I know that many BikeHacks readers enjoy beer, and to me a ride makes a beer taste a whole lot better. Recently I had the opportunity to try a new beer that was fabulous. Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker Brewery is a Black Rye IPA I'll be puchasing again. It is 8.3 % so it does pack a little punch, but it is a nice hearty beer for a post fall/winter ride. If readers have beer recommendations, feel free to post comments.
I pulled out the unit and went to plug it in for the initial charge and thought why do they use mini USB vs micro? I'll always have a micro charger (at least for now) to charge my phone and other devices.
Moving on from there I started looking at the mounts. There is one really slick one and one that you zip tie. The instructions ask you to remove your grip to use the really nice mount. I was bummed. So I tried to fit it over my head tube and voila it opened wide enough. (It's not hinged like some other mounts are.) I'm assuming they recommend the removal of grips versus the open wide option so you don't accidentally break the cool mount. The advantage of this is I now have mounts for both my main bikes without having to buy more (or in Bikehacks.com spirit, hack something).
The unit itself feels really well built, but seems heavy for those using carbon fiber reflectors to keep the weight down. Speaking of weight, as I go through the set-up there's a max user weight of 330 lbs. I have no idea why that is. I'd assume it's related to the HR monitor options.
The power/home button is easy to press with and without gloves. The screen input worked occasionally with some huge old ski style gloves I figured would never work. The GPS works great. It counts down in yards to your next turn, beeping to let you know to pay attention. The tracking and syncing works well once you've set it up. I appreciate the fact that the device senses you're moving and asks to record the trip. The menu is nice and big so you can mess with it while on the go. I like that you can really customize the information on each screen. If you're in navigation and want distance to next turn, total distance remaining, and time remaining you can set all of this up for that screen. The same goes for maps, workout, and the general info screen (of which there are 2).
The Bluetooth connection with the phone was spotty at best. The Cyclosmart app often force closed causing me to lose all music controls and other phone options. (I'm not blaming the 505 for that yet. I'll try it with different phones and see what happens.)
I guess a review isn't any good without a "would you buy it" decision. I would buy one. It wraps everything up in a nice easy-to-use package. I can leave my phone in my bag and get texts, control music, and see callers. I can use the GPS to get to places the best "bike friendly" way possible. Most importantly, I can track my rides all in one place and not have to use an app on my phone. At some point I may even buy the cadence sensor to help me improve my pace while riding for training. That's the cool thing about this. I can use it on my cruiser and my touring bike for different reasons and still get good results. It also allows for a car setting in the navigation menu if you want to use it for turn-by-turn directions while driving.
“Kaleidoscycle” is a kinetic stained glass sculpture installed in the lobby of Inman Park Dentistry in Atlanta, GA.
Alex Rodriguez, DMD, contacted Creative Stained Glass Studio several months ago after seeing our “Tour de Verre” series also based in Atlanta. He is an avid cyclist, a fellow public artist, and wanted to reflect that love in the aesthetics of his office. He approached us with the idea for the Kaleidoscycle and we were immediately open to it.
Alex gave us five wheels of varying sizes and gave us free reign to fill them with glass and metal designs. Before installing the piece, Rodriguez had a custom made quiet motor made specially for the piece. Now, the Kaleidoscycle is mounted on a wall in the dentist’s lobby, visible to any street-goers peeking in. Because no sunlight hits the piece directly, the installation is carefully lit to make sure that the beauty of the glass is seen in full effect.
The artwork creates a unique, memorable, experience for Rodriguez’ patients. As an added bonus, he tells us it truly comes to life at night as seen from the street. The project really shows the role art can play in connecting a practice or business with patients,clients and a community.
Working on this project was a true pleasure for us, and we congratulate Dr. Rodriguez on his vision and execution.
Next up in the BikeHacksTivus airing of products is the RoadAir portable bike pump. Right up front I'll say the makers of this product have not airored (or is it errored?) in any way. It's a fantastic pump that addresses some common frustrations associated with pumping up tires on the road. "On your left!" (sorry, could not resist) is the pump in it's original packaging, and on the right is the pump with it's first secret weapon of greatness in full view - an extendable rubber hose.
The extendable and flexible hose helps address one major problem with hand pumps I have had in the past - the tearing of an inner tube and/or breaking the air input valve. All hand pumps I have owned in the past, like the pump I have owned for the past several years seen pictured below, lock the body of pump onto the valve directly and any motion on the pump is transferred directly to the valve. Since portable pumps are so small and you have to exert a lot of force to get air into the tire, it can be easy to damage either the valve or the tube during the inflation process (old pump locking the body directly to the valve pictured here).
Locking the pump body directly to the valve will often lead to riders getting creative with how they fill up their tires, as in this example provided by reader "The Guth" in a previous entry.
When field-repairing a flat without a floor pump it's very easy to put too much strain on the valve, I've destroyed more than one tube this way. But I had a dynamite idea, I stacked up my tire levers and put them underneath the head of the pump so that when pushing down on the pump it was aimed directly at the straight valve. I could effectively use the pump as a floor pump and put no strain on the valve stem. I cannot be the first to come up with this but I don't recall seeing it anywhere.
The flexible hose on the RoadAir pump means no "anti-strain" hacks/contortions are necessary. Any excess motion is negated by the flexible hose. The fitting on the pump head is threaded so it screws on tight rather than relying on a twist activated pressure seal like most pumps I have used in the past.
The second genius part of the pump is an integrated storage compartment that comes filled with three items so commonly needed, and often misplaced, when adding air to a tire, ball, or inflatable object. Inflating Presta tubes is no problem with the included adapter, and the ball needle and tapered nozzle are great to have around.
As long as you replace each item each time you use the pump, there will never be a need to go looking for the necessary item when you need it most. The instructions are simple, nothing crazy to figure out. I did get a kick out of "desiered". I misspell words frequently, but it seems like one might want to triple check prior to printing packages for a product - and to their credit they got it correct once =)
So how does the pump perform when inflating a tire? I let the air out of one tire and pumped it up to a very reasonable pressure. I did not measure it with a gauge, I "measured" it with the tried and true method of the finger pinch. The tire was more than firm enough to get me on my way. I did not count the total number of pumps or anything as I don't think the number of pumps it takes matters. What matters more when you use a pump is that you don't have to do yoga or contort your body or bike to get the tire to a reasonable pressure without tearing your valve or tube.
The pump also comes with a bracket to mount directly on your bike and the dimensions of the pump are listed as:
9.4 x 0.9 x 1 inches ; 4.6 ounces
The link off of their site to Amazon prices the pump at $29.95 which is very competitive with similar pumps. In sum, the pump works well, is priced reasonably, and I would highly recommend it.
Reader Herman recently submitted a post detailing how he used aluminium tubes to create a pretty awesome rack. Herman is back at it and sent along the following update. I could be wrong, but there seems to be evidence that points to Herman being one who celebrates Festivus. Take it away Herman . . .
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Fork mounted front racks if loaded heavy enough would make the steering slow and sluggish. Not good for manoeuvring through tight spaces. And would make loading and unloading very hard. To keep the steering feel the same, frame mounting is the solution. Using the same materials (about 1mm thickness) that I used for my rear rack. Each tube can support at least up to 10kg at the tip so that adds up to 20kg for two tubes. A bit flexy with heavy weights but the tubes can be easily replaced with thicker walled ones or stainless steel for more strength and/or stiffness.
Second in the BikeHacksTivus review front is the VISIJAX LED Commuter Jacket With Turn Signals. I am all about lights for nighttime riding and have 8 different lights installed on my bike that use 16 total batteries. I am of the firm belief that when cycling around motorists, those piloting motor vehicles should be aware of my presence. I was thus excited when the fine folks at VISIJAX contacted me about reviewing a jacket that incorporates LED lights. They sent me the yellow version, which just might be visible from low earth orbit during the day. This picture does not really do the color justice, but it is bright.
The jacket also comes in black. As you can see in the picture, there are two sets of lights on the chest, and there are also lights on the front and back of the arms. Here are the lights on the chest -
And a unique feature of the jacket is that when you raise your arm, a light on the front and rear of the arm starts to flash, meant to indicate that you are turning.
The rear of the jacket also has a set of red LED lights.
And there are reflective highlights on the jacket, highlighted here with the camera flash.
The lights have three settings - slow flash, fast flash, and static. Here is a YouTube video, with the wonderful sound of my washing machine in the background.
The battery sits in a small pocket in the front of the jacket.
And it has a large rubber button so all you have to do to activate the lights, change the mode, or turn it off is grab the battery and squeeze your fingers.
The review of this jacket is going to take a few more entries because I want to cover size/fit, comment on battery life, and I have yet to wash the jacket or ride in any serious rainfall or cold temperatures. Regarding use of the jacket so far, I charged the battery when I got it and have ridden with it every weekday for almost two weeks. I have only activated the lights at night and my commute home is about 30 minutes. I have not had to recharge the battery yet and the website indicates that the battery will last 20 hours. If this is the case, the jacket would serve me during daily use for almost a four weeks. The jacket came with one battery and extra batteries are available on the VISIJAX website for £15.99 ($24 USD). The jacket price on their website is £119.99 ($180 USD).
So far so visible and I will do some follow up entries on fit, durability, and performance. It has been very warm in Boston in recent weeks and the weather reports point to continued warm temperatures. It might be a bit of time before the jacket is put to a significant temperature or precipitation test.