Tag Archives | Rodriguez

Groovin’ While You’re Movin?

“On your left,” I yell, trying to alert the cyclist in front of me that I want to pass her.  She doesn’t budge.  “On your left,” I scream, louder this time—but still, no reaction.

I’m riding a flat 20 miles around the local park – the same route I’ve been riding for years and it’s boring.  The only way to extract any value from this ride is to try for a personal best on my new Rodriguez.  “On your left” I scream again as I’m passing her.   This time she jumps in her seat because I’ve startled her, and I notice she’s wearing ear buds.  Until this moment, she hasn’t heard a thing.

Does she ride like this through traffic?

I’ve worn an ear bud two times while riding my bicycle. On both occasions, I nearly had accidents.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I’d rather do than blast a medley of tunes by the Pointer Sisters into my body while I speed around the park, or up a tough hill—but I don’t dare.  It’s too dangerous.

I must employ diplomacy while discussing this matter with my teenage son.  Like many kids his age, he acts like he’s immortal and insists on listening to music when he rides.  His defense: “I only use one ear bud.”

Enter the iHome2Go (also referred to as the iH85BX and the Bike to Beach Bicycle Speaker for iPod).   If you’re a recreational cyclist who absolutely needs music to move, this item might just be the ticket.  My goal was to provide my son with a safe alternative to his one ear bud.

The geniuses behind iHome2Go thought of just about everything.  Here’s a list of what comes packaged with the product itself:

  • An AC adapter that allows you to recharge your ipod while installed in the canister.
  • Remote controller with handlebar mount
  • Neoprene drawstring bag with shoulder strap for the beach
  • Bicycle cage with clamp
  • All necessary mounting hardware

The speaker canister looks like an oversized to-go cup and is made of a water and impact-resistant polycarbonate case.  The speaker is situated on top of the canister, which sits snugly in the cage provided.  It twists open at the center, allowing you to slide your ipod into the slot. (Please note: the iHome2Go works only with docking ipod models.  It is not compatible with ipod shuffle and not recommended for ipod touch or iphone. (Click here for more details.)

It is imperative that you replace one of your water bottle holders with the enclosed cage, which has a special clamp, and will keep the iH85BX connected to your bicycle. Without it, one big bump will send the canister flying.    Using the remote control that slides into the mount on your handlebars, you can manipulate the speaker volume or jump backwards and forwards effectively shuffling through songs that don’t have the right beat. The remote control easily slides out of the mount and back onto the top of the speaker for easy transport in its neoprene case.

The sound quality is surprisingly good and the volume output is loud enough to be heard on a fairly busy street.

The only thing missing are 4 AA batteries.

The trouble with the iHome2Go is the weight.  No, I don’t mean the song by The Band, but rather the combined load of the speaker and cage.  If you are one of those racers counting every single gram of weight on your bike, the iHome2Go is not for you.  It’s heavy—plain and simple.

But a bigger issue, according to my son (who goes so fast he doesn’t care about the weight), is that when you pedal, the movement of each leg passing the speaker disrupts the sound flow and makes it seem like someone is playing with the balance.  “It’s annoying,” my son told me as he was removing the unit from the seat tube of his bike. He did admit that by mounting the cage elsewhere, he might not have had this pesky problem –the only hitch was that the cage didn’t fit on the down tube. Remember, this is from a kid who doesn’t find it “annoying” to listen to music in one ear bud.

So there you have it.  If you are a commuter, recreational cyclist, or riding a beach cruiser, using ear buds instead of listening for traffic and other cyclists, you might consider this product as a more safety-conscious alternative. It’s just not for racer-types or someone who needs to lose a few pounds.

Rain City Bags

Frustrated by the absence of bags that would fit on the top of my stylish, new Luna rack, I had to consider the alternatives.

Which waterproof bag would be lightweight enough, mostly for use on multi-day tours such as Cycle Oregon, but could also be used for errands, as well as longer club rides and centuries?

I was not looking for a traditional set of panniers or would have selected a more heavy-duty rack to hold them.

I was more concerned that riding with one pannier would somehow throw me off-balance, or worse, “look stupid” (this, according to my sixteen year-old son who is also a cyclist).

Avenir’s medium-sized Rain City bags with a storage capacity of 910 cubic inches per bag are terrific.  The combined weight of two empty bags plus the rack is still considerably less than other “systems,” which combine a bag and rack that attaches to the seat post.

The Rain City bags are so roomy, I only needed one for my southern Oregon and northern California adventure.

They are slick-looking, silver bags made of nylon with a waterproof coating.  They attach easily to my rack and feature a roll- top closure and buckle, and come with foam inserts to maintain the shape of the bag and provide shock absorption for its contents.

Removing these inserts further reduced my carrying weight for Cycle Oregon, but will definitely be returned if I’m carrying a computer, a camera or a dozen eggs.

I’m pleased to report that I never lost my balance with one bag. I’d like to think I didn’t look stupid either.

The bag was so lightweight,  it seemed ridiculous not to keep it on my bike at all times even though gear drops were provided at nearly every rest stop.  The roll top design allows for easy access and makes expanding the size of the bag simple, while keeping its contents dry.

On day four of our trip, in the middle of one particularly hot and steep climb, I stopped to help a fellow rider who looked particularly beat.  “Are you drinking enough water?” I asked noticing both of her water bottles were full.

“Yes.” She insisted.

“Do you need something to eat?” I asked her.

“Yes!  You have food?”

“I’ve got a Blueberry Crisp Cliff Bar, a can of Kern Mango drink, a golden delicious apple and some Lorna Doone cookies.”

“You’re a Deli!” she said and took the Cliff bar.

I took off and headed up the hill.

Later, I saw this same friend and she told me I’d helped her finish her ride.

Me, and the Rain City Deli, that is.

Now that I’m home, I can’t wait to start riding my bike to the supermarket. My plan is to wheel my bike, (along with my Rain City Bags) through the store instead of using a shopping cart. I won’t even have to break my loaf of French bread in half, just to get it home.

Luna Racks by Tubus

I’m of the opinion that unless you are a competitive cyclist, your bike should be equipped to function in a utilitarian mode.    If you need to go to the library, bank or market, why not use your bike instead of burning fossil fuel?

Unfortunately, most bicycle manufacturers don’t see it quite the same way.  They would rather you purchase three or four bikes for different purposes.  Consequently, your road bike in the garage may not be equipped with braze-ons, which would offer you the flexibility of being able to attach a standard rear rack.

Thank goodness for the people at Ortlieb USA, the exclusive U.S. importer of Tubus (and Racktime) racks from Germany.

Their Luna model is nothing less than a work of art reminiscent of famed modern designer, Charles Eames.  Made of welded tubular stainless steel, the Luna is sleek by design, and offers simple elegance.

It’s quite a contrast to other functional, yet cumbersome racks you just can’t wait to take off your bike because they’re so ugly.

The Luna weighs in at less than a pound (435 grams or 15.34 oz) and though made of rust-proof, stainless steel, the matte finish adds to its mystique.

You won’t even consider removing this rack from your frame because its aesthetic construction blends so well with the petite lines of your bike.   But, because your frame is smaller than most, installation may be a little tricky, so it’s not a bad idea to recruit your favorite bike mechanic to help you.  The rack attaches to the frame via the rear brake bolt and if your bike has no braze-ons, Ortliebusa.com offers several adapter kits to assist in a trouble-free installation.

The top “shelf” (or “deck”) of the rack is narrow and not designed to sufficiently support a rear rack bag.

However, it will easily accommodate a set of panniers and can hold about 39 pounds of weight.

Though the cost of the Luna is more expensive than the competition, it comes with a life-time guarantee as well as a three-year “Mobile Guarantee” to registered-owners.  This means if your rack fails due to material or workmanship during this three-year period, a new Tubus rack will be sent via express delivery anywhere in the world with a deliverable address. Investing in a Tubus rack will give your bike a classy refined look. Combined with an Ortlieb bag, your next trip to the market will be more of a delightful journey.  Before you know it, everyone in your family will want one.

Some Hanky Panky has forced Me to Ask again

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