Not Pretty, But It Works

After giving thought to switching the Luxos to the X bike since that rig will be ridden more after dark, I was still faced with the desire to have a USB charging port on the LHT.  It seems frivolous, but once you’ve had this luxury, it becomes addictive.  I run the GPS unit alot, moreso as a bike computer after dark, but it also does great to charge up the phone or any other electronics I happen to be travelling with.IMAG0003Another Luxos would be heaven, but until I find a used one at a great price, I decided to explore some of the other options.  This is a German Re-volt.  With the help of Google translator I was able to discern that it would meet my needs for a reasonable price.  Originally it was planned to mount it on the stem, but the lack of a cache battery forced some McGyver like changes where it now resides in the bottom of the lunchbox.

The wire on the right is coming off the dynamo.  The wire in the middle goes to the lighting system, and the wire on the left, which is the USB jockey, goes into a small rechargable Li-on battery.  What you don’t see is the full USB port on the battery that then goes to the electronic device.  There are lights on the Re-volt to indicate input power and the output path, along with a button for routing.  And its all held together with electrical tape.

The build quality isn’t anywhere near B&M, but you get what you pay for.  I was mainly interested in the circuitry to make sure that it would charge at a high rate.  The unit also came with a basic bottle dynamo, so that may end up on another bike at some point just to play.

Just Right

‘getting in some short rides here and there as time allows.  Primarily dialing in the X bike and the saddle tilt.  Its amazing how a smidgeon can make a big difference in comfort.  Conventional wisdom says that the saddle should be level, but level is a relative term where a broken in Brooks is concerned.

I think I finally got it just right last night, at least that what my bumm was telling me.  A longer ride or two should confirm it.

I’m also adapting back to the drop bars.  Overall I feel pretty confident that it will work out, but much like the saddle, I think its going to take a few more rides to feel just right.

X Bike 2015

IMAG0026A little more wrenching, swapping out the knobbies for the Vittoria’s, fenders, and switching some lights around; and we’re done…for now.  After a short ride last night, there are still some saddle adjustments to make, but we’re close.

IMAG0038Two significant changes are the mini-V brakes and moving the Luxos over from the LHT.

The new brakes are intended to provide the stopping power of V’s with a drop bar configuration.  I’ve never been impressed with canti’s, and wasn’t sure about the whole short pull v. long pull thing.  The result is mini-V brakes with Kool Stop pads, long pull levers, and short pull interupters.  There is still some dialing in to do (I suspect too much toe-in), but so far there is decent stopping power with no chatter or squealing.

As for lighting, my logic is that this will be my night-riding/fitness bike, probably running a few mph faster than the LHT, which is my errand/touring bike.  So this machine gets the better lighting.  The Luxos also allows me to run the charger for the GPS, although I have a charger coming for the LHT as well.

There is still more riding to do, but so far so good.

Teaser Photos

IMAG0021Over the winter I usually spend a good deal of time and thought about bike/camping gear, and any changes that might take place for the coming season.  This past winter, and I’m not sure why, I got to thinking about goals and how to get there.

I’ve never ridden a full century even though it’s been on my list for years.  And to do so, I realize that it probably won’t happen toodling around on the LHT.  It most likely is going to be a lighter bike, yet comfortable, and more “race” configured.

It’s no secret that drop bars and me don’t get along, but I decided to try a pair of “short and shallow” bars, and liked them.  Of the choices available, I went with the Soma Highway One 46mm model.  The cockpit is more compact, and some new brake levers increase the wrist comfort as well.  They are Tektro long pulls, and the interupters are the Cane Creeks that I’ve had for years.  The brakes have been changed to Tektro mini-V’s with pulleys replacing the noodles, and the pads have been upgraded to Kool Stops.

The pic above is “Version 1.”  To be in fashion, I’ll describe it as a Gravel Grinder, even though I’m not entirely sure what that means.  The truth is, I don’t think I’ll be using this version very much.  The frame is a little too tight around these tires, especially at the fork crown, and the new mini-V’s only allow about 1/2 inch of clearance for the cables.  But these tires just seem to float over potholes.  I believe something like a Cross Check would be a better frame, with a little more room for these wheels.

IMAG0025Within the next few days the bike will be shod with the Vittoria Randoneurs and a pair of fenders for a little speedier kit, but these knobbies will be close at hand if I decide a little dirt riding is in order.  I already figured out a mirror mount, and the only thing left is to come up with a USB charger to run off of the dynamo since my Plug is toast.

This could end up being my main ride for 2015.  More pics to come.

Not Dead Yet

I was hoping to actually have a ride or two to post about, but Pennsylvania continues with it’s annual pattern of icy winters right into wet springs.  Before I could hit the roads, volleyball season showed up and has co-opted all of my time.  For instance, this week we have four days/evenings committed, which included one trip to Huntingdon and an all day tourney tomorrow.  Next week is three evening away matches followed by a weekend tournament back in Huntingdon.

Still, the boys are doing well and I enjoy the competition.  Time should be back on my side by the end of April although I’ve committed to scrounging firewood a little earlier this year.

As far as biking goes, there is a pile of new and used parts on the workbench waiting for me to tear into the X bike once again.  With cards close to chest, I’ll just say I’ve set some goals for myself and I feel that some modifications are in order for at least one of those goals.  The big reveal will come once I’ve had a chance to put everything together and take some pics.  It’s not really that big of a deal, but I have to write about something.

There aren’t going to be any large purchases anytime soon, but I have been fantasizing about upgrading the fleet, so I might as well do my semi-annual bikey wish list real quick:

Surly ECR with two wheel sets to function as an adventure tourer and a road tourer.  Jim Thill wrote a post on multiple wheelsets some time ago that included this ECR with the standard Knards and then a set of 38cc’s.

ECR with 700 x 38

After staring at it for a bit, it just really caught my imagination as coming close to a do anything bike.  The rear spacing is 135mm, so the second set of wheels would not be that pricey.  What I would want to do, though, is have dyno hubs on both, which would mean at least rebuilding the stock front.  Unfortunately I could not use any current wheels because of the disk brakes.

Velo Orange Pass Hunter:  I don’t know why, but I’m just in the mood to own a go fast bike, but yet still capable of carrying stuff.  The VO would allow me to move almost everything over from the X bike (with a few upgrades), go back to the 32c Vittorias, and blast around the neighborhood.

It would also give me a bike with low trail, which I’m really eager to try.

Speaking of low trail, I periodically lurk over at the Rawland Google Group, and found that they are getting ready to realease the Raven.  For as contraversial as this beast is with the 26″ wheels set up for 55c tires, I kind of like it…and I’m not even into gravel riding.  It might even be my top pick for a do everything bike.

Ahh well.  Hopefully my next post will provide a little more adventure, but that’s where we are right now.  See you on the road, or in the woods, or on the trail…


Java Snob


Who would have dreamed that a guy who used to drink firehouse coffee is now sippin away each morning on a cup of Aeropress.  It seems like only yesterday I was blown away by a cup of french press roast.

For the guy who has everything, I let it be known that an Aeropress would be welcome under the tree this year.  Sure enough, my first cuppa was on Christmas day.  I have to admit, I now understand what all of the fuss is about.

Using just a regular roast, it’s very smooth with no bitterness; and bonus points for being both fast, easy, and a quick clean-up.  My next thought is to find some upscale grind and run it through to see how it tastes.  I’m hoping I can resist the temptation to start my own roasting and grinding…

More HIIT Observations

Several weeks back I switched my High Intensity Interval Training protocol to 8 seconds of work and 12 seconds of rest.  It calls for working at 90% maximum heartrate and resting at 80.  Right now I’m up to three 8 minute workouts a week, and guessing about my heartrate based on perceived effort.

Since I no longer have a working heart rate monitor, I was searching the ‘net and discovered that there are now bluetooth driven apps that let you record heartrate if you buy the appropriate monitor, as well as neat little apps where you can put your finger over the camera lens and it takes your pulse.

Using the latter on my tablet, I recorded a resting pulse of 46.  This is in the middle of the day, after two cups of coffee.  In November, the PA at the doctor’s office recorded my resting pulse at 58.  In my rowing days, when in really good shape, my resting pulse could get into the mid to high 30’s, so that much of a change in this short of time has me curious.

On top of that, yesterday I had the Trucker out just to check it out and toodle up and down the street.  It’s purely an observation, but I rode up the street (a slight incline) in a bigger gear and noted my legs not getting fatigued; nor did I feel winded.

So this has me thinking that HIIT is having a positive effect on my aerobic capacity, but I need to verify it with a longer ride.  In fact, this has me pretty stoked.

There still is no weight loss, but I’m thinking that first the holidays have me eating too much sugar; and second, my weight training is keeping my appetite higher than I should expect if just doing HIIT alone.