Bronson Play…

7 06 2013




Santa Cruz Solo…

2 06 2013

125mm travel FS VPP 650B goodness… ;)





Continental Trail King Tires Review and Renew…

27 05 2013
Fresh rubber...

Fresh rubber…

I love my Continental Trail King tires. I’ve used my first pair for over a year and had zero flats, burps or other issues. Just great traction and reliable performance.

So when I started to uncharacteristically spin my tire on steeper looser climbs I checked my rear tire and it was worn badly. Time for new rubber.

The new tires say Rubber Queen on them because that’s what Trail Kings are called in Europe. Different name, but same tire. I bought the UST version again. They are heavy, but I love the traction and how great they are to setup tubeless. I chose the 2.4″ size a second time because I love how the large diameter tire rolls over roots and rocks. Skinny tires aren’t faster if you get hung up in every tech section.

I’ve heard some good things about the Schwalbe Hans Damf tire, but I figure why mess with success?

I really can’t say one bad thing about these tires. I hope Continental makes a 650B version when I get a new mountain bike.

She's hefty...

She’s hefty…

I kept the old front tire as a spare...

I kept the old front tire as a spare…

The rear was toast...

The rear was toast…

The Stans sealant in the tires had dried up...

The Stans sealant in the tires had dried up…

Letting the tires seal...

Letting the tires seal…

I used CO2 to seat the tires...

I used CO2 to seat the tires…

My Nomad waiting for the new rubber...

My Nomad waiting for the new rubber…

No more slipping on climbs...

No more slipping on climbs…

Ready to ride...

Ready to ride…

Time to shred the new tires for another year...

Time to shred the new tires for another year…





Santa Cruz Bronson – Don’t Feed the Trolls!

1 05 2013

If you want to experience some anti-650B Trollism – just head over to the MTBR.com Santa Cruz forum and settle into a Bronson thread with a beer. ;)





Sedona Sunset…

22 04 2013
Enjoying a late ride...

Enjoying a late ride…





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…





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! ;)





OTB Bitch!

28 02 2013
Roll down...

Roll down…

Sadly I wasn’t wearing a GoPro when I went over the bars on my mountain bike. I’m sure it would have provided some comical viewing.

Getting used to the red rocket...

Getting used to the red rocket…

I’m happy to report that the bike is fine! :)

Back in the forest...

Back in the forest…

I’m fine except for a tweaked right wrist. Nothing broken or too badly sprained, but I won’t be shredding for a week or so. :(

She didn't stay clean for long...

She didn’t stay clean for long…

I was at a hockey game last night with some local mountain bikers and the laundry list of injuries [broken wrists, blown up knees, severe tendonitis, sprained hands/wrists, etc...] made me feel like less of a klutz.

Little did I know of my impending doom!

Little did I know of my impending doom!

After riding in Baja for 2 months of blessed traction I guess I had to be reminded that traction in the BC rain forest in winter is a luxury you can’t take for granted!





New Santa Cruz Bike 1 April 2013!

20 02 2013
My guess 650B Nomad! :)

My guess 650B Nomad! :)





The making of a KS Lev seatpost….

14 02 2013
lev

Photo: Matt Wragg via Pink Bike…

I love my height adjustable seatposts. They are one of the best upgrades to any mountain bike that gets ridden on technical terrain. At least that’s my opinion! I can’t imagine going back to a non-adjustable seatpost on my MTBs. The Kind Shock seatpost on my Nomad has been going strong for a couple years now. I ran into this article over at Pink Bike that walks you through how they are made. If that sort of thing is of interest click the image above.

Ksi900r adjustable seat post...

My Nomad’s Ksi900r adjustable seat post…





Santa Cruz Bikes 5yr Warranty…

27 01 2013
Click to jump to warranty info page...

Click to jump to warranty info page…

Santa Cruz Bikes has increased their frame warranty to 5yrs from 2yrs on all their bikes and as I understand it this will be applied retroactively to any bikes sold within the last 5yrs. That means my Nomad is back under warranty should anything go wrong until Feb 2014. Sweet! Santa Cruz also has a Lifetime Bearing Warranty and a Lifetime No-Fault Replacement Program to help out owners in situations not covered by their warranty.

All in all it’s a pretty nice post sale support framework which is nice when you drop $5K for a bike and plan to ride it a long time. :)

From the Santa Cruz website here is their warranty info……

Five Year Frame Warranty

Santa Cruz Bicycles will repair or replace at its option any frame it determines to be defective. The warranty will be in effect for five years from the date of sale and applies to the original owner. This warranty does not cover custom finishes.

Lifetime Bearing Warranty 

Santa Cruz Bicycles frame bearings are warranted for life to the original owner of the bike. The return process is simple: send your used bearings back to Santa Cruz Bicycles in an envelope marked “Warranty Bearing Replacement”, and be sure to include your return address. We’ll turn your package around within 48 hours, and cover the shipping back to you. That’s it!

No-Fault Replacement

Santa Cruz Bicycles will make replacement parts available to the original owner at a minimal charge in the event of a crash or other non-warranty situation for the life of the bike.





Thumbs Up for Partridge Hills…

23 10 2012

The colours of a Vancouver Island Fall…

I nearly ripped my thumb off in a freak mountain bike accident two weeks ago and had to stay off the bike to let it heal. Although it wasn’t 100% I decided it was time to get rolling again so we headed to Partridge Hills to see how the trails were dealing with our first rains of the winter season.

Sharon on top of it…

In the past we have joked about how lost we always get in the complex trail network here, but I’ve finally found a mapping solution that shows the trails and keeps us on track. I’ll post about it tomorrow.

Mike and Sabrina…

We ran into Mike and Sabrina on the trails. Mike passed on a tip on a new trail he found which was cool. We ended up riding it backwards so we climbed what could be a fun technical downhill. Next time we’ll ride it the opposite way and then link up to some other trails to make a loop back to the parking lot.

Turning over some new leaves…

All the leaves that have fallen definitely make for beautiful riding, but route finding on some of the less used trails was a bit of a challenge.

Sharon having fun…

My thumb protested a few times and there was some pain going on, but later that day it actually felt better than before the ride so I made the right call. Resting an injury is smart, but joints tighten up if you don’t use them so injury recovery needs a balance of rest and rehabilitation. I can assure you I didn’t trying anything more gnarly than staying on the trail and pedaling my bike.

On top of Cole Hill…

This photo was taken on The Greater Good a new trail [we found thanks to Mike] that climbs up and over Cole Hill.

Yeah for trail markings…

It’s nice to see some of the trails at Partridge Hills get marked semi-officially.

Tight squeeze in the trees…

All in all it was a nice day to be in the forest riding our bikes and neither of us fell of our bikes!… :)

BTW – for any locals the trails are in perfect shape. No standing water, no mud and lots of leaves to shred!





4 Flats – 1 Ride!

29 08 2012

The walk of shame…

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

Taking the tire off the rear wheel…

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

Time to get out patch on…

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

Inspecting the bike…

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

Mo’ flats!

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

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





Nomad Bling…

22 08 2012

A little more bling…

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

Red and white…

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

I love my Ergon Grips…

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

The “Before”…





Stay on top of the maintenance!

9 07 2012

Not good!

My Santa Cruz Nomad normally shifts like a champ so I was a bit surprised when it started grinding gears on my last ride. stopping for a second to check the rear derailleur I was a bit horrified to see the far end of cable housing was heavily mangled. I had a pretty gnarly crash a few weeks ago and I guess never paid attention to the full extent of the damage. I was able to tweak the shifting back into line and finish my ride, but I could just as easily been stuck a long walk from the car with a bike that wouldn’t shift.

Fresh cable and housing….

Mountain bikes live a hard life so it’s important to take the time to inspect your ride as often as you can. Especially if you ride someplace where you can be several hours walk from help if your bike self destructs! I installed a new cable and new housing before the next ride. It was a bit sad I couldn’t find a reason to use any Shoe Goo though… ;)

Double red…

My Nomad is aging well, but even though it hasn’t required very much in the way of repairs or maintenance the older it gets the more likely something will fail unexpectedly. Before I take off for any long MTB road trips a thorough inspection will be a smart idea to deal with any problems at home where it’s as easy as possible.





Kurt goes tubeless…

6 07 2012

We don’t need no stinking tubes…

We converted Kurt’s Santa Cruz Nomad to tubeless recently. He seems to suffer considerably more flats than I do so he’ll hopefully benefit from the switch significantly. We used Stan’s yellow tape  and Stan’s valve stems with some environmentally friendly Blue Seal tubeless tire sealant we are testing out. Kurt’s Chunder Control tires are tubeless ready, but his Mavic rims are not made for a tubeless tire. Regardless setting them up was reasonably painless with the use of a CO2 cartridge to get the bead to seal [floor pump didn't work and I don't have a compressor]. So far they are holding air pretty well. I’ll be posting a tubeless update at the end of the summarizing all of our experiences running mountain bikes without tubes. Thus far I have no regrets!





Fighting Murphy’s Law…

5 07 2012

Mostly my bike works great!

I don’t suffer mechanicals very often on rides. For that I am eternally grateful to the Bike Gods. However, it seems that the vast majority of the times when I do have a problem I have left the necessary tools/spares at home. This would serve me right except for the fact I carry tools/spares almost all the time so the fact the problems happen only on the rare occasions when I don’t have the stuff I need to fix things seems perverse!

Frame mounted repair kit…

Case in point. I typically carry a pump and full set of tools + patch kit and spare tube on my Santa Cruz Nomad. Since I ride my Scandal 29er and Surly Pugsley as well I have a second set of tools, pump and patch kit/tube in my hydration pack. Scott usually carries a full set of tools, pump and patch kit/tube as well. So on a given ride it’s not unusual for us to have 3 complete sets of emergency repair equipment for 2 bikes.

Where are the tools?

Last week Scott had front tire problems that required a spare tube and a patch kit or a second spare tube. We were a bit horrified to realize that I had taken off my bike mounted Porcelain Rocket frame bag when I took the bike in to have the fork serviced and moved my second set of emergency repair items to another hydration pack. No problem we’ll just use Scott’s stuff! Yikes – Scott also managed to come on the ride without his tools/pump.

This repair kit is back on my Nomad…

We were only saved from a walk out by Tom’s pump and patch kit. Luckily we had a guest from Australia on the ride who brought some repair gear all the way to Victoria!

My 2nd backpack repair kit…

In reaction to the recent incident I’ve reattached the Porcelain Rocket frame bag to my Nomad and put together another tool kit so each hydration pack has one. In theory this means we can never be without tools/spares on a MTB ride again – right? Sadly Murphy always finds a way to make it happen! I do think we are probably good for the rest of the summer though. Until I go to service the bike in the fall and pull the frame bag and maybe I need to get a repair done on my hyrdation pack and forget to reload it with tools… ;)





Pop!

3 07 2012

Bright colours make for vibrant photos in the trees…

Taking nice mountain bike photos in BC’s gloomy rainforest can be a challenge.

A little red sure helps…

One thing that can really help and doesn’t cost a lot of money is having riders wear bright coloured clothing.

A bright bike doesn’t hurt either…

A brightly coloured bike doesn’t hurt either. Obviously you can’t readily change the colour of your ride just for a photo shoot, but if you live somewhere that’s dark and want to take photos on rides it does make sense to keep this in mind when the time comes for a new bike or a new paint job is in the works.

Our bikes are easy to spot in the forest…

We got lucky as both our bikes are pretty brightly coloured even though back in Calgary this aspect wasn’t nearly as important for taking MTB photos.

White is right!

Compared to Scott’s black Jones my Nomad shows up much better in the forest. I also wear a white helmet and white gloves to improve my visibility.

Spot Sharon….

Sharon’s colourful top and pink grips pop in this photo.

Sharon trying to stick to the high ground…

If you do have a dark bike you can help it pop with contrasting accessories like grips, cable housing, rims, fork, bars, etc…

Sharon happy to pop!

When Sharon saw this jersey at a shop she wasn’t sure she’d like it. I don’t normally get involved in clothing advice issues [I'm too smart for that!], but I did mention that it would show up nicely in photos. Once she saw some photos of herself in the jersey she was stoked to have bought it since it really brightens up each frame.

Even a bit of colour helps…

Aaron isn’t into wearing hot pink, but even the small detail of some red trim on his shirt really does help make him stand out in the photo above.

Kurt knows the score…

Kurt was smart about this subject before I even clued in how important it was. I came to realize his MTB photos always turned out better than mine and finally it occurred to me he wore a lot of bright colour coordinated clothing when he rides.

Maybe I went a bit too far?….;)

Now if you are thinking mountain biking is supposed to be about riding the bike not some sort of fashion show in the forest I don’t blame you. We spend a lot of time snapping photos on our rides. It’s just what we do and it’s not something essential. In fact it gets in the way of the riding to some extent, but we often have experts, intermediates and beginners on the same ride so stopping to session a tech section and photograph it gives the hardcore folks more riding time while the newbies can rejoin the group and catch their breathe. It also allows the less skilled riders to see what the hot shots are doing and try some stuff they’d skip if they were already 5 minutes behind the group.

Bright colours are helpful even when you can see the sun…

The BC rainforest makes bright colours really important, but even in the desert where there is a ton of light wearing bright contrasting colours still helps the subject pop in a photo.

Moab…





Santa Cruz Nomad Porn…

2 07 2012

Freshly overhauled Fox Float 36…

She looks clean from this distance…

Continental Trails King 2.4″ tires setup tubeless…

Fox DHX Air 5.0 freshly rebuilt last fall…

I’m thinking about an upgrade to a low stack headset next year to steepen the HT angle…

DT Swiss EX 5.1D wheels…

Some red cable housing bling…

Dropper post remote + SRAM controls + Ergon Grips…

Selle Anatomica saddle + 5″ Kind Shock dropper seatpost…

NRG Slabalanche pedals have taken a beating…

Shimano SLX crankset…

Using up pretty much all the tire clearance…

SRAM derailleur and chain…

Avid Elixr CR hydraulic brakes…





Heckler Time!

30 06 2012

…framing the action

Apparently we didn’t scare Sean and Deanna off of mountain biking on the South Shore of Vancouver Island. They decided they’d come back for more dirt hijinx.

Sean taking a good line on Ruffles…

We covered a lot of the same terrain as last ride so they would have a chance to work on stuff they’d seen before and “figure out” typical tech moves that crop up repeatedly at Hartland.

Deanna on the move…

Their Hecklers are a bit more XC oriented than our Nomads, but they are capable bikes and well suited to local riding conditions.

Sharon starts up a climb…

Their bikes have steeper head tube angles and lower front ends than ours which makes for easier climbing, but it also makes steep drops more challenging. Especially without height adjustable dropper seatposts.

Bouncing down the trail…

It’s great to have a larger group out on a ride. You end up waiting around more, but that gives you time to chat and hang out with your friends.

Sharon’s turn to roll on in…

Sharon’s enjoying the pay off from so much time spent learning her MTB skills as she isn’t at the back of the pack any more and she can offer up some tips to others.

Sean on the edge…

Sean comes from a rugby and karate background. His style is to throw himself at the trail repeatedly and see who is tougher. This approach has been surprisingly effective, but has also resulted in some spectacular crashes. I gave him some body armour I wasn’t using for future rides as I suspect otherwise his MTB career could be really intense, but really short!

Deanna checking things out…

Deanna is a lot more cautious and she’s rebuilding her MTB skills at a measured pace. It’s going to take her longer to master the challenges of our local trails, but she’ll get there soon enough and won’t have to visit the hospital during the learning process!

Fun in the forest…

We are continuing to get the riding position and the suspension setup tweaked optimally for their Hecklers. I’ve learned with my Nomad how important it is to continually adjust and evaluate your bike’s setup. Small changes can result in big improvements. Plus you get to understand your bike better.

In the groove…





Lost & Found!

28 06 2012

That little silver retaining collar at the far end of the shock is really important!

When Deanna and Sean came out of a ride this past Sunday the silver collar at the front of Sean’s shock jumped ship leaving the spring grinding away against his frame. That’s not a good thing obviously.

Come out, come out – wherever you are!

The shock is from ~1998 so finding a replacement part could be a challenge. We decided it would be best to go back to Hartland and search for it Monday before the trails had seen much traffic.

I spent a lot of time looking down…

We spent over an hour doing a detailed search of the section of Little Face Trail where we noticed the part was missing. Our rationale was that it must have come of within a few hundred metres of that spot.

Still looking…

Eventually we gave up looking and decided to go for a short ride since we were at Hartland anyways. I figured there was a slight chance it had fallen off on the first trail we rode on Sunday, but that was 20 mins earlier before we noticed it was missing so that seemed like a long shot. We decided we’d hit that trail right before we went back to the car.

There’s my baby!

Sure enough at the first corner of that initial trail from Sunday the collar was sitting on some moss waiting for us.

No longer MIA…

I love it when a plan comes together… :)

Glad the Heckler is back in business.. :)





A herd of Santa Cruz bikes….

26 06 2012

Sean and Deanna…

My friends Sean and Deanna both ride Santa Cruz Hecklers. I helped buy the older Heckler in 1998 and then refurbished it a few years ago. When they were looking at buy another Heckler I gave their newer Heckler a once over before it was purchased off Craig’s List.

New and old Santa Cruz Hecklers…

So I’m sort of godfather to their Santa Cruz bikes… ;)

Sharon, Deanna & Sean…

I noticed their bikes weren’t getting dirty so I employed some constructive peer pressure to get them out to Hartland Mountain Bike Park for a rip.

Sharon leads the pack…

Since I wanted them to come back for a second ride we plotted out the easiest loop we could that still covered some ground and gave them a taste of the riding at Hartland.

Deanna sessioning some rocks…

Even with an uber slow pace, lots of stops to check out/try tech sections and some instructional tidbits we still managed to break one of their bikes and crash a few times – one crash was a helmet wrecker! Riding on the South Shore of Vancouver Island is really not easy!

Sharon providing some tips of how to shred the gnar…

Sharon did a great job cleaning almost everything and showing off how well her skills have developed in the last year or so. I think it was a real morale boost for her to see folks who were struggling to get over tech sections she can easily do now – not to laugh at their crashes, but to gauge the improvement in her own skills.

Rockstar!

I blew one steep rooty/rocky climb only to have Sharon come barreling past me and make it to the top for the first time ever. She did a victory dance worthy of a NFL Super Bowl touchdown… ;) Her time with the Dirt Girlz MTB Club is paying off.

Sean tries the rocks…

We got everyone back to the cars mostly in one piece and mostly smiling.

Deana & Sean post ride…

I guess we’ll know that we did a good job of being mountain bike guides if we can get them to come out with us a second time… ;)





RIP – Santa Cruz Nickel & Butcher…

2 06 2012

Santa Cruz Nickel…

Word on the street is that Santa Cruz is going to stop selling their two APP bikes the Nickel and Butcher this year. Although the APP bikes have been well received by reviewers it seems that Santa Cruz couldn’t find a clear message of how these bikes fit into their line up between classics like the Heckler, Nomad and Blurr. The APP bikes were priced less than the top shelf VPP offers, but not as low as the single pivot Santa Cruz bikes. It was probably hard to sell these bikes to price conscious riders who could save quite a bit more going with a bike like the Heckler which has a long standing reputation in the mountain bike world. At the other end of the spectrum folks with some money to spend would be tempted to spend a few extra $$ to get the legendary VPP performance of a bike like the Nomad.

Santa Cruz Butcher…

At another company the APP bikes may have flourished, but with such a strong line up and established lower priced bikes such as the Heckler they just didn’t find their place. Ultimately the reality of selling mountain bikes is you need more than a great bike for success. You need a great story and a clear message that prospective buyers can digest in a few minutes.

With 650B bikes likely around the corner for the mountain bike industry Santa Cruz needed to simplify their product line up to make room for the confusion that’s going to reign with 3 different mountain bike wheel sizes!





New pads for my Nomad…

20 05 2012

Old and new…

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

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





Dirt Girl…

17 05 2012

Sharon ready to roll…

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

Enjoying some sunshine…

Trying the other way…

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

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

Practice makes perfect…

One last drop for good measure…

Incredibly dry trails!

Lovely views…

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

Thank you summer sunshine…

The green room….

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

Made in the shade…





Working it…

14 05 2012

Cranking up a rocky step…

Sharon on the same rocky section…

Around the corner…

Lazy on the move…

I was hanging from a tree to get this shot…

Whoa!

Sharon grinds the slab…

Another fun drop…

Creek crossing…

Lazy…

Hunting for gnar…

Using the Dark Side of the Force…

Cruising…

Log ride…





Bro Session…

10 05 2012

A-Man at the start of Shock Treatment…

Man and dog…

Scott leading the pack…

Lazy up and over…

A-Man tackles the infamous HUMP of doom…

Scott HUMPing…

Grooving in the woods…

Geeking out…

Got Jones?

The Nomad…

Snacking…

Fun times in the trees…

Wall to…

….Wall





Sharon turning the cranks…

7 05 2012

Sharon in the forest…

Practicing the roll in…

Getting wet…

Looks steeper from the saddle…

Using the 24″ gear…

Trail architecture…

Proof I was along on the ride…

Rooty!

A well earned rest…

Heading for the car…

One last grind…





Tubeless Tire Update…

4 05 2012

Dave @ Sedon Fat Tire Bike Shop setting up my bike tubeless…

Both my Santa Cruz Nomad and my On One Scandal mountain bikes are running tubeless setups now. So far so good. Both are working well and I like the feel of the tires at lower pressures without fear of pinch flats. Tubeless tires are supposed to roll faster and provide better “feel” than the same time with a tube inside. I can’t confirm or deny that aspect. They certainly don’t roll any slower!

Tubless Racing Ralph on my Scandal…

Installation on both bikes was simple and there have been no hassles keeping them rolling along. For my mountain bikes I can’t see any reason to go back to tubes. I want to run tubeless on my Pugsley as it would save a lot of weight per wheel given the heavy tubes it uses. I’m even thinking of converting Sharon’s commuter bike to tubeless when the tires wear out next.