Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friends First

I took the Canfield out for a 35-mile ride today and had a great time. Finally.

When I first built the bike I liked it OK, but didn't love it. My main complaint was the steering never quite felt right. The front tire wanted to wash out in high-speed turns, leaving me a little nervous about committing to a long-term relationship. We agreed to remain friends and hook up whenever I wanted to ride a strange bike.

I rode the bike last week and it was OK. Fun and playful, but she still tried to throw me to the ground on occasion. Still, I thought maybe we could make things work.

Since building the Canfield I have dabbled with plus-sized tires on the Surly Krampus and DB Mason. On the Diamondback especially, I came to appreciate the combination of slack head angle and fat tire. The huge contact patch felt sure-footed, especially at very high speeds.

Because of my experience with bigger tires, I decided to replaced the Canfield's front wheel. The old one utilized a Mavic TN 719 rim, which measures a puny 19mm inside width. Even when paired with a relatively large Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tire, the result was less than confidence inspiring.

The rim was replaced with a Race Face ARC 35 which, as the name suggests, comes in at a 35mm width. Paired with the same Ardent tire, set up tubeless, the result is a much bigger tire. Huge in comparison.

A number of things happen with this setup. One, you get more air volume. This increase in volume and running tubeless allows you to lower the air pressure significantly. The wide rim also changes the tire's profile, putting more rubber on the ground.

The difference was amazing. I pushed the bike hard in corner after corner and it handled wonderfully. I am pleasantly surprised at how much difference a simple wheel swap could make. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think she could be the one.

Shiny new wheel before the abuse started.

Folsom Lake.

Near Dyke 8.

Here I am doing at least 60 miles per hour.

Here's the brand new bridge built for the Johnny Cash Trail. They did a great job.

So, a really great ride and fine way to spend my day off. I am looking forward to adding a matching rear wheel and riding this bike more often. I just hope she doesn't think we are exclusive now. I am a 10-bike kind of guy.


Monday, October 23, 2017


There hasn't been any activity on this blog for a while. The focus has been elsewhere, on things that matter much more in the grand scheme of things than writing about riding a bicycle, things that take time and effort and sacrifice. Things that make it so much easier to simply post a picture and a few words on Instagram.

We have been participating in youth baseball nonstop since last December—from winter training to late winter tournaments, through the spring tournaments, into Babe Ruth League, summer tournaments, Babe Ruth playoffs, All Stars and the recently concluded high school fall program. Back in July my son played 17 games in 30 days. It's been a very busy year.

Saturday was his last high school game until spring. The end. No mas. I felt like I could finally exhale and relax for the first time in a while.

Today I decided to take the day off (cough, cough) and get a good ride in. I left from home and rode a 35-mile loop incorporating about every surface you can think of.

Even though it's fall, and the state of most living things is in decline, I couldn't help but feel a personal sense of new beginnings. It felt good to go spin the pedals with no particular place to be and no need to rush. I took a real camera and stopped to snap a picture whenever the mood struck me. I rode hard sometimes and cruised others. I finished up mildly fatigued, but not destroyed. It was a great day.

I'll let the pictures and captions tell the rest.


Here's the route. Click to enlarge.

Northern California fall means cooler temps and bone dry trails.

Still a little smoke from all the fires in the distance, but last Thursday's rain did wonders for our air quality.

After a long, very hot summer, the water level in Folsom Lake looks good.

Power line corridors and bike trails go together like peas and carrots. 

Singletrack dead ahead.

New York Creek trail.

Wild Oaks trail.

Brown's Ravine. Damp soil. Actual moisture!

More Brown's Ravine.

Lonely foothills road.

Deer Valley Road.

Farm road.

The Sierra Nevadas to the east.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Adios Mayo

May is gone and that's just fine by me. I ended up with 522 miles, which I am OK with considering all my outside commitments. I fit rides in when I could and didn't kill myself in the process. I even made it through the month without getting sick for once.

Even though there were people who rode many more miles, I would wager that I may have worked harder than most to get mine.

Of the 18 rides, 15 were on a mountain bike. Only two rides were on the bike trail, and it's obvious which two due to the meager elevation gains. I doubt too many people registered over thirty thousand feet in elevation gain. The gain and loss disparity is due to two rides home from work; home is about 1500 feet higher than work.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fat Bike Forecast

Our fat bike correspondent Roger checked in with the fat biking conditions out at Folsom Lake.

"Conditions are mostly sunny with 100% chance of wood."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Costco No

"I hate my new fat bike. It steers funny and I keep crashing when my foot hits the front wheel. Fat bikes suck."

Well, it might be because you spent 170 bucks on it, which is less than what a good pair of fat bike tires costs. Also, one of the meat butchers assembles the bikes at night. And he put your fork on backwards.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Crazy Train

Today I decided to put in some miles on the bike trail after work. I started at Hazel Avenue and rode west towards Sacramento.

Although I chanced it today, I generally don't ride solo past CSUS because that's where things get a little sketchy on the trail. The Guy West Bridge is sort of the Mason-Dixon line for crazy. Go past it at your own risk. Case in point:

Yes, that's a guy in an overcoat and top hat roller blading.

If you are bold enough to go under Highway 80, which I did, it gets even worse.

Who the hell knows what is lurking in there.

Shortly after crossing under the highway I saw a guy sharpening a huge knife against a concrete picnic table. I opted not to take his picture due to the crazy eyes, huge weapon and a generally stabby vibe he had, but I found a reasonable facsimile on the internet:


I put in 41 miles and survived. Truthfully, it was a little disappointing to only see a couple crazy people. I guess Mondays are tough on everyone.

Oh, and a weight update: 171.6 pounds this morning. I lost almost four pounds in a week. Nice.


Sunday, May 07, 2017


Easy like a Sunday morning.

A funny thing happened when I went out for my ride today: I felt great.

Normally by the end of the first week of Bike Month I would be flirting with 250 miles and feeling completely miserable. This year, due to my son's baseball commitments, my riding time has been limited to an every-other-day schedule.

The forced recovery has left me fresh for the next ride. Instead of dreading my ride today, I took off in a positive frame of mind and actually had FUN. Imagine that.

Even with my modest mileage total, I am right outside the top ten.

I figure I will keep much the same schedule this week and hope to stay fresh for the latter part of the month.