Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Winter Riding part 1 - Face

Goggles Up
Cold Face

I'm going into my real second year of phat bike riding during the winter.  I was pretty successful in my attempt last year but I did things wrong.  This year I think I'm more prepared.

Goggles Down
First, I finally found a good mask for my face that protects my face and allows me to breath when I start moving.  With that, an ANTI-FOG goggles are important.  I found a pair at a used sports store, best $5 I spent.  When not in use, the goggles go up and out of my face.   However, with the mask I cannot wear a pair of standard sunglasses.

The helmet is a snowboard helmet that includes ear covers.

 I've also updated my boots with covers, updated my gloves and added a side saddle bag allowing me to layer off my clothing when it gets to hot. 

This morning it was -2C and I was boiling hot by the time I got to work.  So far so good!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Adventure Jamie, Adventure!

While biking around, I came across a path that I've never been on before.  So with out thinking about it, I turned in on the path and started going.  About every 20min there was a dirt road crossing the path, so I knew I wasn't going to get lost.  While driving, I came across two other phat bike riders, where we teamed up and started to go down the path together, since we were all heading that direction..  After being on the path for over an hour and at the end of the line, I decided to break away from the other riders who just wanted to go back the same way they came.. where I decided to go up a steep dirt road.

The ride was breath taking (both in scenery and in physical exertion).  

Sorry, for obscure subject title... It's somthing that stuck with all my life and I just recently found out it's from a pilot show called "Fluppy Dogs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWeQbMOIJz4 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lawful or Predictive Driving?

I've had some struggles with biking this fall, when it comes to biking along the side of cars, near stop signs, etc..   First, let me say that if I see a stop sign, I stop.  If there is a red light, I stop.  Trying to be lawful.   However, with this type of behavior, I've almost been hit and even yelled at.. Why?  Well because it's expected that a bike will just go through the stop sign on a back road.

So I question myself, when is it right to be Lawful and when is it right to be unlawful but predictable.

I'll have to come back to this question but it's something that has been bothering me for a while.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Driving In Con't..

So I've decided that I'm going to stop and take some pictures of a few spots that make me "awe.."

Field that I pass, normally there are deer just sitting around grazing. Guess it's to cold.
Gravel path that I can take, which I normally do.

The parked cars on the bridge that I whip past.  The bridge gets COLD, due to the rushing waters.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Dark Driving

To See
So with the sun not coming up as fast as it normally does, I've now moved my front light game to a new light.  This light is from an Australian company called Knog.  The light is 100 water proof, not just water resistant and is powerful (max 640 Lumen) and USB rechargeable. I only turn this one on when it's dark and I'm on a bike path.  I light that path up like no ones business! MUHAHAHA....

To be seen!
But I've also have learned the value of a "blinking" light.  I hate these but I can tell you, when I have one on, I'm seen by cars who doing do full checks before making a turn.  So I also have another 80 lumen Knog light that flashs at different rates, also USB rechargeable.  With these two lights I have all the front end power I need.

Now to fix up my back end with a red light of some kind.

Monday, 19 October 2015

I'm so proud!

So I wanted to give her the option to bike around when she was 16 but I couldn't wait and neither could I, so even when it was -4 outside she was still biking around.

Someone looks happy!

Fall is here.

So I stopped on my way to work, just to take a quick picture of what my bike ride into work looks like during the fall.

I don't know about you but the biggest traffic jam I come across is, when someone is walking their dog with out a leash on or sometimes I come across a pack of deers panting for water.

Or I could be driving my car, get into work less sweaty and 10min earlier and have this view...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sweet 16..

So talking with my daughter about her turning 16...and with the my lack of interest in getting licence to drive.  She asked for a bike like mine.. big fat tires and with a motor on it.

Mine is the front one and hers is in the back.  Now the agreement is that my wife is also sharing the bike.  Which both seem fine with.

Yes, the new one was purchased, already assembled bike.  This is one of the prototypes that umovtech.com has put together.  So no warranty but I'm okay with that.

Hers is a 250watt rear PAS motor system, which means in order for it to work.. she needs to pedal. There is no throttle on it, either.  So she has to move to make it work..  This bike will be plentiful for her needs to get around to her friends houses, etc.

Already made some modification to the bike, since the handlebars was crazy low and far out.  So I extended the stem to be much higher and the bar to be a bit closer.   According to my wife, this made the whole bike feel much better.  Also installed a Gel seat...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

30lbs gone.. more to go

I've updated my bottom self inflicting weight loss timeline.  Measured myself this morning and I am down again.  I've hit the 300lbs mark.  I still have much to go but so far my plan is working.

Just watched "That Sugar Movie." and I have to agree with a few things however the person doing the experiment just kept on referring to his previous diet as "Avocados and Nuts", which I would think be the most boring diet ever.

However, cutting out sugar drinks and over all invisible sugar in foods needs to be a bit more of an effort on my behalf.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Measurment of Sucess?

I'm talking about how to put metrics into my own riding for my self.  Not for anyone else.

Power reading at Start
I've been trying to figure out how I can measure if I am doing better.  It's a bit of a challange since normal measurements of TIME or AvgSpeed can be changed on the amount of "power" I add when I drive.

Power reading at End
So with out doing any crazy charts with TIME x SPEED x POWER, I've been using two points of measurements.  Since my bike is a 48v 12ah system, I've noticed that my battery power remaining has been a simple and easy measurement of how much "effort" I've been putting into riding.

My bike starts at 54.6/54.4 at full charge and then drops quickly at the slightest addition at the start, just as any other Lithuium Ion battery does.  Then it holds at 80% for a long time and then drops out to almost no output around 30% remaining.  So at the start of this adventure my power at the end would read 48.2 or 49.0ish and that is when the battery was new and fresh and all power cells were at 100%.  Over time the power cells aren't as good as they could be and some simply die. 

So with a 50.3 after over 300 charges (maybe more) at the end of a ride, I can say that I feel happy about that.

But my best measurement is how I feel and at this time, I feel this is all taking me in the right direction and I guess that's what really counts.  That and my belt size has shrunk down a belt notch.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Drafting Requests

While I was biking back home from work, Going East to West, Along the Ottawa River, I seem to always be heading in the direction of the wind. 

The other day, the wind was pretty high and someone pulled up behind me and yelled "Mind if I draft?" which I replied, "sure, what ever." I'm on an electric bike, so when the wind is high, just means I have to engage my electric assist motor a little more often.

Prior to this, I've only read about Drafting on a friends blog where he was talking about drafting on a road bike.

After 10km, I had to make my turn where the person behind me yells "THANKS, that helped out a lot!"

This maybe the first time someone on a road bike thanked me for being on the path.

Monday, 21 September 2015

I Inspired someone to bike to work?!?

So this happened last week and I'm still kind of surprised by the whole thing.  While doing my normal bike commute, I saw another fat bike coming down the road.  I've seen this bike before and it was driven by a younger man/teen that was going full tilt and cutting people off on the bike path (basically being an idiot). 

But a few moments later an older person pulled past me with a "Hi!" and kept on going.  No helmet and going full blast on there "Electric Fat Bike".  Little later on the ride in, I found him pulled over to the side waiting for me.  Asking if everything was okay and if he needed help, he informed me his name is Bob and this was his first time biking / commuting to work on his bike and wanted to know which way to go.

After discussing with him about his lack of helmet, informing him that google maps can help plan your biking path pretty good, we took off and began to talk about the bikes.  Found out his bike an "E-Ranger" doesn't have a trottle and only does PAS.  Which explains why he was moving like a bat out of hell... and killing his battery quickly.  According to him, he will void his warranty if he adds a trottle to his bike.  Seemed like an odd restriction.

While biking he then told me that he saw me last winter on my bike and said "YES, that's what I want to do and how I get around.  No spandex, No traffic, big tires.." so at his age of nearly 60, he said I inspired him to bike to work on an electric fat bike.

Who knew??

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rear rack redesign, again.

No battery
With Battery
Putting the battery somewhere on the bike has been a bit of a challenge on this bike frame.  With it just sitting out on the back by itself, I lost some storage for stuff like "spare shirt, cell phone, etc.." So I came up with the idea to combined them together, which seems to be working just fine.  It's reduced any "clanking" sound from the battery holder at the same time.  With a bonus that my battery will have protection from the winter cold this year!  I can't believe I've already started thinking about winter riding.  Esh! 

I was really hesitant about doing this, as I had to poke holes and cut into my bag to achieve this but with the rule of measure twice and cut once, I think all will be well.

Side note: with this new frame I am holding the bike at 22km with no battery required.  Legs are feeling much stronger than before and I am finally starting to see and feel some weight coming off.  Some shirts that use to be a bit tight are starting to look loose.  Just a side effect of biking.

Leaving to work, it was raining and I didn't think twice about not biking in.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Re-enforced rear rack

So I attempt to make a few support bars out of some spare metal that I had laying around.  But it became way to weak and snapped with in 24hrs (2hrs of biking) which led me to re-thinking the entire concept.  Talking to a few bike shops, they have some rear streamlines for $75.00 which seemed a bit steep for what I was looking to use it for.  I still might do it but I am going to attempt a few concepts first.

After wondering around home depot, going down the isles slowly, looking for ideas on how to fix this.  I mean, I'm just looking to make a few support rods, how difficult could that possibly be?!  I couldn't find any aluminum poles, other than curtain rods.  Which if, I pounded down the ends, drills some holes, might work.  But on the very last isle, tucked away in a corner with no labels of what they are to be used for, I found some black carbon fiber rods.  Picked up 3 of them for $5 and started to attempt to drill, cut, bend them into submission for what I wanted to use them for.  After three attempts, I finally got what I was looking for.  

Now, time to go for a bike ride and see if I hear anything rattle, break or fall off.

Monday, 31 August 2015

And I restart again.

Stage 1
Going back to an older frame the bike batter never really fit correctly, so I am attempting something a little different.  Trying to put the batter way out in the back area.  The rack is "free floating" but that's another story...  So I've started.  

Stage 1: Install the battery.

Stage 2: Move all the mess of wires from one bike to another.  

Stage 2
Stage 3: Because I moved the batter to the back, the wire to the controllers now don't reach, so the controller is now going to be in the middle of this frame.

Replaced the kick stand, since the one I purchased doesn't fit and I added in some rear rods to support the "free" floating carrier in the back.

Stage 3

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

And crack!

After I really was starting to get into the swing and felt that my bike was near perfect for me.  My frame cracked while I was hauling up a hill around 20km with pedal power only.  I thought my back tire blew, the bike wobbled like crazy but I since I was going up hill, the bike stopped the moment I stopped peddling.  So, ya.  I am now dead in the water... Where do I go from here?

Do I make another electric fat bike?

Do I use a normal fat bike and forget the electric motor part?

Do I just flip to a road bike cold turkey?

Do I go recumbent since I've been diagnosed with scoliosis?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Over time, slowly morphing

I've recently starting to think about how my bike has changed over time and the bike is starting to be come more and more of what I want it to be.  Things change.

Stage 1: First year, running rear motor, straight handle bars and controller is still in a rear metal box.  Bike still looks mint and at this point both tires are default and still have tubes.

Stage 2: Moved the motor to the front, still have straight handlebars but now lifted up a little bit.  Took the controller out of the rear and moved it to a re-purposed electrical box.  Added bag to the front and the rear rack is now functional and has mud fender on the back end.  Replaced gel cover with an actual gel seat.  Rear tire is tubeless, front still has a tube.

Stage 3:  Removed side bars for rear rack, added large capacity bag to the rear, replaced entire rear tire with a Surly Rolling Daryl with a Salsa quick release hub.  Tire is now is also tubeless. Front rubber and rear rubber has been replaced due to being worn out. Controller moved out to the right side / front to get it out of my way.  Bike is faster and smoother than ever.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Endurance Building

Most of my bike riding has all been leading up to building up my endurance for riding long period of time with out taking a break. Keep peddling no matter what happens, just keep peddling. 

With that said, I've had some major success with building my legs up and in taking air.  I can almost do my entire ride with out my legs going weak on me.  I feel as though in the next few months my motor may actually become a hindrance than support my bike ride in.  I'm not going to push myself to hard so I am thinking spring next year, I'll look into buying myself a road bike.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

I GOT Screwed!

I decided to take a different path then I normally take and go along some side streets to change up the view a little.  Little spice to the trip, which I knew would of made the trip longer.  But I found myself in a zone that was just a construction zone, so chunks of metal, rocks, random debris were all over the side of the road.  

Then it I heard it.. Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick.  I stopped and found that my front tire was hit with a screw.  The tire still had air but I could feel it starting to loose some pressure.  I decided to continue driving for another 15min before the tire finally gave up and down the front tire went.  I was about 10min ride left to go!

I just removed my spare tube, pump, etc.. from my bag.  So I was left with just calling my wife to come pick me up.  As she reminded me, "Murphys law!" I've decided to continue with the lack of spare tube at this time and tell Murphy to go away!  In this case, Murphy law should dictate that if I start carring a spare tube, nothing will happen...

Monday, 17 August 2015

To much of a lock system?

So my kids bike was stolen from him while he was at the bike, about 1 meter away.. and then his friend got his stolen from his backyard.  Then I heard of the neigbour who had their bike stolen.. and I would cry if my bike got stolen.  I've put so much time and effort... 

So I found a really lock locking cable, which allows me to wrap up the rear tire and then through the frame and then through the front tire and back to the U-lock.

Front tire has the electric motor and the back is worth just about as much as the front.  As long as I am willing to carry it, I guess it doesn't matter... but I'm really starting to think I need to shave a bit of weight off the bike.

I am normally carring a spare tube, two multi-tools, one patch kit, small hand pump, vice grips, long cable lock, ulock, spare sun glasses, spare clear glasses for night driving, few nuts and bolts.  Most of this fits in the front pouch and the rear I keep available for when I need to peel off a coat, or put another layer on (if I packed it) and I keep a rain coat in there too!  

Maybe it's to much...  I'll have to re-evaluate my daily gear.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Quest for the perfect kickstand

Found it!

But first I just want to mention that when I asked in a facebook group if anyone had any ideas of what kind of kickstand a fatbike could/should be using, all I found were trolls.  I mean, lot and lots of trolls mocking at the question.  So with zero help from forums and groups, I ditched them all.  So if anyone knows of a forum or group that is actually willing to help, offer ideas and have no trolls conversations about topics, let me know. 

The Internet. It good and bad all rolled up into one and zeros.

With that said, I went to a few bike shops and they had nothing that was even close to what I was looking for and looking the last store I found this little gem hidden with no price tag.  From a manufacturer called Massload according to ebay these go for $45 - $80 each but the store gave it to me for $25!

It holds my bike up nicely and added 1lb to the bike weight but now I don't have to look to hard for a place to put it against.  I can't tell you how happy I am with this little find.  If they had more, I would of bought one for each of my kids bikes.. they seem strong and sturdy.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Fat Bike Tire Bite

Driving on fat bike tires has its up and downs. 

Penny Farthing

  • They take pot hole hits really well and don't pop under weight;
  • They take my weight (300 lbs);
  • They can be deflated to take snow and mud easier;
  • Drive through rain and feel like your one dry pavement;
  • When you start going, then they don't want to stop going.  I think this has to do with the extra 4" that are added onto the already 26" rim.  Larger circumference = more momentum. Imagine a Penny Farthing.
  • Just fun.
  • They are big, so you need a special frame (duh!);
  • They can be expensive to replace (the one shown here wasn't);
  • When you take a corner, they over steer (bite) onto the pavement and want to turn more than a normal road bike would want, which requires more effort to turn when going under 20km, over 20km it just glides around the corner;
  • You get stopped once in a while and asked a bunch of questions (which I always take the time to discuss)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Beach Time

So I took some time off and my wife convinced me to bring my fat bike with me on vacation.  I was a bit reluctant at first, as the bike is fairly large and cumbersome.  But putting the bike in the back, I took the rear wheel off (quick release) and then spun the seat 180 and walla, it fit like a glove!

So with all that said, I was driving on sand like it was on pavement.  Rode smooth!  I kept getting looks from other campers, with confused looks as anyone with a mountain bike style of bike had to get off and walk the bike around.

There was a lot of people puttering around on golf carts, some with jacked up wheels like it was a 4x4 truck!  But I was able to get around on my own.  Over all in a week, I had about 5 people stop me and ask me questions about it.  Some asked me if I make/sell them (which I don't).  But someone pointed out to me, which I never gave much thought too...  

"Not only are you driving around a fat bike that has an electric motor on it but it's also the first front wheel drive bike I've ever seen..."

The guy has a point but I never thought of my bike being a front wheel drive.  Either way I think of it as all wheel drive, motor on the front and pedal power on the back.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

New Meat

So after I dunno, 10,000 KM on this bike over the last year... It's time that I finally put my front tire (never got a flat on it) to be put to rest.  It's served me very well, better than any other tire I've owned.  

So now that parts bike that I got, is now being used again.  This time for parts that I can actually use.  I was a bit skeptical about the rubber fitting but it seems to be a bit taller than the previous one but I had lots of space.

New Tire
Old Tire

Friday, 17 July 2015

Rear breaks

I took apart the entire rear breaks, pads, etc.. and the pads on the cable breaks I installed, had a surface space of only a nickle.  Which means, it can't stop anything really.

So I gave up on cleaning the breaks and went with a brand new rear break set and disk.  Apparently the rear break that I picked up is one of the best cable break calibers that are available.  So now it's just about making the adjustments required but from my initial go.. the bike does stop better than before.

Now to go for a long ride and see how the breaks work out!  Here's hoping I can stop.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It's happened... FINALLY!

Well sort of, actually.  My bike is back in riding condition and it's better than ever.  

  • Handlebars have been risen to a good height, CHECK!
  • My seat is comfortable, CHECK!
  • My tire is holding air, CHECK!
  • Breaks are working, NOPE!

Handle Bars: I've risen them so high, I almost sit straight up.  It's an odd feeling but a side effect is, that I can put some extra power into the pedal movement.

Seat: I've tried 4 different seats and I'm good with a fat back end gel seat.  I'll try the Brooks again sometime later.

Breaks: I went to the store, purchased what I thought was the correct break pads but when I got home, I found out they were not, so that's not to useful.  At the same time I was at the store, I picked up some degreaser, where when I got home, I removed the pads from my bike and drowned the pads in the stuff, cleaned off the disks and sanded the pads down with a file, the pads look almost new and I can now, somewhat stop but I think the disks and pads need to be replaced all together.

Tire: After much pain, the tire is holding air.  After three times at the bike shop, trying different styles and the bike guy looking at me "I don't know what else to do or try, you could try a car garage." which my response was "I have faith in your ability, you just have a little faith in yourself too." and then the tire finally inflated.

What was going on?

  1. The rim tape wasn't done very well.  Sure works at a 5-10psi but 20-30psi is leaked badly;
  2. Bike shop tried some Norco stuff instead of Stans;
  3. Bike shop ended up trying a "split tube" which I think freaked out the bike shop guy.  Because he still had not trimmed the rubber off and the tire was sitting on the rubber, when he pumped it up, the rubber slipped and made a huge "BANG!" in the store.  I laughed.
  4. So after that I offered the idea of trimming the rubber to cover the rim tape and then put Stans and then attempt to inflate it. 
With that said, I've finally got to drive the bike in to work and there was a significant difference in performance.  I was kind of surprised.

Giant Bike Rim (one that was sold with the bike): I would get an average of 22km per hour, which is fast enough as I was still getting exercise out of it.

Canadian Tire Rim: I was down to 18km an hour and felt like I was driving in mud all the time.

Rolling Daryl Surley Rim with a quick release 170mm Salsa hub: I was holding 26km easily and I still had two more gears to drop down to.  Since this was my first run, I decided to leave gear changing and raitos out of my test.  But wow, felt like I was riding on glass.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Mineral Oil

So my hydraulic cables are leaking, after filling them back up, I lost pressure right away and found fluid on the ground.  So now it's time to swap to a cable based system.  

So after replacing my breaks from hydraulic to a cable based system, my first "test run" went great. I stopped and didn't feel as if the breaks were sliding on the disks.  But turning around, I found my breaking performance dramatically decreased.  Going for another run, my breaks almost didn't work at all!

I got back home and inspected the breaks, they look like they are stilled aligned, so it wasn't something came loose.  Then I touched the disk itself... and my hand was kind of black.  So the hydraulic fluid spilled onto the disks.  Taking the pads off the bike, they were ruined!  Brand new... disk pads.. GONE!

So now it's degreasing time and new pads as the new ones and the old ones were all wrecked.. That's 4 sets of pads lost within a single day.  I am AMAZING!!!

I'm near the finish line... getting ready to ride this beast that I've created.  I sure hope it will be worth it all.

Friday, 10 July 2015


I think I'm going to cry.  I keep on at this and just something and something else..

So I got this really nice rim.  New hub.  But this rim can be converted to a tubeless tire native and not the ghetto version (Rubber tire).

And hiss........ hisss.......... hiss......... is all I heard once I got the tire pumped up to 20psi.  I normally ride around 25psi!


So after looking at the tire, seems they built it with no rim tape but just duck tape.  At 20psi, a tiny flick would break that seal.... and it did.

So, NOT being someone who gives up easily.  I found some gorilla tape and cut off a piece and tucked it in.  And pumped it back up and it held!
And then, I sat on the bike.. PSSS!!!!HISSS!!!

So I am now down a rear tire still......after all this!  Still not riding..... I am very upset with the whole situation. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Disk break swap

Small disk breaks
So breaks have become an issue.  I think my hydraulic breaks lines have some minor cracks.. front stopped work all together.

So I swapped out the cable breaks from my other bike, only to find some of the lines to short!  After buying some replacements cables, crimping, cutting to fit, I am now riding on cable breaks...  and the disks need to be swapped out from the small to the larger size.

Large disk breaks
Almost ready to put the tire on the bike and go for a ride....

So much work... I'm getting a work out just from trying to get a work out!  

Monday, 6 July 2015

Reverting back... ARG!

So someone gave me this awesome rolling daryl rim at an amazing price.  So I took it. I might have been a bit to excited and got my rubber moved over and converted the rim to a true tubeless design. The rear wheel span is 170mm, which is the wheel span from my previous frame.  So?  This means I have to revert back to my old bike frame.  And so the conversion begins. Tire fits on the old frame but the new frame had a wheel span of 180mm.

Seems I just can't win... I know I am doing it to myself and it's all self inflicted pain, as I could of been happy with what I already had going but nope! I'm looking for that perfect ride for me... which will take time, patience and more time.  Feels like I am chasing after a intangible.  But I know, this is all going in the right direction.