True North

Here is the short piece I produced from footage, timelapse, and photos from the Alaskan trip back in ’11.. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed pedaling it..

True North: A Man in Motion (2013)

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The Cutting Room Floor

Spending some time getting back to a project that I had nearly lost interest in, but in the interest of not having loose ends about, it has been rekindled somewhat. I am in the finishing stages of  trimming, color correcting, and rendering the short (6 or 7 minutes) piece I am producing from my 4700 mile bicycle journey to Alaska in 2011. As usual from shooting video on a trips such as these, there tends to be more assets in the form of photos than in video; hence, this piece is photo-heavy, which, although I am not terribly psyched about, is just simply the way it is; which is to say..”It is what it is”. Should be posted here in a few days.. I hope.FCP True North

“The Plug II” Made Better

%22The Plug%22 Case

A while back, I posted a photo of an upgrade to the USB/Dyno Hub charger “The Plug”. It was a case made to allow use of “The Plug” without a complicated and permanent install on the bicycle. It allowed the freedom to swap from bike to bike. It was crudely made from copper, PVC, and silicone. I have now created an upgrade to the upgrade by creating an all copper version that has been sweated together with silver and then sanded to give it a smooth feel. It is a clean looking unit now, that is solid and functional. I will be selling these to anyone who may want one in order to help finance this blog and the adventures it contains.

If you are interested in one, please send me:

1. The Plug

2. The wiring

3. The proprietary star nut adapter to allow the wiring to pass thru the unit

4. The wiring fitting that came with your dyno hub

5. 40 bucks-includes shipping

6. Leave a message here or email me and we can work out the details.

$ 40.00 gets you the plug case with the plug installed and wired, plus return shipping.

The Rivet Pearl

IMG_8023Like many other cyclists, over the years I have ridden and experienced many different saddles on many different bicycles; sometimes connected to seat posts with varying degrees of setback, length, and stiffness. The vast variety of sensations these experiences created, allowed me to know the difference between what I consider to be a poor saddle,  a good saddle, or even a great saddle.

I have been riding Brooks saddles with a great amount of success for quite a long run. Some time back, I purchased an outstanding B17 Select. This is an upgrade from the standard, featuring thicker leather and hand pounded rivets. Alas, the Salsa Fargo that it was affixed to was stolen, and that was that. When I built my Surly Ogre, I replaced it with an “identical” saddle, paying a full retail value of 200 bucks for another B17 Select. At first glance, this baby seemed exact. A week later, after maybe 200 miles, the saddle looked as tho it had been mounted to the bike for thirty years, and was soft like an old pair of work gloves. Brookes gave me an RA number, but the thought of going through the hassle was more than I could bear; I put the saddle on another commuter, and began looking for a non Brooks alternative…

…Enter Rivet Cycle Works.  While at the bike shop, wrenching away one fine afternoon, Debra Banks, owner and proprietor of said company, and I, struck up a conversation. Debra was there to show some of her new saddles to John Boyer/Edible Pedal. After hearing of my Brooks woes, she handed me her solution in the form of the Rivet Pearl Saddle. It featured leather that one dreams about on a saddle, thick and uncompromising, yet with the ability to become a supple pillow for one’s arse over time. It also features a cutout on the top to allow pressure to be alleviated from said anatomy. The sides of the unit, unlike a Brooks, are folded under the saddle, and riveted in place to a nice stainless plate that you can see through the saddle’s cut out. This prevents the saddle from “splaying” outward. The thought behind this is that a splayed saddle will eventually chaffe the legs and groin. A nice feature I believe. However, the riveted underbelly, and it’s ensuing cause and effect, make this saddle seem a bit narrower than something fairly wide like, say the B17 or a Velo Orange touring saddle. This gives the saddle a nice, slim, low profile feeling that most will enjoy. Honestly, it felt a bit like a Brooks Pro, but more comfortable. Furthermore, it also features Ti rails that are much longer, and therefore have more adjustability than a Brooks, A VO, or a Cardiff.

The saddle is light too; at 460 grams for the Ti version, The Pearl is light enough to go on any bike where comfort is king. Rivet also makes a chromoly version for less money and more weight. The saddle I have is an Au Natural- plain leather. It is a look that I desire, and it is starting to turn a nice deep color that is an indication of the saddle approaching it’s sweet spot in regards to being broke-in. Apparently, these saddles also come in black, burgundy, and white. Rivet claims that the colored models need no leather treatment, as the dying process waterproofs them adequately. They recommend treating the Au Natural version, but, personally, I have never been fan of treating saddles. I am however, a fan of fenders and saddle covers for riding in the rain.

After 600 miles of riding on the Rivet Pearl, I can now say this: It is light, medium feeling in width, firm, yet supple feeling, and made with the best looking leather I have seen on a saddle in years. If you are looking for a durable, yet comfortable saddle alternative to the usual suspects, the Rivet is definitely worth a look. You can see and test one in person at Edible Pedal in Sacramento.

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The Berryessa Breakout

Even though it’s just short of the Equinox, in my mind, at least in this part of California, spring  is here. The days lately have been perfect for almost any activity one might wish to partake in.. Especially cycling.  In my ongoing quest for beautiful areas that show some signs of countyside, ie: forest, lake, river, mountain, rocks, wildlife, and some type of contour or relief, within bicycling distance from the City of Madness, I decided to get a group together via the shop, and head out to Putah Creek Canyon for an overnighter. Just above said canyon, lies a damn dam, above which, pushing against it with all it’s might, lay Lake Berryessa. Home to many a water skier and fisherman in the summer, it’s rugged topography makes for some fairly spectacular scenery that is typical for this part of California.

We meet at Edible Pedal at 8:30 on Saturday morning for some hang time and some breakfast and coffee. John Boyer, the owner of the shop, and proprietor of many a  past bike camping ensembles, was, unfortunately, unable to join us for this one, which left us with 5 riders: Mike, Gregg, Michael, Zach, and yours truly.

We blasted out “R” Street and booked across the Capitol Bridge, across motel row of W. Cap Ave, across the causeway, and into the splendid bicycle and college community of Davis, where, much to my pleasure, we were to meet an old friend whom I knew from Moab many years back. Robi moved from Moab 9 years ago and landed in Davis, got married, and procured a magnificent little girl named Miriam. A few short miles west of Davis we spot Robi and Miriam at an intersection of the bicycle path heading out. He was riding a three speed commuter with an active trail-a-bike attached to the rear, where 5 year old Miriam could assist in the pedaling of the apperatus. He had a long flag pole sporting Tibetan prayer flags, a Pabst Blue Ribbon on the bars, and a set of speakers gently cranking out pleasant tunes for the ride. Moab style..  Off we go..

The pedal from this point was a whimsical mixture of fairytale forests of fruit and Olive groves, creeks, farms, and a tastefully graffitied concrete bridge that really was a sight to see. Our first stop was to be in Winters. It is a small town nestled at the foot of California’s coastal mountains. The weekends there seem to be a mass of tourists and bikers- (motorcycles). But during the week, I bet it tones down quite a lot and becomes a nice quiet town again, Winters is the sort of place that looks as tho it might not have changed all that much in the last 40 years, and this pleases me. We hit the small, but well stocked grocery store there for some viddles, and them resume the journey westward.. and onward to the regionally famous Berryessa Brewery.

Everyone we talked to famously talked up the Berryessa Brewey, it did not dissapoint. Their selection of carefully crafted brews were few, but dang tasty.  Robi picked up a growler to go and off we went into the canyon to find our camp next to the river. Later that evening, John Boyer shows up in his truck and we all stay up for some time and pull back on cervesa and talk.

In the morning, I awake, and Boyer has already left for the bike shop. We have a casual morning at camp, enjoying our breakfasts and coffee, and the scenery of the forest and creek areas. As we pedaled the 40+ miles back to Sacramento, we enjoyed more of the same nice weather that has been so typical of the season so far here. We said our goodbyes to Robi and Miriam in Davis, and pedaled home, smiling.

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