31 10 2012

New and old Kenda Nevegals…

I noticed Sharon’s rear hub was loose on the axle and that her tires were worn. They are the stock Kenda Nevegals from 3yrs ago. Sharon started off slow, but has been riding more and more each year so they are no longer fresh. If this was summer we’d keep rolling on them with so much traction available until they were really thrashed, but winter is upon us and South Shore Vancouver Island trails are slick as snot. Sharp knobs and fresh rubber make a world of difference on the wet roots, rocks and muddy trails. So we scored her a brand new set of Nevegals in 26 x 2.35″ width [they run narrow] with the DTC dual tread compound for maximum traction. I’ll probably set Sharon up tubeless next summer, but for the winter we’ll run tubes to make it simple for her.

Giving the wheels some love…

Since we had the wheels out we serviced the hubs [front was okay] and tensioned the spokes. Wheels on a mountain bike have a hard life so giving them a little love is only fair.

We’ll try and remember to pull the new tires off at the start of the summer so they are nice and toothy for next winter. The old tires can go on for another summer season.

Props to Santa Cruz – both our Nomads have been uber low maintenance and trouble free for many years. ๐Ÿ™‚

Disc Rotor Shims…

30 10 2012

Syntace disc rotor shims – click for product info…

I didn’t know these existed until recently. I’ve had some funky disc caliper to rotor clearance issues in the past due to manufacturing tolerances. It would have been nice to have some shims on hand to tweak things back into the center of the adjustment range. Jenson USA is selling an 8 pack for $12. I’ll probably score a package next time I’m ordering bike supplies.

30T Andersen’s Machine Chainring…

29 10 2012

Extralite 30T ring on left and Anderesen’s 30T ring on right…

On a few of my bikes I am already running 1 x 8/11 drivetrains with an IGH. Typically the smallest chainring you can get for 104mm BCD cranks is 32T which limits the lower end of your gear range on this common crank type. So I was interested to try out the two 30T rings I found for 104mm BCD cranks. Extralite.com makes the one on the left and Andersen’s Machine makes the one on the right.

Extralite ring on the left is much thinner and lighter…

I decided to install the Andersen’s ring on my Nomad turning it into a 1×9 with a 30T x 11-34T cassette. The only reason I selected the Andersen’s ring is it looked more robust than the Extralite ring. I don’t care about weight on my Nomad, but it gets abused a lot so beefy is good. I should be able to flip the 30T ring around once it’s worn and wear it out going the other way to double its service life.

Filing of the crank arms is required…

The reason 30T rings are not common is that you get physical interference between the chain and crank on such a small ring. The solution is to file away a bit of the ring’s arms to create the needed clearance. This only takes a few seconds with a flat file. Don’t get carried away!

Clearance achieved!

The 30T ring bolts up in seconds and you are ready to rock.

Shimano 28T inner ring and Andersen’s Machine 30T ring mounted…

Shimano sells a 28T inner ring which can also be used to move your single ring drivetrain’s gear range around as required. Having a 28T/30T double is probably pointless as there isn’t enough difference between the rings to bother. The 30T ring is also spaced inwards a bit more than normal to help with chain clearance. This buggers up your indexed shifting setup with a granny.

30T ring installed on SLX cranks with bashguard…

Once installed on my Nomad the 30T ring provides a very useful low gear with a 34T cog on the cassette. Low enough to climb just about anything while still providing a reasonable high gear. With the uber wide range 11-36T cassettes available a 30T front ring makes a single ring drivetrain feasible for a lot of MTBers.

1×9 and loving it!

For my needs there is no reason not to go with a 1 x 8/9/10. Ultra low gearing results in too much torque which spins the rear wheel on techy climbs and the gear inches are too low to get me over the gnar in the one to three power strokes my puny legs have. By using a higher low end gear I can maintain speed as I approach some tech, I can’t break the back wheel free as easily and I can usually power over the tech before I lose steam.

I never need a big ring on my MTB. I’m riding fairly steep terrain so when I point the bike downhill I’m not looking to go any faster than gravity is powering me!

Funny thing is that 5yrs ago I would have told you that not having a triple on a mountain bike was crazy! 3yrs ago I would have said the same thing about a double ring setup. ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to pack for a trip…

29 10 2012

“Anyone seen the tent???”

Getting out the door on a trip with everything you need is harder than it seems it should be. I’ve ended up out on the road or trail more than once only to find I or one of my party has left something vital back at the ranch. That can be just inconvenient or it can be a trip killer depending on what it was. I think we’d all agree that it’s best to just take everything you need with you and head out the door with confidence. Here’s the only way I’ve come up with to do that.

Santa’s hot the only one with a list…

Make a List

Every significant adventure I go on starts with a list of what I need to bring with me and any key tasks I need to take care of before leaving. I keep my old trip lists in a computer folder so I can hack and paste. I’m currently working on packing for a couple months in Baja this winter and I just modified a list from two year’s ago since a lot of the stuff I need to bring is the same.

Once I have the list mostly ready I print it and put it on my desk in a clipboard. That way I can grab it any time I want to spend a few minutes packing and I can make notes on it for things to add or delete.

I mark up the list in three ways:

  1. pink highlighter means I found the item and placed it with the other similar gear in its category
  2. black sharpie through the item means it’s no longer needed
  3. greenย highlighterย means I need to buy it
  4. pen through the highlighted items means they are packed in a box/bag

The truck gets packed one box at a time…

Pack a Box/Bag/Pannier at a Time

I’ll be taking a lot of gear to Baja for a multi-month trip with kiteboards, surfboards, kites, bikes and SUPs. I need all the camping and cooking items to have a comfortable beach camp. Trying to deal with all the stuff I need to pack in one go would drive me mental and I never seem to have a free block of time before I leave on a trip.

So I work on one box/bag at a time. Today I grabbed my box of cooking gear [pots, back up backpacking stove, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc…] I made sure everything was there and in good condition. I checked stuff off my list and since I had everything I closed it up and put it in a corner of my garage where I’ll be storing Baja gear until I am ready to load the truck.

I never pack a bag until I have everything that needs to go inside. That’s a sure way to forget stuff and you either have to unpack it to double check or go from memory. The list should be accurate, but it never is 100% so the best way to ensure you have everything is to confirm it all at once and then load up your box/pannier.

Piles work…

Piles are for Stuff that Needs Work

When I’ve got a bunch of stuff that needs to be packed together and I know items need cleaning/repair or need to be purchased I get the ball rolling with a pile. A pile says “I need some love!”. I either can keep adding to it or I can take care of items that need some work.ย  I can see most of the stuff in a pile which is handy for getting a quick idea of where I am at with a glance.

I’ve been cleaning and repairing my kiteboarding gear [harnesses, wetsuits, gloves. booties, etc…] lately. They got piled up in a corner of my office and when I needed a break from work I’d deal with something in the pile. If I was in the garage and noticed an item that belongs with my kiteboarding gear I’d grab it and move it to the pile in my office. Since I see the pile 20 times a day it reminds me I need to buy a wetsuit repair kit when I go to MEC for example.

At some point I’m close to having everything I need in the pile and I check stuff off my list and throw it into a box.

You can’t ride [comfortably] if you’re naked! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prioritize Based on What’s Mostly Ready

I don’t want to have a million piles of gear laying about so I try and prioritize by starting with groups of items that are mostly ready to be packed. That gets things done efficiently and frees up space for what needs to be dealt with next. Of course that means I’ll end up dealing with more and more time consuming items that need to be fixed/cleaned/bought. That’s okay as gear gets packed and the trip gets closer it’s easier to get motivated to knock down the To Do List.

“No seriously – you packed the tent right?”…

Don’t Mess with a Packed Box/Bag

Ideally don’t go and open a packed bag to use something out of it. It’s way too easy to forget you need to put that item back in. If you absolutely must plunder a packed container than move it back to the area where you have piles and bags being packed so you know it needs attention. I often put a sticky note on top to remind me what’s missing

I love it when the food gets packed…

Get a life!

If you are saying to yourself that this sounds incredibly anal – you’re right. I’d prefer to not bother, but it’s the only way I’ve come up with to ensure when I am down in Mexico I don’t go to setup my tent and realize I didn’t bring it along! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Adios Amigos!

27 10 2012

Good times in the dirt!

Sad to say both Scott and Aaron are leaving Vancouver Island and moving to Alberta in the next month or two. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Alberta’s economy is booming with Black Gold running in the gutters everywhere. I can certainly sympathize with the desire to cross the Rockies and take advantage of the good times. Vancouver Island’s economy pales in comparison.

We had lots of fun on and off the bikes. I wish both of you the best in your new adventures in Albertistan! The Rock won’t be the same without you.

In the words of a great Vulcan – “Live long & prosper!”

Wider is better…

26 10 2012

Click image to read article over at Pinkbike…

I’ve experienced the benefits of wide tires on wide rims with my 2.4″ Continental Trail Kings on Velocity P35 rims. Pink Bike has a nice article explaining why wide rims make a lot of sense for mountain bikers who want to run reliable tubeless wheels.


25 10 2012

Ran into this guy 4x4ing on the hiking/biking trails at Partridge Hills…

This all happened in Growland Tod Provincial Park where the hiking & biking trails are located at Partridge Hills.

Cutting down trees and tearing up the trails = not cool…

I pointed out to the driver that he’d destroy the trails, but he didn’t seem to get it.

I reported the driver to the Park Office…

His goal was to drive as far up the hill as he could and then he would hike the rest of the way. WTF?

GPS Kit iPhone App…

24 10 2012

Never lost again!

Kurt turned me onto this iPhone mapping app called GPS Kit. It has user generated trail data for spots I ride on Vancouver Island which is why I like it. I’ve checked out other GPS apps folks have recommended, but content for my neck of the woods was lacking. The app costs $9.99 and downloading trail map data was free. Using this app at Partridge Hills we not only managed to avoid being lost in the woods for the very first time, but we actually were able to scout out some new trails [intentionally] and now that we know where they are on the map we’ll be able to go back and ride them again at will.


When almost all your trail riding is deep in the dark forest with no geographical landmarks to reference off of this sort of navigational aid is greatly appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

One issue with the trails shown is that you don’t know what they are like or if they are double-track, singletrack or a creek bed somebody hiked. OTOH I don’t mind exploring as long as I have some idea of where I am.

This is the GPS Kit marketing spew:

GPS Kit is a full-featured GPS system for the iPhone that combines all the functionality of expensive handheld units with the power of wireless technology. Using advanced technology optimized for the iPhone, GPS Kit offers a superbly easy-to-use system that puts data from a wide range of sensors at your fingertips.

Designed for outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, camping, skiing, cycling, geocaching, mountain biking, motorcycling, off-roading, fishing, and other romping in or out of the backcountry–anywhere in the world.

“This absolutely crushes every other GPS app on the market.”ย  -Trevor H., PE, LEG.

“I use the iphone to record motorbike enduro tracks I ride at night. This app is the reason I bought the iPhone and it is awesome!” -Robert D, Australia

Highest Quality Mapping
โ†’ Fastest maps in the App Store
โ†’ Smooth, elegant interaction
โ†’ Offline Mode enables use out of cell range & without data connection
โ†’ Unlimited map types available using customization

Real-Time Friend Tracking with “Radar”โœ
โ†’ Only GPS tracking app that allows you to view friends’ position, heading, and speed on map in real-time
โ†’ Instant chat on any of 1 million channels
โ†’ Unlimited range–works across the entire world!
โ†’ Personalized colors
โ†’ Meet up at the game, on the hunt, or while traveling
โ†’ Track your loved one’s adventures LIVE

Easy Data Handling
โ†’ Mail links for Google Earth & map viewing–including mobile browsers!
โ†’ View full-color thumbnails of previous outings and data sets
โ†’ Group tracks and waypoints together to keep track of outings
โ†’ Most options for export and import of tracks and waypoints
โ†’ Open KML, KMZ, & GPX from Mail & Safari
โ†’ Attach KML & GPX files to email
โ†’ Export GPX & KML through iTunes for USB transfer
โ†’ Share your adventures on Facebook and Twitter

Powerful Waypoints
โ†’ Add photos and notes to waypoints that display on map
โ†’ Drag map to reposition while coordinates update
โ†’ Long-press to quickly drop a waypoint
โ†’ Navigate to waypoints using the magnetic compass (3GS, 4, iPad) or GPS compass (3G)
โ†’ See distance to waypoint update in real-time on the map

Weather Stations – only in GPS Kit!
โ†’ Create “weather stations” to get point forecasts
โ†’ Get data specific to your favorite fishing hole, ski tour, etc.
โ†’ Data provided by the National Weather Service
โ†’ Unlimited number of stations
(U.S. Only)

Intelligent Data Collection
โ†’ Uses maximum GPS accuracy
โ†’ Real satellite positioning even without cell signal (only on 3G, 3GS, 4, iPad 3G)
โ†’ Auto-segmentation of tracks avoids classic accidental huge lines and messed up tracks

Fully Customizable Dashboard
โ†’ Gorgeous high contrast display for outdoor viewing
โ†’ Huge variety of customizable parameters and units
โ†’ Time, Trip Time, Track Time
โ†’ Elevation Change
โ†’ Custom Formatted Position (Lat/Long, UTM, MGRS, USNG)
โ†’ Accuracy, Speed, Odometer, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Pace, Avg. Pace
โ†’ Moving Time, Stopped Time, Direction
โ†’ NEW: 3-Axis Inclinometer and Glide Ratio
โ†’ Equally customizable dashboard cell on map

Loaded with Related Utilities
โ†’ LED Flashlight (iPhone 4 only)
โ†’ Double-tap home button for background mode (iOS4+)
โ†’ Proximity sensor for quick in-and-out-of-your-pocket battery saving
โ†’ Elevation and speed graphs with landscape mode
โ†’ On-map tracking controls and timer
โ†’ On-map ruler with multi-touch area measurements
โ†’ Full retina interface (iPhone 4 only)

Screen shot of GPS Kit app…

I’ve only started using it so I’ll hold off on a review until the summer. So far it’s promising in terms of getting us out and riding areas that have always been a bit confusing. It’s not a perfect solution as my iPhone is expensive and doesn’t love being wet or getting dropped. It’s also an older 3GS model with less than stellar battery life and I don’t own a bike mount so I have to pull it out constantly to verify where I am. The iPhone screen also won’t work with my gloved fingers so that’s another hassle every time I want to see where we are.

I’m hopeful that I can use this app to learn my way around our local riding areas to the point where I don’t need to use it so often as a reference.

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!… ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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.

KRob Visits BC…

21 10 2012

Click on image to jump to MTBR.com..

I found a nice BC MTB travel story on MTBR.com. Click on the image to read it.


19 10 2012

Size matters…

Three years ago I spent the unholy sum of $2K on a giant 32″ monitor. For someone who works on their computer I can say without a doubt it was the best upgrade ever. I can have 3 full documents open and work on them simultaneously which is amazing. Life was good until recently when the monitor failed outside of warranty and I just couldn’t afford $2K on a replacement. I had to go back to a spare 17″ monitor I have. To picture that in the image above just imagine two monitors the size of my laptop screen instead of a mega monitor and the laptop.

You don’t truly appreciate the glory of computer monitor real estate heaven until you have it and lose it!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Left to my own devices I would have recycled the big screen and got on with my life. Luckily my friend Kurt owns two of the same large monitors [yes his workstation is EPIC!] and both failed in the same way mine did. He researched the problem – which it turns out is common for this brand/model and discovered if you pull out the motherboard and heat it carefully the solder on the connections melts and the monitor is healed.

Of course it’s easy to damage the motherboard and monitor as you conduct this repair so it’s not risk free, but given that the beast was broken I was all for trying to fix it. Kurt managed to get her working for me. Which is so awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not only was the monitor saved from becoming e-waste my Lazy Rando Command Centre is back to full power! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Best of all it was free – although I will make sure Kurt is rewarded with beer and burgers at our favourite pub.

Thanks Kurt!

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

650B Baby!

17 10 2012

Intense Tracer 275 – 650B All Mountain shredder…

I’ve been wanting to post something on wheel size for mountain bikes for a while. Thing is that even though I own bikes from 26″ to 29″ and a fatbike which is a 26″ rim with a 29″ external diameter – I just don’t have enough time on enough bikes to justify my opinions well. It’s really not fair to compare a 26er 6″+ full suspension bike to a 29er 4″ travel hardtail or a rigid fatbike. How do you separate out the differences in geometry and suspension from the differences in wheel size?

I’d love to own long travel full suspension bikes in 26er, 650B and 29er wheel sizes for back to back comparisons, but that would require a ton of $$ I don’t have. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

What I will say is that wheel size does matter. There are distinct pros and cons, but they have to be evaluated in the context of the specific bike design. You can’t just pick a wheel size and throw down a blanket statement that it’s going to be better than another wheel size. So these days you can’t afford to ignore wheel size if you are buying a new mountain bike. Especially if you keep your bikes for a long time.

I think it’s safe to say that the differences aren’t worth upgrading from a bike you own and love. Any trail you can ride a 29er or a 650B bike on you can ride a 26er on. It you have an existing bike you want to tweak I’d spend the $$ on new tires for an easy high bang for your buck performance boost.

If you’ve been paying attention to any media outlets in the mountain bike world you know 650B is coming on strong. They are also calling it 27.5″ even though it’s actually closer to a 26″ wheel/tire than a 29″ wheel/tire. It looks like a lot of brands will have 650B bikes in the line up for 2013 and I suspect almost all of them will for 2014.

Based on my limited experience with bigger wheels it looks like 650B will be popular as it blends some of the 29er roll over ability with a smaller package that is easier to design into a long travel frame and retains the playful feel of the 26″ format. “All Mountain” style bikes with 6″-7″ of travel are the ideal candidates for the new wheel size.

Photo: Intense action from MTBR.com

My Santa Cruz Nomad sports wheels that measure 26.75″ with 2.4″ tires on Velocity P35 rims. Sharon’s Nomad with 2.3″ tires on narrower rims measures 26.25″. It’s amazing that the Continental Trail Kings on my bike are so much bigger than Sharon’s Nevegals. Given the size of my wheel/tire combo I don’t have any huge urge to upgrade my mountain bike to 650B.

Having said that as I ponder a new mountain bike for 2013 or 2014 I’ll restrict my choices to 650B machines. I don’t think it will be long before the all mountain category, where my interests lie, will be made up of a majority of 650B designs. This has the added benefit of giving me an incentive to keep riding my Nomad while more 650B options hit the market and these designs have a product cycle to mature. I’m not in a rush to roll on 650Bs, but when I do get a new rig it might as well have ’em.

Sharon wants this bike!

Blue Seal Sealant Review

16 10 2012

Photo: All Hail the Black Market Blog…

First off thanks to All Hail the Black Market Blog for being smart enough to take a picture of these tubes of Blue Seal Sealant before he used them or gave them away – unlike me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I received 2 tubes of the stuff for free from the distributor to review last year. Seeing as my tubeless setups were all okay using Stan’s I didn’t feel like reinstalling my tires just to test the sealant. So I gave 1 tube to Scott and 1 tube to Kurt. Both were installing ghetto tubeless setups on their bikes.

I spent a lot of time helping Kurt get his mountain bike setup tubeless. It was a pain at first, but that’s because he’s using rims and tires that were not designed for a tubeless application. We eventually got the tires to hold air reliably with Blue Seal. I don’t think that’s any fault of the sealant. It was simply a tough application.

Scott’s setup worked as far I know. He had one front wheel burp that was not possible to reseal on the trail, but he’s running a ghetto tubeless setup as well so I wouldn’t blame that on the sealant. It seemed as messy to deal with as Stan’s when we tried to re-seat the tire. Sealant is gooey by nature.

There were no punctures during the test period. Although Kurt found a decent sized hole [ie. large thorn] in one of his tires during setup. It took a little bit for the hole to seal 100%, but it’s fine now. I had a similar sized hole in one of my 29er tires and it took several tries with Stan’s to seal. I couldn’t convince Kurt or Scott to run over nails to test the sealing properties of this product further. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blue Seal…

Here’s the manufacturer’s spew:

Finally and environmentally-sound, non toxic inner tube flat preventive. ALSO works with tubeless tires. It forms a seal using natural nano-fibers which harden up to form a plug when exposed to air. Doesn’t leave an oily or sticky mess like other sealant…you know what we mean if you’ve ever had to change a tube or tire that experience punctures with sealants. Applicator tube includes valve core removal tool.”

I have no way to evaluate the environmental claims of the product and we didn’t try putting any into tubes as a sealant.

Tire sealant like inner tubes is not a glory product. Unless it lets you down you really don’t notice it. Blue Seal worked fine with ghetto tubeless setups. If it was on the shelf at my LBS I’d be happy to use it.

Chromag 29er Love…

15 10 2012

Blade Trigger Kite Review – Part 2

14 10 2012

Blade Trigger waiting for me to rock another session at Nitnaht Lake…

Read Part 1 of my Blade Trigger Review here.

I finally gave back the 2012 Blade Trigger 12m I was testing out since spring so I thought it was a good time to summarize my thoughts about it.

What I liked about the Trigger?

  • stable/easy to fly
  • fast turning [for a 12m]
  • lightweight/simple 3 strut design [floats back in window well]
  • well designed safety system with 100% depower
  • good depower range
  • easy water relaunch
  • looks nice
  • affordable price

What I didnโ€™t like?

  • could use more bar throw with shorts harness [connection point is much lower]
  • prefer below bar depower adjustment
  • medium bar pressure – I’d love lower bar pressure because I have tendonitis

Kiteboarder Magazine called the Trigger a great skill building kite. I would agree. It combines the ease of use of a beginner kite with the performance potential of a more advanced kite. You can learn to kiteboard on a Trigger and once you are a solid rider you won’t be bored with it. That’s key because kites are expensive and you want to get the most out of your investment from your first ride right through your progression to becoming an experienced kiteboarder.

Blade USA Trigger kite sale…

Blade USA has a sale on right now. Buy 1 Trigger complete and get a second at 50% off. That’s a nice way to build a core quiver without breaking the bank. ๐Ÿ™‚

The bottom line question is “Would I ride Triggers as the core of my quiver?” and my answer is yes. They are a fun dependable kite that would be a good match for my skills and I could afford to buy them – all important points! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve tried quite a few kites this season and nothing performed better than the Trigger as an all around kite. I’m keen to see what the changes are for 2013. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try some of the new Triggers out in a smaller size. I’m going to have to replace my main kites in 2013 so I need to get serious about kite testing this season.

BTW – many thanks to Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham for the long term loan of a Trigger. You can’t form a solid impression of a kite in a single short session so I appreciate the opportunity to ride the Trigger all summer and really see how it worked for me.


13 10 2012

I may just have to skip a winter in Baja for something more exotic.

Bike Friday Tikit Stem Mast Solution…

13 10 2012

Click image to jump to stem replacement form…

I’m reposting an email from Bike Friday which provides the info you need to get your Tikit rolling again.

“Dear Bike Friday tikit owners:

We know you are anxious to get back on your tikit. We have finalized the first steps of the replacement process.

We will build replacement stems for the 3,800 tikits spread around the world, and will work with each of you to see that your stem is replaced and you are back on your tikit as quickly as we can.

We will send the replacement stem directly to you or your Bike Friday dealer, your choice. We will reimburse tikit owners with a stipend for the labor cost of installing the replacement stem. tikit owners in the USA will be asked to send their defective stems back to us for disposal.

We can’t express how deep our gratitude is for the continuing support and patience of all tikit owners. We were humbled by the response to our call for financing ideas to enable us to move faster with our process than we would be able to do otherwise. We are working on that while we continue to move ahead at best speed. Already several people have come forward so that our confidence is much improved.

We are making progress in lining up material and the additional manpower necessary to build replacement tikit stems.

One of the biggest challenges in the next phase will be deciding what order to replace the stems. Thank you to those who already have offered to wait while those in urgent need are taken care of first.

This form is somewhat extensive and detailed, as we do need all this information to implement each stem replacement. We also give you the opportunity to rate your level of urgency so we can make sure those who rely on their tikits everyday can be serviced as soon as possible.

Please fill out the STEM REPLACEMENT FORM that you need to have to get a new stem as quick as possible. This is IN ADDITION to the registration for updates form and inspection survey we have previously asked you to fill out. Sorry for so many forms.

You can find all information pertaining to the stem issue at this link to our website.

If you know of any other tikit owners who may not be reading their e-mail please pass this message on to them. We want to find everyone!

Thank you again for your patience.

Alan Scholz, Co-Founder, Bike Friday

Bike Friday tikit owners hot line phone number: 541-683-0175, International +1 541-683-0175

Bike Friday tikit owners email tikitowners@bikefriday.com”

Lance launches his new cologne…

12 10 2012

EPO – the scent of victory!

So a whole slew of Lance’s US Postal teammates have come forward and admitted they doped while on the team and that he not only doped, but was instrumental in pressuring/aiding them in doping and that he was involved in witness intimidation to aid the cover up. You can read USADA’s case online here and a summary is here. I’ve heard more than one lawyer who was not involved with the case on either side review the evidence and describe it as devastating. From rider testimony, to financial records, to emails and other documents what stands out to me is that so many different sources of information all say the same thing – there was an uber sophisticated doping program going on at US Postal and that LA was at the heart of it.

I think this whole process has been important and I’m glad USADA had the courage to go after US Postal and Lance. Why is it important? Well everyone in the peleton knew what was going on. As young riders came up the ranks Lance was the undisputed king. It was clear if you wanted to have any chance of rising to that level you had to dope. If you have any doubt about this reasoning just read the doping admissions of Levi, Big George and gang. By destroying the legacy of LA the myth that you can cheat and get away with it is busted. You may not get caught in the race you doped, but one day you will be held accountable and your legacy will be in ruins. That’s a powerful incentive to race clean.

What I think we need to ask next is why the US Federal Prosecutor that investigated the same evidence before USADA took up the case decided to drop the matter without filing any charges. It’s clear that there was overwhelming evidence to support the charges of doping at US Postal. My guess is Lance had friends in high places that were able to shut the investigation down. If that’s true than we ought to appreciate the work that Travis Tygart at USADA has done, because there was probably a whole slew of behind the scenes attacks we have not heard about.

Here’s a few perspectives on the USADA case from the media.

Sharon’s Cross Check in action…

11 10 2012

Dual B&M lights for maximum foggy firepower…

This is a shot of Sharon leaving for work on a foggy island morning. She’s got a B&M Ixon IQ on the bars powered by 4 AA rechargeable batteries and a IQ Cyo Plus R on the right fork leg powered by a Shimano dynohub. Both lights share the same bulb technology and have a vertical cut off so light is focused where she needs it down on the road; not into the eye’s of oncoming riders and drivers.

Dual rear blinkies…

On the rear she has dual PDW Radbot 1000 1W LEDs set to slow blink. This mode is easily visible, gentle on the batteries and considerate for any riders or drivers that follow her bike. Fast strobe style rear lights are very hard on the eyes of anyone forced to look at them.

With dual lights front and rear she doesn’t have to worry much about charging batteries or a failure of one light.

Our motto for bike lighting – Effective and considerate!

Asking Sharon how she liked the new dual light setup her reply was – “…awesome!…” I guess we have another satisfied customer at the Lazy Rando Bike Shop… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Moab The Whole Enchilada!

10 10 2012

A little Moab mud and cow shit…

Moab has been on my mind since my last visit in 2009. In particular I wanted to ride the Whole Enchilada which is a combination of 6 trails that span ~42kms and over 7000′ of vertical elevation drop. Due to the high elevation of the start at over 11,000′ you have to ride this trail in the late summer or ideally the fall when the snow is gone from up high and temperatures at lower elevations aren’t too hot.

So the last few years in the fall I’ve made some plans to head to Moab, but for a variety of reasons they just haven’t come together for me. It was looking like 2012 would be another wish-I-had-gone-to-Moab year with nobody I know wanting to go and being able to commit to a trip. I looked at flying there by myself, but with the cost of the plane ticket, bike baggage fees, rental car, hotel and food I didn’t have the budget for a trip.

Scott and his trusty VW Westfalia van…

My friend Scott was visiting Vancouver Island to kiteboard during the month of September and I happened to mention my desire to mountain bike in Moab to him. He offered to give me a ride to his home in Salt Lake City and lend me a cargo van to drive the rest of the way to Moab. That cut out a major portion of the trip costs – especially once I decided to camp in the van rather than stay in a motel.

Packing my bike…

The offer was sounding pretty sweet indeed. Scott is a pilot for Delta Airlines and also said he would get me an $80 flight back home. Awesome! The only trouble is I would end up missing Sharon’s birthday. Some girlfriend negotiations ensued which were aided by the fact she had missed my birthday this year for a trip home to the UK. Eventually I got permission to go to Moab.

I literally went from wishing I could visit Moab to hitting the road in less than 24hrs. That required a flurry of packing of my bike, gear, clothes and enough work stuff [computer, data files, etc…] I could handle anything that might come up.

Yup that’s me advertising the fun of MTBing in Moab…

It was fun to hang out with Scott and his dog Yuki on the ride down to SLC. I got to experience a VW van roadtrip for myself. I’ve been stoked about these vans for a lot of years, but had given up on the idea due to my limited mechanical skills. The trip confirmed both that I really enjoyed the VW “experience” and that I didn’t have the skills to keep a vanagon running.

One pit stop along the way proved to be fateful. I was walking across a mall parking lot when I tripped over a handicap access ramp and went crashing to the ground like a ton of bricks. At first I thought my right knee and ankle were hurt badly, but it turns out they went back to normal within a few hours. On the other hand my left big toe felt like it was broken and that didn’t improve for my entire trip.

You read that right I was headed to Moab to ride some of the gnarliest trails in the continent and I got hurt walking across a parking lot. **sigh** Sad, but true! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I did all the usual stuff like icing the foot and taking anti-inflammatory drugs, but my toe ended up feeling broken the whole week I was in Moab. I could barely walk, but miraculously I could ride mostly pain free – well until I fell off the bike anyways!

Home sweet home…

Rolling into Moab in my borrowed white panel van I grabbed some maps and power bars at the Poison Spider Bike Shop aka PSB. They are a friendly bunch of folks with the best mountain bike swag in town if you are looking for a souvenir. My initial attempt at setting up a shuttle to the trailhead for the Whole Enchilada via PSB did not meet with success. I realized that was probably a good thing and I should start off on something less demanding and remote to test out my injured toe.

So I headed out for a leisurely breakfast at the Moab Dinner and read my trail guide to see what sounded good. On my way back to camp I passed the Moab Cyclery and noticed some activity inside so I stopped to see about a shuttle for the next day or the day after. The mechanic I spoke with said they had a spot in a shuttle going to the Whole Enchilada trailhead that was leaving in 20mins if I wanted to jump in. Impulsively I said yes!

Amassa Back Trail…

The thing was I hadn’t been planning on a big ride and my gear wasn’t ready so I rushed back to the van and packed everything crazy quick while trying not to forget anything vital. I made it back to the Moab Cyclery just as they were ready to leave. I paid my $25 shuttle fee and hopped in with a group of 5 guys and a couple. The drive took most of an hour and we climbed and climbed and climbed. I definitely didn’t feel bad about spending the $$ to get driven to the to the top. Chatting with the group of guys it turned out 4 were from the east coast of Canada and 1 was a SW US local they had befriended on previous trips. I didn’t really want to ride alone all day so I asked if I could tag along – assuming I could keep up. They were kind enough to say yes.

The start of the Whole Enchilada…

The guys I was riding with wanted to ride the Moonlight Meadows Trail rather than the Burro Pass Trail as the start of the Whole Enchilada. They had been on both and said Moonlight Meadows was a nicer option. I didn’t really care. As it turns out the start we took was an incredibly beautiful ride through an Aspen forest and bucolic cow pastures. The only downside was the fact the trail was muddy and featured some very very slippery roots. Frankly I felt right at home with a solid season of BC winter riding under my belt.

The Moonlight Meadow Trail was a bit juicy…

These guys were pretty fast and had the tech skills to keep moving through all the obstacles the trail threw our way. I’m happy to report that I was able to hang with them no problem, but I had to really focus my downhill skills to keep my speed up and my braking to a minimum. They weren’t much into stopping or photography which is why I’ve got so few ride photos to share. So I’m throwing in photos from other Moab rides to give you an idea of the scenery and terrain in the area. I definitely want to go back and ride the Whole Enchilada at a slower pace with loads of photo shoot time.

The first real problem for me happened at the end of the Moonlight Meadow Trail where we had to undertake a 30-40min hike-a-bike at over 10,000′. Recall I am from sea level, my toe felt broken and this was my very first ride in Moab. I was literally gasping rapidly like a fish on land, but there simply did not seem to be any oxygen in the air. My toe was complaining every step for the whole ordeal so I can tell you I was incredibly happy to finally get to the top.

One of our infrequent rest stops…

If I have one complaint about our local South Shore Vancouver Island mountain biking it’s that it doesn’t go anywhere. Riding areas tend to be very dense with interconnected trails and rides have a hamster in a habbitrail feel as we loop around and around to build up mileage. Well that was not an issue on this ride. The trail kept going and going. As we descended it was fun to notice the change in vegetation from the high altitude Aspen forest down to the rocky desert at 4,000′. To cover 42kms in any reasonable time you have to keep moving.

It was cool to hammer away hour after hour and realize you were only just making progress towards the finish.

The Lazy One on the Porcupine Rim Trail…

Riding as fast as I ever have for a sustained period of time over some uber chunky rocky terrain with a broken toe was a lot better than I would have thought. Other than the odd tech section I had to walk I rode 97% of the trail and my toe didn’t hurt too bad while riding until the last hour or so. I had planned to pack some Advil for the last part of the ride, but forgot it due to my hasty packing process. That’s too bad because after 3-4hrs of pounding it would have been nice to dull the pain a bit at the end of the ride.

Having said that I must thank the Bike Gods for ensuring that my injury didn’t ruin the trip. It was just bad enough to make me appreciate my generally excellent health and to ensure I didn’t take my ability to ride a mountain bike for granted.

This video gives you a good flavour of the lower section of the ride.

It was just as we got to this part of the ride that our local US rider crashed hard damaging a tendon in his hand and cutting himself enough to generate a serial killer worthy puddle of blood under him. As luck would have it the 4 Canadian riders I was with were all ER doctors. Sadly between them they didn’t have a single band aid. Not to worry; I was carrying a small first aid kit which I gave to the medical team. They quickly dressed the wound as best they could in the field. We had cellphone coverage so the injured rider’s wife was called for an evacuation and two of the doctors accompanied him slowly off the trail. Sadly that meant the end of their ride. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Slickrock and sand…

The three of us left finished the ride on our own. Enjoying the techy rocky goodness that is Porcupine Rim Trail. Although I had been smiling most of the day as we approached the end of the ride fatigue set in and I had to be really careful I didn’t crash. There were lots of opportunities to fall down a long way to a hard landing and I didn’t need any more injuries!

Eventually we arrived at the finish of the trail and the van our group had pre-positioned at the end. Yup – not only did I get to ride with a fun bunch of guys who would have had my back in case of a crash, but they also gave me a ride back to town saving me a hot boring 10km pedal on the side of the highway. Thanks guys!

Post ride refreshment!

Back at the van with an ice cold beer in my hand I was exhausted and fully satisfied. If that was the only ride I did in Moab it would have been a worthwhile trip. Getting to ride hard at high speeds for hour after hour is just not an experience I get to have while mountain biking at home. The quality of the trail was high, but it’s not that any one section of the Whole Enchilada was the best riding I’ve ever done. What really makes the experience special is that the trail just keeps going and going and going. Describing this trail as EPIC is not an overstatement.

You gotta love the views…

If my toe hadn’t been so screwed up I would have ridden the Burro Pass version of the Whole Enchilada later in the week. However, there were lots of other less epic trails that needed some love such as: Slickrock, Amassa Back, Magnificent 7, etc… I was really barely able to walk so I figured it was smarter to stick with trails that offered easier evacuation options and leave Burro Pass for my next trip to Moab – when I’ll hopefully be fully mobile.

Slickrock Trail…

Speaking of Slickrock Trail on my last trip to Moab I actually said I would never ride Slickrock again. I changed my mind and gave it another shot. I’m glad I did. With 3 years of BC riding under my belt I discovered a whole new love for the bizarre techy goodness that is Slickrock. It also didn’t hurt that I had the whole place literally to myself which was fun. My idea of what’s hard and what’s doable when it comes to technical mountain biking has totally changed over the last few years. That’s made trails that frustrated me super fun and also made trails I used to enjoy seem boring.

Manly mountain biking beer…

Flying home after a week in Moab my only regret was that I couldn’t stay for another week. My toe was just starting to improve at the end of the trip and my lungs were finally finding the oxygen they needed to prevent me from gasping on every climb. It took a few days to get my suspension dialed into the higher speed chunky style of riding that Moab offers. In every respect things had just gotten awesome as I packed up the van and headed back to Salt Lake City.

Amassa Back Trail…

The Lazy Rando Moab 411:

  • the two bike shops I like are the Poison Spider and the Moab Cyclery
  • the Moab Cyclery has a convenient easy to use shuttle service
  • Rider Mel’s Mountain Bike Guide is worth the $17 price [get version 5] – all the trails listed as “classics” are worth riding
  • I stayed at the Canyonlands Campground which is right in the center of town and has showers, electrical hook ups, wifi and water at reasonable prices. There free and rustic lower cost camping options outside of Moab as well.
  • I ate breakfast at the Moab Dinner and dinner at the Fiesta Mexicana
  • McDonalds has gnarly food, but the best free wifi in town
  • best time of the year to visit is October as temps will be cool and crowds will be less
  • ideal Moab bike is a 6″ full suspension all mountain rig

Adios Moab – until next time…

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… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Renting a Mountain Bike?

8 10 2012

Poison Spider Bikes rental fleet – Moab Utah…

I’ve long been a proponent of traveling with your mountain bike. On my recent trip to Moab I drove my bike down to Utah and then flew home with it. While in Moab I spoke with some guys who rent bikes on their yearly bike holiday and I have to admit they made some good points in favour of renting so I thought it was a topic worthy of some discussion.

Clearly a big factor in the decision making process is how you are getting to your mountain bike destination. If you are driving and can fit your bike in the vehicle or outside on a rack it’s hard to see a good reason not to take your bike with you assuming you have a bike you really enjoy riding. There is no cost hit for transporting it this way and your bike is not likely to be damaged in transit. I guess the one possibility in favour of renting I can think of is if you were keen on demoing a potential new bike you were thinking of buying and that brand/model was available for rent.

If you are flying the decision is a lot less straight forward. So it’s worth looking at the pros and cons.

Upside to renting:

  • save the airline bike fees [I flew home with Delta and paid $150 one way so round trip a bike would have cost me $300]
  • save the hassle of packing your bike and potential damage in transit
  • possibly you are able to rent a smaller vehicle at your destination if you don’t have to haul bikes in boxes around
  • get to try something new
  • rental bikes will be well suited to local conditions
  • if you have any mechanical issues the rental bike shop typically goes the extra mile to get it fixed fast and get you rolling again

Downside to renting:

  • cost is typically ~$75 for an all mountain FS bike [less for a XC FS rig or hardtail] so in my case the $300 Delta would have charged me to fly both ways with my bike equals 4 days of rental
  • for a 2 week MTB holiday with 10 days of riding you’d be out $750 and subtracting airline fees of $300 – you’d pay an extra $450 not bringing your bike with you which would buy you a new dropper seatpost and a new jersey if you didn’t rent
  • ultimately it’s not your bike so you may not enjoy it as much and you may spend valuable holiday riding time getting it setup/tweaking it for you
  • the rental bike is used and possibly abused so it may breakdown and cause you a hassle your own bike wouldn’t

The guys I spoke with in Moab were all doctors who get away from their families once a year for a 1 week man-cation. To them the cost of rental isn’t a big deal and the lack of travel hassles is a big upside. They all liked their bikes – although 2 out of the 5 bikes had problems that needed attention during their stay in Moab. They did say that the bike shop fixed the problems quickly for them.

What would I do?

  • for a short trip [say under 5 days of riding] that I fly to my destination I’ll probably give renting a shot
  • if the trip involves 7 days of riding I’ll bring my bike since the cost to rent will be significant and I prefer to ride my own bike
  • if I am driving I’ll always bring my own bike regardless of how many days of riding there are
  • no matter what I’d bring my own saddle, pedals and grips with me if I was going to rent so my contact points were all familiar

Mountain biking it’s a drug…

6 10 2012

…it just takes one taste before a kid gets hooked! ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Liquid Force Envy 12m Kite…

5 10 2012

Sharon’s new 12M Envy…

I first laid my hands on a Liquid Force Envy in 2010 when KPS [Kite Paddle Surf Bellingham] lent me a demo to try. It was very well made and seemed like a fun kite that I figured would be good for my GF Sharon when she out grew the hand me down kites I gave her to learn on. As it turned out that’s exactly what happened and Sharon bought a 9m Envy last summer. After using it for a few months she picked up a 7m Envy. The 7m & 9m Envy really worked well for her. They are easy to fly, stable and they have lots of performance potential when you are ready to rock. The only problem was when things were light she had to go back the big old 12m hand me down kite. So she picked up a 12m Envy last week to round out her quiver. She’s fairly light so if she can’t ride a 12m kite it’s probably time to sip on a Margarita and get a tan ๐Ÿ˜‰

LF Envy in action…

Her new kite looks like the one above, but with more blue in it. That’s good because her 7m & 9m kites are pink and I was hoping to borrow the 12m Envy when Sharon wasn’t using it. I lack a kite between my 10m & 17m sizes so I figure having lent her kites and boards to learn on it would only be fair if she lent me that 12m Envy from time to time. I’m happy it’s not hot pink ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sharon showing some Liquid Force Envy love…

Besides the great construction and confidence inspiring performance we keep buying more Envys because Liquid Force stands behind their product offering superb customer service. At the dealer level Kite Paddle Surf has been fantastic about answering questions, providing setup tips and generally making sure we get the most from our kites. I contacted Liquid Force HQ about buying some replacement lines for one of Sharon’s kites after we cut them by accident and they sent us what we needed to fix the problem at no cost. Thanks!

I should note the Envy isn’t a beginner only kite. Although it’s plenty stable if you ask it to turn it will spin around on its axis nice and fast for a constant pull through a turn or to give you some hang time when you jump. I know lots of expert kiteboarders who ride them as the core of their quiver. My main kites will need replacing after next season and I’ll definitely be looking at the Liquid Force line up to see what they’ve got for me.

Now that Sharon has 3 new or nearly new Liquid Force kites she should be good in that department for a few seasons. I bet her next kiteboarding purchase will be a pink surfboard. ๐Ÿ˜‰

BTW – I should also mention we really like the LF bar. It’s comfortable and the below the bar depower is easy to use. It provides 100% depower when you punch out from the chicken loop and the all plastic construction of the safety release means sand or corrosion won’t be an issue.

You can read my older posts about our LF Envys here.


4 10 2012

Wondering what happened to the 770 Fatbike Expedition – click here…

and read this thread over at MTBR.com. My analysis of the whole debacle = LAME. When you can’t work out the logistics of traveling through the modern 1st world country next to yours [ie. Canada] you really have to reconsider your ability to tackle an ambitious expedition.

MTBing Nelson BC with Knolly Bikes…

4 10 2012

Click to watch video…

Bike Friday Tikit Stem Safety Inspection…

3 10 2012

Click to jump to the Tikit inspection protocol…

Bike Friday is advising owners that they should check their Tikit’s stem mast for cracks. You can click on the image above to jump to the web page with instructions for the required inspection protocol. You can register your Tikit at this link to ensure you receive info from Bike Friday about this issue.

Bike Friday is telling Tikit owners not to ride their bikes until the problem is fully investigated. That’s definitely the most cautious route and it makes sense for them given the potential liability costs of even one accident.

My understanding is that this problem has affected 5 bikes out of 4000 that have been made so far. Clearly a stem mast failure is serious, but it’s not common problem.

Personally I inspected my Tikit and I have no cracks so I’ll continue to ride my bike, but I’ll check the stem mast every week to ensure that no cracks start. To be clear that’s a personal risk assessment. I’m not recommending Tikit owners ride their bikes or suggesting it’s safe. If you choose to ride your Tikit you do so at your own risk.

I appreciate the head’s up from Bike Friday about this. I’m sure they’ll figure out what’s going on and resolve the issue fully for their customers. Sharon’s keen on getting a Tikit at some point and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another bike from Bike Friday.

I’ve been doing stupid stuff like this on my Tikit since 2007…

I have been unofficially torture testing my Tikit by riding down stairs and jumping off curbs since 2007. My stem mast hinge is in perfect shape. Again not a recommendation that you try the same stuff with your bike, but I just wanted to put things in perspective.

Lose the helmets…

2 10 2012

Click to read the article over at the NY Times…