Tuesday, 10 March 2009

On random bits of stuff

List completed

Too long ago, I posted lists of the relative merits of biking in Spain and in Canada. I got to 10 in the pro-Spain list but was stumped to come up with a 10th reason to bike in Canada. A couple of days ago, the answer came to me! The post is now complete, at long last.


If you read Margo's comment on my last post, then you will know that she downplayed the danger of bears on the Kettle Valley Railway. I guess that probably means that the West Coast to Calgary trip is still the likeliest trip for this summer. However, I bought Michelin maps of France and Northern England/Southern Scotland on the weekend for some serious map perusal.

The York/Campbeltown trip looks like a lot of fun. However, part of me would like to go there in June when the days are longer. I have no real illusions about the weather being any better. My experience of Scotland is that you simply can't predict when and if you'll get good weather.

I still have some questions regarding the KVR for Margo and Chris, but with any luck I will be able to speak to them on Skype at some point and the matters will be resolved.


Yes that means, I have just installed Skype on my computer. It took me awhile to get over the inertia but I did it. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to deal with the microphone requirement until I found I had a microphone in one of my desk drawers. I don't know how long it has been there, but at least now it has a use.

Bike upgrade failure

I took the Castafiore in to be tuned up on the weekend. I asked if she could have combined brake/shift levers installed instead of ye olde shift levers. As I had feared, it seems they are only made for bikes with 8 or more rear gears and the Castafiore only has 7. After that, it was the usual chant of "in order to make the necessary changes, you would be better off buying a new bike". The guy tried to sell me a 2008 roadbike for $1050. I turned him down but took the catalogue home. A little bit of searching revealed that the bike would have 700x23 tires and a carbon frame. The former is too narrow for my liking on the potholed street of Montreal. The latter is potentially problematic as the mandate of my commuting bike is to live outside for 8 months of the year. I would be nervous about UV radiation degrading the composite material. I am going to try another bike store to see if they can figure out if there isn't someone making 7 gear brake shifters.


Margo and Chris said...

Isn't buying integrated shifters for the Castafiore like throwing good money after bad? Wouldn't you be better off buying a second hand hybrid to keep outside for commuting?

And what the Trans-Canada Trail book doesn't tell you is just how rough the surface of the KVR is. Some of it is chunks of railway ballast, and some quite sandy. Most did it on MTBs, but we used our Devincis with 35mm tires. Still not easy, and we chose to do some part son pleasant parallel roads.

Also, Chris suspects the Chinese government has blocked Skype for now ...because of it's potential to spread news they don't want spread.


Bikemoose said...

As far as I know, there is nothing mechanically wrong with the Castafiore. Upgrading to integrated shifters was an idea aimed at making her better. I don't really know how much such shifters would be, but I would be prepared to spend a reasonable amount (say $200) if they were available. Trust me, there is plenty of life left in the old girl.

Regarding the KVR, the 2008 guide book I have makes a number of mentions of tough surface conditions and few times suggests detours for the less hard. I knew you had used 700x35s when you did it, but do you think it would be feasible on 700x32s? Also, how long did it take you to get to Hope?

Thank you for your input.