Archive for April, 2008

Calgary’s underground bike shop

Posted in Bike Shops on April 29, 2008 by Sarns

BikeAlberta’s friendly Alberta Cycling Blogger Sean Carter sent this fine piece of a feel good bike article. Check it out:

Drop-In Centre’s program puts more bicycles on the road

Standing under a ceiling lined with bicycle rims — many marked with red tape to indicate they’ve been trued — Paul Woloshansky scans a pile of bicycles and parts and plucks out a frame. “These,” he explains, “were all donated by a local bike shop.” He hands the frame to his volunteer, Nathan Coates, who sets it on a couple of chains hanging from the ceiling. Soon this dusty frame will be a fully functional bicycle that someone can use year-round to get to and from work.

Woloshansky’s shop is distinct from any other in town. Not only is it spotless and orderly — cleaner, he boasts, than most shops — but it’s in an unlikely location: tucked beside the Drop-In Centre in the homeless shelter’s old building. You could call it the city’s underground bike shop. “We’re building up quite a clientele of people for whom this is a very valuable service,” says 53-year-old Woloshansky, himself an avid cyclist. “This is my passion,” he says.

The shop is a Drop-In program called Wheels of Self-Reliance. The idea is simple: people who need bicycles, parts or repairs come to Woloshansky’s shop and get what they need, and learn mechanical and employment skills in the process. Many of the shop’s clients come from the Drop-In Centre.

“When people make the transition from the street, we provide them with stuff they need,” says Woloshansky. Those needs almost always include transportation, and bicycles from the shop allow people to commute easily and at no cost. “A lot of people depend on this,” says Coates, who describes his daily bicycle commute from Bridgeland to the Foothills Industrial Park as a “contact sport.”

However, the bicycles — most of which are donated — aren’t free per se. To get a bike from Woloshansky’s shop, a person has to don a tool apron and repair two bikes first. Once they fix a third, it’s theirs to keep. Or they can fix six wheels, which counts as fixing a bike.

Wrenches, pliers and other tools are all neatly arranged on the shop’s white walls. Woloshansky directs people to the correct tools and gently instructs them on how to replace their cables or fix their brakes or true a wheel. “The person does the work,” says Woloshansky. “I show them what to do, with the idea that they become more independent…. They learn a lot of skills, and a lot of them are transferable [to other jobs].”

Woloshansky has overseen the refurbishment of more than 340 bikes since the shop’s inception in 2006. Over one-third of the bikes repaired in the shop are children’s bikes, and these are eventually distributed to schools and youth groups like the Boys and Girls Club.

Bikes (and bike parts) come into the shop from all sources: random donors, other bike shops, the City. They go out a variety of ways as well. Drop-In Clients use the shop, but so do university students and others. “It’s not just something for homeless people,” says Woloshanksy, who’s worked in bike shops since the 1960s. “[You’ll see] one guy who’s a bottle-picker working next to an engineer.” That close proximity is an important part of the program’s employment training. “You get eight people in here rubbing elbows, and you have to get along with each other,” says Woloshansky. Coates puts it this way: “Everyone is just eye to eye here.”

The bikes that come out of the shop are mostly built with simple, rigid frames — “easy to maintain, simple to fix,” says Woloshansky. The shop doesn’t have tools or parts for suspension or disc brakes, but other than that, “we’re as full-service as most shops.”

I recently brought my winter mountain bike into the shop after a winter of hard riding in road salt and sludge. My gears wouldn’t shift. Being mechanically incompetent, I needed help. In the past, I’ve taken my bike to a shop and paid upwards of $60 for a tune-up. At Woloshansky’s shop, I learned how to restring my cables. When I went in at 6 p.m. I had absolutely no idea how to repair the cables; by 8 p.m., I could do it myself, and my bike now rides smoother than it ever has.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story. After (or before) someone uses the shop to repair their bicycle, they’re expected to contribute back by volunteering in the shop — cleaning floors, truing wheels or whatever other job Woloshansky throws at them. “It’s a reciprocal thing,” he says.


Euro Beat w/ Spencer

Posted in Cycling Bloggers, Road on April 25, 2008 by Sarns

After my last post, overtrained and fatigued, I had begun to focus on recovering both physically and mentally. This really did feel like a load had been lifted as I could relax and take a break from being as fanatical as I can get during the season. It was also good to forget about cycling for a bit, despite how hard that may seem at times.

Late in the week I found myself walking around town. I wanted to check out a few parts of town I hadn’t been to before. I walked up to the radio tower on the largest hill in town which offered a great view and some quiet roads. I had not been up there yet by bike as the climb is quite intimidating with a pitch of 20%. Another day saw me walk to the sports complex on an adjacent hill and down through the forest into town. Spring has really brightened up the town and with most trees in full bloom, I really enjoyed exploring it.

As the weekend arrived, I worked my way back onto the bike. Saturday was seemingly a test day to see where I was at. I did a recovery ride on my usual route by the canal, this time with my power meter on the bike. To put it short, I felt horrible for the duration of the ride. My heart rate was unmanageable, by body felt bad and my power was really low. Looking at this, I believed I was still fatigued from before. Nonetheless, I went out on the bike on Sunday as per the scheduled training.

With a bit more time on the bike, I decided to try a new direction. Initially I was trying to avoid hills, but this proved futile as I only found more climbing. This actually helped me though as I found it rather exciting to be on small, winding roads leading up and down steep slopes. This then gave way to attacking each “côte” with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was just riding for fun, not worried about my exact training, and this was what I needed. It re-sparked a deep-rooted passion that had seemed to fade earlier with my overtraining and the stress from my deteriorating condition. As I came home, it began to rain. I did not mind this much, as I was warm and I felt like my normal self.

Back on the bike Tuesday, after Monday’s rest day, I found some more new terrain to excite the senses. Not only did I have the enthusiasm, but a good deal of power to add to the ride. Despite being in France for three and a half months, I still get excited to ride a single lane road through the countryside. There is so much to see here and I keep finding myself surprised when I take a new road and see something totally unexpected.

Wednesday was a day I had been looking forward to for a while as my coach, former Alberta Bicycle Association Technical Director, Andy Holmwood, would be arriving to visit for a week. The day’s ride proved optimistic as well with a temperature of 23 degrees and some good riding. I rode a little harder than I maybe should have, but every time I came upon a rise in the road, I could not help but get out of the saddle and throw it into a harder gear. Adding to the optimism was the fact that I posted a personal best peak power in a sprint that was not a full effort. After the ride, I watched the Fleche Wallone live on TV and in the evening, Andy arrived.

This weekend I will race the Boucle de Pay de Troncais in the Auverne region with the remaining Category 1 riders who were not selected to the Circuit Saone et Loire. The Circuit is an exceptionally difficult stage race based out of Le Creusot and put on by our team. Each team can only enter 5 riders. Past riders include Alexandre Vinokourov, Mark Cavendish, Michael Barry, Cyril Dessel, Richard Virenque, and Clement Lhotellerie. For the Boucles de Troncais, I will be happy to race again, now with a renewed passion.


Team H&R Block kicks off Season at Tour of Walla Walla

Posted in Racing, Road on April 24, 2008 by hugyourbike

Calgary-based Team H&R Block, just days after securing Trade Team status from the Canadian Cycling Association, traveled last weekend to the Tour of Walla Walla, in south-east Washington state, to kick off the 2008 road racing season. This stage race is a premier event on the northwest calendar, attracting a number of top teams from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

The racing started late afternoon Friday with the Kellogg Hollow Road Race, held on rolling open terrain near the town of Waitsburg, north of Walla Walla.
Weather played a major role in the race with a constant stiff wind from the south ultimately splitting the peloton of 120 riders into three-plus groups. H&R riders Chris DeVries and Cyrus Kangarloo made the crucial split of the race, finishing in the first chase group behind stage winner Rob Britton (Trek/Red Truck), while H&R’s Dallas Morris took the first sprint prime.

Saturday’s racing included a tough double-stage day: An 11 kilometre Individual Time Trial in the morning, followed by a 155 kilometre road race in the afternoon. Top H&R rider in the ITT was Chris McNeil, in 24th position. The Waitsburg Road Race again featured wind in addition to a 3 kilometre climb which the racers encountered three times. A few flakes of snow also greeted the peloton. It was a race of attacks off the front and attrition at the back, with Dallas finishing a fine 5th place, and Chris DeVries coming home in 16th. Rest, not to mention copious amounts of food, was warmly welcomed after three stages and nearly 300 km of racing in little more than 24 hours.

The final classification of the race was pretty much set after the second road race. Little changed during Sunday’s downtown Walla Walla Criterium; top H&R rider on the stage was Jeff Bolstad in 15th place. All H&R riders finished in the top-half of the field on general classification, with the exception of Aaron Schooler, who locked handlebars and went down in a crash during Sunday’s Criterium. Fortunately, Aaron suffered only some scrapes and won’t miss any riding. The team also accomplished a pre-race goal, finishing top-five in the team classification, while Dallas placed second on sprint bonuses. Top H&R riders on general classification were Dallas Morris (22nd) and Chris DeVries (23rd).

Final notes:
• Canadian domination was the norm at Tour of Walla Walla, with riders from Trek/Red Truck and Kona/Adobe winning both stages and the overall
• Congrats to former H&R rider Devon Smibert, back with the Synergy team, on his fine 6th place overall
• Next up for Team H&R Block – GP bici/bici ITT in and around Calgary this weekend

More information:
• Tour of Walla Walla:


Posted in MTB, Racing on April 22, 2008 by hugyourbike

Get pumped for this year’s race season by attending the Western Canadian premiere of Clay Porter’s latest film F1RST. Here’s what they have to say about F1RST.

“From Clay Porter, the filmmaker who bought you the 2007 break out docu-style movie “Between The Tape”. Packed with slamming race footage from the 2007 world cup season and the highly anticipated World Champs in Scotland, as well as footage of the sport’s biggest stars in their home territory, ripping it up for clay’s cameras. The Athertons at night with cable cam, Minnaar and Peat hunting trails in South Africa and Sam Hill killing down under, to name a few.

Like Between the Tape, F1RST is a documentary, shot in stunning locations all over the world including South Africa, Eastern Europe, Austrailia the UK and of course the USA. Picking up where Between The Tape left off, Porter has a unique way of getting the stars to open up in front of his cameras, speaking candidly with words and power slides. No other film captures the rarified air of the race scene quite like F1RST.”

The Alberta Downhill Racing Association with help from sponsors Calgary Cycle and Bike Bros. are presenting this exciting movie premiere. Mark May 3rd on your calendars and head up to the Olympic Hall of Fame theatre at Calgary’s home of downhill racing, Canada Olympic Park.

Doors will open at 6:30 and the movie will start at 7pm. There will be swag and door prizes to be had including a 2008 COP summer season’s pass compliments of local DH racer, web guru and all round good guy Mitch Thorton.

Tickets will be $10 at the door and copies of F1RST will be available to purchase for $30

ADHRA is offering up a special deal for the first 50 people to buy their tickets in advance. A F1RST movie package that includes a ticket to the show, an ADHRA T-shirt and a copy of F1RST will be available for a measly $40. This is a limited time offer available until Apr. 25th only. So don’t delay. Contact us at to reserve yours. (Be sure to tell us your t-shirt size).

(courtesy of

Edmonton Bicycle Commuters News

Posted in Bicycle Commuting on April 21, 2008 by hugyourbike

Edmonton Bicycle Commuters is a-buzz with Spring activities. Please have a look and see how you want to come out and support Edmonton’s cycling community

Any questions? Contact

Bike Month and Bikeology Festival

Call for volunteers!

Volunteer to help Edmonton come alive with a velo-love vibe


Volunteer meeting

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stanley Milner Library

7 Sir Winston Churchill Square

(102 A Ave ad 100 Street)

6th Floor meeting room


We’ll have

– a discussion of Bike Month and Bikeology past and present plans

– descriptions of volunteer positions

– sign up sheets for volunteer positions


Any questions, email


Earth Day

volunteers needed for bike lock up

Earth Day is EBC’s first secure bike lock-up of the year.

You need no training or expertise to help with this event. Come and take care of commuters’ bikes, then enjoy the festival when your shift is done


contact: Molly


William Hawrelak Park

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1 pm to 5 pm

shifts are 2 hours long

two volunteers will be on duty at all time

also needed – mega-thighed people to help haul bike racks and promotional information to and fro


contact: Molly


2008 Planet Party

Volunteers needed for information table – talk to folks about EBC’s good work!

The John Janzen Nature Centre and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton are hosting the 2008 Planet Party.  This is a great opportunity to interact with people who may not have otherwise heard of EBC


contact: Molly


Sunday April 27, 2008

1 pm to 4 pm

shifts are 2 hours long


Where: John Janzen Nature Centre

Theme: Magic in the Air – the magic of nature


What Else:

• Fun family event celebrating nature and the environment

• Indoor/outdoor activities, crafts and games

• Live music and speakers (John Acorn pending confirmation)

• Market Place – booths set up by organizations in the environment field highlighting programs and initiatives taking place around Edmonton

• Face painting

• Refreshments


contact: Molly


Job Postion – Part Time BikeWorks Facilitator/Bike mechanic


Position starting May 5th 30 hours a week – includes weekend duties. Hourly

rate commensurate with experience.


– to operate the Bike Work facility in a friendly and professional manner

– help people (members and public) to repair their own bicycles

– repair backlog of bicycles for sale

– design and implement standard Bike Works procedures to improve efficiency

– answer telephones, sell memberships, and do other miscellaneous office duties when required

– maintain inventory and parts book

– receive and record cash transactions for parts and bicycle sales

– cross check received bicycles with bicycle registry

– construct/expand, maintain, and organize working area

– keep the facility in a tidy and organised space


Send resumée or questions to



Euro Beat w/ Spencer

Posted in Cycling Bloggers, Racing, Road on April 18, 2008 by Sarns

Finding Truth at the Tour du Jura
So, in last week’s post I focussed on learning from the little mistakes I was making with the goal of remaining optimistic and progressing in mind. I did not address, however, something larger holding me back, and it was visible in plain sight. I have been feeling as if I am trying to catch up on my recovery without being successful. As I have continued through training, I have found it harder and harder to do the same volume. This weekend, I finally recognized that I have been overtraining/under-recovered for some time.

Thursday began with rain once again, making it difficult to want to get out on the bike for a slow-paced recovery ride. The rain turned into a light drizzle and I decided to head out for a brief turn of the pedals around town. I didn’t stay out too long as it was cold and wet and I had felt like my past sickness was maybe returning.

Friday morning I woke up and got everything prepared as that night I would be racing. I met the team at 2 pm and we drove off to Voiteur for the first stage of the Tour du Jura, a 5-6 km uphill night prologue. It stopped raining in time for the team presentation, but substantial flooding was occurring and the river running through Voiteur was very close to overflowing. I began warming up and while a little rushed, made to the start, where they mounted two small LED lights on the bike. As I made my way up the mountain to Chateau-Chalon, I crossed streams flowing across the road, briefly distracting me from the pain of the race.

As I approached half-way I began to feel stomach acid burning my throat every time I pushed harder. This forced me out of the big chain ring which the team wished me to ride in, and I therefore rode slowly on the most important part of the climb. I crossed the line in pain as I should have been, but without having felt as if I made a huge effort. I was unable to push as hard as normal, but I attributed this to the stomach acid and just reminded myself to take an antacid before I race. I was 85th on the stage.

After a rather small amount of sleep, I awoke Saturday morning prepared to face the large amount of climbing ahead of me in the second stage. We rode to the start at Aire du Jura, a tourist attraction, and were soon lining up. I had changed wheels to race on my Mavic Kysriums, which were lighter than the team’s Aksiums. Being pressed for time once again, I neglected to check that the gears were aligned the same. Within the first kilometre I had problems with ghost-shifting in all but the hardest gears. So I rode with a slow cadence as we approached the start of the climbs. On the first GPM, the road kicks up well over 10 percent and the pack seemingly fell apart. I felt strong enough to stay at the front, but the gear I was in was much too hard for the grade and when I shifted down, my gears were ghost-shifting all over. I made it to the top with a group off the back and was within reach of another chase group. They were within sight and we put in a large initial effort to join them. As the race turned once again to the climbs, we lost sight of them. Much of this was due to the lack of cohesion in my group with the chase being sporadic and poorly organised. Late in the stage as we climbed into the snow and mist near Switzerland, I found myself too strong for the group I was in. I crossed the line at the front of the group, determined to be much higher up in the next stage. It turns out my teammate Nicolas Bourdillat won the stage with Emilien Broe 4th and both in a small breakaway group. This put Emilien in the best young rider jersey and gave Nicolas the most aggressive rider jersey for his attacking. I was now in 91st and thirteen minutes back from the leader.

The third stage on Saturday afternoon was supposed to be relatively easy as it was mostly descending down from the Alps at the border with Switzerland. For the entire neutral start I rode right at the front, drafting the press motorbike. As the ‘depart reel’ got underway, I was at the front and feeling alright. I looked to Nicolas, a few kilometres later, whom I wished to help improve his good position and he said “allez Spencer”, sending me up the road to take pressure off himself in the chase. The timing was poor and I should not have listened to him as Emilien had just attacked and as I tried to open my gap over 15 seconds, we turned onto the only GPM of the afternoon. I soon was back in the pack and sliding back. I pushed hard to stay with them, but all of a sudden I just blew up. This wasn’t a normal cracking like I have experienced before. This time I had nothing to push with. I couldn’t hold onto people I should have been able to drop and quickly fell out of the caravan with only the broom-wagon behind me. I tried to push myself harder, but could not push myself. I took risks on the potentially icy roads descending from the GPM and passed another rider, giving me motivation to work harder. Still, with this motivation, I could not get my legs moving faster. Later in the stage after overtaking another rider and being overtaken by the previous motivator, I found myself at a level where I could not push past a soft-pedal or raise my heart rate above 145, which is very low for me. At approximately 15 km from the finish, I was caught by the last rider and the broom-wagon. I pulled over and stepped off the bike, getting into the sweep vehicle, inadvertently coercing the other rider to do the same. My team held the best young rider jersey, the team classification and Nicolas was second on the stage.

Sunday morning I woke up with ease and tried to relax while everyone prepared to race. In Arbois, we ate our lunch and before the start, headed off with our mechanic to give our riders feeds later on the course. It was interesting to follow the race by trying to show up at each successive position before the riders, but it was not my preferred way of attending a race. That night we lost all of over classifications when a breakaway got away containing none of our riders.

This week has been rather relaxing, with me off the bike to recover from overtraining. I have been able to do many things I wanted to get done as well as spend time doing different activity. Today, for instance, I went for a long walk to the park in the center of Le Creusot, which with 20 degree weather and the season, was quite beautiful. I am not hiding anything from myself anymore. I have recognised that I am under-recovered and understand the reasons it has occurred. I will have to come back slowly, but I can come back to form and be much stronger than before.


Photo credits: Grégory Oudot

Edmonton City Council Approves New Indoor Velodrome

Posted in Racing, Road on April 17, 2008 by Sarns

Provided by Alan Schietzsch – ABA President

After an all-day marathon City Council session, the velodrome project was approved in it’s current location! There was plenty of opposition to fight, and it was a very close vote, but we did it.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. We just squeaked by, so props to the dedicated crew who showed up and made their presence known!

Now that we finally do have a site approved, we start work on the capital campaign, We can now get onto action putting the finances in place so we can proceed.

Please give your support to Edmonton BMX as they seek a new location too!