Today in bike store happenings: 


A customer and her father have asked me to show them our bike carrier racks. I have ascertained from the customer that she wants a good, basic rack on which to carry her things for school. She has her bike with her. I have shown them our basic, everyday rack—the one we put on 90% of the commuter bikes we sell. 


ME: That's a good basic rack.

HER: Can I put a milk crate on it? 

ME: Sure you can—it'll be heavy, but if that's what you want, you can use bungee cords to attach it, or some people bolt them on. 

FATHER: But will it fit on her bike? 

ME: Looking at bike, which is a standard 700-C-wheeled commuter Oh yeah. We install about a billion of these on bikes just like this. You can leave it with us—there's a $10 installation fee—or you can install it yourself. 

FATHER: Is this the hardware? How does it fit?

ME: showing him It mounts here and here, above the axle, and then it bolts to the frame here.

FATHER: Are you sure it's going to fit? 

ME: Yep. Like I said, we install about a billion of these on bikes justs like this. 

FATHER: It's not going to sit too low? 

ME: Holding the rack where it will sit No, it will be fine. Look, it will sit just about here. 

FATHER: Can you ask one of the techs, please?

ME: Looking at my manager, who is 3 feet away Wil, is this rack gonna fit this bike? 

WIL: Glancing up from whatever he was doing. She just told you man, yes, it's gonna fit. 

FATHER: Thank you so much for translating that for me. I couldn't have understood her. 

WIL: Well, she was pretty clear, but it seemed like you were having a hard time. 

FATHER: Thank you. 

Later on, while he's paying for the rack:

FATHER: I didn't mean to offend you. I just wanted to be sure it would fit. 

ME: Oh, geez man, I understand. You just wanted to be sure. How could you know that I might know what I'm talking about? 

FATHER: Well, it's just that I wanted to be sure. 

ME: Deciding that forcing the issue will do no good.  Like I said, it's a standard rack, made for this type of bike. I think it'll work pretty well. Here's your change. Have a good one. 



* This is what Wil and I agreed, when I told him the customer hadn't wanted to offend me. I mean, why would I be offended when this is a known, historical truth? 

zingerella: 1920s advertisement for Vanilla Bicycles: A young woman with bobbed hair rides a bicycle, a pannier and child on back. (vintage)
( Jul. 24th, 2012 11:08 pm)
On Saturday, a guy came in. Sleeves ripped off his shirt at the shoulders, ponytail, tattoos, a face that showed that he'd done a fair bit of living. Asked about a pump. Then asked about kids' bikes. What did we have for kids? "How old?" I asked. 
"Well, he was just born three days ago. I guess I'm kinda excited and looking forward to teaching him to ride."
We don't really carry anything for the three-day old infant, but I congratulated him heartily, told him to come back for a co-pilot (baby seat for the bike) when the kid was less floppy, and showed him a few things for when the boy gets older. 

Then I sent him off to go hang out with his boy and his boy's mother. 

People are delightful. Strange, but sometimes delightful. 

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Apr. 19th, 2011 11:26 pm)
Last fall, I went to Guelph to get measured. Hugh Black at True North Cycles measured my height, my inseam, my arms, and my back, and marked all these measurements on the wall of his workshop.

This spring, after looking at drawings, making calculations (I found a real-life application of the Pythagorean theorem!), researching and choosing components, looking at samples and selecting colours, I went to Guelph again.

Hugh had built me a tiny, perfect bike!

Me, with hair in two braids and a turquiose beret, behind my small, dark green touring bike.
Me, behind a tiny, perfect, dark green touring bike with curly handlebars and 650 cc tires. I am wearing a fuzzy turquoise beret and a delighted grin.

For those who care, this is a custom True North frame, with compact drop handlebars, 26-inch wheels, and triple crank (plus a lot of fancy components that I'm happy to tell you all about, but only if you ask.

More photos behind cut. )
I love my tiny perfect bike!

In which a cycle hoyden bemuses Insurance or possibly Investment Dudes. An exchange in one Scene.

: The elevator in the Tower in the Wasteland—a boring, office-tower elevator.

ENTER: [personal profile] zingerella . She is wearing cycling shorts and a purple t-shirt. Her hair is in a long braid down her back, and is, frankly, a mess. She carries a pannier/shoulderbag. She pushes 5, and proceeds to remove her cycling gloves.

ENTER: Dude in a Suit 1. He hits 2.

ENTER: Slightly more middle-aged Dude in a Suit2. Z. has seen him parking in a reserved spot in the garage. He hits 3 (the same company as Dude in a Suit 1.

DiaS1 nods Hello to DiaS2. They exchange banter.

The elevator doors close.

To Z. Do you pay for parking here? 
Zingerella: Nope.

: Hmph. So do you ride far?

: Yeah. Pretty far. 

DiaS2: Eyebrows raised Really? Where do you come from?

Zingerella: Oh, Pape and Danforth.

A pause.

DiaS2: Sticks out his hand. Wow. That is really far. That's very impressive.

Zingerella bemusedly shakes his hand. Yeah, I guess. It's not too bad.

Elevator: *BING!* Second floor. Going Up.

DiaS2: Well, have a good day. To DiaS1 You too. Leaves, and goes to his job selling investments, or maybe insurance.

Dias1: Snrk. There's no way you should pay for parking.

Elevator: *BING!* Third floor. Going Up.

Dias1: Have a good one. Leaves, and goes to his job selling investments, or maybe insurance.

Zingerella: You too.

Elevator: *BING!* Fifth floor.

Exit Zingerella, turning right.

Thing is, I can't figure out DiaS2. Was he planning to tell me I didn't ride that far? Or was he comparing my commute to his morning run? All I know is that he looked at me with far more respect after I told him where I started in the morning.



Is that so much to ask?

So I've concluded that it may be time for me to buy a new bicycle.

I love my bike, I really do. I rode it almost all the way home from Ottawa. But I'm forced to admit that she's a heavy bike, and she's not doing me a lot of good. My fingertips get tingly when I ride for too long. And I ride a lot. Also, this year, I'm probably going to have to replace the tires, pedals, seat, and possibly the gears, by which time I might as well have a new bike, really.

My Current Ride
Grey and blue 2002 or 2001 Giant Sedona DX hybrid bike parked outside Grahame's Bakery in Kemptville, ON. Bike has fully loaded panniers and a front bag. Weather is overcast.

My current bike is a 17-inch Giant hybrid, designed specifically for commuters, where by "commuters," I think the bike companies mean "someone who hops on their bike and is at their workplace within half an hour or so." It's a pretty decent commuter/hybrid bike. It has mostly mountain bike features—wide tires, wide handlebars, lots of gears, some suspension in the front forks, and a wide seat—with a more upright, comfortable frame and posture. It handles reasonably well on lots of different terrain, and it's comfy and durable. Really. I haven't managed to break the bottom bracket on this bike, even once. So it's a great bike for someone who rides every day, and who doesn't stick to roads.

But over long distances, this bike has some serious drawbacks.

Cut for OMG bicycle geekery )

Still with me? Ring your bike bell if you've made it this far!

What I Want

Okay, so here's my list of specifications for a bike:
  • Good fit, which probably means women's geometry, though I'm willing to try some unisex models
  • Lightweight, which probably means road-style, though I'll entertain flat handlebars as long as the bike's geometry takes the weight off my wrists and hands, and the posture isn't too upright
  • Tires that are a reasonable compromise between stable enough for some unpaved roads and smooth and narrow enough to reduce some of the resistance I currently encounter. This means that the wheels need to support a slightly wider tire
  • Strong enough to withstand some time on unpaved roads, and to be fully loaded for travel
  • Eyelets on the rear wossname (the thing that houses the axle and holds the wheel in place) so that I can put a rack on my bike
  • More than 10 speeds. I use all 18 on my current bike, but I admit that I don't use the very top or very bottom very often
  • A less upright posture so I spend less time fighting the wind
  • Ideally, one of them there modern steel frames, so that I can have some shock absorption without needing actual shocks. Aluminum is light, but tends to be really rigid. Your modern light steel gives a much gentler ride, I'm told

This leads me to believe that I need either a cyclocross bike or a touring bike, probably. There are one or two hybrids I'll try, but most hybrids seem to assume a more casual rider than I tend to be.

And Here's the Feminism

So, recognizing that I really want a Terry Bike, but cannot right now afford the price tag on such a beast (and also, Terry seems to have discontinued the Madeleine, which really looks like the bike I want, oh yes she does), I wandered over to my favourite bike shop to see what offerings they have.

Cut for disappointment. Sad cycle hoyden is sad.  ) 

I guess women are just a niche market.

So, if anyone finds a used or new Terry Madeleine with a 26-inch step-over (which probably means a size S frame), let me know, okay?
Possibly lost true love. The Terry Madeleine, a relaxed touring bike in light blue and white paint, with drop handlebars.
And if I come into a sudden windfall? I'm so going custom.

Mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi is the sort of candidate my dad would have voted for: his proposed policies are ideologically right-of-centre, pro-business, pro-suburb.

The Empire Club apparently loves him.
Cut because Toronto is not the centre of the universe. It's just where I happen to live. )
Or "What I Did on My Summer Vacation, by Zingerella"

Flew Porter Airlines to Ottawa. Here are some things you should know about flying Porter with a bike:
  • You don't need to dismantle the bike before you get to the ferry terminal to go across to the airport. So don't. It's much easier to take the bike across, intact, then ask the agents how they want to stow it in the luggage hold.
  • In general, according to the agents there, you don't need to take the front wheel off, or unscrew the pedals. You may have to unscrew the handlebars in order to turn them sideways.
  • You definitely need to pack your tools and some tape in the pannier you intend to check.
  • Of course, if your flying into and out of the same place, it's still best to pack your bike in a hard case, but I was not doing this.
So, while I could have cycled to the ferry and taken my bike to the Island, I did not.

Instead, I did things the hard way. )

Flying Porter is a most civilized way to get to Ottawa.

In Ottawa, I reassembled my bike and cycled from the airport to Audra's house, committing the first of many wrong turns while cycling. Lost my cellphone at Audra's house, pretty much the moment after I arrived.* Had a lovely visit with Audra: pancakes! kittens! movies! chatting!

Monday, after a prolonged, and not very interesting wrangle at the Bell Mobility franchise, I bought a new cellphone, and set out.

Day 1: Ottawa to Kemptville

I followed this route out of Ottawa, with a few cursings and wrong turns, where the directions and the roads didn't seem to match. My ability to follow directions was not helped by the fact that there's a lot of road removal going on in and around Ottawa right now. Some photos and commentary from Day 1 )More photos later, or you can check them out on Flickr.
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Aug. 14th, 2009 11:34 pm)

I'm home!

Not squashed!

Ontario is very big! It is full of water, and rocks, and trees, and swamps, and farms.

Trucks are very scary.

The Waterfront Trail is a lie: It isn't really a trail and it doesn't go along the waterfront very often.

Rural people have a bizarre penchant for novelty mailboxes.

More later! I have to let my mom, grandmom, and great aunt know that I am home, alive, and in one piece. And sleeeeep.

Thanks to [personal profile] neeuqdrazil 
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Aug. 6th, 2009 03:33 pm)
Some of you have heard this already, but here is where I'm going to be, next week, and what I'm going to be doing.

Cut for them as don't much care )
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jun. 16th, 2009 10:30 am)
Cycling through the valley, this morning, I noticed the unmistakable squoodgy feeling of an incipient flat in my rear tire. So I found a long stretch of path through a meadow, where people could see me from both directions, and where there was some space to pull off the path, stopped, and checked.

Sure enough, a tack had buried itself in my rear tire, from which the air was gently, but assuredly, hissing.

Took off the pannier, and found the patch kit. Disengaged the rear brake. Flipped the bike over and took the rear wheel off. Started to pull out the inner tube.

A grizzled cyclist in spandex shorts stopped. "Everything okay?" he asked.

"Yep," said I, "just a flat. No biggie!"

"You sure?"

"Yep, thanks!"

He cycled on. I extracted the inner tube, and found the puncture. Opened the patch kit. A cyclist in a bright jersey and mirror sunglasses slowed.

"Need a hand?"

"No, thanks! I'm good!"

"Okay!" He cycled on.

I roughed up the area around the puncture. Dabbed it with glue. Waited for the glue to dry. A couple of old guys with stuff lashed all over their bikes stopped.

"You need a hand?"

"Thanks! I'm good!"

They cycled on.

Another guy stopped as I was putting the newly patched inner tube back on the wheel, to ask if I needed a pump. I had one, but thanked him. Someone else offered me a hand as I put the wheel back on the bike.

All in all, in the 20 minutes or so that I was stopped by the side of the path, calmly patching my tire, at least seven people stopped to make sure I was okay, and to offer help.

I love my town.


zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)


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