Actually, almost 55 miles. I now need about 77 more miles to reach my 5K goal by the end of the calendar year. Depending on weather, I may do 22 DF miles tomorrow. After today’s ride, the legs feel different than I have experienced in years–they ache. It was not too bad on the bike, although I felt symptoms of cramping. I never quite got there (cramped). I think I can tell I have not been getting the miles I need for the legs to remain conditioned. I’m glad the heart did not ache. I could use a massage. A DF ride should be a good recovery ride.

Anyway, the ride was a good one.

Dot Race comparing this ride [red dot] with my DF ride [blue dot] of the 31st.

Here is the route (I’ve ridden this one before):

The bike checked out well–no minor adjustments needed after this ride. I listened to music from the XM radio and then about 2 hours of CNN. I returned to Fayetteville after dark and during rush-hour traffic on one of our busiest streets. I stayed calm. I’d say some of the drivers were not. I arrived home safely–thank goodness!

Although the temperature was comfortable, I rode with the full-face shield. It worked very well. I think I’d like to be able to flip it up. I may make that modification later. At the end of the ride, as I climbed that last hill back to the house, the shield did fog up. I need to get the anti-fogging wipe and see if it works. If it had been colder, I think the fog would have dissipated. Well, tomorrow I will have the opportunity to check out the shield in the rain.

P.S. The aching muscles have stopped aching. THANKS!


Setup Update

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.

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.


I have to report on 3 areas:

  1. I now have a stable that houses 2 ‘bents; a DF; & MTB–it is the utility room.
  2. I have built a platform to be placed on my floor scale to allow me to weigh anything that’s too large for the scale itself. The platform is 101.5″x20.” I used 2×4’s for the base–photographs above.
  3. I’ve made a few additional adjustments to the RANS: I moved my XM radio; collocated the 2 Garmin Edge 305 GPS; repositioned the light behind the neck rest; and repositioned the safety flag.

Over the next week or so, I intend to write about the above changes.

Did the XM Radio Survive the Fall?

On day3 [Richmond to Rocky Mount] of the tour, I said:

For the most part, I had an uneventful ride to this stop. I managed to hit a bump real hard–so hard that my XM Radio was dislodged from its cradle. I use a dummy cord for these type events. I held on to the back [that released itself from the radio]. The radio bounced a lot on the road on which I was traveling. Of course, this all happened in the dark. I retrieved the radio and a special rain cover I fashioned for it. I did not recover the battery. I’ll have to wait until I get home tomorrow to see if the radio still works. At least there is no apparent damage to the bike. I’m fine! Oh well…

Although battered and one battery lost, the XM radio survived the fall. I’ll try to polish out some of the blemishes and touch-up buttons where paint was lost.

Day3 ~ FRF Tour 2

Rollout [~2:00 a.m.- actual-1:45 a.m.] from the Artis residence in Richmond, Virginia. Now enroute to Rocky Mount, North Carolina–approximately 113 miles. Again, I’m hoping for an early afternoon arrival. It rained in Richmond until around midnight. It did not rain during the ride.

Below, we have the SXP before the “going” photograph of the SXP in front of the Welcome To Virginia sign. Here, we have the “coming [home]” photograph of the Stratus in front of the Welcome To North Carolina sign on US Highway 301 South.

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning,
No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her in the morning…

See you in Rocky Mount…

For the most part, I had an uneventful ride to this stop. I managed to hit a bump real hard–so hard that my XM Radio was dislodged from its cradle. I use a dummy cord for these type events. I held on to the back [that released itself from the radio]. The radio bounced a lot on the road on which I was traveling. Of course, this all happened in the dark. I retrieved the radio and a special rain cover I fashioned for it. I did not recover the battery. I’ll have to wait until I get home tomorrow to see if the radio still works. At least there is no apparent damage to the bike. I’m fine! Oh well…

GPS data from my Motion Based Digest. Here is a graphic of the ride summary.

Now, to hope for one more dry day [as I ride from Rocky Mount back to Fayetteville].

BTW, today I completed my 20th century in 2006. With this ride one of my 2006 goals has been accomplished. Tomorrow, I’ll post the Motion Based report the list the 21 century rides. There are 20 line entries–the first century ride of the year was a double century [from Fayetteville, NC to Richmond, VA–218 miles].

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