Chilcotins Tour 2014 Route

The 7 day trip I’m heading out on with some Dirt Hombres is similar to what is shown in these videos.

This map shows our base route...

This map shows our base route…

We’ll fly from the yellow dot [Tyax Lodge] on the far right to the blue dot on the left [Lorna Lake] and then ride back to Tyax via the pink trails. If time allows we’ll explore a bit more in the area to the right of the green pen.

See you in a couple weeks. :)

Packingbike…

Getting ready...

Getting ready…

Sorry it’s been so quiet on the blog lately. I’m getting ready for a trip to the Chilcotins and finishing off all the work tasks that are outstanding before I go.

On the plus side I’ll have some photos and a trip report for you in a couple weeks. Until then ride your bike and enjoy your summer. :)

Cumberland – Mud and Blood!

Here is the mud!

Here is the mud!

In the post below I mused that I was starting to miss the cool/damp of winter riding conditions after much heat and dust lately. Well the Bike Gods were listening. The Dirt Hombres headed up to Cumberland BC for the weekend and Saturday delivered on the damp. No real rain, but previous day’s wetness was still present on the trails so we got a taste for mud and wet roots once again.

Saturday's ride - click for larger map and GPS track...

Saturday’s ride – click for larger map and GPS track…

Our fine local hosts Jerry and Mark showed us a great route up to Race Rocks and Trent River Canyon. I can’t tell you the names of all the trails we rode, but it was a fun day of slipping and sliding in the forest.

The Dirt Hombres do Cumberland...

The Dirt Hombres do Cumberland…

I recently attended a mountain bike clinic put on by Drift Mountain Biking. I’ve been riding dirt for decades, but there is always more to learn and I was using my newly honed skills in Cumberland to reach faster speeds and better flow than ever before. All was going so well until I lost the front wheel on a wet wooden structure and had to leap off my bike at the top and try and land on my feet. It mostly worked out with some minor damage to man and machine. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed with zipties, electrical tape and beer! ;)

Looking down in the shower I was impressed by the amount of mud and blood coming off my legs!

Sunday's ride map - click for larger and GPS track...

Sunday’s ride map – click for larger and GPS track…

Oddly enough Sunday’s ride was more rainy, but the trails were drier. It was supposed to be easier, but instead of one big climb the smaller more frequent climbs still felt pretty tough! We got to ride quite a lot of the BC Bike Race course over the 2 days which was cool.

Thanks again to Jerry, Mark and Brian for taking the time to show the Hombres around. :)

Hornby Island…

Hornby Island trails are grin inducing...

Hornby Island trails are grin inducing…

The Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Club was conceived around a campfire at Hornby Island last year so it was only fair that the Hombres descended on the island for some shredding in 2014. It’s not hard to get people excited about the little island’s quiet buff trails and chilled out vibe. As people rolled into Ford’s Cove Marina Campground we counted a 35 strong posse of riders.

Friday's warm up ride...

Friday’s warm up ride… – click for GPS track

Despite not being too far from Victoria the 2 ferries required to get to Hornby Island make it a ~5hrs trip. So we took Friday off and went up in the morning so we could sneak in a ride before everyone arrived and settled in.

Buff singletrack...

Buff singletrack…

Unlike Vancouver Island that features very rough techy riding Hornby offers smooth flowy trails that you can ride without needing to hop, skip and jump over obstacles. It actually feels a bit wrong at first like your bike is broken and then you realize it’s just buttery smooth.

Saturday's big ride...

Saturday’s big ride… – click for GPS track

As you can imagine 35 riders in a small campground made for a very social atmosphere. Luckily nobody partied so hard they couldn’t get their butts in gear for a big ride on Saturday. We split up into 4 smaller packs to keep things manageable and accommodate everyone’s speed. The map and GPS track above is the ride I was on.

A gaggle of Hombres...

A gaggle of Hombres…

First Wave...

First Wave…

2nd wave...

2nd wave…

Even more Hombres!

Even more Hombres!

By the time the last group got back to camp Saturday evening there were lots of happy, but tired mountain bikers milling around with open beers telling lies about the day’s adventures.

Bikers only - WTF??? ;)

Bikers only – WTF??? ;)

Not only did have have an amazing trail network to explore that we could ride to from our campground, but we saw hardly anyone on the trails that we didn’t bring with us to the island.

A lovely view from the top...

A lovely view from the top…

Although it rained everyday at some point it was never while we were riding or hanging out in camp. So the rain on served to keep the dust down – not our spirits. Thank the Bike Gods! :)

Deep forest...

Deep forest…

Our local Victoria trails are techy and slow so going lightspeed at Hornby was a ton of fun and a refreshing change of pace.

Sunday's ride... - click for GPS track...

Sunday’s ride… – click for GPS track…

On Sunday we got out early for a ride that cherry picked all the most fun trails and then headed back to the ferry for the trek home.

A spicy band of Dirt Hombres!

A spicy band of Dirt Hombres!

Thanks to everyone that joined us for a fun weekend of riding and laughs. Let’s do it again next year! :)

Dorcy Hawkeye Light…

Dorcy Hawkeye...

Dorcy Hawkeye…

Dorcy sent me their $55USD Hawkeye LED bike light to review. Unfortunately we’ve reached the time of year in Canada where to get truly dark conditions you have to be up between 11pm – 5am. I am usually in bed early and not getting up at 3am to test a bike light! So I figured I would post some initial thoughts now until I get an opportunity to do some proper testing come the fall.

As shipped...

As shipped…

I’ve had some goofy requests for reviews these last few months and not gone through with any until now. What got me interested in this product was the claim it had a vertical cut off so that it didn’t shine a powerful beam of light into the eyes of on coming riders, peds and drivers. That’s a rare, but very important feature in a bike light so I decided it was worth checking out if this light delivered on that.

Not lightweight!

Not lightweight!

The first thing you notice when you pick up the Hawkeye is that it isn’t small or light. It’s over half a pound and quite bulky – 12cm x 8cm x 4cm.

The parts...

The parts…

The metal body of the light comes our of the bike bar mount easily and is quite attractive. If I was selling this light I would throw away the bulky and ugly bike mount and use a simple o-ring mount to attach the metal light body directly to the bars. It would be lighter, cleaner and more pleasing to look at.

Optics...

Optics…

One nice feature of this light is that it can be used as a flashlight off the bike.

Power button...

Power button…

The power button on the rear of the unit is easy to use with gloves on and cycles between On-Flash-Off modes. Flashing bike lights are evil so don’t use that mode! ;)

Ready for action...

Ready for action…

The bike mount will attach to any handle bar and is easy to use.

From the Dorcy product page...

From the Dorcy product page…

 The graphic above from Dorcy’s website shows what they see as the benefit of their lights’ beam vs. the typical spot LED bike lights being sold.

Dorcy light beam...

Dorcy light beam…

The Hawkeye does deliver a rectangular light pattern as advertised. Reasonably wide and with a vertical cutoff. It also throws some light down on the road closer to the light for dodging potholes. I’m standing ~16′ away from the side of the building.

Planet Bike Blaze 2W light...

Planet Bike Blaze 2W light…

I had a PB Blaze 2W light handy for comparison that puts out a much tighter beam of light, is less bright and doesn’t have a vertical cut off so you put as much light up into the trees and into people’s eyes as you do down on the road. I have faced a lot of these lights on my dark commutes and they are blinding.

Another view...

Another view…

At first glance it seems to be a decent option for a commuter bike light. I’ll put it through its paces and compare it to Sharon’s B&M Ixon IQ battery powered light and see how it compares. You’ll have to wait a few months for that to happen. At the moment it’s light out pretty much any time I’m likely to be on a bike! :)