van build part i: demolition


If you want to renovate a 35-year old RV, it’s best to let it sit behind the house for five or six months to make sure you really want to.

Originally we wanted to buy a late model work van, specifically a Dodge Promaster, as is the trend. It would be a blank slate of sheet metal with few windows for one to apply megawatts of solar, a bathroom and his and her’s iMacs and live out the #vanlife fantasy. Just kidding.

“Van Life” fits so easily into the wide genre of aspirational media to arrive online in the last decade. It combines our institutional dissatisfaction with our current situation with the American love of gear, and if this bro with dreads and a chestpiece can do it, so can we.

But our plan is more humble—to build a practical base for camping, canoe trips and possibly a temporary home for us when we move out for some planned renovations. We don’t plan on living in it full time. So when our vintage Chevy showed up on Kijiji we did some math. We figured it would save us a lot of money up front, probably cost a bit more in maintenance in the long run, but for the amount we’d use it, it would be worth it.



how to commute by bike in a toronto winter


While I don’t mind the TTC, I have always preferred my bike, maybe most in the winter. Bundled in a parka on a packed, stuffy streetcar is no fun and on stormy days delays can make my commute almost 90 minutes. By bike it’s about 30 minutes all year round.

But without the proper equipment it can be miserable. I’ve tried a lot of different bikes, clothing and accessories over the years for usually what amounts to ~10 months of riding a year. This year I’ve refined it to a setup that works for me 365 days a year.