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

Oval Rounds Your Pedal Stroke

Rotor Q-Rings oval chainrings.

I've been running oval Rotor and Garbaruk chainrings on my road and gravel bikes for years, but have not used any on my single-speed or fat bike even though the benefits of oval rings would be particularly advantageous on these two bikes. On my FatBike I've dialed the chain line to an optimum with a round 28T Wolftooth chainring. Due to a lack of chain stay clearance an oval ring would not fit without me increasing the chain line. Until now, my single-speed was equipped with a round 34T titanium chainring for technical reasons also. My favorite MTB crankset - Rotor's Rex 1.2 - had a 5-bolt, 110 BCD spider. The smallest oval ring for that bolt circle diameter is a 36T - too large for a SingleSpeed in mountainous terrain - I don't have quite that power. This all changed now because Rotor expanded their direct-mount chainring options to the Rex line of cranks.

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Patrick

Gravel Grinding

Drone shot taken on October 1, 2017.

Back in 2011, I bought a Focus Mares CX2.0 cross bike to do gravel rides when I didn't feel like mountain biking. A few years later, in October 2014, I replaced it with a Focus Mares CX 0.0. This was Focus' top-of-the-line carbon cross bike with SRAM Force CX1 groupset. Somehow though, the bike lacked soul and didn't excite me. I sold it a year later in December 2015.

I had my red Volagi RD road bike already at the time, so I bought a second frameset in all black to build it up with SRAM Force CX1 and a set of Enve/Chris King wheels I had retired from my 29er. In comparison to the two Focus cross bikes, the Viaje had room for much wider tires. I found my preferred tire width at 40-41mm. This bike got ridden until the end of July 2018.

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Patrick

AllRoad Cycling

Descending from the Place Centrale on  August 11, 2018.

I got into cycling in the mid-80s on a steel Muddy Fox Explorer mountain bike equipped with an 18-speed Suntour groupset. A couple of friends and I had just finished high school and we all had started to earn a small paycheck doing an apprenticeship when mountain bikes began to get popular. Obviously, we had to have one too. First, just as a means to commute to work and get around on weekends, but soon enough we started taking them to the trails. I was hooked from the very moment.

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Patrick

Single Speeding

An evening at the Chasseral on June 28, 2018.

Back in 1994 when I lived in Oakland, California for a year, I picked up a free, locally printed cycling magazine at a bike shop in Berkeley. It had an article about single-speeding and I was intrigued. Fresh out of college spending a language year on the little savings I had made during a short, temporary design job in the medical industry, I had a nice mountain bike - a very nice one in fact - but certainly not the cash to build a single-speed as a second bike. Several years passed in which I returned to Switzerland, worked as an engineer then moved to California to start another job. Once I got established and managed to save a bit of cash, I ultimately built my first single-speed.

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Patrick

Fat Biking

Fat-biking in the Jura on March 25, 2018.

Most Swiss my age basically grew up skiing. I didn't. I only got my first pair of skis a year before we went to skiing camp with high school. I sold my skis the same year I graduated from high school and have never skied again. For one, it's an expensive sport, but more importantly, it's a hobby that requires traveling each time you want to hit the slopes. And that's the biggest turnoff for me. Driving an hour or more on busy weekend highways, arriving at filled-up parking lots, then standing in line at the lifts to get up the mountain and meet more long lines at mountain restaurants when hunger calls - that's not how I care to spend the weekend.

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