Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Not so sore

Hmmm, I was sore, but I could have ridden a La Ruta stage for example... that's a good sign!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Wiping out = sore lots of places

Continuing with the "beautiful fall weather is awesome for riding" theme, I headed out this morning with Matt Joss and Brian Bain. We set a pretty good pace from Edworthy out to Cochrane along the cabin jam route. We had worked up a good sweat, and Brian and I were almost questioning ourselves as we left Cochrane Coffee Traders all wet if it was really the best idea to go out for several more hours when it was that chilly right out the door. We proceeded onward, and rode through the Cochrane Ranch park, up to the end of the gravel road in the valley, then out to Horse Creek road. Once Horse Creek met up with Weedon Trail, we turned west through the fields on the future road easements. It was warm and beautiful, there were people out horseback riding, and the climbs were long enough to drain our legs with the 'cross gearing.

We were having a blast descending back toward 1A, so much of a blast in fact that I ended up probably going a little too fast downhill. We were side by side on a tiretrack path between some fields, blazing along, when I noticed my side was about to turn to giant ruts on the right, and safety on the left. Funny how a 'cross tire chattering along doesn't have quite as much control as a 2" wide mountain bike tubeless tire at 28psi and a suspension fork. From my powertap download, the moment before impact was 43.5km/h - it's easy to spot on the file as something knocked the computer off the bike, so it flatlines immediately at that spot. Impact included my front wheel washing out when I was trying to climb left out of the rut, it not gripping enough (too much chatter at that speed), and an "ass over tea kettle" type manouver that left me lying in the dirt with a few parts of my body hurting - left quad hit the dirt really hard (the ridge of the rut), it's gonna be sore for probably 5 days. My left tricep is super sore, feels like I pulled a muscle in there, riding home it hurt to stand and pedal. Funny though because when I came to a stop, only one foot was out of my pedals, and both hands were on the handlebars, I just let go once everything was done moving (ie. captain went down with the ship). Hit my head on the dirt pretty good, bent my rear rim a good 1.5cm out of line, and slid my stem, brake levers and such around a little. I've been "sewing intensive" lately, lots things have needed mending - and now there's more. Went through elbows and knees of all my layers of clothing unfortunately, and down to the skin enough to leave me with some scratches that are constantly sticking to my clothes tonight. I'm sure glad I had on full length cycling clothes to spare my skin most of the damage.

All went back together fairly well, just had to undo the rear brake to ride home. After stopping for coffee in Cochrane, we actually didn't even end up taking the short way home, we opted for the scenic route.

Just walking around my house tonight, I feel like I'm going to suffer a little reduced mobility tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Tuesday night 'cross and the meaning of life

I made it to my first cyclocross race of the year tonight (thanks Shawn!), and predictably was about 90 seconds late for the start, which is apparently also typical in Shawn's life. I know I should have been doing these all fall - not for fitness, not for racing, but just because they're about the most satisfying thing I can think of doing in 45 minutes. My mind is cleared, the primal racing instinct is exercised, and the scene is just right, as long as you like hoardes of ridiculously fit people wearing lycra in your social circle.

We jumped in at the start of second lap and battled away, Lonn Bate and I had some good too and fro on the last lap. I haven't ridden that hard in months, really I can't remember when. TransRockies maybe, but that's different. I've just been doing 6 hour rides all fall, and the intensity by necessity is... ohh... just a notch or two lower. We even had Keith Bayly in our sites for a while... but it wasn't to be. I'm glad I got to see Keith to pay him for the cycling vids I've lost - making amends seems to be the thing to do these days.

Dallas was cheering, Mical was racing, Ed was sporting a shiny new Kona, Cyrus was dressed formally for the occasion, and Chris McNeil was flying.

I commuted part way home with Cindy Koo, then we parted ways and I stopped by Jon's place to check in on the knee. He was out riding when I arrived (good sign), so I talked to Kelly for a while. I suspect it wasn't the first time that Jon was "going to be late coming home from the ride" - extra trails presenting themselves is a regular occurance I suspect. Once he got home we had some great soup, shared the day's stories, and learned that the knee wasn't doing too badly.

I've been having some interesting blast from the past conversations lately, and it's funny how much it helps put the current into perspective. A Tuesday night cyclocross race embodies a lot more about what's right in life than I'd casually give it credit for. Lesson learned hopefully.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Moots MootoX Review

The MootoX in its entirety is a rather elegantly simple machine - external drivetrains are a mechanical marvel, but asthetically, they're clutter. The single speed looking Rohloff is no less a technical marvel, but it's hidden. I love how Moots doesn't cover up the S&S coupler welds with the collars S&S offers, it looks so clean without them. The suspension design leaves the classic bicycle geometry in tact. Nothing about the YBB says high maintenance. I try to seldomly refer to soft tails as suspension, although in some ways they are. If people expect "suspension", a soft tail may let them down, as it's not full travel plush suspension. However, if that's considered a weakness, the strengths they offer should be weighed - no moving parts, no bearings and pivots, modest weight, a shock that can't blow or fail, and in its complete form, a design that will function identically on year 20 of the frame's life as on year 1.

The Moots frame is stiffer than I expected, which I appreciate. The Rohloff sometimes asks to be ridden like a single speed, pushing a high gear up a hill rather than downshifting. There isn't much flex apparent in the BB under load... it seems the chain is the weak link on this machine, it's been stretching a lot every ride. I'll have to swap it out for a sturdier model.

The bike climbs well, but not in the 15.5lb road bike sense. The 29er wheels necessitate a bit of a longer wheel base, the result of which is that my center of gravity is an inch or two further forward relative to the rear hub than some of my other bikes. On super steep climbs, the geometry lends itself to a stable climb - the front end never feels squirrly. I'm able to ride several local steeps on my first attempts, ones that I couldn't ride more than once a season on my Specialized S-Works or Turner Flux.

Conversely, it doesn't feel like I'm too far forward on descents. It feels like any other non-XC mountain bike - there's not really a steepness that makes you feel uncomfortable descending in terms of bike geometry, the decision just comes down to your tires and front wheel traction.

I like the Moots seatpost and stem. They're not cheap, and they're not as light as alternatives on the market, but they complete the look of the bike nicely. The stem feels solid, even when pushing a big gear and standing I can't notice any flex when pulling on the bars. The seatpost is a clever design, although attempting to install a saddle without knowing the proper way to do it isn't recommended, it's one of those things you need to read about or have someone explain to you first.

The long wheel base feels great - the bike rides like a Benz, which might have something to do with it costing nearly as much? On loose aggregate, railroad tracks, any bumpy surface, the bike just floats - the big wheels, suspension, and long wheelbase make it a smoother ride than the minimal rear YBB travel would indicate. It's solid feeling overall, everything has a few extra degrees of reliability built in. And I hope it proves to be as maintenance free as it looks.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Lumberjack, almost

The Becker's were requisitioning men for some free labour to stock their cabin with firewood for the winter, and considering I've enjoyed a few fires out there, it seemed like a natural thing to help out with.

I rode my bike out to Cremona, leaving at 6:15 in the cold dark of a fall morning, just to get some exercise in before the day started. It was beautiful to watch the pre-dawn landscape come to life, but the chill of descending Cochrane hill never really left me as I headed north.

Timing was perfect as they passed me right as I was rolling into Cremona - from there it was a quick parking lot change out of my sweaty clothes, a quick stop at the cabin, then the commute up near Willesden Green (I don't know if there's any surface feature of that name, but that's strike name from the petroleum industry). We drove down an active lease road and started raping mother nature...

All in, it was 5 hours of work. Hauling logs from 20 to 100lbs, loading them into the truck, and generally just feeling sort of manly on a nice fall day. A few beers and some chili knocked me out for the ride home, it was a pretty activity filled day that wiped me out.

If I have any problems on the La Ruta hike a bike stuff, my Rocky Balboa training obviously didn't work out.

Friday, 12 October 2007

La Ruta is Coming

La Ruta is coming, and I must be crazy, not for entering the race repeatedly, but because I just turned down a free 3 day trip to The Cove, Paradise Island, Bahamas at the end of October. I should get my head checked.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


A whirlwind session gave my mind something to seriously bite into... seeing something that can have an amazingly large impact on the world.

Chance of technological success: ??
Chance of commercial success pending technological success: high

What is this worth today, the age old question of valuation.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Rohloff Speedhub Review

From the outside, the Rohloff Speedhub is elegantly simple - external drivetrains are a mechanical marvel, but asthetically, they're clutter. The single speed looking Rohloff is no less a technical marvel, but it's hidden. It's a pretty intricate piece of machinery.

There are a few main criticisms of the hub, namely lack of user serviceability, weight, and shifting feel, and cost.

1. Serviceability. From the picture above, it should be apparent that unless you're a mechanical engineer and a lot of time on your hands, don't attempt doing anything to this hub. Having said that, it's designed for a long service life. I've had mine for 4 days now, so I'm completely unqualified to comment. However, I did as much searching as I could to understand what I was getting into before plunking down my hard earned Loonies. Sheldon Brown also went through the same search, and found no hub failures to report (fifth line down). I've hardly heard a bad word about their long term reliability, conversely, I've heard more stories of impressively excessive service life's up to 100,000km. It comes with a little hose that I'm supposed to use to change the oil annually. I think that's a workable amount of time to spend on a drivetrain. I aspire to own a bike that's awesome to ride, yet that I can pull out of the garage nearly every day of the year, and put back into the garage every day of the year, with absolutely minimal maintenance. Oil chain, add tension when it stretches, and change oil once a year is supposedly what this drivetrain needs.

2. Weight. I don't have an exact weight for it, as I've only had it when it was built into the wheel. It feels heavy because it is weight is concentrated in one spot. I've seen it quoted as weighing 200g more than an XTR drivetrain, but since you're rarely able to hold all the parts of your XTR drivetrain in one spot, you never feel that weight the same way when doing simple hand tests. But let's be honest, most of the time the guy with the lightest bike isn't the first to the top of the hill. Another comment I've heard is that it throws off the balance of the bike. I suspect that's driven by the bike a bit. I don't notice it on a 29er with a "heavy" frame (straight guage ti front triangle to accommodate the S&S couplers), not to mention that for the maiden voyage I've got the monster tires on. I suppose on a weight weenie bike, that the comment would "hold more weight", to speak in a bad pun. I do the front tire up, reweight foreward, back tire up curb hop all the time. Only when I approach really fast, say above 30km/h, do I bother bunnyhopping. The rear hub weight doesn't really even register on my conscience doing this manouever. I guess I'm congnizant that there's some mass there, but I don't agree with the claim that "it throws off the balance of the bike".

I'd go so far as to say that if these things weighed 1lb less, they'd have a market on nearly every bike on earth. Weight is really the only detractor, and it's not all that bad.

3. Shifting feel. I'd heard a lot of description written about Rohloff hubs. Reflecting back, they now all make sense. But it's tough to describe the tactile sense of it in words. It's secure and solid feeling above all else. The shifts aren't as microsecond fast as XTR, maybe they take three quarters of a second to happen. Shifting seems deliberate. The tradeoff is that once you're in a gear, you're in it for sure. It feels like having 14 different single speed bikes with you, you can stand and give it you're all in any gear, and there will not be any skipping around. Chain suck isn't going to happen, and as long as you tension right, you won't lose a chain off the front or into the rear spokes. The gears are linear, and evenly spaced, so you achieve a similar (nearly identical) range to a Shimano drivetrain as long as you pick the right front and rear gears to set your bike up with. Which means you don't have to think about front derailleurs, and to be honest, I don't miss them so far.

One point to make here is that the shifting feel isn't variable. If it's muddy beyond all belief, it shifts exactly the same as when it's clean. The indexing is inside the hub, rather than in the shifter. And the cables pull both ways, so you don't have to rely on the strength of a spring to overcome muddy cable friction (the cables are fully housed anyway).

My riding isn't typified by a lot of rapid fire shifting, it's shift when needed, look ahead, and avoid panic gear jamming. The gearing range is impressively wide, same as the standard Shimano mountain bike setup. It's like riding a single speed by more than just asthetic, the gearing feels solid. Again, there is no threat of skipping gears under full torque, it feels like you could put out the torque of a tractor without upseting the Rohloff. It's German. That means it feels ridiculously solid and reliable.

It makes some sound in some gears, in others it's silent. The sound isn't annoying, I actually find it pleasant. It's like the sound of a giant, oversize Swiss watch with its gears meshing... which is exactly what the Rohloff is in many ways.

There is some friction in the lowest gears, eating away at your power. To be honest, I can hear it, but I don't notice it... which is really a result of my frame. The chainstays are longer for the 29er wheel, putting the rear wheel further behind my center of gravity, so I'm finding I can more easily climb ridiculously steep grades... the front end never gets squirrley. I haven't noticed the effect of power sapping.

The ability to shift while stationary is neat, I enjoy it. You don't need it, as on a regular bike you just get in the habit of thinking 5 seconds ahead. But it is useful. Let's say you're coasting down a technical downhill, then see a log ahead that you need to be in a certain gear to get over. With the Rohloff, you just switch gears, no need to pedalstroke to get into your new gear while you're descending. But I can see that once the look ahead to shift habit is broken, it'll feel odd going back to external drivetrain bikes.

4. Cost. You get what you pay for. I think this thing cost $1,100. That's expensive for one part. But considering that it's competitive with an XTR drivetrain. If it lasts like it's supposed to, and if it saves me the hassle of drivetrain maintenance, skipped gears, degradation of performance in the various weather nature throws out, it's worth it.

After riding one for a few days now, I liken it to a Mac vs. PC debate. The funtionality and robustness is there, it does exactly what it's supposed to do: it gives your bike many gear ranges at the tip of your fingers, regardless of weather. But all that's presented to the user is the end utility in a hassle free manner - there's nothing that asks for, or invites, tinkering and tweaking. The intracacy is hidden from the user, so the user must think about only the end result, not how to tweak the system. This aspect appeals to me.

These will likely go carbon shelled and weight weenied at some point like the rest of the bike industry, at which point they will be a superior choice versus almost anything else out there. I say almost anything, because I hold out for the day when NuVinci doubles it's gear ratio range and get's the weight down to 2lbs rather than 10lbs... less moving parts is almost always better!

Moots Slider Dropouts Review

Dropouts aren't usually something that warrant much attention. A rider simply wants them a) present, b) functional, and c) reliable. Most bikes accomplish this easily, as the derailleur provides chain tension. A dropout that doesn't need to provide chain tension is simple.

A dropout that can provide chain tension is more complicated, originally the "horizontal" or "track" dropout. However, once disc brakes, suspension, rackmounts, and a hub that needs to brace itself against the frame to prevent it's rotation are taken into account, the dropout needs to increase its delivery of features.

Looking at the answer, it seems excessively simple. The brakes, hub, and associated gizmos all need to be aligned relative to each other, and they need to move. So the dropout incorporates all of them, and the dropout is made to move. It took a while for this simplicity to take form - when I ordered my last ti mountain bike in 2003 I don't believe this offering existed.

Clever bike nuts who have seen my bike recently ask "but isn't it hard to take off the rear wheel?" It's actually not. First, the shifter cables are easily removed. The black box at the bottom is fastened to the hub by the large round thumbscrew bolt. You remove that bolt, and your rear wheel is completely free of the shifter cables - the entire black box is removed.

After that, it's simply time to undo the axle bolts. To be honest, I'm not sure why a beefy quick release wouldn't work, but it shipped with these bolts. The wheel just drops out. To put the wheel back in, you have to take care to align the part of the Rohloff that transfers torque to the dropout into the dropout (it's the black knob right above the brass shifting bolt in the picture above, it needs to slide into the extended portion of the dropout). Then put the shifter mechanism back onto the two guideposts to the left and right of the brass shifting bolt, and tighten up the thumb screw that I'm pointing to.

I had an Eccentric Bottom Bracket single speed for a while. Despite the fact that EBB's share my initials, I wasn't too keen on them. Limited range of adjustment, and so much force going through the BB seemed to indicate they'd slip over time. Also - screws digging into the side of a BB shell? What happens when the divots they make become worn in, but you ened it just a tiny bit tighter? The screw is supposed to magically dig in to the edge of the divot? Or let me guess - it slides into the divot over time, and can't therefore maintain the tension you set it at.

More words than ever need to be said about the dropout have been said. It's there, it's a good desing and it works. It's clever, it's design makes it easy for the rider to remove the rear wheel.

S&S Couplers Review

S&S couplers review: Short and long version follows. I've had these now for 4 years on a couple of different bikes, and my experience over that time has been perfect with them. They've never underperformed, they've always done their job.

Short version: if you're ordering a ti bike with round tubes (ie. not a Litespeed) get the couplers, period, end stop, don't hesitate, don't second guess.

Long version:
1. The weight they add is inconsequential. In addition to the coupler, your framebuilder will most likely suggest you go with straight guage, rather than butted tubes, for the top and downtube. Add probably 100g. If you're weight weenie enough to care about this versus the ultimate utility of travel, revisit this page when you're willing to readjust your mindset.

2. They stiffen up the frame rather than weaken it, in two ways. First, the coupler is stronger than tubing in both destructive and nondestructive testing. Second, they're usually welded into a straight guage front triangle, whish is usually stiffer than butted (I say usually only to exempt my statement from the amazing things Litespeed is doing with tube shapes, but naturally a coupler needs a round tube, as screwing a squoval coupler would be an exercise in futility).

3. I'm the kind of guy who likes it when products work as they're advertised to work. As long as something does what says it's going to do, I'm pretty happy. These couplers don't squeak. They don't loosen. They just work. I've done La Ruta twice on a bike with them, and there's no problems. 2 weeks of bike touring? Tighten the couplers when you put the bike together, lug 50lbs of junk for two weeks around bumpy and gravel roads, undo the couplers when you pack up the bike to leave, and that's it. No babysitting, no problems, no hassles. They do recommend you check them daily. I did twice, then I realized I was the beneficiary of a quality product.

4. Ok, so little heavier, and stiffer, with no maintenance. Why rant and rave? Think about it! You can take YOUR badass, custom ti bike, put it in a box, fly to Patagonia, Tuscany, the Alps, Manhattan, Australia, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, etc. with ease. No corny rentals, no "wishing you could ride" while on business or holiday trips. You can fit the bike box in the taxi cab from the airport with ease (ever try getting a normal sized bike hardcase into a Peugeot in France or a Nissan Micra in Argentina?). Spend 15 minutes putting it back together (or 10 if it's a Rohloff or single speed bike). And you have YOUR badass bike rolling out the front door of your hotel.

5. This is poorly disguised repeat of #3. What's more heaven on earth than riding your bike wherever you may be? If you like bikes, and if you like ti bikes (or carbon - Calfee amazes me, met a lady with these in France), you should buy these.

Lastly - everyone knows Moots does beautiful welds. I think the version that shows the welds, rather than the one that covers them, is the way to go. Clean, elegant look that showcases the talent of the people that made your bike. (click my picture at the top to see a larger version to see the welds)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Thursday Night Ride

Thursday night was one of those rides that made me feel like a kid again. I talked with Jon in the afternoon, and we decided to meet up after work.

We tried to make the Deadgoat club ride, but had the time wrong from memory. We did some laps around Edworthy in what quickly turned to rain, sleet, and the odd flurry. It was a balmy high of 4C when we left, and colder when I got home. We were wet and muddy. Nobody else was outside. But it was fun, just like 8 year old kids fun at the construction lot down the street building dirt jumps kind of fun. Glad I made it out.

Moots MootoX Review

MootoX, Couplers, Rohloff, 29er Pretty Different Bike... Why?

Moots MootoX

Moots Slider Dropouts

S&S Couplers Review

Rohloff Speedhub Review

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

New Moots

I spent much of Wednesday evening unpacking my new Moots up at my parents house, only to have it snow and hail by the time it was ready to ride. It's a MootoX 29er, which features the YBB soft tail design, with S&S couplers for travelling, and a Rohloff hub for gears. To make this work, it uses a slider dropout design, so the rear wheel goes on and off as easily as on any other bike, and chain tensioning is simple. 29er (or 700c) tubeless rims are supplied by Notubes, thanks Stan for changing the way the world thinks about tire pressure, traction, and flats. I guess that says it isn't your off the shelf special.

What am I getting at with an "odd duck" like this? I like riding in all types of weather, and the goal is to also have a bike that's up to the task. Ti frames (and aluminum) are basically impervious to weather. But drivetrains are another issue - mud, snow, long grass, etc. can reduce the functionality of an external derailleur setup quickly. The Rohloff is less susceptible - the external drivetrain is essentially that of a singlespeed. The two shift cables are fully housed (there's no return spring, a cable pulls both ways), and the actual indexing of gears is internal to the hub. The YBB suspension design is technically "suspension", but soft tails need to be evaluated against what they're designed to do - this obviously isn't going to ride like my 4" Turner Flux. However, I expect it will provide some damping qualities on rough surface trails, additional climbing traction, and maintain a laterally stiff rear end, and be very low on the maintenance scale. And naturally, the S&S couplers are a product I recommend on ANY custom Ti bike order - they let you take your bike with you anywhere, they add insignificant amount of weight, and they never squeak. They are the holy grail of facilitating bicycle travel - I respect Bike Friday for getting people riding wherever they go, but seriously, why not ride an uber cool Ti road bike, cross bike, mountain bike instead? Plus, whenever people hear that I own a "travel bike" they picture the unconventional geometry of a Bike Friday. I don't question their utility, just their aesthetic.

I'll do a little writeup on it after I get a chance to ride it this weekend, but the first half hour ride in the sleet says it's built to do what I want it to do.

Banana Republic, here we come

We're inching closer to banana republic status each day - rules can be rewritten on the fly (not that PrimeWest's sale has any spurious correlation to last fall's trust taxation plan by the feds... nah). Can someone import some warm weather at least so that when there's no oil and gas finance going on in Albertastan, I can at least ride my bike more?

PrimeWest Units Fall on Possible Takeover Restriction (Update1)

By Ian McKinnon
Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- PrimeWest Energy Trust units fell as much as 7.5 percent after a report Canada's government may create a national security test for takeovers to block the Canadian oil producer's acquisition by a United Arab Emirates company.

The Calgary-based trust's units fell 65 cents, or 2.5 percent, to C$25.65 at 12:03 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The units earlier dropped as low as C$24.32, below the takeover bid of C$26.75 a share.

Canada's policy statement would allow Industry Minister Jim Prentice to block the planned purchase of PrimeWest for about C$4 billion ($4.02 billion) by Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., Canadian Press reported yesterday, citing anonymous sources. The revised legislation may come as soon as next week, it said.

The U.S. Senate in June ramped up congressional oversight of foreign investments in domestic companies. China's Cnooc Ltd.'s proposed takeover of Unocal Corp. in 2005 sparked national security concern and opposition by U.S. lawmakers. Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, bought Unocal with a bid $700 million less than Cnooc's offer.

Abu Dhabi National, a Middle Eastern power generator and oil producer controlled by the United Arab Emirates, announced the PrimeWest acquisition on Sept. 24. The offer represents a 34 percent premium to the trust's closing price on Sept. 21.

A telephone call to PrimeWest spokesman George Kesteven was not immediately returned.

Canadian Acquisitions

This is the third Canadian purchase this year by the Middle Eastern company known as Taqa. Taqa is expected in November to close its acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources Co.'s Canadian assets for $540 million. In August Taqa completed a $2 billion purchase of Pogo Producing Co.'s Canadian unit, Northrock Resources Ltd.

The Canadian government's policy statement will focus on key industries such as energy and distinguish between private-sector investments and those made by government-owned companies, Canadian Press said, without identifying its sources.

The takeover of PrimeWest by the state-owned company ``will be reviewed, as others would, under the Investment Canada Act,'' Prentice said Sept. 24 in an interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian McKinnon in Calgary at imckinnon1@bloomberg.net .

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Alberta Royalty Solution

Saskatchewan, please invade Alberta!

Amass your armies and redefine the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Don't be satisfied with with the Fourth Initial Meridian, go for the Sixth Initial Meridian! Don't be satisfied with only half McMahon stadium being a sea of green on Thanksgiving Day, go for the whole thing! Issue us your vehicle registrations that include insurance... do whatever it takes!

I already work for many Saskatchewanese, as my employer is a N. Murray Edwards and W. Brett Wilson creation from over a decade ago. I can't see anything wrong with the last 7 years of my life, other than possibly working in overdrive more than is generally recommended. Our business ticks along based on the efforts of people trodding westward from Saskatchewan.

The only downside is that maybe one day I'll misplace my first name and be referred to as E. Bjorn Bakke? Or is that an upside since I'll avoid people mispelling my first name with a "c"?