Spring is here…

31 05 2010

The leaves are green and the sunny is shining...

and it's snowing...welcome to Alberta in late May!...





900 Lumen LED Bike Light

28 05 2010

Power in Motion 900 Lumen LED bike light...

Ken at Power in Motion gave me this 900 lumen LED bike light to try out.  Naturally I said yes!  My reference lights are a pair of Dinotte 200L-AA that are rated at 200 lumens each and run on 4 AA rechargeable batteries.  I’ve always thought the 200L’s were very bright so I was interested to see what 900 lumens was like.

Light engine, battery and charger in box...

This light kit consists of a LED light engine, proprietary rechargeable battery and AC charger.  The box the light comes in is easy to open with a flip top and magnetic latch.  That’s nice because typically I recycle product boxes because they aren’t very easy to open/close for day to day use.  I’d actually keep this box to store the light when not in use and reuse is better than recycling by a long shot.

Business end of light engine...

The light engine features a SSCP7 LED and simple reflector.  Note that the optics are not focused so you get a cone of light that extends from the light engine.

Heat-sink and control button...

The light engine case is waterproof and features a integral heat-sink to keep the light cool.  There is a single control button on the back that cycles between high power steady, low power steady, flashing high power and off.

Battery pack...

I have no specs on the proprietary battery pack other than a stated runtime of 3hrs on high steady.  I tested this and managed 3hrs 10mins with my unit.  Low steady should run for a lot longer and in flashing mode I imagine it will be a week or more of night riding before you would have to think about charging.  It took me 4hrs to charge the battery from empty to full with the included AC charger.

I should note it looks like the light engine may draw a small amount of current when off [same as the Dinotte] so I’d recommend you unplug the battery pack if you aren’t using it so you don’t drain the battery unnecessarily.

The plug is waterproof and easy to use.  Both the plug and the wiring look solid and should be robust enough for long term use.  Ken mentioned that this light can be connected to one of his e-bike kits so you can run it from the main e-bike battery. That would be a convenient option for a electric bike commuter.

The battery come with a nylon case that can easily be attached to your bike via a velcro strap.

My test light on the left and my Dinotte 200L on the right...

The test light engine mounts in a similar fashion to the Dinotte 200L using a rubber o-ring.  This is a very versatile mounting method that has lasted several years of regular use.  This means the light can be swapped from bike to bike in seconds without tools and the beam can be aimed up and down on the fly.  Of course this type of mount means the light can be stolen easily so you’d be advised to take it with you when locking the bike.  You get a large and a small o-ring with the light kit so you should be set for just about any diameter bar.

On the whole I really like these o-ring mounts.  The convenience of use outweighs the security issue for me.

Top view...

The test light is attractive and looks well made.  As you can see from the photos it’s quite a bit bigger than the Dinotte 200L, but at 4.5 times the rated lumens maybe that’s a necessary thing – the Dinotte 800 lumen light is much bigger as well.  The Dinotte case is a work of art to be sure, however, it comes at a cost.  The 900 lumen LED tested here sells for $145 CDN at Power in Motion compared to $229 USD for a 200L – LI proprietary [lithium battery version] or $351 USD for a Dinotte 800 lumen light.

Rear view...

The 900 lumen test light is controlled from the rear via a single button that is illuminated to show it has power and switches to red to indicate a low battery.  The button is not as easy to use as the Dinotte button because it doesn’t protrude from the case as much, but I was able to change settings with a gloved hand no problem.

The light engine and battery weigh 340 grams [12oz] – light enough I didn’t notice them on my bikes.

Dinotte 200L...

Here are two pictures to try and compare the 900 lumen test light and the Dinotte 200L.  This is not an ideal test as my camera adjusts settings differently between pictures, but it was the best I could muster on short notice.  In real life the difference is even more dramatic.  I have no way to measure the brightness of these lights to verify the stated lumens, but I can tell you the 900 lumen light is much brighter than the Dinotte 200L and illuminates a much wider area.  This means you’ll see more of the road both close and far than you would with the Dinotte 200L.  For higher speed night riding I often use two Dinotte 200L’s one aimed low and close to illuminate the near section of road and one aimed higher to illuminated the road further away.  With the test light only one light would be necessary to achieve the same result.

900 lumen test light...

Keep in mind I’ve only been testing this light for a couple weeks so I can’t speak to the long term durability of the unit although the construction leads me to believe it will be robust.  I am thinking about buying one to test over the next year, but I have a some existing lights that meet my needs and other bike spending priorities…not to mention living so far north it’s already light until 10pm+… so I haven’t made a decision yet.  This light is definitely a great value which is making me think it’s worth owning.

In summary:

  • the test light is well made
  • the price is excellent
  • the light is exceptionally bright
  • the battery provides 3hrs on high steady
  • the mounting system works well

If you are interested in one of these 900 lumen lights contact Ken through his Power in Motion website or call the store at 403.233.8841. Power in Motion ships to Canada and the US.

Now this is where I would typically rant about the need for focused optics in bike lights like they have in Europe.  However, nobody selling bike lights in North America seems to care so I’ll spare you the diatribe!…=-) I will say this – be responsible with your high powered bike lights.  Consider other MUP/road users and don’t blind people with poorly aimed lights.

10 min shower test...

Update:

Adrian [a blog reader] mentioned he has some waterproofing issues with his battery pack in a similar LED light.   So the investigative reviewer in me wanted to try out my test light in the wet.  So I placed it on a shelf in the shower and hit it with a full force water barrage for 10 mins.  I occasionally picked up the light engine and ran it through the various modes to ensure it was working fine.  The light worked great and exhibited no problems from being wet or sitting in a puddle of water.





Clever Cycles Ride Through…

28 05 2010

Clever Cycles [Portland] has a newly renovated showroom…looks super nice!





Bike Bins

27 05 2010

Bike Bins hard shell pannier...

I saw these plastic hard shell panniers at Bike Bike and was intrigued by the idea of a lockable pannier.  They are made by Bike Bins and feature a locking lid so you can secure items on your bike when about town.

View of Bike Bin with lid open...

They install easily on any standard rear bike rack and are waterproof.  You get a key for each bin and there are 150 keys used so you will likely need to carry a key for each bin unless you luck out and get 2 that use the same key.  Of course that also means someone else with a Bike Bin most likely won’t have a key that works on yours!

Bike Bin Specifications...

They are selling for $80.00 Cdn at Bike Bike for 1 Bike Bin.  That price isn’t out of line with other quality bike panniers, but it’s not a bargain either.

Bike Bins on Doug's CETMA Cargo Bike...

My friend Doug has a set of Bike Bins on his CETMA cargo bike.  I asked him what his thoughts were after using them for a while:

  • he liked the ability to lock them and keep a few essentials close at hand
  • they were reasonably durable although he has had some issues with the hinges vibrating loose requiring some intervention.
  • loose items rattle and make a lot of noise as you ride so he pads them with a jacket or a rag
  • overall his appraisal was positive

My own thoughts are that they could be a useful addition for an errand or commuter bike, but they seem like they could use another cycle of product development before I would be able to give them two thumbs up.  I’d like to see the following changes:

  • better quality construction…especially the hinges.  For $80 a bin I feel like they should be 25% nicer in terms of fit and finish.
  • have reflective panels on them or provide reflective stickers with each bin.
  • available in sets with the keyed the same so you would only need one key for all your bins.
  • have a better locking mechanism to secure the bin to the bike…currently they suggest you lock the rubber carrying handle to secure the bin on your rack, but a decent knife would liberate that easily.
  • offering some padding along the bottom and lower sides would make them more useable for carrying tools and a lock without making a ton of noise.
  • 17L is a bit on the small side…something like 25-30L would be more useful for shopping.

I may invest in one bin for testing purposes or I may wait a year or so in the hopes they address the issues above.  I’m not sure yet.  If you are in the market for locking panniers these are worth a look.





Ortlieb Velocity Backpack 2.5 Year Review

26 05 2010

My Ortlieb Velocity showing a bit of wear and tear...

Read my initial thoughts about this bag from early 2008 here and my 5 month update here.

This backpack has become my “go to” bag for most of my day to day backpack needs.

This is why:

  • 20L size is perfect for most loads
  • roll top closure lets you carry large odd sized items [bike fork] by leaving top open
  • waterproof bag makes it a no brainer when you want to carry a laptop in the rain
  • PVC fabric is very rugged
  • simple design is easy to use
  • fits well and is comfy even with a moderately heavy load
  • back of bag ventilates well

The bag it has displaced is an aging Camelback Transalp which was my favourite bag for years.  Interestingly the Transalp featured many small pockets to organize my stuff.  I figured the fact the Velocity is a simple bag with only a small organizing pocket might be a problem…as it turns out that’s not an issue and I rarely wish I had more pockets.

If you need a medium sized backpack and you care about waterproofness and durability this is a good bag to consider.

The excess belt straps req'd a ghetto DIY solution...

Stuff I don’t like:

  • basic black goes with anything, but some reflective material like Ortlieb puts on their panniers would make me happier riding late at night.
  • every bag made for cyclists should have a simple cloth tab to allow you to easily attach a red blinky…come on that isn’t rocket science.
  • the removable organizer pocket is handy, but it can slap around inside the bag making an irritating sound with every step you take…an extra snap at the bottom or some velcro would cure that issue.
  • the bag has a waist belt that is rarely needed due to the moderate size of the bag.  This belt comes with two plastic clips to manage the excess strap ends when the belt isn’t being used.  They were made of brittle plastic are broke early on requiring me to resort to a ghetto tape solution.  A sewn on velcro strap on each side would solve the problem while looking nice and lasting as long as you have the bag.

BTW – if you like what you see, but need more than 20L of capacity Ortlieb sells two larger bags similar to the Velocity.  I’m keen on getting the Messenger Bag Pro…I’m just waiting for one to cross my path on sale!





My friend Greg in Victoria, BC…

25 05 2010

He's actually from next door in Sooke BC...

But, I figured nobody would know where that is....

I can't wait to get my kite in the air and my board in the water...

Apparently conditions for KBing have been awesome this spring on Vancouver Island...

and yes I am officially jealous...=-)





La Sportiva Raptor Update

24 05 2010

A less shinny looking than a month ago...

I posted my La Sportiva Raptor pre-review a month ago.  I wanted to post an update now that I’ve been wearing these shoes for a month as my main footwear.

Stuff I like:

  • comfortable fit
  • lightweight
  • grippy soles
  • my custom insoles fit well
  • not uber ugly [to me!]

Stuff I don’t like:

  • climbing rubber soles leave marks on light coloured floors
  • hard plastic under arch doesn’t grip metal pedals on my fixie well
  • light material gets wet from dew easily

Note the knot halfway up the laces...

I like these shoes with the front half loose and the uppers fairly tight.  To make this happen I’ve tied a knot about halfway up the laces.  This means that the tension below the knot never changes no matter how tight I tie the top of the shoe.

Overall I like these shoes and will keep ‘em until they wear out, but I don’t love them enough to buy some spare pairs.  When they are toast I’ll look around for a shoe I really love.  The quality and construction of these shoes is high.  Given that fit is a very personal thing I’d recommend these shoes as worth your consideration if you are on the hunt for a trail runner – you may well love them.





Sharon’s SC Nomad

20 05 2010

Sharon test riding a Santa Cruz Nomad...

I posted a while back that Sharon was keen on getting an all mountain bike.  She tried Kurt’s Santa Cruz Nomad and liked it a lot, but the $3k+ price tag was a problem.  So I did some hunting for cheaper options and came up with two possibilities:

  1. Kona was selling 2009 Coilairs new at an awesome price to liquidate their excess inventory.
  2. I also found a few used bikes that were reasonable options for her.

The truth is in the test ride...

The problem with both options were that the bikes she could afford were quite heavy and the bikes that were light enough were out of the reach of her budget.  After much consideration we decided it was better for her to save some $$$ and skip mountain biking for 2010.  That way she’d be able to buy a better bike during the winter of 2011 when there would be more deals.

"Do I have to give it back?...."

Recently Sharon found out that her work health benefits plan would allow her to spend $3K on sports equipment.  A bicycle was one of the approved items she could spend the money on – sweet!  So all of a sudden a bike was a possibility again.

So we went down to Bow Cycle and she tried a Santa Cruz Superlight XC full suspension bike and a Santa Cruz Nomad all mountain rig.  I figured she would like the Nomad better for the downhills and the Superlight better for the climbs, but surprisingly she liked the Nomad better going both ways.  She climbed more easily on the Nomad and felt more confident with the Nomad’s relaxed steering headed down.

Given her positive reaction to riding Kurt’s Nomad she decided to put a deposit on the Nomad she tested until her benefits account kicks in on 1 July.  Being the smart women she is she signed up for 6hrs of mountain bike training spread over 3 days at our local lift served mountain bike park. We’ll follow that up with a women’s mountain bike camp sometime this summer.

That's the Nomad grin!

I’m stoked she’ll be riding a Nomad.  It’s definitely one of the best mountain bikes I’ve ever ridden.  Typically the weaker less skilled new mountain biker ends up riding the heaviest least technically advanced bike.  Either a hand me down or a low cost new bike. Unfortunately the new mountain biker would reap the benefit of a lighter bike and the latest suspension technology more than the experienced rider who is already strong and technically skilled. I think this contributes to a lot of people trying mountain biking and giving up as they get smoked by the better riders and start to question how much fun they are having. I’m happy Sharon will be starting on a top quality bike.  I think that will go a long way towards nurturing a love for dirt riding!





SA 3spd Fixed Gear IGH

19 05 2010

 

SA 3spd fixed gear IGH...

 

I was at Campione Cycles yesterday and spotted this Sturmey-Archer 3spd fixed gear IGH built up in a Surly Cross Check frame.  I had heard of this hub last year, but since I wasn’t riding fixed gear I didn’t pay much attention to it.

 

Shift cable entering hub...

 

The hub is small and the shifter cable and shifter are low profile.  The shifting action is smooth and it changes gears easily via a down tube mounted shifter.  The whole setup is clean and doesn’t mess with the aesthetics of the fixed Cross Check.  The only negative comment I can make [which was shared by other folks in the shop] was that there was a noticeable bit of slackness in the drivetrain when applying pressure to the pedals in the opposite direction.  That felt really weird when you are used to the totally solid fixed gear feeling.  It feels broken!

 

Downtube mounted shifter...

 

Typically I’m a fan of IGHs.  I was offered one of these hubs recently to test and declined.  Maybe I’m too “young” a fixed gear rider to get the point of adding this hub to my bike?  Perhaps in a year or two I’ll be stoked to give it a try? For now it seems to be counter productive to throw an IGH, shifter and shift cable on my nice clean/simple/bombproof fixed gear.

Especially since I’ve now tackled the two worst climbs in the centre of Calgary on my fixed gear and been pleasantly surprised I not only got up them okay, but I was quite a bit faster than normal and no more tired at the top.  If I was going to add an IGH to my Surly 1×1 I’d probably just throw a Alfine or Rohloff in the back and get 8-14 speeds.  That seems to make more sense and justifies the additional complexity more than 2 additional gears.

If you are a fixed gear fanatic and “get” the 3 speed SA IGH please explain it to me.  I’m not very knowledgeable/experienced with fixies and maybe I’m just overlooking something obvious.





CETMA Cargo Bike Videos

18 05 2010




CETMA Cargo Bike

18 05 2010

Doug and Fiona getting their CETMA on...

I like cargo bikes. I love my Surly Big Dummy.  However I must admit my gaze wanders to other cargo bikes.  My friend Doug has a cool CETMA cargo rig that he uses to get around on with his kids.

Front steering linkage...

Unlike my Big Dummy the CETMA is a front loading cargo bike.  Doug’s bike has a flat cargo platform and a cargo box attached to it.  The CETMA uses a steering linkage to take input from the bars and transmit it to the front wheel.

Fiona - a happy passenger!

The front cargo box with a bench seat is ideal for carrying a young child since you can keep an eye on her and communicate with her easily.  It’s also handy for carrying loose items without having to strap them down.

Bike Bins mounted to a rear rack...

The more I talked to Doug the more intrigued I was about his CETMA bike.  It seems like it would be an ideal companion for my Big Dummy.   Between the two bikes you could carry just about anything without much hassle.

Cruising the pathways...

Doug even let me try his CETMA…which was nice, but I was concerned about the safety of his daughter.  I was a bit wobbly at first until I relaxed and then it was a lot of fun bombing around town on the CETMA.  Its steering is quite sporty and once you get over the fact it steers via a linkage the handling isn’t as funky as you might expect.  I was also impressed how torsionally stiff the ride was.

Thanks to Doug for the test ride and trusting me with his wee one!

A CETMA moment...=-)

One really cool feature of the CETMA is the fact it breaks into two pieces [just behind the bars] for easy travel and shipping.

I’m keen enough about the CETMA I’m going to take a long hard look at my bikes and I may just have to cull the herd to raise some $$$ for a CETMA.  Just for product testing/blogging purposes of course…I don’t have a cargo bike problem….=-)

Fiona ducks for cover!...=-)





Protect Yourself…

18 05 2010

Slickrock Trail, Moab Utah...

I’m not a proponent of mandatory helmet laws and I don’t wear a helmet every time I ride my bike.  I do think it’s important to understand and evaluate the risks of any  potentially dangerous activity you do so that you can protect yourself adequately.

When it comes to mountain biking I used to wear only a helmet and gloves when I rode my XC bikes around.  That was partially because I was young and didn’t injure so easily and partially because the trails I rode were not uber difficult so falling off didn’t happen very often.  Now that I am riding steeper more challenging terrain and I’m 20 years older I’ve been converted to wearing bike armour for most mountain bike rides.

Initially I bought the heavy duty hard plastic pads shown in the photo above – from Troy Lee and 661.  They provide a ton of protection from the knee to the top of the foot and from the elbow to the wrist.  The downside is they are bulky and can be hot on a warm day.

The problem of course is that you don’t always need to be armoured like a gladiator.  I tried wearing the pads above on a really hot day last summer on a trail that wasn’t super challenging and I nearly gave up on them entirely due to the discomfort of overheating.  I also felt a bit silly wearing them for less demanding rides as they were clearly overkill.

Lighter duty pads...

So I picked up a set of 661 pads shown in the photo above.  They are soft and protect just the knee/elbow joint.  They are cooler to wear and their low profile fits easily under my clothes [see photo below] so I can have protection without looking like an extra from a Mad Max movie.

One benefit to the smaller 661 pads is that they work for other sports. I wear them under my snowboarding clothes for example.

Under cover 661 pads...

I tend to bring both sets of pads with me when mountain biking and dial in which I use based on the type of ride, the weather and how much protection I want that day.  For a shuttle or lift served run down a big mountain I’ll always grab the heavy duty pads.  The hotter it is and the more I have to pedal uphill the more likely I’ll grab the lighter pads. Having a choice is nice and since they won’t wear out as fast when you swap between two sets the cost of owning two sets of pads isn’t any greater.

As any motorcyclist will tell you the best set of leathers and pads in the world are no good to you if you feel so uncomfortably hot you can’t actually ride your bike.

If you are in the market for pads the Troy Lee and 661 pads shown in this post are excellent, but I’d recommend you try on 3 or 4 different models and brands before deciding.  Just like shoes not every pad works well with every rider.  Comfort will go a long way towards making you happy on your bike.

Kurt getting airborne...

Besides not getting hurt as easily wearing adequate protection when you are mountain biking will make you feel more confident riding technical sections and let you try stuff you just wouldn’t want to tackle otherwise.

You do need to keep in mind that even the most burly pads, gloves and helmet won’t prevent you from getting hurt in all cases.  Your brain and common sense are always your best safety mechanism!  When in doubt dismount and walk your bike or at least check out a techy section from both sides if your spidey sense is tingling.





Bike Bike!

17 05 2010

The new Bike Bike LBS...

I just discovered a new commuter/cargo bike shop in Calgary thanks to my buddy Chris spilling the beans over a beer.  The new shop, called Bike Bike, is on the SW corner of 17th Ave SW and 15 St.  Naturally I had to cruise over and check it out.

Mmmm...commuter bikes...

The shop is fairly small, but packed with bikey goodness…they specialize in commuter and cargo bikes so I was in bike heaven surrounded by so many practical bikes.

They have lots of useful accessories...

Almost better than the great bikes they have are all the cool commuter and cargo accessories in the shop.  It’s a lot easier to decide if something will work for your bike when you can hold it in your hand and try it on your bike.  Typically these types of items are special orders at a mainstream LBS or online purchases only.

Looking towards the cash register from the back of the shop...

I’m not going to go into too much detail here [I'll let the photos speak for me], but if you are a Calgary cyclist into Dutch city bikes, North American city/commuter bikes and cargo bikes you should drop in and check them out.

Panniers, folders and a dutch style cargo monster!

Dahon folders and Dutch style cargo bike...

I couldn’t resist their cool selection of handlebars and scored a nice swept back riser bar for a very reasonable $25cdn.  I’m stoked as I’ve been eyeing up some bars online, but it’s hard to evaluate a handlebar from a small picture and shipping from the US is often more than the cost of the bar itself….=-(

Lots of sweet Brodies...

Bike Bike stocks a lot of Brodie urban bikes….the North American version of the Dutch city bike.

Batavus bikes for some Dutch flavour...

If you prefer a real Dutch city bike Bike Bike has some nice Batavus options.

Several cargo options...

If time allows I’d love to load up one of their cargo bikes with the wooden boxes up front and see how it handles compared to my Big Dummy.

Nutcase and Bern helmets...

Since my GF Sharon is from the UK I figured she needs one of the Union Jack Helmets from Nutcase.

More colourful skid lids...

I’m not sure I could pull off a snazzy Nutcase lid.

Shop rates...

The folks at the shop were very friendly and obviously really keen on the products they stock.  The great thing about a small LBS is you get really personal service and can develop a relationship with the staff so they know what you need and how best to help you.

Nice hardshell pannier on my Tikit...

I’m thinking a hardshell pannier like this Bike Bin might be a good idea so I can leave all my tools/locks/lights and such on my bike when I’m running errands without having to think about having them stolen.





Practice makes perfect…

14 05 2010

Kurt at the park ready to rumble...

My mountain bike skills are only average although my enthusiasm is exceptional!  In accepting that reality I know that if I want to clear tough techy sections I need to keep what little skills I have sharp.

Getting my front wheel up and over stuff is half the battle...

Unless you have a dirt trail near your doorstep it’s not that easy to practice mountain biking often enough to really help.  Most people can only hit the dirt once a week for a big ride and since that’s “game day”…you need to keep up with your buddies not stop at each techy section to ride it again and again.

Trying to wheelie for a 100 yards is hard!

So what I do is head to the park or downtown to the urban jungle to work on getting up and over obstacles – then down the other side.  It’s not the same as riding the dirt, but it sure helps and you can head out for a 1hr session and get in 45mins of practice rather than spending a lot of time riding/driving to some real trails.

In my mind I'm railing berms in the forest!

Perfect for days when you only have a little time after work or before the spouse/kids need your attention.

Bombing around a park in the sunshine is a lot of fun...

I should also note that this isn’t just a mountain bike thing….roadies, bike tourists and commuters can also practice relevant skills close to home like emergency braking, different touring bike loading strategies, how to lock your bike the most effective way, etc…

I might have to try a unicycle next...=-)

I will note that although I am not a 100% of the time bike helmet wearer I do recommend that any time you are riding or practicing techy moves you should wear a helmet as well as elbow/knee pads.  Not only are they useful when you fall, but the security/confidence they provide will let you work on your skills with less anxiety and therefore more success.

Not sure what this is called, but it's useful for getting around steep switchbacks...

Finally practice should be fun.  Work on things in a progressive way.  Start small and build slowly each session.  Quit when you are tired – that’s when you’ll get hurt.  Feel free to reward yourself on the way home with a nice coffee, beer or whatever you enjoy.





Crank Brothers Joplin Redux

13 05 2010

Got my Joplin 3" adjustable seatpost back from Crank Brothers...

My Joplin adjustable seatpost broke a few weeks ago so it had to go back to Crank Brothers for repair.

Remote bar mounted lever...the only way to go...

I really liked my Joplin seatpost when it was working for me.

Installing the remote lever cable is very easy...

But I didn’t realize how awesome this seatpost was until I had to go back to the stock non-adjustable Thompson post.

Installing and adjusting the saddle is a snap as well...

I think Crank Brothers provided me with a refurbished post vs. repairing my old post, but as long as it works I really don’t care.

30.9mm post size fits my Nomad perfectly...

Unfortunately it looks like Kurt’s Joplin is starting to leak oil so he’ll be sending his back to Crank Brothers as well…=-( As long as it’s covered by the warranty we can both live with out seatposts needing service once every year or so.

Joplin back where she belongs!





A Typical Tikit Day…

12 05 2010

Dropping off my truck for service...

Unfolded and ready to head home...

Photo op on bridge over Elbow River Calgary Alberta...

Indian buffet downtown with a friend....yummy!

Trying out some spiffy hardshell panniers at the Bike Bike LBS...

"...Man she's tall...wonder if she likes folders?..."

Afternoon nap with the family...

Shopping for dinner...

Heading home for a BBQ...





RAAM 2010 – The Ataxians

11 05 2010




License to Ride…

10 05 2010

Seen on the streets of Victoria...





Bike Kitchen @ UVIC

10 05 2010

Need air or tools?

I was at the University of Victoria campus last week and was stoked to see that they had these repair stations for bicycles as well as bike lanes and bike parking.  It’s nice to see bike commuting not just tolerated, but encouraged and supported.

Good work UVIC!





Karate Monkey Big Apple Monster

7 05 2010

Surly Karate Monkey in lovely Chum Bucket red...

I stopped in at Fairfield Cycles [Victoria, BC] this week…very cool shop….Ortlieb, IGH bikes, folders, bents, cargo bikes…sweet!  Anyways not being in the market for a bike I was just browsing when I saw this nice 20″ Surly Karate Monkey with monster 2.35″ Schwalbe Big Apple 29er tires and fenders…the bike looked perfect and ridiculously huge all at the same time so I had to take a test ride.

Fat rubber and fat fenders do fit fine...

I was amazed that there was so much clearance in the fork for huge rubber and fenders to match.  I was also surprised that I liked the Chum Bucket red colour of the frame…I hadn’t been too stoked based on pictures I’d seen, but it looks quite nice in person. The 20″ frame fit me great and the bike was built up as a useful about town ride.

Single speed simplicity...

The KM was light and nimble despite the big wheels.  I would have lowered the pressure in the Big Apples quite a bit to take advantage of their suspension potential if it was my bike.  As it was the BAs rolled great and I was able to slalom around the neighbourhood with a big grin on my face.

I’m used to riding a fixed gear now so it felt strange to be on a single speed bike that let me coast…it almost felt wrong…=-)

Fenders...disc brakes...bring on the wet...

I gotta say this was a fun bike to bomb around on and setup like this would make a great all weather commuter.  As it turns out this bike is slightly used and priced at $1100.00cdn…somebody is going to have a big smile on their face.  Thanks to Max at Fairfield Cycles for the test ride…=-)





Free Air…

6 05 2010

I needed air on my urban assault ride around Victoria...

…and Fairfield Bicycles has free air outside the shop…I like it!…=-)





BC MTB Porn from VIMB

5 05 2010

Photo: Strahan @ VIMB.com

Strahan over at Vancouver Island Mountain Biking [VIMB.com] took some sweet photos of the action at the #1 Island Cup DH Race recently.  The pic I posted here is my favourite. Nice work!





Suspension Werx

4 05 2010

Image: Suspension Werx splash page...

Sometime by the end of 2011 I’m going to connect the dots and get my Santa Cruz Nomad’s suspension professionally tuned by the folks at Suspension Werx in Vancouver, BC.  I had a taste of what a pro tune might be like when Dave Cichan owner of The Fat Tire bike shop in Sedona AZ spent a couple hours helping me setup my Nomad.  The results were nothing short of amazing….=-)  I figure by the end of the 2011 season my Nomad’s suspension will need rebuilding so I might as well get it professionally tuned while we have the bike apart.

There is a time to DIY and a time to hire professionals…=-)





Broom Hill – Sooke, BC…

3 05 2010

Ready to get dirty...

Kurt needs some air...

Kurt checks out a stunt...

I try out a stunt...not sure if this is the way they designed it???

Back on two wheels...

Kurt waits for me to catch up...

First viewpoint...

Kurt enjoys the view from the top of Broom Hill....

Wet and green mountain biking...

Santa Cruz Nomads - awesome bikes...

Today's theme was moss and the colour was green...

Kurt goes up and over...

Working the angles...





Tikit Hyperfold in a Recumbent?

2 05 2010

Hard to believe you can almost have the same crazy fast fold shown above with a Bike Friday Tikit in a lowracer recumbent….seeing is believing though…wow…=-)

…found via BROL and the Recumbent Blog