Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Revolights

Something my young nephew passed along to me. In theory, the lights look interesting. How they hold-up, against the elements is something to be tested and validated. You can read more about Revolights, here.
I like the idea, in general.

I am a bit puzzled as to why this system relies on batteries, as opposed to using Electro Magnetic Induction, to power the lights. Reelights do a splendid job of tapping into EMI. May be they will come-up with one, when the product is fully developed and it goes into production.

I had the Reelights on my Americano for a long while. Right now, they are off, as I have installed a SON hub dynamo, on the Americano, which powers my front and rear lights on the bike.

What do you think of the Revolights? Minimally, they should at least be attractive to the "younger" cyclists.

Peace :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pan-a-cea!

My wife found two different sizes of de Buyer branded Mineral pans on sale at Tuesday Morning. Yeah, these were on sale for a fraction of the MSRP/price at other outlets.
These pans required "seasoning" prior to use, which was a breeze. We simply followed the directions provided in the packaging.

I am so glad we got these pans. They do not use Teflon or some such material to induce non-stick. These are naturally non-stick.

I have used these pans a bunch of times so far and I love 'em. The conduct heat uniformly and nothing sticks to the pans. Cleaning the pans is a breeze as well.

One requirement is that after you wash and clean the pans, you put a coating of oil on them. Piece of cake, ya know?

Peace :)

When a century plus sucks

The forecast for my neck of the woods, for this week. 100+ every day :(
Now
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
Temperature
105.8 °F
Feels Like 100 °F
Wind(mph)
2.2
Sunrise / Set
6:40 AM
8:27 PM
Moon
Waxing Gibbous
Tonight
Clear81 °F
Clear
Tomorrow
Clear106 °F
Clear
Tomorrow Night
Clear81 °F
Clear
Wednesday
Clear108 | 81 °F
Clear
Thursday
Clear108 | 79 °F
Clear
Friday
Clear104 | 81 °F
Clear






I know there are some who love the hot weather. Unfortunately, that ain't me.

Stay cool and well hydrated!

 Peace :)

Weather information above courtesy of Weather Underground!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fallen leaves

Fallen leaves from Fall, eight years ago!
I miss the cool, crisp, Fall air and the colors.
Peace :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stretching

I need to constantly remind myself that I should stretch before exercising. Whether it is commuting on my Brompton to work or going for leisurely but longer ride, I try to stretch before I head out.

I don't always remember to do this. Many a time, Black Kitty reminds me that I should stretch.

So, if I may give you a friendly piece of advise, stretch before ya ride, ya hear?

Peace :)


PS. I think BK has ideas to sleep in the T-bag.

Bicycle Traveller Magazine

Totally free and yet quite the read! If you haven't read an issue of this magazine yet, believe me, it is worth every minute of your time.
Happy Reading! Click here to download the latest issue!

Peace :) 

Image courtesy of BicycleTraveler magazine. Thank you!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Blog just for Photography!

Dear readers: I have started a new blog, just to publish my photographs and to write about them.
Please stop by and check it out if you like. Have a Great Week! Peace :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Folk Music Concert - Ain't got nothing to do with cycling!

But, John Prine is coming to Dallas on September 28th.
The concert will be at the Majestic.

Exciting stuff, at least for me.

To this day, John Prine is one of my favorite song writers.

Peace :)

Gone Fishing

A lovely Blue Heron seen fishing, during early morning hours, at a canal near my home.
Paz :)

Le Atelier Velorevolutionaire

During our vacation in April, it was by sheer luck and the brilliance of my lovely wife that we happened upon one of the coolest bicycle related places in Paris, France. On our way back from La Chappelle, in the Le Quartier Indien, my wife points out to me and says, "Chandra --- check it out, it is a Bike in the balcony". Well, at least that's how the whole experience began.

Little did we know that we had come to the very core of Utility and Critical Mass Riders of Paris. In this post, I will try and bring to you a different dimension of bicycling in Paris. Not just riding the Velib, but driving one's bike, like it is meant to be.

Le Atelier Velorevolutionaire is right in the heart of Marais, less than a city block from the Bastille Opera. It is also very easy to get to by bicycle. It is right off of rue St. Antoine.
Le Atelier Velorevolutionnaire is the place you want to go to if you want to fix your bike on your own, but you didn't have the tools or didn't know how. It is very similar to "Bicycle Works" of St. Louis and other outfits in other cities, here in the US of A. These guys are a not-for-profit organization. Their beliefs are very similar to many of mine - Live and Let Live!

We met some very fine cyclists at this place. In fact, one of them, an Italian native, has been to US many times; and, has ridden his bike in Boston, MA. And, has been to Dallas, TX. Whoda thunked?

Being a bicycle aficionado that I am, I immediately fell in love with the place. So, we hung out there for an hour or so, chatting it up. I talked to these guys about the LAB, bicycling in DFW, my blogs etc. They seemed very curious to know about all that I do.

There were some very cool tall bikes at the Le Atelier Velorevolutionnaire. I have never ridden a tall bike. I have test driven a Penny Farthing though!
 Wild thing!
The back portion of the Le Atelier Velorevolutionnaire was used for conducting some cycling related classes/seminars, by Maison Du Velo, which is a for-profit bike store in Paris.
 Displays
 More displays
 Wanted Dead or Alive. Now, it is that serious!
 After hanging inside for a while, eventually the guys at the Velorevolutionnaire put some of the bikes outside for display. It was a nice, crisp, warmish April day in Paris. People started to stop by and it was time for us to head back to the hotel to chill.
So, we headed back to the hotel.

On the night before our trip back home, there was a Critical Mass Ride, organized by this outfit. I was thinking of going, but given we had to leave the hotel at 3 AM, I decided it was best done another time.
Hopefully, I will get to go back again.

Hope your personal Velo Revolution is going the way you want it to go. Mine is, more or less!

Peace :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rose Milk with a twist!

I suppose all of us may have one or more things that we ate or drank as a child and still continue to like it to this day. For me, one such a treat is Rose Milk. If you are have not been exposed to the culinary delights of Southern India, then you may or may not know what Rose Milk is.

Rose Milk is a very simple, but delicious drink. You make Rose Milk by adding Rose Essence, sugar and rose color to milk and serve it chilled. It is a delightful drink on a warm summer day.

Whereas Rose Milk might be fine for many a people, it is not so great for more than one reason:

  1. Tons of sugar; some from milk and then some more from the added sugar
  2. Lactose
  3. Albeit food coloring, still an additive
  4. Possible RGBH and other harmonies pumped into milk cows (of course, you can buy milk without these things)
Given all of the reason above, and ones I may not be accounting for, I decided I will create myself some Rose Milk, which is healthier.

Here is my recipe:

  1. Add unsweetened Almond milk and a few ice cubes to a blender
  2. Add two droppers of Stevia
  3. Add 1 Tbsp of Rose Water (not Rose Essence)
  4. Add 2 ripe strawberries
  5. Blend and enjoy!


The strawberries give it the rose color, without the additives. The artificial food coloring, if added, will produce a very pink Rose Milk. I think I will go with the light pink.

It goes without my saying that it is very important to clean the strawberries thoroughly. Organic produce is a plus.

Today, the official temp was in 102 or so degrees Fahrenheit. It is that time of the year, I reckon :)

Stay cool and have lots of fun!

Bon appétit :)

Affordable Sporting-Goods-Store-Folders in Paris?

While I was in Paris in April this year, I did not go to many bicycle stores. In fact, I think I went to only one bike shop. And, that too was an electric bikes only outlet.

I also tried to stay away from big malls and such. I made one exception and went to Galeries Lafayette.

There was another instance when I went to a mall. When we went to visit our friend Amir, he took us around to show us his stomping grounds. During this visit, I happened upon a Sporting Goods store, in a large shopping mall near the Metro stop at Place d'Italie. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, except I was curious to see what one of these French Sporting Goods stores carried. This store wasn't much different than a Sports Authority or a Dick's Sporting Goods, that we have here at home.

Just when I thought I didn't see anything that I would not have seen in an American Sporting Goods store, I happened upon a large collection (50+) of folding bicycles. And, these guys were on sale - €50 off the regular price of €299.
While I did not test ride any of these, just by examining them visually, they looked like decent bikes. Especially because these were folders, one might be able to take them places, much easier, especially in Paris.
I miss Paris!

It's almost Friday :)

Peace :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Endura Luminite Jacket + Gridlock Overtrousers

My good ole' Burley cycling-specific rain jacket tore when I took a fall in November 2011. I can patch it up and still use it, for a while, yet, but it has also lost its overall waterproof-ness. I bought it back in 2005 (or so), at the Touring Cyclist in St. Louis. It was a Woman's jacket, but it fit me fine and I got a good deal on it, so I snatched it right away.

So, I broke down and bought myself a new rain jacket and a pair of rain pants, earlier this year. I contemplated if I should buy a Showers Pass Touring jacket and their rain pants, but I finally decided against them. I did not consider other brands. Instead of Showers Pass, I bought Endura.

Original tags from the purchase: I have known this type of picture alone to boost blog traffic by about 500% :)
Without further adieu, here is the Endura Luminite Jacket.
The Endura Luminite Jacket has some really nice features*:
    • 2.5L Breathable/Waterproof - fully seam sealed
    • Luminite LED Light Strip fibre optic unit with 50hr flashing run time bonded into rear of jacket providing additional safety light
    • Multiple reflective flashes around whole garment
    • Large rear pocket with storm flap
    • Zipped pit-vents with easy-grab pullers
    • Stormflap on front zipper with reflective piping trim
    • Waterproof Napoleon pocket on chest with media port
    • Cozy-touch lining on handwarmer pockets and inner collar
    • Drawcord adjustment at neck and hem. Velcro® hem adjusters

What good are rain jackets without rain pants, right? :)
Next up, the really nicely made Endura Gridlock Overtrousers.

Like the Luminite jacket, these overtrousers also have some fantastic features*:

    • Twin zip pockets, stud and zip fly
    • Extended length ankle zips
    • Popper leg length adjustment
    • Durable inner ankle panels, ankle gusset
    • Reflective elements visible through 360
    • Waterproofness: 5,000mm
    • Breathability: 5,000gms


My observations on the Luminite jacket

  1. The Luminite jacket is very well made. I love it. I particularly like the very visible neon green.
  2. The only gripe I have, if any, is that the pit zips on the Luminite jacket are a bit hard to pull. But, that might change with use.
  3. I find the built-in blinky in the Luminite jacket very useful. It might be great for someone who does not have a lot of rear red lights on his/her bike. For me, it is another rear red light. I am glad it is there, but I would not have minded not having it.
  4. The Luminite jacket is a tad warm. I don't worry about getting soaked too much, when it is warm. It is the rain during the colder months that I don't care to get drenched in. Given that, this jacket is a great one to have.
My observations on the Gridlock Trousers
  1. The trousers have many a feature that let the pants breathe. But, these are better suited for rainy and colder day. I will use these with or without rain, during winter.
  2. I am certain that the overtrousers will work fine, over any pants or shorts. In particular, I think they would be great over a pair of jeans or khakis, if you like commuting in your street clothes. Moreover, they will also keep the grime off your clothes.
  3. The Gridlock overtrousers are also great for use in field on snowy days. While snowy days are relatively scarce in my current city, I bet I can find some use for these pants, during travel, especially during long hours in the field photographing.

I am quite happy with my purchase so far.

I will post more about these products, should I find any data worth sharing.

Peace :)

* courtesy of Endurasport.com

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hot Hero

On last Sunday afternoon, while I was shopping at Home Depot, I noticed this weird symbol on the LCD Bacpac (optional accessory for the GoPro Hero 2; sold seperately; is a LCD viewfinder).
Next, the camera beeped and turned itself off. I was a bit worried. I waited a while, then turned on the camera. It worked fine, but I was indeed a bit worried if everything was okay with the camera.

So, I wrote GoPro and I got a reply from them in about 24 hours or so, as promised. Apparently, it is a good idea to use the skeleton doors for the GoPro Hero 2, if there is no risk of exposure to water/rain.

========================================================================
Update for Case #318175 - "Heat warning?"Hi Chandra

'HOT' or a thermometer symbol will be displayed whenever the camera's processor gets over it's operating temperature limit of 125º.

What conditions were you using the camera in?
Was it directly in the sun with the waterproof housing?

Please describe more of the situation in order for me to further assist you.


The camera does have insulation which should protect the internals of the camera. Please remove the battery and let it cool down, reformat the card and it should have no problems in the future.


Many Thanks,
E K.
GoPro Support
www.gopro.com/support

========================================================================
Update for Case #318175 - "Heat warning?"
Hey Chandra, 



Usually the camera will not overheat on a hot day, but since I'm not sure how long you  were out, and other factors, it could happen if direct sunlight is on it for an extended period.

Have you had other issues since this? The camera was not damaged, but similar to a iPhone if it is left in the sun, it will power off at a certain temperature to protect the internals of the camera.

If theres no risk of water, and its in direct sun, I would recommend using the skeleton doors (the ones with the slits) just to help it release heat that is building up inside the case.


========================================================================


I am very happy to hear that GoPro have a safety mechanism, which turns off the Hero 2, should it get past 125 degrees. Something to keep in mind, especially if you live in a place like North Texas, where it gets hotter than hell.

Peace :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pizza minus the guilt!

A recent post by Limom made me crave pizza. Luckily, my lovely wife was kind enough to make us some guilt free pizzas.
You can find the recipe on Vegetarian Cyclist.

Pizza :) I mean ...

Peace :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shake, shake, shake

My breakfast/brunch smoothie:

Ingredients:
  1. Kale
  2. Spinach
  3. Almonds
  4. Stevia
  5. Hemp Protein
  6. Fruit of choice - Wild Blueberries in this case

Keeps me content for roughly 4 hours or so, even if I ride my bike or exercise. If I exercise, I will need to drink plenty of water, but that's not curb my hunger.

Beats the heck out of most cereals, eh?

Bon appétit :)

Cool Folder Sighting # 1

During my recent vacation in April, I saw some very cool, utilitarian bicycles in Paris. I saw some old but very classy folders.

Here is one such a folder.
Nothing fancy, but practical with useful, sensible features. I can't quite tell the make of the bike. Could the name of the bike be Giorna or Ciorna?

I couldn't pass on posting the picture of such a bike.

If you can identify the make, please do let me know.

Peace :)

Review: Teva Itunda

I bought my last pair of Keen sandals from REI St. Louis, back in 2004. I loved these sandals. They were my shoe of choice, except when I jogged or played Table Tennis. I rode around St. Louis, in my Keen sandals, even during parts of the winter. I needed a warm pair of thick woolen socks though. Recently, I noticed that good chunks of the sole of my Keen sandals were missing. My wife even rescued some of them from the driveway. I wasn't going to try to glue 'em back. I simply pitched those chunks.

After doing some research, I found a good deal for a pair of Teva Itunda sandals. I decided to replace my aging Keen sandals with the Itunda.
I use these sandals for commuting by bicycle to work, going for walks with my dogs PHD and MHD (strong dogs, which can pull quite hard). I am very particular about shoes. I am a warm bodied person, so it is really important for me to be comfortable in my footwear. If they are too hot, I am miserable. If papa ain't happy, nobody happy.

It is very important for me 1) not to get too warm in my sandals, and 2) not to slip and slide due to lack of traction and/or due to lack of fit.

With the Itunda, I don't slip and slide. The Itunda also feel lighter than the Keen.

The Itunda sandals feel a bit "plasticky". Hence I did not give these sandals 5 stars.

The four whitish dots/holes that you see on the heel portion of the sandal pictured below are drain holes. They drain water out of the sandals. I found these to be particularly useful when crossing little puddles or water (I haven't ventured into many a stream in Texas, yet).
I will post more about these sandals durability in the future. For now, I am a very happy camper. I am quite satisfied with the Teva Itunda sandals.

Below is a better quality picture from Teva.


Peace :)

PS. Fair disclosure: I have only used these sandals for a month as of July 2012.

Yay to authentic comments; Nay to SPAM!

Found the comment below in my blogs Moderation Inbox.


Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!! So mouth watery. Toscana Restaurant on Pizza Time

Tell me, why would I want to promote a restaurant, unless I know them?

No SPAM welcome here. This is a Vegetarian Blog, after all. Get it?

Peace :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pizza Time

We had partially home-made pizza for dinner last weekend. I haven't had pizza in a long while now and someone posted their pizza on one of my cycling blogs recently. So, I was craving pizza, shall we say?

The toppings for our pizzas were:

  1. Red Bell Peppers
  2. Refried vegetarian beans
  3. Real Mexican cheese
  4. Salsa.

It was only partially home-made because, we used a store-bought Gluten-free, rice based Pizza crust.
 
The pizza was delicious. Complements to the Chef - my lovely wife! 

Peace :)

Once upon a desk

Just for the fun of it, I placed Brahma upon my desk at work, over by where I usually keep my food bowl and other eating paraphernalia.
I was hoping someone would remark, but it wasn't noticed by anyone. I say the bike blended in very well, with the rest of the stuff in my cube.

The Joy of Owning a Brompton: You have to own one to really appreciate it!

Peace :)

Keeping those hands clean

During the recent adventures with my wife's bike, I lost the last two pairs of Nitrile gloves I had in my commuter kit.


The ones I lost were complements of the nice mechanics at REI Dallas. Having gotten used to having them, I decided to buy a box of my own.

If you haven't tried using these, try 'em when you work on your bike next time. They help keep your hands clean. There are repairs which do not require you to touch the chain. But, when you have to mess with the chain, I find using these gloves a good alternative to using up the drinking water I carry to wash my hands or having to use a harsh soap to get rid of the grease. If you breakdown by the side of the road, these gloves are especially useful.

That's why I keep a pair or two in my commuter kit.

Peace :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hauling Happiness

On Saturday afternoon, Shaggy and Chaka were very happy to see what I brought home. That I went off to Home Depot, in search of things that a dog could care less about, did not seem to bother them.
In North Texas heat, it is good to be a dog in an air-conditioned environment. It helps to be a PHD (Professional Herding Dog) or MHD (Mongolian Herding Dog), so that some loving parents take good care of you :)

The more I haul cargo in my trailer, the more I am learning to maneuver it effectively and enjoy it. It takes a different kinda strength to haul cargo on a bicycle.

Hope your week is progressing well.

Peace :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chandra, Meet Chandra

Chandra - photographed by Chandra last Friday night!
Peace :)

Carradice Long Flag Camper v. Brompton T-bag

It was for Independence Day 2011 that I got my Carradice Long Flag Camper bag out for my Brompton. Geez, it has been long time.
Last night, I had to carry some packages to the Post Office. One good thing about the Brompton T-bag is that it is ginormous and it can carry tons of stuff. But, the not so great part is that if you try to put medium or large USPS Priority Mail boxes in it, as they rub against the handlebar and make driving a bit hard. These boxes being a somewhat rigid object makes it a pain in the neck to carry in the T-bag. You can't bungee it to the rear rack either, because your heel will rub against it.

During such "hard times", the Carradice Long Flag Camper comes in handy. You can stick a medium USPS Priority Mail box in it and not have to worry about the handle bar hitting the box. It definitely can not. The Carradice Long Flag Camper is attached to either the loops on the Brooks saddle or the SQR block, as I have done on Brahma.
See picture below to see how I have setup my Brompton to accept the Carradice using the SQR block on Brahma.
I like the Brompton T-bag for daily commuting. It has pockets where you can organize your stuff. My keys and spare spectacles (glasses) go in the zippered pouch on the left hand side of the bag. The built-in water bottle holder is a Godsend. The T-bag is great for hauling a lot of stuff. Since the T-bag attaches the to the block on the head tube, it does not turn with the bike, unlike handlebar bags. I love the T-bag for daily use.

I guess the Carradice has a special purpose. It is very classy looking and I like looking classy sometimes. Especially on my late night trips to the Post Office, when there is minimal traffic there. Just kidding!

So, tell me: If you have a Brompton, how do you carry your drink if you don't have a T-bag? I would love to hear your thoughts.


Peace :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lucy rides a bicycle

I seldom watch programming on television. I mostly like to watch movies, about 2x a month. But, recently, while programming the television, I found a local channel, telecasting a show I couldn't quite pass on.
Yes, it was the I Love Lucy show, where the four of them ride their bikes in Europe.

I haven't watched any comedy sitcoms in ages (over a decade plus), especially ones like the Lucy Show, I Love Lucy, Are You Being Served, etc. So, this episode of the I Love Lucy show was quite entertaining, because it was really funny and also because it involved bicycles.

Apparently, cycling was shown as a normal part of life, back then. I can't think of any new sitcoms that I have seen where people ride their bikes (perhaps with the exception of the show Wings). But, I don't watch enough TV, so I will leave it at that :)

Have a Great Week!

Peace :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mystery of the tubes that blowed - Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this two part post, I found the tires of my wife's bike were in questionable condition. Hence, I decided to replace them with brand new tires. I needed 700x38c and I couldn't think of a better choice than Schwalbe Marathon HS420 tires. I got these from Bill @ Wallingford Bicycles. As  one would expect from Wallingford, the good arrived soon after ordering, as promised.
All my bikes, have Schwalbe tires and I have never had a problem with Schwalbe products. They are very reliable. I look for durability and puncture protection in a tire product. Schwalbe Marathon, Marathon Extreme HS402 and Marathon Plus tires provide me the comfort I need, in knowing that they will not fail me on the road.

Below are some pictures of Schwalbe tires on my bikes.

1. Schwalbe Marathon Plus 20x1.75 Tires on Meera

2. Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x36 on my Americano

3. Schwalbe Marathon Extreme HS402 26x2.5 Folding Tires on my Thorn Nomad

4. Schwalbe Marathon 16x1.5 on my Brompton

5. Schwalbe Marathon 700x38c tires on my wife's Raleigh C80 Hybrid

I do have a pair of tires which are not Schwalbe. These are the Vittoria Randonneur Pro tires that came stock on my Americano. Since getting the Chukker wheel with the SON dynamo hub built a couple of years ago, I have not used the front wheel from the Americano, very often. I keep it aired and it is hanging in my workshop. I left the rear tire of the Americano as is. It is still the original Vittoria that came with the bike.

The Schwalbe Marathon tires come with GreenGuard*, which is a 3mm thick band of highly elastic India rubber under the tread. One-third of the GreenGuard is made of recycled latex products. I have the Schwalbe Marathon tires on Brahma.
One other thing I have noticed with Schwalbe tires is that you don't have to air the tire for a very long time, even if you ride it everyday. Some of my bikes have both the tires and the tubes made by Schwalbe (my Thorn Nomad, my Americano and my Brompton, for instance) and I do not air these tires for longer than a month at times and the tire pressure does not drop significantly** (< 5 PSI, at the maximum).
After the "blowed tubes" incidents, described in Part 1 of this post, I bought 2 more Avenir 700x35-45c tubes from Amazon. I try to buy locally, but none of the shops I called (the ones in Dallas/Irving) carried 700x38c tires or accessories.

Given the task of mounting the new tires and tubes on the Raleigh, I donned my nitrile gloves, got my Park Tool Tire Levers and tubes and went to work.
It took me more than a single attempt to get the tires to mount properly on the rear wheel, but the front wheel  was a breeze. I got the new tires and tubes mounted, aired-up the tires just a tad along the way, checked for any knots or bumps or irregular seating of the tires and then I aired-up the tires, using the guidance on the sidewall (I only put 60 PSI in the new tires) and mounted the wheels on the bike and put the bike back on the trainer. So far so good, things are working.

So, I thought the repairs on the Raleigh were done.

Little did I know: looks like the Raleigh could use some new brake pads. I am thinking KoolStop Salmon.
Well, I gotta order some brake pads now and get the old ones replaced. Anything for my good wife!

That's where my adventures stand as of now!

Any thoughts on what kinda of pads I need? Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance.

Peace :)


PS. * Information on GreenGuard courtesy of Wallingford Bicycles.


PPS. ** Significance referred to in this post is not to be confused with statistical significance testing.