Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Friday, January 29, 2021

New E-Bikes - must be getting old.

We, well more accurately, I have been considering getting e-bikes for a few years now.  Lori, not so much.  She is of the opinion that any device that she can fall off of is best to be avoided and she is firmly in the walking camp.  She comes by this opinion after a few adventures over the years riding our bikes on bumpy gravel roads and one particular experience with loose dirt and some tree roots on the bike trail at Clear Lake.  

I kept bringing up the possibility of getting ebikes on the premise that she would then be able to keep up with me and I wouldn't constantly be leaving her in the dust, so to speak.  Her response was to go ahead and get one for myself and she would walk.  She has finally relented to the subtle but constant suggestions, kind of like water erosion on a rock.  Eventually water wins.  

The e-bike craze seems to be accelerating and we have noticed in our travels that, what started out with a few E-Bikers, has now become a steady stream of e-bikes on the road and trails.  Even at home while out at Birds Hill Park we have noticed them.  

I have spent some time researching different components and e-bike companies and had pretty much decided on what we had to have.  Or rather, what I wanted to have.  We did rent a couple of bikes in Scottsdale a few years ago so we had some practical experience but mainly I went with online reviews and Youtube videos.  Friends from Calgary who we have met up with in Gold Canyon the past few years have extolled the virtues of e-bikes which only made my trigger finger itchier.    

I had narrowed it down to a couple of Canadian companies.  To be clear all components come from China but the design, assembly, shipping and support are handled by Canadian operations. I had pretty much decided on an outfit out of Vancouver called Surface 604 however lately my Facebook feed was inundated by a company called Biktrix out of Saskatoon.  They had a new line of bikes which was higher end than we needed and more money than I expected to spend however the mind can justify many things given enough time.  Their new line was also being initially offered through a crowd funding campaign at a pretty good discount so that became the tipping point. 

Not sure I will be into winter riding unless it happens to be in Arizona but a few short trips around town will probably happen as soon as we get a good Bonspiel thaw in February.  

The following is the post I put on the Biktrix group Facebook page for those interested.  I have also put a few pictures at the bottom of the blog.     

My Biktrix story so far.

I ordered our bikes, Duo Ultra 1000, on Indiegogo on Dec 1, and received the survey on Dec 15. We received notification that they were shipping on January 19 and received them Fed Ex on January 21. We live just outside Winnipeg so its only a long 1 day drive from Saskatoon to the warehouse in Winnipeg, Mb.
When we received our survey we were told that we could get them now if we wanted Step Thru's with 17" frame. Step overs or 19" frame was probably a March delivery. I am 6' with 32" inseam and was dubious of the 17" frame for myself. Dear Wife is 5'5" so 17" frame would be fine for her. I was assured that 17" frame would be fine for me as well so we went for it. Even though we won't be riding till Spring I figure, given the supply chain being what it is, I'd rather have the bikes in hand rather than possibly being told later that there would be further delays. Bird in the hand..... as they say.
Bikes were delivered in good shape with only a couple small holes in the boxes. Assembly was relatively easy, easier on the second bike after some experience. One screw to secure the front fender support to the front fork was missing and either wasn't shipped or came loose during shipping and fell out of one of the holes in the bottom of the box. I found a spare screw in my inventory that fit so no problem. I ordered a 4" Thudbuster for myself and a 3" Thudbuster for Dear Wife although the thud buster raised the seat too much for her and we will probably go with the standard seat post which they also sent along. A waste of money but I should have talked to support to make sure her diminutive stature would still fit on the bike with the Thudbuster. My Bad. I also ordered the side mirrors and I'm not sure they will work with the A bars so chalk another one up to experience.
The inframe battery was 48V rather than 52V and got 9 speed Shimano vs 11 speed Sram. All due to supply chain issues. A few ad ons were sent to compensate which Roshan has detailed here in other posts. Given my riding style, which is pretty tame, I don't think I will miss the items that were down graded.
A comment on the A bars. While I have only gone for a spin around the block so far the A bars are very comfortable however for more aggressive riding the swept back style could hinder tight turning on trails. I don't think it will be a problem for me but something to keep in mind. They did include the standard Mtn bike bars in the box so I can switch them out if I desire.
So far my experience with Biktrix the company has been top notch. A few little issues however Support and the active Facebook group have been great. The bike will take a little getting used to but that will be part of the fun. My little ride so far was quite exhilarating.
Happy trails.

Lori is all smiles. Now I have to get a bike rack that can carry two bikes that are around 70lbs each.

The bike is called the Ultra Duo 1000 which can be outfitted with 2 batteries so we can drive a long way between charges.  Has hydraulic quad piston disk brakes and 1000 watts of power so will take off like a rocket and stop on a dime.  Staying on will be our challenge. 

The happy FedEx driver dropping off our bikes. 

Sturdy boxes with a few tears and pretty good packaging.  No damage during shipment with only one missing screw.  Not bad given some of the horror stories I have heard. 

They come pretty much fully assembled.  Handlebars, front tire, seat, front fender and pedals.  Turn on the power and hit the throttle.  Which I did by mistake and almost did a wheelie.  

Handlebars on.  These are the A bars which provide a more relaxed and upright position for us older folks.  Much easier on the neck, back and shoulders.  Perhaps not the greatest for tight turns on trails but time will tell and they sent the regular straight mountain bike handlebars as well so I can switch them if I need to.  

Front tire on.  The tires are 27.5" x 3" wide.  Could of got the 4" or 4.8" but I think these will do just fine. 

Pedals on.  

Seat on.  Just trying to figure out how to adjust the height and angle.  Will be curious how much the Thudbuster post absorbs bumps.  

Front fender on.  All ready to go.  

Another shot of the A bars.  lots of extra room to mount a phone or other little attachments.

And now bring on the warm weather. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Sun Dogs Extraordinaire

The above average fall temperatures are history now.  With the winter solstice came  winter weather and the onset of snow, wind and cold temperatures.  We have had a few inches of snow the last few days and last night we were supposed to get hit with a full scale blizzard.  Fortunately for us we only got two of the 3 criteria for a blizzard.  Wind and cold. -40 with the wind chill tonight.  Doesn't matter how you measure -40.  Fahrenheit or Celsius, its the same thing.  Dammm Cold.  The snow for the most part missed us so at least the drifts are only a few feet deep although the wind has hardened it to the consistency of concrete.  As I was walking Charli I passed a number of unfortunate soles out trying to shovel the stuff so they could get out to work in the morning.      

We were blessed with a rare sunset tonight.  At least rare for me.  I don't think I have ever seen twin sun dogs in such dramatic fashion.  I got a text from a friend of mine telling me to get outside with my camera.  Thanks Debbie.  Here are a few different interpretations of the event.  

Left this one in the oven a little too long.  A little overdone but I do like my colours. 

This one is a little more realistic.  Pretty spectacular.

A black and white version however I couldn't resist adding back just a touch of colour. 

Its not often you get to see this in Manitoba.  

May be my last blog before Christmas so if I don't talk to you before both Lori and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year. 

 #Manitoba Sunset

#Sun Dogs

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Trip to Falcon Lake

 Well it has been awhile but with lockdowns back in vogue, other than a few day hikes to some local parks to walk Charli and take a few pictures, there has not been much to report.  I did break down and give Apple more of my business.  I ordered another laptop through the Refurbished section on the Apple store.  Saved about $900. and it looks and works like new with full warranty plus Apple Care.  Got it in 6 days.  Was promised it in 3 but with Covid all deliveries are somewhat protracted.  Fed Ex delivery this time and handled much better than UPS.  I have slowly been setting it up, transferring data and loading programs.  Will take me awhile to get fully operational but its functional and I kept my old iMac so the data is all in there somewhere.  In fact I'm going to use the 21.5" iMac as a second screen for the MacBook Pro and I'm just waiting for delivery of some cables so I can hook it all up.  

Lori got an Apple Watch for an Anniversary present and I got a set of AirPods Pro for my birthday so Apple had a good revenue month just in our household.  Lori likes the Apple Watch although I still think its a bit gimmicky but the AirPods Pro are great.  I turn on the noise cancellation and listen to Youtube videos and can't hear the TV.  Just soft muffled background noise.  Of course I also can't hear Lori talking to me.  Really allows me to focus in on the important stuff.

Black Friday provided some great deals on Photo editing software and now that the new Mac is up and running I am experimenting with the new Luminar AI and some Topaz products.  Other than the installation of some baseboards in the basement my winter will be spent in front of the computer, daily walks with Charli and the ongoing struggle to get my fat old body downstairs to do some exercises.  Let me tell you those exercises are a lot harder at 65 than they were at 60.  Progress is slow and the scale only seems to know how to go in one direction but fortunately, or unfortunately depending how you look at it, I have the whole winter to work at it.

I have a ton of pictures to edit so lets get started with a little road trip we took a few weeks ago to Falcon Lake.  Falcon is in Whiteshell Provincial Park and about a 2 hour drive.  We thought it would be a nice break from our daily walks around town or our weekly outing to Birds Hill Park (BHP) just down the road.  You will see lots of BHP before the winter is over as I think I will have photographed every tree by spring.      

Perhaps some of the best pictures I took on this day was on the drive out.  The highway is lined with trees and the ditch is filled with bull rushes and reeds.  Combined with the remnants of some hoar frost I just had to stop and take a walk through the ditch.  Pulled over on the divided highway, put on the flashers, left Lori and Charli in the comfort of the heated car and I wandered into the ditch.  

The forecast was for a sunny day with some cloud.  Turned out to be more of an overcast day but with enough colour in the sky that it actually turned out to be a pretty good shooting day.  The hoar frost really helped. 

The warm tones of the long grasses really helped offset the cooler tones of the rest of the scene.  I liked the contrast it provided.  Otherwise it could have been a little drab. 

I think this is my favourite shot (below) from this location.  The frost covered spruce framed by green branches of the trees set back in the bush with those framed by the frost covered branches of the surrounding deciduous trees.  All capped off with the warm tones of the grasses in the foreground.  

Looks like a Christmas card.   Hmmmmmm! 

Proved to be a bit of an adventure getting the shot below.  I needed to get in the right position so I could use those two fallen trees as leading lines down the small creek bed, between the spruce trees to the long grasses.  I just had to get down into the dry snow covered creek bed.  

As I was positioning myself the ice started to crack.  

I stopped.  So, not a dry creek bed then.  

It stopped cracking.

I slowly knelt down took my shot and slowly made my way to the side of the creek.

No boots got wet in this adventure.

Tomorrow I'll start working on the pictures from the trail.

Till then.