Friday, December 23, 2011

Year in Review

Not sure why I kept track of these stats, but I did, and here goes. GreenLightRide makes ride tracking really easy. Since I'm going on vacation (sans bike), I can do the tallies early.

74 Trips on my Surly Pugsley (Fat Bike)
64 Trips on my Surly Cross Check (Road/Cross Bike)
48 Trips on my Trek (Xtracycle Cargo Bike)
14 Trips on my Itoh (Fixed Gear)

200 Total Bike Commute Days

23 Total Car Commute Days

Bike Mileage:
976 Miles for Work
172 Miles for Errands
1,125 Miles for Fun

2,273 Total Bike Mileage

Safe to say I CRUSHED my goal of 1500 miles for the year, without even really trying.

My bike rides also prevented 918 pounds of Carbon Dioxide from entering the atmosphere, just another little thing that GreenLightRide tracks.

I haven't even thought of a single riding goal for 2012, but I figured I'll have plenty of time to ponder them on a long road trip in the car.

It's been a good year, and I'm excited for the possibilities that 2012 will bring.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


GGCOWS. Gravel Grinder in Celebration Of the Winter Solstice. Hosted by the good people at the Ski and Bike Shop in Grand Forks, ND. The intent of the ride was to have a fat bike gathering, and to do a metric century on gravel. 100km/66 miles in the frigid ND/MN river valley? Sure. What a great way to burn a Saturday.

The start temperature was about 14 degrees. I think it got up to around 30 for a little bit, and was at 22 when we got back to the shop. Cold day, long ride, I am whooped! But it was the last big epic ride of the year, so I figured it was worth it. It's a good gauge to see how my health and fitness has progressed this year, as well as testing gear and machine. I stayed pretty warm, the Pugsley worked flawless (although is now overdue for a new chain and cassette as I could hear grinding with every pedal stroke), and I was happy with how my lungs and legs did. I did start getting cramps in my calves in the last 10 miles or so, but I think that's because I didn't drink enough water.

Speaking of water, and carrying water. Velocity water bottle cages suck bigtime. They might be cheap and come in cool colors, but they are damn near impossible to get a standard bottle out. Mine are going in the recycle bin.

Longest ride I've done on the Pugsley, and I gotta say...100km on gravel, on a fatbike, is much harder than riding 100 MILES on road, on a road bike. At least I reached Climax ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Pugsley

Today marks one year since I bought my Pugsley from Paramount Sports in Fargo. It's one of those things that I still enjoy immensely after a year. I still giggle about something every single time I ride it. Today was no different, in fact today was just plain awesome.

It's December 11th, there's no snow, and it's 40 degrees outside. An odd combo, but I'll take it. Today I decided to go explore the riverbanks. With no snow (or rain!) the river is down low and there's plenty of moon-like dry dirt and clay to go ride on. In fact, in the 12 miles I rode today, less than 1 mile was on pavement. I'd say 8 of those miles are on surfaces and paths I've never ridden before. A whole new realm of riding possibilities have opened up, and I'm freakin' stoked.

I saw deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, and even a raccoon! I've never seen a raccoon in the wild before. It made my day! To have a bike that can go ride these surfaces is amazing. There's no way any other type of bike could have ridden on most of the stuff I rode on today. For that alone makes owning a "Fat Bike" worth while, because that's what it's all about. Riding places that other bikes can't. Snow, beaches, river banks, mud, etc. There's just not much that can stop it. It's that monster truck mentality that appeals to my inner child, inspires giggling, and makes riding fun. Fun in the sense of childhood riding fun. Remember that freedom and excitement you felt when you first went out on your own? Exploring the neighborhood and showing off to friends? It's that kind of fun. When you have kind of enjoyment, the price of the bike seems cheap.

I've changed a lot on this bike since I bought it. Not that it really "needed" changing, but I just love to tinker. I can't help it. The latest addition was a new wheelset. I really wanted to build up another set of wheels since my last ones came out so nice, and this was a great place to improve Pugsley's performance. Took over 2 pounds of rotating weight off the bike and added 17mm of width to the rims. Lighter weight = faster, and more width = more footprint, to keep me out of ruts and hopefully floating on top of snow easier. Plus they look bad ass.

I can change out the rim strips to whatever color or pattern I want! It'll be a cheap and fun way to dress up the bike. Now it just has white, with some reflective tape in spots. Hopefully the gap in between reflective areas will make for a flashing effect when riding at night, instead of a solid white stripe. We'll see. It'll be fun to experiment. In the meantime it can stay as is, because me and my friend Pugsley still have lots of exploring to do.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting Ready for Winter Part 2

December and still no snow?! Still plenty of wind and cold though, so it's still winter even without the white. I've been trying out my new gear and making adjustments as necessary. I haven't driven my car to work in over 3 months, and I really want to keep that streak going! Right now my gear is as follows:

Helmet: Bern Watts EPS with Knit Liner
Goggles: Giordano OTG
Face: Outdoor Research Balaclava
Jacket: Old Louis Garneau jacket (coupled with BluBox fleece jacket below 5 degrees).
Pants: Foxwear Neoshell
Boots: Keen Brixen

My "under" layers are my normal work clothes. My commute is short enough that I can get away with it.

The Foxwear pants are by far the most expensive article of clothing I've ever purchased, and yet I don't regret it one bit. Custom made to my specs using his selection of fabrics. The weight of the fabrics depends on riding temps and budget. Lou sent me a few swatches of fabric and I knew right away which one I wanted. The Neoshell. It's $30 more, but so worth it. Waterproof, windproof, breathable, and warm. A unique combo of features that outdoor companies have been trying to achieve for years. You can run the fabric under the faucet and water just bounces off of it. Really impressive stuff.

Once my fabric and measurements were decided, Lou made my pants and had them to me in about a week. Since then I've worn them with just bike shorts underneath, long johns, and work clothes. With simple layering they'll keep me toasty from 35 to -35. Plus they are built really well and should last a long time. The drawstring waist adjusts accordingly for layering or weight fluctuations, and the pockets are perfectly placed. Simple and well thought out, these pants will keep my legs warm all winter long. You can check out the Foxwear gear at