Sunday, November 16, 2014

Trail Work, and a Velo Orange Camargue Update

Henry and I headed out to Alum Creek P1 bright and early this morning to join our first trail work day of the season. The plan for today was to fill in some bad areas west of the parking lot, and cut in a re-route for the flat, wet trail along Lewis Center road. We joined the reroute crew. Henry had brought along his shovel so he could help too:

Though he had more fun and was more productive in ripping out saplings that were in the way:

We had a good volunteer turnout and put in maybe 150 yards of bench cut trail, including a small retaining wall to get over some roots that were too big to cut out:

Henry helped carry rocks to fill in either end of the retaining wall. He's a good helper!

Even though the temperature was right at freezing, we quickly grew warm and stripped off a layer or two. After two and a half hours of heavy work, we were hungry and tired, but it was satisfying to walk our newly cut trail:

Whenever I get with the COMBO guys, everyone talks about the rides planned on their fatbikes, and I feel like I'm missing something. I've demoed fatbikes in the past, and didn't really like anything about the slow, ponderous experience. That being said, I spent much of the afternoon reading up on budget fatbikes... winter is coming, after all.

This weekend, I was also able to get my Camargue out for a longer ride to try out some of my new bits:

I'm still thinking the Albastache might be the one handle bar to rule them all, at least excepting mountain biking:

I'm not so jazzed, however, about my new shoes:

I've tried Schwalbe Big Apples in the past, and found them pretty slow and, er, ponderous. Like a fatbike, in that respect (which should give me a pause before I order up a BD Boris) But the Riv guys seem to love the Big Ben version, so I ordered up the larger size for my VO. Surprise, they still feel slow. Or maybe it was the headwind. Or maybe my fading fitness. But it was definitely a slow ride. They were fun on the short dirt path I took yesterday, but on the road, where I'll ride the Camarge 99.5% of the time, they are definite overkill. Part of the problem is the size: I have to deflate the rear tire to get it past the chainstay bridge, and the fender interferes with the V brake cable:

Rather than a 55mm (advertised, 51mm actual) tire, something like a 40~45mm would really work better with the Camargue, while still giving me the pillowy ride I want. I'll keep 'em on there for a while to see if I have any better experiences, even though it may require me to install the dreaded cantilever brakes to get the fender clearance I need.

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