Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Moab BLM closes Mountain Bike Trails to E-bikes

   E-Bikes are becoming more and more popular. You will see reviews and ads for them in most mountain bike magazines, and small shops popping up all over. They are used in everything from road bikes to commuters. And that's good, everyone on a bike, right? 


   The Moab Bureau of Land Management recently announced that E-Bikes are not allowed on mountain bike trails. 

Example sign

   This is sure a polarizing decision. The general arguments are as seen below:

Names changed to protect the innocent

   The general arguments are:
  • This is good
    • A bike with a motor is a motorcycle, stay on motorcycle trails
    • E-bikes tear up trails
    • E bikes will create more traffic than the trail can handle
  • This is bad
    • Everyone should have access
    • E-assist bikes are not like motorcycles

   These arguments all make sense, right? A bike that provides a 30% boost for someone with a leg injury can't be all bad?

Simple E-bike

  But this is also an E-bike, and this surely belongs on a motorized trail.

Not simple E-bike

   It will be interesting to see if this ban moves to more trails outside Moab like Fruita in the future. Until then:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Aaffix Rotor

   You might think that BMX bikes haven't got a lot of room to make improvements due to their simplicity. Well, have I got a review for you! This comes from KHE bike parts, and is a new detangler. Here is an typical cable detangler system:

GYRO Detangler

   This system relies on the cable splitting to go around the stem, then reconnecting after the stem. Here is a breakdown of the parts: First is the upper cable. This splits the brake cable into two pieces.

Upper cable

   The heart of the detangler is the rotor itself. This has a bearing and connector that allows the handlebars to spin without interfering with the brakes.


   There have been some improvements in the system over the years. Some companies are making sealed bearing rotors like this:

SNAFU sealed detangler

   With the complication and reduced performance, many riders who want to spin their bars are opting to go brakeless. Which is stupid. Enter KHE. They have designed a new detangler system that reduces a lot of the complexity and performance issues:

The Affix rotor

   Here are a bunch of shots of the thing so you can see how it works. It involves a sleeve that sits in the steer tube of the fork, and exits out the side of the head tube of the frame. Here is the hardware, which would be hidden in use:

Affix hardware

Mounted up

second shot

   Some sweet technology form BMX! Nice to see companies still pushing boundaries for us 20" riders.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday WTF: Bike VS Plastic Bag

   Check out this disaster on wheels:



   RIP derailleur hangar. My questions:

1. If you weren't pedaling, how did everything get so mangled up?
2. If you felt things getting mangled, why didn't you lock up the back brake?
3. Where were you riding?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wall Painting Number 2

   With #2 on the way it's about time to start decorating. With the nursery, we painted some nice trees on the wall. I think we'll go ahead and update that with some leaves and additional colors. In the meantime, here is what happened to Calvin's new room. Eventually I predict that both boys will share this room, so I want to put more effort into making it look really nice. 
   Here is the art I picked for the wall:

Original drawing

   First I measured the wall and figured out where the light and corner and stuff would go. I would have to add some height to the tree and round out the top to make it look right. I also added a 12" x 12" grid to make transferring the art to the wall easier. 

Modified drawing

   I reduced the colors down to about 12. I am not real confident in blending colors so this is kind of color by number. I searched for a better name for this but couldn't come up with one. 


   Once I had the colors picked, I went to Home Depot to get the right paint colors. I printed this little color sheet to take with me:

Color Chart

   I bought these little paint samples, which worked fine, but I think in the future I'd try tot get something a little thicker. Some of the lighter colors needed multiple coats to cover the blue. Here's a shot of the trees in progress:

Tree work

   And here is the final product! The tree goes behind that dresser all the way to the ground. 

All done

   Hopefully the boys enjoy it!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday WTF - Disc Brake Adaptor

   Spotted this one outside Kettle and Stone: Appears to be an adaptor for mounting a disc brake on a normal frame:

   The company is ATZ, and they make all sorts of stuff. Whether using this is advisable is up to you. Might want to beef up that rear triangle a bit...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mondraker Podium

   Check out this sweet ride from Mondraker: The Podium.

   On paper this is like any other hard tail XC bike - tapered fork, 100mm travel, some code name for hi-mod carbon, PF 30 BB, thru axle in the back. What sets it apart is the styling! Which is very cool. Kind of looks like the Look I wrote about a while back.


   The company has existed for a decade or so, but recently started making these killer mountain bikes. The first eye catching bike of theirs was the Summom,  a DH bike built in your dreams:


   The Podium definitely will turn some heads. Here's a couple parting shots.

Stem close up


   Now that your'e all amped up to go ride, take a look at the abysmal forecast for the next week and join me in a collective sigh.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday WTF: Responsible Listener Edition

   My wife is always telling me I should pay closer attention, or take out the trash, or something I wasn't really listening, but with these bad boys you have no reason not to hear. Enter Cat Ears ear protection.

Slim style

Full coverage mom-pants style

   Try to follow along here an see how they work:

Disembodied ear sold separately 

   Reminds me of 180s, the pinnacle of style in 1992 (for my mom):

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Patio Project part 4 - Pavers (finally)

   As with a lot of projects, preparation is key. Installing the actual pavers took nearly a week, but that was on top of about a month of prep work. That all turned out to be for the better as the pavers went in pretty smoothly. Here is the whole yard with road base spread out:

Calvin and Natalie cameo

   After getting the road base in place, tome for some manly compaction! I rented a plate compactor from Home Depot and got everything flattened and level. Road base compacts really well. I did the edges and stair area by hand with a hand tamper.


   Care to guess how many pavers I used? A lot. Almost 1300. Took about 5 trips with the uHaul trailer. 

1 load of bricks

   We started by laying down some 1" conduit and then putting sand around it. By dragging a 2"x4" across the conduit, we got a nice smooth surface to put the pavers down on. You can see the edging pavers already in place.

The starting corner

   And in go some paver! Once they started going down, it went pretty fast. It was also really rewarding to finally see it happen after weeks of digging.

First pavers going down

   We just worked across the patio like this. Along the edges we cut pavers to match the curves with a paver saw also rented from Home Depot. RIP saw blade. After this project it was pretty much ruined.

Top area almost done

   The bottom area was about the same. Took a day off due to the rain, but that made the road base extra packed, so it was ok. we also went to a brewery to let things blow over which was also ok.

Lower area with sand

Lower area with some bricks laid

   And all done! I was very happy with how it turned out. There was still some little stuff to do, level out some areas that settled and seal the cracks with polymeric sand.

   Threw some furniture on there...

Table and rolling storage thing

   Some seating

Some chairs

   Even some lights for night time!

Mood lighting

   That's about it for this project. I'm really happy with how it turned out, but man was it a lot of work! Once the weather changes back to warm and light out, com on over and enjoy a BBQ with us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Patio Project Part 3 - Sandbox

   So we planned this patio with hot tubs, and bar-b-ques and chairs - but what is in it for the kids? A sandbox, naturally! My sister commented once how much her kids loved to play in the sand, so we decided to integrate a sandbox into the patio. First things first, laying out the shape:

Leveling it out

   I used cinder blocks for the sandbox because they create a cleaner edge than the red blocks. You can see where I worked around the fence post on the right of this image:

From the top

   I had the blocks stacked two high on one side where the patio was lower. I used a hand tamper to compact the dirt in the sand box.


   Above you can also see how I laid out some blocks around the edge of the lower part of the patio to see how the whole thing would be shaped.
   I saw an interesting idea on reddit of a guy stamping dinosaur shapes into the sandbox bottom for his kids to find. His was really well done and looked like a real dinosaur. Mine, not so much. But there will be stuff for the boys to find if they dig to the bottom of the sand box:

   We had some leftover paint form the wall mural (more on that project to come) that I used to spruce up the stamps a little. I also left the middle open so the sandbox would drain if it rained a lot.

Colored stamps

Calvin approves!