2yrs of Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL Riding…

29 03 2013
Sharon eager to ride...

Sharon eager to ride…

It’s been a little over 2 years since we took home our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL. It’s 20″ wheeled travel tandem that packs into a suitcase and a half for travel or storage. This is our first tandem bicycle so our opinions are based on lots of Bike Friday riding, but near zero “normal” tandem rides.

I’m going to tackle 3 issues that were of concern when I was doing my pre-purchase research for this bike and discuss them now that we have some time under our tandem belts. If you want to read my previous tandem posts just click here and my tandem Flickr photos are here.

Maintenance

When I asked around in tandem forums about Bike Friday tandems I had several people tell me they required tons of maintenance to stay functional. That the shifting and braking would go out of whack and the frame needed to be checked and adjusted frequently. I’m lazy and I wasn’t super excited to spend a ton of time working on this bike. Since it’s a tandem it often sits all week and then gets pulled out last minute on the weekend when we decide to do something in town. Not having a reliable bike we can just jump on would curtail a lot of our tandem riding.

I’m happy to report that the tandem has been utterly reliable for us. I built it up following Bike Friday’s owner’s manual. It was my first Bike Friday build as my other Fridays came professionally assembled from the factory. So this bike was built up just like anyone who landed at a touring destination would build up their new tandem. The only maintenance I’ve done to it so far was adjusting the tension of the timing chain last week before the Victoria Populaire. That took 2mins and I took care of it outside a coffee shop while Sharon procured some java.

Handling

I was prepared for a significant learning curve when I got the tandem. I didn’t want to crash and kill Sharon’s tandem stoke. So I had a bunch of Sunday empty parking lot training sessions planned to ease into it. Our enthusiasm got the better of us and we ended up spending 3-4hrs on our first ride going into downtown to run errands. Perhaps it was my years of cargo bike experience, but the tandem was a no brainer to ride. We mixed it up with heavy car traffic that first ride with total confidence.

This spring we dusted off the tandem after a 3 month layoff and the first few pedal strokes were tentative, but after 30 seconds we felt right at home and started bombing around at full tilt. That gives us a lot of confidence when starting off a 100 person group ride in the middle of the pack where holding your line and reacting to other riders’ goofiness is a requirement.

Performance

Having owned a number of small wheeled recumbents and folding bikes I know that small wheels don’t equal slow, but that said they don’t automatically equal fast either. Combine that with the unknown performance just due to the fact it’s a tandem and I had some concerns we wouldn’t be satisfied with the bike’s performance for demanding rides.

As it turns out our speed over a significant distance [50-100kms] is a respectable 20kph which includes traffic lights and stop signs, etc… That’s with no training and we definitely have some extra power we could generate by syncing our pedal strokes better. During groups rides we end up right where we should be in terms of the riders and bikes we finish with. For a fully equipped touring bike powered by some middle age recreational cyclists our Bike Friday tandem isn’t letting us down.

For comparison my solo high performance rando bike average speed is ~25kph for longer rides.

I have no doubt that we could design and build a performance oriented tandem that would be faster, but for our current needs the ease of storage and touring capabilities of our Bike Friday are a better fit than a tandem designed to ride faster. We could also do more targeted training to get faster, but we prefer to blame any lack of speed on the bike, hills and/or wind! ūüėČ

Seems like we have a winner...

Seems like we have a winner…

Sharon has been through a number of stoker bar options on the tandem. She couldn’t adapt to drop bars and she tried some flat bars with better results, but not total satisfaction. So we are now using some Thorn comfort bars with Ergon Grips that have built in bar ends. So far Sharon’s been happy with them and I think we’ll be sticking with this setup for the foreseeable future.





Birth of our Bike Friday Tandem…

8 04 2012

Cutting tubing...

These are some photos the kind folks at Bike Friday took for me when our Tandem Traveller XL was being built. I meant to post them last year and misplaced them for a bit. I won’t say too much about them as I don’t understand all the details of the construction process very well, but I thought it would be fun to share and to get a sneak peak at how these bikes are made.

Selecting some more tubing...

Prepping each tube...

Time to drill...

More prepping...

Welding jig...

A big bike needs a big frame fixture...

Welding the rear triangle...

Rear triangle...

Rear triangle...

Captain's seat mast opening in front TT...

More drilling...

Rear triangle fittings...

Rear V-brake posts...

Rear dropouts...

Stoker's BB...

Stoker's seat mast tube...

Rear triangle fittings...

Kickstand plate...

Cable guides...

Fork...

Frame parts after powdercoat...

Assembly begins...

Installing the headset...

A box of tandem parts at my house...

The finished product...





Bike Friday Tandem Brakes….

5 04 2012

Note a front disc and v-brake posts...

I was asked about the brakes on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL over at my Flickr site and thought I would share the answer here for wider dissemination:

My Bike Friday tandem was ordered with disc brakes and v-brake mounts. I haven’t felt the need for extra braking at this point so we only have the discs mounted.

Like for any bikes there is no magic in v-brakes vs. discs. They both work. So you can pretty much pick whichever you prefer and use them.

Neither v-brakes or discs can take prolonged application before they’ll fail. V-brakes will heat up the rims and your tube will blow. Disc brakes will boil their hydraulic fluid, melt the plastic parts of the caliper and warp the rotor if overheated. Neither outcome will be¬†pleasant¬†with your GF on the back bombing down a mountain!

On a tandem the extra weigh without as much aero drag = extra speed on the downhills which can be a problem.

Are you saying we are so fat we need 4 brakes????

My suggestions are:

  1. if the roads are good sit up, take the lane and let the bike run without braking or minimal braking [I do this with my loaded touring bike frequently]
  2. if you need to brake a lot use pulse braking….slowing hard with front brake, releasing and then slowing hard with rear brake…then repeat. You’ll speed up to a top speed each pulse and then slow down to your bottom speed. Note the fast top speed allows a lot of air to flow over your brakes to cool them very effectively.
  3. add if a 3rd or 4th brake..in my case a v-brake front and rear possibly. Use pulse braking, but now you have 3 or 4 brakes to cycle through so you can brake more frequently without overheating.
  4. take a break or 3 on a steep descent to snap a picture or nimble something while your brakes cool.
  5. if you need more braking than you can get with pulse braking or you can’t be okay with the faster speeds of a pulse braking solution you can get a rear drag brake that will keep your speed lower since it’s on all the time. Keep in mind only a specially designed drum drag brake will do this safely. A disc or v-brake applied even very lightly, but constantly will quickly overheat and fail.

Our tandem team weighs ~300lbs + gear + bike…so probably close to 400lbs total on a ride with a lock and a light load of gear. My main strategy is #1 above….I just let the bike run as fast as she wants and brake only when I absolutely have to – which is infrequently. For a tour with full camping gear I’ll do some test runs locally and determine if I need an extra brake. If ¬†so I’ll put a stoker controlled rear brake on.





Packing a Bike Friday Tandem…

11 08 2011

I found this Bike Friday tandem packing video on Youtube and wanted to bookmark it for easy review when I face the task someday.

 





Bike Friday Tandem Stoker Bar Update

16 07 2011

On a test ride...

We decided to test out the new flat bar + bar ends stoker bar setup on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL by riding into town for some yummy Thai food.

Parking out front of Siam Thai...

The ride into town was fun and Sharon enjoyed the new bar setup so that was good news…=-)

Sharon and her happy hands...

Sharon’s only request was that I add some padding to the bar ends so I’ll hunt down some grips that fit and install them. I’m glad to have our only issue with the tandem resolved…=-)





Bike Friday Tandem Bar Tweaks…

24 04 2011

The Raspberry Rocket!

Both sets of drop bars needed adjusting on our Bike Friday Traveller XL tandem. I wasn’t stoked about unwrapping the bar tape to move the brake levers around a bit, but small changes to the rotation of drops and the position of the levers make a big difference in how comfortable your hands are on a ride.

Difference between old position and new position...

I cracked a cold beer and started unwrapping the bar tape. I like the top of my drops flat then curving a bit down to the hoods of the brake levers. You see from the photo above the difference between the old position and new position is quite dramatic. The bars were rotated up significantly and so the levers had to be moved down a lot to put them into the proper position.

Do you feel the power?

Sharon chose the bar tape. She figured it would enhance the¬†lusciousness¬†of the Power Raspberry finish on the tandem. I don’t argue about stuff like this. Well right up until she hands me my one piece pink¬†lycra¬†tandem speed suit!….=-)

Ready to rumble!

I adjusted the stoker’s bars as well and double wrapped both bars for more hand comfort.

One last glamour shot...=-)

Now we have to test ride her and see how we like the changes. You gotta love a 4 day weekend for time to ride and mess with your bikes and ride some more!…=-)





Bike Friday NWT – Sold

10 08 2012

My trusty Bike Friday NWT…

Update РNWT is sold  Рthanks!

I’m sad to post this bike for sale, but I’ve come to the realization that any far flung bike touring I’m going to do will be on my Bike Friday tandem with Sharon – not solo on my NWT. This Bike Friday NWT is in excellent condition with a gorgeous paint job and is fully setup for touring or commuting. Everything is in nearly new shape with nothing required for several years of riding.

NWT Specs:

  • 58cm effective top tube frame
  • Shimano Nexus 8 IGH with JTek bar end shifter
  • Shimano 105 cranks [53T x 23T gearing]
  • Velocity rims [Aeroheat front and rear]
  • Shimano Dynohub wheel with Velocity Razor rim
  • Greenspeed Scorcher 20″ 40mm tires
  • Shimano V-brakes with Koolstop pads
  • Cane Creek V-brake compatible drop bar levers
  • Shimano Sora front derailleur with Dura Ace bar end shifter
  • Salsa stem
  • Bike Friday folding travel racks
  • Bike Friday travel fenders
  • 2 water bottle mounts with 1 bottle cage + 2 Bike Friday watter bottles [unused]

What the NWT looks like ready to pack for travel…

Extras…

  • this bike comes with 2 front wheels. One is a normal wheel with a Shimano hub + Velocity Aeroheat rim. The other is a Shimano dynohub wheel + Velocity Razor rim.
  • you get the original Bike Friday Owner’s Manual and spare spokes
  • powerful dual LED dynohub headlight for 24/7 lighting without any battery hassles
  • Bike Friday travel fenders which install with one bolt each for ease of packing.
  • new in bag SKS full coverage fenders I haven’t mounted [better for commuting or if you are riding a lot of wet weather]
  • you get a fully functional front derailleur and shifter which are installed and cabled so you can easily convert this bike to a 16 speed if you want more gear range by adding a second chainring

Note the NWT does not come with a saddle or pedals.

Solidlights dual LED headlight…

The NWT comes with the LED headlight installed. You can remove it easily and run the standard front wheel if you don’t plan any night riding for an extended period of time. The swap only takes a few minutes.

IGH for nearly maintenance free riding in all weather…

I find the current 1 x 8 IGH setup ideal for riding in the city and for touring with a moderate load. This bike has a front deraileur and shifter installed so you can add a second smaller chainring and run a 2 x 8 setup to provide added low gears if you wish. I will include a new unused dual pulley chain tensioner you can swap in if you choose to run 2 chainrings.

The NWT running errands in town…

What I like about this bike:

  • versatile for commuting, touring or pleasure rides
  • supple Scorcher tires roll fast and are comfortable on rough surfaces
  • dynohub & fenders allow for all weather day & night riding
  • dual racks allow for carrying full size panniers or strapping on boxes
  • nimble for city riding, but stable at speeds with a load on tour
  • quickly folds into small package for storage or transport
  • can be packed into an airline legal suitcase for plane travel

Lazy in action!

The price for this NWT new with shipping was $2900. That was before I added the second dynohub wheel + headlight and upgraded to a 105 crankset.

I will sell it for $1900USD shipped anywhere in North America. That’s ~40% of buying the same bike new. The price is firm.

You can see lots of photos of this bike on my Flickr page here and you can read my NWT blog posts here.





Happy 20th Anniversary Bike Friday!

6 04 2012

20th Anniversary email from Bike Friday...

April 2012 marks Bike Friday’s 20th anniversary of making cool folding bikes. I’m only in my 5th year of being a Bike Friday customer, but it’s been a great ride so far.

Bike Friday HQ...

I stop in whenever my travels take me along the west coast past Eugene, OR during business hours.

Belt drive Tikit...

I managed a quick 30min visit on my way home from Sedona to check out the new showroom bling.

20th Anniversary Bike Friday - click image for more details...

The 20th¬†Anniversary¬†Bike Friday looks pretty sweet [it’s missing a wooden front fender].

That's a lovely disco paint job...=-)

I particularly like the sparkly metallic paint job.

A colourful flock of Tikits...

I always leave Bike Friday HQ scheming about a new bike!

Want to tour and need some gear?

The showroom is sporting a great selection of accessories for the bike commuter and cyclotourist.

Red bikes are faster right?...=-)

I had a hard time passing by the red New World Tourist with matching red Selle Anatomica saddle! If it had red rims and some red fenders I’d probably have a new Bike Friday…=-)

A herd of Bike Friday tandems...

I love all the Bike Friday tandems they had to check out. Although I must say we chose well. Our Raspberry Rocket is a primo tandem and still the nicest Bike Friday tandem I’ve seen.

Purple belt drive Tikit...

This belt drive Tikit has a lower cost belt drivetrain that makes it a lot more affordable than the upscale carbon belt.

Back end view...

Sorry I don’t have all the details. If you are interested give Bike Friday a call/email. I’m sure they’d be happy to give you the 411.

Crank end view...

A lower entry cost is certainly pretty key if belt drives are going to penetrate the mainstream of cycling.

The fancy bling carbon Gates belt drive...

All in all it was fun to see the folks I know at Bike Friday and to check out some of the new upgrades to their product line.

20th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Offer...





Crazy Canadian Tandem Team…

19 11 2011

Green, but cold!...

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

Sharon getting excited about the gas fireplace...

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

Laura wondering if there is any pie left...

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

Thanks to Aaron & Laura for being such wonderful hosts…





BF Tandem Traveller XL Update…

5 07 2011

Parking the Bike Friday tandem takes some ingenuity...

It’s been a few months since the Raspberry Rocket showed up at our house so I thought I would take a moment to provide an update on our experiences with her. First off I should note that she is the only bicycle allowed to live in the house! Not just in the house, but in the dining room so it’s like we eat dinner with her every night…=-) She’s a bit too long to easily fit into our garage through the side door we use and we don’t want to leave her outside so she has the honours of being our only house bike.

Mechanically she has been perfect. I found the idea of assembling a box of tandem parts a bit daunting the first time, but following the Bike Friday instructions was easy and within 2 beers I had her rolling. Since that day I haven’t had to make any¬†adjustments¬†or work on her beyond¬†tweaking¬†the position of¬†the¬†bars. When I was doing my tandem research a few folks warned me that a folding tandem would be a headache to maintain and it would not be reliable for us. Having had great service from my other Bike Fridays I ignored those people [especially since they didn’t own a folding tandem!!] and decided that I would just trust the fine folks in Eugene to build me another awesome bike. I’m glad I did.

I should note that ~30% of our riding is on dirt and gravel as well a long rough decked wooden bridge we tackle nearly every ride so this bike sees some bumps and abuse beyond buttery smooth pavement. We ride her like a bat out of hell or at least as close a replica to a bat out of hell as two middle age¬†recreational¬†cyclists can muster! Sharon loves passing people instead of being passed and I don’t mind the strange bewildered looks from other cyclists when they see a strangely shaped small wheeled pink and purple-ish beast go by..=-)

We ride the tandem for 80%+ of our rides together not counting dirt excusions to Hartland Mountain Bike Park. It just makes so much more sense for us to be on one machine where we can chat and stay together without any effort. We arrive at our destination in much better spirits and there has been no downside so far compared to riding two singles. Since we both do a fair bit of solo riding we each get to ride single bikes enough each week that it’s not like we have to choose to dedicate ourselves to the tandem 100% of the time in any case. The steel multi-part travel friendly frame is stiff enough that I can ride without thinking I’m on a tandem that fits into a suitcase and it has enough vertical compliance that combined with 40mm Greenspeed Scorcher tires we don’t slow down for lumps, bumps or other rough surfaces and we don’t get beat up. It’s a very impressive bike design given the challenges a tandem faces compared to two single bikes. Nice work Bike Friday!…=-)

The only problem we are having with the tandem is that Sharon is not adapting to drop bars well at all. We had to pull them from her Surly Cross Check commuter bike and we had to pull them from the tandem. I’ve swapped in some flat bars with bar ends I had lying around. If she likes them in general I’ll work on a flat bar setup we’ll keep for the long haul that gives her enough hand positions for all day comfort. It’s too bad that the drop bars can’t stay as they suit the bike and provide lots of hand positions, but we tried all sorts of variations in position, tape, padding and hood position with no success. Once I get a¬†permanent¬†solution I’ll post some photos of it.

 





Tandem Perspectives…

14 05 2011

Down low...

This is the same moment in time captured from two different perspectives. I like how the choice of camera positions totally changes the relative importance of the Bike Friday tandem vs. the person in the photo and sends a very different message to the viewer.

Up high...

Since digital photos are essentially free take a few of every scene you want to¬†document. Vary the camera postion and viewing angle. I’d rather select from 4 options and throw 3 out than have to use the only image I took and not be stoked about it.

I really like the reactions of the folks in the background of the image above…=-)





Good Friday Tandem Adventure…

23 04 2011

The Raspberry Rocket goes rural...

Yesterday was Good Friday. Sharon had the day off work and since neither of us are Catholic we repurposed Good Friday to be a folding bike holiday…=-) So we rode our Good Friday Tandem [GFT] to achieve a number of firsts:

  • Sharon’s first 50K ride and longest ride ever
  • Sharon’s first ride on the Lochside Trail
  • Sharon’s first bike ride to Sidney
  • Our first ride on the GFT with the new one¬†piece¬†stem/riser
  • Our first successful roadie hunt on the GFT
  • My first Ortlieb failure
  • My first nap on a local beach
  • Aaron’s first oyster burger
  • Our first post ride beer session on the new backyard deck

Aaron riding escort for the GFT...

Our day started eventfully at 430am with our cat puking on us in bed. If you ever need to get up really early ask your cat for a vomit wake up call. It’s very very very effective! By the time Aaron showed up at 9am we had been up for hours and had ¬†absolutely nothing accomplished. This was to be the theme for the day. We made a slow, but delicious breakfast including setting off the Bacon Alarm [smoke detector] – which I am used to, but Aaron was caught off guard. Luckily he didn’t spit a mouthful of coffee on me when the loud alarm startled him. We spent a lot of time getting our Bike Friday tandem ready. Not the bike itself – just the stuff we were taking with us. It was one of those days where I wasn’t sure we’d leave before it was time to sit down for lunch!

The sun is shining - the grass is green - time to ride!

We had not been on the tandem since we got the new one piece stem/riser back from Bike Friday so it took us about 1km to get back into the swing of things. I’ve never tried another tandem so maybe they are all easier to ride than I had¬†anticipated, but the lack of drama is very nice when you have someone else’s fate in your hands. The new stem/riser looks nice and clean so it’s awesome to finally see what the tandem looks like in its completed state. We got lots of double takes and smiles as we passed people. We are calling the GFT The¬†Raspberry¬†Rocket! Kids are especially stoked about this bike.

Lochside loveliness...

I was happy that Sharon finally had a chance to ride the Lochside Trail. It’s just minutes from our door and offers very relaxed scenic cycling to Sidney. For¬†recreational¬†riders the distance is perfect with¬†opportunities¬†for rest breaks and refreshments along the way. The trail is mixed surface with paved, dirt and gravel sections as well as a number of wooden decked bridges. Our 40mm Greenspeed Scorcher tires once again showed why I love them as they rolled over everything with aplomb. At one point a roadie passed us on 23mm tires just before a bridge with a rough wooden deck. We sped up as we hit the bridge and sailed passed the roadie who went from speed demon to hanging on to her bucking bars on the bridge. I’m never going back to narrow high pressure rubber!

If you ride 349 or 406 wheels and haven’t tried some GS Scorchers I’d heartily recommend them.

Aaron and his randonista rig...

Aaron rode his trusty Trek rando rig. He wasn’t challenged on this ride, but I’m sure we were amusing to ride with as people craned their head’s around to see what we were riding. A few people knew it was a Friday and we got some shout outs. Aaron was riding on 32mm Grand Bois Cypres tires so he appreciated the mixed surface bliss of a bit of air volume and a supple casing provides. At one point he was musing about out our lack of rando specific training so I had to point out that anytime I wasn’t sleeping or eating chicken wings WAS rando specific training…lol…when you are a member of team slacker you aren’t strict about your definition of training…=-)

Coffee stop at Sidney...

Sidney is a nice small town at the top of the Saanich¬†Peninsula. It’s often a control on a brevet since there are services and it’s a natural turn around point for a run down to Victoria. We had some coffee and enjoyed the sunshine on a patio for a while. Eventually we needed a break from all our relaxing so we went for a pint and lunch at a pub where Aaron had an oyster burger. It was an educational meal for all of us…=-)

Beach chillaxing...

Team Slacker wasn’t quite ready for the ride back so we spent some time hanging out on the beach enjoying more sun and an¬†impromptu¬†jet fighter¬†air show¬†overhead. The nice thing about living on a¬†peninsula¬†is that there are beaches virtually 360 degrees from you so you can always find a nice quiet bit of waterfront to hang out on without dealing with a million people. I like it…=-)

The bikes enjoyed the sun as well...

After¬†squeezing¬†every bit of slackerness we could out of our visit to Sidney we climbed back aboard our bikes and pointed them towards home. Since it was a holiday and the weather was beautiful there were lots of bikes out and about on the Lochside Trail. The good thing about Victoria area cycling infrastructure is that there is so much of it that even on a busy holiday it doesn’t feel crowded or unpleasant. It’s nice to see all manner of cyclist roaming the paths and roads on a sunny day. We saw quite a few couples/small groups with matching panniers/jackets on what I can only assume [based on the brand new gear] were shake down rides for up¬†coming¬†tours.

Checking out the bacon...

I was quite pleased how well the tandem handled and how it rolled on the dirt and gravel. The 40mm tires and long steel frame absorb a lot of the bumpiness from the road. As we expand Sharon’s bike riding horizons a natural ride from our place is to take the Galloping Goose out to the Sooke Pot Holes for a 100K camping weekend. That trail is mostly dirt and gravel so a bike that can eats up those kind of KMs is essential. I think our next jaunt will be a tour of Victoria along the waterfront with the tandem loaded for camping so we can see how she handles with a touring load and to get some practice on the hills with a heavy rig. Not to over look the importance of educating Sharon about the essential bike touring motto “…this isn’t a bike ride with food stops..this is a set of food stops with some riding in between…”!

Hanging out with a local...

Eventually we rolled up to our house after a full day on the road. Only 50kms of riding, but many hours of good times. Sharon was both stoked to have ridden such a long way and also stoked to get off the bike!…=-) Being serious¬†athletes¬†we set about replacing our muscle glycogen stores with beer on the deck…=-) Thanks to Aaron for accompanying us on the day’s adventure.

Victoria bike porn...

Tandem Ride Report Card:
  • new stem/riser looks nice and worked fine
  • tandem handles well
  • GS Scorcher tires rock
  • gearing is ideal and works well
  • we need to tweak both our drop bars and brake lever placement
  • Sharon likes her plastic saddle better than the rock hard B17 she started with
  • my B17 was not uber comfy [a first for me!] I’ll swap in the B17 I’ve softened a bit with neatsfoot oil and see what happens
  • one of my Ortliebs is failing [see below]
  • need to mount a GPS for Sharon as she wants to see ride data
  • bottom line this Bike Friday tandem is the solution that let’s us ride together which is awesome…=-)

My first Ortlieb failure...

I’m coming up on 20yrs of Ortlieb love so I guess it had to happen sometime. One of my Ortlieb back rollers is about to shed a critical buckle. It looks like the piece can be¬†replaced¬†easily so I’ll going to see if Wayne at the Touring Store [where I buy my Ortlieb panniers] has a spare he can hook me up with. I prefer the Ortlieb panniers with the flip top lid and so this pannier has seen far less use which makes the failure more of a disappointment. Having said that there are no other panniers I’d use on a tour.





Seaward Kayaks Passat G3

19 10 2011

Click on image for a larger version...

I’m an odd sea kayaker. I’ve spent months kayaking daily in the Sea of Cortez. I’ve done a major kayak expedition and a bunch of smaller tours. The only thing is my kayak experience has come in a few months long trips down to Baja. When I have sea kayaked I’ve done it like mad for weeks at a time, but then I’ve gone a year or two without touching a paddle. I can blame a bunch of that on living in Calgary for 15yrs. There are lakes and rivers to paddle on, but it’s hard to get stoked about paddling on a lake you can see across when your last paddle was an 8 week tour down the Sea of Cortez!

Now that I am living in Victoria BC – an international sea kayaking hot spot up there with Baja Mexico – it makes sense to get my paddle on at home. I own a 14′ plastic SOT [sit-on-top] kayak which I love. It’s ideal for fishing and short day trips. It’s not the most efficient paddling boat and it struggles if you load it up for a multi-day camping trip.

One of the things my time touring on inefficient plastic kayaks down in Baja has taught me is that I could really use an efficient boat. I’m not the strongest paddler on the planet and in order to cover a decent daily distance on tour pushing a barge through the water is not ideal.

One of the things I learned in the last year from cycling is how much more fun it is to travel together with my weaker partner on a tandem Bike Friday. Having experienced similar problems of unequal power and skill kayaking I can see how beneficial it would be to have a tandem kayak for Sharon and I rather than investing in two single boats. Not only does it keep the team together on the water for the sake of enjoyment it also makes paddling much safer. That’s an important consideration since sea kayaking has an element of risk, due to tides and bad weather, that isn’t present in biking.

Click on image for larger version...

I have always admired the sleek shiny fibreglass and kevlar sea kayaks I’ve seen on top of cars headed to the ocean and on the water down in Baja. Not only are they beautiful, but they glide smoothly and efficiently through the water while carrying a week’s worth of gear. I’ve held off buying a high end kayak simply because I felt my intense, but infrequent paddling schedule didn’t justify the cost. Now that I am living in a sea kayaking paradise I’m of a different mind so I started to do some research talking to everyone I saw with a boat, visiting paddling shops and checking out what people are saying online. One of the name’s that stood out was Seaward Kayaks. Owners’ and reviewers alike where impressed by the quality of their construction, their performance on the water and the excellent customer service. I was stoked to find out this was a Canadian company and then even more stoked to find out that their factory was just up the road in Chemainus BC.

My experience with Bike Friday has really shown me the benefits of buying from a small company that values quality and performance. I love being able to visit the place where my gear is made and talk to the folks whose hands have crafted the product I’m using to propel my adventures. I also really really like knowing that if I have a problem down the road there are real people I can call/email/visit who care and will help me out. Something you do not get with a low cost high volume made in China item.

Of course buying a Seaward Kayak isn’t cheap and a boat like this will last the rest of our paddling lives so I want to get it right. Each boat is customized for the owner[s] and I want to understand all the options so I get the right boat for us. So far that seems like a Seaward Passat G3 in fibreglass – hence the kayak porn in this post…=-)

Since I’ve always owned plastic boats I need to educate myself about the different material options available and the different features. I’ll be posting about what I find out on this blog – sort of a Buying Sea Kayaks for Dummies series…hopefully with a Seaward Passat G3 review and Baja tour report next winter…=-) Doug at Seaward Kayaks has been kind enough to agree to showing me around their factory and answering my questions. My mission is to learn a ton without being a PITA!





Victoria Populaire 50K…

28 03 2013
Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride...

Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride…

Sharon and I tackled the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire last Sunday on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL. We decided on the 50K route because Sharon is scheduled for knee surgery this spring and we didn’t want to push things too hard and cause her any issues. With the ride to and from the event we racked up 70kms.

Click on map for more details...

Click on map for more details…

The event was well run as per the usual high standards of the BC Rando Club. It was a cold, but dry day with around 100 smiling riders. The course is easy to follow and has some nice scenery with enough hills to be interesting, but not punishing.

Ride pin...

Ride pin…

We racked up 50.85kms in 2:55 and finished with a Bike Friday Pocket Llama and a Cruz Bike recumbent. That seemed fitting. We had a great day out on the bike and we’ll be back next year to tackle the 100km course once Sharon has new bionic knee… ūüėČ

Our beast of burden...

Our beast of burden…

Our Bike Friday tandem continues to impress with its ease of use and solid performance.  =)





A ruthlessly streamlined fleet…

4 06 2012

Santa Cruz Nomad – mountain biking….

I was war gaming a really aggressively stripped down bike fleet recently.

On One Scandal 29er – bikepacking…

These are the bikes I’d keep.

Boulder Bicycle All Road – brevets/road biking…

Not saying I’m about to do anything rash.

Surly Big Dummy – cargo bike/touring bike…

This is just a mental exercise at this point.

Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL – road biking and touring…

But, you never know!

Bike Friday Tikit – commuter bike and errand rides…





100K Un-Populaire!

17 04 2012

Sharon's first 100K ride ever!

Sharon completed her first ever 100km ride on Sunday. We set out from home on a rough approximation of the BC Randonneurs 100K Populaire route. Skipping the start at the University of Victoria we headed for the Mohka House coffee shop to get fuelled up. We then followed the 100K Vic Pop route along the south end of the¬†peninsula¬†to Mattick’s Farm where we stopped for a bathroom break. Cruising up to Sidney we stopped for a bite of lunch before looping around the top of the Saanich¬†Peninsula¬†and dropping down towards home. We got a bit “creative” with the route so we could reach 100kms without heading to the¬†official¬†ride end point at the university.

Ride data - click for bigger...

Although the GPS data above is a bit less than 100kms we did ride the full distance. We just started and stopped recording data on the bike path near our house so as not to give away the exact location of the Lazy Rando HQ!…=-) Overall the ride was fun and a big accomplishment for Sharon. Riding 100kms opens a lot of doors for seeing cool things in our area and makes a reasonable daily ride on a bike tour.

Sharon wondering when I'll put a Brooks saddle on the tandem for her?

We need to tweak the back end of the tandem for Sharon’s long distance comfort. She wants to move the Brooks saddle from her commuter bike to the tandem and then she’ll break in another Brooks on the commuter 10kms at a time. The straight bars and bar ends worked, but we’ll do some scheming to see what other bar options we can come up with that may work better for her. In general our Bike Friday tandem worked¬†awesome¬†for us and was a fun bike to pedal while enjoying the scenery of our island home.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT...

I threw a Garmin¬†fitness¬†GPS on Sharon’s bars so she could keep track of our ride stats. It’s a handy unit because I can install it on any bike in about 10 seconds and I don’t have to bother with a bike computer the other 95% of the time when I don’t care how far or fast I went.

Garmin Etrex Vista Cx...

I had the 100K Vic Pop route loaded into my Garmin mapping GPS up front on my bars to navigate us.

Rando Beer!

The weather was great. It started off cloudy and cool, but ened up sunny and warm as the day progressed. Nice day to be out on a bike…=-)





Victoria Populaire – 70K!

26 03 2012

Team 20" at the end of the ride...

Sharon and I rode the 50K route at the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire Sunday. Add in ~20kms riding to/from the event and we rode farther than ever before on the tandem. Sharon also rode her longest ever distance on a bicycle. Obviously 70kms is not going to impress folks that ride 1200km events, but considering Sharon didn’t ride a bike when I met her this is a great achievement. Even better Sharon’s talking about riding the 100km route on our own this spring. Our distance riding progress may be slow, but it’s steady…=-)

50K Route Map - click for bigger version...

We met up with Aaron and Laura at the start. They were riding Dahon folding bikes so we were all rolling on 20″ wheels. We were joined by Brian and Mike on their big wheel bikes. The day was sunny and there were something like ~140 riders joining us on the course. The organizers did a great job staffing the controls and the route was well chosen for pleasant cycling.

Rider organizer Dave M giving the troops last minute instructions...

We let the majority of riders start in front of us so we could enjoy a relaxed pace around the course. I had my gps running as well as the course cue sheets. Between the two we managed a first ever zero bonus KM event by staying on course the whole time!

The intrepid members of our 50K posse at control #2...

The tandem proved comfortable for this distance and we had no issues cranking up even the steeper climbs on the course. I’m more and more impressed with our Raspberry Rocket on every new adventure. Thanks Bike Friday!

Sharon taking a breather along the route and enjoying the views...

Thanks to the BC Randonneurs for putting on a great ride for those riders not quite ready for a 200K brevet. Thanks also to Aaron, Laura, Sharon, Brian and Mike for riding with us…=-)

Mr.Lazy happy they have cookies at the control!

Victoria Populaire 2012 photos:





Shakedown Ride…

18 03 2012

A loose headset isn't fun on a tandem!

We took our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL out for a shakedown spin Saturday to make sure she was in good shape for next weekend’s BC Randonneur Club Victoria Populaire. Good thing we did as the headset was quite loose and you need a crazy big wrench to tighten it. Happily we stopped in at The Fairfield BIcycle Shop and Aaron helped us out with some tools – Thanks! We also decided to make some small tweaks to our saddles and Sharon’s bars.

Beyond that the shifting and braking is¬†working¬†well. I do need some lube on both the tandem’s chains and she should be ready to rumble!

Testing a route sheet holder...

Our Bike Friday tandem does not see regular rando use so there is no provision for a route sheet holder, bike computer or GPS. So I tested out a Cycloactive Bar Map OTG [Of The Gods] case to see how it stayed in place on our tandem’s unique bar/stem combo. It worked pretty well and can be adjusted back into position easily when it does slide down. For a one day ride I’ll use it as is, but for extended use I’d modify it to stay in place more securely. Note that on a normal bar/stem combo the OTG case would be fully secure without any changes. Our tandem is special in many many ways! I either have to wire in a bike computer or program my Garmin GPS to use with the cue sheet. I’m leaning towards the GPS as I’ll use it on my solo brevets as well so it makes sense to do a run through to ensure it is still working well. I’ve volunteered to shepherd any new riders around the 50K route so it’s fairly important we don’t get lost!

I’m excited to embark on our first rando event together. It’s a modest 50K ride, but that will be a good taste of what a brevet can be like and we can then move up to the 100K and 200K distances if all goes well. I can’t see Sharon being keen on riding more than a 200K event once a year, but that would still be great as a change of pace for our normal riding.

Scott checking the camera position...

We rolled down to the Mohka House for some coffee. I’m still in search of an amazing espresso shot in Victoria. I have found lots of decent coffee, but nothing top notch – yet! Scott joined us for a spin down to the beach where we shot some video for¬†Porcelain¬†Rocket and I got to play around with my new Canon T2i. Between my iPhone, Canon S95 and T2i I really do have a perfect set of photographic tools for just about any¬†occasion. I ended up using all of them Saturday and it was nice to have so many options.

Sharon digs into some tasty Pho...

After our beach session we headed home with a stop at the Green Leaf Bistro for some yummy Vietnamese food. All in all it was a great day to roam around town on our bike and enjoy some warm sunshine.





Top 10 Things I love from 2011…

15 12 2011

Best new addition to our toys of 2011...

Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL

By far and away the best thing to happen to us in 2011 is this Bike Friday tandem. It has radically changed out bicycle reality. We used to struggle to ride together on single bikes trying all sorts of strategies to make it work and neither of us being¬†satisfied¬†with the result. From our first ride on this tandem we’ve been all smiles and never looked back. It’s a very rare day when we leave our house for a road ride and we aren’t on this bike. The small size of the Bike Friday means we store her inside the house and we can transport her more easily than a conventional tandem. We haven’t flown with her yet, but that’s only a matter of time as Sharon is keen on some touring.

If you are a couple of unequal riding speed give a tandem some serious thought.

Dinotte mountain bike lights...

Dinotte Mountain Bike Lights

I fell back in love with these Dinotte LED lights this winter. The symmetric light beam that’s so annoying on the road/MUP is awesome for trail riding at night. They are powerful [relatively given they are 3-4yrs old], rugged, waterproof and lightweight.

Winter riding!

Winter BC MTBing

Riding my mountain bike all winter has really changed my perspective on the seasons here. We aren’t just making the best of a bad situation. The fact is winter riding conditions are awesome and it’s a great time to spin some knobbies. With trails close to my house it’s so easy and fun to ride that I’m boggled why I didn’t get on it last year! The only problem is you need some reasonably powerful bike lights to ride weekdays when it’s dark at 4pm – hence my love for the Dinottes above.

Let's go rando!

BC Randonneurs

I had a lot of fun riding brevets with the BC Rando Club this spring. I’m slow and unremarkable on these events, but I have fun and completed the rides in the time¬†allotted. For me that’s all that matters and I wear the badge of The¬†Lantern¬†Rouge Club with pride…=-) Sharon asked me if I would be training more [ie. at all] for rando events in 2012. My reply was no – unless riding my mountain bike counted. I’m lazy – what can I say?

She's a Green Machine...

Surly Pugsley

Rebuilding my Surly Pugsley after getting it powdercoated really made me re-appreciate this bike. I’ve got some fatbike trips planned for 2012 and hopefully Aaron will get fully infected with big tire stoke so he gets one as well. Scott from Porcelain Rocket is building me a set of bikepacking bags for the Pugsley so I can roll down the trail and across the sand in style and comfort…=-) My Pugs will be sitting in the showroom of the Fairfield Bicycle Shop while I am gone to Baja. The plan is to demonstrate the latent fatbike enthusiasm in local riders by exposing them to 4″ of rubber! Devious I know….=-)

Thin for the Win!

MacBook Air

Although I didn’t post about it I upgraded my 1st generation MacBook Air to a 4th generation model. I do a decent amount of blogging on this computer as well as a ton of research for the blog not to mention working to make $$ to fund this blog. So it’s fair to say this little computer is an essential tool in my life. The size,¬†convenience¬†and pleasing interactive experience of my old MBA was enough to sell me on a new one. Especially as the price had dropped from $1800+ to $1000+. What’s really great about the new MBA is that with a solid state HD standard and enough power to really crank up my applications it has become a fully functional computer that can do everything I need to rather than simply a travel/convenience¬†computer. I’ll be buying another one in 3yrs most likely!

Fox just keeps on going and going and going...

Fox Suspension

The Fox Float 36 fork and DHX Air 5.0 shock on my Santa Cruz Nomad are ending their 3rd year of MTBing with me and have needed an amazingly small amount of maintenance [new air sleeve in the rear shock only – fork’s never been serviced at all] while performing better than any other suspension I have tried. Lots of buttery smooth travel and they rarely need to see the inside of a bike shop…what more could you ask for? Okay they aren’t cheap, but well worth the $$. Some additional props to Santa Cruz’s VPP pivots for also being extremely¬†maintenance¬†light.

650B - low trail goodness...

650B Low Trail Road Biking

My Boulder All Road 650B rando bike really opened my eyes to some new possibilities for what a fast efficient road bike could be and the 42mm Grand Bois Hetres made me smile on every ride. I doubt you’d see me riding any brevets in 2012 if it wasn’t for how much fun this bike is to pedal. Given my propensity to tweak and tinker the fact I won’t be changing a thing on my rando bike setup for next season should say something. I think this is my first rando season where I haven’t swapped whole bikes in the search for a better experience on brevets. Two thumbs up…=-)

I love this place!

Vancouver Island

Sure having to ride a ferry or take an extra flight is a pain when you want to leave the island, but in exchange you get a huge under utilized year round playground for so many great sports.

  • world class kitesurfing [lake & ocean]
  • world class surfing
  • world class MTBing
  • world class road and dirt touring
  • world class sea kayaking
  • year round bicycling and motorcycling
  • easy access to Seattle and Olympic¬†Peninsula
  • relatively few people using the various recreational resources
  • only rains 25% of the time in the winter leaving loads of mild sunny days to be outside
I’m not sure what the future will hold as I will be searching for more work in 2012, but I don’t see myself leaving Vancouver Island unless it’s for points south that are warmer and even mor¬†recreationally¬†bountiful!

Thumbs up for good friends...

Friends

The best gear and the greatest spot on the planet aren’t that much fun without some good friends to share the experience with. Sharon and I haven’t been making friends at a brisk pace here in Victoria [which by all accounts is normal], but on the plus side all the people we’ve gotten to know well have become quality friends – you know who you are!. In that department I’ll take quality over quantity any day…=-)





2012 BC Rando Schedule…

31 10 2011

My Boulder Bicycle All Road...

The BC Randonneurs have released their 2012 schedule. It looks great with quite a few shorter summer rides which makes me happy. I always found it funny that my rando season essentially wrapped up just as the weather started being nice. With 200km and 300km events in the summer I hope to get a few more rides in and enjoy Vancouver Island at the peak of its cycling season.

My goals this year are modest:

  • Victoria Populaire – 25 March [with Sharon on our Bike Friday tandem 50km route for sure and if Sharon’s up for it we’ll do the 100km ride]
  • Van Isle 200K – 7 Apr
  • Van Isle 300K – 21 Apr
  • one 200K in the summer
  • volunteer at 1 or 2 events

Yup Рnot an overwhelming set of goals. No new distances and not too many events. I plan on defending my 2011 Lantern Rouge Championship Cup.

You may be wondering why so few rides and nothing more than 300K? Well in the past when I have set more ambitious targets and not achieved them it felt like failure even though I have yet to DNF a brevet. I’m old enough to know that if I don’t do something after 2 or 3 tries than it’s because I don’t want to do it or I can’t do it. I know I can ride a 400K for example, but I haven’t made that happen which leads me to believe that despite wanting to achieve the goal of completing a 400K I don’t want to ride 400K if that makes any sense!

So my way around that is to stick with goals I know I will achieve and enjoy. When May 12th rolls around and the Van Isle 400K is being held if I’m up for it I can always jump on my bike and ride it and if not I haven’t failed to meet a goal and I can spend that weekend kiteboarding or MTBing or whatever I’m passionate about at the time.

I’m rando-lite and proud of it!…=-)





Brooks Saddle Experiment

22 04 2011

Untreated B-17 Narrow Imperial...

In the past I’ve gone with the factory approved breaking in plan for my Brooks saddles – a generous application of Proofide leather treatment followed by a lot of riding. That worked fine as I was in no rush and the saddles were pretty comfortable right out of the box. However, the last 3 Brooks saddles I’ve¬†received¬†were much harder than the previous ones. I started to investigate some faster break in techniques. Some of the stuff I came across online was pretty radical – including soaking in motor oil or neatsfoot oil. Both oils promised very fast break in at the cost of a big mess and the leather dye coming off on my clothing. I decided I would try a hybrid methodology to see if I could get the best of both without having to wait as long for the leather to soften.

Very stiff even with cut out...

I started by totally loosening off the tension bolt.

Rails and skirt lacing...

I left the skirt lacing alone.

A generous application of Proofide...

I then applied a generous amount of Proofide to the top of the saddle and rubbed it in by hand. I used a hairdryer to warm the leather and aid in the leather treatment soaking in.

Profide has soaked in and dried...

I let the saddle sit in the sun and allowed the Proofide to “dry”.

Neatsfoot oil applied to underside only...

Then I applied neatsfoot oil to the entire underside of the saddle being careful not to let it run out the cut out and onto the top surface.

Proofide buffed and 1st application of neatsfoot oil done...

I let the neatsfoot oil soak in and buffed the Proofide on the top of the saddle.

Note dark areas of saddle where neatsfoot oil has soaked in...

I wasn’t satisfied with the effect of the first neatsfoot oil treatment so I applied two more with a focus on the rear part of the saddle. Again I was careful to keep the neatsfoot oil on the bottom of the saddle only.

Brooks lacing porn...

I allowed the neatsfoot oil to soak in overnight.

Final product after 3rd application of neatsfoot oil to underside...

After the 3rd application the leather was¬†noticeably¬†softer, but still not as soft as a fully broken in Brooks saddle. I decided that was enough acceleration for now and will ride the saddle for a while and see what happens. So far the dye on the saddle seems to be staying put. I’m hoping the Proofide on the top surface sealed things in to keep the oil from coming all the way through the saddle. We’ll see!

I was happy enough with the¬†initial¬†results to treat one of my rock hard standard B17s as well. I’m putting that saddle on our Bike Friday tandem.

I can’t promise anything so please don’t follow this plan if you can’t afford to ruin your Brooks. If you do follow this plan remember you can always apply more neatsfoot oil later if you want to get the saddle softer faster so be conservative at first. Once the neatsfoot oil is on the leather you can’t take it back if you go too far.





The problem with perfection…

6 04 2011

My awesome LHT...=-)

I try out a lot of bikes and a lot of gear. That’s fun and I enjoy tinkering with different setups. It’s taught me a lot that I couldn’t have learned any other way, but it does have one downside – perfection. Now you’d think having a perfect bike would be great and in terms of riding it that’s true – where I get into trouble is once a bike is perfect or close to it I don’t want to mess with it. One perfect bike wouldn’t be an issue, but I’m starting to collect quite a few of them and that’s getting in the way of my tinkering!

Now I could sell them, but¬†every time¬†I did that [ie. Challenge Fujin SL] I regret it. Not only because I can’t ride that bike any more, but also because perfection was usually expensive and doing the same thing twice is harder to justify.

You could also say just keep ’em all. Sound advice in theory, but I am at the point with bikes, boards and gear that unless I get a 2 car garage I am at my limit for bikes. As it is two bikes live outside **gasp!** and our tandem lives in the dining room!

As a stop gap measure I am calling 2011 the year of the upgrade so I’ll focus on working on existing bikes rather than getting new ones – although one new one slipped in and I traded a single bike for a tandem. This is working, but it has it’s limits. Once I add the hammered fenders & dynohub + light to my LHT there won’t be a lot left to do as it will be freaking amazingly perfect…=-)

Here’s a rundown of my bikes that are perfect or near perfect:

  • Surly LHT
  • Surly Big Dummy
  • Surly Pugsely
  • Santa Cruz Nomad
  • Bike Friday Tikit
  • Bike Friday NWT

I’m not dissing my Bike Friday Tandem Traveller or my Boulder Bicycle All Road, but they are too new to get perfect status. They must prove themselves on the road and maybe next year they’ll be worthy!

For upgrades I’ve got the following projects on the go:

  • dyno hub & light for LHT
  • hammered VO fenders for LHT
  • put super hard B17 on LHT to break it in
  • put Jone loop H-bars on Big Dummy
  • put dynohub wheel in Big Dummy and mount light
  • put PR rack and Ortlieb O bag on Tikit

I’ve also got an Alfine 11 I need to build into a wheel and try out, but so far I haven’t decided which bike to use it on. If I could get a JTek bar end shifter for it I’d have a lot of options, but so far that’s not available.





2011

29 11 2010

I must have been thinking ahead to 2011!

Every year I have at least one project bike and try out some new gear that’s been on my mind. ¬†My main focus for 2011 will be to upgrade and improve my existing rides. ¬†Here is what I am thinking of for 2011:

  • I’m going to put some energy into learning to unicycle. ¬†Paul lent me a couple unis to try out. ¬†I haven’t got to the point where I’m for sure going to take this up, but I should know by the end of 2010. ¬†If I do I’ll score a uni for myself.
  • Sharon has realized that although her cruiser/city bike is nice to look at she needs a more efficient ride if she is to cover a lot of kms riding to work and for errands. ¬†So I’m going to build her a Surly Cross Check [in Robin’s Egg Blue] using the main parts from her cruiser. ¬†The more aggressive riding position and option to go with drops should be useful while still ending up with a nice looking ride. ¬†Assuming she loves it I’m thinking of adding a dynohub wheel and headlight in the fall of 2011 for her birthday as her commutes to work start getting darker.
  • We’ll save Sharon’s city bike frame and any parts we don’t swap over to build up a SS Burning Man bike for 2012 when we head to the playa again.
  • My trusty Surly LHT is going to get a dynohub and dyno headlight for 24/7 light action. ¬†I’ve really enjoyed the dyno setup on my Bike Friday NWT and it’s time to give my LHT the same treatment. ¬†I’ll use a Shimano dynohub, but haven’t settled on a headlight yet. ¬†My LHT will also get some smooth fast rolling Grand Bois Cypres tires. ¬†I’ve been waiting until the existing Marathon ¬†XRs wear out, but that is taking forever so I’ll pull them and save them for when I need a heavier tire on a tour. ¬†If I get really into it I’d like a bigger/longer mudflap on my LHT, but that would be a luxury…the existing one is adequate.
  • My Surly Big Dummy will get a dynohub [a 26″ Shimano dynohub wheel I used on my Thorn Nomad] as well as a dyno headlight. Not sure about the headlight yet. ¬†I’m thinking I’ll probably get an uber nice one for the LHT and a nice, but reasonably priced one for the Dummy. I can always swap them if I need a killer light on the Dummy. ¬†I’ll probably swap the Jones Loop H-bar into the Dummy to test it out.
  • My CETMA cargo bike will get a¬†hydraulic¬†disc brake on the front wheel to address the spongy brake action caused the long convoluted cable run. I still haven’t mounted fenders so that has to happen and I think, given the short rides I do with it, I’ll mount a less expensive SDG saddle and save the Selle Anatomica for a rig that sees bigger distances. ¬†I’m considering pulling the Rohloff hub from the CETMA and replacing it with a cheaper Nuvinci IGH. ¬†I feel like the Rohloff is kind of wasted in that bike and I’ve been interested in the Nuvinci so this would be a good opporttunity to try one out in an application where the smaller gear range and higher weight isn’t an issue.
  • My Bike Friday NWT will get some full coverage Planet Bike Fenders and some¬†fresh¬†white bar tape. If Solidlights is still doing the XB2 light upgrade I may send my Solidlights dyno light back to the UK to get the upgrade from brighter LEDs and a focused optic.
  • My Pugsley needs a saddle [I stole the Selle Anatomica for the CETMA from my Pug]. ¬†Rather than put the SA back on I’ll replace it with SDG plastic saddle unless I take it on tour where the SA would be appreciated. ¬†I’d also like to swap in some MTB riser bars from my spare parts bin for the Titec H-bars to get a better relationship between the brake levers and the shifter/grips. ¬†Right now I can’t have my hand on the grips fully while braking which is a problem in technical terrain. ¬†I have a set of Surly Larry knobby 4″ tires I will be installing on the Pugsely in 2011 to improve traction in the wet.
  • My Bike Friday 8spd Tikit has a new stem riser waiting on installation. ¬†The new one piece unit replaces the previous separate stem and steering riser combo. ¬†I’ve got to replace the whole drivetrain on this bike since it hasn’t seen any love since new. ¬†It also needs a new set of Greenspeed Scorcher TRs.
  • I’d like to get a tour of Vancouver Island in this spring…from Port Hardy back down to Victoria.
  • I’d like to fit in more mountain biking. ¬†Kiteboarding dominates my summer weekends, but I can fit more mountain bike rides in during the week.

There is also some stuff that I’m less certain about that is bouncing around my brain. ¬†These items may not happen, but who knows?

  • Getting a tandem. ¬†I’m continuing to do research and will hopefully get some test rides in over the next few months to confirm our interest in riding on the same bike. I’ve got a few possibilities on paper right now, but nothing that is so compelling I’d rule out other options.
  • Alfine 11 – I’d like to try one out, but I haven’t got a solid idea of where I might use one.
  • Carbon belt – I’d like to try out a carbon belt drive at some point. ¬†I’m not 100% sold on them, but without trying one it’s hard to speak about the benefits vs. a chain.
  • Trying out a BQ approved 650B rando style bike. ¬†I’m curious if I’ll come to the same conclusions as Jan Heine and the only way to know is to try one. I’m not ready to spend top of the line custom $$ on one so I’d be looking at something that’s in production like the Boulder Cycles Randonneur.
  • I’m contemplating riding some more brevets this year…if I do it will be just the shorter ones [100K, 200K and 300K]. ¬†I’ve got to find my love of long solo¬†training¬†road rides. ¬† I’ve also done all my previous brevets on a recumbent. ¬†I don’t own a bent and I don’t see one in my immediate future so I’d probably press my Surly LHT or BBC 24 into service.
  • I’m considering building a bike storage area in my yard to free up garage space. ¬†It would be a concrete pad with eye bolts sunken into the pad for locking points. ¬†It would have a roof, but not be fully enclosed. ¬†I’d lock up my more sturdy bikes there [like my Surly Big Dummy] giving me more room in the garage and also making getting rolling on these bikes faster.
  • I may get rid of one of my two fixed gear bikes to free up some space. ¬†I love the fixed gear experience, but one bike would meet all my needs.