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.










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 : )

Arkel Grand Tour GT series 54/18BP


My Arkel Grand Tourisme panniers arrived yesterday. So I test fit them and snapped a picture for a visual. Rear is a GT-54 and fronts are GT-18.

One of the GT-18’s transforms into a back pack. I can hold a ton if stuff with these. For smaller getaways can just use the GT-18’s. Also picked up set of the rain covers.

These bags are very well made, I plan on using these on my Eskimo 18.6′ touring kayak. GT-18’s will fit it the front and rear hatches and larger one on the ridged composite plank between outrigger poles. I’m getting ready for a week long Chesapeake Bay tour the second week in June. More on that later.

Busch & Muller Toplight and Crane Bell


My rear light came today for my rear Nitto rack : ) I decided to go non dynamo for the rear as I didn’t want to run cable to the rear from front dynamo hub.

Light is a Busch & Muller Toplight Linetec LED Line Senso and takes just 1 AA battery so it still minimal. I think they last about 38 hours. With senso that may vary?

I purchased bothfrom Harris Cyclery which had the Senso technology version. Rivendell carries them but were out of stock and didn’t offer the senso version. Light cost me $48.

Decided to also pick up a copper crane bell. I liked that tone better over the silver and bronze versions.

Also Thursday my front and rear Arkel Touring Panniers will be here. So I’ll
Be sure to post those as well.

New Fixie Berthoud Gilles Saddle & Front Brake


Month or two back I replaced my Kagero Fixie San Marco Concor black suede saddle with a Berthoud Gilles black-ish / brown-ish cork pattern leather saddle. I wanted the Concor for my Salsa Warbird Ti gravel grinder to replace the OEM that it came with it. Whether it be a Brooks , San Marco Concor or a Berthoud my bikes and ass are happy.


I even picked up the Berthoud bar ends for my Cinelli horn handle bars to finish off the look. May have to zoom in to see them?

Also as you can see from the title and pic I decided to add a front brake for those “OH SHIT” moments where skidding alone doesn’t not help. I’m using a CX style brake short pull lever with Shimano Ultegra calipers. The B43 Velocity wheels are not machined lipped for rim brakes however rim being deep flat and anodized works and helps. I also run a special brake pad compound that aids in stopping (no squeal )


Surly LHT Deluxe w/Nitto Racks


Installed my front and rear Nitto Racks on my Surly. It’s storming here so had to snap indoor pics but I’ll post better ones tomorrow maybe. I still need 2 more Nitto Rod bolts and spacers before I can call the racks done, those are on order.

Today I purchased online a rear light to mount on the rear rack. They too have been out of stock so had to wait for new shipment. Tomorrow I’ll be mounting the front dyno light and wire to SON hubs. Can’t wait to mount the pannier bags and head out for its first 3 day ride and camp.

Nitto Bike Racks Arrived : )


Ordered front and rear Nitto racks for my Surly Long Haul Trucker Deluxe In native color of “polish bling”. Both front and rear I purchased online from Rivendell Bicycle Works. Front and rear racks were out of stock when I went shopping so I waited patiently for some time for them to arrive. Received email notification that they where back in stock last week and pulled the trigger on the below.

Qty. 1 Nitto Big Front 34F
Qty. 1 Nitto Big Back Rack Large 33R

Nitto custom makes these racks for Rivendell. Nitto racks are beautiful, hand made in Tokyo Japan. Racks are chromoly with nickel plating. These ultimate touring puppies cost me $200ea. (free shipping) and well worth it IMO.

Touring pannier bags are on their way as well. I plan on mounting up these racks this weekend. Mounted pics to follow shortly. Wear sun glasses when looking at these in the sun.