And Then It Was Winter

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From insane warm conditions on Christmas Eve  (16C) to barely freezing on Boxing Day to our first big dump of the year: 40cm in a day. It’s been one of those crazy weeks that you can either cry about or embrace with all the sporting gear you can find. For me that’s going from CX to XC in week, although with all the powder we had yesterday, I did take a day off to play with the 88mm Watea’s on Vallee Bleue while Thing One taught some private lessons. Today, JubJub and Bubba initiated me to XC Skate Skiing. I will admit that the technique was a bit RAW, legs were burning and I looked more like the ducks still in the stream than a Jack Rabbit. BUT that was wicked good fun. Bring on the snow Gaia, I have sticks for all occasions now!

If you need any gear this year, you should totally check out these awesome sports shops:

Downhill Skis: Austrian Ski Shop
5706 Monkland Avenue
Montréal, QC H4A 1E6

XC Skis and Fat Bikes: Espresso Sports
1000 Rue Saint Georges,
Sainte-Adèle, QC J8B 1J8

Road and Mountain Bikes: Martin Swiss
313 Avenue Victoria,
Westmount, QC H3Z 2N1

Anything Else go to MEC

Crosstown Bixi with Saddle Bags

Panniers are MEC AquaNauts

Ever wonder what to do with all your cycle gear if you have to leave it at the bike shop because of a broken spoke. It’s not like you can just lock it in the trunk and only give the garage the valet key. Yesterday, I had the chance to figure all this crap out.

First off, a little back story. I jumped a bad curb coming off the Banana Bridge in Valois on Wednesday and not only pinch a tube but busted a spoke. After fixing the flat, I managed to secure the spoke and get into town. I dropped off the bike at my fave LBS: Martin Swiss and then went back to work. When it came time to pick up the bike on Thursday evening, I really did not feel like taking the bus in cycle shorts and shoes. So I came up with the idea of getting the Westmount shop via Bixi bike. A buddy lent me his key for 45 minutes and then I had to figure how to strap the paniers to a rackless bike. Luckily the Bixi bikes has a make shift sturdy bask made for strapping in a attache case or something of similar size.  So I would be able to get one of the bags in but what about the second? Well it turns out that you can feed the Bixi bungy chord through the straps and position the bag so it faces forward over the first bag. It looks stupid and is bit awkward to ride with but it does the trick.


The funniest part of course is riding across town along Maisonneuve in full cycle gear: shoes, shorts, shirt, helmet and gloves while everyone else is still wearing their city clothes. Even the courriers were having a good chuckle at my behalf. Oh well it’s not like it’s the first time this summer.


The setup got me to the shop in time to pick up the Hornet and get back home again safely and comfortably on a great bike that already served me for 3000KM this summer.

We Did It And We Have a RickShaw

Well sort of… We have definitely raised over $50,000.00 for the Segal Cancer Research Centre at the Jewish General Hospital. To be clear, 100% of that money is going to cancer research. All other expenses: rickshaw, inner tubes, Dagwoods Sandwiches and beers are paid for by us the riders and our sponsors. A very good feat for TeamKat indeed. We bested last years ride by $10,000.00. And of course we are still accepting donations.

So about the rickshaw… you would not believe how hard it has been to secure one of these puppies for the weekend. Two of the companies we called flat our refused to rent us one for the whole weekend due the distance we are covering: 250KM. I can understand some trepidation about seeing your equipment be loaned outside of your home turf, but that is why security deposits exists. To those guys, all I can say is shame on you. The ride to Conquer Cancer is a well established charity event with unbelievable technical and logistic support.

ricksahwSo we stared looking into riskshaws we could buy outright. This was  not as easy as one would think for such a cosmopolitan city like Montreal. For example we found a lot of stuff that “needed work”like this one in the picture. Or some that were basically just adult tricycles.  Such as the one below. Although I will probably be going back there soon for another project I thinking of.


So getting back to our quest. As time was running short and suppliers were backing out, some of the TeamKat members and supporters got involved and managed to secure a ride for the weekend. As my buddy PK would say, this one is:



Enter the Ted. Our good friend Ted managed to find this old sailing dinghy turned cargo bike with seat and dodger for a roof. I will admit it’s not exactly an aero bike like my Kuota, but a deal is a deal and a gentleman always honours his wagers. So here I am. Two days before the ride, with an amazing effort form TeamKat and all our sponsors and donors getting ready to literally push this boat downstream to Quebec City. My only consolation is that I will be carrying my own food and beer along the ride, conditions of the wager of course. And if things get really bad, I will just head for the nearest landing and sail this thing down the river using a Dagwoods t-shirt as a spinnaker.



RTCC Rickshaw UPDATE: Only $1600 To Go

Just wanted to give everyone an update as to the whole Rickshaw saga for this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer. We have now raised just over $48,000 and I am now seriously worried about finding a rickshaw in time.

I honestly did not think it would happen and have been caught a little flat-footed. So I am now counting on all of you to help donate towards last the $1600.00 dollars and hopefully help out with the rickshaw rental or purchase.

Please reach out to us and let us know if you can help.  Comments below or use the Twitter and Facebook links.

The Cancer Kicking RickShaw Dream Lives On


So one night this winter, I jokingly made a bet that if TeamKat was able to raise $50,000.00 for this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer in support of the Jewish General Cancer Research Centre, I would make the ride on a rickshaw complete with a passenger and case of beer for them to enjoy. Well, I’m an idiot…

As of this morning, TeamKat has raised $41,423.32. A busy weekend rush has seen the team raise $3000 to take us within $8500. That means that with only 12 days to go I could see myself strapping the the red rocket to the back of one of these bad boys (see above) and spinning my ass up the Donnacona hills to la Vielle Ville.

I must admit, I am actually getting worried.  Why:

  1. It’s going to be f…ing hard
  2. I DON’T have a rickshaw… And don’t know where to get one
  3. Did I say it was going to be hard.
  4. Blair and Ted want to sit in the back….
  5. And It’s going to be fracking hard.

So if you hate Cancer as much as I do and you want to see me suffer… A LOT! Please give generously using this link.

And as I’m being such an idiot, I might as well go one more:

  1. For $5000 you get to ride the whole way beer & sandwich’s included (Trevor you just volunteered to make the Dagwoods)
  2. For $1000 You get to ride for one stage and slap your corporate logo on the rickshaw
  3. For $500 You get to slap your corporate logo on the rickshaw
  4. For $250 You just get slapped with a Dagwoods sub.




Commute Day ONE: Scouting Report

Today marked the official beginning of this year’s route to 100 commuting days. Despite the picture above, it was a very good ride in albeit a little cooler than I usually prefer. Top layer included: Merino wool base layer, cycling jersey and nylon cycling jacket. Bottom layer included: Cycle shorts, Merino wool XC Ski socks, and MEC Mercury tights. Extremities covered by XC ski gloves, tight skull-cap and GORE shoe covers. As I always say, there is no bad weather just bad clothing.

As with every year, I like to put out a Post Easter Lachine Bike Path scouting report. So here goes:

  1. Lakeshore to 55th Ave in Lachine: All clear although a little sand / gravel at places.
  2. 55th to Fur Trade Museum: All clear, some wet / icy patches that are easily passable.
  3. Fur Trade to Info Centre bridges: Large snow accumulation, must be walked across for anything narrower than 32mm tires.
  4. First Ave to Dollard Bridge: The initial path is a mess but clears up nicely after the public toilet, mini soccer fields. Dollard bridge is wet / icy but passible.
  5. Bridge to Bridge Sections: Some snow accumulation in the shaded first section and the rest is clear but as has  large amount of twigs covering the path. Should be fine for 25mm and wider tires.
  6. St-Gabriel Lock to Atwater market: Very clear and mostly dry.
  7. Atwater Market to Wellington: Some snow accumulation on the south side paths and in the underpasses. easily passable.
  8. Wellington to Peel: The North side path is still closed due to construction of the new condos. I made my way to Notre Dame and then up Peel at my earliest convenience. The City and Federal Parks commission needs to sort out this section ASAP as there are many new condos going up and cycling in this area in simply not safe.

So there you go, there is a rain forecast for the next two days and a warm weekend that should wash away and clear up whatever is left over. I therefore declare the commuting season open!

Today’s Riding Lesson: Commit to the Cattle Grid


This morning I set out for ride through the New Forest which straddles the Hampshire and Dorset county line. I left Bournemouth just before 6AM and headed up towards Cranborne for some lovely climbs past Gaunts Common, Holt and our old cottage near Horton. After an brilliant descent into Cranborne, I spent the next 25KM climbing towards Fordingbridge and then up aptly named Godshill before another awesome descent into Cadnam, hitting 66kph before tucking in and hoping to stick the roundabout. It was on this descent that I learned a vital riding lesson:

Commit to the cattle grids!

When you approach six horizontal bars anchored into the pavement at 40 to 50 kph, the worst thing you could ever do is slam on the breaks or try and change directions. I have no idea if any cycling club would ever recommend this, but here is what I did: stood up with feet at 3 and 9 O’clock, hands on the hoods with arms bent and two fingers gently covering the brakes; with my knees bent I squeezed the saddle with my thighs and lined myself up to cross the grid panel head on and right in the middle. You want to stay away from the edge that get butted together, those look far too inviting for 23mm wheels. I hesitated between a bunny hop and just lightly lifting the pressure off the wheels. To be honest I was concentrating so hard on NOT letting any poo come out that I can’t remember which technique I actually used. The first grid scared me silly, especially since there was no warning that I was approaching it until it was far too late. By the time I had crossed my third grid, I was actually welcoming them. Now granted it was a very dry day and my tires and rock hard at 120psi, I’m not all sure this technique would work in the wet or in a curve (if you’re the guy zoning a cattle grid in a curve then f&$@ you). Also if you’re riding a MTB you are probably well versed in stupid road hazards, so your thoughts on this are welcome in the comments.


The Pack Mentality, Re-Learning to Ride Safely

In light of this weekend’s tragic accident during BC’s Ride to Conquer Cancer where a young cyclist aged 16 lost his lost after clipping another rider’s wheel and falling into oncoming traffic. I think it’s important that we all remember and in some cases learn some of the basic rules for riding in a pack.

We share the road with cars who despite our numbers, loud jerseys, reflectors and lights will always claim they did not see us. Therefore it’s always a good rule to assume that you ARE invisible to them and try to ride in a way that is akin to the way motorcyclist call defensive driving, anticipate the road and the others around you. If you don’t make eye contact with the driver, then assume they have no clue you are on the road.

I stumbled upon this piece from the MEC Ride don’t Hide blog and had to share it. Please click on through and the read the great tips from Jess Hainstock and Allan Prazsky.

“Fluidity and subtlety are key whenever you’re in a pack, because an element of risk comes with group riding. Etiquette within the pack is important for several reasons, most notably safety for you and those around you,” Allan responds, when I explained the code of conduct I’d observed on the group ride. “There is something called ‘the accordion effect,’ where the action of the front rider gets magnified as you travel to the back of the group. A sudden acceleration, deceleration, or swerve becomes exaggerated as it moves through the pack, ultimately leading to frustration, a crash, or worst case, a frustrated crash.”

As my buddy Alister mentioned this morning when he forwarded the CBC news clipping: Safe Riding People

via Ride Don’t Hide – The Pack Mentality | MEC Blog.

Century Uno: The RTCC Training Continues

SafariScreenSnapz006It’s Victoria Day Bank Holiday in The Great White North and after a weekend of staining the deck and pergola, I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to get out on the Red Rocket. What started off as a simple Ile Perrot loop turned into my first metric century of the year. The wind was pretty forgiving and the carbon fibre K-Factor made all of the West Island roads feel pretty decent. Although I will admit that Ile Bizzard and Ile Perrot roads are pretty bad.

It felt pretty good to finally get a real 100KM ride in under my belt this year, especially after last week’s pretty abysmal commuting schedule. For some reason May always seems to just kick my ass, last year the weather and travel schedule didn’t help and year it’s been high winds and illness.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is just over a month a way and if things keep going at this pace, I should be fine. It’s never too late to make a donation, just use the link above.  And if you’re keen on joining me in my training rides, just send me a note. I always welcome the company.


Please Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer



I have started training pretty regularly for the Ride to Conquer Cancer coming up in July, Basically I will be riding from Montreal to Quebec City (about 300KM) over the course of 2 days in support of my friend Katrina who is battling stage 4 lung cancer. I will be riding with her husband Alister, her brother Greg, another of our friends Annie, a buddy from soccer Massimo and about 2000 other cyclists. It’s a pretty awesome journey and all in the aid of the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital.

Red Rocket with new boots

Research has come a long way since I lost my grandfather Ben to lung cancer in 1991. When my sister Julie was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in 2002 after giving birth to my nephew Mathieu, she was greatly aided by advanced detection and immediate chemo and radiation therapy. In her case, the research and excellent facilities made her journey through the treatment to be a more humane one. She has been in remission since 2008 and her own feisty spirit has driven her to keep fighting for her life, running half marathons and giving birth to her daughter Sophie and her son Ben.  

For Katrina there are treatments available that can significantly extend her life for several years with only minor side effects. She is in the minority for stage 4 lung cancer. Most people have only a short time. Although there is no cure, cancer research has given her the possibility of prognosis of years rather than months.

So I ask to donate generously by using the link below, I am about halfway towards my goal but the ultimate goal of kicking Cancer’s Ass for good is far close. I’m no doctor or research scientist but I am doing my part in raising awareness and getting fighting fit while doing it, now please do you part too.

Please Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer

Cold Morning Commutes