Showing posts with label mutant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mutant. Show all posts

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mutant Winter III Mutated into Mutant Winter IV!

Congratulate me, the father of a new mutant! Some might think you get used to spawning a new mutant after the first few, but let me tell you, they are so wrong! Every mutation is special in its own way. Some may recall that I put together yet another bike for this winter, Mutant Winter III.

When I wrote that post, this weird thing happened where somebody commented and I responded; it was cool:

Well, John's concerns about "the balance" proved to be more than warranted on this bike. Like I said in my reply, I thought it would be OK, but I was wrong. I don't know if it was related to frame being much lighter (alu instead of steel) or frame geometry or 700c wheels or what, but where the tub used to only lightly affect balance before, on this bike it made the ass end totally whippy and weird. Whippy and weird is not cool when you're riding on ice and snow. The 2nd best tub in town (sniff) had to go.

I got a rear rack for the bike and am using my Ortliebs with it. The rack I bought had no "deck", so I had to come up with a way to avoid the dreaded dirty stripe up the backside. Normal fenders are prone to snow and ice buildup between the tire and the fender, which I hate. The wacked out fender/rack setup I ended up with (zip ties, back duct tape and junkpile fender piece) leaves loads of room for gunk to fly or fall away:

And it shall be called the "rafender"!

I have ridden in lots of slushy snowy goop in the last little while, and the fender stays nice and clear while blocking spray very well. I was surprised that the panniers did not collect any appreciable amount of spooge either. This bike is really working out well so far.

I hope to get a little snow riding video processed soon. It'll be boring, but pretty. Like me.

Yer Pal,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TARATS Entries 13 & 14

The newest entries in TARATS are from Australia! I was pleased to have an entry from the Purple Traveller in the UK last year (I'm hoping he'll be back), and now this! Awesome. Thing is, it is Springtime in Australia because, well, Australia is located in the Southern hemisphere. If an Aussie wants to enter my contest with Spring trees because that's what they have when I'm flogging my contest, I'm gonna let 'em. If you don't like it, you can just Go Stuff Yourself (see sidebar for helpful advert).

Be sure to check out the slide show on the entrants page to see the two entries described in this email:

Here are two. The purple Jacaranda is in Brisbane, I photographed it on my way home from Canada near the end of September. It is an iconic sign of spring in the sub-tropics here, Brisbane has many fine examples. The red is the Poinciana I photographed on my way out to the dam yesterday in Townsville. There are better examples, but this one is part of my routine so I appreciate it more. I hope people don’t mind that you allow ‘non-standard’ entries, but I thought this was too fun to miss. You have some stunning entries this year.

Does anybody else find the place name "Townsville" kind of funny, in a "Cityburgh" kind of way?

Anyway, this year's smackdown has contestants that are helping me redefine the rules, that's for sure! Multiple entries? Why not? Spring trees from Australia? You bet!

The way I see it though, this is a stupid contest with stupid prizes and flexible (stupid) rules. Am I wrong? No, I'm not, because it is my contest! If you think I'm wrong, well, uh uh, YOU'RE wrong, stupid! Go run your own stupid contest!

This post has proven to be a great deal of fun to write, way more fun than I expected when I started. I have discovered that writing the word "stupid" a lot is super satisfying, almost as much as using the word "mutant". It's the little things, y'know?

Yer Stupid Mutant Pal,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Warranty / Customer Service Report / Mutant Winter III is ALIVE!

I am really happy with Chain Reaction Cycles right now. Remember how one of my new Schwalbe Marathon Winters had a cut in it? I said I would report on the customer service I got. The news is very good.

Here's the timeline:

Tuesday, Oct 16, 12:01 PM - I emailed CRC a filled-out warranty claim form (easily found on their web site) and a picture of the cut tire.

Tuesday, Oct 16, 12:02 PM - I receive an auto-reply from their "Warranty Team" saying that based on current volume I could expect a reply to my specific claim within 2 to 3 working days. Fair enough, I thought.

Wednesday, Oct 17, 11:04 AM (the next day) - I receive an email from a real person:

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for your email.

We are sorry to hear that your tyre is damaged. On this occasion we are sending you a replacement and there is no need to return the faulty item.
This should be dispatched within the next 24 hours.

We trust this helps.

Kind regards,

I had mentioned in my original claim that there was no way I had cut the tire by accident or anything. Still, I was super pleased that there wasn't any nonsense at all from CRC. They simply said sorry and were sending a replacement. Perfect.
Yesterday, Tuesday Oct 23 (one week after sending my first email) - The replacement tire is delivered to my house. No duties, taxes or shipping charges because they filled out the paperwork properly. I pay nothing.
Call me crazy, but 5 business days from warranty claim to complete replacement and resolution, from a company based in the UK (as in across the Atlantic Ocean) seems pretty stinkin' good to me.
Now, some would say that I simply got the good customer service we all deserve, and I suppose they would be correct. The fact is, however, that in my experience things rarely go this well and I truly appreciated it. I've been aching to ride this bike before real winter snow and ice comes, so that we're really good buddies by the time we need to trust each other.
I mounted the tire last night and rode Mutant Winter III to work today. I must say that after riding fixed all summer, gears sure are weird and fun! Here are some pics of this year's winter bike:

I decided to skip real fenders on this one (sorry, fellow fender freaks). The tires will clear their treads of snow better, and the clearances with this frame and the 35c tires were kind of tight anyway. I strapped a flexible plastic fender I had lying around to the downtube as a kind of crud guard for the drivetrain, and the rear rack / plastic tub blocks spray from hitting my bum or back.
I can't wait to see how the "skinny" 35c tires do compared to wider MTB tires. It is my hope they will cut through snow to find hard surfaces for the metal studs to grip. We shall see.

Yer Pal,

PS - I think I'll send the warranty people at CRC a link to this post. It is important to praise good work, especially if you want free reign to complain about just about everything else.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Hold Your Mutant

Recently while riding in to work in the morning I was caught off guard by how cold it was. Most of me was fine, but my bare hands (fingers in particular) were aching. It was one the first days that I was riding "Mutant Winter". I have decided to rename her "Mutant Winter" because I really like saying and typing "Mutant Winter". Mutant & Winter are two excellent words when used together. Firstly, they describe pretty much how the cycling (especially in the worst parts) of winter feels. On the coldest days I look much like a scuba diver, sans snorkel: mutant. On the heaviest snow days I am the only cyclist for miles around: mutant. My bike is a fairly nice dirt jumper transformed into a weirdly fendered, pink cabled, plastic-tub-carrying abomination: mutant. Secondly, it sounds like an excellent name for certain kinds of bands, or maybe a nice scary movie...

background image used with permission from: In an act of abnormal respect of copyright, I discovered that the blog from which I grabbed the image was authored by a woman not far from me, here in Southern Ontario! Her stuff isn't for everyone, but I thought it was pretty cool.

Anyway, my hands were really cold, and I had no mitts or gloves with me. So, in true mutant fashion, I grabbed a pair of old spare socks out of my way groovy blue Winter Mutant tub, and stuck 'em on my hands. Nothing says "mutant" like sock hands. That did the trick for the coldness, but shifting was difficult because my thumb was trapped. If only the sock on my right hand had been blessed with the hole I found on my left hand, all would have been well. Please do not comment on how how I could have switched the socks. I had already stopped once to put them on, and I wasn't stopping again, no way. In addition, that would have placed the baggy heel part on the top, which totally goes against my personal rules of hand sock fashion (I honestly thought that to myself at the time, god help me). My left hand sock action was great, so much so that I put it back on and took a picture when I was home that evening:

So, the answer to the age-old question "how should I hold my mutant?" is finally fully clear to me: with sock hands. When you think about it, what other answer could there possibly be?

Please don't stop reading this blog because I am a mutant in thought, deed and written word...


PS - I came this close to registering and throwing a web page up just for fun, in case anybody tried to go there. I managed to resist, without any help from my sweet wife. I guess I'm not 100% mutant just yet...