Salmon

The Mighty Chinook...

The Mighty Chinook…

The blog has been quiet because I’ve been injured and it’s gone on so long [since mid-July] I’m not even reading MTB content online or working on my bikes because it’s easier on my brain to not think about trail riding at all. Sad, but true. :(

Thankfully I’ve had my motorcycle and my fly rod to keep me sane. A daily dose of moto commuting is good for my 2 wheeled soul and weekend fishing trips get me outdoors and focused on something other than the lack of MTBing in my life.

Late summer through early winter on Vancouver Island is salmon time. These amazing fish return in the hundreds of thousands to their home waters after an epic journey in the ocean to spawn and die. Not only is this a truly magnificent spectacle to behold – it also offers fly fishermen a shot at these fish in waters shallow enough to reach them with a 100′ fly line and waders.

Jon and his first ever Coho...

Jon and his first ever Coho…

Being a newbie I’m still learning so much each time I fish my mind gets boggled. We’ve fished in the ocean from the beach as deep as we can wade. We’ve fished river mouths were the saltwater is mixing with the freshwater of the inland lakes draining back to the ocean. We’ve fished rivers and creeks all over the island. And we’ve fished lakes.

The Cowichan River...

The Cowichan River…

Each location and each type of fish has a whole set of techniques that are needed to be successful.

Another tough day at the office...

Another tough day at the office…

I’m happy to report we’re catching fish and our casting has gone from laughably sad to serviceable. I’m not going to impress anyone with my casts, but if there are 10 fly fishermen gathered in one spot I’m no longer the worst caster! :)

Double hook up!

Double hook up!

As it turns out casting is just the first thing you need to know to fly fish and it’s easy compared to understanding all the elements of presenting your fly properly to fish in a wide variety of conditions. Choosing the correct fly. Identifying locations that hold fish. Casting to them. Getting your fly to drift the way you want it to or stripping in line to give the fly action. Using the right fly line so that the fly sinks to the fishes level in the water. How to wade without scaring fish. Casting in and around vegetation and in strong winds.

Reviving a fat Chum so it can complete its journey...

Reviving a fat Chum so it can complete its journey…

Fly fishing is quite a puzzle.

Gene stalking Pink salmon...

Gene stalking Pink salmon…

One thing I’m really enjoying about fishing compared to my usual MTB outdoors adventures is that fishing requires a lot of quiet still moments that let me see and hear things I would miss at a bike riding pace.

Chum salmon...

Chum salmon…

I’ve got another month of salmon fishing on the menu then we’ll switch to trout and steelhead through the winter.

My first ever Chum...

My first ever Chum…

Don’t worry I hope to be back on the MTB by Jan 2015. As my arm gets better and I’m doing more road riding I’ll ramp up the bikey posts on this blog. Until then enjoy the fishiness. ;)

Salmon waiting for more rain so they can go further up river...

Salmon waiting for more rain so they can go further up river…

Light Bicycle Carbon Rim Review [35mm/650B/27.5]

Freshly built LB 35mm 650B carbon rims...

Freshly built LB 35mm 650B carbon rims…

It wasn’t too long ago the idea of carbon mountain bike rims would make my head hurt. But, as more and more riders were using them successfully I started to feel comfortable giving them a try. Of course the stratospheric costs of the premium carbon wheels [over $2K] didn’t compute. I stumbled upon a discussion about Light Bicycle carbon rims on MTBR. The cost was reasonable $200/rim delivered to my door all costs in. The customer service and warranty support seemed excellent so I took the plunge. $400 and 1 month later a box showed up from China with some pretty sweet looking carbon rims inside.

Finish detail...

Finish detail…

I’ve got a client who fabricates composite parts for the aerospace industry and I help them with their quality management system. So looking at a well made composite rim is a pleasure and the LB product didn’t disappoint. Appearance is certainly not the most important thing for a rim, but a company that can build a product that’s finished to a high level of perfection gives you some confidence in the fact they got other details in hand. The rims were straight and weighed ~412g each which is within the specification on LB’s product page. As a comparison the Velocity Blunt 35 is an aluminum rim of the same size/width and it weighs 555g.

Hookless...

Hookless…

This rim is a hookless design which is purportedly stronger and deals with rock impacts better. I haven’t test that out, but I can say this is the easiest set of rims I have ever setup tubeless. 1 wrap of Stan’s tape a a few scoops of sealant then the beads pop into place with a snap using 1 CO2 cartridge. No leaks or hassles. No burps or problems on the trail. I like it! :)

LB rim and Hope Hub...

LB rim and Hope Hub…

Brent at Velofix.ca built up the LB rims with Hope EVO Pro2 hubs and Sapim Race spokes.

  • Front wheel weight = 784g
  • Rear wheel weight = 912g
LB rims in my Pivot Mach 6...

LB rims in my Pivot Mach 6…

These wheels were mounted in my Pivot Mach 6 + Pike rig and abused on our rocky and rooty coastal BC trails for over 5 months of regular shredding. At the end of that I gave them back to Brent for a touch up and he said they were still running perfectly straight. They do have a few scuffs and light scratches rocks, but nothing to be worried about.

Testing out the LB rims...

Testing out the LB rims…

How do they ride? There are two main benefits:

  • they accelerate well [lighter weight]
  • corner and steer precisely [stiffness and wide rim supports tire better]

Is it worth the extra cost?

That depends on how much extra. The difference between a LB carbon rim and a comparable Velocity aluminum rim is $100/rim. So that means a aluminum wheelset is going to cost me $700 using the parts I typically spec and a LB carbon wheelset will cost me $900. I would pay the extra $200 for the performance upgrade. If you asked me to pay $600 or $1200 extra I’d say forget it.

Interestingly I have spoken to riders with ENVE wheelsets that cost $2K+ who also owned LB rims and they couldn’t tell a difference when riding them.

More testing...

More testing…

I’ll keep rolling with these carbon rims and see how they hold out long term. I do know 3 or 4 other local riders with LB carbon rims with as much as 18months of use on them and everyone likes them as much as I do. I’ll probably get a wide 29er set of LB rims for my Krampus built up with Hope hubs for tours where weight is more important than bombproofness and ultimate traction/float.

Dirty, scuffed and beat up, but  still 100% true and going strong...

Dirty, scuffed and beat up, but still 100% true and going strong…

 

Right Sizing the Fleet…

I've been doing a lot less of this...

I’ve been doing a lot less of this…

I’ve been shedding a lot of bikes this year. So far I’ve sold:

  • Dahon folder
  • Surly Big Dummy
  • Surly Pugsley [Sharon's]
  • Sury Pugsley [Vik's]

and I’ve got my Surly LHT up for sale so that will be gone sooner or later.

I’m headed towards a 4.5 bike fleet:

  • Bike Friday Tikit [folding bike]
  • Surly Straggler [commuter/city bike]
  • Surly Krampus [bikepacking bike]
  • Pivot Mach 6 [mountain bike]
  • Bike Friday Traveller XL tandem [only half is mine ;)]
And doing a lot more of this...

And doing a lot more of this…

The three middle bike are the ones I really need with the 2 Bike Fridays staying in rotation because they are fun to ride and because I can see myself getting a contract in downtown Victoria and suddenly riding the Tikit daily again.

I’ve hung on to a number of bikes I used a lot in Calgary for the 4yrs I’ve lived in Victoria despite not using them nearly as much. I finally had to admit to myself that life here is different and needs different bikes. I used to live right downtown in Calgary with 50km of city expanding out in every direction. So I did a lot of urban riding. Add in winter to the mix and my selection of bikes made a ton of sense there. To get to the great MTB trails in Calgary I had to drive 60-90 mins each way to the mountains making trail rides a major operation best left for a weekend.

Don't need a fatbike for winter riding in Victoria...

Don’t need a fatbike for winter riding in Victoria…

Fast forward to now when I can be on world class MTB trails in less than 15 mins and riding after work is no big deal. I still need to do some urban riding, but it’s less frequent and involves much longer distances per trip.  And forget about winter. We ride “skinny” MTBs here 365 days/year.

Selling bikes I loved and had many great times on has been hard. I tried to make use of my fatbikes here just to justify their existence, but eventually I had to acknowledge they did nothing well that I needed to do on the coast. We rarely if ever get snow and sand beaches are not common.

The garage is feeling a bit bare, but it’s nice to be able to move around inside it more easily.

The one bike I need to make a decision on is my Santa Cruz Nomad. With a new mountain bike in the fleet I don’t absolutely need it, but I have many great memories of our rides together and my thought is winter is so brutal to suspension bikes here that I’m hoping to ride it through the wet part of the year and give the Mach 6 a rest. If that doesn’t happen I’ll be selling it as well.

Surly Long Haul Trucker For Sale

My Surly LHT...

My Surly LHT…

I’m selling my trusty Surly LHT touring bike. My limited touring time these days is spent aboard a mountain bike offroad so I need to find this bike a new home. It’s a great looking bike that rides well for touring or errand missions. The bike is in excellent condition with no damage or significant wear. I’ve been using it mostly for short distance utility rides.

You can see a whole bunch of photos here: https:

  • //www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157624116957171/
Retroshift brake levers...

Retroshift brake levers…

Build Spec:

  • 58cm 26″ wheeled LHT in blackalicious
  • XTR front and rear derailleurs
  • 9 speed cassette
  • Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters mounted on Retroshift brake levers
  • Tektro CR270 canti-brakes with Koolstop salmon pads
  • Velo Orange stainless steel fenders
  • Shimano Alivio triple cranks
  • Velo Orange headset, stem & bell
  • Cateye bike computer
  • Schwalbe Big Apple 26″ x 2.15″ tires
Big rubber and sweet fender lines...

Big rubber and sweet fender lines…

The bike is currently setup as a 1 x 9, but the front derailleur is in place and the stock Shimano triple rings can be-reinstalled to easily provide wide range gearing. Everything is in excellent condition with minimal wear. You’ll be able to ride this bike for several seasons without doing anything to it.

Some lovely silver and gold accents...

Some lovely silver and gold accents…

A few things shown in these photos are not included with the bike:

  • no saddle
  • no pedals
  • no racks
  • no dynohub or dynolight
  • no skull mudflaps [I'll include some black mudflap material and the fenders are pre-drilled for easy setup]
Race Face single ring plus stock Shimano triple rings included...

Race Face single ring plus stock Shimano triple rings included…

Cost is $999 + $99 for shipping.

If you want the options listed below [sold as a package not a la carte] the cost is $1399+$99 shipping:

  • front and rear Old Man Mountain racks
  • dynoub front wheel + B&M light
  • Brooks B17 Champion Flyer in Honey
  • Time ATAC platform clipess pedals or MEC MTB style platform pedals
  • Compass Bicycle 26″ x 1.75″ tires nearly new [very fast]
Optional dynohub + light and front rack...

Optional dynohub + light and front rack…