The 365 Cyclist

Cycling Year Round in Canada

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

Playing with Panniers

Bad Boy with Pannier

I am working on further enhancing the morphing abilities of my Bad Boy.

My Bad Boy started out as a hybrid / urban bike. After a month of urban riding, I ordered a 26″ mountain bike wheel set that morphed the Bad Boy into a hard tail mountain bike.

Last month I acquired a wheel set with ice-shedding discs and studded snow tires for the approaching winter riding.

Now I am working on morphing the Bad Boy into a touring bike.

Touring requires cargo. I have been researching, experimenting, and playing around with racks, bags and pannier solutions. I ended up buying a medium duty seat post mounted rear rack to hold a single, or set, of panniers. I have it fitted with a single pannier for now.

Flexibility is key for me. I want to be able to convert the Bad Boy between personalities in seconds. This system can give me cargo capacity in 60 seconds.  The manufacturer says it can hold 20kg (44 pounds). That seems like a lot of weight to cantilever off of a seat post. I don’t plan to load the rack to full capacity. A heavy load will require another solution.

For now, I want a system to hold about 20 pounds of stuff such as;  wind breaker, extra thermal layer, reflective vest, rain pants, a bag of milk, a loaf of bread, some veggies from the farmers market, an iPad. You get the idea.

Today was the day that I took out the new morphed Bad Boy touring bike with it’s new pannier system. It was a beautiful fall day and I rode to Oakville and back.

It worked out very well. The Bad Boy now has another personality that suites my needs.

New Noodle Saver – Limar 777

Soon I will be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Without lights, my riding will be limited to weekends. I have decided to get equipped for some serious weeknight riding.

I have acquired a couple of Cygolite Expilion’s … one mounted to the handle bars, one mounted to my helmet.

Cygolite Expilion 400

I then had the genius idea of taking my classic (17 year old) Vetta bike helmet and screwing the Cygolite helmet mount bracket to the top with a little epoxy resin. I figured that would hold the light very steady.

I gave the system a test this week on an experimental night ride. My idea worked great! The lighting solution was amazing. My only problem was that my old helmet did not fit very snug. As I bounced around over rocks and roots my bike helmet kept slipping around on my head. This required me to frequently reach up and reposition the helmet. The helmet fit needed a little more work.

Over the weekend I took my helmet / light system to the Van de Velo bike shop to see if they had some foam, or something, that I could glue inside to tighten the fit. I had the right idea. They did have foam kits. But when Paul (the shop owner) examined my helmet he looked at me with concern. Actually he looked at me like I was crazy. He said he had never seen anybody screw a light to a helmet. He was concerned that, if I crashed, those screws might end up in my skull. After a little reconsideration I decided that my screw mounted bike light idea might be a bit flawed. On top of that, he pointed out that my old helmet was the wrong size and had a few cracks in it.

As a result, I decided to spring for a new noodle saver (helmet). I will admit that not long ago I did not even know there were different types of helmets. Now I’m a little better informed. I decided to get a new, lightweight, road bike helmet. After trying several different ones, I decided on the Limar 777.

Limar 777 Road Helmet

Limar 777 Road Helmet

The fit was good and the colors match my Guru pretty well. The helmet is reasonably light (230 gms). It also has a crash guarantee. If I damage the helmet, and send the helmet to Limar, they will replace the helmet for $10. Hopefully, I will not need to exercise that option.

I took my Giro all purpose helmet, that I normally use, and mounted the bike light on top using a velcro strap and some electrical tape. It is not quite as rigid as screws and epoxy but I think it will be good. Having a dedicated night riding helmet saves me the time of removing and reattaching the light bracket. This would not be a big deal if the bracket is only added or removed once in a while. But I plan on doing a lot of night riding and I don’t want to waste time switching things around every time.

Giro helmet with Cygolight Expilion 250

Giro helmet with Cygolight Expilion 250 attached

I will admit that the bike light mounted on top of my helmet has a bit of geek factor. But I will only be wearing this helmet at night, in the dark. And it is a great solution to lighting the paths and trails in darkness.

I am retiring my 1994 Vetta Helmet. It served me well.

Speedvest is Clever and Cool

The Speedvest is something new that I find a bit geeky but cool. Ok, I admit it, probably no more geeky than riding at night with a bike light mounted on top of your helmet.

Speed Vest

This is a biking vest that displays your speed on your back. The Speedvest website provides links to instructions for making the vest. It is not yet commercially available.


This would good for my night rides.

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