Friday, February 13, 2015

Love and a Bicycle

You make my heart beat quickly.
You remind me to be humble.
You help me to never give up.
You let me see the land.
You help me feel gravity.
You make me laugh.
You have given me friends.
You have taken some away.
You make me feel.
You make me fly.
You bring me down to earth.
You center me.
You bring me out.
You help me learn.
But most important of all...

You gave me my wife.
Thank you.

Rubber side down,

Big E

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flow and Being In The Zone

The Buhhdist idea of walking meditation has been around for a long time. It teaches us to be mindful of things around us but also of our own person. What we are doing with our bodies and how it is effecting us.

This is a concept that I've thought a lot about recently. But inparticular how it translates to the bicycle.

The terms "flow" and being "in the zone" come to mind specifically. I believe that this is the merging of action and awareness, the loss of self-consciousness, and it creates an altered sense of time (A slowing down.). It's an elusive space to be in. One that isn't sustainable. But is continually sought after by those that have been there. It's the closest to a blissful out of body experience that I can think of without taking mind altering substances.

I don't want this to sound all new wave hippy (Too late...). But I would argue that a big part of what we as cyclists are after is that state. Sure, we are riding our bike to get exercise. Perhaps being social. Or maybe even a little bit of precious alone time. But mixed in there. Weather it is at the fore front of our minds or perking away on the back burner. Is that feeling of concentration, that singular thought of you, bicycle and the road or trail.

All the stress from the day. All the problems at work or home. All the pressures melt away. And there is just you, your breathing, your legs turning, the wind on your face, the spinning of the tires and the road rolling out in front of you.

What a truly wonderful place.

As you become less and less aware of the ambient noise of life. The greater the chances of reaching a state of flow becomes.

Sometimes you just kiss it. A brief few seconds and it's gone. Other times it can last incredibly long. But never more than a few hours. Once you remove one portion of the equation it crumbles. Like a house of cards and then you get to go hunting for it again.

But isn't that half the fun?

Thanks for reading.

Rubber side down,

Big E 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Product Review: Thomson Elite Covert Dropper Seatpost

Dropper seatposts are coming on strong. And there is a reason. They are a complete game changer. I honestly cannot think of one piece of equipment that has added more to my mountain bike riding enjoyment since I purchased my 29er.

By getting the saddle out of the way I can drop back in steeps, have more room to move in technical gnar, and get lower and more aero going down straight descents. Like I said, a real game changer.

There is problem however. Not all dropper posts are created equal. I went through two. TWO. Rock Shox Stealth Reverb posts in less that 6 months. Each one developed the same problem of moving up and down approximately 2 cm just riding along. Now I know I'm a fat ass riding a hard tail bike. But come on! Couple that with having to bleed them multiple times and the super stiff control button. I was full up on what Rock Shox had to offer. I'm sure there are other people out there that have owned one that was flawless. But fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice and I'm really stupid.

So I knew I wanted another dropper and I also knew I didn't want the Reverb.

Along comes the Thomson. First, I must admit, I am a huge fan of there products. Three, no, four bikes in my stable have Thomson seatposts. And two of my bikes have Thomson stems. Needless to say I like them a lot. To my experience they are bomb proof. So that's what made me lean their direction.

Couple that with the ability to route the "covert" cable and housing through the seat tube and I was sold.

As you can see it has the same saddle clamp as there other seatposts which has worked flawlessly.

Instead of running a hydraulic line from the seatpost to the button on the handle bars all the fluids are inside the post itself. Which makes installation reasonably simple. Getting the cable tension correct at the lever was a little tricky but nothing like bleeding hydraulic fluid.

The motion of the seatpost is smooth and solid. Though you cannot adjust the speed like you can with some other dropper posts. But I didn't feel like I was missing anything. It moved plenty fast. But not so fast that it slapped me in the man bag. Good enough.

One of the things I love the most about the Thomson post and hate the most (I'm a complicated fella.) is the lever assembly. I love how small the lever is. It's machined, anodized aluminum. Which I love. And it doesn't stick out in a hideous fashion like some other brands. It just blends into the bars with everything else.

The things I hate about the lever is that the super small allen bolt that holds the cable in tension stripped out the second time I tried to adjust the cable. I think the area that the allen head fits into was just to shallow. So I ended up replacing it with a slightly longer one. The other thing is how the housing juts straight out of the lever. No matter how I tried to mount it the cable still looks dumb. I'm sure they have it set up like that to reduce friction. I just wish it looked nicer. It seems like they should be able to do that. Perhaps that will show up in a later model. Let's hope so.

So all in all I give the Thomson Elite covert Dropper Seatpost a thumbs up and a Big E's Pretty Darn Swell Award (Very prestigious.)*. If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up.

*- I reserve the right to pull this award at any second when said product no longer does what I want. Or isn't in the colors I like...

Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E