riding towards R’lyeh

This post isn’t going to make much sense to those of you who don’t bike during the winter months….. those of you who ride with a balaclava know that if it’s not too cold, you can pull the lower hem of the opening down below your chin, but if it’s colder, you cover your mouth, and this can steam up your glasses. A few months ago, I was randomly surfing the web doing some research, and I came across this arresting image:
il_570xN.252313867(image source Etsy.)

and of course my first thought was that the tentacles would do an admirable job of protecting your face while perhaps allowing enough breath through to avoid the fogging issue. Not withstanding the fact that I was a fan of the “Call of Cthulu RPG” back in the day, a brief search turned up numerous inexpensive knockoffs of the original design and after a while an example in bilious green was in my possession. Given that our local weather forecast indicated that this morning was the last one cold enough for a while, it was time to put this thing to a test.

Here is the mask, which is barely compatible with my glasses.

You can see the opening for my mouth under the tentacles.

Combined with my red helmet and earflaps for a Xmas themed colour scheme, I look like a demented Santa Claus.

On the ride in I got more than a few amused looks from drivers and pedestrians. More importantly, there was only fogging when I was stopped, and it cleared up instantly while riding. On the downside, the mask didn’t do a great job of protecting my neck. Clearly, the knockoff was inferior to the Etsy original in this regard. Bottom line: I can only give this a tentative recommendation, unless of course you are into this specific look.

My daughters instantly added the mask to the list of things that I must not wear around the house. More importantly, I had to take the mask off before the call of the Old Ones got a little too strong. Now where are my D20’s so that I can do a sanity check…..

Today was my first bike commute to work since early December. Since one of the things that I love about biking to work is being able to track day to day changes along my route, I was curious to see several of the construction sites that I hadn’t seen for three and a half months.

First up: the large development at the south end of Edwin. Here it is last November.

and today:

A little further east is yet another church to condo conversion; this one the subject of a minor controversy. In November, they had erected most of the steel framework for an addition.
nov 27C

Today, everything was sheathed in plastic against the wintry weather.

A little further along, the former site of Postal Station E. Here is the site last November.

and today:
DSC05067 Word is that this is going to be the new TV studios for Master Chef Canada. A big win in my books since a) it is not a zillion story condo, b) it preserves elements of the original building, and c) it will provide a source of local employment.

The biggest surprise was this construction on Harbord at Crawford. This particular site was a Petrocan Station (photo from Google Maps circa August 2011)

Then it was dormant for a long time.

Last November 27, there was some excavation going on, but this lot had been dug up in the past for things like removal of the gas tanks, and also some sewer work, so I wasn’t sure that this latest activity would lead to anything.

However, here is the lot today.

All in all, a constant buzz of construction similar to what is happening all across the city.

This excellent poster has been all over the local bike related internet.
Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.02.58 PM

It identifies various downtown Toronto neighbourhoods with “typical” bike types, and there is just enough truth to each one that makes the poster a lot of fun. Note that my own neighbourhood is identified by the type of tri geek bike carried by two of the older bike shops in the area.

The artwork is by Chris Simonen, who has done some nice work for Dandyhorse Magazine. He also did a fun drawing of our Xtracycle a while back.

cf the original picture:

The poster is for sale here. Shipped by bike in the downtown area. Ordered yesterday, arrived at my door today!

Back on the bike

After a long, dormant winter, it felt really good to be back on a bike today.

I’m going to ease back into it since I have not fully recovered from the broken collarbone incident.
bonePictures indicate that the bone is knitting back together, but I’ll need physio to regain mobility. Right now, I can’t raise my elbow to anywhere near shoulder height. Nothing that would interfere with riding, but I won’t be taking very many pictures on the move for a while.

I’m going to try out this new app that is affiliated with the film bikes vs. cars. It’s a cute idea since it tracks “barrels of oil saved”, and it can track community based savings, but right not it appears to interfere with the cyclemeter app, which is a bummer.

On a final note, Happy Pi Day everyone!

building the ASME bike

DSC05014A brief check in with the HPVDT. Here is Calvin with parts of the frame mold for the new bike.

At the same time, Aerovelo is working on optimizing their wheel/tire combination for this September (making sure that those spokes don’t keep breaking).

Video from WHPSC 2014

I usually don’t repost content from other sources but I had to post this video which was edited from footage taken by Team Tetiva last September 2014 at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge.

As documented elsewhere on this blog, the WHPSC is an annual gathering of people who try to break the absolute speed record for bicycles on flat ground, on highway 305 just south of Battle Mountain Nevada. This is a fairly long video that might only be significant to the participants of this event. However, it does a really good job of showing how these streamlined recumbent bicycles are launched at the start of the 5 mile run up, as well as the catch area where the bikes are brought to rest at about 1.5 miles beyond the timing traps.

What makes this a treat for me is that I’ve never spent much time at either start or catch, so this is one of the first looks that I’ve had of these parts of each run. The other thing that makes this special is to see the cooperation of people from all the teams, from all over the world, working together at catch to keep the bikes from falling over, and taking the fairings off as soon as possible so that the racers can breathe and recover after their runs. It is a competition, but everyone shares the joy of when a racer gets in a fast run.

Credits: videography by Earl Cassorla, with footage from Alexei Kiristaev and Team Tetiva, edited by Warren Beauchamp (who runs the recumbents.com website, an invaluable resource for the HPV community).

Life is good

A couple of weeks ago, I was bummed because I broke a Park Tools drinking glass that was a gift from a dear friend.

Last week, when I got home from work and got ready for dinner, the older daughter surprised me with a replacement, filled with beer, no less.


Life is good.


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