May the Senator Rest in Peace
Fayetteville has several really BIG flags. Captures of the one near Morganton and Skibo Roads
I received my lights [shipped Express Mail] today, Friday 01/23, around noon. The shipping took 2 days, although the package arrived at my local post office yesterday. I chose to wait for postal delivery versus my pickup. See, I am patient.
The installation took about 5 hours. I had to determine how I’d mount the lights [I wanted a horizontal presentation versus vertical]. To make the rear work, I had to modify the included mounts to use the top-seat tube. Other photos may show more clearly the results. I used my hack saw to remove the circular mounting arm and then my Dremel and sandpaper to smooth the surface. I’m only using the center mounting hole on the lights. They are designed to use 2 mounting holes. I use both mounting holes in the front mounting.
I ended up mounting the front lights twice. I did not like the initial location I chose as much as the final location. The first location required some minor modification as I integrated the mounting with my fender supports. I moved the lights to my mirrors–no mods needed.The lights are higher and wider there.
I have not ridden with them yet. Today’s temps were nice–in the 60s; but, I was installing lights and still have some finishing [polishing] to do.
Possible issue ~ light reflections off my fairing. The reflections seem greater than with the 2 amber DiNottes I previously used. I’ll have to see if the reflection bothers my riding.
Novel installation: My battery placement [as presented earlier].
The RANS Stratus XP as of 12/09/2006. This picture shows a more laid back fairing position. This is the basic position of the fairing for my return trip from Richmond, Virginia. Since return, I’ve made a few minor tweaks. I ride seeing over the faring. My knees just clear the devices on the handlebar. I still would like to straighten (raise) the handle bar just a bit. The panniers beneath the seat are about 1.5-2″ further forward & the tail-light assembly has been shortened by 2.5 inches. It now sits at the very end of the Angletech Aerotrunk. The B&M DIWA tail-light is mounted differently in the neck rest. As reported earlier, the XM Radio in now on the handlebar, versus the top tube. I also moved the seat a inch or two forward & placed the safety flag on the right side of the bike instead of to the left and within the seat back. I’ll see if this eliminates knee cap pain after riding over 50 miles. I think I have finished moving things around. My check ride confirmed the positioning is OK. Maybe tomorrow I can get in a ride of 30 miles or so.
A collage showing photographs from different angles.
Finally, I am now reporting on the 3 areas below that I said would on 11/16.
Here it is. This is the former utility room that now has 4 bikes and some bike stuff in it. On the stable’s back wall, I have 2 DFs [my MTB at the top and road bike at the bottom]. On the left is my Velokraft VK2 and my RANS Stratus XP is on the right. My biking tools and air compressor are also in the stable. I have a small electric heater and a radio to make life more enjoyable when working in the stable. There is not a lot of room; but, using this space is much better than having 4 bikes in the house. I do have a special space for biking gear where I had the 2 DFs stored, but had the bents elsewhere in the house. This works much better for me.
Time and temperature are convenient information also available in the stable. The ladders are better stored in the stable [former utility rom] than elsewhere on the property. After all, they were there first–they have rights!
Just over 2 months ago VikB, a BROL member, said: Wow! I checked out your blog – you don’t fool around outfitting a bike. How much does the full bike weigh? I responded by saying: Thanks! I am not sure on the weight at the moment. I know the bike is much lighter than on my Florida Tour. I know I can go up most hills without using the granny gear and I can really make the bike scoot. My focus has been on safe night riding and information availability over extended hours. Setting up bikes is a lot of fun for me. Since then, I have been thinking about the best way to weigh this bike. During my recent tour to Richmond, Virginia, and in consultation with my son, I arrived at a platform scale of some type rather than lifting the bike. Rather than buy a scale [that would set the scale to zero after the tare weight is determined], I decided to use a floor scale that I’ve had for several years. I built a platform to accommodate the bike. It is 101.5″x20″ before I added the vinyl covering and rails. I purchased the materials from Lowes. I have to add on additional metal rail section on the right front. I also built a ramp that makes it easier to place the bike on the scale.
Here, the ramp is removed and you can see how the platform rest on the floor scale.
The base is made of 2×4’s with 5 cross braces. The tare weight is 60 lbs.
So, how much does the thing weigh??? The scale shows 130 lbs, less the tare weight of 60 lbs = 70 lbs. A stripped SXP should weigh ~31.5 lbs. I did not weigh this bike before adding components. I’d say the basic bike [w/disc brakes, 3-way chopper bar, pedals, and Specialized tires] is near 35 lbs. As weighed, the bike is near fully loaded, batteries & water, etc. For touring, I have my laptop, clothing, some food, and battery chargers. I won’t guess at the touring weight because the bike is actually a bit heavier than I would have guessed. On the other hand, it is not difficult to make it scoot or climb hills. My touring average speed is slower than I’d like it to be, but in line with my research on average touring speed [10-12 mph avg. moving speed]. This is consistent with my 3 long tours, yet I can see speeds of over 35 mph as I go downhill. While, I’m content with my setup, I still look for ways to save weight. I welcome your comments. Thanks!
Although I took the photographs of the scale, platform, and SXP beneath my carport, I have placed the scale & its platform inside the stable. There it is protected from weather, ultraviolet radiation, and the possibility, although remote, of theft. The SXP sleeps on the weighing device. If needed, I can move them outside. BTW, I’ll also use this setup to weigh the VK2. To weigh my road bike and MTB, I use my hanging scale.
I have to report on 3 areas:
Over the next week or so, I intend to write about the above changes.
Click to Enlarge
This is a side, as opposed to rear shot. The flashing LED is observable from the rear.
Remember the Busch&Müller DIWA (Distance Warning) Plus Light senses when the bike slows down. When riding at night with lights on, the taillight will glow brighter. In the daytime, with the lights off, the taillight will come on just as a car’s brake lights would.
I am now within 2 weeks of the Cycle NC Tour. Since my return from the Fayetteville, NC to Key West, FL tour, I have made several modifications to the RANS Stratus.
The modifications begin with the items in this post. My plan is to ride the Stratus on days 5 & 6 of the tour and to benefit from these enhancements. Further, should I do brevets next year or tour for that matter, the Stratus will be ready to go. The two photographs below give an overview of the changes. Gone is the RANS Chopper Bar Fairing Bag–giving better road visibility. I replaced the Pletscher Kickstand with a Greenfield Kickstand from Bentup Cycles of Van Nuys, CA [the dealer from whom I purchased the Stratus]. I’ve elected to use the Angletech Aerotrunk versus the smaller RANS Streamline Tailpack. As I see it, these are not significant modification, just choices of convenience or durability, in the case of the kickstand. I also replaced the RANS Idler with a TerraCycle Idler for the Stratus. The tires are Specialized Fatboys for better puncture protection, with low rolling resistance. I am now using silver SKS Fenders (scroll down the page to see them ~ purchased from Peter White) rather than the Planet Bike Fenders (see other photographs in this blog). The Planet Bike hardware did not hold up. I modified the SKS Fenders by putting the Planet Bike Mud Flaps on them. The mud flaps are attached with silicon. Replaced the original handlebar grips (which continued to slip toward the ends of the bar) with Ergon MP1 Men’s Grips from Performance Bicycle. I had to shorten them to fit my handlebars. They tighten onto the handlebar, and therefore do not slip. I moved the AirZound Air Bottle from the seat-back to the left rear pannier, which also houses my sports drink bottle. The right rear pannier has an Nalgene insulated quick-release bottle from FastBack System. Insulated CamelBak Drink Tubes are within easy reach, attached to the seat-back frame and along side the seat, sport drink–left and water–right.
The most significant change is the lighting system, which I changed for greater redundancy.
During the Florida tour, I had one night that I rode with only the LightSpin Dynamo. If it had failed, I would have been in the dark. I had used up the NiteRider Flight Li-Ion battery earlier in the day. The LightSpin wheel cover also wore out on the 1,062 mile trip. I now have spare wheel covers.
I have a 3-tier, plus [side lights using EL-wire, hand-cranked light & aerotrunk light] system.
Why all the lights and batteries–for my safety as I stated above. On a recent tour [with a 2-tier system], I found myself down to the LightSpin. If something had happened to it, I’d been in total darkness. I’m setting the bike to travel with 12+ hours of darkness. The NiteRider Taillight remained lit for over 7 days on their Li-Ion Battery. The NiteRider site has the following description for the Flight System: Want HID power without the weight of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries? Then look no further than the NiteRider Flight system. Using Lithium Ion powered cells, the Flight lighting system offers the greatest power to weight ratio of any lighting system available, with burn times ranging from 2:15 up to 3:30. Want to extend burn times? Switch over to the power saving LEDs. [They show 100 hrs. in LED mode.] Never before has so much power come in so small of a package. Mounting options are virtually limitless with a battery pack no larger than a cell phone and weighing only 227g/8oz.
You may wonder why there are two Garmin Edge 305s. Here’s why–I have a Cateye Wireless (purchased for my Velokraft VK2) that I had working on the Stratus. I had planned to use it to report kilometers to aid in brevets. For some reason, it stopped working properly as a wireless device. I replaced the batteries; but, I still had the problem. I would like the Edge to be able to report statute and metric measurement simultaneously (statute on one the bike pages/screens and metric on the other, or share fields on the same screen. It will only give one or the other, not a combination of the two. I spoke with Garmin technical support on this and they think the concept is worth consideration. Having this capability is a software as opposed to a hardware solution. In the meantime, I had the option of buying a wired bicycle computer or using my second Edge (with no additional cost) thus the two 305s. Both record my heart rate and cadence. One reports statute, and the other metric measurements. Another benefit of the Garmin Edge is that its backlight can remain on for lowlight/night visibility. Had I used the Cateye, I would not have been able to read its display without a light shinning on the display. The silver device on the right is a digital voice recorder. I’ve used it on several bikes, as well as my Florida tour. It allows me to take verbal notes as I ride. You also see a RAM mount for a camera. I find it easier to leave it in place than to position it each time I’m ready to use the camera. I may remove it at some point.
Back to lighting. In addition, I will use my EL Wire [powered by a Socket Mobile Power Pack (link below)] for “running lights” in towns [toggle controlled] to ensure I’m seen from the side.
In addition to the lights described above, the front of the bike has four reflectors and the rear two.
One final [I hope] light–The Safe Turn Bicycle Indicator. This is a amber flasher that uses a tilt switch to more clearly show the hand position to indicate turns and slowing signals. In this case, where I can, this will supplement the brake light.
I have a small Radio Shack LED Task Light [no longer available, 04/09] to more easily see into the Aerotrunk and panniers at night.
I will use a hand-cranked flashlight [to be purchased] for night-time repair. So far, I’ve been fortunate in that breakdowns [flats] have occurred in daylight.
Of course, TerraCycle has the Firefire Light for its Tailsok</A>. I do not plan to add a tailsock now–maybe at some point in the future. I am considering a Mueller Fairing for cold-weather riding.
Now for the nice to have–or is it a safety item–Tao XM2Go Satellite Radio.
Again, during the Florida tour, I found myself on the road up to 15-hours and no awareness of world events. XM takes care of that. We were almost ambushed by Tropical Storm Alberto. XM to the rescue. In my setup, I have a third Socket Mobile Power Pack to power the radio. The XM2Go Radio plays about 5 hours on its Li-Ion battery. I have not yet timed the radio with the Socket. I expect over 20 hours of play time. I’ll advise later. The radio is played through Radio Shack speakers [unnecessary items removed], also powered by a Socket Li-Ion battery. Since the radio is not water resistant, I have to get a waterproof bag [probably Aquapaq] for it.
I‘m sure you noticed a telephone, actually a Motorol V555. It is my bluetooth fair weather friend. On the Florida tour, its predecessor, a V551, failed due to rain. I plan to replace it with a
Motorola i580 from Nextel. You will note it is bluetooth enabled and rain-resistant certified to Military Standard 810 F for blowing rain, humidity, and salt fog. It is designed to withstand exposure to rain, sleet, and snow. Rubber encasing, interior linings and seals protect the phone.
I’m currently using a Cardo Scala Rider Bluetooth Headset placed on the straps of my bicycle helmet, which replaced the bluetooth headset I lost during a rain storm in Palm Beach, FL. In preliminary testing, the sound quality and volume are excellent. My son reports my volume level is low and I’m difficult to hear. There is, however, no wind noise. This is an improvement over what I used on the Florida tour.
Another reason for this phone is the ability for me to be located while cycling. Nextel offers a Mobile Locator Service which facilitates this with any of its GPS enabled telephones. During the Florida tour, my able assistant, Michael–my son, was always there to support. Support from miles away is very helpful and deeply appreciated. Sometimes, we spent about 10 minutes pinpointing my location. With this setup, he’ll know where I am in an instant. The safety factors are obvious. I plan to place the phone at the same location as my V555.
Weight distribution: As loaded for the Florida tour, I thought that most of the bike’s weight was on the rear wheel. Now, with 2 NiteRider and 2 Socket batteries, the EL wire inverter & the bags to hold these items, plus the SON hub, there is more weight toward the front of the bike. The Socket battery for the XM2Go Radio is beneath the seat.