GSI Products: Not Just for Camping Fun!

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We started selling gear from GSI Outdoors a few months ago and we've all been really happy with how well it works for camping and bike touring, which is obvious if you follow the blog.

But it turns out that at least one product, the Lexan Gear Box, is an outstanding addition to your plane ride too. I recently flew to Philadelphia for a friend's wedding and to see some former housemates' three-month-old baby (spoiler alert: she is rully cute!). These days, unless you fly first class, you have to pay for everything except for the small amount of liquids needed to keep you from dying before the plane lands. And the times when you got a free meal or at least some snacks weren't actually the rosiest either. You can purchase something expensive at the airport, but that's pretty sub-optimal too. Or, you can bring a hunk of bread and some cheese and tomatoes in your gear box!

 

Bringing your own food on a plane, and not a lousy bag of chips either, has the classy feel of that scene at the end of Hannibal. And even though cheese and tomatoes aren't the runniest, with the gear box, I didn't worry about anything I put in there leaking on my things (or even just making my bag smell like cheese), which, if you're traveling, can mean a while before you get a chance to tend to the situation. In fact, because of the quality of the seal and the cabin pressure, I had to pry the box open with a screwdriver to wash it at home. I wouldn't hesitate to put a super taco from Taquería El Buen Sabor in there.

We can't all be camping on bikes all the time. I was pretty stoked at how this thing worked out for flying too.

 

 

September 24, 2013 by John G. S.

Soul Craft Pro Tune Up

We are usually pretty busy here at Box Dog Bikes, what with fixing up bikes and all that everyday. However, when it comes to my own bikes, they tend to fall on the wayside. Being a bike mechanic usually leads to not wanting to work on your own bikes because that's what you do for eight hours a day, why would you want to spend your free time doing something for free...and for yourself. To be honest, my Soul Craft had not received a pro tune up for (God this is embarrassing) five years! What goes into a pro tune up? In a pro tune up we replace all cables and housing, true wheels, adjust hubs, clean the drive train, detail the frame and fork, wrap the bars, install additional parts, and dial everything in. Here is what my bike looked before and while it was going through the tune up.

New Tape/Replace All Cables and Housing

Getting under that old nasty bar tape was real fun.

Headset ReplaceClean Bike

Took everything off the bike and detailed it. Time to upgrade that headset to a Chris King and replace that old Octalink bottom bracket.

There is that old crusty drivetrain on the table. Time to get that in the parts washer and hand detail the rest.
Parts washer

I took a little extra time to overhaul the hubs. New bearings and new grease. Now this falls into the category of a complete overhaul because it is extra service outside of a pro tune up. However, you should also consider keeping your higher end components in good condition and adjustment.

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Dirty HubInside Hub

Enough of the boring shots of the bike before the pro tune. Here is what my bike looks like now and this is what went into it. New bars, new tape, new shifters, new king headset, new bottom bracket, selected colored housing, detailed, and dialed in. Now my bike rides much better than it had previously been running. It is nice to take some time to make things better for yourself.

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New Cables/Tape/Headset/Levers

Drive Train

If your bike has been needing some love, I would recommend having us do a pro tune or a complete overhaul on your bike. If you have not had a tune up in a while it is well worth it. If you are gearing up for cross season, touring, mountain or road riding, the best thing you can do for yourself and your bike is to get a tune up with us!

Esbit Stoves

So, you may or may not noticed our small collection of camping stuff in the shop. A few odds and ends and a display in the window and one of the cases. One thing we're really stoked about carrying is Esbit stoves. A little about them:

The Esbit Alcohol stove & cookset is a really good value ($49.99) for everything you need and then some. The whole set up (pictured below) includes everything you need for a minimalist (overnight or lightweight) stove set up.

The alcohol stove (pictured below) is pretty similar to those Trangia stoves with some important improvements. Notably, that the o ring on the lid (to the right in the middle) seems a bit beefier and the flame regulator (in the foreground to the left) has a nice long handle to more effectively adjust heat while in use. It's all brass and will take any kind of alcohol to work but works best with denatured alcohol. You can store fuel in the stove (with the threaded cap) or take it with you in a small (or large if you need to) plastic bottle. Eric bought one of those plastic bulk lotion/shampoo bottles from Rainbow for his.

The rest of the cookset (pictured below) is made from hard anodized alloy to ensure durability meal after meal. The larger pot has a pour spot and large easy to see oz. and ml. measurements.  You get one larger pot/cup, one smaller pot/lid/cup, the stove stand, and the optional fuel cube platform. (more about fuel cubes later)

This is what it looks like all set up! *HI ANGUS!* It all nestles into the large pot too which fits into an included mesh drawstring bag.

For the REAL minimalists out there we offer a even more simplified Esbit fuel cube pocket stove (pictured below). The really cool thing is that though it looks like a Donald Judd sculpture it won't put you out nearly as much. A paltry $10 is all it takes to bring home this monument to industrial simplicity.


Included are 6 fuel cubes. Each of which burns for approximately 12 min and can bring water to boil in about 8 min. The cubes can reside in the stove while in transit too!

There are two cooking positions: one for smaller pots (pictured below with a Vargo Titanium cup/pot sold separately)

And larger pots (pictured below with large pot from the alcohol cookset)

Okay enough about stoves! Enjoy the rest of these warm nights!  Go camping! Have fun!

September 17, 2013 by Emily
Tags: journal

Lazer Genesis: Helmet Review

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We stock quite a variety commuter and performance helmets here at the shop, but I thought I would share my experiences with the Lazer Genesis helmet, which I have been riding for a few years, and consider to be an extremely comfortable, lightweight offering at a very reasonable price. I want to ride a helmet that looks pro and has a low profile, but I also want comfort, both in ventilation and fit. Basically I want it to look good and I want to forget that I am wearing it.

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The Genesis has a nice understated style, and comes in a variety of colors, but just two sizes, Medium, for heads 52-58 cm, and Large, for heads 59-61 cm. How does Lazer get away with only two sizes? Their patented Rollsys design floats your head in the center of the helmet instead of smashing the helmet back against your forehead. I have always had problems with pressure points and headaches on long rides with other helmets, but have not had any issues since switching to the Genesis. In addition, the adjustment roll knob on the top is easy to adjust with one hand while riding.

If you are in the market for a new helmet, I highly suggest the Genesis. It's stylish, comfortable, and at $175.00, it is competitively priced. We keep both sizes in stock, in both white and black, so feel free to stop by the shop and try one on!

September 11, 2013 by Carl
Tags: journal

Tubes Coming Down the Pipes (Pelican Pre-order)

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We are pleased to announce that we're opening up for pre-orders on the next batch of Pelican framesets (built for us by Winter Bicycles). The batch will be comprised of three 52cm and three 58cm 650b models. Delivery is expected to be at the end of December. The deposit is $800.00, non refundable.

You can do this one of two ways: either through our webstore or by calling the shop.

We've (pre-) sold one of the 52s already, and if I follow suit, we'll have one less 58cm once they land. Better get moving!

September 10, 2013 by Geoff
Tags: journal

La Ruta Loca 200k Randonee

A couple of weeks ago, Geoff and I spent our Saturday riding dirt and pavement all over Marin County. I was excited by the prospect of a well rounded introduction to Marin riding with an estimated 14,000 feet of climbing, and I was not let down. The weather was extremely clear and we saw amazing views all day long. Despite some mechanical issues that I ran into (my three year old Honjo fender finally broke on a fire road descent, and my light mount rattled loose later), and could have avoided by being a bit more attentive to my own bicycles, the day turned out to be one of the best in recent memory. Here are some photos that we snapped.

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Carlos, the creator of the route, as we rolled over the bridge into Marin

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Geoff rounding a bend on one of the steep climbs in the headlands early in the day

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The fire roads on Bolinas ridge plunged us back into fog for a while

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Climbing Tam for the first time on Pantoll Road

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Sun and fog

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We ran into a box dog at the spot where we stopped to remove my broken fender

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Three years' harsh diet of gravel and dirt roads finally pushed this fender over the edge

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Approaching Mt. Tam for the second time

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The proto Archive/Box Dog saddle bag held up well

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Old Railroad Grade, my first time seeing these views

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Rolling back through the headlands with the fog

September 03, 2013 by Carl
Tags: journal

Show and Tell: What's in my bag?

Last month I took a mini-tour through the East Bay. It was the Fourth of July weekend, a time which I typically use to get out of town. I only had to miss one day of work, and had three solid nights of camping in a row! For those of you curious how I pack for a trip like this, pictured below are the bags I set up on my bike and the contents within.

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This is what I throw on my rear rack for short trips. It's a Rivendell SaddleSack. While we can't get these for you at least you know some of the alternatives out there for carrying cargo. Were I to saddle up for a longer trip I'd use my Swift Industries Mini Roll Top Panniers in addition to the sack. I've had the Sackville in my life for a few years now and proves to be pretty versatile. I've managed to cram everything in there for an overnight camping trip with nothing else but a handlebar bag up front for a couple of go-to items. It's a lot like having a trunk on your automobile.

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In the SaddleSack I'm able to pack my two person tent (an MSR Hubba Hubba), a sleeping pad (the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core), and a down sleeping bag (I forget the model, but you can tell from the label what make it is).

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There are plenty of zippers on the Sackville to stash things about; pictured above are just the essentials that I took on this trip.

Enter the front end of my bike, and as you might have guessed, that's where I bias my loads. Sometimes I'll ride with a handlebar bag, but when there's offroad or rough terrain I know about ahead of time, I tend to leave it at home. It's mounted directly to the bars and when packed up it can slip downwards. Thus, you'll see no bar bag or contents in this photo set. Although, to be honest, I took it with me on this trip, just didn't shoot it.

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Above is what Swift calls their Mini Short Stack Pannier. I run a set of these two bags on my Nitto Campee front rack. Turns out that Swift's fox design and our dog look pretty good together.


There I am on day one of the trip. Photo credit to Brian Oei of Boyz on the Hoods.

Alright, back to what's inside. I don't feel the need to show you my clothes or what I ate/eat for that matter. For all you gear heads out there I'll try and stick to equipment only.

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The not so obvious objects are an emergency space blanket and a small, self-powered speaker. You got to have playing cards!

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In another compartment are these johns: a lantern, drink coozy, waterproof matches, a butane lighter, headlamp, hand cleaner, Dr. Bronner's soap, and a hunting knife.

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I used to throw discs in Golden Gate Park and still have these things so I use them as plates. There on the upper right are two sets of GSI plastic cutlery (which we sell but aren't up on the webstore yet). The bright, white object there is GSI's Ultralight Cutting Board. Super happy about its small size. Labeled on both sides for meat and veggies to counter cross-contamination.

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Let's not forget this incredible titanium kung foon. Yeah, we got that.

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One vertical pot here for 20oz. or less of cooking. Comes with two mugs for sharing. The pot has graduated lines on the side for accurate measurements.

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The beloved MSR SuperFly stove, necessary fuel, and a 1 liter pot.

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Didn't end up using these things but always a smart idea to pack a book and a compass in case you go wondering off somewhere by yourself. Let's face it, there's not always time to read when you're camping with a group.

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I packed this with strawberries from a market, but makes for water-safe storage for just about anything. Right, we sell it too.

That pretty much concludes my gear on this trip. Wish I had laid out everything and had an aerial photograph to show it all but this way you can see more details. Maybe I'll follow up with a post about my tour. It was over a month ago but still awesome enough to share. Check out Brian's write-up here for now.

August 14, 2013 by Geoff
Tags: journal

A Super Commuter's Dream Bike

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The new Breezer Greenway LX has just arrived to Box Dog Bikes! This bike is a commuter's dream bike for a variety of reasons. First of all it has a full range of gears for getting up all the hills in San Francisco's beautiful 7x7 mile grid. It would also be possible to take this bike out of town and ride over the bridge for a short day trip. The shifting system is simple and easy to use. With three gears on the crankset and nine gears in the back, this bike will carry everything you take with you on a daily basis. The bike can accommodate racks and fenders to satisfy all of your commuting needs. The upright riding position allows the rider complete visibility of their surroundings. The 700x35 tires offers puncture protection and will make for a comfortable ride while flying over the roads in this city. Come in for a test ride and we will set you up!

August 10, 2013 by Angus
Tags: journal

Getting Lost in Oakland

Before leaving the shop last Saturday for my weekend I was complaining to John about how I never feel motivated to go on longer bike rides by myself.  After a dashed attempt to convince my housemate to ride Sibley with me I made vague plans to ride up a trail that John briefly mentioned in passing over to a road he also mentioned. Saturday night found me in the backyard of a punk show sitting on top of a half pipe drinking a beer and watching drunk kids dive into the ramp only to vault off the other side repeatedly. Replica killed it though.

Needless to say the next morning was a late one. After plenty of coffee, breakfast tacos, and Sunday Morning Cartoons I managed to get my shit together and head out for the unknown. Getting lost in Oakland may seem intimating to some but for lowlifes like me it's a real treat to haul my ass up to the top of Skyline just head back home again.

So the trail mentioned is in passing is the thin park that starts just on the other side of MacArthur Freeway and runs parallel all the way up Park Blvd. to Joaquin Miller. The park follows a few creek beds, but most notably Sausal Creek. Diamond Canyon park seems to attract all types from little kid birthday parties, dog walkers, trail runners, and even a few other mountain bikers.

I took Trestle Glen up to Park and then met up with Diamond Canyon on Wellington. I hopped on the first path and enjoyed a nice flat trail that followed the creek before just kind of turning into the creek.

As the creek ran under Liemert the trail moves into the creek. I snapped this pic of a festooned abutment as a reminder that no matter how far you ride cool teenagers experimenting with lifestyles are there to remind you of your origins. I turned back to explore a trail I had passed and then soon found myself on Old Cañon Road.

I rode this easy ridge back to Liemert and got another picture of the bridge from above.

A look back at the canyon.

I love living in the city.

Yes, I do.

The trail is pretty nice but it's a short ride until you have to either dip back into the creek bed and take that back or, do what I did, and wait for some nice hikers to help you pull your bike up the step side of the creek bed back onto a trail. And although one of the nice hikers did make a condescending remark about my glittery gold cable housing, I am very grateful. Thanks!

After a steep little wiggle up the canyon I took a trail with a sign that said it would end up on Monterey Blvd in a little over half a mile. Another enjoyable slightly uphill ride with lots of creepy rope swings dangling everywhere as though they were purposefully put up to remind you of your wasted youth.

Reminded me a lot of THIS.

So then I randomly ended up in some people's backyard carrying my bike through what I hoped wasn't poison oak. I did end up on Monterey and set off to find Butters Dr. It was a quick ride up to Joaquin Miller and then over on to Burdeck and then onto Butters. I didn't quite see the appeal of that particular ascent and got super sketched out after I saw some grandpa type in full lederhosen walking up the street.

I went back to Monterey and took it over to Redwood to enjoy a nice long descent into Fruitvale with dreams of papusas. I grabbed a couple from a nice old lady selling some outside of a church and headed over to my buddy Patrick's machine shop for a quick visit before heading home.

All in all a day (even alone) on the bike is never wasted and I'm stoked I took the opportunity to explore a little more in Oakland.

 

August 08, 2013 by Emily
Tags: journal

Foggy Times in the Valley

We road out to Haypress a couple of weeks ago with the BDB and friends crew. Oliver, Eric, & Nancy all took some nice photos.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] A whole 12 of us rode out there together.[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Me and Angus are best friends. Photo by Nancy Buenaventura[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Haypress was super foggy but it stayed warm all night. Photo by Oliver Yan[/caption]

 

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] We had Frito Pie and hot toddies for dinner. Photo by Nancy Buenaventura .[/caption]

(Not Pictured was Eric, Angus, and I's walk to the beach at night where Angus freaked us all out by talking about aliens, we almost got swept away by a crazy wave, Gabe walked up out of the dark and we thought he was an alien, and then we heard a coyote but also maybe it was a baby crying)

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="424"] The next morning's coffee and oatmeal. Photo By Oliver Yan[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="427"] I think there was a total of 6 stoves. photo by Nancy Buenaventura.[/caption]

 

 

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] And back home again to open the shop on Sunday![/caption]

 

August 06, 2013 by Emily
Tags: journal