The Slow Spoke is a place where I put my thoughts to words and hopefully some will read them. Since I'm a major bike geek most entries will be bike related but, not always. I'm also guilty of thinking far too much so you never know what the topic will be. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Thursday Night Outing.

On rare occasion, when the shop closes early, some people ask what the deal is.

Blackwell Boys from Steve Arseneault on Vimeo.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Between Shifts.

Well, the quiver has been getting some love as of late.

Managed to tear down the Guru for a full cleaning, tune-up and subsequent glamour shot session between night shifts.

Once I get doing that, I can't help but notice the finer details of the bike.

Now that I have a better camera (with no skills to use it) I figured I'd post some better pics than the ones posted on the build entry. 

Still built as it was for my 40th b-day present to myself and still running great. This one will be with me a long time. I built it to last.

She's not meant to be the fastest bike in the group ride but while my buddies on the stiffer, "pure race" bikes start to ache, I'm ready for more action ;-)

Great bike for the long haul.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sometimes Lightning Strikes Twice.

Lightning does strike does. It's been proven. Sometimes lottery winners win more than once too. For me, I've never been lucky enough to win a lottery but I've been pretty lucky recently and pretty euphoric about what has taken place also. Lottery-like euphoria almost; an excitement in finally getting back on something that I've always said I would.

A look into past posts will find you reading about Dekerf. Even the picture at the top of this blog is a very old pic of my feet and my Dekerf Team ST that I rode and raced for 9 full seasons (99-08). That bike is the greatest bike I've ever owned (still have it) and very early on, it showed me what a bike "can" truly be.

It instilled an appreciation of the finer things in cycling. It opened up a whole new world and understanding for me. I learned to look past marketing bullshit and see what's really real. It made me appreciate the subtleties of a build and I learned what I wanted out of a bike over those earlier years. That bike set the bar wickedly high and it'll be tough to beat.

I've been fortunate too to be able to own many nice rides (at least I think they're nice) but I always knew that someday, someday I'd snag up another Dekerf. I had to.

I know the quality. I know the reliability. I know the feel and I simply LOVE Chris's work. I knew my time would come.

For those who may not know of Dekerf Cycle Innovations, here's a nice video of Chris Dekerf and his work. He's an absolute master of this craft.

Chris Dekerf / Dekerf Cycle Innovations from Mike Nairne on Vimeo.

Well, that time has come and I'm quite excited. I........AM.........BACK!! Twice Dekerfed. Freshly built in the following photos and equipped with matching Dekerf tuning fork.

The Niner MCR 9 was stripped and all parts were swapped over for the build. Everything that was not replaced was simply gone over, cleaned, tuned and slapped on the DK. This helps keep the budget down and the wife happy.

XO shifter/derailleur was converted to 1x9 setup using a Truvativ Noir crank and Race Face Single Ring up front. I then slipped a SRAM PG 990 cassette I had kicking around onto the King rear hub for that lovely buzzzzzzzzzz out on the trail.

Stopping is accomplished via Avid BB7's mated to Paul Love Levers up front. Living in a flatter part of the world, the BB7's provide more than enough power and their simplicity is quite appealing. Hydraulics were pulled for use on the fatbike.

Stans ZTR Arch hoops are laced with DT double butted spokes and a mix of Thomson Elite stem/post, Niner bars, Odi Lock-On grips and Maxxis Cross Mark rubber round off the build.

Pictures never do a bike any justice but I do the best with my limited photographic skills.

Here, some random shots of the bike as I try and capture some of those immaculate welds and craftsmanship.

In purchasing the frame, it was not desirable to separate the tuning fork from it so I got both. To separate this bike and fork would be like severing an arm. Very glad to keep it all together.

I'm still battling my pneumonia (getting better every day) but building this while recovering has made it much easier.

Managed to get out on a few shorter test/shakedown rides as of late and I can tell you that this bike has me extremely excited.

It's good to be damn good to be back.

Shakedown ride shot.

Apologies for posting about my own bike like this but I couldn't help it. I quite excited.

Cheers and keep the rubber side down, folks!

Thanks for reading...........comment if you want.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I'm No Retro Grouch! Sweet Rides: Entry #15

I'm no retro grouch!

Well, at least that's what I have to tell myself sometimes. Telling myself sometimes, because, I have to convince myself I'm not! Hahaha

I have strong opinions in cycling. I have staunch beliefs as to what is good with cycling and what isn't and I have a very strong hatred for what I believe to be marketing tripe: and there's a lot of that right now.

Here however, with this example, it is a fine example of all that is well in the world. Those who read my posts somewhat regularly (or at least as regularly as I post) will know of my penchant for steel, but this freaking sick ride gets me tempted to jump ship!

Built by my buddy James at Blackwell Cycle (or on Facebook), I watched this ride come together and waited with bated breath. It's the one upside to owning your own shop that's for sure. I watched as each part would arrive and be laid out on the bench or hung off the frame in advance of the next component's arrival. The intent James had was to build himself up one hell of a fine hardtail and one that would not only stand the test of time and be race ready but, also, be extremely worry and maintenance free. Nice job!

He jumped back into the less plush world after years on a full squishy; choosing an as-plush-as-possible full carbon Rocky Mountain Vertex as a base for his build. Clearly with the component selection he made, "feathery" was going to be a word associated with this new build of his.

RaceFace Next SL carbon cranks mated with SRAM XX1 shifter, derailleur and cassette make for one sick combination. That damn cassette alone is a fine piece of art and needs to be seen to be appreciated. Ridiculous!

I snapped these photos and it was tough to take a bad shot. The silly thing is so damn nice. Of course James can't take "all" the credit. Rocky Mountain did a fine job too with the frame graphics in my opinion. Just enough colour to make the bike pop out there on the trail but not so much that it's all flash. Fit and finish is very nice and this bike has a nice aggressive racey geometry: there is no doubt. I wan't to race it..................bad.

James also, by choice (and tastefully I might add), kept everything RaceFace.

He wanted to keep with that Rocky Mountain/West coast tradition. Pieced together with RF stem, carbon Next seat post and matching RF carbon Next bars, his mission was a success and did the bike worlds of good.

A DT Swiss OPM O.L 100 fork softens the front end and the latest offerings from Time (XC8 carbon) secure the feet in place. The textbook Odi lock-ons (why anyone would ever go with anything else I'll never know) for the trouble free secure grip no mater what the conditions and Maxxis Ikon tires keep the ride on track in the slick stuff. To finalize the controls, James slapped on some Hope Race Evo X2's (the lightest Hope has to offer) and they finish this thing off right. They absolutely belong on this bike. 

All told, as built with everything you see in the pics, the bike weighs in at a mind-blowingly light 20.08lbs. That's right. Before he put the pedals on, it was sub 20lb mountain bike capable of full on race conditions. That's sayin' something.

How can anyone be a retro grouch when time, engineering, and sure, a bit of cash, gets you numbers and beautiful lookers like that??

I still love my steel rides but I'll tell you what, I'd throw my leg over this freaking thing any time of the week!

Sick bike, James. Nice f#$%ing job!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Down for the count..........

Down with pneumonia now. Suffering off the bike. This blows ass...

Pick from last ride I was on over a week ago.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Been a while.............image dump.

Wow, I know I don't post much in here but that's gotta be a record. Haha

I really don't think many read this shitty blog anyway but, what the hell. This is for those of you who stumble in here, be it through curiosity or accident.

Still riding.................still taking shots.

Here are some random shots I've taken over the last while.

Recent beach outing.

Solo rail trail outing.

On the Niner for a change

Maiden voyage/test ride of the Ice Cream Truck

Break time while out on the Straggler. Such a fun bike.

A quick add I made for my buddys' shop.

Riding the beach just before the (snow) storm hit.

Nearing the end of a 70ish km point-to-point "race". I soooooo wasn't ready for that event. I was hurting hear. Hahaha

Just a Rocky Element I really dig. Had to take a shot.

That's it for now. Not much of an entry I know but I've got plans.....for more......later. Like punk rock, the blog's not dead. I'll continue popping back in on occasion. Hopefully you do as well.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Cross Check Is Gone.

After years of total reliability and flawless performance, I got rid of a bike that set quite a standard in my quiver: my Surly Cross Check.

It was a bike that was actually a bit painful to part with but, at least, it isn't far. Sold it to a buddy of mine. At least I will see it out being ridden every now and again. It's gone to a good place.

One may ask, "Why part with something so admired?" Well, there is a simple answer. Surly released something that, for me, hit the nail right smack on the head! Something that I'd been wanting for years! Basically, not "totally" mind you, but pretty much, a Cross Check with disc tabs.

Yes, I'm speaking of course of the Straggler. It was a God damned no brainer for me when I saw it way back when. A bike with all the versatility of my CC, some minor geometry changes but disc tabs were a big deal for me. Once I spotted the "Glitter Dreams" paint.................well........................metallic flake??????

I'm all over that!!

So..............I pulled the Cross Check apart swapping all the parts I could. I was bound and determined to keep my Campy Chorus/Record groupo I loved so much and found the conversion cassette to be a simple solution to getting a Campy groupset to work on a Shimano disc hub. I purchasing only brakes (which were a trade for mtb BB7's I had already), new Brooks Swallow Titanium saddle, Stan ZTR Crest rims (pealed some of the stickers off to make them less "vibrant" - yuck) and laced them up on some older XT disc hubs. I did take the time to apply matching purple nipples to the wheels though. I had a good laugh (we all did) when I went into the shop and asked if I "......could get some purple nipples". Hahaha

Slapped it all together at my usual stop, Blackwell Cycle, and James was kind enough to lace the wheels up for me. That's about the only thing I don't do. F@#% lacing wheels. I can't stand it. It truly pisses me off. Hahaha Thanks again to James and John for getting the frame, fork and extra parts I needed in. Cheers once again.

Freaking stoked on this build.

Gotta get these exams done so I can rip it up!

And my other rides!!! I'm missing my bikes right now.

I of course snapped some pictures fresh off the bike stand. Here's how it turned out.

Can't wait to get it dirty!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Damn AT-AT's!!

Had to cut my ride short because of the AT-AT's returning early from patrols! It's so freaking annoying. The pilots often really don't give a shit what's in front of them so, as you know, it's always safer to just head home until they pass.

Arrogant bastards.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Life...........It's Busy!

I keep telling myself that it will slow down and things will go back to the way they once were. Truth is, it won't. I have a hard time coming to grips with that. What I'm continuing to do though is trying and adapt. Trying to adjust and manipulate all I have to do in a day and cram in as much cycling as possible without sacrificing anything else.

It's bee getting better lately. Been doing a fair bit of fat biking.

Here's a manual-style wheelie for you. HAHA Good times....

Today's entry will just be a few random shots I've taken while out over the past couple of weeks. It's been fun. Just wish some of my buds would get on board with riding fat.......and in the cold.

Here's a pic I took just down the street from my house while riding the beach. Lake's starting to freeze up! Soon it'll be time to ride out there a ways. Looking forward to it.

A little further down the beach I stumbled upon........

Anyway, gotta get going here. Gotta get some shopping done so I can get back and maybe squeeze another ride in. That would be nice. We'll see.

Sorry for the obvious lack of effort in this post. Just dropping in to show that all is well and we're still rolling.

Really wanting to ride my Guru right now but, not freaking way. Too much salt down now.

I'll post about it eventually I suppose.


Here too is a quick/short little video I slapped together a few days ago. Didn't spend much time on it as I wanted to rack miles up instead.

Thanks for reading!
Feel free to comment so I know you're out there.
Steve A.

A Great Escape from Steve Arseneault on Vimeo.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Fall Ride After a Crazy Schedule.

Just a quick entry today since I finally managed to get out and we took a few shots during our loop.

It's been a ridiculously long time since I was able to turn any cranks (aside from a few commutes). My work schedule was INTENSE as of late. I'd been working 13hr night shifts straight through since August 13th right up until mid October. There were a scant number of days off - maybe 4 or 5 in two months. It was insane but we got through it.

Any days off were quickly (and obviously) filled with chores to catch up on and hanging with my kids who were missing me dearly. I can assure you, that feeling was mutual.

Now that life and workload are back to normal, I have time again to make a few things happen. The other day, I called a buddy James and off we went for some fall riding. I hate fall but I enjoy riding in it.

A pre-ride shot taken by my buddy. I missed my bike. I was dying to roll.

Once we rode in, the colours were intense in some areas and the lighting was perfect. The sun popped in and out of the clouds and all was wet so this helped to really make the colours contrast and pop. Especially in the more dense areas.

There, when the sun hid, the blackened bark of the pines contrasted beautifully with the rust coloured trail and its green coloured edges. I didn't capture a good pic of that because every time I reached for the camera, the sun would pop out again! GRRRRR...... missed out on that.

I did capture this in the more leafy, less dense part of the trail though. Gives you a good idea of some of the glorious colour to be seen.

The ride was wet and quite slick since, below the layer of wet leaves was a rain-soaked, saturated trail just waiting to catch you out. We were rolling some pretty low pressures. I did go down and slide a fair distance through some sticky gumbo. This, after my front wheel washed out on one of a billion hidden wet roots. Serves me right though. I was getting complacent on a flowy downhill section. No harm done though. The bike and I both slid for a bit before coming to a stop half off the trail. As you know, always better to slide than to come to any abrupt stops.

Thick gumbo is quite good at dissipating energy!

Got up, mud-soaked on my right side and laughed a minute or two. The bike was fine too so all was good: great in fact.

I missed this stuff and I didn't even begin to know just how much until I got out there. I missed the trails, my bike, chatting with my buddy, the unique challenges of riding in the fall, the smells, sights and sounds - all of it.

God damn. That was good stuff.