June 2011

The Art of Bicycle Maintenance

Downtown Bike Hounds is crazy-busy during summer. This makes the shop financially viable even through the winter, which is a good thing, but…it’s also kind of a bad thing.

One of the reasons Sean opened a bike shop in the first place is that he loves biking. Now, when bike season is ripe, he gets to do a lot less of it because he’s helping others do more.

In 2006, we spent two months cycling BC, Yukon and Alaska and it was, without question, the best time of our lives.

In 2008, we spent three weeks cycling Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. Amazing! I want to live there. Any of those places.

In 2009, we spent one week leading this trip around Lake Ontario. We were supposed to do it again last year, but I ended up in the Arctic, so Sean went touring solo.

Since then, we’ve taken advantage of our Sunday/Monday weekends to do one and two-day trips from Hamilton to places like Rock Point Provincial Park, Selkirk Provincial Park and (next up) Long Point Provincial Park.

However, as awesome as these mini-trips are, they’re not quite the same as taking off for a couple weeks and living on your bike. Which is why I can barely contain my excitement this summer.

With two employees at the shop right now, we’ve finally found ourselves able to devote a two-week block to biking.

I originally thought (according to some very skewed math) that we’d be able to ride from Hamilton to Thunder Bay in that time. We probably would, but there would be time for little else if we tried. Considering the wealth of scenery and outdoor opportunities along this particular route, we decided to start in/around the Soo in order to give ourselves extra time to explore some of the sights and parks along the way.

Places like Ouimet Canyon…

The shipwrecks at Neys…

The hills of Sleeping Giant…

And the general awesome that is Lake Superior…

*Click on any image for the website it came from*

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah! Can you even wait? Want to come?

Side note – in planning this, we decided it would be in everyone’s interest if parks set aside a dozen sites, divided them in half, reserved them for campers coming by foot – hikers and cyclists – and charged reduced rates in exchange for low-impact campers.

Sounds like an all-around awesome plan, no? Campers win, parks have an awesome new marketing gimmick that’s actually sensible and in line with their values, and the environment is happier with the (hopefully) increased car-free camping!

Anyway, Sean called Ontario Parks this morning to tell them the idea and expected to be stuck in an endless maze of automated messages, the way one is when calling any organization with more than ten employees.

Not so with our parks system! I told him to have faith! Straight off the bat he spoke with a real person who recorded his suggestion. She’s forwarding it along to the appropriate staffer and that person will call back in a matter of days to discuss it.

This is standard procedure – it’s just what they do when you call in with suggestions!


Good job caring!

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Hold On

Last week, Jenna asked about leather hand grips for her freshly restored Raleigh.

I was more than happy to do it because this is something I’ve been meaning to get in the shop for a while now. It was good to have the request come in and push me to action.

Made with a soft, honey-coloured leather. Stitched with waxed linen thread for maximum hold. Ready to withstand winter, spring, summer and fall.

Heading into the shop this morning.


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The NEXXICE of the Universe

Here’s my Spectator article about Burlington synchronized skating team, NEXXICE.

These girls are amazing!

PS – what is this I hear about a weekend asteroid? Where were these three?

Probably messing about on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean again.

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Cut Loose

I was at a bachelorette party on the weekend – for my oldest and best friend.

She’s getting married on the beach in a month so I ripped this decoration scheme (originally meant for cupcakes) and did it up on a small cake.

It’s a little wonkus because the icing was drippy and the heat didn’t help it solidify, but things worked out.

Fun fact – the very first time we played together, my Mom gave us Teddy Grahams as a snack (in my memory, it was a whole box but I think now it must have been a small bowl. She never would have let us go to town on a full box) and we spent the evening judging bears to the death (criteria included roundness of belly, sharpness of facial features and whether or not the bear was standing with his arms up or down).

Starting with a pair, whichever one was cutest lived. Ugmo was eaten. Cute bear went on to face off against another until there was only one left.

He eventually met the same fate, but at least he got to savour the flavour of being a winner.

ANYWHOOOO, before heading out for dancing, we got henna’d by Joyful Impressions.

I was originally going to go for a foot design, but Joy (the artist) had mandalas on her palms and it looked so cool, I was swayed. I wish this would stay forever.

Are palm tattoos a thing?


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All the World’s a Stage…

Did I mention that I went on a tour of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre a couple weeks ago? I can’t tell you why, but I can tell you that it’s beautiful…

Going up? Yes please, bellhop!

This picture is not the best lit, but it is the best subject – a dressing room decorated in 1920s style.

I have a bit of a theatre obsession (like, with A) the actual physical buildings and B) the way actors’ feet sound when they walk across the black stage floor), but even if you only have a minor thing for theatre, this tour is well worth it – $12 for 1 1/2 hours.

The guide I had knows his stuff. He’s been there 25 years and was part of the restoration crew in the 80s.

Right at Yonge and Queen. Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m.

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