One thing that I like almost as much as cycling is camping. My parents took me and my brother along on yearly camping trips from a very young age, always bringing our bikes along to the campground. We would adventure around the campground and explore new territory, eat outdoors, and listen to campfire stories from my dad such as the now famous "Bakus Boys" (which, if I remember correctly, were four mean dudes on two motorcycles with sidecars, one with no arms, one with no legs, one with no hands, and one with no head, who would terrorize any kids out past dark in the campground). In later years when we abandoned Bakus Mill in favour of Port Burwell, the story evolved into the "Burwell Bitches". You get the idea.
I've loved camping ever since and want my kids to have the same outdoor experiences. We tented it last year for a weekend and it became clear that if I wanted to get the wife and kids out a handful of times over the year that I would need the convenience of a tent trailer, hence the purchase of my most recent project "Roughin' It", a 1996 Rockwood Freedom tent trailer. It needs some work, some cleaning, and some freshening up, but overall is a tight package that should serve us well. It features a queen bed at one end, a double at the other, 3-way fridge, propane furnace, bike / canoe rack, and running water.
I've already removed the curtains, cushion covers, and mattress covers for a stain removal / deep clean as they are in good enough shape to keep. All the windows and canvas are in good shape and just need a hard scrubbing. A few zippers are giving me a hard time but I'm going to wax them up to get them running smooth again.
The first major repair is fixing the rotten section of floor. Seems it had a water problem and rotted an area just inside the door. I cut back the floor into the good material and installed plywood to replace the bad section, bracing the joint with studs bolted to the trailer frame.
Next on the to-do list is paint the cabinets and lay down some nice flooring. I also need to test out the propane system and see if I can't get the fridge working (might be toast). Stay tuned for more "Roughin' It" project coverage.....
I've got to say that even though I love the trails at Turkey Point, and the fact that its a 10 min drive from home, its nice to change it up and ride something different. This was my first spin at The Pines so far in 2016. I've joined the Woodstock Cycling Club for the second year in a row and am enjoying the access to this small but wonderful riding area. The trails here are well loved and it shows, each berm being carefully crafted and each section well thought out. The black trail sections are a real challenge too, Doug's Delirium and Bloody Lung are quite the full body work out but I'm proud to say that I cleared them with ease on my first Pines ride this year. This 650b+ bike just eats the gnarly roots and steep pitches that make up these two trails. I also swapped out the Norco torture rack in favour of a Specialized Phenom saddle (after raving about the Power saddle) which is working wonderfully one ride in.
I noticed alot of orange ribbon in the bush too. Looks like the WCC will be undertaking a nice trail expansion project. Hopefully the flow and rolling terrain of the original trails will remain intact.
While riding trails like Bloody Lung, Broken Shoulder, and This Trail Sucks, I often wonder how these trail are named. Did some poor sap break his shoulder? Cough up blood? Either way, I hope I keep myself intact.
Its going to be another good year for riding and I've promised myself that I will start doing more rides away from home in places that I use to frequent before time became scarce with family commitments. I won't be back to road tripping every weekend (probably never will be, those were the young and commitment-free days) but places near home like The Pines will surely keep my fire alive when things at TP get a little ennui feeling. I'm going to make a "2016 Bucket List", thinking that I need to hit some places like Hydrocut, Kelso, Puslinch, Hardwood, Copeland, 3 Stages........ I could go on. I also want to do more group rides with both TPMBC and WCC as 99% of my riding the last few years has been solo. It will be nice to make some new riding friends and create more good times with old ones.
The first nice weekend of the spring....... how I've missed the warm weather. I'm not about to waste it either. Friday was a family bike ride and picnic / park visit. I pulled Little Bric on the Trail-A-Bike while Mrs. Bric pulled Princess in the trailer along with our picnic lunch. I was impressed that she pulled it as far as we went without complaining, she just put the power down and soldiered on with a loaded out trailer in tow. Lunch and park time was great, a perfect sunny day and 17 degrees out, followed by a lazy ride back home and nap times.
Saturday was my time to fly solo at Turkey Point. In spite of the nice weather, most trails are still sloppy and closed but Turkey Point is always ready to ride. The trails in the Provincial Park were closed due to a prescribed burn, so I headed out through the Anderson Tract and into the old dump trails. I had the Norco out today, first time in a few weeks, with my newly added Rocket Ron rear tire. I always like the Nobby Nic front and Rocket Ron rear on my 29ers and felt the Nic didn't handle well and slid out alot on the back. This trait was exasperated by the wider tires on the b+ platform and the Ron was a great choice. Much better cornering than the Nic in the rear and more traction that I could find the limits to.
This bike likes to be ridden hard. The harder I rode, the more confident it felt. I was carving the berms and even catching air off the little jumps. This is pretty good for a big dude who likes to keep it close to Terra Firma.
I rode out the dump trails to Motorhead and Wild Turkey, making a nice loop back via Big Easy. I came across a group of riders at a trail intersection and stopped to have the usual mountain biker friendly chit-chat when one of the ladies yelled "Hey, you're the helmet model!". Seems that my wife's photo of me showing off my helmets has made the rounds on facebook. I had to laugh at my minor moment of celebrity fame being that.
I headed back to the dump trails to finish off with Toxicity and Hot Flash. I have to give it to the LOST (Ladies On Single Track) girls for the Hot Flash trail. It was build and designed by them and is one of the more aggressive trails out in Turkey Point. Well done!
Back through the Anderson Tract and a short road spin to get to the West Side (again, the park was closed) for a nice loop through there. By the end of the ride I was in serious butt pain from the OEM Norco saddle, its needs to go in favour of something that fits better ASAP.
A perfect day of riding in anyone's book. Today is going to be spending more time with the family and taking our bikes to Delhi for a ride with Papa, who surprised the hell out of my by buying a mountain bike last year to bomb around town on. My son has been asking to go for a ride with Papa since he got his bike, I'm sure he won't be disappointed.
Welcome back spring..... I've missed you.
I think that its no secret that I have a love-hate affair with Specialized but I've been a believer in the Body Geometry products since they first started appearing in my local bike shop. I've owned a few BG saddles over the years and had mostly positive results. I needed a new saddle for my CX bike as the WTB Rocket V was giving me alot of grief that I just couldn't take anymore and I wanted to put on some big miles without my ass feeling like I had sat atop a jack-hammer for an hour, so I wandered into the friendly Brantford Cyclepath to get fitted for a BG saddle.
The Specialized saddle purchase experience is much more in depth than looking at a saddle and pressing your thumb into it to get an idea of the "comfort rating". First thing they had me do was sit for a minute on the Specialized Ass Ruler, or whatever it was called. Once my sit bones were measured up it was time to test a few saddles in the proper width. It turns out that my ass calls for a 155mm wide saddle, so a conventional looking Phenom was attached to the fit bike for me to sit on a pedal. It felt ok. Then I was introduced to the Power saddle. I was a little apprehensive as it had a very odd look to it, but we tossed it on the fit bike for a test. It worked great. I put down my money and $120ish later I was out the door with the ugly ducking saddle.
I've logged alot of miles on the saddle already, including the TillsonBurn, and I have to say its the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. It takes the fit and feel of the older BG saddles and kicks it up a notch. Even after long days in the saddle, where my old WTB would have had me in agony, the Power saddle was super comfy and supported my sit-bones perfectly. The version I bought has hollow Cro-Mo rails and very thin padding. The graphics are subtle and don't draw alot of attention to the saddle (I really hate huge 'look at me' graphics on products). Setup was a breeze with a setup guide right on the packaging. I had the angle dialed within a few minutes. I think Specialized has the saddle purchase experience locked down, having the proper width saddle for your sit bones is an essential part of having a comfortable seat.
I've been using this seat on my CX bike and am super happy with it. I've been doing some reading and have found some people liking it on their mountain bikes too. I was sold on getting a Phenom or Henge for my mountain bikes but might try the Power for a ride or two to see how it stacks up in the mountain bike side of things.
I realize that saddles are a personal choice, but the fit procedure and in-store testing have the Specialized product ahead of the rest. Some might balk at the price tag, but take into consideration the time and fit procedure of the purchase and it works out to be a good deal. I'd rather spend $120 on a saddle that fits and I can test in the store, than $80 on something that feels like a torture device once home and installed on my bike. I have to give the Power saddle a perfect 5/5 score. Its that good.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.