For Sale On One Scandal 29er MTB Frame and Fork…

23 02 2013
My On One Scandal 29er in bikepacking mode...

My On One Scandal 29er in bikepacking mode…

I’ve decided to sell my On One Scandal 29er frame and fork. This is an excellent XC 29er mountain bike. It’s well suited to a role as a bikepacking rig. It comes with SS/IGH dropouts and vertical dropouts so you can run a derailleur. The build quality, finish and attention to detail on this frame is outstanding. It puts my Surly frames to shame.

The fork and frame are in mint condition with very little signs of use and probably under 1000kms of riding on it. With a lot of that being non-technical bikepacking rides.

Scandal in Sedona...

Scandal in Sedona…

It’s a great bike so why am I selling it?

Our terrain around here is technical and steep. I’m finding the XC geometry of the Scandal isn’t ideal for mountain biking where I live. If I am going to have 2 mountain bikes I need to enjoy the second one on the trails as well as for bikepacking trips. My plan is to get another 29er with slacker geometry that will handle the steeps better.

Bikepacking with the Scandal...

Bikepacking with the Scandal…

Here are some Scandal features:

  • AL frame [no rusting] – 19.5″ frame with ~24.5″ effective TT
  • frame weight ~3.5lbs
  • sweet anodized stealth black finish with subtle laser engraved logos
  • tapered heattube
  • lots of clearance in frame for big rubber and mud [up to 29 x 2.5″]
  • swappable horizontal or vertical dropouts
  • accepts a dropper post
  • gusseted downtube for durability
  • large frame triangle for decent sized frame bag
  • rear rack mounts for touring or utility riding versatility
  • Rock Shox Reb RLT 100mm fork + spare seal kit [mint condition]
  • On One headset installed

You can see tons of photos of the bike at this link.

Downtube detail...

Downtube detail…

Price:

  • frame + Reba RLT + headset + BB = $600USD
  • shipping = $50USD anywhere in Canada/US
  • will pack the frame/fork very well for safe shipping
  • I will give preference to a local sale.
Dekerf style seatstay/seattube junction...

Dekerf style seatstay/seattube junction…

My experience with On One was great and I’ll certainly consider another one of their frames. The design details and build quality is one level higher than my usual affordable frame solution – Surly. In fact the only frames I have seen that are nicer are custom builds that cost 7 – 10 times as much.

Swappable horizontal dropouts...

Swappable horizontal dropouts…

Note the rear brake is mounted inside the rear triangle for a clean build.

Red rocking and rolling...

Red rocking and rolling…

Who should buy this frame/fork?

  • I’m 5’11” with a 33″ inseam and long arms
  • I wouldn’t recommend the Scandal for anyone smaller than me
  • someone larger can fit fine as I used a very short stem
  • this would be a very nice XC race bike or XC trail bike
  • it’s versatile so you can bike tour with it using a rear rack
  • or you can bikepack with a set of frame bags
  • setup with an IGH it’s very low maitenance
Headtube/top tube detail...

Headtube/top tube detail…

You can read my review of the Scandal 29er here and you can read another review of the Scandal 29er here.

Thumbs up for the Scandal 29er...

Thumbs up for the Scandal 29er…

There are a bunch of reviews of the Scandal 29er on MTBR at this link.

Alfine 11 IGH drivetrain...

Alfine 11 IGH drivetrain…

In its current build it’s a perfect bikepacking rig and a low maintenance XC trail bike.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph + Stans Flow rim + Hope Pro II hubs...

Schwalbe Racing Ralph + Stans Flow rim + Hope Pro II hubs…





On One Scandal 29er Review…

8 08 2012

My On One Scandal 29er mountain bike in bikepacking mode…

Overall

The On One Scandal is a value priced lightweight aluminum 29er hardtail mountain frame with XC geometry and some interesting features like a tapered headset, dropper compatible seat tube and swappable dropouts for vertical or horizontal.

Lots of room for big rubber…

Construction

The tubes are big as you’d expect from an aluminum frame with decent industrial looking welds. The tapered headtube has a gusset at the downtube junction for added strength. The Dekerf-esque seat stays look nice and provide a lot of clearance for big rubber and mud. I got the black anodized finish which is robust and looks good with fairly subtle laser etched logos. For a low cost production frame the quality and attention to detail is very high. Frame weight is under 4lbs. I didn’t weigh my 19.5″ frame, but it was definitely not the usual 6lb Surly steel frame I’m used to. The swappable dropouts offer vertical or horizontal options that can be changed any time.

Gusset…

Here’s what On One has to say about the Scandal 29er:
“Our award winning Scandal is back in a new updated incarnation bringing even more to the big wheeled genre than before. Starting at the front, a new tapered head tube means big fork compatibility. Using our Smoothie Mixer taper headset standard, the Scandal 29 can take taper or straight steerer forks, and is even compatible with our new “slackset” to kick the head angle out for more all-mountain playful handling.

A curved seat tube gives better rear wheel clearance and takes a 31.6mm post, so is “dropper” compatible. Clamp size is 34.9mm.

Gear routing is under the BB for this model, so a bottom pull, low clamp, 34.9mm front mech is used.

BB shell is 68mm English threaded.

Out back, the frame gets the swapout treatment and is fitted as standard with our Type b2 vertical dropout for disc brake compatibility.

Rack mounts are integrated into the rear stays for those that want to do it a.

Frame tubing is a mix of 7046 high strength thin wall multi butted alloy main tubes and 7005 butted and shaped rear stays. Chainstays are bridge less with reinforcing gussets for increased fatigue strength and clearance.

Seatstays are classic on one wishbone style.

Two bottle mount points are fitted. One on the seat tube and one on the downtube. Seat tube one may be obstructed by a high mount front mech. Low mount mechs are possible only with a 42t or larger outer chainring. Sorry.

Likewise, brake hose routing should follow the top tube and seat tube guides due to possibility of interference with gear cabling on downtube.

Geometry is identical to classic Scandal and Inbred 29 geometry. 444mm rear stays with 72deg head angle on all but the 16in model which features a 71deg angle.

Frame weight is slightly more than previous models, but still certainly well under 4lb, which is best in class at this pricepoint.

Frame finish is either : “Super raw”. Rough brushed then anodised, with lazer graphics. This finish is factory raw so each frame is unique.Ano black. Blast finish with black anodise then lazer graphics.  Taiwan Racing Green paint with white outline graphics.

Scandal has our standard 2yr manufacturing defect warranty.”

On One Scandal 29er geometry chart…

Geometry

The Scandal 29er shares On One’s XC geometry with the Inbred and other On One frames. The steep headtube angle can be slackened by using a longer travel suspension fork and/or an On One slackset headset. I’m using a standard headset with a 100mm Rock Shox Reba RLT fork. The steering isn’t overly quick and although the Scandal isn’t the ideal weapon for our steep & techy local all mountain style trails it’s been fine when pressed into service.

Being scandalous in Sedona…

The Ride

My Scandal was built with bikepacking in mind:

  • large 19.5″ frame
  • Rock Shox Reba RLT 100mm fork
  • Alfine 11 IGH
  • Stan’s Flow rims
  • Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4″ tires
  • Porcelain Rocket bikepacking bags

For mountain bike touring and non-technical dirt/gravel riding it does very well. The handling is stable, but responsive. I’ve got the horizontal dropouts mounted and the IGH about mid-way back in them. Coupled with a large frame that gives me a pretty long wheelbase. The suspension fork and big wheels take the edge of rough surfaces. The wide supple tires roll well and provide excellent grip. The big wheels and rigid frame climb well. The large frame provides a stretched out riding position for covering ground efficiently and allows a decent sized frame bag to be used. The Alfine 11 provides a weatherproof drivetrain that can’t be damaged during a hike-a-bike or when the inevitable crash occurs.

When it comes to straight up mountain biking the Scandal 29er does great as long as the terrain doesn’t get too rough and steep. The steep angles and stiff frame are not BC all mountain riding friendly. That’s not really a fair test of an XC frame. Having said that the Scandal with a dropper post gets the job done on our local trails even though I’d rather be on my 6″ FS MTB most of the time. The frame has a ton of clearance for big rubber and mud which combined with an IGH make it an excellent winter mountain bike.

If I had bought the Scandal primarily for mountain biking I’d have picked an 18″ frame for a shorter wheelbase for more nimbleness and used a slack set to make the bike more stable on steep sections.

As a bikepacking rig or for XC riding the Scandal is a good choice. If your riding leans towards the steep gnar I’d look for a frame with slacker angles and for really rough terrain you’ll want a FS bike not a stiff aluminum hardtail.

Me and my Scandal with The Porcelain Rocket…

My Recommendation

For a value priced hardtail with a lot of versatility I don’t think you can go wrong with a Scandal 29er. The On One US store has them on sale at the moment for $299USD! The Scandal takes a rear rack, tapered forks as well as standard 1 1/8″ forks, dropper posts, derailleurs, IGHs, or SS/FG setups with clearance for 2.4″ wide 29er MTB rubber. That means you can do just about anything you want with this bike. You can get an On One Inbred 29er in steel if you prefer that frame material, but it will weigh 2lbs more.

If you want to ride all mountain/freeride terrain pick something else like a Canfield Nimble 9 or a Kona Honzo.

Horizontal dropouts with disc brake mounts inside the rear triangle so you can use any standard rack…





Terra Nova Trail – Sooke BC…

3 08 2012

My Scandal 29er MTB taking a break on the Terra Nova Trail…

I’ve been keen on riding the Terra Nova Trail for a while. I finally got out to the trailhead which is partway between Victoria and Sooke BC this week for a solo ride. The trail is billed as a XC ride with lots of overgrown vegetation. Like most trails on Vancouver Island that don’t see constant use it has a feeling of being a bit forgotten. It doesn’t take very long for the plant life in our rainforest to take back a trail.

Click for larger interactive map…

The trail is based on a disused skidder road used to pull felled trees out of the forest. It hasn’t been used for a longtime so in most places it’s singletrack now. The ride isn’t hard technically, but there are a number of challenges including vegetation overgrowing the trail, dead fall across the trail and a general lack of maintenance leading to eroded sections. If you want to explore some beautiful forest terrain and explore a nice spot on the island you should ride the Terra Nova Trail. If you want a high quality XC mountain bike ride this isn’t it.

A taste of buff singletrack…

I rode my On One Scandal 29er hardtail mountain bike. It was a fine choice for the ride, but you can ride pretty much any type of bike on this trail. The sections you can ride are easy and the sections that are not easy will require most people to get off their bikes and carry them. I’d break it down as: 50% easy riding, 25% challenging riding & 25% hike-a-bike. So bring a bike you don’t mind lifting and pushing a bunch! 😉 Even though the trail is short at 11kms don’t expect to be back at your car before 2hrs is up. You’ll want to enjoy the scenery and you never seem to get any momentum on this trail with the constant need to find the route or carry your bike over an obstacle.

Click for more photos….

I used a GPS track to navigate the trail. That proved useful as there are a number of alternate trails to explore. I’m not sure where they go. I had a limited amount of time so I stuck to the main trail. I’ll be back to check out all the bits I didn’t get a chance to ride on a future visit. Freak Maps has a mountain bike guide book that is available at most LBS with a description of the Terra Nova Trail for those folks not interested in using a GPS.

Crossing a dry creek on a log…

I stopped a lot and snapped some pics to document the ride. You can see those photos on Flickr at this link. I found another set of photos and videos from the Terra Nova Trail on Flickr showing conditions earlier in the season with water in the creeks. That photographer also posted a GPS track which is what I used to get around the trail.

Click for more photos…

Would I recommend the Terra Nova Trail? Yes –  if you like your rides on the adventurous side with some hike-a-bike thrown in. This is not a buff singletrack buffet!

Terra Nova Trail in relation to Victoria and Sooke BC…

There is a longer ride option out to Harbourview Rd that ends at Sheilds Lake which sounds like a good option for a swim and a picnic. Looking at the map it seems to cover some of the same ground A-Man I traveled when we tried to ride at Harbourview and managed to get amazingly lost.

Some good old BC roots!





Gravel Pimp – Dead End Recon…

23 06 2012

Enjoying a ride along the coast…

If you haven’t read the Extreme Recon chapter of the Gravel Pimp Saga than click here and read it so you know what’s shaking.

Our last attempt to pioneer a dirt route between Lake Cowichan and Victoria BC failed when we were diverted by a security zone around the Victoria Water Supply Area [aka The DMZ]. Not to be deterred we retreated back to Gravel Pimp HQ and reviewed our maps then plotted a new route.

Pink is the new route – click for larger…

The map above shows our planned route in pink. The green route is what we had hoped to ride last time when we were stopped. As you can see the new route is a significant detour, but better a few extra KMs of dirt than riding pavement home. Where the pink and green tracks meet at the bottom of the map is Leectown and the top of the Galloping Goose MUP.

Our bikes ready to roll…

Trying to schedule a ride between everyone’s work obligations and weather was a challenge, but finally we found a window that worked. A-Man couldn’t make this edition of Gravel Pimping, but he has a sweet Moots 29er ready for next time!

Carbo-loading…

We had a  few beers to adequately prepare for the rigors of the ride….;)

Scott enjoying some sunshine…

Rolling down the Goose MUP was pleasant as always.

My trusty steed got a new frame bag that actually fits!…=)

Our first night’s goal was modest since we didn’t want to try any of the hard route finding until the AM. So in true Gravel Pimp style we detoured to a pub and enjoyed some additional beers as well as some burgers.

Home sweet home…

We took advantage of the Barnes Station Shelter, but threw up the mesh tents as bug nets. You can tell spring is here when you can snack just by riding with your mouth open!

Is it morning already?

Scott was super keen to get rolling so he kicked me out of my sleeping bag at 5am. Breakfast was a variety of cold snacks I had stuffed into my front pouch [aka the Feed Bag].

You can’t bitch about the scenery – Sooke River…

Our first goal was finding Leechtown – an old mining settlement that would mark the start of the hard route finding.

Scott finds Leechtown…

Finding Leechtown was just an easy few km spin up the Goose MUP to its end. Although we realized we were on the wrong side of the Sooke River so we needed to do some ‘schwacking!

It’s all gone green…

We followed some forest tracks to the river.

There was a bit of walking…

A little hike-a-bike never hurt anyone.

Even Scott had to walk…

The nice thing about finding your way next to a river is that you can’t get lost!

Crossing the river part 1…

Although the Sooke River is pretty intense further downstream it was broken up into a few manageable creeks where we were trying to cross.

The might Sooke River has been tamed!

The ‘schwacking continued after the water crossing.

Need any spare parts…

We started to see derelict machinery, but we never did see any old buildings.

Denied by the DMZ again!

As we scouted out route options we encountered the first dead end at the Evil Red DMZ Gate. These gates are all around the water supply area. Happily the guards didn’t notice us and Scott wasn’t beaten half to death this time.

Checking out some equipment we may need later!

Denied by the DMZ we tried some of the logging roads that ran west along the Leech River.

Scott is thinking about a kickstand for the Hunter…

But, before we did anything hasty it was time for a snack break.

I like snack breaks!

I streamlined my food supply – leaving three elements at home – fruit, sandwiches and M&Ms. Mistake! Next time I will have all three with me. Recon work is tough and I got hungrier than I thought I would. I didn’t run out of food, but what I was putting in my mouth just didn’t seem to satisfy me as well as it should.

Steep loose gravel…

After the DMZ gate our first attempt was a rough double track that was clearly made with a bulldozer and never improved for frequent vehicle traffic. The big chunky rocks were hard to ride up and scary to ride down. It was fairly “climby”, but it had a nice remote feel that would have made for a great bikepacking route.

It was good – until it ended!

Sadly the road just ended. We don’t mind a hike-a-bike, but not 30kms of it over a mountain range!

Guess what?

As we backtracked we tried a side trail that had some potential, but it ended as well.

Clear cut…

We ended up back at Leechtown and headed west on a well used logging road on the south side of the Leech River. This was shown on our map as connecting up with the other logging roads we needed to get to further north.

Yup…it’s true….denied again!

But as we found out that was a lie. The road just stopped at a scree slope that was hard to walk across let alone carry a bike across.

Overgrown double track…

Although it didn’t go anywhere this section of the ride had some super fun overgrown double track to pedal. Life could be worse than riding your bike in the forest looking for promising bikepacking routes….;)

Hmmm….why is Scott walking back?

There was a turn off from the main road that went higher and we hoped got around the rock slide. So we cranked uphill and found that it did go a bit further, but it also dead ended despite being shown on our map as continuing onwards.

Scott immersion testing his Rohloff!

So defeated yet again we rode back to Leechtown to regroup. Our time and energy levels were running low as we still had a few hours of riding back home to Victoria. The most promising option was straight up a mountain north of Leechtown and neither of us could handle the thought of 15kms of grinding uphill only to be denied. So we decided it was time to roll for home.

Nearly road kill…

Scott bunny hopped over a snake on the Galloping Goose so we stopped and herded him off the trail so he could live to slither another day!

Another snack stop…

The roll home was pleasant, but to be honest we’re over the Goose MUP. It’s a convenient way to get out of town on dirt, but after you’ve ridden it 12 times in a year you want to load a movie on the iPhone just to stay awake! Don’t get me wrong it’s far better than hoovering exhaust fumes on the side of Hwy 14 while dodging trucks. I’m just a spoiled whiner!

Pink was the theoretical route – dark red the actual GPS track…

All told the ride was ~145kms long with ~1200m elevation gain. Progress was slower and harder than those stats would indicate with a lot of walking & talking to workout what to do next. While it wasn’t successful in finding a route north to Lake Cowichan we did expand our knowledge of the area and confirm that the maps we have are “optimistic” when it comes to the logging roads. You can click on either map to enlarge them.

Our full route – click for larger…

So what’s next?

  • Craig Main is a logging road up a mountain north of Leechtown that connects through based on our maps. It would provide the most direct route so it’s the next priority for recon effort.
  • Butler Main is a logging road that heads west, but offers the potential of then branching north where we want to go. It’s not very direct, but if Craig Main doesn’t go it’s next.
  • After those two options are explored if we aren’t successful I think our next move is to go back to the north side of the route and explore south as far as we can. Eventually we’ll have GPS tracks for everything reasonably close we can ride and we can figure out if an extreme bushwack is possible to connect the route.

Of course my hope is that there is a nice logging road through to Lake Cowichan, but so far such a beast has been elusive. Time will tell!





On One Scandal 29er Bikepacking Mk2…

15 06 2012

My On One Scandal…

I’ve been honing my On One Scandal 29er bikepacking setup over the last while. Here are the recent changes:

Longer cockpit…

The longer TT is nice for getting low and fast when the trail allows for higher speed riding. It’s not bad for non-technical mountain biking, but I really didn’t enjoy the longer stem when riding the steep techy trails at Hartland. For the most part the Scandal is my bikepacking rig so that’s okay. If I press it into duty as a MTB I’ll have to swap in the shorter stem again.

Another view…

Having a frame bag that actually fits the bike is a beautiful thing. The zippers work more easily and it just makes me smile. That can be important when I am sitting on the ground sweating after reaching yet another hot/dusty route recon dead end…you need something to lift your spirits…;)

Fork mounted water bottle cage…

It’s lovely not to have anything on my back when riding hard so having a place to store water on the bike was a challenge. I sometimes stash a large bottle in the framebag, but in that location it’s competing with other important gear. So I used hose clamps to attach to standard water bottle cages to the legs of my Rock Shox Reba fork. They’ve been solid even over some crazy bumpy terrain and with a DIY retention cord my bottles have not jumped ship. I don’t bother taking them off the bike when not needed, but I could as the install/removal process is quick.

Scandal and Hunter…

Overall the On One Scandal 29er has proven to be a decent choice as a first 29er MTB and a bikepacking rig. For ~$400 it’s a great value in a versatile frame. I don’t think I could have done better for that price. For the time being I don’t see any more changes in the works.

If you are wondering what I have packed in each bag click here.





Glad I have spares…

3 06 2012

Chilling with my fatty…

My Santa Cruz Nomad is in the shop to have its fork serviced. A long overdue bit of maintenance. I don’t like to rush folks doing important work on my gear and I realize that May is not the ideal time to drop off a mountain bike for quick turn around repairs.

Riding my On One Scandal with Grant and his sweet Chromag Surface 29er…

So I’ve been riding my other mountain bikes – a On One Scandal and a Surly Pugsley fatbike.

Grant pondering the beauty of our local trails…

It’s great to have other bikes to ride so I am not waiting for the Nomad to come back before I can ride some trails.

Scott happy to be out riding…

And although my other bikes are not as supremely awesome as my Nomad they keep me rolling and help me better appreciate my main mountain bike.

Sharon glad I had a spare bike to ride…





Gravel Pimp – Extreme Recon

8 05 2012

The plan…

The plan was to ride our bikepacking rigs from Lake Cowichcan along the Trans Canada Trail to an abandoned mining town called Leech Town. This is shown on the map above in green. This would allow us to jump on the Galloping Goose Trail just below Leechtown and ride home 90% on gravel/dirt. Even more importantly this would give us a critical link in an ambitious Gravel Pimp route that would ride the whole of Vancouver Island from top to bottom. The problem with our little slice of paradise is that it’s a narrow island with mountains that funnel you along certain routes whether they are going the way you want or not. So an efficient dirt route from Lake Cowichan to Victoria would be key for further exportation northwards.

What actually happened – click for larger version…

Things did not go as planned and I am sad to say we ended the day with 170kms on the GPS and no dirt route home…=-( What I can say is we tried really hard, but were denied at every turn! Don’t let anyone tell you the life of a Gravel Pimp is all professional photographers, diamond studded water bottles and bikini clad ladies. It ain’t true!

Staying toasty by the fire…

Sharon was kind enough to drive Scott and I out to the Municipal Campground at Lake Cowichan. The place was almost empty this early in the year so we grabbed a spot by the lake and lit a fire to hang out at while we drank some beer and solved all the problems in the bike industry!

Scott’s narrow room with a view…

Scott has a luxurious 1 man tent that packs up small.

Garbage bag with a view…

My bivy sack packs small, but isn’t very luxurious.

Scott’s Rick Hunter 29er…

Scott always manages to pack more gear into less space on his bike and have it all look so tight.

My Scandal 29er…

I’ve got half the stuff and my bike looks like it’s bulging everywhere it can…=-)

Excited to start the pimping…

We rode into Lake Cowichan and found the local grocery store was open early. Surprisingly it had excellent espresso which got us off on the right foot. Next up was getting on the Trans Canada Trail [known as the Cowichan Valley Trail to the locals].

This is what we came for…

The riding was sublime. Gorgeous country to ride through – easy rail grade undulations and nobody else in sight.

Pumpkin Pimping…

Several wooden bridges along the way gave us great views of fast running creeks.

Warming up…

The trail varied from dirt to gravel and back with wide open sections and narrow overgrown bits.

oh yeah!

It was so nice we let our guards down and the smack-down that happened later in the day took us by surprise.

Adding a bit of air for faster rolling…

We were on the trail early and cranking along at a good clip. So good that it seemed sure I’d be home to watch the hockey game in the early afternoon.

Kinesol Trestle…

The Kinesol Trestle is an impressive structure. The highest wooden trestle in Canada apparently. I kind of wished we had spent more time there to photograph it, but some times I feel like a slacker and sometimes I feel like I was born to ride. On this day I had ants in my pants!

Cruising the Kinesol Trestle…

South of the trestle we had another pretty chill section of gravel to pimp. Chit chatting and laughing our way along the route little did we know of our impending doom.

Stopping for a snack…

Peperoni, gummy bears, granola bars, M&M’s…you name it – we ate it!

Scott admiring his handiwork…

As we reached the end of the Trans Canada Trail we had a short 15km section of route finding we needed to do so we could link up with the north end of the Galloping Goose Trail.

WTF?

Back in Calgary Glenmore Reservoir is part of the city’s water supply. You can’t swim or let your dogs thrash around in it, but nobody cares if you walk, run or bike around it. So when we saw that the lake we needed to skirt on our connector was part of the city of Victoria’s water supply we figured they wouldn’t let you through with an oil tanker, but we didn’t think the would mind us pedalling through.

Scott assuming “the” position!

We were wrong. So wrong. Like Totally wrong. I figured even with a locked gate we could sneak past on bikes, but that was simply not going happen when we reach the DMZ.

Take no prisoners….

Scott wasn’t about to let a sniper in a guard tower and 2 dobermans stop him. He launched over the fence and asked me to throw him the Hunter. Before I could a black van rolls up and 6 masked security thugs jump out. Scott levelled 3 of them with his Porcelain Rocket Kung Fu, but the other 3 and the 2 dogs took him down in an EPIC bitch slap. At least when they threw him back over the fence I was able to catch him to stop further injury.

Happier times…

I didn’t have painkillers or a first aid kit so I treated Scott’s wound’s with gummy bears. They seemed to do the trick!

Time to work on Plan B…

We just didn’t have the firepower to break through the DMZ’s defensive perimeter. So we could either give up and go home or explore the missing map section and hope to find a route around the DMZ back to Leech Town. Battered and bleeding Scott would not give up so we headed north to loop around the DMZ [shown in pink on the maps above].

Logging road pimping…

This meant a significant amount of backtracking along the TCT, but the sun was shining and the skies were blue so our spirits were high. If you look at the map towards the top of this post showing our actual route the red line that heads south and stops is the start of the DMZ. The red line that heads west is our attempt to loop back around the DMZ, but as you can see there wasn’t much looping going on. Eventually after some brutally hot dusty climbing we realized that finding a way around was unlikely. If we had a topo map of the area our decision would have been more solid, but sadly I left that critical bit of the map book at home.

Lots of dead ends explored…

The valley we were in headed directly west towards Port Renfrew which would have got us home, but not without another night of camping. So it was time to turn back. Although that meant another round of backtracking it was beautiful country with very few encounters with other humans. Exactly what a Gravel Pimp craves.

It’s not hard to enjoy this…

As my trip computer on the GPS was climbing towards 100kms I was starting to realize that there was no way to make this a quick ride home.

Checking out a clear cut…

My bike was working well. I had added a longer stem for a stretched out position and the Porcelain Rocket bags allowed me to ride without having to accomodate my camping gear and food. So a few more hours in the saddle seemed like reasonable proposition.

Time for a soda break…

We hit 100kms as we reached pavement again. Our options now were either head for the Mill Bay Ferry and then ride down the quiet west side of the Sannich Peninsula or climb the heights of the Malahat with traffic roaring all around us and next to no shoulder.

Hmmmm?

We went with the ferry option as Plan C. On our way we stopped for a cold soda break. I gapped that the seasons were changing so my only top was a long sleeve wool zip neck. That would have been great 2 weeks ago, but on this hot day I was baking. Hence a cold sugary soda made me very happy.

Why is Scott angry?

Reaching the ferry should have been a happy time for us. We’d get a well deserved rest and the ride home along the far shore was topographically unchallenging.

But….

The fine print can be a bitch…

Neither Scott or I can be called rich, but we can afford the $9.20 ferry ride from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay. Of course having spent our last $20 cash for coffee and food we only had credit cards and bank cards. No cash and after being beaten up at the DMZ Scott wouldn’t let me pimp him out to ferry passengers for a free ride.

So that left the Malahat. **sigh**

A little ‘schwacking…

To get to the Malahat we had to grind up a long hot steep climb from the ferry terminal and then bushwhack cross country  so we could jump a concrete barrier.

Not paradise for cyclists…

All that sweat and tears got us onto a busy 4 lane highway with gnarly shoulders. The photo above is the best part and far better than most of it. Not to mention if you look at the elevation profile on the map near the top of this post that last big ass hump is what awaited us.

Did I mention it was hot and we were riding during rush hour?

**sigh**

The only good part of the Malahat was looking over and seeing some ice cold water running down the rocks next to me. I stopped and poured handful after handful of water over my head. Washed my face and gobbled everything I could find in my bar bag.

That got me psyched for the last push over the top and the uber narrow shoulder on the high speed descent down the other side.

A Gravel Pimp happy to be home…=-)

At the bottom of the Malahat we stopped for another cold soda and a couple donuts at Tim Horton’s. That gave us the energy to crank back down the Galloping Goose to home.

Ride Stats:

  • 170kms ridden [173kms for Scott who rode home from my place]
  • Ride Time 12:15hrs
  • Stopped Time 3:28hrs
  • Avg speed 19.4kph

On the plus side we had an epic ride with great scenery and no traffic….until the Malahat! On the negative side we haven’t found a good gravel/dirt rout from up island back to Victoria.

Sharon confirming my loaded bike was indeed heavy…

A recon mission is only a failure if you don’t gather new info to plan future operations. By that standard we succeeded. We confirmed the DMZ presents an impassable obstacle and we confirmed that a reroute around isn’t’ straight forward. We also found out that if you want to ride the Mill Bay Ferry you better bring cash!

We still need a verified dirt route to Victoria so…

  • we could ride bikes north from the Galloping Goose to Leech Town and try to recon a route to the active logging road we were on. Going from less used to more used routes is always easier than the reverse.
  • we could continue down the active logging road we were on towards Port Renfrew and then ride back to Victoria. That will work, but it’s long-cut not a shortcut home!….;)
  • I may try riding the logging road on my dualsport motorcycle checking out every turn off that might go where we need to go. There were a few low probability routes we didn’t explore due the the climbing req’d. I don’t mind twisting the throttle for a few hours even if the chances of success are slim.

Until next time – live large and prosper!