Sunday, April 25, 2010

The BluesCat RV

Well, it isn't a big Winnebago, but I decided to add an RV component to the bike stable:

See, the panniers and the rack pack are perfect for commuting, but I don't take either of my two commuting bikes to the grocery store because of all the other gear I'd have to strip off of them in order to keep them safe. And the only gear I have to carry stuff on Hardiboi is the sling bag, so REAL grocery shopping is out of the question.

Some other bike riders have talked about their trailers and how well they work, but I've always been put off by the price. My son mentioned he had seen these Schwinn Scout trailers in Target for $160. Not bad: standard 20" spoke wheels with Kenda tires, 100 pound capacity, converts to a stroller, two child capacity.

As I thought of my little 8-month-old granddaughter, the idea was especially inviting as a way for her and grandpa to share some bicycle time together once she got old enough to sit up and walk.

I went past the display in Target today and saw they had them on sale for $147, so the hook was set and I was pulled in. Attached the bike mount to Hardiboi:

I rode around with the trailer empty and did not even notice its 24 pounds hooked to the back wheel. I then put a cinder block in the seat of the trailer and rode around for a bit; I could feel the trailer "nudge" me when I applied the brakes, but there was never a control problem. Sometime this next week I'm going to put some more weight in it and try a longer ride.

Yee, haaah! I hear the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies playing in the background!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Curses! Weatherman Foiled Me AGAIN!

Was gonna hop on Bluetiful yesterday and ride to work on Bike to Work Day.

The Weatherman said thunderstorms were due in around 1:00 PM, and since I have NO desire to be sitting on an 85-1/2" lightning rod during a thunderstorm I opted to drive.

The whole day was cloudy, with a nice breeze; cool and hardly a drop of rain ... and not a single lightning bolt.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bike the Zoo?

When my mother-in-law was here a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went to the zoo with her and my son's family. They have bicycles you can rent, everything from single bikes to 6-passenger, four-wheel rigs: The Phoenix Zoo: Pedal Boats & Bikes.

They seemed pretty expensive ($12 an hour for a single bike) to me, but I did see a lot of people riding them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Okay, Okay, I'll Be Fair With the New Computer

I have noticed a few things I do like about the new Trek Incite 9i computer. Number one is the fact it appears to be very accurate. Checked it against a city traffic control radar station along my route home and it agreed perfectly, even at speeds as low as five miles per hour.

The second thing nice about it is that when the spoke magnet passes by the sensor, the computer automatically wakes up. The Specialized SpeedZone didn't do that and sometimes, in the early morning dark, I would be pedaling along for almost a mile before looking down and noticing the computer was still asleep.

The LCD contrast on the Incite 9i is much better than on the SpeedZone. I don't have any problem reading the information in the bright sunlight.

See? The Ol' Kat is actually very fair! ;)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Computer for Bluetiful

Friday (4/9/10) I bought a new computer for Bluetiful. It's a Trek Incite 9i:

It has the same features as the SpeedZone, with the addition of a thermometer. It cost fifteen dollars more than the SpeedZone. Just like the SpeedZone, it slides into the mount from the bottom, but the Incite 9i seems to clip in much more securely than the SpeedZone did, so I'm hoping hard bumps won't knock it loose.

The Incite 9i does not seem to be as sensitive as the SpeedZone, nor does it appear to have the same range. When Trek says "23 inch range," they mean exactly 23 inches! Also, I have to tilt the Incite 9i to just the proper angle in its mount on the handlebar or it doesn't seem to work as reliably as the SpeedZone.

The installation and operation manual for the Incite 9i leaves a lot to be desired. As is the case with a lot of the documentation for new consumer products, they give you drawings of how to install it, but hardly any text. And the drawings are horrible. Also, the instructions for how to zero out the trip features (average speed, maximum speed, time ridden and trip odometer) are flat out WRONG! You change the mode to the TME item, not the TRP option (as stated in the manual), in order to zero the trip numbers.

If it doesn't pop out and fall off, I'll consider the purchase a worthwhile one. If it does wind up on the pavement, I'll buy a new SpeedZone and keep it in place with a piece of electrician's tape on it, and write a scathing letter to Trek.

Friday, April 9, 2010

RIP, Speedzone

Last Wednesday (4/7/10) I came smoking around a corner on Bluetiful and hit another series of new, teeth-rattling potholes which have sprung up on my route home from work. Once again they jarred my Specialized SpeedZone Wireless bike computer out of its mount on my handlebars. This time, however, it bounced off my knee, went down underneath the center of the bike and I ran over it with my rear tire. I retrieved it from where it lay face-down on the pavement, flipped it over and ...

The SpeedZone slides upward into the clip on the handlebars. I think this is a design flaw, because it means the stop is on the top, not on the bottom, and a hard bounce forces it down and releases it. When I go to get a new computer I'm going to look at something else. Luckily, I have all the information (odometer, tire size, etc.) written down so it should not be an issue setting up the new one.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Need a New Weatherman

The weatherman was predicting rain here, snow in the high country and fierce winds. So I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to ride to work today.


Here's the picture from outside my office:

I would have pointed the camera more towards the sun, but as you can see its just too dang bright! The breeze is really light ... feels good ... Weatherman ... yer fired!

Wait! It's April 1st! You don't think ... Aw ... NUTS!

(BTW, the picture was taken with my New Communication System.)