Bicycling in London

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I like my bicycle and I enjoy cycling all over the place on it. Cycling has become a really good way for me to get to know this new city. Some roads have bicycle paths (and some of those are in better shape than others) and there are trails all along both sides of the river that I use to get to and from downtown.

I’m not going to rant about bad London drivers, though there are a few of those (the lovely SUV that drove into the curb in order to prevent me from passing him during rush hour comes to mind), but I will share the ongoing saga that has been my bicycle since I moved.

Due to the message not getting to the driver of my moving truck, I ended up being out of town when the movers dropped off my belongings in London. Thankfully friends stepped in to receive my things and everything arrived more-or-less in one piece. When I returned to London I was overjoyed to have my bicycle to get around on again (I don’t know what I’m going to do when it snows. Apparently I can’t ride all year around like I did in Victoria!). The first day we were reunited in London, the seat fell off: I was riding through the parking lot at school and the seat fell off while I was sitting on it. I stopped to look and to pick up the pieces and discovered that the bolt holding the seat to the seat post had sheared in half, leaving part of the bolt in the clamp and rendering it useless. Fortunately there is a bicycle co-op on campus and we were able to jury rig a fix.

The next week I was cycling early morning along some trails on the way to sort out an Ontario driver’s license when I finally discovered why I was experiencing some unusual friction around my front wheel. It turns out that the brake was lose. Not having my tools with me, I stopped at the nearest bike shop for them to tighten it and make things a little safer.

A little later the same day I bicycled through a puddle and got wet. Generally speaking that wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that I have excellent fenders – as is required of all West Coast cyclists. Upon further inspection I realized that the front fender was completely gone. My suspicion is that the movers took it off when they removed my front wheel for packing, and then lost it, which also explains the loose brake. They couldn’t find the fender when I called and so sent me money to buy a new one.

And so everything was fine. I thought. I’ve known for awhile that I may have to replace my derailer at some point. I took my bike in to the shop a couple of weeks ago for them to fix my jury rigged seat and to look at the derailer as my chain had been slipping quite a bit as of late. It turns out the derailer is fine but I needed to replace my crank wheel and gears. Ouch.

Safety first! It shifts and rides quite smoothly now and is all ready for winter. Until I got two flats in two days. I now have a new front tire.

Some might say that I’ve sunk more money into this ancient bicycle than it is worth. But it is a bike that I love, it is sturdy and rides well, and it doesn’t look like anything much so it likely won’t get stolen. We’ve cycled through Victoria and Vancouver, Seattle and San Juan Island, and are now exploring London together. Hopefully, with all of her new parts, we have many more trips to come!

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