How to Make Your Own Cycling Shoes

May 5th, 2010 [print] 2 comments

I don’t normally do DIY posts, but since this project is both simple, cheap, and easy to explain, I figured I’d share.  Basically, all we’re doing here is turning a pair of normal shoes into incognito cycling shoes for use with clipless pedals.  As we all know, typical cycling shoes look pretty damn dorky, so it’d be nice to have a pair of shoes that you could put on to ride over to a buddy’s house in a pair of bluejeans should the occasion arise.  Or, maybe you’re headed to class, don’t plan on doing much walking, and it’d just be easier to take some cycling-specific shoes that don’t shout to everyone that you’re a lame-o cyclist.

Whatever your need for them, here’s how you’re gonna do it…

What you need:

— 1pr of old cycling shoes (yours or someone else’s, but make sure they fit your feet)
— 1pr of normal shoes
— A box cutter, plus scissors or whatever other cutting device you’d like to use
— Contact cement or other extremely strong clue
— Something to mark a cutting template with, such as tape or a paint marker
— Old newspaper

Step 1 – Find some old cycling shoes.  You probably have an old pair that you never threw out, but if not, then hit up your buddies, local bike shops, or beg for some on Craigslist.  Either way, get some and try not to spend any money on them since you’re about to tear them to pieces.  Just about anything willl work, so for my project, I used some 7-yr-old Cannondale mountain bike shoes that I replaced last year.

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Categories: How To Tags:

How to Improve GoPro Hero 5MP Wide Audio

March 21st, 2010 [print] No comments

GoPro has improved the audio on their latest HD version of this camera, but most people still use the standard-def version I have here.  The video is decent quality for the price, but the audio is definitely a sore spot for everyone.

Although GoPro added an external audio jack to the HD version, your only option for the normal camera is the lousy built-in mic on top of the camera itself.  Of course, most people use the camera inside its water-proof case, making audio an even bigger issue for two reasons:  camera vibration inside the case, and the inability to pick up a decent level of sound from outside the case.  Recently, I discovered a work-around on MTBR.com that I thought I’d share here.

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Categories: Cycling, How To, Videos Tags:

Haven't Posted in a While

January 23rd, 2010 [print] No comments

I seem to neglect this website more than I’d like to, nowadays.  I’m still actively riding–when it’s dry outside–so between that, work, posting photos on Flickr, and everything else, this website rarely crosses my mind.

Typically, I don’t ride much over the winter months, with the occasional exception being a rare 50° day in January or February, but this year I decided I was going to ride no matter how cold it got.  Through some trial and error, I found a system that keeps me warm enough to ride, without making me feel too bogged down under heavy clothes.  To plug a great product, I’d have to say the biggest help in staying warm has been a pair of Performance neoprene booties that fit over my cycling shoes.  I’d link to the product, only I hear they’ve been discontinued.  However, there are other geat models on the market, so I’d suggest you find something that fits your shoes and get back out there and ride–don’t forget the wool socks!

If you can get over the first five minutes of a cold ride, you’ll be good to go for at least a couple hours, and it sure beats sitting inside all day.

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I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions that I plan on sticking to, but this year is going to be a little different.  What began as two resolutions has now turned into three, and I plan on seeing them all through…

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Categories: Cycling Tags:

Mini Fixies

October 11th, 2009 [print] 2 comments

I just stumbled upon these interesting mini fixed gear (or singlespeed) bikes on the internets.  One is by a company called Airwalk Fixed Gear, and it’s called, rightly enough, the Mini Fixie.

The other one is the Sillgey Piccolo, which basically appears to be very similar, if not the same thing (I don’t know enough about either company to know if it’s actually the same bike).  Either way, it’s a pretty cool little bike, and would probably work great if you lived a few flights up and had to carry your bike with you.

Update:  I also found another one by Livery Design Gruppe (see below).

Airwalk Fixed Gear Mini Fixie
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Sillgey Piccolo
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Livery Design Gruppe
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Links:

http://airwalkfixed.blogspot.com/
http://www.sillgey.com/
http://liverydesigngruppe.com/

If you know of any others, please share in the comments section!

Categories: Cycling Tags:

EighthInch Scrambler V2 Review (preview)

October 6th, 2009 [print] 2 comments

I’ve spent the last 11 years riding a hardtail and/or rigid mountain bike on singletrack, rail-trails, roads, you name it.  It’s pretty much suited me fine, but the constant tire swap has always been annoying.  It seems no matter where I want to ride on any given day, I always have the wrong tires on my bike, so I have to spend 10-20 minutes swapping them and then re-calibrating my cyclo-computer before I can go ride.  Nowadays, I replace my large chainring with a BBG bashguard for trail riding, but put it back on for the road.  Along with it, I have to re-mount my front shifter and derailer.  Typically, spring and fall mean road or semi-slick tires, two chainrings and a front derailer, while the summer is spent on the trails running a 1×9 gear set-up.  As I said, this has been fine for quite a while, but I finally decided to try something new.

After putting way too much thought into the matter, I decided on a singlespeed road bike to get me through the colder months.  For one thing, having only one gear means I don’t have to screw around with shifters and derailers when they decide to act up.  It also means I’m forced to use muscle when I ride, as opposed to selecting a gear that’s easy to spin up a hill while I stay planted on my seat.  I have plenty of endurance, so I’ve chosen to focus on building muscle.

EighthInch

While browsing around eBay for parts (I planned to just piece a bike together with whatever worked) I stumbled across a posting by Cycling Closeouts, suppliers of the EighthInch Scrambler.  After a Google search, I discovered it’s actually a house brand of Wheel & Sprocket, a bike shop in Wisconsin.  Most of the parts are re-branded (or non-branded) OEM parts, but the frames are made specifically for them by an unknown (to me) Taiwanese frame supplier.  I spent about a week reading reviews online and scouring bike forums to see what other owners had to say about them, and the impression I got was mostly positive.  In fact, just about the only negative comments I found were from people who had never owned or ridden one.  That, plus the relatively low $600 starting point helped me make my decision…  well, at least my decision about which bike to buy; picking out colors and options turned out to be much more difficult.

So, let’s get this straight:  Wheel & Sprocket is the bike shop, Cycling Closeouts (.com) is the website, they go by Wheelandsprocket on eBay as a secondary way of selling online, and EighthInch is their brand name for their bike parts.  They also have a blog on WordPress, a Facebook fan page, a YouTube channel, and post regularly on Twitter.  It’s almost as though they want people to be able to find them anywhere.  I can’t find them on MySpace, though, which, in my opinion, is a good sign.

Okay, now on to the bike…

Unlike a lot of companies that let you choose a red bike with black stripes, or a black one with silver stripes, and nothing else, EighthInch gives buyers a huge say in what their bike looks like.  Most parts are anodized (or painted) aluminum, so letting you pick a gold stem, blue rims and a polished crankset doesn’t cost them any more than if you picked other colors.  The upside to this is, you get to order the bike with any color combo you can dream up; the downside is, you eventually have to make up your mind.  You can also select between three different types of handlebars–track, bullhorn or riser–crank arm length, freewheel and fixed cog sizes, and whether or not you want brakes (a no-cost option).  I think one way they keep prices so low is by not paying marketers to research what options buyers may want, and letting us pick them out for ourselves.  Novel concept.

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As you can see, I’m not very creative.  I went with all black, with white rims and tires, after seeing a Specialized Langster L.A.  I also ordered black cranks, but they called to inform me they were out of stock; I selected polished silver instead, and they look so good, I’m glad I didn’t get black afterall.  I also picked a white chain, knowing I would swap it with a black one (they don’t offer black for some reason), and bullhorn handlebars, because they give me similar hand positions to a flat MTB bar with bar-ends, like I’m used to.  Oh, and I picked a carbon fiber fork in place of the normal steel one (more on that later).

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Carbon Cycles eXotic Carbon Fork (wrap-up)

September 7th, 2009 [print] 3 comments

I gave a first impression of this fork back in May 2008, when I got it.  Since then, I’ve put ~2,500 miles of road, rail-trail and singletrack riding on it, so it’s about time for an update.

I mentioned in my initial post that it gave the impression of riding on plush carpet, all the while giving you direct feedback of the surface you’re on.  With the proper front tire (I typically used a 2.35" Kenda Kinetics Stick-E) set at less than 30psi, I often forgot that I was even riding a rigid fork.  The carbon legs do a great job of damping vibration, and have just enough flex to absorb some of the initial shock of hitting roots and immovable rocks.

I only weigh about 150lbs with all my riding gear on, so I can’t give feedback on how well the fork will handle over time if you’re a larger rider–say, 210lbs, which they state as the weight limit for the fork–but I can say that I gave it a decent beating and it never once showed signs of fatigue.  At less than 2lbs, and with carbon legs, it doesn’t sound like it could stand up to hard riding over time, but it definitely impressed me.

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Categories: Reviews Tags: , , ,

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Map

August 17th, 2009 [print] No comments

I realized there are no good Rock Bridge Memorial State Park trail maps online (this one on the official MO State Parks website is not only small, but horribly inaccurate), so I emailed DNR and asked if they had a better one.

Since we’re talking about state government here, they obviously didn’t have one, and mostly likely won’t anytime soon.  So, I took it upon myself to make one…

I scanned one of the trail map brochures that you can find at any parking lot, screwed around in Photoshop with it for a while, and ended up with a very large, accurate map (save for the exclusion of the new Springbrook — Sinkhole Trail connector) for anyone who may be looking for one.  Why the parks department couldn’t provide it, I have no idea, but I guess that doesn’t really matter now.

Click the photo below for a 2500 x 2050px version (also on my Flickr Photostream):

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Hopefully this will be of help to others.  Enjoy.

EDIT:  Here’s an additional map, showing the course used for the Show-Me State Games Mountain Bike race (click for larger view):

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2009 Show-Me State Games Mountain Biking

July 26th, 2009 [print] No comments

My wife and I headed out to the Show-Me State Games at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park today to cheer on our friends, Josh and Val.  Although Josh has raced many times before, it was Val’s first, and she finished mid-pack in the Beginner Women division, despite having an incident at the creek crossing, and stopping to help a fellow rider who ran into problems.

Lots of people were on hand, including riders, and the staff from Walt’s Bike and Fitness, who were helping organize the event.  I stood around and took photos while Val ran her race, but left before some of the longer running races were over.  Something about being surrounded by bikes made me want to get home and go for a ride of my own.

I’m also somewhat inspired to race in 2010, but that’s still up in the air.

Photos and results below:

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Show-Me State Games Mountain Biking Set on Flickr

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Categories: Cycling, Missouri Tags: , ,

Gary Fisher Mamba

July 4th, 2009 [print] No comments

I recently finished a new project bike.  The frame is from an ’02 Fisher Mamba, but I rebuilt it with new parts since all the old stuff was pretty much trashed.  The frame is an over-built steel model with zero rust, which is pretty surprising, considering the condition I got it in.  It’s a couple sizes too large for me, personally, so I’ll keep it around to loan out to buddies who want to ride but don’t have a bike.

The fork is an aluminum version of the Carbon Cycles eXotic carbon fiber fork I bought for my own bike last year.  It cost half a much, and is only a couple ounces heavier than the carbon version.  I won’t be able to do a review on it since I won’t be the one riding it, but I’ll report back on how well it holds up in the long run, or if any problems crop up.

I posted all the photos of the build in my photos section:  http://gearinches.com/…/2002-gary-fisher-mamba

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Categories: MTB, Photos Tags: , , ,

I-beam Adapter for Thomson Seat Post

October 7th, 2008 [print] No comments

This looks like an excellent option for riders who are commited to their Thomson posts, but would like to shave some weight with I-beam saddles.  Let’s hope this adapter makes it to market.

Courtesy of MtnBikeRiders.com

Go to the author’s original blog post:
Interbike 2008: SDG USA – Patriot Saddle and I-Beam adapter for Thomson post

Categories: Cycling, News Tags: