The light of autumn on November 15, 2020.
The light of autumn on November 15, 2020.

offtrail.guru

A small blog about offtrail riding, allroad cycling, fatbiking and singlespeeding.

Patrick

Homework Done

2022 Race Face Turbine crank.

Whenever you switch a part on your bike, it’s important to do your homework. A coworker of mine once wanted to change the stem on his bike. He got one, went on the put it on the bike, only to realize that his handlebar wouldn’t fit. He had purchased a stem with a 31.8mm clamp. Unfortunately, his bike was equipped with a 35mm handlebar. It’d be easy to laugh and say what a noob. But we can’t all be experts in everything. I’m certainly not. After several winters of riding my fat bike, the axle of my crankset has worn where the bearings are seated. Without tightening the pre-load adjuster, there was noticeable play. A tightened pre-load adjuster doesn’t remove that play; it only hides it while the bike is in the work stand. The play is still there under every pedal stroke and will only worsen over time. It will also lead to premature bottom bracket failure. It was therefore time to replace the axle. Because I chose a SRAM XX1 carbon crankset at the time, a simple axle change isn’t possible. The axle and the non-drive side crank arm form an inseparable unit.

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Patrick

New Fat-Bike Helmet

Kask Moebius for fat-biking below zero.

When I first started fat-biking in March of 2013, I grabbed one of my Giro Aeon road/MTB helmets and slipped on a winter cycling cap when my head felt too cold. On cold days, I took off for rides wearing a Bern Brentwood helmet that I had bought for my daily commute. Soon, it became the helmet I wore for fat-biking exclusively. For very cold or snowy days, I bought a Smith Vantage, a goggle-friendly ski helmet with ear pads and adjustable vents. The Brentwood is now ten years old. Safe for the visor, which forms one piece with the liner, it held up amazingly well. But after ten years, even a sturdy helmet such as the Brentwood should be replaced.

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Patrick

DJI Action 2

Riding the Bözingenberg on a hot summer day.

Most of my cycling photos taken during the past six years have been shot with a GoPro Hero 5 Session in video mode. When I want to snap a picture of myself riding a particular spot on a trail or capture the scenery along a particular route, I place the GoPro on the ground, press the record button, hop on the bike, ride away from the camera, turn around and ride back towards the camera. I have an extendable mini-tripod that is small enough to fit into a jersey pocket and a longer one that needs to go into a backpack or a jersey pocket if I wear a vest over it. Shooting that way takes all but a few minutes, and the video footage the GoPro recorded is often not more than a minute and a half. At home, I view the video footage on my MacBook Pro in VLC and export the snapshots I want. Then, those unedited snapshots are imported into Photos, where I crop and color-adjust them.

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Patrick

Great! Someone Still Riding A Real Bike!

Crossing the Bözingenberg in the early spring.

In the last couple of months, I have put 543 kilometers onto my Stooge MK5. For the last two years, I wasn’t able to mountain bike as much. Now that I have spent more time on trails again, something strange has been happening with regular frequency. Hikers comment about the fact that I’m riding with my muscle-power only. I have been mountain biking since the mid-eighties, and while I rarely had a negative encounter with a hiker, most of the time I met a hiker, we briefly exchanged a quick "hello" or "good day." That was usually it. Now, I’m regularly applauded for riding without the assistance of a motor. Yesterday, for instance, someone remarked: “Oh great, someone still riding a real bike!”

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