Turning a mountain bike into a heavy hauler

Add a low rider front rack and panniers.

Add a rear rack and bag with panniers.

Add a Burley Travoy trailer (60lb capacity)

This is the top view of the trailer rear rack adapter and hitch.

Side view of rear rack hitch adapter

Took the rig up some steep hills. About 20 lbs in the front panniers. A few more pounds in the rear rack. Trailer was almost empty. Climbed 15-18% hills. No problem.

Nice view of Confluence Park switchbacks.


How to fix broken waterbottle mount

Eventually water bottle mount threads go. If you’re lucky as me, the whole nut inside the frame will turn and then the flange on the outside of the tube will break off.

Crazy glue the threaded end into the tube. Clamp vise grips on the head of the screw to hold on to it while cutting.

Take a hacksaw and carefully cut off the head off the screw. Find a fibre locknut that will fit and screw it on carefully. Threads may be damaged so gradually turn the nut back and forth lightly with fingers until it screws on.

Find a metal water bottle holder that has a thin base so the nut will screw in far enough.

Use a nut driver and cautiously tighten the nut, careful not to break the crazy glued end loose.

Done! Never remove it again!


As long as I remember

As long as I remember, waves have been crashing down
Something in the solace, a muse upon the shore
Ripples race upon my feet, amid sounds of hushing waves
Draws the heart to listen to life’s constant surging rhymes

How and why I travel, or frolic in the sun?
Waves seep through rock and sand, like birds that know the wind
Man has neither gills nor wings, for doubt has seized his heart
Something speaks in the breaking waves that draws us up above

A traveller brings the boat ashore, a burly hand upon my back
Your anchors are of no use, for you cannot hold love back
Listen to the sounds within, for love is a living source
The way is the guide and you, foretold by the wailing wind

We rise upon the waves, like freedom rising in the sky
We ride the waves of reverence, the traveller steers the only course
We hear a joyful sound, from very long ago
The song of life is infinite and plays in our waking dreams

As I look upon Soul’s journey, its like I’ve always been
Churning waves of mystery, like a child longing for the sun
All the ages passing, like dreams that rise upon my dreams
Yet now Soul has awakened, in the moment the journey has begun

The Simplest Question

Do we know what lies within the heart?
What makes us weep and thrill with joy?
What lies outside and within all things?
Or how to arrive at love?

Love can humble the hardest man
Like a heart broken child needing love
A musician can write a note
Both are incomplete in time

When love ignites the heart
Sees the journey from start to end
Hears the notes now complete
We are witnessing eternity within ourselves

The 19 minute 9 second Race

A Time Trial is a bicycle race of 10 or 20Km where you pedal as fast as possible. Instead, I chose to gradually improve fitness this year and just ease into training.

There was no one in my age category to race with. I could easily win by default for just signing up and then racing the final competition in August.

That night I went to bed wearing gold and silver medals won during my last race 2 years ago where I rode against the clock without a speedometer. That race was a race to manage one’s speed and arrive back at a predicted time. The medals I wore to bed were comforting. This race would be my first Time Trial riding at maximum speed with a speedometer.

The race was only a few days away. There was no time to train and make any fitness gains. I decided to rest up a lot instead, forcing myself to remain in bed and rest even though this was difficult. I didn’t feel like resting after all the extra sleep I had lately.

The rain stayed away but it was very wind. The route was over rolling hills.

As the group left the arena and cycled leisurely to the start line a few kilometres away, I noticed that no one was doing a warm up.

I dropped down into my lowest gear and started pedalling fast to warm up. We climbed a hill and I eased into a higher gear and pedalled easily to the start line.

The 20Km cyclists lined up ahead of me. I was the first 10Km rider. Every 30 seconds the front cyclist in the line would race off. Finally it came my turn. The jitters faded away and I was given the signal to race.

Within a half km I was into my deep breathing routine and pedalling at an effort I felt I could sustain. Within about 1 km I sped by the first cyclist like he was standing still.

A short time later, passed another. Then even more slowly passed a 3rd racer. At the 10Km turn around I was only a short distance from passing a 4th cyclist. I had gained almost 2 minutes on the racers ahead of me.

The return trip had me passing another 10 racers. People were cheering me on, apparently quite pleased with my speed.

The last few kilometres up hill into the wind was tough. The pace I sustained seemed easy at first but as the hill and wind worked against me, the effort increased. I was struggling to maintain my best effort.

I passed the finish line marker and pedalled slowly back to the arena where I discovered that I was the first one back. This felt very unusual.

My speed was 31.6kph average. Tom said I rode a very smart and good race.

The time keeper said that having ridden a heavy bike and having turned in such a low time meant I had cycling skills. I was surprised by her comment. I have been told before I had talent but was never quite sure what to do with it.

I was surprised too that I had turned in such a low time. Gold medal. 1st place.

I had raced myself and turned in my best time ever. Sometimes all that keeps us from success is getting out of our own way, put aside the nervousness and doubts, and just do your best.

Dangerous lack of snow clearing by Calgary Roads Dept

Airport Trail pathway has already been plowed this morning yet 96 Ave NE pathway past the Blue Ring is still knee to waist deep in snow.

I’ve been told that Calgary Roads Dept clears 96 Ave. The plow trucks also blast snow off the road and onto the freshly plowed pathway (even after the pathway is infrequently plowed).

Parks frequently clears Airport Trail (its a developing park area in progress so I’m told).

The City of Calgary has mandated dangerous conditions for people crossing the two 96 ave bridges in the winter time through a lack of plowing of the pedestrian overpasses in a reasonable time after snowfalls.

96 Ave is a divided 6 lane 60kph road which often has speeders going 100kph on it. The wide median is knee deep in snow which makes it impossible to get onto the eastbound lanes when cycling.

The pathway to the pedestrian crossing is buried in even deeper mounds of snow from road plows which prevents using the pedestrian crossing at all.

The only option is for pedestrians and cyclists to risk their lives getting across the bridge by cycling and walking in traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

The City of Calgary had no problem wasting $471,000 on the ugly Blue Ring but hasn’t provided sufficient finding or effort to plow the pedestrian overpasses or to allow snow angels to plow them.

The abandoned pedestrian overpasses and pathway is impossible to use unless plowed.

The city planned and installed a steep switchback pathway into Harvest Hills. This also is infrequently plowed, causing black ice to build up underneath the snow. When snow angels keep the pathway cleared of snow and ice, the usual response is that this is more dangerous than letting it ice up. There are a lot of dog walkers and handicap people who use the switchback daily.

The city doesn’t want snow angels to clear the pathway overpasses either. In effect, the City of Calgary has made laws to ensure that lives are put at risk. So when people are injured crossing in traffic because the city won’t permit any safe option, they should be on the hook for all liability and injury claims caused by mismanagement and the elimination of using a reasonable amount of common sense.


The Worst February 8th Snow Storm In 130 Years

Calgary had a massive 24-40 centimetres of snow that fell on Feb 7&8th. People in my neighbourhood were parking in the middle of the streets to avoid getting stuck in driveways. 73 snow removal vehicles were dispatched to clear major routes. Cyclists and pedestrians had to fend for themselves. Drivers had to fend off 575 collisions only a week prior. Even clearing a small driveway required 3 or 4 clearing attempts with a snowblower.

The icy roads that are a nightmare for drivers are a blessing to fatbikers which have much better traction on packed snow that is quickly turning into ice. Wednesday morning as the snow started falling and drivers were still cursing the icy roads from the week before, I was stuck behind a car spinning tires like a buzz saw from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I could barely even accelerate on the fatbike because of the slow progress of the car in front of me. I could have blasted past the car like impatient drivers frequently do to cyclists (when the cyclist is faster) except that I’m not that crazy. I would have however, shot through the intersection before the car was even half way through the turn. For now, I’ll have to be happy cycling head on into traffic on a divided 6 lane iceway (because of having no other option) until the pathway gets plowed by the city.

Quite the impressive drift on the pathway. Although I could clear the pathway in less than an hour, city politics continue to demand the right to endanger anyone who would otherwise remove the snow or use a plowed pedestrian overpass. Of course, by now, the cyclists who would otherwise have biked from the suburbs into downtown for the Winter Bike To Work Day on February 9 wake up to discover that there is actually no way to do that even with a fatbike or a Ktrak.

Surface 604 Boar

If you are looking at one bike for all your cycling needs; winter cycling (studded tires 4″&5″), night rides (lighted speedometer), windy days (350 Watt electric motor that draws more power to get you moving), lots of hills (1X10 gear train), long rides (80km battery range), off road (run lower pressure to soak up bumps), riding up ridiculously steep grades somewhere around 25-35% (I didn’t believe the GPS’s intermittent 50% reading which was impossible to believe), or if you just want to charge your phone, this one is a good bet.

For night riding, the speedometer is well lit. The background light can be manually turned off or on. The speedometer is very sensitive and will react quickly to slight changes in speed (.1 kph).

The battery level is unpredictable when running at high power when it drops 4 bars. I’ve had it shut off when the batter indicator was down to about 60%. Setting the power to a lower level after it shuts off will allow resuming the ride for a while longer. The speedometer is powered by the battery. When the power drops and it shuts off, turning the motor power off will allow the speedometer to continue working.

There are 5 power level settings that can be selected using the + or –
buttons. Anything over 3 will deplete the battery very quickly. Level 1 is good for hills and to get moving. Level 2 is good for pathways at around 20kph. Level 3 will keep you around 27 kph and provide really good range. Level 4 up to about 30 kph. Level 5 is essentially full power until 32 kph. Would have liked the power to fade out more smoothly. There is noticeable surging at 32 kph and for trail riding at slow speeds I would recommend keeping the motor off. There is a lag of about 1 second when you stop pedaling before the motor shuts off. Despite the lower powered 350 watt motor verses my other 500 watt ebike, it provids plenty of power (up to 700 watts surge).

I did a ride at Level 3 and it took forever for the battery power to drop 2 bars at around 40-50 km. Then I upped the power level to 4 and it dropped 2 bars very quickly. Later I upped the power to level 5 as the ride neared its end. It shut off about 2 km from home at somewhere near 85-90 kms. Reducing the power level got me over the last few hills.

You don’t need to turn on the display to check the battery level. There is also a push button on the top of the battery pack. I couldn’t read this indicator outside in daylight.

The control panel is a simple affair but there are combinations of buttons to set parameters. It can be quite complicated to figure out the owners manual. Something as simple as resetting the trip/average/maximum speed is complicated and requires 6 button presses in different combinations. Press “i” 2X, press + (it shows “y”), press “i”, press “i” 2X to exit programming other features. There is no clock display.

You need the key to remove the battery for charging (up to 6 hours) and that is the only time you need the key. The lower end of the battery pack has a rubber cover where you can plug in your phone/computer via USB to charge it. Comes in very handy for touring.

You cannot plug in the charger while the battery is installed on the bike. I presume that is to prevent damage from the higher charging voltage/current. The charging socket is blocked by the seat tube to prevent plugging the charger in when the battery is installed.

To assist in removing the battery for charging, this odd spring loaded lever can be pulled out. It wasn’t that obvious that this was a lever.

The battery location creates a problem for carrying anything (water bottles/flat kit etc). You can order two racks (front&back). The front rack can carry 100 lbs (which explains the huge steering bearings). The maximum load is very high at just short of 300 lbs. This means that heavy cyclists won’t have a problem with weight limits that are typical of most bicycles. This bike could double as a cargo bike or heavy touring bike too. Later I installed a seat rack to carry a few essentials in a rear rack bag. The racks for this bike are pricey because they are designed to carry a lot of weight.

As you can see, I installed home made bicycle fenders for about $30 instead of paying about $140. The front fender has to be pulled in tight or it will hit the pedals when turning. I later shortened the lower front fender brace so it wasn’t bowed out (to temporarily provide enough foot clearance in the photo).

The right angle bracket over the front fender is a camera mount. The one accessory I would have liked to see is built in head/tail lights that run off battery power.

It is a very smart looking bike beside the Autumn colours!