Surly Krampus vs. ECR

Where the heck are we???

Where the heck are we???

Click on the image above to jump to a nice review /comparo over at Off Route that Skyler posted. It’s not all that often you get more or less back to back impressions from someone riding two frames with identical parts. Given the Krampus and ECR are rare bikes that makes this even more valuable if you are in the market for a 29+ touring/bikepacking rig and are weighing your options.

Terra Nova Rehab…

Staying dry...

Staying dry…

I haven’t been on a MTB without pain since early July and not on my MTB at all since early August. The first month of withdrawal was bad, but by month two I got used to the lack of shredding and focused my energies on fly fishing to keep me sane. All bad things must end so I was happy to finally be pain free in my left arm a month ago. I gave it 2 weeks of additional rest just to be safe and then embarked on my first dirt ride on Terra Nova Trail.

Back on top...

Back on top…

I’m going to be riding the Santa Cruz Nomad through the winter to keep the Mach 6 from all the wet/gritty wear ‘n tear. Having a great 2nd bike is a luxury. I’ve got to say I came away impressed riding my 6yr old middle of the road build Nomad. It compares very favourably to the brand new uber build Mach 6 – especially coming down where the extra 8lbs and wide tires just keep it glued to the trail. Don’t get me wrong. I love the new bike and if I had to keep only one bike the Nomad would be history, but it’s held up very very well. Nice work Santa Cruz. :)

Winter has come...

Winter has come…

I rode Terra Nova the last two Sundays. The first time because it’s a relatively easy ride with less tech so I figured it would be kind to my arm. The second time because there were a bunch of trees that had fallen down and some wet areas that needed draining so I wanted to do a bit of trail maintenance.

It's always an adventure...

It’s always an adventure…

In the span of 7 days we went from moist fall riding to full on frozen winter. Often below freezing temperatures on the coast results in very coarse ice that’s super grippy and makes for better than summer conditions. This wasn’t one of those times and staying upright on the bike or on foot was a challenge. Luckily I didn’t fall as I’m not sure my arm could handle a bad crash right now.

Never too many bridge shots! ;)

Never too many bridge shots! ;)

All in all these rides were a success. I got to warm up my rusty tech skills and ease my gimpy arm back into the game. It was nice to be back riding with the Dirt Hombres and we managed to clear 5 blown down trees and one epic puddle. Terra Nova needs just a bit more work with a larger hand saw to get rid of a really big tree and some creative bridge building in a low swampy spot, but it’s looking better than ever if you are keen on slightly more XC ride than is typical for South Vancouver Island.

Bike Friday Cargo Bike

Click on image to jump to Kickstarter....

Click on image to jump to Kickstarter….

Bike Friday is working on a size adjustable cargo bike. They need some financial help to get the project off the ground so if you have the means and are interested in this concept click on the image above and jump over to their Kickstarter Campaign page.

It looks like a great idea and it should work for a lot of people who couldn’t handle a full sized cargo rig.

From Bike Friday:

“Dear Bike Friday Customers,

We’ve been working on something very close to my heart here at Bike Friday. We’re ready to take it to the next level out into the world and I am writing to you to ask for your support.

Maybe you have seen the YouTube video about my home sustainability project made back in 2009. I’ve always been personally committed to leading a low-impact, human powered life. For most of my life I have relied entirely on bicycles for transportation. Up until now I have never found the perfect bike for living a car-free life. The cargo bikes on the market are designed for larger riders and often weigh 50-60lbs. Going grocery shopping with a trailer is harder to lock up and more awkward to park.

Today we are announcing the launch of our Kickstarter campaign to support the development of Bike Friday’s Haul-a-Day cargo bike. To get things started we are offering several $200+ discounts on already-low prices that are only possible if our campaign succeeds.

Haul-a-Day co-creator Shane MacRhodes with his kids on the back of the first Haul-a-Day prototype

My father and co-counder Alan Scholz developed the Haul-a-Day as an “instructor bike” for the local school district’s Safe Routes to School program. When Safe Routes to School coordinator Shane MacRhodes posted about the Haul-a-Day on his blog, people started coming out of the woodwork asking for more information about Bike Friday’s new lightweight cargo bike that could adjust to fit riders of all sizes.

Since building that original prototype for Shane, Alan has built almost every one of the 70 Haul-a-Days in the tiny “skunk works” research and development corner of our factory floor. We’re reaching out and asking for help from our customers to help us build tooling and train our production staff to reach our audacious goal of delivering 1,000 Haul-a-Days to 1,000 families in 2015. In many cities and large towns, a cargo bike can meet most or all of an individual or family’s needs for transportation while improving health and reducing dependency on expensive cars, maintenance, and fuel.

We hope you’ll join us for the ride. Please visit our Kickstarter page and back our project. Whether or not you are able to back our project, please pass the word on to as many friends and family members as you think might be interested in our latest work. We’d be happy to reward you with a 10% discount on your next Bike Friday purchase in exchange for passing the word along. Just let us know the names of the people you passed the word to the next time you call in.

Best in cycling,

Hanna Scholz
President, Green Gear Cycling Inc.
Makers of Bike Friday

1-800-777-0258 (US) / 1-541-687-0487 (Everywhere)
https://www.bikefriday.com
3364 West 11th Ave Eugene, OR, 97402, USA”

Steelhead…

Dwayne releasing his first ever Steelhead...

Dwayne releasing his first ever Steelhead…

Dwayne and I have been friends for more than a decade. Initially music and bicycles were our shared interests. Now we also are both keen on fly fishing. Talking about visiting Vancouver Island Dwayne expressed a desire to fish for Steelhead – a rare and elusive ocean going Rainbow Trout.

Vancouver Island magic...

Vancouver Island magic…

I had some apprehension about this plan because proficient Steelhead fishermen can go a whole season without a hook up and I didn’t want my friend to be disappointed with a fishing trip to the island that didn’t deliver any fish. Steelhead are known as the fish of a thousand casts for a reason. Dwayne was okay with the odds and you do have to start learning or you’ll never become accomplished at a pursuit.

Fish on! :)

Fish on! :)

I shouldn’t have worried because Dwayne [now known as The Chrome Lord] hooked up on cast #3. Yup #3.

That’s ridiculous!

Although shot in a different part of the PNW this video is pretty good representation of what our trip up island was like.

My first Steelhead! :)

My first Steelhead! :)

Not only did he catch a Steelhead on cast #3 he went on to hook up 3 more and land one of them in our first pool. Yup 4 hook ups and 2 fish landed in the first hour. Truly epic and he cemented his hold on the title Chrome Lord! ;)

My second Steelhead...

My second Steelhead…

As is the Steelheader’s Code once he was 2 fish up on me I got first crack at all the prime pools. I managed to convert 3 hook ups into 2 fish landed.

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I was particularly proud of fish #2 as I could see it far across the river on the other side of a deep pool and I had to really work my casts and mends to present the fly to him so he’d bite. I probably worked that one fish for an hour, but I got him finally.

Dos Amigos getting our wade on...

Dos Amigos getting our wade on…

Dwayne went on to score one more Steelhead while I settled for 2. Dwayne has been fly fishing for 6 years and I haven’t hit 6 months yet so it’s fair to say I am a hack compared to his expertise.  It’s good to fish with folks that are better than you so you can learn and improve.

Why you want to catch a wild Steelhead.

Working the river...

Working the river…

We rounded out the trip with some trout and salmon fishing. Getting several fish per hour is fun, but ultimately all we talked about was the Steelhead fishing and our plans to try other spots for these amazing fish.

When are we doing this again???

When are we doing this again???

We don’t have many “trophy photos” of fish to share because these Steelhead are rare and long lived with multiple spawning runs in their lifetimes. So it was pretty important to focus on getting them back into the river quickly.

Fox Float 34 Krampus Mods

Knardly clearance...

Knardly clearance after…

The Surly Knard tires on my Krampus are large and when I pumped them up for a ride into town I wasn’t happy with the clearance left on the underside of the fork brace. So I hit the fork with a dremel tool. The end result is shown above.

Clearance in unmodified fork...

Clearance in unmodified fork…

I went slowly only removing a small amount of material at a time. With my efforts focused on the area right above the centre of the tire where clearance was smallest.

Dremeled area...

Dremeled area…

The whole process took about 15mins. There is a ton of material left in the fork brace so I’ve got no concerns it has been weakened. I may even go back and create more clearance, but I am going to ride the bike as is for now and see what I think.

Clearance from rear...

Clearance from rear…

Fox Float 34 Krampus-ified! ;)

Another front shot...

Another front shot…

Needs a little black paint.

Backyard workshop...

Backyard workshop…

Wheel installed and ready to roll.

The Big Green Machine...

The Big Green Machine…

European Bikepacking Routes 411

Click to jump to Gypsy by Trade Blog...

Click to jump to Gypsy by Trade Blog…

Nick and Lael over at Gypsy by Trade have been riding mountain bikes and camping all over Europe for a couple seasons now. Nick is keen to collect as much bikepacking route info as he can in one spot for the good of everyone who likes to tour on dirt. If you’ve got any information about European mountain bike touring please click on the image above and leave the 411 as a comment on his blog. :)

Nice lines in the mountains...

Nice lines in the mountains…

SIMBS T-Shirts For Sale

Logo detail...

Logo detail…

The South Island Mountain Bike Society is a local organization that maintains trails at Hartland and provides a voice for local riders when it comes to MTB issues on the South Island. SIMBS is working with BC Parks to get new trails in Gowland Todd Park as well as new trails at Bear Mountain Resort.We’ve made up a small run of high quality ultra soft poly-cotton t-shirts in a fitted modern cut. Buy one and you get something awesome to wear and a few dollars goes to fund SIMBS.

There are men’s and women’s shirts in a full size range, but with only 50 shirts made jump on the size you need now as they’ll sell fast.

Soft and stylish for your wearing pleasure...

Soft and stylish for your wearing pleasure…

 

Cost is $25 each.

Just leave a comment with your size and quantities. This is a local Victoria BC pick up offer. No shipping – sorry.