Friday, August 13, 2010

Shticks and Tunes

Anyone who spends time in upstate New York sooner or later collides with a folk song that starts:

“I've got a mule, her name is Sal, Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

I imagine many a cyclist travelling the Erie Canal Route have nicknamed their bicycle "Sal". Well, sorry, I have never really formally named any of my bikes, so a Bike Friday it will remain, even though I'll actually be towing something close to a barge. The boating crowd, however is different, and naming your keel is almost de rigeur. If you've ever floated down a recreational waterway, reading boat names is a source of amusement. Many are meant to draw out a chuckle or a groan, like the old retired couple aboard the "Sea-Nile", or the playboy captain at the helm of the diesel-guzzling 50-footer "Fuelin' Around".

And so I dive into the corny side and name my boat: When the Bike Friday is on the kayak, its decals are quite visible, something to keep in mind. The brand name comes from the expression "Man Friday", which in turn is derived from a character in Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. Yar, well thar she be, matey, that's the name — Swirl it around in a pun worthy of its home port in the bilingual Ottawa Valley and I get "Cruise-Eau". I haul out my sign cutter and churn out matching decals, in yellow, of course.

While I'm on names, I might as well explain "Velogeur". It's a word I coined when I was cycling across Canada, from two French words which are commonly used in Canadian English: Vélo for bicycle, and Voyageur meaning traveller, which is also another name for the coureur de bois who paddled thousands of miles across the network of wild rivers by canoe during the early fur trade era. The coining seems more appropriate to what I'm doing now — maybe if more people do this it will spawn a sport like Randonneuring. Hmmm, Velogeuring, I can see it now, the main event would be a race from the Forks in Winnipeg to Lachine in Montreal :-)

I'm out of luck when it comes to the gearing of the bike. The hub is an odd one and ordering a new cassette would take a long time. My local bike shop tells me that if I wanted larger gears in the future, I should just get a second rear wheel built with a normal freewheel hub. Too bad it takes them two weeks to build one. I carefully cleaned and adjusted the bike yesterday. It was badly out of tune, so I changed the chain and reset the derailleurs, and it now hums like a charm.

The decal on the other side was all scratched up, so I peeled them both off. 
I hope the folks at Green Gear Cycling don't mind, 
I made up something else... and, um, in yellow.

The yellow actually matches with the front badge

This is how Bike Friday and his master Cruise-eau are attached together.
Get a load of that, "Knotty Buoy"!

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