Gears & Grinds 2.0

I have some big news to share. Starting in 2019 I will be commencing a new full-time job outside of the bike industry. I have been offered an opportunity to transition my current skillset into the assembly, maintenance and customization of wheelchairs with a local vender.

Having watched the world of bicycle retail slowly change over the past decade, I have decided after much deliberation, to re-work the way I operate Gears & Grinds.  Even though I will be taking on another full-time job I will not be stepping away completely from the bicycle industry.

When I first opened the shop in “2005” my plan was to focus on top notch mechanical service and the sale of quality parts and accessories.  At the request of you, my customers, I was convinced to offer more and more products over time, including bikes. The 2.0 version of the shop will bring things back to something more in line with the original model.

G&G 2.0 will primarily focus on service with the sale of some quality parts and accessories and select bikes.  As I will be occupied Monday to Friday 9am-5pm at my other job, repair service will be available evenings and weekends only, on a by appointment basis. The store will not have regular business hours.  As part of this new business model, I will be encouraging my clients to take advantage of my new offering of a subscription-based annual maintenance plan.  This new model of bike maintenance will help to ensure that your bicycle operates at its best for your entire riding season. Think of this as preventative health care for your bike.

As well as this new subscription model there will be limited space for one-off service appointments, as well as emergency service. The exact details of how all this will be arranged are still being worked out.  Starting in 2019 I will make available on the G&G website a service request form.  When I receive your request I will try to reply ASAP to let you know when I will have time to fit your bike in.

As part of this operational change, I will be selling off the majority of my current inventory to allow me the flexibility to rework my current work-space to optimize the service aspect of the business.  There will be savings on almost everything in the store between now and the end of the year so pop in and take advantage of the savings and, if you are interested, I can fill you in on some details of the new subscription based service plans coming available in 2019.

Cycling Week 2016

Cycling week is coming soon!  Drop your bike off for a tune up and we will make sure it is all ready to go for cycling week.  Check out Cycle Kingston's website for event details.

Kingston's cycling climate is changing

I have lived the majority of my life in Kingston and have relied on my bicycle as a main means of transportation since I was old enough to ride on the road.  Over the course of those 35 plus years, cycling in Kingston has really changed.   Unfortunately the changes have not been for the better until recently.  Increased traffic volume, motorist being increasing impatient and deteriorating road conditions have all contributed to a more hostile environment for cyclists to navigate.

Luckily change for the better started to happen a few years ago.

The past few years have seen the following changes to the cycling climate in Kingston:

In 2004 the addition of the Rack and Roll bicycle racks on City of Kingston buses.  Initially this was a seasonal program but in 2013 it was extended to a year round program with the construction of a new heated indoor storage facility for Kingston Transit buses.  The Rack and Roll program allows Kingston cyclists more options when it comes to using their bikes.  Riding one direction of a trip and busing the other or simply cutting out a portion of a commute without a safe riding route are just some examples of how cyclists can take advantage of this program.


In 2007 the City of Kingston resurfaced the K&P Trail from Dalton Ave to Orser Rd creating a 15km stretch of gravel trail separated from traffic.  In 2012 the County of Frontenac extended this resurfacing further north providing a smooth gravel bed all the way to Harrowsmith.  In 2014 we saw this extended again to Verona.  The long term plan is to have this trail run all the way from Kingston to Sharbot Lake.  Kingston City Council is currently debating extending the trail from Dalton Ave to Division St with a long term plan of connecting it to downtown.


As a result of this new commitment to sustainability Kingston won Bike-Friendly Community Bronze recognition in 2012 from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition for investing in its cycling infrastructure.

In 2013 Share the Road paint and signs were added across the Lasalle Causeway.  This is likely one of the most dangerous stretches of road for cyclists in Kingston due to the metal construction of the Causeway and how narrow it is.  The added safety this has provided is so hard to measure as there is just no way to know how many close encounters and near misses were happening prior to their installation.


The brutal winter of 2013-14 turned into a blessing in disguise for Kingston's cyclists.  The spring of 2014 saw the investment in some major road work resurfacing projects that helped eliminate some of the worst road surface hazards in Kingston.  The potholes are not all gone but their numbers have been drastically reduced.

Bicycle lanes have been appearing on a growing list of streets.  Included in the list are some major arteries such as Union St, Johnson St, Brock St, Portsmouth Ave, Queen Mary Rd, Bath Rd, and most recently Princess St with more lanes to be added this spring. 


Kingston Cycling Route Map courtesy of City of Kingston - Engineering Dept

Most recently the launch of the Kingston Police Force's Bike Watch Program and the Queen's Bike Registration program for faculty and students will help reconnect Kingston's cyclists with their bikes in the event of theft.

In addition to all of these infrastructure improvements I have personally observed a change in behavior of motorists toward cyclists in our community.  It is now the rare occasion when I am not treated with respect by a motorist while riding in the city or out on a training ride around Kingston.  I have in fact on multiple occasions been offered the right of way at a four way stop when I was clearly not the first to arrive at that stop.

Hopefully as we continue to move toward being a cycling friendly community more residents will decide to incorporate cycling into their lifestyle in some form.

Kingston won Bronze recognition as a Bike Friendly community in 2012

Kingston won Bronze recognition as a Bike Friendly community in 2012

Team Bora-Argon 18 off to a great start

Wow! What a great start to the Argon 18 Bora partnership!

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Team Bora-Argon 18 has already secured invitations to some major races this season ensuring Argon18's latest technology gets some much deserved exposure.  So far the team has secured a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France as well as invites to Tirreno-Adriatico and the classics Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia.

After a successful training camp on the Balearic Islands in Spain the team has come out swinging. Sam Bennett as already secured the teams first win of the season by taking the final stage of the Tour or Qatar and Patrick Konrad currently leads the "young rider classification" of the Tour of Oman.

I am really looking forward to seeing Argon 18 continue to excel on the international stage over the coming season.

Magura Hydraulic Di2 Mod

This project was part of a Shiv custom assembly for a customer at the beginning of this season.

After looking at all the hack/mod options we decided to go with this setup as it didn’t involve any wiring work thus reducing the chance of failure in the future.

By removing the unwanted parts from a Shimano Di2 Brake Shift Lever set you are left with two fully intact sets of Shimano shifter buttons and wiring allowing you to stick with the E-Tube plug and play system.  Another advantage to this is that the stock cable is long enough to make it to the junction box eliminating the need for additional B-Junction boxes.

The time needed will very greatly depending on your ability to hold the shifter body safely while removing the excess material with either a hacksaw or a dremel.  If you can find a way to clamp the shifter body once you have removed the brake lever you can cut away almost all the unwanted material with a hack saw leaving very little clean up work with the dremel.  With the first shifter I mostly used the dremel to determine just how much to cut and where.  Once I had the end product figured out I found a more efficient way to cut away the unwanted material with a hacksaw.  The second method using the hack saw is what is documented.

With the shift lever now an independent unit there was one more small modification I wanted to do.  I was a little concerned about what ever I was going to use to bound the shifter to the brake lever getting inside through the hole in the back of the shifters and affecting the shifter buttons.  A trip to the hardware store next to the shop provided me with an almost ideal solution.  Only drawback was the material was white when dry not black.  I found a product called Tech Plastic that worked perfectly to fill the hole and keep the adhesive from getting into the shifter.


Now that the shifter is ready for installation you will need to determine the best way to route the E-Tube wire and hydraulic line through your base bar.  With the Shiv it is necessary to route the E-Tube wire first as the cable exit hole in the base bar is not very large.  On the particular Shiv in this project we ran into a little difficulty on one side of the base bar as there was quite a bit of leftover bladder material inside the base bar that made it difficult to pull the E-Tube wire through.  Removing this leftover plastic added more than an extra hour to the assembly time.  



Once the path through the base bar is clear I would suggest fishing a regular piece of cable housing through a couple times to make sure your e-tube and hydraulic line will pull through smoothly.  Determining the best way to guide both the e-tube and hydraulic line through was a bit of a trial and error process.  There was no guide channel in the base bar on this build so the hydraulic line could not be fed through on its own.  When I tried to slip it through without a guide it would bottom out on the extension bolt hole and get stuck.  After some experimentation I found a way to guide the hydraulic through without spilling any hydraulic fluid.  I fashioned a guide line using a piece of brake cable end with a small section of a spoke threaded into one end.  The spoke could then be slipped inside the end of the hydraulic line as it was pushed through and act as the guide.  After installing the brakes and trimming the hydraulic lines all that was left to do was attach the shifters to the brakes.  I have used used epoxy in the past to bound some seat collars onto some frames so was pretty confident this would work to bound the shifter and brake lever.  After roughing up the brake surface to be bounded I mixed up the epoxy and covered the bounding surface of the brake lever.  This became another learning process like cutting the shifter off the brake lever.  The epoxy package says sets up in 5 min but the reality is it takes more like 10-15mins before the shifter isn't going to slide on the vertical surface of the brake lever.  When I was ready to attach the second shifter I waited 5 mins after mixing the epoxy before applying it which result in a lot fewer readjustments of the shifter as the epoxy set up.

In the end we were very happy with the finished product.

Is Argon18 headed for the Tour de France in 2015?

BORA – Argon 18 sets its eyes on the Tour de France 2015


The only German professional cycling team, BORA – Argon 18, is heading into the new season with confidence. At today’s briefing with representatives from the German media at the team’s home base, team manager Ralph Denk formulated the objectives for the coming year. In the presence of Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France who was visiting BORA – Argon 18 in its Bavarian home, the team stated that its top priority for the season is to return to the world’s most important cycling race.

“We want to be back at the Tour de France next year. We are trying very hard to get a wild card and are quite candid about our goal. It is thus a great honor to have Christian Prudhomme visiting our team in Bavaria today. The mere fact that he has made the effort underscores the Tour’s interest in Germany. And our team makes a small contribution to this,” Ralph Denk, team manager of BORA – Argon 18, said.

“We are the only ProConti team that was allowed to ride all three Grand Tours over the past three years. We reached the podium in all of these tours, surprised a lot of people with our performance and proved that we deserved to be invited. Now with Dominik Nerz we have signed one of Germany’s best tour riders to our team. He has the potential to develop into a top 10 rider in the overall rankings,” Denk continued.

Keep up to date on the team here.

A different kind of "Tour"

This is not the kind of Tour your used to.  This tour is a celebration of the return of chickens to our urban landscape. A variety of coops housing breeds like Plymouth Barred Rocks, Ameraucanas, Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons are participating in the tour this year. So, grab your bike, ride coop to coop and meet the owners and their hens! 

It’s free. Bring the whole family but please leave your dogs at home. They can make some hens nervous.

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