Showing posts sorted by relevance for query snow face. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query snow face. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2016

The One True Bike - Part 3 - Fork

WARNING: Unrelenting tedious detail of interest only to mentally unstable bike freaks follows. Read at your own risk of nearly fatal boredom.

Picking and buying a fork for a bicycle  should not be a big deal. Yet, I agonized. I ebayed and online shopped and brick and mortar store shopped and big-used-bike-part-store shopped. I researched, debated and dreamed about forks (honest). That was all before I bought the thing.

Let me back up a bit. I wanted a carbon fork for this bike. That made little sense, because in many respects I wanted this bike to be a very durable. Steel would have been a more rational choice. Thankfully, when building your own bike you can do whatever you want. My fixie had one and godammit I just wanted this new bike to have one too. In the immortal words of Selena Gomez, the heart wants what it wants, y'know***?

That said, there were some pretty great steel offerings; the usual good stuff from Surly (Cross-Check fork) and this lovely chromed thing on ebay (go to ebay and search cross fork):

As you can see, this fork has canti studs and fender eyelets, a requirement for me on this build. The fork pictured above would have been $200 US after delivery, then add taxes and duty. The Surly fork was better, at about $130 US and there are some bike stores that can get me Surly stuff in London now. No matter how I slice it though, the declining value of the Canadian dollar is really hurting me on costs. Canada has almost no good online sources for inexpensive bike parts. The UK has been my best friend for most bike part purchases, and this was no different.

Where was I? Ah yes, steel forks. The steel forks available were elegant and a little retro looking and fully awesome, but somehow I just couldn't see them on this bike. My stolen fixed gear had a similar frame and a carbon cross fork from Nashbar, and I loved that setup:

I was pretty philosophical about the loss of this bike at the time, but honestly, I miss this bike like crazy. I poured myself into that build, obsessing and agonizing over every little thing and loving the result more for it. This build is about making a bike I will love MORE, so I am obligated to torture myself even further. Woohoo!

So, for many mixed up reasons, I ended up getting a fork much like the last one, but with some nice graphics on it!

The frame has a tapered head tube, but I'm making up for the non-tapered metal steer tube on the fork by doing some mix-n-match top and bottom headset stuff. This is mostly because tapered forks were pretty much all full carbon, which was more expensive plus I worry about my caveman wrenching methods combined with a carbon steer tube. I did however, search high and low for a reasonably priced tapered fork with those damn canti studs and fender eyelets for a long damn time before going with what I knew. Did I find any? I can't even remember now. I feel like maybe Whiskey and maybe one other manufacturer made one, but prices were too high for the likes of me. 

This fork is a combo of strong and sexy, kind of like Snow Face. You don't know Snow Face the ass cameo dog? You can meet him a few places on this blog if you search Snow Face, or, for adorable youtube videos, follow this link!

I bought the Deda fork from Ribble cycles in the UK, to my door all-in for $171 CAD. By the way, if you're looking for a carbon cross fork with canti studs, there's this or Nashbar's carbon cross fork for under $200. After that, expect a steep price jump and trouble finding fender eyelets unless you're willing to try some of those straight from China ebay deals. I like to think my search was so exhaustive that I am 100% on this info, but if I'm not, please let me know in the comments and I will edit this and add some links.

I know I have mentioned brand names and retailers in this post. Please know I have received nothing from anyone for writing any of this.

Now, the cost tally:

Used frame                                                50.00
Headset cup removal tool                            fear (0.00)
Deda Cross Fork                                         171.00

Total                                                         221.00

May Your Steer Tube be Ever Uncut,

*** Google analytics has informed me that 97% of my readers are Russian girls and women 15-26 years old using Netscape Navigator browsers, so that's why the pop culture reference. For the rest of you, please replace "Selena Gomez" with Emily Dickinson for an I'm-so-smart reference or for the more mischievous among you, Woody Allen for a kind-of-ewww reference.

PS - That very same fork is now listed at 215 CAD on ribble. I think I used a coupon code at the time, but that price went up for sure. Maybe they were slow to adjust to the sliding Canadian dollar? Damned if I know. Yay me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Snow Face gets his Freak On

I've got other posts I want to write, but no time to write them. So, rather than remain absent, I present for your amusement a little bit of video of the mighty snow face !

Snow Face is now about 7 months old, and he likes gettin' his freak on...

Yer Pal,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Once A Snow Face...

Hey, remember snow face? He isn't a puppy anymore, but his early love of snow certainly hasn't waned...

I've been enjoying the snow too and have been riding the new bike with the studded tires on. We are getting along very well, and so far the Nexus 8 IGH has been performing just fine, even at -10C. Enjoy your weekend, snowy or not!

Yer Pal,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow Face Friday

I've been trying to post more frequently lately, but Friday has arrived and I find I don't really have anything to say. That, of course, doesn't mean I won't post something anyway... you're reading it right now.

As I have done before, I'll just post some pictures I haven't used. I'm kind of short on cycling related photos, though. Ah well. Who doesn't like a puppy? Here are a few pics of Snow Face when he was really little, before we even brought him home.

You know, it just isn't fair. How come dogs and cats always get all the attention? Here's a picture of my sweet little girl's snake, Allie, who is probably three times the size now:

And if Allie gets online, I can't leave out the Fish!

Now, please go have a Great Weekend.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snow Face Hates Halloween

Mrs. Rantwick and I really like Halloween. Snow Face not so much.

I've got a new SARATS entry, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. Halloween belongs to the ghoulish, not the tree-based joyjoys.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Introducing a New Member of the Rantwick Clan

Some of you may remember that the Rantwick clan were the proud owners of a dog who I called my "customizer". I am sad to inform you that he met an untimely end last summer. He was still very young (about 18 months) and it has taken me this long to even feel up to writing about him at all. I have no desire to relay the sad details of his death online, so please don't quiz me about it. Here are a few links that feature him in one way or another:

Thank you for remembering him with me. I wanted to mention him before moving on to this happier stuff. There is a new dog in Rantwick town. He arrived in our home around Christmas. Here's a picture of him taken just yesterday:

Normally I crop away a lot of stuff, but there were so many colours and textures and patterns going on here that I left it alone because I thought it looked kind of cool...

Despite the fact that he is a Havanese, a breed from Cuba, being born in the winter seems to have given him a certain affinity for the white stuff. He enjoys burying his snout in the snow and snuffling around like a truffle-hunting pig...

Just as I never told you the Customizer's real name, I think I will continue the tradition... behold the dog to be known henceforth on RANTWICK as Snow Face!

Snuffle on, friends, snuffle on. Yer Pal,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UWO vs. Fanshawe College vs. TSGTA: Higher Education in London Ontario

Last Saturday was the "perfect storm" for drinking and mayhem here in London Ontario. As most of you will already know St. Paddy's fell on a Saturday this year. Here in London, that Saturday coincided with summer-like weather despite the fact that it was mid-March. (Not quite the ides of March, but close. Hmmm.) Anyway, things got nasty in a subdivision adjacent to Fanshawe College when drunken revellers went psycho and had a good old fashioned riot:

The first footage was taken by the CTV cameraman who lost his vehicle to the mob. The second video was from a self-described "bystander". Despite how bad it looked, by some miracle no one was seriously injured or killed. Depending on where you're from, throwing stuff at cops and lighting other people's cars on fire might seem kind of normal. Not in London Ontario, believe me. This was a real shock to a lot of local people.

The water cooler talk has been partly about what kind of idiots are going to our post-secondary (read: after high school) institutions in this town. To be fair, many people I've talked to said there were as many high school students as Fanshawe students in that messed up scene, and I believe it.

Anyway, this event got me thinking about where the young Rantwicks might go after high school. Ideally I would like them to stay here in London, for both separation anxiety (mine) and financial reasons. Fanshawe representatives and students alike are dismayed at the black eye this kind of disgusting nonsense may give the school. London also boasts the University of Western Ontario, though, so we're all good, right?

Just when I was starting to think all hope was lost, I walked snow face after dinner tonight and was presented with a new ray of hope in these dark educational times, about five minutes walk from our front door! The path to this august institution screams action and intrigue:

And for good reason!

Whew. If my kids are going to face explosions and violence anyway, they might as well do it in an official government-funded capacity. Young female Rantwick won't have a problem with admission. I don't know what their policies on males are though, so I'm encouraging Rantwick Jr. to grow his hair just in case.

If you are a local and were hoping I might opine about these events in a meaningful way, my apologies, but there are so many smarter people than me doing it that I don't really see the point. It is what it is and time heals all wounds and a bird in my hand might get hurt so I'll just let it go.

Yer Pal,

PS - To the owners of TSGTA: I don't know if you're running a daycare or are simply the coolest parents ever, but I am impressed. I love seeing creative people having some fun, especially for the benefit of some very lucky kids.

PPS, Mar 21 - I am sad to report that TSGTA has closed its doors. I'm guessing it was brought down by a double agent or mole of some kind. Still, I'm happy I got to see it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Would You Turn The Other Cheek?

I am a peaceful person. I don't really know how to fight and have never been in a "real" fist fight with a stranger. Before you get the wrong idea, I didn't get in a fight today either, but the potential was there. For the purposes of the following narrative, **** = the F word. Here's what happened.

London Ontario experienced a blizzard last night and through the early morning, with high winds and some decent snow accumulation, but nothing crazy like back in December. I knew it was going to be a tough slog in to work, so I left extra extra early hoping to see less car traffic. That worked OK, but thanks to backstreets being quite plugged I walked my bike quite a lot.

It was while I was doing this that I passed a man running a snowblower and clearing his driveway while his wife shovelled the steps. I was quite near them and obviously within earshot when he yelled to his wife, "Has this guy got ****ing rocks for brains?" I didn't like that. Had I been riding, I probably would have just kept going and shrugged it off. I was on foot, however, and that made it feel more personal somehow. I stopped walking, turned and looked straight at him for a few seconds and then resumed walking away.

At that point "****ing Idiot!" issued forth from behind me. I couldn't take it. I lay my bike down in the snow and walked back to snowblower man. I pulled my goggles under my chin so he could see my face and asked, "What the **** does it matter to you if I ride my bike today?" To which he replied "Hey man, in snow like this... it's dangerous... there are cars out there. I'm not worried about them, I'm worried about you..." Well, that made sense. I know that when I am concerned about a person, I always let them know by calling them a ****ing idiot.

As I play it back in my mind, of course there are all kinds of reasonable and informative things I wish I had said. As it was, however, I replied "How about I just take care of myself, OK?", to which he replied "Alright, whatever" or something like that. I returned to my bike and as I picked it up he yelled "It just seems crazy..." and then some unintelligible stuff to his wife.

The smart me knows that the guy could have been a total nutcase who was looking for a fight, but I just could not let his comments pass. It worked out OK, I guess, but I am curious what you might have done. I mean, would you just keep walking? Would you do what I did? Would you throw a snowball at him and run? Would you punch him for being so in your face?

I'm still pretty mad. I know some people think I'm an idiot or worse. That is truly OK, because I know that what I do looks pretty crazy. My question is, why do some people feel the need to yell it at me? Why can't they just shake their head and make fun of me over dinner or at the water cooler? I know I need to learn to just let go of these bad vibes. I am finding it difficult.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ah, Now That's The Stuff

I have long known that I am a Weather Junkie. One of my good friends and I often half-joke about becoming storm chasers in our retirement. I love wild weather and the times I love it most are when I'm on the bike, whether it be winter or summer.

Yesterday morning's ride in to work was the kind of winter riding I live for. It was fairly cold (-10 C), snowing, very windy (like push you around windy) and the streets had just a little snow and almost no ice on them. I could enjoy the wild weather with very little fear of slipping or sliding. Anyway, here's a video:

Riding in such weather always results in strings of questions from my co-workers. In case any of my readers have similar questions, here they are, with my usual answers:

Q: Are You Insane?

A: No! Well, yes. No. Wait, wait! Stop that! Woof! Grrr! Shut up! SHUT UP! (sorry, not you...)

Q: Don't you get cold?

A: Not at all. When you're working on the bike it is easy to stay warm, in fact a little too easy.

Q: But what about your face in that wind?

A: I wear a balaclava, ski goggles and my helmet. My face, ears and eyes are all toasty warm. I don't even wear the balaclava over my face most days.

Q: What if you slip and fall?

A: Believe it or not, I am way less likely to slip on ice while riding on my studded tires than when I am on foot, or in my car for that matter. On some snow, when I am not sure of my control, I stop riding when cars are anywhere near me.

Q: But what about the cars in general?

A: I have been riding with cars in the street for years. I know how to do it safely.

Q: Yeah, but do they?

A: Part of doing it safely is accounting for the possible actions of unskilled drivers and/or morons. It is something that can be done, winter or summer, and that any cyclist can learn.

Q: well, actually TS: (for testy statement) - There should be a law against riding your bike on the street in winter. It just isn't safe.

A: When did you last ride a bike in the street, let alone in winter? Get back to me when you've ridden to work and back every single day for three (or is it four?) winters without a scratch or even a close call with a car. Until then, I think I'll decide for myself on that safety thing.

Please note that this answer only ever happens after a discussion escalates to the point that I'm really getting ticked off.

Q: Don't you feel like a goof in that stupid outfit?

A: I used to but I just don't seem to care any more. Does that mean I have gained confidence? Or am I just old and ugly and happily married enough to know that how I look doesn't really matter? Is that in itself confidence, or just the words of a man too lazy to bother trying any more? Am I telling myself...

That was starting to turn into a therapy session. More on this in a future post perhaps.

Well, that's it for now I think. As always, thanks for reading.

Wishing you your favourite riding weather, I remain:

Yer Pal,


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Well Go and Figure: I Like Strava!

I really like reading bikesnobnyc, and bikesnobnyc really likes poking fun at roadies who obsess over all the latest tech and bikes and training stuff. One way in which some people do this is something called Strava. Snob pokes fun at it too, which made me somewhat reluctant to try it, I must admit. Sad as some (including the bikesnob) may find it, I hold the bike snob in pretty high regard. 

Strava allows cyclists and runners and swimmers (tri-geeks or mono-geeks) to track their workouts' paths, speeds and distances via gps and also uses any extra info the person's electronics may offer, like heart rate and power meter readings. Caring about that stuff or buying all the latest tech is not really my deal, but way back when I had a basic cycling computer that measured distance and speed, I really liked it. Too much. That little device on my handlebars became quite a distraction and I started to spend too much time watching it and trying to beat previous top speeds, best times and so on. I was getting all OCD about the little screen readings and missing out on the best parts of cycling: fresh air, sunshine, trees, people... you know, the outdoor world in all its fine variety; the whir of the drivetrain, the thrill of speeding along with the wind rushing in your ears.

I wasn't cool with that situation and ditched the computer and have been pleased with that decision ever since. I missed having a tally of my miles because it helps me stay on top of maintenance tasks like chain replacements, knowing how many miles a set of tires had lasted, etc. Other than that, it was good riddance to the computer, especially since I had mastered manual cadence computation.

I forget what made me curious about Strava. In any case, I decided to try it.

I don't spend money on high-end cycling stuff, tech included. However, I do own a smartphone and there's a free Strava app to track my rides with. Knowing the pitfalls of handlebar mounted tech, I just start the app, stick the phone in my fanny pack and enjoy my ride. When I'm finished, I just stop recording and upload the activity and I'm done. Activity tracked, ride enjoyed unimpeded by OCD statistics watching. It's the best of both worlds!

Strava is also a platform for people to compete, trying to go fastest on "segments" identified by riders. Common cycling routes usually have lots of segments on them that have been defined by Strava users. Climbs are very popular segments. The person with the fastest time is referred to as "King of the Mountain" and their achievement is thus called a KOM.

My dog Snow Face is about as close as I'll ever get to a KOM, since we're talking about some of the most fit riders in town riding racing bikes vs. a middle aged overweight man on a heavy commuter bike. That said, Strava allows me to compete with myself, letting me know when I've put in a good effort or a personal best (PB) on a segment. After a brief spate of segment-chasing and over-exertion (a common problem among Strava users because it is kind of addictive) I have chilled out. It's nice to see segment info from a ride, but I no longer seek it actively. On routes I ride often, I know where the segments are and attack them hard some days and ignore them completely on others.

It should be noted that Strava has been criticized for inducing some unsafe riding by idiots chasing KOMs... I believe it. If you're gonna try it, please don't be one of those. Being a cycling nerd is completely forgivable, but putting others at risk so you can play speed racer is not. 

I am finding Strava fun and encouraging and best of all my cycling stats OCD is relegated to times that I'm OFF the bike rather than ruining my time ON it. I think the lesson here is that you don't have to be Kaptain KOM to enjoy using Strava, nor do you have to geek out watching tech strapped to your handlebars. Go and figure, I like Strava! Being a devoted follower of BSNYC, I would ask you to keep this under your hat, OK?

Yer Pal,

Thursday, May 9, 2019


One of the Seven Deadly Sins, Sloth, has intruded upon my blog writing. I think it started with an actual Sloth...

I heard somewhere that there was a Sloth Riding a Bicycle (with chainline issues) Shirt available in Costa Rica, so I went there and bought one in February. Didn't really see anything else*

So after that I just rode my bike to work and back and otherwise just sat in my favourite new shirt and ate stuff and watched TV. For a couple months.

Then Chico (Snow Face) got into a massage ball and I needed to share:

Then new cat Talulah dipped her tail into my shaving water and slapped her tail on the sink like this:

I only caught the last one. She did it for like, a full minute. She's delightfully odd.

Anyway, an animal introduced me to blogging sloth and animals got me back out of it. I think. No promises.

Yer Pal,

* Costa Rica was, in fact, as awesome as one might think, with jungle, nature, ocean, etc. Truly outstanding. I've never been on any other Southern vacation except Florida, but I must assume CR will be hard to beat.

PS - I messed with the cat tail clip, removing the actual sound and adding the purring and slap noise. There, I confessed. Now piss off.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A SuperMutant, Boeshield T-9, and a Tree

I have sad news. Mutant Winter is no more. When I got around to trying to clean her up for this winter season, I found that the disc brakes had deteriorated into rusty clumps of unfixable goo. I didn't want to buy new ones. Other things were also pretty bad, so I stole the studded tires, the second best tub in town, pedals and a few other components and slapped 'em on an old SuperCycle mountain bike. SuperCycle is a house brand for Canadian Tire bikes. At the lowest end they are about the same as NEXT or any of the other cheaper department store bikes. The Gary Fisher Bitter that Mutant Winter was based on was nice, but while I wait for the time and resources required for my next sweet winter bike build, I figure this will suffice. One nice thing is that by combining parts from Mutant Winter and this SuperCycle, I have created a SuperMutant!

SuperMutant, sans Tub

I guess it doesn't really look like a mutant at all yet. I'll get there, I promise.

The Deore derailleur from MW wouldn't work on this frame since it required a derailleur hanger, so I bought a new, cheap ($15) Shimano "Tourney" from Village Cycle in my neighbourhood. Looking at it, I knew its screws and other silver bits would begin to rust immediately in the salty road conditions here. That's where the Boeshield comes in.

Boeshield T-9 is really great stuff. I originally bought it to treat the insides of my steel Trek touring frame. I also sprayed it on a heavy chain that I use to lock up bikes on my porch. That chain has been sitting outside in the snow and and mist (although not direct rain) for about 15 months and it still looks pretty good...


I only treated it with Boeshield that one time over a year ago, so I'm pretty impressed. A steel chain left outdoors would normally get rusty pretty quick, I think. Anyway, I hosed down that derailleur and many other parts of the bike with Boeshield and I bet it'll help considerably. When I get around to building a new winter bike, I will use Boeshield from the get-go on everything (especially spokes, nipples and rim eyelets: I've had nipples break due to salty brutality) and every few months in the hopes of keeping it nice despite the salty crud it will face.

If you are thinking of commenting about how I should give the bike a rinse after riding in salty slush, I know, I know. I also know myself and that I'm too lazy or hurried or both most of the time to do what I should and Boeshield or something like it may be my only hope.

Where was I? Ah, yes, a tree! There is another SARATS entry. It is a Steve A find from a blog post he read. It is, however, being entered by the owner, Durango, who shot it in Fort Worth, Texas with Steve's encouragement.

Love that dome shape, man. Thanks for the tree and good luck in my contest! 

Yer Pal,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Good News! I'm Not Dead!

Wait a sec, good news for most, I should say. There are at least a few drivers out there who enjoy threatening to kill me. They might be OK with my death. I don't like going on and on about the rare jerk face (like the one I met this morning) who threatens me with his or her vehicle, so enough of that.

I'm really only writing this to apologize for my unexpected absence from this space... I am just plain slammed at work and at home right now and don't really know when I'll get back on my blogging horse. The frustrating part for me is that I have lots to write about for a change. Spectacular posts as of yet un-started include:

- prize for Smackdown located, purchased and just waiting to be won!
- another post about nihilism bridge and spray-painted messages
+ a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting

By the time I get to some of these there may be snow on the ground, while the pics and videos will be from Summer and Fall. Ah well, maybe that'll be nice.

Thanks as always for reading, especially in these times with nothing much going on. I'll get back at it soon I hope.
Yer Pal,