Salmon 1 – Lazy 0

31 08 2012

Oak Bay – Vancouver Island BC…

In Baja Mexico I am an experienced fish assassin, but until recently I was a Vancouver Island fish slaying virgin. Not that I caught any fish on this particular trip, but I tried!

My recon trolling track…

I checked local fishing reports and the area around Oak Bay seemed like a good local spot to try for some spring salmon. There was better fishing further west towards Sooke & Port Renfrew, but I didn’t have the time to drive that far and until I get rid of my kayak fishing rust I want to stick close to home.

Oak Bay Marina…

I parked at the Oak Bay Marina. You don’t need a boat ramp to launch a kayak, but there is a fair bit of paddle and fishing gear to haul to the water so being able to rig the yak at your vehicle and pull it to the water on a cart is handy if not absolutely essential.

Necky Dolphin kayak…

My kayak is a 14′ old Necky Dolphin sit-on-top that’s 12yrs old. I bought it new when Necky Kayaks was a Canadian company and they made their boats in BC. The company has since been bought by Ocean Kayak in the US and this design is no longer made at all. Too bad because it’s proven to be a very capable recreational boat for me. It handles rough water well and can carry enough cargo for some light touring.

Got fish?

This kayak has been with me on a lot of Baja adventures. It’s a great fishing platform because it’s stable allowing you to confidently fight your catch when you hook up and it still paddles efficiently to cover ground to hunt for fish. The roto-molded plastic hull is rugged enough to haul over rocks or accidentally run into something in the shallows without any damage.

Spare paddle and pump…

I don’t have a waterproof camera at the moment so I wasn’t able to document my fishing mission from the water. My main goal was to make sure all my gear worked and iron out any kinks in the system when there was no pressure to accomplish anything. I checked the weather and tides so I wouldn’t be battling any wind, waves or current. Once away from the marina I just headed out into the Straight of Juan de Fuca to an area there were some fishermen in powerboats trolling.

Kayak gear…

I saw some bait fish jumping, but didn’t get any bites. My rod is a medium action spinning setup and the large sinking weight the fishing store sold me to get the salmon flasher and lure down to where the fish are was a bit too much for my gear. In Baja I use the same gear to troll small Rapala lures so it’s not shocking that it’s not ideal for salmon hunting off Vancouver Island.

Killing ‘em in Baja back in the day…

I won’t spend much time talking about fishing gear until I sort out what works and have some salmon to prove it. Here is a link to a good PNW salmon fishing resource if you are keen to learn more from someone who actually knows what the heck they are doing.. ;)

Cruising the Sea of Cortez on a fish hunt…

My buddy Sean has the same kayak and has expressed an interest in fishing with me. Hopefully we’ll have some yak fishing tales to tell this fall.





Interior Design…

30 08 2012

2012 Surly Pugsley – 18″ frame…

Mountain bike fashion keeps heading towards a smaller and smaller frame triangle. Ostensibly for increased stand over clearance.

2009 Surly Pugsley – 18″ frame…

One downside of this change is reduced room for cargo inside the frame.

Full bike…

Personally I don’t need any standover clearance on my bikes – including my mountain bikes. I’ve been riding and falling off bikes for decades and never had any groin to top tube issues.

My trusty Pugsley…

What I do have a use for is storage space inside the frame and I’d prefer to use a seatpost that wasn’t 2′ long, but that’s just me ;)

On One Fatbike – even less space…

Scott had to get a custom bike [see below] with a top tube that curves up higher than normal get a ride with a large interior space for a frame bag.

Scott’s custom Hunter 29er…

I couldn’t afford custom bling, but when I was shopping for a 29er frame I did my best to get one without a crazy low top tube. I also got the largest size On One Scandal 29er frame I could ride in order to maximize the interior design.

A guy’s gotta haul his snacks somewhere!

Happily there are a few bike designers who are savvy to the benefits of a large main frame triangle. Jeff Jones offers his line of mountain bikes is the sexy curved spaceframe version and a bikepacking friendly diamond frame version shown below.

Jeff Jones diamond frame with truss fork…

Jeff’s bike line up is nice in that folks who want an uber low top tube have a frame design to choose from and those who want to fit a big frame bag also have an option – yet both bikes share the same geometry and fit.

Jeff Jones spaceframe with truss fork…





4 Flats – 1 Ride!

29 08 2012

The walk of shame…

I was wondering why my friend Sean wasn’t appearing on the trail behind me – even after a solid few minutes of waiting for him. Then I saw him come around the bend pushing his bike.

Taking the tire off the rear wheel…

Sean was riding his GF’s bike and didn’t appreciate how low the pressure was in her tires. That combined with some enthusiastic leaping off jumps onto rocks resulted in a pinch flat.

Time to get out patch on…

When he checked his hydration pack he found a road inner tube and some tire levers, but no pump and no patch kit. Luckily I was well equipped with spare tubes and patches as well as a pump. I like to patch my tubes in the field if I can. That way you always have a spare tube to fall back on if you really need it.

Inspecting the bike…

We found that there was a second hole on the opposite side of the tube that needed fixing as well. Sadly we didn’t notice that until we had mounted the wheel back in the bike and rolled 10′ down the trail…*sigh*

Mo’ flats!

Eventually we got moving again, but only for a few minutes before Sean suffered another pinch flat on the rear wheel. So we set about fixing flat #3. In my defense I looked carefully for another hole in the area of the pinch flat, but didn’t see anything so we mounted up the tire and started riding only to find the tube losing air. So we stopped and fixed flat #4 which was a tiny tiny hole. Sean asked if maybe we should just put in a new tube, but I replied no we’ll just patch the old tube. I was saving the new tube for flat #5 and figured if we had one more flat the Bike Gods clearly didn’t want us to keep riding that day!

As it turned out the rest of the ride was uneventful! Hopefully that was our flat tire quota for a few months… ;)





Buddy Flaps – Sharon’s Cross Check…

28 08 2012

Front Buddy Flap…

I bought Sharon a set of Buddy Flap mud flaps for her Surly Cross Check more than a year ago and just managed to get my lazy butt in gear to install them.

The complete set…

They are long thick vinyl flaps with reflective stickers applied. I’ve used them on both my LHT’s and been happy with them. I like the fact they come down nearly to the ground at the front for complete splash protection. I also like the custom graphics. The flaps themselves are quite durable, but the reflective sticker can be damaged. I suspect the nice folks at Buddy Flaps would send you a new sticker set to fix any damaged ones, but I haven’t asked them yet.

Rear Buddy Flap…

You can get all sorts of graphic options on your Buddy Flaps including custom images/text. The package comes complete with all the hardware you need to mount them. You just drill some holes in your fenders and bolt them on.

The old mudflaps…

Her old mud flaps worked fine, which, is part of the reason it took me so long to get the new flaps installed. However, the new flaps do look a lot nicer.

A happy bike commuter…

I’m still of the opinion that given the reasonable cost a set of Buddy Flaps is a great upgrade for any fendered bike. This customized touch makes us smile every time we climb aboard.





Jeff Jones Loop H-Bar Review…

27 08 2012

Jones Loop H-Bars on my Surly Pugsley…

I’ve been using the Titec version of Jeff Jones’ H-bar design for ~4yrs and liking it a lot for all day comfort. It provides 3 distinctly different hand/body positions as you move from the end of the bars to the middle cross bar to the forward position. The normal cruising position is with your hands on the rear part of the bar towards the ends. This give you lots of control and an upright riding posture. If you move your hands to the front on the bars you narrow and lower your riding position for better aerodynamics. I sort of think of these bars as drop bars for MTB shifters/brake levers.

Front view…

The Titec H-bar has a fairly short grip areas at the ends of the bar making positioning controls – particularly gripshift style shifters – a challenge. I’ve always managed to find a work around, but the resulting shifter and brake lever placement never made me happy on steep technical terrain.

Lately it seems that the Titec H-bar is hard to come by. I’m not sure if that’s because they are no longer making them or if there is just a hiccup in the production cycle. So I thought I would review the aluminum Loop H-bar which is sold direct by Jeff Jones. Getting your hands on a Loop H-bar shouldn’t be too hard.

Titec H-bar top & Loop H-bar bottom…

If you click on the image above you can read a detailed post discussing the differences between the the two versions of the H-bar. What should be obvious is that the Loop H-bar has a closed loop of material at the front of the bar and that the rear bar end portion is considerably longer than the Titec H-bar. The middle cross bar portion also meets the outside portion of the bars at different angles. The upshot of all this is that you have room to fit any controls & grips you want without a hassle. The forward loop also gives you some bar space to mount lights, GPS or other gadgets.

Tons of room for brake lever, shifter and grip…

There are a couple downsides to the Loop H-bar vs. the Titec H-bar:

  • Loop H-bar costs $120 vs. the $75 the Titec H-bar sold for when you could actually find them for sale
  • the extra grip length of the Loop H-bar shortens the effective top tube reach and requires a larger frame or longer stem

The Loop H-bar is probably a bit heavier due to the extra material up front, but I’m not a gram counter so it’s not something I worry about. You can get a cut version of the Loop H-bar from Jeff Jones that is similar [not identical] to the Titec H-bar and Jeff offers his bars in an expensive titanium version as well if you want to lighten your wallet.

The “loop” in the Loop H-bar…

My hope was that by getting an optimal placement of the grips/shifter and brake levers I’d really like these bars for technical riding. They work better than Titec H-bars when tackling steep gnarly MTB terrain, but I can’t say I love them for that application. While the Titec H-bars were poor for that type of riding I’d rate the Loop H-bars just okay. By comparison using a standard MTB riser bar on my Pugsley is much better when mountain biking than the Loop H-bar.

Now bars are a personal thing and Jeff Jones really promotes the use of Loop H-bars on his line of MTBs. So they work for some people. Just not me.

Shredding the gnar with my Loop H-bars…

On the other hand I do love these Loop H-bars for all the other non-technical riding I do. For a commuter bike or a touring rig they are ideal. You get a bunch of hand positions including one that’s reasonably aerodynamic. The main hand position at the end of the rear portion of the bars is particularly nice as it is relaxing for the body and hands are spread wide for lots of control on the bike. At the moment four of the bikes in our garage are equipped with either Titec or Loop H-bars.

Fully taped Titec H-bars…

You’ll notice that my Loop H-bar only have Ergon Grips on them and the rest of the bar is bare. The H-bar is totally functional without any tape for shorter rides. However, I’ve had issues with riding them for longer all day/multi-day trips – especially when it’s cold & wet. The bare metal gets slippery and sucks the heat from my hands. That’s not fun. I like a double wrap of cork tape on these bars once I’ve got my controls figured out. It gives a nice comfy place to hold onto. I’ll be wrapping my Loop H-bars sooner or later.





Through the mill…

27 08 2012




Lance Armstrong Guilty & Banned…

24 08 2012

Lance at the Tour de France…

Lance Armstrong decided not to fight the charges the USADA brought against him and was found guilty of doping and banned from the sport for life. His Tour de France wins may be stripped from him as well as his other wins from that era. You can click on the image above to read an article over at Velonews on the subject. By not fighting the charges he avoided having all the testimony against him end up in the news and managed to save his image to some degree. He knows what the folks who were going to testify would say and his lawyers would have advised him what his chances were at coming out of that process without being found guilty. One thing you gotta agree on about LA is that he surrounds himself with experts and uses their advice to make smart choices.

As for the issue of his doping past it’s not a surprise to anyone who watched the pro racing of that era. Almost every other contemporary with a shot at the podium at the Tour has been found guilty of doping. In the current peleton Contador has been stripped of his last Tour win and a Shleck has been charged with doping. To believe LA was one of the only top pros not doping despite all of this and a retinue of witnesses ready to testify for the USADA is ridiculous. On the other hand it does change the landscape within which we judge LA’s actions. Everybody was doing it. It’s still going on today.

Kudos to the USADA for having the courage to go after Lance. With the UCI, the US Government and the US public behind LA that was a brave choice. Building a case by collecting evidence through witness statements and uncovering documents is far harder than getting a doping positive, but as we’ve seen the professional cycling peleton can take a load of doping products and pass all sorts of laboratory controls without getting caught. The guys that do get caught didn’t start doping that morning just before the race. They were doping for a while and finally didn’t follow the right protocols of dosage and timings or got surprised by a test they weren’t expecting. So when LA gives his “I was the most tested athlete in the peleton.” speech I just roll my eyes and my inside voice says “With the best doping doctors in the world on your staff.” USADA charged that LA’s team had managed to get a TdeF doping positive suppressed back in 1999. I hope we hear what happened in that case. It might shed more light on how LA kept things rolling for so long without getting caught. It might also explain why the UCI was so unhappy with USADA’s pursuit of LA; they may well be implicated in the cover up.

It’s funny when you read folks criticizing the USADA for taking up the LA case as if they are doing it to an innocent man for some evil reason. On one hand you have a pro athlete in a sport rife with doping who can help himself and his team generate millions of dollars of profit as well as build himself up as a huge celebrity on the other you have some guys at the USADA paid modest salaries who are responsible for enforcing the WADA code. They will never be famous, they won’t make millions and they’ll make a lot of enemies in the process of pursuing LA. Not to mention they have to face two panels of independent arbitrators with their evidence including the at the well respected CAS if the athlete challenges the charges. Note that LA didn’t want to face these arbitrators and have them hear the evidence which is why he gave up the fight.

Will this change anything? One benefit of Lance getting banned is that the doping fairy tale of LA’s career won’t be there to let young racers fool themselves into thinking they’ll get away with doping if they are smart about it. On the other hand people are greedy and they want fame and fortune. In a challenging sport like cycling there will always be the temptation to cheat by doping. We continue to charge and convict murderers even though we know it won’t stop folks killing other folks. Doping won’t stop in cycling, but the more energy we spend fighting it the less successful doping will occur.





Great Dark North!

24 08 2012

Thank God for bike lights…

In theory it’s still summer here in Canada, but it’s been getting dark enough at the end of our evening mountain bike rides in the forest that I’ve started mounting up a bike light. After investing in some powerful bike lights last year I’m not particularly fussed by the fact winter is on it’s way. Our lightly used mountain bike trails are essentially deserted in the dark winter nights which start around 430pm when November rolls around. I like being alone in the woods so that’s awesome as far as I’m concerned.

Although it has been known to rain a bit on Vancouver Island during the cold part of the year it is quite sporadic so it’s not hard to get out for a couple trail rides a week without getting wet from above. The trails themselves drain well and don’t hold much water. So riding conditions are pretty nice most of the time. Traction is the challenge with slick rocks and roots aplenty. That’s why my mountain bikes tend towards fat grippy rubber. I’ll probably ride my Pugsley and Scandal more often than I do in the summer. They don’t have rear suspension and are equipped with IGHs which means I won’t need to do much maintenance on them and won’t be trashing my expensive FS bike as much.

I was surprised by how little my MTB riding clothing changed between seasons. In summer I wear shorts, t-shirt and elbow/knee pads. In winter I only change the t-shirt to a long sleeve shirt. The forest is always several degrees warmer than the parking lot temperature and riding keeps the core warm. Every time I convince myself I really need warmer clothing I end up stopping after the first climb to stash it in my hydration pack. So I try and just accept I’ll be chilly for the first 5 mins of the ride and save myself the hassle of stopping.

Even urban riding gets better in the winter here. We don’t get snow and the rain infrequent enough we can ride most of the times we want to. The big influx of summer riders has died off leaving only 25% of the year’s peak bicycle traffic on the roads and bike paths. Sadly a lot of those fair weather cyclists ride like idiots so life gets a lot less “exciting” when getting around on our bikes once winter sets in. Of course we have powerful bike lights which take care of the short days and long nights. Both of us are sick of the battery charging routine which always seems to leave us in the dark once every week or two. I’ll be installing a dynohub + light on Sharon’s Cross Check in September and will also put one on my Long Haul Trucker. That way we’ll each have a reliable all weather day or night rig to ride.

So although I can’t say I am excited by the first hints that winter is on its way to Vancouver Island I don’t dread the dark and damp part of the year. Being a cyclist here means a 365 day a year riding season on the road and in the dirt without resorting to studded tires and parkas. That’s pretty awesome!





Need more traction…

23 08 2012

Lots of traction pins…

Sharon bought a pair of these low cost platform pedals for her Pugsley that were giving her a lot more grip than the pedals on her Santa Cruz Nomad. It was one of those problems she didn’t fully appreciate until she tried another setup that worked much better for her. Having confidence in your shoe + pedal interface is crucial for a mountain biker – especially one who is still learning a ton each ride. So she bought another pair of the same pedals and I installed them on her Nomad. She’ll keep the old pedals for a less demanding application like on a city bike.

5.10 shoes and grippy platform pedals make for a happy trail rider…

Platform pedals and sticky rubber 5.10 mountain bike shoes can be an amazingly effective combination for traction, comfort and ease of leaping off the bike during a fail techy move, but not all pedals grip your shoes as well as they should. It’s worth experimenting with a few models before you invest in a pair of new platforms.





Nomad Bling…

22 08 2012

A little more bling…

Continuing my plan to spend any bike $$$ on my main rides I added a new bar and grips to my Santa Cruz Nomad.

Red and white…

Nothing major, but a little more eye candy for the Nomad.

I love my Ergon Grips…

I’ll swap the old bar and black Ergons onto another bike.

The “Before”…





Ocean Rodeo 5’7″ Quad Surfboard Porn…

21 08 2012

Click for more board porn…

I sold one of my kiteboards recently and I’m slowly hunting around for a new board to take to Baja this winter. Ocean Rodeo has a 5’7″ quad fin surfboard that’s of interest to me. I need to borrow one for a demo day on the water and confirm it rides as nice as it looks.

 

Click on image to jump to Ocean Rodeo product page…





Surly LHT – Sold

18 08 2012

My 700c Surly LHT – sale spec…

Update -LHT is sold!

I’m going to sell my 700c Surly Long Haul Trucker. It’s a 58cm frame in the original Sage Green. The bike has been well maintained and is in excellent shape. The spec is nicer than the Surly complete bike and was custom built to my tastes.

58cm LHT [Sage Green]

  • 700c Mavic CXP 22 rims + LX hubs
  • Schwalbe Marathon XR 35mm tires
  • trekking crankset 48/38/28
  • XT rear derailleur
  • 105 front derailleur
  • Shimano or SRAM 9 spd wide range cassette [will verify]
  • SRAM 9 speed chain [new]
  • Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters [new cables/housing]
  • Shimano V-brakes [Koolstop Salmon pads] with Dia Compe V287 levers [new cables & houseing]
  • Brooks B17 Narrow Imperial saddle
  • Salsa stem + Salsa Short ‘n Shallow bars
  • Velo Orange hammered fenders with full mud flaps
  • platform pedals included
  • spare spokes included
  • steerer is uncut
  • Click on image above for high res version

My LHT in Baja…

Fenders, saddle, pedals, chain, all cables/housing are new. I freshly upgraded/overhauled the bike and then only put a few KMs on it. I’ve been riding my other 26″ wheeled LHT instead and decided to keep only one LHT. There are no dents or rust on the frame and the powder coat is in excellent shape. There are a few marks on the frame consistent with touring/errand use.  This LHT is ready to tour and needs nothing  other than some racks.

Note bike is being sold as shown in top photo. The photo below is just to illustrate what the bike looks like with racks. You can see lots more photos by clicking here.

Fully dressed with racks – not the same as being sold…

I’m open to offers on this bike starting at a minimum of $800 + shipping. I’ll leave the sale open for a few days and announce when the bike has been sold. I reserve the right to sell locally if I get an offer that doesn’t require packing the bike.

If you are interested in the bike just drop me an email to threeohm “at” gmail ” dot” com with an offer.

My LHT on the Icefields Parkway…





The Invisible Bicycle Helmet…

17 08 2012




Lance and the King…

16 08 2012

Photo: AFP

Click on the image above to read an interesting article about UCI President Pat McQuaid’s response to the USADA’s charges of doping surrounding Lance Armstrong.





Velocity P35 Rims Initial Review

15 08 2012

Velocity P35 rim and Hope Pro II hub…

I’ve been staying away from any bike bling websites this year to keep my limited bike budget in check. My plan has been to focus any $$ spent on existing bikes I am riding a lot. So naturally my Santa Cruz Nomad came to mind. I’ve been interested in trying out the wide Velocity P35 rims with Continental Trail King 2.4″ tires. My stock Nomad wheels are 4yrs old and have taken a beating so I figured a new set of hoops was a good investment and that way I’d always have a spare wheel in case of a failure.

P35’s setup tubeless…

Building up quality wheels from parts is expensive so I kept putting the project off as it felt like too much money to drop all at once. Then a generous friend bought me the Velocity P35 rims as a surprise gift [thanks!] which got the ball rolling. I hunted down a deal on the Hope Pro II hubs the following month and then a month later paid for the spokes/nipples/wheel building. It was hard to wait that long to get everything rolling, but teaching myself a little impulse control isn’t a bad thing!

Whoa that’s wide…old vs. new…

The difference in width between the stock DT Swiss 5.1D rim and the P35 is shocking. You gain at least 30% in width jumping to the wider rim with a weight gain of only 100g per wheel. The P35 is also said to be stiffer due to the width and profile of the rim.

Tubeless baby!

I’ve enjoyed the tubeless Continental Trail Kings on my Nomad’s stock rims so I wanted to setup the new wheels tubeless. They were easy to mount tubeless. I used a layer of Stan’s yellow tape with a Stan’s rubber freeride rim strip over top and a healthy dose of sealant. So far they have been 100% reliable losing next to no air.

These rims are painted which has resulted in the odd nick in the finish already. I would have preferred if they were anodized red. The P35 stickers looks lame, but they are starting to peel off so I’ll just complete the job and enjoy some unbranded rims. Overall the red wheels add a nice splash of colour to this bike and I’m counting on them to help it pop out of the frame in gloomy mountain bike action shots.

My Nomad before…

To be fair I had no complaints about my Nomad running the stock wheels. They’ve seen a minimal amount of maintenance and never given me any trouble.

After…

It’s hard to capture how damn wide these 2.4″ tires look mounted up to the P35 rims. The only word that comes to mind is – Massive! The profile is also a lot flatter without the excessive “light bulb” bulge that happens on the narrower rim. I used a pressure of 21psi rear and 18psi front. I may go lower yet. With the narrower stock rims I was running closer to 24/21psi. Combining the better tire profile and lower pressure I am expecting awesome traction from this setup – although I won’t fully get to test this out until it starts to rain in September.

Continental Trail King mounted on P35…

One issue to keep in mind is that wide rims and wide tires need a lot of frame clearance to fit well. This combo is pushing the capabilities of the rear end of the Nomad to the limit with just a little room to spare. Our wet weather riding doesn’t involve any sticky mud. If it did my rear wheel would probably lock up frequently.

What clearance?

Of course given the suspension capabilities of the Nomad I don’t think there really is a need for bigger rubber.

Love that red!

Summertime on the South Shore of Vancouver Island is the wrong time of the year to test traction as it’s dry and everything is hooking up well. So I’ll follow up on this review in the winter with an update on that front. What I can say so far is that the steering precision of my Nomad has gone from decent to laser beam like. I didn’t notice a problem in the past, but now I can ride just about any line I want with confidence that wherever I want my bike to go it will go – exactly. I chalk that up to having stiffer rims and most importantly a better tire profile. With the support of the wider P35 rims the tire doesn’t squirm as much laterally allowing for very accurate steering.

Hope Pro II hub…

The Hope Pro II hubs look lovely and have been working fine. I like the fact that these hubs are easily converted to any wheel standard with a set of low cost adapters. My Nomad is 4yrs old and although I plan to keep it another 4yrs it’s quite possible that a hard crash or the constant pounding it takes might necessitate a new frame or fork at some point. I wanted to make sure these wheels could be used on any new frame/fork standard I end up running. From what I hear these hubs are easy to service and don’t need frequent maintenance. I’m still on the same bearings in my DT Swiss hubs so I imagine I won’t be servicing the new Hope hubs for many years.

One thing to note about Hope rear hubs is that they make a very loud sound when freewheeling – definitely not trail ninja friendly.

Not a lot of clearance up front either…

I didn’t weigh these rims or wheels so I won’t talk much about that aspect other than to say wide rims and wide rubber are clearly not weight weenie items. However the specs on the P35’s show them to only be 100g heavier than the specs on my stock DT Swiss 5.1D rims. That’s not a tragically large weight penalty in my books for the increased traction potential and improved steering precision.

These wheels are photogenic…

My Nomad has two main missions in life 1) fun play bike 2) performance mountain bike. When I am riding by myself or with slower riders it’s the first mission and when I am trying to stay in contact with faster riders it’s the second. The new wheels with wide rubber really enhance the bike’s playfulness and my ability to descend faster with confidence. On the other hand the extra weight pushes an already heavy bike further away from being a speed demon on the flats and climbs.

Front end…

If money was no object I’d keep the Nomad as is for playful riding and build up a light/fast full suspension MTB for shredding with the rocket assisted riders. That’s not going to happen anytime soon so my back up plan is to clean up the stock DT Swiss wheels and mount up some narrower/lighter 2.2″ rubber for faster rides. That will give me 2 options I can swap back and forth in a few minutes with minimal cost.

More wheel porn…

Review Summary

Wide rims that work well with fat rubber. Ideal for the all mountain rider who values steering precision and traction over lightweight.

Pros:

  • stiff
  • improved steering precision with wide 2.4″ tire
  • look great
  • not too heavy for wide rim
  • built up true
  • easy to setup tubeless
  • expect improved traction [to be confirmed]

Cons:

  • heavier than a standard width rim
  • expensive to build custom wheelset
  • painted finish not as durable as anodization
  • wide rim + tire may not fit into some frames
  • cheap looking stickers that peel off easily




Surly Krampus Green…

14 08 2012

Photo – MTBR.com

Found this nice photo over at MTBR.com showing the the sparkly green paint that the Surly Krampus complete bikes will come with in 2013. Sadly if you buy just a frame/fork I understand they come only in basic black. So far the a la carte frames & forks are coming in the sparkly green – not sure if that’s a long term thing or just for the first couple production runs.

There are more Krampus photos on Flickr at this link.





Linkage…

13 08 2012

Look to the right of the screen for some nice links…

One of the features of this blog I love and hate is the long list of links over at the right side of your web browser. I love them because I use them myself to archive and retrieve useful sites. By having a public list of links I not only share what I think is cool with you, but I also get access to them myself anywhere in the world that has web access even if I’m not at my own computer. That’s handy!

What I don’t like so much is that a massive list of links needs continual attention or they go stale. Sites change URLs and others simply cease to exist with alarming regularity. Blogs are especially bad for changing from high quality regular updates to dead with no warning. It seems simple to visit each site regularly and fix any that have changed/died, but when you have 400 links that gets old fast.

Well I was getting embarrassed with the state of my blog’s links lately so I spent a few hours going through all the links and fixing them. They should be all good as of a week ago so click away!

BTW – if you ever find a link with a problem shoot me an email or comment on any post and let me know. I’ll fix it ASAP. Also if you have a link you want to share send it my way and I’ll post it in the appropriate section.





Bike Friday NWT – Sold

10 08 2012

My trusty Bike Friday NWT…

Update – NWT is sold  – thanks!

I’m sad to post this bike for sale, but I’ve come to the realization that any far flung bike touring I’m going to do will be on my Bike Friday tandem with Sharon – not solo on my NWT. This Bike Friday NWT is in excellent condition with a gorgeous paint job and is fully setup for touring or commuting. Everything is in nearly new shape with nothing required for several years of riding.

NWT Specs:

  • 58cm effective top tube frame
  • Shimano Nexus 8 IGH with JTek bar end shifter
  • Shimano 105 cranks [53T x 23T gearing]
  • Velocity rims [Aeroheat front and rear]
  • Shimano Dynohub wheel with Velocity Razor rim
  • Greenspeed Scorcher 20″ 40mm tires
  • Shimano V-brakes with Koolstop pads
  • Cane Creek V-brake compatible drop bar levers
  • Shimano Sora front derailleur with Dura Ace bar end shifter
  • Salsa stem
  • Bike Friday folding travel racks
  • Bike Friday travel fenders
  • 2 water bottle mounts with 1 bottle cage + 2 Bike Friday watter bottles [unused]

What the NWT looks like ready to pack for travel…

Extras…

  • this bike comes with 2 front wheels. One is a normal wheel with a Shimano hub + Velocity Aeroheat rim. The other is a Shimano dynohub wheel + Velocity Razor rim.
  • you get the original Bike Friday Owner’s Manual and spare spokes
  • powerful dual LED dynohub headlight for 24/7 lighting without any battery hassles
  • Bike Friday travel fenders which install with one bolt each for ease of packing.
  • new in bag SKS full coverage fenders I haven’t mounted [better for commuting or if you are riding a lot of wet weather]
  • you get a fully functional front derailleur and shifter which are installed and cabled so you can easily convert this bike to a 16 speed if you want more gear range by adding a second chainring

Note the NWT does not come with a saddle or pedals.

Solidlights dual LED headlight…

The NWT comes with the LED headlight installed. You can remove it easily and run the standard front wheel if you don’t plan any night riding for an extended period of time. The swap only takes a few minutes.

IGH for nearly maintenance free riding in all weather…

I find the current 1 x 8 IGH setup ideal for riding in the city and for touring with a moderate load. This bike has a front deraileur and shifter installed so you can add a second smaller chainring and run a 2 x 8 setup to provide added low gears if you wish. I will include a new unused dual pulley chain tensioner you can swap in if you choose to run 2 chainrings.

The NWT running errands in town…

What I like about this bike:

  • versatile for commuting, touring or pleasure rides
  • supple Scorcher tires roll fast and are comfortable on rough surfaces
  • dynohub & fenders allow for all weather day & night riding
  • dual racks allow for carrying full size panniers or strapping on boxes
  • nimble for city riding, but stable at speeds with a load on tour
  • quickly folds into small package for storage or transport
  • can be packed into an airline legal suitcase for plane travel

Lazy in action!

The price for this NWT new with shipping was $2900. That was before I added the second dynohub wheel + headlight and upgraded to a 105 crankset.

I will sell it for $1900USD shipped anywhere in North America. That’s ~40% of buying the same bike new. The price is firm.

You can see lots of photos of this bike on my Flickr page here and you can read my NWT blog posts here.





Marathon XRs – Sold!

9 08 2012

XR’s for sale…

Update – these tires are sold.

I’ve got two Schwalbe Marathon XR tires for sale. 700c x 35mm – folding bead. The classic expedition touring tire that’s no longer available for sale from Schwalbe. One tire is new in the box. The other has been mounted and rolled less than 100km. The molding nubs are still fresh on the tire. They’ve been stored in my cool/dark garage.

I was keeping them for a big tour, but I haven’t needed them and it looks like I’ll either be touring on 26″ wheels or knobbies in the future.

Tread on slightly used tire…

Cost is $50 + $20 shipping for both anywhere in Canada/USA.





On One Scandal 29er Review…

8 08 2012

My On One Scandal 29er mountain bike in bikepacking mode…

Overall

The On One Scandal is a value priced lightweight aluminum 29er hardtail mountain frame with XC geometry and some interesting features like a tapered headset, dropper compatible seat tube and swappable dropouts for vertical or horizontal.

Lots of room for big rubber…

Construction

The tubes are big as you’d expect from an aluminum frame with decent industrial looking welds. The tapered headtube has a gusset at the downtube junction for added strength. The Dekerf-esque seat stays look nice and provide a lot of clearance for big rubber and mud. I got the black anodized finish which is robust and looks good with fairly subtle laser etched logos. For a low cost production frame the quality and attention to detail is very high. Frame weight is under 4lbs. I didn’t weigh my 19.5″ frame, but it was definitely not the usual 6lb Surly steel frame I’m used to. The swappable dropouts offer vertical or horizontal options that can be changed any time.

Gusset…

Here’s what On One has to say about the Scandal 29er:
“Our award winning Scandal is back in a new updated incarnation bringing even more to the big wheeled genre than before. Starting at the front, a new tapered head tube means big fork compatibility. Using our Smoothie Mixer taper headset standard, the Scandal 29 can take taper or straight steerer forks, and is even compatible with our new “slackset” to kick the head angle out for more all-mountain playful handling.

A curved seat tube gives better rear wheel clearance and takes a 31.6mm post, so is “dropper” compatible. Clamp size is 34.9mm.

Gear routing is under the BB for this model, so a bottom pull, low clamp, 34.9mm front mech is used.

BB shell is 68mm English threaded.

Out back, the frame gets the swapout treatment and is fitted as standard with our Type b2 vertical dropout for disc brake compatibility.

Rack mounts are integrated into the rear stays for those that want to do it a.

Frame tubing is a mix of 7046 high strength thin wall multi butted alloy main tubes and 7005 butted and shaped rear stays. Chainstays are bridge less with reinforcing gussets for increased fatigue strength and clearance.

Seatstays are classic on one wishbone style.

Two bottle mount points are fitted. One on the seat tube and one on the downtube. Seat tube one may be obstructed by a high mount front mech. Low mount mechs are possible only with a 42t or larger outer chainring. Sorry.

Likewise, brake hose routing should follow the top tube and seat tube guides due to possibility of interference with gear cabling on downtube.

Geometry is identical to classic Scandal and Inbred 29 geometry. 444mm rear stays with 72deg head angle on all but the 16in model which features a 71deg angle.

Frame weight is slightly more than previous models, but still certainly well under 4lb, which is best in class at this pricepoint.

Frame finish is either : “Super raw”. Rough brushed then anodised, with lazer graphics. This finish is factory raw so each frame is unique.Ano black. Blast finish with black anodise then lazer graphics.  Taiwan Racing Green paint with white outline graphics.

Scandal has our standard 2yr manufacturing defect warranty.”

On One Scandal 29er geometry chart…

Geometry

The Scandal 29er shares On One’s XC geometry with the Inbred and other On One frames. The steep headtube angle can be slackened by using a longer travel suspension fork and/or an On One slackset headset. I’m using a standard headset with a 100mm Rock Shox Reba RLT fork. The steering isn’t overly quick and although the Scandal isn’t the ideal weapon for our steep & techy local all mountain style trails it’s been fine when pressed into service.

Being scandalous in Sedona…

The Ride

My Scandal was built with bikepacking in mind:

  • large 19.5″ frame
  • Rock Shox Reba RLT 100mm fork
  • Alfine 11 IGH
  • Stan’s Flow rims
  • Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4″ tires
  • Porcelain Rocket bikepacking bags

For mountain bike touring and non-technical dirt/gravel riding it does very well. The handling is stable, but responsive. I’ve got the horizontal dropouts mounted and the IGH about mid-way back in them. Coupled with a large frame that gives me a pretty long wheelbase. The suspension fork and big wheels take the edge of rough surfaces. The wide supple tires roll well and provide excellent grip. The big wheels and rigid frame climb well. The large frame provides a stretched out riding position for covering ground efficiently and allows a decent sized frame bag to be used. The Alfine 11 provides a weatherproof drivetrain that can’t be damaged during a hike-a-bike or when the inevitable crash occurs.

When it comes to straight up mountain biking the Scandal 29er does great as long as the terrain doesn’t get too rough and steep. The steep angles and stiff frame are not BC all mountain riding friendly. That’s not really a fair test of an XC frame. Having said that the Scandal with a dropper post gets the job done on our local trails even though I’d rather be on my 6″ FS MTB most of the time. The frame has a ton of clearance for big rubber and mud which combined with an IGH make it an excellent winter mountain bike.

If I had bought the Scandal primarily for mountain biking I’d have picked an 18″ frame for a shorter wheelbase for more nimbleness and used a slack set to make the bike more stable on steep sections.

As a bikepacking rig or for XC riding the Scandal is a good choice. If your riding leans towards the steep gnar I’d look for a frame with slacker angles and for really rough terrain you’ll want a FS bike not a stiff aluminum hardtail.

Me and my Scandal with The Porcelain Rocket…

My Recommendation

For a value priced hardtail with a lot of versatility I don’t think you can go wrong with a Scandal 29er. The On One US store has them on sale at the moment for $299USD! The Scandal takes a rear rack, tapered forks as well as standard 1 1/8″ forks, dropper posts, derailleurs, IGHs, or SS/FG setups with clearance for 2.4″ wide 29er MTB rubber. That means you can do just about anything you want with this bike. You can get an On One Inbred 29er in steel if you prefer that frame material, but it will weigh 2lbs more.

If you want to ride all mountain/freeride terrain pick something else like a Canfield Nimble 9 or a Kona Honzo.

Horizontal dropouts with disc brake mounts inside the rear triangle so you can use any standard rack…





Epic Stand Up Paddle [SUP] and Surf Company – Victoria, BC…

7 08 2012

Epic SUP and Surf Company…

The Epic SUP and Surf Company in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island is a hardcore surf shop that specializes in stand up paddling. They sell production boards from companies including Naish, McTavish, Walden and NSP. Their in-house shaper, Jason Heinz, will build you a custom board to meet your unique needs.

Surf and race SUPs…

I was impressed with the high quality boards, paddles and fins in the shop. This isn’t one of those surf shops with more bikinis and flip flops than wave hardware. In fact besides a few wetsuits Epic is pretty much all boards, paddles and fins.

Essential SUP gear…

One thing you won’t find at Epic is a whole bunch of all rounder stand up paddle boards that most shops peddle. When I asked Jason Heinz about the absence his response was that all round SUPs didn’t do anything well and weren’t a good investment once you got past the lesson stage. So Epic stocks dedicated surf SUPs and flat-water/race boards which are excellent at their specialties.

Lots of fins…

Besides all the sweet gear Epic has 4 certified stand up paddle instructors to help you get the most from your time on the water.

Naish SUP and O’Neil wetsuits…

I’ve been thinking about a Naish board so it’s great to find a local dealer who carries their product. It’s nice to be able to kick some tires before buying.

Mr. Zog’s – a classic…

If you find yourself in Victoria BC looking for SUP gear or a custom longboard Epic is worth a look. They take their surfing very very seriously and that’s a good thing! :)

Catalog and magazine porn…

BTW – if the name Jason Heinz sounds familiar he built Sharon’s custom longboard last year.

Sharon’s custom Jason Heinz shaped longboard…





Surly Endomorph Tire Review

7 08 2012

Surly Endomorph fat tire in action…

When I first built up my Pugsley 4 years ago the only fat tire you could buy for it was the Endomorph. Fast forward to the present and there are more than half a dozen tire options for a Pugsley. That’s definitely taken some of the spotlight off the venerable Endo and folks are often talking about it like it’s time is over. I’ve spent a lot of time on Endos over the years in sand, snow and on dirt so I figured it was time for a review.

Endos is Baja…

Here’s what Surly has to say about the Endomorph tire:

“It was inevitable that Pugsley was going to need a new pair of shoes. To this point, the current offerings of high-volume, large-footprint bicycle rubber has consisted of downhill specific, or homemade, or scarce out-of-production tires designed for specific out-of-production rims. Though downhill tires are readily available, they are heavier than we need. We ultimately desire a tire that fits the following criteria: 1) The ability to crawl over and through a wide array of soft and loose surfaces and materials without packing up. 2) A size that will fit within the confines of the Pugsley frame and fork. 3) A weight less than 26 x 3.0″ downhill tires. 4) Full compatibility with 26″ Large Marge rims and other wide bicycle specific rims. Our only option was to design our own tire.

The Endomorph 3.7 is the product of our effort. It’s 94mm wide (3.7″) x 740mm tall (29″) on our rims. It’s the highest-volume production bicycle tire on the market at this point. And, at 1260 grams, our 60 tpi tire weighs 300–400 grams less than lower-volume 3″-wide DH tires. Most 3″ DH tires hover around 1600 grams.

The center portion of the Endomorph’s medium durometer (60a) tread is comprised of widely spaced chevrons made up of small, low-profile knobs. Higher-profile knobs, at the outer edges of the tread, provide cornering traction and lateral stability in the loose stuff. No tread pattern is going to be perfect in every condition, but the Endomorph’s tread tends to perform quite well on a variety of surfaces. Truthfully, the casing volume has as much to do with our tire’s performance as the tread pattern does. High volume allows the use of low pressure without much risk of pinch flats. The use of low pressure allows the tire casing to spread out on the ground, providing greater traction and floatation due to the increased footprint. We’ve run our tires as low as 5 psi in deep snow, but 8-10 psi is generally low enough for most snow and sand riding. Want to ride on harder surfaces? Pump ‘em up to 15 psi, if the surface is hard, but rough….up to 28 psi, if you’re riding pavement or smooth, hard dirt. Of course, this is just a guideline. Trial and error/success is the best way to determine what pressure will best compliment your riding style, trail (or lack thereof) conditions and your weight.”

Endomorph on the back on my Pugsley…

The Endo has a square profile on 65mm Large Marge rims [also the only fat rim choice when I built my Pugs]. This gives it a lot of floatation for its size and a tractor like feeling in soft terrain. The low-profile chevron tread rolls easily, but lacks aggressive knobs for traction. To hook up with this tire you need to drop the air pressure so it flattens out as much as possible. The square profile and paddle like tread means the Endo needs some encouragement to steer and has trouble on side slopes. The minimal tread doesn’t pack up with mud easily or throw up a ton of sand.

I’m guessing that my Endos are the original 60 tpi variety because they don’t feel as stiff as the 27 tpi Surly fat tires I’ve had my hands on. Surly now sells Endos in 120 tpi [~1440g] and 27 tpi [~ 1560g]. As I noted in my Surly Nate fat tire review riders are finding large variations in tire actual weights so it’s well worth weighing any Endos you are looking at if you have a few to pick from so you get the lightest tire you can.

If you are buying new I’d recommend getting the 120 tpi version for the lighter weight and the supple carcass that will roll with a lot less resistance. However, a lot of fat bikes come stock with 27 tpi Endos and many riders opt to swap in something else right off the bat so it’s quite possible you’ll find some 27 tpi Endos cheap. If so I’d probably grab them. Fat bike tires are crazy expensive at $90-$150 each so I don’t blame anyone for wanting a deal.

Endos on the CDN GDR…

So what are Endos good for?

As you’d expect for the first and for a long time the only fat tire – the Endomorph is a generalist. I used it for all my fat biking for the first 3 years of owning my Pugsley. Riding the beaches of Baja to the snows of Alberta. We mountain biked with Endos on dirt and snow. We bikepacked with them on the CDN GDR. We used them on pavement when we had to get somewhere. And we did it all with a smile.

There are now specialist fat tires for paved riding or with knobs for aggressive trail riding. Surly came out with a tire called the Larry that has a longitudinal tread pattern for better steering control up front. So you’ll often see new fat bikers being told online that they need to dump their Endos in favour of tire X [fill in latest offering by Surly or 45 North]. I call bullshit on that advise in principle. Endos work fine for most fat riders for most conditions. I don’t think it makes any sense to tell a guy or gal who just dropped nearly $2K on a shiny fat bike that they now need to spend $300 on new rubber or else.

If your fat bike has Endos on it my advice is to ride ‘em – a lot. Especially if you are new to fat bikes. They’ll be good for most of your riding and when you encounter situations that challenges them you’ll get to learn how to ride your fatty with some finesse. Those skills will be useful no matter what rubber you ride on your fat bike. You’ll also have time to figure out what fat biking means to you and what specialist rubber you want/need. As a bonus by the time to you ride your stock Endos for a season the options for fat rubber will probably change and you’ll have some new choices.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Endos are the uber fat tire and there is no point looking at anything else. If money is no object you might as well get one of everything and always have the perfect tire for your needs that day. OTOH – don’t feel like you need to replace your Endos ASAP or you won’t be able to ride your fat bike and smile.

These days I’d use Endos for bikepacking, dry conditions MTBing, urban assault rides, sand/beach use, flattish snow missions and rides that have a lot of paved sections to deal with. Where I think they should be avoided are steep slick conditions [ie. wet techy MTBing or snow].

As with all fat tires pressure is critical. If you aren’t adjusting your tire’s pressure as you change surfaces you won’t be getting full performance out of it. My rule of thumb with Endos is any bouncing means too much pressure and squirmy hard to steer handling means to little pressure. In extreme soft conditions you’ll be down in the mid-single digits for pressure and your Endos will feel a bit odd, but that’s not a bad trade off for riding instead of walking.

Endo in the back and Larry in the front….

When Surly released their second fat tire it was the Larry shown above and it was touted as a great front tire companion to the Endo. That’s how a stock Pugsley or Salsa Mukluk are equipped these days. I’ll review the Larry in a separate post, but I thought it was worth mentioning this combo since it is found on so many bikes. Both our Pugsleys are setup like this at the moment. The Larry is a nice compliment to to Endo. The directional power of the Larry helps keep your fat bike rolling where you want it to go and the Endo’s flat profile and paddle style tread keeps it moving forward.  If your fat bike came with two Endos a Larry up front is a good upgrade and since you wear rear tires faster you’ll use up your second Endo on the back no worries.

Endos in the snow…

Keep your Endomorphs

At some point you’ll buy some specialist fat rubber and perhaps you’ll be tempted to get rid of your Endomorphs. My advice is hang on to them. They are a great general purpose tire and fat rubber is expensive so it makes sense to use your Endos when they fit the bill. I have a set of Surly Nate fat knobbys and while they kill the Endos for traction those same knobs mean they roll slow when I’m looking to cover ground. For a bikepacking trip where I want to put in 100km+ days I can assure you I don’t want to be rolling on Nates. Even for shorter rides I prefer the Endos or Endo + Larry combo over the Nates if I’m not in need of uber traction. That’s why when summer rolled around in Victoria I spooned some Endos on to the rear of both our Pugsleys.
Some folks clam Endos get better traction and steering when run with the chevrons facing to the rear when viewed from the top of the tire. I’ve tried that and not noticed any difference. It’s free so if you are in the mood to experiment it’s worth a try to see what you think.

Endo in Mexican beach sand…

Send me your Endomorphs!

If you have some Endos and don’t want ‘em anymore send them to me. I hate to think there are Endos languishing in garages never to be ridden again or worse being thrown out. I’ll use ‘em and when they are worn out I’ll recycle the carcass.





Crank Brothers Joplin 4 Review

6 08 2012

Crank Brothers Joplin 4 seatpost on my Scandal 29er…

I’d like to hold out a few more months of riding to post a review of this Joplin 4 adjustable seatpost, but I figure that with the new Kronolog seatpost on the market it made sense to post now while folks were still looking for info on the Joplin. By the end of the year they’ll probably be gone from the market and a review would be of a lot less value.

I’ve been using this seatpost since I built up my Scandal 29er MTB at the start of the year. I’ve also had a Joplin 3 for four years which shares a similar set of internals. My Joplin 3 had a seal failure which was fixed by Crank Brothers under warranty. It’s been fine for 2 years since then. The Joplin 4 on my Scandal has worked well without any issues so far. Kurt had a Joplin 3 for two years and it had a seal failure. His LBS replaced it under warranty with a Joplin 4 he’s used for two more years with no issues.

The Joplin 4 has improved seals to keep dirt out and more effective dual key-ways to keep side to side play at bay. Which seem to have cured a lot of the problems with the earlier Joplin models.

Joplin 4 tech specs – click for larger…

I’m using the Joplin 4 with the under the seat lever. My Joplin 3 has always been controlled by a bar mounted remote lever. The under the seat lever is not nearly as useful as the bar remote lever. I’m swapping the Joplin 4 in and out on the Scandal depending if it’s been used for MTBing or bikepacking. With the frequent changes I’m accepting the harder to use the under the seat lever for now. If my Scandal was a dedicated MTB I’d use a remote bar mounted lever for sure. The Joplin bar mounted remote lever is the best design I’ve seen so far – very easy to use.

The Joplin responds quickly to being raised or lowered. It doesn’t get stuck like the KS post I use on my Nomad. You can set it to any height within the range – although I find it hard to modulate the adjustment using the under the seat lever as I have less control with only 1 hand on the bars. You can’t lift the bike by the seat unless the post is fully extended –  which is a drag, but one I can live with. My solution is to put the seat at max height when I get off the bike so I can move it around by the saddle. There is a small amount of side to side play with the saddle, but it isn’t noticeable when riding. The saddle clamps are a single bolt design with infinite angle adjustment. I haven’t had any issue with mine coming loose.

Kurt’s been riding a Joplin 4 for about two years with no issues. He’s got it on his Nomad with a bar mounted remote and is pleased with it. As far as reliability goes I’m feeling okay about all the Joplins we are using. In total we’ve had 9 seasons of riding and 2 seal failures in the older Joplin 3 posts and no failures with the newer Joplin 4 models. They’ve been maintenance free which is exactly how I like my bike components!

Scandal 29er with Joplin 4…

So bottom line is the Joplin 4 is a decent seatpost. It works well. It’s been reliable for me and for Kurt.

There are some newer better options for adjustable height seatposts out there now. In particular the Rock Shox Reverb and the Crank Brothers Kronolog – both sell for around $300. Given that I’d recommend the Joplin 4 if you can get for $150 with the remote lever or $100 without it. If you are paying more for a Joplin 4 it’s probably a better investment to either wait for a clearance sale or spend the extra $$ on a newer post design.





Terra Nova Trail – Sooke BC…

3 08 2012

My Scandal 29er MTB taking a break on the Terra Nova Trail…

I’ve been keen on riding the Terra Nova Trail for a while. I finally got out to the trailhead which is partway between Victoria and Sooke BC this week for a solo ride. The trail is billed as a XC ride with lots of overgrown vegetation. Like most trails on Vancouver Island that don’t see constant use it has a feeling of being a bit forgotten. It doesn’t take very long for the plant life in our rainforest to take back a trail.

Click for larger interactive map…

The trail is based on a disused skidder road used to pull felled trees out of the forest. It hasn’t been used for a longtime so in most places it’s singletrack now. The ride isn’t hard technically, but there are a number of challenges including vegetation overgrowing the trail, dead fall across the trail and a general lack of maintenance leading to eroded sections. If you want to explore some beautiful forest terrain and explore a nice spot on the island you should ride the Terra Nova Trail. If you want a high quality XC mountain bike ride this isn’t it.

A taste of buff singletrack…

I rode my On One Scandal 29er hardtail mountain bike. It was a fine choice for the ride, but you can ride pretty much any type of bike on this trail. The sections you can ride are easy and the sections that are not easy will require most people to get off their bikes and carry them. I’d break it down as: 50% easy riding, 25% challenging riding & 25% hike-a-bike. So bring a bike you don’t mind lifting and pushing a bunch! ;) Even though the trail is short at 11kms don’t expect to be back at your car before 2hrs is up. You’ll want to enjoy the scenery and you never seem to get any momentum on this trail with the constant need to find the route or carry your bike over an obstacle.

Click for more photos….

I used a GPS track to navigate the trail. That proved useful as there are a number of alternate trails to explore. I’m not sure where they go. I had a limited amount of time so I stuck to the main trail. I’ll be back to check out all the bits I didn’t get a chance to ride on a future visit. Freak Maps has a mountain bike guide book that is available at most LBS with a description of the Terra Nova Trail for those folks not interested in using a GPS.

Crossing a dry creek on a log…

I stopped a lot and snapped some pics to document the ride. You can see those photos on Flickr at this link. I found another set of photos and videos from the Terra Nova Trail on Flickr showing conditions earlier in the season with water in the creeks. That photographer also posted a GPS track which is what I used to get around the trail.

Click for more photos…

Would I recommend the Terra Nova Trail? Yes –  if you like your rides on the adventurous side with some hike-a-bike thrown in. This is not a buff singletrack buffet!

Terra Nova Trail in relation to Victoria and Sooke BC…

There is a longer ride option out to Harbourview Rd that ends at Sheilds Lake which sounds like a good option for a swim and a picnic. Looking at the map it seems to cover some of the same ground A-Man I traveled when we tried to ride at Harbourview and managed to get amazingly lost.

Some good old BC roots!





MBA How to Manual Guide

2 08 2012

Click for PDF document…

I found this really detailed guide explaining how to manual a mountain bike.

Here is a video on the same topic.





Surly Necromancer Pugsley…

1 08 2012

So black – So beautiful…

A-Man rolling a fatty…

Cork Ergon grips…

Microshift thumb shifters…

Wheelie time…

Salsa Moto Ace bar…

4″ Larry on 82mm rims…

Surly Moonlander fork with brazeons galore…

“Thumbies?…nice!”

Subtle Surly logo…

Surly Mr. Whirly MWOD cranks…

Shimano Deore rear derailleur…

The low down…

Clearance for a Big Fat Larry 5″ tire…

Surly Endomorph 4″ tire…

Who needs a stinking kickstand?

Avid BB7 mechanical disc brake with 160mm rotor…

Fatties do fit damn fine!

A-Man admiring his new ride…