Canon S500 for Fiona…

30 04 2013
Time for some new adventures...

Time for some new adventures…

My trusty Canon Powershot S500 has been with me on many adventures…from India to Mexico and all over the Western US and Canada. I’ve taken some great photos with it and Canon has given me excellent customer service. All in all it’s been a pleasure to use. I’ve since bought newer Canon point and shoot cameras that have spoilt me with larger LCD screens, higher resolution and image stabilization. That’s left the S500 languishing in a drawer for the last few years.

Fiona co-piloting the family CETMA cargo bike...

Fiona co-piloting the family CETMA cargo bike…

I was talking to my buddy Doug and he mentioned his daughter Fiona was in need of a new camera so I am sending the S500 east to Calgary for her to use. I’m glad this camera will have a new home with someone who is sure to take it on many new adventures. :)





Sedona – The Last Ride…

29 04 2013
The Three Amigos ride one last time...

The Three Amigos ride one last time…

For our last ride in Sedona we picked a short loop close to the hotel so we could hit the trails early and get back in time to shower before we had to check out.

Sharon enjoying a cool AM ride...

Sharon enjoying a cool AM ride…

We rode Krusty, Grand Central, Jordan up to the sinkhole and then Adobe Jack Trail back down to the car. This area used to be called the Secret Trails when I first came to Sedona to ride in 1997, but now the trails are well maintained and signed – not so secret any longer!

Do we have to go home?

Do we have to go home?

It was a bit sad to know we were so close to the end of our trip. I managed 15 rides in 11 days without missing a day on the bike. Sharon got in 12 rides in 10 days with just one rest day. I’m happy to report zero crashes and no serious mechanicals. Just lots and lots of smiles – thanks Sedona! :)

Sharon with her red rock grin!

Sharon with her red rock grin!

After the ride we dropped off Sean and Deanna’s Ibis Mojo HD rental bikes back at The Fat Tire then checked out and enjoyed on last meal in Sedona at Sally’s BBQ before starting the long drive back to Vancouver Island via LA.

Time to drive...

Time to drive…

Everyone one had a great time in Sedona so I am hoping it won’t be hard to convince them to come back next year for a repeat performance. ;)





Sedona – Broken Arrow Trail…

26 04 2013
Dirt girlz...

Dirt girlz…

Sean...

Sean…

Deanna...

Deanna…

Sharon...

Sharon…

Sean charging Chicken Point...

Sean charging Chicken Point…

Sharon on the rocky drop...

Sharon on the rocky drop…

S&D...

S&D…

Desert singletrack...

Desert singletrack…

Sharon on her own...

Sharon on her own…

Going for it...

Going for it…

Did it...

Did it…

Deanna wants some too...

Deanna wants some too…

Heading for the last turns...

Heading for the last turns…

Next stop the Bike and Bean for coffee....

Next stop the Bike and Bean for coffee….

Back at the hotel...

Back at the hotel…





Sedona – Early beat the heat ride…

25 04 2013
Coffee Pot Rock...

Coffee Pot Rock…

Sharon riding on the edge...

Sharon riding on the edge…

Sharon on Tea Cup Trail...

Sharon on Tea Cup Trail…

Lazy enjoying some early morning slickrock...

Lazy enjoying some early morning slickrock…

Pink in the desert...

Pink in the desert…

My Blue Steel look... ;)

My Blue Steel look… ;)

End of Tea Cup...

End of Tea Cup…

On to Soldier's Pass Trail...

On to Soldier’s Pass Trail…

Enjoying the cool AM air temps...

Enjoying the cool AM air temps…

Sharon the Desert Fox...

Sharon the Desert Fox…

Pink Power...

Pink Power…

The sinkhole...

The sinkhole…

Snack break...

Snack break…

Channeling the the Angry Squirrel...

Channeling the the Angry Squirrel on Adobe Jack Trail…





Sedona – Slim Shady Trail…

24 04 2013
Sean getting a grip...

Sean getting a grip…

After some much needed coffee Sharon, Sean, Deanna and I headed out to get some riding in early before the temperature hit 30 degrees C. I made a strategic error in jumping on a trail I had never ridden [Made in the Shade] to form a loop with Slim Shady. The result was a lot of walking for the less technically skilled riders in the group. My Bad! =(

On the plus side the views were awesome and it was a pretty fun trail for those that could ride it. It also made the rest of the morning’s riding seem easy so that was a bonus. ;)

Sharon and Deanna...

Sharon and Deanna…

Deanna letting her bike rip...

Deanna letting her bike rip…

Three amigos...

Three amigos…

Sean leading the pack...

Sean leading the pack…

Deanna on the spy cam...

Deanna on the spy cam…

The girls showing us how it's done...

The girls showing us how it’s done…

Switchbacks...

Switchbacks…

The photog catching up with the posse...

The photog catching up with the posse…

Slim Shady Trail...

Slim Shady Trail…

The Slim Shady Trail was a much better match for the group and we rode it as an out an back.

Deanna in the gully...

Deanna in the gully…

Sharon is a Slim Shady old timer...

Sharon is a Slim Shady old timer…

On a rolll...

On a rolll…

Enjoying the view...

Enjoying the view…

Sharon leading the way...

Sharon leading the way…

A taste of slickrock...

A taste of slickrock…

Sharon cranking and smiling...

Sharon cranking and smiling…

Deanna soaking up the sun...

Deanna soaking up the sun…

After Slim Shady we grabbed some Thai food and beers for lunch and enjoyed the chill Sedona vibe for a few hours. Then Sean and I rode up the jeep road to the top of Munds Wagon Trail for a fast rip back into town. I only got the picture below of Sean climbing up the dusty road as we didn’t stop much the whole way down.

Dusty...

Dusty…





Sedona – Friends…

23 04 2013
Sean and Deanna enjoy their Ibis Mojo HDs...

Deanna and Sean enjoy their Ibis Mojo HDs…

Our friends made it to town so we spent the hot part of the day getting them a couple Ibis Mojo HD rental bikes from Dave at the Sedona Fat Tire Bike Shop. Then we fed them some great Mexican food and we lounged by the pool waiting for the heat to abate to sane levels for some Westcost Canadians… ;)

Riding off into the sunset...

Riding off into the sunset…

We took our time and did an easy ride so they could get used to the thin air at 4500′ and the new bikes. They loved the Mojos and Sedona’s desert trails.





Sedona Sunset…

22 04 2013
Enjoying a late ride...

Enjoying a late ride…





Sedona – Munds Wagon Trail…

21 04 2013
Sharon riding the rim...

Sharon riding the rim…

After a rest day Sharon declared herself ready to ride. So we decided to check out Munds Wagon Trail. An 8 mile out and back that climbed Schnebly Hill. The ride up was as hard as we had heard with steepish technical sections and equally hard loose rocky chunk. The trail crossed a jeep road up the hill several times so we could have bailed and ridden to the top with considerably more ease, but sucking in dust and gas fumes didn’t seem like more fun than riding and pushing on the trail.

Kudos to Sharon for trying to ride every section of trail no matter how gnarly. Riding up and down loose chundery chunk is not something we do at home a lot so it was a good skills building ride. The sun has been getting hotter and hotter each day so finding shade to rest in has become important. We are both developing some goofy mountain bike tans from our pads and gloves.

As has been the case with all the trails we have ridden here in Sedona we seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. We only ran into a couple riders at the start and a couple groups of hikers.

The ride up isn’t for the faint of heart so we’ll give this trail another run when our friends get to town and shuttle it to maximize their smiley time vs. their hike-a-bike time.

Crossing the H2O...

Crossing the H2O…

Gotta do some pushing...

Gotta do some pushing…

A little drop...

A little drop…

Enjoying some buff singletrack...

Enjoying some buff singletrack…

A taste of slickrock...

A taste of slickrock…

Climbing a crack...

Climbing a crack…

More pushing...

More pushing…

Getting up high...

Getting up high…

Rest break in the shade...

Rest break in the shade…

Lazy catching up...

Lazy catching up…

Going down is more fun...

Going down is more fun…

Tourists...

Tourists…

and down...

and down…

and down...

and down…

Keeping up with Sharon...

Keeping up with Sharon…

One last climb...

One last climb…

and we are done! ;)

and we are done! ;)





Sedona Rest Day…

20 04 2013
Photo break on Tea Cup Trail...

Photo break on Tea Cup Trail…

As day 4 of riding on this trip rolled around Sharon learned that plastic saddles can be a pain in the ass – literally. I spent 25yrs+ and several thousand $$ trying to make plastic saddles work for me with various combinations of saddles, padded shorts and lotions/potions. It never got sorted and late in the game I discovered I could ride leather saddles without bike shorts and without pain – day in and day out.

I suspect Sharon will try a leather saddle on her MTB soon, but that’s not going to happen this trip so she decided she should take a day off the bike to rest and heal. With 11 days of riding available on this trip I agreed that a rest made sense so she could come back ready to rock for day 5 or day 6.

I need some shade!

I need some shade!

I didn’t want to waste a day sitting around the pool at the hotel so I headed out to ride some shorter trails near us. I hit up Tea Cup Trail, Soldier Pass Trail and Adobe Jack Trail. Without anyone to wait for and having limited photo potential riding solo in the middle of the day I was able to cover a lot of ground pretty quickly.

Found some shade...

Found some shade…

I prefer to ride with someone else most of the time, but once in a while it’s nice to roll at my own pace and be alone with the trail. Especially when they are as entertaining as the ones around Sedona are.

Protection...

Protection…

Although I am not a Safety Nazi when it comes to rolling around town I do fall off my MTB frequently so I wear a helmet, elbow/knee pads, gloves, sunglasses and burly shoes. That way I can charge the trail as hard as my modest skills and fitness allow. When I inevitably do end up in the dirt the consequences are [usually] minor.

Hiking man!

Hiking man!

I don’t like hiking. I’ve done lots of it in the past in the army and for fun when I was a runner. Both hiking and running seem like a perfectly good waste of free time I could use to ride my bike! ;) I know this is a minority opinion in the wider outdoor world and I don’t spend a lot of time talking about my lack of love for hiking. Just so you don’t think I’m totally anti-walking I will say that I think trekking around town getting my errands done on foot is not only very practical, but I enjoy it. Somehow that doesn’t translate to gratuitous hiking for recreation. ;)

KIller views...

KIller views…

However, being a get a long kind of guy I didn’t argue when Sharon wanted to hike the Airport Mesa after lunch. She was getting stir-crazy from an extended Kindle reading session while I rode, ate lunch and had a nap. Hiking offered a butt friendly way to take in some of Sedona’s amazing views and get the blood flowing through our veins.

and more great scenery...

and more great scenery…

It was also later in the day which meant better light for taking pictures. Our typical rides happened pretty much at the worst part of the day for photography, but getting up earlier didn’t sound like fun and waiting until the end of the day was dangerous for me as I might fall prey to a fridge full of beer and not hit the trails at all. I do like taking nice pictures, but I’m a biker who carries a camera – not a photographer who rides a bike!

Walk carefully...

Walk carefully…

Aaron and I rode this trail last year on our mountain bikes. The Airport Loop Trail has its moments of greatness, but there is at least 1/3rd of the trail that’s a hike-a-bike for average riders. So skipping the bikes and just walking isn’t a bad idea.

Enjoying some zero-saddle time...

Enjoying some zero-saddle time…

It felt a bit odd to be out on a Sedona trail without my bike, but the killer views made up for having to walk the whole time! ;)

On the move...

On the move…

Sharon was happy to not be sitting on a saddle and I was happy to get out in the fresh air again.

Late day sunshine...

Late day sunshine…

We chatted about the merits of hiking vs. biking and agreed we were both fairly bored of the walking after the first 20mins. With a garage full of bikes it’s a good thing we like riding them so much… ;)





Captain Ahab…

19 04 2013

Wow! Is it wrong for me to be in the middle of an amazing Sedona mountain bike trip and fantasizing about my next trip to Moab? ;)

Thanks to Mike C for pointing me to the video.





Sharon goes Double Black Diamond…

19 04 2013
sd85

Sharon enjoying the shade…

We have been riding harder and longer trails each day of our trip here in Sedona. That was capped off yesterday by a loop around Highline Trail which was our most ambitious ride so far.

Riding on the edge...

Riding on the edge…

Sharon has done lots of slow techy riding in BC, but she has never faced riding on a cliff for an extended period of time, riding fast through tech or riding for 4hrs+. So she had some doubts about this ride and we agreed we would turn around or walk anything that was too gnarly.

Enjoying the views...

Enjoying the views…

As it turned out she did just fine. Everyone told her that BC was the hardest riding she would ever have to do and they were right! She’s rocking and rolling through the tech here in Sedona.

The Desert Squirrel...

The Desert Squirrel…

The only real challenge for her was the length of the ride and the building heat. Our Hartland rides usually clock in at 2-2.5hrs and since it’s a compact trail network you can always call it a day and head back to the car from any point in the ride. On a 25km loop you are often 1-2hrs from the car so your only choice is to continue to crank the pedals.

Hitting her crusing speed...

Hitting her crusing speed…

Highline remains lightly travelled….we ran into 2 other solo riders on it and a couple groups of hikers. That leaves lots of empty space to be alone with your thoughts and the stunning scenery.

Rolling down the slickrock...

Rolling down the slickrock…

We have friends coming in to ride starting Monday so we’ll need to reset the gnar-meter and start back on some easier shorter rides next week. So I’m glad we got Highline done and we’ll tackle a couple more challenging rides over the weekend so we are ready for a break when we show our buddies around the trails.

Cranking up some steep slickrock...

Cranking up some steep slickrock…

After the ride we took Sharon’s bike to Dave at the Sedona Fat Tire Bike Shop for some TLC. 4hrs of intense work later her bike runs better than new. Dave is a master mechanic and these trips to Sedona and worth it just for the access we get to his expertise. If you own an expensive fullsuspension mountain bike you owe it to yourself to get it to Dave and have it tuned to perfection. The only trouble is you’ll have to keep coming back to Sedona because you will now know what your bike is capable of.

Nearly done...

Nearly done…

Sharon’s bike is a whole new machine now and she’s excited to ride it again.

Rest stop by the creek...

Rest stop by the creek…

Sharon was a bit shocked when we rolled up to a rest stop at Oak Creek. She wasn’t expecting to see water in the desert! Oak Creek is an oasis of awesome for a couple hot and dusty mountain bikers.

Lazy enjoying some climbing...

Lazy enjoying some climbing…

Now that we have Highline in the books Sharon knows the rest of the trails we ride will be both shorter and easier so she’s feeling relaxed and ready to tackle more red dirt.

Proof we are both on the same ride... ;)

Proof we are both on the same ride… ;)

If you ever have a hankering for a MTB holiday I can certainly recommend Sedona. Great trails, specatcular scenery, friendly local riders and a sweet town to enjoy pre and post ride. :)

One last roll down...

One last roll down…





Sedona, AZ…

18 04 2013
Concentrating on the stoke...

Concentrating on the stoke…

Sharon has knee surgery booked in just over a month and may well have the other knee done once she recovers from the first. That means for sure very little outdoor fun this summer and possibly none for the rest of the year.

Love the red rocks...

Love the red rocks…

So we decided to hit up Sedona Arizona for a mountain bike trip to keep the pre-surgery spirits high and get some more shred in Sharon’s 2013 scorecard.

Llama Trail...

Llama Trail…

Sedona is a great place to ride with so many trail options. Sharon’s never really mounatin biked anywhere, but Victoria so it’s an eye opener that trails can actually include lots of pedalling between technical sections and some sunshine! ;)

Welcome to Sedona...

Welcome to Sedona…

Going from sea level to 4500′ and being used to 2hr rides in a bike park Sharon needed some accimiltization to the riding in Sedona. We started slow and shorter, but have been building up to 3.5hrs+ loops of some pretty sweet trails.

What rocks?

What rocks?

So far so good. We are pretty much up to full steam and into a good rhythm of daily riding, eating and resting. Putting in a hard ride every day and being ready to repeat for a couple weeks is not easy. Especially when it’s your first extended mountain bike trip. Sharon’s doing great!

Cranking...

Cranking…

The weather has been cool to start with, but will be getting hotter over the next couple days. That’s been nice to allow us to adapt before baking us with temperatures that are well above what we are used to even in summer in coastal BC.

Snow - WTF?

Snow – WTF?

Sharon has a superpower that brings rain to every trip. Even when the forecast before we left was for mid-20 deg C and sunny the whole time. Yesterday she really went all out and we rode through a full on snowstorm for 25mins! ;)

Slickrock fun...

Slickrock fun…

I’m glad Sharon is getting a chance to experience one of the most fun mountain biking areas I have been to. It’s great to share a special place like Sedona with someone and watch their enjoyment grow. :)

Heading down the trail...

Heading down the trail…





Yakima Fat Racking…

17 04 2013
Sharon's Pugsley and Yakima rack...

Sharon’s Pugsley and Yakima rack…

Sharon uses a Yakima Hold Up 2″ receiver hitch rack on her car. It’s an older version so not exactly the same as what’s shown on the Yakima site, but looks pretty similar. We had never used it for a fat bike until the Missing Link Tour.

Front wheel...

Front wheel…

The Pugs went into the rack with little difficulty with its 4″ tires. The front wheel was secured normally with the rack’s arm. I added a small bungee to the front wheel so it couldn’t move. It doesn’t sink as deeply into the rack slot as a skinny tire MTB would.

Rear wheel is fat...

Rear wheel is fat…

The rear wheel is too fat to use the rack’s ratchet strap. So I attached it with another bungee cord. It held fine like this for a short-ish drive to Lake Cowichan. For a longer haul or if I was going down some rough roads I would use something more robust to secure the rear wheel.

Krampus Fits Fine...

Krampus Fits Fine…

The Krampus dropped into the rack without any special accommodations.





Surly Krampus Build…

16 04 2013
Krampus in action...

Krampus in action…

I’ll hold off on a full blown review of this bike until the end of the summer so I can do it justice. Here is the build list for my Krampus for those who enjoy geeking out on such things.

Surly Krampus

  • medium frame [ST = 16.75" Eff TT = 24"] & Krampus fork
  • sparkly bass boat green
  • Race Face Evolve 100m 6 deg stem
  • Race Face Atlas AM bar [730mm 6 deg rise 9 deg sweep]
  • FSA Orbit Z headset
  • Ergon grips
  • Alfine 11 shifter
  • Shimano SLX brakes [180mm/160mm]
  • Thompson Elite seatpost
  • Brooks B17 saddle
  • Shimano Deore cranks w/ 32T Race Face chainring
  • NRG Slabalanche pedals
  • SRAM 9 speed chain
  • Stan’s Flows rim + Hope Pro2 hub
  • Stan’s Flow rim = Alfine 11 IGH
  • Surly Knard 120 tpi tires + 29 x 1.75″/2.5″ tubes
  • weight = 31.5lbs

The medium framed Krampus has a long TT and short ST. That makes swinging a leg over the bike easy, but limits the size of framebag you can fit inside. I’m used to MTBs with less standover clearance [like my Pugsley] and I’ve never injured my man bits. ;) I debated getting the large frame and using an 80mm stem to get a bigger frame triangle, but I decided the trade off of a longer wheelbase wasn’t worth it for our tight forest trails.

Click for Surly Krampus info page...

Click for Surly Krampus info page…

This is essentially the build kit from my On One Scandal 29er MTB transplanted to the Krampus. Surly very wisely didn’t go off the deep end with an obscure frame standard that would require parts nobody had on hand. Instead they made sure that if you have a 29er MTB you can swap your parts over to a Krampus and get rolling.

Ready for building up...

Ready for building up…

The main changes for the Krampus were a wider set of 710mm Race Face bars and a longer stem to dial in the fit. Even though the 650mm bars I used on the Scandal felt fine on it as soon as I sat on the Krampus I knew I wanted wider bars on this bike. The 730mm wide bars feel perfect.

The Stan’s Flow rims have an internal width of 22.5mm. They aren’t an ideal match for Surly’s 3.0″ wide Knard tire, but they are paid for and in my garage so I’m going to use them. So far they’ve been fine. I’m running tubes for now, but will switch to tubeless down the road when I move to some wider Rabbit Hole rims.

Enjoying the ride...

Enjoying the ride…

Click here for more Krampus photos.





The Girlz ride Terra Nova Trail…

15 04 2013
Dead fall...

Dead fall…

Last time I went riding with Sharon and her friend J [fall 2012] we left with J having two broken hands and Sharon could barely walk. That was an easy paced chill ride… ;)

One of many water crossings...

One of many water crossings…

So when we all went riding again last week our mission was clear – everybody comes home in one piece!

I picked a trail that is as close to XC as I have near at hand to our home in coastal BC. Sadly that doesn’t mean buff endless singletrack. But it does mean you can ride your bike a bunch of the time without facing a techy obstacle at every turn and when you do face an obstacle you mostly have to get off your bike and walk. Walking may not be as fun a riding, but it’s safer…;)

Here is a solo ride report from the same trail last August when it was much much drier.

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush...

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush…

Our typical MTBing trails are what the kids call “all mountain”, which translates to steep and techy. I’d call it “Costal BC all mountain” which in my mind denotes a higher than normal density of the tech and often slippery conditions”. So although this isn’t a Colorado Buff trail this is a chill safe-ish MTB option around here.

Sharon riding her Pugsley...

Sharon riding her Pugsley…

I suggested that Sharon ride her Pugsley instead of her 6″ travel FS bike. Partially because this trail didn’t really need tons of travel and partially because I want her to get comfy doing easy MTBing trails on the Pugs to facilitate future bikepacking adventures.

J still smiling...

J still smiling…

Although Sharon has turned into a decent shredder she’s only been riding MTBs for 3yrs. Has really only ridden 1 MTB [Santa Cruz Nomad] and 95% of her MTBing has been in 1 bike park. So her skill set is good, but not broad.

She also has a lot of Baja sand riding experience, but that’s a pretty niche skill set not much use most other places.

Team effort...

Team effort…

For the first hour I got flack about suggesting the Pugs because she got pounded on a rigid bike trying to ride it like a long travel FS bike. Her FS bike has a dropper post so I setup her saddle at 70% normal height which she thought was too low when it was chill and too high on the few steep sections.

So she walked her bike a bunch when she could have ridden and complained a lot. I just told her that the bike she had at the moment was the Pugs and to get on with riding it…lol…tough love!

The mighty Krampus...

The mighty Krampus…

It would have helped morale if I was riding my Pugs as well, but it was at the LBS getting my Rolling Darryl rims built into wheels. I was riding my Krampus which was rigid and semi-fat so I didn’t feel guilty for flying along on a cloud of high-tech suspension!

Gloomy forest singletrack...

Gloomy forest singletrack…

The good news is that after an hour the complaints went away and Sharon started shredding the rocky climbs and other challenging sections. Then she even commented how easy it was to climb the Pugs on rough or slippery terrain and how it rolled over river rocks like they weren’t there.

Mission accomplished! :)

Splish Splash!

Splish Splash!

I’m not one of these guys that thinks fat bikes are the best MTBs for just about every kind of riding. I like my other MTBs plenty and for a lot of the riding I do they are miles better than my fatty…BUT…for ‘xploring poorly maintained trails in wet conditions big fat rubber is pretty sweet and the Pugs has a great geometry for this kind of riding.

I’m glad Sharon came to that conclusion on her own. Especially riding an unloaded bike on a short trail ride. This will make the leap to carrying some camping gear and having to mountain bike a lot easier.

J charging the creek...

J charging the creek…

I’m happy to report J made it back to the car un-broken and smiling. :cool:

Racing the setting sun back to the car...

Racing the setting sun back to the car…

Of course Sharon did have some criticisms of the BB7s for MTBing compared to her Nomad’s hydros as well as a few other upgrades. I pointed out that the Pugs was a bike worthy of upgrading and when she wanted to spend some $$ we could tackle anything she liked…:D;):thumbsup:





Alchemy…

13 04 2013




Chilcotin High Country…

12 04 2013
Time to roll...

Photo: Pat Mulrooney

Here is one more instalment of Chilcotin mountain bike porn to keep you dreaming through the weekend. ;)

All these bikes are 650B Norcos for those that care.

Photo: Pat Mulrooney...

Photo: Pat Mulrooney…





More Chilcotin Riding…

11 04 2013

…because too much is never enough.

Note these videos omit the long arduous climbs necessary to get the downhill runs shown.

Beautiful country. :)





Vancouver Island Spine Trail Project

10 04 2013
VI Spine Trail Map...

VI Spine Trail Map…

A kindly forum member over at Bikepacking.net pointed me towards a project on Vancouver Island to develop an end to end trail network. The project is called The VI Spine Trail. So far it’s mostly an idea with only work on the small middle yellow segment underway. The completion date is noted as 2016 on the website. That seems unlikely, but even if it gets done in 2020 it will still be rad.

Working on my own bikepacking route that doesn’t have the ambitions of actually building any new trails across the island’s rugged landscape and doesn’t worry too much about stuff like riding down closed roads or other legal technicalities I can appreciate the huge task ahead of the VI Spine Trail project.

They are having an AGM on 1 May in Victoria, BC. I plan to attend with some amigos and see what I can do to help. I’ve also emailed the president of the group to offer my help.

Although I am stoked about the mostly logging road bikepacking route I am working on – I can’t deny that a route with long stretches of real singletrack through the backcountry would be super awesome! ;)

Here is an explanation of the map above that I grabbed from the VI Spine site:

“Our goal of having a complete set of trails that extend from the northern to the southern tip of Vancouver Island is one step closer with the (almost completed) Tuck Lake Trail project.  For fun, we have created a Google Earth map which plots both existing and “dream” trails.  NOTICE: this is just a sketch and the final Trail route will likely look very different!

Orange – existing trails

  • To date, existing trails consist of the North Coast Trail; some trails near Port Hardy; Nisnak Lake Trail; Circlet Lake Trail; the Strathcona Park trek; Cumberland Mountain Biking Trails; the Beauforts; the Alberni Valley Log Train Trail; the Alberni Runner’s Trail; the Alberni Canal Trail; the Cowichan Valley Trail; and the Galloping Goose Trail.

Yellow – trails “in progress”

  • The Tuck Lake Trail project was started in early August. Click here to read more about it, or here for some photographs from the September 29/30 trail building.

Purple – proposed trails

  • Currently there are four proposed trails for Vancouver Island, with two located Mid-Island near Strathcona Dam and in the Cumberland-Beauforts area.  The other two are located on the southern half of the Island, notably one between the Malahat and the Galloping Goose, as well as one running from Johnson Street Bridge along Victoria’s Inner Harbour to Mile Zero on Dallas Road.  Both of these proposed trails would become part of the Trans Canada Trail.

Blue – “dream” trails

  • As it stands, we have several “dream” trails – those which we hope will connect to existing trails in the future.”




Ride the Divide…

9 04 2013

 

It’s on Canadian Netflix now… :)





Tadhg’s Salsa Mukluk Bikepacking setup…

9 04 2013
Fat bike action...

Fat bike action…

Hardcore fat bikers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. My buddy Doug’s 9yr old son Tadhg rides a sweet XS Salsa Mukluk on his bikepacking adventures.

On the move...

On the move…

He’s got a nice set of Porcelain Rocket bike bags to haul his stuff and a great bike to roll on. Doug and Tadhg have already been out winter bike camping this year.

Ready for adventure...

Ready for adventure…

Doug and I have been working on some summer bikepacking plans so I’ll get to see Tadhg and his Muk in action up close and personal. It should be rad! :)





Bike Portable Hot Tubs…

8 04 2013
Very Clever Cycling... ;)

Very Clever Cycling… ;)

I saw this posted over at Clever Cycles. I love this hot tub and if it wasn’t so expensive Sharon and I would find a way to buy one. The climate here on Vancouver Island is cool and damp most of the year so coming home from an adventure and being able to fire up the hot tub to soak our weary bodies would be so great. There is a ton of free firewood on the island so we could operate the tub for very little $$.

Who knows? Maybe one of these days the cash will be there for such a luxury…at the moment I’d rather update my FS MTB!  ;)

BTW – I wouldn’t be planning to tow it anywhere with my bike. I just like the design!





Chilcotin Country…

8 04 2013

Looking forward to checking out some Chilcotin riding myself this summer… :)





Blessed Silence!

5 04 2013
What noise?

What noise?

As I was pounding along last weekend I suddenly realized something was missing from my usual ride experience – noise! My MTB has a Hope hub that sounds like angry bees making love when I coast. It used to make a lot of noise from chainslap as well, but I cured that with a clutch derailleur – although I still get various shifting noises when changing up gears on the Nomad.

My 29er bikepacking bike has an Alfine 11 IGH in it and horizontal dropouts. That means the chain is tight all the time and can’t really move around or make any noise. The A11 coasts and pedals silently. Even the shifts are accompanied by only a very soft click.

I’m so used to my bikes making a lot of noise that it’s a bit of a surprise to experience the peacefulness of a silent drivetrain.

That silence leaves more room for me to hear what’s going on around me and let’s me get lost deeper in my own thoughts.

There are times when making noise to give bears notice I’m coming through is a smart move. However, I’d rather attach a $4 bear bell to my bike when needed. It makes noise anytime I am moving – rather than just when I am coasting and I can take it off when I don’t want to make a racket.

There are loads of good reasons to use an IGH and specifically an Alfine 11, but at the moment silence is what I am appreciating the most.





DIY stem mounted water bottle…

4 04 2013
Water bottle on stem...

Water bottle on stem…

Last year I tried water bottle cages mounted to my bike’s fork for added hydration capacity while bikepacking. It worked, but I didn’t love it. They were always in the way when I would lean my bike up against something, they got splattered with mud/horse shit off the road/trail and I couldn’t access them while riding. So I thought I would try a stem mounted bottle and see what I thought.

Cage hose clamped to stem...

Cage hose clamped to stem…

I just grabbed a plain old aluminum bottle cage and attached it to the stem with a hose clamp. I used some electrical tape and a bit of old inner tube to avoid damaging the stem. The whole install took 5 mins.

The hose clamp is key...

The hose clamp is key…

I like DIY projects that I can source all the parts from my garage in a few minutes. This one was particularly easy.

Bottle in action...

Bottle in action…

So the important question is how did it work?

  • it was 100% secure….no movement or issues even with a lot of high speed dirt road pounding
  • having a bottle so close at hand was awesome….I drank on the move a lot
  • I’ll definitely use this setup again
Easy on - easy off...

Easy on – easy off…

Since I’m not bikepacking every weekend I like the fact this cage is very easy to remove when not needed. I pulled it off and threw everything into a ziplock bag for next time.

For the most recent trip I carried another water bottle in my framebag and a 2L water bag in my backpack that I left empty until I figured I needed a bunch of extra water [say before making camp]. That worked well.

I can always add water bottles to my fork legs if needed on a particularly dry trip as well as carrying more water in my backpack. Coastal BC riding isn’t particularly dry.





Santa Cruz Bronson – hello 650b!

3 04 2013
Click for more info...

Click for more info…

Now I just need to wait and see what Knolly and Ibis do for an all mtn 650B bike before I choose a winner! ;)





Gravel Pimp – Got her done!

2 04 2013
Getting up while the moon was still bright in the sky...

Getting up while the moon was still bright in the sky…

I spent a lot of time last year doing recon on a dirt route from Lake Cowichan to Victoria. With the Galloping Goose MUP mostly dirt from Sooke Potholes Park to Victoria it seemed straightforward to just find a route from Lake Cowichan to the potholes. As it turned out that wasn’t so easy after all.

First try...

First try along the cyan line above…

At first it looked simple to run down the Trans Canada Trail [TCT] and along the east side of Sooke Lake down to Leehtown and then hop on the Goose MUP to Sooke Potholes Park and onwards to Victoria. The trouble was Victoria takes its water-supply very very seriously and has blocked off any access through the area we wanted to ride with gates, fences and guards. Click on the map above to read what happened.

E&N Railway route...

E&N Railway route…

We tried riding the E&N Railway corridor from Shawnigan Lake To Victoria which is quite a bit to the east of our previous route. It worked, but riding on the tracks was pretty brutal so I couldn’t really recommend it as a bikepacking route. Not to mention it was almost too easy with no real grades and such a straight shot to Victoria. The Gov’t keeps threatening to reactivate the rail service along this line, but so far it hasn’t happened. It you don’t mind getting bounced around a lot and want to check it out it’s a viable option.

What roads?

What roads?

Not to be deterred we returned to Sooke Lake area and tried to go to the west of the Sooke Lake drainage. Both my print maps and electronic maps showed logging roads leaving the Leechtown area and heading west then north to join up with roads around the Koosilah Provincial Park. Sadly these roads were fictional. They exist only as a cartographer’s dream! :(

Another dead end...

Another dead end…

About this time I realized that riding a bicycle out to Leechtown and back for every route recon was taking up too much time and frankly riding the Goose MUP so many times was getting boring. So I broke out the KLR dualsport motorcycle. I plotted another route uphill out of Leechtown that looked promising on the map [pink line above], but I only got as far as the burgundy line on the lower right before I hit a water-supply gate and the rest of the mapped roads stopped existing.

More moto recon...

More moto recon…

Next time out I burned a whole day on the motorcycle going in and out of various logging roads as I kept running into more locked gates or dead ends. I managed a loop from Victoria out to Port Renfrew then up to Lake Cowichan before heading back home. The good news is it was a fun day on the moto and I learned a lot about the local logging road network. The bad news is I still didn’t have a route that went all the way through, but I had narrowed down the options enough I thought it was time to take another chance with the bicycle.

Getting down to the last few options...

Getting down to the last few options…

With a lot of recon done I figured one of the two connectors shown above in pink and green would work. Obviously I’d rather ride the shorter pink route. Especially because the green route features a ton of altitude loss as you head south and a bunch of fresh climbing as you head back north on top of triple the mileage. Locked logging gates stop me on my motorcycle so it was time to start pedalling again to finish the route off.

Finally it got done...

Finally it got done…click image for GPS info…

This past weekend I headed out from Lake Cowichan and rode my bicycle down the TCT to the Kinesol Trestle and past the Koosilah Provincial Park. I headed up into the mountains on the Kapur Main logging Rd and connected with the West Jordan Main logging road. That took me to the [supposed] junction of the Butler Main logging road and the Leech Main logging road, but once again the Leech Main [the pink short cut in the map 2 above] doesn’t actually exist on the ground. So I rode south on Butler Main dropping altitude fast and connected with Graveyard Main to head north again to Leechtown. I knew I would make it at this point, but the landscape had changed at Leechtown since my last visit with logging equipment gone, vegetation grown and creeks running hard with snowmelt. I had to poke around a bit until I found the bushwhack across the Sooke River to the Goose MUP. Once I rolled up to the familiar red shelter I’ve slept in a bunch of times I was really happy to finally put that mission down as a success in the books.

Sooke River...

Sooke River…

The GPS says it’s 175kms from Lake Cowichan to Victoria along my route. Those numbers don’t sound impressive, but when I look back at all the time I spent pouring over maps, riding my motorcycle and pedalling my bike it was quite a job to figure this route out. I had decent maps and a bunch of dirt roads available for me to use. I didn’t have to do one lick of trail building or mapping to find this route. So I am even more impressed with all the trails I’ve ridden in the past and the effort the folks have put into finding them or building them. Thanks!

Phase 2...

Phase 2…

Now that Phase 1 of the Vancouver Island Bikepacking Route is done I’ve got plans for Phase 2. The next part of the adventure is to map a route from Cumberland/Comox down to Lake Cowichan. The green segment on the map above goes from Port Alberni to Lake Cowichan and I’ve been down all those roads in my truck so I know they are a sure thing. The cyan segment at the top of the map goes from Cumberland to Port Alberni. It looks pretty straightforward, but I’ve said that before! I’ll do an initial run with my motorcycle this spring to confirm the route from Cumberland to PA works and is a decent one to ride. Then I’ll come back with my bicycle to enjoy it by pedal power. ;)

My goal for 2013 is to get that far.

Phase 3...

Phase 3…

You can see from the map above that Phases 1 & 2 get me a little better than halfway up Vancouver Island. I’d like to go all the way to the top on dirt, but my knowledge of the north island is limited and it will take 3-4hrs just to get to the bottom of that area on my motorcycle so there will be some serious time involved in that part of the recon. I’d like to get at least one moto recon session in the books for 2013 so I have a lay of the land in my head to help me situated data I glean from maps.

Keep on rolling...

Keep on rolling…

I’ll get a trip report for the latest ride posted later this week or next – here are the photos for now. I’m excited for another great year on the bike with lots of new roads and trails explored.

Keep those wheels rolling Gravel Pimps of the world! ;)