Know when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em

23 07 2010

For the past week, I’ve been living a lie.

I’m not riding in the big ring.

In fact, I’m spending an ungodly amount of time in the little chainring. That’s because my big ring has attained that state of wear when the chain jumps everytime I try to pedal under pressure, like from a standing start or chugging up a climb.

So, I’ve got to soft pedal it at stop lights. Or humble myself by dropping down to the little ring. It makes for a very busy ride, all that shifting of gears.

After a 103 km ride on Wednesday, yesterday was a bit of a respite. Although not totally devoid of a ride.

A buddy hit town for a visit, and while his wife tended to errands, he wanted to get in a bit of ride.

Kinch is an editorial and commercial photographer who left Vancouver for New York City more than ten years ago because his clients were having a harder and harder time seeing the value in quality photography; in this era of digital photography, they thought, someone’s bound to come up with a usable image they can use for free, so why pay.

His partner, Marlaina, is a journalist who covered the business beat, was a consumer advocate, then dabbled in communications for a political party, Eventually, she too went to NYC.

Two years ago, they undertook a MAJOR career shift, the kind of change of gears that had everyone who knew them scraping their jaws off the floor and poking their ears as if waxy build up had distorted what they were hearing.

They became long-haul truckers!

They loved to travel, they craved adventure, and they could earn a steady paycheque, was their reasoning.

Of course, as true West Coasters, they would put their own spin on their new vocation; determined not to succumb to the downsides of a very sedentary line of work fraught with long hours and irregular breaks, they eschew truck stops and their greasy, fattening menus for quality groceries of organic salads, craft cheeses, fine meats and breads. And they pack their Brompton foldies to get around towns, and get some exercise, after they’ve parked the truck.

Kinch unfold his Brompton for a ride around UBC.

The Brompton is like the Bentley of folding bikes. Collapsed and bundled up, it looks like a training unicycle. Unfolded and locked-in, it’s a worthy little get-around ride.

Visiting the rose garden and its magnificent view of the North Shore mountains.

Ever since Katie embarked upon her own cycling adventure with a shiny blue Dahon foldy, I’ve noticed more and more of them on the roads and bike lanes. They’re incredibly clever and well-engineered. The best ones find that perfect balance between portability and performance. When I was on a bike tour in France in ’03, a member of our group bombed around the country on a Bike Friday road racer; those little wheels looked odd, but he was more than able to keep pace! And Katie even tackled the rolling undulations of Marine Drive to Horseshoe Bay on her foldy, although not always with a smile on her face.