I scored these sweet puffy camp shoes at my local REI last week. This would otherwise be a rather boring and completely not noteworthy except for the reason for the return on the tag.
HAH! Sorry guy, your loss is my gain!
Driver of cars, rider of bikes, lover of dogs, drinker of beer, and poster of shit.
Current fleet: 2009 C6 Z51 Coupe, 2004 330Ci, and a lot of bikes.
Gone but not forgotten: 2005 MINI Cooper S (dearly missed), 1995 Saab 9000 (meh), and a 1986 Saab 900 I owned for maybe 30 days. (phew)
I’m browsing the intertubes from my iPad today for the first time in awhile (read: no ad-block) and wow do I appreciate what @jminer and all of you other amazing helpers have built here. I hopped over to ye olde FP to try and see what’s the weekend crew is up to but cheese and fries the ads are so bad it’s almost impossible to browse over there now.
Bye bye, jello picnic. Long live OPPO!
Here’s an imperial for your time.
I got me a Pugsley! Just picked it up yesterday and of course had to immediately test it out on a short 2-mile trail that had been recently groomed. (Groomed trails around here discourage trail users with less than 4" of tire to avoid messing up the groom.)
After nearly getting my E46 stuck on the road at the trailhead, I hit the snow! My first impressions are that this thing is an extremely capable beast, even not on a groomed trail. My first lap I had my tire pressures set a tad too high, but once I aired down a bit further, it was almost unstoppable. Still very technically challenging, mind you, but totally ridable as opposed to very frustrating if I was on my other bike with it's 2.8's.
The frame is probably a touch on the small side for me (it's a medium and I'm probably into large territory) I'm hoping I can make it work with a set back seat post and/or a longer stem / wider bars. It's almost impossible to find a fat bike in stock anywhere around here due to the bike shortage and everybody wanting to get outside this winter, so when I saw this little Pug on the list of Craig I snapped it up while I could.
Plus, this being a Surly, it's got tons of braze-ons and mounting points that I'll use this summer to do a longer bike-packing trip if I can map out a good route that doesn't have too much pavement in it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some snow to plow through! This is the way.
All packed up for my first overnighter on the new-to-me Pug. I've mapped a relatively short 40-50 mile out-n-back to a great MTB trail out by Ann Arbor. My route will be mostly singletrack with a couple bike paths and road miles mixed in. I'll also get to test out my technical abilities with a fully loaded bike on some seriously challenging climbs and descents. I'm loaded up a bit more than I could be in warmer weather, but while the temps look ideal today it's going to get near freezing overnight and in the morning.
I'm in the early stages of planning a longer multi-day ride later this year, but this will be a good gear test. Hope all goes well, this should lead to great things!
I've been itching to get out and do some off-road pedaling but with all the trails around Detroit either soupy muck or covered in a thick layer of dangerous ice for the foreseeable future, my options have been pretty limited. Then I remembered there's a great state park with a huge sandy area affectionately called 'the badlands' that's perfect for these mixed conditions riding.
I had no idea of what the conditions would be there, or if it would even be ridable before I set out. Island Lake Recreation Area isn't exactly close to me so it's a lot of driving if I got out there and conditions were crap it'd be a lot of time spent driving for no reason. Luckily, the open topography meant that most of the snow and ice was melted and the sandy ground meant things were mostly dry.
One of the first improvements I made since buying this bike a week ago was to upgrade the dinky plastic pedals to some larger and more stable platforms with pins care of Crank Bros. I rode it a few times last week with the basic small pedals and found that while they work, I could definitely use more grip.
$50 later, grip is massively improved! 10/10, would upgrade again! I also bought a nice little bell that integrates perfectly on my handlebars and has a perfect crisp ring to it, not that I'm going to be rolling up fast on any hikers with this bike.
In the end, I rode around for about 90 minutes yesterday, and despite covering only six miles, I had the time of my life. The Pugsley's four-inch tires provide so much traction, I was able to roll through sand, water, brush, slush, ice and snow with so much more confidence than I ever thought possible. There were several times I stopped to walk a section before realizing I had plenty of traction to keep rolling. I was literally laughing aloud as I was bombing through slushy snow/sand mixes on off-camber grades that would've sent me flying on my plus tire'd MTB.
The combination of the bike's amazing abilities, the warm-ish weather and an epic sunset made for a fantastic evening. I can't wait to take this thing on some longer journeys.
Enough of my rambling, enjoy some more pics!
Ever since getting my Pugsley a month or so ago, I've been reading ever more voraciously about bikepacking: the people that do it, where they go, what they take, and how they do it. To be honest, I was into this before and tried a 50-60 mile trip last fall but that was a mix of paved and gravel roads. I want to get further out into the wild, and if possible, get there via some sweet, sweet singletrack!
Enter, the Pugsley! I've been aware of this type of bike for a good decade now, and I've been curious of this type of bike for snow riding, but only recently discovered how much of this bike is truly designed for getting as far out there as possible, and staying out there for a long-ass time. So when I picked mine up, I immediately started a short list of treks I want to do in the near term and I'm starting to thing about longer term goals.
But before any of that, I needed to do a gear test! I started planning for a short-ish overnight trip that involved getting in some fully-loaded trail miles on some technical single track, camping overnight, and heading back. Initially I was going to do just single track, but I decided to add some road miles in there too too. This enabled me to add some distance as well as park my car at a highway park-n-ride and not have to leave it overnight at the rec area parking lot without a camping permit. Because I planned this a bit last minute, the camp sites I was eying were all full, so my plan was to stealth camp somewhere when I found a suitable spot.
My bag setup is a mix of stuff from a bunch of different brands and acquired over the last year. Because the weather overnight was going to dip near freezing, I had to bring a bit more clothing and blankets than I otherwise would on a longer trip in warmer weather, but I managed to get everything strapped onto the bike well enough.
Well... I say well enough, because it kind of turned out not to be well enough at all. I made it through the first 8-10 miles of road and bike path without any issues whatsoever, however when I hit the washboarded dirt roads and trails, I started noticing some serious rubbing and bouncing of my gear hitting the tires on the heavier bumps. Turns out an inch or two of static clearance doesn't rule out gear rub when you're bouncing over rocks and roots! Who knew?!
Anyways, about ninety minutes into my ride, and maybe a half-hour into the trail portion, I heard something rubbing worse than before and stopped to check it out. My jacket that I had strapped onto the top of my saddle pack along with my camp shoes using the integrated bungees had come loose and was entangling itself in the rear tire. So, no big deal, strap it back down again and get going. Except... hang on, where did my camp shoes go? CRAP!
I started backtracking and made it only a couple hundred feet before I saw one of my camp shoes sitting by the side of the trail. I went back another half mile and back on the bike without seeing the other one. Okay, I thought. I must be moving too fast to see it. So, I dismounted and started walking. I walked/jogged another half mile, maybe more without seeing any sign of it. At this point, the sun was getting VERY low, and I was still a long ways away from the spot I had originally identified as my goal for a stealth camping spot for the night. SHIT!
Okay, forget about the damned shoe, time to get moving.
I stowed my sunglasses in my pocket and strapped my jacket and remaining shoe more securely on my pack, tightening the ever-living-crap out of the bungee strap and saddled back up. The time was now about 7:40, and last light was at 8:05. I'd never set up camp in the dark before, much less somewhere that I wasn't sure where my camp would be! Luckily, there was an organized rustic campground somewhere close by on the trail and my new plan was to setup somewhere around the outskirts there.
About five minutes later, I came across a couple of hikers heading the other way. In a sudden brainwave, I stopped and asked them if they were heading back to the trailhead, and if they were, would they mind keeping an eye out for my other camp shoe. We exchanged numbers, and headed our separate ways.
I rolled into camp around 7:55, and saw there were several vacant sites, despite the entire campground being booked when I had looked at the state park reservation system a few days prior. Maybe some folks got spooked by the lows in the forecast for Sunday morning? I took a chance and setup near one of them, but far enough away that I wouldn't be intruding on their site if some hikers strolled in after I did.
As my luck would have it, by the time I finished setting up my hammock and was ready to eat, the sun was definitely down and no one was walking in to set up camp, so I took the liberty of using the picnic table to cook my dinner. By 9pm, I figured that there was definitely no one coming and started a small fire in the fire pit with some brush that was lying around. I sat up enjoying the fire and a little bourbon cocktail I'd packed myself for an hour or so before retiring to my hammock for the night.
In the morning, I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise and a symphony from some of the loudest birds I've ever heard while camping. I think the offenders were sandhill cranes. If you've never heard these guys, it's worth a quick youtube lookup. The noise they make is truly astounding considering their size.
I was also greeted by a very welcome text from one of the hikers I had met the night before. Unfortunately, she hadn't found my missing camping shoe, but she did come across a very nice pair of sunglasses a short while after we parted and left them hanging on a tree for me. She also sent me a picture of the sunglasses and a maps screen shot with a pin where they were. I took a look at the photo, and lo-and-behold they were MY sunglasses, which must have bounced out of my pocket the night before! In my tiredness and my rush to setup camp, I didn't notice they weren't in my pocket when I arrived.
So, unstrap the bags and back in the saddle I went. I needed to retrieve them quickly because this was a very technical and more importantly, directional mountain bike trail, which means I'd have to either go twenty extra miles today, or go a couple miles in the wrong direction to get them. Knowing it was early, and I was a good 8-10 miles from the trail head, I figured I could go grab my glasses and be back long before any day-use bikers got out there.
My new friend's directions were perfect and I had my glasses in hand and was back at camp by 8am. Except now I was sweaty again and the temperature was still hovering just above freezing. This meant I had to do a bit of a creative dance between getting my sweaty layers off and keeping body heat in while I cooked my breakfast. No matter, I managed to do both no problem, with the added benefit that the swarm of mosquitoes was much more interested in my sweaty gear drying off than me drinking my coffee a couple yards away.
All in all, I was feeling pretty grateful that morning. Grateful for the peaceful sunrise, for instant coffee, for my luck in finding this gorgeous unoccupied campsite, and for those two hikers and the return of my nearly lost sunglasses!
As the weather slowly warmed up, I packed up my things and hit the trail about an hour later. Within fifteen minutes on the trail it was back to shorts-and-tee shirt weather, and I had a beautiful morning of singletrack.
I did eventually ride through the spot I originally intended to setup camp about an hour later. I definitely would never have made it before dark, and I'm glad I parked where I did, however that might have to be the plan for another trip. Overall it was a very successful trip. My total milage was just under fifty miles, 21 on the first day, 24 back the second, with a 2.5 mile impromptu trek added in the morning to retrieve those glasses. I can't wait to do it again, but I'll be sure to strap my gear down a bit better next time!
Thanks for reading everybody, now go get out there!
There I was, all by myself, out enjoying a nice peaceful evening ride through the snow covered woods. The center of the trail was a bit slick, so I was riding a bit more off-line than I might normally be doing, but all was well.
Now I'm on face down on the ground with the wind knocked out of me wondering what the hell happened. Based on my highly skilled and technical forensic analysis, I believe the likely offender is the tree in the foreground of the crime scene image depicted above. I think my wayward line strayed a bit too wide and my knuckles of my right hand decided they would like to occupy the same space as that damned tree.
That scrape there on my pinky knuckle was the result (and despite two pairs of gloves), in addition to what's probably a broken middle finger on my left hand. I didn't realize this at the time, but it's slowly been swelling to about 130% of its normal size and it hurts like hell when I try and bend it.
I did eventually catch my breath again and finished up my ride. Not one of my best, but definitely entertaining. Stay safe out there, OPPO!
Quick update on my PNW Coast suspension dropper post - it works! Turns out I was accidentally dumping air pressure when I disconnected my shock pump so I was getting it nowhere near the 230-300 psi it needed to hold my 200lb butt up in the air. I still struggle to disconnect my shock pump without leaking some air pressure, but I was able to pull it off quickly enough to not loose as much air. Lo and behold, with the right amount of air, the suspension works like it should, cushioning bigger bumps but generally holding me at my intended saddle height. I can definitely see why droppers are so popular. I think it's a keeper.
... and your old apartment building is in the background before it got renovated!
I've been slowly re-watching old Top Gear from the beginning and the other night I queued up episode 1 of season 3 and what do I spy in the first three minutes? Not just a beautiful Ford GT and scenes of rock-bottom Detroit Circa 2003, but my old neighborhood of Brush Park, and then, my old apartment building specifically, and pe-renovation to boot!
The building in question is the tan-brick structure behind the GT's business end in the image above. It's called the Carlton and was renovated sometime around 2005 and was finished just a year or two before the housing bubble popped in 2007/2008.
I lived there for three years when I first moved to Detroit in the early 2010s, and while the place had its challenges, it definitely offered the best panoramic downtown view I may ever experience. Certainly at a price a just-out-of-college kid could afford to pay.
In the years since most of the neighborhood around it has seen a pretty massive housing boom, and there's hardly anything left of the vast vacant fields and decaying victorian era houses that were the norm back in 2012.
Anyways, that was a wild trip down memory lane. Here's a bonus shot of my old MINI in the parking lot there during a tire change.
Now I should really stop procrastinating and swap my summers back on my current car already.
I'm digging the grey and black hat. I'd definitely rock that.
@spacekraken I know a guy who attempted it a couple years back but he had to bail out because of some medical concerns. He was by far and away the most
rabid avid cyclist I know. I hope to get to 1/10th of that level someday, but even 50 mile overnight when I tried that a few weeks back. Long way to go then!
The lack of rust bubbles under the tail lights might indicate this thing has a better body shell than most rust belt MINIs. I ended up getting BOTH of my quarter panels replaced under the factory rust warranty the year before it expired.
The conspicuous absence of the intercooler and supercharger here scares the crap out of me though. What other terrors hide in this thing? I'd pay $500 for it, but certainly not five times that.
@qaaaaa wasn't there an oppo who did ice racing that had a mini?
I ice raced mine back in the old days when Michigan had actual winters. Nearly all the events in the last five years were cancelled due to poor ice conditions
@spacekraken it's funny, I just bought an 11-34 for my gravel bike. I think modern gravel bike componentry is just what MTB stuff was in the 90s and 2000s. That XT rear derailleur is damn near top of the line for its era, I wonder how out of date it is now... I guess the only thing it doesn't have would be a clutch to control chain slap. That and Di2 shifting, but I still don't see the point of that crap at all, but then again, I'm still running cabled brakes on all my bikes. I like simplicity and easy fixes