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The Great Dynamo Run Off

For long distance endurance racing there are two schools of thought when it comes to powering your GPS/lights/etc.  I’m a firm proponent of hub dynamos which I’ve used with success for racing the Tour Divide and the Transcontinental races. There are two main suppliers of hub dynamos: Son, which I run on my Tour Divide bike, and Shutter Precision (SP) which I use on my Transcontinental bike. A new company—Velogical—has released a new dynamo which rather than being in a hub is a rim dynamo. This has two main attractions over hub dynamos:

  • You don’t need to build a new wheel to use the dynamo; and,
  • The dynamo only needs to be activated when you need power so there is no drag the rest of the time (hub dynamos typically have drag of about 2-5 Watts)

I was very intrigued with the Velogical system so I purchased one. This is what it looks like mounted on my bike with the dynamo engaged.


Being an engineer and having three dynamos, I decided to test the Velogical against my Son and SP dynamos  to see the relative drag of the different dynamos.  While at it, why not test a few wheel/tyre combinations as well? Here’s what I found …

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BSX Insight: Lactate Testing and Playing With Power Meters

Just a warning: this is a geeky post…

I received my new BSX Insight which is a wearable lactate threshold sensor. I supported its development through Kickstarter and the final product is a very tidy piece of kit. Your lactate threshold is a key metric in determining one’s training zones. Testing is done by taking regular blood tests as one ramps up the work. What makes the BSX Insight so unique, is that it can monitor lactate without taking blood: the BSXinsight monitors muscle oxygenation via a light array shined into the calf.   It then runs an algorithm to give users lactate threshold (LT) power and heart rate numbers, plus training zones based on percentages of those figures. So the process is to slip the sensor into a leg sleeve, hop on a treadmill or a bike trainer, and then do a test. Sounds easy? If only …

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Garmin’s Edge Routing Still Sucks … and Unlocking Garmin City Navigator Maps

After cracking the screen on my Edge 800 I upgraded to a Garmin Edge 1000 which is a fantastic unit and a huge improvement. I really like the new interface and the ability to run multiple sensors. With Glosnoss the GPS fix is almost immediate and much more accurate.

But what about routing? Last year when racing the Transcontinental from London to Istanbul I, along with a number of others, were taken on what called the ‘Tour de Garmin’ wherein the routing software on our Garmin GPS units (I was using an Edge 800) took us on seemingly random—and always longer—routes than any rational human (or halfway decent routing algorithm) would take.  I was quite impressed with the wide number of options now available for routing but unfortunately … it still sucks.  Oh, and it also won’t read the Garmin City Navigator Maps. Here is a bit of a rant, and a solution for the maps issue.

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Storing Spare Spokes When Endurance Racing

Last year in the Transcontinental Race at least one rider came to grief when he broke some spoke(s) and didn’t have spares. I always have six spokes with me (2 for the front wheel, and 2 for each side of the rear wheel) as well as a Fibre-Fix emergency replacement spoke. Of course I also have Stein mini-cassette tool for removing the cassette. A few have commented what a hassle it is to carry spokes so I thought I’d share my solution: your seat tube.

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Mounting the Luxos U Light

The B&M Luxos is a fantastic light, arguably the best for long distance cycling. but it an be very difficult to mount if your bike does not have a calliper brake system. My friend Arran had some problems mounting his so thought I would show how I’ve mounted in on my aero bars, a technique that could be adapted elsewhere.  Be warned: this is engineering overkill but once done you will have a solid mount.

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The Bikepacking Bag Harlot

I got my new Alpkit ‘gas tank/fuel tank’ bag and put it on my bike for this year’s Transcontinental race.  I then realized that I had no loyalty and had become a total harlot when it came to bikepacking bags. When I first started bikepacking I used Revelate Design bags  exclusively, now I have:

  • Alpkit gas tank bag
  • Apidura seat bag (with Alpkit seat bag dry bag—HIGHLY recommended!)
  • Oveja Negra handlebar harness (modified)
  • Revelate Design frame bag

I’m going to share some details on the Alpkit gas tank bag—and why it is essential for anyone running a dynamo setup—and my Oveja Negra ‘cockpit’ setup.


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Live Simple, Eat Lots, Sleep Safe, and Seek More

My friend Rickie Cotter who I met and rode with on the Transcontinental Race last year used that expression in an article she wrote recently. I think that it the perfect motto for endurance cyclists. Thanks Rickie.