Saturday, July 28, 2007

Is it time for some lead underpants?

A few weeks ago I was riding to work and noticed my bike computer was going wild. I was stopped. The computer was telling me I was going 99.9 km/h. This, of course, was doing wonders for my average speed. I started looking around and noticed that there was a UPS truck just in front of me. What kind of invisible waves of death were circling the UPS truck. Is there a higher incidence of sterility in UPS delivery people? I was generally worried for the person in the truck. None-the-less I carried on, vowing never to stop beside a UPS truck again.
Then it happened again. I was at a stop light and my cycle computer was going mad. Now I have to admit I didn't spend a lot on this particular computer. I think it was ~$20.00, and it is wireless. I have really no idea how these computers work, but I suspect it is something like this. The magnet on the wheel trips a switch in the sender unit, some magical pulse is created and sent to the receiving unit in the computer. The computer calculates the speed based on the number of these pulses that it gets. OK that's enough technical jargon. Anyway, I realised that in my attempt to have the traffic light to change by standing with my bike over the sensor in the road I was actually standing in a large magnetic field. It was this magnetic field that was over powering my computer.

Is this something cyclists should be worried about? Should I be wearing lead underwear? What about a tinfoil hat? Thank goodness I have already had kids!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Can Good Come from Reno Hell?

Recently we started a small reno to our house. My wife wanted a hot tub to ease her back problems and acquaintances of ours were getting rid of theirs, so I thought we were in luck. An inexpensive hot tub, all we had to do was get it home. Well then I realised there was some preparation work that went along with the hot tub.

There needed to be a concrete pad 4" deep by 8' square. In order for that to happen I needed to move a berm of dirt and grass -- Total time 2 weekends (on and off)

Then we thought "wouldn't it be nice to access the hot tub from the basement and have a deck up to the tub?"

So in order for this to happen I needed to remove a concrete pad (different from the one we were pouring). There was a jack hammer rental -- the jack hammer was half my weight and continually shot though the concrete pad and I was forced to do about 400 squats to get it out of the ground -- the worse 4 hours of my life! and then we had to move the concrete that was now in the way of our new deck. Another weekend shot.

If we are going to put in a deck then we really should fix the drainage tile behind the house before we put in the deck -- you can see where this is going. So sure enough now I'm digging a trench halfway around my house so that the drain can pass peacefully under the new deck. -- another couple of weekends (and countless evenings shot).

So it all started with a hot tub installation, now we are at the point where we are doing drainage a deck and some major re landscaping, but that's not all of the slippery slope of Reno Hell. How are we going to get from the house to the new deck/hot tub? That's right a new sliding door from our garden level basement -- we only have to cut through a small amount of foundation to get the door in. Oh and while we're at it why not a complete renovation of the basement?

So, I'm in Reno Hell. Now you asking yourself "what has this to do with biking?" Well other than the fact that I haven't been on my bike for a while there has been some good come out of all this. With all this dirt moving there had to be an upside. One is that our yard behind the house is now flat and, with new drain tile, should be dryer. But more importantly we now have a lot of dirt. Dirt is really only good for one thing DIRT JUMPS! At least the kids are having fun. Bring on the vitamin I.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ripper 4 --Triple Crown and the Ripper dads

Ripper -- Triple Crown-- Ripper Dads
Well it was the final Ripper of the season. This "event" is a poker challenge where the best hand wins -- not the fastest team, as I found out last year. This year me and the Guys went as the Ripper Dads. Being the Triple Crown we had to get to certain check points on each of three mountains -- Cypress, Fromme (Grouse) and Cypress. At each check point we would get a card that would contribute to your poker hand. Extra cards were given if you performed some mostly embarrassing "extra" at each station. At the bottom of Fromme we played blackjack, at the top of Fromme we sang Elvis songs, at Cleveland Dam we had to perform the Can Can and at the top of Cypress we had to ride an impossible skinny and teeter-totter.

The route we decided on (well Vinny decided on) was up the road on Seymour, down CBC into T.N.T, Dirty Diapers into Ned's Atomic Dustbin and then over to Bottle Top and down to Twin Bridges. This part of the ride was not un-eventful. A wayward log jumped out at Vinny on Dirty Diapers and ripped off his derailleur. He had to walk up Ned's to the road and then coast to Different Bikes to get a replacement. He then drove to Fromme and was waiting for us when we finally got there. The "Big Man" was riding a his light bike and subsequently flatted on Ned's. We also stopped on Bottletop to have a reunion of sorts -- Bottletop is where we used to practice trials about 10 years ago, with the same guys no less.

A stop for some energy drink and on to Fromme for some blackjack and Elvis songs. At Fromme we saw Lee Lau. He and his partner were attempting another epic sea to sky to sea to sky to ... you get the idea. Last year he went from the ocean to the tops of each of the roads to the peaks, this year he was less fortunate. From what I gather after we saw him at the bottom of Fromme he decided to change his "goals" for this year.

On Fromme, after singing (if you could call it that) we went down Executioner and into Bitches Brew. Bitches definitely needs some work. It is one of those old school trails that is challenging but still fun to ride. We finished Fromme by riding across the Baden Powell trail and then over to Cleveland Dam by road.

At the Dam there was food and some more embarrassing moments -- Boas and the Can Can. Even with all of the extra cards we were getting my hand was not getting any better, but then what do I know about card games?

I find the most challenging part of the whole ride is navigating through the British Properties, although this year with Stu's explicit metre by metre instructions we were able to make short work of the "Properties".

We met my family at the look out on Cypress and were fed with gatorade and snickers bars (old school power bars) which gave us just enough energy for the final hump up Cypress. At the top were were challenged by a skinny ride over two humps and a teeter-totter. None of our group made it -- I think were we all "done" by this point.

Being "done" it only made sense for us to ride Reaper, Fire Hose and Family Guy out. Both Reaper and Fire hose were no fun at all. I was cooked and those trails are far too "old school"-- they are straight down -- read "you need to tighten your butt cheeks over you back wheel for extra braking". We had a bit of redemption on Family Guy which is generally rolling and fun, but it was the end of a long day and we still had a long ride to Obsession Bikes.

We ripped it along the highway and then to Lower Lonsdale for our final check point and card.

The After part was at Bella Candella and included a silent auction for a fallen rider, John Ramsden.

All in all it was an epic day with good friends. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors that make a day like this possible.

Other write ups can be found at and at North Shore

I'm already looking forward to next years Rippers.