OMM Racks – Born in the USA..

21 05 2013

Some behind the scenes footage at Old Man Mountain [aka OMM] racks. Made in the USA by some nice guys that love bike touring. ūüôā

Shimano Alfine 11 IGH Oil Change…

15 05 2013

It’s been over a year since I started running an Alfine 11 IGH. First off in my On One Scandal 29er MTB and now in my Surly Krampus. Shimano wants you to do an oil change after the first 1000kms and every year or 5000kms after that. I was putting off my first oil change since I hadn’t acquired the supplies I needed and I know oil change intervals are conservative.

Alfine 11 cleaned and oiled...

Alfine 11 cleaned and oiled…

On my last tour I made a poor decision to ride across a washed out trail which submerged my Alfine 11 at least partially. IGH seals are not designed to keep water out when the hub goes under so I assumed I had at least a little water in the hub. While I might push the limits of bike maintenance sometimes I also know when I am fooling with an expensive repair. Leaving water inside an IGH for any length of time can lead to a hub failure that could necessitate a total factory rebuild.

So I got my lazy ass in gear and figured out an oil change plan. Since I own a couple Rohloffs I have used several of that brand’s oil change kits. I kept all the old parts for re-use and they conveniently fit my Alfine 11. Stocking two separate sets of expensive IGH maintenance supplies seemed like too much of a PITA. So I decided to stick with Rohloff products.

The Fairfield Bicycle Shop kindly sold me 300ml of bulk Rohloff cleaning solution and Rohloff hub oil. You need 25ml of each fluid for an oil change so I’m good for 12 IGH services. That’s a lot of years of IGH maintenance.

Rohloff Bulk oil and syringe...

Rohloff Bulk oil and syringe…

Just for the IGH Geeks here is why Rohloff says you should use their oil:

“The SPEEDHUB requires a pressure resistant oil with the correct viscosity so as to ensure this works over a vast temperature range (making the SPEEDHUB suitable in all climates) whilst not increasing friction/decreasing transmission efficiency or escaping under the special seals. For this reason we insist that only original Rohloff oils be used.

It is incredibly important that the oil does not react with the hard-nylon components within the gear-unit. Our early tests proved that various different oils reacted with hard-nylon components within the gear-unit. These components would sometimes swell and increase friction to the point where the SPEEDHUB failed to operate correctly. The sheer number of different percentages and types of additives used in oils is so vast, that we were forced to produce our own oil so that we can safely offer and uphold a warranty on our products.

The use of non-original oils is easy to detect after opening a SPEEDHUB transmission and in every service case where this is apparent, we are unable to offer warranty repairs.”

Now it would be legitimate to ask why a Rohloff product would be good for a Shimano IGH? I don’t know that it is for sure, but I’m willing to take the chance that an oil safe for a Rohloff is safe for a Shimano hub. If something bad happens I’ll let you know! ūüėČ

BTW – the Rohloff syringe and injection tube fitting work on the Alfine 11 perfectly.

Here is my Alfine 11 oil change process:

  1. clean outside of hub shell
  2. open hub via oil plug
  3. inject 25 ml of Rohloff cleaning solution
  4. pedal hub through all gear combos for 5 mins
  5. let drain for 30 mins
  6. suck out any remaining cleaning fluid and old oil with syringe
  7. inject 25 ml of Rohloff hub oil
  8. seal up Alfine and ride
  9. dispose of dirty oil/cleaning fluid responsibly

The oil change went without a hitch and took about 45 mins including the 30 mins of draining time for the old oil.

Dirty oil...

Dirty oil…

Tip – there is a tiny o-ring on the Alfine 11 oil plug. Don’t lose it! ūüėČ

Here is what you need for an Alfine 11 oil change:

  • Rohloff 25 ml cleaning solution & 25 ml Rohloff oil
  • or 50 ml Shimano hub oil
  • syringe with injection tube and hub fitting
  • 3 mm allen key
  • paper towels
  • ziplock bag to collect dirty oil
  • electrical tape to attach ziplock to tube while it drains
  • 2 cold beers

BC Rando Recruitment Poster…

21 03 2013
BC Randos need a few good cyclists... ;)

BC Randos need a few good cyclists… ūüėČ

Waterproof iPod Shuffle…

23 01 2013

Waterproof tunes…

Some of my kiteboarding friends use and like these waterproof iPods. If you like to swim, paddle or rain ride with tunes without worrying about ruining your iPod check it out.

I like to hear what’s going on around me so I’ve never tried them myself.

They look seriously waterproof!

This is Kiteracing…

4 01 2013

The Lazy Rando Mexican Office…

2 12 2012
Espresso on the Sea of Cortez...

Espresso on the Sea of Cortez…

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.

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 didn’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. ūüôā

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! ūüėČ 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.

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… ūüėČ

Mountain biking it’s a drug…

6 10 2012

…it just takes one taste before a kid gets hooked! ūüėČ

MTBing Nelson BC with Knolly Bikes…

4 10 2012

Click to watch video…

Vancouver Island Mountain Biking…

21 09 2012

Chad’s Bikepacking Diary…

12 09 2012

Click on image for more great MTB action…

I love the desert and I love mountain biking so it’s no wonder that I find Chad’s Bikepacking Diary Blog so entertaining.

Click on image to jump to Chad’s blog…

MBA How to Manual Guide

2 08 2012

Click for PDF document…

I found this really detailed guide explaining how to manual a mountain bike.

Here is a video on the same topic.

Stay on top of the maintenance!

9 07 2012

Not good!

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

Fresh cable and housing….

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

Double red…

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

Toni Lund’s Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage Bag Review…

20 06 2012

Click on image to read the review…

Since I posted about Salsa Anything Cages yesterday I figured I’d share this review of Scott’s Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage bags that Toni Lund did. He’s got a nice blog that’s worth a read as well.

Airport Camping…

11 06 2012

Our deluxe suite at the Calgary Airport…

On our way back from LA for the Moontribe 19yr Anniversary full moon gathering we got stuck in Calgary for 21hrs due to a big storm system. With hundreds of other stranded travelers there were no hotel rooms available near the airport. No worries – we are seasoned campers and we had our gear with us still dusty from the Mojave Desert. So we found a nook on the arrivals level where we could throw down our sleeping pads and bags. We got a few strange looks, but I fell asleep pretty quickly and appreciated 6hrs of horizontal time.

Sharon enjoying our “campsite”…

Sharon and I both used Exped air mattresses – mine is a Downmat 9. It can be a PITA to inflate this thick mattress, but it’s perfect for very hard or rocky surfaces due to it’s huge volume. It’s also very warm thanks to the down inside that keeps the air from circulating. Sleeping on a concrete floor at the airport was no problem at all.

Tour de Cowichan 200K…

9 04 2012

The route...

The two biggest challenges in successfully completing this ride were:

  1. getting out of bed at 4:30am on a freezing cold morning with no Rando Buddy waiting to shame me for sleeping in.
  2. the last 50kms where my lack of training put the hurt on me big time.

When my alarm went off Saturday morning I wasted 10 valuable minutes pondering the existential dilema of riding the 200K or staying in a warm bed. I had prepared just about everything the night before including 2 cups of tea and breakfast. So Getting out the door wouldn’t be too hard. The forecast was for warm sunny weather which was helpful. The route was through a lovely area of Vancouver Island which got me stoked. Even better the start was at a bakery and the finish was at a pub. How could I say no?!

Thank you Weather Gods!

Even with my preparation the night before I got out of the driveway 15mins later than I had wanted to. That meant driving very fast the whole way to the start at Chemainus while hoping the police had some crack dealers to bust at 5am on a Saturday rather than set up speed traps. I got to Chemainus with about 15-20mins to spare before the ride started. I rode¬†leisurely¬†over to the start only to find it closed. Hmmm…the ride started at The Dancing Bean last year and I guess I hadn’t read the ride page closely enough to pick up the change…=( I slowly rode around town looking for signs of life and men in tights! It didn’t take too long to spot the start at the Utopia Bakery and some familiar faces.

Jeff & Steve getting registered...

My first problem showed up around this time when I powered up my GPS and tried to load the route. My lame-ass Garmin tells me it can’t navigate the route because there are more than 50 way points. For the love of God! My phone can hold the entire contents of the Great Library of Alexandria and my GPS can’t sort out a 200K route? I had forgotten how pathetic the Garmin operating system was since last year’s rando season. Oh well – I loaded up the track of the route that I had put on the GPS and used that instead. A track is basically a trail of dots showing where someone had gone before. Not as nice as turn by turn directions, but it was better than a punch in the head!

Martin addresses the riders at the start...

The 20 odd riders rolled out onto the course in very chilly temps. I was starting to doubt my clothing choices as it was a lot colder than I had expected, but I didn’t want to stop and put on a jacket because I’d lose the Rando Train! As it turned out my wool layers were ideal for the cold to warm weather we ended up with. I was trying to stay with a slower group that wouldn’t kill me on the ride. I tend to go out too fast and then suffer at the end. I settled into a larger group that was going my speed on the flats, but they really slowed on the climbs. I had to decide if I wanted to push on to a faster group that climbed at my pace, but that would probably go faster than I would like on the flats or stay where I was. I didn’t want to ride alone so I needed someone to stick with. I ended up leaving the larger group and finding a smaller group up the road.

Jeff - photo: Melissa

That group got whittled down to Jeff and I. He was going a fast pace that I could manage in his draft, but I started to feel guilty after a while. I wasn’t sure how long I could wheel suck before I went from Rando Buddy to Rando Jerk. Eventually Tobin rode up to us and we were three. This 50km stretch ¬†to the ¬†first control had a lot of climbing in it. [You can click on the route map at the top and get an interactive ride map.] I was climbing pretty well and managed to hang on on the flats. I did take a turn at the front to assuage my wheel sucker’s guilt, but it was tough enough that I knew that wouldn’t be happening a lot on this ride! We eventually caught up to John [who as it turns out is a blog reader] and he motored along with the three of us in tow to the first control near Lake Cowichan at around 50kms. It hadn’t warmed up much to this point and we started to doubt the forecast for sunny skies.

Photo: John M. - See I wasn't kidding about eating a lot at the controls...

I was keen to keep my stops as short as possible on this ride and the first control set the right tone for me:

  1. stop
  2. put some food in your mouth
  3. pee
  4. get control card signed & put away
  5. eat some more
  6. adjust clothing
  7. adjust bike [leather tension on my saddle]
  8. eat some more
  9. get rolling
I’m guessing we were in and out of the control in 7mins or so. One thing that helped is I was wearing fairly flexible clothing that I could vent while riding to adjust for changes in temperatures, wind and effort levels. I also had lots of food on the bike I could eat while riding. I made a¬†conscious¬†effort to eat a small amount¬†consistently¬†throughout the event. I also had something to drink¬†every time¬†I thought of it and¬†every time¬†anyone else pulled out a bottle I grabbed mine for good measure. So when I rolled into a control I wasn’t trying to recover from the damage I had just inflicted on myself. I was simply adding some extra calories to the tank and taking care of tasks I couldn’t do on the bike.

My Rando Rig taking a rare break...

I was feeling good leaving the first control and I knew if I could get the next 50kms done easily than I would have conquered a good chunk of the climbing and I could roll the last half of the ride with less power in the legs. We did great getting over the lumpy bits on the way back from Lake Cowichan towards Duncan. I was starting to think I might not get crushed like I usually do on these rides due to my non-existant training¬†regime. I got on the front and took a pull on the Trans-Canada Hwy section of the second leg trying to contribute something to the group. As we turned off the highway and headed to the Kinesol Trestle I was getting pretty low energy. I don’t think I was bonking simply because I had been eating pretty solidly on the ride so far. I suspect my body was just reaching the end of my typical long workout timeframe at 4-5hrs and was starting to wonder what the heck was going on!

John walking back from the Kinesol Trestle...

Happily control #2 at the Kinesol Trestle [~116kms] ¬†was well stocked with provisions. I repeated my routine from control #1, but took an extra 5-6 mins to sit down and rest. I didn’t waste this time though and I kept a constant flow of food entering my mouth without gorging. Jeff and Tobin had gone up the road during the climb to the trestle with John and I following a bit behind. We¬†regrouped¬†at the control, but didn’t ride together too much more as our speeds kept diverging. I totally appreciated the company thus far and the ability to draft some stronger riders. It was way nicer than the solo death march I had¬†envisaged¬†earlier in the week! So thanks guys!

Tobin, Lazy and John at the Secret Control @~ 130kms...

Not shockingly [to me] my energy levels kept dropping from this point onwards. I can’t really be upset or¬†surprised¬†when I don’t put in a reasonable amount of preparation for these rides. John and I stuck together on the ride to control #3. He was stronger on a lot of the sections and went ahead to wait for me at key spots. It was still nice to have some company even if I didn’t have the speed to stay with him all the time or to do much chatting when we were together. There were a couple fun fast downhills on this section that put a grin on my face. The 3rd control was at 151kms so this was a short leg. I was happy about that as I needed the morale support, food and to feel like the finish was at had.

Control #3 @ ~151kms...

The last 50kms to the finish was really hard for me. I eventually lost contact with John completely and got passed by Gary Baker. The KMs ticked down very slowly – very slowly! I just kept the pedals turning and kept eating. So far in the ride I hadn’t got off the bike between controls and I wanted to stick with that strategy so I ate a sandwich while coasting down a couple long gradual hills. I did eventually have to stop for a¬†brief¬†pee break, but my general plan to keep moving and keep control stops short did contribute to a low overall time for me. I know when I am suffering looking at the odometer is a bad thing as it seems to be broken it’s counting so slowly! The fact the finish was at a pub meant I could look forward to a pint and a Rando Burger. That helped keep me¬†pedaling¬†along. Eventually I got to a pub and I thought it was “The Pub”, but I didn’t see the control sign or any bikes. I took a moment to consult the route sheet and I knew my brain wasn’t at 100% so I didn’t rush the cognitive process! While my¬†neurons¬†fired very slowly Martin Williams [friendly neighbourhood brevet organizer] came out to let me know I was done.

Photo: Melissa

Happy Happy! I got my route card signed and was handed a¬†finisher’s¬†pin. I immediately grabbed a seat and started looking at the menu!


  • Total distance = 202kms
  • Total ride time = 9:30
  • Avg speed = 22.9kph
  • Riding time = 8:49
  • Time off the bike = 41mins

Tobin at the finish...

The Good

  • got out of bed at 4:30am!…=-)
  • great weather
  • great route
  • enthusiastic friendly club volunteers at the controls
  • ate and drank well
  • good folks to ride with
  • no bonus KMs
  • finished middle of the pack
  • no flats or mechanicals
  • wore the right clothes for weather¬†conditions
  • bike was comfy
  • 650B tires were ideal for all the rough pavement and gravel¬†patches

Photo: John M. - Jeff, Tobin, Lazy and John @ the Secret Control....

The Bad

  • shifting needed tweaking
  • saddle needed tightening
  • GPS route didn’t work
  • lots of rough pavement needed my full attention [especially when drafting]
  • low energy on the last part of the ride
  • didn’t take many photos

The Ugly

  • nothing! – sweet…=-)

Photo: John M. - ready to roll out of Control #3...

What I should do different next brevet?

  • check out the bike a little more carefully [shifting, saddle, ect…]
  • turn on GPS at home and load route to ensure it will navigate
  • pack food that’s easy to eat on the bike [open some packages in advance]
  • train hard – hahahaha…yeah right!

Photo: John M. - Let's get this party started!

Related Links:

Route sheet and finisher's pin...

Why I ride…?

23 03 2012

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

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

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

Santa Cruz Custom Color Choice Program…

14 03 2012

Loving the purple...

For some of its aluminum bikes Santa Cruz is now offering 12 custom colour options as well as 4 ¬†decals in 4 different colours and two finish choices. That rocks! I really like the purple and white Nomad combo shown above…with some white rims it would be killer…=-) There are two downsides to this program: cost [$300 for a FS bike] and extra time. There is often a long wait for a SC bike if you don’t want the colours in stock…having them paint a frame a custom colour will of course add more time to that process.

So many choices!

The white¬†powder-coat¬†on my Nomad is holding up well, but if I was starting over I’d be tempted to get a purple frame for some bling! These bikes last a long time so they are worth a little extra¬†initial¬†investment if a¬†custom¬†colour would make you smile.

When you are on the Santa Cruz site looking at a bike builder and see a CCCP box, like the one above next to the purple Nomad, just click on it to get choose a custom colour for your bike.

Typical Vancouver Island Winter Riding…

11 03 2012

Click on image to jump to Pinkbike and watch video...

We don’t ride quite that fast or jump as big, but it’s pretty close…=-)~

Llama Trail – Sedona, AZ…

27 02 2012

It's good to be back!

After a long, long, long drive we rolled into Sedona Sunday morning in time to have a delicious espresso at the Bike and Bean.  Not only do they have great coffee they are also the local Santa Cruz dealer. So I was able to get the spare derailleur hanger for my Nomad that was proving so elusive to source in Victoria.

Just follow this wiggly line...

We had a few hours to kill before we could checked in to our hotel. A fun shakedown ride was in order.

A-Man ready to ride....

We cranked across the highway to the Bell Rock Path and rolled north to Little Horse Trail. This isn’t hard riding, but Aaron and I are both fighting off colds not to mention our pitiful sea level lung capacities so there was some huffing and puffing.

Aaron staying legal...

It was a warm and sunny day with glorious singletrack spiced up just enough with rocky technical sections. It only takes 5 minutes of riding to remind you why the crazy long road trip was more than worth it.

Blue sky mine...

Little Horse Trail took us to a super fun ride down Llama Trail back towards the Bike and Bean. Fast curvy singletrack with bermed corners and traction galore. Pretty much the exact opposite of riding around Victoria!


I’m happy to report that all my technical suffering at the Hartland MTB Park has paid off with some displays of skill on the grippy rock steps and drops Sedona threw at us.

Crocs meet their match!

4 01 2012

Crocs 0 - Thorn 1

I’m leaving these bad boys in Mexico where their lack of tread isn’t such a problem.Wet wooden decks and treadless Crocs are not a good match!

Yup that hurt!


Selle Anatomica Sale…

25 11 2011

The colours of SA...

Rob turned me on to a SA Black Friday saddle sale. Steel Titanicos are 50% off. Not sure how long the sale will be on for.

New Surly Evil Rack…

20 11 2011

Enough with the Surly Nice Rack..time for an Evil Rack!

I guess with Surly’s move to the darkside following the unleashing of the Necromancer Pugsley it makes sense they wouldn’t expect you to put a Surly Nice Rack on an undead bike so the fiendish minds at Surly came up with the Pink Devil Horn Pentagram Rack for Necromancer owners. That was too hard to type/say so they’ve called it the Evil Rack.

I’m not sure when they’ll be for sale, but their going for $333 each.

If this sounds too¬†bizarre¬†to be true it’s because I made the whole thing up. Click on the image to read the real story behind this cool rack, but don’t let the internet get boring so please spread an interesting story!

FatBike Outdoor TV…

18 11 2011

Click on image to watch video....

It’s been a dirty summer…

21 07 2011

Hartland MTB Park is our second home...

I lamented not going mountain biking as much as I wanted to last year. Well I got my wish this summer. We’ve been out to Hartland as much as 3 times per week and I bet we’ll fit in a 4 session week before the year is through.

The trails are world class and the park is free – well not free, but it was constructed and is maintained from our tax dollars.

Cranking up the rocks...

You’ll notice that all these photos are tagged with the blog URL. I don’t plan on doing this to every photo posted, but I wanted to try it out and see how it looked so that when I do have some photos I want to tag I’ll have an idea what to do.

Aaron adding air...

Aaron was discussing the pros and cons of riding a hardtail mountain bike. One of the key things is getting the air pressure in your tires correct as the rear is needed for both traction and a bit of suspension.

Good times...

I do miss the longer less technical trails in Alberta. I miss the sunshine because we are almost always deep in the forest at Hartland. When it’s slick after a rain I’m a crash monkey here in the rain forest. Having said all that I now have amazing mountain biking 10 minutes from my door and can ride 11 months of the year. That’s pretty cool. I also suspect that after riding all the wet techy trails here when I go to Alberta or Moab to ride I’ll be a stronger rider so that will be nice.

BC provides free trailside snacks!

We took a few breaks to catch our breathe and eat berries. If we got lazy the mosquito hordes reminded us we were here to bike!

Resting while the mozzies began to attack...

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.


It began with a KLR650…

20 05 2011

Kawasaki KLR650...

I used to ride motorcycles. I spent about 15yrs on various bikes. My favourite was the one shown above – a Kawasaki KLR650. Interestingly I think this bike got me started in online review posting that eventually morphed into blogging. Back in the day I hacked around with HTML to build some basic sites and put my KLR650 related reviews on them. I found two that I think are my very first online reviews. I don’t know why somebody took the trouble to copy them and rehost them on a new site as I think the products must no longer be available, but I guess it might have some historic/archival value to folks who are into that sort of thing.

KLR650 Reviews:

Sharon’s friend Laura wants to get a motorcycle and we went with her to look at them. I have to say I got a bit of stoke back for my old KLR650. They still make ’em and they are still a killer deal for a fun versatile bike. I kept all my expensive KLR650 accessories [ie. Ortlieb motorcycle panniers] because I figured one day I’d get another bike. We’ll see how my will power holds out…=-)

It finally happened…=-(

7 05 2011

So comfy - so tight!...=-(

I’ve been really careful not to let any of my lovely wool¬†garments¬†to make it into the dryer, but my streak of success came to an end today. One of my MEC LS wool tops that fit perfectly ended up in the dryer. Luckily I dry my clothes on low and for a short time so the top went from a perfect fit to a¬†slightly¬†tighter than I’d love fit. I can still wear the top as a layer under something else, but not by itself unless I want to show off my scrawny¬†physique¬†and beer belly!

So while I’m loving the wool on for how it feels and how it works, but this¬†Achilles’¬†heel of shrinking it in the dryer is a real problem preventing me from getting 100% behind it.