article

Pedal Dynamics…

Crank Brothers Mallet 2 Peadls

Crank Brothers Mallet 2 Pedals

TIME for change.  I’ve always ridden mountain bikes clipped-in ever since the early 90’s with those horrible toe-straps.  Since my second mountain biking life I’ve been using Shimano’s SPD system to attach myself to my bike.  With various different pedals.  Settling on the Shimano’s M530 Trail pedals for the last couple of seasons.

But I’ve noticed that the majority of riders over here use the Crank Brothers system and what’s that they say about change?

So it’s a case of – out with old, tried and tested and in with the new, shiny and different.

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Above : Out with the old (left) and in with the new (right)

A 10 minute test ride and I think I can safely say that I prefer them to the old pedals and the old system.  It seems easier to engage the cleat and if it doesn’t engage you have a decent platform with 6 grippy little pins on each side to put down a couple of pedal strokes until you can clip in.

It also seems easier to unclip too – which can be good or bad depending on if you mean to unclip or not!

Think I might put a set of these on the downhill bike (currently ride flats on the DH bike) when the lifts open and see how I get on.  The other thing I like is that it looks as though you could jump on the bike with normal trainers on without too much fuss something that the SPD system really doesn’t let you get away with.

Will report back when I’ve really tested them out…but for now, happy 🙂

ready to ride

ready to ride

Categories: article, Components & Hardware, cycling, DH Mountain Biking, Downhill, Enduro, hardware, Mountain Biking, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ghost Town Riders…

GHOST Town Skateboarding in the incredible town of Ordos!  A city in China built for 1 million people and currently inhabited by just a few thousand…

Ghost Town Skateboarding – Ordos;

 

It’s been called the Dubai of northern China, showered with wealth, packed with public infrastructure and located near to precious natural resources in a region plagued by water-supply troubles.

Ordos is a ghost town located in Inner Mongolia. Seeing the potential of this city in terms of spots we decided to organize a skate trip and be the first ones to skate such a surreal place.

Directed, filmed & edited by: Charles Lanceplaine
Additional filming: Patrik Wallner & Tommy Zhao
Music: You Me by Hamacide + Chacha
Sound mix: Gaetan Lourmiere
Logo: jmartdesign.com

Skaters: Jay Meador, Gustav Nymans, Tommy Zhao, Alexander Hwang, James Capps, Elliott Zelinskas & Brian Dolle

 

 

Categories: article, Cities, Internet, Jumps & Tricks, Movies, Music, Online Viewing, Other Sports, Skating, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mountain Poison…

Ski Wax: Extra Speed Could Carry More than Just a Steep Price Tag

Fluorinated ski waxes give competitors an extra edge. But these waxes contain and release chemicals that do not degrade in the environment and have been found in people, fish and wildlife around the world.

By Brendon Bosworth, 2-14-11

The difference: The left ski is treated with basic hydrocarbon wax, while the right one has a high fluorinated wax that makes the water bead up. But what else is it doing to people, the snowpack and, ultimately, water supplies?
The difference: The left ski is treated with basic hydrocarbon wax, while the right one has a high fluorinated wax that makes the water bead up. But what else is it doing to people, the snowpack and, ultimately, water supplies?

 

All ski waxes are not created equal. Seasoned competitors know it’s unlikely a standard block of wax will suffice when it comes to reaching the velocity needed to win professional events. Fluorinated waxes, which come as blocks or powders, help speed demons get their fixes. But the synthetic compounds that give these products their water-repellant qualities remain under investigation for their potential health effects.

Like many nonstick pans, “fluoro” waxes contain perfluorocarbons or PFCs. To help shave more seconds off the clock, some have Teflon mixed in. Some of the chemicals in the PFC family, such as PFOA(perfluorooctanoic acid), which is used to manufacture Teflon and Gore-Tex, are practically immortal. PFOA does not biodegrade. Instead, it endures in the environment and has been found in fish, birds, wildlife and people around the world, even in Arctic polar bears.

People are most likely exposed to PFCs through drinking tainted water, eating contaminated food or using PFC-containing products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a study on more than 2,000 participants, the CDC found PFCs in nearly all those tested.

Research into the possible human health effects of PFOA exposure is ongoing. But tests on lab animals have linked exposure to high levels of PFCs with changes in hormone levels, liver damage, cancer and birth defects.

“Studies of exposure to PFOA and adverse health outcomes in humans are inconclusive at present,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, after reviewing the EPA’s 2005 draft assessment of the human health effects of PFOA, 75 percent of the organization’s Science Advisory Board felt it should be labeled as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

Even though the impacts of the compound are still being evaluated, the EPA has introduced a PFOA Stewardship Program, aimed at eliminating industry emissions of PFOA and its precursor chemicals by 2015.

European Studies Focus on Professional Ski Wax Technicians

Last year, two European studies highlighted that PFCs build up within professional ski wax technicians who spend their workdays prepping skis for national competitors. Operating in close quarters, often with inadequate ventilation, the technicians inhaled fumes released when melting waxes with hot irons, as well as tiny particles of wax dust.

Norwegian study assessed 13 technicians working the 2008 and 2009 World Cup seasons. The researchers found they had roughly 10 to 40 times higher median concentrations of certain perfluorochemicals, also found in the workroom air, in their serum than the general population. PFOA was found at the highest concentrations: 25 times above regular background levels.

Dr. Baard Freberg, based at Norway’s National Institute of Occupational Health and team medical doctor for Norway’s national biathlon teams, was lead author of this study.

He began a pilot study in 2006 after waxers complained about asthma-like symptoms, itching skin, eye irritation, fever, headaches and vomiting, even though they’d started using full-face respirators as he’d instructed in 2001. “The waxers had become suspicious about some new powders [they were using],” he said via email.

Swedish study focused on eight technicians from the U.S. and Swedish national cross-country teams. The results suggest that technicians could be producing PFOA in their blood, after breathing in a fluorotelomer alcohol (8:2 FTOH). The alcohol is released during the waxing process and was found in concentrations up to 800 times higher that PFOA in air samples taken from waxing cabins. 8:2 FTOH is a known as a “precursor compound” since it can break down to form PFOA. This transformation has been shown to occur in rats.

In their previous study the researchers found higher PFC levels in technicians who’d been in the business for longer than newer recruits.

Should Self-Waxers be Concerned?

The technicians in the Swedish study spent 30 hours a week melting, spreading and scraping fluorinated wax in cloistered conditions. The average skier or snowboarder, tuning their equipment every few weeks before a weekend session, comes nowhere near that type of exposure. But fluoro waxes should still be handled with care.

“We have maintained for years now that people who work with perfluorocarbons should wear a mask and it is not a bad idea to use a mask when hot waxing in general if the room is not well ventilated,” said Ian Harvey, brand manager for Toko wax company, via email. “I recommend a full face mask as they are more comfortable and also keep the eyes clean of dust from waxing.”

On its website, Swix, a large international producer of ski wax,emphasizes that fluorocarbon waxes can release poisonous gases if heated above 570 degrees and should not be exposed to open flames.

Freberg recommends using respirators, even if not dealing with fluorinated waxes, to prevent inhalation of nano sized particles of wax dust. He also advises against eating and smoking inside waxing areas.

Natural Alternatives

Most standard waxes are made from petroleum or paraffin, byproducts of crude oil. Some incorporate other “slip agents” besides PFCs, such as graphite, molybdenum and silicone. On every run down the slopes, bits of wax flake off skis and snowboards, building up in the snowpack, eventually working their way into runoff when snow melts.

“A lot of people say, well, it’s just a little bit, it’s not that much, but over the years it can build up,” says Greg Barker, CEO of Nevada-based Enviro Mountain Sports, which makes natural waxes.

The U.S. ski industry recorded close to 60 million visits over the 2009-2010 season. Barker estimates that each skier or boarder deposits about three-quarters of an ounce of wax during a typical visit. That amounts to potentially 2.8 million pounds of wax entering mountain snow across the country each year, using these figures.

“Think about the snow under the lift line: Reach down there and take a cup of that snow and melt it – do you want to drink that?” he says.

Scott Sparks, owner of Colorado-based Purl Wax, which produces a natural wax, Ice 9, does not deny that fluoro waxes are incredibly fast when properly matched to the snow conditions. But, like Barker, he’s concerned about their long-lived compounds entering water streams.

“While an argument could be made that fluoro based waxes are a necessary evil for the ski racing world, the large majority of wax is used on rental fleets. There is absolutely no reason to use fluorinated waxes on rental fleets,” Sparks said in an email.

According to Sparks, Ice 9 contains none of the ingredients found in traditional wax. It is made from natural compounds that have similar ultra-hydrophobic (water repellant) properties to the synthetic ones found in fluoro waxes. These are nontoxic, biodegradable and renewable, he said.

Enviro Mountain Sports uses hydrogenated plant and vegetable oils to make their wax. They initially used soy as a base ingredient, but this did not work well across a broad enough temperature range, Barker explains.

Likewise, Purl does not use soy oil because it is not durable enough, said Sparks.

Barker is so confident in the harmlessness of his company’s wax that he says he’d eat a bite of it. He has fried an egg in melted oil from the wax and eaten it, he says.

 

Original Article;

http://www.newwest.net/snow_blog/article/ski_wax_extra_speed_could_carry_more_than_just_a_steep_price_tag/C458/L41/

 

Categories: article, Food, Mountains, Skiing, Snowboarding, Technology, Winter Sports | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The mountain guys are all so nice and they all have fun…”

Not a Snowboarding or Mountain Biking story but a good story nevertheless…and seeing as I’m living in ‘Le Tour‘ country now it’s kinda apt…

Click on the link below to read the original article from Wired.com

Amazing Ritte Van Vlaanderen Bikes Born From Irreverence

Categories: article, cycling, Road bikes, Wired Magazine | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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