The Brokie Lives To Ride Another Day

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About three years ago, I set about to build the lightsaber of bicycles more commonly known as a fixie conversion. A good friend had an old 1973 Peugeot UO-8 lying around in his shed unused and collecting dust. So I set about restoring it, only to be convinced by Fixie Jedi Master Zuke to turn into a fixie for my commute into town along the Lachine canal. Since there were no hills or stop along the way a “track bike” made a lot of sense. Some considerable man hours of research on Sheldon Brown’s most awsome site and some great advice from Zuke, Fab and the good folks at Bikurious. The original Peugeot Fixie was done.

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Speed ahead some 12,000 KM and many many innertubes, tires, chains, one saddle and three bottom brackets later, I thought the old Brokie (thanks Alister for the new name) was finally beyond repair. The original headset/stem and just about the only original part left on the frame finally snapped under some repairs and need to be replace with something a little more modern. I ended up picking up a quill stem replacement at the LBS in Lachine on a ride home and unknowingly attempted to ram a 22.2mm stem into a 22._0_ headtube before realizing my mistake. I struggle with some heavy twisted and greasing and to be honest nothing was working until a neighbour suggested heating the headtube up with paint removing gun. This just about worked and with the help of a 12 inch nail pressing up against the quill and some light to moderate to heavy hammering, the stem same loose and proceed to shoot across the garage floor. So after sanding 0.2mm off of it and gently trying it again and again, I was finally able to fit it properly, replace the handlebars, install new brake cables* and apply some fresh tape to the bars. She is done and I am quite happy to put aside my thoughts of buying a Surly Long Haul Trucker or MEC National off again for another season.

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All kidding aside about its new nickname, the tires and chains and other parts I have to replace are still cheaper than 6 months of buss passes and petrol for that Jetta that hasn’t moved in 9 months. When I do decide to get a serious tourer to compliment the Red Rocket in the stable, it will be because of a long trip like: Land’s End to John O’Groats or Vancouver to LA, or even Montreal to the Rock. For now more training and time spent along Mother Natures longest natural wind tunnel: The Lachine Canal.

*Yes, I installed brakes on a Fixie, 1) I value my life 2) the hoods are comfortable 3) I value my life 4) Hills Suck 5) I value my life.

Saddle-less commute on the brokie

So I was already having a bad with a noisy bottom bracket and a gear ratio I can no longer sustain for 25KM twice a day when half way home this happens:

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So the rest of the ride home felt pretty much like this:

In the end I changed my gear ratio back to 48×16 from the insane 48×14 I had been grinding away in since last spring (2013). To be honest, the added speed on the non windy days, never made up for the trouble on every other day that I had head wind along the canal. And if I don’t get my spinning back up to 90RPM with this, I’m changing the front crank to a 46T. More spinning, less grinding.

But I must give a huge shout out to Marissa and the crew at Bikurious that have been single handedly keeping by Peugeot “Brokie” on the road for the past 9217KM. Sure this is my third bottom bracket in as many years, but that is pretty much my fault for being 200+ lbs and trying to thrash my way up Peel everyday. Seriously though if you need any solid advice on getting your fixie built or want a real nice custom bike, nice gear or retro parts, just stop by on Amherst and Robin and ask away.

Velominati on The Hail Mary Shift

Maybe, in a few years, when we are all forced into electronic shifting, a soothing voice will emanate from the lever. “Really? You want an even easier gear? You don’t have one so get your fat ass off the saddle, get in the drops before I auto-shift you into the big chainring and leave you there. And you call yourself a Cyclist.

via Velominati › The Hail Mary Shift.

One the most recent reminders as to why I still read the Velominati blog. No reason to TL;DR here, there is always a payoff. Thanks Frank & Gianni

Montreal Commuting Season is Now Open

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Despite the somewhat cooler than expected start (-1C @ 0600EST) the one thing that was the same as last year was the familiar sounds of the geese coming home. As I did up the velcro on my shoe covers and pulled the balaclava over my head, I noticed a large V dashing across the morning sky and headed down the road towards the Lakeshore and the Lachine Canal. The only difference this year is that I’m kicking it off on the MTB rather than the Fixie, even with 25mm tires, I just don’t trust the roads and besides my rear hub is still stuck on flop with single speed option only. I must take care of this this weekend. I put in a respectable time of 1h11 as I dodged a few ice patches and stop for the above photo half way to work. I have already beed asked on Twitter what the conditions were like so have a look below at path report. I’m positive that it will have changed enough by this afternoon but I wanted to make this available so I don;t keep sending out the same text all day. I will try and update it this afternoon after a few hours at 14C take its toll on the Path-Bergs still plaguing a few parts.

• Dorval to Locks Clear
• Locks to Dollard Bridge – Impassible – take St Patrick
• Dollard Bridge to Atwater aka bridge to bridge 99% Should be clear by this PM
• Atwater market to Wellington & Locks – Ice and Snow Patches but traversable on MTB or hybrid. Should be clear by this afternoon
• Wellington Locks to Peel Basin North is Clear except for a mud patch by the Volley Ball pitches

Generally speaking if you are commuting, this is entirely passible with short road stints in quiet neighbourhoods.

Hope this helps a few of you eager beavers out there.