03 September 2010

Remember when you were a kid...

...and you were riding your bike, or horse in the evening? do you remember that feeling when a sudden warm or cold burst of air hits you as you ride through it? I forgot about that feeling until it happened to me last night as I was riding home from a session in the woods. Stop, think about that feeling and take a moment to embrace that memory. I rode dirt bike and BMX a lot as a kid and have countless memories of those occurrences. Whether the air was cold or warm I definitely have warm feelings towards those moments.

The weather out by McLean Creek is often cooler than the air in the city. as I was riding home last night about 10km from town I was hit by a great warm air burst. It was a relief as my hands were starting to get a little numb. It was a chilly night after the sun started to set. As I was hit by that warm burst of air I couldn't help but to equate it to the ride I had earlier in the evening.

I am no longer able to ride on Wednesday nights with the RMDRA guys so i had to sort out a group to ride with that night. I found some people from ADVrider.com that ride dual sport bikes like my own that usually meet on Thursday evenings at McLean. I didn't know them at all, in fact, I had never even seen their screen names before. Anyway, we met up and had a ride together. Now, back to the story, as we were riding I ended up leading. I knew the trails we took well and overall they were quite easy. We're just riding along at a good pace and suddenly, we encounter a blast of cold air, not literally, but rather a blast of difficulty. These difficulty blasts are what keep me riding. It's funny, I've mentioned before that I have removed much emotion from my life, and this is one of the only times that I feel it. It's anxiety.

Imagine traveling at a decent pace, feeling good, finding a rhythm in the trail. Then suddenly you encounter an insurmountable obstacle, or so it seems.

 Sometimes the saying "to hit a wall", isn't figurative. Sometimes, it's a real beast that needs to be conquered. Sometimes, it's a series of obstacles that will take some real courage to conquer.

Not only is the task ahead challenging, but you also have to maintain some speed and momentum in order to conquer it. There is no time to slow down and analyze, there is only time to tackle it.

That is why I love to ride. I love to be able to see a problem and tackle it instantly, no time to pause and contemplate, no time to talk yourself out of it, only time to make a decision to do it, or to quit. I really enjoy those blasts of cold air that I encounter on a bike. I love to have a physical challenge. These are the things that make me want to continue from day to day, I'll take a cold blast anytime.

Here's a slideshow of our ride.

22 August 2010

A rare occurrence

Usually Saturdays seem to be days that I have to shop for stuff, or fix up things around the house. Well, this one was no different, except I went for a ride before all that happened. I met up with some guys from RMDRA  at 8:30 in the morning. We rode  for a few hours and got quite lost. I had a tremendous wipeout but never got hurt, and saw some nice trails I had never seen before. Here are some highlights.

19 August 2010

Working it

Wednesday was a great day for me. I got my Baja Bug running for the first time in a year, it was the hottest day of the year so far, and I was going out on a ride in the bush. It turned out to be the best ride I had yet been on, and I couldn't have asked for a better day.

When I arrived at the staging location, there were only about 5 other guys there. It looked like it was going to be a slow night. By the time we were ready to go, there were about 15 of us. We split into two groups, the faster and the slower. I once again opted for the fast group and had a nice group of 9 riders that were indeed fast. The president of the club led our ride, and I had brought a quick mount for my helmet cam. I lent it out to the leader to see how fast he rode. Wow is all I can say. Here's some footage of him.

I officially broke my first part on my bike on a steep uphill. There was a vertical rock wall on one side and a tapered rock wall on the other, I just lost my balance a bit and smacked off my rear left signal light on the wall. Luckily a screwdriver fixed it on the trail. No problems, I love my bike and it's low maintenance.

The last time I was out, I rode with a guy named Darren, we were both of a relatively equal skill level. He commented that he was a little bitter that he couldn't catch me on some trails, I I have some similar sentiment towards him. It seems that neither of us can catch each other unless the frontrunner makes an error. This was great for me, it was a real challenge that was kind of unspoken, but well understood between the two of us. We were both pushing each other to the limits of our skills. Here's me doing some fast paced riding.

Since the days are getting shorter we had to make a run for it near the end. I was pushing hard to keep up with the others, and was having a great time doing it. Please observe that I did have an off on the previous video, but it really wasn't a big deal. A great time was had, and I really hope I can get out a few more times before the snow comes. I hate that I'm already thinking about that.

29 July 2010

And now, for something a little different...

One of the things I wanted in my helmet cam was the ability to take pictures on the fly. It never had that ability until I updated the firmware a couple weeks ago. Now I can set it to take a picture every three seconds. Well, it gave me a little different perspective of what I went through. There was no guided ride last night, but me and a few guys went out anyways. Now, I'm no guide, but apparently was the only one who knew the trails well enough to actually lead a group out there. We didn't get lost and there were only a few seconds where I didn't know where we were going.

It looked like a great night for riding earlier in the day. It was 27 degrees and sunny until I got past Bragg Creek, where I encountered some seriously wet roads, and even some remnants of hail in some of the lowlands. When we did get out on the trails, I took us on the nearly exact ride we had gone on last week. Now, 3/4 of us had been on these trails or tougher ones before, but one of us hadn't ridden things this tough before. He kept up quite well, and after a little time he got his groove on pretty well. The first hour of riding was pretty slow going since the trails were quite slippery, and the roots seemed pretty exposed even compared to last week.

There were quite a lot of scenic captures from my camera. It was a great night to ride. After we were done riding, Mike commented that he really liked the trails we went on because on a (skill level) scale from one to ten, he figured this ride was a 9 3/4 for him. It got me thinking, at what number on the skill level scale do we receive the most enjoyment? Obviously 1-5 are pretty boring since we can easily accomplish those tasks, 5-8 probably brings the most enjoyment, and 8-10 can be pretty grueling. I'm not sure where I receive the most enjoyment. Those trails were difficult in some spots, but generally, I could have ridden tougher trails, but I don't know where to find them, nor the "enjoyment" that I should be receiving from riding.

Don't get me wrong, I really love being out in the woods trail riding, but I am missing something. Let me tell you a little backstory. When I was young I was quite emotional. I remember crying in grade 5 or 6 because I got accepted into a "gifted students" club at school. I also cried when people made fun of me and when things didn't go my way. It was somewhere around that time that I consciously decided that I had to remove emotions from my life. Well, I did. If you have met me personally, I'd suspect that you'd think I was boring. I don't laugh, chuckle, smile, get angry, or especially...cry. I have found great success in my life by removing this emotion from my existence, but alas, this also causes me not to be happy.

I really am hoping that I can get some kind of perspective when I go out riding. A time to contemplate, a time to grow, a time to fall and get frustrated and maybe even break down. It's great to have these guided rides where I get a chance to meet other people and perhaps let them see a new persona from me, not the Mr. Spock that I am always living, but maybe more of a Captain Kirk? Well, it's a stretch, I'm a nerd trapped in a relatively athletic body, so I'm not sure what persona I should actually be.

Well, that's the weighty part of the post, here's the fluff. Here's a bunch of pics from my camera. Thanks to Mike, Clamacious, and Marcel for the good ride. I think I did have fun, for now I guess I'll continue to be content...

22 July 2010

Here are some new videos!

Last night was still a great ride. I'm pretty sore today, or more accurately, mostly just wiped out. I made a movie for the ride leader since I saw him take a few spills. I thought maybe this would lift his spirits...

A few weeks ago I was accused of attacking some trees. This was not the case, the trees actually attacked me. The trees are amassing a secret attack plan to destroy all my credibility by making it look like I have it out for them. Well it's not going to work, I've been collecting evidence...

While riding I found a little trick to get over logs that are too slippery to get the back tire over. All you have to do is get the front tire over and get your rear tire near the log. Tip the bike over, the rear tire shifts to the side and lifts itself over the log. Joy!!

I have lots of video, I hope I can come up with something interesting to entertain you with next week.

21 July 2010

Great ride tonight!

Wow! Sometimes I think that my life is tough, sometimes i think my
life doesn't have perks. Let me tell you, I've got it all! As some of
you know my wife kind of bullied me into buying a bike. Sensible Joe
wouldn't let himself waste that kind fo money on a superfluous item
like a motorbike, but sensible Joe was kind of run over. I got a bike,
I love riding it and I love my wife for strongly encouraging me to get

Tonight was a great ride. The temperature was nice, there were a lot
of friendly faces, and a lot of trees in my way! It has been raining
so much this year that the trails have taken a bit of a hit. Tonight I
rode some of the exact trails I had ridden two weeks ago, but they
were not the same trails. The ruts were deeper, the roots more
exposed, and the hills got steeper. Wait did I really say that? The
hills never got steeper, but they did seem to claim a few more
casualties along the way. There were a plethora of crashes on the
intro-intermediate ride. Even the leader and the sweep went down, and
I have video to prove it.

I had a couple of my best crashes tonight. One endo, a few line drives
into trees, and of course, botched log crossings. I think I invented a
new trick for going over logs that you get stuck straddling. I have it
on video I think, so I'll definitely put it on vimeo as it's own
short. I will be sore tomorrow, but its not that I'm complaining, I
think the degree of soreness is a good indicator of how good the ride

I took a 4GB SD card with me tonight so I have a whack of video to
comb through and edit. I will try to get some good stuff up ASAP, but
I think I'll have to do some editing. I've got nearly 3 hours of
video, and at least 5 minutes of crashes... I'll update when I have
some uploaded.

14 July 2010

Last week I had about 35 minutes of footage recorded, but only had 500MB of space on Vimeo, so I had to delay this video a week. That's ok though, since I'm not going out riding this week, I have an update for my hoards of fans out there. (joking, only 35 people visited the blog this last week)

I love going out and doing singletrack riding. It was the best part of mountain biking, but since I can't ride mountain bikes anymore, I am happy to say I have returned to my love. In this video I am starting to get a little loosened up and a little tired as well. You will clearly see that my handlebars are more floppy. I'm not sure if that's because I'm relaxed or bagged...

I hope that next week I can go out again and find some more gnarly trails to show off, but if the monsoon season doesn't end soon, I won't be able to get out. I tell you this has to be the wettest spring/early summer in a long time. In a couple weeks I am going to the inlaws for a visit, they have a boat, and I have a wakeskate. Is there anyone interested in seeing some first person footage of that? Leave a comment, you don't have to log in or anything.

08 July 2010

Last night's ride was simply delicious! The weather was just about perfect, my bike was in tip-top condition and I was ready to haul! The last time I took my bike out, I had nearly run the tank dry so I had to fill up immediately after leaving home. Normally I seem to get about 160km on a tank, so I thought I should be able to run all the way out to McLean Creek, and back with some off roading in between.

If you read last week, you know that I was a little disappointed in the intensity of the beginner's ride, so this week I was planning on taking the intro-intermediate guide. Well, only about 12 people showed up, so it was to be a fast group and a slow group. I chose fast...

I kind of thought this quad trail ride was a shakedown to see if we could really handle the more technical single track that the guide was planning on running. Well, it was good and fast. I figure for some of it we were in the neighborhood of 50km/h on quad trails. It was a great warm up!

Things started to get a little more technical from here, and I was about to be challenged. My tires are good for traction on the center, but I wasn't sure how they would be on the edges since I nearly lowsided on the street on the way out. Those knobbies are kind of bendy when you get on them. Well, in the next section, I was on some cross hills and just lost control. No reason really, it just kind of happened. That threw me off my game and I ended up wiping out a few times in the next clip.

No damage was taken on me nor the bike, so let's get out and do some nice hills on the way up to the ridge. I really like this next section of hill, since it's tight, but still relatively quick moving. Another rider gave me a little surprise on a hill climb. See if you can see what I mean.

Unfortunately, I ran out of space on my vimeo account this week, so that's all the video I have. Plus I only got 35 minutes of footage anyways since I ran out of space on my SD card! AARGH! Someday I'll get this helmet cam right, I had plenty of battery power, but not enough space!

After all was said and done, we put about 25 km on in the woods, climbed about 400m and came back down. I saw a lot of cliff faces, and some pretty serious hill climbs that I only moderately succeeded on. I'm so glad i took the more advanced ride. It was a lot of work, but it was so fun. I haven't ridden technical trails like that since I quit mountain biking. I really missed that feeling of being one with the bike, and just trying to survive the next set of roots or rocks. There was one section where the rocks were shaped like smashed up bricks and nearly the same size. That was a huge challenge to ride, but so rewarding. I can tell you one thing, I am sore today.

Remember at the beginning of this post when I said I hoped to have enough fuel to do the run? Well, I hit reserve about 50km from home and ran the gauntlet. I have no clue how much fuel is in my tank today, but I'm glad I didn't have to lug around that extra 10 or so pounds of fuel on the trails.

05 July 2010

Wednesday is looking good!

Over the past few weeks I've learned a few lessons. The videos I've taken haven't worked out great, I've missed some of the best stuff of the night, and cheap batteries just don't cut it. The beginner rides are just too easy, and I can't get enough riding. Wednesday will be different! I'm buying some lithium batteries, pressing record once, and editing out the boring part later. My bike is muddy already, and I intend it to be much muddier (if that's a word). I look forward to sharing my footage.

24 June 2010

Last night's ride

I had a good ride last night. The weather was great and we mostly avoided the rainstorms. I got a little wet, but nothing serious. Here are some videos, I got my helmetcam mic sorted out finally. Next time I go out, I'll have to go on a more difficult ride. I think we were stopping too often for my liking. I don;t have much to say, I liked my tires and was happy I had case guards and rad guards, but I only hit a small tree all night. Enjoy the videos, the camera doesn't show slope very well, the hills were steeper, but not that serious.

22 June 2010

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday!!!

We have a moderate forecast for Wednesday. This is a guided ride night. My bike is ready to go, and so am I! I swear this has been the wettest spring on record. I've struggled with getting the mic on my helmet cam set up right. Well, I think I may have it, look forward to the footage.

19 June 2010

Sore Buttocks!

Well the training was much more pleasant than I expected. The morning was a little slow, but that's because they were teaching people who had never even sat on a bike how to use the controls, start the bike, etc. At the very beginning I was scouting out a bike to ride. They didn't want me to ride mine, so I had decided that the KLX250SF had the highest seat height, so that'd be the one I would prefer. Thankfully, Trevor, the head instructor, must have surmised the same thing and assigned it to me. The instructors were good, although their acting skills could improve, and were very friendly. Thanks Rob, Rene, and Trevor.

Most of the morning, we practiced launching the bike. They equated the experience to a bow and arrow. You have to get the bike under tension then release the brake and your gone. Now this was very foreign to me. I assumed the clutching technique should avoid dragging the clutch at all times, which is true for a car, but they taught me that a wet clutch is completely different. You can drag the clutch all day long and never have to worry about glazing or any of that. I would say this was the biggest thing I learned today. My clutching technique was great for a car, but was inappropriate for a bike. Rene showed me how to essentially ride the clutch and manage my speed with the back brake, which I hardly ever used previously. After today's lesson, I can ride at the speed of someone walking with both feet up for nearly an indefinite amount of time. Very handy!

In the afternoon we got into the more fun stuff. We actually used the pylons, and tried to maneuver around them at low speeds. I was initially pretty cocky, as I have ridden off road recently. Rooty trails, steep hills, log crossings, and boulders littered my path, so I was expecting pylons to be pretty low on the skills list. Now generally, this was the case. The instructors assured me that I was doing well, and challenged me to more difficult procedures like braking to increase cornering in the slalom, and clutching to a stop and not touch down and get moving again.  The big thing I got out of the afternoon was looking 20 seconds ahead. I was riding like I was in traffic and was watching all over the place. Rene told me to "trust the bike less, and trust your eyes more." This solidified to me what I needed to improve. I was taking a lot of corners blind, because I trusted too much in my surroundings.

All in all, I'd say it was a good day. My buttocks may be chafed from that skinny seat on that bike, but I learned some good things that I will take with me every ride from now on. I was really trying to smooth up my riding in the slaloms like Rob told me, but it was hard to fight my naturally aggressive style. Here is a video of some of the instructing and the kind of stuff we were doing. (crank the volume, my mic test was a fail)

15 minutes could save you 15% or more...

Or how about 20 hours of instruction on a motorbike. Today I am going out to my motorcycle training course. My insurance costs will be 20% of my current insurance when I complete the course.

I'm not exactly excited that I get to ride a cruiser around a parking lot all day, but hey if it's to save like $800 a year, I guess it'll be worth it. Plus I will hopefully pick something up on being a more defensive driver (rider) in the process. I'm still doing some mic tests on my helmet cam, so maybe you can see some of what I'm doing.

09 June 2010

So much rain.

I was planning on going out on the guided ride tonight, but it got canceled. The RMDRA is a off-roaders club with a land advocacy focus. They felt that riding on the trails with it being so wet would definitely hurt the environment. Too bad, I really wanted to get out and ride.

Next week, I can't make it out with them either, however, there is a "dual sport" club in the area that regularly goes out on Thursday nights, and since I'll finally be done my contracted work on Thursdays it looks like I'll be able to go out next Thursday. The reason I need to go out with others is that I have no idea where to go out there. There are so many trails and even if I have excellent navigation skills I'd still get lost.

On another note, I found a skid plate for the bike. It's a no parking sign. I may get to installing it sometime this week, and I'll update when I get it finished.

06 June 2010

I'm so tired out.

Like my last post foreshadowed, I have a tale to tell about my tires. I decided to get some real offroad tires, and that meant getting rid of my old ones. I ordered a set online and they delivered in a few days along with my other parts. They looked like great tires, nice and meaty and ready to be put on the rims.

I had only changed one tire on my bike previously and before that I hadn't changed a tire in probably 25 years. Remember back to your childhood, do you remember changing tires on your bmx bike? My brother and I did it all the time, so many times in fact that on some of our bikes we had stripped the the axle bolts quite badly. That was 25 years ago...

I've read quite a few ride reports of people going on international adventures and having to change their tires out on the road. Quite often they pinch their tube with the levers required to remove the tire from the rim. I didn't really think much of it, because they were in the middle of nowhere and had inferior tools, so occasionally one would expect this to happen. Well, I had a garage and all the proper tools with me so that would never happen to me right? Well it did happen, twice.

I started changing my front tire and had a heck of a time pulling the rubber over the bead seat on the rim. I tried multiple times to grab the inside of the rubber and finally succeeded. Then I had to do it three more times. I did get it done in a reasonable amount of time, pressured up the tire and mounted it on the bike, but I knew the rear was going to be tougher.

The rear tire was a mess. It is much heavier than the front and rubber removal is very difficult unless you get the tire deep in the indent in the center of the rim. I struggled with it for probably 45 minutes. I got it all ready to air up and struggled to seat the bead in the rim. Finally I got the tire ready to mount. I took a small rest and discovered that the tire was flat. AARGH! I was filled with rage and knew exactly what I had done pinching the tube while trying to pry the rubber back over the rim. Knowing I had done this, and it being late in the evening I knew I was going to have to come back and check the other tire in the morning before going to the dealer to get a new tube for the rear. (and the front since it was flat in the morning)

The next time around I was sure not to make the same mistake. I was very cautious prying the rubber back over the rims, and successfully completed the job. In order to seat the beads on the rim, you must put a lot of pressure in the tires, somewhere around 60-80PSI, luckily I have a small compressor in my garage. Unfortunately for me, my car is in the body shop right now with my tire pressure indicator in the glovebox. I don't want to ride on these tires without having them properly pressurized, since they are offroad tires they will heat up on the pavement quickly if they are under inflated and they will wear quickly if they are over inflated, and apparently need to be "broken in" before I can ride hard on them.

This post was probably more dramatic than it needed to be but what's a story without a little drama. I can't wait to try my new tires on Wednesday night. This time I'll make sure I have batteries in the camera.

04 June 2010

The parts are installed!

Well, after my last (and only) adventure at McLean Creek, I decided to get some stuff added to my bike to make my life a little more fun. A few months ago I had written that mods should only be for a purpose, not just to show off all your sparkly things to each other. Well, I bought some sparkly things to show off, but don't worry, they are purposeful.

Item #1 - CFC Case Guards

Rumour around town is that when a DR-Z tips over, it has a tendency to fall on rocks that push the shifter and/or the brake lever into the engine case. These little guards are applied with silicon adhesive, and between the silicon as padding and the guards themselves, they dramatically increase the structural integrity of the engine case. Really? We'll see. (but I will never let my bike fall down, right?)

Item #2 - Unabiker Rad Guards

One downfall of having a liquid cooled bike is that the downfall itself is quite dangerous. With an aircooled engine, like my VW Bug, the cooling fins just need to be clear of mud and you should be okay. With a liquid cooled engine, you have to protect the radiator(s). A fall may run the radiator into a rock and bang! Your coolant is spilled all over the ground, and you have to drag your bike back to civilization. These rad guards are supposed to assist in protecting the radiators, much better then the OEM solution, plastic fins.

Item #3 - Kenda Trakmaster II Tires

The eternal struggle of a dual sport bike is selecting a good tire for both purposes of the bike. Now, I've been scouring the web for months trying to find the best tire I could. These were on the list but not the top. The best setup I've read about is a Pirelli Scorpion Pro up front and a Dunlop D606 on the back. Now that is all fine and good, but they are expensive! I opted to go for a decent tire that was rated for 80% dirt and 20% road. They were only around $50 a piece. They won't be great on the pavement, but if I go through a set or two every season, it won't kill my wallet. Plus, they can be mounted either way on the rim so I will double the wear.

Well, that's all I have to say about the products, but the installation was something else entirely. The rad guards and case guards were easy enough to install. I did them both in less that an hour, but the tires... Stay tuned for the tale. Here are some pics in the mean time.

Internet explorer is antiquated!

My new layout doesn't look good in any version of Internet Explorer! Looks like I have to go back to the old drawing board. I hope there is a solution, or better yet, UPDATE YOUR BROWSER to something more modern. You could use Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or even Opera.

I think I can code it so IE renders the most basic of designs, that way I can encourage you to get something modern by offering something nicer on ALL THE OTHERS.

P.S. Wake up Microsoft.

03 June 2010

Welcome to the new layout!

Well, I'm kind of a nerd. I spent the last three nights staying up late to redesign the blog. I learned CSS and XHTML. Well, I never really learned it, I just learned to modify it.

I hope you like the new layout. I think I have to mess with the colors a bit. I'll update with an actual blog post again when I have something to say. For now I must go get a peanut butter sandwich.

27 May 2010

About 12 years ago.

I had an expensive mountain bike and lots of time to play on it. I rode to work every day, I usually rode for around 4 hours every night. There were some Saturdays where I even rode trails for over 100km. I loved riding so much. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse.

It was a dark and stormy night, in fact, it was a Friday the 13th. I had ridden my bike across town to visit with my family when the weather got a little stormy. Of course, if you have ridden mountain bikes before, you'll know that the wind is ALWAYS going in the opposite direction of the way you want to go. Since the storm had picked up quite a bit, I took a route home that I didn't know.

I was riding in the dark in an unfamiliar area by a strip mall to block out the wind when I cam e across a curb. Wow a curb, no big deal, but then I noticed it was actually a retaining wall. Now I knew that my bike could easily jump down that wal, but I didn't have the speed nor preparation to do so. I locked up the brakes and was sitting on my front tire, leaning half way over the wall when I realized I wasn't going to be able to halt my momentum.

I went over the handlebars, over the meter tall retaining wall and landed on the pavement below. Immediately I felt the pain in my elbows and quickly realized as I was getting up that my left elbow was not right. I was in shock, I went into the Denny's restaurant and asked to use their phone. I called my brother and he rescued me and my bike and took me to the hospital. I had shattered my radial head and after a few years of recovery, it still doesn't work properly.

Now to the relative point. I couldn't ride mountain bike anymore. The riding position just did not work for my elbow. I had to give up riding since the pain was greater than the enjoyment. Skip ten or so years and I still miss mountain biking. My dirt bike has a significantly different riding position and I can ride all day without any pain. Last night, I got a portion of my mountain biking back.

If you know me, you know that I don't smile that much. Last night I came home grinning ear to ear. I am so happy to have an opportunity to trail ride again. While it isn't exactly the same a mountain biking, it does give me the adrenaline rush that I used to enjoy daily. I can push myself at my own pace, and continually challenge myself both physically and mentally. I am on top of the world today, even if I can barely stand up or raise my arms.

26 May 2010

Excellent intentions, poor execution.

Well, I did go out on the guided ride tonight. More on this in a minute, but first let me tell you that I didn't have fresh batteries in the helmet cam, and forgot to GPS the trails with my iPhone. Very poor execution on my part. Perhaps I shouldn't dwell on this though, rather let's talk about my fantastic ride instead!

I showed up to the guided ride with this as the background. EVERY other person there trailered their bikes to the meeting point. My story was a little different. As my wife was heading home from work, she informed me that it was raining, and was wondering if I was in fact going out for a ride tonight. I was determined to go out no matter the circumstances, and besides, it wasn't raining at my house.

I had previously been warned by the members of the club that my tires would not cut it for the offroad riding, plus I didn't have radiator guards nor a skidplate. My bike was too heavy and I didn't have any kneepads. Well, I refuse to let others tell me what I can and can't do, so I was going to ride for sure.

As I headed out the rain started progressing. Initially there were a few clouds, then it kind of got darker, and by the time I had traveled the 60 km to the trailhead, the rain was coming down at a decent pace. I was worried about my tires, and was really unsure whether I should participate or not. My determination got the better of me and I went out with the beginners group.

The first bit of riding was pretty dull, a gravel road at a light pace. I was hoping that there would be some more serious riding than this. We stopped to wait for a late arrival and just chatted before entering the trail. The rain had let up, it was gone by the time we really got started. We got into a light trail, where at the very start of it was an enormous mudhole. Great, trial by fire right?

Well it turns out everyone went around the mud and I followed suit. we did some quad trails, with some semi-rocky hillclimbs, and I was well within my limits here. We stopped again at the top of a hill, and were going to loop down a steep hill and come right back up. The trail leader wasn't very confident in my tires so he suggested that I stay back, and since I didn't really know what my tires could do, I stayed behind. I took some pictures while I waited for them to come back up.

Well, I'm not sure if you're tiring of this book so far, but let me tell you this; the trails got tougher, I didn't chicken out of anything presented to me, and I had a really good time. Stay tuned, I'll probably update again tomorrow with some less coherent ramblings about the ride.

Tonight's the night!

I am joining a local offroading club at McLean Creek just southwest of town for a guided ride. I have been itching to get out and do some trail riding ever since I got the bike. I've been doing a little offroading here and there, but my love is trail riding. Well at least that's what my love was when I mountain biked so many years ago.

I'm fired up. I did the first oil change on my bike this morning and got all my gear ready. The wife is coming home early from work to take care of the child, and I'll be out and ready to roll. I'll be bringing the helmet cam to share the adventure with you.

Catch ya tomorrow!

12 May 2010

Motorbike jones

I got a motorbike jones. The weather is finally starting to get lovely. I rejetted my carb earlier this week and the power increase is substantial. I have to be careful not to wheelie now. I still have to tweak it a bit since I have a slight midrange bog. I figure it's just a little rich. I'l dial back the fuel screw a little and see if it helps. 

I've been desperately waiting for the local offroad area to open so I can go do some trail riding, but alas, the snow has the area all sealed up. The local offroad club has a guided rides program that I really want to participate in, but the weather has not been co-operating. Instead of going to the area, they are going to the local MX track. As noted in previous posts, I am too chicken to do big jumps, so I will be waiting until they schedule another which is two weeks away!

In the mean time, I have bought a new engine for my Baja Bug. It should be here by the end of next week, so I have to strip the old one so I can get a core deposit back on it. Doesn't look like I'll be riding much in the next two weeks. Here's a pic of my bug.

22 April 2010

Wind at my back...

Well, it's not a post about some crappy Canadian drama on TV, it's about a sunny nice day with the wind blowing from the south, instead of the north.Wow! The day was amazing, 22C and the sun just shining like crazy. I was just itching for a ride all day long. Unfortunately, I was watching the child all day, and when my wife got home from work she had to go out again and wouldn't be home until after dark. I thought for sure my day was sunk.

Luckily, she had wrote down the wrong day in the calendar and came home about 15 minutes after she left! She instantly suggested that I should go riding, but I got it out my mouth before her! She was so thoughtful and reminded me that the sun was low and people may not be able to see me that well, so be careful on the roads. I was planning to go somewhere else, heh, heh, heh...

Usually I go out to this area at the end of a freeway that is under construction, but as I was pulling up I saw something I wasn't expecting; a vehicle behind the no trespassing sign. Now I know that this area is owned by the city since it is going to be a freeway soon, but the adjacent land I am unsure of. I had no idea who owned this van and thought it best to try to find another route into the area. I went in from the west instead of the south.

Well, I did eventually find a way into the area and found some dirt, and trails, but I really wanted to go to the mx track. As I was cruising along I saw a few vehicles around that weren't normally there. I was quite suspect and twitchy. You'll see that I chose to bail as soon as I got into sight range of some of the workers.

Well, I'm glad spring is here. The local offroading club is starting guided rides in May. I'll be able to explore some of the legal offroad areas around town. The only problem is they aren't nearly as close :(.

02 April 2010


What a great day to go for a ride. It's Good Friday and I'll have to agree that it is good! 
A couple weeks ago, I was messing around in the garage with my bike and sweeping it up and such, when I accidentally ran over a tack. My front tire went flat and the bike has been sitting ever since.  Well, this morning my wife didn't have to work so she watched the child while I tackled the tire repair.

I hadn't changed a tire on a bike since I was probably about 12 years old, and even then it was a bicycle tire. I did watch a YouTube video on changing tires and it at least gave me an idea of what I should be doing. It went really smoothly, the only thing I had problems with was seating the bead. Good thing I have a small compressor. It took about 60PSI to get it to seat nicely.
After changing the tire, I just had to get out and go for a ride. Normally, there is only street around my house to go out to, but I have heard rumours of an off-road section of dirt at the end of a freeway about 5 km from my house. Well, I found it, crossed the no trespassing sign and found a lot of dirt.
The freeway was being extended and the hills were being cut through. The hills were nice and dry, and there wasn't any snow or even mud to be seen. I was just meandering through the roads when I found a nice sharp hill. I climbed it quite easily and found what seemed to be a motocross track?!

Well, wasn't this what my bike was made for? A little street and a little dirt. Well, here we go. Time to check how much air I can get off of these jumps. Well, it turns out that the jumps weren't the determining factor in how much air I could get. It was my fear. Really, all I could muster was first gear jumps off this one tabletop jump. Please observe the height of the jump compared to the bike...

Well, after examining my tire tracks on the jump face, I was jumping only about 3 bike lengths. It felt like I was in the air forever, but really probably only about 1/2 of a second. Wow, look at me I'm a super chicken!

I have new found respect for super motocross riders, how they can jump sixty to a hundred feet up in the air is beyond me...

12 March 2010

Disable all safety protocols!!

I am kind of getting sick of all the safety insurance we have all around us. When I was a kid we rode in the beds of trucks, never even thought about seatbelts, and airbags whatever...

On my bike there were two safety switches that I disabled today. The clutch safety switch and the kickstand safety switch. The bike won't start when the clutch isn't in. I took out the switch spliced the wires together and now I can start it when the BIG GREEN neutral light is on without the clutch pulled in. The other switch, wouldn't let the bike even run in gear if the kickstand was down. What a pain. Imagine this scenario, you're riding over a set of whoops, the g-forces overcome your kickstand spring force, the kickstand comes down and the bike stalls. Fun right? Once again, I removed the switch, spliced the wires together and now I can ride with the kickstand down.

I feel strongly that we are legislating against common sense. As we keep on adding all these safety features to things, we stop paying attention to the potential hazards around us, and in turn become more hazardous. I would much rather be exposed to a little danger and be paying attention to avoid it, than sit with my mind in a state of lethargy, and have someone else do all my thinking for me.

Spring is coming, I anticipate danger in my future.

04 March 2010

The chipmunks are frolicking

Every day it seems that spring is getting closer and closer. I've ridden my bike twice in the last two weeks and actually took it to the car wash yesterday. Our little black squirrel is playing in our front yard again, and I've seen some video on the web of people riding in Waiprous. Spring is here!

Before my ride yesterday I installed my 1" extended MSR shifter. It took all of about 3 minutes, but wow, it changed the way I feel about shifting. I can't describe how much better it is. I used to have to think about changing gears and now it is a reactionary thing, so smooth and sweet. I can't recommend this mod enough to anyone with big feet.

I also took the bike to the car wash. So clean and pretty... I decided I should hit the freeway to blow the water particles off the bike and it worked. The only problem is the way back was riddled with wet streets, now my shiny bike is dirty again, boo.

Why does it always go that way with car washes?

24 February 2010


Here's the vimeo video embedded. Which is better?

First Helmet Cam Test from giantjoe on Vimeo.
I bought a Drift x170 Helmet cam a while ago, and finally got to test it today. It seemed to work well, but the wind noise was rough.

My first helmet cam!

Well, here it is. Late last year, I bought a Drift X170 Helmet Cam. It was a fairly good price and seemed to be what I was looking for. I thought it would be fun to share videos of me biking. After what has seemed like an eternity, my ankle is out of the cast, feeling good, and the weather was nice so I took my bike for a cruise.

I didn't last long, because I have no riding pants, and I was just wearing jeans. Really, I just wanted to charge up the battery and have a little cruise to remember what it was like to ride. It was nice, and here is the video.

I created a vimeo account as well as a youtube account, we'll see which one has better quality, I'll link the vimeo one once it has finished processing. Enjoy!

26 January 2010

New Stuff!

Well, I've noticed that whenever someone starts a new hobby,
inevitably that person will be drawn to bench racing. I hope that I
don't fall into that pattern but instead buy a few necessary items to
make life easier and make the bike more durable.
Today, my parts arrived from wheeling cycle supply. I got a few items
that will help to make my bike more durable, and a little nicer for me
to ride.

Here's my list of items... I got Zeta pro-bend handguards and Zeta XC handguards with LED lights in them. Hopefully I'll save my knuckles in the trees and save my life from left turners. (the LED's will be installed as a park light). I also got a James Dean jetting kit with an extended fuel mixture screw. It helps to get more air and fuel into the carb for bigger explosions and hence, more power!! The last item is an extended foot shifter to accommodate my size 15 foot.

I can't wait to get everything installed, but alas the winter is cold, and the garage has no heater. I don't think my wife would be impressed with me tearing apart a carb on the dining room table. I'll update after the install.

18 January 2010

It's Broken!

Turns out I've been walking around on a broken ankle for a couple weeks now. I was having some strange feelings with swelling and pins and needles so I went to the doctor last Wednesday. They said all is well, you got a sprain most likely and said to get x-rays just to be sure. Two days later, while playing volleyball, I get a call telling me to get to the doctor because my ankle has a fracture in it.

Well, this little beauty is going to be my friend for 6-8 weeks! I didn't really think it was that serious, but the doctors did. At least it's winter, I can't really ride anyway. But I did order some parts for my bike...

14 January 2010

More ways to play.

A lovely traffic update. Just wanted to see if this works.

Testing Facebook integration.

Here is another post just to check if it works... In theory I should be updating your news feed with this without even doing anything.

11 January 2010

That's how the motorcycle show was on Friday. It stunk! I sat on a couple fine bikes though. The KTM 690 and the BMW 550 I think. They were nice dual sports. The strange thing is that the gas tank didn't seem to be between your knees. Cool bikes, but hey, I've got a cool bike too.

I just ordered some parts from the internet, again. I can't believe how poorly motorbike parts are sold. Online stores are bad, and you'd think that I could buy something at the bike show, but there was nothing to purchase there... I brought a whack of cash and came home with it. Oh well.

I just bought my Zeta handguards, James Dean jetting kit and a longer shift lever. Thos size 15 feet just don't seem to like my stock shift lever. I'll update when I get them and start the installs. All I need now is a bigger tank, and some case savers and skid plate, then I am ready to thrash...

07 January 2010

What are you looking for??

Well, it looks like there are a few people actually looking at this blog. Nice. Makes me feel important. Whatever. So I got my helmetcam, I got my bike, and I got a sprained ankle...

On Tuesday at work I was excited to be back I guess, started playing some basketball and landed on some kid's foot. Wrench, crash, throw my keys to another kid and yell, "Get me a tensor bandage!" Well, two days later, it's feeling better, it's still swollen and purple, but maybe I can still walk around the motorcycle show for a few hours this weekend.

I want to get a new gas tank for my bike, a new seat, shift lever, tires, handguards, and that's about it. I hope I can find some of these things there, and get them installed before spring. So, what are you looking to improve on your bike? Anyone got suggestions for a 70/30 tire? I heard the Kenda Trackmasters were pretty good. I'm going to take the helmet camera to the show and do a little filming to test out it's capabilities I'll up the videos when I'm back.