New Cycling Gear and other Updates

blog_updateI just want to do a short write-up on whats new with me and some of the new gear that I have updated and/or added. I don’t want to do a separate blog for each item, that would just take too long to do. I don’t fancy myself sitting here days on end writing when I can be out cycling instead.

First of all, I continue to lose weight 🙂 That is my primary goal. I had hit a plateau a while back and started up the food journal to kick-start the process. Well, I’m glad to say that it worked and lost another 5-6 pounds. I’m in the 230’s now for the first time in about two years. It feels great, I’m faster on the bike and my clothes feel a lot looser. I may have to get some new clothes soon. I know I still have a long ways to go, but I am chipping away at my goal.

I’m back to doing 100+ miles per week. So far I’ve done three consecutive weeks and looking to do another. I started this about two months ago, but i have been not consistent on the goal. It has been one thing after another that stood in the way, either bad weather, family obligations or mechanical issues. Lately, everything seems to be aligning up nicely and I’m taking advantage of it.

On my trip to Austin last month, I picked up some new cycling shoes at Bicycle Sport Shop. As I have said before, I don’t like road shoes. I want shoes that I can walk normally in when I get off the bike, so mountain bike shoes are my preference. I spotted some Specialized Sport Mountain Bike shoes on sale and picked them up. Goodbye shoe laces, you are no longer needed nor wanted. I also picked up the cleats for the Crank Brothers type of cranks and had them install them on my new shoes for me. After some measurements she proceeded to put the cleats on for me while I browsed the huge shop. Lighter, stiffer, comfortable, no shoe laces and on sale, bingo! A month later and I’m still enjoying the new shoes.

iBike Newton

iBike Newton

Last month was an expensive one. Besides my trip to Austin, when the rooms were at a premium price due to graduation week, I also purchased a power meter from Velocomp. The product? iBike Newton. Actually, I got it off Amazon with free shipping. So far it has been pretty good. It has a small learning curve with using the buttons (it’s no smartphone so no swiping), but it’s easy to pick up. I can go all week-long without having to charge the battery on the unit which is a blessing. The big plus for me is the ability to read the LCD display in bright daylight (something I could not do with my iPhone). The unit is also easy to calibrate, you can pair it up to any ANT+ compatible unit to receive the power (Garmin or iPhone app with ANT+ dongle), it has built-in Interval training or create your own. The Newton is a fantastic power meter at an affordable price.

Cygolite TridentX 1100

Cygolite TridentX 1100

I do a lot of night riding and my old Cygolite Mity Might 350 looked pale compared to the other new lights out there. After researching lights of different manufactures, I settled on Cygolite TridentX 1100. Super bright light, decent battery life, good spread of the light, custom configurable blinky option all make to a good buy. Now, when I ride with a group, my light drowns out everyone else’s. Ah, I’m no longer at the bottom of the totem pole.

Salsa Skewers

Salsa Skewers

I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of black. I want some color on my bike and for that reason I picked up some red Salsa skewers. They come in many different colors, but since my bike has some red highlights I figured red would be a good choice to try. I got a pair from on-line some where that took almost two weeks to arrive! I was not happy with the delivery time, but I really like the skewers. I’ve got some nice comments about them.

Beam+

Beam+

My last addition is a new handlebar extender called Beam+. This is one of those products that has its roots with Kickstarter. It’s a simple rolled up aluminum sheet that mounts to the front of the stem where the bolts are at. They come in a variety of colors to choose from. In continuation of adding color to my bike I again went with red. They have not come in yet but I plan on moving my Newton over to it and putting the bike light higher. I’m hoping the light from the headlight will shine on the Newton so I can read it at night (it has no backlight).

Serfas AP-01

Serfas AP-01

Ok, I remembered one other item I got a CO2 cartridge inflater called the AP-01 from Serfas. I actually picked it at Tsunami Cycles, a small, friendly bike shop while I was in Austin last month. I replaced my mini floor pump that I hauled around with this. Unfortunately I had to use it recently and it worked just fine. I like the push button trigger to slowly fill up you tire without worry of sudden over inflation and possibly rupturing the tube. You can use either threaded or non-threaded CO2 cartridges with this inflater.

Well that’s about it for now. I’m still shooting for 100 miles per week and I’m still losing weight. I got new gear for color, new lights that is a big plus for our night rides, new shoes that are comfortable. I replaced some older gear with the new stuff that are still good for backup situations. Last month was expensive with not only the new gear, but my mini vacation to Austin was well worth the trip.

Keep those wheels spinning.

New Gear for Me and my Bike

Earlier this month I took a trip to Corpus Christi for a mini vacation with the intention of doing some riding over there. I was feeling a little sick the week before, but I still planned on going. As part of my planning I packed a lot of my nick knack gear into one of those reusable shopping bags that they give out at cycling event. I’ve been using it to carry my helmet, gloves, sun block, etc. Long story short, the bag ended up missing. Lost or stolen doesn’t matter as I was out of some essential gear. As a result, I needed to replace the gear with new stuff. I’m just glad I didn’t have my shoes in the bag too!

Little by little I discovered just what it was that I packed into the bag. I replaced the gloves, the mirror that I use on my glasses, the drawstring that hold my glasses in place, some of the Hammer Nutrition energy mixes, the sweat band that I use for those hot days and my helmet. Everything was the same except for the helmet. I was using a Louis Garneau brand and I initially was looking to get the same model, but I remembered the Specialized helmets. I always wanted one and I really like the shape and the front air intakes for the cooling.

Specialized Propero II

After looking and pricing several different models, I decided on the Specialized Propero II. Normally I would get it at Amazon, but they didn’t carry it. So, the local bike shop it is. To me, that means Bicycle World of McAllen. I already have a good relations with them so I’ll just stick with that. Besides, all the bike shops would have it at the same price with maybe a dollar difference.

The helmet itself is nice. I went with white to help repel as much heat as possible. The fit is the same as my previous helmet, but the big difference is the chin strap. The Propero is a lot better. The material is thinner and lighter and the strap tension stays the same. There is no gradual loosening of the strap as the other helmet did. With the other helmet I had to adjust the strap to where I wanted it and then staple it in place.

Just like the Louis Garneau helmet the Propero II has an adjustable dial in the back dial in the head band. Easy to adjust and stays put to where you set it. It also comes with an extra set of pads and some Specialized stickers to put on other peoples bike (just kidding, decorate your own bike). I’m happy with the purchase. I now need to get the visor but that can wait.

My other big purchase this year was a set of new pedals. I was on Facebook and noticed a post about using clipless shoes (why do they call them clipless when in fact you clip into the pedal?) and what to buy. I put in my 2 cents in about SPD pedals, but someone countered with egg beaters. I always wondered about those pedals, so I started to ask questions about it. Before you know it I was at the LBS looking to get a set of Crank Brothers Candy’s 2.

I opted for the Candy’s simply for the added platform they provide. The LBS installed them for me, so I didn’t have to mess with that. I did install the brass cleats that comes with the kit onto my shoes. I had a hard time taking out one of the screws on the SPD cleats, but once out installing the new cleats was a breeze.

The test was clipping in and out. Wow! What a difference. Clipping in and out was effortlessly. All with no adjustments. Couldn’t make any adjustments even if I wanted to. With my SPD’s, I would need to adjust the tension to get the clip out easiness that I liked and since those pedals were dual sided that means tweaking each pedal twice to get all the tensions about the same.

Crank Brothers Candy’s 2

Pedaling is nice and smooth and I’ve never had my shoes inadvertently unclip while pedaling. The only thing that I’ve noticed is a slight grinding that I occasionally feel on the left pedal only. It hasn’t gotten any worse either and it’s just occasionally. I’ve pedaled hard and easy with no problems, I’ll live with it. The only thing I don’t do is stand up to pedal. I never do anyways. I’m a slide back in the seat for leverage kind of cyclist. I do stand up but just to stretch a little.

You may asking why I put mountain bike pedals on my road / hybrid bike? Simple, I like to be able to walk normally when I get off the bike! I really hate those (what I call) reverse heels shoes. But to each their own.

Well, that’s basically the new gear that I am now using. A lot of it was to replace the stuff that was stolen from that hopping bag. I can still kick myself for losing the gear, but oh well. What can I do other than just replace them. A new helmet and then later new pedals is what I got out of the ordeal.