Sunday, February 28, 2010

Above freezing

Yesterday the temperature rose to above freezing for the first time this year. I went out for a ride for just under two hours. It was quite nice. It was warm enough for my lungs to work at full capacity and a light snowfall mixed with rain was quite refreshing. In some places the the ground was already quite soft and the forest trails were off limits. A Pugsley would probably have worked in the forest.

Otherwise there has not any bike riding going on, except for the short commute to work. The weather has been much more suitable for XC skiing. Hopefully it becomes cold after this warmer weather. The trails should then firm up nicely for some winter riding.

A reading tip. For some more extreme bikepacking, see Mike Curiak's blog. He is currently doing a 24 days totally self supported bike packing trip on the trails of the Iditarod race in Alaska.

Finally, I widened the blog to allow pictures 800 pixels wide. The default blogspot template is made for 800x600 displays, which seems somewhat anachronistic. Also, Picasa Web Albums, where I store the pictures, did not do a very good job of scaling down the pictures to 400 pixels width. They appeared a lot softer than they actually were.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yet another winter ride

It was nice and sunny in the middle of the day, but the temperature was still only low, about -15°C with a rather cold wind. I went out for a 1.5 hour ride to see if the sea ice was rideable.

Pitkäsalmi. In places there was a track hard enough to ride, but outside that riding was not possible.

Nice rideable trail.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A colder winter ride

Toni Lund had planned a longer winter ride using mainly smaller roads and forest roads in the Paimio-Kemiö area. The route was very nice and the total distance was about 90 km.

I met with Toni in Paimio a little over 8 o'clock in the morning and we started riding. It was somewhat chilly with a temperature of -16°C and the air was very humid when we started. It did not warm up much during the first four hours.

Packing some liquid. I packed two bottles in the frame bag with a down west around them. They did not freeze during the ride.

Riding some country roads. Toni Lund in the picture.

It did not take long for the bottles in the bottle mounts to freeze.

Frozen power bars do have some chewing resistance.

Just before the Kokkila ferry, we went to the dressing room of the local winter swimmer's club to try to thaw the mouthpiece of Toni's hydration system. It succeeded and worked for some time after that.

On the Kokkila ferry.

On the Kemiö island, we rode some really nice forest roads.

Not everything was rideable, though. We had to push the bikes for some time as well.

A short break.

The plan was to cross the Halikonlahti bay between Lappdal and Rajalahti. There were people and a snowmobile on the ice, so it seemed safe to do it.

Easy riding on the ice.

After crossing the bay we continued riding smaller roads back to Paimio. The riding started to become heavier. Obviously the colder weather made riding harder. After a little over seven hours we were back in Paimio. The temperature had risen a little now, it was only -9°C now, but the humidity was still very high. The ride was a lot harder than we thought it would be, but we still made it without any problems. The Fargo worked very well again. This was my longest ride since Kangasala 24H.

Thanks Toni for this ride! Toni's report can be found here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New rear derailleur

For some reason, I got a 10£ discount coupon from Wiggle, even though I never had ordered anything from them before. Subsequently, I ordered a new XT rear derailleur from their sale for the Fargo instead of the 8 year old Deore one. The new one should switch a little smoother.

I'm also trying out a pogies design. It still needs some tweaking, but it should yield something usable. Pogies are not that easy to make for a drop bar, the only design I have seen is that of Trails-edge, and that does not seem so warm, though it does allow for all hand positions.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fargo shakedown cruise

It was time for the first real test ride of the Fargo packed with overnight gear. I left at 21:00 after having put the children to bed, heading for Ruissalo.

It took about 50 minutes of riding to get to the other side of the city.

Then I arrived to the Forbidden Forest, which was only partly rideable.

View back towards the city.

Rideable trail.

After 2 hours of riding, I found a sheltered spot 20 meters from the sea.

The mailman brought some suitable evening reading just in time for this trip.

I slept surprisingly well and was awakened by the first of the ferries from Sweden at 6:30. After drinking my morning coffee and eating porridge, I got up to see the second ferry arrive.

Another view of my camping spot.

A single short Thermarest Prolite 4 is not really enough, as can be seen from this picture, but the sleeping bag was warm enough to compensate for that.

On the move again at 7:30.

A view to the sea before turning back home.

Bicycle road.

The harbour.

Going back to the other side of the city. I got home at 9:30 after 2 hours of riding.

This is what the Fargo has been made for and it works like a dream.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Test packing

I just packed the Fargo for a short overnighter. No backpack needed.

This is almost full winter gear good for down to maybe -10°C. Below that and I would need another sleeping pad, in addition to the short Thermarest Prolite 4. That would be ok for down to maybe - 23°C. The set includes a stove for melting snow. There is still a little room in the frame bag, so I could probably fit food for two days without any bigger problems. I had to put the down jacket in the handlebar bag, which is somewhat suboptimal, since the compression bag for it was not narrow enough for it to fit in the frame bag. The sewing machine will get used again...