Also, thanks to everyone for stepping up to my challenge. So as promised, I completed the 75k distance on that old rod-brake bike wearing a sport coat, slacks and dress shoes. In this post you'll find the photos I threatened you with ;-)
I slipped off the saddle, stood on the left pedal and planted my right foot firmly on the pavement. The additional friction was enough to bring the bike gently to a stop. Not wanting to repeat the rod-brakes-on-wet-steel-rims-on-steep-hill experiment I dismounted, tightened the brake blocks closer to the rim, then took to the sidewalk and walked down the hill. I've since learned a better way to adjust these old brakes but they'll never be brilliant in the wet.
After the DFS team photo I just made it in time for the 7:15 close of the 75k start. Then it's out onto the Gardiner, setting course for the Don Valley Parkway.
Climbing the DVP the first time I came across Richard Goodridge from our team doing the 50k route. By now I was as wet as if I'd just walked out of the lake. Trousers dragged on my legs so much I stopped and rolled them up like plus fours.
|RFH participants at the York Mills rest stop.|
Back at the Bayview turn around I'm less wet ('drier' is too strong a word), and feeling a little restored after the descent. Having decided to go back to York Mills I bid Richard farewell. I'd hate being defeated by a little discomfort. Also I didn't want to have to admit that I'd bailed on the distance. So it's back up the hill, drying on the way. Eventually I could unroll my lower pant legs so they could dry out a bit too. Back at York Mills around 10:40.
|A bit drier, so pant legs rolled down.|
Evidence of second climb to York Mills?
The reward for climbing a hill on a bicycle is that you get to come back down, spending kinetic energy you've earned on your way up (insert gratuitous Reverand Spooner quote here). I was still cautious about descending too quickly, but on one of the steeper sections, and with no other riders nearby, I felt comfortable letting that heavy ancient bike get to just over 50kph. Oh yes, this day would have been one of your few opportunities, ever, to see a Raleigh Roadster fitted with a bike computer!
11:45 finds me back at the CNE and still damp. Grab some lunch, sneak in a 10 minute massage just before they close down. Then head for home climbing that hill one more time, only this time riding through town with the sun beating down and the mercury rising. Fall exhausted into bed.
Thanks again everyone! I wouldn't have missed this for the world!
Large frame Raleigh Roadster DL-1, 1969 vintage (or is it 1966? numeral stamped on the Sturmey Archer AW hub could be either a 9 or a 6). These bikes were little changed from the thirties, so it hardly matters.
I'd fabricated a mount so I could hang that great big wicker basket from the Raleigh headlamp bracket. Given the brake mechanism there was no other way to fit it. The weight of the basket caused it to loosen during the ride and from then on it was a nuisance. After the ride I removed the basket and it's never been back on. Anyway it kind of hides the rod brake bits, which are 100% genuine vintage charm so a shame not to show them off.
I had a couple of selections ready. For the jacket I had considered a lightweight linen sport coat, however when I woke and heard the weather I quickly settled on this black wash-and-wear number I'd picked up from Lands End. It's best steam cleaned or dry cleaned, and I don't think the care instructions had this 'rinse' in mind, but it survived.
Trousers were also wash and wear, light weight. They take a crease nicely but somehow lose it and wrinkle badly if you go all scuba in them, go figure. When dry they're a lighter colour than in these photos.
The shirt's short sleeved with pin stripes picking up the colours from the jacket and slacks. Something with a bolder stripe might've worked better in the pics. Worn over a white technical tee to give some options in case it turned blistering hot. On the day I was glad of all of the layers, most of the time, and would've preferred a long sleeved shirt for much of the ride!
The shoes are Nunn Bush with Kiwi polish liberally applied as defense the morning of the ride. They survived very well despite the abuse, literally full of water for quite a few kilometers. Careful drying over a few days by stuffing with newspaper (frequently changed), given a good polishing and stretched a bit on shoe trees, these are still quite nice.
The cycling gloves are from MEC. On seeing the pics I think a classic, old fashioned, light coloured string-back glove would've worked better with the jacket: these blend with the sleeves making them look too long.
TOTAL RIDE STATS including the trip to the CNE grounds and back:
Distance: 97.14km (did this feel like a double century?)
Total ride time: 5:55:14
Average speed: 16.40 kph (puff puff ...)
Maximum speed: 50.26 kph (whee!)