Niner Sir9 MTB Converted To S24O 

So my Niner Sir9 was a single speed its entire life until Feb. this year.  I decided to convert the 2006 Steel SS to a 1×10 setup.  I also decided to get rid of the OEM Kermit green color and re-powder coat with a lightly textured midnight blue.  Looks great in person. 

Bike being MTB specific didn’t have many options for racks so I swapped out the OEM Niner fork for a Salsa Firestarter fork that is loaded with potential mount points.   Figured on this bike being a sub24 hour overnighter or at most a weekender.  As for becoming a S24O all I really needed was a front rack ,frame bag and saddle bikpacking bag. Top tube / stem bag is just a perk for snacking on the move.  I have front panniers that I can mount up if needed.

Niner conversion ended up being fantastic in both form and function.  This makes for a great adventure overnighter / whatevering ride. Of course the bags you see can be mounted up on my Salsa Warbird as well but not the rack without swapping out the Enve forks.  Front rack is a Blackburn Outpost which fits really nice and looks badass.  Rack cost me $99.  So not to bad price wise and is both solid and lightweight. 

Transformed S24O Sir Niner is geared with 11-36 cassette and has a 32T front Wolftooth ring for no drop shifting via Paul Thumbies and 10sp barend shifters. So far all is well and a rather simple, cool, and fun refresh of a MTB that served very well since 2006.   



Too Big Too Small….Ahhh Just What I Needed.

Talking about frame bags for this post. Just picked up this 1/2 height frame bag that came recommended by the great folks at Gravel & Grind. Bag is manufactured by OveJA NeGRA Threadworks to be used with my Salsa Warbird.


My Warbird being a 56cm the large size frame bag fits perfect. This size bag retails for $80 and so very worth it. I dislike under saddle bags not to mention a pain to access and forget it if coasting in motion. I like the 1/2 height opposed to the full frame bag as it allows me to use both my super awesome tall Camelbak water bottles while still allowing me to carry a shit ton of other stuff. Of course I had to see if it would hold a 750ml bottle of adventure nectar. In this picture the bag is cradling Caol Ila 12yo single malt Islay Whisky. As you can see there is still room to spare. Ideally this scenario is likely a trip home from the store type purpose as I doubt I would adventure ride with this but it’s good to know I have options : ) for evening indulgence camping I actually carry and use a 5oz stainless Stanley Flask. They make a 8oz. but the 5oz. is more suitable considering the contents. Carry two 5oz. if you have multi day trip and make the other Pyrat XO Rum or a Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. Cheers!


Anyway the frame bag is truly a great product with function and doesn’t require you give something up in return. You can still use saddle / top tube and handle bar bags for carrying additional loot. I’m quite pleased with this purchase. Oh and I picked up the Large top tube bag too for another bike.

Years End ..New beginnings!

First off, cheers to all fellow cyclists, kayakers, coffee and Scotch lovers : ) I always think I have lots to share but as for others who are interested its always a guess? I can only post what I can appreciate and hope others do as well.

Big plans for me in 2015 for both cycling and kayaking so stay tuned! Fads and trends come and go and don’t always follow hype but am intrigued by a few, some more affordable than others. First mention…. being a coffee lover is Bullet Proof Coffee. I received the below bundle for Christmas. The Nutiva Coconut Manna is a personal touch as I’m a huge coconut fanatic and been known to put this in my coffee past several years as well as on my sockeye salmon fillet. I avoid using coffee-mate coconut creamer fake crap although it’s very tasty lips don’t agree with artificial coconut. I don’t use the Nutiva manna and the Brain Octane (coconut oil MTC blah blah) together as it’s either one or the other depending on mood. I can honestly say it’s in deed most satisfying experience. Recipe is simple but Google it for granularity if need be and adjust to preference plus or minus portions etc..


1 8oz cup of Bullet Proof Coffee. I recommend using an AeroPress from Arobie. Otherwise pour over method works too. Other Arabica bean will work or use a Peruvian coffee (shade grown) coffee. I prefer Maryland roaster ChocoSombra 416 degree. A light roast and so very delicious with tons of character. 12oz bag can be purchased from Frederick, MD Gravel & Grind for $13. Gravel & Grind (Steel and Wool) Adventure Cycling & Hobo camping culture has the 416 roasted exclusively for them. Try it you will thank me I promise.

As for the Hobo mention, no disrespect to the homeless whatsoever but rather depicting minimalist supertramp have coffee will travel adventure cycling with camping. Check out Gravel & Grind online. They are new and building up the brand. They will also have a brick and mortar shop downtown Frederick MD which opens in early Spring 2015. We also will be hosting rides and portion will support local soup kitchens to feed the homeless. Moving on to the recipe.

1 scoop AeroPress coffee slightly packed.
1 tbs Kerry Gold Unsalted Grass Fed Butter
1 tsp of Upgraded Brian Octane or Coconut Oil. If coconut lover like me use Nutiva Manna as it has the oil on top and the pureed coconut meat (super good if fan otherwise skip and use tasteless organic cold press coconut oil of choice. Combine ingredients and blend for 30 seconds and serve.


In closing… Is the above a fad or hype? I don’t know but it’s tastes really good IMO and has cognitive benefits or so they claim? To me its just a vessel in delivering fats. Can’t argue it does make for a good vessel : ) Some fads stick around and evolve others die off. Below are some 2014 fads so time will tell?

Gravel Grinder specific bikes
Bullet Proof Coffee w/butter and coconut oil
Fat Tire Bike Boom
27.5 MTB Wheels / Geometry
29er+ MTB continues
Boom in Small craft Bourbon / Rye Whiskeys (ugh = overpriced)
Ketosis Diet (high fat zero or minimal carb ) It works but = zero energy riding bikes : (
No Age Statement Scotch Releases…. booo. And independent USA Whiskey bottlers (not distillers….booo).

There are a few more but will post on that and the above separately in 2015.


My New Custom Waterford R-33

Being a cycling enthusiast all my life decided to finally pull the trigger on my first custom bike. I struggled with this a bit due to cost and lead times. Not that I was in a hurry but just impatient. Then there is me being indecisive with which choices to go with. Club racer or Adventure? Then there is geometry to consider then custom colors and design. Surprisingly I only had to wait 2.5 months, below is the end result.


I went the R-33 model club racer route. Built using TrueTemper S3 steel no lugs all TIG welded. Geometry was modeled after my 2012 Cervelo S5 56cm. Color is PPG Ivory base with road house blue maskings and light perl clearcoat. Bike has ENVE 2.0 carbon fork painted to match with asymmetric fork masking that I designed called Peaks & Vally’s. Not only to resemble climbs and descents but the ups and downs life throws at us. Bike weight is exactly 16lbs. Components are Sram Red22 Groupo, Zipp beyond black bars, stem and seat post. Chris King Navy Hubs, Headset and BB. Fizik Saddle, Nokon cable housings. Stans Alpha 340 Rims, Conti Grand Prix 4 Season tires 25c. More pics below.










Espresso / Cappuccino Porcelain Cups

Being bicycle themed and for purpose of espresso & coffee couldn’t pass these beauties up. 100% Made in Italy by d’ANCAP. They’ve been on back order for quite some time in this 6oz. size and arrived back in stock just in time for the holidays. Nothing says holidays like giving and spending time with family and friends consuming whisky & coffee and riding bikes.


18.6′ Expedition Kayak on Jeep Rubicon

With roof rack completed, today seemed like a good day to test load / mount / secure the kayak for transport. I staged the loading so I could eyeball and adjust for proper fitment as needed. First few pics are Stages 1&2 preload. I used a bathroom rug with non-slip bottom to protect hull during loading.


Rear goal post trailer hitch lowers which is designed for opening pickup truck tailgates I use it for preloading the kayak. Rear goal post also have hull rollers for assisted placement. Stage 1 preload pic below.


Stage 2 preload


Rest of the pics are adjusting / tweaking saddles and footings and best way to secure with straps etc. Decided to test fit the 12′ outrigger as well. Not 100% dialed yet in but very close. I’ll test load a few times so I’m good at it and faster.





I still have rear led flood lights to mount for night / early morning rigging. More pics to follow shortly.

Jeep Roof Rack / Kayak / Bike Rack Progress

Ok fellow adventure enthusiast, I finally completed my adventure jeep rack! Portions of this is custom built or altered but used off shelf products where I could. If you been following then you know I have a 19′ touring / sailing kayak with 12′ outrigger that needs to be transported with ability to load and unload safely solo . Being a jeep is challenging in the sense that it’s wheel base is short but also need clearance to remove freedom top or entire top for soft top season. With jeep having a 3″ lift comes with it’s own challenges. Knowing those challenges knew I needed to fabricate several components for all of this to work together. Oversized spare tire caused some challenges as well so I set out to cater to both kayaking and biking whether it be MTB or road biking with option to remove either bike or kayak modules as needed. Also wanted a well fit snug cradling of both Kayak and bike while keeping security in mind. Also needed the ability to lower the rear field goal receiver post extension to assist with loading and unloading the 19′ kayak solo. Kayak only weighs 54Lbs. so not too heavy but big and cumbersome so any assist is welcomed.

After this weekend now I can safely and securely load and transport both my bike and Kayak rig. Video of loading to be posted shortly.


First photo is of the adventure transport system. Keep in mind this system is the Roof Rack, kayak mounts / bike mount. Still need a box for up top that is 10′ for outrigger polls paddles, leader boards and dual air foil sales etc.


Some more photos, some of me test fitting my Single Speed MTB bike. Kayak test fits to follow shortly.




More pics to follow shortly, work in progress so stay tuned : )

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder


Purchased this Baratza Encore to replace my cheaper 5 year old Mr. Coffee grinder that started having issues. I paid $129 w/ free shipping . Totally worth every penny. I pasted the below from manufacture product website. Don’t let price fool you this grinder is the real deal at a more than fair price IMO.

Details: The Encore is lauded by coffee experts as THE go-to entry level grinder for those brewing coffee at home. The Encore gives a great grind for drip/manual brew and also grinds fine enough for espresso.

Featuring 40 individual grind settings, from fine to coarse, the Encore can please any palate with its gamut of accurate and repeatable grind settings. The Encore has an accurate medium to coarse grind for the increasingly popular manual brew methods such as pour-over, Aeropress, Siphon and Chemex. The specially designed burrs give a precise grind with minimal fines for a flavorful, balanced extraction when making espresso.

And, of course, the Encore is built with the quality Baratza parts you’ve come to trust. The efficient DC motor keeps your beans cool, even during extended grind times, while a combination of electric and gear speed reducers slow the burr to 450 RPM, ensuring a smooth bean feed and reducing noise, heat and static buildup.

Beyond a great coffee-drinking experience, the Encore makes for a great coffee-making experience. A convenient, front-mounted pulse button makes it easy to grind on demand into your brew basket. Whether you are looking for an espresso grinder or a grinder to help you explore that extensive range of brew methods, the Encore is a great all around home grinder.

Burrs: Manufactured in Europe, the Encore’s 40 mm conical burrs will grind for many styles of coffee. Conical burrs grinders are exceptional at producing consistent grinds from very fine to very coarse as well as being durable and will remain sharp for many years.

Gearbox: In 2012, Baratza introduced the second generation Gearbox (GB 2.0). With GB 2.0, Baratza has significantly increased the strength and durability of the drive transmission while decreasing noise. In addition to a new drive shaft, motor mounting plate and bushings, this change includes a new drive gear made of 15% glass filled thermo plastic which is quieter than the prior metal gear, wears better and is more shock resistant. During the Encore’s rigorous testing process, stainless steel screws were thrown into the burrs, and in every case the motor/gear/burrs stopped immediately, the (automatically-resettable) thermal cutout was triggered, and the gears were fine.

Grind Adjustment: Turn the hopper and with 40 settings you can quickly adjust from fine for espresso to coarse for French Press. The grind range is from 250 to 1200 microns.

Grinds Left in Grinder: To maximize freshness, the Encore minimizes the ground coffee left in the grinder.

Brewing Methods: The Encore is a great grinder for manual brewing and espresso.

Motor: A powerful, high torque DC motor effortlessly drives the burrs. This motor turns slowly resulting in cool, quiet operation and permits long grinding duty-cycles. The circuitry is equipped with an automatically resetting, thermal cutoff switch.

Calibration: An innovative burr calibration system ensures that each grinder has the full range of grind. If necessary, the grinders can be user calibrated.

Speed Control: With unique speed control, the Encore uses a combination of gear and electronic speed reduction to control the rotation of the burr to 450 RPM. The electronic speed controller is adjustable from 405 to 495 RPM in the event that specific user conditions require modification of the speed. This slow speed reduces heat, noise, and static generation in the grinder. It also ensures that the beans feed smoothly into the burrs.

On-off Switch: The Encore has an easy on-off switch.

Cleaning: Burrs are easily removable with no tools, making cleaning very easy.

Accessories (which may be purchased separately):

Esatto: An accessory that transforms your Encore into a grind by weight grinder. Set the weight you want, the Esatto does the rest, weighing the ground coffee to within +/- 0.2g, while grinding, and stopping automatically.

Hopper extender: An extension that can add 9 oz. of capacity to the existing 8 oz. bean hopper. Several extenders can be added to get to the capacity you need.

Surly LHT Deluxe Build Is Finally Done!


SON Schmidts Dynamo Edelux II mounted and functional. Light is way bad ass to say the least. Extremely pleased with dyno hub & dyno light choice. Mounted the Edelux II light using a pimp mount from


Wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to mount the front light. I didn’t want to mount upside down as I opted for the light senso feature which only allows for right side up mounting. When set light will come on when dusk that and reflective facet design is for right side up mounting. Upside down model doesn’t have the auto senso feature.


Rear light is mounted as well, I opted not to use dyno rear version which would of been cheaper but didn’t want to route a power cable splice off front hub. Rear light takes a single AA and can get 38-40hrs. (Due to auto senso) so figured a AA battery was better than needing a cable routed from front to rear.