The Ever Abused Pedal

The first time I rode a bike without the usual toe straps was quite an experience, 1991. Early SPD’s (Shimano pedals), with the tension not adjusted to a good place. Tension adjustment on a pedal reminded me of ski bindings, had a bad experience with those once, didn’t let go when it should have, lead to a leg cast for a few weeks, got better eventually.

That day with new pedals taught me two things- know how to fall, and to look closer at new stuff for hidden secrets. I hobbled into a local hardware store the next day and found an Allen wrench small enough to drastically reduce the tension on the pedals. Everything was great now, I could get out of these easier than toe straps! No more embarrassing falls after stopping. Wet roots and rocks was such a good place to learn how to fall over!

Stumpy
The Eggbeater! These have been on my Specialized Black and Tan for almost 3 years!

A friend offered me a pair of Crank Bros Eggbeaters, in 2003, https://www.crankbrothers.com/collections/pedals. I like new stuff, especially free new stuff, so I said YES! Why was he giving them away? I was suspicious. He said he kept falling over, couldn’t get released. He said they weren’t adjustable like SPD’s, but had a lot of movement around the cleat. Sounded great to me, I never liked the precise positioning of the SPD and had no desire for increasing any tension mechanisms.

After a quick study of the cleat, odd shape, and pedals, I mounted everything, and went for a ride. I could not believe my friend didn’t like these and that he couldn’t get out of them easily, and it was much easier getting in and out of them, with four entry points. No hidden internal gunk collecting parts, just simple bars and springs, all external. Too simple to be true!

Giant
After a year and a half on the Giant TRANSMIT, walked quite a bit on this cleat set!

After 16 years riding Eggbeaters, I’ve had no complaints. The only pedal I’ve considered switching to is a fat set of carnivorous flats, but that’ll require some commitment to a learning curve. I’ve had a few different models of the Eggbeater, but never the titanium version. The Ti model was always out of my price range, I was always at the $100 level on pedals. And all these cheaper versions have been great.

Pedal Pile
Only a few of these are “unusable”, (using my definition)

You probably would not call me a normal “roadie”, never chased points and upgrades, but I really enjoy long endurance rides. I had a set of road pedals at one time, and after trying to walk in them I decided it was an unnecessary punishment. I’ve been running eggbeaters on everything for many years, and the comfort of the MTB (mountain bike) shoe while off the bike, and not sliding down on a chunk of plastic mounted to a shoe is a huge plus!

CX
Six months on the Road/CX bike

Why have I bought new Eggbeaters? Four parts will wear over time- spindle bearings, springs, the bars, and the cleats. What’s the worst failure point? A Candy pedal body left the spindle on a ride once, the securing nut had worked loose and it slid right off. Fortunately, the dust cap was on and all the parts were there. I reassembled, and this worked a while, but eventually it came loose again and I lost parts that time.

I won these Candies in a race, but didn’t want another set, just a plain Eggbeater, so I put the Candies in the back of the bike space, lost forever, and got a new set of Eggbeaters. The bearings will get a little clunky after a couple years, but I always just get a new pair instead of replacing the worn parts. And that leads me to my replacement process.

I’ve worked this out for years and it fits my requirements. No scientific testing here, nor precise evidence, but I have a process. When I get a new set, I put those on the bike, but not the new cleats. Why? Remember, I don’t like a tight fit, and this combo of new pedal and old cleat provides the feel I like. After about six months I’ll replace the cleats. By then the old cleats are almost unrecognizable, I walk a bit on mine (single-speed MTB requires occasional walks). With this replacement process, I can stretch my “new pedal experience” out for almost a year.

Even though the cleats sometimes are unrecognizable, they still work! As it wears down, it will fit loose, and sometimes a little clicking sound occurs during crank rotation. I’ve seen a broken bar on one (I didn’t do it). I’ve seen the remains of the broken titanium spindles, and resulting leg injuries. I may have considered the Eggbeater 11 Ti version, especially while on a team with a great price connection, but I shied away due to the broken ones I had seen. The weight difference between the 11 and the 3 is only about 2 Snickers Bars, so I could just leave two of those at home before heading out on a ride!

My collection has varied between the 1, 2, and 3. I have a set of 1’s on my CX/road bike now, because the store I was buying supplies at only had the 1’s. The 3’s always feel better (completely subjective assessment based on the price and perceived quality after paying a little more). If I had kept records over these 16 years, I might be able to say the 3’s last longer. However, the only accurate claim I can make is that these have always been worth the price, providing an interface with the bike that requires minimal thought.

https://marschocolate.com/snickers/snickers-original-single

https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/technologies/component/details/spd.html

 

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Tubeless Stress

Tubeless Stress- At least that’s what I call the mental condition I get stuck in every time I setup a new tire. This began years ago, with my first tire conversion, 2004 maybe. These were not any version of “tubeless ready” and the rims had no hints at any special design features to allow this change. I didn’t trust it to stay inflated, constantly giving the tires a squeeze. One of those first tires popped a bead, on a landing, and no matter how hard I tried, it would not seal again.

With every tire replacement, or other set of wheels, I’d get stressed out going through the initial setup. Will it seal? Will it hold pressure? Will the bead roll in a fast turn? Stress! I still get it, even though tires and wheels have changed a bit since. Success is definitely more common now. But, sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Of all the fails over the years, the sealant has never been an issue, until now.

Years ago, Pedro’s quit selling their dry lube. I found a great replacement in Finish Line’s dry lube. Well, Finish Line created a tire sealant, and being a dedicated fan, I had to try it. On a visit home in mid 2018, I stocked up on some bits and pieces, including two bottles of FL sealant, http://www.finishlineusa.com/products/tubeless-tire-sealant, and two new Hutch Sector 28’s. I had planned not to mount these for another month or so, but was really anxious to use what would become my new favorite sealant! I decided to mount these new tires on my secondary road tubeless wheelset.

Finish Line Sealant
Finish Line Tubeless Tire Sealant

Since I was impatient, as always with new things, my old tires became the guinea pig. These tires were a year old, Hutch Sector 28’s, that were having difficulty holding air. I had added four patches to one and added more Stan’s sealant. They’d hold air for a while, and then noticeable loss over bight. This was getting old, and I had the solution!

I read the label on the new sealant. Nothing odd in the instructions. I drained the old sealant and added the new. I was relaxing already, knowing these tires would be cured. Well, that high didn’t last through the first day, had to add about 50 psi in the morning, to get to my normal of 80. Lost air while sitting in the office, had to pump before riding home. After a few days, they were doing better, and then got worse again. Hmm, this new sealant just didn’t cure my tire illness.

Now it was time to just get the new tires and start from scratch. The bead setup great, usual pops. Great! Next day, a little air was lost. No “milk beads” anywhere, except a little around the bead, but no clue it was fresh. I pumped. Rode. Next day, same thing. No air loss for about a week. Then back to loss, randomly. A month later, I put them on my main road wheelset, Easton EA90s. These have no spoke holes, eliminating tape issues. Guaranteed setup, usually.

Leaks. Sealed for a few days. Leaks. Good for a few days. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lose pressure during a ride, always good for confidence, started cutting rides short. New tires, new sealant, added more sealant, foolproof rims. I give up.

Before I moved, I was mixing sealant, varying the recipe constantly, but they all worked. I started with the world famous “Wadester” recipe, from down the road in Las Cruces. I only changed the mixtures because I was finding a new version every time I searched on line. Haven’t tried to find the needed ingredients here, in South Korea, I just order a new bottle of Old Reliable occasionally.

Stan's
Stan’s Tire Sealant (Old Reliable)

I removed the Sectors, inspected and scrubbed them and the rims, mounted with a dose of Old Reliable. I was thinking the tires may have an issue, fingers crossed! But all is well, tires sealed, works as expected. Only have to add air as normal, (at least what I’ve learned is normal). So, my two bottles of FL sealant is now only one third of one bottle, and will remain that way, sitting on a shelf, lonely, forgotten. I used almost a full bottle in the first set of tires, and over half a bottle in the new set, and it just didn’t work as expected. I don’t know why the tires were drying out either, as the FL sealant was supposed to last longer. (“Never Dries Out”)

I’ve thought Stan’s had changed the formula over the years, maybe, maybe not. But I do know that calling it Old Reliable is a safe title. Maybe I did something wrong in my experience with the FL sealant, but I have added, mixed, combined, more sealant products and my recipes than I can remember, and never had this issue. If the Finish Line product changes, I may try it again, but for now, I have a Finish Line paperweight on far end of the bench.

http://www.finishlineusa.com/

https://www.notubes.com/

https://www.eastoncycling.com/products/details/ea90-sl-disc-wheels

 

Making a Singlespeed

It may be no secret that I’ve been riding singlespeed since around 2009. Yes, I did ride a few geared bikes in that time- spent a week on many speed Specialized road bike, a couple years on a Norco downhill bike, and a random ride here or there on other bikes. But most of miles have been on one gear, either freewheeling or fixed, for a few years now. When it came time for a new cyclocross bike, I had the opportunity to get a geared bike and convert it, which is often a better loaded bike than the three “off the shelf” singlespeeds I had bought before.

I was “connected” to a Cannondale dealer, which resulted in an amazing deal on a 2015 CAADX Rival Disc, couldn’t pass this up, even if it meant I would have to solve the SS problem. After much research, I found the best solution- Wheels Manufacturing, makes BB30 Eccentric Bottom Brackets!  https://wheelsmfg.com/bottom-brackets/ebb/eccentric-bb-for-bb30-24mm-shimano-cranks-black.html

withbox
A little worn, but still works great!
endview
Not new, but you can see how it works, a little.

The bike did not get ridden until it was converted, but it did have one small issue. BB30, (if it still exists), must have a stop for the bearings to rest against. On this bike, it only had C-clips, got lucky. Some bikes had machined ridges of BB material, but not mine. So what was the issue? For some unknown, to me, reason, Cannondale didn’t machine completely, the inside of the BB shell. This resulted in a ridge of aluminum, vertically, in the center and on the back 1/3 of the shell. The issue?

bbshell2
The grinding scars are visible in both images.

The EBB assembly has two bolts reaching through the BB space, connecting both sides, and providing the position security when tightened. The bolts would move past the excess material in the BB space stopped full rotation and reducing the chain tension adjustability needed. I ground it down smooth with a grinder bit on a drill. With this free movement, the system allows a 2 rear tooth increase or decrease, without breaking the chain.

bbshell1

This EBB was well worth the retail price, $135.00, as I now have 18,070.6 miles on it, (as of 31 January 2019). No problems at all. I remove, clean, replace, every couple of months, but no issues. I had a thought that I wasn’t using the correct tools for removal and replacement, it’s a very tight fit, but can rotate easily with a spanner. I contacted Wheels Manufacturing, and although I really wanted some shiny new tools, they said I didn’t need anything special. Dagnabbit! (Even though I’m not old enough to use that word). Shiny tools are a drug!

angleviewwithgrease
After a good cleaning, I add some grease to all the contact areas.

With the Enduro bearings, and with proper installation, this thing may last the life of the bike; I’m in no hurry to solve this again with another conversion product, but the challenge is always good. There’s always some kind of issue with everything, so, I’ll admit, it rotated on two rides last year. Not a big deal, if you don’t mind a sagging chain, but those tend to bounce off the ring easily. This may have happened due to not tightening after adjustment, not sure of any other way this thing could move. I had to get creative and find a way to rotate this thing without a spanner. I solved it both times, but decided I should carry some type of “correct” tool for the job.

topview

I found the Pedro’s Trixie, and it looked like the best option. You’re right, haven’t had an issue since I’ve been hauling this weightless tool on all my rides. Other issues? I thought the EBB was creaking, a few times. I did the cleaning thing, didn’t go away. I later discovered my freewheel body was eating itself from the inside out. Could be a SS torque issue.

typicalspanner
Typical spanner wrench.
trixie
Pedro’s Trixie wrench!

WM makes a few versions of this EBB, should solve most any need. Make sure you get the right one! And enjoy a simple conversion, and no chain tensioners.

 

https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA

https://wheelsmfg.com/bottom-brackets/ebb/eccentric-bb-for-bb30-24mm-shimano-cranks-black.html

https://pedros.com/products/toolsfor-the-ride/trixie-black/

 

SPOT GEN3 “Find Me!”

Ever had THE situation? You decided to get out of the house, for a trail run, or a bike ride, and after you reached the farthest point from civilization, the train left tracks. Or, your bike broke, or worse, you are injured and absolutely cannot proceed. Maybe you were cruising a fast descent and left the road into a ditch, out of site of others.

And there you are, recalling how you promised you knew what you were doing and would be home soon. Can’t get up, stuck. This never happens to any of us, or so we believe until it does. What do I do now?

I use Garmin Livetrack, sometimes, but not today, the phone signal was weak, I knew it would drop off. How long will it take for me to be found?

spot

And that is why I a SPOT GEN3 around August of 2017, https://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=100. Friends had been posting their “follow me” links for long events, and I could see the results. Knowing this device has the SOS button, it seemed like a good solution to a problem we never want to have, such as the scenario above.

After a year and a half of use, I have never pressed the HELP or the SOS buttons. I use the “I’M OK” button randomly, on long events only. SPOT says the SOS button will get me rescued anywhere in the world. I trust that claim.

TRACKING, CHECK IN, CUSTOM MESSAGE, HELP, AND SOS buttons are easily accessible, with the protective (or preventative) covers on the HELP and SOS buttons. These silicone covers have been a mild issue, one of them began opening itself, and didn’t feel secure when closed again. With the risk of an accidental SOS signal, I thought it best to cover both a little strip of Gorilla Tape, (many tubeless bike tire “experts” have a roll).

spot and larabar
Not too big!

The SPOT site offers discounts occasionally, I got mine for $150.00. While many people may balk at the service cost, $199.99 for a year, the peace of mind it provides is worth the price. I won’t go into detail on operation, there’s plenty of info easily available. Mine goes from bike to bike to running hydration vest constantly. My running vest is the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vest 4.0, https://ultimatedirection.com/adventure-vest-4-0/. That vest was purchased specifically for the variety of “sky facing” pockets, which can be an issue. SPOT says completely unblocked horizontal alignment with the sky is required, but many users have discovered variations that work fine.

spot and larabar 2
Not much thicker than a LARABAR

There are other similar devices, SPOT has a new model with much more capability, and GARMIN has entered the market. You just have to decide which features are needed. I’d buy this one again!

https://www.larabar.com/ YUM YUM!

https://www.gorillatough.com/gorilla-tape/

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/fitness/use-garmin-livetrack-track-activities-real-time/

 

The Indestructable Sock

Somewhere around 2008, I had the opportunity to buy some Big Wheel Racing team socks, from Sock Guy, http://www.sockguy.com/. Thinking they wouldn’t last long, I ordered five pair. I didn’t expect what wouldn’t happen!

20190123_071131

These are 10 years old, AND THEY WILL NOT DIE! Each pair has been abused, meaning long mtb dirt filled shoe events, long road rides, and trail runs. I wear these off the bike, in dress pants to the office, anywhere with anything.

All 10 socks are still in good shape, no holes, maybe they’ve thinned a little, but not much. I’ll gladly get more socks from Sock Guy!

 

Blackburn Outpost Top Tube Bag

bb bag left

I’ve used four assorted top tube bags on many of my bikes. This bag is by far the largest one, and I’ll say the best! Why? I think Blackburn created this bag with everything I wanted. It comes with two of those wide straps on the top tube, and the narrower strap for the head tube. The bottom straps have three placement slots, allowing great flexibility in mounting, and if these straps aren’t long enough for the frame design, you can add any strap that will fit the slot, (I had to do that on my mountain bike frame). The typical road bike ride doesn’t require the security as mtbing needs, I use two top tube straps on the mtb. https://www.blackburndesign.com/bags/outpost-bag-collection/outpost-top-tube-bag.html

bb bag top

From the top view, you can see the width of this bag, it is much wider than the minimalist bags I’ve used, those were about the width of this top tube. Even with this extra size, my knees do not hit the bag. One oddity of top tube bags is how they sit on the tube. Notice that hydraulic brake line that is off to one side. This bag requires occasional re-centering. This can be reduced by using two straps, and a good tug on each.

The mesh pocket is a great place for quick grab items, or on mine, you’ll see my SPOT GEN3, https://www.findmespot.com/en/ , I’ll cover that device soon. I chose this bag based on the measurement of that mesh pocket, thought the SPOT would fit and would get enough “sky exposure” in that position. It was snug the first time I pushed it through the opening, but after many times, it slides in easily and is still secure.

bb bag top 2

This is a 12 ounce RedBull (https://energydrink-us.redbull.com/en) in the bag, fits easily with room left over. Road rides often need a little boost at store stops, and I sometimes grab an extra RedBull for the road.  I usually fill the bag with ride food, or a special tool, or other items as needed. There are two zipper pulls and both are easy to slide, even around the corners, although you may need to support the bag a bit while doing this. I usually don’t take the rear zipper all the way around the front, this allows easy one handed opening and closing.   It’s not insulated, but a cold drink will stay near the desired temperature for a little while, better than a jersey pocket! The red color is good for visibility of assorted items within the bag. A nicely designed velcro divider comes with the bag, I’ve never used it, mostly because it slightly limits the type or size of items.

bb bag right

There are two outside slots, the left one is zippered, and this right one is not secured, but it holds an ID card nicely! I need one to get to the office, and at first I worried it would bounce out and be lost, leaving me trying to explain to security where I lost it and begging to let me get to work. Of course that only happens during really cold rides or pouring rain!

I was curious how waterproof the bag would be. I’ve ridden in a few soaking rains, and some water did get in, but not enough to collect or fill like an open dish. It did dry quickly with the lid left open. If you need to load it with a non-water resistant phone, or similar item, just wrap that device in a plastic grocery bag, or zip lock bag.

Would I buy another one of these bags? I’ve been abusing this bag for over two years, (purchased in August 2016) and no aspect has failed. The mesh pocket always spreads open and holds onto whatever I insert. I’ve overloaded the main compartment and the zipper always closes. Retail price is $49.95, and I did buy another one! I grew tired of moving it between my two bikes, so I bought a second one just to solve that issue. The headset stack on the mtb is shorter and that front strap on the bag has a lower slot that I could move that strap down to, and it snugs up nicely to the steerer tube with that great design feature.

Peloton Wallet

Ever had a perfect wallet?

20190117_152826

I’ve been through many! Went a few years with no wallet at all, just kept track of cards and cash, somehow.

I’ve had this leather wallet from Peloton Magazine, https://pelotonmagazine.com/, for maybe three years now. It’s not big, or full of features. Only has two slots, which I keep stuffed with a few cards, a couple of dollars, and maybe 50 to 100k WON (₩). This was designed to fit a jersey pocket, and the chain link pull tab is to help find it and pull it from the pocket, works great!

20190117_154534

Leather is absorbent, and with the high humidity here in SoKo in the summer, I sometimes put this in a plastic baggy. Nothing like paying with damp Bill’s.

I enjoy the real leather aspect and the simplicity, I’d buy another one if needed, and I don’t recall the price, sorry.

 

 

#pelotonmagazine

#2old2bpro