Canada = Gold!

28 02 2010

2010 Winter Games Olympic Gold Medal

Canada made history earning 14 gold medals at the 2010 Winter Games – the most in Olympic history!  Great work – congrats to the men’s and women’s athletes that worked so hard for this achievement.  Most of them are under paid and under appreciated amateurs who toil away in obscurity for all but 2 weeks every 4 years.

Well we appreciate you and all your efforts – enjoy the moment…Canada is proud of you!…=-)

Plotting March Boarding Adventures…

27 02 2010

Sharon surfs the Kicking Horse Resort site...

Snowboard Boots – Packing Down

27 02 2010

Snug boots = good control...

Loose boots are not fun when snowboarding.  Having a snug fit without being overly tight is essential for good control and it saves you having to tighten your bindings like crazy which is not comfortable at all.  Even if you manage to buy the perfect boot you’ll notice that over time it’s starting to feel a bit loose.  That’s normal and is just the liner packing down from being compressed under you.  The heavier you are, the more you ride and the more aggressively you ride the sooner you notice a change.

Once you do you have two choices:

  1. wear thicker or more socks to take up the extra space.
  2. insert an extra insole under the existing one to take up the extra space.

When I first bought my Burton Mission snowboard boots they fit great with just the orthopedic insoles [blue insoles above] I like to use in all my footwear so I pulled the stock Burton insoles [gray insoles above] and put it away.  Now that my boot has packed down a bit it’s time to put them in under my orthopedic insoles.

I could switch to thicker socks or add a thinner sock to my usual sock, but I like riding in a single sock and I have lots of them so I don’t want to invest in some thicker ones.

I was talking to a snowboard instructor at Castle Mountain who is out in his boots everyday of the season…he mentioned by the end of the year he’ll have 8-9 extra insoles in his boots…yikes!  That’s a lot of riding…=-)

Folders in Victoria BC

26 02 2010

Sharon on the move in Victoria BC...

I’m in Victoria BC for a few days.  My friend who is staying here has wisely brought two Brompton folding bicycles with her.  Naturally Sharon and I got out on them as quickly as we could for some exploring.  It took me 5 minutes to figure out how to unfold each bike, but once we got them on the road it was well worth the effort.

Lovely waterfront view...

We cruised along the waterfront in the Oak Bay area just enjoying the mild temperatures and lovely views. It was nice to see so much in the way of bicycle infrastructure.  Clearly pedestrians and cyclists are a priority in this town.

Sharon ready to roll....

I was really happy to have a bike to ride, but a day of riding a Brompton has certainly made me appreciate how great my Bike Friday Tikit is.  The Tikit rides much better, folds much more nicely and feels like a real bike.  The Brompton definitely folds smaller than my Tikit, but it’s a hassle to fold/unfold and always lets you know you are riding a folder.

....another amazing view

We dropped by Oak Bay Cycles to grab a cycling map of Victoria and chat with the staff.  Like everyone we’ve met in Victoria they were super friendly and really stoked about the city.  We left with some fun cycling ideas and headed to an English tea house for a warm cup of tea.

Mandatory helmet law in BC...*sigh*

I don’t love the mandatory helmet law for cyclists in BC, but at least the obvious priority cyclists get in the traffic planning here makes me feel like it’s worth doing what the authorities want if they’ll do lots of great stuff for cyclists.  Happily there was a stylie Bern helmet in my size available.

Fun with folders...

So far I’ve really been stoked to see so many cyclists, the respect cyclists get from drivers, fenders on all the bikes and people of all ages riding bikes for transportation. Victoria gets two thumbs up from a cycling perspective.

Water Porn!

We’ve got the weekend to explore some more and enjoy spring in BC before heading back to Calgary.  Hopefully we’ll return to some snow and great snowboarding….*fingers crossed*

Spring has sprung!

Croc Beach Review

26 02 2010

Crocs so ugly you gotta love 'em...

In the spirit of Croc simplicity I’m going provide a stripped down review!

  • used ’em for 3yrs
  • ugly, but lovable
  • cheap-ish
  • last about 1yr regular use till tread is gone
  • floats
  • comfortable even for my problem feet
  • easy to slip on and off
  • very light, bulky
  • feet breathe well
  • usually have a pair with me on a trip
  • several styles for different foot shapes [I heart the Beach]

My Crocs in Baja...

Bern on sale at MEC

25 02 2010

Bern Brentwood

FYI – Men’s Bern helmets are currently on sale at the Calgary MEC [I assume other stores as well, but not online] Brentwood and Watts models ~$49-$59. Sorry ladies yours seem to still be at full price ~$80.

MEC Nanu Gloves

24 02 2010

MEC Nanu Bike Gloves

I use these MEC Nanu gloves mostly when I’m winter biking on my Pugsley.

Things I like about ’em:

  • they are warm [worn them at -37 deg C while biking hard for more than 1hr]
  • they fit well
  • they are water resistant enough for anything, but rain
  • the lobster design lets you work the bike controls just fine
  • they’ve got a fleece “snot pad” on each thumb!
  • they are reasonably priced
  • MEC has an awesome return policy and excellent customer service

What I don’t like:

  • they are wearing out prematurely at the base of each thumb even though the rest of the glove is in perfect shape

I’m going to keep using them until they are totally wrecked, but instead of getting 4-8 years of winter use that the bulk of the glove could handle they’ll be toast by the spring after essentially one season of use [half of the last two winters].  I’m hoping that MEC extends the leather palm reinforcing patch out a bit more to cover the base of the palm where mine wore through. If they do this I would highly recommend this product and would buy another pair.

In fairness I should note that riders with different sized hands and/or different handle bar/control setup might not experience the same issues I have.  I’m using a Titec H-bar with Ergon grips and an Alfine trigger shifter on my Pugsley.

Thorn Nomad Mk1 Cockpit Mods

22 02 2010

Rohloff shifter and modified Ergon Grip

I’ve been trying out my Rohloff shifter mounted to a Thorn Accessory Bar and didn’t love it – details here.  It’s taken me a while, but I’ve gotten around to moving the shifter to my Titec H-bars.  Since the Titec H-bar is a little short on space I’ve had to cut down the right Ergon Grip to fit.  This is the same setup as I use on my Surly Big Dummy.  I’m going to really enjoy having much easier access to this shifter.  I don’t shift a lot compared to some people, but having to take my hand off the bars and hunt down the Rohloff shifter was not much fun at all.

Dual Thorn Accessory Bars

I no longer need the second smaller Thorn Accessory Bar so I’ll be getting rid of it at some point when the mood strikes me to tinker.  For now I’m not using my Ortlieb handle bar bag so I’ll put my headlight on it out of the way.

Bird's eye view of cockpit...

Larry Varney’s Friday

21 02 2010

Photo: Larry Varney

Larry Varney – Bent Rider Online’s Co-Editor and self-confessed trike junkie posted a brief report about a California bike tour on his Bike Friday.  Larry on a 2 wheeler???  Wow…at least it’s a Bike Friday…=-)

Photo: Larry Varney

Blundstone Chunks Review

21 02 2010

Foot Heaven!

I’m a bit surprised by how much I like these shoes.  I’ve been wearing a pair of Blundstone Chunks for the past year. I’m usually more of a trail runner/sandal kind of guy, but decided I needed some footwear that was a little more dressy – these Blundstones seemed like a good compromise.

I’ve got foot issues so being able to put an orthopedic insole in a shoe is important.  I’ve found a great insole that makes my foot happy so I was glad they fit great inside the Chunks.  The fit is on the loose side which at first felt insecure, but now that I’m used to them I like the loose fit.  It’s very comfortable and I’ve never had any issues with my feet slipping inside the shoe. The sole is quite grippy and provides a ton of cushioning.  In fact these shoes are the most comfortable I have, including trail runners. I was concerned my feet would get sweaty, but these shoes seem to breathe quite well.  I have used them in snowy conditions which was no problem.  I haven’t tried monsoon type rain yet!

At first I used these just when I needed to look a little more stylish than runners would allow, but the more I wore them the more I wanted to wear them.  I actually think they make a great biking [touring/commuting/utility] shoe and I’m going to try hiking in them this summer.  I’ve sort of made peace with the idea they’ll get a little trashed. So far the only maintenance they’ve needed was a bit of black shoe polish every couple weeks. I’ll give them hell this year and report back what happens…=-)

Having problem feet I get really frustrated by the fact every time I find shoes that work they get discontinued for something new and improved – usually something that is so improved it doesn’t really work for me.  So the fact these shoes have been around a while and the changes year to year seem to be minimal makes me happy.

I thought I’d share my experience in case anyone was looking for some comfy stylish shoes that you can still be active in.

BTW – they also make a really dressy version and a steel toed work boot version.

BTW2 – here is a review of a similar model of Blundstone from Outside Magazine

BTW3 – please note Blundstones are sized using the UK/Australian system so you’ll have to convert to the US system and they fit a bit large so you may want to get a size or half size smaller than you normally wear.


20 02 2010

Electra 3spd cruiser...

I saw these cool Electra Amsterdams while bike shopping with Sharon – stylie!

Skirt guard detail...

If we want more people to ride bikes we need to have more bikes available that people want to ride.

Pretty in red....

Adrian’s Thorn Sherpa

19 02 2010

Adrian's lovely Sherpa ready to roll...

If you are like me and always enjoy some nice touring bike porn than Adrian’s Flickr set showing his sweet Thorn Sherpa is worth a look for sure.


The Thorn Sherpa brochure can be downloaded here.


Photos of my old Sherpa are here.

Practical Roadie

18 02 2010

Fendered Pacer at Campione Cycles

Who says a fast road bike can’t be practical?  I spotted this nicely built up Surly Pacer roadie at Campione Cycles recently. Fenders and bar end shifters aren’t typical on a road bike, but there isn’t anything wrong with them.  Particularly the fenders which makes this bike a whole lot more fun to ride in the rain than a typical road rig.

Fender detail...

MEC Reviews

17 02 2010

Torture testing a MEC sleeping bag...

If you are Canadian you probably buy some of your outdoor gear from Mountain Equipment Coop.  I certainly do as evidenced by the large dividend cheques I receive every few years.  Although I do like and support MEC some of the gear they are selling these days is not up to the high standards they used to have for quality and performance.  If you want to help steer the coop back on track one useful way is to write reviews on the site for products you’ve used.  By identifying the good stuff as well as the bad stuff you are getting feedback straight to the folks that buy the gear for each department.  As a bonus other MEC members can use these reviews to steer clear of bad gear.  I’ve started leaving reviews for the items that I like the most and the ones that I had significant problems with.  The review software is easy to use and quite functional from both the reviewer’s and potential buyer’s perspectives.

Stu’s Thorn Nomad Mk2

16 02 2010

Stu's Thorn Nomad Mk2

The new Thorn Nomad Mk2’s are starting to show up in the wild.  If you are a fan of such beasts Stu has posted some nice pics of his new build on Flickr here.

Rohloff vs. Mud

15 02 2010

#1 reason to run a Rohloff...

One of the things that’s great about running a Rohloff equipped bike is how impervious to mud/dirt it is.  The hub will shift as nicely clean as it will coated in mud and filth.  This photo came from a proud owner of a Thorn Raven Sport on the Thorn Forum.  I had a similar experience with my Rohloff equipped Surly Big Dummy on the Dempster Highway.

It’s not a question of the Rohloff still being able to manage a shift when covered in mud…the crazy thing is it shifts just as well dirty as it does sparkling clean.  When all the rest of your gear starts malfunctioning because of mud it will blow your mind that your bike still shifts perfectly.

Rohloff 1 - Mud 0

If you are not familiar with Rohloff hubs Thorn has a useful guide available here.

V-day Shredding

15 02 2010

Top of Castle Mountain

Tools of the trade...

Sharon on the move...

Sean learning from Bruce....

Happy at the end of a nice day at Castle....

Bicycle Poem Redux

14 02 2010
Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Photo: Copenhagen Cycle Chic

There were cathedrals falling out of your eyes
And your arms were the handlebars
I held in an abbreviated dream of crushed petals
Strewn across the limpid avenues.

I said, “I have poems for you”
But my words were lost in the wind.
I said, “I love you”
And you drifted into sleep.

And so I said nothing and rode you in and out of the rooms
Where we had stretched the boundaries of the soul
Like an endless sheet
And I felt you waking up between my legs.

“Bicycle Poem”
by Noelle Kocot

Terracycle Cargo Monster

13 02 2010

Cargo Monster on a trike...

Terracycle is offering a cargo kit called the Cargo Monster similar to the Xtracycle Free Radical, but designed for recumbents and odd shaped upright bikes that won’t work with the Xtracycle Free Radical.

The Cargo Monster features:

  • Full Chrome Moly tubing construction
  • 100% Xtracycle compatability
  • Custom laser cut lugs
  • 203mm disk brake tab
  • Fender mounts
  • Built in Idler mounts
  • 20 and 26″ wheel capability- and you can put a 26″ wheel on a 20″ trike if you want…
  • Cable extender, cable, and extra housing for rear derailleur included
  • Model specific clamps and adapters make everything very sturdy and easy to attach
  • Motor mounts for electric mid drive
  • Fits standard 135mm rear dropout spacing

Cargo Monster Parts

Happily the Cargo Monster will accept all Xtracycle accessories which means you have access to a wide range of cargo solutions.

At $770USD for the sub-frame kit this isn’t a low cost solution as you’ll be over $1000 once you get a few necessary Xtracycle parts, but for the recumbent trike or bike owner who wants to haul huge loads this is the only game in town I know of.

Cargo Monster in action...

I haven’t tried this product myself so I can’t say too much more about it other than it looks like a really interesting design.

Terracycle Big Dummy & Xtracycle Idlers

12 02 2010

Terracycle Big Dummy Dual Idler

Terracycle is offer a dual idler kit for the Surly Big Dummy and a single idler kit for the Xtracycle.  I haven’t used either of these products, but I have used other Terracycle idler kits on my recumbents and was pleased with the quality and performance of them.

Xtracycle Single Idler

406 Marathons for Sale

11 02 2010

Marathon 20" x 1.5"

These are spoken for…

I’ve got 4 Schwalbe Marathons in 20″ [406] x 1.5″ with wire bead size for sale.  They are new although they have all been used for 4-5kms.  No wear at all, but some minor dust/dirt in tread.  This is a great touring/commuting/utility tire for a folding bike or recumbent.

Schwalbe sells them for $35USD each + shipping = $155USD for all 4 shipped.

I’ll ship them to you anywhere in North America for $110USD – or you can pick them up for $90USD.

Free Challenge Rear Rack

11 02 2010

Fits metal Challenge recumbent seats...

Rack has been taken…thanks!

I’m giving away this brand new never used rear rack that fits metal Challenge recumbent seats.  It may require minor drilling on some seats.

If you are local just come on over and pick it up.  If you need it shipped I’ll ship it anywhere in North America for $30USD.

The same type of rack installed on a Challenge bent...

Free Bike Stuff…

11 02 2010

100% Free!

I’ve got a bin of bike stuff that I need to get rid of.  I’ll be taking it to a local bike coop in a week or so.  If you want a crack at what’s in it drop by before then.  There is lots of potentially useful items in it…no junk.

Passion of Carving

11 02 2010

Thanks for the link to this video Tobias!…=-)

Rohloff Porn

10 02 2010

Rohloff Speedhub

Click here for a great video showing how a Rohloff is made.

Free Skis

9 02 2010

Free skis & poles...

I’m getting rid of these for a friend….they are free with local pick up:

  • Head skis [185cm] – not sure if bindings work
  • TUA skis [185cm]
  • ski poles [120cm]

Fenders for Pugsley

9 02 2010

Alan's Surly Pugsley w/ Fenders

I’ve been thinking about coroplast fenders for my Pugsley, but I’ve been too lazy to actually DIY.  Alan on the other hand made some very nice fenders for his Pugsley shown above.

“Got my fenders finished 2 weekends ago and thought I would share. I used the common corrugated plastic material from the sign shop (sometimes called coroplast, the stuff i got actually had a different name that i can’t remember). I gave them a good test riding through our big forested park atop the ridge to the west yesterday. The conditions were super muddy and there were LOTS of puddles. The fenders did their job amazingly well. They aren’t too pretty, but I don’t think I will be taking them off. Ever. They also didn’t get in my way at all, which was a concern. I didn’t even notice them except for how well they were working. BTW, It was super fun riding down the steep descents in the mud on the pugs. Not so much riding as much as gliding.

Check it out here:

There are some more detailed fender shots in that set too.

I am contemplating a redesign of the fenders in the future. Currently the clearance of the bottom of the front fender to the ground is just 3-4in. While this is great in the rain (and the puddles), I am afraid it won’t clear rocks and fair well in snow. My goal is to move the bottom fender stay up a few inches by angling a steel rod for a stay. I will also use some flat aluminum bar instead of ‘weaving’ the plastic. This will pick the bottom edge of the fender up about 3in, and then i can replace that piece of fender with a mudflap.”

Winterizing my Thorn Nomad MK1

8 02 2010

Schwalbe Snow Stud

The roads around here are crusty snow and ice.  Not much new snow, but several warm cycles combined with a few deep freezes has made things treacherous.  My Pugsley works pretty well, but some studded tires would be better and I had a set Anna left me when she headed to California so I mounted them on my Thorn Nomad Mk1.

Carbide studs - the other winter weapon!

I do like the fact this bike has full coverage fenders so I can wear some decent clothes and go out after a ride across downtown.  The Rohloff means no maintenance which appeals to my lazy side…=-)

Shimano Dynohub

Additionally I had a 26″ dynohub wheel I wasn’t using that would be really useful on a winter bike due to the short amount of daylight available each day.  I’ll be mounting the Solidlights 1203D from my Bike Friday NWT.  I can just leave it on 24/7 and not worry about my batteries running out.

Two lights are better than one...

I like having multiple lights on my bikes at night – especially in the winter as snow/ice/fog can make visibility worse than ever.

Zipties - cheap and effective...

I don’t have any mounts for my Thorn’s rear rack, so I just zipped tied a Planet Bike Superflash on.  Not the most elegant solution, but it works just fine.

My Nomad looking the business!

The Snowboard Gods Smile!

8 02 2010

A tale of two boards...

So my recent round of streamlining has caught on amongst my friends.  Deanna Facebooked me and asked if I would help her get rid of some skis and snowboards.  Sure!  I swung by her place on the weekend and amongst the gear I collected for sale/disposal was 3 snowboards:

  • 156cm Winterstick All Mtn
  • 159cm Burton A Model [w/ Flow bindings]
  • 169cm Burton Alp [w/ plate bindings]

This was a score indeed as the Winterstick is just the board my buddy Kurt needs to ride and after damaging the edge of his snowboard last trip to Castle Mountain this has come at a perfect time.  The Burton A Model is the perfect size/type of board for my GF Sharon to use as a spring season/rock/powder board and keep her good board from getting damaged…it even comes with bindings which is perfect since she has no spares laying around.  Two for two so far!

The real treasure was the Burton Alp…my post yesterday was about how much I missed alpine carving and I was stoked to see I could still get an Alpine board from Prior Snowboards.  Well the Burton Alp is basically the exact same board as the Prior 4WD I was interested in and it comes with bindings and cant plates.  Even better is that it is setup exactly right for me…how do I know this?  Well this Burton Alp is actually one of my boards from 6-7 years ago still setup just the way I last rode it…=-)  I’ve known Deanna 13yrs+ and she’s always been the stable home owner type friend…so whenever I’ve packed up all my stuff and gone traveling some of my stuff has lived at her place.  This board was gathering dust in the rafters of her garage forgotten until now.  The timing is perfect and it’s uber nice to have $1000+ of gear in exactly the spec you want drop into your lap…=-)

Looks like I’ll be carving it up this year!  I just gotta track down my hard boots and hope they still fit.

Photo: Carver's Almanac

BTW – if you are an alpine carving snowboard fanatic I found this useful site – Carver’s Almanac.

BTW2 – also check out Bomber Online

Trek Road Bike For Sale

7 02 2010

Trek Road Bike

My friend Sean would like to sell this nice 52cm Trek road bike.  It’s equipped with a Shimano 105 drivetrain, Rolf wheels and has seen low mileage.  He’d like $400, but is open to offers.  Local pick up would be preferred.