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Friday, April 23, 2010

Danny MacAskill's video hits 17 million

ENTERTAINMENT - Last year on April 21st we posted a video of "Extreme Bicycle Stunts by Danny MacAskill".

That video, a year later, has since won numerous awards and has been seen by approx. 17 million people. 23-year-old Danny MacAskill is a bicycle mechanic in Edinburgh and his parkour-style bike stunts are gravity defying to the point of disbelief.

He is "a bit of a nutter" says friend and fellow bike mechanic David Cleaver. Danny MacAskill's bike is built of mostly Cleaver-designed parts from Inspired Bikes in Nottingham, England.

The video was filmed by roommate David Sowerby and set to music by Seattle group Band of Horses almost exactly one year ago and put on YouTube on April 19th. It had taken six months of nights and weekends to put together.

The exposure has turned MacAskill into a celebrity stunt rider, so much that he quit his job at Macdonald’s Cyles and now rides professionally. It wasn't without injuries however.

Cleaver calls him gifted. "He’s a bit of a nutter. He will throw himself off things just for fun. The bike is second nature of him. He never looks at something and says what if. It’s not a question of if, but when. When you have that confidence and believe, you tend to land on your feet, pardon the pun."

Police in Edinburgh initially didn't think much of MacAskill riding off ledges, down steep stairways and along the backs of city benches. "He did get a little bit of hassle. Riding on walls, it’s seen as anti-social. The most alluring places to ride are always the places a rider shouldn’t be. But once the police see someone is professional and polite, they tend to just suggest he move on," says Cleaver.

In an encounter on the Scottish island of Skye an officer confiscated his bike for a summer.

Inspired Bicycles meanwhile is receiving a lot of attention as everyone wants "a bike like Danny’s."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bike Lanes, Subways and Road Tolls

CANADA - Here is the results of a recent Angus-Reid poll of Torontonians (The margin of error is plus or minus 2.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20).








One of Toronto's mayoral candidates is currently pushing the idea of charging $5 road tolls for DVP and Gardiner Expressways in exchange for a dramatic boost in subway routes (which would mean less cars on the road).

Its that or London-England-style "congestion charges", something which Torontonians will hate even more.

Either way less cars on the streets equals more room for both cyclists and drivers to get along.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Bicycle Lanes coming to Toronto

CANADA - Good news for Toronto cyclists, there are more bicycle lanes coming and even a pilot project for an European style dedicated bike lane (with barrier posts).

The three-month pilot project will see two car lanes — one northbound, one southbound – removed from University Avenue between Richmond St. W. and Wellesley St. W./Hoskin Ave. Cyclists will get their own lane alongside the inner median, separated from motorized traffic by a metre-wide buffer and solid dividing posts.

HOWEVER this pilot project seems rather silly... the area they've chosen doesn't really connect anything. Its not a high traffic zone for cyclists.

A better solution would have been dedicated bike lanes in areas that have large numbers of cyclists (or even a history of cycling accidents), and then expand from that area in a grid-like fashion.

Plus its TINY. A mere 1.3 km on a stretch of street that has really only be chosen because it goes from Osgoode Station to Queen's Park (the home of the Ontario Provincial Legislature)... Its as if Toronto City Hall is trying to piss off the Ontario MPPs.

The various Mayoral candidates are currently bucking for attention and its my feeling they are just using the bicycle lanes issue as political fodder and cyclists/motorists as pawns.

Here's how the 5 main mayoral candidates stand:

Sarah Thompson want to focus more on expanding the TTC subway. Less cars on the road means less gridlock and more room for both drivers and cyclists. See Sarah Thompson's Subway Expansion Proposal.

Joe Pantalone wants to expand bicycle lanes in high traffic areas for cyclists and also areas with a history of bicycle accidents.

Rocco Rossi hates cyclists. He wants to scrap bicycle lanes altogether and go back to the dark ages.

Giorgio Mammoliti said he would charge cyclists $20-$30 to register their bikes and use the lanes. (Like hell I am paying that! I pay my taxes, I have a right to use the road like any other commuter.)

George Smitherman has yet to take a solid stance and seems to favouring the status quo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bike Clinic 2010 - 2nd Annual Spring Bicycle Clinic

WANT FREE REPAIRS???

Bike Clinic 2010 is happening this Saturday, April 10th at Harmony Court.

Location: 150 Longboat Ave, south of Parliament and Front Street, in the courtyard.



Have a great time tuning bikes for the community and plying our skills as well as socializing with other bike enthusiasts in the Toronto cycling community.

Time: 11 AM to 3 PM.

Volunteers will start arriving around 10:30am to help with set up (tents, stands, Arranging tools and supplies). Feel free to volunteer!

More Info: Call Shah Mohamed at 416-839-8595.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fixing a Bent Derailleur Tab

Got a bent derailleur? Its probably a Shimano, the most popular derailleur sold on the market.

Well you're in luck, they're usually pretty easy to fix... Usually its not the derailleur that is bent anyway, but the tab (also called a hanger) the derailleur attaches to the frame has become bent. (Its actually a very COMMON problem for bicycle mechanics.)

The derailleur itself is usually made from a very strong metal and the parallelogram design makes it highly unlikely to get damaged. The weakest point therefore is the tab and if the derailleur gets bashed hard the tab will usually bend inwards. If it gets bent really far your derailleur will end up rubbing or jutting into your rear wheel spokes. Even a minor bash to your derailleur can muck up your alignment if the tab is weak.

You can roughly check the alignment with your eyes, if you look at the derailer from the rear. The derailleur pulleys should be lined up vertically with no sideways slant.

Is the tab Steel or Alloy?

If the tab is steel it can be easily bent back into position and realigned.

If its alloy metal you may be able to bend it back into position, but the next time it gets damaged it will be even worse. If it gets damaged again and again eventually the tab will snap right off. (A bit like twisting the tab off a pop can.)

To do a really good job of fixing the tab you will need the proper tool. Bicycle mechanics usually have this special tool in their shops so its not something a person would normally have in their garage.

Because many new bicycles now have narrow chains, Hyperglide, 7-9 speed cog sets proper derailleur alignment becomes really important to shift normally and smoothly. You want the derailleur to be PERFECTLY aligned to the front gears and the chain.

So what you want is a Park Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge, which costs about $60 US to buy unfortunately... without it you will just have to make do with whatever tools you have.

STEP ONE: Place the chain on the smallest gear.

STEP TWO: Remove the derailleur from the derailleur tab, with a 5mm allen wrench.

STEP THREE: Remove the derailleur and chain.

STEP FOUR: Use a Park Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge to realign the derailleur tab. (The tool uses the rear wheel as a guide so make sure your rear wheel is on perfectly straight!) If you don't have that tool you will have to bend the tab using whatever tools you have available. If its an alloy tab try to be gentle with it.

DO NOT JUST YANK ON IT. You don't want to overcompensate and bend the wrong part by accident or break it off entirely.

STEP FIVE: Reinstall the chain and derailleur.

STEP: SIX: Check and modify your derailleur and derailleur screws to make sure your derailleur is functioning perfectly.

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