Instrumentally speaking…

27 10 2011

Best seat in the house

As I sit to take a break from drumming I felt compelled to write. Here in my den I am surrounded by music. I have music playing wirelessly to my Vdrum monitor. If I weren’t sitting on the futon warming my crotch with my macbook pro I would likely be sitting at my Kit drumming along to whatever happens to be playing or if I wanted I could fire up Debbie (my Gibson Studio) and strum along happily pretending to be another guy from Weezer.

Having performed on stage many times I can attest to the rush one gets from performing for an audience. To speak to people thru an instrument is something I don’t think I have ever taken for granted. I struggled early to pick up and get pretty good at playing Bass, Guitar and now my latest passion, Drumming.

When I first got my drum kit, A Roland TD4 electronic kit, I was mediocre at best but I loved it so much I just kept playing. I would play to whatever came up in the Shuffle and if I missed a change I would go back and play the song again. I am not saying I am an amazing drummer but I have improved because I love to play and learn. I like mixing it up. I’ll fire up some House beats and try to add my own flava’. Or I’ll pound along to some Foo’s or maybe play my own percussion to some unplugged version of a Dave Matthews song. Doesn’t matter what it sounds like, it’s a form of art. You can basically paint the air with sound waves leaving your own impression.

If you have always wanted to play an instrument, the Recorder, mouth harp, conga drum, guitar, harp, your voice, whatever. DO IT. Be patient and pick something up and learn it, take a lesson. Playing an instrument will add so much pleasure to your life and give you an appreciation of just how talented those artist you listen to all the time actually are. The one and only thing keeping you from doing it is yourself.

Rock on!!





Cull – A softer kind of kill…

25 10 2011

Cheaky

Since I moved to BC in the early 90’s I have had a lot of exposure to wildlife. On the coast is was always about bears. Sure, they were always around. I have been within  a few meters of these gentle beasts without anything more than a “Hey how you doing?” while I gear up and get the hell out of there. I never carried bear spray as I really didn’t think I would need it. Besides, if I were charged or attacked by a bear or cougar I would have to stop my bike, dismount, dig out the spray and try to get a stream off before my head becomes a hazelnut for old smoky to chew on. I know what they are and what they are capable of and that for the most part they want less to do with us then we do our Dentist.

Here in the columbia valley we have Bear, Black and Grizzly, Cougar, Elk, Big Horn Sheep and tons of Deer. Would  you be surprised to learn that Deer are the pests here in this valley?

When I first moved here I was shocked by all the Deer around. They are everywhere munching on green stuff which includes peoples gardens. Sure they have had some encounters with people’s pets and a few folks but does that mean a Cull?!

We had a beautiful garden that lasted all season. We decided to do little research to see what plants wouldn’t attract the deer so we could avoid planting attractants. We planted Asters, Sweet Pea, Sunflowers etc and guess what. No Deer.

We live in the Rocky Mountains and we’re surrounded by wildlife. With a little effort by us, the higher thinkers (apparently) we could control the flow of deer in the valley a little. Sure the snow will creep down the mountain driving the animals to town to feed but if the grocery store is closed or even out of stock won’t they go elsewhere? Of course they will cause that’s what they do.  Sleep, eat and breed (lower thinkers – sounds fun actually).  No food – move on after some nookie.

With a little thought we could easily reduce the Deer numbers. Perhaps with a little effort a Cull wouldn’t be required. We should be planting our gardens with wildlife in mind not with the attitude that the town will come in with it’s magic boom stick and make all the deer go away.

We have the control solutions. Let’s try them out.

Invermere Deer Cull

 





Ahhh, The Black Nectar

23 10 2011

Usually the first thing on my mind after I pry my sticky eyes open after a nights sleep, or lack there of, is coffee. Admittedly it’s usually the first thing that hits my system. I know some of you are appalled by that but it’s just the routine. Food gets in there eventually.

People who don’t drink coffee are usually the first to spout off about the negative impacts of the modest bean but just like anything there’s always a Yin for the Yang.

Coffee is a natural deterrent to many brain affecting disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as some Cancers. Coffee makes you alert, not from caffein as much as from other compounds that increase levels of adrenalin in the system. It’s an antioxidant, laxative and most importantly it staves off Gout! whew!

Just like the light of Yin, there’s the dark of Yang… We won’t get into that right now  tho. Check it out yourself.

I say, enjoy your brew and smile. I only have another 40 years or so on this planet and I am going to enjoy it’s bounty!





Panorama Foundation Pledges $30,000 toward CVCS

22 10 2011

This is great news!

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Recently the Panorama Foundation board of directors decided to support the Columbia Valley Cycling Society to the tune of $30,000 toward its goal of legally-sanctioned multi-use mountain bike trails at Brewer Creek and the Silver Moose Trail between Invermere and Panorama.

This is a tremendously positive step toward the upgrading and sanctioning of a high alpine mountain bike ride at Brewer Creek and a trail link between Invermere and Panorama in the Silver Moose.

It must be noted, however, that despite significant history of mountain biking in these areas these trails require further outreach to other user groups and wildlife assessments and are not at this time legally designated as mountain bike trails.

It is the belief of the CVCS board, however, that a responsibly-built, environmentally-sensitive trail, and legal high-alpine mountain biking trail from Brewer Creek to Panorama would put the Columbia Valley on the map as the first class riding place it is and has the potential to become.

We envision a one-way trail from the Brewer trailhead to Panorama. The trail would be improved to the standard of the International Mountain Bike Association. The beautiful thing is that Brewer is and has been ridden as a mountain bike trail for over 15 years. Most of the trail would remain as is, with approximately 3’ wide bridges put over stream crossings and reinforcements made to areas that may be prone to erosion.

The Brewer Creek Trail has the potential to become the signature ride in the Columbia Valley, every bit as challenging and rewarding as the well known Seven Summits Trail in Rossland.

The Silver Moose, as currently envisioned, would allow for back and forth mountain biking between Panorama and Invermere on the south side of the Toby Creek Canyon. A wildlife assessment for a small herd of goats on the TobyCanyon is required to see if this trail can go ahead without causing damage to this herd. This is a part of this project’s budget and the CVCS is actively pursuing $20,000 in funding specifically to pay for this assessment.

The Columbia Valley Cycling Society seeks to only be involved with first rate projects and trails. Therefore we are being very thorough with regards to planning this project. Brewer Creek and Silver Moose require much thoughtfulness and conscientiousness, but the result will be a world-class community resource that will benefit the physical, social, environmental, and economic well being of the Columbia Valley.

With a municipal election coming up on November 19 we hope you will let those running for public office in the Columbia Valley know that you support the Brewer Creek and Silver Moose Trails becoming improved for all users and legalized as mountain bike trails and that you support more legal multi-use cycling trails in the Columbia Valley.

Yours in cycling,

Adrian Bergles

President, Columbia Valley Cycling Society





Non-existent if not on Facebook…

21 10 2011

It’s funny. The last year has been one of change for me. I changed careers. Once an IT guy now a bike mechanic / retail guy. The change of pace has been most welcome as has the lack of commonly heard complaints like “I can’t print.” or “I forgot my password.” or “Can you help some random guy get on our secure wireless network?” Believe me, it’s a relief and not having to hear those words any longer brings a smile to my face as I am trying to get the hop out of a customers rear wheel.

One of the biggest things was to try to pull some plugs on what was a fairly connected lifestyle. At the peak of this mountain of stuff was facebook. Have you ever sat down and considered what the point of facebook is? Have you ever felt a sense of accomplishment when your friend count went up by a couple people? Do you realize that even though you can say you have 975 friends on facebook you still can only count your actual friends on one hand? Facebook is kinda like standing in the middle of town with a bull horn rattling off all the little things you do by the hour.

Dumping Facebook is what I guess quitting smoking is like, not that I ever had to do that. I quit. I signed back in. I quit again. I sign back in. Finally I pull my head in and realize that this is pointless and dump it for good. Guess how many people contacted me after I left? About as many as I could count on one hand.

It’s been a joy not sitting in front of a computer every day. I surround myself with people that care about me. People I could actually talk face to face with. I do other things with my time like play music or my drums or my guitar or I take my bike for a rip in the woods or sit with my gorgeous girl and just be. I haven’t dumped my on-line existence completely. I have a twitter account and an Instagram account and I guess I have this presence as well. The difference is, it’s all mine. I am not forcing information about the lunch I’m eating or all the cool things I did today down anyones throat. If you really want to know what I am up to, call me and let’s have coffee. I would love to share a laugh with you.





Wider is better..

19 10 2011

So you’re working at home in the shop, you’re changing your oil – whatever. You’re trying to loosen a bolt and your wrench just isn’t long enough to get enough torque. What do you do? You find a longer wrench or grap a cheater, slip it over the wrench and, Bazinga! The bolt’s loose. It’s called leverage and it gives you mechanical advantage.

This same theory can be applied to mountain biking as well. I have been rocking wide bras for years, even wider this year when I picked up some Chromag OSX 760mm bars. 760mm is 30 inches. That’s almost a metre wide! For those of you not convinced here are a couple points to consider.

1) Wider bars place you in a more aggressive stance over the bike. This means more stability which makes you better prepared for all conditions.

2) Ever notice that it’s easier to do a bench press when your hands are placed further apart? This mechanical advantage can also be applied to wide bars. Not that you’re bikes weighs 200lb. but the front end of my ride does exactly what I want it to do with the least amount of input because I have mechanical advantage. This can also get you into trouble!

3) You can apply the same theory above to climbing. Apply this with another gym analogy. Try doing a pull down with your hands together. I know, right? Now try with your arms spread. Exactly… When the climbing gets technical and steep having a wide bar gives you more room for your legs to maneuver when you are riding the rivet.

4) I am a barrel chested Irishman so having all that room up front for my lungs to inflate is fantastic!

The only con to wide bars that I can think of can be seen in the image above. You really need to learn your width before you go tearing thru the goal posts.  If you are thinking about going wide which will change the geometry of the ride consider your geometry. If you are a 5′ tall and a buck five then a 760mm bar might feel like a flag pole so cut the bar as appropriate to your own body.

What do you think?





I can feel it in my knee….

19 10 2011

Winter is coming.. I reflect back and think about winters in the past. I grew up Snowboarding in Ontario back in the late 80’s. Then it wasn’t much of a scene rather a new sport that people didn’t get. As time passed and as popularity grew the scene changes as with all sports. The bottom line was, if you looked good enough and threw down enough sick shit, you’d belong to this new life meme called Snowboarding.

I see this translate to all sorts of sports and now that I am in the bike industry again it’s more clear then ever that it has fallen victim to the same principles. Throw down, drop cliffs, spin or flip as many times as possible. Dare I say it… Extreme!

As I sit here and type, my subconscious is already planning today’s ride. It’s not extreme by any means but really, anything is as hard as you make it. Ride faster, corner harder, find new lines, ride cleaner.

I want to ride for the rest of my life and there comes a point when you decide to drop the scene and just do something because you love it. The bicycle is one of the most amazing of machines whether it be a DH rig or a grocery getter. It’s like an old friend you rely on. We count on our gear a whole lot and whenever I finish a ride unscathed I look at my rig and smile.

We all need to drop the attitude. Who cares if you’re an XC racer, free rider like me or a DH’er (sorry if I forgot about your category) we are all on two wheels let’s take that for what it is. We are all cyclists no matter what the discipline or what you’re wearing.