Home > Day to Day > It felt as if I spent more time in bike stores than on the roads…but the time at IDEAL BIKE was worth it! – Grafton to Adolphustown to Elgin

It felt as if I spent more time in bike stores than on the roads…but the time at IDEAL BIKE was worth it! – Grafton to Adolphustown to Elgin

Today would be a fun ride over familiar ground: Hwy 2 till Belleville, then down to Prince Edward County, and finally via Picton to the Glenora Ferry and on to Adolphustown. Ah, if it was only so simple!

The first part went as planned: easy riding with great scenery, helped by a tailwind. The din from the bottom of my bike was getting beyond annoying: a sickening grinding clatter with every downward push of the pedals. I decided to make the slight detour to Bloomington and give the bike store there a try: they had solved some pretty tricky bike problems during Gay’s and my previous rides in the area.

Things were busy at the store. The guy who owns the place looked the same, except that his hair was more sparse, more white and much longer, reaching down to his waist! And since he was looking after some clients his wife came to my aid. After a short discussion we decided to try new pedals. I had actually been wondering about my pedals, as part of my process of eliminating different potential noise sources. With some new pedals installed I took the bike for a quick spin: silence! I moved through various gears, put pressure on the pedals – this seemed to have solved the problem! Yes!

Sadly they did not have an appropriate tire to replace my seriously worn (but flat-free) rear tire. So the bill came to a mere $56! I left the old pair of very expensive pedals at the store, thanked the staff effusively and then Owen and I rode towards Picton. (The three Mouseketeers, who I directed to the store stayed behind while Jim got two new tires installed.)

Five kilometers later the noise was back. What the hell?! I was tempted to ride back to Bloomington but decided it wasn’t worth it.

A quick lunch at the Golden Arches – they make great fries and fantastic iced coffee! Then I Googled bike stores in Picton and learned that the Ideal Bike store had moved to Main Street. It was early and I figured that I had nothing to lose.

IDEAL BIKE is located in a laneway behind the post office, at unit #6, 252 Main St., Picton. You go down a few steps into the first of two cavernous rooms. Lots of bikes and cycling gear, neatly organized, very clean. And in the next room was a bike stand and next to it stood Nolan, a very young bespectacled tech, working on a rusty patient. When I described my situation Nolan went into a flurry of activity: he suggested an alternative rear tire (since they did not have the right size Schwalbe) and removed the rear wheel. He then noted that the gear cluster was loose and tightened it. Next he checked the spokes and found that several were quite loose – so he set off to true the wheel. After some time and effort he took out a fancy spoke tension measuring unit and tested some of the spokes: he was not happy with his ‘hand felt’ sense of the spokes’ tension. Some more time and effort, and then he pronounced the wheel ‘ok’. Tire installed. Time to investigate the clatter. He tightened every bolt on the drive-train. Removed the pedals, cleaned and greased the surfaces and reinstalled them. Asked if I had tightened the cleats, checked them and suggested new ones. Installed those. Took apart the sealed bottom bracket and … thought he found the culprit: the bearings unit on the left side was smooth as can be; the one on the right was crunchy. ‘It may be this, though it should not have gone in just 10,000 km. And sorry – we don’t have this part!’ And…then he kept looking! Tightened the seat post. Twisted the rear carrier and did not like the squeaks it produced, so…he cut strips of thin rubber and installed them in the attachment points. Squeaks gone. As Nolan was kept up his rapid, expert, thorough analysis and repairs I kept thinking: this young man’s approach to his work is remarkable, as is his knowledge. It was truly beautiful to watch a (young) master at work!

While Nolan worked several younger guys came into the shop and did their own work on single speed and mountain bikes using the shop’s tools. This was clearly a Mecca for serious riders. The atmosphere was light and fun, and at the same time very focused and professional. A treat to behold.

One of the patrons asked about SchoolBOX. He then went to one of the store’s computers and checked out the blog. He noticed the repeated references to Equator Coffee. When I explained that (1) they were a key sponsor and that (2) I loved their products he found out where their coffee was sold at retail outlets and said he would be getting some. Cool!

Nolan was done. He gave me a shy smile and apologized again for not having the part. Then he spoke with Ed Kraus, the store owner. Ed totalled stuff up: $45 for the tire, $20 for the cleats. ‘Labour is such a hard thing to charge for in a case like this. I won’t charge you. Why don’t you just give him a tip?’ I was blown away. So I headed back to the other room and tipped Nolan enough for a case of 2-4, or whatever. He was taken aback, then gave me another shy smile, thanked me and again wished me good luck on the rest of my journey.

IF YOU ARE EVER IN PICTON WITH A BIKE YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO VISIT IDEAL BIKE!

And Owen finally found a helmet he liked!

We rode to the Glenora Ferry. The remaining noise weighed on me, and at the same time I felt that we had finally found the real problem. A short crossing on a full boat and a short ride to the campground. For the first time during the trip Owen and I were last into camp. There was some good natured ribbing over this. We went through the usual end-of-day routine. Done.

The next day we had an uneventful ride via Kingston to Elgin. Uneventful except for the nasty 18-wheeler driver that blew three groups of cyclists off the road onto the gravel shoulder by blowing his VERY LOUD horn as he passed very near each of us…and the rain that pelted us for the last hour+ of the ride…and pitching our tents in the rain…and one toilet and one shower for ALL the campers…and this too passed!

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageQuinte Bay Bridge — from Belleville to Prince Edward County
imageBay of Quinte from the bridge
imageBay of Quinte from the bridge — in the other direction
imageNolan and Ed (the owner) at Ideal Bike, Picton — A MUST VISIT for cyclists!
imageOK, I have several wise cracks about this sign…but I’ll leave it for you to come up with your own!
imagePower plant, en route to Kingston
imageHawk’s nest on top of power pole, next to power plant — thanks, OPG!

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