Gravel Pimping…

16 02 2012

The Gravel Pimps at Oak Bay Bikes Westshore...

Scott and I have been talking about getting out and doing some bikepacking on the south end of Vancouver Island, but life has been getting in the way. So we decided to make a break for it when we saw a window of good weather Monday. With both of us busy with work our departure got pushed back until 4pm. In December that would have meant a 100% night ride our first day, but just a few weeks later we still had nearly 2hrs of daylight to enjoy from the saddle. We stopped in at the Westshore location of Oak Bay Bikes just to say hi and check out what they had on the floor.

What else would I rock for bags?

It got dark soon after we left OBB on the Galloping Goose Trail. We both had about 900 lumens of LED firepower at our disposal which we didn’t use at full-power given the easy terrain and our sedate cruising speed.  We wanted to hit up the 17 Mile House Pub on Hwy 14 for beers and burgers so I stopped a few times to check my iPhone. I don’t like riding with a GPS on my bars unless absolutely necessary so I had to stop and retrieve my phone each time.

Scott warming his hands...

During one of these stops I found myself at the top of a set of stairs [click here for a photo from the next day’s return trip]. Scott wisely backtracked and went down the trail. I of course had to do a stupid human trick and decided to ride down the stairs. Now normally this would be no problem, but at night with a new bike loaded for the first time with gear and backpack, my weight distribution and inability to get back off the saddle because of the seatbag resulted in an over the bars endo/vault. Thankfully not very fast, but nevertheless I ended up with two sore palms and a bashed up elbow/knee on the left side of my body.

**sigh**

It’s been years since I’ve been even moderately hurt on a MTB so I don’t feel hard done by, but what a dumb way to get banged up. No heroic story of a 6′ drop off a skinny wood bridge while being chased by a cougar…just operator error!

Got gravel?

Luckily I was able to find a hand position on my bar ends that wasn’t terribly painful and we cranked along the rest of the way to the pub. Several pints of beer and many dead chicken wings later I was feeling better. I climbed back on my bike gingerly and we cruised the rest of the way to our destination for the night.

A room with a view and no doors!

I had spotted this shelter last time I was up this way biking with Aaron. Since only crazy people go camping in early February on Vancouver Island we had the place to ourselves and simply ignored the no camping signs. Yeah we are bad asses!

Low rent, hardwood floors and indoors bike parking - score!

The shelter was spacious and clean with great protection from wind and the inevitable rain that was to fall that night. Bikepacking bags only let you carry the bare essentials so we didn’t get up to much upon arrival beyond setting up our sleeping bags and munching on a few snacks. When it’s dark and cold I find myself very quickly jumping into a down cocoon! I told Scott he could yell and kick me if I was snoring too loud and with that I passed out.

Black and white On One Scandal 29er...

I woke up in the middle of the night and did a quick inventory of my aches and pains. Everything was feeling pretty good except for my left hand which was very tender and swollen. Not great, but at least I knew I could bike home with 4 out of 5 contact points on the bike feeling decent. Back to sleep I went.

Rohloff'd Hunter 29er...

I wish I had a watch in my sleeping bag as I got up at 6am [according to Scott] to pee and went back to bed because it was still dark. Had I known it was 6am I would have probably made a move to get rolling. After a certain point sleeping on a hard surface with a thin thermarest doesn’t provide much additional benefit.

It's alive!

It started to just get light at 8am so I got rolling. I fired up the stove and made a random dehydrated meal I found at home and some green tea. It was less than gourmet, but it hit the spot.

Minimal, but effective...

Water is plentiful in the rainforest so dehydrated meals are very handy if not the most delicious thing you can eat…=-)

Clean well stocked toilets...

Although we didn’t make much use of the campsite infrastructure there were lots of tables, water and clean toilets close at hand. Nice to see tax payer $$ going towards something I cared about instead of fighter jets!

Sooke Potholes Regional Park...

There was an old mining town a few KMs north from us and I had hoped to spin up there and check it out, but my hand was really sore and I decided it was best to make tracks for home, painkillers, ice and beer!

Scott loading my bike bags...

With one bum hand I was having issues loading my gear back into my bike bags. Scott was kind enough to help me out. Lucky for him I hurt my left hand otherwise I would have needed some assistance in the toilet as well….hahaha! =)

One last look back at our hut...

The scenery up this far along the Galloping Goose Trail is stunning something you can’t appreciate riding it at night.

Pointing our bikes down the map back towards home...

I was sad to miss the mining town, but it will be there next trip. This run up the Goose is our entry pass into a vast network of forest service roads. So unless we drive our bikes to a different starting point all our bikepacking rides will pass this way.

One of the many wooden bridges on the Goose...

My left hand wasn’t terribly happy, but as long as I lifted it off the bars before any major bump was encountered I was able to tolerate light pressure as I gripped the bar end.

Scott keeps it in first gear...

We rode down the Goose slowly in a light rain. Scott kept his back brake on the whole time just to get a better workout…=-)

Yo - check the Pimp rig...

Happily the wide 29er tires rolled well over the gravel/dirt trail surface making it an easy task to spin back towards Victoria.

Another killer view...

The spectacular views helped me keep my mind off my aches and pains!

My bike not looking so clean...

I was happy to roll into my yard and pop a couple Tylenol as I took a swig from an ice cold Corona! Despite my stupidity it was still great to be out on the bike on the South Shore of Vancouver Island. This ride let me figure out some things about my bike and how to best pack it for future adventures.

Nothing a quick hose down can't fix...

The Alfine 11 IGH and the 29er hardtail bike is proving to be a fun versatile machine that’s ideal for lots of different adventures. I’m going to take a few days off the bike to let my left hand rest and then I’ll be back hard at work wearing out parts…=-)

BTW – in case you are wondering about the title of this post we decided that “Gravel Grinding” sounded too boring for a couple wild and crazy guys like us – hence we coined the new term “Gravel Pimping”. You have our permission to use it as you wish!


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13 responses

16 02 2012
Wil

Man, That is a kind of trip that is right up my alley. So is the black and white themed mtb. Last year I had the Alfine8 on mine but put it back on my commuter where it will remain for the rest of its life. I am strongly leaning towards the Alfine 11 for my TD rig. Keep it real!

16 02 2012
Ian

Looks like a great overnighter.

I’m looking to do similar overnight stuff, but it will most likely be with the velomobile. Now that its not damn cold at night, time to get the camp stuff ready to go on short notice.

16 02 2012
Vik

Having your gear packed or nearly packed really helps get you out the door with minimal fuss.

16 02 2012
Ty Smith

Awesome adventure! So cool. Hope your hand recovered well!

16 02 2012
disabledcyclist

AWESOME overnighter!!! I’m HOPING to do my first like it this year,take my son,it’ll be killer cool. LOVED the read about yours :D

The DC

16 02 2012
Doug@MnBicycleCommuter

Nice ride report. Makes me want to get back out there soon.

Hope the hand heals quickly.

16 02 2012
alang

bummer about your hand. nice little trip though. thanks for sharing. also nice that the frame bag transfers to your new 29er so well. that frame is a large, but your pugs is a med, right? i plan on getting a frame bag that will fit a med pug and large 29er….

16 02 2012
Vik

@Alan – thanks – hand is starting to feel better and I hope to be MTBing again on Saturday.

The Pugsley is the older version 18″ which has a pretty big front triangle. The 29er is a 19.5″, but has smaller triangle like most MTBs these days.

16 02 2012
Bob Hopkins - The Country Parson

Hey, Vik,

Please share some info regarding the lights you guys are riding with.

Thanks, great post.

Bob
The Country Parson

16 02 2012
Vik

@Bob – the lights are Dinotte XML-3 LED lights:

http://store.dinottelighting.com/dinotte-xml-3-headlight-p174.aspx

17 02 2012
John

Great! Thanks for helping me spend my monkey Vic. That trip is right up my alley. Scott will eventually get some of my hard earned cash. I would just have to decide on the Karate Monkey or the Big Dummy…

Good for Scott. I love to see an entrepreneur with a good, nay; great product make a go for it.

Now to go over to http://www.porcelainrocket.com/ to drool.

10 05 2013
Gravel Pimp: The Missing Link… | The Lazy Rando Blog...

[…] I’ve ridden this section so many times I kind of dread it even though it’s quite pleasant. Rather than repeat a description of this part of the ride here is a previous report you can read. […]

27 05 2013
Sooke to Victoria… | Vancouver Island Bikepacking

[…] Sooke Potholes Tour 2012 […]

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