I’ve done a lot of looking for Fleetwings on the interwebs since acquiring mine (now 2). There really is very little out there about these bikes. The ones I have might be a department store brand but all I really know about them is that they say made in Canada, and I like the way they ride.
I don’t remember if I mentioned it earlier in the summer, but the same week I got Flo, I was doing some reading and realized that one of the big right wing movements in Japan around the turn of the 20th century was called the Fleetwing movement. I found that a bit serendipitous.
Anyway, I finally, FINALLY, found out the years of production for the two Fleetwing bikes when I switched wheels out this weekend and realized the rims say 1982 for Florence and 1983 for the new bike.
But I have been surprised to spot THREE other Fleetwings on campus this week. One exactly the same as Flo but with some changes made, and then two similar to new red bike but one in black and one in a red mens frame.
someone else’s version of Florence
This weekend I was doing a little preventative maintenance on the new (yet to be named) bike. I thought I would get some new tires on (the ones it came with were new, but were definitely the bottom of the barrel–they weren’t even molded straight) and check the gears and such.
So after taking the back wheel off, I realize–DOH–I have managed to break two spokes on it. AGH. While clearly not tragedy, still very frustrating. I wracked my brain trying to figure out when I could have done this and then I realized…
A few days after I got my new panniers all made, I um, well, the white one I strapped on empty. I put a bit of cardboard in the back to give it structure, but being empty, that wasn’t really enough and as I whizzed along one morning, I got it completely garbled in my back wheel. I had no idea I had broken spokes, I just thought I had mangled the bag a bit and put the whole thing down to a learning experience on making my own pannier (research and development, you know–with failure comes innovation.)
On the bright side I was able to pinch the back wheel off of Florence for now, being the same size and all, but it involved me doing some gear adjustments that were more substantial than before. Cross your fingers I make it to school today.
After riding Florence for the summer, I now know that lovely as she is, she is too small a frame for me. A super long seat post has not fixed the problem and I still hang off the back of the seat.
This bike thing is a learning process. And I am making a lot of mistakes. On the up side, I can probably sell Florence for as much as she cost, so there is no net loss.
So this weekend, I thought I would try and upsize since I found a very similar frame in a larger size. This made sense to me, since I could then switch out parts pretty easily from the two and take the best of both worlds.
After a long drive out to the countryside to see the bike, this Fleetwing was a bit more dinged up, but overall a good frame. We even took a tape measure. I was disappointed to find that this bike was not that much bigger, maybe and inch or two, than Florence.
But, after some humming and ha-ing, we did buy her, thinking that any increase in size would at least be a benefit.
When we got home and compared them, there is only about an inch difference in the tube length. I’m a bit disappointed.
We will have to see if this makes much of a difference at all. You know, in an ideal world, I would go out, and buy the perfect bike in the perfect size, possibly new. But in the real world, second hand bike buying is an imperfect science, and new bikes get stolen every day. Two dear friends had their bikes stolen this week, and one from right where I park mine everyday.
I feel like I’m bumbling through this a bit. You live, you learn.
The first week of term… I forgot how busy it can be. So many meetings, so many things to sort out. It’s literally been too busy to get words down on paper.
So I give you this for the moment. (I apologize for the image quality, I didn’t want to stick around)
A picture from my first ride home in the dark (night coming earlier, me staying on campus later) since the spring. I stay off the DPP greenpath after dark since there are animals and who knows what else about.
So instead I go right by the pig processing machines… and in the evenings, they keep the doors open so the stench just hits you full blast. Ah, what a away to enjoy a nice late summer evening ride.
This was the view from Starbucks today. This is Canada Life.
It’s more than just a building. On the top is a weather beacon.
- Steady green = fair weather
- Steady red = cloudy skies
- White flashes = scattered flurries
- Red flashes = rain
- Lights running up = rising temperatures
- Lights running down = falling temperatures
- Steady lights = steady temperature
(I punked that from Wikipedia.)
It’s also the company my father came to Canada to work for. So really this is where we began our “Canada life.” We later moved across the country, but this is where my father worked when I was born. So since I’ve moved back to Toronto, it’s always had a special little place in my architectural understanding of the city. The next “doors open Toronto,” when all kinds of buildings open up to the public for one day, I should actually go inside and take a look around. (http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen/)
It was a good place to sit, drink coffee, and wait to pick up Florence and Grover, who are now safely home.