A week of recklessness.

I nearly made a trip-to-the-hospital mistake at work on Tuesday. I was checking the chain tension on a fixie by springboarding my fingertips on the top as I turned the crank. As my fingers were bouncing off the chain, the tip of my thumb began to get sucked in. I reflexively jerked back my hand before the drivetrain trapped it.

A fixie differs from a single speed in that the cog is tied to the motion of the pedals. Single speed bikes have a freewheel that allows you to coast downhill without pedalling like the devil to keep up with the spinning rear wheel. Ergo, the force generated by the spinning rear wheel of a fixie is strong enough to gobble up a digit or two.

I told a co-worker about the accident that almost was, and his response was: “Oh, yeah, that would have been really bad. People lose their fingers. There’s a website featuring photos of mangled mitts that were fed through the drivetrain.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

I don’t touch fixies often (they’re not as popular in Victoria as in Montréal), so I had let my guard down.

Yann says his shoelaces once got sucked into the drivetrain while riding a fixie: “My shoelaces broke, but my foot turned blue.”

Then, Wednesday morning, on my way to work, I nearly found myself in a visit-with-the-police situation.

Continue reading “A week of recklessness.”

In case you missed it.

The other day, someone came into the bike shop for a hub repack. This is when we remove the axle and replace the bearings (either loose or sealed). What are loose or sealed bearings, you might be wondering?

It doesn’t matter.

As the guy handed over his wheel to Yann, he mumbled something about how he would have done it himself. Yann was technically still on his break, so the job was passed on to me. 

Continue reading “In case you missed it.”

Welcome to the Rainforest.

I have the Accuweather (short for “accursed weather”) widget on my phone, with Victoria set as the default location. When I tap on the temperature display, I can swipe left to view the current conditions in my old home city of Montréal. Around this time of the year, this action is supposed to validate my decision to run away from the frozen wasteland that surrounds the Saint Lawrence River.

Instead, it was Montréal that got to enjoy a month of balminess while I found myself  sealed inside my waterproof breathable jacket for the entirety of September, all while on vacation!

On the 14th, Yann and I welcomed a Briton to British Columbia.  Before his arrival, I told our guest, Ed, that Victoria was a lot like London. Victoria has double-decker buses, English pubs, fish n’ chips, and the Union Jack waving everywhere. You can’t walk 50 metres without seeing the Queen’s portrait somewhere.

“You’ve never been to London, how would you know?” Ed asked.

I grew up watching Mr. Bean, which obviously makes me an expert of all things London! But, let’s not focus on my misconceptions of London: Ed was about to have his preconceived ideas of Victoria ripped apart.

Continue reading “Welcome to the Rainforest.”