Monday, October 8, 2018

Thankful

This Thanksgiving (which it is, today, of course, and no other stupid day) I am Thankful for so much I don't even where to begin. I know where to end, though. With squirrels. These little commute commentators are the best and they are all over the place here in London Ontario. One of the great bonuses of travelling by bike is that you aren't encapsulated in a car and can interact with those around you. As such, I have developed a good relationship with some of the squirrels along my route. They know me by name and I even comprehend  some squirrel talk. Many squirrels are very shy and others very anxious and afraid. Still others, though, seem to crave my attention:




I promised you squirrels and you're getting squirrels. This, my friends, is just the beginning!



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, September 21, 2018

It Has A Pulse!

This blog I mean. This blog has a pulse. I don't know if I will ever re-engage to the point that I'm posting all the time again, but I sure as hell want to keep it alive.

That said, writing about how awesome the cooler temps are and how joyful riding is Every Autumn gets a little old when you're on your 10th year, no matter how true it remains.

You know what is always welcome (at least according to some readers) though? Talking squirrels in youtube videos! Yeah, baby. Some things just scream cool, no matter how often they're done. Not that you'll get any of that today. Today is just "this blog has a pulse" day. Sit tight, dear reader, "the squirrels are coming, The Squirrels Are Coming"!

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - If you read that last sentence in a "The British Are Coming"! kind of way, you were totally picking up what I was laying down. If not, you are not at fault for being kinda normal.

OH NO. Writing that PS caused a WTF Attack of the first order. I meant to end this post right there, I honestly did, but now thanks to Word-To-Form syndrome I had to make this, and show it to you:




For more on WTF Syndrome and Attacks, just search this blog a little.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Making Fat My Friend

Well hello everyone! Apologies for not writing more, it is a busy time for the Rantwick family. We have an old house that still had quite a bit of knob and tube wiring in it; a service upgrade and nearly complete rewire has happened. Our walls are now full of holes, but I think they are quite attractive. But enough of houses and wire and boring house stuff! Let's move on to equally boring Rantwick finally has his f__ing fat bike stuff!

I have been commuting on the Fat bike for most of the month. We are now very good friends, which is a must for any bike you plan to ride through the winter. For me, a bike is not commute worthy until it has a rack and fenders. Last time I mentioned the rack, and this time I'm pleased to report that I have fenders! I ordered them from a Canadian fat e-bike builder, and the fit was not exactly a slam dunk:





On the up side, these are full, aluminum fenders! That's something you don't see on a fat bike every day! Unless, of course, we're talking about one of those electric utility bike jobs. While we've had plenty of rain, I have yet to be caught in some. If the hole I had to cut just blows water all over the back of my calves, I will have to cover it somehow, probably with some sort of miracle tape. For now though, I'm hoping it might act as an outlet for snow buildup under the fender. The clearance is pretty tight at the back and greater as you move forward, so hopefully snow buildup under there won't be too big an issue anyway.

I have finally also gotten the thing off road! It has been tricky finding natural areas where bikes are not restricted. In London Ontario's east end there's an area near my work that provides both some power line right of ways and a nice little bush with smooth and easy single track running through it:




I have some limitations to how difficult a trail I can ride, but if ever a bike would encourage me to try more and more, this thing would be it. I can ride through all of this on a 40 minute lunch time ride, so it is pretty awesome.

Speaking of trails, I have also studded up some Schwalbe Jumbo Jims that I have yet to mount to the rims, not wanting to run the studs on pavement until winter is in the air. They are meant to finally allow me to ride the bike paths along the river that I love in summer right through their icy, unplowed winter months. With the rack, big metal fenders and studded tires on, this will be one serious winter commuting machine. So nerdy. So clownish. So BIG. Oh baby.

I'm a little afraid that they  (the Jumbo Jims) will air up bigger than these tires and hit the fenders, but a little suspense never hurt, right? Right?



Hoping Your Summer is Great Too,
R A N T W I C K

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Axiom Fatliner Rack vs. Future Fenders

I've been a fan of Axiom racks for a long time. While they're not high end rack bling, they are well made quality racks rated for lots of weight at half the price. In addition, I've always liked their mounting system, which uses nifty mount points with nice looking rods rather than those flat attachment things.

I'm also a fan of full fenders. On my new Fat Bike, I will have both. The thing is, the Axiom Fatliner rack I've bought and really like would interfere with the future fenders, which are on their way.

This isn't my bike, but here's how an Axiom Fatliner would normally be installed. As you can see, there would likely be a problem mounting fenders to the seatstay bridge; the rods get too close to the tire.



To future-proof for my bike's fenders, I sacrificed a little bit of deck space (my panniers will be carrying all I need usually anyway) and moved the mounting post anchor things up top.




TaDa! Future Fender Funkily Facilitated!

On a related note, I used the rear quick release skewer as the lower mounting point, leaving the frame mounting points for fender stays. This suited me extra fine because this method got the rack as low as possible.

I have yet to see if the fenders I've ordered will go on easily or present me with problems. Stay tuned, dear reader, god knows I will feel the need to bore you with that next. 

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - I have received nothing from Axiom or anyone else for this blog post. I just like Axiom racks.

PPS - A comment from Mighk made me want to add this picture of hardware that came with that I didn't use:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fat Bike

I finally got one. It is an entry level bike that was $1000 all in. For that price I feel like I got lots of good stuff. Alu frame and fork (expected at this price), Shimano hydraulic discs, Deore Shifter and Derailleur, 1X10 drivetrain, cheap 4" tires, no-name cranks and chainring, braze-ons for mounting racks and fenders. 


2018 KHS 4 Season 500


Of course, no self-respecting bike nut could just leave such a blank canvas alone. Thanks to my age and my stroke and resulting balance issues, I have no demands for a high performance machine suited to difficult trails, rocks or crazy climbs. I do, however, want to ride on icy and snowy bike paths right through the winter.

I plan to turn this thing into a tank of a winter commuter with a rear rack and full fenders, high-end fast-rolling (or at least faster rolling) tires, and lots of studs just for overkill. It will be a  thing of great and clownishly capable beauty. I will, of course, put it on display here when I'm done.

I've barely ridden it, but I did try it out on varied terrain today. I thought I would like a fat bike, but honestly I was not prepared for how fun this thing is. It, and I, are slow. Thing is, it doesn't matter. It feels wonderful, just begging you to ride over more and different stuff the whole time. When conditions do favour going faster, it is insanely solid and stable while the treads growl on the pavement. You neither steer it nor lean it too much, but rather "guide" it in a way that is very difficult to describe. Those big tires have a will of their own once they're spinning, but you learn to work with it rather than against it... it is a weird and satisfying experience.

I've got a really good feeling about this.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Saturday, May 19, 2018

I Was 18 Years Ahead of My Time

Should I be suing the emoji people? I don't think I would have a prayer, but still...



Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Six: Parenting Tips!

In this episode, I encounter a couple of parents that I have no reason to doubt are "good". Parenting and its endless interpretations allow for all kinds of tactics, but I think the ones on display today are awesome. You be the judge:





OK, dumb, I know. But making this video made me think of one of my Mom's super tricks. My two older brothers used to fight. Like play fighting that often went wrong - they were angry little guys. When things went too far and they were going to seriously bloody one another, my Mom would tell them that they could fight as hard as they wanted but she wouldn't have them ruining their clothes. They would have to put on their fight shirts. These were two old sweatshirts reserved for fighting in. Thing is, by the time the little buggers had changed into their fight shirts, much of their anger had dissipated and thus the ensuing fight was generally non-life-threatening. My mother was a super genius.

I bet you've got some parenting gold squirreled away in your memory too. I would love to read about it in the comments.

Wishing You Ninja Speed on bike and off, I remain
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, May 4, 2018

I Am A Big Crab

Crotchety. Cranky. Crusty. Curmudgeonly. Crabby. So many C words! They all describe how I'll seem after today's video. That's a shame, because I couldn't be happier, really. Riding to work is going super well and I'm beginning to feel the health benefits and general joy-joys associated with cycling again.

That said, certain things just can't help but annoy. Certain sounds. Bike sounds, like a chain that sounds more like a big family of mole rats, or a different sound like the one in the video. Many people wouldn't be bothered by it. I, on the other hand, can't hear it without wincing.

Also, certain common behaviours bug me. Watch the video, let me know if I'm being too harsh, or agree with me, whatever. So long as you have an awesome weekend that hopefully includes your bike!




Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, April 23, 2018

I Am in Terrible Shape & Things Are Awesome

This morning marked my first time on the bike since mid November. In typical fashion I forgot something at home and had to double back, extending my maiden voyage this morning. I am in terrible shape. I didn't push it at all and yet my ass is sore and my muscles hurt in various places. It is truly fantastic. It is fantastic because I know from experience that soon I will be feeling much healthier, with greater endurance and energy. My ass will also adjust once more to the saddle and be capable of riding for great distances with negligible pain. I hate sore bum so much that I started riding year round to avoid it, which will be the plan when next winter comes.

Today's ride marks a full return to the kind of life that has always given me the greatest joy. I couldn't be happier to be sore and worn right out.

Speaking of sore bums, I would like to say one other thing. People often seem to search for saddles that don't hurt. A big squishy saddle is a nice idea if you don't plan to ride much at all but otherwise most are best off with a smaller, firmer saddle and the only cure for butt pain is riding more often. The truth literally hurts, but not for long. I'm betting my bum will feel much better even after just one week of commuting.

That, of course, is only my opinion. Can I get an Amen, cycling brothers and sisters? Or, if you've got some for me, DISSENT? Surely not...


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, February 12, 2018

Curses!

As mentioned in the previous post, today I am posting a video that contains clips of me swearing while riding my bike. Good times, man, good times.




Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Long Time, Blah Blah Blah.

Hello everyone! I'm back, and not in a kind of thready medically fragile kind of way; I've been fixed! The original cause of my stroke has been removed and won't be back. I have no follow-ups with brain doctors, because there is nothing to follow! My brain has been more thoroughly scanned than any on the planet. I have some leftover dizziness that will improve over time and it certainly isn't bad enough to prevent me from cycling. I'm just dying for streets suitable for slicks; I suppose I could mount the studded tires but I would rather play the brain surgery weak boy card for now. Spring please. Still want a fat bike.

As much as I don't want to focus on brain stuff, my experience (or more accurately, my sweet family's) was pretty crazy. I was in surgery for 13.5 hours and knocked out on general anesthetic for about 26 hours. Who The F*ck has a 13 hour surgery? Like, really? Holy Mother F**k Sh*t Ass Cray Cray Koo Koo Nutty Pyjama Pants, like Holy Sh*t man!

Should I post my totally badass brain surgery scar? It's all covered by hair mostly these days. It's totally f*ckin cool tho. Oh, what to do?

I think the natural thing to do is post a video stuffed full of swear words on Monday. Like, lots of bike swears. Yeah. I'm good. You Good? Good. See ya Monday.


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K