Browse Month by January 2014
Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Cyclocross

Transition Bikes welcomes The Rapture.

What can be said of this new cyclocross offering by Transition Bikes, out of Ferndale Washington.  Well, it looks an awful lot like a normal weekend of cross racing with Hodala.  But they did make a video and if you wonder what SSCX is all about, this covers most of it.  Minus the riser bars.  And add more beer.

Nice video, boys.

The bikes looks pretty good.  Chromoly frame & fork (with a rust-resistant coating,) disc brakes, run it geared or single… $600 frameset.  Comes in neon green or matte black.

Check it out at Transition Bikes

Alaska, Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Events, Races, Travel

SSWC in Alaska for 2014

The Single Speed World Championships will take place in Anchorage, Alaska in 2014.  July 18-20. Coming back to the USA after it’s been overseas since 2010.  It’s travels have taken it most recently to Italy and South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand before that.

As “officially” as any shitshow can begin- the first SSWC took place in California in 1999.  I have never taken the opportunity to compete or attend one before, but this year I may just have a chance.  Or not.  Unfortunately for me it takes place smack dab in my four-month fishing season and I’ll likely be found in the middle of Prince William Sound, sulking with jellyfish dripping on me from the net above.

For others though- that have jobs that they can take some time off of, I’d highly suggest getting your ass to the 49th state for this one.  Anchorage is not well known for urban cycling- in fact I’ve found it one of the sketchiest places to ride (predominately in winter.)  Drivers are quite aggressive towards cyclists, even more so than the moose you may cross on the paths.  However, Anchorage is also home to a wonderful grid of trails, with Kincaid Park being the city’s crown jewel.  They have CX races in town at the parks, MTB races at Kincaid.  It’s pretty bad ass. And it’s in the Last Frontier.  No, not space- that’s the Final Frontier.   Drink bears and get mauled by beers!

Grab your single speed: mountain bike, sweet fixie, cross bike, tall bike, unicycle (if you’re from Portland,) or whatever other contraption you want to ride and buy a ticket.

Anyway, get your shit together and your head in the game.  When registration opens, it’ll fill up fast.  There’s a webpage and a Facebook and more info to come- so look alive!

For info go to:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

 

Alaska, Bicycle, fat bike, Gear

“Must Haves” for winter fat biking

The weather has warmed up considerably here in Cordova.  Rain for a few days and temperatures reaching the 40’s have been taking away the snow that fell a couple weeks ago.  With the warm temps the snow turns to glare ice- the roads and trails becoming treacherous to travel on.  I’ve been able to get out a few times on the new bike and I’m loving it.

In my time with the bike I’ve been building a list of “must-haves” for winter riding on a fatbike.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Low-pressure tire gauge.  As many will tell you, tire pressure is something that can really affect your ride.  Fat tires are high volume, low pressure, and neither my floor pump and old pressure gauge give me an accurate reading below 30 lbs.  As we run pressures in the single digits, you should have something that tells you what that magic number is.  I picked up a Meiser 30lb (max psi) gauge from Tree Fort Bikes.  $14, light enough you’ll want to carry it with you, and then you’ll know.  Because after all:  “Knowing is half the battle.”
  • High volume pump.  On soft conditions you let the air out.  When it’s harder- you got to put it back in.  I’ve heard some folks that really like C02 canisters, but they can get expensive with lots of change in pressure.  I’m in the market for a pump, and have my eye on the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV-HVG.  Retails for $45-$60.
  • Gaiters.  Snow can find it’s way into your boots far too easy.  If you are riding in snow that is above boot height I’ll say they are mandatory.   I’m still rocking my old pair of Outdoor Research Gaiters.  They go just below the knee and they are awesome.  Not even sure the model, I’ve had them for near 15 years.  They don’t need to be cycling specific, they just need to work.
  • Good Boots.  Your feet should stay warm and dry.  And remember: just because you rode in, doesn’t mean you won’t be walking out.  Make sure you’ve got good footwear.  It’s not necessary that it’s bike specific unless you’re riding clipless.  I prefer flats in the winter.
  • Frame bag.  You don’t “need” a frame bag, but when you ride with one, you won’t want to go back.  The frame bag allows you to fit a surprising about of stuff lower on the bike and to keep it off your back.  I have a Revelate Designs bag, and there are lots of other folks making them.  Folks like Tupps at Becker Sewing and Design.
  • Gloves or Poagies.  I haven’t used poagies (the big mitts that stay attached to your handlebars and you just slide your hands into them) Cordova’s wet climate might not be very well suited to articles of clothing that stay attached to the bike.  Also, they have me nervous in more technical conditions in that I may find it difficult to remove my hands if I begin to fall.  I currently prefer gloves.  Waterproof is good, warm.. And I usually have a back up pair.
  • Chain lube.  I’ve been using quite a bit of it.  Riding in snow has been more harsh on my drivetrain than any other mountain biking I’ve done.  I may look into one of 45NRTH’s “winterized” chains.
  • Snow/Ice tires.  I would love a set of studs, but at almost $500 a pair, it might be a while.  Slipnot Traction makes chains that could make riding on ice much safer- at a fraction of the cost.  You may not need them all the time, but if you don’t want to be shut out when Jack Frost ices things over, then you gotta do something.

I see a lot of folks on fat bikes riding on some mountain bike trail where it’s sunny and 70.  That’s all fine and dandy- the more bikes the better.  But up here, we need to be prepared.  An adventure can turn into tragedy with a slight change in the weather and a flat tire.  So be safe, ride well- and keep the rubber side down.

What have you found that you can’t live without during your winter rides?