Schwalbe Marathon Extreme Tires For Sale

28 10 2009
Schwalbe Marathon Extreme

Schwalbe Marathon Extreme

Update: tires are sold.  When I get back from Baja I’ll invest in some new rubber for my Thorn Nomad.  At the moment I’m thinking of some Marathon Supreme 26 x 2.0″.

I’ve been using a set of Marathon Extreme tires [26 x 2.0" folding bead] on my Thorn Nomad this summer.  I’ve got less than 500kms on them most of which is unloaded about town mileage.  I’m keen on trying some 26 x 2.0″ Marathon Supremes to see how they compare.  I’m trying to avoid stocking a huge number of expensive tires so I’d like to sell these and buy some Supremes with the cash.

The MSRP for a new Extreme is $77.75USD + shipping.  I’ll sell these for $50.00USD each with free shipping anywhere in North America. That’s a savings of 30% when you factor in shipping costs.

These tires are in perfect shape with no wear visible and no flats or other damage.

This is Schwalbe’s flagship expedition touring tire and would be my choice for a dirt/gravel road tour.

26 x 2.0" Extreme on my Thorn

26 x 2.0" Extreme on my Thorn

If you happen to have some Marathon Supremes [26 x 2.0" folding bead] in decent condition [say less than 1000kms mileage] I’d be happy to do a no cost trade.





Olympus Stylus 850SW Update

27 10 2009
Stylus850sw_A_BK

Olympus Stylus 850SW Waterproof Camera

I just received my Stylus 850SW back from Olympus Canada. The LCD screen has been replaced for sure.  I’m not sure what other work may have been done as there was no paperwork sent back with the camera explaining what action was taken.  I have to give them credit.  They did the repair and had the camera back in the mail to me 3 days after receiving it.  That’s darn fast.  I’m glad to have this camera back and to be headed to Baja with two waterproof digital cameras.  I’m all about redundancy and back ups.

Thanks for the fast warranty service Olympus!

 





The depths of my laziness…

27 10 2009
theram

Photo: Robert Thompson @ Flickr

…knows no bounds!  I’ve been sleeping on limp thermarests for at least the past 3 years.  I go to sleep on a full mattress and wake up on a deflated pad.  I cannot explain why it has taken me so long to actually do something about it.  I finally put both my thermarests in my GF’s bathtub and located the leaks.  To be precise each mattress had one leak.  Each leak took about 3 mins to locate and 3 mins to fix. Absolutely pathetic!

On the upside I’ll be sleeping more comfortably for a while…until the next leak…hopefully it won’t take another 3 years next time to fix.





Thanks – The Easy Rider!

26 10 2009
blend

Starboard Blend 11'2" x 30"

I picked up two used Starboard Stand Up Paddle [SUP] boards from The Easy Rider in EdmontonThey are lightly used 2008 models that together cost less than a single 2009 demo SUP I was looking at.  I have to give Warren at The Easy Rider some major props.  He has been super nice to deal with.  It’s hard to complain when a shop is knowledgeable, friendly, provides great service and is willing to offer some killer deals at the end of the season.  At every turn Warren has gone that extra step to make an interaction really positive.  If I lived in Edmonton The Easy Rider would be my new favourite board shop.

I’m going to have between 4 and 5 friends down in Baja with me over the Christmas holidays so I’m happy I’ll have some SUPs for them to use as well as a couple sea kayaks.  I’ve only got one Pugsley and kiteboarding gear is too hard to use, too delicate, too dangerous and too expensive to unleash on a novice!  Anyone can paddle a SUP on flat water with a 5 minute introduction.  Now I should be able to keep everyone occupied and happy…=-)

extremist

Starboard Extremist 9'8" x 30"

The 11’2″ SUP is good for surfing and okay on flat water.  The 9’8″ is more surf oriented, but should be fine for a newbie to mess around on flat water.  It just won’t track exceptionally straight so it won’t inspire anyone to go on a long distance paddle.  One cool thing is that the 9’8″ SUP has a mast track and foot strap inserts which means I’m only a cheap mast/boom/sail away from owning a light conditions windsurfer – cool!

With 3 weeks and counting until I hit the road South for Baja I’m trying to get everything major done at work so I can do the distance work thing as well as get all my Baja gear together. Not to mention spend some quality time with my GF so she doesn’t feel like a Baja Widow! I’m starting to feel the pressure of too much to do in too little time, but it’s all for a good cause so I don’t mind.

I know that I said earlier no significant capital purchases until the truck is paid off, but I decided that getting to spend 2 months on a beach in Baja was in itself priceless and having the opportunity to SUP literally everyday made this a smart choice.  If I can come back to Canada with some serious SUP skills that will make it all worthwhile.





La Ventana – Baja

26 10 2009
La Ventana Baja Mexico

La Ventana Baja Mexico

This will be my home for two months this winter.  With the advent of broadband internet you can work from just about anywhere in the world if your job doesn’t require a lot of face to face contact.  Cleverly I’ve invited my boss down for a few weeks of beach action over the holidays.  I’ll provide a fully guided beach experience with all the sports gear she could want to use at her disposal.  Hopefully she gets hooked and wants me to go to Baja every year…=-)~





SUP Paddle Technique

25 10 2009




Waterproof Camera Review

25 10 2009
Canon D10

Canon D10

Damian was kind enough to post a link to a test of the current generation of waterproof point and shoot digital cameras – thanks!.  Check it out here.





Calgary SUP Club

24 10 2009
Photo: Paddlesurf.ca

Photo: Paddlesurf.ca

Red Nik Surf Co. is starting up a Calgary Stand Up Paddle Board [SUP] Club.  That’s a great idea!  I would guess they’ll be bringing out demo SUPs for people to try. So if you are in the Calgary area and are interested in SUP give Red Nik a call at (403) 685-4600 and see what’s shaking with the club.

Unfortunately unless they are uber hardcore I don’t suppose anyone will be heading out onto the water before next spring, but I could be wrong.  Canadians are pretty tough when it comes to the cold….=-)





Canon D10

23 10 2009
Canon D10 Waterproof Camera

Canon D10 Waterproof Camera

I am super excited that Canon has stepped into the waterproof point and shoot digital camera ring with their new D10.  I have been very pleased with all my previous Canon products and their customer service has been outstanding.  I bought one of their waterproof housings for an older Canon digital camera and it was very rugged and absolutely waterproof, but it was also really bulky and awkward to use.  As a result I ended up with the waterproof cameras from Olympus and Pentax that I’ve posted about recently.

I haven’t read much about the D10 yet so I don’t know what to expect.  Given the performance of the other waterproof cameras I’ve been using the bar has been set pretty low so far.  Hopefully this Canon will impress me.  I’m going to hold off buying a new waterproof camera until either my Olympus Stylus 850SW or my Pentax Optio W20 give up the ghost completely.  That may give Canon enough time to develop a 2nd generation waterproof camera and fix any bugs that inevitably turn up in a 1st generation product.





Pentax Optio W20

22 10 2009
Pentaz Optio W20

Pentaz Optio W20

I posted yesterday about my Olympus Stylus 850SW that wasn’t waterproof.  I thought I’d post briefly about my other waterproof point and shoot – my Pentax Optio W20.  You can read this detailed review to learn about its specs and features.  I’ve owned this camera for a number of years based on the recommendation of a kayak guide I met in Baja.  As you would expect the camera a water-sports professional likes was and is actually waterproof!  I have abused this camera far more than it deserves and it continues to work for me without complaint.  On the plus side the construction seems pretty bombproof and the camera is dead easy to use.  Ever since I got my Olypmus Stylus last Dec I’ve been loaning this camera to all my friends.  They haven’t been gentle with it and they haven’t had any issues with it – except one I’ll mention below.  Picture quality is not bad, but not great.  It’s worse than my Stylus 850SW, but not by a lot.  Where it does suffer is in comparison to my Canon S870IS.  Again as with my Stlus as long as it provides worry free waterproof performance and remains robust I can live with average picture quality.  After all I wouldn’t dare pull out my Canon point and shoot on a surfboard or in the pouring rain.

This camera has some issues though:

  • Since there is no lens cover water drops or dirt can get onto the lens and unless you pay attention you can take a whole bunch of ruined photos without noticing the problem on the LCD screen.  This happened on a kayak trip in Baja where dried salt on the lens made 20-30 photos my friend took pretty much useless – she was seriously bummed.  Since I’m aware of the problem I regularly clean the lens and I haven’t had a problem myself.
  • The camera body is very rounded which makes holding it one handed tough – especially when wet.  I like to grab my camera from my bike’s bar bag and shoot one handed while riding – this is virtually impossible with this camera.  I bought a silicone sleeve for it [$25cdn] that made it much easier to hold, but the sleeve made using the controls tough and eventually it ripped apart.
  • The camera uses a non-standard USB cable so you have to bring a special cable with you when traveling which is a pain.  Canon uses a standard mini-USB which I can share amongst several USB devices on a trip – thanks Canon!
  • The battery charger is much bulkier than my Canon chargers which is a pain when traveling. I can’t see any reason for this than poor design.
Pentax Optio W80

Pentax Optio W80

As a note the W20 is out of production, but Pentax has a new waterproof model the Optio W80, which appears to be a direct response to Olympus’ Stylus line of cameras.  The W80 looks to be more squared at the corners so I’m hoping it will be easier to hold.





Olympus Stylus 850SW

21 10 2009
Olympus Stylus 850SW

Olympus Stylus 850SW

I’ve been using an Olympus Stylus 850SW for much of my sports photography since I got it last Dec for my Baja trip.  For the most part it’s been a good camera for me.  It doesn’t take the best photos, but the fact it’s waterproof and shockproof make that a fair trade for not having worry about it when I’m out and about.

I took it to the SUP demo this weekend and had it in my pocket while in the water.  It took a dozen photos for me and then the LCD stopped working.  The camera still powered on, but there was no life on the screen.  I put the camera away and when I opened it the next day there was water in the battery/memory card compartment.  I took out both items and left the camera sit open on my desk.  I eventually got around to trying it again and the LCD was working again.

Doing some research it seems that I’m not the first person to have issues with the camera’s waterproofing.  I checked the seals and they were clean and secure so I think I’ve got a leak somewhere else.  Since the camera is still under warranty I’m going to send it off and hope I get service from Olympus that is as good as the service I’ve received from Canon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

It would also be nice to get the camera back before I leave for Baja in November, but that seems unlikely.  I’ll settle for having a waterproof camera when I get back in Jan 2010.

As a note Olympus has replaced this model with a newer version that may perform better underwater.





Calgary Sun SUP

20 10 2009

I was suprised to find an article from the Calgary Sun newspaper about SUP posted on the Paddle Surf.ca website.  I didn’t realize stand up paddle boarding was on the radar in Calgary at all.  I guess I was wrong.





Easy Riders Edmonton SUP

20 10 2009
Winter SUP

Winter SUP

I’m up in Edmonton Alberta Canada for a day to visit my friends Jeff and Jo-Ann.  Since I had some time to kill before I met up with them I decided to check out Easy Rider.  Easy Rider is a board sports store that sells stand up paddle boards and related gear as well as the more common snowboard gear.  I had a hard time finding them on Google so I figured I’d post about them to make them an easier target for others searching for stand up paddle boards and gear in the Edmonton area.

Easy Rider stocks Naish and Starboard SUPs as well as paddles and accessories from Dakine, C4, Naish, etc…

The staff was super friendly and they are clearly stoked about SUP which is great.  They have regular paddle sessions so I’ll definitely have to come up to Edmonton next summer a couple times to paddle with their crew.  They have a sister site documenting their SUP exploits at Canada SUP.  It’s cool to see that cold water and our cooler climate aren’t getting in the way of having some fun outdoors on SUPs.





How to SUP on flatwater…

20 10 2009

I wanted to be prepared to make the most of the Red Nik SUP demo this past weekend so I researched a bunch of videos and websites that taught basic flatwater SUP skills.  This video above was by far the best at explaining everything you need to know as far as beginner flatwater skills go.  Just thought I’d post it and save the next person googling this some time…=-)





Airtime Boardsports

19 10 2009
KIte Porn

Kite Porn

This past spring when I decided to jump into the sport of kiteboarding I didn’t know a whole lot about it other than it looked like a ton of fun.  I called up Philippe @ Airtime Boardsports in Vancouver and asked him what gear I should get.  He spent a lot of time with me working out a package that meet all my needs. Since I didn’t have the experience to second guess him I just ordered everything on faith.

After ordering the gear I spoke with some other folks who were suggesting different gear choices and I had a crisis of faith.  I was worried I’d just blown a bunch of money on the wrong stuff.  So I called Philippe up again [actually several times] to discuss what the other folks had told me.  He very patiently went over each issue explaining why the gear I had bought was the right choice to start with and why it would see me through my first couple years in the sport.

Looking back on things now that I have spent a good chunk of my free time in 2009 learning to kiteboard he was 100% right.  Everything he told me was bang on and the gear he sold me was well matched to my needs.

Sharon is keen on learning how to kiteboard this winter in Baja so I called Philippe up to order her a harness.  He recommended a different one than I was initially going to buy.  Naturally I went with what he suggested…=-)





Red Nik SUP Demo

18 10 2009
What SUP Kurt?

What SUP Kurt?

A bunch of us made it out to the Red Nik SUP demo Saturday evening in the Mount Royal Pool.  It was a lot of fun and quite easy. Everyone got the hang of it in the first 10-20mins and then started doing tricks and advanced maneuvers.

Tracey & Sharon SUPing it up!

Tracey & Sharon SUPing it up!

Sharon had a blast and as I expected it seems like the perfect compliment to kiteboarding as it’s much easier to do for a beginner and it’s a good activity on the water when there is no wind.

Sean getting his SUP on.

Sean getting his SUP on.

Of course a pool is not particularly challenging so I’m interested to see what it’s like with some small waves and eventually I want to try surfing one of these bad boys.

Once again I just want to say thanks for the Red Nik crew for taking the time and trouble to set this up for us….=-)





2010 Tikit

18 10 2009
The new seatmast in folded position.

The new seatmast in folded position.

Bike Friday has posted some info on the 2010 Tikit on their website here.  Nothing shocking really – as expected the new seatmast design will be standard as well as a new paint scheme for 2 tone Tikits.

The photo above shows the new rolling handle.  I’ll be interested to see how it compares to the previous version with and without the brace installed.





RIP XRs…=-(

17 10 2009
Schwalbe Marathon Dureme

Schwalbe Marathon Dureme

Well I’m sad to report that Schwalbe seems poised to terminate the Marathon XR which has been a favourite tire of mine for a few years now.  I’ve got ‘em on my Surly LHT and my Surly Big Dummy.  I think I have a spare XR in 26″ and one in 700c so I’ll be good for a while longer given how hard wearing these tires are, but sooner or later I’ll wear out my last XR and it will be the end of an era.

On the positive side Schwalbe has three new touring tires in the Marathon line up which seem like they will be able to fill the shoes of the XR capably:

  • Marathon Supreme: is a semi-slick touring tire for those paved road only rides where you want durability and puncture protection in a faster tire.
  • Marathon Extreme: is a knobbier and lighter cousin of the XR that can handle dirt and gravel roads.
  • Marathon Dureme: seems to be somewhere in the middle with more tread than the Supreme and less tread than the Extreme.  It’s supposed to be very long wearing.

We may be looking back in a couple years and not missing the XRs at all.  The new Schwalbe touring tires may be better and we’ll be happy they made the switch.  Of course it’s possibly we’ll be looking back wistfully at the XR wishing they still made it….only time will tell.  The thing the XR had going for it was a long history of working well for the hardcore bike tourist.  That’s a reputation Schwalbe’s new rubber will have to earn.

If you are a Schwalbe XR fan there is still stock of this tire at many vendors so grab some while you can.





Girls ‘n Kites

16 10 2009
Susi Mai

Susi Mai

Tandem Kiteboarding

Tandem Kiteboarding





Airline Luggage Maddness

16 10 2009
Naish Golf Bag

Naish Golf Bag

I recently had a funny airline luggage experience that reminded me how crazy the whole airline luggage business is. I flew to Vancouver with my kiteboarding gear packed in the bag shown above.  This bag is labeled “golf” and weighs 45lbs fully loaded.  Because the airlines think it’s full of golf clubs they let me fly for free with it.  If I rolled up with the same bag and it was labeled “Kiteboarding” I would be charged $75 because it’s over sized.  Ironically on my flight back from Vancouver I also had with me a used 5’10″ surfboard I bought from a fellow kiteboarder. This board weighs about 12lbs in its bag.  Because it’s a surfboard they charged $75 for it.

Another time with the same airline I flew to LA with my touring bike in a box.  They charged me $75 for the bike even though I had called ahead and was told that as long as it was one of my two allowed bags it would fly for free. On the return flight I couldn’t find a large bike box and  had to pack my bike into two smaller boxes.  I was expecting to get charged $75 for the first box for being over sized and then $75 + $50 for the second box since it was over sized and I now had 3 bags.  When I checked in they didn’t charge me a penny for my luggage.

What did I learn from all this:

  1. Lie about the contents of your luggage.  If 45lbs of golf clubs fly for free and the exact same bag with kiteboarding stuff costs $75 I feel no shame or remorse for not telling the truth.
  2. Be early for your flight and be super friendly to the check in staff.  The folks at the check in counter can pretty much do whatever they like when it comes to over sized luggage.  If you are there early the plane will be empty and all they need is a reason to waive the fees so smile and chat them up.
  3. Be ready for anything to happen.  If the airline has an official policy that works in your favour print the details off their website or get the name and tel# of someone you spoke with as proof.
  4. If it all goes pear shaped and you are getting charged a bunch of $$$ accept it with grace.  Freaking out will likely not do anything to change the situation and you are just starting off your trip on a sour note.




Red Nik SUP Demo

15 10 2009
Stand Up Paddle board fun

Stand Up Paddle board fun

Red Nik Surf Company in Calgary Alberta is running a Stand Up Paddle [SUP] board demo this weekend.  I’m going to attend and I’m looking forward to trying out a few Starboard SUPs.  I know setting up and running events like this is a lot of work so I wanted to give Warren @ Red Nik a shout out.

Red Nik sells SUPs, longboard skateboards, surfboards and all the clothing and accessories to go with these sports.  If you are in Calgary check ‘em out.





eTikit

15 10 2009
Electric Tikit Prototype

Electric Tikit Prototype

Walter has posted some information about an electrified Tikit that Bike Friday is working on. I can see how an e-bike that folds super easy might be very appealing for a commuter who wants to get to work sweat free with a bit of multi-modal commuting.  It also seems to me that with a conventional front wheel you should be able to swap back and forth when you wanted a normal Tikit to ride.

Here are some photos of the prototype Bike Friday eTikit.

I’ll be interested to see how this product develops.





Naish Porn PT2

14 10 2009




Naish Secrets

14 10 2009




Tikit Update

14 10 2009
My little black folding buddy...

My little black folding buddy...

I sent my Tikit off to Bike Friday for a new seatmast to be fabricated last Thursday and rec’d not one, but two calls on Monday to let me know it arrived safely as well as to give me some info on the production schedule and when I can expect to get the bike back.  They also took the time to ask me how the bike was riding and if anything else needed to be done while to bike was disassembled at Bike Friday HQ.  It was great follow through on a free warranty repair and I’m happy to know that Bike Friday is going to working on my bike this week.  That was quite a bit faster than I had expected.





Robert Tilley’s Season Tikit

12 10 2009
SRAM i9

SRAM i9

Robert posted some photos of his new Bike Friday Season Tikit. It looks lovely and since my Tikit is on its way back to Bike Friday I’m feeling nostalgic for my little black folding buddy.

Minty fresh Season Tikit

Minty fresh Season Tikit

Check out the rest of Robert’s Tikit photos here.

Season Tikit ready to travel...

Season Tikit ready to travel...





How to setup cantis…

9 10 2009
Another useful article from Bicycle Quarterly

Another useful article from Bicycle Quarterly

If you’ve got cantis [cantilever brakes] and aren’t sure how to set them up to optimize braking performance click here and read this short, but useful article on the subject from Bicycle Quarterly.





Don’t blame the Scorchers!

8 10 2009
I love these tires...=-)

I love these tires...=-)

I recently got what I thought was my first flat running Greenspeed Scorcher TRs on my Bike Friday Tikit. I’ve had them on my bike for two full riding seasons and this bike gets abused through all the typical debris that you’d find in any large downtown area.  I actually thought 1 flat in two seasons was a great record.

Well I finally got around to cleaning my Tikit and figured I better fix that flat.  Upon pulling the tube I discovered that the flat was on the inside of the tube where it had been rubbing on a bulging spoke nipple.  The nipple was covered by the rim tape, but I guess friction and two years of hard riding eventually took their toll.

So for the record my Scorchers are still flat free!  I love a perfect record…=-)





Double Kingpin Trucks

7 10 2009
Sector Nine Longboard with double kingpin trucks...

Sector Nine Longboard with double kingpin trucks...

I don’t post a lot about longboards – mostly because I don’t really know much about them.  Sure I have a couple and I like riding them, but I’m like the guy who rides a bike to work and doesn’t “get” how derailleurs work.  I’m cool with that level of ignorance. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment and I’m not relying on my skateboard to carrying me anywhere remote.  When it’s time to buy new gear I just talk to my friend Kurt who knows a lot more about the subject and then I forget about it.

Well this summer Kurt turned me on to something new in the longboard world – double kingpin trucks.  You can only get them on Sector Nine loangboards for the time being.

Here is the marketing spew from Sector Nine:

“The patented design of the Gullwing Sidewinder Trucks have been turning heads since they were first introduced. What makes these trucks so special is that they have two pivot points which allows the trucks to turn twice as sharp and fast as a standard truck. This double action pivot allows the rider to generate speed using their own turning momentum. The Gullwing Sidewinder trucks are a sidewalk surfers dream. Ask anyone that has ridden them and the truth will be told.

***Please be aware that hese trucks must be set up on an appropriately shaped deck with proper clearance in order to function properly and avoid wheel bite***”

Double Kingpin Trucks

Double Kingpin Trucks

I sold a longboard this summer and bought a new Sector Nine Sand Wedge with these new trucks on it.  Since you’ve got two pivot points you lean over and the board will turn just like any other longboard, but if you keep leaning harder the second pivot engages and you can turn uber hard.  That gives you the smooth ride of a longer board with the maneuverability of a shorter deck.

I’ve been having a blast on it and love how tight I can turn it.  My other longboard has just been gathering dust since I got the Sand Wedge.  If you are a longboarder this is something I’d definitely check out.

Kurt carving his Sector Nine Off the Wall

Kurt carving his Sector Nine Off the Wall

….here is some longboard porn showing these trucks in action:

and for those of you wondering how to pump a longboard click here.





Tire Pressure

6 10 2009
Setting Tire Pressure

Setting Tire Pressure

Running tires at max pressure doesn’t make them faster.  It just makes them ride more harshly.  Bicycle Quarterly has run some comprehensive tests on various tires to validate this and in my own experience it has proven true as well. I find myself explaining this over and over again in various online forums since it goes against commonly held cycling dogma.  Happily Jan Heine at Bicycle Quarterly has posted an article summarizing how to determine the correct pressure for your tires.  Now I can just post a link to the article and save my fingers the typing.

The only thing I would add to Jan’s article is that I find there is no need to get super precise about this process and generally just eyeball the vertical drop.  As long as I get it in the ballpark I don’t notice a major impact either way.  Since I’m lazy I tend to go for slightly less then optimal vertical drop when inflating my tires.  I’m not going to mess with them until they have lost a lot of air so my tires will reach the optimal pressure sooner or later and when they get noticeably soft I’ll repeat the process.