Toronto Tidbits…

19 03 2013
NHL Hockey...

NHL Hockey…

Not a ton to report from Toronto. I’ve mostly been hanging at one or the other of my parents’ apartments. That means I had a rare opportunity to combine TV, cable and lots of time with not a lot to do. I have to report TV still sucks – so many channels and so little on. I mostly watched sports. I have a slight addiction to any sport that’s televised and is holding some sort of championship tournament. Tennis, curling, hockey – whatever…if it’s a best of the best tournament I can get into it….problem is I can’t easily get out of it! Luckily the only championships I could find was in figure skating and they didn’t get out of hand. I also watched a bunch of NHL games. It’s a novelty not to have to head to a pub to watch a game. Of course not being able to buy a pint of beer was a clear downside to the home viewing experience.

iPhone internet...

iPhone internet…

Sadly both my parents have crap internet connections and neither has WiFi…how can they live??? ;) Happily I was able to tether my laptop to my iPhone so I could work and surf the net during the trip. I haven’t used that feature much before, but it works great.

Jun...

Jun…

I did get out on my own Friday for a bit of a jaunt downtown. I met up with biker, blogger and all around nice guy – Jun Nogami for lunch at Sansotei Ramen. I’m not a ramen expert, but the meal was fresh and tasty. The place was bustling so they are clearly popular and worth a try if you are in downtown TO and have a hankering for ramen noodles.

A Rocking Lobster...

A Rocking Lobster…

Jun was riding a cool pink Rock Lobster. He’s an uber commuter and cargo biker. He was on his way to a human powered helicopter record attempt and invited me along. I was interested in checking it out, but I had to decide if I wanted to spend a few hours travelling around the city to see the helicopter or spend the time chilling in downtown.

Since it was my only day “off” on the trip I decided to roam the core on my own.

Bike crime scene...

Bike crime scene…

I headed over to The Urbane Cyclist LBS. It reminds me of a much bigger version of The Fairfield Bicycle Shop in Victoria. They both specialize in practical bikes for getting around with a nod towards the funky end of the bike spectrum. Quite a few years ago I bought my first folding bike [a Dahon Speed D7] at Urbane so we have a bit of history.

Water bottle cage budget bling...

Water bottle cage budget bling…

It was quite cold outside so I spent a lot of time just geeking out on bikes and chatting to the staff. I left with a cool metal bottle cage and a 2013 Ortlieb catalogue. Yes I am a bike nerd and I like my Ortlieb porn! ;)

Cool design...

Cool design…

I saw some cool architecture near Urbane and really enjoyed tromping along the busy streets with music pumping in my headphones. When I was young that was how I spent a lot of my free days and something I rarely do anymore. Having a soundtrack to your aimless wanderings is fun. My ears are probably happy I don’t use headphones a lot anymore.

Magazine porn...

Magazine porn…

I’m not a huge magazine reader, but when I am travelling having a few mags in my backpack makes the inevitable waits, planes, trains and buses more enjoyable. My iPhone is an older 3GS version with a limited battery so I can’t really expect it to entertain me on the move too much if I want it working for navigation and other mission critical tasks when I need it. There are a few magazines I really enjoy so I scored copies of: Bicycle Quarterly, Surfer’s Journal and Dirt Rag. I also grabbed a Mountain Bike Action and a Bike Magazine – neither of which are on my A List of sports journalism, but like a donut the occasional empty calorie is fun as long as you don’t go nuts! ;)

Surfer’s Journal and Stand Up Paddle Journal [sadly I had already read the current issue of SUP Journal] are truly excellent magazines with quality writing combined with stunning photos. You only get halfway through an issue before you start thinking about your next surfing trip. I’d love to find a mountain bike equivalent.

Jun made me a member of Tarik's Bike Club...thanks! ;)

Jun made me a member of Tarik’s Bike Club…thanks! ;)

With some reading material in hand I cruised the core stopping at a few gear stores to see the latest shiz and warming up. I’m well stocked on camping gear and clothing so I kept my wallet safely stashed in my pocket. I’ll save my gear fun tokens for travelling this year and wear out some gear.

I found myself in a nice pub for a couple hours to beat the cold and enjoy some draught beer in a comfy setting. Once again the iPhone and laptop came to my rescue as I was able to get some work done while relaxing for a bit.

to9

Jun and his daughters make these ribbons…

Eventually my free time ran out and I joined the throng for a Friday rush hour commute to the burbs where my dad lives for more family time.

I can’t say I really like Toronto. I’m not a big city guy, but it is fun to visit for a change of pace. :)

Ortlieb 2013 goodness...

Ortlieb 2013 goodness…





Sharon’s first 2012 Commuter Flat…

22 10 2012

Sharon taking off her front wheel to fix a flat…

Sharon got her first flat of 2012 and first flat in well over 12 months. Not bad at all. She’s running Grand Bois Cypres 700 x 30mm tires. These are fast, supple and comfortable tires with no flat protection. The benefit is she gets the maximum benefit from her pedaling effort and a comfortable ride. So far the Grand Bois are getting less flats than her previous tires that had some designed in puncture protection.

Trouble with getting so few flats is Sharon doesn’t get much practice fixing them. So she tackled the repair in my office so I could provide some advice. She only used tools she carries with her on her bike to ensure field repairs would be possible.

Sharon fixing her own bike…

Sharon located the hole in her tube and used that information to narrow down the search for the culprit in her tire. We found some glass that had cut her tire. It didn’t quite go through the casing. We discussed the pros and cons of using this tire vs. replacing it. She had a spare Grand Bois sitting around just for such a circumstance. She decided that since it was a front tire she wouldn’t take any chances and she’d replace it. She kept the old tire and will use it as a rear tire if needed at some point with a patch on the inside. Likely this tire won’t ever see action again as we’ll buy a spare from the Fairfield Bicycle Shop.

Small cut across tread…

It sucks to lose an expensive tire that’s nearly new, but given how little maintenance Sharon’s Surly Cross Check takes to keep working well as her commuter rig this is no big deal.





Sharon Battles the Elements…

18 10 2012

Sharon in the Bike Cave…

When Sharon started commuting to work on a bicycle rainy weather meant she would drive and take a day off the bike. It rarely pours rain here in Victoria, but the winter months do feature some precipitation. A typical rainy day here can best be described as “moist”. It’s definitely wet, but not outrageously so.

When I built up Sharon’s bike I installed full fenders and long mudflaps. I just can’t imagine a utility bike without ‘em. That meant she wasn’t getting wet and dirty from road spray. Sharon has slowly built up a set of clothes to ride to work in. Featuring either synthetic materials or wool they deal with the dampness from a light drizzle and from sweat without issue.

Her latest bikey investment is a blue Gore Bike Wear jacket that’s waterproof & breathable. It has allowed her to comfortably ride in light rain and to survive the occasional heavier deluge she faces on her bike. The practical upshot of this evolution is that Sharon is riding to work in almost any weather now. If we get a few days of snow she’ll skip the bike and if the weather looks ridiculously rainy she’ll skip it, but that still leaves 95% of the days in a year that look bikey to her.

It’s been fun to watch her evolve from a non-rider to a casual social rider to a occasional commuter to a regular commuter and now to Uber Commuter status. :)





Surly Cross Check Dynohub Light…

9 10 2012

B&M IQ Cyo Plus & Shimano dynohub…

Sharon has developed into a kick ass bike commuter riding most days of the week year round here on Vancouver Island. She’s been frustrated with charging batteries non-stop for her winter commutes so I promised to install a dynobhub and headlight on her Surly Cross Check commuter rig as part of her birthday present.

Looks like a serious commuter machine now… ;)

This is the wheel and light from my 700c LHT that I recently sold. They didn’t see a ton of use so they’ll give Sharon many years of faithful service I am sure. She’s going to keep using her battery powered light to double her lumens for really dark rides, but at least now she doesn’t have to stress too much about the battery levels. If they run out she’ll have more than enough light to ride by just from the dynohub light.

IQ Cyo Plus mounted to right fork leg…

We are trying the IQ Cyo Plus R on the right fork leg for now. If Sharon doesn’t love that position we may try mounting it on top of the front wheel at the fork crown. The right fork leg provides and easy path for the wiring which is nice as well as the low angle of light illuminates debris on the road well. The “R” version of this light puts extra light close to the bike idea for slower speed urban commuting where avoiding potholes or broken glass is more important than shooting light as far from the bike as possible.

Shimano dynohub DH-3N80…

Kurt helped me tidy up the wiring at the connect end of the light which was appreciated. The Shimano dynohub is a good deal and the drag isn’t terrible so I assume Sharon will simply use this wheel and light 24/7/365. We’ll keep the old front wheel just in case though.

Nice clean compact lighting setup…

Since we are into October Sharon will be using this light everyday until April so it will get a good test. I know she’s excited to be freed from tyranny of the battery ;)





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.





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!





Bike to Work Week…

18 06 2012

Victoria Bike to Work Week T-shirt…

Victoria’s Bike to Work Week took place in May. Sharon is our household bike commuter and she participated fully. I on the other hand have an across the yard commute I do on foot. I must say I miss my old bike commuting days and look forward to resuming that fun transportation habit one day when I have an office to go to again.

Scott and I at our bike to coffee get together…

Neither Scott nor I have a bike commute yet we wanted to support Bike to Work Week in some small way we decided to ride to a coffee shop downtown.

Scott at work…

Scott is a work-a-holic and is very popular with bike geeks around the world. So needless to say he brought a computer to our rendezvous so he could stay in touch with his biznatch!

Might as well get some stuff done…

Since I was downtown I took care of an errand or two on my Bike Friday Tikit cargo bike…:-)

Sharon our uber bike commuter…





Sharon’s Bike Commuter Update

25 04 2012

Sharon and her Surly Cross Check commuter bicycle...

Sharon’s bike commuting skills have been steadily improving since we moved to Victoria. At first she rode a few days a week. Then she rode every warm dry day. Then she started riding when it was dry and cold. Finally she’s now riding even with some rain in the forecast – which means far more days on the bike.

I’ve been careful not to push her or to say much about her bike commuting other than to give her a high five after she comes home on a particularly gnarly day and help with some bike maintenance.

Ortlieb Downtown - click for info...

Part of the process of riding in more demanding weather conditions and more often in general has been the addition of some new biking gear to Sharon’s quiver. Although I have helped narrow down the options and discussed the pros/cons of each choice she’s been the one to pick what she wants. She’s made some very smart choices such as:

I took the photo at the top of this post yesterday. As you can see Sharon is still rocking her Shower Pass Portland jacket. It’s ideal for days when there is some chance of rain, but it’s not likely to pour. She likes it because it fits well, is comfortable for a wide range of weather conditions at a moderate exertion level. She appreciates that it doesn’t make her look like a traffic cone when she’s riding or has to walk to her office. If the forecast is more on the rainy side she just bought a Gore Bike Wear shell which she uses instead as it’s more appropriate for those conditions.

The Ortlieb Downtown Bag attaches to her bike like a normal pannier, but when you pull it off the pannier frame stays on the bike and you just have a reasonably stylish bag to take with you to your meeting. It’s waterproof which is essential around here and holds enough to be useful for a bike commuter without looking like you are going on an expedition.

Thumbs up for Donkey Boxx...

We are coming up on a year with Sharon using a Donkey Boxx on her bike. It stays on there 24/7 and is her main pannier. She then adds a second soft pannier on the left side of the bike for additional capacity. The Donkey Boxx has survived a serious bike wrecking crash with minimal abrasion marks as well as being generally banged around and bumped over our rough roads. Not only is the Donkey Boxx trucking along just fine, but Sharon really digs it. I took it off her bike after the crash to get repairs done and as soon as it was ready to ride again she wanted the Donkey Boxx reinstalled immediately.

Overall the Surly Cross Check itself has been working great since we repaired it from Sharon’s crash last summer. It’s comfortable, speedy and with fenders and bags can carry Sharon to work with her stuff in most weather conditions. The Nexus 8 IGH means that the only maintenance has been adding some air to the tires and lubing the chain. I think it’s about time that I put the CC in my workstand and give it a once over just to make sure the fenders are tight and nothing needs fixing before the summer. I know she wants new bar tape as she is over the pink and it’s getting pretty grubby looking.

One hassle with this bike is playing the battery game with Sharon’s headlight. For her birthday this year I’ll install a dynohub and B&M light. If I am feeling very motivated I may wire in a tail light as well. That way she should have lights 24/7 without thinking about it which will be nice.

One pedal stroke at a time!





The Kent Peterson Effect…

30 03 2012

My Bike Friday Tikit at MEC...

I was  on my way to a business dinner/seminar thing downtown when I had a flat front tire on my Tikit. Bummer! I pulled out a CO2 canister from my seatpack and got the tire firm again so I could keep rolling and made it to MEC [Mountain Equipment Co-op] which is Canada’s REI. They let me use a repair stand, a floor pump, sold me a patch kit and lent me some pliers to pull out a super tough thorn. They also offered help at least 3 times and when all was said and done let me use their washroom to clean up so I could go to my meeting looking decent. Thanks MEC – you guys rock!

I got to my meeting with time to spare thanks to Kent Peterson. I read Kent’s blog regularly. He got me interested in randonneuring and bikepacking with his tales of LD riding and ultralight touring. However, Kent’s main contribution to my bike lifestyle is simply the no nonsense way he gets on with riding his bike for transportation.

One Kent Meme I have learned from his blog is to factor a flat into every commuter bike ride. That way you always have time to fix the flat and still get to your destination on time. I do this a lot and often plan a quick non-essential stop along my route or near my destination so that I can get some extra things done on the same ride and if a flat happens I just skip the non-essential stop.

In this case I planned to stop at MEC and grab a few items I’ve been needing for a while. So when I got the flat I just re-inflated the tire for the ride to MEC where I could repair it in comfort. I ran into a couple snags with a pathetic tube of glue and a lame patch that didn’t want to stick as well as a thorn that was really really really eager to stay in my tire. By the time I was done I was dirty so I washed up and figured I had to rush to my meeting, but I was pleasantly surprised that I still had time to roll over there at a normal pace which made for a pleasant evening.

That’s the Kent Peterson Effect…=-)





Why I ride…?

23 03 2012

Slowing down to enjoy a sunset is so easy...

Riding a bike to get around has a lot of benefits. I was on my way to a pub this week when I took a few moments to appreciate the beautiful sunset on a bridge over the Gorge Waterway in Victoria, BC.

My trusty Bike Friday Tikit...always a good choice for urban rides...





A-Man Urban Mobility Style…

11 02 2012

Looking good & being mobile!

The Bridgestone Knickerbocker Hombre:

  • Cap – Walz Organic Cotton
  • Jacket – Sombrio Wingman. Stuffs into it’s own pocket, pit vents & large hood
  • Shirt – Thick cotton, made by the Gap, purchased at a used clothing store
  • Undershirt – Sugoi merino base layer (don’t buy one, this one sucks.)
  • Knickers – Ibex commuter wool. Love it, warm & comfy & has been holding up extremely well. Go buy one now & rejoice.
  • Gloves – Knog “Moose Knuckle” winter glove. Leather palms, padded & large terry-cloth sections on thumbs ( left hand for snot, right hand for sweat, don’t mix ‘em up, trust me I know.)
  • Socks – Point6 Merino Wool. Slightly thicker for winter, thin low cuff ones in the summer. Nice & toasty with no funk.
  • Shoes – Timberland, reg. street shoes, nothing fancy.

It's not all about the bike..;-)

If you want to see the whole A-Man photo shoot click here.

Aaron standing up for Folder Power!

Small Wheels Big Smile:

  • Cap – Walz cotton
  • Vest – Gore Bike Wear. Windstopper front w/ mesh back panel. One of the best clothing purchases I’ve ever made. Inconspicuous & rolls up very small. Two front zip pockets.
  • Sweater – Chrome Cobra Merino ( I like wool, can you tell?)
  • Jersey – Adidas polo type. Crazy soft, wicks well & looks pretty dashing.
  • Knickers – Ibex, what can I say? I wear these everywhere.
  • Socks – Point6
  • Shoes – Tsubo Tacoma, reg. street shoes, no cleat bolts (for clipped riding I use either my Specialized TR Elites , Diadora Cayman ( which are well over 10 years old & still going strong), & for mtn. riding on a pair of Shimano AM50s.

A-Man Fast Getaway Styles...

Unrelated music video…

A-man feeling Victorian...

Sensitive Cyclist:

  • Cap – Walz cotton
  • Jacket – Sombrio Habitat
  • Shirt – Billabong Slim fit, cotton
  • Knickers – Swrve Mid-weight , wind & water resistant, cotton.
  • Gloves – Knog again
  • Socks – Still more wool
  • Shoes – Timbers again
  • Beard – All natural

The A-Mansion...

Another audio intermission…

A-Man Code Red...

A-Man Speaks:

“As you can no doubt see, I don’t subscribe to the “pylon” school of cycling dress. Being seen is important and I take measures to ensure a prudent amount of visibility is established. There gets to be a point of redundancy, I believe, where any more puke yellow/green & reflective strips no longer offers proportionate security. Like most I’m a little vain and take pride/satisfaction in my appearance.

Ultimately it’s the ride/destination that determines what I’ll be wearing. If it’s for errands or social calls then I’ll be wearing more incognito type clothing. Weather is the other major decider, I don’t like to be a rain blasted, shivering mass when I finally arrive or a fountain of sweat. My internal furnace tends to run pretty warm so I have to factor that in on longer rides, layers/pieces that are easily adjusted are best to regulate temperature. How the items function can have a great impact on your ability to control your comfort when riding/hiking, snowboarding etc. Is there provisions for ventilation, water resistant & breathable vs. water proof & not breathable, material construction, type of seams/stitching, etc. It can be a fine balance between just right, Franklin-esque frozen, or jungle rot funkiness. Everyone needs to figure this for themselves and it can take a while to get sorted.”

Speed and Beauty...





Commuter Style

24 01 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am all coned up!

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

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





Better than nothing!

14 01 2012

We went mental on the rentals!

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

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





Sharon’s a Commutinator!

30 12 2011

Nearly home...

2011 was Sharon’s first full year as a bike commuter. She started cycling in the rain and dealt with a fairly serious accident caused by another cyclist.   Through all the challenges she kept smiling [mostly] and has remained a dedicated transportation cyclist. Awesome work! Keep the blue Surly a rocking in 2012…=-)





Cyclist killed down the street…=-(

29 11 2011

Click here to read the whole story...

I don’t generally post cyclist accident reports. This one happened in my neighbourhood so I figured I would share it. It happened on a busy road I rarely cycle on, but at an intersection I cross a lot. I use some quieter secondary roads that are parallel to Burnside Rd if I need to head in that direction. It’s definitely a road that needs a bike lane if cyclists are to use it safely. As it stands I’d advise any local cyclists to avoid it when it’s busy at rush hour. Other than stating the obvious – cars/trucks shouldn’t hit cyclists – there isn’t much to say about this accident. The road in question is 4 lanes across and too narrow for bikes and cars to share the right most lanes. In theory vehicles should give cyclists the lane or cyclists should take the whole lane, but it’s so busy at rush hour that in practice that isn’t possible without sparking a road rage fuelled riot. It’s one of those roads that has been designed to kill cyclists unfortunately.

My thoughts go out to the family of the cyclist….=-(





Crazy Canadian Tandem Team…

19 11 2011

Green, but cold!...

It’s getting down below freezing at night in Victoria which combined with the humidity means it feels insanely cold and black ice/frozen bridges are a problem. Naturally when Sharon and I needed to get across town to have dinner at Aaron & Laura’s place last night we took our Bike Friday tandem. Wearing our parkas and lobster gloves we were plenty warm. We slowed down for all bridges as our slick tires don’t deal well with ice. Happily there were no issues.

Sharon getting excited about the gas fireplace...

Aaron & Laura made a lovely dinner which was consumed with a few glasses of wine. Their apartment has both light and heat – something our cottage is lacking in! I was a bit worried Sharon might get too attached to such luxuries…=-)

Laura wondering if there is any pie left...

After several hours of great company in a warm cozy apartment we had to face the daunting task of bundling back up and heading back out into the cold night. I had debated bringing along sleeping bags, but I wasn’t sure how A&L would react…=-) The ride home was chilly, but fun. No black ice to contend with although there was frost on the wooden bridge we have to cross. We were very happy to see our little cottage and throw ourselves into bed!

Thanks to Aaron & Laura for being such wonderful hosts…





Fork me!

6 10 2011

Old left - new right...

I finally got Sharon’s Surly Cross Check commuter rig rolling again. As I installed the new fork I realized the Syncros headset’s lower bearing race was cracked from the collision. I was bummed as the headset cost $90 and was barely worn. I didn’t want to chuck it out. I tried finding a replacement, but no bike shop in town had anything useful. Talking it over with a mechanic I decided to throw everything back together and see what happened. The lower bearing is a sealed cartridge unit so it may work just fine for a long time. When if does fail the steering will get tight and I’ll swap in a new headset. I just told Sharon to let me know if anything changes with how easy it was to turn the bars.





Respro Hump Initial Review

30 09 2011

Hump details...

I received my Hump from Respro in the UK recently. Check out my initial post to get the lay of the land.

Small package - big visibility at night...=-)

Ordering was easy and the Hump arrived within a week with no customs charges or taxes. Shipping was free to Canada/USA.

No flash shot of Hump on my Ortlieb backpack...

The Hump I ordered is their highly reflective model made up of almost entirely reflective material. I love be reflective at night as it doesn’t need batteries and “activates” only when there is a car/bike behind you with their lights on. You never have to worry if it’s working or if you forgot to charge the batteries.

The Hump under flash power...

The Hump is a backpack cover. It has elastic trim and two straps with snap on fasteners at the ends. This makes it easy to install or remove from your backpack even with gloves on. It wouldn’t be easy to access your pack with the cover on so this is better for bike commuters than for folks running errands that require constant access.

My black Ortlieb backpack un-Humped...

You can move the Hump around between any backpacks you own that are ~15L-30L in size. That should work for most cyclists.

The same Ortlieb pack Humped...

The Hump comes in many colours including waterproof varieties and models with built in lights. The one I choose isn’t very bright in daylight which is okay as I am not looking to be a traffic cone, but for those who are there is a a Hump for you!…=-)

The other side of the Hump...

The Hump looks well made and durable. It should last many years. It’s thicker than the rain cover on my Camelbak Transalp backpack for example so it should be able to take some abuse.

Humping is a personal thing. Some choose to ump. Some choose not to Hump. If you do end up Humping send me some photos and a write up of your feelings about it…=-)

Update - Marcus commented and let me know there is a 25L-50L Hump as well…Let’s call it the Mega Hump. Fewer colour choices, but allows those who ride with big packs to Hump as well.Check out page 9 in this Respro Catalogue.





Respro The Hump…

20 09 2011

Respro Hi Viz Backpack Cover...

This is a backpack cover that adds to your visibility when on the road. It attaches to your regular backpack so you can move it around if you use different ones. Never needs batteries plus you can ride around with the word “HUMP” on your back letting the world know exactly where you stand when it comes to gender relations. They are sold in the UK by Respro and the price includes free worldwide shipping – I assume they use the VAT [now at 20%] that non-UKers don’t have to pay to cover shipping costs.

There are many different colour schemes for every taste. I’ve ordered the version shown above and will review it this winter in Victoria. I like the fact I can deploy it when I feel the need for more visibility and then put it away or leave it at home when I don’t feel the need and want to look like a normal human again.





Surly 26″ Wheeled LHT Inital Impressions…

12 08 2011

Time to ride...

Although my 26″ wheeled Surly LHT build project is not finished I’ve done enough wrenching so I wanted to taste the fruits of my labours and see what I thought so far. I’ll just touch on a few topics in this post.

On my way to get some groceries...

26″ wheels and 2.15″ Schwalbe Big Apples

  • big rubber lots well proportioned for the 58cm LHT
  • it rolls well over a variety of surfaces
  • rewards a moderate steady effort, but doesn’t want to ride crazy fast
  • tires are heavy as is rear wheel
I’m enjoying the monster truck vibe of the current wheelset/tires. They aren’t performance orientated, but they do roll just fine at a moderate cruising pace. The beauty is that they just keep rolling and rolling and rolling no matter what get’s in the way. Yesterday I was run off a narrow paved road onto a bumpy dirt shoulder and then slammed into and off of a square concrete curb scoring some air before landing back on the road. On my 700c LHT with 35mm rubber that would have likely resulted in a crash and/or some wheel damage. With 55mm of soft rubber underneath my 26″ wheeled LHT I didn’t even bother touching the brakes as I knew the bike would handle the sudden obstacles without drama. For 5km-15km around town utility/transportation riding missions these wheels are a blast. If I was going to run this setup 24/7 I would invest in a higher uqlaity rear wheel to lose some of the unneeded weight back there. I’d also invest in the liteskin version of the Schwale Big Apple for a faster rolling balloon tire.

Lovely Velo Orange water bottle cages...

650B & Grand Bois Hetres
  • fast and comfy
  • I love this setup on my rando bike
  • would provide a spare wheelset if my primary wheels on my rando bike fail
  • not nearly as plush as 55mm Big Apples, but much faster
I have some 650B Velo Orange rims leaning against my garage wall waiting for some love and a spare set of Grand Bois Hetres 650b x 40mm tires that I could use on them. I love these tires on my rando bike and having a second 650B wheel set in operation means I have a spare should my primary wheels fail before a ride or even to take with me to a big event as a spare emergency set. The downside is the don’t exist yet so I have to spend a far bit of $$$ [new hubs, spokes, wheel build & new brakes+ levers] to make them happen and they won’t be nearly as plush as 55mm tires.
To be honest both options have a lot of merit and maybe in the long run I’ll do both. For now I’ll ride the 26″ wheels I have and give it some more thought. I’m enjoying the monster truck vibe well enough at the moment….=-)

Velo Orange stem mounted bell...

Velo Orange Rando Bars

I’ve really enjoyed the shape of these VO Rando bars. The complex curves all seem to fall to hand very naturally and make my hands happy. I ended up with a fairly narrow set [37cm at the brake levers - 44cm at the flared ends]. I need closer to 42cm at the brake levers so I’m going to have to swap these out for a wider set. VO makes a set that are 48cm at the flared ends which will likely be perfect for me. Speaking of the flared ends it’s nice to be able to have both a narrower position on the hoods/in the drops and a wider more stable position further back towards the ends of the bars. The VO stem and headset mesh well with the bars and the LHT. They provide a classy modern look. No issues with any of these items so far – although it’s early in the game.

Velo Orange Bell & Bottle Cages

I use a similar setup on my rando bike and they are very nice to use. The bell is attractive and stays out of the way until you need it. The sound is pleasant and isn’t overly jaring which makes for friendlier encounters with other bikers and peds. The bottle cages are light and grip a bottle securely even on bumpy roads.

The elusive Acorn Roll Bag...

Acorn Roll Bag

My online buddy Gary helped me score this Acorn Roll Bag [thanks Gary!...=-)] I’ll use it on this LHT and my rando bike depending on what’s going on at the time. The Acorn bag will get a full write up later in the year.

VO elk hide chain stay protector...

VO Chainstay Protector

The VO chainstay protector looks nice on the bike and keeps the chain off the chainstay. I have one on my rando bike as well and so far it’s worked well.

Ortlieb panniers on an OMM Sherpa rear rack...

Ortlieb Bags on OMM Rack

Ortlieb bags and OMM racks are my go to solution for carrying gear on most of my bikes. They’ve served me well for a decade plus. You can’t go wrong with them.

Bike Wrappers...

Bike Wrappers

I put a set of Bike Wrappers on my black 58cm LHT. They fit on the bike without issues although they don’t cover as much real estate on this big frame as they do on Sharon’s Cross Check. Sharon has been complaining about her commuter MTB’s ugliness and since she is forced to ride it until her Cross Check is back in action I think I’ll move these Bike Wrappers to her current commuter to make it a bit easier on the eyes. I haven’t tested the visual safety aspects of this product yet [the dark times they are coming!...=-)], but they do provide an easy and very fast way to change the look of your ride if you want a different feel without committing to the $$$/effort of a repaint.

Might as well get rid of some recycling...

Downtube Friction Shifting

So far the 9 speed drivetrain has worked well. I’m fine with the limited gear range for my utility riding around town. The shifter falls to hand well enough and I like the simplicity of this setup. Using a friction shifter with a cassette designed for indexed shifting isn’t ideal as any offset from a narrow optimal cable position results is ghost shifting under power. I don’t shift like mad so it’s only a minor hassle to tweak each shift to get the right derailleur position. I’m going to keep the shifter on the downtube so in the long run I will either get an indexed downtube shifter or a cassette that isn’t ramped and pinned for index shifting. I’m not in a rush to make a change on this.

VO Crankset

I’m only using the smaller ring of this double crankset. I can manually shift to the larger ring if I need to. Despite a long BB spindle these cranks have a very low Q-factor. I’m not overly sensitive to a variation in Q-factor so this is not terribly important to me. I haven’t noticed any flex in the long BB spindle, but I’m a fairly weak rider so that’s not shocking. Not much to say about these bad boys – I turn my feet, the chain goes round and my Trucker trucks…=-)





The Back Up Plan…

6 08 2011

Not a pretty bike, but it rolls just fine!

While we wait for the replacement Surly Cross Check fork Sharon has been antsy to get back on the bike for her commute. Her old MTB commuter was in rough shape from the winter so our first choice was the Dahon folder I gave her, but sadly the Dahon has a shifting problem that two pro bike mechanics haven’t been able to solve. Aaron is going to give it a final shot, but at the moment riding the Dahon is an exercise in frustration. So I pulled out Sharon’s old commuter and lubed/adjusted everything to the point where it’s a functional bike again. It’s not much to look at, but it works and for now that will have to do!

Time to ride!

Last winter when Sharon got her Cross Check commuter and the 2nd hand Dahon folder she questioned the need for 3 bikes, but I told her you never know when you need a back up. As it turns out 3 was the right number since bikes #1 & #2 aren’t running at the moment. It’s good to have a back up plan!…=-)





Fork it!

29 07 2011

Sharon wants to get rolling again...

So Sharon needs a new fork for her Surly Cross Check. That’s no problem Surly sells replacement forks, but they only come in black. Rather than trying to get a paint match that might or might not work out we were thinking of getting the new fork chromed for a little front end bling. I’ve never gone down that road so if anyone knows a thing or two about the process and any likely problems we should look out for let me know. The other option is to strip her frame down and get the new fork as well as the frame powder coated together.





T-Bone!

27 07 2011

One Grand Bois 700 x 32mm tire + tube toast...

Sharon called me yesterday AM after leaving for work on her bike. I knew that wasn’t good because she never calls me while riding and rarely even when at work [we email and text during the day]. I could tell she’d had an accident by her voice and after making sure she wasn’t badly hurt figured out a spot to meet that I could drive over and collect her broken bike.

That's not the usual bar setup...

We loaded her bike in the back of my truck and I quickly checked that she didn’t need to go to the hospital for treatment. She was banged up and had some road rash, but nothing we couldn’t address at home.

A bit of grindage...

I got the full story on the drive home. Sharon was cruising on the bike path to work. Her speed was likely 14-18kph. When another cyclist T-boned her as he entered the bike path at 90 degrees to traffic flow without slowing down to check for traffic. She barely saw him before she was down on the ground. Our local bike paths see very high traffic at commuting hours and I often have to stop and wait for 10-20 bikes to go by before I can turn onto the path myself. It was a bonehead move that could have seriously hurt someone. As it was Sharon’s bike was unrideable and she spent the day in bed icing her knees and wrists.

More grindage...

Luckily she didn’t sustain any serious injuries. The most painful bits were the areas of road rash that she received through her clothing as she was wearing pants, a jacket and gloves.

The Donkey Boxx got scuffed and saved the bike frame from damage - thanks Donkey!

The bike landed on it’s right side and slide for a bit. Luckily that’s the side with the Donkey Boxx mounted. It wasn’t damaged and it saved Sharon’s Surly Cross Check frame from any paint removal.

Gear Damage:

  • Grand Bois tire $65+ $10 shipping
  • Tube $4
  • Pedal and brake lever scrapped, but serviceable
  • Bar tape scrapped $14
  • Donkey Boxx scuffed, but serviceable
  • Front fender tweaked, but not permanently damaged
  • Shower Pass jacket scuffed and torn in a couple places $40 to repair
  • Pants damaged $75 to replace
  • Gloves damaged $40 to replace
  • Total = ~$250

Beaten up, but not broken!

Of course you can always buy more gear so the main thing is Sharon is doing okay. She stayed home from work yesterday and is going in today, but she’s shuffling around the house gingerly with a variety of spots on her body that are in pain. I was concerned this might put her off bike commuting, but she’s ordered up some new Grand Bois tires and I found something in the garage I can throw on the front of her bike to get her rolling while we wait for the nicer rubber to arrive. I imagine she’ll be off her bike until next Tuesday so she has time to heal a bit.

The sad part about all this is that the guy that hit her didn’t damage his bike and after making sure he didn’t kill her he rode off and got on with his day!…=-(
 





Ortlieb Messenger Bag Pro

19 07 2011

Ortlieb Messenger Bag Pro...

I’ve been using an Ortlieb Velocity waterproof backpack for over 3yrs and love it. You can click on the image above and below to read various reviews I’ve posted over the years about this awesome backpack. It sees daily use and has become one of my mission critical bits of gear that if I ever destroyed or if it was lost/stolen I’d go buy a new one the same day without thinking about it. Even when I bough the Velocity I was keen on it’s much bigger brother the Messenger Pro. I’ve had the Messenger Pro on my wish list all these years, but it’s never climbed my priority list and made the cut to be purchased. Well that was until my birthday this year when Sharon asked me what I wanted and I thought the Messenger Bag Pro was one of those gifts I’d never buy for myself so I suggested it to Sharon who got it for me – thanks!…=-)

Ortlieb Messenger Pro details...

The Messenger Bag Pro is a 30L bag compared to the 20L capacity of the Velocity. It feels more than 1.5 times bigger though. The construction is similar with a very durable waterproof PVC body and welded seams to ensure your stuff stays dry. The Messenger Bag Pro comes with two organizer pockets and a stiffener sheet to keep large documents from getting bent/damaged. One neat feature is a clear window on the back of the bag that you can slide a large piece of paper into to act as a mini-billboard. I haven’t used it yet, but plan to – just for fun!

Ortlieb bag comparison...

I expect the Messenger Bag Pro to be as durable as the Velocity which means there is no point talking about how it is wearing after 3 months! I use the bigger bag about 25% of the time and use the smaller bag 75% of the time. If I could only keep one I’d keep the smaller bag. I like a bag being 50%-75% full most of the time because it carries better than a bag that’s under utilized and flopping around. Having both is a nice luxury so I can grab whichever fits my needs better.





Seal Line E-Case Initial Review

13 07 2011

Seal Line Small E-Case...

I’ve spent a lot of time at outdoor stores checking out their waterproof cases in the hopes of finding something I liked for my iPhone. Until I found the Seal Line E-Case there was nothing I could see myself using. My complaints were generally awkward sized cases, hard to use and couldn’t operate phone while inside case. The iPhone’s smooth finish wants to stick like glue to any rubberized surface making sliding it inside a dry bag next to impossible. I had sort of given up hope until I had a breakthrough idea – leave some paper or slippery plastic in the dry bag so the phone can slide on it. This has two benefits:

  • the iPhone slides in relatively easily
  • the other surface holds it nicely in place once inside.

Robust easy to use waterproof opening...

With the addition of a bit of paper the Seal Line E-Case is easy to operate and allows full use of the iPhone including making and receiving calls.  The case is waterproof to 1m for 30mins. Having said that I don’t suggest trusting any case like this for regular submersion of a $700 device. The waterproof zipper can easily be compromised by dirt or you could fail to use it correctly. My plan is to use the E-Case in rain and for accidental submersion like falling off my SUP. The case has a couple loops so you can tether the phone to yourself or your gear. The screen of the phone is much easier to read than it would seem based on my top photo.

A bit of paper on one side of the case is key!

One additional tip is to cut away a small area of the paper/plastic sliding material you use so that the iPhone’s camera is exposed. If not it will think your hand is covering it while talking and the screen won’t light up during a call. The E-Case is offered in 3 sizes. I’m using the small one for my iPhone and they make an iPhone specific case that is marginally wider and a bit taller. They also make a case specifically for the iPad.

I’ve been using Seal Line dry bags while sea kayaking for over a decade with generally good results. I’m hoping this case provides equally positive results. I will report back in a few months.

 

 

 

 





LHT Repair Kit…

11 07 2011

No more flats for me!

After my recent LHT tire blowout and forced walk to MEC I was motivated to ensure that I always had the tools/supplies needed to fix basic bike problems. So I grabbed a spare seatbag and loaded it up with:

  • patch kit [2 tubes of glue]
  • tire levers
  • multitool
  • 700c presta tube
  • 26″ presta tube

 

I’ll be adding to this kit:
  • tire boot material
  • chain tool
  • spare 9 spd SRAM powerlink

My Surly Long Haul Trucker taking a break on the Gorge Waterway...

Now as long as I remember to grab a pump I should be able to deal with anything that’s likely to happen while out riding my LHT. I don’t use a seatbag on my LHT most of the time because I lock this bike up downtown a lot, but by keeping everything organized in a seatbag it gives me the option of hanging the bag from my saddle or simply dropping it into a pannier.





Bob’s Electric Catrike…

7 07 2011

Bob's triker grin...

Bob has been enjoying his Catrike for the last few years in stock trim, but has been thinking about a electric bike assist kit for it so he can conquer the local hills that are giving him grief. I connected Bob with my friend Ken over at Power in Motion who specializes in all things for electric bikes. Ken had a new kit called the Mega Motion kit that he recommended for Bob’s Catrike e-assist needs. Ken’s shop did the install quickly and Bob’s been very pleased with the result. He’s out and riding more than ever now that he has some help for the steep hills he faces on his rides and he’s excited to explore further afield than he has done in the past when he only had his own leg power to rely on.

Since I’m not an expert on electric bike kits I’ve uploaded a PDF brochure of the Mega Motion Kit that anyone who is interested can download and read for themselves. Ken is an electric bike guru so if you have any e-bike needs [e-Tikit, e-cargo bike, e-commuter bike, etc...] don’t hesitate to call or email him at Power in Motion.





Blow Out!

2 07 2011

My LHT doesn't work well like this!

I was on my way to meet up with Aaron for a ride when my front tire blew out. I’m not sure if it was a poorly seated bead or if the tube had a problem, but either way I heard a gun shot and realized my front tire had no air. I kept her rolling in a straight line and braked with the rear managing to stop while in the upright position…=-) My Surly LHT continues to be nice to me.

These shoes are made for walking...

Before I left the house I threw a pump, levers and a patch kit into my pannier. I couldn’t put my hand onto a spare tube of the right size, but I figured what are the chances I’d have a flat I couldn’t patch?…=-) I’m glad I was wearing some 5.10 mountain bike shoes since they are easy to walk in.

MEC had some tubes for me...

I walked over to MEC.ca which took about 15mins of awkward half carrying my LHT. I rolled her into the bike section and bought two tubes. I wasn’t leaving without a spare tube this time! Fixing the front tube wasn’t a big deal once I had a tube without an 8″ tear in it…=-)

Aaron waited patiently for me at the Mohka House...

I had called Aaron so he knew why I was MIA and he waited for me at the Mohka House.

Kiteboarding action...

We rode along the water in some crazy strong winds. I requested a stop on Dallas Rd so I could watch the kiteboarders doing their thing. It may be hard to see in the photo above, but there are 6-7 kiters and a few windsurfers in the water having fun.

A pint at the Penny Farthing...

We spun around in the storm until the gusty winds pushed us past the Penny Farthing Pub where we stopped for a pint. I managed to limit my beer intake to a single pint and then fought the wind all the way home. As long as I don’t have any major performance goals to achieve I kind of like riding in a wind storm. It makes an easy cruise around town feel epic!…=-)





Surly Cross Check Nexus 8 Shifter Update

29 06 2011

Sharon checking out the new control setup...

Sharon has really been enjoying the Titec H-bars on her Surly Cross Check daily commuter. The only point of dissatisfaction was the Nexus 8 twist-shifter took up too much room on the bar necessitating a hacked Ergon Grip that was too short to be comfortable. The solution was either a Jeff Jones Loop H-bar [with a longer grip area] for $120+ shipping or a Alfine 8 speed trigger shifter for ~$50. In the interests of cost we went with the later.

The problem is that hacked right Ergon Grip...

The comfort issue is pretty obvious looking at the photo above.

The new setup with Alfine 8 trigger shifter and a decent sized Ergon Grip...

Swapping out the Nexus 8 twist shifter was a breeze. I love how easy the Shimano IGHs are to work on…=-) I still had to hack a small bit off a stock Ergon Grip to make it fit, but this time that left a reasonable amount of hand space on the grip and a smooth transition to the controls.

Sharon tries the new grip/control setup...

Sharon’s initial reaction was positive to the new configuration. I’ll let her commute on it a few days and then we’ll tweak the position of the components as needed.

The blue beast ready for more commuter action...

Since I had the bike in my work stand I took the opportunity to check the brakes, chain tension and fenders. I lubed the chain and added some air to the rear tire. Because of the IGH and quality parts this bike sees daily use and doesn’t need much maintenance.

Sharon is really enjoying the Donkey Boxx and it’s performed solidly for her. She gets lots of positive comments on it and questions about how she built it…lol…she has to let people know it’s a manufactured product not a DIY project.

Sharon hearts her Bike Wrappers...

We have so much daylight at the moment in Canada that Sharon hasn’t had a chance to use the reflective side of her Bike Wrappers yet. However, she’s digging the heart print on the “fashion” side and would be happy with them even if they didn’t have a reflective option underneath.





Bike Wrapper Pre-view

9 06 2011

Sharon Surly Cross Check Bike Wrapped!

Bike Wrappers are a set of 3 velcro attached cloth sleeves for your bike’s frame. They have two sides: fashion [shown above] and reflective silver. The fashion side dresses up your bike and also protects the frame from leaning up against poles, bike racks or walls. The reflective side offers some extra visibility when you are out at night.

Hearts...

Switching between the fashion and the reflective sides takes a few seconds. You can also swap a set of Bike Wrappers between two different bikes very quickly.

Naked Cross Check at night...

Bike Wrappers are well made and pretty snazzy in fashion mode, but do they add a lot of visibility to your bike at night?

Bike Wrappers fashion mode at night...

I’ll be away a fair bit for the next couple weeks so I didn’t have time for any elaborate testing. I just setup the bike in my yard and shoot some flash photos from various angles to get an idea of what the bike would look like at night.

Reflective side of Bike Wrappers on frame...

So far the results are promising. You definitely get some addition pop from the Bike Wrappers when the reflective side is installed and you hit it with some light.

Fashion side installed from rear at an angle...

In general I don’t think having reflectors on the side of your bike is that useful because by the time they are in a car’s headlights you are either about to be hit or you are fine.

Reflective side out from an angle to the rear...

So I tried some shots from the rear at an angle and then from almost directly behind the bike.

Fashion side out from almost directly to the rear...

I didn’t bother from to shoot any photos from directly behind the bike as the Bike Wrappers wouldn’t be visible and the bike’s rear reflectors would cover that angle of approach well.

Almost directly from the rear with reflective side out...

In all these test the Bike Wrappers add significantly to your night time visibility when installed with the reflective side out, but of course there was no rider on the bike to obscure the Bike Wrappers. I suspect the rider’s body/legs will generate a strobe effect as the bike moves through a driver’s line of sight.

When I get back from my travels I’ll setup a more realistic experiment with my F150 and a video camera where I ride past the F150 and we’ll see how effective the Bike Wrappers are in that test.

Looking good...=-)

For now Sharon is pretty stoked about her jazzed up Cross Check and she’ll be using her Bike Wrappers on her daily commute to test how they stand up to regular use. I’ve got a set of more manly black/white/silver Bike Wrappers I’ll install on my 26″ Surly LHT build. We’ll provide some additional review comments later in the summer.