Saturday, August 10, 2019

Packrafting and raftpacking Yosemite.

Please click here and enjoy a few minutes of vicarious adventure, with words and stills from a recently completed -- and really unique -- trip.

Here are a few moving pixels to whet your whistle:

Thanks for checkin' in.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The only thing better...

...than a morning ride is an evening ride.

...than riding within the trees is when they end and reveal what they'd been hiding.

...than riding solo is riding with a friend.

...than an empty trail is...


...there is nothing better than empty trail.

...than grasses are flowers.

...than dry trail is moist hero dirt.

...than creekside trails are ridgeline trails.

...than lupine are columbine.

...than live trees are burned trees, especially as time passes and rejuvenation happens.


The only thing better than finishing a summer alpine ride today is knowing you get to do it again tomorrow.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

B Fat wheels for your Pugsley.

I wrote this a few years ago, after building an 'experimental' set of 27.5 fat (aka "B Fat") wheels to determine whether they would work in a Surly Pugsley frame and fork:

The offset Pugsley chassis was designed way back when for 26 x 3.8" tires, but Surly being Surly they gave it massive clearance and that forethought has kept the Pugsley relevant all these years.  I offset laced a Bontrager Jackalope B Fat rim to my all-time-favorite DT 350 rear hub, then inflated a Bontrager Hodag 27.5 x 3.8" tire on it.  I was verily shaking when I installed this combo in both frame and fork, so excited was I at the prospect of it fitting.  Even slammed all the way forward in the dropouts there is plenty of clearance in both frame and fork.

I veered away from the Pugsley for a few years while chasing bigger tires and other shiny things.  But off piste bikes don't need the biggest tires available.  Thus far I think 27.5 x 4" is the all-around ideal, but I can also see a need/use for 29 x 3" on certain trips.  And the Pugs can fit those, too.  Bonus that using either of these taller tires raises the bottom bracket -- I always felt that was one of the few weaknesses of this chassis.

Why not 26", you ask?  I still run 26 x 5.2" tires on my over-snow flotation bike.  But for anything firmer than that, B Fat tires are faster and more efficient than anything 26".  Think about why we went to 29" wheels way back when -- efficiency was king.  It still is, and for that and a host of other reasons I now run 27.5 x 4" tires for off-piste missions.

I share that tidbit now because I've been building a fair number of these wheels for customers interested in keeping their Pugs relevant relative to changing wheel and tire standards.

No two wheelsets are ever truly identical, but with some regularity when I'm discussing options for B Fat Pugs wheels we will end up at something similar to the wheels pictured here.  Some of that is because the components are hard to beat from a functionality or durability perspective, and the rest is probably because Surly owners tend to be pragmatic -- eschewing bling and embracing bang for the buck.

I *frequently* receive emails from people looking for something similar to this, but something like this just doesn't exist out there other than custom.  I receive inquisitive emails so often in fact that I've decided to put together a 'package' of sorts.

My B Fat Pugs package looks like this:

I use a Surly Ultra New Disc hub and a DT Swiss 350 rear hub.  Both 135mm QR.  I lace them to a set of Bontrager Jackalope B Fat rims using DT Swiss Competition butted spokes and DT Prolock nips.  All black.

This particular set is shod with Maxxis Minion FBF/FBR's, already set tubeless.

Package pricing for these wheels is $999.  That includes tape, valves, tires, labor, and shipping.

No substitutions at that price.

Also, some bad news: I just got confirmation from Bontrager that these rims have been discontinued.  Thus I just grabbed the last 7 in existence.  No word on if there's a new version coming, or if they're simply gone.

* * * * *

Need something similar, but different?

Sure thing, happy to help.

Please start here, fill in all info as completely as possible, and then make a note in the 'additional info' box that you're after B Fat Pugs wheels.  I'll take it from there.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hidden gems: Utah.

Even though we're into July the long winter past still lingers in the alpine.  We savored it a few weeks back but that was when it was still freezing at night.  No longer so: Now it's a slushy mess where it hasn't become outright lakes and bogs.

Down in the valley our trail systems have at last emptied out because the sun is set to broil with scant shade on offer.

Which is why a few days ago we found ourselves exploring a new alpine zone out west in Utah.

We went in search of cool temps and greenery.  We found those and so much more.


Camp that night at 10k' was exquisite, with wide open meadows, water gurgling from everywhere, birdsong filling our heads, and not another human in sight.

Driving out the next day was exquisite in it's own right.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Landform tour.

A little more than a year ago Jeny, Dan and I traced a historic route through central Utah.

Our route wended through and over the major landforms of southern Utah, following an emigration route from 139 years ago.

When you have a few minutes, please have a look here:

Thanks for checkin' in.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A ride, recently: Pleasantly surprised.

Heading to the alpine in June is usually an exercise in patience while postholing through snowdrifts.  More often it means tucking tail and retreating when the melange of snowslushmud becomes too thick, too sloppy, too unenjoyable, too damaging.

Knowing that the winter past deposited quantities of snow beyond what we think of as "normal", and understanding that spring has likewise been wetter and cooler than expected, Jeny and I lubed the dusty chains on our fatbikes and headed up to ~11k.

What we found shouldn't have surprised us.  At 9k the ground was soft but trees had leafed out and the world felt green, fresh.  At 10k there were few leaves and patchy snow interlaced with fallen limbs and frozen mud.  Above 11k there were few hints of spring as snow 7' deep still covered everything.

The only real hints of spring that I could readily see were this moth -- still alive yet frozen to the surface -- and riotous birdsong hitting us from every direction at once.

Normally we avoid the alpine at this time of year largely because the valley floors are still delightful with reasonable temps and overwhelming wildflower displays.  This year has been different in ways large and small, with the result that the alpine crust remains eminently rideable far beyond its normal time frame.

Early on the surface was frozen hard enough to ride pretty much any tire at any pressure, but within the span of ~3 hours it morphed into silky soft corn.  Consciously and subconsciously you were tuned into the cardinal directions as eastern and southern aspects became loose and challenging while northern and western stayed firm.  I found myself wanting to climb the latter, even aggressively sidehilling as needed, then to cross over and descend the edgeable, carvable former.

Beyond the first 5 minutes we never touched actual trail, opted instead to explore everywhere but: the places we see but cannot get to the rest of the winter.  We quickly tuned in to milking the terrain for advantage -- not unlike riding a skatepark -- where pointing it straight up or straight down was a waste of energy and momentum.  Pumping and carving contours gave the best bang for the buck, the most smiles per mile. 

With so much rock already exposed and so much sun happening here this time of year, crust season may have been delayed but it is still as ephemeral as ever.  Hope to get back up within the week to savor it at least one more time.

Thanks for checkin' in.