Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tales of The Ride - I

6:00 am, Saturday, 18 June

It’s raining.

Driving east on Highway 1, heading to the Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino, the start of this year’s Ride. There’s a lot of traffic, all heading in the same direction, all carrying bikes. I guess I’m not the only one who wants to get there early.

Traffic at the track is a total clusterfuck. No signs, no directions, nobody really knows where to park. I pull in next to someone unloading a rack full of bikes, ask him if we can leave our vehicles overnight - he shrugs, and says that’s what he’s going to do. Sounds good to me, so I unload my bike and gear, lock my car, and start looking for my teammates.

It’s still raining.

I find the rest of the team, looking cold & wet. Some are huddled under a big trailer, waiting to get on the road. Nobody is particularly happy.

Hundreds of cyclists mill about. Some are woefully unprepared - cycling shorts and short-sleeved jerseys. Just watching them shiver makes me cold. Volunteers are handing out green plastic garbage bags to use as rain gear. Oy.

Still raining.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Five Days + Two New Bikes

Five Days

So. Five days left before this year's Big Ride. I'm feeling pretty good, pretty fit. Just a mild case of the jitters. Our team did a dry run last Sunday - we rode the first half of the first leg of the ride, and it all went well. There were 15 of us, all in our team kit, so we looked very official, which probably helped to grease the skids at the border, going down and coming back.

I've decided to lay off the riding this week (maybe do a couple of loops of Stanley Park Tuesday after work), drink lots of fluids, load up on carbs (love my pasta), do lots of stretching.

And, of course, give the Talbot a good going over - check the tires, adjust the brakes, oil the chain, make sure all the nuts & bolts are tight. Clean it all up, and maybe even wax the spokes!

Two New Bikes

Thanks to some hot tips from my Saturday compatriots, my measly collection of two has suddenly doubled!

First, Brian S. pointed me in the direction of a Crescent up for auction on eBay.

I had the winning bid, and a few weeks later it showed up at the door in a big box. The paint is a bit rough, there's a bit of surface rust, but the frame is sound, no dents, Reynolds 531. Drive train is all Campagnolo Nuovo Record, brakes are Universal 61s. Everything needs to be cleaned up, and I need to put some good wheels together before it's ridable, but that's all good fun. Pics here.

The second new addition is a '74 Ellis Briggs, thanks to David H. who spotted it on Craigslist.

Just your size, he said. I looked, I rode, I offered, & I bought! It's a real British classic, Reynolds 531, Campy Record & Super Record components, and a really great paint job. I've replaced the bar end shifters with down tube shifters, and re-wrapped the handlebars. With some new lightweight wheels, it will be a real treat to ride.