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Showing posts from 2016

Veo Strips

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A gentleman from Veo Strips contacted me in the summer, and asked if I wanted to try out this new product. It seemed a bit intriguing, so I said sure, and it's taken me until December to really give them a try!

So... first... what's a Veo Strip?!
Take a look at the picture below. It's a solution for the sweat that pours into your eyes when you're riding a bike - either on the road, or on a trainer. The sweat drips into the VeoStrip, and the strip diverts it towards your ears and away from your eyes.

My review below is based on using it during an intense indoor trainer workout on Zwift.

Picture taken from the Veo Strip website.

My review
Basically - it worked!

Generally when I ride on my trainer, I use an old-school sweatband, and fairly frequently take the headband off, towel off my head and face, and then put the sweatband back on and keep riding. That works, but the sweatband gets completely soaked, and eventually you just can't use it anymore... and depending on h…

Bicycle Lights Review

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I just bought and installed a MonkeyLight, and thought I'd do a post and mini-review about the various lights I run on my bicycle.

We all have a box in our garage or basement, full of those mediocore lights we bought at MEC or REI etc, and which got us through several years of cycling, but there is some really good stuff on the market these days, and which I show in the video below.

First, here's what is in the video:

Front Wheel
MonkeyLight : M210
Just bought this one, and really my first look at it was in the quick little zips back and forth in the video below. I need to try more of the patterns to really get a handle on this light, and it'd actually help to see someone else ride my bike and be able to watch from the side of the road.

Red Light at Back
Lezyne Strip Drive Pro (Rear)
This is an expensive light, but with the one setting being a 100 lumens, this is a brilliantly gorgeous light. I bought it as a rear day-time running light, and have started to notice how often, o…

How to warp your rear wheel

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Well, this is a brand new one for me.

On Friday morning, I left for my nice, mostly scenic, "long" ride to work. I was intending to take it fairly casual, but when I made the left turn shown below, I was coming down a bit of a descent, and had a good bit of speed flowing through my wheels when I hit the gravel.



I ride very heavily loaded... my panniers always crazy heavy, and I never really know how my daily gear always seems to load me down so much.

So... left turn, with too much speed, heavily loaded - AND - just as my front tire was about to enter the gravel, I kind of righted myself on the bike, worried about hitting the gravel at too much of an angle and falling down.

I think, effectively, the "righting" of the bike was similar to putting the wheel in a vice and pushing hard on the top of the wheel, warping it.

I knew immediately something was wrong - but at first just hoped it was the fender or the rack. BUT.. it was the wheel itself rubbing against the chai…

Ottawa in May

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I went to a small conference in Ottawa, Ontario in May, and knowing how famous Ottawa has become for cycling, I threw my bike in the car as well. Wow, Ottawa, congratulations. Those are some jaw-droppingly beautiful cycling routes you've created!



Not having done much "on street" bike commuting while I was there, I'm not going to try and verify Ottawa's growing reputation as a bike-commuting paradise. However, walking around on foot (in the U. of O. area) it was obvious that cycling is a huge mode of transportation in this city.

What I can gush about were the scenic rides I was able to get in... on the Rideau Canal, and along the Ottawa River. The canal ride seemed to be more or less through the city-proper, and riding around 7:00am there were tons of other cyclists and joggers out using this multi-use trail. And the Ottawa River ride, on a warm late spring afternoon, was just gorgeous. And the trail went on forever... winding scenically along a beautiful and hist…

My Oakleys broke...

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I started really getting into cycling around 2000 / 2001. I bought a terrible, department store, mountain bike off a co-worker, and started commuting around Toronto. This was the bike which I kept taking into my local bike shop for repairs, until finally my mechanic looked at me one day and said "No more man, I'm not fixing this bike anymore!". So... I gave up on whatever that stupid thing was, and bought a Kona Hahanna. A reliable, no-frills, mountain bike from a good company.
Anyway, I bought more bikes, and became a very enthusiastic cyclist, and eventually needed a good pair of sunglasses for long Saturday and Sunday rides in summer sunshine.

This was somewhere around 2003 (give or take a year). I was either in grad school, or trying to decide if I should go to grad school... but either way, money was tight. Adding to the expense was my near-sightedness, and the fact that any sunglasses I bought would have to be prescription ones.
I have no idea what I'd heard a…

Tacx Satori Smart

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I bought a new bike trainer! This is geeky but exciting. Somewhere around 2004 I bought a CycleOps Fluid2 trainer, and it's been fine, though I really only used it in bursts of training enthusiasm over the years, because, as we all know, riding your bike on a trainer in your basement sucks (until Zwift and a few other things came along over the last little while).

So, I now own a TacX Satori Smart.



I'll note a few comments about the trainer here, after my first use of it this morning, but I'll be clear up front that this blogger and blog post does a much more thorough review of the the Satori Smart than I'm about to.

Unboxing and assembly are pretty straight-forward, if you've used a trainer before. The "quick assembly" manual is actually fairly useless and leaves out, or only BARELY indicates, a few things that I wish they would go into more detail about.
When I had the trainer assembled, and the bike on the trainer, I was thrown for several seconds …

Broadview Street - autumn or summer?

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I'm going to try very hard to submit something to the 2016 CBC Non Fiction Literary Awards this year. I just glanced at the 2015 winners though, and am both intimidated and annoyed by the fact that a well-established writer like Richard Wagamese is entering these contests. Come on Dude! Let the little guys have a shot!

I'm going to write something about cycling in Toronto, and stumbled across this little quirk on Google Street view as I was thinking about what to write. I zoomed in to Broadview Street in Toronto and decided to surf south a bit, and discovered that Google patched together some summer shots and some winter shots for Broadview Street:

565 Broadview



560 Broadview



Both of those screenshots are from Feb 8. And if you surf a wee bit further south on Broadview it's back to summer again! It's like a twilight zone of bleak autumn there at 560 Broadview!!!

Share the Road.... or not?

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I'm not sure if this is mentioned elsewhere, but when I first started this blog, I was basically an angry bike commuter. I then morphed into a "puttering away at it" cycling activist in a small city in central Ontario. As part of that work, and the committees I've worked with here, I helped get the Share the Road signs put up. You'll know them, they're all over the place these days (which is itself progress!).



Since I have some history with Share the Road, this research article that just came out in PLOS One is pretty interesting:

Hess, G., & Peterson, M. N. (2015). “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety. Plos ONE, 10(8), 1-16.

Yes, unbelievably boring title, but here's the good stuff:

A) THE VERY FIRST LINE = Many of the greatest challenges facing humanity globally can be addressed, in part, by bicycling.

Holy crap. That's a pretty serious first line!

B) SHARE THE ROAD SIGNS D…

Get on up!

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It's winter in Canada. Not much cycling happens for me this time of year - which is probably why my last few posts have been about Zwift.

Not burning calories on my bike-commute has me thinking about where else to burn some calories during these long winter days. Turns out you can burn all sorts by just standing up at work all day. Getting up and shaking your money maker might be better though.



From LifeHacker: Standing caused the volunteers to have a much higher heart rate (around 10 beats per minute higher), which adds up to burning about 50 calories more per hour versus sitting. Over a year, that adds up to about 30,000 more calories or 8 pounds of fat.

I guess this post is also inspired by this product coming across my radar recently, and on a whim I ordered one for work. Basically it's a cardboard box to put your laptop on, on your desk. But, it also folds away really easily, and it was only $30.00 or something. Unfortunately, I'm now realizing that I'll probably…