The 19 minute 9 second Race

A Time Trial is a bicycle race of 10 or 20Km where you pedal as fast as possible. Instead, I chose to gradually improve fitness this year and just ease into training.

There was no one in my age category to race with. I could easily win by default for just signing up and then racing the final competition in August.

That night I went to bed wearing gold and silver medals won during my last race 2 years ago where I rode against the clock without a speedometer. That race was a race to manage one’s speed and arrive back at a predicted time. The medals I wore to bed were comforting. This race would be my first Time Trial riding at maximum speed with a speedometer.

The race was only a few days away. There was no time to train and make any fitness gains. I decided to rest up a lot instead, forcing myself to remain in bed and rest even though this was difficult. I didn’t feel like resting after all the extra sleep I had lately.

The rain stayed away but it was very wind. The route was over rolling hills.

As the group left the arena and cycled leisurely to the start line a few kilometres away, I noticed that no one was doing a warm up.

I dropped down into my lowest gear and started pedalling fast to warm up. We climbed a hill and I eased into a higher gear and pedalled easily to the start line.

The 20Km cyclists lined up ahead of me. I was the first 10Km rider. Every 30 seconds the front cyclist in the line would race off. Finally it came my turn. The jitters faded away and I was given the signal to race.

Within a half km I was into my deep breathing routine and pedalling at an effort I felt I could sustain. Within about 1 km I sped by the first cyclist like he was standing still.

A short time later, passed another. Then even more slowly passed a 3rd racer. At the 10Km turn around I was only a short distance from passing a 4th cyclist. I had gained almost 2 minutes on the racers ahead of me.

The return trip had me passing another 10 racers. People were cheering me on, apparently quite pleased with my speed.

The last few kilometres up hill into the wind was tough. The pace I sustained seemed easy at first but as the hill and wind worked against me, the effort increased. I was struggling to maintain my best effort.

I passed the finish line marker and pedalled slowly back to the arena where I discovered that I was the first one back. This felt very unusual.

My speed was 31.6kph average. Tom said I rode a very smart and good race.

The time keeper said that having ridden a heavy bike and having turned in such a low time meant I had cycling skills. I was surprised by her comment. I have been told before I had talent but was never quite sure what to do with it.

I was surprised too that I had turned in such a low time. Gold medal. 1st place.

I had raced myself and turned in my best time ever. Sometimes all that keeps us from success is getting out of our own way, put aside the nervousness and doubts, and just do your best.


Dangerous lack of snow clearing by Calgary Roads Dept

Airport Trail pathway has already been plowed this morning yet 96 Ave NE pathway past the Blue Ring is still knee to waist deep in snow.

I’ve been told that Calgary Roads Dept clears 96 Ave. The plow trucks also blast snow off the road and onto the freshly plowed pathway (even after the pathway is infrequently plowed).

Parks frequently clears Airport Trail (its a developing park area in progress so I’m told).

The City of Calgary has mandated dangerous conditions for people crossing the two 96 ave bridges in the winter time through a lack of plowing of the pedestrian overpasses in a reasonable time after snowfalls.

96 Ave is a divided 6 lane 60kph road which often has speeders going 100kph on it. The wide median is knee deep in snow which makes it impossible to get onto the eastbound lanes when cycling.

The pathway to the pedestrian crossing is buried in even deeper mounds of snow from road plows which prevents using the pedestrian crossing at all.

The only option is for pedestrians and cyclists to risk their lives getting across the bridge by cycling and walking in traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

The City of Calgary had no problem wasting $471,000 on the ugly Blue Ring but hasn’t provided sufficient finding or effort to plow the pedestrian overpasses or to allow snow angels to plow them.

The abandoned pedestrian overpasses and pathway is impossible to use unless plowed.

The city planned and installed a steep switchback pathway into Harvest Hills. This also is infrequently plowed, causing black ice to build up underneath the snow. When snow angels keep the pathway cleared of snow and ice, the usual response is that this is more dangerous than letting it ice up. There are a lot of dog walkers and handicap people who use the switchback daily.

The city doesn’t want snow angels to clear the pathway overpasses either. In effect, the City of Calgary has made laws to ensure that lives are put at risk. So when people are injured crossing in traffic because the city won’t permit any safe option, they should be on the hook for all liability and injury claims caused by mismanagement and the elimination of using a reasonable amount of common sense.


The Worst February 8th Snow Storm In 130 Years

Calgary had a massive 24-40 centimetres of snow that fell on Feb 7&8th. People in my neighbourhood were parking in the middle of the streets to avoid getting stuck in driveways. 73 snow removal vehicles were dispatched to clear major routes. Cyclists and pedestrians had to fend for themselves. Drivers had to fend off 575 collisions only a week prior. Even clearing a small driveway required 3 or 4 clearing attempts with a snowblower.

The icy roads that are a nightmare for drivers are a blessing to fatbikers which have much better traction on packed snow that is quickly turning into ice. Wednesday morning as the snow started falling and drivers were still cursing the icy roads from the week before, I was stuck behind a car spinning tires like a buzz saw from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I could barely even accelerate on the fatbike because of the slow progress of the car in front of me. I could have blasted past the car like impatient drivers frequently do to cyclists (when the cyclist is faster) except that I’m not that crazy. I would have however, shot through the intersection before the car was even half way through the turn. For now, I’ll have to be happy cycling head on into traffic on a divided 6 lane iceway (because of having no other option) until the pathway gets plowed by the city.

Quite the impressive drift on the pathway. Although I could clear the pathway in less than an hour, city politics continue to demand the right to endanger anyone who would otherwise remove the snow or use a plowed pedestrian overpass. Of course, by now, the cyclists who would otherwise have biked from the suburbs into downtown for the Winter Bike To Work Day on February 9 wake up to discover that there is actually no way to do that even with a fatbike or a Ktrak.

Surface 604 Boar

If you are looking at one bike for all your cycling needs; winter cycling (studded tires 4″&5″), night rides (lighted speedometer), windy days (350 Watt electric motor that draws more power to get you moving), lots of hills (1X10 gear train), long rides (80km battery range), off road (run lower pressure to soak up bumps), riding up ridiculously steep grades somewhere around 25-35% (I didn’t believe the GPS’s intermittent 50% reading which was impossible to believe), or if you just want to charge your phone, this one is a good bet.

For night riding, the speedometer is well lit. The background light can be manually turned off or on. The speedometer is very sensitive and will react quickly to slight changes in speed (.1 kph).

The battery level is unpredictable when running at high power when it drops 4 bars. I’ve had it shut off when the batter indicator was down to about 60%. Setting the power to a lower level after it shuts off will allow resuming the ride for a while longer. The speedometer is powered by the battery. When the power drops and it shuts off, turning the motor power off will allow the speedometer to continue working.

There are 5 power level settings that can be selected using the + or –
buttons. Anything over 3 will deplete the battery very quickly. Level 1 is good for hills and to get moving. Level 2 is good for pathways at around 20kph. Level 3 will keep you around 27 kph and provide really good range. Level 4 up to about 30 kph. Level 5 is essentially full power until 32 kph. Would have liked the power to fade out more smoothly. There is noticeable surging at 32 kph and for trail riding at slow speeds I would recommend keeping the motor off. There is a lag of about 1 second when you stop pedaling before the motor shuts off. Despite the lower powered 350 watt motor verses my other 500 watt ebike, it provids plenty of power (up to 700 watts surge).

I did a ride at Level 3 and it took forever for the battery power to drop 2 bars at around 40-50 km. Then I upped the power level to 4 and it dropped 2 bars very quickly. Later I upped the power to level 5 as the ride neared its end. It shut off about 2 km from home at somewhere near 85-90 kms. Reducing the power level got me over the last few hills.

You don’t need to turn on the display to check the battery level. There is also a push button on the top of the battery pack. I couldn’t read this indicator outside in daylight.

The control panel is a simple affair but there are combinations of buttons to set parameters. It can be quite complicated to figure out the owners manual. Something as simple as resetting the trip/average/maximum speed is complicated and requires 6 button presses in different combinations. Press “i” 2X, press + (it shows “y”), press “i”, press “i” 2X to exit programming other features. There is no clock display.

You need the key to remove the battery for charging (up to 6 hours) and that is the only time you need the key. The lower end of the battery pack has a rubber cover where you can plug in your phone/computer via USB to charge it. Comes in very handy for touring.

You cannot plug in the charger while the battery is installed on the bike. I presume that is to prevent damage from the higher charging voltage/current. The charging socket is blocked by the seat tube to prevent plugging the charger in when the battery is installed.

To assist in removing the battery for charging, this odd spring loaded lever can be pulled out. It wasn’t that obvious that this was a lever.

The battery location creates a problem for carrying anything (water bottles/flat kit etc). You can order two racks (front&back). The front rack can carry 100 lbs (which explains the huge steering bearings). The maximum load is very high at just short of 300 lbs. This means that heavy cyclists won’t have a problem with weight limits that are typical of most bicycles. This bike could double as a cargo bike or heavy touring bike too. Later I installed a seat rack to carry a few essentials in a rear rack bag. The racks for this bike are pricey because they are designed to carry a lot of weight.

As you can see, I installed home made bicycle fenders for about $30 instead of paying about $140. The front fender has to be pulled in tight or it will hit the pedals when turning. I later shortened the lower front fender brace so it wasn’t bowed out (to temporarily provide enough foot clearance in the photo).

The right angle bracket over the front fender is a camera mount. The one accessory I would have liked to see is built in head/tail lights that run off battery power.

It is a very smart looking bike beside the Autumn colours!

Ward 3 election candidate info

Ian McAnerin​​Website:

Has lived in ward 3 for 23 years

Background: Has a BASc in cultures and religion, a law degree, has experience working with an Olympic Committee (Chinese 2008 bid, 2010 Vancouver Olympics))and has worked with all levels of government.

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated he has acceptedno donations from home builders or developers.

Opposed the Harvest Hills Golf Course redevelopment

On his website he has clearly stated his platform and stance on local and city-wide issues.

Has worked with multiple levels of government and understands how they work.

Editors Comments: Ian is a down to earth grass roots candidate. He has the skills to do the job and supported the hard work we did in the community re the golf course. Webelieve and trust what he has said he will do for our community. His Olympic and multi-level Government experience are a real bonus as we look at doing an Olympic bid. We feel he is the best choice to be our Councilor.

Jun Lin​​​Website:

Has lived in Northern Hills for 7 years.

Background: Works with the Petroleum Marketing Commission, has a BSc and MBA.

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated he has accepted no donations from home builders or developers. However, when asked about development at the community forum he stated he was pro development.

Primary concerns: Transparency of city council, protecting Tax Payers, Trend to removing green spaces in favour of development and wants the Green Line extended to north point.

Opposed the Harvest Hills Golf Course redevelopment

Editors Comments: Jun is an intelligent and capable person who would likely work hard for the community. He lacks government experience and this might make him less effective as our representative. We have some concern about his pro development stance at the Communitiesforum.

Jyoti Gondek​​Website:

Has lived in Northern Hills for 20 years.

Background: Was Jim Stevenson’s campaign manager, was appointed to the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC) by City Council. She worked at the Haskayne School of Business as an adjunct professor.

While a member of the Calgary Planning Commission she voted in favour of sending the plan to develop the Harvest Hills Golf to City Council for approval. She did add a couple of caveats to the proposal but these were not accepted by council.

Campaign contributions contain maximum donations from some sources. When asked at the community forum she declined to say who her donations have come from. Since the Forum she has released a list of her contributors. The list shows contributions from many home builders and Developers.

Primary Concerns: Better Money Management, foster safe and caring communities.

Editors Comments: Jyoti has experience with local government, has an academic background. However, as a member of CPC she did not stand up for Northern Hills communities. Also, with a significant portion of her donations coming from companies that are engaged in the development industry it makes us wonder where her loyalties will lie when there is a conflict between the needs of the community or the developer.

Connie Hamilton​Website:

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated she has accepted no donations from home builders or developers.

Connie does not have a website but information on her platform is available on facebook.

Background: Connie was a committed supporter of the Harvest Hills Golf course fight and ran an active Facebook page, tracking activities relating to the golf course redevelopment project and providing a forum for people to exchange their views on the project. Her passion for the community has led to her decision to run for council.

Editors Comments: Connie has the passion to do the job. In the candidates’ forum she came across as genuine and handled herself quite well. However, we are concerned that her focus might be two narrow.

We encourage you to do your own research and hopefully this letter can help you in that process. We also encourage you to exercise your right to vote on October 16. There are many countries on our planet that wish they had the same opportunity.


When businesses don’t understand bicycle racks.

Recently I went to the Clique restaurant. At the checkout, the cashiers mentioned there was a bicycle rack.

I knew that.

The comment caused me to reflect on what Tom Babin at had recently written about badly designed and installed bicycle racks. The strange thing was, I had filled out a comment card at the restaurant explaining what was wrong with the bike rack. It was as if the comments had fallen on deaf ears.

Here are 6 points that critique what I like to see.

1) Placement. A bike rack jammed up against a wall doesn’t work. Many bicycles are around 5ft long. This means that there needs to be sufficient room to put a bicycle in the rack and room on all sides of the bike to allow people to lock them up. Some racks jam bikes so close together that all the spaces can’t be used so people often have to lock bikes sideways across the entire rack. Would you park your car in a lot with spaces so narrow that you can’t get out of the car? The trend for many years has been for narrow parking spaces that exclude wide two door cars that used to be very common.

2) Undesirable locations: Placing bike racks in undesirable locations like under greasy kitchen exhaust vents isn’t promoting bike customers. Its actually an insult and a statement about how little bicycle customers are appreciated. Customers pick up on this very quickly.

A similar situation exists for drivers when they have smoke from kitchen exhausts blasting them in the face every time they get out of their cars. They wouldn’t park there either.

3) Security. A bicycle rack that isn’t even bolted down increases the risk of bike theft and also theft of the bike rack. If businesses can’t even be bothered to bolt racks down, will cyclists see this as a lack of concern about their bike security?

4) Visibility. The best location for bicycle racks is where they can be seen by patrons. This means right outside a window. If customers have to carry locks, many will not risk leaving their bike in a rack where it cannot be seen. Even people who carry locks will feel more compelled to do business at places where they can keep an eye on their bikes. Bicycle thefts in Calgary are on the rise and it seems that increased drug addiction is causing the increased thefts, not just for cyclists, but for drivers as well.

5) Damage. Bike racks that cause damage. Some racks cause damage because of their design. Some racks bend wheels or cause derailleurs to hit them. A rack needs to provide support for the frame, not just the wheels. This didn’t use to be a big problem with until rim/disk brakes and derailleurs became common. Misalignment of these components requires additional expense for repairs. If drivers don’t want to pay for repairs when they park at your business, why would anyone else?

6) Managing risk. Where proper bike racks are not provided, metal fences provide better security than street sign poles for instance. People can figure this out. They are not going to risk a stollen bike every time they come to your business. If businesses don’t care, cyclists won’t care to do business either. Its a two way street.

Is it any wonder that I don’t see other cyclists at this business?

I think not.


What is a time trial race like?

My first time trial this year was a strange concoction of events. I’m not a super fast cyclist. I know people who are older and much faster. The decision was last minute without time to train plus I really didn’t feel much like doing any hard rides this year.

The only thing going for me was cycle commuting all winter. Even then, I didn’t push myself as hard as in previous years and found it more difficult to ride fast. I ride heavy bikes and that’s about all that keeps me in shape.

Improving fitness a few days before the race was not going to happen because it takes a long time to improve fitness by gradually increasing effort over many months. The only possibility was to rest up as much as possible and hope I was fit enough to manage a decent time. The only change I made for equipment was new $100 tires.

I worried about whether I could even place well. As the group rode slowly out to the start line 1.5km away, I dropped down to first gear and picked up my pedal speed for about a kilometre then went up a few gears, took it easy and relaxed.

We lined up in a row according to our race numbers. One by one, the 20K riders left 30 seconds apart. By the time the last rider ahead of me left, the jitters were gone.

It seemed rather odd that all the worries about how well I’d do were suddenly gone. There is only one thing to do on a time trial and that is go as fast as possible for as long as possible.

When a person focuses totally on the present moment, time seems to slow down. I started out slowly and gradually picked up the pace. Jack rabbit starts waste too much effort.

All the techniques I used years ago on rides suddenly came back. There are really only two things you have control over. One is how you breathe to get as much air as possible. The second is choosing how much effort to push the pedals.

Overdo either one and you’ll slow down. The key is to balance out the stress between legs and lungs and maintain the highest effort on both. This means listening to the body and what its saying. Too high a gear and legs will fatigue. Too low a gear and breathing gets out of control. Its a constant rebalancing act in the gusty wind and frequent hills.

Within a kilometre I passed the first guy very quickly. Riders are separated by 30 seconds at the start line. Another kilometre later I rapidly passed the second guy. Another couple of kilometres and I slowly passed the 3rd guy who was going really fast. I began reducing the effort going down hill so I wouldn’t run out of steam before finishing.

As I neared the turn around point I was about about 500 metres behind the 4th guy and almost ready to pass. This meant I had gained almost 2 minutes on the 20K riders. The turn around was very slow. It costs way more in time to take the u-turn too fast and blow it.

The whole ride up until this point seemed like a few minutes. It was actually more like 10 minutes.

On the way back I passed about 10 of the 10K racers. I remember the hills and keeping my breathing under control. The last kilometre or two were uphill and into wind. At first it didn’t seem that bad but I kept my effort below what I could do going all out. The effort climbing long hills gets more difficult the longer the hill is. By the finishing marker I could just barely sustain the pace.

It was pretty weird that time didn’t seem to exist during the 19 minute ride and that I was the first one back.

Back at the arena we were given our times after the last riders had arrived. The time keeper said that anyone riding a heavy bike (more than 15lbs) who can manage that fast a speed, has talent.

I didn’t think I had it in me.


61 km ride today

A bike trailer provides extra carrying capacity when needed. Carrying a couple of wheels would be difficult otherwise.

Lots of people golfing today.

Forgot my water bottle!

Nice place to park for lunch under blossoming crabapple tree. No bike racks.

Went back for my water bottle. 61 km today. 🌞🚴😊

High of 18C today!


How to shift a bike going uphill.

Question was: how to shift a bike when it takes shifting down 5 gears to feel anything?

Step 1: take some Whiteout (preferred cause it wears off and is very visible) or a marker and mark one tooth on each gear on your bike, front and back gear sets to keep track of where you started counting teeth.

Eg. On a 21 speed bike with 3 front gears you may have 28,38,48 teeth on those gears.

On the cassette or freewheel (back gears) do the same starting with the largest gear and working your way to the smallest. Write the numbers down for each gear eg. 28,24,21…

Then go to: and enter the information. Don’t worry about the crank length if you don’t know it. We’re only looking for changes in gear inches (select gear inch output). Starting with the smallest front gear going to the largest front gear or chainring, enter the information. With the back gears, enter information starting with the largest back gear going to the smallest gear. Print the chart. What you end up with is a chart that has the lowest gear top left and highest gear on the bottom right of the chart.

What you are looking for.

You want to shift down progressively to a lower gear going up a gradually steepening hill. (On a very steep hill you might be better shifting to a gear low enough to get up a hill and just wait for the bike to slow down while pedalling at a constant speed until your feel resistance (bike has slowed down enough for that gear).)

What usually happens is you waste so much time jumping around from a low gear to higher gear to a lower gear (and you can’t shift fast enough because you have to ease up on pedalling to shift before finding the correct low gear and by then the bike has stopped because derailleur bikes don’t gear down well under load.

With the chart, you want to look at the gear inches. You want to find the smallest jump in gear inches between the largest front chainring and smallest cassette/freewheel gear combination and the next smaller chainring and larger cassette/freewheel combination.

In my case, I’ll shift down using the rear gears (cassette/freewheel). To remember to combination easily, I’ll use a 3 for the largest front (chainring) and a 7 for the smallest rear gear (cassette or freewheel). So top gear on a 21 speed would be memorized as 3,7. Downshifting then to 3,6 and 3,5 etc.

When I look at the chart, I find that the smallest gear inch change to a smaller chainring is from 3,5 to 2,7. In other words 2 representing the middle chainring and 7 representing the smallest freewheel gear (back gears).

I repeat this going from middle chainring to the small chainring and find once again that if I shift down… 2,7…2,6…2,5… that I can shift to the smallest chainring and shift to a smallest back gear combination with the smallest change in gearing. The smallest gear inch drop could be from 2,5 to 1,7. However, going from the innermost front gear to the outermost back gear will cause more wear… its called cross chaining. When hauling a heavy load or going up a steep hill you may find its more important to go to the nearest lower gear and keep pedalling hard to avoid loosing too much speed when shifting. For hills that increase in grade this works best.

If this is not a problem, ie you aren’t going to lose so much speed that you can’t gear down, some people say try to keep the chain as straight as possible. To do this, the large chainring uses the smallest 3 outer gears on the freewheel (5,6,7). The middle chainring used the middle 3 larger gears on the freewheel (3,4,5). The smallest chainring uses the largest 3 gears on the freewheel (3,2,1). This means a larger jump when changing to a smaller front chainring but it makes more sense in that it simplifies shifting while reducing cross chaining wear.

Using this method, I’ll shift 3,7…3,6…3,5…3,4…2,5…2,4…2,3…1,4 and all the way down to 1,1.

This complexity is why most people just don’t get how to shift a bike with chainrings and derailleur gears. You either choose the method of least wear or the method of progressively gearing down when pedalling hard.

When changes in grade are not significant, just drop to the smaller chainring. Think of the front chainrings as high, medium and low gear ranges and the freewheel gears as smaller changes within those ranges.

I print out the chart and tape it to the handlebar. Then I circle 3,5 2,7 and 2,5 to remind me of where the smallest gear changes are when I need to pedal hard.

When it comes to people with 65 gear bikes, 3 chainrings, 7 freewheels, and 3 hub gears… I just basically break down and cry.

Who ever said learning to shift a derailleur and chainring set bicycle was easy?

Be grateful if you only have a single chainring or a geared hub!


Cluny to Chancellor

Black n’ white makes a photo look like early 1900s. Other than a few houses on a road known as Chancellor, there isn’t much to see. But what makes the ride a great cycling route is a lack of traffic, the challenge of rolling hills and strong winds, especially when hills and wind are in the combination of downhill and tailwind turned into uphill and headwind.

Hwy 842 is a mix of smooth

and rough pavement.

During the 28 km out and back route there were fewer than two dozen vehicles on the road. Some were in the fields (tractors). Locals leave a wide margin when passing unlike city life where motorists often have a skewed concept of what sharing the road means. I found the sense of safety on this relatively unused highway similar to that of riding on Calgary’s Cycletracks.

This is the turn around point in Chancellor. Fast ride to this point. Tom averaged about 28 kph and I stopped to take photos.

I average about 27 kph. Light tailwind/crosswind and gradual lowering of altitude over much of the route made it relatively easy but challenging.

The wind began picking up speed to about 20kph. Added with gradual upward slope and hills, I managed to keep Tom in sight until the last 7 kms. Considering how many time trials Tom has won, it wasn’t a bad first season ride. Tom regularly rides in strong winds that would cause many of us to not ride at all.

The 842 curves west then south again. I was riding on solid tires which require a higher effort for the same speed. While Tom was coasting down hills I was pedalling to keep up. On rough pavement the effort to pedal on solid tires increases quite a bit. For training rides, flat proof solid tires have the advantage of carrying less weight (no tubes, no pumps). For touring when the majority of breakdowns are flats, solid tires more than compensate for being about 3-5 kph slower.

Hard efforts on one ride make later season rides feel easier. Avoiding hard rides makes every ride feel difficult. That’s why Tom hardly even sweated on the ride whereas for me, it was quite the challenge to keep up to someone 20 years older. {:~)