Friday, February 29, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pathway Closed

Thumbs down for a closed canal pathway less than 5kms from our destination.

Two thumbs down when I realized we were out of food and the sandwich stop that should have been 15mins ahead was not going to happen.

I knew Anna had been watching too much Sopranos when she went all old-skool and said..."...fuggeddaboutit. Let's knock over a f**king gas station for some chocolate milk and smokes..." Don't worry she isn't normally violent - that's just the bonk talking...=-)

Mystery Solved

The mystery of the missing bike commuter was solved when I spotted this wheel floating in the canal ice. At least the poor bugger died doing something he loved.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not baaaaaaaad!

I've heard lots of good things about wool clothing for cycling and decided to see for myself if it is true. I've been wearing a wool jersey from MEC [thanks Sarah!] and a some 3/4 tights from Ibex. So far they are both comfortable over a wide temperature range and don't seem to get smelly. Plus they do look more classy than their typical synthetic counterparts. I'll keep using them for a the majority of my training this spring and report back when it warms up and I switch to lighter garments.

Random Ramble

I left my apartment this morning

with a specific

ride in mind

and ended up doing

something completely different.

Rare Rubber

After several months of waiting I finally got my hands on some Schwalbe Marathon XR [26 x 2.0"] folding tires that I'll use on my summer tour. I'm not sure what the problem is with Schwalbe, but shortly after I ordered these they went out of stock again on the Schwalbe North America website. Either these tires are immensely popular or Schwalbe has some serious production issues???

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


After playing around with the Vargo Triad stove a bit more I decided to take Mike B's advice and audition a Trangia stove. Since I've got loads of cookware I just bought the burner itself and a Little John Stove Stand. Not as uber light & compact as the Triad, but I have to admit the Trangia is dead easy to use and it can simmer quite well.

I'll give the Trangia a go for my early season bike tours and hiking trips. If all goes well I'll take it on my long summer bike tour. I've just got to sort out some convenient places to buy fuel on the road.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm in for the long haul...

DIY mud flap

I took my LHT out for its first ride of 2008 - in search of espresso beans. I love that first few KMs each year on this bike where I remember exactly how nicely she rides and fall in love all over again. One of my friends thought I had sold my LHT to Doug because of a recent post on this blog. I was aghast - this is the last bike I would sell and only under the most dire of circumstances. It is fast enough to make my road bike unnecessary, comfortable enough to tackle all, but the longest rides, strong enough to haul a ton of cargo and it has a really sweet ride that inspires an ear to ear grin while the kilometers melt away.

Long live the trucker!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Right Sizing

I sold my trusty R800. Although I was a bit sad to see it go I'll reinvest the $$$ in my other bikes and my fleet is down to a more reasonable:

- 2 recumbents
- 2 DF touring bikes
- 1 folder
- 1 beater winter bike

I know to a lot of folks 6 bikes is still pretty excessive. I think 4 bikes would be my ideal number, but for now I'll content myself with 6 and a strict policy of no new bikes unless I get rid of an existing one.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This one is for Doug...

...enjoy your new LHT...=-)

Cornell's new Expedition

Congrats on your new trike Cornell. I'll ride out to Cochrane for a visit at the end of February so I can see this lovely trike in person.

For more pics of Cornell's Catrike Expedition click here.


I work at home a lot so this is the view from my desk. My commute is pretty short. I turn on my MAC in my spare bedroom, put the kettle on for some tea, drink my tea as I read/respond to my personal email & daily blogs on my MAC - then I hit the road for my 3 second commute to the living room where I work on my Dell laptop. Why don't I just work in the spare bedroom where I have a real desk, printer, etc...? Well for one the view is better in the living room and having a place where I work and another where I play helps keep me focused on whichever task I am trying to accomplish.

Oh yeah in case you were wondering I do ride my Tikit to work occasionally - it takes about 5 revolutions of the cranks each way!


I own two bicycle specific backpacks. The Ortlieb Velocity shown above and a Camelback Trans Alp. Both are excellent bags, but they lack one detail that mystifies me - a loop to attach a red blinkie. I can't imagine why anyone would build anything that is meant to be used facing the rear on a bike that does not include the simple, inexpensive, but exceedingly useful feature of a small loop to clip a flashing light to. Sure I prefer a light attached to a bike, but that isn't always possible and heck what I really prefer is multiple flashing lights so one on my bike, one on my bag and one on my helmet would be awesome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Filling a Vargo Triad Stove

I rec'd this stove as a X'mas gift and I am excited to try it out this summer on some camping trips to see what I think. I have primarily been a naphtha pressurized stove user. They work well, but this stove is much smaller + lighter and alcohol is an easy, safe & clean fuel to carry that is available universally.

One issue I'm having is you need to fuel up the stove through that small hole in the centre and they suggest using a bottle with a small nozzle so you can get the fuel in without spilling it all over. I'm trying to think of a suitable container that has such a nozzle and I'm drawing a blank. Anyone have a suggestion for something I could use?

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Rohloff Speedhub

This post from the UK Rohloff Owner's Forum gives some additional details about the new Rohloff hub that is currently in design. Of note is the fact a production unit won't be for sale until 2009 and depending how long the prototyping phase lasts that could slip until 2010.

"Here is a bit of explanation on what we can expect from Rohloff in the next 12 months from our own member "Rohloff AG" aka Stewart from the Customer care team at Rohloff in Germany!

The new product?

Yes we are working on a newer, lighter up-speced version of the SPEEDHUB 500/14. There is currently no release date because We just arn´t satisfied until the product is damn near perfect. The Rohloff AG is a company which has built itself up over the last 20 years into one of the most innovative bicycle component manufacturers there is, we obviously do not want to risk our reputation by selling a product that hasn't completed and withstood our rigorous R&D phase, proved itself and met our expectations.

At present there are only a select number of components completed as prototypes, definitely not enough to build up one finished hub. We are not 100% happy with the designs of all parts and so prototypes of other components will just have to wait a while. We hope to be able to present a finished hand model at Eurobike this year in Friedrichshafen however I must stress that this is a target and by no means a fixed presentation date. This is obviously only realistic when we finish the designs in time to send the contracts out to finish the prototype components.

No matter when the prototypes are finished, the long and important R&D phase must still be carried out. It is important to remember that this stage of the process could take up to a year or so. We cannot rush this process as the area of intended use and the warranty/guarantee and possible restrictions will depend upon what feedback we recieve through this process. If the product fails here.......... we have to start over, so basically it comes when it arrives. Sorry.

We will definitely not be designing a gearunit with less gears. There are other manufacturers which build gear hubs of this kind and we at Rohloff do not want to build products that other firms already have on the market.

As I said, the rumours of a lighter, smaller hub are true. This is however not just a lighter version of the tried and trusted 500/14 but a completely re-worked gear unit. A bit of fine tuning and so, so that it remains a trustworthy product and suitable for nearly all aspects of cycle sport. What I can tell you is what our expectations and targets are for this new gear-unit.

We hope to reduce it in weight by approximately 400 grams.
We hope to increase the overall gear range to approximately 590%.
The increments will remain evenly spaced, however slightly larger.
The number of gears will remain 14.
....and it will definitely be smaller in overall size, however not yet possible to say how much smaller.

We are expecting that it will no longer be an appropriate alternative for tandem usage but its too early to tell. Thats all I can tell you all at the moment so hope this helps."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ortlieb Bar Bag

I bought an Ortlieb Ultimate 4 Plus [Large] handlebar bag from Wayne @ The Touring Store last year for my Thorn Sherpa, but never quite got around to mounting it. The continuing cold weather has motivated me to take on outstanding bike maintenance tasks like this. The bag is fairly large at 8.5L and is one large box with a zippered pocket inside to keep small items close at hand. There is also a mesh pocket on the front for small items. Like all Ortlieb products it is 100% waterproof. The "Plus" material is a type of cordura that is lightweight and fairly tough. In keeping with my past experiences with Ortlieb this bag is a very functional high quality product.

Rather than mount the bag staright to my bars I decided to use a Thorn Accessory Bar and place the bag a bit lower. Since I run narrow drops this saves valuable real estate on my bars and keeps the weight lower for less impact on bike handling. The accessory bar was easy to install and takes up the place of some spacers on the steerer tube. It has the added benefit of maintaining headset pre-load so I can loosen or remove the stem & bars without having to adjust the pre-load or keep the fork from falling out. You can achieve the same effect using a spare stem and some tubing.

The bag sits about an inch below the bars in easy reach while riding and leaves enough room below it so I can strap something to the top of my front rack. The two snaps on top are to attach the clear map case which I haven't mounted in these pictures.

I was surprised to see that the mounting bracket for the bag is held to the bars with a plastic coated cable. This system is adaptable to different bars and seems very secure.

You can lock the bag to the mount which I am not sure is particularly useful since the bag opens easily if a thief has the opportunity to rifle through it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mike's Dempster Highway Journal

Mike posted a short trip journal for his Dempster Highway tour here.

The Dempster Highway in Winter

This article in Pedal Magazine about some guys riding from Dawson City, Yukon to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT in the winter makes me almost happy there will be hordes of mozzies when I'm there in July. I'll take bugs over -40 deg C any day.

Jeff's Dempster Highway Tale

I have been reading Jeff Kruys' crazyguyonabike journal - particularly the section on the Dempster Highway [starting page 62]. His casual references to hordes of mozzies has confirmed my worst fears. So I've ordered a bug shirt from MEC - I figured it may well be the best $14.50 I've ever spent on outdoors gear! I can't stand bug spray with DEET so I've found a natural bug repellent I'll be testing out and use this bug shirt as my main line of defense.

Trader Joe's

Click on Pic to jump to source.

Xtracycle Smoothie

Who Knew?
Click on Pic to jump to source.

Xtracycle Touring Porn

Click on Pic to jump to source.

Jim's Catrike 700

I've been known to put an accessory or two on my bikes, but Jim puts me to shame. Everyone of his bents is outfitted to the max with every possible add-on. I'm still trying to work out what some of the things attached to the rear rack are - laser guided missile launcher??? Watch out though - Jim's enthusiasm is infectious - you might find yourself spending all day in the garage after your done looking at his bikes.

Check out his:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Out of Stock

I've been wanting to buy some Schwalbe Marathon XR 26" x 2.0" tires for the past few months, but Schwalbe North America has been out of stock. They seem like super nice people and have been very helpful when I asked a question or was able to order something they had in stock, but they really need to make more tires! I checked 4 different models I use and all were out of stock in the sizes I need.

I love ya Schwalbe, but I you gotta throw me a bone!

Update: they just got 26 x 2.0" XRs in stock - both folding and non-folding. Naturally when I went to order a 28-406 Stelvio that wasn't in stock. Oh well at least I got tires for my summer tour.

Welcome to the fold!

Photo: Frank Jackson from

Karen & Sarah are both getting Dahon Speed D7's. Nice work ladies. Welcome to the exciting world of folding bikes. For the downtown dweller a folding bike is a great mobility enhancer without being encumbered with a full size bike. Soon you'll be reciting the folding bike mantra as you roll down the street - "...small wheels - big fun!.."

The first coffee ride beverages are on me...=-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Doug did it!...=-)

Doug achieved his big cycling goal this winter and completed the Arrowhead 135 race. Congrats Doug - nice work. He looks too fresh to have just finished a 135 mile winter bike race!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dahon 2008 Site is Live

Click on the pic to see what Dahon has in store for 2008. I like the new internal gear Vitesse and the Curve D3 is still a super cute bike.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Liberate Your Mind

Making trax with the Ginger Ninjas on The Pleasant Revolution.

Frozen Biker

My friend Dustin lives in Whitehorse, Yukon and commutes to the public library every day to work on his thesis. Not even -40 deg C conditions or three flat tires this week are able to curb his enthusiasm for his bike. He's that hardcore...=-)

Luckily I'll be able to see Dustin and his new bride Jenny on my way up to Inuvik this summer.

Gearing up for my tour...

Having a tour on the books is great motivation to get projects off the back burner and make them happen. It has only been a year since I wanted to adjust the gearing on my Sherpa and I finally got around to it! I went from 42/32/22 to 46/36/26. With this setup I'll stay in the 36T chain ring 95% of the time and only shift down to the granny for the steepest hills. With the previous gearing I'd end up having to switch back and forth between the 42T & 32T rings to stay in my normal cruising range.

Randy the Recumbulator

Damn! I was going to start a video series on bents, but I see I was scooped...=-)