Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Sexuality and Cycling

Bet that title brought you in. Now you just get to see this listing from kijiji:

That tube does not believe in all these stupid labels we put on everything. Good for you, tube.

Yer Pal,

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Holy Cow, Has It Really Been 6 Months? That's Crazy!

Although if things are gonna be Crazy, now's the time I guess. I hope any and all weirdos still reading this blog are doing all right and have not been dealt anything too painful in this strange time.

Strange indeed, but in some ways not so bad. Putting a kink in our constant rush to consume is not an entirely bad thing. I've also read some good stuff about reduced pollution and rebounding species. While I strongly suspect a rest is not as good as a change in these areas, good news is still good news, you know.

I have perceived one other positive change, but I need to check with you to see if I'm imagining it. I think people, learning to change their ways and maintain distance in public, on the sidewalk, in stores etc., are doing it with their cars while passing me on my bike. Is it all in my head, or is social distancing translating into more considerate drivers? Perhaps less traffic just means more room to give me room, but I like to think it is an actual change in driving behaviours brought about, by all things, a virus. If true, how wonderful would it be if it became a good habit that stuck? A man can dream, right?

In other good news, geese still like hissing at me:

I don't have good video to show it, but I have also learned that a "honk" from my disc brakes (they are rather honky) will make a whole gaggle of geese look up at the same moment like a bunch of meerkats.

With a bunch of fuzzy goslings around in the last couple months it has been fun and adorable.

I've been working this whole time and commuting on bike path and street as usual. When I come across another person on the path, I give them a wide berth by hugging the extreme edge of the asphalt or go out on the grass when necessary or if it might help them feel more at ease with my presence, especially if they're old. As these two approached, I kept waiting for them to go single file:

As you can see, they did not and I did not like it, particularly because like it or not, I'm pretty old looking with my extra weight and mostly grey beard. I even sigh like an old man at the end, sounding just like my dear departed dad.This is just one example of close passing by cyclists that has happened several times at time of writing. So, short version, I think cars are giving me enough space while some cyclists are not. It is most definitely an upside-down kind of time.

Be Safe and Stay Well,

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

If You Were Riding the Bicycle #8 - Stop Sign Dickhead

I had an encounter with a motorist yesterday during which he honked at me. We had words and he called me a "dickhead"! I felt totally wronged at the time but when I review the video, as you're about to do, I'm more inclined to think that he was right, which is a real bummer. Nobody wants to be a dickhead!

Watch this:

When people honk and yell at you it is most often because they are morons who know nothing about cycling. This time the guy was correct, but I kind of treated him like a moron as an automatic response, making me seem like even more of a dickhead (sigh). Audi guy, if you're reading this, I regret the way I rode just there and how I responded to you afterward. I apologize. I can also assure you I'm normally a more considerate rider who doesn't blow past cars at stop signs.

For any other readers I as always would really welcome any comments on where we're the same, where we differ and so on. How would that have played out if you were riding the bicycle?

Yer dickhead pal,

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,

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Old leaf Under Yer Fender: A Natural Patience Tester

Riding in the Fall is the absolute best. One symptom of Autumn, of course, is falling leaves. I think just about everyone who rides a bike has had one such leaf sucked into some tight space (like under your fender) where it proceeds to make a high pitched rubbing noise. You know pretty much exactly where it is and what it is. You know it isn't doing any harm. You keep riding, hoping it will dislodge itself, knowing that every second it remains lessens the likelihood of it doing so.

Today's leaf was under my front fender, so I tried lifting my front wheel and smacking it back down a couple of times while I rode. No joy. I was running my video camera, so I was able to check after my ride; I lasted just over 4 minutes before I stopped and let the leaf fall out from under there.

pic from 2012

Mrs. Rantwick says I have a very annoying ability to block out and be unperturbed by abrasive sounds, like the seat belt dinger in the car or the dog barking at the TV. Indeed, on the very same ride as the leaf thing, a cell phone alarm that I had failed to dismiss properly started going off. I just let it. It went off over and over, in 3 predictable attempts. I didn't care. So what's the difference? An annoying sound is much less annoying when you know how long it will last. Uncertainty about how much longer you'll have to wait for relief makes all the difference, at least to me.

Anyway, back to the "leaf rub". What is your tolerance like? How long do you typically last before having to address the issue? In the end, I consider "leaf rub" a small price to pay for the glories of riding in Autumn, so bring it on, ya little bastards!

Yer Pal,

Friday, April 22, 2016

We Shall Not Speak Of This Again

Hi all! I have the BEST excuse for not writing ever. I had a stroke! Honest to god, yer pal RANTWICK had a scary incident involving a brain hemorrhage in his cerebellum. Your cerebellum is at the bottom, right behind the brain stem, which in my case was in danger from the bleed; I was super lucky to live through it. I am even luckier that a full recovery is likely, although it may take some time.

One reason things look good is that I'm 46 years old, which is young for a Strokie Joe. Strokie Joe is my new nickname around the house. My balance and motor skills with my arms have been affected such that cycling as a rehab goal may be possible by late summer. We shall see. At first my speech was halting and slurred, but it is almost back to normal now, so who knows, maybe it'll be sooner.

I had my stroke on March 29 under the best of circumstances. My wife and I were together at home and an ambulance took me to the best hospital in the COUNTRY for strokes, University Hospital at Western University in London Ontario. The level of competent care and compassion I got there still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I was there for 9 days. There was no findable cause for any of this. Scary, right?

I wasn't kidding with the title of this post. I wanted my online friends to know what happened, but I don't want this blog to be about this stuff at all. There are plenty of good online sources of online information and discussion about brain and rehab stuff. If you want to engage on those topics I recommend you try those. If, on the other hand, you have an appetite for the random ravings of an affable bike freak, I'm still yer man. My faculties, while still "special" as ever, have not been affected.

You can expect the next post to be a return to form. It may be about wheels or video or headsets, but definitely not heads. Well, I guess it could be about heads; I never really know. But not my head. Nuh-uh.

Yer Pal,

Thursday, December 3, 2015

When In Doubt

I've not experienced anywhere near the good old need to write stuff that started this blog in quite some time. That's not necessarily bad, since when my muse does elbow me in the eye, the results rarely warrant actual reading. On the other hand, video is video, which almost always sucks too! 

Wait, what am I doing then? Damned if I know. When faced with the quandary of how to justify my online existence (aka "When In Doubt") I know I can always fall back on something that is utterly reliable and pure and worth doing: showing Canadians for the freakin' awesome people they are.

What follows is a sequel to When Canadians Cyclists Clash . It's not just cyclists who are great with each other in my mightily kind nation. It's also me and some lady with a bunch of dogs!

Stay Canadian (or at least #FeelTheBern),

P.S. - I don't have a real good sense of what brand of politics my American friends subscribe to... I fear I may be guilty of making assumptions. Whether I have or not, I am fascinated and encouraged by the existence of Bernie Sanders. Obviously I can't vote in the Primaries or the General election. I'm Canadian. I wish I could, I really do. If any of my American brothers and sisters hate me for loving Bernie Sanders, ah well. Lighten up; I can't vote anyway.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Lawnmower, Man...

Hello Hello! I am pleased to say that great things are underway in my small life; things like learning to cut mosaic tiles with a wet saw (which is freakin' awesome, btw) and, um, well that's it.

I continue to ride my bike a lot, which of course is FANTASTIC. My province (Ontario) also recently put into effect a 1m (3ft) passing law, which is, while good spirited, MEANINGLESS. The guidelines include the most excellent and vague-ifying phrase "where possible"! I'm over the moon that the general public now have new laws to vaguely suggest what the police might but probably will not enforce regarding cyclists on our roadways. Whew! It's about time!

Enough with my negativity and sarcasm though, because there are (as always, if you look) myriad reasons to be joyful, like, people who just make ya think:

I, of course, have already come to a conclusion about what was happening there. Since Mrs. Rantwick concurs, I am pretty well certain all has been explained. For us. Your theory may be way better (more entertaining), if less intelligent. Unless of course you've come to the same conclusion as we have, in which case we're just engaged in a self-congratulatory-circle-jerk, aren't we? How sad! Perhaps we should just ride our bikes and forget this post ever happened. Yes, I think, as always in cases of cycling ruminations, repression is the best course of action. Adieu, dear reader, adieu! 

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Huff N' Puff Cycling Groups

This Wednesday morning I once again ran across a local cycling group comprised mainly of seniors. The first time was in 2011...

I posted on that encounter here , and explained that I was unable to locate any info on their group after we met, having only been told they were the "Silver Spokes". This time however, the leader told me they were a Huff N' Puff Cycling group, which when I looked into it yielded lots of good info.

The Huff N' Puff Seniors Fitness Association in London Ontario has a large membership and they do all kinds of stuff, not just cycling. I had never heard of them before; these people (at least the cyclists I met) are so nice it makes me almost wish I were old enough to join. I've been an old man at heart for, like, a decade at least anyway. Seriously though, their motto is "Because for us, life is not a spectator sport!" I think that is awesome and I sincerely hope to be that kind of senior when I get there.

I'm not going to post video from this morning, because the 2011 one is better. Today I was overtaking the group, so the video is just the back of a lot of heads and people yelling "bike on the left!"

When it comes to Huff N' Puff & cycling, the best info I could find was in their Spring newsletter, from which I snipped the following:

This seniors group appears to have THREE cycling groups, some of which have a WAITING LIST! I think that is just outstanding, since I think cycling is a great fit for seniors and I hope to do it forever myself.

Also, like I've already said, they do a ton of other stuff 
too, so go to

If you're interested.

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bike. Yup. Also, Am I a Bad Parent?

Yay! I've been riding again since Monday. As expected, it has left me wondering why I stopped. Endorphin based joyjoys and cycling zen thought clearing activity have me feeling better than I have in some time.

Or is it texting my teenage daughter and being a little mean for fun? Could be that too, because I enjoyed this immensely:

A good parent sets a good example. I paid up.

Yer Pal,

Friday, September 26, 2014

When Canadian Cyclists Clash: Extreme Pleasantness

Here we go again, just 2 Canadians living up to their reputations of courtesy, politeness and general goodwill.

Truth be told, I think the absence of cars in this situation is really what allowed it to be so civil and pleasant. Instead of being encased by my car and asking rhetorical "what are you doing" questions of the cyclist in front of me, I could just ask him directly, in a decidedly non-rhetorical way, what he was planning to do. Of course I got in his way anyway. But that's totally OK; we were two Canadians out riding bikes on a sunny morning! We couldn't piss each other off if we tried!

Yer Pal,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Human Element

I thoroughly enjoy watching the youtube videos of other cyclists with helmet cams. Like, really enjoy it. Recently my available time to get all bikey online has dropped dramatically, but what I still find time for are those videos. Most often they come from commuting cyclists in Britain, and most are about how they've been maligned by one motorist or another. I can't get enough of that stuff!

I have a collection of idiot driver moves saved that one day I'll string together, but it would seem I'm a little lacking in the indignation department (or is it the public shaming department?) and as many of my readers know would rather publish stupid videos about animals and people and my interactions with them instead.

Some of my youtube subscribers have suggested that I post more videos just about my commute and road conditions and traffic/planning considerations and all that stuff. I do that sometimes, but in my opinion that stuff is boring as shit. Just because some people eat, breathe and sleep cycling issues doesn't mean I have to as well. I mean, c'mon, why should I add to the ever-growing mountain of that stuff when I have this:

Now that's interesting, I think. If I had been in my car, I would have locked my doors, raised my windows, and turned up the radio. Instead, I talked to that dude and got a good laugh, thanking my lucky stars I didn't get spit upon too. THAT is living! In addition, the unique opportunity provided by my bike to talk to that lady was cool. The human element is what gets me going. If I'm going to advocate for cycling, I will do so on this basis: It feels awesome, plus you get to engage with your world (like, people) instead of listening to annoying radio commercials in your car. Sweet, right? Right. If you disagree, watch it, brother, Watch It!

Yer Pal,

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I have a video I would like to share, but be warned that I take JC's name in vain and drop an F bomb in it. At the time I'm cursing at a flatbed driver that startled me by driving very dangerously. When watching the video, however, I curse myself for my bad lane position instead. Riding where I was riding doesn't make dangerous passes OK, but it does leave the door open for them to happen in the first place.
My guess is that this guy was hauling ass (there I go, cursing again!) at the end of the work day and had no hope of slowing down to anywhere near a safe speed, which meant he had to thread the needle between that oncoming car and me.
I was riding into the wind and was moving pretty slowly and I'm always tempted to get right rather than slow the cars down. I KNOW I shouldn't give in to this feeling: here's a quote from something I wrote about controlling the lane just last September:
"The point I'm trying to make is that ticking people off for a short time is often better than keeping them happy, despite the basic and strong human desire to be liked. It took a shift in thinking that was a little difficult, but now that I've experienced the reduction in risk (and therefore fear and stress) it creates, I'll never go back".
Turns out I'm full of shit. Curses!
Yer Pal,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Slanting Rays of Autumn

Most regular cyclists I know wear sunglasses to both cut the glare and keep their eyeballs from drying out. I couldn't find mine this morning, so I wore the clear safety glasses I usually save for the dark of winter.

It was a good reminder of how completely blinded anyone without shades could be, sun visor or not.
It changed the way I rode a little; at one point I pulled over and waited for overtaking cars to clear before getting out there to take a left. Stuff like that. Lovin' the Fall weather though; made a bee line for the path, where shade prevails much of the time. It was great. I hope your Autumn rides are proving just as nice!
Yer Pal,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Where Was Everybody?

This morning's ride into work was the first one in a while that I was able to extend a bit because miracle of miracles, I left with enough time. It was cool enough that I had to stop and put on my gloves, but just perfect in my opinion; it was one of those mornings when you think of people getting to work in their cars and wish they only knew how much nicer their mornings could be.

Consider two pictures from this morning's ride:

Or this?

Easy decision, I think. Of course, even the second picture is more fun on the bike.
The thing is, in something like 7 km of riverside MUP, I didn't see one cyclist, not even any of my "regulars". Maybe everybody runs late like me. Maybe once shorts and T-shirt weather is gone, most put their bikes away. That would be a terrible shame because Fall is cycling prime time as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy it as much as you can before the snow flies! Then, if you're up for it, ride in the snow!
Yer Pal,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spandex Is Great, Thanks.

I have written about spandex / lycra before on this blog, noting how crabby people some seem to get about it. Spandex just seems to be a magnet for comment and unless you are super fit and good looking, some measure of derision.
This, combined with a desire to look more normal off the bike (like at a restaurant or something) led to my purchase of baggy cycling shorts offering chamois liners. The best of both worlds, right? In most cases so far, yes. Most cases. The ones that don't involve crazy stupid mental hot weather like that being experienced by many right now.
In this kind of weather the chance of me "layering" below the waist is zero. Spandex/lycra cycling shorts allow the breeze to cool you as you ride, unlike just about any other garment I can think of other than a Speedo! Take that visual and put it in your special mind vault now, before it burns, and put spandex cycling shorts in its place. They're not so bad now, are they?
Thank God for my good old spandex shorts. They are making the commute bearable rather than just plain psycho.
Yer Pal,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Have You Seen This? The Invisible Bike Helmet

Is this old news? Maybe, but I just saw it. Thanks again to one of my brothers who sent me the link:

I would like to hear what all you smart cyclists think of this thing. For myself I've got a couple of small reservations, but overall I'm impressed!

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fun and Stupid

You know how when you were young you did things that were really fun that in hindsight were really stupid and kind of dangerous? It would seem I've still got the knack at 43.

I am a father of two and a husband of one. Even if the odds of something bad happening were slim, I'm too old to take such silly risks. And even if there wasn't much risk, what the hell kind of example was that? If my kids went anywhere near that river in that condition I would have flipped out on them. I have no good excuse. I got carried away with the fun and challenge of it all.

Next time I see some idiot on the news who ended up in a jam (or worse) because they didn't seem to have any common sense, I will think back to this and cut them a little slack. Meantime, I'm not gonna be foolish like that again. Some other way, I bet, but not like that.

Yer Pal,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Two: Taxi Driving Trash

The video says it all...

I can't recall ever having a problem with a taxi cab on the road. I also know a few people who drive (or drove) cab and they are all good people, so if you came here expecting me to say mean things about taxi drivers, you came to the wrong place. Of course my title made it seem like that might be the deal. What can I say? I enjoy misleading and disappointing people. Please come again! 

Yer Pal,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fat Bikes and Grip Studs

pic source:

As much as I am happy and excited about Mutant Winter III, there is another winter cycling solution I am interested in. Fat Bikes. These are bikes that are designed for use on snow or sand or generally ugly terrain, characterized by crazy wide rims and very wide and usually rather soft tires. Good examples of the most popular are the Salsa Mukluk and the Surly Pugsley.

The reason I'm interested is that I could ride the unplowed and icy MUPs in London Ontario on one of these wonderful mutant-by-design bicycles. Studded skinny or even MTB tires aren't good enough to handle them; I have tried. The thing is, crazy wide rims and tires require crazy wide forks and crazy everything else. Crazy is expensive, especially when 1 in 1000 cyclists* will really want and actually pay for one. To give you an idea, searching for "surly pugsley" or "salsa mukluk" doesn't even yield any results featuring full bikes... $300 rims, etc, but no bikes.

I don't have the money to buy one of these things. A Pugsley sells for about $1700 on REI. A Mukluk runs about the same. I started looking into building one, but quickly realized that even the parts and tires put these things out of reach for me right now.

One nice thing I discovered while looking into building one of these monsters was There have always been DIY methods of studding bike tires, but I've never really believed that hardware store screws would hold up very well. Grip Studs fill the gap nicely. They are expensive, but with these you could stud any tire you wanted with high quality studs rather than trying to find a finished product like I have so far.

I think I'm gonna go talk to the people at First Cycleworks... they seem to enjoy building mutant cycles more than most other shops in town and I'm hoping they might have some useful and doable fat bike advice for me. Wish me luck!

Yer Pal,

* That statistic is based on nothing tangible. The 1000 could as easily be 500 or 10000. The author of this blog is thinking you'll get the idea whether number is accurate or not.