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…natures gym… December 27, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, Cool Blogs/Sites, Culture, Hawaii, Information, review, Shops, Websites.
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I love these shirts…

Natures Gym Charcoal T-Shirt

And I even ordered a coffee mug:

Cycling Mug

You can see all his cycling stuff here:  http://www.cafepress.com/naturesgym/3752849

…repacking wheel bearings… December 12, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, build, Information, maintenance, Shops, Sites, Websites.
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…so, here are some great links on how to repack your bicycle wheel bearings:




…and here are some tips just in case you decide to try it on your own, without reading any of the above information, without checking your bicycle maintenance book, and without any previous experience repacking bicycle wheel bearings:

  • Don’t use standard general purpose bearing grease. That grease will be too thick for your bicycle bearings. You will want to stick with a bicycle specific grease from your local bicycle shop. Again, don’t use general purpose red grease.
  • Don’t disassemble your hub bearings and think “no wonder they felt like they were wearing, there’s hardly any grease in there”, and then pack the entire hub with general purpose red grease. Don’t do it. It’s quite the mess to clean up later. Only put the grease on the races, and only enough to keep the bearings and the races sufficiently covered in the slick grease. Don’t overdo it.
  • Don’t begin taking things apart on your bicycle that you have never poked around with, late at night, when your bike is your transportation to work. If you have to wake up your significant other at 0445 in the morning to take you to work because you decided to “mess around with” your bike late the night before… well, just don’t.
  • Don’t assume any knowledge from other mechanical experiences will transfer right over to bicycle maintenance. Even if you are a 19+ year mechanic on nuclear power plants for Navy submarines, don’t think “it’s just a bicycle, how hard could it be?” Take your time and do a little research before hand. There will be little things that matter that you don’t want to figure out the hard way.
  • Don’t leave your garage door halfway open all night. If you realize that you’ve just messed up and have to redo everything, but it’s too late at night – close the garage door. Don’t risk “losing” anything to nosy anybody’s poking around.

…back on the bike… October 2, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, build, Culture, Equipment, Hawaii, homebrew, Information, Injury, Politics, Rides, Touring, Travel, Websites.
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…so I rode the bike home from work last Thursday (yes, it has been in my office for the last month), then let my knee rest over the weekend. Everything seemed to hold up great, so I’m back to riding the bike to/from work. Rode it to/from yesterday, and rode it in this morning. Feels great to ride again. Of course, I have to fight to lose the weight that I put on while resting my knee.

In other news, I recently ordered the Arkel Briefcase pannier. That should make for getting things around at work easier. I usually commute with a trunk bag on the back, and a pair of Arkel T28’s on the front. Normally I don’t need the T42’s. However, it would occasionally be helpful to have just a little more room, and the briefcase should fit the bill nicely. I’ll post a review in the next couple weeks.

In other other news, I’ve upgraded to bibs. Yep, first it was spandex shorts, and now bibs. I must say that they are worth the extra money over the padded shorts I was wearing. So far, the only issue I have is when I had to take an emergency #2 bathroom break. I had to take my shirt off to drop the bibs! They are still worth the hassle. Oh, and I feel faster 🙂

In other other other news… I am thinking about planning my trip to Maui. One teensy problem… the state of Hawaii is totally dicking around with the new inter-island ferry. The protesting is malicious. They could have protested anytime the last five or more years while the company went through all the hassle of getting approval to conduct business in Hawaii, and getting all the environmental surveys done, and developing a plan to conduct business with minimum impact on the environment. Instead, they apparently waited until the Super Ferry started running, and protested by blocking the path and getting a judge to suspend operations, resulting in people leaving their vehicles on other islands.

There is more information on the www.superferry.com site, and in this article written by Senator Sam Slom. I’d write more, but I just get pissed off. The inter-island ferry is just what the islands need, and they are crapping on their opportunity.

Also keeping me from seriously considering a bike ride on Maui is the cost of using the Super Ferry. Here is the booking broken down:

Maui Booking

Can you believe the prices!?!? I have to pay $30 for a fuel surcharge for me and my bike to walk onto the ferry and ride it to Maui and back. $30 just for fuel! What is the fare paying for? Why so much money? Are they not interested in being competitive with the airlines? The cost is ridiculous. If the protesters get the Super Ferry to shut down, then the taxpayers are on the hook for $40 million in bonds. Doesn’t this mean that the Super Ferry has $40 million guaranteed over some period of time? Then why do they need to charge so much? Ahhhh…

Anyway, I’m happy to be back on the bike, still looking at building a Surly Long Haul Trucker, haven’t got around to building the perfect bike light yet, and have too many projects going on…

…but I’m riding…

…build a bike light… July 4, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, build, Equipment, homebrew, Websites.
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For less than $50(US), you can easily build yourself a custom high-Watt bicycle light.

[NOTE: I have edited this post based on extremely useful information and feedback I received from BikeForums.net]

Parts List:

  • Reflector or Lamp :: $2.99
  • Halogen bulb :: $2.99 (for two)
  • Housing :: $1.55
  • Battery Pack :: $28.99
  • Switch (using the connector)
  • Charger :: (comes with battery pack)
  • Wire :: $3.60
  • Connectors :: $3.69
  • TOTAL: $43.81(us)!

For the reflector/lamp, the popular ones are the MR-11 and the MR-16. The MR-11 is smaller and easier to find, while the MR-16 is larger but more efficient, producing more Lumens per Watt. For this project, I’m going with the MR-11. Another thing to think about here is the type of beam. You can get them in varying degrees such as 10° to 40°. For riding a bike to commute, I’ll go with the 12° beam lamp.

MR11 Halogen LampMR11 Dimensions

MR-11 :: 6V :: 20W :: 12° beam :: 3000 hour life :: $2.95(US)

For the bulb, the reflector mentioned above takes the G4 bi-pin bulb. You can get them in varying Watts, with 10W and 20W being the most common for bike light purposes. Worth noting is that you want to pick the power of your bulb based on your battery pack capacity. If you have a 12V 1500mAh battery pack, you won’t want to go with the 20W bulb, as you will end up with only enough light for an hour. Since we are going with a 6V setup, and none of our riding will be high speed off-road, we’re going with the 9W bulb.

G4 Halogen bi-pin bulb

G4 :: bi-pin :: 9W :: 6V :: Halogen :: 2000 hour life :: $2.99(US) for two

The housing is where things get really creative. There is no easy choice here. This really depends on your ingenuity, spare parts, keen powers of observation, and history of pack-ratting. If you are taking the same route I am, by undervolting the bulb to extend battery and bulb life, then you will have more options for a housing since your 6V 9W light will be generating less heat than a 12V 20W light. In fact I’ll be using a PVC fitting. The lamp reflector is just over an inch in diameter, and will work nicely with the PVC section. Again, use your imagination, but I’m going to try and fit my lamp to a 1.25in x 1in PVC reducing coupler.

PVC reducing coupler

PVC reducing coupler :: 1.25 in x 1 in :: $1.55(US)

The battery pack is where you can have as much, or as little, “fun” as you want. You can buy a ready built battery pack with charger, or you can buy the pieces/parts and build one. Since my goal with this project is inexpensive and easy, I’m going with a ready-made setup. For my light, since I’m undervolting the bulb, I can get away with a smaller capacity battery pack. In fact, a 6V 2100mAh pack will do nicely, while being incredibly inexpensive compared to slightly larger capacity packs.

6V battery pack and charger

6V :: 2100mAh :: 5 AA cells :: NiMH :: 50mm x 15mm x 75mm :: with charger :: $28.99(US)

When deciding how to wire your lamp to your battery pack, you have to pay attention to the connection on your battery charger. If you have a favorite connector, then simply cut off the stock one on the charger, and wire it all up with whatever ones you want. For simplicity, I want to get a connector that works with the charger, which is a BEC connector, based on the information on the battery charger website. What I can’t tell from the picture is whether it is a male or female connector. When you are ready to build, however, you will see that it doesn’t matter. You will need to buy a male and a female connector. You simply solder or crimp the connector that mates with the charger to the wires going to the battery pack. That will leave the opposite connector for the wires going to the lamp.

BEC connector maleBEC connector female

BEC connectors :: 12in wire leads :: 5A :: 22AWG :: $1.25 each :: $2.50(US) total

Another connector you may want to get is a prewired ceramic connector for the bulb. This will make changing out the bulb easier, and at $1.19, is cheap enough to pay for the convenience.

prewired ceramic G4 bulb connector

Also in keeping with the design of the battery pack, is the wire I’ll be using. I’m going with a red/black, two conductor wire. This stuff is inexpensive, and I can order it from the same place I order the connectors.

22AWG :: red/black :: 2 lead :: $0.45 per foot :: $3.60(US) total

Having said all that about the connectors and wires, if you don’t mind spending just a little more money, you can go with slightly heavier gauge wire (such as 14AWG). The 22AWG in my project is almost too small. I am using it merely due to expense and convenience. Other recommended connectors are Anderson Power Pole’s, and Dean’s Ultra Connectors.

There are all kinds of ways you can hook up a cool switch on this project. You can wire up a handlebar mounted thumb switch. You can mount a push-button switch on the back of the housing. You can even wire up a small light detecting circuit for an auto-on headlight. However, since I am looking to do this easy and inexpensive, I’ll be disconnecting the battery to turn the light off. A little velcro strip will hold the wires out of the way, and I’ll have a simple way to turn the light on – just connect it.

The construction is fairly straightforward.

Some final thoughts:

Make sure you use high-temp silicone when mounting the lamp in the housing.
Your bulb will eventually fail, don’t make your mounting too permanent.
Make sure you have a vent hole for heated air to escape.
If you paint your housing, paint it with high-temp paint.
Make sure your red wire is connected to the (+) on the battery pack connector.
Di-electric grease on the connections will make them weather-proof, and improve conductivity.
Shrink wrap hides ugly solder, and protects the connection.
Other useful accessories: [HERE]
Rough equation to estimate run-time:

(Battery Pack Voltage * AmpHours) / Bulb Wattage = hours
( 6VDC * 2.1Ah ) / 9W = 1.4 hours

Well, enjoy, and leave me some feedback if you build this.

…lots of stuff… June 26, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, Equipment, HAM, Hawaii, Radio, Websites.
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So, I had a GREAT Father’s Day. Absolutely wonderful and relaxing.

This last Sunday, I went for a long overdue bike ride. Not a long one, but a short little 20 miler around the harbor. I really slacked off since my tour around the island. You can see the Pearl Harbor bike path route [HERE]. It’s not too bad. Just used and worn enough that you can’t go flying around on it at 20mph, so it makes for an easy training ride.

Speaking of rides and tours, the SuperFerry is in Pacific waters and will be out here very soon. I hear they are “show-boating” her around the West coast of the mainland. I called today to see if they are taking reservations yet, and they stated that they will start in a few days. I can’t wait. I’ll be reserving my tickets to take my bike over to Maui and tour around.

Hopefully, by then I’ll have my battery issue figured out. If you keep up on my HAM blog, you’ll know that I’ve decided to take the FT-7800R dual band radio I bought for my Jeep, and put it on my bike. I’ll be getting the FTM-10R for my Jeep. The only thing I have to figure out is the battery. I have a rough idea of what I want (the PowerSonic SLA, probably a 2.5 to 4.0 Ah), I just need to find someplace that doesn’t charge $55 to ship a $20 battery no bigger than a box of checks. Absolutely stupid. I wonder if they check to see what their shipping prices are, or if they are automated and they are sitting around wondering why they aren’t selling anything.

Anyway, that was a post better left on my HAM blog. As far as biking goes, I had a great ride in to work this morning. This was my first morning where I averaged over 16.0 mph. In fact, it was 16.3 mph. That was AVERAGE speed – which includes all the sub 16mph’s going from light to light and stop to stop and up the small hill and overpass. I was cranking out a pretty steady 18-18.5 mph most of the way in. Oh, and max speed was only 22.4, so don’t think that I went bombing down some crazy hill at 35+ to kick up the average. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of myself. Of course, my legs were shot all day, I didn’t eat enough after the ride or during the day, so I was pretty spent on the ride home. Too much coffee and not enough water didn’t help either.

That’s ok, I’ll recover tomorrow. I will be helping a friend with some brakes on his mini-van, so I’ll take my wife’s Jeep in to work and leave from there. Then I’ll hit the commute hard again tomorrow.

Enough for tonight, I’ve got homework to catch up on…

…back on the bike… June 12, 2007

Posted by Chief in Bicycle, Biking, Camping, Equipment, HAM, Hawaii, Radio, Touring, Travel, Websites.
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Had some work done on my bike. It’s back and running smoother than ever. It desperately needed the overhaul after the Solo Oahu Tour. The guys at The Bike Shop did an excellent job as always. Replaced both shifter cables and the chain, along with a complete inspection and overhaul.

(switching subjects)… While on my little tour, the item I received the most comments about was my Hennessy Hammock. Everyone that saw it had questions about it. How do you get in? What if there are no trees? Is it comfortable? and on and on.

I must say, that if you haven’t tried one, you should. Answering those questions simply don’t do the hammock tent justice. You really need to try it to understand how easy it is to set up and use, how comfortable it is, and how portable it is. If you haven’t read my review, check it out. If you haven’t visited the Hennessy Hammock site, check it out.

When not at camp, such as while commuting to and from work, the item I get questioned about is my seat. A Brooks B.17 leather saddle. I have not finished my review of it, but (spoiler) I love it. I’m over 200 miles into the break-in, so watch for the review soon. And if you haven’t been to the Brooks site, check it out.

(switching subjects)… And in other news, check out my new-new site. I was inspired to start a blog to log my HAM radio contacts. Of course, I haven’t dedicated very much time to it yet, but it will eventually be informative and useful. http://wh7da.wordpress.com. If nothing else, the About Me page is worth about three seconds of entertainment…

And that’s it for tonight.