Sunday, September 23, 2018

What's its gots in its pocketses?

As my riding evolves and I discover new products I like to post a list of the things I take along on rides. This is one of those posts.

Before I start on that, I want to share the latest updates on the SART at night. I rode 90 miles on the SART last Friday after work and noted that the gates at Katella are not locked strictly at 9pm. However, by the time I returned at 11pm they were locked. It seems the security guard starts locking the entrances at the beach end about 9pm and finishes at Imperial by 11pm. Parks and Recs does not seem to be paying for a security guard to sleep on the trail anymore. It is still possible to avoid the locked gates at both Memory Lane and Taft.

I now carry stuff in a handlebar bag, a top tube bag, and a saddle bag.

The most versatile option I have is the handlebar bag. There are several companies making bags like this. They are easy to attach and detach and this one even comes with a shoulder strap which turns it into a small hand bag. It has an external pocket, an internal zippered pocket, and two internal elasticated pockets. I use it to carry my navigation device (smart phone running the rwgps app) and external power pack.

I could use it to carry much more such as my wallet and it's easy to remove from the bike and carry with me for security. I configure the rwgps app to speak directions to me, and the location on the handlebars makes it easy to hear the instructions.

It's much cheaper and more convenient than full fledged randonneuring handlebar bags, but not as capacious.

Handlebar bag and external battery pack
I have a large top tube bag and I wrapped a ponytail holder around the top of my stem to improve stability. This is where I put things I want to get to quickly.

I normally carry a spare pair of bifocal sun glasses (clear if I'm wearing the tinted or vice versa). Also butt cream (Lantiseptic is my preference), single use sun block sachets, an energy bar, Go Cubes caffeine chew (not pictured),  and an iodine prep pad for sterilizing road rash. You can buy a lifetime (hopefully) supply of these for under $10.

Top tube bag and contents
Most of my stuff is carried in the saddlebag. I have become a huge fan of Acorn bags made by a husband and wife team here in Southern California. The only problem is some of their models sell out VERY quickly so get on their email list and make the purchase within an hour of the release.

I keep my tools in their trifold bag. There's a set of Pedro tire levers (Topeak stopped making their wonderful telescoping tire lever), some instapatches, a CO2 cartridge and Shiny Object inflator, a spare tube, a Topeak mini tool, a chain tool, and a spoke wrench. This is my minimum toolkit.


A word about instapatches. Most people think they don't work very well. I agree. They just need to get me home. I don't ride on tubes that have patches so when they get me home I replace the tube. I wish my local bike shop had a bin I could drop old tubes into. An enterprising person with a $10 patch kit could get ten usable tubes for a little effort. Recycling at its best.

The trifold has leather straps that roll it up so it can be used as a saddle bag itself or it can be tossed into a larger saddle bag. I use Acorn's medium saddlebag (it's huge) so I can add a few non-tool items.

Extra stuff in my saddle bag
In addition to my trifold, my saddle bag contains a reflective vest, toilet paper, and a lock and cable.

This selection of gear is good up to a double-century. For longer distances I add a second tube, a folding tire, and a bigger multi-tool with pliers.

Here are all three bags in use.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New cycling speed record

I saw on the website that the cycling speed record has been broken again. This time by a woman, proving that men aren't the only ones that do crazy dangerous stuff. Denise Mueller-Koronek shattered the men's and women's speed record drafting a speedster on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah today by exceeding 296 km/h and she didn't even need a rocket attached to the bike.

For those of us who don't speak metric, that's a hair shy of 184 miles per hour.

Denise Mueller-Koronek

Here's the full story.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A sub one hour 300k?

I stumbled upon this video of a cyclist clocking 207 mph on today. That's 333 kph! He could complete a 300k brevet in less than an hour. Of course, I'd have to DQ him for not stopping at controls and having a rocket pack on his bicycle.

At 200+ mph, I'm not sure how much that helmet would help.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Stupid Accident

It has been a while since I last posted. I've been riding the SART every Friday evening after work from the trail head at Green River Road, down to Newport Beach, back to the trail head making sure I got through Katella before they lock it at 9pm. Then eat at the car and back to Katella and return to the trail head for a total of 90 miles.

That's the theory anyway. One week I got an unfixable flat about two miles from the car and had to abort. Another week I got an upset stomach and could not get off the trail to a rest room because they lock all the exits - I had to make an emergency sprint back to the car so I could drive to the Jack-in-the-Box and use their restroom.

This week I had bad luck too. I misjudged the gap between the edge of the sidewalk and a lamppost in the gloaming at Newport Beach and smashed my shoulder into the lamppost, which knocked me off the sidewalk and down an embankment. Fortunately I didn't break anything and ended up with a sprained shoulder and some scrapes.

I squirted water from my water bottles over the scrapes and put some Providone on them (don't use an alcohol pad) and rode 30 miles back to my car. At first I thought my collar bone might be fractured but the pain wasn't bad enough. It still got very painful over the rough parts and also when I tried to raise my hand off the handlebars.

I was able to do a workout on my stationary recumbent 24 hours later which is a good sign. I hope I can ride with Amber tomorrow if I'm careful. As bicycle accidents go, this was trivial. I'm still waiting for my shoulder to go pretty colors. When it does I'll post a picture.

Interestingly, for the past two weeks they have not been locking the gates at Lakeview or Imperial. If they have decided to stop locking those gates my 400/600k next year will flow better.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

SART night closures

For the past two Friday evenings I've been riding the SART solo because Amber has been working all weekend. The county has been locking the SART up at night to keep the homeless people out which is a pain because it's too hot to ride during the day.

I've been trying to figure out when the SART is getting locked up. The county says it's 9pm but I think it's closer to 10pm. The big issue I have is that if you start riding at the top of the SART at Green River Road and ride down to the beach there are no signs visible. The first clue you get is a locked gate across the SART at Katella. If you back track you find all the exit gates are locked. You're trapped.

It's pretty easy to get your bike around the gate at Memory Lane and also at Taft. If you are North bound you exit on Memory Lane, go right over the river, then left on La Veta, left on Main, left on Taft, the enter the SART again on your right. it's a pretty unpleasant, four mile diversion.

I took the opportunity to try yet another pair of video sunglasses. This is the fourth pair I've owned. No matter how much I pay for them they never last more than a year so I decided to go cheap for a change. They're not bad at all and have excellent low-light performance. Here's a video I shot about 30 minutes after sunset. It was pretty dark.

Here's a video taken at night illuminated by a Cygolight on the low setting.

Because of the trail closure, I've reluctantly decided to cancel the 200 Night Audax ride :-(

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Unexpected downside to e-bikes

From this article in The Guardian I see that the rate of deaths among cyclists in the Netherlands has increased sharply in the past year. The majority of the increase comes from elderly gentlemen (65+) who overestimate their ability to ride e-bikes.

E-bikes are certainly cheaper to buy and run than cars and more convenient in many ways. They can travel at 20mph and are a great way to move around town. It seems many of these fatalities are caused by the difficulty of mounting and dismounting heavy e-bikes as well as failing to realize that hitting things at 20mph is actually quite dangerous.

I have to wonder exactly how much cycling is actually being done here. I suspect these e-bikes are being treated as electric scooters and that very little cycling is occurring. The article doesn't go into the health benefits obtained by having septuagenarians on bicycles in any depth.

Pete could teach them a thing or two!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Bicycle themed license plates

Did you know the State of California is going to introduce a bicycle themed license plate and they want you to vote on your preferred graphic. They claim fees will go towards bicycle infrastructure funding (yeah, right).

There's a Facebook page for discussion and a survey to register your preference.

I rejected the bear graphics because they're too cartoonish and make bicycles look like toys. I liked the poppy and sea/sun graphics but I felt the bicycles were too de-emphasized. In the end I opted for the Healthy California graphic.

Take a look and make your choice.