Backpack review, K9 Style...

Tobias, the model mutt.
I recently read a review on another webiste that I like to read about a Dog Pack they had tried.  Funny enough, my wife and I had the same pack before this one, so I knew just how crappy it was.  That is why I had to write this review, because this pack is awesome!

We purchased this a long while back at a shop in Victoria (Capital Iron), and we've been impressed with it ever since.  The pack is very durable, and it looks and feels this way in the shop.  It has great padding along the straps, and under the whole pack, it seems very comfortable, and Tobias certainly loves it.

The padding is soft though, so your dogs hair is going to stick to it.  Along with hair, the soft surface also absorbs water, and therefore your lovely wet dog smell to go with it.  A trip to the washing machine will solve this issue in a hurry though. 
All cool dog bags have buttons.

The pack has two great compartments for storage.  They are plenty big to hold whatever you could possibly want in there (remember to only load your dog up with a MAXIMUM 10% of their total body weight. 40 LB dog = 4 LB carry weight.).  We like to have Tobias carry his water and dog bags (and if he's lucky some treats).

The price of the bag is reasonable as well.  Right around $50-$60 depending on the size you need.  This was actually less than what we had spent on our first bag, so we were really
happy with the cost. 

The bag has held up great.  We use it almost daily, pretty much everytime we go out the door we throw his pack on him.  The zippers and buckles all still function perfectly, and he has worn it in all conditions you can think of.  Muddy hikes and bikes, nice long day walks in the sun, and anything in between. 

If you are thining of getting a pack for your pooch, Granite Gear is what you want.  The price is right and the quality is top notch.


My 29'er... A Love Affair

Took a few pics on the new cam, and Sheena put a pretty sweet vid together.

Well I haven't wrote on here in quite some time, and today I'm writing about something I haven't wrote a lot about on here in the past, but I sure am excited about it.  Mountain Biking has always been something I have enjoyed, and after some good friends coming out here and visiting my last September, I've really stepped back into the sport.

Growing up in Ontario, we would watch countless videos of guys doing incredible things on their bikes.  Most of it didn't seem possible.  Huge drops, zooming fast manuals, giant ladders, and stupid-big tabletops were just some of the things we loved to watch our favourite riders conquer. 

We watched video from all over the world, but over and over again, British Columbia would be showcased in these videos.  Whether it was the crazy networks in the treetops, or the giant trees and boulders that dotted the landscape, we always knew we had to get out there and ride.

I'm lucky enough to call B.C. home now, and it was those good buddies that I used to ride with back in Ontario that really inspired me to get back into riding, to take advantage of this wonderful province and what it offers the outdoor enthusiasts.

The opportunity came shortly after my friends had to leave to purchase a 29'er.  I had read a few things here and there on them, and from what I was reading, I knew I had to have one.  I've always loved hard tails, it's what I am used to, and to get a faster hard tail with the ability to just roll over things?  Sign me up.

I lucked out completely when I came across a link on the Oak Bay Bikes website, they were selling off their demo fleet "aggressively".  I was at the shop the next morning, waiting for them to open.  A 2009 Norco Jubei 2 was waiting inside patiently for it's new caretaker.  I had a ride planned later that morning, and as soon as I got to take that bike for a test spin, I knew I had a new set of wheels for Hartland that day.

A couple hours later, when we put rubber to dirt, it took less than twenty minutes for me to proclaim "I can't believe I've been riding 26 all my life, I feel ripped off!".  The bike rolled amazingly.  Pointing it down was so much fun, the big wheels feeling plush under me, I've never rode full suspension, but this thing was feeling like one, absorbing the roots and drops, picking up speed.  Fast, fast, fast.  And when you pointed it up?  Same thing.  You keep those wheels moving, you feel like you can ride over anything.  Rocks that I would have never attempted to climb on my Cindercone felt like no match for the Jubei 2.  I felt like a superhero that whole day, riding lines that weren't there the day before.  Suddenly my whole riding experience changed. 

It was a rosy honeymoon stage with my new steed, and I have to admit, I'm still in it.  The ability to throw the big wheels up rocks and climb so aggressively feels amazing.  I spend more time in the saddle of this bike because it can keep up with the terrain, going up or down.

Down may be where I was most surprised.  As I mentioned earlier, after going from a 26' hard tail to this 29' hard tail, it actually feels plush.  The first few drops and downhill runs I took, I couldn't believe how the bike felt like it just floated over the trail.  I knew I was the same rider as the day before, but I felt like I was on another level.  This bike did nothing but build confidence for me.

Now as the months have wore on, and I've gotten a chance to really put her through the paces, the negatives have made them self clear as well

I don't have the clearance from my crank to the ground that I used to.  I'd love to tell you the geometric reasons for this, but I simply don't know (I'm not a big spec guy).  It could just be this model, or maybe it's a 29'er thing, but it's definitely worth mentioning (strongly thinking of going to a 1 x10 set up in the near future, this would help).

Also, starting from a stand still is a bit more work that you're used to.  The big wheel needs some power to roll over, so if you slip out half way up a climb, chances are you will have a hard time getting started.  These are really the only two negatives that I've really had to deal with while riding, and for me personally, the positive far outweigh the negatives.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I love my 29'er, and I would strongly recommend you give one a go.  I know they are easy to joke about, and it might not be the "cool" thing to ride in the Pacific Northwest, but who cares about that?  Faster is faster, and that's all I've got since riding the Wagon Wheels.