Evil Moose in the land of the rising sun…

29 06 2009
Megan and posse on tour in Japan...

Megan and posse on tour in Japan...

If you haven’t been following her adventures already I’d recommend you take a look at Megan’s Japanese bike tour reports and photos.  I’ve had fun tagging along as a virtual tourist in her panniers…=-)

Ride Long Haul Truckers ride!





Congrats to RANS on a great RAAM!

27 06 2009
Photo: RAAM Website

Photo: RAAM Website

Congrats to Team RANS on performing so well during this year’s RAAM.  It’s fun to see recumbents do so well in a race like this.





Adios Amigos

27 06 2009
We'll be riding the revised CDN GDR route on the right.

We'll be riding the revised CDN GDR route on the right.

Well we are off for Montana in a few hours for our South to North CDN GDR assault.  We’ll be riding a revised version of the CDN GDR route that features more remoteness and more dirt..=-)

See you next week!

My Pugsley loaded and ready to roll...

My Pugsley loaded and ready to roll...





Amy’s on a roll this Friday!

26 06 2009
Amy aboard her new red rocket Bike Friday!

Amy aboard her new red rocket Bike Friday!

Amy lives nearly 2hrs from me so we’ve been trying to figure out a good time to connect so she could grab her bike.

Amy's Pocket Sport is nicely setup for commuting and touring...

Amy's Pocket Sport is nicely setup for commuting and touring...

It was raining on and off, but we managed to find some dry-ish time to get the fit dialed in and go over the basic controls.  This is Amy’s first bike since she was a kid so we talked about how to shift and brake as well some fit items [seat and stem height] she may want to play with as she gets use to riding her Bike Friday.

Rolling through the woods...

Rolling through the woods...

We were able to go for a short ride to get some practice with gear shifting and braking.  I adjusted her seat height again.  Since Amy is virtually brand new to biking her riding position may change a bit as she gets used to the bike so I gave her some tips on what to look for and what she could adjust.

A tale of two Fridays...

A tale of two Fridays...

Eventually my time ran out and I had to say goodbye.  Amy was super excited with her bike and based on her other hobbies, like marathon running, I’m certain her Pocket Sport will look well worn when I see her next.  If our schedules workout we’ll try and get in a 2-4 day bike tour at the end of July.





Sandman Fatbikes

22 06 2009
Prototype Sandman fatbike in action...

Prototype Sandman fatbike in action...

Details are still sketchy, but there seems to be a new fat tire bike coming to market in Europe from a Belgian company called Sandman.  You can visit their website here, but it lacks info so far.  You can check out this thread on MTBR.com for some information.

The pictures look really nice and I’m excited to see more interest in fat tire bikes.

Sandman Gobi

Sandman Gobi





Learning to Kite Board DVD

22 06 2009
An excellent instructional DVD from Fatsands.

An excellent instructional DVD from Fat Sand Productions.

Philippe at Airtime hooked us up with this instructional DVD from Fat Sand Productions.  I was quite impressed with how well it was made.  It covers all the basics without getting too advanced and there is enough repetition to be useful without being boring. Not only is this a great DVD to watch when starting out – it will also be a helpful refresher after taking some lessons.

When the time comes there are more advanced DVDs avilable.





Surly Pugsley Rack Options

19 06 2009
My Pugsley with two rear OMM Cold Springs racks

My Pugsley with two rear OMM Cold Springs racks

Fitting racks to a Surly Pugsley can be a pain.  The uber wide 135mm front fork and offset drivetrain make fitting normal front and rear racks a challenge, but there are ways to get around this.  I figured I’d post a few possible options in one place for easy reference.

Option 1: Old Man Mountain

Pigeonfarmboy's Pug with a Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks Mounted.

Pigeonfarmboy's Pug with a Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks Mounted.

Option 2: Front/Rear Surly Nice Racks

Martin's Pug with a modified Surly Nice rear rack mounted up front.

Martin's Pug with a modified Surly Nice rear rack mounted up front.

Option 3: Two Surly Nice Rear Racks

  • with a bit of modification you can mount a Surly Nice rear rack on the front of your Pug.
  • this reduces weight and makes fitting on the Pugsley fork easier than a front rack.
  • check out this post on my Bow Cycle blog for details.
Kurt's Pug with a Filzer Rear Rack attached

Kurt's Pug with a Filzer Rear Rack attached.

Option 4: Filzer Disc Brake Rear Rack

  • Filzer makes a rear rack that is extra wide to clear disc brakes. We picked one up at MEC and mounted it on Kurt’s Pugsley.
  • It mounts up reasonably well.
  • The rack is decent for a $30 unit, but the way the lower portion of the rack mounts is flawed.
  • If you look at the picture below you’ll see how the rack is attached with adapters to get around the disc calipers.  This weakens the rack and makes it unsuitable for carrying heavy loads on rough terrain.
  • If you only need to carry lighter loads [change of clothes, lunch, etc...] on smooth roads it could be a decent solution for you.
  • Kurt is removing this rack and buying two OMM Sherpa rear racks from Bow Cycle for our up coming GDR tour.
Filzer disc brake rear rack spacer

Filzer disc brake rear rack adapter.





It is a Friday!

18 06 2009
Amy's new Bike Friday Pocket Sport

Amy's new Bike Friday Pocket Sport

My friend Amy wanted to start cycle touring and had no idea what sort of bike to get.  Since I’ve got 5 touring bikes in my apartment she came over and we discussed the pros and cons of each one.  Eventually she decided a Bike Friday would suit her best as she intends to travel extensively in the next few years and would like a bike along to tour with and as general transportation.

Looking at the Bike Friday line up and chatting with Walter @ Bike Friday she settled on the Pocket Sport in a small frame.  Unlike Bike Friday’s custom bikes their stock bikes [like this one] come in one colour, one specification package and 3 sizes.  This simplifies matters greatly and cuts down on the cost.  If a stock bike fits and you like the specification it’s a great way to get a handmade Bike Friday while saving $$$.

A bike in a box!

A bike in a box!

Since Amy is new to bikes she asked me to build up her Pocket Sport and help her dial in the fit.  Not one to turn down the offer of playing with a new bike I soon had a Bike Friday box sitting in my living room.  I took my time unpacking her bike partially to make sure I didn’t damage anything and partially to savour the new Bike Friday experience as much as possible…=-)

A Bike Friday Pocket Sport in pieces.

A Bike Friday Pocket Sport in pieces.

More savouring!!!

Finally the Pocket Sport is unpacked...

Finally the Pocket Sport is unpacked...

Eventually I had to stop stalling and get the bike unpacked.  The stock red paint is lovely and as everyone knows makes for the fastest bikes!

The Pocket Sport built up less fenders and racks...

The Pocket Sport built up less fenders and racks...

If I have a criticism of Bike Fridays it’s that they go from box to a pile of parts to a complete bike way too fast.  You hardly break a sweat before you are riding them.  That’s ideal when you arrive at Tokyo International at 2am, but not so great when you want to spend the whole day wrenching on a new bike.  Amy’s Pocket Sport was no exception..from the time I started until I was finished was about 15mins.

As luck would have it Dwayne left me a set of red BMX platforms so I threw them on Amy’s bike to complete the red theme.

Pocket Sport with racks and fenders...

Pocket Sport with racks and fenders...

A bike isn’t a bike in my world until it gets some racks and fenders.  The Bike Friday components went on very easily and sooner than you’d expect I had a touring bike ready to roll.

Everyday is Friday!

Everyday is Friday!

I won’t bore you with a specification list.  The build is utilitarian, but completely functional.  This makes sense on a bike designed to hit a value price point.  There is no bling on this bike to make a bike geek drool on the other hand I’d tour across Canada on this bike without changing anything other than the saddle – gotta have a Brooks!  My philosophy is buy a kick ass frame and them add the best parts your budget will allow.  Parts wear out, but the frame is for life!  In this case getting a Bike Friday frame handmade with love in Eugene, OR is a score.

Okay the geek in me can’t help, but list a few details:

  • 3 x 8 drivetrain
  • v-brakes
  • drop bars with bar end shifters
  • 32h – 406 wheels with Primo Comets
One more bike porn shot for good measure...

One more bike porn shot for good measure...

So the plan as it stands now is to go on a short overnight shake down tour next week. This will get Amy used to the bike, learn how to shift and brake, dial in the fit and get a taste of bike camping without trying anything overly hardcore.

My mission between now and then is to put together a basic tool kit so she can fix a flat and tighten a bolt.  I’m on it!…=-)

More Pocket Sport porn…





Feels like a Friday!

17 06 2009
Thank God It's a Friday!  TGIaF...=-)

Thank God It's a Friday! TGIaF...=-)





Fat Bikes for Smaller Riders

17 06 2009
A Wildfire Fat Bike - lovely!

A Wildfire FatBike - lovely!

Getting a fat bike frame to fit smaller riders can be a problem.  The Surly Pugsley only comes as small as a 16″ frame.  You can get a custom fat bike from a number of builders, but that’s going to be really pricey.  Some folks have been building semi-fat bikes using say a Pugsley fork with an 3.7″ Endomorph tire on the front and then something like a 14″ Sury 1×1 frame with a 3.0″ MTB tire in the back.

However, for anyone who wants to be able to run 3.7″ tires front and back in a small production frame there is answer.  Wildfire Designs is offering their FatBike in a 13″ production frame as a special order.  So you probably can’t just call and have one in the mail to you the next day, but since it’s not custom you’ll only pay what a normal FatBike frame costs ~$995 + a small extra charge and wait something like 90 days while they make one special for you.  That’s not a bad compromise for the smaller rider who wants to truly go fat at less than custom $$$.  Also note that Wildfire Designs offers the FatBike as a 15″ frame without any need for special ordering.

Here is a thread on MTBR.com about getting a shorter rider aboard a fat bike.





MTBR.com Fat Bike Forum

16 06 2009
I can't beleive I actually miss the snow!  Dam you Pugsley!

I can't believe I actually miss the snow! Dam you Pugsley!

I’m not sure how I over looked it for so long, but MTBR.com now has a Fat Bikes Forum – sweet!  I have even got posts in it, but unless I’ve been posting at night in my sleep I assume those were posts culled from the MTBR.com Surly Forum and moved/copied to the Fat Bikes Forum.  Regardless it’s cool to have a one stop shopping forum for all Fat Bike info.  Thanks MTBR.com!

Update: found this thread that explains what happened and provides a time line – apparently I posted in that thread as well.  I must have a secret life I’m not even aware of!  Yikes!





Mike Curiak’s 2009 Alaskan Adventure

15 06 2009
Mike Curiak on the move...

Mike Curiak on the move...

Click on the image above to see an amazing slide show from Mike Curiak taken during his 2009 ITI adventure tour.  Check out Mike’s blog here for more fat tire fun.





Pugsley OMM Racks Mounting Upgrades

15 06 2009
Note silver washers used to space out racks mounts.

Note silver washers used to space out racks mounts.

When I mounted my OMM racks last December I had to use some washers at most of the lower mounting locations to get the clearance and fit I needed.  You can see the washers I used on the rear left mount in the photo above.  Rack mounting bolts are meant to work in shear where they are strongest.  As soon as you add a spacer in between the rack and the braze-on the mounting bolts experience a bending moment and are weaker.  The minimal amount of spacers I had to use didn’t pose a problem for carrying moderate loads on smooth ground or light loads off road.  However, with the upcoming GDR tour I was concerned that carrying moderate loads off road would break something.  Having a rack fail miles from the nearest services would have been a real bummer.

Luckily my friend Kurt is more mechanically gifted than me and enjoys futzing with tools.  Last night we ordered some pizza, got a case of beer and he set about modifying my OMM racks so that they would fit on my Pugsley without the need for spacers.

After Kurt's handy work the same rear OMM rack mount without any spacers.

After Kurt's handy work the same rear OMM rack mount without any spacers.

On the rear Kurt had to bend the upper mounting arms to allow the lower portions of the OMM rack to move inwards enough to eliminate the need for any spacers.  He even did it so the bends looks professional – unlike the mangled hack job that would have been the result of my DIY efforts!

Front OMM lower mount filed down for clearance with Pug fork.

Front OMM lower mount filed down for clearance with Pug fork.

On the front the lower rack mounts interfered with the Pugsley fork legs.  Kurt filed away the rear of each mount to get the required clearance.  Once that was done the OMM racks could be mounted without any spacers on the front.

Front lower OMM rack mountm without spacers after it was filed down.

Front lower OMM rack mount without spacers after it was filed down.

It doesn’t seem like a lot of work, but it took about two hrs from start to finish with lots of trial fittings before Kurt did any modifications – he is a stickler for measure 3 times cut once.  The result looks great and should be stronger than before.  Kurt has also suggested we buy hardened bolts to replace the standard rack bolts to make the racks on our Puglseys totally bombproof.

Bumping down the GDR with my loaded Pug I’ll be enjoying the trail without worry about my racks.

It pays to have handy friends!…=-)





Pugsley CDN GDR Gear List

12 06 2009
My Pug loaded up in Baja

My Pug loaded up in Baja

Here is my first crack at a packing list for our CDN GDR tour.

Surly Puglsey
•    Multi tool
•    Adjustable wrench [for IGH nuts]
•    Spoke wrench
•    Tire levers
•    Pump [Road Morph]
•    Patch kit x 3
•    Spare tubes x 2
•    Spare brake and derailleur cables
•    Space Avid BB7 brake pads
•    Chain lube
•    Fibrefix spokes x 4
•    Duct tape
•    Zip ties
•    Ortlieb front and rear panniers
•    Old Man Mountain front & rear racks
•    Water bottles x 2
•    Cable lock

Shelter
•    Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 Tent
•    Ultra light Thermarest
•    MEC down sleeping bag & compression sack
•    Sil tarp and pegs & cord
•    Tent pegs
•    Yellow rip stop nylon ground cloth

Cooking
•    Trangia stove
•    Fuel Bottle
•    1L Boiler pot
•    Mugs x 2
•    Spoons x 2
•    Lighter

Food
•    Dehydrated dinners 6 each
•    Green tea & herbal tea + sugar
•    Oatmeal x 10
•    Chocolate bars x 10
•    Mars bars x 8
•    Cliff bars x 8
•    Nuts
•    Jerky
•    Pristine drops
•    gum
•    oranges & apples

Clothes
•    TNF rain jacket & rain legs chaps
•    Fleece gloves
•    Bike gloves
•    Toque
•    Buff neck gaitor
•    5.10 bike shoes
•    socks x 2
•    Long underwear top and bottom x 1
•    Sunglasses
•    Baseball hat
•    T-shirts x 2
•    Boxers x 3
•    Capris x 1
•    Shorts x 1
•    MEC fleece sweater

Toiletries
•    T-brush & paste
•    Hand sanitizer
•    TP
•    Travel towel
•    biosoap

Misc
•    map
•    ziplocks
•    camera & extra batteries
•    wallet
•    headlamp
•    Leatherman juicer multi tool
•    notebook & pen
•    cellular phone
•    small FA kit
•    GPS + bike mount + extra batteries [DL’d CDN GDR route]
•    passport





2006 Knik Glacier Expedition Report

11 06 2009
The Portal!

The Portal!

I found this report of a 2006 fat tire bike tour in the far north.  The middle of summer is the perfect time to dream about snow bike riding right?…=-)





CDN GDR

11 06 2009
The Canadian Great Divide MTB Route Map

The Canadian Great Divide MTB Route Map

I was keen on riding the Canadian section of the GDR last year, but a nerve injury on the Dempster Highway put a damper on those plans.  Kurt & I have been looking at our travel plans for July and trying to come up with something that meets our needs for adventure, travel and fits our budget.  We’ve decided to skip Europe this year and focus on trips closer to home.  One of the trips we’d like to do is to ride the CDN GDR route on our Pugsleys.

We'll be heading north from Montana to Banff.

We'll be heading north from Montana to Banff.

My Pugsley is pretty much ready to rock. We’ll be adding some OMM racks to Kurt’s Pugsley.  Other than that we’ll ride them as is. I’m working on a gear list for the trip.  We’ll be camping and cooking most of our meals. I’ll try to keep things on the light side.

Our tentative departure date is the last weekend in June with a window of 4-5 days to ride the 355km route.





My Bow Cycle Blog

10 06 2009
Riding the Bow Valley Parkway on my BBC 2-4 Cross Bike

Riding the Bow Valley Parkway on my BBC 2-4 Cross Bike

I’ve been really busy the past while and not able to blog as much as I’d like.  So if you want more blog content don’t forget I have a blog on the Bow Cycle website as well and I post there once or twice a week.





Walter got his Tikit back…=-)!

9 06 2009
Walter and the stolen Tikit rescue posse!

Walter and the stolen Tikit rescue posse!

I reported that Walter from Bike Friday had his Tikit stolen last March.  Luckily he got it back with some help from a Bike Friday triplet riding team that had keen eyes.  Read Walter’s story here.

Walter's newly upgraded Tikit

Walter's newly upgraded Tikit

His Tikit did not return unscathed, but it gave Walter the chance to add a little bling and upgrade his bike.  Note the bike cuffs lock on the main tube. Click here to see what Walter’s Tikit looked like before it was stolen and subsequently upgraded.

Congrats Walter – glad you got your bike back…=-)





Tikit Aardvark Safety Upgrade

9 06 2009
Silver component is the new safety upgrade for all Tikits.

Silver component is the new safety upgrade for all Tikits.

I posted a safety notice from Bike Friday a while ago regarding some potential cracking that can happen in the area of the seat mast supports.  Well Walter posted this photo of his Tikit with the new safety upgrade in place.  The silver bar in the photo above stiffens the area and will avoid any cracking problems.

If you have a Tikit and you haven’t spoken to Bike Friday about getting this safety upgrade please contact them or the dealer you got your Tikit from.





Planet Bike Tail Light Rack Bracket

9 06 2009
Photo: Ecovelo

Photo: Ecovelo

Thanks for the tips regarding the Planet Bike Tail Light Bracket.  I recall now reading about it on Ecovelo and promptly forgetting about it.  I’m glad some of this blog’s readers have better memories than I do…=-)

I’ll be getting a few brackets and installing them on all my bikes with racks.  I think I’ll just add a second light to Sharon’s bike so she’ll have two blinkies in back rather than moving the one on her seatpost to the rear rack.  The more the merrier!

Planet Bike Rear Rack Bracket

Planet Bike Rear Rack Bracket





Sharon’s Urban MTB

4 06 2009
Sharon's Upgraded City MTB

Sharon's Upgraded City MTB

Like a lot of people my girlfriend Sharon owns a decent mountain bike and his no interest in mountain biking.  Living in the middle of a large city she has many cycling opportunities, but the slow uncomfortable mountain bike doesn’t encourage her to try and use it to get around.  I’m a big advocate of getting the right bike for the job, however, there is no point investing $1000+ unless you have validated you have a serious desire to actually incorporate cycling into your life.  Since Sharon’s Burning Man bike was stolen I figured it made the most sense to upgrade her mountain bike for use as a city bike this summer and then make it her new Burning Man bike at the end of the summer.  If she uses it a lot over the next few months that would justify the purchase of a new city bike and all the mods we made are useful for cruising the playa at Burning Man.

Jandd Grocery Panniers

Jandd Grocery Panniers

In an earlier post I mentioned buying some Jandd grocery panniers for Sharon’s bike.  These have turned out to be an excellent choice for her cargo needs.  They fold flat when not in use and with open tops are super easy to simply drop stuff in and then grab it as needed.  They offer no security or weather protection, but this bike is not going to be ridden in the rain and the panniers detach so easily they can come in with her if she locks up the bike for a while.

Jandd Panniers Top View

Jandd Panniers Top View

I mounted the Jandd grocery panniers to a Filzer PR-2 rack I bought at MEC.  You can also see in the photo above a Planet Bike Superflash rear blinkie for night riding.

Terry Ladies Cite X Saddle

Terry Ladies Cite X Saddle

Not surprisingly the skinny hard racing saddle that came stock on the bike didn’t make her butt happy so I replaced it with a wider ergonomic Terry Cite X saddle.  So far she has been happy on rides up to 1hr.  As her range expands we’ll consider trying out a Brooks or some other saddle as needed , but for shorter trips the Terry seems to work quite well and needs no attention.

Revised Cockpit and QR Wicker Basket

Revised Cockpit and QR Wicker Basket

The cockpit need some work to make it more comfortable so I replaced the flat MTB bar with an ergonomic Thorn Comfort Bar MK2 and added Ergon Grips.  For style and utility I installed a quick release wicker basket – which is great for holding items that need easy access or for a fashionable run to the market.

Typically I would have installed some BMX platforms to round out the contact points on this bike, but it already had some decent platform pedals installed that we’ll wear out before upgrading.

Fat knobbies aren’t useful when cruising around town so I swapped in some Schwalbe Big Apple tires in the 26 x 2.15″ size.  Inflating them to a moderate pressure yields a reasonably fast and comfortable ride.  I saved the knobbies and will reinstall them for Burning Man and possibly move the Big Apples over to her new city bike if she gets one and it has 26″ wheels.  I wouldn’t mind trying these Big Apples on my Surly Big Dummy at some point if Sharon doesn’t need them any longer…lol…don’t tell her I covet her tires!…=-)

2.15" Schwalbe Big Apple Tires

2.15" Schwalbe Big Apple Tires

I’ve tried to be low pressure about biking.  I ride to her place 99% of the time rather than drive since it’s only 15 blocks or so.  I also ride to appointments, parties etc… and walk as much as I can.  I figure being a positive example is more effective than nagging someone.  So far I’ve been pleased that she’s used her bike a fair bit…including climbing the steepest hill in downtown without stopping as well as some fun night rides home from parties.  She has even decided to store her bike in the front lobby so it’s easier to grab on the way out rather than haul it up and down to the basement.  Sharon has talked about commuting by bike and I’ve offered to ride with her all the way to work in the mornings for company and to provide encouragement & mechanical support!

It will be interesting to see what happens now that she has a bike that is both comfortable and useful.  As Mugatu says…”…girls on bikes are soooooo HOT right now!…”….=-)