most parts seem to be Ford from the bits of writing I was able to make out on some axles and brake drums.



Not a car – but found down by the bluffs anywho.

  

I think this is a Ford V8.



 
I once found an entire crushed Ford Bronco II! If I ever get that roll of film developed, that picture will most surely be put in a future post. That’s it for now – I’ve some homework to finish before the holidays begin.

See more of my photos at: http://thetriplex.deviantart.com/

Slings ‘n Things

There is going to be a shorter post today – I’ve homework to get though, and a laser-quest game! Yes, laser-quest; I am a Scouter (well, scouter-in-training) with a scout troop (good for the community hours, and having a few outtings isn’t so bad either!), and I’m there supervising tonight. But I get to play too, so I’m not complaining! I’ll post some pics of this later… its sure to be fun. Ahead of time, I would like to apologize for my poor pictures – my Sony DSC just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

On friday, my friend and I built some mini-crossbows out of rubber bands and rulers in math class – it was a free period – and perforated apples with ’em. This gave me an idea: what other ‘weapons’ can I fashion from things lying around my house (or school room)? The result: the humble sling, made from cotton twine and a strip of an orphaned sock for the basket.




My homemade sling. Can you believe Goliath got toasted by one of these?

 

Slings work by multiplying the working force upon the stone, by effectively acting as an extension to your arm. One end of the string has a finger loop, the other, knots. You swing the sling to build up momentum, and then release the knotted end, thus throwing the rock. This homemade sling does the trick – it does indeed fling stones a good distance, to about 100 meters. Unfortunately, due to the sock pouch, rock tend to slip out, and also the thin strings always get tangled.
I tested this sling in a park nearby, and got there by biking. It was snowing today, and since I always am looking for an excuse to snow cycle, this testing was one excuse that couldn’t be passed up. Too bad it was a little windy – otherwise, it wasn’t too cold. About -7C by my estimates.



Ignore the purpleness – it was actually quite nice with a white covering of snow everywhere. I had to beware of ice, though. 



Right now, I’m running my ‘winter’ set-up: I’ve switched into some 41mm Chen Shin ‘Dual Sport’ tyres, which really have quite a bit of traction even when at the max. 75 psi. Still like skates on ice, I found out. I’m thinking of ghetto-winterizing the tyres by shoving some tacks through them – anybody out there with advice on this?
Back to the story: Found some rocks and tested it. Knocked a tree ~30m away hard enough to knock down snow from the braches.

Rock in the sling.

 So, for anyone wondering, Yes!… David probably wouldn’t have had a hard time taking down Goliath, especially since he had years of training and I was still able to whack a tree with 5 minutes practice. 

Camera, taking picture from sling. Note: No cameras
were harmed in the taking of this pciture
That’s about it for today, I’m off to do math.