Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Greg Curnoe Bike Rides to Acton

First things first: Adam of Cycle EXIF gave Greg Curnoe Bike an incredible writeup today. Thank you!

Buoyed by this report, naturally he wanted to go for a ride. The weather reports are suggesting rain for this weekend. Since I am working on a research contract this month that stipulates I work 40 hours per week, but does not specify exactly when those 40 hours should be, I decided to give myself the day off and make up the hours on the weekend. I took the Go train from Exhibition to Oakville (happening to meet up with some friendly cycling acquaintances of mine, who were themselves off on a tour to Niagara) and from there rode to Acton. It's one of my favourite rides, and one I've written about before. Here follows a photo summary of my journey.

Everything a cyclist needs: shoes; gloves; a zip-loc bag filled with Fig Newtons; a bidon; and an Arizona iced tea (stuck in jersey pocket) and newspaper (stuck in front of jersey, à la chilly mountain descent) for the train ride.
There was an incredibly strong east wind (an unusual one) today, and it pushed me quickly west along Britannia Road toward southern Ontario's diminutive "mountain range," the Niagara Escarpment, slightly visible in the distance.
Rattlesnake point climb, which is deadly (pun) to ride up, but which looks quite tame when photographed. It's Valkenburgy, I swear.
On top of the Escarpment, having recovered enough strength to fetch my sweaty Olympus point-and-shoot from my jersey pocket.
The Escarpment looks a bit more impressive from the other side. Residents of mountainous regions will be amused that we employ bumps like these as pretexts for ski hills. In the foreground, idyllic Highway 401.
Having climbed the Escarpment a second time, Greg Curnoe Bike leans himself a pole and waits as I relieve myself.
A picturesque swamp that sits atop the Escarpment.
On the day that the Giro peloton dealt with the strade bianche, I rode this one strada bianca and wished for more...
I enjoyed a Cherry Coke on a bench opposite one of Acton's principal attractions, The Needle Gnome (apartment for rent!)
And so I began the somewhat less interesting return journey, fighting the wind, and spending lots of time looking down at all the pleasant triangles visible from the "cockpit."
Upon my return to Oakville, I was dismayed to see that my favourite Tim Horton's was under construction—but most relieved to see this "Mobile Store" parked nearby. 
I parked Greg Curnoe Bike against a Tim Horton's garbage bin, with his front wheel held in place by a construction beacon. In this art vs. life battle, life is presenting a formidable challenge.
Thus ended the ride. I had no mechanical issues this time—Greg Curnoe Bike rode like the oft-mentioned "dream." I'm not in great shape, so I didn't whizz up the climbs, but I certainly did no worse than usual. I think the most important mechanical determinants of a good or bad ride are: the gears you use (the 40-24 small gear was fine, so that worked); your saddle (I like the Flite); your pedals and shoes (thank you Ultegra pedals and older Sidi road shoes); your brakes (the brazed-on Mafacs work exceptionally... though still a bit of squeal from the rear brake); the position of the handlebars relative to the saddle (6cm below, check, and I like that the hoods sit lower with non-aero levers—one more position.) Few of these things depend on the actual frame, though some do. As a "whole," Greg Curnoe Bike is ideally adapted to sort of fast, rolling, approximately 100km rides that I prefer.

I thought often of Wouter Weylandt today. I really liked him as a cyclist. It's awful when things like this happen. My thoughts to his family, friends, and teammates.


OAP said...

The bike looks really nice in the sunlight!

Harry Quinn said...

The bike looks great. Amazing job. I managed to grab a couple of those Mariposa bottles just before Mike closed up shop. After a few rides they have achieved keepsake status on a shelf. Not of fan of the plastic taste anyways... Those swamps and marshes were screaming with peepers on an evening ride a few weeks ago. It's lovely riding up there.

AH said...

Thanks Olivier, and thanks Harry! I definitely agree re: the Mariposa water bottles (made by TA)—much better for looking at than drinking from. Lots of rain feeding the swamps for the next few days should make for even insectier rides...

Anonymous said...

Build question: Why only one set of bottle mounts if you're riding 100k and up? Aesthetics over functionality?

AH said...

I only tend to need one bottle on my 100km rides. It might be colder Canadian climate that makes me less thirsty. I also like to stop for a Coke along the road when I get a chance. So this decision WAS based on functionality (and also allows me to use a Silca pump on the seat tube, which has practical benefits of its own...)

Anonymous said...

Hi, love your blog.
Just wondering if your bike is one of the handcrafted bikes made by Jocelyn Lovell?


AH said...

Hi Carlos,

No, I made it myself. I did make one dedicated TO Jocelyn Lovell!