Monday, March 10, 2014

Green Laser!

My new favorite gizmo is yet another light. I have some of the worlds best lights already from www.dinottelighting.com I spent a small fortune on them with the theory that it's still cheaper than being hit by a car. And that I ride in thick traffic in the city so I need lights that stand out.
Then I spotted this kickstarter project. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/embrooke/blaze-bike-light
and I had to have one... well now it's two years later and they finally shipped. And it's nearly everything they said it would be. The team at http://www.blaze.cc have been working like crazy to make it perfect.
I can attest that with that new light I make folks move out of my way on the sidewalk. The light runs up the sidewalk in front of them as I approach from behind. I alert cars when I underpass them when they are stuck at a light then the light changes and I'm still moving. The drivers of the cars spot the green image in front of their car and give me time to either pass, or more room before they turn into me. (giving me time to slow and avoid them.) It also seems to help with cars at cross streets as it lights up the intersection before I get there.
The battery lasts about 6 to 8 hours before I have been recharging. It's not totally depleted but I have a two and a 1/2 hour commute so I want a full charge in case I need it both ways.

The white light is my Dinotte 880L on full to show how bright the green laser is. For perspective, the laser image is about 5 to 6 meters in front of my bike. As you can see I've got the bright white light aimed just in front of me to not blind on coming drivers & riders and to illuminate any potholes.
I've ridden with it in pouring rain and the case is watertight.
If you commute in the dark check it out. It's a quality product that may just save your life.

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Amazon Jersey!

A long time ago I contracted with Vintage Velos to make some custom jerseys for my then employer Amazon.com. I no longer work there, a long story not to be repeated here, but I still had this project going. Well the short sleeve jerseys are finally done and I think they look great! It took almost two years to do the full project from the time I first did designs on paper, ran a focus group, came up with 5 key designs, ran a survey monkey, contacted the manufacturer on what is actually possible, took the orders, got clearance from Amazon's logo lawyers and then got them manufactured. The manufacturing was quite the life story as well, with the father of the key person dying in the middle of this, the husband of the person doing the chain stitching having an accident then dying, the custom wool, moving the manufacturing from China to Italy to acquiring the jerseys to distributing them.

Was it worth it? I think so. Will I do it again? Well this time I'd know more about matching a vertical stripe to a raglan sleeve (don't do it! even though mine came out ok.) To no chain stitching on the side panels as the knit runs the wrong way and it bunches up.

Key details to notice if you decide to do your own custom jersey. The side panels and the neck trim are black! Yes your sweat won't show as much. Although you will have white salt streaks after a lot of wearing and no washing. Next, no elastic in the hem. Elastic always dies and sewing in a new piece is a pain because you have to cut the fabric or unroll the hem to get at it and it's a mess, trust me I've done it on other clothing and it was almost not worth the trouble. Regal sleeves, I'd do set in sleeves next time, easier to match up stripes etc. No one expects the stripe to run up under the whole sleeve as well as up the side. Also, maybe next time a logo on the top of the shoulders on the back, or a small one on the middle pocket. Both of them are places of wear if you wear a backpack or a messenger bag but the back feels a bit blank when you are standing around. Of course while riding no one can read those logos.

Meantime I'm pretty sure everyone who gets one of these will be happy as there is nothing else like it out there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Reading

This summer I was given a copy of "Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure." by Barbara Savage. I had never heard of this book before but I am an armchair adventurer and so I read it. It's a wonderful travelog of a pair of crazy kids who "rode" around the world. Now obviously that includes some flying, ferries etc, but they took their bikes in 1979-1980 all across the world. And rode places, I now have no desire ever to visit! OMG bugs, mud, poverty etc. Who really wants to deal with that? With my college roommate in '79 we rode across the USA. Now of course for these two, they didn't stop. We did because a) we ran out of money, and b) civilization was calling. One has a hard time justifying going to college and then becoming a travel bum so we returned home and joined the 9-5 crowd. (ugh)

It's not the only book on riding around the world, I have also read Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey by Goran Kropp and that's another amazing journey.

There is also Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy who in 1963 rode from Ireland to India, I think all the way to the Nepal border.

All good adventure on a bicycle reads!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Specialized All Conditions Tire review

I am currently riding a 700x28 Specialized All Conditions tire on my front wheel and last week I took a close inspection to see how it was holding up. It's currently full of a zillion tiny holes, from I know not what. I do have glass on my route because I ride in traffic but I've never seen tire tread to this. On the other hand I haven't had any flats because of it either. I haven't replaced the tire and probably won't until it gets closer to failure. B
But this tire bears watching.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cherry Blossom Ride


A beautiful tree in my own neighborhood, just as I'm leaving it.


This spray of daffodills are on Mercer Island just opposite the old Inn.


Capitol Hill looking back at the first block of Cherry trees


The next block, the trees are on both sides of the street.


The front of the girl's school up on Capitol Hill.


These trees are marked "protected" from the construction of that apartment building and it looks like they are going to make it just fine.


This apartment complex is two blocks from my office. The trees are surrounding a parking lot and then continue on the next block. You don't have to go to the other Washington to see the cherry trees but you do if you want warm weather! It was only 40F on the way in today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Bike trail on 108th SE in Belleuve



I checked out Bellevue's newest bike trail and it's awful. The reason is that it crosses several side streets and lots of driveways all with terrible sightlines. I recipe for getting hit if you ride on it. But to make it the city took out the shoulders on the road, so if you ride in traffic it's twice as hard for a car to pass you and you have no place to bail if they decide to brush you in passing.

Grade F for bicycling. Looks ok for runners through.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So much for riding in January!


Well maybe I can ride tomorrow after it finishes melting all this stuff off the trail.
(photo from a friend of mine, who walked this portion of the ride using ice creepers on his shoes and studded tires on his bike.)