Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Garmin remount

Short note regarding moving my Garmin Edge 305. Moving it off the stem to the top tube has helped. It still dies sometimes when clicking the "enter" button, but at least it is much more reliable during regular riding.

Drives me batshit to look down and see it has turned itself off for who knows how long...

-Evil C.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garmin. Get your house in order

Last Weeks Miles: 58 ( Total slacker. In my defense, it rained 4 days)
Last Weeks Road Kill: 0

First of all this rocks. It needed to be done and its funny:

Secondly, my Garmin 305 is beginning to try my patience. Its one of those 90/10 things. The device is 90% great. Its the remaining 10% that is beginning to make me nuts.

1.My biggest gripe is that the system will occasionally shut down while riding.
  • This apparently is due to vibration breaking the contact between the batteries and the circuit board. This is a common problem.
  • I have disassembled and followed the golden path laid down here.
  • This only worked for about three months. Its happening again. I moved the unit from my stem to my top tube to see if the lower vibration area will help, as I hate to crack it open again. I'll keep you posted.
2. Occasionally the unit will lock up or not power up. This issue can be seen by clicking here. To save you the click, here is the fix: "Press and hold the mode and lap/reset button simultaneously for roughly 5 seconds to reset the unit. ........, but after roughly 5 seconds, let go of that button combination and press the power button." If you check out the link above, you will see this has been a known issue since at least June 12th of last year. Way to jump right on that Garmin!

3. The 305 only allows 100 "waypoints/coursepoints", which makes it useless for long ride navigation. Disregarding the poor map display on both the device and in Garmin Training Center, in theory you can use to create maps/routes, which is an AWESOME tool. ( I'm sure there are other great tools, so don't take offense if I don't mention your website. Okay, take offense, I don't really care. ) With BRT create your own maps that can be uploaded to devices using TCX or GPX files. EXCEPT a typical map may have hundreds, if not thousands of waypoints. Its not a huge amount of data, as its only text, but its more than the Garmin 305 can handle. Its trivial in actual RAM. Upshot: To use a map created with BRT on your Garmin 305, you have to very manually and vary laboriously trim down the waypoints/coursepoints. It sucks and in some cases is not possible.

So, you would think that the Edge 705 , the latest version, would be better. Nope. Exactly the same.
Garmin is missing a huge boat here. The ability to create routes with BRT/Google/Open Maps is fantastic, but if I can't use it on my Garmin, I'll buy a $10 application for my iPhone ( which does mapping nicely) instead of upgrading to the Edge 705.

If somebody has a workaround, or an update for this, please let me know. I also see this:

Which indicates that it may be possible to have more turns or stops than that, up to 250, or up to 500 trackpoints. Not sure how this would work with BRT, but still not enough. For example, a common 60 mile ride I have has over 1,000 waypoints in BRT.

Anyhow, if I CAN't easily crate good maps on my PC and send them to the device, I am not upgrading to the 705 and will find a better alternative. There are several iPhone apps that provide good alternatives. These come with the typical iPhone downsides :
-Comparitively short battery life;
-Tend to stop or fail when phone rings. Poor multitasking.;
-Not water resistant ( depending on case).

-Evil C.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday: New Peeve

Last Weeks Miles: 104
Last Weeks Road Kill: 3

No ride on Sunday, spent the day rearranging the Evil Lair at the behest of Mrs. Evil.

I need to spout off on my current peeve, but an ugly, uncomfortable confession is required first.

Sometime I get passed while riding.

Okay, there, it's out in the open. There are riders out there that are faster than me, or enjoy me in their rear view as opposed to gazing at my magnificent backside.

To my credit, this typically happens when I am commuting, so mitigating factors include:
  1. I commute with a 20 lb backpack;
  2. I'm in no real rush to get to the lab;
  3. No coffee in system yet;
  4. The fact that after drafting in my huge wake for the last half hour, the "passer" may be rested and refreshed for the pass.
But, I get passed. Fair enough.

But, you passing bastards: MAKE SOME NOISE when you pass. Anything from a simple "passing" to a bell or a cough. Don't pass in silence. Its startling and its dangerous.

I, and most riders, can easily hear cars. (Car drivers take note: No need to honk, we know you are there. Exception being the hateful Prius. ) But a cyclist coming from behind blends into the background noise. End result: I don't know you are there until I catch you in my peripheral vision.

I repeat for emphasis: It's startling and it's dangerous. I could swerve a bit to miss some debris and hit you. Or I could hit you out of spite, just for passing me.

All that bloodshed could just be avoided had you, the passing cyclist, just made some noise.

Don't think for a minute that I really want to talk to you. I don't want to exchange pleasantries about how nice it is this time of year. I don't want to have to acknowledge your compliments of my cool ride or bright lighting system, only to have to fabricate half-hearted compliments as replies. I just don't want to get hurt. In return, I promise not to swerve into you or mutter nasty things about you as you continue on your oblivious way. Understood?

-Evil C.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night

Just like the Bay City Rollers. Only less tartan.
Really nothing like them.
Been slow two weeks. Not many miles. Head cold and odd work schedule.
Yet, I carry on. If my head clears, I'll knock out 30 or 40 miles tomorrow. If still a snot filled bag of agony, less miles.

-Evil C.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pedals: Reincarnated

I came home from the lab today and found my repaired Speedplay pedals here. They did not completely replace them, but very clearly rebuilt them and replaced parts where needed.

Trying to decide whether to mount them now, or wait until my Quattros fail.

-Evil C.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flat 2: Into The Valley of Death...

Some places are just cursed: King Tut's Tomb, the Burmuda Triangle, Madonna's crotch. I have a new place to add, which shall forever be known as:
"Evil Cyclist's Valley of Death"
This area has caused more than half of all the flats I have had over the past four years in which I commuted to the Evil Labs.

Flats are a fact of life when commuting. Typically I deal with them by flogging some minions and then just move on with my life. However, much like Agrajag, I eventually noticed a pattern; this spot was out to get me. My last post concerned a flat in this very same area. I didn't commute again until yesterday, due to a schedule deviation ( i.e. Track Out for the Evil-ettes) and got another flat. I had not even replaced the tube in my seat pack, so I was forced to endure patching the ruptured tube.

I have had at least six flats in this area, all of them involving small bits of wire, thinner than your average staple. The area itself is unremarkable, and although there is some new construction catty corner from where I ride, that has not been there for all the flats. Indeed, the only obvious item of interest is that this area lies in a bit of a valley, so perhaps the rain washes debris to the spot more than others. But why here, one very small part of my entire commute?

Really, I have to believe that this is more than just random chance, not a statistical anomaly, but instead, a delicious, malicious plan. Somebody is trying to "out evil" me.

Who is the plotter? Some clever twit eager to get my off my bike and prove their worth? A spurned ex-lover who stews in her own loss, looking for sweet revenge? An old high school math teach who simply never liked me? I don't know, but I will find out! Then, I will lay out my revenge, for all of you as a warning: Taunt Not the Evil Cyclist!

_Evil C.

Monday, September 7, 2009


When I built up the new hotness, I also started with new tires, Continental Grand Prix 4000 w/ Black chili. Ummm, tasty!

700x25 if you care, riding at 110 Psi.

I have quite a few miles on them now, and I have to say I like them. They are wearing very well, the traction seems great and, until today no flats.

However, today, on a quick trip into the Evil Labs, I got a staple through the rear tire tire. Ouch. The real irony was that I was actually carrying a floor pump with me because the pump head on it had failed and I was going to mail it into the manufacturer for repair. I was swapping it out with the floor pump I keep at the Labs. So I had a pump, but still had to use CO2 to fill the tire.

Its called Karma, and mine sucks.

-Evil C.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shiva: The Destroyer of Pedals

Last Weeks Miles: 171
Last Weeks Road Kill: 2

Went on a 72 mile ride on Sunday through the rolling NC countryside. Some of it was depressing, as only run down mill towns can be during an economic downturn. Some of it was nice, as only wealthy retirement golf communities can be. As a side note, I was chased by dogs in three different locations. The fastest dog was some very little terrier type who quite frankly hauled ass and did not give up. No huge threat, and rather amusing.

Big news is that I broke another pedal. If you have been following, you know I switched back to Crank Brother Quattros, after my right Speedplay Light Actions self destructed. The earlier switch to Speedplay was after my original Quattro right pedal shaft snapped.

Because I bought a pair of Quattros while waiting for the original pair to return from warranty replacement, I eventually had two pair of very lightly used Quattros, one set black and the other blue.

I was riding the black set on Sunday when I started to notice a very annoying squeal during each pedal stroke. This was at about mile 30 of a long unsupported ride, so mechanical failure would be a major problem. The sound seemed to come from my left foot, so I popped out my shoe and noticed the outside endplate was missing and the fasteners that went through the pedal to the inside end plates were just sticking out unsecured. Here is a picture of the damaged pedal in comparison to a picture of a healthy pedal showing the parts. The big circle shows the missing piece and the little circles show where the fasteners come through the pedal.

I have no idea when the end cap dropped off. I never heard it fall, and I have not hit anything that would cause damage.

Apparently, that cap serves to hold some type of bearing and its grease in place. Lack of these two items in some form was causing the squealing. However, I had no real choice but to carry on. Other than the very annoying noise, and some wobble and drag, the pedals still worked fine. Because suspense is a major stress creator, and I don't want to kill you by misplaced concern, rest assured that I completed all 72 miles.

So, I have a spare Quattros, which have already been installed ( although the blue looks awful on the new hotness), and I will send the defective item back to Crank Bros to see if they will replace it. I also have the Speedplay pedals coming back soon, so I am not stranded, or really even greatly inconvenienced, but the big question is:

Why are my pedals failing?

My original Shimano 105 ( Look compatible) pedals lasted for thousands of miles before finally wearing out, not really failing. My first set of Crank bros Quattros were probably good for about 10,000 miles. But I have gone through three different pedals in the last roughly 1,500 miles. I'm lighter than I have ever been, I maintain them properly, no wrecks, accidents or abuse, and still they fail. Grrrrr...

I will keep you posted on how Crank bros handles this failure, and when I get the Speedplay's back.

-Evil C.