Wool Buff Review

31 01 2012

Click on image for my original Buff review...

I posted my original Buff review way back at the start of 2009 – click on image above to read it. By that point I had been using these tubular neck/head warmers for years. My love affair with them has continued and I take at least one on every trip I go on. I generally use them as neck/face warmers like the photo show above, but I have been known to use them in more inventive ways occasionally…=-) I haven’t posted about them much in the last couple years because although they are highly useful – they are also dead simple so what more can you say? Well I recently got a merino wool Buff for Christmas from some friends which was an awesome surprise gift.

Looking Buff!

These wool buffs are very cozy to the touch and are available in some classic/classy designs if you want to look a bit more NYC than REI. They are longer than my synthetic Buffs for better coverage or doubling over for more warmth. Of course they have all the usual benefits of wool – staying warm when wet, odour resistant and excellent temperature regulation. I haven’t had this wool Buff long enough to judge its durability, but the construction seems robust so I am hopeful for a long service life with some reasonable care.

Buff product details - click for larger text...

If you are new to the Buff world try one out. You’ll probably be like me and find it hard to imagine how you lived without one.





Puerto Rico…

31 01 2012

I’ve officially got strapless kite surfing fever…=-)





Slingshot Tyrant Kite Surfboard Sale

30 01 2012

Click on image for my review...

I was poking around the Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham clearance section and noticed that my favourite kite surfboard [Slingshot Tyrant is on sale for $569USD down from ~$800]. You can read my review by clicking on the image above. This board performs like a champ in bigger conditions and the construction is bomber for jumping and getting smashed onto the beach when it gets carried in on a wave. It also looks so sweet with its bamboo and carbon fiber construction. The changes for 2012 aren’t major so this is a great deal on a sweet board. I like mine so much I’m planning on getting another Slingshot surfboard – just trying to figure out which model as they have so many to choose from.

Click on image to see the 2012 Slinghshot Surfboard line up...

This is what Andy from KPS has to say about the Tyrant:

“If I am going out in waves larger than my armpit, this is going to be my board of choice hands down.  It is fast, responsive, and you can drive it through anything like its a hummer.  This board impressed me the most because I perfected my jibes with its smooth turning characteristics, and learned about toe side riding in waves.  It took me to the next level in the surf and gave me a grin I still haven’t wipe away from my face.”

Burly tri-fin setup...

Last winter when I was down in La Ventana with my Tyrant for the first time there were only a few on the water and most were being ridden by people I knew. Fast forward to this winter and I saw Slingshot Tyrants under a good chunk of the kiters riding surfboards. I’m not surprised at all and I suspect it will be a dominant model down there next winter since people now have access to discounted 2011 stock like the sale at KPS. It’s a classic board I won’t be selling and with such a durable construction it’s going to be around for many seasons of kiting.When Sharon is ready to try a directional kiteboard I’ll get her out on the Tyrant and I’m sure she’ll come back smiling.





650B Dirt Dawgs…

30 01 2012

My Boulder Bicycle 650B rando rig...

Training might be too strong a word for our first road ride of 2012, but when you are as lazy as we are you need to count every pedal stroke. I was stoked that pulling my Boulder Bicycle All Road down from its winter slumber hanging from the wall of my office didn’t reveal much work needed to get her operational. Some air in the tires and dead batteries in the taillight & bike computer were the only items that needed attention. I like a bike that doesn’t need a ton of maintenance.

Pre-ride shenanigans...

Taking a photo break...

Aaron's new Bridgestone rando beast...

You can always spot the rolling pumpkin...

A few more tweaks...

eVent jacket and wool keep me comfy and dry...

Aaron coming...

A lot of the ride was slick gravel or mud - perfect 650B terrain...

Aaron going...

Hanging with our good friend...





Patagonia Slopestyle Hoody Review…

29 01 2012

Click on image to jump to Patagonia product page...

This is my favourite everyday jacket. I can’t think of any major trip that this hoody hasn’t been on with me since I got it. My original one [tan hoody below]is wearing out at the seams and cuffs from too much love.  It looks ratty enough I’ve had to banish it from city use and save it for my outdoor adventures. I have 2 more of these – a sweet looking black one I keep minty fresh for business meetings and social engagements where I have to look smart. I just bought another brown one this weekend which will be my day to day hoodie. Luckily I’ve never had to pay full retail for one of these jackets. I always seem to find them at 50%-65% of MSRP. I’m not sure why, but they seem to be under appreciated by the normal Patagonia shoppers.

Slopestyle fishing...

What I like about the Slopestyle Hoody?:

  • fits my build perfectly
  • relaxed fit has room for a light insulating layer underneath
  • DWR coating sheds light rain & snow
  • reasonably wind resistant for cool days on the beach
  • breathes well so you don’t get sweaty inside when biking
  • tough fabric resists stains and abrasion well
  • light and packable enough to always take along
  • doesn’t wrinkle easily so you can pull it out of a backpack at walk into a restaurant looking decent
  • doesn’t get too funky when worn while exercising
  • often on sale for a reasonable cost
  • perfect cross over piece to go from sporty to urban and back
  • if the lazy rando blog had a pro-model jacket this would be it!

Slopestyle surfing...

My plan is to keep buying them on sale when they cross my path so even if Patagonia stops making them I can wear one of these jackets for the next decade or two…=-)





Wet, Wild and Dirty…

28 01 2012

The classic A-Man roll in...

Big storm recently knocked down many trees...

The storm also dropped a lot of rain and snow on the hills...

Dirt loverz...

Chasing the sun...

Lots more standing water...

Lots more foliage to contend with...

A few dead end non-trails to backtrack...

Some hike a bike...

We are so powerful we shred gear...





Victoria BC Unicycle Club

28 01 2012

Click on image to jump to the club website...

A long time ago I posted on this blog about wanting to find a local Victoria unicycle club and although it took some time through the power of the internet folks from the club found the post. My buddy Paul lent me two unis, but my lack of skill and knowledge have kept me from learning much beyond how much I suck at riding a unicycle. However, my enthusiasm remains strong. I’ll be going to the clinic on 23 Feb and I may even pay for some private lessons before then just to get the ball rolling.





Retroshift

27 01 2012

Aaron turned me onto this product – Retroshift.  It essentially allows you to mount a bar end shifter on your brake lever so you can get the benefits of the bar end shifter [which I love] without taking your hands off the brakes.

If anyone out there has tried a Retroshift drop me a line I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Retroshift Two in red...





Liquid Force Envy Kite Review Update

26 01 2012

Sharon rigging her 9m Envy...

I demo’d and reviewed 2010 and 2011 Liquid Force Envy kites the last two seasons. I posted my thoughts on this blog and you can read them by clicking on the image above. Bottom line with any review is would you spend your own $$ to buy the gear and are you stoked to use it? As an update to my previous Envy kite reviews let me answer that question by saying:

  • Sharon bought a 9m Envy as her first kite and loves it.
  • She liked it so much she is buying a 7m Envy for higher winds.
  • I liked riding her 9m Envy on my strapless surfboard so much I’m buying a 12m Envy and we are going to share a quiver of Liquid Force Envy kites.

I don’t think a reviewer can make a stronger statement than that. These kites rock for new kiteboarders like Sharon who are just finishing up their lessons and heading out on the water by themselves. I knew that based on my previous reviews. However, the more time I spent flying her Envy the more impressed I was how much fun it was to fly when I was strapless on a surfboard. The Envy turns fast on its axis and pulls consistently through the turns. It’s light and stable enough that if you ride underneath it or get worked by a wave it will stay in the air and do its best to get you back riding with as little drama as possible. And if the shit does hit the fan the construction is very robust – ideal for new kiters who crash their kites a lot and experts who are pushing their limits.

Here I am "borrowing" Sharon's Envy...=-)

I gotta give Andy at Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham a shout out.  He was trying to turn me onto the Envy back in 2010. Everything he told me back then was spot on – even if it took me 2 years to appreciate the finer points of his advice. I can be a slow learner! So of course that’s where Sharon and I buy all our Liquid Force gear. On my way back from La Ventana Baja this year I emailed Andy and told him to put a 7m and 12m Envy on hold for us. I’m sure he had a chuckle realizing that I had finally “got it”! Great advice – great service and great prices – KPS deserves my business. Liquid Force KIteboarding also deserves a shout out for making a solid kite that’s so much fun to ride. I definitely appreciate the 2012 graphics as well! Yeah that’s my polite way of saying I wish Sharon didn’t want a quiver of pink kites…hahahaha….=-)

2012 Envy colours...

Here’s a 15 second summary of my review of the Liquid Force Envy kite:

  • stable
  • beginner friendly
  • easy relaunch
  • great depower and safety system
  • turns fast on its axis
  • constant power through turns [excellent low end]
  • lightweight so it floats back in the window if you lose tension in the lines rather than falling out of sky
  • robust construction that can take some abuse
  • super easy to inflate with single point pumping and huge Liquid Force inflation valve
  • low/medium bar pressure [less than old LF Havoc more than OR Rise]
  • ideal for new kiters and strapless/wave riding
  • not the most lofty jumper [if you want huge air pick a kite with a flatter profile like the Liquid Force NRG]
  • 2012 colours & graphics are HOT!




Chromag Surface 29er…

25 01 2012

Chromag Surface 29er...

I came across this bike and since sharing bike porn on the internet is bound to net me bonus points with Santa and any post-death accountants I may have to deal with I figured why not share it? Chromag is making so few of these bikes and they are selling so fast they haven’t even bothered to advertise them on their website. If you click on the image you can read a review and see a few more lovely images of this bike.





Homebrew All Mtn 29er…

25 01 2012

Click on image for more info.

I stumbled across this homemade 29er hardtail on MTBR.com. The builder made this in his garage in his spare time while helping his wife out with their new twins. Build quality is stellar and the whole post is worth reading just for the bike porn alone.





Commuter Style

24 01 2012

Leaving for work on a dark chilly winter morning...

Sharon tries hard not to look like a traffic cone when riding her bike while still being visible to other cyclists and drivers. She’s found a bunch of clothing that’s practical for cycling without being garish. That’s important because if you want more people to ride bikes you need to make them excited about the idea and for a lot of people the traffic cone chic is not an acceptable way to look when arriving at work or a social event. Luckily there are lots of cycling specific clothing and cycling adaptable clothing options these days that you can find to match your personal tastes while staying comfortable.

For visibility Sharon has two powerful rear lights, a powerful [considerately focused] headlight and some reflective trim on her clothing and bike bags.

Not only is it cool that Sharon has found a bike and gear that she is into and reflects her own tastes I think there are a bunch of other potential commuter cyclists who need to see someone dressed stylishly yet sensibly so they can get motivated to start riding to work themselves. Hopefully Sharon is setting a positive example for them as she rolls to work on her Cross Check.

Aaron taking a break after tagging a fence...=-)

Just so the guys don’t feel left out Aaron and I took some male cycling style photos. Aaron always turns up for our rides dressed super nice so I figured I should tap into his fashion wisdom. I’ll be putting up a whole post with his bike clothing tips shortly, but the image above is a taste of what’s to come.

Here I am all coned up!

To avoid a bunch of comments telling me there is nothing wrong with the traffic cone look let me say I agree there is nothing wrong with it. There is also nothing wrong with the bike commuter who dresses up in a Tour de France replica kit and rockets to work on a carbon fibre race bike. However, those two schools of cycling fashion are well represented on the streets around here and are what the general public think about when it comes to riding a bike around town. Since a lot of potential commuter cyclists wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing a traffic cone or skin tight spandex I think it’s important to show them there are other clothing options that are comfortable on the bike, will keep you warm and dry in inclement weather and would be acceptable to a wide range of fashion palates.

Seeing more people on bikes makes me happy and to make that happen we have to give people options they are stoked about.





Bob Keller Fatbike

23 01 2012

A Bob Keller custom fatbike...

I saw this sweet custom fatbike over at MTBR.com and got excited because unlike all the new fatbike designs with super low toptubes this one keeps the TT high. That looks much nicer and provides a ton of room for a framebag inside the main triangle. I’m sure the owner won’t be repeatedly injured by TT to groin contact…it seems like toe overlap it’s only a problem for some people. I’m glad I got a first generation Pugsley with a taller TT – although it’s not nearly as sweet looking as this bike…=-)

Fat by design...

More info:





Ladies Only…

23 01 2012

Info about the video.





The 70’s…

22 01 2012

So true...

I had a bike for at least a decade of great times before it became a dangerous activity that I needed to be protected from. I may have been born too late for the free love era, but at least I got to enjoy a childhood of carefree bicycling.





Shit MTBers Say!

22 01 2012




Santa Cruz Nomad Porn

21 01 2012

Saw this and couldn't resist sharing...so hot!





Stealing a bike…

21 01 2012

A brand new bike is locked up in NYC and left abandoned, but photographed daily in this video. I’m very impressed with how long it takes for stuff to get stolen – literally months! And although the bike does eventually end up entirely gone I don’t look at it as bike theft in the normal sense [ie. your spanking new commuter bike is taken while you have lunch]. It seems to me just a function of urban salvage – once something is clearly abandoned and decaying the smart move is to use it for what value it has left and at the same time prevent it from becoming an eye sore.

I’m not sure what the point of the video was intended to be, but for me it was amazing to see how long the bike remained unmolested in a city famous for bike theft.





Seaward Kayaks Factory Tour – Part 4

21 01 2012

Painting the seam...

You can read my previous Seaward Factory Tour posts here.

Painted seam drying...

I visited the Seaward Kayaks factory in Chemainus BC in December with my new Canon S95 camera and a tripod. I had hoped to video tape/photograph a thermoform kayak being produced, but my timing was off so I settled for simply taking some better photos of their operation. With a tripod I could make the best of the less than ideal indoor lighting. So here is a bunch of photos from the visit.

Bird's eye view of kayaks in progress...

Seaward Passat tandem...

The other side...

A tandem partially built...

Nicely contrasting hatch and cockpit combings...

Sweet fade deck paint...

High volume boat for the bigger paddler...

Thermoform boat being joined together...

Thermoform hulls trimmed and waiting to be built...

Colourful thermoform decks waiting to be built into boats...

Thermoform plastic hull and deck with seam installed...

Deck, hull and seam taped into place will glue cures...

CNC machine building new kayak form...

Router in action...

Partially finished hull...

Bird's eye view of router...

Prepping interior of kayak...

Thermoform kayaks with transparent bottoms being glued together...

Short recreational plastic decks waiting for a hull...

Glued boats waiting finishing details...

Inspecting glued deck and hull while transparent bottom is being installed...

New prototype rudder system...

Retracted position...

Recessed rudder control...

Current model Seaward rudder...

Rudder control...

Rudder deployed...

I’ll be taling to Seaward and hopefully getting a video made of a thermoform boat being built. Stay tuned if kayak porn interests you…=-)

Bow seam/bumper detail...

Seaward Cosma 16' 2" Kevlar touring kayak...

Seaward was nice enough to lend me a Cosma kevlar single kayak to try out. I’ll be posting my thoughts on it next week.





Kirt Voreis

20 01 2012




Chromag Surface 29er Build…

20 01 2012

I’m waiting on some parts to build up my own 29er hardtail [not a Chromag Surface sadly!...=-(] so this video warms my heart on a cold winter day. There is no sound in the video above so start the video below first then start the video on top for the Lazy Rando Mash Up.

The build video is kind of short so hit repeat a few times to enjoy it again and again until the song runs its course…=-)





On One Fatbike…

19 01 2012

On One yet to be named fatbike...

Click on the image above to jump to the MTBR.com thread discussing this new On One fatbike. No name yet and details are sketchy other than to say it’s designed as a fat MTB vs. a snow/sand bike.  It’s great to have another [likely to be competitively priced] fatbike option. My only complaint is I wish top tubes weren’t all headed for my ankles. I’d like room inside the frame for a frame bag and have never injured myself on my Surly Pugsley’s tall TT.

Older post from MTBR.com – with some more info.





Thanks Westjet!

18 01 2012

Westjet loves kiteboarders!

I don’t shop for plane tickets based on price. At least not on the cheapest price. I care more about the quality of the flight experience and how much hassles I’m likely to encounter en route. That doesn’t mean I can afford my own private Leer jet, but it does mean I’ll always see what options are available with my favourite airline – Westjet. On this last trip to Baja I flew Westjet primarily because the cost was within 20% of the lowest alternative, the number of layovers was limited to 1 either way and the excess baggage charges were reasonable and well understood.

I flew down with:

  • beach camping gear for a month [less a tent which was down there]
  • clothes
  • 2 kites
  • 1 twin tip kiteboard
  • 1 surfboard 6’2″
  • all my kiteboarding gear [wetsuit, harness, booties,impact vest, pump, control bars, etc...]
  • backpack with books & computer in it

Excess baggage charges to fly down $75. On the way home I added a 5’3″ surfboard to the mix and the excess baggage charges totalled $20. That’s less than $100 for all my excess baggage to Mexico and back. Sweet!

I don’t mind paying a bit extra when I fly with so much gear, but I want the charges to be reasonable and applied fairly. Thanks Westjet for another great flight!…=-)





I’m back in Viktoria…

17 01 2012

Need I say more?





Burning Bush 2012

15 01 2012

Burning Bush T-shirt art...

Pre-Bush margaritas at Baja Joe's...

Fire dancing mayhem...

Hanging by the fire...

Blazing tutus....

A different kind of fire dancing...

Mayan temple explodes...I didn't need my eyebrows anyways!

The moon hanging low over the Sea of Cortez lights the long walk back to my tent...





Better than nothing!

14 01 2012

We went mental on the rentals!

Sharon scored us two rental bikes for the time she was down here in Baja. An old Trek I posted pictures of last week or so and newer, but not better Cannondale hardtail MTB. Neither bike worked well or fit us, but you know I came to appreciate how efficiently these mismatched steeds got us around town despite their short comings. Even a fairly crap bike is still far better for covering ground than walking and I had a surprising amount of fun riding them. I was not sad to see them go back to their owners, but I’ll have fond memories of our brief time together.

I’ll also appreciate my own bike so much more! Bikes that shift, brake and fit properly – how sweet life is…=-)





The Ultimate Reward…

13 01 2012

Watch it fullscreen in HD.





JT KBing

12 01 2012

Image: Jeremie Tronet

Sadly this isn’t me. Although this is what it feels like in my mind when I’m kiteboarding. I just don’t actually look anywhere near this cool…=-)





Salsa FS Fatbike Prototype…

11 01 2012

Click on image for more info...

Salsa is working on a full suspension fatbike frame. It’s just a concept as of this time and without a decent production suspension fork it’s not likely to see the light of day. Having said that it’s a great idea and the fact Salsa is working on a frame at all means it has some chance of becoming reality. That’s very cool.

Click on the image above to read more over on the Salsa site and leave the a comment if you are stoked so they can see there is lots of enthusiasm for the idea.

My own personal wish list would be:

  • 75-100mm travel front and back
  • quality adjustable production fork from a major brand [RS/Fox/etc...]
  • clearance for 3.7″ knobby tires on 82mm rims
  • rear end 135mm hub with 17mm offset for IGH compatibility
  • frame/shock + fork cost ~$2K




An Inside Look at Porcelain Rocket..

10 01 2012

Photo: Cass Gilbert

Cass Gilbert of While Out Riding Blog fame took some great photos of Scott making a frame bag in his Porcelain Rocket lair. Click on the image above to see the goods!