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

 





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.