The best $7 I ever spent…

31 10 2010


Holding up a full touring load in the mud...

This $7 aluminum kickstand should have broken a long time a go.  It shouldn’t be as useful as it is.

My amazing silver buddy is back for [hopefully] several more years of bike holding up service.  After talking it off to try the Xtracycle Kickback center-stand I used my Surly Big Dummy without a stand for a month or so.  Until I put my trusty kickstand back on recently.  It really is handy to be able to stand your bike without leaning it against something or laying it down.  It’s also really handy to be able to swap in your Xtracycle attachements with a stand to hold up your bike rather than a stand that not only doesn’t hold up your bike it gets in the way.

I'm back!

Testing out lots of gear can sometimes be a PITA and can definitely be expensive, but one thing it does for sure is let you know what works and what doesn’t.  Back to back comparisons don’t lie. I put this stand on my Big Dummy when I built it up as a stop gap measure until I got something better.  As it turns out it has been a rock star bit of gear from me.

I didn’t fully appreciate this stand back when I installed it, but now I can’t give it enough praise.

Thanks little buddy!

Sup? No Problemo!

Bike Locking Case #1

28 10 2010

My Big Dummy locked during a coffee stop...

I use lots of different locking strategies with my bikes depending on the circumstances of each situation.  I tend to be lazy so I carry and use as little locking equipment as I feel I can get away with.  I haven’t had a bike stolen in years so I must be using reasonable precautions.  I’ll be sharing my thoughts on specific locking situations over the next month or two.

In the photos above/below I was riding my Big Dummy around town picking up and dropping off various items in a big To Do List push.  I stopped at a cafe for an espresso and muffin.  Since I was only going to be inside for a few minutes I decided to just lock the frame to a metal railing next to the cafe. My wheels weren’t locked and the rear is a $1500+ Rohloff so that could be expensive, but trying to get the rear wheel out of a Big Dummy is a PITA if you know what you are doing because of the Xtracycle bags.  I didn’t think anyone would even notice there was an expensive hub on the bike, care about a Rohloff and then go to the trouble of trying to steal it.

If I was going to leave the bike for a longer period I’d add in a heavy duty cable through both wheels that joins up with the chain lock.  That would be reasonably secure given the threat in Victoria BC for bike theft.  Someone could still steal my Brooks saddle or other components, but at least the bike itself would be secure.

Kryptonite chain and padlock...

One thing you can’t see in this picture is that there is a patio full of coffee drinkers sitting in view of the bike who saw me ride up on it and walk inside.  I’m confident that if anyone tried messing with my bike someone would make a fuss on my behalf – especially in a bike friendly town like this.


Interview with Russ & Laura

27 10 2010

Russ & Laura on the move...

Elise Giddings from Cycle9 will be interviewing bike touring vagabonds Russ and Laura from The Path Less Pedaled today at 9pm Eastern and I believe there will be an transcript of the interview available if you miss it live.  You can check it out here.

Path Less Pedaled event 28 Oct...

GSI Tuna – Seaglass Project

24 10 2010

GSI Tuna - finless surfboard

I’ve been doing some research into surfboards recently and came across this cool board from GSI called the Tuna.  It’s designed by Tom Wegener and it’s part of what will be a series of finless surfboards called the Seaglass Project.  Checkout this article and the video below for more information.

I really enjoy seeing people try unique designs and take them from a concept to a working product people can buy.

Pro Bike Stand

23 10 2010

Pro Bike Stand in action...

I’ve got a garage now which is awesome for storing bikes compared to my old apartment.  The only trouble is I have to organize my bikes in a way that is flexible as I ride different bikes at different times of the year or as my moods change.  Leaning bikes up against one another works, but they get damaged and it’s a real PITA to get out a bike that’s near the inside of a six bike pile up.

Simple and effective...

So I picked up 5 of these Pro Bike Stands. They are simple aluminum stands that you just drop a bike into.  They stack if you don’t need them and they work fine inside or out because they don’t rust.  They have worked with all my bikes [700c, 26″ & 20″] – although I haven’t tried them with my 16″ wheeled Tikit yet.

Great for changing storage needs...

They hold a bike securely enough that you can do maintenance tasks as long as you don’t really have to torque on a BB or crank or something  like that.  I can change up the configuration of my garage in a few minutes and it’s reasonably easy to space the bikes so I can conserve the available room and still get a bike out of the middle of the pack without a huge hassle.

Rubberized fork holds bike at the axle...

I can drop a bike into these stand with one hand on the saddle lowering the left side rear axle into the rubberized fork on the top of the stand.  A bike comes out just as easily.  I paid a bit over $100 for a box of 5 and I would recommend them to anyone looking for some help organizing their fleet or even to the single bike owner who lives in an apartment and doesn’t want to mark up the walls by leaning a bike against them.

Surfing a River in China…

22 10 2010

Planet Bike Rack Bracket

22 10 2010

Superflash mounted to a rear rack...

At the end of September I was trying to be helpful when I mounted a 2nd Superflash to Sharon’s rear rack with a ziptie.  It worked, but the light was stolen within a week…=-(  John commented that MEC sold a Planet Bike braket that fit rear racks with a Euro style light mount at the back – thanks!  So I ordered one and installed it.

Simply useful...

Now Sharon can have a 2nd light mounted somewhere useful and she can remove the light when locking the bike up in a sketchy spot.

Nothing to steal now...

I’m really glad John told me that MEC sells these brackets, because I had seen them on the PB website, but it maks no sense to order a $3 braket and pay $10 shipping.  Since MEC had them I paid $0 shipping…nice!  BTW – these mounts will work for a Radbot as well.

Two rear blinkies...sweet!

Unfortunately none of my racks have this type of light mount so I can use it on my rigs…=-(