The 365 Cyclist

Cycling Year Round in Canada

Archive for the category “Gear”

Bike Helmet Cover for Riding in the Rain

After a lot of experimenting, I’ve got my cold weather riding gear figured out. I’m also equipped to ride in nice weather … that’s easy.  But I’m still working on my gear for wet weather.

This time of year is the worst case scenario for wet weather riding.  Cold rain can turn a ride into an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience when the temperature is between 0 and 10 deg Celcius. I do not enjoy being wet and cold.

This past week I purchased a bike helmet cover from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) in Burlington, Ontario.

Secteur Helmut Cover

Secteur Bike Helmet Cover from MEC

This is the solution to keeping my head warm and dry when it rains. MEC had two choices of bike helmet cover designs. I chose this one because I thought the flap in the back would keep the rain off of my neck. The back flap can be removed with a zipper.

I tried it out this past Sunday while riding with a few of my friends. I had brought the helmet cover with me just in case it rained. About halfway through our ride it started raining hard. We stopped under some pine trees and I got out the helmet cover. It slipped over my helmet very easily. A draw cord secures it in place. It literally took just a few seconds. I strapped my helmet back on and we were off.

The result: The bike helmet cover passed the test. My head was warm and dry. I did not have any rain go down my neck. I am recommending this helmet cover for any wet riding. My only suggestion is that I wish the front bill was a little longer and a little stiffer. It was adequate but bigger would be better. Despite that, I’m very happy with this bike helmet cover. Riding in the rain just got a little more comfortable.

An Insulated Water Bottle Keeps Water From Freezing

We had some snow flurries today. It is motivating me to get ready for the approaching Winter riding. Last year I learned that when it gets really cold water freezes. I bought this insulated water bottle so my water wouldn’t freeze up. It won’t be long before I’ll be needing this.

Lost my Brakes Today

I knew my brakes on my “Bad Boy” were wearing down. I tightened the rear brakes up as much as I could prior to my morning ride today. My “Bad Boy” has Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes. The “BB” stands for Ball Bearing.

As I started a descent it happened … no rear brakes. I was able to slow using the front brake. I know from experience that jamming the front brakes can result in a trip over the handlebars. So I took it easy and headed home.

I took the bike to the bike shop this afternoon and got new pads. Bike brake pads are sure a lot cheaper than car brakes. They were $20.

Avid BB5 Brake Pads

Upon inspection the used pads were worn down to the shoe. Nothing left. These were the original pads on my Bad Boy. I had no idea how long a set of pads should last. I had about 2,500 km on that pair.

I am in the habit of favouring my rear brakes. The pair we installed today are metallic. Paul, at the bike shop, explained that there are organic and metallic pad options. The metallic last longer but can be prone to squeal. We’ll see how these last.

Bike Mounted Camera

I have been trying to improve my blogging and vlogging (Video Logging). I have been using my iphone and fuji point and shoot camera to “capture the moment”.  Now I have decided to take my vlogging to the next level. This requires some new video capture solutions … a bike mounted camera.

I was looking at ways to mount my current cameras to the bike. I took a trip to Henry’s Camera in Mississauga to find mounting hardware. We’ll they had exactly what I was looking for, however, there was a GoPro Hero 2 HD sports action camera attached to the mount. What could I do?

So I got my new mount and decided I better figure out how to use the handy camera that came with it.

Garmin Fit app for Iphone is Good

I found this app for Iphone. It uses the GPS built into the iphone to gather data similar to the Garmin 305 watch that I have been using. It’s no secret that I am a fan of the Garmin 305.  It has been a component of my motivation to get out and exercise more often. I have become used to downloading data to the Garmin MyConnect website to explore the routes that I have taken. I like that the Garmin is an odometer of all of my rides. I can compare mileage month to month. It is also nice to compare rides at different times of year, or with different people or different levels of effort.

The Garmin Fit is $0.99. It is simple, intuitive and does the job. I set up the app with auto sign in to the MyConnect website. When an activity is done it magically uploads the result to join the rest of my data.

Today I took a walk on the trails and tested it out. As I approached my driveway I pressed END on the iphone to stop the application. I went inside, logged onto the myConnect website and the map and data was there. It’s too cool.

I discovered the app while doing research in preparation for my upcoming Toronto to Niagara Falls ride. I’m concerned that the battery on my Garmin 305 watch won’t last as long as the ride will take. Riding in the cold weather shortens battery life even further.

I think I’ll use this iphone app for the ride. I plan to carry a zap pack so I can keep re-juicing the iphone along the way.

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.

Portland Design Works Takeout Basket

This is one very cool cargo solution from Portland Design Works. I especially like the slot for the U-lock.

Portland Design Works Takeout Basket

See it in action on Vimeo.

Heated Handle Bar Grips for Winter Riding

Winter riding is not far away. I am getting ready and beginning to prepare for some cold weather riding. I came across a company that makes heated handlebar grips. The company is A’me and here is the website. The product is called A’me Ergo Tri Grips.

I also found a Youtube video review of the grips.

These could be worth a try.

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