Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tinkering in the shop...

This weekend I was supposed to try out my first s240 (see previous thread), however the weather conspired against me with the skies opening up and giving us some much needed rain... great for the earth, not so good for a bikepacking adventure. So instead I decided to do a little re-cycling for the upcoming slosh and mud. Who knew an old ERA jug, some wire ties, and a couple of coat hangers could be so much fun? I'm pretty happy with the down tube protection and the front spray contraption. The rear fender and mount need a little work aesthetically, but work just fine.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bikepacking set up shake down ride

I've had an assortment bikepacking gear for quite some time now. I had planned and planned, but never actually pulled the trigger on a trip. So on Saturday night, my insomnia got me thinking about bikes and bikepacking, specifically on the new (to me) pugs. Why not? I knew I wouldn't put an overnighter together with Monday being a school day, but I've mapped out the route and loaded up the pugs to see how the set up works... the pugs is heavy when not loaded, and when you add camping gear it is an absolute tank! My primary goal was to figure out the route from my house over to river road, which is a slow curvy road that will take me from the outskits of town all the way to FM 306 and on to Canyon Lake a super secret overnight camping location. Total mileage from my front door to the lake super secret camping location is ~25 miles, then there's ~9 miles of trail to off-road on, and ~25 miles home. The idea behind this is to do what Grant Peterson coined an s24o which is a bikepacking adventure right out your back door. The idea behind it, is you don't have to spend weeks or months planning it. It doesn't have to be an epic adventure, it is a less than 24 hour overnight trip just to get away from it all, right in your back yard. Awesome! So since I'm not much of a roadie and I've never tried to lash my gear on my bike before, this was just a trial run. If the weather cooperates I plan on heading out on Friday for my first real S240! The blue thing is a cheap-o foam pad that will be what I sleep on. At some point I'll replace this with a nice Neo-Air, since my 1994 Therma rest weighs 4lbs and has about 10 patches from over a decade of abuse. Rolled inside is my Golite Utopia 1 and poles.
The rear pack is a Carousel Design Works medium seat bag. That has a extra shorts, extra synthetic SS shirt, synthetic LS shirt, extra socks, camp pillow, sleeping bag. I could fit more stuff in there, and I'll get more picky about these items as I get more of these trips under my belt.
Not pictured, is my Osprey Raptor 18 hydro pack. While not my favorite pack in the world, it does have a lot of storage compartments and is a clever design... I do miss my wingnut desperately and will pick up a new Hyper 3.0 when funds are available for such things, but for now the Osprey is what I have. This contains 3L of water, a handful of cliff bars, some cliff blocks, some fruit snacks (thank you E), spare Surly Toob, tools, swiss army knife, led flashlight. These items will move around and will evolve as I get more experience doing these trips. One of the benefits of doing a short trip, and in my case, a shake down ride. Is that you get to see what works and what doesn't work so well. So what didn't work so well in this case is that the camp pad when cinched up tight is it interfered with the operation of the brake levers. It wasn't enough to be dangerous, just annoying. At some point I could purchase a bar bag from Eric Parsons or convince my wife to sew me one :D yeah, right. I'll probably also invest in one of his frame bags for longer journeys when I'll need more things like cook kit, more water, etc. The bags are expensive, but Eric makes great stuff and they are all hand made by Eric in Alaska.
Another fab/mod was making a new GPS mount out of an old reflector bracket. The one that I bought from Garmin lasted exactly one crash. I did learn my lesson from that crash and added a lanyard to keep from the GPS being launched if/when I have the next crash.
So with any luck, next week I'll be posting up pix from my first s24o on the pugs

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jeff Jones, I love you man...

Your designs are brilliant, but damn... even your aluminum bar is silly expensive. I just couldn't justify them on the "play bike" so I got a knock off... sort of. Say hello to the Origin8 Bullnose bars... they're a bar and stem all in one, just like they made in the early days of mountain biking. The biggest nit against them is if you don't like the angle up/down, you're SOL, unlike on Jeff's bars where you can adjust to the specific degree you want up or down. With the extra $90 I saved buying the Origin8's I hope to pick up some less gnarly tires, or maybe a second hand frame bag... whatever I pick up it's much easier to swallow the cost, when I haven't broken the bank on the bars.

Monday, September 10, 2012


So if you ever find yourself in the PNW and are in need of a bike repair, check out Aaron's new shop, Bicycle-Works. Aaron's a good guy, and will set you up @ an honest rate. His work is top notch, and if you're in the area looking for a ride, he knows were the good stuff can be found too, just drop him a line. I'm very excited to see Aaron doing his own thing, it's a challenging industry and with so much on-line competition it does my heart good to see him utilizing his vast mechanical knowledge and carving a space for himself. Congrat's Aaron! Adding your shop link for the 3 readers who follow :D

Sunday, September 09, 2012

soul-o ride

Took the fat bike to the Madrone trail again today. Decided to explore closer to the lakefront, as this is partially what these bikes are made for. The section I rode was mostly pea gravel type stones, a nice little area to stop and enjoy the shallows if you're a boater, however this did get me thinking how limitless the fat bikes seem. Explored a little further up the shore onto the bigger boulders, this too was doable and fun, until the wet rocks and muck made it slipper... found the limits of the fat bike. Overall a fun day of exploring, have the desire to get a packraft now though :D
Lakefront riding... rode in the water a little, but never went to bearing depth.
Fat tracks
Multi-track trail

Sunday, September 02, 2012

FatBob gets a FatBike....

Wow, no posts since Colorado.... Wife was feeling a lot of pressure, and daughter was missing me to the point of having trouble with school, so I left Colorado and have been working from Texas. Being back in Texas means having to deal with ridiculous heat, so that means not much riding for me since I loath the heat. Since I haven't been very motivated to ride lately, a little retail therapy helped get me motivated to ride again. I have been wanting a Pugsley for some time, and after riding my friend Mitchel's Pugs while in Colorado, I knew I had to have one. My first ride was just rolling through the neighborhood... what a hoot, still smile when I think about how ridiculous this thing is. My first dirt ride was less than stellar, a combination of a chest cold and friends riding on non-fat bikes just made me suffer. I finally got out for a proper solo ride on the Madrone, my go to shake down trail. This bike is desperately stupid, and I love it! Controls already changed, will likely see a few more changes
After the fire.... this part of the trail used to be green & lush all the way down to the lake, now it seems ideally suited to the monster truck pugsley.
What bike would be complete w/out a little bling? E is growing like a weed, but is still very much a sweet little innocent girl. She still loves stickers and decided that my new bike needed some flair. I'll look back on this age fondly as she grows into her terrible teens and make life hell. For now she's a little angel and I love her more than life.