Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Close Friend Turns Ten

It's 2012, and that means my old friend, Road Bike, is now a healthy ten years old. If I had my way, I'd never get a new one -- but that's not how aluminium works.

So I started mucking around on the Trek site and have now wasted a couple glorious hours in the Project One area specifically. I've been there before trying to see just how boss a price tag I could rack up on a bicycle (I think I broke $20,000 one day ... probably even easier to do now) but never with the intention of shopping.

Til now!

Here's what I came up with for a first draft -- Waaay more bike than I need for my purposes, but just enough to get me through another ten years. Suggestions welcome! Or if you'd like to customize one of these beauties for yourself, go to

Drivetrain Gruppo: SRAM Force Compact PG-1070
Wheels: Race X Lite Clincher (tires: Bontrager R3, white)
Stem: Race X Lite
Headset: Cane Creek IS2 Carbon
Handlebar: Race X Lite Blade Isozone
... and most important: it's PURPLE (to match my mountainbike, of course).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Believe in Yourselves, Kids!

This came up [again] in my day-to-day. Such a welcome little message of hope on the virtues of learning to ride a bike, as well as a shout out to rock and roll. It's the kind of video I don't mind watching again, and again.

Thanks, kid.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rides of Hope: How one man is using mountain biking in the wilds of Israel to connect with young inmates

This story was both inspiring and heart-breaking — I got choked up within the first four minutes. I am so glad I stumbled upon it, though it's been out there in the world waiting for me since April 2010. It's a story about a man in Israel, who is a computer programmer by way of profession, but who also happens to enjoy mountain biking, and how he is making a difference, one Tuesday afternoon at a time.

He walks by the state prison one day, and thinks there must be something he can do to help the kids there who have lost their way. So with the help of a warden he organizes mountain bike rides for ten of the young inmates at a time. It didn't start off so well — he admits, "I’m used to algorithms and data structures and super motivated students, and nothing in my background prepared me to deal with a raging, violent adolescent in the middle of nowhere.”

But together, they learned their way around each other. "When a kid like this gets into a fit, the best thing you can possibly do is stay as close as possible. It's difficult, because what you really want to do is go away — but that's what he's had all his life; people walking away from him."

He links the act of mountain biking to the act of falling in love with ourselves, leadership, and empathy. His name is Shimon Schocken, and these are his Rides of Hope.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My first-ever Cortado

As most two-wheelers know, the world of cycling is inextricably tied up with the world of caffeinated beverages. And yet, I know comparatively little about the go-juice. Who better to fill me in than Matt P, known espresso afficianado, and my new roommate besides.

This weekend, between shifts scrubbing and polishing our new digs in the East End (didn't you hear? I'm moving again!), we took a break for a tiny little drink that packs quite a punch called a Cortado.

Matt tells me that if I were ever to spend my winter's training with pros like Michael Barry in Girona (I dunno, maybe next year?) this is what I would be having on every ride's coffee break. It's served in a small glass tumbler, just a little bigger than a shot glass, called a "Gibraltor." It's made with delicious espresso, cut with warm milk in about 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. It's like a little mini latte only better. The barrista even did some foam art that I think was supposed to be a heart, but to me it looked more like garlic. Let's not read too much into that.

Anyway, I took my little Cortado to the table as it was served. No need to add anything. My first sip was a little bit harsh. But every sip afterwards got better and better - smooth, the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. Of course, that meant the best was saved for last and by then I was completely hooked.

We got ours at Crema on the Danny, but you should be able to get them at any reputable espresso joint -- even if it's not on the menu. Hope you enjoy one soon (and I hope the same for me!)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Outside Ride #1

I was convinced (and it did take some convincing, I admit) to join some RPM peeps for a Saturday morning ride this weekend. The early start time was offset by supposedly perfect weather.

Imagine my shock when Saturday morning turned out to be a drizzly, foggy let-down.

But, onward! Had a great ride with this bunch that included old friends and new ones. Got a little bit of testing done (mainly to stay warm) and the hypothermia stayed to a minimum.

Big welcome to group ride season!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Panda says: Always play with your food!

Today was starting to feel like a lost cause after spilling both my breakfast AND my lunch on my shirt and various other "trials of life" ... but then I saw this guy, and my frown turned upside down.

Persistence Pays

I saw a fascinating article recently that calls the human body our ancestors' first real weapon. We could run faster and longer than any of the four-legged creatures we hunted, including Cheetahs. And our body's unique ability to regulate its heat allowed us to chase our prey until it collapsed from heat exhaustion. This is called persistence hunting and it was still done until comparatively recently by tribes in Australia and Ethiopa among other places.

The article also got into the dangers of "modern footwear" for running and says that considering how our bodies have evolved, and how they're designed, the 8+ hour/day desk jockey is actually more "extreme" when it comes to stresses on the system — even more extreme than running a marathon.

This is all leading up to a little series on running, covering these points and more through the Nature of Things and the CBC. Click this link for more info (and to read the article -- don't forget to click through the tabs as well!):

Friday, March 9, 2012


The internet showed me this today and it was quite timely. I've just finished one of life's tough journeys (hence the radio silence, sorry friends!) so it was a good find.

Read the full post here, but here are my top-five picks from Sacred Rides founder Mike Brcic's list:

  1. Strive to know yourself as deeply as possible.
  2. Seek community.
  3. Practice empathy and compassion; every human is doing the best they can to live a full life, and every human is struggling to do so.
  4. Fail often, and learn from each failure.
  5. Love without conditions and boundaries.

Taken at The Alder's Beach Resort, Courtenay BC, December 2011