Tryweryn sneaky weekend

Sneaky trip to Tryweryn in Wales, as river not running currently. Meteorite show watched from hammock, couple of runs on the river, quality time and proper relax.

Kimmeridge Bay small surf session

Not necessarily “arse killing”, rather relaxing session on the water for a change. Hope everybody had good weekend

DIY bonanza again

DIY bonanza continues, and again I recreated (almost) Alpkit bags. This time I made Mk2 of the frame bag I’ve got already. The bag is proven to be probably the most useful piece of kit, mostly for storing hardware like tent poles/pegs, pump, puncture kit, battery pack etc. The only change I’ve done this time is additional hole for cable on the side. Construction is simple not to say primitive. Two side panels on the left hole for cable
(corresponding with same hole in top tube bag) on the left (always dismounting on the left side) is zipper, and there’s no point to split the bag so it’s one large compartment. Polyester webbing around and stitched in places (Alpkit idea) to create attachment points for Velcro straps.
Top bag is a similar construction: two side panels, zipper in the middle, cable hole on the right. On front and bottom is piece of webbing sewn same way as on frame bag, to provide “loops” for velcro straps.
Both bags are made of Cordura type fabric which is quite stiff and thick, and probably better choice will be some kind of reinforced polyester or something. The problem with Cordura is when you sewing thick material like that it is real pain to make all tight corners nicely, but I wanted to make it on cheap from the stuff I already got. Anyway bags came out as expected, and despite the fact I’m not happy with quality of my stitching they should do the job. Below short story in pictures.

eccentric bottom bracket adjustment

Eccentric bottom bracket is neat idea for adjusting chain tension on singlespeed/gearhub bike. Basically, you can have vertical drop outs on the frame and removing installing rear wheel is always the same you don’t have to worry about adjusting chain tension like with horizontal drop outs. (and tensioners looks ugly IMHO)

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Avenir front rack (plus Ortliebs)

Hi

I had couple thoughts about distributing weight on the bike. I’ve been thinking about Salsa anything cage with some dry bags. Neat solution, quite like it, but will be a bit tricky to attach it to the fork in my case. What I really don’t like is the price for whole setup. One Salsa Cage in is UK £29 (need two). On top of that is pair of fancy Salsa bags or other dry bags (Porcelain Rocket) with size suitable for the cage, or DIY something.

Other option was Blackburn Outpost cargo cage. This one is around £17 per one. That’s better. Acceptable price, but again, a bit problematic to attach to my fork.

Finally I gave up and started looking for standard front panniers and rack. I’m not really original and went for Ortlieb. As I don’t really see the point paying more for Classic model, I bought “Front City”. Minimalistic design waterproofness guaranteed by Ortlieb and costs 51 quid per pair. Good.

Then I had a bit of dilemma with front rack. I found quite a lot of different designs, but really liked Avenir front rack. Googled about 2 days tried to find any information about dimensions and if they’re compatible with Ortliebs. No luck. The other thing to consider was compatibility with disc brakes. Anyway I decided to purchase the rack and try. I can always return if won’t be possible to fit them. Turned out the rack fits perfectly Ortlieb panniers. So just in case someone is searching for dimensions here we are:

IMG_1007

IMG_1004 IMG_1003

  IMG_0976

Two things you might don’t like. At first of all there’s no front joining so theoretically they can be “sucked” by front wheel and cause very nasty OTB. But I think as I have mudguards, the mudguard stays will be enough to prevent this from happening.

Once I checked the panniers fit and brakes won’t be a big problem, started to think how to securely attach them to fork. As I expected none of the fittings were ok for my setup and probably most bicycles will have same problem. The internet is full of similar stories as below:

“This front rack is great if you have very thin front forks, otherwise they just will not fit. I am ashamed to say that I resorted to hammering the fixing to make them fit and put dents in the front forks. If you are ordering online check and check again all measurements……now they fit and are very solid indeed !!! “

Well…, the guy gave 2 stars rating the product. On the other hand I’m just wondering why Avenir decided to give only small brackets (U bolts), which  in most cases won’t fit? Why they didn’t supply with another, bigger set of U bolts? Or just simply bigger U bolt? Cost for end customer will be probably around +£1.20. Strange.

Anyway at first of all, I needed bigger U bolt. as the one supplied originally with rack was way too small for my fork (the one suplied it’s really 20mm across, nonsense unless you’re owner of old steel frame). After measuring the fork 5 times I purchased suitable U bolt stainless steel 6mm (6 quid) 37mm across. Put some heat-shrink to protect fork. And here we are.

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Next I made two spacers instead of original one. The spacers are made of 5mm thick plastic. I’ve chosen the plastic as is incredibly easy to work with, but that can be done using alloy bar or something else.

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The mudguard stays eyelets are “sandwitched” between slightly oversized washers (I decided to use same threads as for mudguard stays).

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The other option for using mounting points only for rack only is Axiom axle runners or DIY similar thing from alloy sheet (might actually try it for my other bike which hasn’t got eyelets at all)

34954 diyr2 ditr1

Everything mounted, medium thread lock applied on all bolts. Done

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Keep’em rolling. Cheers.

Polaroid cube (thoughts and a bit of diy)

I grabbed one, just before going to Gran Canaria this year. Main purpose is to shot some picture/videos underwater, as well as some on the bike using it as “action cam”. So this is more like review.

Some facts at first of all. Polaroid is no longer Polaroid as you might remember (at least some old buggers like me). Now is more like mid range Chinese electronic company, but I found quite a bit of sample videos on YT and comparing the price I decided to splash some money and have a go with it.

Camera does exactly what says on the tin. Recording video in 1080/720 (in 5 minutes chunks ~300Mb) and shooting photos in about 5mpix. On the back under small lid is SD card slot, switch 1080/720 and microusb port, on top one button which is used to operate camera (all functions).

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Sounds crazy but I think one button operation is brilliant. Whole thing reminds me of an lomo camera and lomography idea. Picture quality is acceptable lets say, and that’s why the connotation with lomography – which is more focused on series of pictures and catching a moment and mood rather than quality. Even among the accessories you can find pendant and have it always handy.

Camera itself is not expensive – about £75 in EU, and comes without any mount at all (apart from magnet on the opposite side to switch button). Adding the mounts, on the other hand, might be a bit expensive affair. Mounts usually £15-18 for strap, helmet, tripod, bumper case and bike mount. Waterproof case is about £20 version with suction cup around £25. So all together, mounts might double the price easy.

These I think, all available mounts at the mo:

In my case the camera been used mostly for taking pictures on a move, snorkelling, cycling and will be used for wind/kite surfing in the future. I decided to slightly cut the costs in terms of mounts. For me one strap mount looked like will do almost all the things I need. I can attach it to helmet, I can attach it to bicycle handlebars (after a bit of tweaking*), I can attach to stick, to boom, etc. Tripod mount? maybe but at the mo I don’t think I’ll need it, suction cup? thank you, but no thank you ;-). Don’t like the idea at all. Anyway, it was unavoidable buying waterproof case, but again I’m able to attach waterproof case to strap mount, sorted. Bumper case? Not really essential thing, but again a piece of inner tube plus carabiner and I’ve got same functionality. So I ended up with standard strap mount and underwater case, plus a bit of diy’ing and it’s covering all usage.

Some samples. (youtube unfortunately cut the quality I’ll try upload again in full hd in the future)

Polaroid CUBE Polaroid CUBE

Polaroid CUBE

Some underwater shots:

Cons
Is not really a con but after using it for two weeks I’m really missing intervalometer. I know that’s quite an ask for this kind of camera but anyway that will be quite nice feature. Just shot pictures every two minutes or so.

Camera needs quite a bit of light. Night shots not as nice as in daylight. For me that’s not an issue as it’s used as “action cam” almost exclusively. Haven’t got really a sample in poor light but that can be found on YT.

Pros.

Light and small. That’s what you need on a bike. Example shoots below. Quite a bit experimenting with different mounts, and I’ve ended up with simple solution attaching the cam underneath my Garmin with simple silicone band which is ultralight 😉

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Love the one button operation. Intuitive and functional.

Looks like is well build and Polaroid claiming it as “splash proof” which I think is true.

* To attach the strap mount to handlebars I had to make custom adaptor using black Suguru plus short strap which I believe might be even better option than clamp from original bicycle mount. Pictures will tell the story. Basically I’ve used cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebars and camera.

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Suguru + cling film + handlebar

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everything wrapped in cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebar and mount

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a blob of Suguru squashed against handlebar

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desired shape with “center point” to prevent sleping the pad from underneath the mount

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after 24h hardening

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velcro sewed to strap

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ready to go

A bit About configuration. Once camera is attached to computer and clean SD card inserted the software is copied to the card as well as directory structure created. At first I was thinking that the only way to configure the camera is to run supplied software (Windows/Mac), but as I’m not using windows I found actually quicker way to do it. In root directory of the card there are two files: settings.txt and time.txt the only thing the supplied software is doing is changing content of those. I found that once camera is connected to pc by supplied cable settings.txt can be easy edited in any text editor and saved. All you need is change UPDATE to Y (yes) and save file.
Structure of the file is quite simple:

CUBE-V1.01
UPDATE:N
FORMAT
LightFrequency:0
TimeStamp:0
CycleRecord:1
BuzzerVolume:30
——————————-
LightFrequency
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz  1:50Hz
TimeStamp
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
CycleRecord
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
BuzzerVolume
0 ~ 50, def:5

Four parameters to change and underneath the description.

Time.txt – same thing. Set up date and time in supplied format, switch UPDATE to Y save file job done.

Keep’em rolling

Adam