Friday, January 15, 2010


So the temporary pot stand I made gave out with a pot of onion soup on it. Kind of a mess. It lead to a realization for a stronger design though, and it's already been fabbed and works much better. No need to cry over spilled soup I guess! Baby steps on this home brew cooking thing. Happy Friday all. Cheers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Epic Designs System Ordered.

One of my goals for this year to do many over night trips locally, and perhaps a few weekend long trips around the area. After hearing glowing reports about Epic Designs bags from many people I trust, I've placed an order for a spring delivery. The Fargo has been a great bike for exploring the area all loaded up. This is the same set up I've ordered on a large Fargo. With few exceptions, this will be my set up for next years touring/commuting/camping. My recent experiments with stoves are just a part of planning the equipment that I will be using. I am still mulling over the idea of various shelter options, cooking kits and food planning, as well as sleeping bag/pad set ups. Clothing I have, and there's not much I need to learn other than simply getting out and using it. There are a plethora of place I can camp within riding distance of either the shop or my home. Before I start to travel elsewhere I want to get to know this area better. The area towards St Peter and Mankato are of particular interesting to me, since I have almost not experiance over that direction.

All of this is as close as I have this year to a New Year's resolution. I want to ride more, as well as just be outside more. This set up is one set in the right direction for both of those goals. It should be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tea and noodles.

Practice makes perfect. These work very well. Noodles and tea for lunch yesterday. The stove easily boils the water quickly, better than my actual stove at home really. This is with out car camping cookware, Meg and I are planning a trip to REI this coming weekend to look at some lovely Snow Peak stuff for bike use. I have a warranty frame to swap parts over on, but then it's on to refining the pot stand. I think cheap aluminum arro shafts would make nice light, stable stock to star with. The above was built using bent aero DT spokes. It works, but is pretty shaky with a full pot on it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First DIY Stoves.

After reading on Joe's blog about trail side coffee, I got the bug to look into do it yourself alcohol cooking stoves yesterday morning. After a lot of reading, I decided that the Penny Ultralight Stove was a good design to start with. I'm sure that this will be the first of many, but it seemed like a good place to begin. Full, detailed instructions can be found at the website here. It is easy and very simple to construct. Starting with two Heineken keg cans and a PBR, you simply cut out the necessary pieces, drill the holes, and fit the stoves together. I was really surprised at how elegant the design was, and they appear to work very well. I'll be giving it the first test today at lunch, I just need to fab a pot stand out of some spokes quick. As you can see we made two sizes, several out of the 12 pack keg cans, and one of the larger size. The separate ring you see is the simmer ring, which reduces the heat to the pot. Check it out, and if you can stomach the Heineken, give it a go!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Top Cap Love

Gnat said a while ago that the right headset top cap makes the bike. I couldn't agree more. Found this one in the basement a while back. I think it works. I know it's not straight, I adjusted the tension while out on this ride and it was too damn cold to fuss with it. Happy snow day.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Fatbike Dreaming

I've ridden quite a lot outside this winter. I have to say that I'm hooked. I have owned a Pugsley before, and it is truly a kick ass bike. I never did the bike justice and did not ride it to anywhere near it's true potential.

This year I've been riding my Fargo exclusively for winter use. I have the Monocog set up with studded tires, but it has been relegated to around town duty. I love the stable handling of the Fargo on ice and sketchy bits, while the position with the Woodchipper bars could not be better. It's been a blast to fly over frozen gravel, and the bike does ride well on hard pack snowmobile trails. Once the snow gets soft, or if the tracks are not super packed, it lacks the floatation necessary for true winter fun.

This has all lead to what I consider to be the logical conclusion, I need another fat bike. I like the geometry of the Fargo. I also want the bike to be able to share the Epic Designs bags that are coming in early spring. I love the build qualities and ride of the 135 Paul Whub, and new symmetrical 165mm hubs have become available making rear offset of the frame unnecessary. Combining all of these together brings me to this bike, I think Fatgo suits it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sunday ride photos.

I was able to get out for a great ride on Sunday. I spent most of my time riding out between Stanton and Randolf. The road surfaces were really covered with ice, but a crunchy layer of snow made traction easy. I only felt a bit sketchy in a few places, mostly when I was going too fast down hill. I haven't ridden that far or fast in a long time though, it felt awesome.It was a bit warmer Sunday than it has been. That said, it was only 6 degrees when I rode home past the First National Bank thermometer. Having ended up with frozen feet on the last ride, I needed to alter my set up. I swapped out the Cranks Brothers pedals and Lake boots for a pair of Wellgo cartridge bearing flats and my Redwing hunting boots. What a difference. I was totally comfortable the whole ride. Being warm at 6 degrees for 2 hours is pretty cool. The looks that people in passing cars give you is pretty awesome!With the weather being so cold, everything kind of shuts down. People just stay inside. Even on a Sunday when most people have off, the town and roads were practically deserted. The cold temps also brought with them beautiful clear blue skies. The photo opportunities were nearly endless. This is the old Waterford Bridge. This is being turned into a pedestrian/bike bridge. They are building a new motor vehicle bridge next to it. The old one will eventually be part of the Mill Towns Trail system between Northfield and Cannon Falls.New bridge structures framing the steaming Cannon River. My ride home met the sun setting over Carleton. It was the perfect end to a great ride.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year's Eve Craziness.

Here's a photo from Tim Freeland of local radio station KYMN. Apparently, someone had a little too much fun coming home on New Year's Eve. Somehow they managed to turn their car on the side right in front of local sandwich shop Hogan Brothers. Nice photo I thought. I saw the bent sign and newspaper box on the way to work, and I guess this is a pretty simple explanation. Remember, rubber side down is a general way to live, not just a biking term. Stay safe.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Day Ride.

A happy New Year to you all! We were greeted with the coldest temps of the winter for the first days of 2010. Yesterday warmed to a high of 6 degrees, with an overnight temp down to around -22 degrees. I did make it out for a ride yesterday despite the temps, and it was a beautiful day. The cold, high pressure air made for a beautiful sunny day. The sky was clear, and there was little wind.

The Fargo has been my bike of choice lately. It's sure-footed handling makes the dead icy roads a little tamer. The tires at low pressure work fairly well on the mixed conditions ranging from streets to well packed snowmobile trails. On looser stuff the fact that this bike is not a Pugsley makes it self painfully known. On one such misadventure into looser snow, I found the sharp side of my stem with a rather sensitive area! I'm considering having Mike Pofahl make me a high rise stem to lower the said trouble spot several inches. This would eliminate the spacer stack and the stem bolt would be almost 2 inches lower. The gas tank coming from Epic Designs will also make a nice little pack to deal with future slips.

Anyway. Here's my favorite shot from the yesterday. I do hope the temp rises quite a bit. After about an hour, my toes were pretty much numb.