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The Jones SpaceFrame – 3 Years In…..

Jones SpaceFrame on Godley Head

After 3 years with the Jones, I can honestly say this:

the Jones is a fantastic bike and I love it.

Yes, we have had some ups and downs, but now after 3 years I only have ONE negative thing to say about it – and for most people this same thing is a big plus: IT’S SO STIFF.  For me that means I sometimes find it harsh when mountain biking rocky trails at high speed, and it also means that on the road I sometimes find it feels somewhat dead when I try to accelerate it fast. I could only pin down this dead feeling once I’d ridden the very thin tubed and flexible Rawland rSogn – which has a fantastic springy, surging feel to it when I accelerate, and is very fast as a result. The Jones feels slower in comparison, and as if I’m pushing it along when pedalling. So that’s my ONLY negative about the Jones.

MTBing the Jones: wonderfully agile and nimble, playful and quick, and goes exactly where you point it; I run the tyres as soft as possible, for greater comfort and greater traction.

TOURing the Jones: brilliant, because the “3D” nature of the SpaceFrame means it doesn’t twist torsionally under load. I really like that aspect. And it’s unbelievably STABLE when descending with a load. It instills complete confidence – whereas every other bike I’ve toured on (including 3 Rocky Mountain Blizzards over 20 years) have made me get very focused when descending!

The Jones is a great bike. If you’re thinking of getting one, you should.

The Old Man.

Testing Black n Blue….

I loaded up the Jones the other day and took it for the 6km climb up Dyers Pass, then rode back down as fast as felt comfortable and safe.

Then the next morning I did the same thing with the same load on the rSogn.

Two very different bikes – Jones SpaceFrame and Rawland rSogn – linked by the common thread of low trail and its associated handling (quick yet stable & unaffected by a front load), and both bikes being very special to me.

Loaded: Jones SpaceFrame Testing: Loaded Rawland rSong

I wanted to compare the two bikes to see how their strengths and weaknesses would respond to the load.

It was also an opportunity to feel like I was touring, and a step in the direction of touring – if only for 90 minutes at a time! (And it felt GOOD.)

And how did they compare?

Come back to find out!

The photos are taken on an iPhone 5 and processed using VSCO CAM. Mainly adding grain and vignette. Not sure I like the look yet. Just learning.

The Old Man.

The Clearance Diver

The Nikkor-P 105mm f2.5 sings again…

Nikon Df | Nikkor-P 105mm f2.5 | ISO 6400 | Monchrome Output

The Clearance Diver

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Definitely not Nespresso!

Nikon Df | Nikkor-S 5.8cm f1.4 | ISO 1600 | Monochrome Output


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There Are 6 at Table 8…

Nikon Df | Nikkor-P 28mm f2.0 | ISO 400 | Monochrome Output

Table 8

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The Grouch Does A Selfie!!!

Nikon Df | Nikkor 50mm f1.2 | ISO 400 | Monochrome Output

The Grouch

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Nikon Df | Nikkor-S 5.8cm f1.4 | ISO 1600 | Monochrome Output


click on photo for full-size jpeg output by camera

Rumblings From The Grouch…

Some evidence that The Grouch just may have not fell off the edge of the earth…

Silver Linings….

It’s been a year.

After I wrote that last post I hit a Blog wall of some kind, and nothing would get as far as making it onto the Blog. I’ve had lots of ideas though.

So let’s start.

Looking East from Hokitika.

Looking East.

I’ve driven over Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika for Easter, specifically to take photos. I’ve brought two cameras and three lenses: the wonderful Fuji X-E1 with the 18mm f2 and the 35mm f1.4 – both fantastic lenses – and my beloved Contax G1 with the incredible Zeiss 45mm f2 (loaded with Kodak Portra 400). I’ll write about these two wonderful artistic tools in another post.

Hokitika is a small town on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. I’ve always loved this coast, and I’ve realised while here that it is exactly twenty years since I first discovered this part of New Zealand. I’ve had a feeling lately there’s a lot more to discover around here than first meets the eye. Of course there’s the beach, and the coast. But if you turn to the East side of the road, there are forests, lakes, waterfalls. And beyond those the ever-present mountains.

“The wild West Coast” is renowned for its copious amounts of rain. In fact, rain was forecast for every day of my visit.

But as someone famous (me) once said:



So I went.

And it poured…

River mouth, Hokitika.

The fisherman’s point at the river mouth.

Dorothy Falls, Lake Kaniere.

Dorothy Falls, Lake Kaniere.

But then the sun came out…

West Coast sand, West Coast river rocks.

West Coast sand, West Coast river rocks.

As it almost always does…

The warm sand on my feet, the warm sun on my skin.

The warm sand on my feet, the warm sun on my skin. The contented glow.

What a beautiful day. After the rain, the sun is so appreciated. I was loving the warm sand on my bare feet, digging my toes in deeper. The sun warm on my arms. The sound of the river-pebbles rolling in the wash of the waves up the sand. Shorts and a tee shirt. Alone on an unfamiliar beach. This was the summit of my Easter. It felt like new life. A gift from God. And isn’t that what Easter’s all about?

For a creative change, I’d decided to shoot black and white that day, and square format. I was also using a polarising filter. (The Fuji’s in-camera B/W Film Simulation also had a simulated red filter, which I was using.)

Somehow it all came together for me on the beach that day, and I wandered around in a peaceful contented glow. This photo captures all that for me, and I feel it every time I look at it.

I’m loving the square format. It’s a real pleasure – a really stimulating creative change – and things seem to fall into place within that frame in a very satisfying way for me.

Lake Mahinapua, near Hokitika, West Coast NZ.

Lake Mahinapua.

The road.

The road.

It’s been a great few days.

And now it’s time to hit that road. Blue skies await.

The Old Man.

What’s Playing: The Eagles – New Kid In Town

I Have Planned Ahead For You….

I have only alluded to this before here in this Blog, but a couple of days ago I found on my computer a photo I took at the beginning of last year of a page in a book, and it got me thinking about what happened to my wife Karen and I, and what God did with me after that.

In mid 2009 I lost my darling wife Karen to cancer. My heart completely broke, and a deep numbness set in.

Everything for me went grey. Nothing had colour any more. All I could see was brokenness, mess, disorder, chaos. Dried grey leaves everywhere.

He said to me, see the beauty in the chaos.

There is hell all around us, tragedy, heartbreak, pain, anguish, horror, greed, war, collapse, fear. I know about those. But if you look for it there is beauty in amongst it too. Everywhere. Comfort, encouragement, love, reunion, tears of joy, companionship, colour, pattern, light. He is amongst us holding our hands. Despite things not working out, not coming together, not falling into place, not going well. Despite all that. Immanuel. There is beauty in the chaos. If you look for it you can find it.

And gradually the sun started to come back out.

I HAVE PLANNED AHEAD FOR YOU. (Sorry - I don't recall the book or its author.)

It blows me away to think that God knew all this would happen. Not only that, but He planned ahead to make sure I would survive the experience. Did He plan FOR it to happen? I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think so. But He did KNOW it would happen – He knows everything after all – before, during and after. I think a lot of things He hasn’t planned to happen, but He knows they will happen, so He plans ahead to see us through them and work good out of it. He has planned ahead for me. What your personal belief and take on that is, is up to you. Me: it blows me away.

Karen van der Sluis.

And from there I am reminded how God planned ahead for Karen. He planned ahead for her from before she was born. He planned ahead for all the life she would bring to those around her. He planned ahead for her for after her tough years, He planned ahead for her for after she got sick, He planned ahead for her for our “chance” meeting that day, He planned ahead for her for love and life and joy with me, He planned ahead for her for when her earthly strength waned, He planned ahead for her for after she left here holding hands with Him and continued the life He’d planned ahead for her for after that. The life she’s living now. He planned ahead for that.

I think of her holding His hand every day. Laughing, running, talking, dancing, thinking, discovering, loving, enjoying, singing, learning, creating, BEing. And that means everything to me.

It’s all going to be ok. It’s all in the plan.

The Old Man.

What’s Playing: Sheryl Crow – Every Day Is A Winding Road