14 August 2017

Bikewright Workshop Project -Diamondback Apex, Houston We Have a Problem

Damaged Gipiemme Seatpost

Well this is one of three problems...After riding about twenty-five miles I got off my bike and the nose of my Selle Anatomica was pointing up more than it should. Now I know why and I am not sure what caused this. I also found out that my seat rails on the Selle Anatomica were bent. I don't know if getting the saddle level and not knowing the rails were bent was part of the problem, and that I adjusted the seat clamp too much to get the saddle level or the metal was soft.

After doing some research on the web there seemed to have been an issue with the rails on the saddles and they had made a harden replacement. But of course my saddle was out of warranty. They only came with a year warranty. You guessed it I am past the warranty. Well I sent it off to be repaired because you can ride on that saddle all day without any problems. I just hope the new and improved rails work!

Damaged Gipiemme

There also must be a burr in the seat tube that I cannot find and this post was almost stuck. The post is a 26.6 mm and its tight but I have never had a post get damaged like this. I figured I got the post online and there might have been issue with the post or it was a second. I have had that happen to me on some saddles that I purchase before. Buyer beware as they say!

Just need to do this right and be done with it right? So I purchased a Thomson seatpost and it does not fit.... I mean its by a hair. I don't know if its just over spec or what. I pulled a post off my Bridgestone and that works so I the 26.6mm is the right size.

So what do I do now? I am still working on that! Stay tuned.



13 August 2017

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Last weekend I had plans for a long ride on the High Bridge Trail. This time I wanted to include the six miles of single track. I had all my gear for a 5-6 hour self-support gravel and single track adventure.

I was about two miles or so in on the 4.5 mile loop when I heard my saddle rail snap. Over twenty years of mountain biking this is not the first time I have had this happen. But I had never been so far away from my car when this one broke. Guessing I had two miles to go just to get back to the trail head of the single track I figured I was about 8 miles from my car.

Broken Saddle Rail

Always on the left side of this old school WTB SST.K saddles!!

Two miles of riding down hills and hiking up hills I figured I just needed to get back to the trail head and sit down at the picnic table to assess what I had with me that I could make a field repair. Now awhile back I did a post on my repair kit and I am please with what I put together because it got me out of this jam.

Saddle Field Repair

Not the greatest of pictures, and it looks like the saddle is at an angle but it is just the bike laying up against the picnic table. So what did I use to make the repair? This is the list of the items that I used:
Pedro tire lever
1 paper clip
1 tire boot
2 zip ties
1 pine stick

I used the paper clip to wire tie the tire lever to the one good rail and I use pair of the tire boot make sure the paper clip would not come off the lever. I then used the two zip ties to hold in place the tire lever on the broken rail side. This made a cross brace. I then found a good pine stick that I could use as a rail on the broken side.

I almost had a level saddle and I was able to ride it back to the car at a 10 mph pace. Although my ride was cut short I was very pleased with making this repair and being able to be self-support.

If you follow the pictures to Flickr I have set-up a group called Trailside Repair. My hope is that this will be a group that we can share our trailside or field repairs and repair kits with each other.  

11 June 2017

Bikewright Workshop Project- Diamondback Apex- Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack


Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack with p clamps.


The reason I picked the Diamondback Apex frame for this project was it was originally built for adventure. Mountain bikes in the early days came with rack mounts and they were make for off-road camping and touring trips. Todays bikepacking or off-road touring is a refinement of what started over 30 years ago. The Apex came with rack mounts for low rider panniers (see picture above). I had been on a quest to find a black porteur rack that I could use with a low rider rack mount. Now there is a difference between a low rider mount and a mid-fork mount. A mid- fork mount is the same type of mounting point used for a rear rack on the seat stay, but a mid-fork mount is at the front of the fork just up a little higher than the low rider mounting point.

Rawland Cycles just came out with their Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack. It looked as if this was what I was looking for. For the most part it is. It came with two pair of struts. One set of straight and one set of off-set struts. The straight struts are 219mm and the off set are 205mm. You could also use P-clamps (something I did not want to use) if you do not have fork mounts.

In the pictures above and below you can see that I had to use P-clamps. This set-up works its just not the look I am looking for. The Rawland Cycles Raidoverks Rando Rack is a nice rack and has three mounting locations for light and also fender mounts. The rack also mounts at the top of the fork, so I had to change my straddle cable to an old school cable mount to be able to get the straddle cable over the fork mount. I just used a brake cable for a straddle cable which seems to workout well.  



Test Ride


Not being happy with the P-clamps I went to my local LBS to see if the could order some longer struts for me. Just so happen the shop rat had a set on-hand. Pictured below are the off-set struts I purchased for $10. I believe straight struts would have also worked just as well.
Off set strut that I used to replace the Rawland support

Pictured below I have replaced the Raidoverks strut with the one I purchased from my LBS. Since I am not an engineer I have no idea if this changes the strength of the original design. I the Raidoverks is a rock solid design. Since this rack was designed for both straight-blade and traditional raked forks, the only improvement I could see is making the point where the strut attaches at the top of the rack more adjustable.
Replaced the Rawland Raidoverks  struts

Couple more test rides are in order!

18 May 2017

Day Hikes around Beagle Gap, Shenandoah National Park


Near prefect conditions will be the way I will remember this day in early April. There was a clear view down to the Shenandoah Valley and you could see back to Charlottesville, VA. This hike was a daughter and Dad day hike and she had asked to keep it shorter than the Doyle River Loop we did back in October.

My plan was to enter the park in the South District and head north only around 5-7 miles which would put us at Beagle Gap. From there we would be able to get in two short day hikes and would not spend a lot of time driving up the Parkway to get to a trail head. 

Beagle Gap sits between Bear Den Mountain and Little Calf Mountain. What's cool about this area that on both side of the Skyline Drive are meadows. This area was part of the Royal Orchard.


Lower Meadow Bear Den Mountain at Bagle Gap



Our first leg of our day hike would take us up to the top of Bear Den Mountain via the Appalachian Trail. This area of the trail is not in Shenandoah National Park, but in the Appalachian Trail Park. At the top of Bear Den Mountain is the location of two radio antenna farms.  

Illegal Camp Fire Site

On our way up there was a side trail that took us to some rocks. As you can see in the picture above some idiot made a illegal camp fire. They did a good job of covering up the spot... But as you can see the small tree did sustain some damage. This was a very bad spot for a camp fire due to all the pine needles. Last year the Rocky Mount Fire took place 16 April 2016 and was the 2nd largest fire in the parks 90 year history which burned 10,326 acres. I am sure that fire was caused by humans.


Family Picnic Site

Back in the mid 90's you could see down in the valley from this location. This spot is just off the AT and the radio towers are behind me. There are about four old tractor seats that at this location which makes a great place for a lunch. The owners of what was the Royal Orchard use to come to this spot for family picnics and to watch fire works.


Steel Table

I don't know how many times you are going to find a half inch steel table in the mountains, but we found one here and we used it to make our lunch. My daughter likes the backpacking meals and she has a fun time helping fix our meal.


Apple Tree Blossom 

The old apple trees are just starting to bloom.


The second leg of our hike takes us up to Little Calf Mountain. Just before getting to this point we met our first thru hiker of the season. He had start out on his hike 10 February and had just entered into the South District of the park. If you have a new PATC map of this section. the trail on the map does not match what is on the ground. This is not a big issue but just something to keep in mind. This also goes with some of the track logs and other online maps. Again not a big issue.

Little Calf Mountain

From Little Calf Mountain I wanted to make our way to Calf Mountain Shelter because I knew there was a spring there and I wanted to use my Sawyer Mini filter to be able to get some mountain spring water. I have to say, the Sawyer Mini is an easy filter system to use. 

Old Spring sign

The spring is in better shape that the sign. Depending on the time of the year and rain fall you will reach water running across the trail. This is not the spring. The spring has a white PVC pipe at the source.

Pictured below is a benchmark for the Appalachian Trail Park. I think by the end of the day we still hiked as far as we did in October... Whether you just hike Bear Den Mountain or Little Calf Mountain, both are get short family hikes that gives you a great place to stop and have lunch. 

Appalachian Trail survey marker

09 May 2017

Post are coming soon

I will be posting up some new content by the end of this week. I have had some issues with my Flickr account. 

12 March 2017

Banff Mountain World Tour 2017

This must be the 5th Banff Mountain World Tour post that I have put on the blog. This was the second year that there was a 3 night showing at the venue I attended. They showed a total of 24 films two of which were special edits for the show.
One of the things I like about the films is that they are about as diverse as the great outdoors. Every heard of canicross, scooterjoring or skijoring? Nither had I and I am not going to tell you what it is. Go to a Banff World Tour and see for yourself.
I am going to leave you with three trailers of the films that I enjoyed the most.
Elk River


Danny MacAskill Wee Day Out
 
The out takes were great!

Doing it Scared

Personally I think this was the best film.
I hope you  are able to catch a showing of the Banff Mountain World Tour and enjoy and be inspired by outdoor films

04 March 2017

Don't Let The Weather Fool You

I don't know if it's a normal cycle or part climate change, but it seems like winter has left Virginia early this year. Well maybe... This week we had a record breaking high of 81 and then in 24 hours the high is 33 degrees cooler. When I got up this morning it was 24 degrees! That is a huge difference.

My point of this post is a reminder for all of us that pursue outdoor activities. Don't let Mother Nature fool you during the months of March and April! This is the time of year that the weather will be nice and then two days later it will be cold again.

I can remember being in the Field for training in the early 90's and it was the first week in April. It had been nice that week and that weekend the weather turned on us, Cold and windy and it had rained Friday night. The guys that stayed the the GP Large tent was up most of the night digging a trench to keep the water from flooding the tent. I had found the best place to set-up my pup tent and had no issues. Late Saturday afternoon the commands started pulling the troops back to the barracks. With the mind set train as you fight I stayed out in the field and woke to a dusting of snow the next morning. Three seasons in one weekend...

Don't get caught being under perpared. Check the weather for the time period that you are going to be gone even if its just a few hours for a day hike or bike ride. Pack that shell and gloves in your pack! Something tells me you might need it.

Be Safe out there!