A founder rides away

After a relatively brief battle with cancer, we celebrated the life of our dear friend Sue Nikkel last Saturday. I searched my photos for a record of Sue from rides over the years. This was taken at Park Rapids for the 2011 Headwaters 100. We had a record turnout of 17 riders that year (if my photos are accurate). It was Sue and Rudy that gave inspiration to the founding of MIT in 2003, following a cross Canada ride. At the urging of Sue, Rudy, and Jac Siemens I joined in 2004. In those first few seasons Sue was a regular rider and we were quite well matched in speed and cadence. She was also a great friend and we had many good talks. Rudy & Sue remained good friends of ours both on the bike and off. Noreen and Sue met every Monday, over several years, for exercise and a visit. More recently they shared a wildly engaging bookclub (I had to leave the house when that gang got going…totally raucous!).

Sue was a dedicated fan of Leonard Cohen and it seems fitting to honour her with a line from one of his songs. “So come my friends, be not afraid, we are so lightly here, it is in love that we are made and in love we disappear.” ~ Leonard Cohen

Farewell dear friend. If there’s justice in the afterlife we’ll spend some of it riding together. Much love, RJ

Out of the Rafters

Last week was exciting as I purchased new road shoes and pedals on a recent road trip.  Getting home I got out the pedal wrench to exchange the pedals.  The last time i changed pedals on my bike was 4 years ago.

In just under 2 hours i had not managed to get any of the pedals off.  First pure strength didn’t break the bond, then a good amount of Liquid Wrench and an overnight soak didn’t do the trick.  Out came the big gun, the propane torch.  At last the pedal began to turn but no crack with the threads finally letting loose accompanied the pedal as it began to loosen from the crank.  Upon closer inspection the now heated threads turned with and the pedal was lopsided.  Alas the cranks will need to be tended to by the experts.  

With our MIT Saturday ride happening i needed to react so i reached into the rafters and pulled down my early 1970’s era Cannondale touring bike i purchased in 2002 for $150.00.

I had ridden her a couple of times in wet weather and borrowed to other people but few km’s had been put on over the last 8 years.  

Once i began riding on Saturday morning to New Bothwell the wonderful feeling of the first ride on this bike hit me.  The down tube shifters worked well but needed getting use to, the comfort of the ride as the 32 mm tires created a great barrier to rough roads. The bike geometry is different, the bike is longer creating more comfort and when drafting i needed to be careful of my front wheel as it is further out front.  One other big difference was the gearing on this bike.  It has a 54×14 as the top gearing and i was running out of gear with the wind.

All went well and just might need to take her out of the rafters more often for a ride.  

Ride Options for Saturday, September 9 MIT Ride

Here are the choices to ride this Saturday with MIT.

local rides meeting at 8 am at water tower riding either Grunthal or Richer depending on wind direction.

Meet at 8 am at 452 Reimer traveling to Kenora, Ontario and riding an 80 km loop in and around Kenora.  If traveling directly to Kenora meet at 10 am at the Keewatin Arena located at 930 Front St in Keewatin.  

Deacon’s Ride

Great ride to Deacon’s Corner today.  The goal was to meet up with pastor Mel Letkeman who was riding from Saskatoon home to Steinbach, approx 1,000 km.  We caught him close to Deacon’s Corner then stopped for breakfast at Chicken Chef in Lorette.

The pace was quick today as we had little wind and strong legs with 9 riders. Rod, Merle, Werner, Paul, Rob, Curt, Mel, Jac and Byron rode.  Good stories and with new faces we played the Mennonite game, just so we knew were everyone fit in.

 Great to be riding as we tell stories, feel the wind on our face, hear the hum of the tires on new asphalt and sharing the common bond of being on a bike.