Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10th Commute - Product testing and COLDEST COMMUTE YET!

I like simple products that work.  I don't mind complex things that work.  However when it's somewhat complex and still doesn't work well it's upsetting.  The Gorrillclava is one of those products for me.  Getting it to fit right isn't easy.  Having it still vent a sizable portion of my exhaust up into my goggles is even more maddening.  The ride to work this morning was with the wind.  So getting decent ventilation thru my goggles was challenging in the first place.  Add in the extra exhaust and it sucked.  About half way thru my ride I attempted to pull the balaclava down under my chin.  While I did succeed in doing this it left a huge pile of cloth under my chin.  By the time I got to work the muscles in my jaw hurt from pushing against all of it to try and breath.  I'm going to try my Underarmour balaclava and see if it's any better or worse.  On to my newly purchased Columbia heavy weight gloves.  I have a lighter pair of Columbia gloves.  I love them there awesome.  However somethings missing on the heavy weight gloves.  My hands froze.  I wasn't impressed at all.  Once the temps dipped down beneath 20 degrees they started to feel like I might need something else.  So I picked up the heavier pair.  The fit on them wasn't great.  I tried on medium, Large and extra large also.  They all seemed to fit the same.  The fingers felt overly small and cramped.  Still I gave them the benefit of the doubt and bought them.  Always trust your instincts.  My hands haven't been that cold in years.  I don't know what exactly was wrong.  They just weren't warm at all.  My fingers started getting cold only a few blocks into my ride.  Once I got to work they were very very cold.  I was trying the old skiing trick of sucking your fingers back into the palm of the glove to try and warm them up but it wasn't working either.  Big fail on these gloves.  My legs were fine once I started moving.  Just need to figure out the goggle fogging situation.  The Gorrilclava just isn't working.  Another piece of gear that wasn't worth it's price.  Once that's sorted I can't see why I wouldn't ride more in colder temps.
Temp - 10 degrees - Feels like 0
Wind - 8 mph sustained out of the south west
Head - 5 OK  (Mixed bag - Gorrilclava, Smith helmet, goggles)
Hands - 2 Awful (Columbia heavy weight gloves - SUCK!)
Chest - 8 Warm (Wind breaker jacket and vest)
Legs - 7 OK (Carhart Jeans)
Feet -8 Good (Snow Runners and Flats)
Overall Physical feel - 8 (Been off the bike a bit.)

Bike ratings as follows.  One will mean total equipment failure.  Ten means it totally served it's purpose and I need to write more positive reviews on it.

Bike: Redline Monocog
Tires - 8(Fine)
Brake  - 9(New Hope)
Drivetrain - 8(Silky smooth)
Overall/Other - 9(Monocog is a great rig)

Total Score: 72

Things to change - Try and figure out how to get my goggles not to fog.  The age old question.
Things I noticed -  I shouldn't have spent money on the Columbia heavy gloves and OR Gorrilclava.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Windstoppers? Helmet Pants? Whosh-me-Nots?

Soooo I showed this to a friend of mine - Kickstarter - Wind-Blox.  After taking a look at it he quickly said "Hmmm wonder if Anna could knit those?".  A few weeks later I found out the answer. After a couple trial fittings I was asked to take them home and use them on a few commutes and see how they worked.  Finally got around to trying them out this morning.  Gotta say.  I hope we can size them down a bit.........

My first thoughts upon seeing on myself was well.... What did the Fox say?  Don't ask me why.  It just struck me that way.  So when riding they do tend to fold back a bit.  They do cure most of the wind noise.  This was my first ride with them so more testing is needed.  I'm just not sure I can be seen doing it.  Anna...any way I can get them in a different color??

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tubeless and Me -or- How to Save a Ride

Looking at the seven day weather outlook gave me the incentive to knock off work just a little early so I could get a good ride in while the 60 degree temps were still here.  I figured I had 2.5 hours before it got really dark and chilly.  So I headed west and decided I'd figure out my route as I pedaled.  About 10 miles in I noticed a freshly maintained road.  Defiantly a B-road. Looked harmless enough. Guess not. Ended up dead ending at a cell tower.  It had no out road so I had to turn around and ride it back out. Just a little bit after turning around I kept feeling moisture on my legs. I'd felt it before. Sealant getting flung out from the tire. I'd been running tubeless for about two months. Never really REALLY tested them. I stopped quickly to see how bad it was going to be. My tires were filled with thorns. Tires were holding air thou so I pedaled on. I kept hearing air leaking and feeling spray from the tires, but the tires stayed up and I kept pedaling. I made it 13 miles home from the point at which I acquired all the thorns.  I was blow away by how well the tubeless set up worked. I was fully expecting to have to use my spare tube or at least my co2 inflater.  I stopped twice more on the ride home just to make sure the tires weren't going flat and thinking of rolling off the rim.  My worries were unfounded.  I'd done 25 miles of dirt and pavement.  Thirteen miles of it was with hundreds of thorns in my tires.  I'd say over all I lost around 10psi in the rear and 15psi in the front.  48hours later and the tires are still up.  As it sits right now I'm guessing I'll be dropping the air in the tires and pulling all the thorns I can, adding some sealant and airing them back up.  I'm blown away how well the tubeless set up worked.  Yes it was sort of a pain to get them set up and yes I think it would still be a pain if I went totally flat on the road. However it totally saved me from calling for pick up.  Huge thanks to Orange Seal for a great product.  You guys rock!

Mesothorny from Garrett Olsen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12th Commute - Getting cooler


Down to the low twenty's this morning so I got to test out the goggles and Underarmour Coldgear balaclava.  When heading into the wind you could feel it on my head thru my helmet.  I didn't get cold, but I wasn't warm and toasty.  Not that one always needs to be riding a bike.  My arms also felt the cold a bit more.  The Pearl Izumi jacket is finally finding it's limits.  Still with my fleece vest my core never got cold.  I've been looking at "COLD" weather jackets but have yet to find one that really fits the bill for what I want.

Temp - 22degrees - Feels like 18
Wind - 10mph sustained out of the south west

Head - 7 OK  (Buff, Goggles, and Underarmor coldgear balaclava)
Hands - 10 Awesome (Columbia gloves - perfect for the morning)
Chest - 8 Warm (Pearl Izumi Jacket and fleece vest.)
Legs - 7 OK (Jeans)
Feet -8 Good (Boots and flat pedals)
Overall Physical feel - 8 (Legs felt a little tired.  Might have been the cooler temps.)

Bike ratings as follows.  One will mean total equipment failure.  Ten means it totally served it's purpose and I need to write more positive reviews on it.

Bike: Redline Monocog
Tires - 8(Fine)
Brake  - 9(New Hope)
Drivetrain - 8(Silky smooth)
Overall/Other - 9(Monocog is a great rig)

Total Score: 82

Things to change - Figure out the head combo for different weathers.

Things I noticed -  Chilly legs = Dead legs?