The torrential rains earlier this week sparked a nascent memory – my worst ever commute. I sometimes ride a short stretch along the south side of Greenlake here in Seattle. The route’s very nice, bike lanes, slow park-bound traffic, beautiful old trees, and of course the lake itself is just a few dozen feet away. This particular late fall/early winter season had seen endless rain and I was getting used to plowing through puddles rather than trying to ride around them. I even found a set of postman’s golashes to keep my feet dry.
I should have recognized water freely flowing across the entire roadway as the first sign of trouble. Instead I rode bravely on, diving into larger and larger puddles, and hey, I was starting to enjoy the challenge.
All that came to an abrupt halt at the last and deepest puddle. Somewhere about 1/4 way across the water got so deep it came in over the top of my rubber overbooties. My choices were limited: Keep pedaling and get your feet soaked, or get off and get your calves soaked. Needless to say I pedaled through, barely making enough speed to stay up right all the way across. The post-puddle options weren’t much better, and I wet-footed it the rest of the way home.
What’s your worst?
Falling off my bike after nearly getting creamed by some lady in a white pickup 50 feet from my house. Surprised, yes, angry, yes. Worst part? My fancy cellphone screen (in my front pocket) got totally obliterated.
Doored on Greenwood: It was all over so quickly it was hard to get too mad about it. The lady was very apologetic, and my injuries were very minor (I was turning left, headed up hill). Just lucky for me there wasn’t any traffic behind me or I’d have a squashed noggin.
Something about the fact that I could avoided the puddles makes it worse than the random happanstance of injury.
One of the fun tourist activities in Hawaii is to take a bus up Haleakala, and zoom back down. No more of that for a while as the Park Service has had to suspend the activity in light of recent accidents and 3 deaths.
Beneath Interbike, some said, is where the “real bike show” was. They had a bike check room there (video podcast to follow) with all sorts of bikes. Outside of the room, I met Stephen “Speedy” Delaire of Rotator Recumbents and Brian Hall of Thunderstruck motors. Also present was Peter Poxton of Nuvinci.
I think this photo shows a newer version of the Jackal running Nuvinci, which will produce a neck-snapping 45 mph without gears. Also see an even more massive electric bike.
I’ve been meaning to review my Reelights for many months now, but the lights are so damn good I keep forgetting. The Reelights follow the K.I.S.S principal – keep it simple stupid, and this is where their genius lies. The appeal of the lights is so simple you’ve already figured it out –any time you’re moving you’re lit.
Reelights are a novel take on pedal powered lights – no ‘bottle generator’ like on your Mom’s old Schwinn, no expensive hub generator. Just two rare-earth magnets, a coil of wire, some LEDs and a fitting bracket. The light bracket fits on your wheel axel, and the magnets go on your spokes. Whenever your wheels turn, the magnets pass the wire coil in the light and power the LEDs. The high-end model has a capacitor to keep the lights blinking for a few minutes when you stop. Incredibly simple? Yes. Incredibly good? Yes. Foible free? Well…
My friend and I both ordered reelights at the same time late last year. Mine (the SL100s from Amazon) arrived quickly and intact. My friend’s (SL120s from Reelight headquarters in Denmark) arrived broken.
The mounting brackets for Reelight are pretty good. Using the simple screw fixed adjustments I can get the magnets and lights very close to each other without causing them to rub (a tricky thing actually). So the brackets are good, unless you have disc brakes – they’re too short. Reelight sells an extended bracket to accommodate 160mm rotors, but I run 185s on my xtracycle and I haven’t ordered the 160 extension for my rain bike. So, I run my front reelight on the drive side of my bike, away from traffic. Less than ideal.
The lights are down low (axle height). This is OK for traffic far away, but the scary scenario is when an automobile pulls up along side in right hand lane and wants to make a right. Reeligts aren’t going to alert the driver that you’re sitting along side them before they pull right out on top of you.
Lastly, reelights are light weight by most standards, but heavy rotational weight. For you weight weenies out there this might make the difference for you. The heaviest part of the lights are the magnets, which go right on your wheel (spokes), so you’re pushing the magnets around when you’re pushing your wheels and tires.
All things considered, these lights are a fantastic addition to any commuting bike. Incredibly reliable, always on, never out of batteries, what’s to loose? Not much if you run these as backup lights. I feel safer with a higher mounted rear flasher and helmet mounted light as well.
Folks who plan on finishing first might consider a different set of non-rotational-weight-adding lights.
So I said, “can you show us?” He did. I watched the video repeatedly before editing it and it’s impressive. Titanium frame, 20 pounds, and folds to 21” x 22” x 10”. Watch below and available on our Huggacast.
How’s I miss this? Apparently they were at the Dirt Demo at Interbike, but I didn’t see them. Sturmy-Archer is even blogging about it. We’ll see what comes of it. FSA is apparently releasing a group soon too - might be interesting here pretty soon.
Just a reminder to the masses out there. Riding in the rain is great. I did 3 hours today, got soaked mostly through, but still had a great ride. The only issue? - getting caught riding behind the guy with fenders…but no flap! The edge of his raceblade directed a constant flow of wet grit right into my teeth.
In one of our long talks before Interbike, Sky Yaeger told me about the white bootie scene in San Francisco (I should’ve podcasted those talks). White booties being the ultimate roadie status symbol amongst the masters, 40+, disposable-income cyclist demographic.
I didn’t get to meet Sky during Interbike (Sky, where were you?), but did shoot this photo from the Oschner USA booth where they had a set of Assos white booties, under glass, and lit like jewelry.