Sunday, October 14, 2018

From Dump to Don: Toronto’s Rowdy Riding Scene / BIKE Magazine

Disclaimer: these are my home trails. I can usually be on off camber trails within a 10 min bike ride from my front door so I was super stoked to see BIKE magazine showing some love to what we commonly just call “ The Don “.

from dump to don


The parking lot at Toronto's Crothers Woods trailhead does not reveal its secret. If you believe the kiosk, a few little trails spider down a hill and around some forested flats, forming a pleasant, if insignificant, network of beginner-friendly singletrack.

When we arrive, at 9:30 on a Thursday morning in October, only two others are there. A friend has arranged for us to meet a local bike mechanic for a tour, and another regular has joined him. By tomorrow morning, after nearly eight hours of pedaling, it will be clear that Toronto holds the most unlikely promised land in North American mountain biking, a bounty of such challenge and character and unfathomable variety that I will struggle to explain it for months. But now, standing across a swath of asphalt from the Loblaws grocery store, I cannot help but think the Don River Valley has been overblown by locals who need to get out more........

** The rest of the article can be found HERE

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Closing with this shot...

One of my favorite trails.  This is Cedar Rock which is basically east coast slick rock on Cedar Mountain in Dupont State Forest NC.  See you in the spring NC.  Bring on the Assault on the Carolina's.

A few more pictures from the Fall in the Carolinas Road Trip...

Roads Like These...

This was one of those times I really wished we had road bikes with us.  S bends and mountain roads go hand in hand,

A few shots from the trails in and around Pisgah National Forest

Have Bike Will Travel...

Whats old is new again...

Well I am not as DIY talented as some but I can certainly find those that are to help with restore projects like this.

Enter Serge.  I met Serge when I got a few interior areas covered in Alcantara for my Subaru. 

When I asked him for help he did not dissapoint.  In fact I did not think the saddles in question would look this good again and in the case of the Fisik better than new.

I color matched the yellow on my Rocky Mountain Altitude and recovered this original Selle Italia Flite 1990. 

The Fizik was for the Scapin and I went with a faux carbon and matte leather.  I think they turned out great. So if you have a old saddle kicking around and want to spruce things up a bit in a cost effective way this is a great way to add some custom color bike.

The 6ix - Urban Playground Explored

Toronto really does have a pretty diverse cycling scene.  From great technical trails in the Don Valley to Gravel roads and routes in and around the portlands to several road clubs running early am rides pretty much every day of the week and oh of course  ' The Donut ' still reigns strong on the weekends.  So no matter what wheel size your running The 6ix has you covered.

It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.....

It was like kind of summer in the city.  Rain, rain and more rain.  Its hard to believe there is singletrack under all this growth.

Scapin Kalibra

This summer I spent way more time on the dirt & gravel than the roads in and around the GTA.  However it was enough to really enjoy the new bike build and road discs.  I cant wait to get back down to NC / SC and test this on actual mountain descents.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mini Marathon Monday's

First " proper " MTB ride of the year.  As always the trails in Uxbridge were in mint condition.  It seems that people really payed attention and did not give into temptation before the trails thawed out properly.  DMBA gave the go ahead for all the tracts on the 14th so after a few hard days on the road bike a nice jaunt through the woods was just the ticket.  50 km and 3600' of climbing later and the inaugural ride was over.

Dagnar MTB Trails 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nothing to see here folks, move along.....

Ok another question I get is why Mavic ? Why not Enve, or Lightweight or any of the other exotic hoops on the market ?  I guess when it somes down to it am a Mavic fan boy.  I do really like their wheels and apart from the Crossmax mtb line of old have never had any issues and I have also had stellar customer service from Mavic Canada on my other Kysrium's.   The one wheel that had me close to changing though was the Xentis Squad disc but it was a tubular and well..... no thanks.

Looking forward to testing these out and setting them up tubeless but for now they are wrapped in Vittoria Corsa 28's.  The Kalibra has clearance for 30C easily as well.   I am also going to de-badge them as I think they look a little different from all the matte UD carbon you see everywhere else...Stay tuned.

Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Disc Wheelset

Scapin Kalibra Build Up

Just a few build pics of the new rig. XL Scapin Kalibra, ENVE cockpit, Shimano Ultegra Disc Group with Dura Ace crankset, Wheels Manufacturing Bottom Bracket, 40mm rotors.  Total build weight without pedals and a seat swap to the Fizik Aliante Carbon comes in at 17.1 lbs  Not that I am chasing a weight weenie build but all in all you can't complain with that number for the size of the bike.   Why no di2 ?  Not there yet I guess.  I know its the choice of many but here's what I am hoping for.  A Campy wireless electronic group WITH hydro brakes.  Mic drop !!

Air Italia.......

Scapin ( is one of the most prestigious Italian brands ever, together with DeRosa, Pinarello and Colnago. In fact: the Scapin bikes are the sole mountain bikes ever to win the COMPASSO D’ORO, the most prestigious Italian Design Award.  The 2017 Scapin Kalibra recently bagged a Tech Award at the CosmoBike Show in Verona.

Founded in 1957 by Umberto Scapin, a former pro rider, the brand has become renown through time, for the peculiar craftsmanship, high quality and technological excellence of its creations.The Fontana family, owners of the Olympia brand, bought Scapin in 2005 and started investing in R&D, guided by the experience of the firm’s historical designer: Stefano Scapin.

Picked up the newest disc equipped carbon sled for Scapin called the Kalibra.  Looking forward to some good long rides and to share my thoughts soon.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ciao For Now....

                                                                                                                                           Photo Credit: Anthony Sloan R.I.P.

October in the 6ix...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Don Days of Spring..

Mowtown Trail Heading North in the Don Valley

Shimano XT 1x11

Decided to go the 1 x 11 route that I have set up on the Santa Cruz without dropping the coin on the SRAM group.

Enter Shimano and the workhorse group in their line up.  The trusted XT.  They have since released pricing on the XT Di2 but honestly can't see the need for electronic shifting on any of my bikes so far.

The parts I put on are the XT crank with a 32 ring, the 11/46 cassette, XT rear der and shifter and the e13 xcx chain guide.

I was concerned about the chainline and rubbing as this seems to be the complaint for people running guides.  e13's mounts between the frame and bb and comes with spacers to shim if needed.  Mine went on with the 3 mm spacer and on either end of the cassette there is more than enough clearance.

Have about 6 rides on it so far and I am liking it a lot.  The only place I think I will miss the rings is on the road  or on long downhills as you will spin out but the flip side of that is getting up the hills and I was fine on any trail so far.   One thing to note if your running bar lockout or levers the shifter has a gear indicator window that is quite big and there is a replacement dummy plate that will be released in a few weeks by Shimano for a few bucks.  I guess people realized bar real estate is key.

Shots from the trail...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Colnago C60 Disc Courtesy of Glory Cycles.

Glory Glory Hallelujah... It wont be long now before the annual NC / SC pilgrimage and while we may not be able to do the Assault on the Carolina's this year we have other things to look forward to courtesy of Clive & company......

Photo credit: Glory Cycles

NAHBS is next month in Sacremento. Steve Potts is confirmed.

Full show info and exhibitor list can be found here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

T.W.'s Lake Ride. Brought to you by tapwater....( that sh&t's good )

Saturday turned out to be the perfect bookend to a pretty solid week on the bike.  2 Don Valley training rides and a pre-tour of the new Dagmar trail with Jeff & Co. 

So the plan was hatched.  A Lake Simcoe ride via Zephyr and Jacksons Point.  Throw in 2 flats ( yours truly ) 1 throw away Vittoria Open Corso tire, 1 km of gravel, a boatload of headwind and that's what the 120+ km route had in store for us.

We started out Saturday at 6 a.m. in the hopes of beating the heat and salvaging some of the long weekend for non riding commitments.  It seems everyone was pulled in one way or another.

The day was perfect, the route was somewhat new and we hit a few roads that I had not done before.  2 flats, fresh butter tarts and coffee equals good times. 

As you can see from the picture the wind strung us out pretty good coming back from Lake Simcoe but that is nothing new it seems for the summer of the changing headwind.  For whatever reason it is a curse and leg destroyer.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger or something like that...

All in all a solid lake ride with talk of getting another one in this fall.  This weekend is the Ride For Karen and the long range forecast looks perfect.

Friday, September 4, 2015

DAGMAR.... Is finally ( almost ) back. I week to go SEPT 12th

One of the old school G.T.A. mtb destinations has been resurrected.  Official Press Release:

Uxbridge: September 1, 2015: The Durham Mountain Biking Association (DMBA) is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the Dagmar North Trails on September 12, 2015. The new 13 km of trails in the Dagmar North Tract (DNT) are the culmination of eight years of planning and 5 months of building. The building was accomplished with over 200 volunteer builders investing over 5,000 hours of sweat equity in the project. This is one of the largest volunteer trail building projects in Canada. 

In the meantime here is " some " of the trails sped up into a 18 minute sample video.  There is a lot more and tons of options and can't wait to add this to the mix... officially


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Harold, Pete. Pete, Harold...

Pee-tar-bur-oh has a nice little trail system that goes by the name of Harold...  Harold Town Conservation Area to be specific.  

We decided to hit this on the way back from a week chasing trails in QC and got rained out of a full recon ride.  

Got a hour in of sliding and clipping trees in the pouring rain sliding around on Scwhable Thunderburts ( which suk in the wet ).  It was a fun little place though and definitely want to get back out there and check it out properly.  
 Maybe a Ganny ride in the a.m then lunch followed by a drive up there ?  The only thing is the distance vs. abundance of trail.  Hard to make this a go to outing when your driving from T.O.  If you want to check out a small sample of the trails there is a 2 min video here.

Wheelie Wendnesdayz in the Gatineau Parc

They do a really good job not making public the singletrack outside of the Camp Fortune end of the park.  So much so that you almost get the feeling they don't want you to find it.  They don't know how determined we are when it comes to finding the good stuff.  Gatineau has km after km of mapped and marked double track and the stuff on the north end ( Wakefield QC ) where we just were but if you step off the beaten path, commit to bushwack, you find gems like this.  This was probably one of the most scenic singletrack stretches that was well hidden and obviously ridden and we really enjoyed these..

Monday, August 10, 2015

Don Days of Summer

Roller Flowster Trail - Don Valley

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A couple of pictures from the Pan Am Road Race.

Canada got 3 medals combined in the women' s and men's races.  Mexico has some deep talent on the road.  They were impressive along with the USA ( especially in the men's race )

Mid Summer Movie Madness....

When I find the Chris Akrigg and The Water Cycle video again I will add it below...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Colnago V1 R Dream Machine

I don't own this ( yet ) but it's nice to drool over in the interim...

The dream build would be Ultegra Di2 / Discs, Enve / Chris King, Enve Bar / Stem, Vittoria / Selle Italia Flite 1990

Pan Am Games are just over a week away...

and Hardwood Hills is almost ready to go.  Perimeter fences are up, course is marked and taped, flags are flying, expo tents are erected, team Canada is practicing daily at Copeland and the surrounding forests and some teams are here. A few things to note, parking will not be onsite and travel to the venue from the lots will be via shuttles.  The 4 concessions that border Hardwood are a security perimeter and residents and authorized users have to have permits to enter the OPP checkpoints.

Copeland Forest Canada Day

Steam Whistle Brewery and Urban Racks

What a killer idea.  This is at a trail head up in Simcoe ( I think there may be 2 or more in the area ).  Innovation and necessity at its finest.  Well done !!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Road Trip Choices...

So the short list is down to the final 2.  Both are about 30 hours drive away which multiple ride stay / stops enroute.  6 weeks and counting to the final choice.

*** original pics from the interwebs ***

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dual (ly) Personalities...

Twisted Cityscape View

Lots of kms this year it seems variety is the theme developing.  Cross adventure rides, MTB epics and LOTS of road kms.

Had a chance to ride the Canada Cup course at both Hardwood and Horseshoe and we really liked what Superfly did with the Horseshoe venue.  Who'd a thunk it. 

The Don has been great and the trails have been delivering good rides minus the insane red ants or spiders or whatever has been biting the hell out of us.

Peter Oyler has struck out on his own with Mindset Cycling and this past weekend about 60 people showed up in Goodwood for a great ride in and around Zephyr / Ravenshoe and surrounding roads.  It was a great day and a good groupetto. 

Got to preview some of the Dagmar trails today and all I can is " I can't wait ".  Having these trails online in August is going to breath some new life in the Durham / Walker loop options and although not quite as technical and raw as the old Dagmar ( at least what I rode ) its gonna be sweeet nonetheless.  Getting geared up for the Pan Am Games next...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Don Valley Views

What goes around comes around....

It seems sometimes the bike industry runs out of innovation and like other platforms start to re-introduce the " NEW " new.  Take for instance the soft-tail.  A lot of people discount elastomers and sub 2" travel bikes but truth be told it still works and is still relevant.

Case in point the Pinarello soft tail road bikes of Team Sky used in the Paris Robaiux and the BMC Teamlites being used on the World Cup circuit. 

So while bikes like the Silk ti 29's and the YBB's and La Ruta's have stuck with this platform those of us lucky enough to own one of these know all too well the benefits of simplicity.

All of this is of course scenario based.  For instance my Silk ti would not be my go to bike for a big all mountain type road trip but having been on more than few with it it never really hurt but you can certainly push the envelope a bit more with a true big squish.

I won't be getting rid of mine anytime soon and I'm glad the masses are being re-introduced to them.  In Onterrible where I live this is all I need... Oh ya those are Rotor Rings aka Biopace.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Keep It Simple Stupid...

It's hard to believe ( well not really ) that this bike is 6.5 years old.  I have lost track of the standards, wheel sizes, bottom brackets, headsets, dropper posts, cable routing, new trail riding descriptive names that have all come and gone in this time.  I still get asked about this bike the most and from locations all around the world via this blog and instagram so I thought I would do a review this summer and share some thoughts on the simplicity of the ti soft tail.  There are many like it but this one is mine...

In the meantime enjoy this ti collage of the best bike I've owned.  Castellano Silk ti 29 by Steve Potts.