Let’s Stay As Warm As We Can!

OK! I have the fairing and it blocks some cold air, particularly when it was more upright. But, I am suppose to ride looking over the fairing, not through it. Well, that means the face catches more cold air. What to do? Check this BROL thread.

A full-face shield in addition to a fairing helps.

Skymax, a BROL Member, uses this setup.
Given my previously modified helmet for night riding and my reading of the thread above, I further modified my helmet to add a full-face shield. There is a bit of air the comes in from the chin area. This helps dissipate fogging, which is not too bad. That is, fogging did not obscure my vision. The thread above gives a solution to fogging. Over all I am pleased. As is always the case, I need a much longer ride to fully know that it does what I installed it to do and that I can ride safely.
Helmet pictures before the face shield is added.
The device on top of the helmet is a hand-cranked light to be used
for emergency lighting, i.e., changing a tire at night.

Full-face shield added

A few more shots–the background shot (above) is a view through the shield.

The images above are indoor shots. Note the reflective decals
(they are black, but reflects as white).
Image #6 [R2C3] is a view through the full-face shield.

Installation: The shield came wider that I expected. Pictures do not always reveal the dimension that you will be working with. I used my Dremel to remove just over an inch from the left and right side of the shield. There is a line where I cut the shield. You can clearly see the lines I used to cut in this link. Be careful with your Dremel speed to not melt the polycarbonate. If you get melt, it is more difficult to remove. As you see in my before pictures above, I already had a visor for shade and rain protection on the helmet. Well I do not need if for rain now, but I still wanted to retain the look I had and have shading from the sun. To my knowledge, I achieved that. I’ll have to ride in the rain and see how this works. I’ll report back.

Now Is The Time…

Finally, I am now reporting on the 3 areas below that I said would on 11/16.

  1. Stable:

    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!

  2. Scale:

  3. 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!

  4. Equipment repositioning:

I’ve made a few additional adjustments to the RANS:

  1. I moved my XM radio from the top tube, just in front of the seat to the handlebar. There it is protected from rain and is less likely to come out of its cradle as it did in Petersburg, VA on my return ride to Fayetteville;
  2. I collocated the 2 Garmin Edge 305 GPS. Not that I need two, but as explained earlier in this blog, I can have statute and metric readouts; I can read the screen much better at this distance from my eyes; and I have redundancy. This saved me twice on most recent Fay-Richmond-Fay tour.
  3. For now, I’ve mounted my Bluetooth headset on the right side of the handlebar. I will soon test this location to see how it works while riding. Preliminary test are positive. I may relocate the earpiece. I did this to avoid having the headset on my glasses/helmet when I do not want to use it or have to remove it and then put it back when I want to use it.
  4. I repositioned the light behind the neck rest.
  5. And also repositioned the safety flag.

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.

Riding In The Rain

This is probably as good as it gets!

I think I just experienced a synergistic ride. The fairing in conjunction with my Showers Pass rain jacket, rain pants, shoe covers, and a special modification to my helmet allowed me to enjoy a cool [57 degree] very wet [in terms of rain intensity] test ride.

First of the Zzipper fairing. It seemed to work well. I do get rain on my lap and torso, but not nearly what I recall from other rides in rain of this intensity. The items just behind the fairing do not get wet. Rain drops bead up on the fairing. This makes me wish for a windshield wiper or Rain-X. I’ll have to ask Karl about using Rain-X on Lexan polycarbonate .

My Showers Pass Elite Jacket [my photos] continues to perform flawlessly. My rain pants from REI [while I still await those from Showers Pass] performed in the same manner. I’m also awaiting shipment of my rain jacket hood from Showers Pass. I’ve improvised by using a shower cap on my head, with a balaclava over it. I opted for this method to avoid covering the reflective strips on my helmet, as well as the LED light on the back of the helmet and the mount for my emergency hand cranked light. On removal of the shower cap, I found a bit of perspiration. I may need a wicking surface next to my hair.

My shoe covers are not waterproof. I did not sense my feet getting damp. On touching them, they are wet, but not as wet as they would have been without the fairing. At some point, I’ll purchase waterproof covers.

My vision was not nearly affected my the rain as I’ve experienced in the past. I placed my mountain bike helmet visor on this helmet with a insert beneath it. This shades the glasses from rain drops. The visor modification, plus the fairing seem to be my perfect solution to an annoying problem I’ve had in the past when riding in the rain.

Given this ride in the rain, I see no need to have Karl trim the fairing in anyway. Further, I have no other modifications or adjustment to make to make the bike more rain worthy. BTW, still no problem the slick Specialized Fatboy tires.

If I had a wish list, I’d place a wiper on the fairing. Overall, I am very pleased and now know the bike is ready for a cold, or cold & wet four-century rides. At this point, the extended weather forecast is favorable.

Helmet, With Dynamo Light Mounted

Ok, the light is fantastic, easily cranked and provides 2 levels of brightness (1 LED or 3 LEDs]. Given this light, I was able to remove the small Radio Shack Task Light mentioned below. In that context, it is a better flashlight than the one it replaced. The next task was to determine how to mount it on my helmet so that I can use its beam for trouble at night without using my hands or some other support for the light. As you see in the pictures, I accomplished that by using other light mounting hardware. The helmet bracket is secured with silicon and a bolt. I have black reflective strips on order for the helmet for additional visibility. You can also see the LED light that I have mounted on this helmet. These lighting features should be useful should I be off the bike and working near traffic. The device on the left side of the helmet is a Cardo Scala Rider Bluetooth Headset for use with my Motorola i580 moblie phone.

Purchased the Dynamo Flashlight

I purchased The Illuminator Wind Up Flashlight from Walgreens Pharmacy. This light is for use in emergency situations at night. I can now use this light rather than the Radio Shack LED Task Light to see into the Aerotrunk and panniers at night. The task light will now go to the VK2.

I have adapted the Illuminator to be used on my helmet. Should I need to change a tire, etc., my helmet will support the flashlight.

As a windup–no batteres.

The Mods

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.

Modified RANS Stratus XP

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.

  1. Tier One: The new primary system is a Schmidt SON28S Disc 36-Hole Hub powered DIWA Lighting System (scroll down) from Peter White Cycles [both head (Lumotec Oval DIWA Plus) & tail (Dtoplight) lights are stand]. The new Distance Warning, or DIWA System from Busch&Müller senses when the bike slows down. When riding at night with your 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. Mr. White built the two Velocity Wheels you see photographed above.
  2. Tier Two: NiteRider Flight with dual 16-led taillights [not a current NiteRider product, 04/09] that operate on a dedicated Li-Ion battery. For some reason, with the taillights wired in parallel, they no longer flash. I do not see this as a problem because the North Carolina Bicycle Club rules state: at a minimum, a steady burning front and rear lights and reflective gear are required for the 300k through the 600k brevet. Vista tail lights must be steady burning and a spare bulb and batteries are required for all lights. When I want or need extreme brightness, I can turn on the HID, in addition to the SON DIWA Lighting System. For more light, I can also turn on the LightSpin System described above. I’ll certainly be able to see all before me–and be seen. One note: My NiteRider Flight light had to be returned to NiteRider for repair. Apparently, water got into the case. There was no charge for the repair.
  3. Tier Three:
    A LightSpin Dynamo powers twin headlights & a stand taillight [emergency backup system] I have toggle switches for both lights to control dynamo load. If I ever want more lighting, then this system can also be used.

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.

Control Panel/Dashboard
Other CP/DB Shots

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.

Note the small blue wire the runs along the left and
right side of the bottom tube. It is the EL Wire.

I also have a flashing light on the flag.

In addition to the lights described above, the front of the bike has four reflectors and the rear two.

The DIWA light, which has one of the two rear reflectors,
is shown in its mounting position behind my neck rest.

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.

Additional Cycle Photographs

We’re Back!

As I pen this note, we are nearing Florence, South Carolina, 811 miles [1,305.2 kms] from Key West, Florida and now 95 miles [152.9 kms] from Fayetteville. We should arrive at my house between 10:30 & 11:00 p.m. NOT BAD!

As we started, we estimate around midnight. Early is GOOD. We will make one more stop.
The travel has been pleasant and uneventful. Mark has done all the driving. I cannot recall being in a car on a long trip and not driving at all. I napped a bit as we journeyed home.

I’ve been thinking and wondering about our C4 riders in today’s double century. Who participated other than Leo & Hal O’Berry and Mike Thomas? What were their experiences? What are their thoughts now having done a dbl century? I hope to read your comment someplace sometime soon.

Better yet, maybe I’ll see you at tomorrow’s club ride. You too David & Ashley.

Getting back at the time we are projected to will allow sufficient rest to ride without falling off the bike.

UPDATE: We arrived at my house at 10:45 p.m. Everything here is intact.
The GPS registers 921 miles [1,482.2 kms] (versus the 1,054 miles [1,996.2 kms] I biked. Next time, we will have to take I95.

Below I said: Wednesday afternoon on after checking into Holiday Inn at Key Largo, I rode several miles to complete the century, when I returned, I had my helmet and gloves. I placed the bike in the manager’s office, as I have been allowed to do. If the room is not on the ground floor, the bike does not make it to the room. Anyway, time to go and I cannot locate my helmet. I do not recall taking it to the room. I checked again, and it is not there. Hopefully on return to pick up my bags, I’ll have helmet and gloves. I do not ride without either of them. Yesterday I did. I fit right in. I did not see any other cyclist with helmet or gloves. This place is laid back.

On stopping at the Key Largo Holiday Inn on Saturday, as we returned, no one had turned in a bicycle helmet and/or gloves. I can only conclude someone other than the owner (me) wanted them. Cycling gear seldom gets stolen. If that is the case, then this is a first for me. I’ve lost a lot on this trip; but, it is all replacable. I am thankful and blessed to be safely home.