Friday, December 21, 2012

Skiers are people too

I rode across town today to sell an old pair of skis, so I figured I would post up a couple more pictures of the ski carrying set-up using the Revelate Viscacha (vis-KA-cha) tail bag.  Remember to give plenty of passing room to other cyclists and skiers on the trails.  With those long skis trailing behind the bike,  I almost knocked some dude in the face this morning. 

To protect my bike's blingged out paint job from the ski's razor sharp edges, I put some padding with velcro around the top tube. Note the position of the ski strap around the back of the seat-tube, and under the seat stays. 

Detail of how the skis sit in the straps of the Viscacha bag.
This is an excellent way to test the strength of your old carbon seat posts. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ménage à trois

After enduring 2 years ridicule by the "purist" backcountry skiers, my efforts to utilize fatbikes as a method of backcountry transportation have proven successful given the right conditions. 

This is the holy grail of combining the only two winter sports worth leaving the house for.

Transporting a snowboard on a fatbike can be achieved one of three ways in my experience, two of which involve a splitboard.   
As splitboarding is clearly the answer to most of life's woes, the latter two methods offer potential epic trips... biking out a valley or basin, then exploring the surrounding peaks, trees, and couloirs via the splitboard.  Traveling by bike in many instances is faster and more efficient than skinning or hiking depending on the terrain. 

Option one: A snowboard can easily be secured to any standard rear bicycle rack via two attachment points using bungies, webbing straps, or ski straps which work best (like those from Black Diamond or Volie) 

Having a second person hold the board in place, as you secure the straps makes life easier.  

The top strap should be 'woven' through the rack tubing to prevent the straps from slipping down.

The lower strap is best placed below the binding to offer some vertical support

Be mindful of heal strike.  The top of the rack and right side remain open for panniers or other bags.  

 Option 2:
 Step one: Cut your board in half                                                    (or get a splitboard)

Step 2: Attach each half of the board to either side of your racks  at the high and low attachment points as described in Option 1, just do it twice for each half of the board. 

Tie the tips of the boards together to make a big "A" because you are clearly awesome. 

This is a great option for multi-day trips, as you can then attach panniers and other baggage to the racks and a backpack easily attaches to the vertical attachment points created by the splitboard A-frame.  
With all these extra points of attachment, you can loop and strap all kinds of crap to your bike.  
Soon your bike will weigh upwards of 50 or 60 pounds depending on how much whiskey you need  

Option 3 is for all the weight weenies out there and works exclusively with the Revelate Designs Viscacha tail bag , and is really quite simple.  The vertical straps of the Viscacha that suspend it from the saddle rails create  nice little hammocks of reinforced nylon at the bottom edge of the bag, one for each half of your board. 
- All you need is another strap looped around each half of the board, near the junction of the seat tube/ top tube/ seatstay.  Create a sandwich of the board on either side of the bike frame.  Looping the strap through the top tube and pulling it tight as possible.  
This serves three purposes: 1. brings the two halves together a narrow as possible so you can actually peddle, 2. stabilizes the lateral motion and flex of the board for more stable riding, and 3. keeps the board at an upward sloping angle to the rear of the bike.   

 ENJoy. and Remember Avalanches can still get you on a bike.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Missing the Sun

My special lady is down in New Mexico waiting out the dark frigid weeks of mid-December, filling her days with sunshine, spicy food, lazy bike rides in the Gila Wilderness, and quality time with family and friends.

Along with the requisite 5 pounds of green chilli and fresh made tamales, she will be returning to Alaska with a lovely dark blue 43 cm Surly Traveler's Check frameset. The venerable Cross Check frame with the addition of S and S couplers allowing easy air travel sans oversize luggage fees. 

Surly Travelers Check Bicycle Frame with S and ... - S and S Machine

This will serve as great winter build project to piece together a trusty steed for commuting, fall cyclocross races, light bike-packing, and bike touring.  First tentative trip will be through France, Spain, and possibly Portugal as time allows  with a route focused on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A.S.S. hurt

Completed the Abominable Snow Series (A.S.S) race #1 today out at Kincaid Park. The snow was quite soft and churned up and I had an initial advantage with wide rims and huge knobby tires, but the heavy Surly and my skinny chicken legs resulted in numerous passes early on. With the leader pack battling it out somewhere up ahead, I settled into a nice pace and enjoyed a solitary 2 hour ride through the woods on a beautiful and brisk (6 deg. F) morning.  

EDIT: finished mid-pack of the 29 open class racers, which is a win in my book considering my prerace performance drink of choice is a gallon of coffee. 

Compliments to the Abominable crew for staking out a fun course.


Post Race Ice Beard

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mashed-Potatoe Drift

Anchorage Thursday night group ride organized by Paramount Cycles (P.O.S. Paramount On Snow). 2 hours 40 minutes; 10(+/-) miles of variable snow conditions, most of which was soft mashed-potatoes from our recent snowfall. Riding a Surly Moonlander with 4.8" knobbies felt like cheating as I pedaled through terrain that had most others pushing their bikes. An epic 400ft of elevation change on the Moose Ridge Trail Loop made for numerous opportunities for 'high speed' (for a fatbike) single-track drifting through the corners. Few feelings like getting a 35 pound bike sideways and counter steering through a 45 degree drift in 5 inches of powder.