Montagne de Romont on January 5, 2020.
Montagne de Romont on January 5, 2020.
Patrick

Patrick (51)

Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion; always on two wheels, no suspension and certainly no flipping motor.

Patrick

Pulled The Trigger On An MK5

Stooge MK5 in size 18".

I've always been a huge fan of the Stooge MK series of bikes. There was the plum crazy purple MK1, the redberry MK2, and probably my favorite, the plum crazier purple MK3. The MK1 was specifically designed around a 29×3 front/29×2.3 rear combo, whereas the MK2 received enough clearance on the rear to run 27.5x3" tires. Otherwise, the geometry remained unaltered. A lot of changes were made to the MK3. It had a 44 mm head tube, a tapered steel fork, and a shorter rear triangle. The MK3 was designed around B+ and was up to that point the most agile of the Stooges. With the MK4 Andy Stevenson pushed the boundaries and came up with a pretty radical geometry. It had a slack and low geometry and was designed around an 80 mm offset rigid bi-plane fork. It lost the 44 mm headtube and went back to a straight steerer tube. The frame was designed around a 29x3"/2.6" combo but kept room for 27.5x3" in the back. Whether you wanted a single-speed, an all-mountain trail bike, or a bike-packing rig – it did it all.

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Patrick

Nordest Albarda On 650B

Evening ride to the Grenchenberg on May 12, 2021.

After 217 kilometers my new wheels have proven that 650B is my ideal road and gravel size. I made this discovery with my third Volagi Viaje years ago already. But for the last two years, I rode my latest bike, my Nordest Albarda, on a set of 700C wheels. Such wheels roll well, but they don't like to change direction as quickly as a smaller 650B wheel. I like a bike to be lively and agile. Directional stability can have its advantages, but I generally prefer quick, sharp steering. Switching my Albarda to smaller wheels, instantly gave me that. The bike is so much more fun to ride. Not just when going downhill, but when climbing as well. When riding up a climb out of the saddle, it always seemed like the 700C front wheel was working against me. After putting 650B wheels on the bike, that feeling is gone. The bike now is a better extension of myself when motoring up a climb out of the saddle.

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Patrick

Nordest Albarda 2021 Update

Nordest Albarda in 650B mode.

When I built my Nordest Albarda in the fall of 2019, I didn’t spend the money to get all new parts for it. I took the SRAM Red eTap HRD groupset off my Ritte and used the Nox Composites wheels that had been on my red Volagi Viaje, which I had sold. A year later, the bike finally got its own drivetrain components. When I switched to 650B RoadPlus with my third Volagi Viaje, I was immediately sold on the slightly smaller but wider wheels. The Viaje felt way better with 650B wheels. If I weren’t climbing and descending as much, I’d be perfectly happy rolling around on 700C, but in the mountainous Jura, 650B just feels better.

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Patrick

Did Winter Come Back One Last Time?

Hiking miles through some deep, soft snow.

After the two previous weekends, I thought that my fat-bike season had come to an early end. Years past, it wasn't uncommon to fat-bike into May. Last week, however, winter returned in full force, dropping over a foot of snow on the Swiss Alps and 8-10 inches in the Jura. Brown pastures and trees were suddenly white again. I had already washed and packed away my Bike Jacket, so I got it back out again because my studded fat-bike can't be placed inside our car without.

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Patrick

A New Mountain Bike Helmet

A hot chocolate on  cold day. Taken on November 27, 2010.

Back in the early days of mountain biking, bike helmets used to be bike helmets. Road cyclists were only just starting to put lids on and there were basically no sport-specific helmets. An XC mountain biker wore the same helmet as a road cyclist. Things have changed a lot in that regard. Mountain bikers today have a huge plethora of helmets to choose from; from lightweight XC helmets to full-face downhill helmets. For the three and a half decades I have been riding, I have primarily owned visorless road cycling helmets except for two Giro Exodus helmets, which were popular mountain bike helmets in early 2000. After those, I owned two Giro Atmos, three Aeon, and one Giro Synthe helmet. All of those are lightweight, well-vented lids you mostly see on the head of roadies.

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