Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saris Bones RS Car Rack

Fed up with tying up all those straps on your bicycle car rack? Don't want/have a tow hitch/bar?

Then this, admittedly, rather expensive as trunk/boot racks go, is the one for you.

The Saris Bones RS Car Rack uses two steel straps to attach the rack to the car. These are tensioned by two locking ratchet devices and ensure that the rack is very securely indeed without all those webbing straps floating and waving about in the wind.

This means that mounting and dismounting the rack is quite a quick and simple operation as well as making the device less attractive to casual thieves. The unit also looks a lot tidier than your average trunk/boot mounted bike rack.

The rack is adaptable to trunks/boots and the rear doors of mini-vans/MPVs and can carry up to three bicycles. There is a stabilising device to make sure that bikes don't swing about although the odd bungee here and there helps keep everything tidy.

The mounting system also means that the rack doesn't stand on your rear bumper/fender so the door/lid can still be opened, although not with bikes on the rack.

It's not often you'll get asked about your bike rack, but this rack never fails to arouse interest.

Saris also produce a version which can double up as a bike stand in your garage and other more conventional car racks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rocky Hilly : 22miles/1000ft

I was just looking for as many hills as I could get in 20 miles. Close to 1000ft / 300m of climbing.

So I rode this route this afternoon:

Bike route 321352 - powered by Bikemap

If you go to the and run your cursor over the route profile a marker runs over the route. It's a lollipop pattern so it's not immediately obvious what the course is.

I'm going to do this once a week for as long as I can through the autumn/winter. I'm checking progress using GarminConnect. No ... it will not be public ;-)

I'll include a more detailed description later.

Tour de France : Remi Gaillard

C'mon ... don't tell me you haven't daydreamed this on some long, long climb.

Incidently, can anyone tell me why it isn't the Tour du France?

Thanks to Steve Rowley and Gabriel Romeau ...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hillsborough, NJ: Velodrome proposals

From the Velodrome of Hillsborough website:

The Velodrome at Hillsborough is a proposal to bring the great sport of track cycling to the greatest township in New Jersey. The former GSA Depot, a 370 acre tract of land in Hillsborough, Somerset County, New Jersey is destined to become a municipal and county park. Placing a Velodrome in the park would enhance the status of the county, the township, and the residents by providing a place where many sports can be showcased besides bicycling ... read more

There is a consultation meeting in the township in the next few days. It might be useful if local cyclists and supporters could make the meeting. More information ... here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bib Shorts: the lowdown ...

CastelliOne of the biggest steps any new, serious bike rider makes is wearing spandex/lycra cycling shorts which look okay so long as you stay on the bike, but are more challenging for most of us off the bike.

Convincing riders to take the next step, bib shorts, is even more difficult. But bib shorts are in another league of comfort and support and well worth the extra expense, and a small amount of inconvenience.

The main consideration, when buying bib shorts is the quality of the fabric and the "chamois".

Less expensive shorts use less stretchy material and, usually, several panels in the construction. More expensive shorts use stretchier fabric and fewer panels and the most expensive use the best lycra and several panels. Watch for the quality of the elastic on legs which in the best shorts, maintains a consistent elasticity as it stretches, rather than becoming tighter as it expands.

PBKIt's been many years since a chamois really was chamois. The newest synthetic chamoises are a marvel of textile and composite construction with variable thickness and resistance cossetting your posterior interface.

I've have three pairs of bib shorts; Castelli Trofeo, PBK RL1000X and Gore Xenons. All are very good and very comfortable with the Castellis feeling as if they're not there and the Gores having a very perceptible feeling of compression. The PBKs are somewhere in between.

The bibs mean the shorts do not ride up or down and maintain a high degree of comfort over a long ride.

GoreThere are disadvantages. Maybe it's just me, but the minute I've put on all my gear ready for a ride I will inevitably need to visit the loo ...

Which brings me on to the topic of women and bibs. Women do come into the bike shop and ask for bibs having heard how comfortable they are. There are significant problems with bib shorts for women, firstly anatomically in the chest area and secondly, popping behind a hedge on a long bike ride involves considerable disrobing you might not want to consider ... know what I'm saying ladies?

However, women's bib shorts do exist. You decide.

But for males the best comfort option is the bib short. Don't mess about, go all the way when it comes to bike shorts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Here is a new - for me - GPS mapping website:

I'm currently using with some success, but some of the more practical aspects of the site are more difficult, particularly editing routes ... and having to pay for printouts is particularly irksome, especially when you've paid hundreds of bucks for a Garmin and another hundred for a US street map. In addition, MapMyRide appears to claim all the rights for stuff you upload to the site, but leaves liabilities with the uploader ...

Anyway, that doesn't stop it being a useful site. My main problem with it is route editing.

Well, step in

Bike route 313982 - powered by Bikemap

It seems to be German and in many respects more basic than MapMyRide in that there are no forums, but route editing is much easier, the map appears rather more pleasant and there is some rudimentary support for map printing, although I can't find provision for route sheets. Also the interface only supports .gpx rather than the .tcx the Garmin produces so you have to convert files. I've found this online converter here.

Anyhow, let's see how I get on with this one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday in Neshanic : PFW Ride 20090913

A fairly hilly 51 miles this one. Thanks to Ken Leon, ride leader, and Steve Rowley who dragged me into the wind ... thanks again.

Aaron and I thought that discretion was the better part of valour when it came to the final climb so we scooted around. I got leg cramps for the first time on a bike ride. I thought I drank a lot, but might have been dehydrated before I started. Great ride tho'. Thanks to all participants.

*PS: there's a bit of a detour due to a missed turning at Three Bridges, but MapMyRide is quite hard to edit ... unless I'm missing something.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Winter Drawers On ... v2.00

Just caught sight of two interesting bike lights from Princeton Tec which seem to take bicycle lighting to the next step.

The Swerve: the latest super-bright LEDs have taken rear lights into new realms of brilliance and conspicuity. The Swerve has two red 0.5w LEDs, one beamed through a diffuser to enable a wide spread of light and the other an intense focused beam. One of the switched modes alternates between the two LEDs and produces a curiously eye-catching effect similar to spotting an emergency services light down the road.

I ran the light against my current favourite rear light, the Blackburn Mars 3.0 and in all modes the Swerve was more conspicuous against the Blackburn's already good performance. The Swerve's flashing mode was particularly effective. However, the Swerve costs almost twice as much as the Blackburn but on a dark, rainy night with a hockey-mom with half a team in the back of the Windrush speeding up behind you you might be grateful for the Swerve's extra whoomph!

$29.99 : 2xAAA alkaline batteries, 70hours claimed. Handle bar, seat post, seat stay and fork mounts are included. Built-in clip allows for attachment to your helmet, pack or messenger bag.

EOS Bike : LEDs have transformed bicycle lighting in the last few years, but left cyclists with two choices when it comes to bicycle front lights ... okay ... maybe three ... low-powered, self-contained handle-bar lights ($15-$40ish) or expensive, high-powered, high-tech lithium battery powered units at about $1.00/lumen so that a 200 lumen unit is going to set you back about $200.

The less expensive lights are good for conspicuity, but do little, if anything to light the road/track ahead. The high-tech solution is incredible ... but seriously expensive.

The EOS Bike light is the first LED front light I've seen which puts the basic handlebar mounted light into the serious lighting class. Okay, it's one of the most expensive, but not much else compares to it in this section of the market.

The light claims 50 lumens which pretty much corresponds to the $1.00/lumen formula, so doesn't approach the brightness of the higher-priced rechargeable units, but it hits well above its class in comparison to any other regular, battery-powered bicycle headlight.

It has four modes; high-, medium-, low-power and a slow flash. All modes are highly conspicuous and the high-power mode will light your way at moderate speed on the road.

$44.99 : 3xAAA alkaline/lithium batteries, run-time variable according to mode. Includes helmet, handle bar and headlamp attachments.

Available from Halter's Cycles or your local LBS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The IntraWeb - some of my favourite links

Returning to VeloStage after a few days away in Hawai'i trekking across lava fields and standing on the top of volcanoes ...

Here are a couple of cycling related links I like:

copenhagencyclechic: the sartorialist on two wheels - The Guardian. Ordinary people doing ordinary things; shopping, picking up kids from school, going to work ... on bikes.

The Guardian Bike Blog: Hey ... it's the Guardian ... erudite stuff about bikes.

Equally useful, the Guardian Bike Podcast. Aim your podcast client here. I use MediaMonkey.

MapMyRide: plot or find routes in your area. Works well with Garmin GPS devices.

Discussion forums: Bike Forums; London Fixed Gear and Single Speed;;