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2021 Images

Favorite images from trips throughout 2021

Home for the night. Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, January 14th.
Chinook blowing in, January 24th. Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park.
The Fat Viking’s Elbow, January 31st.
Three wolves travelling on Lake Minnewanka at sunset, February 20th.
Coldbike (my friend Doug Dunlop) no tent, no tarp, no bivy … and with a full barista kit. Romulus Backcountry CG, February 28th.
March 11 sunset, gravel grinding overnighter in Rockyview County, Alberta.
March 12 sunrise, gravel grinding overnighter in Rockyview County, Alberta.
April, Lake Minnewanka margin riding. Almost hardly nothing to go wrong here; almost hardly.
April, rain, snow, mud. Banff National Park. DIY composite rack and X-Pac VX21 panniers.
Nature as sculptor. Lake Minnewanka Shoreline Trail, April 22nd.
Ready for ? Thanks to Liz Sampey for the detailed recommendations!
May. Spring exposes avalanche debris. East End of Rundle.
May scenic gravel grinding. Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park.
More May gravel grinding. Elbow Sheep Wildland Provincial Park.
Sporty “riding” conditions. May 20th snowstorm in the upper Elbow River Valley.
Rollingdale on duty! More May gravel’ish grinding.
Sunrise on Lake Minnewanka Shoreline Trail. May 27.
A Spring ritual with my sweety. June 1st.
June 2nd bikerafting. Lower Elk Lake Provincial Park, B.C.
A little deeper than Kevin expected. June 5th, Bighorn Backcountry.
Not summer yet. June 11, Rawson Lake.
A rare portrait of a naked Rollingdale. : )
Not naked Rollingdale. June 14th, Elbow Lake.
Summer solstice! Pierre Greys Lakes Provincial Park, June 21st.
Ready for summer bikepacking!
Some bike pushing required! Lake Minnewanka Shoreline Trail, July 7th.
Looking like I may get wet while bike pushing. July 7th.
Just made it! July 7th. The heaviest storm I’ve been in some years! The MSR Carbon Reflex 1 kept me dry in rain, hail, and high winds during a storm that lasted about 15 hours. Highly recommended as a summer tent.
Sunset riding in the Upper Elk Valley, July 15th.
Test riding some new prototypes on the High Rockies Trail (a segment of the GDMBR). Up front a single carbon fibre aerobar with multi-position elbow rest (190 grams); and a waterproof FireballBag (6 litres, 120 grams). Out back, a pair of RacklessPanniers (each 10 litres, 275 grams). Camp shoes are being used as a dropper-post compatible fender and attached with a 20″ Voile Strap. The frame has a custom full length top tube bag, DIY high-volume frame bag, and a FenderBag. An XL StraddleBag securely holds bear spray and a 700ml Aquabot. August 1.
Dale Marchand – Rollingdale Cycles – with one of his masterpieces!
Jonathan Hayward, founder of the AR 500/700, ripping it up on the High Rockies Trail, August 14th.
Shawn Savage (L) and Colton Ponto (R) Heading for the finish line of the 2021 Alberta Rockies race, August 17th. East End of Rundle.
Trish Holt getting it done in difficult conditions. Alberta Rockies 700 Finish Line, August 19th.
Bikerafting from home. August 23rd.
Fording Pass scouting with L & L, August 30th.
More Fording Pass scouting, August 30th.
My friend Kevin Wirtanen taking it all in near the end of an epic day of fatbiking. Bighorn Backcountry, September 8th.
Elk Lakes Provincial Park B.C. September 15th. -10 degrees Celsius!
There was enough wind coming down the Kootenay Valley that this long time exposure blurred a bit. Confluence of Kootenay and White Rivers, September 26th.
Guy on another overnighter, Kootenay Palliser FSR. Photo by Peter Fordham.
Sunset over Elpoca Mountain, October 5th.
Science experiments, backpack on rear rack and low-volume pannier system. Lake Minnewanka Shoreline Trail, October 21st.
Ya Ha Tinda backcountry at sunset, October 27th. This picture was taken shortly after I’d cycled out of an area where 2 or 3 bears (mother and two older cubs?) were on a kill. One of the bears got around behind me on the trail…not ideal. The ravens and jays were looking out for me!
Global Fatbike Day! Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, December 4th.
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Bikerafting gear list

Loaded bike with packraft and 4-piece paddle in the handlebar harness

Packing a Rollingdale hardtail adventure bike for “no-backpack” bikerafting.  Total weight of bike, raft and all gear with food and 3 litres of water is around 65 pounds. 
1.  Bikepackers Foundry downtube FenderBag MSR – Carbon Reflex 1 tent and DIY full footprint, spare bottle of fuel in bottom of bag.
2. Bikepackers Foundry StraddleBags (left & right) – smartphone tripod, buff, bear spray, Park tool, nitrile gloves, lock, bug net hood; extra space.
3. Bikepackers Foundry custom white full-length top tube bag – InReach w/padded case, 1 litre Aquabot by Lunatech, sunglasses in hard case, ~2,000 calories of nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, sunscreen, OR folding cap, water purification tablets; extra space.
4. DIY left pannier – 3-4 days of freeze-dried meals, long-handled Ti spoon, toiletries, bear-hang kit, extra snacks & emergency food, first-aid kit, spare headlamp, all in OR zipper bag; black zipper bag with all PD cache batteries, cables, spare bike light, knife;  Sea to Summit ultrasil backpack containing hooded down jacket, Gore Tex hooded rain jacket and full-zip rain pants, insulated vest, Gore Tex overmitts, spare gloves.  
5. DIY Framebag – spare Carbon Drive belt, Leyzne mini floor pump, tools and spares for bike, MSR 2 litre water bladder, GSI nesting bowls and small camp towel with MSR Reactor stove with fuel bottle and lighter; extra space.
6. Top of DIY rear rack – Salsa EXP dry bag containing; flat folded ThermaRest NeoAir Extreme large sleeping pad, OR compression dry bag containing regular ThermaRest Hyperion -6 C 900 fill-power sleeping bag, Sea to Summit pillow and inflation pump with adaptor hose, merino top, bottom, & boxers, spare compression socks, RAB down booties, RAB down pants, OR down beanie. 
7. DIY right pannier – raft repair kit, combo throwline and bailer, spare straps, Kokopelli USB rechargeable inflator, neoprene socks and gloves, Crocs water shoes, Mustang hybrid PFD with emergency whistle and knife. Not visible are a waterproof 3 litre deck bag, and a lightweight 40 litre drybag for all this gear that also serves as an back-up inflation bag and secondary air chamber inside the inflated raft.
8. DIY Jones H-loop handlebar harness – “Telkwa” DIY Packraft, 4-piece Werner packraft paddle, 4 Voile type straps. The raft is rolled around the paddle sections.

All gear laid out on a DIY tent footprint.
All gear laid out on a DIY tent footprint.

red “Telkwa” DIY Packraft with a blue Alpacka raft set up for an evening paddle

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Wahoo Elemnt Bolt mounting onto stem caps

This simple hack takes a few minutes to install and can be moved to different bikes without tools or cutting and replacing of cable ties.  Interlocking Velcro One-Wrap and adhesive backed Loop Velcro yield a sturdy mount and smooth surfaces in the bicycle cockpit.  In this example the Bolt positioning is at an ideal distance and location for the progressive lenses I wear.

The method of interlocking Velcro types is widely applicable.

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Completed mount out on a day ride.

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Cut two narrow strips of One-Wrap to fit into the slots designed to accept cable ties.  These strips are about 4″, 10cm long

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Mount and Bolt assembled and ready for a test fit.

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A strip of adhesive backed Loop Velcro is cut and wrapped around the perimeter of the top of the stem. The Wahoo mount with OneWrap strips is then pressed firmly into the Loop Velcro.

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Lastly, a length of One-Wrap (in this case 7″, 18cm) is then tightly wrapped around the One-Wrap tabs and the underlying Loop Velcro about 1.5 times the circumference to create a secure mount.

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Bikepackers Foundry backstory

May 5, 2021 Episode 57 of the MyBack40Podcast. Sara and Guy chat with Steve O’Shaughnessy about Sara’s first year in the bag making business.

Here’s a link to a podcast about how products and DIY ideas emerge from the Bikepackers Foundry.  Grateful that Sarah Hornby of Bikepack Canada and Steve O’Shaughnessy of MyBack40podast found this topic of interest to the community.

As one of the most requested guests for the Podcast, many of you already know who this man is. For those of you who don’t, say hello to Guy Stuart. Guy has been in the Bikepacking scene for the last handful of years and has made his presence known by participating in any event he can get his wheels into. Guy is also a passionate DIY sempster (tailor, sewer) and has manufactured most of his own luggage. In this episode, Guy discusses his passion for cycling and his analytical approach to the design and fabrication of his pieces.

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Lightweight DIY meals – only boil water to cook

Boiling water for instant mashed potatoes on the trail.

February 1, 2022: This instant mashed potatoes suggestion is based on bulk quantities that can reduce or eliminate extra packaging. A 1/2 or 1 liter Nalgene bottle provides reusable dry storage of the mix, and makes it easy to get just the right amount for a quick meal. The ground chia and ginger contain ingredients that may help with both fueling and recovery. Butter and/or powdered milk can also add calories and extra flavoring.

Ingredients:

Just Real Spuds Mashed Potatoes, 2.5 kg  | Costco,Buy PRANA Proactive Organic Ground Black Chia Seeds at Well.ca | Free Shipping $35+ in Canada, Egg Yolk Powder|Eggylicious (prideofindia.ca), Buy Simply Organic Ground Ginger Root at Well.ca | Free Shipping $35+ in Canada, Club House, Quality Natural Herbs & Spices, Fine Herbs, 62g : Amazon.ca: Grocery & Gourmet Food, Cello Parmesan Whisps, 269 g  | Costco

Four-cheese instant mashed potatoes

This suggested meal is based on packaged Idahoan mashed potatoes available in many grocery stores. The packaged potatoes are supplemented with freeze-dried Lite House veggie mix, unsalted butter, and powdered ginger (not shown) all combined in a zip lock bag. Alternately the ingredients can be carried separately and combined at meal time. Typically yields about 700 calories (the Idahoan mix is 440 calories/bag). Pour two cups, (500 ml) of boiling water into zip-lock bag, stir completely, let stand one minute prior to eating. This meal can also be cold-soaked….not so much for the butter. 🙂

Ramen and “stuff”

Here’s a favorite bikepacking meal.  Ingredients can usually be found in most grocery stores.  Super easy to prepare in advance and loaded with about 750 calories.  Typically costs less than $3/meal.

2 – blocks Organic millet & brown rice ramen = 480 calories (Costco product) This is sold as a gluten free product.

1 pouch of Lipton Chicken Noodle Supreme Cup-a-soup = 60 calories

1 teaspoon Litehouse freeze-dried ginger

1 tablespoon Litehouse freeze-dried poultry herb blend (both Litehouse products are usually in the refrigerated salad dressings area of grocery stores)

1 can solid light tuna packed in olive oil ˜200 calories (weight 85 grams) or substitute nuts, jerky, Hot Rods, etc.

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Preparation: Break up the ramen in a bowl and then add to a 1 litre  “medium” zip-lock freezer bag …. not a sandwich bag.

Combine rest of ingredients, except tuna, in bag, and seal.

When ready to “cook” add a can of tuna with the oil and then add 450 ml of boiling water, and seal bag.  Wrap bag in something to keep it warm.  Wait 5-15 minutes* while stirring bag occasionally to mix contents. Enjoy. *altitude dependent

Breakfast Hash

A friend highlighted Golden Griddle hashbrowns as a staple bikepacking food. Thanks Bob! These containers of dehydrated potatoes are widely available in North America. Marketed as gluten-free, the spuds are an excellent base for adding your favorite ingredients. The sodium levels of ~1,800 Mg/container are worth considering relative to your daily activities and needs. “Cooking” is as simple as adding 500 ml of boiling water to the container, stirring, and enjoying a hot beverage while the mixture rehydrates. At 1,800 metres it takes about 15 minutes for rehydration.

1/4 teaspoon Litehouse freeze-dried ginger

1 tablespoon Litehouse freeze-dried poultry herb blend (both Litehouse products are usually in the refrigerated salad dressings area of grocery stores)

1-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Mixed nuts and/or shelf stable bacon bits, etc. Note: Cheeses make the mixture VERY difficult to stir and rehydrate completely.

Ingredients for breakfast hash
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Integrated tent vestibule footprint

This DIY concept is a simple cutting and sewing project to extend the functionality of a tent.  A vestibule footprint can block mud and debris from entering the tent and also provides a larger barrier for moisture migrating from the ground and condensing on the inside of the tent fly.  Any piece of coated fabric will work.  In this example a piece of coated ripstop nylon was used.  The total weight addition is 30 grams.

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Completed vestibule footprint set up on a recent bikepacking trip. 

Design considerations: a. Size the vestibule footprint smaller than the fly to prevent water from pooling on the footprint. b. Fold and sew edges to minimize water and debris accumulations. c. Add a length of elastic cord to hold the footprint in tension.

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8. Breaking camp after a stormy night. Everything stayed dry under the tent fly

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7. Completed tent and vestibule footprint sewn together

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4. Inside corner and edge folding detail prior to sewing onto tent footprint

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2. Preparing to check the drip-line with the fly installed

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3. Laying out the fabric

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1. Original MSR universal footprint

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6. Five mm webbing sewn into corner and a length of elastic cord attached to keep footprint in tension

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5. Detail of the vestibule footprint sewn under the tent footprint to an edge to repel water and debris from migrating between tent footprint and body. The perimeter edge is folded under to provide a smooth top edge.

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DIY Packraft construction & packing notes

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This post is a work-in-progress documenting changes or additions made during the construction of four Telkwa packrafts purchased from the awesome folks at DIY Packraft. DIY Packrafts are extremely well designed and the kits assemble exactly as demonstrated in the excellent videos and printed instructions.  My intention is to substitute the  Leafield D-7 inflation/deflation valves to replace the supplied Boston valves.  While heavier and more bulky my experience is that inflation/deflation is much quicker due to larger porting, are easily cleaned, and are field-replaceable without thermal welding.

Completed raft #1 with homemade DripDeck made from the supplied inflation bag materials*.  The deck slides open the full length of the cockpit on the perimeter grab line. The black round snaps can be opened for both adjustments and complete removal. Installed weight is ~140 grams. The black 5 mm webbing loops at the rear corners allow the deck to double as a sail in light downwind conditions. * Primary inflation is from a Kokopelli Feather Pump which completes the task in less than one minute!  There are sources on Amazon which appear to have very similar options.  The backup is a spare Klymit inflation bag, modified for the Leafield value.  This bag does double-duty as a storage bag and additional air chamber inside the raft. 

There’s really only one tool that I’ve found that materially improves assembly processes.  It’s a small stainless steel mixing bowl with a flat bottom slightly wider than a typical welding area.  To the bottom of the bowl two parallel strips of 3M double-faced window film sealing tape are added just outside of the working area.  This easily removable tape typically has enough adhesion to complete the welding of one tube segment.  Removal and replacement of the two tape sections takes about a minute.