This post is several months in development. I’ve been tossing around getting a teardrop camper for several years now. Don’t get me wrong, I love backpacking and bikepacking, but I actually do more car camping. And I’m just not that comfortable sleeping on the ground anymore. Especially now that I’ve found hammocks. For car camping, I often want a bit more, especially for sleeping.
Today seemed like a great day to hide in my basement and work on bikes. In doing a drivetrain swap a couple months ago, I discovered that my hub bearings were gritty. I’m probably a little gun shy over reports of freehub bearings on the Hope fatbike hubs imploding, so maybe I replaced them earlier than absolutely necessary. The new ones are definitely smoother, though. My post isn’t meant to be a step-by-step tutorial on the process. There are plenty of excellent resources available for that. Speaking of which, I found this video to be top notch.
While the Rockshox Bluto fork I’ve been using on my Salsa Bucksaw since day 1 has been effective, it’s been a bit underwhelming. It worked fine on my local xc trails and winter rides, but when I’d ride more rowdy trails, it really began to show its limitations.
It’s a little flexy, and I could deal with that under most conditions. Burping air out of the fork was a problem, though. Finding that halfway down a long, gnarly downhill that your fork has suddenly lost air and that it’s now mush and bottoming out far too easily isn’t good. Thankfully I had my shock pump when that happened, but that initiated a drive to look for other options.
The Bryton Rider 310 has been okay, but since Strava ALWAYS throws out wheel sensor data from the device, and RideWithGPS totally mucks up the distance calculations, I decided I wanted something more reliable and versatile.
In early January, I was approached by the folks at Bryton to test a GPS of theirs, the Rider 310. More specifically, they sent me a Rider 310T, which includes a HRM strap (soft strap type) and a cadence sensor. The intended function of the GPS is for use as a basic road bike training GPS. Well, I don’t really use any GPS for its training functions, and Bryton was cool with that. I told them that the sort of riding I do is more recreational tracking with more mountain biking than road biking, and they were also okay with that.
As part of my recovery from acute myeloid leukemia, I set some fitness goals for myself. Early goals were more running and general fitness related. I ran a 5k. I ran a few more 5k’s. I eventually ran a half marathon. My knees were furious with me over that and I vowed to never do it again. After that, I swore off running because riding my bike is WAY more fun. My goals became more bike-focused after that. I set two goals for myself, and it’s taken a couple years to meet them, but I’ve done so…and then some. The first one I set for myself was an annual mileage goal. That was the first one I achieved, also. My goal was 500mi of mtb riding on the year. I met that goal in the late summer, and revised it to be 1,000mi of all-purpose riding. To date, I’ve ridden over 730mi on my mtb, and over 900mi total, so I’m within reach of hitting 1,000 all-purpose miles for 2015. The more difficult goal for me to reach was a 50 mile single ride distance. The roads around here are mostly flat, and in good weather, anyway, 50mi is not that difficult. It’s another thing on the mtb. Most of the mtb trail systems are comprised of smaller segments and loops, so a 50mi ride on those becomes more of a mental game, as you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel after awhile. With Yellowwood State Forest opening to mtb use officially, I got a chance. Not all of the potential connections are open yet, which will make even more options for long rides available. But I took advantage of one option this fall with a few other riders also interested in a long adventure-type ride. This was a most excellent ride. Because not all of the trail connections are open yet in this area, we had to make use of more gravel (and a little pavement) than I’d prefer. I didn’t take a ton of photos on this ride, especially towards the end when we were all hurting.
The intrepid adventurers
My last post about this bike was before I had even finished my own build. I’ve been too busy riding it! Here’s a build summary, followed by my impressions.
Here’s my build list:
I got my hands on a GPS accessory recently that I’m quite impressed with. Rec-Mounts is a Japanese company that makes TONS of mounting accessories for lots of applications. They sell some of their products on Amazon, thankfully, because it looks like ordering through their website directly could be difficult.
Their products are top notch.
I started out with their Type 10 stem spacer mount. Couple things I like about the products this company makes. Namely, their modularity. They use a number of fairly standard mounting systems so a lot of their stuff is interchangeable. The Type 10 mount has a GoPro adapter as the adjustable pivot. So I can pull the 1/4 turn adapter off and put something else there to mount a different computer.
This is some old stuff I’ve been dragging my feet on posting. This past winter, I made myself a pair of pogies. They’re awesome, but I do need to tweak them a little for next winter. After going through the process of making them, I’ll discuss what I need to change.
Figure out what shape you need. This is a pretty obvious step, but for me it turned out to be the trickiest. I WAS going to post printable patterns, but I’m not 100% pleased with how mine turned out, so I’m not going to share imperfect patterns. Use cardboard to make a mock-up. You need to fit your grips, brake and shifter controls, and have a little bit of extra space. I feel like I could use a little more interior space. At times, it’s a little tight reaching my controls.
Yesterday the wife and I traveled to French Lick, IN to try out the mountain bike trails on the resort.
The verdict: Win.
It was a relatively short ride because both of us have been working hard this summer, and not riding nearly enough. These trails are climby, and they kicked our butts. On the plus side, we finished our ride with a 2+mi downhill which was well worth all the climbing earlier.
You know what else characterizes these trails? Rocks. And tech.