Sunday, 11 June 2017

MIPS Helmet Tehnology

The cycling industry is constantly changing with brands coming out with new technology to make you lighter, go faster, and be safer. Today I will be telling you about the MIPS helmet technology.

Helmets are a very important part of cycling as they help keep you safe when you fall. Recently there has been a new breakthrough in helmet technology.  It's called the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS is trying to replicate the natural protection system that is in your skull. When there is an impact on your skull, the fluid in your head helps protect your brain so it doesn't slam into your skull. MIPS replicates that by keeping the helmet off your head. There is a plastic structure on the inside of a MIPS helmet.  When there is an impact, the outer helmet shell is not directly in contact with your head. MIPS is just one of the way cycling is getting safe.

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This is the inside of a MIPS helmet.

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Here is a diagram of how MIPS works.

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These are the strain levels with and without MIPS


Mount Ventoux

A few year ago I was in France and did a lot of cycling one of the mountains I climbed was Mont Ventoux.

Mont Ventoux is a massive mountain in Provence France. I don't know why it's there because there are no other mountains near it. The climb itself is has a fairly steady gradient once you get on the climb. The gradient ranges from 2.3% at the very beginning to 10.9% in a few sections in the middle and near the top. The road is mostly lined with trees until the near the top when you get to the point where you realize why it is called Ventoux. By the way "vent" means wind in french. The wind at the top of the mountain is simply to strong for anything to live there. There is nothing but rock. It looks like the moon. The highest recorded wind speed on Mont Ventoux is 320 km/h (200 mph) The total elevation is 1,914 m (6,273 ft)

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Mont Ventoux from a distance 

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The moon-like top of Ventoux

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Gopro Video Down "Torpedo Run" at Hartland.

This is my first attempt at a fast downhill video. The video was taken on one of my favorite trails ("Torpedo Run") not far from my house. It is a fast downhill with a few technical sections. The run is faster than it looks on film but it will give you a good idea of the riding in my area.


Here is the link to my video:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0dydK-4hcjYdi1lRlJlMlB5Zms/view

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

First Mountain Bike Race of the Season (Cross Country)

Too Close for Comfort

 It was my first mountain bike race of the season. It was a cross country race with a few small rock drops and some technical sections which took us through the forest of Mount Work. The race was 25 minutes long and 8 laps. After an hour of warm up we were a the start line. There were 16 participants.

The flag dropped and the race had begun. I got off to a great start (if I do say so myself.) I pulled away form the group early on. The first lap went by surprisingly quickly. As I was rounding the final corner of the first lap, I was greeted with a massive lake-sized puddle stretching the full width of the track! The whole track was wet and muddy which was just splendid because is was also cold out.

The next few laps were less eventful but soon from out of the mud and water emerges a kid sporting skinny white jeans. When I say white, I actually mean white covered in a very distasteful shade of brown. I'm looking a this guy's jeans wondering how, who, what, why? Until suddenly I see an opportunity to pass. Yeah!

By the time I was on lap five I was starting to get a bit tired and noticed that the second place rider was slowly starting to close in on me. I was coming up to lap another group in a tight and quite technical section of the track. It was a hairpin style corner with a rock drop on the other side. As we came around the bend the rider in front of me crashes giving the rider behind me time to catch up to me. While I wait for the crashed rider to get up, the second and third place rider overtake me. Darn! I had given up hope of a first place finish a that point. But I decide I'm still going to attempt to recover second place. With one lap left, I'm trying everything I can to pass but the track just too narrow. On the technical sections I gain some ground but on the straits he manages to cut me off. I get as close to him as I can in the last technical section but just then I am greeted by The Massive Mud Puddle of Doom. Trust me it's very difficult to sprint in a mud puddle! Just in the nick of time, I inched past him (literally inched) to regain second place.









Saturday, 18 February 2017

Riding in the Chilcotin Mountains

Last summer my family and I went up to TYAX. TYAX Resort is situated in the heart of the south Chilcotin mountains. The Chilcotin mountains are about three hours north of Whistler, BC.  It is a beautiful and remote area to mountain bike, hike, horseback ride and participate in water activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. Here is a link the the TYAX website. http://www.tyax.com

These are a few pictures from the trip:

This is a map of the area.

This is a picture from the very first ride we did.
On a trail called "Cinnabar" 

This is a picture from our second ride. On this ride we climbed
all the way up to the top of the ridge closest to TYAX.

Gopro Hero 5 Session

There are a wide range of action cameras on the market today. Sony makes a few and Gopro make a large line. There are some other companies the make "action cameras" as well.

For Christmas I got the Gopro Hero 5 Session. This is the smaller version of the regular Hero 5. I think it is the best action camera for cycling for many reasons. First it is small and light. The Standard Hero 5 weighs 118 grams (4.2 oz). That doesn't seem too heavy but having it mounted on your helmet for a long ride you begin to notice it. The Gopro Hero 5 session on the other hand weighs just 73 grams (2.6 oz).

So far the Hero 5 Session is better than the standard size for cycling. However there is one main drawback. There is no screen on the camera so you have to install a free app on you phone or tablet and watch videos from there.

The Hero 5 Session is capable of 4K image quality. The only other camera that has the same level of technology as the Hero 5 session is the Gopro Hero 5. The Session costs $ 386.62 on amazon.ca and the Hero 5 costs $ 521.24 on amazon.ca. Despite the fact that there is no screen on the camera itself I think the Gopro Hero 5 Session is one of the best if not the best action camera for cycling.

This is the Gopro Hero 5 Session
This is the Gopro Hero 5 BLACK




Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Evolution of Mountain Biking

Unlike road riding mountain biking is a more recent invention. The first mountain bike was made in 1978. They looked like this:

BREEZER (1978)
This bike was made by Joe Breeze. It is called the Breezer. This bike was made out of steel which is quite a heavy material. This bike weighs over 30 pounds. It only has suspension (shocks) on the front. The first mountain bikes were made when people would take an ordinary commuter bike and tweak it. They would alter their bikes in the following ways; First if the bike had road style bars on it they would replace them with straight bars. This would help make the bikes more maneuverable on the trails. Next, they would put a less air in their tires to make the ride ride less rough on trails. The really adventurous would start to alter the bike frames and forks.

First, to make the ride even smoother people would add suspension to the front fork to increase the cushioning over rough terrain. The mountain bike frame has a fairly upright geometry so they may or may not have altered the aggressiveness of the geometry. Eventually, some custom mountain bike specific rims and tires were sold. These rims and tires were wider and more robust than tires sold for road and commuter bikes.

The next step in the evolution of the mountain bike was "full suspension".  A full suspension bike has suspension (shocks) on both the front and rear of the bike.  This makes the ride even smoother especially coming in handy with the increasing popularity of mountain bike racing. Racing scenarios often include more jumps and intense downhill. Here is a photo of one of the first full suspension bikes:
                   
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TREK Y-33 (1995)
You can now buy modern day mountain bikes with both full and partial suspension (called "hardtail").  Bike manufacturers have been increasing there tweaking by building bikes out of lighter and more durable materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum.  They are on a mission to make bikes lighter, stronger, faster, and more comfortable while increasing aesthetic appeal. This is a picture of a modern day mountain bike:

ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE (2017)