I've got a problem with hydration packs. They always seem good but never "perfect" and I've been searching for the "perfect" pack for a long time. I read some favourable reviews of a little company out of the USA called Wingnut Gear. After looking at their site and reading online forums, I went ahead and ordered a Wingnut Hyper 3.0. It took about 6 weeks to show up as it was custom made to order by a small company and hand built in the USA.
I've had the Wingnut for a month now and have but a bunch of miles on with it. The quality of construction is A1 and the pack is well thought out. It has a few unique features including a pocket for your gel flask, the lowrider system, and the wing pockets. I don't use gels so the gel flask pocket has gone unused. The lowrider system keeps the weight of the pack around your hips while the shoulder straps keep it stable. It works very well and keeps the pack from tugging on your shoulders and wearing out your back and neck, which is my biggest peeve with the offerings from Camelbak. The shoulder harness is made from a highly breathable mesh style fabric, while the rest of the pack is build from durable and lightweight sail cloth.
My weekend was a bit "meh" with lots going on and a slight case of the blues. I didn't feel like riding but my wife pushed me out the door with my helmet in my hand and told me to get lost. I hopped onto Grandma's Bike and pedalled into the evening along the Lynn Valley Trail. It wasn't long before I was in Dover, and just in time for the sun to set on the lake. It was a cool beautiful night, the sun was fading behind the horizon and the moon was shining brightly to the East. I sat for twenty or so minutes to watch it all unfold, sipping from my water bottle and listening to the night. Port Dover is a sleepy little town when the tourists all pack it in for the season. Its quite peaceful actually.
Even the busy beach area was deserted, a sight that any non-local wouldn't usually see. No yelling or laughing from the beach, no thunderous roar of motorcycles along the strip, no drone of boats coming in and out of the marina.
Once the darkness had set in I began the return trip to Simcoe. I brought my 1000 lumen headlight and a flashing tail light that could have been used on a police car. Back onto the Lynn Valley Trail, this time alone and in the dark. The trail is usually bursting with hiker, bikers, dog walkers and the like, but once darkness falls it becomes derelict. The darkness of the night and the focused beam of light from my bike made for a claustrophobic tunnel of vision through the blackness, it was eerily quiet, the kind of creepy that makes the hair of your neck stand. No sasquatches, rakes, or slenderman to be seen though, but I did have the feeling of being followed for a while. Hate that feeling.
A chill had set into the air and I could see my breath in the bit of light I had to work with, my legs were cold and the tips of my ears hurt. I quickened the pace and worked it harder, getting my body heat to warm me up as much as I could. Before long I was back under the street lights of Simcoe, safe from the boogey man out in the blinding darkness. The ride itself was pretty normal, although the sunset and dark ride home where fantastic. I need to do this again..... maybe on Devil's Night for the ultimate in creepy?
Been a while since I did a ride post. I got out Thursday after work for a nice 30km ride in the trails along the Grand River in Brantford, then onto the Nith River in Paris. I started out at Powerline Rd and did the Hardy Road trail out to the bridge and back, then the rail trail out to Paris. Rode through Paris to Barker's Bush and did the Barker's Beauty loop, then back out to my truck at Powerline. I had the pleasure (not really sure thats the right way to put it) of my first trail-side flat on the fat bike. Holy shit it takes alot of pumps to fill those tires with a minipump. I need a bigger pump.
The good people of Brant County have even mastered their picking up dog shit but leaving the bag technique. I spotted a really nice poo bag hang in Paris, they even left it on a gate for everyone else to admire. Fucker should be proud.
I also got to try out my new-to-me Garmin Edge 200. Picked it up used in excellent condition to track my rides. Pretty neat tool.
It was a good ride, but aren't they all? A pretty good burn too for doing 30km after working all day. The weekend looks like a bunch of rain so I might not get any riding in, there is always next week though.
I had a later start than usual today, thought I'd give the sun some time to warm things up before heading out. I arrived at the dead end of Mole Rd and by chance met up with Russ and his crew of riders from the London area who invited me along for the ride with them. Nothing quite like a spur of the moment group ride, how could I say no? It was a quick group and the pace was kept up throughout the ride, we covered some fair distance too. We headed out Mole Rd to Humpback, Wedowmaker, Spinal Tap, Fox on the Run, and into the Anderson tract, through the dump and out to Motorhead and Wild Turkey. We then came back through the dump and finished off the Anderson Tract back into the park. We carried on through Saudwinder, the 226, Planet of the Apes, and back to Mole Rd via East Ridge / Rum Runner / Big Mike. What a ride, I clocked 33.5km on my computer.
There was not much stopping for photo ops but I did manage to grab a photo in motion of Russ riding the new Kona. It was a bit odd as I was the only person on a fat bike out there today, though Russ did admit he wished he had brought his carbon Bucksaw. I'm pretty sure we had every niche of bike out there too. A couple of carbon hardtail 29ers, two 29er full suspension trail bikes, a 27.5" big travel bike, a singlespeed, and me representing the fat segment.
His group knew how to put on a good group ride too. Good conversation, a couple of crashes, a brisk pace, and immediately following our return to the parking area on Mole Rd the portable BBQ was lit and out came the sausages and toppings. The group indulged in a beer as well (none for me, non-drinker) and the post ride meat treat was fantastic, I need to bring my little BBQ from now on.
All in all a great ride. I hope to get out with some of this group again sometime soon.
Its Thanksgiving and I read a lot of Facebook posts from people saying they are thankful for this and that. I am thankful to have such awesome kids that love to come on bike rides with me, and a wife that sends me out the door with my helmet in my hand a couple of times a week. I decided that I would take the kids out for a spin along the Lynn Valley Trail to Dover and back this morning and give Mrs. Bric a bit of breathing room while she prepares our turkey dinner. The weather was perfect and off we went on an early 8:30am start. The kids play with eachother in the trailer for the first 30 minutes before going silent and slipping into an early morning nap. The silence and near-empty trail make the fall colours enjoyable and I start to think about what I am thankful for and the things that really matter in life.
I've got two great kids that love to play and be around me, they also like to come riding with me and help me tinker in the shop. I see a lot of myself in them and am amazed by their imaginations everyday.
I've got a wife that understands me. She knows that I can only ride one bike at a time, but also realizes that each bike I own serves a purpose. She is okay with the N+1 rule as long as it stays within reason and the kids are fed.
I live in the most beautiful county in Southern Ontario. I've seen enough of them to know that Norfolk is a special place. Lots of forest space, 60km of the best mountain bike trails in the Province, and an interconnected system of rail-trails that bring together the four major towns in Norfolk. Whats not to like.
We rode into the Sunrise towards Port Dover, eventually arriving at the pier where we watched a wind surfer for a while. The wind was strong today and the waves came into the beach powerfully.
We made an important stop at the boat shaped playground at Silver Lake Park. This playground is a staple in our trips to Dover and back, the kids love it and its nice for them to stretch their legs after the journey from Simcoe. And how cool is it to play in a boat shaped playground while in a fishing town?
After our play and cookie break, we loaded back up and headed for home. The kids were tired from their playground adventure and had another nap on the way home.
There won't be many more days this nice left but its hard to think that this might be the kid's last ride of the season. There has to be at least one or two more nice days before things get too cold for them. Pulling them is good training too, the weight of the kids and the trails is over 70lbs. Riding 25km pulling a 70lbs dead weight makes for some ripped looking claves.
Little Bric is getting big for the trailer now, next year I might have to put him on a trail-a-bike which poses problems for when Princess comes along. A bike, trail-a-bike, and trailer is a long combination.... might have to talk the Mrs. into riding along more often.
Happy Thanksgiving and may it be filled with family and friends, the things that really matter.
I get nostalgic this time of year. I look back at all the good rides I've done in the summer, then my mind wanders to those few memorable rides each year from seasons gone by. I think every rider knows what I mean when I say that there are those one or two, maybe three, rides each year that stick in your memory forever. I think back to those rides, where everything clicked just right and came together. I remember last year riding at Brock, I remember a few years ago doing my Grand River Epic Adventure Ride, I remember many years ago the rides I did from Delhi to Lasalette just to ride some muddy ATV trails. It all comes rushing back this time of year.
I watch the leaves start to change, knowing full well that the snow will fly in short time. Its my favourite season to ride in, not too hot not too cold..... just right. This Autumn has just begun but already I've had some great rides. The TPMBC Ripper kicked it off with a fantastic summer-weather ride, then a riding buddy and I did a loop through the new dump trails, then off to Motorhead and Wild Turkey. This past weekend we did a hard loop through the park and out to the Ryerson trails. Its nice to get back onto the Ryerson trails after being closed all summer, I nearly forget how tough Octane trail is. I swear its the hardest trail in Turkey Point and should have the rating of Advanced +.
I realize that this year and last, I've done most of my riding at Turkey Point and have cut wayyy back on the road trips. Part of being a responsible adult and an awesome dad, so I don't mind. I'm also very fortunate to have such a great trail system 10 minutes from home. There are nearly 60km of singletrack trail out here now, so its easy to mix things up and keep it fresh out here. I am also lucky to have a wife that pushes me out the door with my bike in hand even on days when I'm feeling "meh". I always end up having a great ride. I can be out the door with the sunrise and back home mid morning, while getting in a 25km ride. My memorable rides are now mostly at Turkey Point, and this year I look back fondly at the TPMBC Ripper, the first spring club ride, and lots of rides that didn't seem too special but the memory does not fade. I was also smart enough to buy a membership with the Woodstock Cycling Club this year and with it access to The Pines trail system, another nice way to mix up riding while keeping it relatively close to home. With a busy job, wife and kids, its nice to get out in the woods and have some peace and quiet by myself. Nothing beats the sound of dirt under your tires.
My after work ride today was nothing too special. A good brisk pace on some of the tougher trails, having the entire place to myself. Its just what I needed though to wind down after a busy day in the garage. It was one of those rides that will stick with me, and not for any particular reason. I'm hoping to have more rides like this, and keep the momentum going into the winter with some snow biking. I'm glad that I bought my first fat bike a few years ago (I'm sure my wife is too), it keeps me from getting the winter blues which I seem to be very prone to getting. Mrs. Bric will tell you that the last two winters have been the best ones I've had, before that I was a miserable bear just hibernating and waiting for spring. I wouldn't say that a fat bike saved our marriage (its stronger than that), but it most likely saved me from having rat poison in my meatloaf.
I'm playing with the idea of doing the Hardwood Singletrack Challenge this year, after all there is a Fat Bike Open category. It looks like an interesting non-serious race and as a non-serious racer it should fit the bill for a last sha-bang of 2015 before things start to wind down in the mountain biking world. Once the snow flies the trails get quiet save for a few of us dedicated crazy types who ride it out all year. I'm not going to look ahead to 2016 yet though, there is still alot of riding left to do for 2015. See you on the trails.
My blog has turned a year old. Can't believe that its been a year already. Its been fun, at times it was frustrating, but a good experience for me. I've learned a few things and improved my writing skills but am still by no means ready to quit my day job and pursue a career with such fine publications as Mountain Bike Action (fuck those guys) or Bicycling (I'm too fat for Style-Man's standards). This blog is as close as I will get to being famous (which I don't give two flying shits about, I would like to be rich though. I would love some new bikes).
I want to say thanks to the small but dedicated group of people who read my blog regularly. Without you guys I would have given up a long time ago. It nice to know that I have a group of readers here in Ontario that check in often, as well as a few in the States. Even a fellow in Italy reads my stuff regularly. Thanks everyone!
Looking back on my first year's articles makes me laugh and get angry all at the same time. It all started with the article I Love Cheap Bikes, which professed my love for affordable but capable machines. My first rant about Trail Sanitization was a fun one too. @$$holes Who Litter is on the required reading list of The Bric as well. My Cycling History was a fun one to write, reminiscing of rides in years gone by. Some of my personal favourites are Cheeseburger Fueled, Bike Magazines can Fuck Off, Helmetless Fucks, and of course, Cycling and your Nose (Snot Management). There are lots more that I'd love to list but you can find the good stuff by clicking on Rants and Good Reads in the categories column >>>>>>>>>>
I also want everyone to know that there is more to come. I'm riding more and more often, angry as fuck, and still just as fat.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.