BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bicycling

Sangre’s “Lightcycle”

Now that TRON: Legacy is opening in theaters on Friday, this signals the perfect time to show you a wild and wonderful creation reader “Sangre de la Cruz” sent in for us to share:

SAM_1451

Here’s some of the details as provided by the creator:

Anyway. what started as a project to eliminate headphones from my bike ride,

Evolved into an Ipad stereo / GPS mapper / performance monitor

Added better speakers

And finally framed it with el wire to make it a bit more visible.

I’m riding with my Ipod and headphones for about a year, when I swerve into the lane to prepare to take a left turn, without shoulder checking. There was a vehicle there that had to slam on its brakes to not hit me. Totally my fault. Believe me, I didn’t lean without checking my blindspot after that. But it still nagged me that I couldn’t hear traffic coming up behind me.

I get an Ipad. I decide to build a mount for it, and use the built-in 2watt speaker. Woot, no more headphones.

The Ipad is protected with a “Zagg Shield” a vinyl wrap that cusions and protects it from scratches.

The Mount is simply a hard shell ipad case that the ipad snaps into, sitting in a second soft silicon ipod skin to protect the underside from spray, (both from bestBuy)Fixed to a GPS motorcycle mount. I ended up building it on a lark, because although I knew Ram-Mounts was coming out with an Ipad mount in 3 weeks (from then, its out now), I wasn’t willing to wait. Drilled some holes into all of it, to line up some countersunk machine screws and locking nuts with caps

So, I’m totally in love with this thing. I’m using Motion-X GPS-HD app. which is a sport GPS. It’s designed especially for bikers/hikers/skiers, pretty well anything that isn’t driving. They also have an excellent driving app that’s separate. I got tunes rocking all the time with its built in itunes player. But I’m not happy with the 2 watt output.
Another thing: with the GPS app giving me performance metrics now, (distance traveled, avg and top speeds, altitude and speed charts) I find myself biking farther every day, my 6k commute, becomes 10k, and then 15k as I circle my town to get to work. And I find I’m doing 30-40k on the weekends too.

SAM_1448

So, speakers.

A little research turns up http://xm-i.com/en/stereo-speakers/x-mini-max-ii?page=shop.product_details&flypage=coddii_fly_default.tpl&product_id=1&category_id=1 . These speakers have internal battery, great sound, 10hrs of play time on a single charge, and recharge via USB. An important consideration, because the whole unit pops off as a single piece, and plugs into a USB hub to recharge.

I add a T shaped piece of aluminum (grabbed from Home Depot, the kind used to frame 2×4’s in construction) between the hard case and the GPS mounting plate, and use a 60 minute epoxy to glue the speakers to the plate after roughing both surfaces to allow the epoxy to better grip.

Now I have 5 watts of power or 2.5 times the volume of the ipad alone. Its actually ear splitting at max volume, In traffic, in high winds, I keep it at 70%.

Now, I found I had to make a playlist that was public friendly. One day on the way home, I was at an intersection, beside a family of pedestrians, when the Violent Femmes singing “Dance Mother******* Dance” came on at near max volume.

*****************

As for the El-wire. I simply wanted to add more visibility to my profile. And look as stunningly cool as possible while doing it. I sincerely regret not getting the cobalt blue. I faltered at the last second and went with red as I wanted to match the Kona Fire mountain frame. But I regret that decision. The red just isn’t as sharp as the blue would have been.

The 5mm elwire runs about 1.33 a foot, and it took about 40 feet to do the whole bike. I soldered the connectors and drivers myself. each wheel has its own inverter and 9v battery. The bike itself runs on a 12v 8xAA battery pak under the seat. I used some simple plastic zip ties to affix it to the frame, and epoxied the wires to the rims of each wheel.

I run with the el wire solid on, but the drivers also give me strobe and slow flash and various blink options.

You’re welcome to share as much or as little as this as you like. Im thrilled that anyone would be interested. Everyone at my work is mostly sick of me talking about it hehe, although they were pretty darn impressed with the ipad stereo.

Now, you know we love some DIY around here at Bikecommuters.com…and the funkier, the better. Hope you enjoyed this creation too!

SAM_1445

We’re a checkpoint in the Yehuda Moon/Cyclelicious Virtual Alleycat!

We just signed up this evening to serve as a “checkpoint” for the Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat Powered By Cyclelicious. Here are details straight from the source:

Announcing the Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat Powered By Cyclelicious. Race begins Monday, December 6 2010.

Cyclelicious and the Kickstand Cyclery have teamed up for a winter race: The Kickstand Cyclery Virtual Alleycat. When the race begins next Monday morning, you’ll race other participants from Internet checkpoint to checkpoint as you visit various bicycle websites. Prizes will be awarded for speed, agility, and creative comments left at each checkpoint.

Prizes include:

◦GT ZuM Commuter Bike from Performance Bicycles ($550 retail value). This aluminum hybrid design features low standover height, 8 speed drivetrain with a single chainring, and Kenda Kwik Trax tires for use on pavement or dirt.

◦Pedaler Clothing Trinity Hoodie ($125 retail value). Practical streetwear for use on and off the bicycle features reflective trim and back pocket.

◦The Lost Cyclist book by David Herlihy.

◦Yehuda Moon merchandise including shirts and prints (winner’s choice).

Watch for the race to start next Monday, December 6 at 7 AM Pacific / 10 AM Eastern time. You may pre-register here for free.

More details to follow on our end — we’ll be setting up our “checkpoint” over the weekend and may even have clues to help you find it!

Short-Notice Event: “Critical Manners” comes to Tampa

Sorry about the short notice on this one…got the announcement last Saturday but didn’t have time to put it up ’til just now. Elizabeth Holland, Tampa-area advocate behind this alternative to Critical Mass, shares the following information:

The first ever “TAMPA CRITICAL MANNERS RIDE” is set for Wednesday at 5:15 PM with the following meet-up spots:

— University of South Florida at Pine and Alumni Dr. – the parking lot across from the Botanical Gardens.
— Downtown Tampa at Curtis Hixon Park, Ashley and Zack St.) This ride is point to point. It ends at Sligh and 30th (or peel off to your house or favorite watering hole along the way…maybe the Refinery, Independent or other Seminole Heights favorite.) We hope to get a good group leaving downtown.

We are also looking for volunteers to lead 30-minute rides from other locations. Rides can be point to point OR out and back.

The purpose of these rides is to improve the VISIBILITY of cyclists on our streets by engaging in safe, sane interactions with drivers. Coexistence! We will be law-abiding and friendly. Please have appropriate lights, helmets and wear reflective clothing, if possible.

I might just be able to meet up with the downtown group — if so, I’ll bring my camera and document what I can. Perhaps I’ll see some of you there?

(Properly) Lock your bike.

A while ago, our own staff writer Elizabeth shared this video on Facebook. It’s a good primer for learning how to lock your bike up, and Hal has a great personality. He’s really looking for just a few things: Your wheels and saddle should be well-secured, and the frame itself should be securely held to a large stationary object with a heavy-duty U-lock or chain. He has some other tips, too. Watch this:

I do risk analysis and other security-type stuff for a living. In the suburbs, some of this stuff can be a bit overkill. San Francisco, LA, Detroit, Chicago and NYC have some pretty mean streets where the traditional axiom is that it’s not a question of if you will have a bike or parts stolen, it’s when it’ll happen. Bicycles are a commodity on the street. Pretty much any working bike can be traded for $25-$50 worth of… *ahem* “goods” and “services” on the black market. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike-shaped-object from the department store or a high-quality cyclocross bike with fenders, racks and lights. That being said, knowledgeable thieves are willing to put a lot more effort, risk and planning into really nice bicycles that can be parted out or sold to a fence for a bigger payday.

Hal’s comment on quiet streets generally holds merit. Thieves prefer to hide in plain sight, and chaos is king. They can thrive on predictable activity as well if they’re sure they have plenty of time to work on your bike without being noticed. Make sure your parking spot isn’t too far out of the way.

Cable locks are okay for holding your wheels or saddle together, or for quick in-and-out errands, but totally useless if you will be leaving your bike unattended for more than a few minutes at a time. Hal said that you can’t steal a bike when the owner’s right there watching it, so being able to wheel your bike right into your office is the best policy, but a lot of us don’t have that luxury. I bought a length of heavy-duty towing chain that required a 36″ bolt cutter at the hardware store to chop it from the spool, then passed it through an old mountain bike inner tube so it doesn’t scratch up my frame. It’s probably 10 pounds worth of chain, so I leave it at work, and I lock it with a quality lock that has a shrouded, shim-proof hasp. It’s long enough to pass through both wheels, the frame, and a bike rack.

Security is hard, though, and thieves’ motives are hard to predict. It’s true that security devices only buy you time. I’ve experimented with almost every kind of bicycle lock imaginable, and all of them can be broken in just a few minutes by someone who has been casing your bike. Usually, thieves are looking for something easy to steal so they can sell it or trade it quickly to get what they really want. If your bike is more secure than the bikes around it, you’re probably safe. If someone really wants your bike specifically, it’s pretty hard to keep it safe. Maybe it’s the only bike around. Maybe it’s the nicest one on the block. Maybe they want the challenge, or maybe they’re your evil twin whose mission in life is to foil your bicycle commuting adventures.

Regardless, if you ever thought that no one would want your bicycle, or that you could leave it unlocked and unattended for just a bit, you’re probably wrong.

Editor’s note: we have a couple of other security strategy articles that may be of interest to you. The first covers lock considerations — the real gold is in the comments area. Take a look at it by clicking here. Also, thanks go out to dedicated reader/curmudgeon Raiyn for reminding me of this article in the comments area below.

The other article covers wheel security and retention strategies…wheels can be incredibly easy to steal and the loss of just one wheel will, of course, leave you stranded. Check out that article here.

Ride With Us to the Bicycle Bash!

Folks from the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club and Bikecommuters.com are partnering up to host a group ride out to Flatwoods Park, home of the 2010 Bicycle Bash by the Bay. Here are the details:

On November 7, 2010 we’ll meet at 8AM and roll out promptly at 8:30 from the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Avenue in Tampa. From Flatwoods, the group will leave for the return leg to the Garden Center at 2:30PM from the SHBC tent. Distance will be roughly 40 miles roundtrip at a pace of 15-17 MPH.

Due to last year’s experience riding such distances on the road with a group, we must add: given the distance and pace, a well-functioning road bike is the only practical alternative for making the trip.

As with all rides hosted by Bikecommuters.com and SHBC, helmets are strongly encouraged. See you there!

DSC04169s