Friday, February 25, 2011

NAHBS 2011 - Austin, TX

My work travel gave me a chance to hit NAHBS (North American Handbuilt Bike Show) in Austin, TX today. The show was amazing! I took lots of photos with the phone, talked to a lot of friends that I've made over the years and met a few more. Click on this text for a link to all of the photos on Flickr.

A few choice shots are here on the blog.

If this one fit in my suitcase I might be sleeping in the back yard when I make it home. It might be worth it.

Kent Eriksen had this bike in his booth. This is set up like the owner rides it! Look where that seat lines up on my body. I'm 6'1" for reference... this cat is 6'10". I'd need a ladder...

Black Cat. Simple & sexy.

Six Eleven bikes is out of my birthplace (Roanoke). Gorgeous bikes (4 in the booth) and a great people too. This guy is going to catch fire when he gets a little exposure.

Everyone knows I'm partial to Black Sheep bicycles. The 36er was here. James wouldn't allow me to do 36er wheelies at the show. Bah.

This one is going to race the Tour Divide this year. Sweet bike. Just sweet. I don't need those integrated bars... don't need them... don't need them.

I did a little shopping for Kate. I think this one is perfect. No need for those cable stops, though. She's a singlespeed fanatic like her Da.

The show had some silly bikes here as well. I typically ride with a little more drop than this. ;)

Engin has a LONG lead time but their bikes are definitely sleek.

Proper recharge at Jo's in downtown Austin. Veggie chili, potato salad & locally brewed heffeweissen.

Best of all? I get to fly home to see my girls tomorrow. I scheduled a 5:45am flight so I'd miss as little of Saturday with them as possible. See you soon!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Having fun...

I took the Peregrine out for a ride Sunday. A little road, a little power line track, a little disappearing farm trail, then a little ride through the woods with no trail. This is the kind of fun you're supposed to be having outside. I smiled a lot...

Finally, I came to this tunnel. Fun ride through with 4 in of water in the bottom. Its a lot longer than the photo I took with my phone makes it look. Veeerrrryyy dark in the middle.

I forgot how much I love Stan's... flats can be part of the adventure but they don't have to be.

Ready to rock! I figured my luck was running a little low... no need to buy a lottery ticket. Plus your odds of survival in a back country convenience store in lycra is slim.

Q: How many flats can you have in 20 miles?
A: At least two.

Salsa has this part right!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove Systems

Two great quotes:

"Simplify, simplify." – Henry David Thoreau

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I think Thoreau could have gotten away with just one 'simplify', honestly. Maybe that's a better conversation over a few good pints.

Surprisingly enough, UL backpacking isn't limited to cutting your gear list to the bare minimum and buying the lightest gear you can find. One of the revelations over the years has been that weight isn't everything. After you get your kit under 15lbs for backpacking, further reductions are nice but not revolutionary. Below this threshold bulk, comfort & convenience quickly become as important as raw weight in making gear decisions. Bulk is particularly important on bikepacking trips.

Along those lines, I've been tweaking my cook system lately to find the best combination of size, feature and weight for UL trips. Last season I used the 475ml Trapper Mug with a two piece Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri ULC cone. This is as bare bones as it gets, honestly. There are no handles, no lid and the volume is barely enough for typical 'boil in a bag' meal. The mug, silicone band, cone & stove weigh 4.0oz (116g). I eventually decided that the lack of handles was a little more spartan than the weight and simplification justified.

Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri ULC System & Trapper Mug
Complete System Assembled

Enter the Evernew 355 mug. It includes silicone insulated handles and a snap on sipper mug. The weight penalty over the handle-less Trapper Mug is only 1/2oz (17g). The handles will eliminate the burned fingers getting the mug out of the cone and the sipper lid make the best part of waking up in the wild (drinking good coffee) better. The whole system weighs 4-1/4oz (119g) so the weight difference between the two systems is practically a wash. I did modify the preheat flange on the 12-10 stove so that it would fit into the mug when packing.

BPL Trapper's Mug & Evernew 400ml mug with sipper lid
Evermew mug & Caldera Cone

If you care to trim down your 12-10 to fit inside of a smaller mug here's how I did it:

1. Flatten the lip on the pre-heat flange. Take your time and be neat. Needle nosed pliers were prefect.

2. Trim the flange to size. My Wiss snips were perfect for this job. I followed the markings from the previous draw to form the lip.

3. Form a new lip. Again, take your time and don't be a pig. I had a cheap square nose plier that was perfect for the job.

4. Admire your work.