About

Are you vikapproved?...

Are you vikapproved?…

My name is Vik and I live in Victoria BC. I ride bikes and I camp – sometimes I combine them.  This blog is a collection of reviews of bicycle and bike touring related gear – plus some ride reports.

55 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey Vik. Lost your contact info. No FB anymore. Drop me an email when you get a sec. Cheers T

  2. Hi, Vik.
    I’m totally envious of all your combined biking and camping adventures! Keep it up, and keep posting all the great pics and stories for the rest of us to be inspired. I especially liked your recent one with the kids that came along. That was great!

    So, I would like to get your opinion on a dilemma I’m having regarding my next build. I already have an LHT, but I’m a die-hard Washington State backpacker and I want to start bike-packing. I’d love to be able to afford both the the LHT I already have and add a dedicated fat bike like the Pugsley to my stable, but in all likelihood, I’d have to sell it to fund the new ride. If I were to sell the LHT, the new bike would need to be able to serve double-duty as both my mountain/beach camping ride and also my every day commuting rig.

    My question is this; based on your experience with your Pug and now your Krampus, would you say that the 29+ tire platform provides enough “floatation” in order to carry my 215 lb self, plus 20 lb of camping gear across a damp, sandy, and frequently rocky Washington State/BC beach, or would you say that a standard 26″x4″ Pugsley would be required?

    Thank you for your thoughts/advice!

    Hans

    • Hi Hans,

      Get the Pugsley. A Krampus will not get your reliably down a beach. It may work some times, but unless you’ll be happy walking a lot you want a fatbike.

  3. Thanks, Vik. That’s what I figured. My main concern had been how to commute on a Pug without forking out the money for a whole new wheelset, but I found the solution since I wrote you- Schwalbe 26×2.35 Big Apples on 65mm Marge rims!

    By the way, you and I used to be friends on facebook a while back, but I don’t see you there any more. Did you give it up?

    Take care and thanks again.

    Hans

  4. Hi Hans…I killed that FB account. Feel free to contact me here or I can send you my email addy if you want to email me directly. 🙂

  5. BTW – you’ll find the fat tires roll pretty well on pavement with a bit higher pressure and the tread is not that useful in sand so you don’t have to feel bad wearing it out on the road.

  6. Thanks, Vik. One more question- because I want to run both dynamo (100mm) and have braze-ons for Anything cages on the fork, will you tell me if your 65mm Pug rim and standard 26×3.8 tire will fit in your Krampus (and therefor ECR) fork?

    • I’ll measure my Krampus. Remind me if you don’t get a reply.

      BTW – you can get a 135mm dynohub to use with the stock fork on the Pugs.

      • Also, I’d love to learn who makes an affordable 135mm dyno hub! I can’t affort the likes of Schmidt, unfortunately, as much as I’d love one.

        Thanks again!

  7. Any luck fitting that Pug wheel into your Krampus fork? 🙂

    • I have an offset front wheel with a BFL on my pugs so I can’t test fit. But I will measure the inner width of the Krampus fork.

  8. Thanks, Vik. I look forward to your verdict! 🙂

  9. So measuring metal to metal in my Krampus fork up where the tire sits I get ~3.7″.

  10. That’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for taking the time to measure it, Vim. I appreciate it.

    On another note, the price log Alfine 8’s has come down dramaticly lately. What insights could you give me from your experience with your Alfine 8/Pug combo?

  11. Making a 29+… What would be your way to go?
    Velocity Blunt 35 or Dually, Notubes Flow, Northpaw-S 47mm…
    Keeping in mind the more volume in the tire with wider rims…
    Krampus or Dirt Wizard… Or Dirt in the front and Kramp in the back….

    • @Gianni – I would want rims wider than a Blunt 35. If Stans came out with a wide 29+ rim I’d be keen on that.

      There are quite a few new 29+ tires coming out so many more choices than just Knard or the not yet available Dirt Wizard. Your local conditions should dictate the rubber you use.

      • Found some info about a coming Maxxis Chronicle… What other have you heard about? Thanks for the info!!!

  12. The Chronicle looks good, but keep in mind it looks like from the time the 29+ Dirt Wizard was first announced to the time it will be on people’s bikes will be 12 months so I’m not getting too excited about new tires until they are actually available for sale.

    At the moment the only option is the Knard.

    • Indeed got a mail today from Eric that the DW won’t be available mid-late summer…
      What have you heard about Derby rims?

  13. Gianni – email me at threeohm “at” gmail “dot” com so we don’t send out a mess of messages to everyone who has commented on this page.

  14. Vik, can I have the 3d cad file for the fd mount cover that you create?
    I’m from Indonesia and would like to try make it locally here. I have access to 3D printer.

  15. Vik, lower forty chiming in. Was researching Fatbikes while looking for my first mountain bike. Got any opinions on the Lurch FS Bluto? I live in Colorado- so plenty of options to play.

    • @Julia – sorry I don’t really know anything about the Lurch. I haven’t paid too much attention to all the new fat options since I’m not in the market for a bike. The one bike that has caught my eye is the Surly Ice Cream Truck.

  16. Hi Vik
    I’ve been following your blog for several years and have enjoyed your reviews. I am from the east coast and will be travelling to Vancouver / BC this summer. I would love to connect with you re tips for places to see / visit on a non-biking RV family trip. If this works for you would you please drop me an email? I would appreciate it!

  17. Hey Vik. I’m planning a bikepacking route with as much wilderness trail as possible with a start point in Nanaimo if at all possible. I was looking for suggestions or route maps And would appreciate any advice that you may have. I’ll be riding a fatbike and travelling self sufficient but light. Looking for deactivated logging roads, free wilderness or beach camping and beautiful vistas. Planning on a 5 day loop with a minimum of 100km of riding per day. I am an experienced adventure cyclist and compete in endurance events. Looking at sometime between March 5-19th dates for trip. Can you help a brother out? Also, do you have any suggestions re: organizations, etc.. That I can contact for detailed topo maps?
    Cheers – Tony

    • @Tony – Vancouver Island is definitely lacking in established bikepacking routes. There are lots of logging roads to ride, but there are few proper wilderness trails that go anywhere useful.

      For maps I use Garmin Topo Canada and Backroad Maps Vancouver Island map set. As well as Google Maps – satellite images. The main issue with the mapped logging roads is they are often do not exist as mapped. Roads that are shown to travel 20kms and connect with other roads will dead end after 10kms with no sign of a road ever having been built. I think the mapping packages work off plans for roads that may not be fully built at the given time or the plans changed and maps were not updated. So allow time for backtracking unless you are sure a road connects as far as you need to go.

      I have mapped a dirt touring route out from Cumberland down to Victoria. Here are GPS tracks:

      Cumby to Port Alberni – http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1305927
      PA to Lake Cowichan – no gps track, but it’s a signed well used logging road
      Lake Cowichan to Sooke – http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1211359
      Sooke to Victoria – http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1356280

      If you figure out a nice route log your GPS and send it to me so I can archive it for future responses.

      Have a great ride.

      Vik

      BTW – if you are in Victoria and need a place to crash/shower give me a holler. I can connect you with the bus to get back home if you don’t ride a loop.

      • Awesome! Thanks for the detailed info brother. Appreciate it.

      • Hey Vik. Gonna try your route and some side trips between 9th and 17th. PM me with your 411 and I’ll ring you if/when I arrive in Victoria. Thanks for the GPS tracks and info. Thus should be a good test run for done bigger trips that I have planned. Cheers – Tony.

  18. Hey, was just looking at your site, re: Big Dummy. Great reviews. We moved back to Victoria 4 years ago after living in Calgary for near a decade, and I see both places in your photo. Just ordered a Big Dummy from North Park today, and one of the uses I have planned for it is riding out to my buddy’s place in Colwood with my waders, spey rod etc. and I see you have a section on fly fishing. Too cool. Have you done many fishing trips with the bike? I’m bound and determined at some point to catch a steelhead from my house (in Jubilee off Oak Bay Ave) all under my own power, which means riding over the Malahat on the BD. If you’re ever interested in doing that, drop me a line.

    • @James – I sold the BD, but would definitely be interested in a bike powered fishing/camping trip to the Sooke River or Cowichan River. I’d take my LHT.

      I’ll email you with my contact info. We can grab a pint sometime and chat about bike/fishing.

  19. Hi Vik, Great blog. Thanks for being so prolific! 🙂 We are planning a ride on the island this upcoming weekend, a kind of modified Renfrew Loop. I’m wondering about a route from Duke Point west along the north shore of Nanaimo Lakes and then turn south just before Fourth Lake to the west end of Cowichan Lake, then along North Shore Road to Youbou and L. Cowichan. From there, pick up the Renfrew Loop, ending at Schwarz Bay for the ferry back to the mainland.

    Do you have any info on the route along the Nanaimo Lakes and south to Cowichan Lake?

    Thanks, Pv

    • @Paul – I haven’t ridden the road along Nanaimo Lakes down to Youbou. I haven’t heard anything about that area that would lead me to think you’ll have any issues.

  20. Hi Vik! I’ve been researching doing a variant of your Missing Link route you did a while back, any chance I could send you my route via email to get your thoughts? I was asking around at MEC when one of the avid bikepacker employees said you might be able to help me. All the info I can find is quite a few years old now. Cheers

  21. Hi Vic, I’m looking at dropping by Vancouver Island for a bit (on my way up to Banff to start riding the GDR) mid-late July, with my Surly ECR bike-packing set up. I am wondering if there are any good bike-packing trails/rds you could recommend? A loop would be ideal but a one way ride with return transport will work too.
    I’m from NZ and have very little knowledge of V.I except it’s beautiful, easy going and has several great breweries. sounds like my kinda place!
    email me if/when you get a chance.
    cheers, Waz

    • Hi Warrick. I’m on a bikepacking trip at the moment. Drop me a line next Monday and I’ll set you up with some route options.

  22. Hey vik. Really awesome blog u got going here. Any news of the dirt wizard fitting into an unmodded rs reba? No plans to dremel out the brace (altho what u did was inspiring).

  23. Hey Vik, Great blog. A friend and I are plan a trip to bike packing trip to Vancouver Island for next month. We put a tentative route together based on your exiting routes (http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9876838), basically we’re looking to start in Victoria and end at or near Tofino. Could you email me, I’d love to pick your brain on the route and our options. Thanks, J

  24. Hai Vik, Great blog. How you install the HShimano dynohub , do you need to modify the the fork ? Thanks Darma

  25. Hey Vik!
    I found your blog a while ago from MTBR forums. I’m flying into Victoria for SSCXWC in November and was planning on doing a SSCX bikepacking trip after the races and was going to see if you had any recommendations on things to do (I’m looking more for sweet views, chill rides, and cool stuff over technical singletracky stuff, since I’ll be SS, loaded, and a cross bike!) I found one of your posts on bikepacking the Island from Googling it. But would love to get in touch about it!

    Thanks! [patdowd88 [at] gmail [dot] com]

  26. Vik,

    Long time listener, first time caller, and I have questions!

    Essentially my dilemma is Straggler vs. 26″ Trucker, and since you’ve had both I was hoping you could steer me either way.

    I’m looking to use it as a relaxed commuter/grocery-hauler/countryside-rambler with fat tires, fenders, Albatross bars, front basket, big saddle bag… in other words a blue collar Rivendell 🙂

    I really liked your 26″ LHT build and was thinking I’d go that route, that the relaxed nature of the Trucker would better suit the upright setup, and I like the idea of fat 26″ wheels for riding in the city. But after reading so many negative comments online about using the Trucker for anything other than loaded expedition touring, I’m thinking maybe the Straggler would be a wiser choice.

    My current list of (assumed) pros and cons:

    26″ DT pros:
    – geo and character well suited to upright and relaxed setup
    – fat 26in tires fun and comfortable in the city
    – vertical dropouts for metal fenders and gears

    26″ DT cons:
    – slow, sluggish, etc., the usual criticism
    – a 62cm 26″ Trucker is wrong (and yet I want one!)

    Straggler pros:
    – lighter and quicker
    – 700c wheels more appropriate for my height (187cm)

    Straggler cons:
    – wacky dropouts, issues with gears and metal fenders
    – 29er wheel/tire diameter less agile in the city
    – aggressive geo not ideal for an upright position

    Thoughts?

    • @Helgi – disclaimer I have drop bars on both my LHT and Straggler. Both these bikes were designed for drop bars so going to albatross bars may not be ideal, but it all depends on your body dimensions so I’m not going to get into that other than to say study the geo charts carefully.

      I’d suggest the 650B Straggler. Use 42mm Grand Bois tires. It will be fast, lively and sure-footed. The Straggler dropouts are easy to use and I would not expect to have any issues with them. I use them with metal fenders and the only concession I have to make is to let the pressure down on the tire so it can compress against the front of the fender to pop into the dropouts.

      Having said that the DT if used for relaxed riding isn’t a bad bike. The sluggishness unloaded really only becomes apparent when it’s being pushed hard. If you are not looking at a watch or speedo you may well find the LHT just fine to ramble on.

      If I was starting all over again I’d get the 650B Straggler. It seems like a good mix of performance and utility.

      • Problem is they don’t make the 650B Straggler bigger than 58cm, and for albatross bars I would probably need a 60-62cm.

        I did have in mind that I would do a 650B conversion later on, if I got a Straggler. With 42mm tires the BB height should be fine for road use, although I may be wrong. Have you given any thought to this?

        Good to hear about the dropouts, and thanks for the swift reply, I appreciate it.

  27. I recall looking at it and the BB would be lower, but I don’t have my calculations handy anymore so don’t take my word for it. I didn’t realize they didn’t make the 650B in bigger sizes.

    I’ve got my 700c wheels and fenders now so I’m not spending the $$ to make a change.

  28. Hey Vik – great info on your site. I’m looking to bike-pack to Nanaimo from somewhere (maybe Victoria? some place I can do it without a car) over the course of about a day and a half. I’ve looked at the routes you’ve posted and all them stay pretty far from Nanaimo but I know there are trails in the area. Any advice?

    • @Tyler – sorry I don’t know the Nanaimo area at all. In a day and a half without a car is tough.

      I haven’t done it, but you might be good to go from Victoria to Nanaimo via Gulf Islands and ferries???

      You could also ride the E&N railway, but I suspect that banging over railroad ties for a day+ would drive you mad.

  29. Hi Vik, quick question. Do you use the brooks B17 standard on your bike? I have a similar rig to yourself and wondering about the standard or narrow options. I believe that the standard is better for a more upright position…Thanks!

  30. Hey Vik, Could you drop me an email when you get a moment. I am coming to the Isle in April and wanted to pick your brain for a sec and also invite you along on a 2 day mission. Thanks man!

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