As a proud and long-time cross-country mountain bike guy, born out of the glory days of the Canadian Adventure Racing scene in the mid 90s, I stood firm to my belief that mountain biking is about riding your bike, which means going up before you go back down. The downhill had to be earned. The idea of simply jumping on a chair lift, or catching a ride in the back of a truck to the top of a mountain wasn’t something I was interested in – to me, DH was largely a sport for those who ’couldn’t’ climb the mountain first.
Gear & Reviews
It’s hard to believe that after originally launching in 2011, the Levi’s Commuter Jean has been around for almost three years.
Having lovingly clad hipsters in cycle-worthy denim for years now, it’s safe to say the Levi’s Commuter Jean has come into it’s own. There aren’t many brands that can drive mainstream adoption of a niche market like this, but Levi’s has proven to be one of them. Perhaps the ‘hipster-esque’ culture was seeking skinny jeans with function, or perhaps existing riders were looking for viable alternatives to cladding themselves in lycra. Regardless, it appears that the Levi’s Commuter Jean is here to stay.
Being recently in the market for some form fitting denim to properly hug my curves, I sought out a freshly cut pair for myself. After a few weeks of field testing, I’ve concluded that generally, I’m impressed — though room for improvement exists.
Is the Fatbike revolution here? I’ve been hearing the term for a few seasons now and I remember seeing one for the first time back in 2010. In a word, although I thought they were interesting with their giant clown-like tires, I also thought they were ‘ridiculous’. I wondered why anyone would want to ride a bike so cumbersome and heavy? Through my ‘racing’ lens, the bikes made about as much sense to me as a unicycle or a Penny Farthing – sure they might be unique and fun to mess around on, but really, what’s the point beyond that? I was perfectly happy to leave what I considered the Fatbike fad, to others. - Read More -
Like many cyclists, I own a car. Truth be told, I own two.
Despite the fact that it’s rarely driven and sits mostly idle in my driveway there are times when the convenience of a car is tough to ignore – especially if your car is paid off, cheap on gas, and the insurance costs aren’t crippling (as mine is).
With that said, I still have trouble justifying the cost of gas, parking and the time spent sitting in traffic just to have a car available whenever I’d like, especially when I generally have more attractive means of transportation at my disposal. But there sure are times a car would be nice to have around…
I prefer my bike to be as clutter free as possible. Panniers, racks, fenders, bells, baskets, streamers, spokey-dokes… All of these things offend me on some fundamental level.
Despite efforts to keep my bike unadorned, the practical matters of riding to work everyday has made certain accessories worth their affront to my clutter-free preferences.
With all the paraphernalia adorning my rig there is no choice but embrace the “commuterism” of it… During the fall, winter and spring I’m sporting a bell, lights, fenders, rack and panniers. And while my commuting bike has never been exceptionally svelte, it now bristles with clydesdale-ness. - Read More -
Upon evaluation, the landscape for road bike clothing provides offerings for nearly every conceivable style, size and budget – From bargain-basement multicoloured neon discount kits, to the finery of brands like Rapha or Assos. Unfortunately a more refined offering has been long lacking for the road cyclist’s fat-tired brethren (at least to my knowledge)… Until now.
Described as “impeccable mountain bike wear for obsessives,” Kitsbow appears to be striving for the best fit and finish with little compromise. From tailoring to materials, every detail has been cared for… Or at least that’s what their marketing wants me to think ;-)
For a long time, I’ve wondered what it would be like to go to one of the big USGP CX races down in Bend, Oregon, or even over in Europe – the epic courses, the big heckling crowds, the festival atmosphere with music, costumes, signs and beer! I want to experience that one day – it’s officially on my Bucket List.
So, what’s the next best thing if you’re living here in Alberta? Gotta be the Dark Knight!
Set up inside the bobsleigh/luge run up at COP in Calgary, this race has all the core aspects of a great event, not to mention a race. It’s located within the city, making it easy to get to, especially for those of us travelling there, staying in hotels, etc… There’s lots of parking right at the site, and room for big crowds of cowbell ringing spectators and you can crank the music without waking up the neighbours!
Enduro cyclocross racing – a contradiction of terms at first blush? The organizers behind last weekend’s Kettle X Enduro Cyclocross Race, put out the challenge, 74 km of off-road cyclocross racing through the Blackfoot trail system just east of Edmonton. Reading the tech guide, the projected finish time for the leaders was 3.5 hours, accounting for up to 6 hours for the rest of the field to complete the ‘Full Kettle’ course. Based on this info, a lot of folks signed up – in fact, 170 racers decided to give’r a go – as did I.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been riding quite a bit, at least for me, getting in some long rolls on weekends, and even tossing in an intervals session mid-week to keep me honest. I expected I’d probably be able to handle 74km of off-road trail on a CX bike – at least I hoped. The more I thought about it though, the more I became doubtful… Things went through my mind like, the roughness of the trails, the forecasted heat for the day (26 degrees, but it actually hit +28), and the rigidness of the CX bike. If leaders were projected in at 3.5 hours, optimistically, I’d shoot for 4.5 hours… That’s a long time to rattle around on a CX rig. I fretted about my neck, wrists, shoulders, knowing full well from my harrowing experiences at the Transrockies, and my Bow 80 attempts, what that kind of ache/pain can do to you…
It’s not unknown, that I’m a big Rapha fan. I eat up the site, the blog posts and the films – I also spend a healthy amount on the gear. What can I say, it’s nice. For a rider like me, who is in to ‘nice’ stuff, not to mention, photography and film, what could be better than Rapha… So, when I found out they were coming to my home town of Edmonton, I of course, left town to ride in Kananaskis. Yes, that’s right, I went riding elsewhere… See, the way it all went down, I didn’t know about the Rapha YEG ride, when I committed to my carefully laid plans to get away to Calgary and go riding with my pal, Ken, in Kananaskis – there was no changing plans, given a multitude of schedules, family obligations and so forth. So, I went off on our own Bikeridr ride, and our pal, Jason Redfern tossed his chapeau in the ring to go on the Rapha ride. In talking with Ferno after, the thing I remember him saying most was, ‘there sure was a lot of merino wool…’ Here’s the scoop from our ‘inside man':
An invite to the group ride was forwarded to me by the purveyor of this fine website. Driven by curiosity I found myself at Da Capo with about thirty Rapha fans ready to uneasily stampede through the Edmonton River Valley like a Running Room ‘Learn to Run’ clinic. “They can’t actually be serious leading a group road ride through trails?” was murmured more than once. I didn’t know what to expect.
Remember the last time you rode without a helmet? I do. At least the last time I went on a ‘real’ ride without one. My pal, Ken and I were headed to Kananaskis country. At that point, we hadn’t done much riding in the mountains at all – we were still pretty green on the mtb scene. Ken had researched a trail called Jumpingpound, that sounded pretty good. We drove along, bikes on the roof of Ken’s red, VW Golf, a couple of Edmonton river valley riders, excited about the K-Country adventure ahead. We found the trail parking lot, got out of the car and started to get geared up. Then I heard Ken say, ‘Oh f*@k! I think I forgot my helmet.’ This, of course meant that yes, he had forgotten his helmet.
Faced with the dismal prospect of driving back to Calgary to get it, and losing valuable ride time, you guessed it – we opted to ride anyway, sans Ken’s helmet. Stupid? No, not at all, or at least this was our thinking, because we had a strategy, deciding to share my helmet, switching back and forth allowing one of us to rip while the other held back and took it a bit easy. Needless to say, until that day, neither of us truly realized the impact not wearing a helmet has on you once you’re used to wearing one, especially when riding on the rocky, rooted terrain of Jumpingpound with danger at every turn! Without the helmet, I rode like an old granny on the descents – so cautious in fact, I was probably putting myself more at risk than if I had just let it flow. Bottom line, riding without a helmet is scary and a bonehead move – not wearing one, to me now, is like driving without a seatbelt.