Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category
I’m a big fan of Danny MacAskill (often referring to him as Danny MaKick-Ass Skills), and love posting when he has a new project. Still sponsored by Red Bull, they produced a new film called Imaginate. “Two years in the making, street trials rider Danny MacAskill releases his brand new riding film. Whilst previous projects have focused on locations and journeys, MacAskill’s Imaginate sees Danny take a completely different approach to riding. Enter Danny’s mind and enjoy.”
Getting off the street and into a studio, the film is a pretty cool play on scale, using life-sized toys. Danny, himself, is a toy that rides through a course made of enlarged wooden building blocks, pencils, playing cards and game pieces. Unlike his other films, where the screen just is filled with bike trials eye candy, this film has a bit of narrative to it – putting his riding into the context of a story.
The stunts, as usual, will blow you away. Click here to see the film.
I must admit, as an LCI, I have no excuse for this happening to me. One of the fundamental things that we teach our students is the importance of the ABC Quick Check. But, I got lazy – which got me into trouble.
Let me put some emphasis on the “C” in ABC Quick Check. “C” is for cranks, chain and cassette – essentially your bike’s drivetrain. Although not as important for safety, as “Air” and “Brakes”, the drivetrain is a very critical part of your bike’s ability to function. If you’re drivetrain isn’t working, you’re not going anywhere.
I had just finished a long ride the weekend before, where I had given the bike a complete check. Because of that, my lazy pre-commute inspection consisted of me squeezing my tires, then while rolling, spinning the pedals and doing a quick brake check.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure if I would have noticed the potential fail of my crank arm. Typically, when I perform the check on my cranks, chain and cassette, I’m just looking to see if the drivetrain rolls smoothly, not really ever torquing the crank more than a few pedal revolutions. This is usually done by hand and I would rarely pull the crank from side to side.
The signs were there from the start of my commute. As I pushed down on the left pedal, it made an incredible squeaking noise. I had recently installed my old pair of SPD clipless pedals for that previous weekend ride and I just figured that the pedal mechanism was in need of some lubrication.
As I reached the halfway point to my office (about 7.5 miles), I noticed that my left pedal was no longer squeaking. Within moments I felt it wobble. At first, I thought the pedal was coming loose off the crank, but when I looked down, I saw that it was the whole crank arm. I pulled over to inspect it and attempt a quick repair. I soon discovered that the bolt that held it in place required an 8mm allen wrench – something I don’t carry in my tool pouch.
My backup plan was to hobble to some nearby auto-repair garage and borrow the tool. That would have worked if it wasn’t so early in the morning, and all of the shops weren’t still closed.
The only thing I could do was push the crank onto the spindle as hard as I could and then thumb tighten the bolt. Because of that, I couldn’t really put any pressure onto that pedal. Fortunately, with my SPD clipless pedals, I was able to do most of the spinning with my right foot, while resting my left foot on the loose crank’s pedal. I had to stop every mile or so, to push the crank arm back on and re-tighten the bolt. Eventually, I made it to the office.
During my lunch break, my buddy ran me up to Home Depot, where I was able to purchase the correct tool. With that, I was able to repair the crank and get home problem-free. That day, I learned that I need to do a more thorough inspection of my bike before a long commute. A few moments before the ride can save you from bigger problems down the road – a lesson I’ll be sure to share with my students.
Based out of ‘The People’s Republic of Portland”, hosts Brock Dittus, Aaron Flores and (yet to be heard by me) Brandon Rhodes “bring you somewhat irreverent conversations about the intricacies of thinking locally with a global perspective, and enjoying the best that life has to offer along the way. This includes day to day life, food, alcohol, bicycles and alternative transportation, arts and culture, communication and the Internet, camping and travel, and many other things!”
Sure, it’s not all about bikes. But to me, it’s a lot about why I ride – simplifying the good life. Talking about arts, culture and alcohol is pretty cool, too.
Of course I’m late to the party. They’ve been producing the show since 2010 and on their 126th episode (as of this post). As with my other ‘bike’ related podcasts, I’ve been playing serious catch-up. I’ve decided to only limit my listening to this year’s episodes – which is enough to get a good sense that I relate to the content, enjoy the hosts and their guests and have become a true fan of the show.
The weekly show covers a wide range of bike topics, from advocacy, news and events to sports and fitness. Hosts, Diane Lees and Greg Priddy, do a great job keeping those topics relevant and captivating as they bring on many interesting guests and share some really good discussions.
They’ve just released their 134th show, so I haven’t been able to review them all. Even though I’ve only listened to the latest ones made for 2013, and I’ve already been exposed to some cool, new (to me) bike stuff.
Sure, because they cover such a wide range of subjects, you run the risk of coming across a show that is less entertaining than others. Since I’m not into sports cycling, I personally found the sports and fitness topics a bit unexciting – but, I can see how others would find them engaging. The great thing about a podcast, is that you can be selective with what you listen to and fast forward through the rest.
Overall, the podcast is a nice way to geek-out about bikes, even while you’re commuting by car.
My only question is, why haven’t I heard of this show before? According to their Facebook page, they have over 1,100 fans – but only one of them is a mutual ‘Friend’. Perhaps I can change that. I’m hoping that if you haven’t already heard about the show, you’ll go check them out:
I’m a bag whore. I’ve got more than I need, yet I still manage to find a reason to get another. Well, looking at the design of this one, who could argue with me? I even got this at half off, thanks to my wife’s amazing skill at finding great deals.
It’s made by a company called Blue Q. At the time of my purchase, I did realize how cool the company is. They’ve been around since 1988, selling great products from their home in Pittsfield, MA. They state that, “1% of the sale of Blue Q bags and stainless steel water bottles support the conservation work of The Nature Conservancy - a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.”
The bag, itself, is pretty cool. Designed by artist, Christine Berrie, it’s covered with fantastic illustrations of vintage and Dutch style bikes. Underneath that, the bag is made from used grain sacks that are collected, cleaned, ground and melted into rolls of recycled plastic, woven into durable bag fabric.
So, not only is it great looking, it’s also good for the planet. I’m glad I found it and Blue Q.
On a side note, while out tooling around, we stumbled across this treat at a candy store. It’s freeze-dried space food from a company called Astronaut Foods. My son wanted to try their Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich and I was curious enough to let him have one. For some reason, I was thinking this was going to be like Tang, where it was just a bag of powder representing the idea of what it was supposed to be. Sure enough, it was an actual ice cream sandwich that was dehydrated for space travel – ready to eat with no water needed. I took a small bite and it wasn’t half bad.
My last set of tires were showing signs of wear. I probably could have squeezed another season out of them, but instead, I came across these Michelin City tires on sale for almost half off.
Here are some specs from their site:
Special PROTEK COMPOUND rubber mix with antioxidant elements and a reinforced architecture that promote:
• High mileage and excellent grip
• Resistance to aging, climatic variations and pollution
1mm thick PROTEK SHIELD anti-puncture reinforcement under the tread.
Aside from the great price, two things appealed to me about these tires. First, they’re made of a pretty soft compound of rubber, leading me to believe these will be stickier than my previous set. Second, there’s a nice reflective strip on the sidewall, which will help me be more visible with cross traffic. Because of that, my friend jokingly called these new tires, whitewalls.
After I’ve logged a few miles on them, I’ll post my thoughts. My first impression is they’re a little squeaky, but pretty grippy.
In contrast to the cursed bad weather in the northeast, the past few weeks in north Texas have been pretty mild. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been cursed with having these beautiful days and not being able to ride. Between other commitments and having a cold, a few good rides just weren’t in the cards. Perhaps this is some sort of imposed solidarity, by a higher power, for those dealing with winter storms.
On the bright side, my buddy at work decided to take up riding again. After a long decision process, he finally bought his bike last weekend. You could expect to see some pics from some of our future rides together. I might have even talked him into commuting to work with me a few times this summer.
Since we started, the core idea behind Suburban Assault was to inspire you riders to ‘Explore Your Neighborhood By Bicycle’. Take your time, ride around and discover the area around your home. You’ll be surprised at all the interesting things that you learn about it.
Now, there’s a new App, called Lovetrack, that can help you document your explorations. Based on what I’ve read and seen, I think that Lovetrack is the ultimate Suburban Assault tool. It’s like Instagram for bicyclists.
Unlike Instagram, Lovetrack records your bike routes and allows you to share them with others – perhaps, inspiring them to try out your journeys. Unlike other mapping Apps, it looks like Lovetrack‘s focus is more about photographing interesting things along the way – and less about documenting cadence, speed, elevation and distance. Simple and smart.
What I really like about Lovetrack, is the inspiration the developers had for creating it:
We love to track where we ride bikes. We really would like to make our rides visible and share our magical cycling experience with people. We would like you could do the same.
We would like to help people find beautiful routes for their bike rides. We hope you would like to do the same as we do.
That’s why we decided to create extraordinary accessory for your bike.
Even in January, our coldest month, I try to get out for the occasional spin. Admittedly, my motivation is down. The cold air is thick and hard to breathe. The wind cuts right trough to my bones. Winter is pain.
I’m not riding as far, or as long, but enjoy being out on my bike on the quiet streets. My local Starbucks (just a few miles away) and a tall cup of hot, black coffee are always a welcome reward for braving the cold.
Bring back the heat, Texas.
Here are some random classic Schwinns:
I saw this on Facebook last night and thought it was a good enough idea to share. Halo Zero, the developers of the very successfully funded Halo LED Belt, are back on Kickstarter. This time they’re partnered up with Rickshaw Bagworks, to produce a Halo Zero LED Messenger Bag.
Here is some info from their Kickstarter page:
Mission: SAVE LIVES. HALO ZERO messenger bag illuminates at night, keeping safety just a click away.
What is HALO ZERO? HALO ZERO is an LED illuminated messenger bag made in the heart of San Francisco. Each messenger bag embodies our philosophy of; Form, Function, and Footprint. Each HALO ZERO messenger bag is created with a sustainable minimal waste design.
• Holds up to 13″-15” laptop
• Made from scratch in SF
• External dimensions: 11″ H x 18″ W x 6″ D
• Quick-adjust shoulder strap
• Two front pockets and main compartment
• Velcro closure, D-ring, accessory system
• Durable, machine washable
• Red, Green, Blue, Yellow
How does HALO ZERO illuminate?
A custom patented LED thermoplastic polyurethane fiber optic strip is attached by Velcro to the messenger bag. The “HALO” is powered by two standard CR2025 batteries. There are three modes of illumination; Strobe, Flash, and Solid.
• Red, Green, Blue, Yellow
• Fully removable
• Customizable to your own color preference
• Batteries last 20 hours on Solid mode
• Batteries last up 60-75 non-consecutive hours on Flash modes
The last thing I need is another messenger bag. However, not one of mine is truly ‘visible’ when I’m riding at night. Sure, I’ve clipped on a flashing LED light, but I don’t think it’s as noticeable as the Halo Zero could be.
I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the bag built out of more reflective materials as well. The Halo Zero LED Messenger Bag is a good concept, built by some great people. We need to see more projects like this, keeping cyclists safe on the road.