Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Krampus

Here are a couple videos introducing the Krampus. I am not excited about this bike at all.

OK, maybe a little.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dear Santa

Please bring me a Krampus for Christmas. No, not your creepy buddy who eats children. I want Surly's new bike that will eat trails instead.

Thanks, Santa. You're the best.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Cozumel Project

Recently I bought this bike for $200 from a guy on Craigslist.

Why Would I buy a cheap steel single speed with 26-inch wheels? Simple. I'm going to cut it in half.

Jen and I are going to Cozumel, Mexico early next year, and we thought it would be cool to ride around the island for a week. We decided to hunt for some cheap bikes that we could have S&S Couplings installed on.

If you are not familiar with the couplers, they look like this:

When installed on a bike, they allow you to break it in half for travel.

The whole bike fits in a regulation suitcase, so there is no extra charge for an over sized piece of luggage.

Since the high point of the island is a whole 49 feet above sea level, we figure single speeds will work just fine. And the simplicity of the single speed helps ensure we have a trouble-free bike in a foreign country.

So with my bike purchased, I am on the hunt for something similar but smaller for Jen.

We're going to Mexico!

I'll post updates of the process as they happen.


Monday, July 16, 2012


I rode home from work today for the first time since May. It was hard. I guess my fitness has slipped a bit since Bike Month.

Although I was on my 29er, I didn't do much in the way of dirt. I suspected I would be tired by the end even if I stuck to the roads, and I was right.

This ride was more difficult than the climb I did to the top of Mount Rose a couple weeks ago. Even though I had less elevation gain today, the hills around here are steep. You can check out the GPS output here if you want.

I didn't see a lot worthy of pictures. One weird thing was the water level of Lake Natoma. I had never seen it so high. Normally the lake is quite placid, but today you could actually see the current moving downstream. There isn't much of a snow pack left in the Sierras, so I found it odd. Perhaps this is because the salmon run just started in the American River?

Anyway, that's about it. Time for some much deserved ice cream.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Quieting Down

Yesterday we went out for another ride on the trail around Tahoe City. There were far fewer people out than on the Fourth, which was nice.

Nothing much to tell except the boy set his personal best of 14 miles. I think he had plenty left in the tank for more, too. Maybe next time we'll shoot for 20.

It's been fun watching his growth on the bike over the past week. It's been all about the bike.

At home he has a little 20" mountain bike, and he just never seemed to like it. We picked up this little BMX bike in Reno off of Craigslist the other day and everything changed. He loves this bike. Best 50 bucks I ever spent.

A few days ago you could run across the river on all the rafts, but not yesterday.

I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: Another good day in Tahoe.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Hike and Bike

Yesterday we went on a short hike with friends. I often take visitors up Tunnel Creek Road near the old Ponderosa Ranch because it's close, kid-friendly and scenic. I also like to hike up it because seeing all the mountain bikers gets me psyched to ride.

The trail conditions were very dry. Any moisture from my last visit, which made the climb firmer and more tolerable, was long gone. As we hiked uphill through the deep sand, I could see that some sections would be tough, if not impossible, to climb on a bike. Riders coming downhill were even struggling in places.

After the hike everyone else went to the beach and I opted to go for a short ride. I decided to take the Pugs and see if I could clean the Tunnel Creek climb.

I rolled through town on some of the fun trails and headed for the Ponderosa. As I approached the trail head, a number of riders were waiting for the shuttle to take them back to Tahoe Meadows or Spooner. A number of heads turned along with some whooping and hollering about my bike. The fatbike is still a rare sighting here.

I don't know what to think about the whole shuttle business. Part of me acknowledges that many of these people wouldn't see the beauty of this ride if they had to climb Tunnel Creek themselves, and anyone out riding a bike is a positive thing. Still, that isn't how my brain works. I like to work for anything I get in all aspects of my life. I also think climbing is challenging and fun.

I probably saw about 50 riders combined on my hike and ride, and only three of them were going uphill. Because everyone is shuttling this ride now, they can ride a big bike, and these bikes are tearing the crap out of the trail.

Anyway, no worries, I had the Pugs. I cleaned the entire climb, but it still wasn't easy. I KNOW I couldn't have done it with a regular mountain bike; the sand was incredibly deep in places, and always at the steepest grades.

Now I won't say I was going fast. I spent the majority of my time in my 22x32. (Why on earth did this beast of a bike not come with a 34 or 36?) This bike isn't like a rally car motoring up Pike's Peak. Think rock crawler. Slow and steady, but riding high in the sand.

Time was short so once I made it to the top I turned back.

I made it home about five minutes before everyone returned from the beach. After cleaning up, we had a nice dinner and a couple beers. As always, a good day in Tahoe.


Thursday, July 05, 2012


Yesterday we went for a ride with friends. Starting in Carnelian Bay, we headed south on the bike trail to Tahoe City. Then we headed west on the trail running along the Truckee River.

Congestion was an issue in some places, as you might expect on the Fourth of July. Two of the three kids started the ride as green rookies, but by the end of their trial by fire became veteran bike trail riders.

I think everyone had a good time even though we had one spill (not me for once) and probably went a mile or two too far for the little ones.

I hope to get out for another family ride one more time before we leave Tahoe.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Higher Ground

Today I rode to the top of Relay Peak above Lake Tahoe. You may remember that I tried it last year but stopped before reaching the top because of all the snow. I encountered no snow today, but that isn't surprising considering the meager snowfall this year.

I rode nonstop to the top so I have no pictures, but it was a mix of dirt and pavement. I don't remember doing too many climbs much tougher than this one. Climbing for two hours straight is not something I am used to these days.

The last few miles were steep, rocky and loose. About 100 yards from the top my rear wheel spun on a rock and I went down on my left hip. Pretty frustrating to fall short after cleaning everything else for two hours.

Once at the top I stopped to take a few pictures. The 360-degree view was incredible. You can barely see Lake Tahoe in the first one.

According to my Garmin I topped out at 10,158 feet. You can check out the stats by clicking here.

The trip down was a little sketchy at first, but after the first couple miles it mellowed out and became more enjoyable.

It was a climb I always wanted to try, I did it, but I won't do it again for a while. There are far too many great rides around here I would rather do.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

One Man's Trash

There is a remote area a couple miles from my house where people like to dump their unwanted junk—sofas, chairs, beds, books, car parts, clothing, toys. Sometimes I think this sign only alerts people to the area's potential: "Hey, here's a great place to dump your crap!"

A few weeks ago while riding by I stumbled upon two Parkpre mountain bikes and a Mongoose BMX bike. All had been out in the weather for some time and showed it—rust from the rain and rotten rubber from the sun. I guess it was easier to dump the bikes than to sell them in that condition.

They might not have wanted the bikes, but I did.

Parkpre was a company I remember from the '90s. Based in Southern California, they were a favorite of Mountain Bike Action magazine. I thought they were pretty cool despite the endorsement from Mountain Bike Action, the worst magazine ever.

The one in front is a 1994 Parkpre Scepter Comp. I already removed the unique wheels and STX rear derailleur for another bike. The freehub was siezed up, the cassette and derailleur pretty rusty. However, after some mechanical wizardry and TLC everything came out quite nice.

The smaller one is a Parkpre Mountain Comp of unknown year.

I'm not sure what I am going to do with the bikes since one is too small and one too big. The small one will fit other family members, but it needs some work.

More about the bike the wheels were used for tomorrow.