Ocean Rodeo Go Joe

29 07 2010

Ocean Rodeo Go Joe...

The Ocean Rodeo Go Joe is an inflatable board recovery aid for kiteboarding.  It’s not hard to lose your board when kiteboarding, especially when first learning. The normal thing to do when you are separated from your board is to body drag back to it.  That’s cool and you should know how to body drag, but as a beginner you can lose your board a lot and spending most of your session drinking water as you get pulled back to your board gets old fast.

The Go Joe does three things to help out:

  1. turns your board right side up [this allows it to go downwind towards you faster]
  2. makes the boards more visible in waves and chop
  3. acts like a sail to catch the wind and push the board towards you

All this means you’ll be back up and riding a lot faster.

When I was learning I got a board leash to attach the board to me so I couldn’t lose it.  It works great except that it has a nasty habit of loading up like a bungee and firing the board straight at you – ouch!  Not ideal.  =-(  The Go Joe won’t do this so you can use it without fear of your own equipment hurting you.  I don’t recommend using a leash – not worth it!

I got a Go Joe from Bellingham Kiteboarding [best prices and service for OR gear that I've found] for Sharon to help her make the most of her time on the water as she learns to kiteboard and to reduce the frustration of board recovery.  The best part about the Go Joe is that it allows you to use your body dragging skills to get back to your board.  Eventually you’ll get good enough at riding that you won’t lose your board often and your body dragging skills will get good enough that recovering your board is painless.

Go Joe in action...

Installation is a snap. The top video goes through all the steps.  Basically you attach the Go Joe via the two bolts holding your board’s grab handle to the board.  The Go Joe is made of very strong material similar to the leading edge of a high quality kite and has an inflatable bladder inside with a one way valve you attach a kite pump to.  I liked the fact the one way valve kept the air in while I inserted the valve plug.  I wish my kites had valves like that!  The Go Joe is durable enough to withstand a lot of abuse and you don’t have to baby it.

Go Joe deflated on Sharon's board...

The Go Joe stays attached your board between sessions and you simply deflate at the end of the day to store/transport the board.  Installation is so easy you can move it between boards in 2-4 mins.

One way valve accepts a standard kite pump...

The Go Joe is generally considered a product targeted at beginner riders.  And while it’s certainly useful for new kiteboarders there are times when even experienced riders can use help getting their boards back.  If conditions are extreme and even seeing your board is tough in the waves and chop the Go Joe’s added visibility can be very handy to help you spot your board and make recovery easier.  Some kiteboarding sites have difficult currents to deal with that can move a board away from you faster than you can body drag upwind.  With the Go Joe the board will resist the currents and let you get it back.

You want the Go Joe nice and firm to make sure it pops the board over...

Although I bough this Go Joe for Sharon I’m sure I’ll be using it from time to time when circumstances warrant.  I won’t risk losing an $700 – $800 board because I was too lazy or proud to use every tool at my disposal!  Of course we did get the black Go Joe which is much easier to see than a board upside down in the waves, but at the same time it doesn’t scream newbie!  A decent compromise…=-)  It’s easy enough to wrap some neon flagging tape around the top of the Go Joe when we need max visibility.

Go Joe doesn't interefere with your board's grab handle...

So far at Nihtnat this summer I’ve heard of several boards that have gone missing and have been too hard to spot in the large lake.  So their owners had to give up riding or borrow a board until they could find a new one to buy.  At $700 – $800 a new kite board is not cheap.

Go Joe stays out of your way until needed...

Even on Sharon’s relatively small [130cm] board the Go Joe doesn’t interfere with riding.  It’s flexible enough that if your leg touches it the Go Joe can bend out of the way so it doesn’t inhibit your freedom of movement.  This black Go Joe is also largely invisible with all the spray and speed involved with riding around on the water.  You can pretty much forget about it until you need it.

Hour glass profile...

You’ll notice that the Go Joe has a tapered bottom and wide top. The tapered bottom is designed so it doesn’t catch spray from the board when riding and slow you down.  The wide top is what pops the board upright and acts like a sail to push the board downwind to you.

Anyways that’s all for now – I’ll post a detailed review next spring once Sharon has had time to put the Go Joe to a long term test.





The system is down…!

29 07 2010

I forgot to renew my URLs [www.thelazyrando.com & http://www.thelazyrandonneur.com which direct you to this blog.  So if you’ve had trouble finding this blog for the last few days that’s why….my bad…=-(  I’ve paid my bills so the should be working again shortly.





Radish Sale…

28 07 2010

Xtracycle Radish...

Ken at Power in Motion has a few Radish longtail cargo bikes he wants to get rid of to make room for 2011 stock.  These bikes started at $1750cdn and he’s selling them for $1099cdn. As a reference I saw just the Xtracycle longtail kit for $799cdn at a LBS in town and you’d still need to add a bike to the mix to get rolling.  So this is a pretty nice deal.

Having an integrated longtail solution means you save some $$$ buying everything separately, you know it will all work well together and you don’t have to be a skilled bike mechanic to get the bike rolling.  I’m sure he’ll be happy to ship anywhere in North America.

Please contact Ken directly via his website as I have no information about these bikes beyond what’s posted here and I have no commercial interest in this sale.  Note that Power in Motion is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in case you were wondering about the possibility of a local pick up.

PS – Ken is an electric bike guru so if you wanted to add e-assist to your Radish he could make that happen for you and have it all setup so you don’t have to deal with any fiddly installation issues.





Tarp Surfing…

26 07 2010




Ocean Rodeo Predator Drysuit…

25 07 2010

Ocean Rodeo Predator Drysuit

Update: here are some Predator drysuit kiteboarding action shots. I got my Predator from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham.

Even though Victoria BC has Canada’s mildest climate the fact is the Pacific Ocean is darn cold!  In the summer the air temperatures make wearing a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit comfortable.  In some lakes/inlets you can even skip the wetsuit entirely.  However the rest of the year you need some serious insulation to play in the water for any length of time.  Staying warm is important for having fun and can even be a matter of life and death when you find yourself in the cold water longer than you had planned.

Your choices for staying warm are either a crazy thick wetsuit 6mm-7mm+ or a dry suit.  A really thick wetsuit is stiff and cuts down on your mobility quite a lot.  A drysuit is a waterproof shell you can add layers of insulation underneath to match the temperatures you need to deal with.  Although some drysuits are bulky Ocean Rodeo makes a special drysuit [The Predator] that combines the warmth of a typical drysuit with the flexibility of a light wetsuit…the best of both worlds.

The way the Predator drysuit works is using a 3 layer system:

  1. fleece insulation layer [matched to water/air temperatures]
  2. waterproof breathable layer [keeps you dry]
  3. stretchy neoprene skin [keeps the whole package sleek]

See this web page to understand how you put the Predator on.

The insulation layer is the same as any other drysuit, but the typically there is a baggy waterproof skin on top of it.  By using a thinner waterproof membrane and then a stretchy neoprene out skin the suit gets pulled tight against your body and looks just like a wetsuit.  This is critical for any sports in the waves…like surfing, SUP and kite surfing.  If a wave hits you in a baggy suit it will take you with it and give you no ability to control what happens.  The force may even rip your suit and if it fills with water you are dead.  In a skin tight suit the wave has nothing to push against other than your body which allows you to swim through a wave and get some control back.  As a result prior to the OR Predator you would never see anyone wear a drysuit in the waves…now you can.

Main Predator benefits:

  • flexibility of a 2mm wetsuit
  • buoyancy of a 3mm wetsuit
  • warmth of a 7mm wetsuit
  • easy to swap in dry insulation layers for each session
  • breathable to expel moisture from sweat

Check out this set of detailed photos of the suit.

Putting on a cold wetsuit is pretty horrible..especially when you are freezing to begin with. Using a drysuit you can replace the insulation layer that gets a bit damp from sweat, even in a breathable suit, with a fresh dry one and head out for another session nice and warm!…awesome…=-)

I’ll be ordering up one of these suits so I can keep my watersports going into the winter.  Although Ocean Rodeo is headquartered in Victoria BC the best OR dealer I’ve found is Bellingham Kiteboarding.  I got my OR Mako 140 board from them and was happy with the killer price and the great service.  I’ll be calling them up once it gets chilly up here.

Check out this video of a Predator drysuit in the surf.

I’ll be using this drysuit for a bunch of different sports:

  • kiteboarding
  • SUPing [flat water and surf]
  • sea kayaking

Ocean Rodeo Pyro-Pro drysuit

Ocean Rodeo also makes a more conventional drysuit called the Pyro [pro version shown above].  If you are not going into the waves this suit is cheaper and a bit easier to get on as there is only one layer to put on over your insulation layer.





Bike Friday Tikit Touring Rack Review…

25 07 2010

Tikit Touring Rack extended...

I’ve been testing a prototype full size pannier rack for the Tikit for a few months and wanted to share my thoughts.  I should offer the standard prototype disclaimer…the rack in these photos is a prototype so the production models may be slightly different.  I know Bike Friday was keenly working to make the rack better and better so any changes will be good things!

I was really excited to be able to carry a standard touring pannier on the rear of my Tikit.  The front racks already offered by Bike Friday allow for full sized panniers on the front of the bike so it’s nice to get that functionality on the back end of this bike.  Of course the big question is will the new rack hinder the famously fast and effortless Tikit fold?

Tikit Touring Rack folded down...

The short answer is no – you’ll be able to fold the bike just as fast if you don’t have panniers on the rear and if you do it only takes a second to push the rack down into its folded position.  The Touring Rack uses a clever hinged design to allow it to pop up and fold down without tools.  In the folded position the rack has about the same profile as the standard Tikit rear rack.

View from the top rear...

I’ve used this rack with my Ortlieb panniers and an Arkel shopping pannier.  Both fit and worked great.   Other than folding the rack works just like a standard rear touring rack.

View from the rear...

I didn’t weigh the rack before I installed it…sorry I got carried away!…=-)  Obviously it will weigh more than the standard Tikit rear rack, but I certainly haven’t noticed the difference when riding, rolling or carrying my Tikit.  I also think the versatility of being able to carry a full sized pannier and fold my Tikit makes it well worth adding a few ounces to my bike.

Going shopping?

I have size 11.5US men’s feet and didn’t experience any heel strike on my large Tikit.

Rear view with pannier...

With the height of the extended rack you get sufficient ground clearance for large panniers.  I don’t have a maximum weight capacity for this rack.  I carried all sort of loads up to about 30lbs without difficulty.  I tend to carry my bulkier lighter items in the rear and the more compact heavier items in front. I’m sure I could carry more weight if needed.

The folded Tikit with folded Touring Rack...

Things I didn’t like:

  1. the folded touring rack looks a bit busy compared to the simple standard Tikit rear rack.
  2. the silver arms vibrate against the rest of the rack frame.  I’m going add a bit of electrical tape to pad the rack and solve this issue.
  3. the top of the rack gets abraded against the ground when the folded bike is put down.  I need to add some padding in key spots.

Note issues 2 & 3 may well have been resolved on the production rack.  I’m using a prototype.

Front of the folded Tikit...

Overall I’m really pleased to have this rack on my Tikit.  I don’t always need to carry 4 panniers, but I like being able to when the need does arise.  If the Tikit is your only bike and/or you tour on your Tikit this rack is a no-brainer.  It really transforms the bike into a hauling machine with very little downside.

This rack should be available from Bike Friday shortly and will sell for ~$189.00.

I’ll keep hauling with this rack and report back when I’ve had it in service for 12 months or so.





NZ Highspeed Longboarding…

25 07 2010




Sharon gets her Victoria SUP on…

23 07 2010

Two 11' SUPs and paddles....oh ya!

Sharon and I rode down to the Gorge with a couple stand up paddle boards. This was her first SUP session in Victoria and her first ever bike powered SUP session…=-)

Sharon paddling her pink SUP...

We cruised east towards the inner harbour…the opposite direction to my solo SUP paddle a couple of weeks ago.  This meant we headed into a moderate headwind which made for harder paddling, but an easy return trip.  Surprisingly the waterfront between the paddle club where we launched and the inner harbour was very very industrial.

Sharon SUPing with a cement factory in the background...

We paddled past a cement factory, a car wrecker, a couple of ship building yards and some construction sites.  It wasn’t too hard to make it to the dock below the Ocean River Kayak shop…which is also a handy place to access MEC and other downtown stores.  I’m hoping they’ll let me lock up my SUP on their dock so I can do some SUP powered errands instead of biking every time.

Sharon takes a break at the Ocean River docks...

We turned back before getting to the inner harbour since this was Sharon’s first SUP paddle in months we didn’t want to overdo it.  On a good day I should be able to paddle the whole Gorge.

Sharon doing some 70's themed SUPing...

Sharon had a great time, but we had a flat tire problem on my Surly Big Dummy when we rode home…=-(  *sigh*  It added a long hot delay into our return voyage.  I’ll be making sure I’m fully stocked for tools, pump and supplies in the future.





Forward Components EBB [MTB & Road]

22 07 2010

Bearing housings...

I haven’t used these EBB parts from Forward Components, but I thought I would post in case anyone out there needs an EBB solution that will work with standard BB shells. This will allow you to run a clean tensionerless chainline on SS or IGH bikes.  Their website hasn’t been updated for 12 months so it’s possible they are out of business or just lazy…=-)

Here is a German source for a similar product.

If you do try ‘em drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Bearing cups...





Dunsmuir Bike Lane – Vancouver BC

21 07 2010




Un-Locking your bike…

21 07 2010

Secured without a lock...

Biking around Victoria means frequently locking your bike up.  In many cases you are nearby and just want to stop the grab and run type thief.  Being the lazy biker I am I have stopped locking my bikes for those occasions and un-locked them.  I just use a standard long-ish cable and run it through my bikes, around something solid and then put the free end over a grip and snug it up to the stem.

This is fast an requires no locks, keys or combination codes to be used.  A thief that simply tries to grab a bike will just tighten the whole shebang making it impossible to undo.  In order for a thief to figure out which end to undo and how to do it they’ll need to be up close to my bikes for long enough that I’ll have time to intervene.

If you get a cable that is a tight-ish fit over your grips you’ll slow even the craftiest thief down so they can’t get your bike faster than you can throw a beer bottle at them from a patio!

Of course I don’t use this type of setup when I’m walking away from my bikes for any length of time.





Restraining myself…

20 07 2010

MKS pedals on One Way Tikit...

I’d like to add some foot restraints to my One Way Tikit.  Riding fixed gear means you can’t stop pedaling.  It also means that if your feet fly off a pedal on a bump they don’t stop turning which can be dangerous and is definitely makes it hard to get your feet back on.

Power Grips...

I tried a set of Power Grips I had in my parts bin on the MKS pedals.  They mounted fine, but getting in and out with the shoes I typically wear [trail runners] was a hassle.  Although I’d like some foot restraints I’m not prepared to sacrifice ease of use or have to change the foot wear I use.  If I did I might as well wear SPD shoes and clip in.  Since I love the flexibility and ease of use of the Tikit the last thing I want to do is complicate things by my pedal and/or foot restraint choice.

Mini-Toe Clip...

My next move is to try out some mini-toe clips like the ones shown above that just grab the front of your shoe.  They obviously don’t provide as much holding power as Power Grips or a full cage toe clip with straps, but they may be the ideal mix of ease of use and hold.  Given their low cost they seem worth a shot.

5.10 Impact Low bike shoes...

For the time being I’ve found a pretty effective solution.  My 5.10 Impact Low mountain bike shoes feature a very very grippy climbing rubber sole. I tried them with the MKS pedals on my Bike Friday and they work really well for keeping my feet on the pedals.  Most trail runners have a hard plastic section under the arch to protect/support your feet from rocks.  That’s great for trail running, but not so good for cycling since that’s often the area that my pedals  touch when I’d riding and it’s quite slippery for a metal pedal.  These 5.10′s have a flat uber sticky sole so there is no problem.  Since I like them, they suit my minimal style needs and they are very comfortable I don’t mind riding in them a lot of the time. So for now I’m happy!





Another Nihtnat Weekend…

19 07 2010

Kite launched walking to the water...

Sadly Ken broke his arm [paintball not kiteboarding!] so no more awesome photos from him for a while…=-(  [Heal fast Ken!]

Time to ride...

Got out on my 6m kite Saturday and on my 9m kite Sunday since it wasn’t quite as windy.

Body dragging away from shore a bit...

Sharon came up and got her first taste of Lake Nihtnat.  She’s booked lessons for next weekend.  Hopefully she’ll be up and riding after a bit more training….=-)

Cruising the lake...

Well as you can see kiteboarding and my Canon point & shoot aren’t a great combo.  You really need an SLR with a telephoto lens to capture any action.

Looking for waves to jump...

I’m super happy to be living near this lake.  Great kiting, scenic location, lots of quiet high quality camping at the end of a tough logging road on an island means never any real crowds.  Sweet!





Daisies…

17 07 2010

See on a bike ride a block from my house...





2010 Xtracycle Freeloader Bags

17 07 2010

2010 Freeloader Bags...

I’ve been critical of some Xtracycle products in the past.  So I wanted to make sure I gave Xtracycle a positive plug when they’ve addressed one of my gripes.  Specifically the new 2010 Freeloader bags are now waterproof, look to be much higher quality and more durable. Perfect – that meets all my needs.  They aren’t cheap, but they should last a long time and I’m cool with paying for quality.

I’m not sure when I’ll score a set of these, but probably by the end of the year.

Good work Xtracycle…=-)

Specifications up close...





That’s not fair!

16 07 2010

Sharon on a roll...

“…That’s not fair!…”…my GF Sharon exclaimed after the 3rd time we stopped in downtown Victoria, BC to do something.  Kurt and I had our Bike Friday Tikit’s folded and rolled into the building while Sharon was still trying to dig her heavy lock and security cable out of her bag – again!

Our table for 3 + 2 Bike Fridays...

To keep the peace I let her roll my orange One Way Tikit into Thai Siam [excellent - BTW!] while I locked her bike for her.  She recently bought a full size city bike because she liked how it looked.  It is a nice ride, but it has to stay outside buildings.

Sharon's fullsize bike locked up at the rack outside MEC...

We spent 30mins at MEC looking at locks for her bike commute [she needs to leave the bike outside a hospital for 12hrs each day].  She either has to get something moderately secure she can carry with her or opt for an uber heavy lock that will stay at work 24/7.

Kurt has to try the One Way Tikit as well...

I’m curious how long it will take her to conclude that if she rode a Bike Friday to work she could skip the lock and just take the bike in with her???..=-)





Making of a Brooks Saddle…

15 07 2010

Since I’m on a roll with how stuff is made….let’s see how Brooks saddles are made…=-)





Making a Catrike…

14 07 2010

In the spirit of the Schwalbe and Rohloff videos I posted yesterday here are a couple about making a Catrike recumbent trike.





How Schwalbe Tires and Tubes are Made…

13 07 2010

Fastolfe posted this video on BROL…very interesting…I run a lot of Schwalbe tires and Schwalbe USA HQ is located in Victoria, BC, Canada!  Makes me appreciate what goes into my bike tires.

I posted this video about how Rohloffs are made a while back, but in case you missed it they make a fun double header for the bike tech geek…=-)





TV

12 07 2010

Werd!





Sit down pedal boarding?

12 07 2010

Pretty in pink...

Two of the reasons I moved to Victoria were a better cycling environment and to be close to the ocean.  It was really hot here today and my office became uncomfortable due my computers putting out lots of BTUs.

Definitely the biggest single item I've haulled so far!

So I loaded up my Surly Big Dummy and stand up paddle board [SUP].  I live 4 blocks from the water and if I take a nearby mega-MUP I get a car free downhill ride right to a kayak/rowing club.

I'm sure I parked my bike around here??...=-)

The MUP route is a bit longer, but the ride is quite pleasant [old rail grade I think] and the bike parking at the paddle club is really secure so it’s worth it.

I locked my bike to the steel railing and launched from the dock in the background...

You have to pay to launch at the paddle club, but the small dock in the background of the pic above is free so naturally I carried my SUP over there.

I heart my SUP...=-)

I was hoping to have so pics to share from the water, but I forgot my camera in my bike’s frame bag….doh!  So it will have to wait until next time.  SUPing the Gorge is pretty awesome.  The water way is protected from ocean waves and a lot of the wind.  For the most part the current was minor with one major exception.   The Gorge really narrows under one bridge to the west of my launch point accelerating the water 10x+ normal.  I went through the easy way without much problem other than a few nervous moments with turbulence trying to flip my board!  On the way back I nearly gave up as I was paddling 110% without making much progress against the current – especially as the turbulent water required lots of steering strokes on top of trying to drop the hammer.  I was ready to stop paddling and carry my board around this obstacle when I realized I had pushed past the worst of it and was finally getting somewhere.  As soon as I was 10′ beyond the bridge the water was slow moving again and I could make normal progress.

I won’t be taking Sharon past that bridge unless she is looking for some interval training!  If you go east from the paddle club you reach the inner harbour which is quite scenic.

Loading up on the dock for the ride home...

Right next to the paddle club is a nice restaurant.  So I can see a paddle “date” coming on…=-) Definitely a great way to cool off on a hot day and since it never gets really cold here I imagine I’ll be SUping in winter as well.

Shadows were getting long and my tummy rumbling!

The ride home was uphill, but since the MUP appears to be an old railway line the grade is very easy even with a load.  Overall it was a great bike/paddle mission that I will be repeating a couple times a week.





Bike Friday One Way Tikit

11 07 2010

Love getting a box from Bike Friday...

I love it when the UPS Store calls me and lets me know that I have a box to pick up.  Usually if it’s a big box they want it picked up right away as they don’t have a lot of room.  You don’t have to twist my arm!  I rode right over and grabbed a box from Bike Friday.  As per usual the box was expertly packed and the bike in perfect condition.  Unpacking a Bike Friday takes a lot more time than a typical bike, but the benefit is you have some time to appreciate all the fine details of your new bike as you remove each individual piece of packing material.  Funny thing is I keep all this stuff and when I sent my Tikit back to Bike Friday a couple years ago I tried to repack it like they do and totally failed!  I bet you when the shipping dept folks opened that box they were horrified!

She's a looker in orange...

One Way Tikit Specification:

  • large Tikit frame [~58cm TT]
  • steel frame hand made in Eugene, OR
  • heavy rider option [stiffer frame]
  • hyperfold quick fold mechanism
  • Dutch World Cup Orange powder coat
  • Gearing 54T x 14T [fixed] = ~ 65″
  • 349 wheels [unbranded]
  • Greenspeed Scorcher tires
  • Tektro V-brakes & levers [front and back]
  • 165mm cranks
  • chain ring guard
  • 3/32″ 8 spd chain KMC
  • MKS EZ Promenade QR pedals
  • Carrying Handle
  • 80mm stem
  • flat MTB bar
  • saddle currently Selle Anatomica…eventually Brooks B-17
  • fenders
  • front rack [not yet installed]
  • rear rack [from my old Tikit]

One cog, no derailluer, no coasting...

Why fixed gear?

First off I gotta blame Kent Peterson for planting the seed many years ago.  As I read about his fixed gear rando adventures I had to admit that clearly a bike with one gear and no coasting was capable of some great things.  That didn’t make me run out and get a fixed gear, but it did take away some of the disbelief that riders actually gave up their gears willingly.  The next nail in my gear coffin was Tarik’s blog…I remember reading a post of his about a fixed gear folding bike and why that was a good idea. The final fixed gear role model I had was Walter from Bike Friday…he showed me his One Way Tikit when I visited Bike Friday HQ.  Walter is a guy who knows his bikes…so I pay attention to what he rides!

This spring I built up my first fixed gear bike, a Surly 1×1, and confirmed that I really enjoyed the simplicity of a fixed gear.  I also confirmed there was little to no performance difference for my general city riding. I climb as well as my geared bikes…actually faster since I can’t shift down. I am fast riding in stop and go traffic.  My knees don’t mind the fact I’m often riding a higher gear than I might on my geared bikes.

Modular Tikit drop outs...no chain tensioner needed here...

For a folder in particular there are a lot of good reasons to go fixed:

  • no shifter req’d
  • no rear brake req’d
  • no rear derailleur
  • no cables running to rear
  • no delicate parts to damage in transit or while shipping
  • lighter bike

I don’t ride my Tikit as much for pleasure as I do for errands, commuting and work.  These are all uses that favour simplicity and reliability…..which makes fixed gear a logical choice.

I should also note that there is something really fun about riding fixed.  There is not much to think about as far as your bike goes so you spend more mental energy experiencing the ride itself.

Love that orange chain ring guard...

The Ride

Keep in mind my old Tikit is a 2007 model so I wasn’t sure what tweaks Bike Friday may have made over the years to their 16″ wheeled commuter bike.  They’ve got a culture of continuous improvement and upgrading so even bikes made  in the same year may be slightly different.  Climbing aboard the One Way Tikit I felt right at home.  One of the major reasons I ride Bike Friday folding bikes is I can get a bike built to fit me [~58cm TT] rather than try and fit myself on a one size fits some product. Let’s face it if that worked we’d all be wearing the same size shoes, pants, etc…   The handling of this new bike feels very similar to my older Tikit – which is to say nimble, but stable.  If you have never ridden a small wheel bike and are test riding a Tikit give yourself 5 mins to adapt. I find that if I am away from my Tikit for a few months and climb back on it takes me to the end of the block until I feel at home…after that I can ride with one hand or no hands and bomb around town with total confidence.  In particular I think the Tikit’s handling shines in busy city riding conditions.  When you are dodging obstacles and continually stopping/starting the nimbleness of the Tikit puts a smile on your face.

Greenspeed Scorchers...

The gearing at ~65″ is right around what Sheldon Brown recommends for general purpose fixed gear riding and that’s about what I have on my Surly 1×1.  So far it’s working well for me on both bikes.  I would describe the feeling as never wishing I had a bigger gear or a smaller gear…I sort of forget about my drivetrain and just spin the pedals.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Sheldon nailed it once again.

I ordered this bike with the heavy rider upgrade [good to 260lbs] simply because I like the feel of a stiff folder and weight is not my primary concern.  To be honest the bike feels really light when I pick it up which surprised me, but I haven’t added the racks yet…I’ll try and track down a scale and weigh it, but it definitely feels lighter than my old Tikit.  As expected the frame feels stiff and solid when I get out of the saddle to hammer – as one must do with a fixie since there is no low gear.  The bike feels tighter than my old Tikit…that may be the heavy rider upgrade or just the fact it’s brand new.

Made in the USA...

All my folding bikes are running on Greenspeed Scorcher tires.  They rock.  Seriously…I was happy to see Bike Friday started carrying them…that saves me immediately taking off the stock tires and putting Scorchers on my new bike.  Without a doubt good rubber is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to improve the performance and comfort of your bike.  The best thing is with a larger volume supple tire like the Scorcher you get both – the supple casing acts like suspension, which your body appreciates, and it makes your bike roll faster which everyone likes.

Folded and ready to roll...

Folding

The hyperfold works a lot like my old Tikit which is to say super fast and easy….effortless.  This is another reason why I ride a Tikit vs. another model of folding bike.  Nobody makes a folder that comes close to the lack of hassle of the Tikit.  See the video below…that video got me well and truly hooked on owning a Tikit.  The One Way Tikit features a new version of the rolling handle that is easier to use and provides stronger support for the long seatmast above it.  My only quibble with this handle is that the bare metal is slippery and not as comfortable as I’d like. I’ll be tracking down some black bar tape and wrapping this handle shortly.

The folded bike stands on its wheels and a small rubber “foot” when you put it down.  It can be knocked over though.  Once a rear rack is installed the folded bike becomes uber stable.

Miscellaneous Observations

  • the One Way Tikit ships with front and rear Tektro brakes which are totally functional, but won’t make anyone swoon with component envy.
  • welds are clean and look excellent to the naked eye.
  • powdercoat is bright and well done.
  • the MTB bars are really wide and I’ll have to cut them down a bit.
  • the rubber grips are better than the old style foam grips, but they won’t last more than a few days on this bike.
  • MKS pedals are nice and grippy, but if you don’t install the safety clips they have a tendency to eject at an inopportune moment – on a fixed gear that spells OUCH!
  • GS Scorchers just barely fit the front fork with no extra room.

Grip, brake lever and bar...

Choices

One really cool thing about getting a Tikit with modular dropouts is that you can buy it one configuration and then swap it over to another fairly easily.  For example this One Way Tikit can be changed into a Season Tikit by swapping in an IGH or into a derailleur Tikit with the addition of a cassette rear wheel.    That gives you a lot of flexibility.  You might enjoy riding a fixed gear for your around town commute, but want gears to tour.  It’s to know you have choices and a great reason to get a Tikit with modular dropouts.

Love that headbadge...

Upgrades

I’ve got some upgrades in mind for this bike to dial it in for my needs:

  • remove rear brake [no cables running to back end and it's not needed on a fixed gear]
  • cover naked rear brake studs
  • shorten front brake cable
  • install racks front and rear
  • cut bars by 2cm each side
  • install Ergon grips
  • install bar ends
  • install Power Grips on pedals
  • swap in a Brooks B-17 saddle
  • install Planet Bike Superflash to rear
  • install bell
  • add Dinotte 200L-AA headlight when night riding
  • install seatbag with tools and spare tube

Other side of folded Tikit...

I’ll be posting all my One Way Tikit photos on Flickr here.





Hiro’s made it to Ushuaia!

11 07 2010

The end of the road - Ushuaia...

Hiro was one of the two Japanese touring cyclists I met on my way home from the Dempster Highway and who stayed with me for a week in Calgary.

Hiro ready to roll out of Calgary for parts south...

Hiro sent me the post card at the top and bottom of this post to let me know he made it safely to the southern tip of South America.  Congrats Hiro on an awesome ride!…=-)

Hiro writes...





The Afterparty…

10 07 2010

I’m so sore from two epic days of kiteboarding at Lake Nihtnat…but in a good way!  I’m kind of glad I have a lot of work to do this weekend…I need the rest…=-)





Thank God It’s Friday!

9 07 2010

A Dutch World Cup Edition Tikit...

I’m off for a couple days of kiteboarding so no time to post a lot of details yet, but since it was Friday I thought it was an appropriate time to share these photos of a new Bike Friday in my garage.  Fixed gear, Dutch World Cup Edition One Way Tikit.

Simple, effective and fun = fixed gear...





Go Ryder! Go Canada!

8 07 2010

Photo: Velonews.com

An excerpt from this Velonews.com article about Canadian Ryder Hesjedal at the Tour de France this year:

“After a superb stage-3 performance over the tough cobbles that saw him finish fourth on the day, former mountain biker Hesjedal sits in fourth place overall with more a minute on some of the bigger favorites.”





Kite Repair

8 07 2010

Two small tears in my 12m kite canopy near the leading edge...

It was inevitable that one day when packing up my kites I would find some damage that needed fixing.  Although my kites are well made and surprisingly durable, eventually long hours of hard use takes its toll.  Especially since this was my first year of kiteboarding and my kites got abused more than it would typically when not subjected to the learning process.

My fix everything repair kit!

I could have and probably should have taken my kite to a professional to fix.  I didn’t because the damage was minor and I didn’t want to lose my kite for a week while it was repaired.  I figured I needed to see how well I can deal with this level of damage since it will happen again and again over the years – especially as my gear gets older. Since we often kiteboard in remote spots being able to resolve issues on your own could be the difference between riding and driving home.

My kite repair studio...aka...Sharon's room!

Since Sharon hasn’t made it out to Victoria yet I let my 12m Naish Code kite dry in her room using a fan to speed up the process.  Although I haven’t unpacked I was able to find my universal repair kit.  This consists of some ripstop nylon fabric tape, seam seal and scissors.  With these items I’ve repaired goretex shells, tents, bags, etc…  I have 15yrs+ old repairs still going strong.

Cutting a patch...

You’ll need sharp scissors which is why I ditched the office scissors and found this little guy in my repair kit.  I cut two patches and rounded the edges for better durability.  I stuck the first patch on the underside of the kite canopy.  This patch’s only job is to keep the seam seal from flowing through the tears and making a mess of the rest of the kite.  I only stuck it on using the weak adhesive that comes on this tape.  If it peels off in a week I don’t care and this part of the repair is not visible when the kite is being used.

Seam seal time...

I then applied a liberal amount of seam seal on the top surface.  I used enough to coat an area slightly larger than the patch.  Ideally if you can use some fine brushes you can do a neater job than I did.  I’m too lazy to bother so I spread it around using the edge of the tube.  Seam seal is ideal for many repairs because it provides a strong bond to most surfaces and stays flexible so it can move with the fabric rather then breaking or peeling off.

Top patch applied...

I applied the top patch with more care then the bottom one since this is the one that will bond to the torn area and avoid further damage.  This is also the patch that someone will see when handling the kite.  The seam seal is sticky, but takes a long time to dry so you can slide the patch around until you have it where you want.  Once in place I run a bead of seam seal around the edges and smooth it down to secure them well and avoid and chance of an edge lifting.  Once that’s done I left the repair as flat as possible [seam seal stays runny for a while] to dry overnight.

The repair in context...

Here is the repair a day later viewed from standing height.  The tear was in the left corner of the vertical black section of fabric in the lower middle of this shot.  The repair tape happily matches quite well.  You can see the repair easily up close, but from any distance it blends in nicely.





MTBing Hartland…

7 07 2010

Kurt getting his wheelie on...

Kurt and I headed over to the Hartland Dump to checkout one of Victoria’s local trail systems.  The fact there is a landfill in the area isn’t obvious by the quality of the trails or the beauty of BC’s lush vegetation.

Kurt getting his bearings...

This bike park has an extensive and thankfully well marked trail system.  You can buy detailed maps at LBS as well as using a system of trail markers shown in one of my photos below.

Enjoying the different character of BC forest riding...

I was blown away by the fact we saw only two other groups of riders the whole time we were on the trails…keep in mind it was a holiday long weekend in Canada so that would typically be a heavy day for use of recreational facilities.

Kurt let's one of the few riders we encountered pass...

Hartland is only 12kms on quiet roads from my house so if I’m feeling motivated I could ride there and back…or I can have a leisurely drive of 15mins.  My closest high quality riding in Calgary was 90mins away so this totally rocks!

One of the handy trail markers found at all major intersections...

The riding here is a bit different than in Alberta…the vegetation is a lot more lush and we were riding in the trees most of the time.  The dirt holds more moisture making it tackier with less rock and more roots than in Alberta.

Enjoying some Fresh Air!

We found two stunt parks at Hartland…one for beginners and this expert level one.

What goes down must go up...to get back to your car...=-)

One issue I’ve got to deal with is learning to take better low light photos. Based on my riding so far it seems pretty clear I’ll be shooting in about half the light I would typically in Alberta so new techniques are in order.

Maybe the car is this way?

Since mountain biking in Victoria is a year round activity I should get lots of opportunity to get my photography sorted and wear out some bike parts…=-)

Kurt looking glad he moved to Victoria...=-)





Thorn Rohloff Brochure…

6 07 2010

I never get tired on peeking inside a Rohloff...

If you are keen on a Rohloff hub I highly recommend you download and read Thorn’s Living with a Rohloff brochure.  They tell you everything important you need to know and it’s easier to digest than Rohloff’s website.

Feel free to email me or leave any question you may have in the comments section.





Ken’s Nihtnat Kite Porn…

6 07 2010

Cruising at La Ventana Baja.

I met Ken up at Nihtnat Lake a couple weeks ago and was stoked to receive these excellent action shots of folks kiteboarding there.  Taking good kiteboarding shots is hard due to the speeds, distance between camera and rider as well as the need to get the proper angle of the kite, rider and camera sorted.

Riding toe side...

Ken’s got a great portfolio over at his Ken Thorne Photography site…definitely worth a visit.

Ready to launch again...

Hopefully our paths will cross again and I can get him to snap a few shots of me on the water.  If not I’ll just keep posting photos of my tiny speck of a body way out there and let your imagination fill in the details…hahaha….probably for the best!

A Naish kiter...

I’m glad I live so close to this lake or these photos would make me really jealous…=-)

Jumping time...

Not that I’m great at it, but being able to jump off the water easily is one of the bonuses of kiteboarding.

That huge fallen over tree is a Nihtnat landmark...