Ibex Wool Bike Clothing

30 04 2011

A wooly LHT ride...

Although I am not a total convert to the wonders of wool I have been warming up to it the last few years. My wool gear comes from two sources: 1) Ibex & 2) MEC. Although MEC briefly flirted with wool cycling gear that was short lived and there is no sign it will be coming back. I do like their general outdoors wool garments and they also sell Patagonia wool gear. Ibex sells all sorts of wool clothing and quite a few cycling specific designs.

Ibex will sell to Canadians, but shipping is quite costly as they won’t use US Postal Service. So I had someone in the US recieve a shipment for me a few years ago and then send it to me. I was happy with all my Ibex gear and luckily everything fit pretty well so I had a good handle on their sizing. I have been interested in getting more of their stuff, but the cost & hassle of shipping has been an effective money saving deterrent!

The combination of a 6 month long cool damp riding season and some longer rides in the forecast has motivated me to have at least two complete wool based bike outfits. That way I can have a full change of kit on a long ride in a drop bag and even for everyday rides I’ve got enough gear to last a week between washes with some tactical reuse of clothing.

Ibex El Fito 3/4 wool knickers...

I love these wool knickers from Ibex. They’ve been on me on every ride this spring. I layer a set of Ibex wool leg warmers under them for cooler conditions and a pair of Rain Legs chaps on top for rain or simply for more warmth. Although the wool doesn’t smell after just one ride I don’t like to wear anything against my butt multiple times without washing to prevent any saddle related problems. That makes for a lot of washing so I figured it was time for a second pair.

Ibex Duo wool bike shorts...

To make the order worthwhile from a shipping cost perspective I added a pair or wool bike shorts to the mix and a second set of wool leg warmers. Mixing and matching that should give me at least three sets of bottoms for cool weather riding. It will also let me see how I like wool shorts in warmer weather.

Ibex Coppi wool cycling hat...

I really like the two wool MEC long sleeve jerseys I have and I’d like to get a couple wool rando club jerseys so I didn’t buy anything from Ibex. 4 long sleeve jerseys is all I can really use. I have loads of short sleeve lycra jerseys so I’m solid for warm weather cycling.

Investing in high quality cycling clothing is expensive and frankly I only wear cycle specific clothing for performance road riding and for mountain biking. The rest of the time I wear my regular street clothes. So while I spend a lot of money on this gear and it is only used for a portion of my riding it makes a big difference when I use it and the rides I use it for are very demanding so I appreciate being comfortable. Also by using street clothes for most of my riding the cycle specific gear I own lasts a very long time.

One last Ibex item I bought was a wool cycling cap. Totally unnecessary, but I wanted to feel the luxury of wool on my head!…=-)





Velo Orange Polyvalent…

29 04 2011

Velo Orange Polyvalent...

Update: Polys may be in stock later this year. See comment from VO attached to this post.

My Boulder Bicycle All Road is a lovely 650B randonneur frame that’s well priced in terms of quality/function, but it’s not a cheap option for someone who wants to try a low trail 650B bike out. The Velo Orange Polyvalent is a deal at $400.00 for the frame/fork or $595.00 for a kit that adds wheels, seatpost and brakes. One of the local BC randonneurs rides a Poly  and it looks like a lovely bike.

The only issue that concerns me is how to deal with full coverage metal fenders and the forward facing horizontal dropouts? Metal fenders don’t have a lot of give so you’d either have to install them with loads of clearance which may not even be possible using 650B x 42mm tires or letting the air out each time you remove/install the rear wheel. The later option may not be such a hassle seeing as I would be unlikely to remove the rear wheel unless I got a flat or I was overhauling the bike. Hopefully neither would happen frequently.

Pumpkin Polyvalent...

A few Polyvalent notes:

Don’t get too excited about buying one of these frames though. I asked VO when they’d be back in stock and the response was 2012 – that could mean Dec 2012! Rawlands Cycles has a couple frames that may work for your 650B builds. The Drakkar has a 50mm fork offset with 73 deg HT angle and runs only disc brakes with rear facing horizontal dropouts. The rSogn has 63mm of fork offset with 73 deg HT angle and runs rim brakes with vertical dropouts. Both Rawlands frames sell for ~$600.00-$625.00 even better Rawlands has some stock of Drakkars and the rSogn is available in the near future.





More Hartland Dirt Riding…

29 04 2011

We were supposed to go out for a rando training ride...

but we were seduced by our dirty bikes...

I mean mountain biking is kinda like interval training...

...isn't it?

Maybe not!

Thing is I live to ride...

I don't live to train!...=-)





Surly Pugsley To Do List…

29 04 2011

I love a fatty!

My Surly LHT upgrade is still on going, but I’m waiting on rust proofing to arrive so I’ve started to look ahead to the next bike that needs love. It was a toss up between the Pugsley and the Big Dummy. The Pug needs more love, but the BD sees more action. In the end I went with the Pugsley because I feel guilty about how rusty she is.

Here is my plan:

  • totally strip frame including pulling headset
  • sand exterior rust
  • power coat frame [not sure what colour???]
  • rust proof interior of frame
  • clean wheels
  • pull Endomorph tires and install Larry tires
  • clean and inspect cog & chain ring [most likely reuse both]
  • reinstall components
  • install new chain
  • use new cables and fresh housing
  • install Jones Loop H-Bars

Kurt adjusting his Pugsley...





Comfort = Speed…

28 04 2011

650B...

Thanks to a comment about the Terry Bike podcast archives I found another interview with Jan Heine editor of Bicycle Quarterly Magazine. The topic this time is speed & comfort in relation to tire pressure. Click on the image above to listen to the podcast.





Does your bike plane?

28 04 2011

Boulder Bicycle All Road...

Click on the image above to listen to an interesting podcast interview with Jan Heine [Bicycle Quarterly Editor] about the idea of planning in a bicycle frame. Thanks to Terry Bikes for posting this online.





Hammerschmidt 1 Year Update…

27 04 2011

SRAM Hammerschmidt....

It’s been nearly a year since I installed a SRAM Hammerschmidt 2 speed bottom bracket & crank set on my Santa Cruz Nomad mountain bike. As a disclaimer I am not a great mountain biker nor do I trail ride 24/7 so please keep that in mind. I am a pretty average weekend dirt warrior!

Here are my thoughts:

  • HS has been maintenance and hassle free as advertised
  • shifts from high to low range are very fast and reliable
  • you can shift HS while coasting or back pedalling
  • low range is direct drive with no power loss
  • high range is not direct drive and there is noticeable power loss
  • HS provides very high ground clearance compared to a standard crank & chain ring setup
  • HS treats your suspension like it’s in the granny all the time
  • HS allows you to run a short cage rear derailleur to limit chain slap
  • HS is expensive
Dealing with the negative aspects first I will say that there is definitely room for improvement in this 1st generation product. The power loss in high range is enough you will not want to ever climb a hill in that setting. On the downhills it’s not noticeable as you pedal to gain speed so I basically keep my HS in low range for technical sections and flip to high range for bombing down a trail. This works fine, but it would be great to feel less drag in the high range. The high cost and the impacts on your bike’s suspension are things you need to consider before making the leap. Both will be solved in the same way – by having companies design a HS specific bike with the HS provided as OEM equipment. This will lower the cost of the HS for a rider and ensure the suspension design works well with a chain that’s always on the granny.

Hammering the Schmidt...

On the positive end of things I think the HS is a great concept and SRAM got it 75% right in this first generation product. That’s impressive. I think you’ll see the HS and possibly a Shimano equivalent on a number of high end all mountain/free ride mountain bikes in the next few years. In technical terrain I keep my bike in the 2nd biggest cog on the rear and just shift the HS to deal with the terrain going up and down. This is fast and easy. It puts me in a useful gear every time and is far more reliable/fast than trying to shift the front rings. When I’m on easier terrain I use the HS and cassette like a normal bike shifting both as needed to fine tune my gear. Given the high range drag I won’t use high range unless I’m pointed down at least a little bit.

I love a clean drivetrain...

So what’s the bottom line?
  • if you ride all mountain or free ride terrain the HS has a lot of potential
  • HS is expensive and probably will get better and cheaper in future product cycles
  • HS would be best on a bike designed for it and purchased as a lower cost OEM part
  • if you can accept the cost [ie. your kids won't go hungry!] it is a very sweet after market upgrade
I’ve seen a lot of nutty bike products being flogged by manufacturers that are fairly useless and carry a high price tag.  SRAM must have invested a lot of time & $$ in the HS which is risky, but the result is great and offers game changing performance for a big segment of the mountain bike riding population. While the HS is not perfect the level of maturity in this product is impressive and SRAM deserves some kudos for their efforts. I’m quite excited to see what will happen for the Hammerschmidt in the next few years.




LHT Update #2

26 04 2011

Getting ready to clean some drivetrain...

Dirty cassette...

After some cleaning...

a bit more clean metal...

Now I just need to clean both derailleurs and my drivetrain will be ready for reinstalling on the LHT. Still waiting on the rust proofing to arrive so I can treat the frame. Until that happens I’ll just putter around with cleaning and tweaking the various bits of the bike.





Easter Sunday Mountain Biking…

24 04 2011

Sharon checking her rig at the Hartland MTB Park parking lot...

My Santa Cruz Nomad waiting for me to get my gear on...

My trusty Porcelain Rocket frame bag for tools and tube...

Sharon shredding the trail...

Lovely bikes...

Sharon rocks a log obstacle...

Kurt being flashy...

Rumbling down the rocks...

Yes I was there too!

Another climb...

Kurt and Sharon waiting for me to catch up...

BC MTB porn...

Close up Kurt...

Staying focused...

More Kurt action...

The 24" gear...

Crashing through the trees...

Mud puddle hopping...

Rolling and rocking...

Blue beauty...

De-dirtifying the Nomad fleet...





Bike Friday Tandem Bar Tweaks…

24 04 2011

The Raspberry Rocket!

Both sets of drop bars needed adjusting on our Bike Friday Traveller XL tandem. I wasn’t stoked about unwrapping the bar tape to move the brake levers around a bit, but small changes to the rotation of drops and the position of the levers make a big difference in how comfortable your hands are on a ride.

Difference between old position and new position...

I cracked a cold beer and started unwrapping the bar tape. I like the top of my drops flat then curving a bit down to the hoods of the brake levers. You see from the photo above the difference between the old position and new position is quite dramatic. The bars were rotated up significantly and so the levers had to be moved down a lot to put them into the proper position.

Do you feel the power?

Sharon chose the bar tape. She figured it would enhance the lusciousness of the Power Raspberry finish on the tandem. I don’t argue about stuff like this. Well right up until she hands me my one piece pink lycra tandem speed suit!….=-)

Ready to rumble!

I adjusted the stoker’s bars as well and double wrapped both bars for more hand comfort.

One last glamour shot...=-)

Now we have to test ride her and see how we like the changes. You gotta love a 4 day weekend for time to ride and mess with your bikes and ride some more!…=-)





Thanks Mike!

24 04 2011

Mike on his Soma ES...

It turns out I have a rando neighbour. Mike is a member of the BC Randonneur Club and lives about 4 blocks away from me. He was nice enough to show me around some local roads recently which was a lot of fun. The Victoria area has some great riding, but I am only just scratching the surface and haven’t really explored many of the good routes. He took me on a 60km ride out to Metchosin. Since he is faster/fitter than me I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but Mike was considerate and found a pace that was a nice relaxing spin for him and kept it below my puke/cry threshold….=-)

Cruising the backroads of Metchosin...

I had a chance to admire his sweet Soma ES rando rig. The paint is really pretty in the sunshine and of course I am a fan of the hammered metal fenders…=-) This was dangerously close to being a “training ride”. I might have my team slacker membership revoked if I am caught doing any training!

Mike and his lovely wife Brynne have a Cannondale tandem so who knows – maybe we’ll get some double tandem trouble riding in this summer?





Good Friday Tandem Adventure…

23 04 2011

The Raspberry Rocket goes rural...

Yesterday was Good Friday. Sharon had the day off work and since neither of us are Catholic we repurposed Good Friday to be a folding bike holiday…=-) So we rode our Good Friday Tandem [GFT] to achieve a number of firsts:

  • Sharon’s first 50K ride and longest ride ever
  • Sharon’s first ride on the Lochside Trail
  • Sharon’s first bike ride to Sidney
  • Our first ride on the GFT with the new one piece stem/riser
  • Our first successful roadie hunt on the GFT
  • My first Ortlieb failure
  • My first nap on a local beach
  • Aaron’s first oyster burger
  • Our first post ride beer session on the new backyard deck

Aaron riding escort for the GFT...

Our day started eventfully at 430am with our cat puking on us in bed. If you ever need to get up really early ask your cat for a vomit wake up call. It’s very very very effective! By the time Aaron showed up at 9am we had been up for hours and had  absolutely nothing accomplished. This was to be the theme for the day. We made a slow, but delicious breakfast including setting off the Bacon Alarm [smoke detector] – which I am used to, but Aaron was caught off guard. Luckily he didn’t spit a mouthful of coffee on me when the loud alarm startled him. We spent a lot of time getting our Bike Friday tandem ready. Not the bike itself – just the stuff we were taking with us. It was one of those days where I wasn’t sure we’d leave before it was time to sit down for lunch!

The sun is shining - the grass is green - time to ride!

We had not been on the tandem since we got the new one piece stem/riser back from Bike Friday so it took us about 1km to get back into the swing of things. I’ve never tried another tandem so maybe they are all easier to ride than I had anticipated, but the lack of drama is very nice when you have someone else’s fate in your hands. The new stem/riser looks nice and clean so it’s awesome to finally see what the tandem looks like in its completed state. We got lots of double takes and smiles as we passed people. We are calling the GFT The Raspberry Rocket! Kids are especially stoked about this bike.

Lochside loveliness...

I was happy that Sharon finally had a chance to ride the Lochside Trail. It’s just minutes from our door and offers very relaxed scenic cycling to Sidney. For recreational riders the distance is perfect with opportunities for rest breaks and refreshments along the way. The trail is mixed surface with paved, dirt and gravel sections as well as a number of wooden decked bridges. Our 40mm Greenspeed Scorcher tires once again showed why I love them as they rolled over everything with aplomb. At one point a roadie passed us on 23mm tires just before a bridge with a rough wooden deck. We sped up as we hit the bridge and sailed passed the roadie who went from speed demon to hanging on to her bucking bars on the bridge. I’m never going back to narrow high pressure rubber!

If you ride 349 or 406 wheels and haven’t tried some GS Scorchers I’d heartily recommend them.

Aaron and his randonista rig...

Aaron rode his trusty Trek rando rig. He wasn’t challenged on this ride, but I’m sure we were amusing to ride with as people craned their head’s around to see what we were riding. A few people knew it was a Friday and we got some shout outs. Aaron was riding on 32mm Grand Bois Cypres tires so he appreciated the mixed surface bliss of a bit of air volume and a supple casing provides. At one point he was musing about out our lack of rando specific training so I had to point out that anytime I wasn’t sleeping or eating chicken wings WAS rando specific training…lol…when you are a member of team slacker you aren’t strict about your definition of training…=-)

Coffee stop at Sidney...

Sidney is a nice small town at the top of the Saanich Peninsula. It’s often a control on a brevet since there are services and it’s a natural turn around point for a run down to Victoria. We had some coffee and enjoyed the sunshine on a patio for a while. Eventually we needed a break from all our relaxing so we went for a pint and lunch at a pub where Aaron had an oyster burger. It was an educational meal for all of us…=-)

Beach chillaxing...

Team Slacker wasn’t quite ready for the ride back so we spent some time hanging out on the beach enjoying more sun and an impromptu jet fighter air show overhead. The nice thing about living on a peninsula is that there are beaches virtually 360 degrees from you so you can always find a nice quiet bit of waterfront to hang out on without dealing with a million people. I like it…=-)

The bikes enjoyed the sun as well...

After squeezing every bit of slackerness we could out of our visit to Sidney we climbed back aboard our bikes and pointed them towards home. Since it was a holiday and the weather was beautiful there were lots of bikes out and about on the Lochside Trail. The good thing about Victoria area cycling infrastructure is that there is so much of it that even on a busy holiday it doesn’t feel crowded or unpleasant. It’s nice to see all manner of cyclist roaming the paths and roads on a sunny day. We saw quite a few couples/small groups with matching panniers/jackets on what I can only assume [based on the brand new gear] were shake down rides for up coming tours.

Checking out the bacon...

I was quite pleased how well the tandem handled and how it rolled on the dirt and gravel. The 40mm tires and long steel frame absorb a lot of the bumpiness from the road. As we expand Sharon’s bike riding horizons a natural ride from our place is to take the Galloping Goose out to the Sooke Pot Holes for a 100K camping weekend. That trail is mostly dirt and gravel so a bike that can eats up those kind of KMs is essential. I think our next jaunt will be a tour of Victoria along the waterfront with the tandem loaded for camping so we can see how she handles with a touring load and to get some practice on the hills with a heavy rig. Not to over look the importance of educating Sharon about the essential bike touring motto “…this isn’t a bike ride with food stops..this is a set of food stops with some riding in between…”!

Hanging out with a local...

Eventually we rolled up to our house after a full day on the road. Only 50kms of riding, but many hours of good times. Sharon was both stoked to have ridden such a long way and also stoked to get off the bike!…=-) Being serious athletes we set about replacing our muscle glycogen stores with beer on the deck…=-) Thanks to Aaron for accompanying us on the day’s adventure.

Victoria bike porn...

Tandem Ride Report Card:
  • new stem/riser looks nice and worked fine
  • tandem handles well
  • GS Scorcher tires rock
  • gearing is ideal and works well
  • we need to tweak both our drop bars and brake lever placement
  • Sharon likes her plastic saddle better than the rock hard B17 she started with
  • my B17 was not uber comfy [a first for me!] I’ll swap in the B17 I’ve softened a bit with neatsfoot oil and see what happens
  • one of my Ortliebs is failing [see below]
  • need to mount a GPS for Sharon as she wants to see ride data
  • bottom line this Bike Friday tandem is the solution that let’s us ride together which is awesome…=-)

My first Ortlieb failure...

I’m coming up on 20yrs of Ortlieb love so I guess it had to happen sometime. One of my Ortlieb back rollers is about to shed a critical buckle. It looks like the piece can be replaced easily so I’ll going to see if Wayne at the Touring Store [where I buy my Ortlieb panniers] has a spare he can hook me up with. I prefer the Ortlieb panniers with the flip top lid and so this pannier has seen far less use which makes the failure more of a disappointment. Having said that there are no other panniers I’d use on a tour.





Brooks Saddle Experiment

22 04 2011

Untreated B-17 Narrow Imperial...

In the past I’ve gone with the factory approved breaking in plan for my Brooks saddles – a generous application of Proofide leather treatment followed by a lot of riding. That worked fine as I was in no rush and the saddles were pretty comfortable right out of the box. However, the last 3 Brooks saddles I’ve received were much harder than the previous ones. I started to investigate some faster break in techniques. Some of the stuff I came across online was pretty radical – including soaking in motor oil or neatsfoot oil. Both oils promised very fast break in at the cost of a big mess and the leather dye coming off on my clothing. I decided I would try a hybrid methodology to see if I could get the best of both without having to wait as long for the leather to soften.

Very stiff even with cut out...

I started by totally loosening off the tension bolt.

Rails and skirt lacing...

I left the skirt lacing alone.

A generous application of Proofide...

I then applied a generous amount of Proofide to the top of the saddle and rubbed it in by hand. I used a hairdryer to warm the leather and aid in the leather treatment soaking in.

Profide has soaked in and dried...

I let the saddle sit in the sun and allowed the Proofide to “dry”.

Neatsfoot oil applied to underside only...

Then I applied neatsfoot oil to the entire underside of the saddle being careful not to let it run out the cut out and onto the top surface.

Proofide buffed and 1st application of neatsfoot oil done...

I let the neatsfoot oil soak in and buffed the Proofide on the top of the saddle.

Note dark areas of saddle where neatsfoot oil has soaked in...

I wasn’t satisfied with the effect of the first neatsfoot oil treatment so I applied two more with a focus on the rear part of the saddle. Again I was careful to keep the neatsfoot oil on the bottom of the saddle only.

Brooks lacing porn...

I allowed the neatsfoot oil to soak in overnight.

Final product after 3rd application of neatsfoot oil to underside...

After the 3rd application the leather was noticeably softer, but still not as soft as a fully broken in Brooks saddle. I decided that was enough acceleration for now and will ride the saddle for a while and see what happens. So far the dye on the saddle seems to be staying put. I’m hoping the Proofide on the top surface sealed things in to keep the oil from coming all the way through the saddle. We’ll see!

I was happy enough with the initial results to treat one of my rock hard standard B17s as well. I’m putting that saddle on our Bike Friday tandem.

I can’t promise anything so please don’t follow this plan if you can’t afford to ruin your Brooks. If you do follow this plan remember you can always apply more neatsfoot oil later if you want to get the saddle softer faster so be conservative at first. Once the neatsfoot oil is on the leather you can’t take it back if you go too far.





Marla Strebs’ CETMA…

21 04 2011

Photo: Baltimore City Paper - click on image to read article...





Cargo bike day…

21 04 2011

Making the GF happy!

Sharon was getting cranky about my vast bottle collection that has been growing since 2010. I was holding out for a few more to justify my cargo bike run, but I decided it was time to get on with it. For loose bulky loads the CETMA is ideal. Just pile everything in it and roll. No boxes, no straps, no hassle – sweet!

Cycling to recycle...

Although the load was bulky it was light and the CETMA made short work of it.

Johnson St Bridge closed for good..=-(

My next bike mission was a multi-errand run into downtown. I didn’t need to ride the Big Dummy, but it’s a fun bike to cruise on and it’s easier to just grab this Surly than load up a lighter duty bike with panniers.

That blue bridge sticking straight up in the air was a key link for me to get from my house into downtown – in fact it was a key link for 4,000 cyclists and 3,000 pedestrians each day. Sadly structural damage has made it unsafe so they raised it and it will never be used again. The good news there is a $80M replacement bridge on its way with dedicated pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure. The bad news is that won’t be ready for 3 years. So for now there is a clumsy detour onto the main bridge deck. This will put cyclists in contact with cars a lot more on this key transportation link. I actually think that will be a good thing despite the minor hassles involved for both parties. Victoria will become very aware of its transportation cyclists.

That buckle should be attached to the bike...

I was disappointed that as I was loading up my Xtracycle Freeloader bags at home a key buckle popped off the bike. The velcro strap attaching it to the frame failed. Given that these bags have seen about a dozen uses since I installed them that’s not good. My old Freeloader bags seemed to be less durable than these new ones, but they never failed me in many years of hard use. In fact I scavenged a velcro strap from the old bags to get these ones back into service. I’ll have to carry a spare strap and hope this is not a sign of things to come. A utility bike has to be reliable or it doesn’t have a lot of utility!

My Surly Big Dummy hanging with his pals...

The Big Dummy was a blast to ride. I have fun overtaking people on a cargo bike and watching them do a double take as I pass…=-) The Rohloff hub is a pleasure to use as are the Porcelain Rocket frame bags my Dummy sports for storing small items.





Yehuda Moon on Tailights…

20 04 2011





Bikes from a Texas 600K…

20 04 2011

Photo: Stephen H from BikeFormus.net...

I shared my photos from the recent Eau de Hell Week 600K on BikeForums.net long distance forum. Stephen H took photos of almost all the bikes on a 600K in Texas. It’s interesting to see what they are riding there. Click on the image above to see his photos.





LHT Update #1

20 04 2011

Shimano dynohub, Mavid CXP33 rim & B&M IQ CYO Plus light...

I’ve got the following done so far:

  • dynohub front wheel built up
  • New Schwalbe Marathon XR mounted
  • B&M light on hand ready to install
  • stripped frame and pulled fork
  • cleaned frame and fork
  • inspected paint
  • cleaned and inspected both OMM racks
  • cleaned rear wheel and inspected tire

Shimano dynohub detail...

  • The powder coat is in serviceable condition after many years of abuse. There are a few scratches/chips and the finish is dull/thin in a few spots. I considered taking this opportunity to get the frame freshly power coated. It would make sense as it may be another 7 years before I strip the bike down next. After some serious thought I decided that the sage green paint is a classic Surly Long Haul Trucker finish and I should leave it for the time being. Next time I refurbish this frame it will see a new powder coat so I’ll enjoy the sage green as long as I can. I’m planning on hunting down some touch up paint and using Pedros Bike Lust frame polish to restore some much needed luster to my trucker.
  • However, before I do that I am going to coat the inside of the tubes with frame saver rust proofing and clean up the inevitable mess that will result! Then do any touch ups to the finish and polish it before starting the reassembly process.
  • While I wait on getting touch up and frame saver [ordered] I will clean the derailleurs, cassette and chain. After checking the chain it has a lot of life left in it. I may have put a new chain on recently and not remembered. In any case the drivetrain has at least another season left in it so I’ll just clean and adjust. New cables and housing are in order.  I need to decide on the colour of the housing and pick some up.




VeloWeb Readers’ Rando Rigs…

19 04 2011

Photo: Raymond Parker...

I posted a slew of poorly lit and haphazardly composed photos of bikes from the Eau de Hell Week 600K last week. Chris Cullum kindly pointed me to a post on Raymond Parker’s VeloWeb site that details a few of these bikes with professional photography. Chris also provided some updates on the info in Raymond’s post discussing changes since last year [see comments section of my EdeH bike post]. I know, for example, Lee Ringham no longer rides the LHT shown as he has switched to a Velo Orange 650B Polyvalent bike.





Mark Thomas’ 1200K Plan..

19 04 2011

Mark Thomas 3rd from left...

Mark Thomas of the Seattle International Randonneur Club posted a simple 1200K plan on his blog. I like the fact that it’s so straightforward and concise that a tired mind can use it reliably. I also like the fact that the average speeds required and well within my grasp! I’m impressed by the ultra fast randonneurs, but I am not one of them!

I stole this photo from an interview with Mark that was posted on The Bicycle Story – worth a read!





Scottish 300K Brevet

18 04 2011




Swift Industries…

18 04 2011

Swift Ozette Rando Bag...

Found these bike bags recently made by Swift Industries. They look quite nice and offer similar designs to the traditional cotton bags from Berthoud and Carradice.

Front rack bag and saddle bag by Swift...

I haven’t tried one, but I thought they were worth a mention if you are shopping for a bike bag and want to get something non-traditional and non-Ortlieb.

Bag detail...

If you’ve got a Swift bag leave me a comment with your impressions. I’d be interested to hear what you think.





Rando Lock…

17 04 2011

Mini-lock from MEC...

I don’t want to carry a proper bike lock on a brevet for the few times I am off the bike, but I do feel a bit nervous leaving an expensive bike on the street unlocked while I’m inside a cafe getting food/drink and using the washroom. I decided to use one of these small cable locks folks generally employed for locking luggage or ski/snowboards. They are cheap and light with a combination so there are no keys to lose. They won’t stop a professional bike thief, but they will prevent someone from impulsively riding away with your trusty stead. Since the lock is small and the cable so thin I can stealth lock my bike so the thief doesn’t realize it’s locked and hopefully falls flat on his face when he tries to ride away.

At least you can't easily ride away...

This solution might also be useful for the bike commuter who can store their bike inside at work and might want to stop for some milk or a coffee on the way home. No point in bothering with a heavy lock for a 3min stop – in most neighbourhoods anyways!





Our Surly Friday Saturday Ride…

17 04 2011

We rolled across town last PM for a BBQ on our favourite rides...





Eau de Hell 600K 2011

16 04 2011

Rando styling and smiling at 373km...

Martin Williams was organizing the Eau de Hell Week brevet series for the BC Randonneur Club out of lovely Chemainus BC. Having organized many [non-cycling] events in the past I know how much work they can be so I wanted to help out at some of the brevets this year. Clubs only work if people are willing to put effort into the organizing side of things as well as the participating side. Not having a clue what to do Martin was very generous with his time getting me pointed in the right direction and keeping me on track all night. I wasn’t as much help as someone who had more experience, but now that I have seen what’s supposed to happen I’ll be fully effective next time.

A welcome sight inside the lobby of the Best Western...

I showed up in Chemainus at 6pm on Thursday and left around n0on Friday with 2-3hrs of downtime sleeping in my truck. I’ve spent many nights awake in the military, climbing and at the odd rave, but I never fail to be amused with how bizarre things get when a bunch of sleep deprived folks get together in one spot trying to get something done. I won’t try and recall many names or events from my shift since frankly I’m a bit confused about what went down precisely! With 19 riders on the course things got spread out and we rarely had more than 4 folks in the control at any one time. That was a good thing as nobody including the staff was at 100% by 3am…=-)

I kept it simple and worked off a mental check list:

  1. sign control card [failure to do so could result in a DNF]
  2. keep an eye out for safety concerns [physical, mental & equipment]
  3. offer and facilitate food [riders should sit and rest as much as possible]
  4. be enthusiastic and supportive without affecting the rider’s game plan [ie don't suggest getting a warm hotel room and sleeping if they want to push on]
  5. helping with any logistics of getting and out of the control efficiently

Taking a well deserved break...

The ride to that point had been very challenging with extremely high winds, heavy rains and cold temperatures. From what I could see it was the cold temperatures that were really taking their toll on the riders. A few came in looking hypothermic and I was freezing just spending 10-15mins in the parking lot of the hotel. We did our best to get warm food and a warm beverage into every rider. Some riders were using the hotel for a sleep stop so they had a hot shower, changed their clothes and got some sleep. Others just had some food and pushed on quickly – hardcore!

Two more brave riders roll out into the cold...

I was very impressed with the positive attitudes most of the riders were displaying. Considering the crazy conditions they took it all in stride and were having fun sharing in the adversity. A few riders had to DNF – mostly due to the wet/cold temperatures. As I am learning it’s one thing to ride wet through a 10 deg C night and to ride wet through a 0 deg C night. Eating, resting in a warm spot, and changing out of damp clothes were key ways to deal with the situation. Having a very comfortable well stocked control just past the halfway point was very important. Martin did a great job organizing the control so that everything we needed was on hand all night and the Best Western was very generous in providing such a nice space right by the front door of the hotel.

Food and drink...drink and food...

When I offered to help Martin told me that it would be a great opportunity to meet some nice folks and learn lots about randonneuring. He was right on both accounts. The riders were very nice to deal with given their heroic efforts – not a cranky person in the bunch. Clearly this was a select group of successful riders so I paid lots of attention to their bikes, what they wore, how they managed their time and what they did at the control. I definitely have a better appreciation for the challenges of longer brevets and what to keep an eye on. I’ll want to have a hotel room and spare clothes at the mid-point of a 600K. I’ll also do my best to get in as early as I can and then sleep until dawn. I think that would have the biggest bang for my buck in terms of time vs. energy/morale levels.

Martin and 1st place rider Ian F...

Martin deserves a big thank you for his extremely dedicated efforts without which Eau de Hell Week would not be possible. All the riders who these brevets are amazing athletes – great job guys & gals. Ian’s performance on what ened up being a 670K ride for him is hard to comprehend. He was close to the finish when he realized he had made an error and earned himself 70 bonus KMs – heart breaking. He could have thrown in the towel and asked for a lift to the end, but instead he got back to the route and finished it – still first by a wide margin. He rode 1500kms+ this week in 61hrs!

I had fun helping out on this ride and if I don’t ride the Van Isle 600K in May I’ll volunteer for that ride that Mike & Brynne Croy [my neighbours as I recently found out!] are organizing.





Eau de Hell Week 600K Bikes…

15 04 2011

Santana tandem...

I pulled a 12hr volunteer shift helping to run the 373K control on the BC Randonneurs Eau de Hell Week 600K. I snapped a pic of every bike I could. Sorry about the lighting and the angles.

A lot of the bikes had Edelux dyno lights on them like this Co Motion...

Edelux...

Edelux...

Nicely equipped Talbot...

Edelux...

A carbon Trek...

Waterford...

Berg...

Coho...

There were quite a few front bags and several were Berthouds...

Coho again...

Marinoni....

Another Berg...

Mystery rando bike...

Merlin...

Another Marinoni...

A Gunnar...

Surly LHT in the middle...

Rodriguez with S&S...

Hugh Porter...

Kogswell PR....

Cannondale...

Ritchey....

C

First place rider's Cervelo...





Proud to be ashamed!

14 04 2011

Clean and tweaked - ready to get dirty again...

So my Work Stand of Shame methodology was successful…=-) I’m done working on my Bow Cycle 24 rando back up bike. Got almost everything done and what I didn’t do was for external reasons. The bike is nice and clean again.

Front fender tweaked and mudflap installed...

Fixed front flat, tweaked the fender alignment and installed a DIY milk jug mudflap.

The rear mega flap!

Taking some advice from BikeForums.net I fashioned the rear mudflap from some stair covering material. It’s easy to work with – not sure how it will perform, but there is only one way to find out.

That's what a non-integrated fender line looks like...=-)

I noticed the left rear brake pad was loose so I sorted that out while I was at it. *sigh* What a F-ugly fender line – better than nothing I suppose.

A cockpit interrupted!

I got the Dinotte 200L-AA mounted so I have lights for this bike. I gave up on the GPS as the interrupter brake levers [which I don't use] are right where the GPS needs to go. In a pinch I can mount it further to the left, but since my only need for the GPS is brevets and this is only a back up bike I won’t bother taking up valuable hand space with the GPS mount until I need it. When I do an overhaul of this bike I’ll strip the interrupter levers off it as they are dead weight to me and just taking up space I’d rather use for other things.

No Brooks yet...

My Brooks B17 Imperial Narrow saddle hasn’t shown up yet so I gave up waiting and will ride the stock plastic one until my Brooks arrives. I adjusted the rear light and checked that the batteries are in good shape. About 3hrs work all told that only took 9 months or so to get done!

This baby is ready to roll…=-)





MEC Reflective Sash Hack…

13 04 2011

MEC sash...

I like these Cactus Creek reflective sashes from MEC. They pack down small and are light so you can carry one with you anytime darkness may fall before you get home. They add a nice amount of visibility to your upper body when a car or bike’s lights hit them. They do have one flaw – the lower end/flap always rides up and ends up near your ear on a ride. This doesn’t affect the functionality of the sash, but it is annoying to have it flapping by your ear so you end up readjusting it every 10 minutes. That’s a PITA!

My Twoonie hack...

So I placed a $2 coin [called a Twoonie in Canada] in the flap area to add weight. I fold the flap around it and did a poor job sewing the flaps into a makeshift pocket. This keeps the coin in place and keeps my sash in place as well. Sweet!

Coin enclosed and ready to sew shut...

I also now have $2 available for a bonk emergency can of Coke or Snickers bar!





Surly LHT To Do List…

13 04 2011

My Surly Long Haul Trucker in her current configuration...

I’ve finally got all the parts together for my LHT MK2 upgrade project. I put my Bow Bicycle 24 in the Stand of Shame before my LHT so I would be motivated to get on with the 24’s work so I can hit the LHT. My LHT has stayed pretty much the same all the years I’ve owned it so this is exciting stuff and it will be a big change for the old girl. The dyno lighting will be very useful and make it even more of a goto ride in my fleet. The hammered fenders will add some lovely bling! The hard B17 – well it won’t add anything, but I need to break it in so the LHT is as good a place as any.

So here is my plan:

  • strip frame down to BB and headset [inspect them, but expect them to be fine]
  • spray rust proofing in frame
  • wash frame
  • install bars and stem
  • clean and inspect brakes [install new pads as needed]
  • install brake levers
  • install derailleurs and shifters [use new cables and housing]
  • install new chain
  • inspect cassette and chain rings [clean and/or replace as needed]
  • clean old rear wheel
  • install new tires [Marathon XRs 700 x 35mm]
  • install old rear wheel and new Shimano dynohub front wheel
  • cable brakes [new cables & housing]
  • install VO hammered metal fenders
  • clean and install racks [OMM front and rear]
  • install seatpost
  • replace Champion Flyer with black B17 [need to break it in another Brooks]
  • install accessories [bell and rear light]
  • DIY front B&M light mount for OMM front rack
  • install B&M front light
  • wrap bars with fresh tape

I’ll take my time both because my LHT deserves some attention and because it should be a fun overhaul…=-)





Work Stand Shame!

13 04 2011

Get to work!

I’m so lazy sometimes it’s painful to behold even for me. I have at least a dozen bike projects ready to roll, but lack the motivation to get past a certain point in each one. In the past I’ve used blog posts to try and get my butt into gear by stating my goals publicly so that not meeting them would be shameful. That works somewhat, but I have a superhuman ability to ignore anything, but the most obvious message that I am being a slacker.

So my latest ploy is what I am calling Work Stand Shame. I place my Park bike stand in my office where I have to walk past it every time I go in or out. I then put a bike in the stand that needs something done to it. I am not allowed to futz with any other bike. So I can either work or if I need a break I can get something done on the bike in question. I tend to work in cycles of about 20mins with a break in between of 5-10mins to get focused for the next session. Futzing with a bike allows me to ponder the next stage of whatever I am working on so that even though it’s not obviously productive time it does contribute to my overall objective.

I’ve neglected my Bow Cycle 24 roadified cross bike for a while so it’s in the Work Stand of Shame. I need to:

  1. fix a flat front tire
  2. clean bike
  3. tweak both fenders back into alignment
  4. add some DIY mud flaps front and back
  5. tweak rear blinky
  6. install a GPS mount
  7. install a Brooks B17 Imperial Narrow saddle
  8. install a Dinotte 200L-AA light

So far so good. I’ve done #1, #2 & #3 today. I’m done 50% of #3 and have some ideas for a rear mudflap that I’ll work on tomorrow. Not exactly stunningly fast progress, but progress none the less!