Ride for Refuge

Tomorrow I and about 30 others across Canada will be participating in the Ride for Refuge to raise money for the work of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund in the South Sudan.

The weather is supposed to suck tomorrow: 10 degrees, wind, and rain. Good thing I have waterproof bike gloves from living in Victoria. But, as a PWRDF friend said, biking in crappy weather is still better than what many refugees go through on a daily basis.

I’m a little slow in promoting this, but if you’d like to support me and my team here in London, you can donate to us here. The best part is that this is a Canadian Foodgrains Bank project, so all money donated is matched 4x by the Federal Government. As of right now, PWRDF riders and supporters have raised over $11,000 – which is pretty exciting.

Yesterday the Anglican Journal published an article about those of us riding. I’m still a little bummed they didn’t quote me, but it does give a good overview of what we are doing.

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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!

Tweed Riding

Today was the second annual Victoria Tweed Ride.

We all got dressed up in our finest tweed etc. etc. and gathered on the lawn of the Empress before beginning our bicycle ride around town.

It was a gorgeous day.

Sunshine like that makes me happy.

One stop saw us spend some time at the Moss Street Market. It was the first time I’d been able to visit this year and it resulted in me having some magnificent Wicked Dilly Beans by the Food in Jars Canning Co. with my dinner this evening. Yum! I don’t know if I have tried anything pickled that I did not like.

After wandering through back streets and main roads, we made our way to Craigdarroch Castle for lunch and tea.

What a perfect day.

(Well, almost perfect. I broke my saucer as I got home. It is in five pieces so I may be able to glue it.)

Thursday: The Bicycle Edition

Now that I live downtown, I spend less time on my bicycle. However, I also find that I’m doing a little more in the way of “riding for fun”. Since I am mere minutes away from Dallas Road by bicycle, it has become more of a cycling destination for me than anywhere else ocean-side in Victoria (my previous closest ocean involved a heart-attack-inducing hill).

This weekend is the Tweed Ride in Victoria. What is that, you ask? Basically, we’re all going to cycle around town in our fancy tweeds, stopping here and there along route, including tea with fine china on the lawn of Craigdarroch Castle. I’ll update with outfits etc. after the ride.

In preparation, I spent last weekend doing a bit of a tune up on my bicycle, including a full clean, replacement of the handlebar tape – we’ve gone from obnoxiously bright blue to sleek metallic grey, and adding a shiny new bell. I had high hopes of a removable basket for the front, and even cycled to three different shops to check them out, but forgot to take into account that drop handlebars don’t do baskets very well/at all.

In unrelated-related events, I was going through some of my bookmarks and items “favourited” on Etsy this evening and have compiled some pictures of some fantastic things that should probably make their way onto my bicycle at some point!

So I already have this. It is fantastic, though I haven’t yet used it for a six-pack or a polo mallet. For the Tweed Ride, I plan to use it to hold my Beatrix Potter lunch box (who knew I still had that?!? Mum’s writing is on the inside with our phone number from Bleecker, so it has been around for awhile!) which will contain sustenance and my tea cup and saucer. Pretty fantastic invention, if you ask me!

By the same makers, there is the wine bottle version. I think this would be very handy for the next potluck bbq or birthday party I attend. Alas, one lovely thing from the Walnut Studio is probably enough. For now (they have a can holder as well! and lovely saddlebags, if I had a saddlebag holder). If I’m not careful, my accessories will soon be worth more than my bicycle!

I’m not too keen on the idea of having a rack on the back of my bicycle with large, unwieldy saddlebags. I swing my leg over the back and I could definitely see myself catching on one. Plus the weight. And it might look funny. Basically, I am very resistant to the idea of saddlebags. But these… oh my! They are lovely! And they come in different colours! I like how they fit right underneath of the seat, attached to its base, so that there is no way that I would find it annoying from the foot-swing-over point of view (though I could see myself getting annoyed at it hitting the back of my thigh if that was a possibility). They do, however, seem to be quite spacious and, while I couldn’t do my grocery shop into one of those, it would hold a one-person picnic and book. Really what more do I need on a lovely sunny day.

Just when I thought that I was sold on one of the above bags, I had to go and see this lovely beauty by the same maker. This looks like it is not only more spacious but would be more functional as an off-bike bag as well as on-bike. Unfortunately (or luckily, depending on your perspective), her shop is closed for a few months, so I will have to make do with admiring from a distance.

Lastly, because everything can’t be overly serious, there are the planters. Seriously, how could one not become attached to the idea of having small planters on the bicycle! It is like spring all year round!

But in all seriousness, I love my bicycle just the way it is and am pretty happy with how it rides and with the bits and pieces I currently have attached. It is just fun to dream! The weather is supposed be lovely in this part of the world for this upcoming weekend. I hope it is in your part as well, and that you get to head out for a walk, if not for a bicycle!

(Images from the linked websites)

Snow…

Today we’ve finally been getting snow that sticks and stays. There isn’t a lot, but there is enough to call snow! This intrepid cyclist is still out and about on her bicycle and having no trouble getting from A-B. Tomorrow, however, may be icy in the morning…

(This picture doesn’t capture the snow other than the snow remaining on my bicycle wheel after I brought it into the shed. The ground is completely covered! Really!)

Sunny Day Quiet Evening

Today has been a satisfying day.

My major case presentation has arrived back with minimal revisions necessary. I was a little bit worried as the prof who is my reviewer was one who was a fairly hard marker during the coursework. But there are only about 4 paragraphs that he wants reworked. Not too bad.

I bused out to a friend’s house – 45 min – to borrow a bicycle in anticipation of a friend visiting for the weekend. The cycle home along the Galloping Goose Trail was lovely, if hot, and there were some incredible views of the straight of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic mountains.

I threw together dinner, but it was tasty and satisfying. Really, anything that includes broccoli is a win in my book.

Pulled the ukulele out and played for the first time in awhile. I might just have enough competence regained to bring it with me on SALTS in 3 weeks time. I have decided that a ukulele is a better size than a guitar for travelling and for bringing on a tall ship. I can always borrow a guitar on board because there are usually a few kicking around.

I’m wearing my newest slippers. I made them out of a sweater that I accidentally shrunk a little. It was a favourite sweater that I bought in Japan and was super cozy and comfortable. However, in washing it, it shrunk a little – too much to be wearable. I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I felted it and have now cut and sewn it into slippers. Sweater slippers. Possibly the most comfortable thing ever.