Monday, August 15, 2016

Louiseville / MRC Maskinongé ride

One of my favorite destinations for an easy fun scenic quiet ride.  Alternatively, if you want an insane ride, just ride from St-Alexis-des-Monts to Hotel Lac Sacacomie and back.

Sunday's ride was an easy ride, done after the rain had stopped and the roads had dried.

Louiseville aka MRC maskinongé aka buckwheat (sarrazin) central is an easy 103 km from Montreal on Autoroute 40, also known as the road to take when there's construction delays on all the south shore bridges.
I started late because rain (delayed departure = dryer roads) and I didn’t do either the long or mega long crazy hill version that goes deep north into the bush. Yesterday I stuck mostly to the plains below the hills.
This area is defined by two things.
First is old-tyme villages 5-10 km apart. The first road from Quebec to Montreal is along here and called the chemin du Roy (kings road) a mile inland from the St-Laurence. It is a Route Verte and when people bike Mtl-Quebec it is along this. Sometimes it is off the main highway and these are the good parts. Sometimes it is part of the busy 138 highway. Natch, I optimizes this.
Second is north south rivers crossing the plains into the St-Laurence river, so therefore there are plenty of quiet roads that follow these north/south direction, the trick is knowing where are the good east west roads that aren’t highways to link up the fun north south roads. 
Also, the region has an excellent regional bike ride map with exquisite detail. Truly my favorite regional bike map!
So I followed one of these north that goes through one of the better tree-tunnels and several other scenic highlights). Then I explored a new road west (highway, but not the busy one) over to Ste-Angele. Here I joined the highway and was almost immediately passed by one of those old dudes on a bike who clearly ride 50,000 km a year. I accelerated & kept up but happily he turned south before I did.
Ste-Angele is at edge of escarpment where laurentien plateau / hills start. Usually (=always) this is a high speed descent last 1/4 of ride phase that is very zooming along. I decided to ride uphill on my fave escent road: Rang Agusta. It has fresh asphalt and is a rolling twisty road, a great descent and a fun climb. I took it up to the cell tower that defines the highest point in the region (and… if is a very tall tower.
Then it was zoom downhill on perfect fresh asphalt.
Slight mist type rain started so I put on my 2-way zip cycling vest (truly a most useful and versatile garment) and down I went along a route I know well. It is fairly an express ride section back to Louiseville, so at the last village before Louiseville (Ste-ursele (which also has a pretty good waterfall) I went west to explore a north-south road I never roade before. It was nice, but would have been nicer if it was not decayed to farm lane dirt road in the middle! At least it was well graded. Soon civilized asphalt returned and I arrived in the next village west from Louiseville – Maskinongé (1702). Here I join civilization, ride on the route verte that is also the Chemin du Roy, and is also the part of the chemin du Roy that is off the highway. Very nice section. 
Then arrive in Louiseville and get refreshments and have completed a very fine easy level ride with almost no rain and in fact no real rain.

Version 2 of my ride, as written to my buddy Sid.

One of my favorite easy areas to ride is starting in Louiseville, near three rivers, which sounds far but isn’t: it is only 103 km from my house on easy driving A40.
There ride starts on the plains north of the St-Laurence, then one enters the laurentian plateau with a bit more hill terrain but generally never hard.
The highlight is always coming back down from the plateau from whichever is the turning south point and zooming back to the village. It is always a real highlight of my bike riding.
Sunday I didn’t go far into the plateau, only a few km on rang Augusta, which is a rollercoaster I usually come down, but going up is good too. It was freshly repaved and is perfection. The turnaround point is a cell tower above the highest point on the road, essentially all-downhill back to Louiseville. Woohoo.
It is a favorite ride destination.
The ride can include insanity, just continue north of St-Alexis-des-Monts to lac Sacacomie, which has crazy hills that test your sanity, meaning descending with or without braking. On the climb up (severe)  I stopped on side of road for a micropause and a car stopped and passengers thought maybe I was dying. Maybe I was, but I was not going to admit it.
FYI: Alberta and Lake Louise are names after her too.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

repair list (to do list)

So a bike collection combined with time = an extensive repair list, especially on the oldest bike.
There are three interesting things below, see if you can spot them amongst the dross.
*86 Rockhopper*
This was my original mtn bike bought 2nd hand in 1988 and is now my city bike (i.e. performs well and does not look valuable)
This bike had been out of action for a while because of bad rear wheel and several niggling minor troubles. Several!
Rear wheel
New last night to replace a real piece of junk that ABC cycle returned my bike with after keeping or losing my very good wheel from my original full suspension mtn bike (bleeding edge good for a couple years then obsolete POS)
Of course after (literally and accurately) one tour around the block it went out of alignment.
Rear brake is not east-adjustment friendly, but new rim is wider so gotta take 30 minutes of misery and get it set up.
Front brake
Has some squeal
Two sides of brakes not aligned in where they sit, maybe time to replace the original 1986 spec brake (2nd last original part!)
Is brake aligned to brake zone of rim or is it too high near tire?
Tires: I just put my fat city tires back on, so good for now. I had put some old knobby tires on it but they are all cracked and cracked tire surface = flats waiting to happen
I had a nice loud bell but the handle broke off, so need a new one. Bell is very useful in city riding.
Rear fender
When I put on the knobbies I took off the fenders. I put all the bolts etc in a little bag. Of course a year later I discover that not all bolts are to be found in the bag.
I have a non-stock cheap friction shifter that needs to be loosened and lubed. Not a big job, but needs to be done. Also, the shifter tends to rotate out of correct position on the handlebar. Because cheap. I’d like a less cheap one but friction isn’t in.
Front wheel
Hub needs lube, luckily it had a grease port so this should be a 30 second job. This was a user friendly easy-maintenance innovation in the early 90s that of course was not invented by shimano and of course Shimano would not adopt.
Seat post: seized. Need to unseize it. This may not be possible. At least it is at at correct height.
Chain: needs to be de-gunked. This is the stays-outdoor bike and I only add lube, never really clean it.
Need to update lights to have brighter modern ones. Bright ones cost $. But for city use I believe that better = brighter = safer.
*1988 Bertrand*
Generally running strong!
Need to fine tune the rim alignment because I get a bit of a speed wobble.
Real wheel is a super cheapie, and it could be good to get a good wheel there, but cheapie has been reliable! Very reliable! 
*2009 Rockhopper full suspension mtn bike*
I got this in my 50th year because I had no functional mtn bike and I missed doing the best sport in the world. It was the cheapest full suspension mtn bike. It has certainly returned lots of fun joy and pleasure, and also makes a GREAT city bike! Except for wearing down knobbies on pavement of course.
Front disc brakes
Front brakes a bit worn and maybe a bit of disk caliper stickiness. Need to investigate online before going to bike shop. Entirely possible disc pads need changing.
Need to check chain wear. Chain is grabbing chainring sometimes so maybe time for drivetrain (gears) overhaul (new chain, chainrings and cassette)? It has been 7 years. Step one is check chain wear and clean and relube. It had gotten dry after a bike wash a while ago so maybe a clean & more lube? 
Should do an rim * spoke verification/alignment because once in a while this is a good safety/reliability check.
*85 Raleigh (broken frame)*
Need to strip this bike of potentially useful parts and discard.
Other needs:
I need to develop some apartment bike storage solution because this is a problem.
            Back closet hanging structure (parts bought, not installed – big job)
            Front door hanging thing because sitting by front door not aestheticaly nice.
            Office room – additional hanging positions. This could get mtn bike out of the way.
            Need to not have bikes leaning against bike on trainer because adding obstacles to using bike trainer is bad.
I would like a folding repair stand because my actual one of non folding and therefore in storage and hard to use easily.
Improve bike trainer setup, with screen9s) and fan in a semi-permanent setup (at least in off season). Some sort of Tandem bike so wife and I can share the joy despite our extremely mismatched speed levels.
Bertrand replacement
Hopefully when Bertrand is 30 years old (2 more years) I will have a new road bike. I would like it to have more all-weather and (easy-level) dirt road capability.