Saturday, October 11, 2014

Another Clearing Ride

I rode again in Webster Park to clear some trails of fallen trees. There were two trails I vaguely recalled needing attention so I targeted them and found some work to do.

A few before and after shots:

The second one was big but thankfully only required one cut.  Its diameter was over 12", but the Silky Big Boy 2000 could handle it.  At first it cut fairly quickly but after a few inches it was slow going.  Once it was cut I could see the top few inches looked quite different, so maybe it was rotting or the wood grew differently.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Trail Clearing Hike

I didn't feel like riding but I still wanted to get out and continue clearing some trails Webster Park. Syd joined me in a hike and we found a few trees to work on.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Silky BIGBOY 2000

In my last ride I stopped to cut fallen trees in Webster Park with my new Chainmate saw.  I found the Chainmate wasn't so great, so I researched and purchased yet another saw:  the Silky BIGBOY 2000.

It's a folding saw with a blade that over 14" long and just barely fits in my CamelBak Lobo.  I rode back to where I left off and began cutting. This saw is the best saw I've ever owned.   My first cuts felt effortless and the saw ate through the wood quickly.  I did a lot of work and by the end of my outing I was fatigued and cutting seemed more difficult, but still faster that any hand saw I've ever owned.

I made a total of 18 cuts, clearing 8 locations.  Most cuts were 8" to 12".  At one point I got my saw pinched badly and it took me 35 minutes to get it out.  I had to use my Chainmate to cut parallel to my Silky cut and kept trying to rock the log.  I learned my lesson that it really matters which side of the log you cut on!

Before and after pics:

Here's a video of my work:

There are likely more trees across trails that I don't frequent.  Maybe on my next ride I will hunt them down.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chainmate Saw

I stopped to clear a few small fallen trees/limbs during my last ride, using my folding pruning saw, but with so many larger trees in the way, I looked for another solution.  I found and purchased a Chainmate "survival saw" made by Green Mountain Products.  It's basically a chainsaw chain with a handhold strap on each end.  It comes in 24", 36", and 48" lengths.   I went for the big one and I thought it was reasonably priced at $17.55 on Amazon.  In the case of a fallen tree, the general approach is to pass the chain under the tree and then, standing over it, hold a strap in each hand and alternately pull each hand.

Today I rode into Webster Park again and gave my new saw a try.  Overall I was disappointed.  I read many reviews and watch several videos showing the Chainmate in action.  I knew it would be tiring.  Indeed it was, but more than expected.  I had hoped to clear half a dozen trees, but I only managed two by making three cuts.  I had a similar experience with each cut, so I'll describe them in general.

Many videos show cutting a limb that's 3 or 4 inches in diameter without too much problem, but I'm targeting 6 to 12 inch diameter trees.  I found I could only cut for short bouts; about 30 seconds.  In the first 30 seconds it felt like I was making great progress ripping through the tree and was about halfway.  But there's an illusion because the chain may work up the side of the log to halfway or more, but of course the cut doesn't go parallel to the ground but rather in an arc.  So in reality I was significantly less than halfway through.

At about that point I found the chain started binding.  I don't think it was getting pinched but just required wider arms or some change in technique.  I made some further progress by varying my technique, usually standing off to one side, but in the end I used my folding pruning saw to finish the cut.  I don't think my pruning saw is particularly great so that took a lot effort.

I'm going to research a long fast cutting folding saws.  Though I still might give the Chainmate a try with another person.  The picture of Green Mountain Products' advertisement shows two people using a single Chainmate by working together on either side of a huge tree.  It makes sense that this is a good technique because it seems to work much better at a less acute angle.  Also, I've read it works better on live wood.  I know the big second tree has been there for at least a year.  Unfortunately most of the downed trees in Webster park aren't new.

Here's a video of me working:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

The last time I rode, it was 3 weeks since the previous ride.  Now I managed to have a 4 1/2 week gap between rides.  I'm not sure why but I just didn't feel motivated to ride.  But today I felt the urge and took a few hours off work to ride at Webster Park and Whiting.

I remembered to bring my folding saw with me in case I could clear any small downed trees or limbs.  I got the opportunity several times.  Here are some before and after pics:

There were also a good number of big fallen trees the could use a chainsaw.  Most I've seen before.

It was about 60F out which was a nice riding temperature.  It's a good time of year to ride.

At the end of the Green trail at Whiting I found a bench that wasn't there last time.  Since Green is a down-and-back trail, it was nice to have a spot to rest and refuel. And it's positioned to sneak a view of the lake across Lake Rd.  Pics:

I assume it's another Friends of Webster Trails scout project.  I forgot to read the plaque before I left. 

Despite not having ridden in a while, I made the short but steep climb at the end of the Green.   Yay me.  Overall I felt pretty good riding, but I could tell I fatigued quicker than normal.  I need to get back in shape.

My GPS failed to record my ride from the bench back to the parking lot.  I rode about 5 miles.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Forced a Ride

I haven't been riding for three weeks because of weather and work.  Mostly work.  Today I forced myself to get out and ride.  That's kind of lame because I'm supposed to be enjoying this sport, not forcing myself to do it.  But I didn't have any real destination or goals, and riding the usual trails holds only so much excitement.  Not to mention the sport is a big workout and after a three week break that can hurt.

There has been some recent trail work at Bay Park West lately so I decided to go there.  I've referred to BPW as Big Punishing Workout, so it didn't make a whole lot of sense for me to go there, but I figured I'd take breaks as needed.

Photo: A new fence to keep the mountain
bikers from flying off a cliff
At the start of my ride I felt like I was having trouble balancing.  I quickly discovered I had a low tire pressure problem and not my brain.  I didn't have a pump with me so I kept riding, hoping I'd be able to get used to it or find a mountain biker with a pump.  Thankfully within my first mile I encountered a mountain biker doing some repairs on his broken chain.  He let me borrow a pump and from then on my unicycle rode nicely.  That was a lucky break because I didn't see any other mountain bikers for the rest of my ride.

I actually rode fairly strongly, making a lot of climbs and technical sections.  But it was hot and I didn't need to push it, so it wasn't my longest ride at BPW.

I saw some trail improvements, like regrading and a safety fence at a turn along the edge of a cliff.  Nothing too exciting, but positive improvements nonetheless.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Unicycle science - Why so many wheel sizes?

Roland explains unicycle wheel sizes in this video.  I thought it was well produced.