|Barren trees and tons of leaves. Fat biking conditions have been unusual here.|
As you will see in tomorrows "Minus Ten Review", it used to snow here. A lot. Now in recent times that doesn't seem as likely. Winter now means sporadic snows, maybe it will be cold, and lots of brown scenery.
In fact, my latest fat bike rides have been over grounds that are muddy, soft, and increasingly messy. We had a spate of really cold weather here that did freeze the ground back in late November, but since then things have actually been thawing out. It is really weird. It also is really tough on anyone wanting some off road bicycling around here. Either it is certain trails which we want to keep off of or it is the constant sticky mud that fouls up everything. Ice was an issue, but even that has disappeared lately with several days of 50's in a row, and now upper 40's.
I have been fat biking the last couple of weekends as an alternative to my gravel road stuff. I just needed a break for a bit. That said, the rides have been not anything like what I would expect for December. I ended up doing some trail work on various bits of the Green Belt. I also cleared up my old trail, "Marky-Mark", and ended up rerouting about ten yards of it to get around a knot of dead fall and vines that had blocked a portion of that trail. So, on one hand, this weird weather has allowed for some trail maintenance.
It isn't supposed to get really cold, snowy, or anything like Winter for at least another week. Looks like it'll be a "Brown Christmas" around here.
|Shifty bits be gone!|
As many of you long term readers know, I had threatened to make my BMC "Orange Crush" rig into a single speed once I had the pink MCD up and running. Well, last weekend I took an afternoon and did the deed. No more gears!
Yes...... it took an entire afternoon to strip off components and replace them with single speed stuff. Why? Wouldn't that be a simple job? Well, you'd think so.
There is a bit more to it than meets the eye though. Both in the bits needed to convert to single speed and the finding of those bits! Having been a single speed aficionado for the better part of my cycling career, I have accumulated a lot of single-speedy stuff. I have a drawer dedicated to bits for single speed. Stuff like cog spacers, cogs, free wheels, and the elusive single speed specific chain ring bolts. I've got crank sets, and I've got chain rings. I even have spare White Industry chain rings that are specific to their crank.
Well it is weird until you need the stuff! Then you are glad you have it. But even though I have a drawer full of the bits, you still have to "spec" correctly. So, in the case of the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross conversion, I had a set of 180mm cranks from, (I think), an old Specialized Sequoia touring bike from the early 80's. It was ginormous in size, so it had been spec'ed with these old Sakae 180mm cranks. Of course, back then everything was square taper, (check!) and took a long spindle, (also Check!), so that bottom bracket had to be tracked down, (UN-52, natch!), and then I had to find some crank bolts, and then....... Well, you get the picture. Time consuming, it was. Nuff of that, here's the pic......
|There she is!|
There is one minor thing I may do yet and that is to get some standard aero brake levers, so I can get the Gevenalle mounts/levers off the bike to clean things up a bit more. That'll require new brake cables, so I may wait on that till Spring.
|Donnelly's new "EMP" tires|
A week or so ago I posted about this new tire from Donnelly. It is the new "EMP", named after Emporia, Kansas, which is, as Donnelly states on the tire's hang tag, "Home of the world famous gravel roads that reach out to the sky."
No mention of Dirty Kanza? Yep..... You know why, right? Licensing agreements. Meaning that to use the name in Donnelly's marketing, they probably would have to get a license to allow that from DK Promotions. I'm assuming that this is the case, so don't take that for gospel, but I would be willing to bet that is the case here.
Anyway...... I just found that interesting. Nothing to do with the tire, per se', but it is designed with the DK 200 in mind, so it has a tough, aggressive looking tread and a puncture protection belt too. I put up an introductory post on RidingGravel.com here. Check that out for details. I will say that for now, it looks like a good tire for packed snow, which we should have now........ Bah! Anyway, I'll likely get these on the single speeded Orange Crush soon enough and start trying them out. I figure it can't be long before fenders and aggressive tread will be necessary! And if it continues as it has been, well, I'll have "hero gravel" to ride, most likely. That isn't all bad.
|Fyxation's new through axle fork for gravel/adventure bikes.|
Wednesday news came down about Fyxation's new gravel/adventure forks, dubbed the Sparta FCR and Sparta QR. The FCR variant is your typical through axled, tapered steer tubed, three boss on a side fork with full carbon construction and a pretty light weight. But it is the other fork I am thinking is pretty cool.
The "QR" model is what you think- a quick release model. A straight steer tube, QR wheel fork with carbon blades and an aluminum steer tube. Why? I saw a lot of commentary saying it should have had a through axle. Not QR. Hmm......
Well, it turns out the fork asked for already exists. Thanks to a commenter on the Riding Gravel facebook page for pointing this out.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!