Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Super D. and stuff

Great race on Sunday we had a good showing from the store. Mitch, Justin, Chevy, Andrew and me showed up for racing. About 60 people showed up for the race which is a little less than last year but still pretty good. 35 people signed up for a SIMBS membership as well, which is great for everybody who likes to ride at the Dump. The course was the same for all competitors but there were a few line options to choose from at the top which enabled the more gutsy riders to take some short cuts.
The trails used were Jelly Roll, Lumpy Pants, Upper Daddy, Who's your daddy, Niteshift and the shortcut to the TTA.
There was some carnage on the grueling race track...a lot of people crashed or flatted and there was even a snapped chain stay...bad memories...more on that soon.
The best time for the race was an insane 8:35 posted by Jeremy Vosburgh but our own Mitch Thacker came in fourth in the expert category with a cool 9:30. Surprisingly enough I came in 4th in the intermediate which I'm pretty stoked about, but I thought my time was much worse than it actually was.
Chevy rocked in her category and came in second, say no more...
and everybody else made it down relatively unscathed, which is the ultimate goal.
To see the results look here.
There was some sweet swag given away after the race and overall the race was a huge success, even though we would have liked to see more people attend. I scored some sweet knee pads by Kali which will undoubtedly come in handy.
The Victoria Super D is here to stay as far as I'm concerned and hopefully it'll be a permanent stop on the Island Cup circuit.
Lyndon Williams took some pics at the race and they can be viewed here: http://photoshare.shaw.ca/view/14892254248-1243204677-82442/0
Thanks to him for showing up and sharing the shots.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Demo Bikes in stock, come get them...

I've domoed a couple of our demos in the last couple of weeks. So far I've tried the Trek Remedy, and the Specialized FSR XC. Both are nice bikes in their own way, the Remedy is a light but yet burly all-mountain bike that climbs surprisingly well even without a travel adjust up front. The Remedy shines when you point it downhill though and the suspension is very plush, and bob-free and maintains it's pedaling ability even when it's dialed wide open. I know the rear suspension platform (abp full floater) from my Trek Fuel EX-8 and I'm still a huge fan of the full floating linkage and the concentric-to-the-axle bearing placement. The only issue I can say I have with the Remedy is the cockpit. It's seems strange to me to run a two-bolt stem on an all-mountain/freeride bike like that and this is the same issue I have with the Fuel. Also the stock Bontrager grips are awful and the saddle is not good either. These are small issues and easy to er - remedy. cough cough...
The Specialized FSR XC is a nice XC bike. Perhaps it is bordering on being a light all mountain bike. In fact, it's quite capable at the Dump. The FSR XC has a nice geometry for a XC bike and is fairly slack in that category with a 68,5 degree headtube angle. This makes the bike quite versatile and even though it certainly shines on the climbs and the fireroads, it's not bad on the downhill either. I did not really have any issues with the FSR. It's a great bike, that comes well equipped from the factory and it's a bike that does what it is designed for well.

I enjoyed both bikes and now YOU can try them too. We also have a Demo Stumpjumper, EX-8 and a Safire (will be built soon).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trail building at Hartland

Chris Oman, the Simbs trail guru, making sure everything is the way he want's it

Rider's Cycles sponsored the trail maintenence at Hartland last Sunday. So me, Andrew and Mitch made our way out there with a bag of goodies for the volenteers that showed up for the day. Most of the crew went out to the new trail that is being built in the park and will be a connector from Southridge to Fun trail. This new trail is sn exciting addition to the trail system and will be a nice two way trail. It'll be an interesting and technical climb, and a nice twisty downhill with berms, rock features and even a beautiful natural wall-ride. The rest of the crew went up to the super-d race course and worked on improving the flow on Who's your daddy and Niteshift. The super-d will be this weekend on Sunday the 24th. More info here.
Mitch went up with the super-d crew, but me and Andrew worked on the new trail. It's always good to get out for the trail maintenence, not only because of the awesome soup, sandwiches and swag that you'll get for showing up but also for the sense of accomplishment.
After doing the draw for our Rider's swag we got on our bikes and did a quick superd run to see the work that had been done and to practice for the upcoming race. I have to say that I'm getting pretty excited about the race and I hope we'll see lots of people out there on Sunday. It's free for SIMBS members and the race fee for non-members is only $20 and includes a years membership to SIMBS. So it's about as cheap as it gets and will benefit a mtb society that is making it possible for us to ride those trails in the first place.

Andrew capping the rockwork that we were working on for the day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

on iPhones, and fixed gear culture

The iPhone is as necessery as tight jeans in todays world. If you want to be anything worth sneezing at you need an iPhone:
So of course everybody at the shop has one, but Mitch is probably the most prolific iPhoner of us all. He also wears tight jeans, "tweets" all the time when he's not on "Facebook," has a Bianchi Pista with chopped bars Oury grips and an Arospoke front rim and says tings like: "Dude" and "Rad." Therefore it's not surprising that he showed up this morning proudly calculating everybody's gear inch and gain ratios using his new iphone app: "bicycle gear calculator." "Yes, Shayne you have a74gear inch ratio on your Langster, that's rad dude...hardcore"
Then he proceeded to identifying the skid wear spots on Shane's tire, and illustrating how to rotate it to get the longest life out of the Race Lite. Then he tweeted ("made it to the shop, did a gnarly skid all the way up Cloverdale on my way here. yeah that's right UP!) proceeded to put on some Death Cab for Cutie, by hooking his iPhone up to our stereo and cranking it up! Mitch is Rad!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

on Mafia skids and product knowledge

Single speed bicycles don't require a lot of maintenance and that's one reason for their popularity. Fixed gear bicycles are much the same but they tend to wear the rear tire a little faster than most other bikes. Especially if you like to lay down fat skiddies (Shayne likes to do skiddies down big hills)...those will inevitably produce these results:
So we got a pretty good product testing going on at the shop now and currently we're testing: Specialized All Condition Armadillo (Mitch). Specialized All Condition (in yellow, Justin), Bontrager Race X Lite (Shayne) and Schwalbe Blizzard (myself). This is a brutal way to test tires but gives us a good idea about their durability, grip and handling. Shayne has already tested the dual compound race lites from Bontrager, and judged them to be very skidworthy although their lifespan was short and he had a couple of flats. I blew through my All Condition Specialized tire (in red) in about 4 months and loved them. No flats and they're tough tires that wear slowly. My Schwalbe has flatted on me once but seems to be holding up pretty good otherwise.

Cowboy logic of the day: "Never make a pet of a wolf"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cobble Hill DJ Park

So yesterday dawned sunny and pretty....aaand then got cloudy and stormy and a little rainy...but we had plans to go riding and no amount of heavenly spitting was going to deter us....well almost no amount.

So off we ventured out to the Cobble Hill Dirt Jump Park for to get our play on. Mitch spent a great deal of time on the "Advanced" line tail whipping with wild abandon over the gaps. Baker took pictures and played on the odd jump, and I learned how to do tabletops....this was my first day jumping so i wan't expecting much.
All i can say about the whole experience is DAMN!!!!!!! Dirt jumping's fun. As for the park, the jumps are in mint condition, perfectly packed and smooooooth. As usual, respect the park and don't ride it in the muck and mud and wreck all the hard owrk that's been put in to this sweet little spot. That said, it's a great little day trip up island whether you're going to prefect a flatspin 360 or to start from scratch and learn how to pump off a jump.
Mitch tailwipping over the advanced line up

Chevy's first day jumping...

Boonen still following the white line...

Boonen has been caught for this before...and now he's possibly ruined his career after winning the Roubaix this spring second year in a row. What an idiot! Come on man, there are plenty of other ways to get stupid without having to use drugs banned by the UCI and in this case also illegal. How about...booze, skydiving, high speed driving exercises, mushrooms, coffee, and tobacco?
Yes Boonen was caught using Pixie Dust again...Of all things being caught for non-performance enhancing drugs is probably better than being caught for performance enhancing ones. But it's not any smarter. Apparently Specialized/Quickstep is going to send him to "counseling" which is just a fancy word for celebrity rehab. So congrats Boonen, you're making Belgium Proud.

Monday, May 11, 2009

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill - La Bresse

Old man Peat getting it done in La Bresse and giving those young guns something to think about.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On busted carbon and aluminum...

We sell carbon bikes. Our brands have brainwashing sessions that teach us how their product is superior to the competition... Sometimes, these sessions have to be taken with a grain of salt, and sometimes the instructors are really pulling at straws... Here's an example quoted from a rep: "This bike is not the lightest bike or most laterally compliant, but it is the lightest AND most laterally compliant." Hmmm...I no it sounds weird, but I'm not making this up. The idea there was that the bike is the lightest bike out there that is that laterally compliant... See what I'm getting at with the salt?
Another common brainwash is that "Carbon does not have a lifespan." Now this one is true as long as there is no trauma to the carbon, it should be as good ten years from the date of purchase as it was when it was new. You don't loose stiffness/flexibility etc. Provided there is no damage to the frame or part where the carbon is used. This makes the material highly desirable along with the fact that it is extremely light, and can be layered in a way that provides stiffness and flexibility in the desired manner. This is hard to duplicate with other materials. There is a downside though...
Much like aluminum, when carbon goes, it snaps. Check out this blog: http://www.bustedcarbon.com/

Note: I wrote this entry last Sunday...Later that morning I snapped my aluminum frame at the top of the trail in Harbourview...funny huh? And slightly ironic. More detailed entry about the frame failure and the backcountry repair to come...

Friday, May 8, 2009

In bikes as in many things, you get what you pay for

I've voiced my frustrations in fellow cyclists on these pages here before, but ultimately I appreciate everyone doing their bit and choosing to ride rather than drive to wherever they have to go, squeaky chain or not (honestly). Since May is the "Bike month", and next week is the annual bike to work week , our shop has been very busy lately. This has something to do with it being spring and all, but whatever the reason we appreciate the business. One thing that boggles the mind is the ever present "department store bike," that appears on the shop step much too often. This phenomenon is a bastardized version of the bicycle, usually sporting some kind of horrific "suspension" and more often than not seems to be made of solid metal if the weight is any indication. I honestly believe these bikes do more harm than good. They bring their owners a skewed vision of cycling and bikes in general. Imagine a person that's getting back into cycling after years of being away from it. They decide not to spend too much money on their first bike in decades and end up with a $200 department store bike that they hate, and causes them never ride the bike ever again. "This is not how I remember biking to be," they think, "this thing is heavy, it squeaks, creaks, is uncomfortable and inefficient - I think biking is not for me." I'm positive that this scenario is not uncommon.
This is the powerclimber from Next... some serious high end stuff...cough cough

We get people bringing those sort of bikes in all the time because they're not working properly for their owners. All we can do is get them closer to their original condition which was pretty horrible to begin with. This poses an ethical dilemma for the shop boys: "Do we refuse the person service on the basis of the scrap heap she/he brought in this morning, or do we try to fix it as best as is possible knowing that the end result will still be a horrible bike.?" Cast not pearls before swine" is written in some black pulp fiction novel treasured by many.

"I have delivered your bike to the scrap yard for your own betterment," I heard Steve mutter under his breath the other day when he was working on one of those fine machines.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Viking kicked out of country, partner relieved.

I write you from the "fish tank," the holding cage deep in the bowels of the Vancouver airport. PDA's are wonderful but slow so bear with me. The reason for this strange place to write a blog is as follows:

On Sunday I put on my Randonneur smock (yellow cycling jacked with super long tails and lots of reflective material), adjusted my helmet mirror and made cucumber sandwiches and tea. The tea I put in a Plaid Thermos, the sandwiches in my Ortlieb backroller plus panniers and then I dressed Jax up in the matching getup as myself. Yes, she did resist but I'm stronger and I own a war hammer so my will prevailed. Lastly I raised the stems on both of our bikes donned my wraparound safety glasses with yellow lenses and then the two of us got on the Goose like civilized people. We made our way to the Switch bridge where we reflected on the human condition and the ever increasing traffic, had some tea and crumpets and continued down the Lochside trail. We saw many fellow "randis" and when we passed another group, we nodded to them because "if you want to be safe, you don't take your hands of the handlebars Jax!" At the Blenkinsop trestle we had another tea and counted birds and then we rode non-stop to the Michells farms, where we bought some fruit (which I stashed in my handlebar bag). Thereon we rode to Sidney. In Sidney we scoured the local thrift stores, had some Shepard's pie and rested our weary legs. Finally after a few hours of sifting through antique stores and making a down payment on an excellent replica of the Mallard duck, which conveniently was also a telephone, we made our way back home. Jax did not appreciate this Randonneur fad and was growing ever more irate as time went by. When I insisted that we stopped near the farms in Saanich so we could enjoy the country air and have an opportunity to put out my Burberry blanket and have a proper country picnic, Jax said "sure" and waited for me to bend down and put out the travel set of cups and saucers from my "Windsor" travel set. then she promptly beat me over the head with her bike, stabbed me in the thigh with my exquisite cheese knife and took off screaming: "There's a mad foreigner chasing me. Shoot him, he's got rabies and swine flu, don't even let him come close, shoot on sight."
last photo of Halldor as a legal resident in Canada, before the madness set in

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fiddy fever and unorthadox helmet use

Pretty sweet Cruiceliner tandem too eh?

Some of you may remember this pile of previous years' shoes against our stairwell at the shop. they've been sitting there ever since I started working here, and every once in a while a pair gets sold. However, we have grown tired at looking at this pile, and it also takes up some prime real estate in the shop so we've decided to put all the shoes on sale: All shoes $50 in sizes ranging from 37-48. We've got some jackets on sale as well, ladies and men's jackets for $50. We even have some lids on sale, so if you need some stuff, stop by the shop and grab it before it's gone.
For you helmet hating types...you might be intrigued by this strange video from Denmark: