Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Federal Election is today. Results should start rolling in at any moment. This matters because now I won't have to lecture you on politics as it is too late to have any effect.

I was sitting around a few weeks ago bitching about politics. Things really have me worried and I was saying this to my friend. So, she said "That's what's wrong with our generation. We bitch about stuff but we never do anything about it." So I decided to do something about it.

I've never thought of myself political. But I am informed. I like to read. I like to know what is going on. I don't really see myself as supporting any one party, but I have definite ideas of what our ruling party should do and look like. None of them come across as "the best" option. But clearly one stands out as "the worst". So, getting involved with a specific party didn't seem to be a good option.

The next thing I thought of was motivating people to learn more, get informed and go vote. Then I thought of NSMB, mountain bikers, young people, etc. I decided that the best thing I could do would be to use my contacts and "journalism skills" to put together some sort of story on the election for NSMB. This is the result.

It was very interesting talking with the candidates. I was blown away by my ability to look up a number on the Internet, make a phone call and get the campaign manager on the phone. And, with only one exception, the parties all seemed to recognize a chance to get their ideas out there and were more than willing to answer my questions. The glaring exception being the Conservatives, of course.

What's with this party? First up, the campaign manager was barely civil on the phone. I felt like I was pretty unimportant and I needed to apologize for taking his time. I realize that I am fairly unimportant, but you'd think a campaign manager would be able to talk to people on the phone in a respectful manner. As well, he only offered to read our questions and then decide if they wanted to answer. I guess this is fair enough, but all the other candidates committed without knowing the questions.

I gave each party a week to look at the questions and provide answers. The day before they were due, I sent out a reminder e-mail to all parties. On the due date, I got two sets of answers (NDP and Greens), a frantic phone call promising the questions by the end of the weekend (Liberals) and...nothing (Conservatives). No "We're working on them." No "We don't want to do them." No "Go fuck yourself." Nothing.

I gave it a few days, phoned the Liberals, phoned the Conservatives and got more of the same. The Liberals were committed and just needed some time, the Conservatives didn't write me back. I gave them both one final deadline, got my answers from the Liberals and was forced to move forward without the Conservatives. I still can't believe that they wouldn't even write me an e-mail telling me that they wouldn't participate. I guess no answer at least gives them the chance to deny that they got the questions or something.

So, I hope everybody voted. Time to see how screwed up things are going to be for the future. Or how great. Who knows.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another shirt.

This whole thing has taken FOREVER. The latest delay is the Rampage, but I look at this shot...

...and I'm okay with it.

Oh. Before we get into it, check this thing out too (youtube if that isn't working). Transworld has some great ideas. I know things like this have been attempted with bikes, but it's just not the same. No bike crew would ever create something around a Dodos song.

Oh. I also found it pretty funny that these dickfaces ripped off my design and made bumper stickers with it. With the original graphic with the wrong font as they ripped it off some photo that Cam posted.

So, on to the next shirt. The NSMB article talks about it a bit, but I'll expand some more. Cam approached me to do another batch of the old shirt and I wouldn't have it. I don't like that shirt. I had one waiting in the wings that I really liked, but nobody else did. I wanted something a bit more generic as it seemed like everybody outside of Vancouver wanted one and a lot of them didn't even really get the concept. Lots of people asked me if it was San Francisco. So I came up with something generic and nobody liked it.

It took me a long time to create that graphic and I was bummed that nobody liked it. I was talking to Cam one night about how much he didn't like it and this new concept sprang into my head. I jumped into Illustrator and I had the new design in about half an hour. I spent a few more hours working on the bridge and stuff, but the basic concept came really quickly and it was so obviously better than my original idea. I was happy.

From there, I got the shirts made, wrote the story and then Margus and I went up and took some photos. He wasn't too happy with them and I thought I looked like a tool, so I just decided to spruce it up with something over my face and a critter added to the surroundings. We had hiked up Family Guy for the shot as it seemed fitting as this is what we're fighting for.

We sat there for half an hour and nobody rode the rock face. 20 people rode by and nobody rode the rock face. I'd just come back from Whistler so I had hiked my bike in, just so it wouldn't get stolen. We thought about making this the shirt shot but knew everybody would freak out about the lack of...anything.

Anyway. That's it. The new shirt. Oh. There will be some similarly themed kitchenware coming out in a year or so. I'm not even joking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Perks and the City Bike

It's been a good year for bikes. I'm pretty lucky to say that I've built up three brand new bikes this year. 2009 is going to suck.

The last bike that I built is one that I've been looking forward to for a long while. It's been in my plans to build up a city bike that I can run errands on, get around town and lock up outside stores without fearing too much for it's safety. I've been thinking about it and thinking about it and finally decided to do it.

I've guided a lot of people over the years to buy Kona Dew's and other bikes in the family. They're pretty cheap and have a bit of a mountain bike edge. They aren't perfect but beat the hell out of similar offerings from Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc. My problem was that I would end up replacing most of the parts so I'd be left with a cheap aluminum frame with decent parts hanging off it. That didn't really work for me.

I moved on to looking at a variety of cyclocross bikes, city bikes and 29ers. A cyclocross seemed like a good idea, and there were good offerings from both Salsa and SOMA. I came pretty damn close to placing orders on both of these and I also took a good look at their 29ers with thoughts of perhaps running fat tires on the thing occassionally. I also gave the Steel Wool a good look, but the geometry was just too wacky once I got the right top tube length. It was at that time that I looked at the pile of Rented Mules sitting in the corner and started thinking "Hey...wait a second..."

The first step was to figure out whether I could get a 700c tire to fit in both the frame. I went down to Dizzy and swapped some wheels around to show myself that there would be lots of room. Incidentally, they told me I was crazy and that it would never work.

After that, I tried to find a rigid fork that would work with my frame that was designed around a 6 inch travel fork. Even the longest "suspension adjusted" fork wouldn't work. I looked at some 29er forks and they were still too short. Luckily, I found a sale on a Rock Shox Revelation with 5 inches of travel. This seemed like a pretty good compromise to get the right fork length without adding too much weight.

Next up was wheels. I couldn't find a set of cyclocross wheels that would work due to both hub spacing issues and the fact that nobody seems to make disc compatible cross wheels. Why is that? I realize that the UCI doesn't allow disc brakes in cross competitions, but how many people are actually racing these bikes. Stupid. So I did a bit of research and learned that a 29er rim is the exact same diameter as a 700c rim and figured that as long as the rim wasn't too wide, any 700c tire should fit on a 29er rim no problem. So, after digging out a few old parts and buying a few new, I was ready to go. Here's what I got.

So, on to things that I've learned:

1) a 700x23c tire is almost exactly the same diameter as a 26x2.4 knobby.
2) anything larger than that probably won't fit into a RockShox suspension fork.
3) 700c tires are fast as hell.

Seriously. This bike is so fast. I can't even believe it. It's so easy to spin out a 38x11 gear. It's shocking. And as you can see, no problem on the tire clearance.

I'm pretty pleased with this bike, but I've created something that I'm not all that comfortable locking up at the grocery store. It's just a little bit too nice. In hindsight, I should have bought a $150 10-speed from the second hand store and built up a nice set of 700c wheels to fit my mountain hardtail. Oh well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Oh man. I just watched the Olympic BMX. That was so awesome. Why can't mountain bike events be that awesome? I'm serious. How can our events be so similar yet there's kick so much more ass? They have the Red Bull Elevation (well, they did), we have Crankworx slopestyle. They have the Olympics, we have a bunch of 4x's that nobody cares about.

Anyhow, there was some pretty good representation from mountain bikers. Anne-Caroline with the gold for the ladies. Jill Kintner with the bronze. I thought for sure Jared Graves was going to be in there for a medal, but he got taken out in the 2nd to last corner. I was pretty bummed about that. And...I've got a new crush! Sarah Walker from New Zealand is just about the cutest bicycle rider ever. 4th place. So close. Sarah. Gimme a call. We'll do up a Lumberjack BMX.

But honestly, what a crazy track. I was looking at it wondering if I could even clear it on a mountain bike. 36 foot gaps at the end of a row of huge jumps? Sheeit. I was worried they were going to pansy out for the Olympics, but that was full on. Well done, Beijing. Well done.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zooey and the Lumberjack Shirt

Well. I have to admit. I have a huge crush on Zooey Deschanel. I think it started a few months ago. The She & Him album had just come out. Zooey had just been a guest voice on a Simpsons episode. And I watched Almost Famous one morning while I was hungover. It seemed like the world was telling me to have a crush on this girl.

A couple of weeks ago my friend told me that she was taking a trip to New York and had tickets to the She & Him show. I pretty much lost my mind. I mean, a trip to New York is exciting enough...but a trip to New York and hanging out with Zooey (after paying for the privilege along with a room full of other people)? Almost too much. I told her that she would have to take some sort of present from me to throw at her on stage.

I'd kind of forgotten about it but my friend was leaving and asked me where my present for Zooey was. I kind of chuckled. And then thought about it a bit. And then thought "What the hell? Why not give her a Lumberjack shirt?" I dug out a small, Navy blue (should have been Royal, in hindsight) and dropped it off with my friend.

So. The show was last night. And this is what my friend had to say about it.

First of all. Excellent show. Zooey’s voice sounds even better live. Really crisp and clear and lilty. She’s also very pretty and charming. One of the guys I went with said she looked like a sparkly cupcake but I disagree. See attached pictures.

I finally got the nerve up during the encore and managed to toss the shirt on stage from 4 rows back and a rather big security divide as well. I was quite proud. Managed to get it about 1-2 feet away from Zooey who seemed semi-frightened by a largish object coming from nowhere through the light beams. Then she analyzed the situation, stopped talking, picked up the shirt, said “What’s this? Oh it’s a shirt, someone’s given me a shirt....I wonder if it’s for me or for matt? Well I’ll save that for later”...something very nice like that anyway. She seemed happy enough. Then she put it down next to her amp and then left it down there until the end of the encore when she walked half off the stage and then returned to pick up her very special t-shirt. In picture 19, you can’t see what she’s carrying in her right hand, but it’s actually your shirt. Because she’ll obviously treasure it forever.

So, I didn’t talk to her but I did get the shirt into her hands. I hope that is good enough. My friend is 5 foot nothing and she literally almost got beaten up by some hard-ass Jersey chick on our way up to the front. I would have gone down with her if it came to blows so I hope you appreciate the danger of the mission you set up for me.

Zooey, if you're out there, I've got a bike here with your name on it. Not, like free or anything. But it will be a good deal. I promise.

Anyhow. Other companies have team riders and expensive advertisements in magazines. Nope. Not us. Free t-shirts for indie goddesses!


There's an additional photo of Zooey picking up the shirt.

And, there's even Youtube footage of the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

North Shore Bike Shop - Largest Lumberjack Dealer on the Planet!

I'm pumped to have a bike in at North Shore Bike Shop at 16th and Lonsdale. The shop has been around for about a year. The owner, Matt, seems like a really solid, genuine guy and I like the feeling I get from his shop. I've never seen a bike shop owner make such an effort to greet everybody coming in and to drop everything when somebody walks in with a request. Please have a visit, check out the bike and say "Hello!" to Matt.

We've put in a Medium Red Rented Mule. Take it for a spin. Buy a shirt. It will make you happy. I promise.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Holy crap this build took a long time! I've actually been running this bike for a few weeks, but I finally finished it off tonight. I had scabbed it together with some old parts and the new brakes and drivetrain finally arrived. I had to special order some stuff through some different channels and I learned my lesson...not worth the wait.

Needless to say, I'm absolutely, positively stoked on this bike. With a very all-mountainish build and no attempts to save weight it comes in at 33 pounds. Yes, I know. That isn't super light-weight. But...it does include a 6 inch fork, freeride tubes, 2.4 inch tires, a burly-ass headset, a chainguide and 8 inch discs. This also represents a significant weight savings over the prototype, so it's a joy to ride.

So. Here she is.

Oh. And up top too, of course. And...stories galore...

The Paint

Man, I've been sitting on this idea for a paint job for years. When I talked to my painter, Harald, he seemed pretty pumped on trying it out. The idea was pretty simple: Camouflage with cream, brown and blue. I picked out the colours and we talked a bit about it. Harald said "I can mask it like regular camouflage but it will take forever and be stupid expensive. If you'd like, I could square things off. It will still look good, but it will be a lot cheaper." Cheap is good so I told him to go for it.

I sort of imagined some sort of digital camo pattern, but I guess Harald was thinking of something else. When I picked up the bike I have to admit that I was super bummed. I realized that I hadn't communicated what I wanted well enough to Harald. Through nobodies fault but mine I had an expensive paint job that I didn't like. Hated really. I hauled it home and thought about hauling it to a powder coaters and eliminating it from my life. I couldn't face taking it back to Harald for a re-paint. I knew how long he'd spent on it and I couldn't do that to him.

But then a funny thing happened. I started to like it. I finally threw some decals on it and it looked even better. And when the parts arrived and it started to take shape...man...I was super pumped on what I saw. So, I'd probably never do it again, but I'm pretty stoked on the paint job for this bike. The colours are perfect and the pattern is probably something that has and never will be seen again. So, Harald, you obviously know better than I do. Thanks for the paint.

The Fork

I decided on a Lyrik coil for this bike. Hearing about all the air Totems blowing up, I didn't want to mess with it. Supposedly the Lyriks are okay, but I didn't want to chance it. Plus, the U-Turn travel adjust seemed pretty cool.

Let me tell you, this is the right fork for this bike. You could save a bit of weight but the coil feels amazing. The U-Turn is almost a necessity on a bike like this. The prototype had a 66 RC2X on it, and I hated that fork. Too much travel and too much weight. Plus it just never felt right.

But not all is rosy. Man, they put a lot of crap on the top of the crown on these forks. On a medium it's a pretty tight fit between the knobs and the downtube. The large that I'm running has a bit more clearance. I put a fairly high stack Cane Creek headset on to create a bit more room but come on! There's no need for that much stuff on the top of the crown.

Well...other than that...a bunch of the parts will hopefully be an NSMB gear shots in a month or two, so I won't blow my wad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It was a nice day today so I decided to get my fat ass out on my bike and take the old prototype for it's retirement ride. I pick up my personal frame tomorrow and I should have it built by the weekend. It seemed like a fitting tribute to take the proto for a final tour around Vancouver.

I loved this bike and it was honestly the kick in the ass that I needed to start this company. My initial plan was to start with a full suspension design but this bike felt so natural that within 10 minutes on my first ride I had made the decision to start with this as my first model.

However. The parts kit really sucked. This bike is too heavy. The wheels are the most bomber wheels I've ever ridden, but they weigh a tonne. The fork is way too heavy, way too tall and just never felt right. The cranks are overkill. The brakes suck. There's just too much weight on this bike. My next build is easily going to knock 10 pounds off and won't give up much in the way of strength or suspension performance.

As well, I can't look at this bike and not see all the mistakes that I made. The new dropouts and gussets are cleaner. The slightly steeper angles are going to handle a bit better. The shorter seat tube is going to be nicer. The lower BB is going to kick ass. The machined head tube takes out a bit of weight and finishes things off nicely. I'm super, super pumped on the new bike.

And riding around Vancouver these days is always pretty exciting. I've been longing to take this photo for the last couple of months.

I call it Signs of the upcoming Real Estate Apocalypse. Hopefully.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Things are finally starting to feel somewhat real. I spent most of yesterday shooting photos with Harookz at the Brewery. I like working with Harookz. He's just about the most excited person you could ever meet, so he can flush all the self doubt from your mind. And we also seem to be pretty good at working together to create an idea. I start with something small. He adds to it. I add to that. He adds to that. Pretty soon, we're left with something that can only be either a complete trainwreck or insanely awesome. I'm pretty sure we hit the latter.

The first part of the day involved sitting in a massive cooler taking pictures of a bike.

From there, we thawed out, rounded up a few people, a couple of beers and a whole lot of lights and set about creating a scene to highlight the shirt. Shit was pretty complicated but it turned out real good like. Now, if I could just get a website up and running to post it on...

Here's a shot of the crew. Thanks for your help everybody.