Friday, September 25, 2015

Santa Ana River Trail Fail. Bureaucracy Is As Bureaucracy Does.

Due to recent, heavy winds, a tree branch had fallen causing a safety hazard.  "Never fear, your friendly-neighborhood, Government worker is here!"  So, to rectify the situation, the hazard was rightfully, and wisely, coned off.

Seen on the Santa Ana River Trail, adjacent the River View Golf Course, this beautiful display of the Bureaucrat mentality was on full display for all.  Our guess is the person who coned off the area was not authorized to also remove the offending tree branch.  That job must belong to another, costly Government Bureaucrat, it seems.

Two things never change.  One is human irrationality.  The other is the concept of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.   

The Bureaucrat mentality lives on.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

News From EuroBike: SRAM Red Goes Wireless With The New eTap Group.

While not really a Top-Secret project over at SRAM, the new, wireless Red eTap Group has now officially broken cover at EuroBike in Friedrichshafen, Germany.  The big-deal, all-things-bike industry show, which runs from August 26-29, never really disappoints, and this year's really big news was the officially unveiling of SRAM's long in development wireless gruppo.  Yes, gone are the wiring looms and cables, and say "Hello" to batteries.

The quick details are a group pretty darn close to mechanical Red in weight, a one lever shift up, one lever shift down, both levers big-small ring shift, and the ability to run a 28-tooth cassette maximum at present time.  Braking is still via cable-pull rim units, and rumors are swirling of a trickle-down to future wireless Force and Rival groups, as well.

See below for more, in-depth, information.

The Photos (courtesy of VeloNews):

The Video (courtesy of GCN):


Thursday, August 13, 2015

From The "Wish I'd Thought Of That," Department - Sigma Automatic Brakelight For $10 USD.

All photos courtesy of Sigma

Now, here is an idea so simple, it is a wonder no one thought of it, sooner.  An ingenious, mechanically operated, light which automatically illuminates when the rear brake is applied.  It mounts in seconds, runs off a tiny, replaceable CR 1025 button-cell battery, and is cheap at $10 USD.  What's not to like?

The unit itself mounts to the rear brake cable, via a hex clamp, up against the adjustment bolt, and when the brake is applied, it squeezes the unit, triggering the light.  Release the brake, and the light switches off.

While it is being marketed as an aid to motorists, I see the larger service being to other cyclists, and hopefully, it will help to eliminate the rear-ender in pacelines. 

Safety never looked so simple and cost-effective.

Clicky here for the Sigma web site.

Here is the installation video, courtesy of Sigma.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Long Term Wrap Up: Lezyne KTV PRO LED Riding Light

Image courtesy of Lezyne

Lights on bicycles have, especially during daylight hours, thankfully, become a lot more common these days.  However, they are not all created equal.  There are basically two kinds of lighting setups for cyclists: See, and Be Seen.  The “See” kinds are the ones that you can actually see where you are going in the dark.  The “Be Seen” types are the one’s just bright enough to alert your presence to others and are meant purely for daylight use.  The new Lezyne KTV Pro is marketed as a “Safety Light,” which means it is a bona fide “Be Seen” lumen producer.  And, it is not a bad one, at that.   
The KTV PRO has six, different light functions in its tough aluminum body (see “Specs” listed below), and I run it on what I call “787” mode (a flash-rate similar to the anti-collision beacons on Boeing’s wonder-plane), which gives good, distinct, half-second flash bursts.  This particular mode is not only very conspicuous, but it is far easier on battery life, which works out in real-world practice to be about six-seven hours, putting out 30-lumens, before being completely drained.  The battery status light (Lezyne calls it an Intelligent Power Indicator) also tells you how much charge you have left while in use (a handy feature), showing green for “Full,” Amber for “Getting Down There,” and finally Red for “This Suckers Going To Die Soon.”  For the record, “Full-Blast” mode is good for 70-lumens.

The KTV’s Twin-LED’s put out a darn a good light pattern, even off to the side via the “Wide-Screen” lens design (offering 180-degree beam dispersal). The mount is a plastic, swivel affair, fastened via a rubber strap, making fitting to a multitude of bar sizes possible.  The mount/light unit swivels to make putting on and taking off the unit much easier, as you have to remove the unit to plug it into your PC’s USB port to recharge (after removing the back of the light, which is a stout, weather-resistant, rubber end-cap).  Once fully charged, the on-board status light goes from red to green when ready.  It is plenty bright enough to alert people to your presence, even during the day.  And, for the record, since I have begun using a flashing headlight on my day rides, the number of occurrences of vehicles turning left in front of me is down by about 90%. 

                                                        Where the KTV PRO now resides.

In conclusion, it is indeed a pretty cool, little light for the money.  However, it had some big shoes to fill from my previous home-made riding light.  That light was an LED flashlight from Costco, putting out 200-lumens, running on three (3) AAA batteries.  With a homemade mount, the system was blindingly bright, and lasted for up to two-weeks of riding four-to-five days a week.  That’s pretty impressive (and cheap)!  I would indeed recommend the KTV Pro for those wanting a good “See-Me” light at a good price-point, and are not in the mood to make their own lighting set-up.  It is built like a tank, has incredible weather resistance, a smart mounting system, and it just looks completely innocuous on the bike.  For a lot of people, that last one can be a deal breaker.    

So, why then did I buy a light with a lower output?  Well, I was curious to try out the latest crop of LED’s on the market, and I wanted a clean looking, clean mounting, smaller light than the one I was previously using, and being under $20.00 USD, on sale, I was even more curious.  Besides, I reasoned if I did not like the light on my trusty Trek 2.3 Frankenbike, I could always move the light to my Nishiki steel “Fun bike.” 

Well, the KTV PRO is still on my Trek. 

The Specs:
  • Machined Aluminum body
  • Clip-On System via rubber strap
  • Intelligent Power Indicator light
  • USB Rechargeable
  • Side Visibility (180-degrees)
  • Weather Resistant
  • Max Lumens: 70
  • Recharge Time: 3:15 hours (varies, Ed.)
  • Weight: 55g
  • Available in Silver, Black, Red, or Blue body
  • $25.99 USD

Run Times (times may vary, Ed.):

  • Economy: 30 lumens / 2:00 hrs
  • Blast: 70 lumens / 1:00 hrs
  • Flash 1: 30 lumens / 6:00 hrs
  • Flash 2: 30 lumens / 6:00 hrs
  • Flash 3: 30 lumens / 6:00 hrs
  • Pulse: 30 lumens / 4:00 hrs

Monday, July 13, 2015

In the News: Sky Suspects Froome’s Training Data Has Been Hacked

Photo: The Telegraph U.K.

Oh, Dear God!  Has it really come to this now?  The “Dog ate my homework,” defense?  Seriously, peruse the headline, and you begin to get a sense of why I have been deliberately shying away from bicycle racing news, especially the Tour de France.  The whole rolling farce of professional bicycle racing makes Rome’s circuses look legit.

Whist I am not making any real hay of this (yet), the fact Team Sky put this news out there shows the story indeed has traction and they are trying to “Head it off at the pass,” as we Americans say.  Also, why would anyone go to the trouble of “Hacking” Froome’s performance data (no easy feat), when they can just present any PED evidence against him?  It all seems way too fishy.  The best defense is a good offense, perhaps?

Two things are most likely going to be proven in the near future.  One, Team Sky will be found to have used the drugs of Tomorrow, Today, and no Non-American rider will go through what Lance Armstrong is currently experiencing.

Read the story over at The Telegraph.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It Has Been Awhile.

Activity on the blog has indeed been slow, as of late, however, it has not been for a lack of will, but rather due to a lack of time.  This, acute, lack of time has, most unfortunately, carried over into my cycling regimen.  A major move, a major home renovation, work, family, and there was just not too much time for riding.

Also, I must confess, I was actually a bit apprehensive for awhile to get on the bike and ride.  I had heard other riders mention this phenomenon to me, and I merely dismissed it as pure hogwash and laziness.  However, I have since found this, specific version of “Cycling Cold Feet” to be very real after having the royal crap scared out of me for the umpteenth time by an unskilled motor vehicle operator.  So, for awhile there, I actually had no desire to get on my bicycle, and that should never be!  Why should I have to fear for my life just for exercising?

One, small, benefit of my time off the bike has been the ability to take in a lot more of the cycling related news and blogs.  And you know what?  From doped up racers, to road diets, to the “We hate Cars, so we hate YOU” crowd, to riders flat-out ignoring the vehicle code, a lot of, and thankfully not all, cyclists are actually a bunch of reckless-fools.  No wonder drivers sneer at us (Secret exposed: Drivers sneer at each others, too), even when we have not done anything to them at all. 

Life out on the road seems to be history repeating itself, as when society thought all motorcyclists were “Hell’s Angels,” or “Hooligan’s” leftover from Hollister, California, circa 1947.  Over time, the actions of a few were heaped upon the masses, and it metastasized.  Well, with cycling, we are at that point, again.  “There’s another one of those Car-Hating, law breaking, Hippies, and they’re dressed like Lance Armstrong, too!”  Well, the fact is, a majority of cyclists are also motor vehicle drivers, and no, we don’t think alike, nor are we all alike, period.  Drivers seem to think all of us cyclists hate them, have no respect them, want them out of their cars, love Road Diets, mass transit, and think God’s gift to cycling were “Coalitions,” the Fixie, flip-flops, and independent coffee houses. 

Most cyclists are out purely for the exercise and freedom cycling provides.  They don’t care what people are driving, have no political axe’s to grind, seek only to stay alive, and would be happy to be left alone, thank you.