Lib Tech Surfboards

31 05 2012

This video will only be of interest to surfboard geeks. You have been warned!





Seaward Kayaks Factory Tour – Part 5

31 05 2012

Click on image for more photos…

I took another trip up to the Seaward Kayaks factory in Chemainus BC last Friday to poke around and snap more photos. If kayak factory porn makes you smile click on either image in this post to jump to my Seaward Kayaks Flickr set. The bottom 60 or so photos are new.

Click on image to see more photos…

Click here if you want to read some of my other Seaward Kayaks blog posts.

Click on image for more photos…





Fat Ghetto Tubeless Video…

30 05 2012




Blade Trigger Kite Review – Part 1

29 05 2012

12m Blade Trigger kite…

This is the first installment in a review of a 12m Blade Trigger kite. Andy from Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham lent me a Trigger because he was so stoked about it and wanted to see what I thought. I’m in the market to replace my main kites as they have aged and kite performance has moved on in the 3 years since I last updated my quiver. I’ll be posting a couple more installments of this review as I get time on the water with the Trigger. It’s often too windy on Vancouver Island for a 12m kite so I don’t get to fly the Trigger every session.

Trigger on the beach after a strapless session…

The Trigger is a hybrid SLE/bow kite that’s in its 4th generation. The attention to detail in the kite construction and design is clear. The Trigger is Blade’s wave/freeride model which suits my needs perfectly. I’m not going to race with it and I’m not into the new school wake style trickery. I want to ride strapless in the waves and be able to throw big fun air when strapped in on my twin tip.

Here are some reviews of the Trigger from kiters around the world.

Bridle attachment detail…

In terms of construction I care about longterm durability without wanting a very heavy kite that needs lots of wind to keep it aloft. There is a fine balance between the two and Blade gets it right with solid construction that should last a long time if you take care of your gear.

3 strut design…

By combining a 3 strut design and using reinforced fabrics and stitching only in high stress/wear points the Trigger is light yet robust.

Single point inflation…

The single point inflation system works well and is something I couldn’t live without anymore. With only 3 struts the kite doesn’t take too long to pump up.

Wingtip detail…

Rigging the Trigger is simple. It features a colour coded goofproof bridle that has fast/slow turn settings as well as a wave/freeride setting. So far I’ve only used the Trigger in the fast turn & freeride settings. I am curious about the wave setting so I’ll be playing with that this summer and reporting back. I doubt I’ll ever want to use the slow turn setting, but it’s a good feature if you are just starting out and want a really docile kite for a drama free session.

Wave and Standard bridle settings…

In the standard setting with the control lines attached to the fast turn position the Trigger was a great freeride kite. Turns were fast with about average bar pressure. The kite was very stable and easy to handle. The stability and lightweight meant that after a crash the Trigger was happy to stay up where I left it and float backwards in the air until I got tension onto the lines. That just means more riding and less relaunching of the kite.

Flying…

Andy has had more time on the Trigger than I have so here are his thoughts on the Wave setting vs. the Standard bridle setting:

I recently had the opportunity to do a 5 mile downwinder in the waves in moderate to light 12m conditions. Never really juiced, but at times was happily powered, and at other times underpowered.

I did half of the session on the wave setting, and then switched to the normal setting for comparison.

The first thing I noticed when making the switch was that the bar pressure felt much lighter on the normal setting, and that I had to move the kite more to keep it flying in the window. It wasn’t a bad experience doing a downwinder on this setting, but you did have to manage the kite more than on the Wave setting. 

On the wave setting, bar pressure is firm, but not an arm burner at all. To me, the higher bar pressure allowed me to feel the kite more while I was focusing on the waves, and the kite did what it was supposed to as I rode down the line towards the kite…. it just drifted back with little input. Note, the kite is still depowered at the edge of the window, but as you ride towards it, it backs up without having to redirect the kite much. This worked well unless I totally charged at the kite and my boardspeed came close to the wind speed….. at this point I would have to move the kite just to keep some aparent wind going at it. (note… this was at the times when the wind was light, and I was riding pretty much straight downwind at the kite….) When properly powered, I was able to do the same thing making a few cuts on the wave, and didn’t have to worry about the kite falling backwards, or me riding under the kite. It was the perfect drifting balance between the two.

For free riding/ flat water, I like the normal setting better. The lighter bar pressure combined with this kites quick turning allows for nice jumps (I can jump better in the normal setting than the wave setting). Size for size, the 9m so far has been my favorite. The 7m is a blast to fly, but doesn’t have the float the 9m offers. The bigger sizes are nice too, but there is a balance between small kite feel, float, and hang time that the 9m just nails perfectly.

I have been able to get out on the new 14m Trigger too, and it has obviously taken some of the Fat Lady DNA and incorporated it into its design, The 14m has small struts, and a similar leading edge shape that puts it somewhere design wise in between the Trigger and Fat Lady, whereas last year’s 14m was all Trigger. The 2012 12m Trigger is all Trigger, the 2011 14m Trigger was all Trigger, but the 14m is somewhat of a mix between Fat Lady and Trigger, having attributes of both. If you are a smaller rider (under 170lbs), the 2012 Trigger 14m is probably all you’d ever need. It upwinds very well, has a higher wind range than the Fat Lady, but has most of the float. In 20mph, I was jumping in the 20-25ft high range, with very nice float. If I were on the Fat Lady, I might not have been able to jump as high, but would have had more float. The 14m obviously turns faster than the Fat Lady…. but the Fat Lady of course is no slouch.”

Control line turning speed adjustment…

Turns pivot around the wingtips. I found the turning speed to be excellent and easy to control. I’ve only been riding the Trigger strapless so far so I can’t comment on how it jumps.

End of main bladder at wingtip…

The 12m Trigger has a decent amount of depower. The depower straps are above the bar in a standard configuration. The bar throw isn’t huge and I prefer it with a waist harness. With shorts harness the chicken loop is quiet low relative to your arms so you reach the end of the bar’s throw pretty quick.

Blade control bar…

The Blade bar offers a below the bar swiveling chicken loop and a virtual 5th line safety to fully depower the kite if you punch out. There is an adjustable stopper above the bar if you want to let go of the bar and keep a steady power setting. Above or below the bar depower is a personal preference thing. I like it below the bar, but I was kiting on a day with tons of wind speed changes and I was able to work the Blade bar’s depower just fine.

Here is a video of the bar in action. I didn’t have to use the safety release in anger so far, but it seems pretty straightforward to use in an emergency.

This video review gives you another perspective on the Trigger.

Trigger crazy!

The best compliment I can pay the Trigger so far is that from the time I launched it to the time I landed the kite I really didn’t have to think too much about it. It went where I wanted it. It performed well going upwind. It hardly ever crashed even when I did. With my GF getting better and better at kiting I have to keep in mind that she’ll be wanting to try my gear out and it would be ideal to share a quiver since she weighs 50-60lbs less than me. We shouldn’t be fighting for the same size kite too often. For that to work any kites we buy have to perform well enough to keep me interested and be easy enough to use so she has fun. My current kites are too high strung for her to use, but the Trigger fits the bill.

This video shows some wave riding action with a Blade Trigger. Don’t blame me for the soundtrack – that’s out of my control!

Blade kite bag…

The Blade kite bag is comfortable to wear for the hike to the beach. It has a spot to hang your pump and an accessory pocket for your bar, water, sunscreen, etc… It tough enough to last 4-5yrs+ and protect your kite from UV and damage while transporting it.

Not too shabby to look at…

Although looks don’t affect how a kite flies I am happy the Trigger is nice to look at. I spend a lot of time kiting so looking up and smiling is important to me.

Trigger porn…

Here’s what the Blade site says about the Trigger:

“We designed the Trigger to promote progression especially for riders who are powerful, playful, and dynamic. If you like to do a little of everything on the water, and like to be actively in control of responsive high-energy fun, the Trigger was designed to be your ideal kite.
The 4th Generation Trigger continues to excel as a fast, nimble, and powerful all-around performance kite.

The powered profiles and refined overall kite geometry leed to the Trigger’s dominant feel and provide the big low-end fun. The perfectly engineered bridles are a key factor in the kite’s excellent stability and depower, balancing the Trigger’s dynamic handling with predictability and safety. This refined engineering is also responsible for a very direct bar feel that is rarely felt in a bridled kite. The swept back LE contributes to the Trigger’s effortless Reflex Relaunch, so you can push yourself past the limit and get up and riding again in seconds.

The 4th generation is based on its successful predecessor, and like the Triggers before it, each size boasts individually designed geometry.
Many small refinements are made individually to each size so that it performs ideally in the conditions it is meant to be flown, here are some of them: The Trigger 12m and 14m received beefed up power profiles and the 14m also features narrower struts to deliver the same low end grunt and turning speed as their smaller siblings. The Trigger 9m and 10m received a special bridle geometry to seat them slightly further forward in the window, giving them the right balance of power and stability for their wind range. The Trigger 7m has been modified for excellent depower performance and rigidity in strong wind. The Trigger 5m hasn’t been touched, we’re proud to say it is one of the best kites on the market.

Finally, we have added an Advanced Wave setting to the bridle of the new Trigger.
Setting the bridle in this position adds depower and seats the kite even more forward in the window. The more tolerant ride is perfect for carving waves, trading up only a little of the power and rock solid stability in the Trigger’s standard mode.

Active pilots looking for the ultimate fun ride will love the quick handling, perfect stability, direct control, and generous power in all conditions. If you are a dynamic rider looking for a kite that can deliver the ultimate fun session, the Trigger’s high energy all-around performance will put a big smile on your face.”

Backpack harness detail…

Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham is selling a variety of package deals with the Trigger. Prices start at $969 for a 7m Trigger without bar and go up to $1749 for a 7m Trigger with bar/lines, pump, bag and a twin tip board. I was shopping other brands recently and that price would only get you a kite & bar. The board is a bonus ideal for someone starting out who needs a whole setup.

Blade Trigger in flight…

What I like about the Trigger so far?

  • stable/easy to fly
  • fast turning
  • lightweight/simple 3 strut design
  • well designed safety system with 100% depower
  • good depower range
  • looks nice
  • reasonable price

What I don’t like?

  • could use more bar throw with shorts harness
  • prefer below bar depower adjustment

Blade Wind God…

What I am keen on checking out some more?

  • ease of water relaunch
  • on water safety release and re-rigging chickenloop in water
  • wave setting on bridle
  • jumping/hang time with a twin tip
  • low wind performance

Rolling up the Trigger…

I already own a 17m Blade Fat Lady which I am very happy with. That positive experience really opened my mind to trying out more Blade kites. The Trigger so far has been a pleasant kite to fly. I need more time with it to fully appreciate all its nuances, but I can see why Andy and other reviewers have been pretty stoked about it.

I’ll leave you with a link to a good thread discussing the 2012 Blade line up over at Kiteforum.com. I’ll post a follow up to this initial review in a month or so once I have more time to play with the Trigger.





Bike Friday Tikit Love…

29 05 2012

Tikit mobility powered shopping…

My Bike Friday Tikit isn’t getting as much press these days on this blog as it used to. That’s really unfair as it continues to be one of my favourite and most useful bikes. The problem is I feel like I’ve covered all the angles about this amazing bike and don’t want to get repetitive. That’s a failure on my part to be creative.

My Tikit enjoying the view…

The freedom to ride anywhere in town without a bike lock or having to think about bike theft is amazingly liberating. I can carry nearly as much on my Tikit as I can on my Surly LHT touring bike and I can fold the Tikit then jump on the bus or toss it into a car’s trunk.

Fixed gear Tikit…

I had the opportunity to swap my 2007 Tikit for a newer 2010 model, but I kept the older bike and invested some $$ in new drivetrain and paint. She works as well today as she did new out of the box and we’ve had a lot of great adventures together. It’s great to know a folding bike with such an amazing fold also is durable enough to keep riding for the long run. I expect I’ll be on the same Tikit in 2017 – although the colour may change again….=-)

If you don’t know what a Bike Friday Tikit is watch the video above. The convenience of the fold is what sold me on the Tikit in the first place and the great ride + the reliability has kept me smiling.

Stuff I Love About the Tikit:

  • fits me [available in multiple sizes]
  • easy uber fast fold [so I can fold it 10 times in 1 trip without noticing]
  • rolls easily when folded so I can keep it with me
  • great customer service from Bike Friday
  • folding mechanism has held up to thousands of folds and thousands of KMs with minimal maintenance
  • lots of options available [fixed/SS, IGH, belt drive, 2 kinds of folds, different racks, ect...]
  • rides efficiently [25km ride? ...no problem]
  • fun handling
  • very maneuverable in town
  • takes normal bike parts

Tough love…

The only real downside to this bike is you end up talking to a lot of people that you wouldn’t otherwise speak to and you’ll do lots of extra folding/unfolding of the bike to satisfy peoples’ curiosity. I can live with that…=-)





Why so much dirt?

28 05 2012

The dirtier the better!

If you are long time blog reader you will have noticed a definite shift towards dirt on this blog. Urban utility riding, road riding and road touring doesn’t get the same coverage it once did. That’s mainly due to my move from Calgary Alberta to Victoria BC. In Calgary I lived downtown and the closest mountain biking I was stoked for was 90 mins drive away and there was only a limited 4 month season each summer. That meant a lot more of my riding was on pavement and a lot more of my blog posts were about paved road missions.

Mood lighting…

Fast forward a couple years and I live on an underpopulated island on Canada’s far west coast with a lot of amazing mountain bike trails and logging roads to explore. I still use my bikes to get around town for errands or socializing, but I’m not as keen about documenting those rides. No real agenda here – I guess after posting so much about urban/utility riding in Calgary I’m happy to focus on something else.

Moss is good as well!

Now you could ask why I don’t do more road riding either for fun or in preparation for the rando season? And why I haven’t done a single paved tour in the last couple years?

The simple answer is that dirt riding is more fun than pavement riding in pretty much every case.

When I go mountain biking I can be alone in a stunning coastal rainforest or with a couple buddies. We rarely see/hear other riders and we have world class terrain to enjoy. No cars, no people – barely any hint of civilization other than the fact the trails themselves exist. It’s an amazing feeling to just forget about all of the practical issues of a modern life and focus on the simple task at hand – riding a bike in the forest.

So when faced with the choice of spending a few hours riding my mountain bike in the trees or doing a road ride around Victoria it just never seems like riding on the road is going to be more fun. Hence the mountain bike gets ridden and my rando bike waits for the next brevet to see action.

Beautiful…

The same principal applies to touring. Why ride along side a highway or rural road when you can ride a remote dirt road? There is a hard and fast rule about roads – the better the roads the more traffic you’ll see and the faster it will go. Governments only maintain roads that get used a lot and well maintained roads are preferred by drivers. It’s a vicious circle that sees the best roads used the most and the worst roads used the least. Nobody takes their vehicle down a rough/dusty remote logging road unless they really have to. That means you’ll see a handful of vehicles a day on a dirt road – possibly none as you go deeper into the spaces between paved road network.

What cars?

Yet with a well equipped mountain bike carrying a lightweight bikepacking setup you can move around on dirt roads and trails with the same ease a typical fully loaded Surly Long Haul Trucker rolls down a paved highway. The difference is you can be alone to a much greater extent and you can explore areas not frequently toured by cyclists.

Traffic jam on the Trans Canada Trail…

Exploring is what’s fueling my stoke currently for bikepacking. If you do a search for bike touring and Vancouver Island you’ll see that almost all the tourists stick to a handful of routes. Most of which I haven’t ridden! I’d rather spend my time looking at maps and trying to piece together a killer dirt touring route of the island than do laps on existing routes. It’s not as easy and sometimes your plans don’t work out, but you learn something every ride and get to know your “neighbourhood” that much better.

Awesome bike path in the mountains…=-)

There is a definite fewer cars the better message in this post. To be clear I am not afraid to ride on the road with cars. I am not a cautious cyclist. I’ll happily mix it up with rush hour traffic if I need to get somewhere. But the reality is that it’s not fun to be around cars even if they don’t hit you. They are noisy, smelly and I don’t like a lot of the people driving them. Let’s not stop at cars – I don’t love riding on bikepaths either. There are lots of idiot cyclists, dog walkers, roller bladers, joggers, etc… And let’s not forget Sharon had her most serious accident to date in a bike-on-bike collision on a bike path – so they aren’t necessarily that safe.

What trail?

The bottom line is that for fun I’d rather be outside in nature with as few people around as possible. On Vancouver Island that means riding dirt. So you are bound to see a lot more dirt riding on this blog. I’m not ashamed to be dirty…;-)





Ryder Wins the Giro!

27 05 2012

Way to go Ryder!

Local professional cyclist Ryder Hesjedal is the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour with his victory in the 2012 Giro today.  Awesome!….=-)

Podium benefits…





The Rocket goes Pimp!

27 05 2012

Scott’s new bar bag…

I guess my white Porcelain Rocket bikepacking bag bling was so hot Scott decided to make some for himself.

Scott’s pimped out Hunter 29er…

He works incredibly hard making bags for other cyclists so he deserves to rock some sweet gear himself. I think he’s showing some restraint by keeping his old black frame bag.

A lovely white seatbag…

Fresh bikepacking gear looks silly. Time to get that stuff dirty!





Velo Village – Bike Ferry…

26 05 2012

Click image for more info…

Scott @ Porcelain Rocket pointed me at this interesting bike event on Salt Spring Island this summer.

“Salt Spring will be bicycle-heaven-on-earth, the most welcoming place on the planet to be on a bike, between June 21 and June 23, 2012. There will be fun, games and knowledge exchange when the largest of BC’s Gulf Islands transforms itself into Velo Village.

The BIKE FERRY  is the big event that everyone will want to be part of. On Saturday, June 23, BC’s first bicycle-only vessel sails for Velo Village. The MV Skeena Queen will carry 400 cyclists from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour where they’ll be joined by local cyclists for a 15km Fun Ride to the Velo Village Hub in Ganges.

 And what a ride it will be! The cycle route will be decorated with dozens of beautiful hand painted bikes. Created by local artists and amateurs both, the bikes will guide riders along the winding rural country roads of Salt Spring Island.

The three-day Velo Village event has something for everyone! The Canadian Premiere of Reveal the Path will be shown on Thursday evening and art produced by 24 Salt Spring artists will be auctioned off at a Gala event Friday evening.

On Saturday, cyclists can leave their bikes with the Velo Village parking and valet service and walk to bike-themed and powered performances, take in vintage bike and photo exhibits and participate in electric bike, cycle tourism, bike economics and rural safe cycling workshops.

The centerpiece for decision-makers, planners and cycling advocates is Friday’s Cycling and Rural Mobility Conference where speakers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond will share solutions for connecting city cyclists with their country cousins.

Velo Village is an official Velo-City 2012 pre-conference event and is coordinated by Island Pathways. Island Pathways is a Salt Spring not-for-profit organization that has been working for almost 25 years

in support of safe and accessible pedestrian and cycling services and facilities.

Salt Spring is located approximately 30kms from Vancouver and is the largest of approximately 450 gulf Islands along British Columbia’s southwest coast. Spanning 175 km2 and supporting approximately 9,500 permanent residents, it is recognized around the world as a remarkable rural destination. In the early 1970s, the rare ecosystems and exceptional variety of species of birds, fish, intertidal life, wildlife and plants were recognized as unique provincial assets and placed within a regional trust.

For more information and to register, please visit http://velovillage.ca

MEDIA CONTACT: John Rowlandson, 250 653 4049 velovillage2012@gmail.com

Since Scott was keen to share the info for this event and plans to attend I’m hoping he’ll act as a Lazy Rando Correspondent to take photos and report on what it was like…=-)





Chris Akrigg-The Turning Point…

25 05 2012

Glad to see Chris back in action. The opening hike-a-bike section will make Scott cry with joy…;-)





Lazy’s guide to chain maintenance…

24 05 2012

Lube and chain…

I used to obsesses over having a clean chain. Then I stopped caring and you know what? Nothing has changed except that I have more free time to ride my bikes instead of cleaning them. I’ve outlined below how I look after my bicycle chains broken out by derailleur and IGH drivetrains.

Derailleurs

  • buy the cheapest 8 or 9 speed SRAM chains I can find easily [I don't have any 10 speed setups]
  • usually I buy a few at a time so I have stock in my garage
  • lube the chain on the bike about once per month or after a particularly heinous ride
  • let the lube penetrate for a few hours and then wipe down chain with a rag
  • measure chain wear every time I lube
  • when my chain starts to wear I replace it with a new one
  • inspect the cassette and rings when replacing a chain to ensure they are serviceable
  • if needed replace cassette and rings [generally not needed if you stay on top of measuring the chain wear]

Looks terrible – spins around just fine…

IGH

  • buy the cheapest 8 speed SRAM chains I can find easily
  • usually I buy a few at a time so I have stock in my garage
  • lube the chain on the bike a few times a year
  • let the lube penetrate for a few hours and then wipe down chain with a rag
  • almost never bother measuring chain wear
  • when I get embarrassed enough about the state of my chain [say once every few years] replace it
  • inspect the cog and ring when replacing a chain to ensure they are serviceable
  • if possible flip cog and ring so you can wear them out in the opposite direction

This methodology is easy, cheap and I’ve never had a chain let me down in the field. It should be clear that if you hate chain maintenance get an IGH. You can virtually ignore the drivetrain and it will keep turning despite all the abuse. If you can be bothered to lube and wipe the IGH chain down once in a while it will last a very very long time.

Ok…that’s ridiculous…time for another $15 chain…

Cleaning?

You’ll note I don’t mention cleaning my bike chains. That’s because I don’t ever do it. The time vs. benefit ratio is not worth it frankly. Especially when you buy low cost chains to begin with.

PNWet

Keep in mind that I ride year round in the PNWet and before that rode my winter bikes through the usual Canadian winter nonsense. So my chains aren’t treated with kid gloves.





Changing Seasons…

23 05 2012

Kites pumped up and ready…

I find it hard to switch gears when the seasons change. It’s always easier for me to keep doing what I’ve been doing for months than to embrace a new direction. Even when it’s something I love to do. May is the start of the summer kiteboarding season on Vancouver Island. You can kite all year round, but the wind quality isn’t as good nor is it as reliable as the summer thermal winds we enjoy at Lake Nitnaht. I have friends that kite all through the winter and I try and get out a few times during this time, but the amount of driving involved and the uncertainty in getting a great session makes me less than committed to the task. Of course the fact that I typically spend a month or more in the Baja sunshine over the holidays kitesurfing also means that I am not particularly hungry for getting wet and cold when I get back home.

Rob walking up the empty beach…

Fall & winter is a great time to mountain bike on Vancouver Island. The trails are emptier than usual and with lights you can ride anytime you feel like. Temperatures are cool, but comfortable and there are lots of dry days available to play in the forest. As spring comes to pass brevets are organized and ridden. At some point in May my thoughts turn back to kiteboarding. With a few months off from the sport it’s hard to stop thinking about it knowing that conditions are getting better and better at Lake Nitnaht. Yet somehow turning those thoughts into action is harder than it should be. Earlier this month we missed a great weekend at the lake while we stayed in town and mountain biked in the sunshine. It was just so much easier to keep our trail riding habit going than to dig out and organize our kite gear and car camping equipment.

Kurt on the water…

As last weekend approached I knew it was important to break the vicious cycle of weekend biking and get my kite on. So we headed up to the lake for a day trip. Packing for a single day seems so much easier than for the weekend and it leaves time open to do other things. The reality is that it makes a lot more sense to spend 2 days at the lake after driving 2hrs to get there, but sometimes it’s the perceived efforts [getting organized to camp] that are more troubling than the real efforts. As we rolled out of Victoria and rumbled down the island highway then logging road to our favourite lake the sensation of getting out of a rut was pleasant and the memories of many fun kiting trips started to come back.

Sharon enjoys a post-kiting snack on some driftwood….

It doesn’t take very long once you arrive at Lake Nitnaht for a kiteboarder to get excited. Not only do you have reliable world class thermal winds to play with – the rustic campground set amongst giant old growth trees on a quiet lake far from civilization is hard to beat. In fact a week long kiteboarding trip to this lake in 2009 is the reason I’m living in Victoria now. Even better the lake is mostly empty this early in the summer season and the only folks who are up there are island locals we know. So it’s a bit of a reunion of the lake regulars.

My gear waiting for me on the beach…

It was a gorgeous sunny day with enough wind to kite and lots of open water to play on. Your kiteboarding skills get rusty fast so it was great to have a chill environment to clean out our cobwebs and get back on track. As expected once we had a taste of the new season’s fun we are all eager to head up there this coming weekend for a 2 day campout & kiting extravaganza! Our bikes will get relegated to weekday missions unless the weather looks poor at the lake and we stay in town or we decide to haul the Pugsleys up there for some fat tire beach riding.

Change is good…=-)





A-Man on the Move to Edmonton…

22 05 2012

A-Man going off in Sedona…

When I moved to Victoria a couple years ago Aaron was on of the first locals I met and started hanging out with. He’s been a constant bike buddy on numerous missions around the island and a few beyond the shores of The Rock. Sadly it seems our bro-mance is coming to an end as A-Man finds that his path leaves our island paradise and crosses the Rocky Mountains to the frozen wastelands of Northern Alberta.

Yes it’s true he’s moving to Edmonton!

Why would a dedicated mountain biker leave a beautiful island with a 12 month/yr dirt season and such low trail usage you are lucky to see another rider when you are on the shred? We could analyze the situation for days and not truly understand what drives a man to such foolishness…..;-) So let me leave you with this nugget: A-Man rides eastward for love.

I know there are a few blog readers from Edmonton so I would ask that you show A-Man around when he arrives in town this summer. He’s a good guy and handy with a multi-tool. He’s been looking at getting a Pugsley to make the most of the city’s 8 month/year snow biking season…=-) So if you live in Edmonton please leave a comment on this post and I’ll steer A-Man to them.





Galbraith Mountain – Bellingham WA…

21 05 2012

The pay off at Galbraith Mountain…

I had to drop off a couple SUPs at Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham last week. The ferry ride is long and expensive so I wanted to make the most of the day and invited A-Man along to do some mountain biking. He researched Galbraith Mountain and figured it was a good bet for us. We grabbed a trail map at REI and hit the trails.

Confirming where we would meet the ambulance!

They’ve got a large trail network to explore accessed by some well groomed logging roads. The whole place is private timberland so parts of it get logged every year. If trails are closed for logging ride somewhere else.

What goes down must first climb up…

After a long climb we plotted a fun dirt route back down. The riding was top notch reminding us a lot of Hartland, but with more elevation to play with and much smoother trails. The trails even broke out into the sunshine so we could get a solar recharge and enjoy some great views.

A-Man enjoying the grind up the main fire road…

We only had 3hrs to spend riding before our return ferry called us back to Canada. That was enough time to confirm this was a great riding option reasonably close to home. The cost/hassle of the ferry means I wouldn’t make the trip for a day of riding, but it would be a worthwhile weekend jaunt or an addition to a trip that passed through the area.

Finally we get some sweet singletrack…

Some Galbraith Mountain links:

Plus we had sunshine!

Excellent WMBC trail map we got at REI…

Proof I was there as well!….;)

A-Man pondering our location…

My bike waiting for me to stop gasping for air…

Trails were similar to Hartland except way way smoother…

….and we had some killer views when the trails broke into the sunshine…

Memories of BC…

The area is actively logged so pay attention to warning signs…

Close up of the section we rode…

The riding was awesome…we’ll be back…=-)





New pads for my Nomad…

20 05 2012

Old and new…

It was time for some new brakes pads in my Santa Cruz Nomad. I pulled all 4 old pads and selected the thickest 2 pads to keep. The worst two old pads went into the spares bin as a back up in case I have a problem with the pads in use and can’t get a spare set. I put the new pads up front where my brakes matter most and the two used pads I’m keeping went into the rear of the bike.

Aaron happened to be over as this was going down and graciously tuned up my front brake to perfection.





Where the FAT is AT?

19 05 2012

Sharon’s purple Pugsley mostly rebuilt…

Still need a chain, saddle and grips…

I put on some Surly Endomorph and Larry tires for sand biking and summer/dry MTBing…

I like the contrast of fresh paint and old worn parts…





Evergreen Legend SUP Review…

18 05 2012

Cruising on the Legend…

Evergreen Stand Up Paddle Boards is a PNW based SUP company that specializes in designs suited for the conditions found along the north part of the west coast. A lot of the other SUPs you’ll see were designed in or for Hawaii. That’s great if you live in Hawaii, but not ideal if you are paddling here where the waves are smaller.

Easy to balance…

For smaller surf you don’t need as aggressive a rocker which means the SUP will paddle more efficiently for easy wave catching and for better flatwater performance.

Legend on the Gorge Waterway – Victoria BC…

You can read my review of the Evergreen Whisper SUP here. The Legend I tested is made up of the same beautiful bamboo construction and has also survived a lot of action as a rental board in the Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham fleet. Aside from some beauty marks the Legend I have looks great.

She looks great!

Evergreen used a 1.5lb EPS core covered with 2 two layers of 6oz cloth and epoxy then a 2mm layer of real bamboo.  The finishing layer is a polished polyester resin that brings out a really warm colour from the bamboo layer.

Evergreen Legend and Whisper SUPs…

I didn’t get a chance to surf the Legend which makes me sad….=-( I was trying to line up a day to get out to Jordan River with a friend so we could try  this SUP out in the waves and get some photos. I asked to keep the Legend a bit longer, but I guess they sold every one them they have a KPS Bellingham so they need this one back to let people demo/rent.

You can check out the video of Andy in some small surf with an Evergreen Legend above and here is what he has to say about it:

“While the outline of the board looks traditional, this board has more to it than is obvious at first glance.   The bottom shape of this board is biased towards speed.  This means that while you are paddling around the Puget Sound, you are going to be cruising at a faster pace than a board designed exclusively to ride big waves and cut through Hawaiin chop.    This results in a more efficient glide in non-surf conditions.   This speed transitions into being able to catch waves further out in the surf, giving you longer rides.   On the wave the wide squash tail allows the board to bite into the wave, giving the board a playful and lively feel, while at the same time, giving the board more volume in the tail, allowing you to get back further on the tail.  This tail shape also allows the board to stand on its tail for storage purposes.”

Rounded nose…

The Legend is 11′ 3″ x 31.5″ that’s a great all around size for flatwater paddling and fun surfing. Any smaller and you can’t really get anywhere on flatwater and any bigger and it’s a pig to try and maneuver on waves. The 31.5″ is a good choice for width. You can float a larger paddle and provide user friendly stability without slowing down the board so much that it’s hard to paddle.

Peaceful paddling…

Evergreen offers another SUP called the Spirit that’s essentially a Legend with a 30.5″ width. The slightly narrower shape makes it faster albeit a tad less stable. This would be a good choice for an experienced SUPer who wants enhanced wave catching performance in a all around SUP.

Legend SUP with anti-gravity engine turned on…=-)

So you are interested in a new SUP and trying to decide between an Evergreen Legend and Whisper?

The answer is easy:

  • If you want to surf you buy the Legend.
  • If you want to race or go real fast on flatwater you buy the Whisper.
  • If you want to do both you buy both!
The Legend paddles fairly well on flatwater. A strong paddler on the Legend can keep pace with a weaker paddler on the Whisper for example. That happened when I took my friend Aaron and his GF Laura out for a paddle. On the other hand a skilled strong paddler can make the Whisper fly, but that comes at the cost of giving up the ability to surf.

Single mounted…

If you can’t decide or aren’t sure what you’ll do with your new SUP getting a versatile surf shaped SUP like the Legend is a smart move since it can really do it all.

EVA deck pad for traction…

The demo board I had came with a black EVA deck pad installed. This provides great traction when wet and is very comfy for bare feet. The bamboo finish of the Legend is stunning so I’m not sure I’d use the EVA deck pad. I’d certainly be tempted to use some clear stick on traction material so I could enjoy the good looks of this board even more. You can always ask for the EVA deck pad [free when you buy an Evergreen SUP] and install it later if wax or clear stick on traction isn’t your thing.

Classic white finish…

I understand you can get all the Evergreen SUPs in a classic white surfboard finish as well. It does look sharp, but I am a huge fan of the warmth of the bamboo finish. It’s good to have choices though.

Square tail…

Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham is offering a package deal for the Legend of a SUP + carbon paddle + bag for $1199US. I bought a similar SUP a couple years ago for $1600 and then paid another $500 for a carbon paddle and bag. So this is a great deal to get you started as a stand up paddler without killing your bank account.

Single fin mounted…

You’ll get a single 9″ fin and a set of 4″ FCS thruster fins with your Legend. Leave the thruster fins off for flatwater paddling for less drag and push the 9″ fin all the way back in the fin box for better straight-line tracking. When it’s time to surf you can stick to the single fin at first since it will let you paddle faster and if you push it forward in the fin box it will turn easier. Once you are catching waves regularly add the 4″ thrusters in for more drive in your turns.

Evergreen Whisper and Legend SUPs…

The photo above provides a side by side comparison of the Whisper and the Legend. The Whispers knife like nose and the Legend’s surf rocker are easy to spot.

Sky view of Aaron on the Legend…

I’m hoping to get more time on these Evergreen SUPs later this year. They’ve got a raceboard prototype I love to check out and I want to get the Legend into the surf for myself and see what I think.

Exploring…

So much great gear….so little time!….life is tough…=-)





Alpina Spice Bike Helmet Initial Review…

18 05 2012

Sharon’s new mountain bike helmet…

Sharon grabbed this new helmet for mountain biking from MEC.

Lots of vents…

Since we won’t be ramming Sharon’s head into a wall to test this helmet’s performance all we can say is she likes how it looks, she finds it comfortable and she could afford it. So far – so good!

Removable visor…

Click here for specs on the MEC.ca website.

Alpina in action…

So far she’s really liking it compared to her old helmet.

More Alpina action…





Dirt Girl…

17 05 2012

Sharon ready to roll…

Sharon’s been getting better at mountain biking and that’s resulted in more stoke to get out on the trails. We’ve had a number of dirt sessions lately where it’s just the two of us in the woods, which is ideal for working on riding skills with no pressure to keep moving with a group. Mountain biking is a very physically demanding sport with a lot of technical complexity when you ride trails like we have here on the South Shore of Vancouver Island. It’s hard to coordinate things like body position, gearing, seat height, speed/momentum and pedal stroke when you are crazy tired and breathing like you are in a porn film….=-) The catch 22 is that once you get the technical elements of MTBing sorted out you use less energy to get around the woods. So newbies get hammered hard!

Enjoying some sunshine…

Trying the other way…

I’ve got no aspirations of being a superstar mountain biker so cruising around the forest at Sharon’s pace is fine by me. It gives me time to take some photos and to enjoy being outside without people around. Interestingly I’ve found that going at a slow pace and playing around on all the trail features we encounter has resulted in a noticeable improvement in my own riding. I’ve cleaned sections at Hartland and Partridge Hills recently that have stopped me for the last two years.

I guess there is some karmic payback for helping a new rider…=-)

Practice makes perfect…

One last drop for good measure…

Incredibly dry trails!

Lovely views…

I’m hoping to get Sharon down to Sedona this fall for some riding in a location that’s different than home. Our trails are really hard and most of them are deep in the forest [you see lots of open terrain photos on this blog just because the light is better]. Sedona would offer some easier riding for her to flex her skills as well as serving up incredible scenery to fire the stoke.

Thank you summer sunshine…

The green room….

Not that I am complaining. Our local trails may be hard and they may be mostly tucked away in the gloomy BC costal rainforest, but they are fun and I rarely run into other mountain bikers when I am riding. Combine that with a 12 month/yr mountain bike season and we have to admit we are pretty lucky.

Made in the shade…





Mark Mathews…

16 05 2012

Click image to see video on Pinkbike.com…

I found this cool local video on Pinkbike.com via VIMB.com. It’s worth a viewing to get a different perspective on our mountain bike trails than my still shots can provide.





Drilling My Fatbike Rims…

15 05 2012

Sharon’s front Pugsley wheel…

I’m [slowly] working on building up Sharon’s Pugsley from the parts Kurt gave me. The frame has been powder coated and new headset installed. The next move was cleaning and drilling out her Surly Large Marge rims. These Large Marge DH rims are heavy – very heavy, but they are paid for so rather than replace them I decided to drill them out.

Just a reminder where we started…

I’ve got Sharon’s front wheel drilled out and looking back I gotta say this is not a DIY project I would recommend unless you are totally motivated to get ‘er done. It’s noisy, messy [you'll be covered with tiny metal shards] and you can potentially trash your rim. If you own some fat rims and want to drill them fair enough. I’ve warned you!

I’ll finish her rear rim, but I won’t drill out my Surly Large Marge DH rims. I have enough leg power that it’s not vital and when the time comes I’ll just buy some new single walled Surly rims that are already cut out. When I can afford it the price will be worth the hassle I’ll save plus I’ll use light weight hubs for a really killer weight savings and keep my old Pugsley wheels for heavy duty use.

Sharon won’t throw money at bikes like I do [silly!] so one set of wheels has to do it all.

The hole saw – your friend…

I have very few powered tools so here is what I drilled out the rim with:

  • electric drill
  • small drill bit for pilot hole
  • 1.5″ hole saw attachment
  • marking tool
  • ruler
  • dremel tool with grinding bits
  • needle nose pliers
  • eye protection
  • 6 ice cold Mexican beers and a fresh lime

Yikes!

This wheel has been used a lot over several years so I gave it a once over only to discover the aluminum spoke nipples are corroded to the point of self-destruction. I replaced a few with bronze nipples, but at some point this wheel will need to be totally rebuilt.

Oh well. You aren’t riding hard if you aren’t breaking things…;)

Measure and mark…

First thing I had to do is pull the tire, tube and rim tape. Then I marked halfway between the spokes along the centerline of the rim.

Drill pilot holes…

Next up drill a pilot hole at each mark.

Test fitting the hole saw…

I had room for a 1.5″ hole between the spokes.

Raw hole cut into rim…

Start the less than fun process of cutting out holes. This will generate a ton of tiny metal fragments so do it outside if you can or at least not in the living room on your lovely deep shag carpet…=-) I braced the wheel up against the steps of my deck while cutting out the holes. You can use a wall or work bench. Other folks have built jigs to hold the wheel or put the wheel into a fat bike frame that was secured to something else.

Upgraded hole saw…

I foolishly bought the cheapest hole saw at my local hardware store when I started this project. It lasted about halfway through the first rim before it was toast. So I went back and got a better quality hole saw which should get me through the second rim. As soon as you notice the cutting performance of your saw changing swap in a new one.

Holes cut…

Cutting the holes is not tragically hard, but I’ve done more fun DIY bike projects.

Rough edge…

Once the holes were cut I used a dremel tool to smooth out the rough edges. I may use a round file for wheel #2 as it was hard to maneuver the dremel around the spokes.

Smooth edges…

These rims are old and this bike will actually get ridden so I didn’t waste a lot of time trying to make it look bike show perfect. Note the self-destructing middle spoke nipple.

Weight savings = ~200g…

I collected all the big bits of metal and weighed them as 195g say ~200g savings for both rims with all the smaller bits included.

Truing the wheel…

After all the cutting and grinding was done I replaced some corroded nipples and gave the wheel some love. I’m not looking for perfection. I just don’t want the wheel to exploded mid-ride.

I should note that given the double wall construction and amount of material used in these Large Marge DH rims I don’t think the drilled out holes will compromise their strength in any meaningful way. Big guys are rocking the single walled cut out Surly Marge Lites so we shouldn’t have an issue.

The purple pugsley starting to come together…

It took me a solid afternoon of futzing with this one wheel to get ‘er done. I’m not fast at these sorts of projects so you may do better.

I threw some white duct tape in the rim to cover the new holes so I could mount the tube and a skinny 3.8″. Sharon will probably come up with something a bit more “pretty” at some point.

Front done…now for the rear rim…

So a few warnings:

  • don’t hurt yourself [wear eye protection]
  • don’t mistake the valve hole for a pilot hole and cut it out
  • don’t get too enthusiastic pressing down on the hole saw or you can take out a couple spokes




Working it…

14 05 2012

Cranking up a rocky step…

Sharon on the same rocky section…

Around the corner…

Lazy on the move…

I was hanging from a tree to get this shot…

Whoa!

Sharon grinds the slab…

Another fun drop…

Creek crossing…

Lazy…

Hunting for gnar…

Using the Dark Side of the Force…

Cruising…

Log ride…





I need stoke!

13 05 2012

That’s what I am talking about….=-)

I had reasonably firm plans to ride a my longest distance ever this weekend. I had a GPS route loaded. My bike was tuned and mostly packed. The weather looked awesome. I had the time off from any other commitments to do it. I am as fit as I have ever been in recent years. I had little doubt I could complete the ride.

But, despite all that I bailed on the ride during the last 24hrs before departure.

I could give you a long list of reasons why this happened and I think they are all valid, but the bottom line for me is I ride my bikes because I like doing it. Sometimes the rides are hard and I am not having fun every second, but under the suffering deep down there is a part of me that’s still happy to be on my bike.

On this occasion I lost that stoke. Without it the whole point of riding is lost to me.

I could have made myself do the ride and hoped to get into it at some point along the way. But, I have a really, really, really hard time rationalizing that when the ride would take up my whole weekend and served no useful purpose other than for the sake of some arbitrary achievement.

Instead I slept in Saturday morning. Had a leisurely breakfast. Surfed the web and wrote this post. My mountain biking gear is packed and in an hour or so we’ll head out to the trails for a ride. After the ride we’ll pick up a few supplies we need to start building up Sharon’s purple Pugsley. Game 7 of the NY-DC NHL playoffs is tonight. We’ll probably go mountain biking tomorrow as well and have a backyard BBQ afterwards.

I’m stoked about all of that!

Now none of this is to say that a challenging ride is a bad thing nor is it to say I won’t be lining up for a big adventure down the road. However, when I do you’ll know it’s because I’m excited to be on my bike.





Gravel Pimping ain’t cheap…

12 05 2012

My On One Scandal with Porcelain Rocket bags…

On our recent bikepacking recon adventure Scott mentioned that the white fabric used in my Porcelain Rocket bike bags was really, really, really expensive and that folks that were ordering their bags with that fabric based on seeing my bags here on this blog might be shocked at the extra cost.

So I’m letting you know that if you want to rock the white uber cool Gravel Pimp look it’s gonna cost you!

Same bags on my Surly Pugsley…

If you are on a budget he’s got a ton of different fabrics and can steer you towards something equally awesome, but considerably cheaper.

Personally I was a little shocked when I found out what the bags cost in white, but after having them in my hot little hands for a few months I’d spend the $$ and do it all over again. I definitely advise anyone wanting bike bags to skip basic black and consider a vibrant colour or camo.

Black is so 2009!….=-) It’s time to party like it’s 2012 baby!





Porcelain Rocket Flickr Porn

11 05 2012

Santa Cruz Tall Boy bag set…

In case:

  1. you are a bike bag porn lover
  2. you didn’t know that Porcelain Rocket posts a regular stream of bag porn on Flickr

I’m letting you know!…=-)

Ben’s Porcelain Rocketized Surly Big Dummy…

Click on either image in this post to jump there.

Scott posts more than just bag porn. He’s got pics of his various bikes as well and the odd cute cat picture…=-)





Bro Session…

10 05 2012

A-Man at the start of Shock Treatment…

Man and dog…

Scott leading the pack…

Lazy up and over…

A-Man tackles the infamous HUMP of doom…

Scott HUMPing…

Grooving in the woods…

Geeking out…

Got Jones?

The Nomad…

Snacking…

Fun times in the trees…

Wall to…

….Wall





Gravel Pimp – Extreme Recon

8 05 2012

The plan…

The plan was to ride our bikepacking rigs from Lake Cowichcan along the Trans Canada Trail to an abandoned mining town called Leech Town. This is shown on the map above in green. This would allow us to jump on the Galloping Goose Trail just below Leechtown and ride home 90% on gravel/dirt. Even more importantly this would give us a critical link in an ambitious Gravel Pimp route that would ride the whole of Vancouver Island from top to bottom. The problem with our little slice of paradise is that it’s a narrow island with mountains that funnel you along certain routes whether they are going the way you want or not. So an efficient dirt route from Lake Cowichan to Victoria would be key for further exportation northwards.

What actually happened – click for larger version…

Things did not go as planned and I am sad to say we ended the day with 170kms on the GPS and no dirt route home…=-( What I can say is we tried really hard, but were denied at every turn! Don’t let anyone tell you the life of a Gravel Pimp is all professional photographers, diamond studded water bottles and bikini clad ladies. It ain’t true!

Staying toasty by the fire…

Sharon was kind enough to drive Scott and I out to the Municipal Campground at Lake Cowichan. The place was almost empty this early in the year so we grabbed a spot by the lake and lit a fire to hang out at while we drank some beer and solved all the problems in the bike industry!

Scott’s narrow room with a view…

Scott has a luxurious 1 man tent that packs up small.

Garbage bag with a view…

My bivy sack packs small, but isn’t very luxurious.

Scott’s Rick Hunter 29er…

Scott always manages to pack more gear into less space on his bike and have it all look so tight.

My Scandal 29er…

I’ve got half the stuff and my bike looks like it’s bulging everywhere it can…=-)

Excited to start the pimping…

We rode into Lake Cowichan and found the local grocery store was open early. Surprisingly it had excellent espresso which got us off on the right foot. Next up was getting on the Trans Canada Trail [known as the Cowichan Valley Trail to the locals].

This is what we came for…

The riding was sublime. Gorgeous country to ride through – easy rail grade undulations and nobody else in sight.

Pumpkin Pimping…

Several wooden bridges along the way gave us great views of fast running creeks.

Warming up…

The trail varied from dirt to gravel and back with wide open sections and narrow overgrown bits.

oh yeah!

It was so nice we let our guards down and the smack-down that happened later in the day took us by surprise.

Adding a bit of air for faster rolling…

We were on the trail early and cranking along at a good clip. So good that it seemed sure I’d be home to watch the hockey game in the early afternoon.

Kinesol Trestle…

The Kinesol Trestle is an impressive structure. The highest wooden trestle in Canada apparently. I kind of wished we had spent more time there to photograph it, but some times I feel like a slacker and sometimes I feel like I was born to ride. On this day I had ants in my pants!

Cruising the Kinesol Trestle…

South of the trestle we had another pretty chill section of gravel to pimp. Chit chatting and laughing our way along the route little did we know of our impending doom.

Stopping for a snack…

Peperoni, gummy bears, granola bars, M&M’s…you name it – we ate it!

Scott admiring his handiwork…

As we reached the end of the Trans Canada Trail we had a short 15km section of route finding we needed to do so we could link up with the north end of the Galloping Goose Trail.

WTF?

Back in Calgary Glenmore Reservoir is part of the city’s water supply. You can’t swim or let your dogs thrash around in it, but nobody cares if you walk, run or bike around it. So when we saw that the lake we needed to skirt on our connector was part of the city of Victoria’s water supply we figured they wouldn’t let you through with an oil tanker, but we didn’t think the would mind us pedalling through.

Scott assuming “the” position!

We were wrong. So wrong. Like Totally wrong. I figured even with a locked gate we could sneak past on bikes, but that was simply not going happen when we reach the DMZ.

Take no prisoners….

Scott wasn’t about to let a sniper in a guard tower and 2 dobermans stop him. He launched over the fence and asked me to throw him the Hunter. Before I could a black van rolls up and 6 masked security thugs jump out. Scott levelled 3 of them with his Porcelain Rocket Kung Fu, but the other 3 and the 2 dogs took him down in an EPIC bitch slap. At least when they threw him back over the fence I was able to catch him to stop further injury.

Happier times…

I didn’t have painkillers or a first aid kit so I treated Scott’s wound’s with gummy bears. They seemed to do the trick!

Time to work on Plan B…

We just didn’t have the firepower to break through the DMZ’s defensive perimeter. So we could either give up and go home or explore the missing map section and hope to find a route around the DMZ back to Leech Town. Battered and bleeding Scott would not give up so we headed north to loop around the DMZ [shown in pink on the maps above].

Logging road pimping…

This meant a significant amount of backtracking along the TCT, but the sun was shining and the skies were blue so our spirits were high. If you look at the map towards the top of this post showing our actual route the red line that heads south and stops is the start of the DMZ. The red line that heads west is our attempt to loop back around the DMZ, but as you can see there wasn’t much looping going on. Eventually after some brutally hot dusty climbing we realized that finding a way around was unlikely. If we had a topo map of the area our decision would have been more solid, but sadly I left that critical bit of the map book at home.

Lots of dead ends explored…

The valley we were in headed directly west towards Port Renfrew which would have got us home, but not without another night of camping. So it was time to turn back. Although that meant another round of backtracking it was beautiful country with very few encounters with other humans. Exactly what a Gravel Pimp craves.

It’s not hard to enjoy this…

As my trip computer on the GPS was climbing towards 100kms I was starting to realize that there was no way to make this a quick ride home.

Checking out a clear cut…

My bike was working well. I had added a longer stem for a stretched out position and the Porcelain Rocket bags allowed me to ride without having to accomodate my camping gear and food. So a few more hours in the saddle seemed like reasonable proposition.

Time for a soda break…

We hit 100kms as we reached pavement again. Our options now were either head for the Mill Bay Ferry and then ride down the quiet west side of the Sannich Peninsula or climb the heights of the Malahat with traffic roaring all around us and next to no shoulder.

Hmmmm?

We went with the ferry option as Plan C. On our way we stopped for a cold soda break. I gapped that the seasons were changing so my only top was a long sleeve wool zip neck. That would have been great 2 weeks ago, but on this hot day I was baking. Hence a cold sugary soda made me very happy.

Why is Scott angry?

Reaching the ferry should have been a happy time for us. We’d get a well deserved rest and the ride home along the far shore was topographically unchallenging.

But….

The fine print can be a bitch…

Neither Scott or I can be called rich, but we can afford the $9.20 ferry ride from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay. Of course having spent our last $20 cash for coffee and food we only had credit cards and bank cards. No cash and after being beaten up at the DMZ Scott wouldn’t let me pimp him out to ferry passengers for a free ride.

So that left the Malahat. **sigh**

A little ‘schwacking…

To get to the Malahat we had to grind up a long hot steep climb from the ferry terminal and then bushwhack cross country  so we could jump a concrete barrier.

Not paradise for cyclists…

All that sweat and tears got us onto a busy 4 lane highway with gnarly shoulders. The photo above is the best part and far better than most of it. Not to mention if you look at the elevation profile on the map near the top of this post that last big ass hump is what awaited us.

Did I mention it was hot and we were riding during rush hour?

**sigh**

The only good part of the Malahat was looking over and seeing some ice cold water running down the rocks next to me. I stopped and poured handful after handful of water over my head. Washed my face and gobbled everything I could find in my bar bag.

That got me psyched for the last push over the top and the uber narrow shoulder on the high speed descent down the other side.

A Gravel Pimp happy to be home…=-)

At the bottom of the Malahat we stopped for another cold soda and a couple donuts at Tim Horton’s. That gave us the energy to crank back down the Galloping Goose to home.

Ride Stats:

  • 170kms ridden [173kms for Scott who rode home from my place]
  • Ride Time 12:15hrs
  • Stopped Time 3:28hrs
  • Avg speed 19.4kph

On the plus side we had an epic ride with great scenery and no traffic….until the Malahat! On the negative side we haven’t found a good gravel/dirt rout from up island back to Victoria.

Sharon confirming my loaded bike was indeed heavy…

A recon mission is only a failure if you don’t gather new info to plan future operations. By that standard we succeeded. We confirmed the DMZ presents an impassable obstacle and we confirmed that a reroute around isn’t’ straight forward. We also found out that if you want to ride the Mill Bay Ferry you better bring cash!

We still need a verified dirt route to Victoria so…

  • we could ride bikes north from the Galloping Goose to Leech Town and try to recon a route to the active logging road we were on. Going from less used to more used routes is always easier than the reverse.
  • we could continue down the active logging road we were on towards Port Renfrew and then ride back to Victoria. That will work, but it’s long-cut not a shortcut home!….;)
  • I may try riding the logging road on my dualsport motorcycle checking out every turn off that might go where we need to go. There were a few low probability routes we didn’t explore due the the climbing req’d. I don’t mind twisting the throttle for a few hours even if the chances of success are slim.

Until next time – live large and prosper!





Why I do [don't] read your blog?

8 05 2012

Where are the pictures????

I’m pretty picky when it comes to the blogs I read. There are a ton of bad ones out there, but also quite a decent number of good ones. I won’t name any in particular since I don’t want ninjas attacking me in my sleep!

Here is what I like in a blog:

  • topics I am interested in
  • minimum of a photo with every post ideally lots of photos
  • high quality photos
  • decent writing
  • reasonable spelling [I'm not perfect - you don't have to be, but quick isn't spelled kwik!!]
  • blog template/layout/colours that are comprehensible and easily readable
  • regular updates [less than once a week and I lose interest]
  • on going stories/topics I can follow

Here is what turns me off:

  • no photos = no reading on my part
  • few and/poor photos = less reading and maybe I’ll stop visiting
  • terrible spelling and poor writing = I’ll give up trying to understand what you are on about
  • post your heart rate/power meter data frequently and my eyes glaze over
  • post endlessly about trips and bike builds you are planning, but never complete either and I lose interest
  • post less than 1/week and I stop coming by
  • post erroneous info regularly

The key thing for me in a blog is that I get what I expect to get from it. I can accept infrequent updates if you are on a tour in a remote area. I can accept mediocre photos from a someone on a great tour who is able to write well. What I can’t deal with is randomly posted content that is never what I expect to see when I expect to see it.

As a blog author it’s very important to set the reader’s expectations to match what you are going to deliver.

Let me leave you with one tip to make your blog better [something that I learned the hard way] – post about things you have done – not things you hope to do. Especially if looking back you aren’t scoring about 90% on achieving your goals/projects. We have all read blogs that go on endlessly for months about gear selection, route planning, etc… for some major bike expedition that fails after the first week because they didn’t train or prepare well in real life – despite spending so much time on the blog. It’s lame, but not as lame as when the same person starts blogging about racing the GDR next year and spends a year going on about that only to fail to start or fail after day 3.





Sharon turning the cranks…

7 05 2012

Sharon in the forest…

Practicing the roll in…

Getting wet…

Looks steeper from the saddle…

Using the 24″ gear…

Trail architecture…

Proof I was along on the ride…

Rooty!

A well earned rest…

Heading for the car…

One last grind…





Mo’ Pugsley Redux Again!

6 05 2012

Purple because it’s got attitude!

I collected our 2nd Pugsley from the powdercoaters Friday. Sharon picked a light purplely colour for her frame. I haven’t cleaned up her parts nor sourced some coloured brake/shift housing yet so the rebuild will take a week or two still.

Osmond Family gang colours…=-)

I’ve also decided to drill out the Surly Large Marge DH rims on her Pugley. They are a very heavy rim so that will drop some weight per wheel not to mention I can then use pink rim tape on her wheels…=-) I may get off my butt and set them up tubeless as well which will also reduce their weight considerably. I’ll run a Larry up front and a Endomorph at the back on her bike.