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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Remembrance Day 

In contrast to last year, I was awake before 1100 today, and I rode my fixie down to Legion 113, the Chip Kerr VC hall.

I was heartened to see a substantial crowd around. The ceremonies included cadets in formation, wreath-laying, and two cannons. The crowd was big enough I didn't see the cannons before they fired, and they fired loudly enough that each shot set off a fresh round of car alarms.

There was also an unseen pipe band. As soon as they started playing, I said to myself "these guys are good." I even have some ability to judge such things, as I was a tenor and bass drummer for my high school's pipe band.

A look at the logo on the bass drum explained why they sounded so good. Ah. The SFU Pipe Band. One of the best pipe bands in the world.

The fixie revealed new abilities in the pedestrian-crowded area around the legion hall. A fixed gear is a precision instrument at slow speeds, and it was easy to maneuver the bike around people at a walking pace.

I do like many aspects of the fixed-gear experience. On flats or lightly rolling terrain, it's fun. Even up hills, it's a cleansing experience. But descending isn't so much fun. I think a lot of what I enjoy is gearlessness, so the next step is to add a freewheel, and see if that makes for a more pleasant commute.

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