Cycle-In Cinema, Edinburg’s First Try

Cycle-In Cinema Photo ShotA few months ago a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about San Antonio’s Cycle-In Cinema being a great success. After reading it, I thought to myself, “We can do that!”. It was a neat idea that could work here in the Rio Grande Valley. I’ve been to other outdoor movie venues in the Sharyland area and enjoyed watching the free movies outside. Those events were well attended so I knew it could work again but this time with a cycling element. I had visions of cycling power games before the movie to see who could generate the most power. Similar to the old carnival games of ringing the bell with that sledge-hammer. Or maybe charging the batteries on the generator and the movie won’t start until the batteries are topped off. Or just cycle to provide the power to the projector with one or two intermissions to change out cyclists. To me, that sound like fun and with those ideas in mind, I threw down the gauntlet and put forth the challenge. “Make it happen!”, I said.

Soon we were exchanging emails and ideas on what to do and how to do it. This eventually progressed to a meetings with interested parties. The meeting consisted of some University of Texas – Pan American staff (soon to be UT-RGV) , Edinburg Public Library (Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library) and Ciclistas Urbanos (a local social cycling club). We debated on how to power and how much of the equipment should be powered. Finally it was agreed to hold off on powering anything due to time constraints and funds.

Not having funds to build didn’t stop us from planning an outdoor movie. At this point in time we opted for showing a flick with the emphasis on cycling to the event. We are in the baby steps phase and felt that this was a good start. We needed to gather movie showing equipment and promote the event. If we can do this, then we will have completed two-thirds of the puzzle, coordinating people and equipment and promoting. The last piece of the puzzle is the actual bike powered generator. That will come later.

First order of business was the movie and the license needed to publicly show it. Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library took care of that issue and found a sponsor to pay for the license. The movie selected was unanimous, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I have personally never seen the movie and was excited to watch it.

City Hall’s plaza was picked as the place to show the movie due to large grassy area and available power outlets. The equipment came from both the City of Edinburg (various departments) and a private individual that had a projector that we could use. Initially we were going to rent a projection screen but one of the city departments had a huge 10×10 banner that we could reverse and use as a projection screen.

I suggested that we gather all the equipment needed and do a check on both the location and the gear to make sure everything worked together. After a spell of bad weather we were finally able to do an equipment check. There was some initial concern that the projector wouldn’t be bright enough to use but even with the plaza lights still on the projection was just fine. At least good enough to carry on. With some PA speakers hooked up the sound was a great!

The movie was scheduled to run in conjunction of another event that was happening on the other side of city hall. This made it easier to advertise and put the word out. Flyers and Facebook events were created with each of us spreading the word out to various groups. I felt we didn’t have enough time to promote it but we made do with what we had.

On the day of the event I had planned on commuting to work on my bike but the forecast predicted rain during my ride. It also predicted rain throughout the afternoon so that kept my bike at home. As it turned out, it only lightly sprinkled in the morning and the rest was nice and clear.

Movie goersBy the time we started to set up the sun was down and the weather was nice and breezy. You couldn’t have picked a better time to show a movie. Soon cyclists started to show up and others that walked or drove over to check it out. I had my snacks ready for the showing of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Having never seen this film before it was a blast watching it. In fact everyone had a good time laughing. It brought back many memories for a lot of people there. Good ones I hope. After the movie everyone stayed and chatted with one another catching up on lost time. I did miss a few people that didn’t show up but what can you do.

Relaxing on the grass and enjoying the showDespite the fact that we didn’t have a bicycle generator, we feel that the event was a success. We were able to plan the showing rather quickly, get the word out, have people show up on their bikes and everyone had a good time. Yes, we need to work on getting an actual bike generator and we got people working on that. We already have people submitting ideas to improve the experience for the next showing. I think the Cycle-In Cinema is here to stay and will only get better.

A Summer of Cycling 2014

Well summer is over and I’m going through the winter blues. We’ve had spat of rainy weeks and cold weather and that really knocked me off the bike and forced me to do other things around the house. Home automation was one project and the other was making videos out of my pictures.

With my lack of motivation, I turned to my iPhone and a neat little app called Replay. Replay lets you gather up your pictures and video clips and make a video out of in very quickly. All you have to do is select your pics and vids and put them in the order you would like to display them, select one of many themes, audio and let replay do all the heavy lifting  to sync the pics to the beat of the music and adjust the colors to the colors in your media. Within 5-minutes you can have a nice looking video that you can save, share  or post on Facebook.

Honestly, the hardest part was finding music that you can use on YouTube without them blocking it because of some Copyright infringement. I must of scoured the web for royalty free music that I could use. I found a few promising sites. A lot of them seems to be a collection of midi synthesized music that wasn’t very appealing. Anyways I found something I could use and loop over and over.

The video consists of pics from the Independence Day ride I did with some friends of mine out on the country roads North East of Edinburg. This is followed by various social club rides with Ciclistas Urbanos (CU). CU likes to ride to various coffee shops, restaurants, farmers markets, historical sites and nature parks. Also included is the El Charco cookout ride along with the visit to the 900 year old tree. Next is my trips to San Antonio and Austin with a friend of mine. We went there to pick up her new bike and ride the trails in that area. Finally is the Los Ebanos Ferry ride and excursion into Mexico! What a fun trip that was.

I hope you enjoy the video. It’s a little rough on some spots but I’m still learning the ins and outs of using the app.

2012 Specialized Sirrus: A Commuter Bike

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden my Sirrus. Not because I don’t like it but because I now have the Roubaix as my primary ride. For a long time, the Sirrus sat in the shop with the wheels removed waiting for new rubber to be put on them. Pretty much just collecting dust. What a shame. I’ve always wanted to convert it to a commuter bike so I could ride to work on casual Fridays, but I always put it off. Well not anymore! This month I got the ball rolling on making the Sirrus a good commuter bike and this is what I came up with.

First of all it needed new tires so off to my LBS and picked up some Continental 4000S II. I love these tires. They have a good balance between low rolling and puncture resistance plus long life to boot. For the rear I used 25 mm and 23 mm for the front. It’s the same setup on the Roubaix.

After a good wash and lube I went out for a quick spin around the block to check things out. No issues. Brakes and shifting were great, just as I remembered it!

For the pedals I left them as is. They were the Shimano A530 SPD pedals and since they had a platform side I figured I could use them and not have to worry about hauling a pair of regular shoes when I commute. At least that was the idea.


Next, I needed a rack for the bike. I didn’t want to do that song and dance of taking a change of clothes the day before and pick them up the day after (or in this case on Monday). I wanted to be able to haul my clothes with me to and from work. For that a rack is needed. This posed a problem for me because the 2012 Sirrus didn’t have any eyelets to mount a rack. A coworker suggested to look at Old Man Mountain for a rack. Sure enough there was one designed for bikes like mine. The Black Rock rack was suggested for bikes with out eyelets. After emailing them and asking specifically about using it for the Sirrus they assured me that it will work fine and told me where on the seat stay to mount the clamps.

Sirrus_MountThe Black Rock rack is designed to mount on the outside of the hub dropouts. They also provide a longer skewer for you to use to clamp it down. The bulk of the weight that it supports is supported there at the hub. The attachment to the seat stay is needed to position the rack horizontally and hold it there. The loop clamps that attach to the seat stay are coated so that they will not scratch the bike and they are contoured so that it is not squeezing on the frame. Once completed I again went out for another spin. Solid! No rattles of any kind.

Sirrus_Rack_InstallWith the rack in place I now needed some panniers for it. Another trip to my LBS and I came home with something to try out. Not the most expensive one nor biggest but something to put in my clothes and zip it up. I wasn’t sure how big they needed to be in order to take a change of clothes. I would have to stuff it and see if it can hold it all. That was the first thing I did when I got home. Doing this made me think as to what I had to take with me and how to pack it. Not only do I need clothes but I also need wipes (to clean up when I get there), deodorant, tire pump, my keg (holds spare tube, patches, tire levers and some cash) and my iPad. After I gathered up everything I proceeded to pack. Yes! Everything fits with room to spare.

Knowing that I got the right size bag, I went ahead and installed it on the rack. Installation is straightforward with hooks on each side that clamps to the bottom of the rack. As usual I took it out for a spin to check it out. Uh oh. Problem. The back of my feet hits the corner of the bag on the up stroke. Yikes, I don’t want that.

After doing some research I found out that you should try to get panniers that are tapered on the front so that your feet won’t hit the bag (you can also tilt the rack back a little). I looked at mine and they were the squarish type. Time to take them back and look for something else. Luckily a different LBS had the kind I was looking for so I got them. After installing them and going out for another spin, all was good. I’m ready to go.

Friday’s ride to work was good. The road was a little wet from the night showers but I didn’t get rained on going or coming back from work. The 14 mile ride was a lot faster than I thought it would be. The last half of the ride I was pushing 18 mph easily. It must have been the wet roads or the thrill of cycling to work because it was a different story going home. Going home was a lot harder but enjoyable once I changed my mindset that this is not a race.

Some lessons learned from this one ride. Fenders. I need fenders for the wet roads. Either that or I don’t ride on wet roads. Finding fenders for this type of bike is going to be difficult since it has no eyelets for them either. I think I’ll go with the option of not riding on wet roads until I can find a system of mounting some sort of fenders. Around here that is not a high priority so it can wait.

Sirrus_PedalsThe other issue I had was the pedals. I always had to flip them around to get the flat side up plus my shoe slips while cycling. I’m constantly readjusting my feet position as I ride for a bit. New pedals are in order. Checking Amazon I see a lot to choose from and I see that the majority have those pins on them. I remembered that the LBS had some pedals like that so I went to check them out. Sure enough they had the Specialized Bennies Platform pedals, also in red. Perfect.

Sirrus_TargetMy next ride was out to Target to pick up some groceries. It’s been raining a lot recently so I had to wait for the right day to do it. The trip was 4.5 miles one-way and the pedals were rock solid. No slippage and stuck to my shoes like glue.

One aspect of the bike was the use of lights. Riding to work starts early morning and I need lights to see and be visible. My front light is the same one I use on the Roubaix, the CygoLite TridenX. Super bright and can easily moved from bike to bike. For the rear I also reuse the same light on my Roubaix. It has a nice band strap that I can take off and move to another bike. I also had two ankle cycling lights that I’ve got from several charity rides. I put one on my left ankle and the other strapped to the top of the panniers. One last set of lights are the spoke lights from Nite Ize See’Ems (Yes that’s the what they call them). They add visibility from the side. I’m basically all lit up for night riding.

Can you convert a 2012 Sirrus Limited to a commuter bike complete with panniers? I showed that you can sans the fenders. Doing this modification was a fun, learning experience for me. I’m still looking to find a way to add fenders for those days that the roads are wet and I’m sure I’ll figure out something. Now that it is done, the bike will see a lot more use with trips to work, groceries and social rides with friends to local markets.

Comments/suggestions/concerns? Drop me a comment let me know what you think. Will my the carbon bike hold up? Time will tell. Pedal on!