Monthly Archives: June 2011

iPhone (no phone plan)

An old iPhone 3G that has no service. I’d use it like an iPod Touch. No phone, no data plan, no bill.

I can check email, weather, maps, and twitter and such. What more would I need?

The thought of bringing this has been on the seesaw more than anything else. Not for the decision to have a phone(that makes phone calls) or not. I know I do not want a phone while on tour. But rather the decision of having the internet in my pocket at all. I don’t really want to have the internet with me if I’m touring. But I likely will(meaning i think i will bring this). Although internet would only be in places that offer it, coffee shops, spots like that.

I figure I can post here and on twitter and email friends. I’d use the calculator in grocery stores to get the best deals.

It has an alarm and I’ll put some of my favorite Lil’ Wayne songs on there too.

Worth the weight? We’ll see.

I don’t think it would last through a long trip.

I bought this used from a friend who upgraded. I did use it as my phone for about 6 months but I got sick of giving AT&T money.

Cost: $80 used

Weight: 4.8oz (138g) w/o charger

Made in China


De Soto Arm Cooler Sleeves

These are a carry over from my last ride. When riding in southern Texas in July, some of the group I was with decided to buy some of these and the leg coolers too. I just bought the arm coolers and I’m really glad I did. There is no shade in Texas. Anyway, these fit good and do keep my arms cool on blazing, sunny, hot days. If I’m not wearing them they take up almost no space and weigh very little.

Cost: $35 (I can’t remember very well)

Made in USA


Park Tool Co. FR-5

Park FR-5 Cassette Lock Ring tool

I once did a supported 4000 mile ride from NY to LA on a brand new bike. That was nice.  Beside a flat or two the only mechanical problem I had was the cassette lock ring backed off of the 10 speed cassette. I realized this when I shifted and the chain dropped down completely between two of the cogs. This was just a small problem because nothing was lost. I just took off the wheel, took the loose cogs off and cleaned them with a rag since I had the chance. Then I lined them up in place and spun the lock ring on. This tool was not in my kit at that time but I did have a flat head screwdriver. I used that to get the lock ring tight enough to get back on the road for a few miles. After reaching the SAG, I used this tool to tighten it back to spec.

Now I have one of my own.

I want to weld a 15mm nut to the back side so I don’t have to carry a one-inch socket to turn this thing.

Made in USA


Smucker’s Low Sugar Jelly

Not the most common jelly to find but it’s my favorite grocery store kind. This is made with sugar while the regular uses corn syrup and the sugar-free uses some fake shit.

It also spreads nicer and the price is about the same. If I run out and can’t find this or some homemade, I just go PB only or maybe get a small thing of honey.

Catlike Whisper Plus Helmet

This is a baller helmet. I got it for free when I worked on a job that hooked up promotional helmets from Serotta, the only US dealer. To be truthful this is the second one I’ve owned. I cracked my first one in a crash while working on that job. Serotta was nice enough to set me up with a replacement.

I can say it’s light and very airy and it does the job it’s meant to do.

Cost: free

Made in Spain


Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleep Pad

I bought the large (77″ x 25″) so my arms wouldn’t hang off the sides. All other sizes are just 20″ wide. The biggest one is still small and light. Thick so it doesn’t have to be inflated super firm to not feel the ground.

I had a Ridge-rest foam pad on my first two tours. That was fine but really just a bare minimum, comfort-wise. I had some made in China air pad on my last tour but it was only 20″ wide and I gave it to a friend who was about to ride from NYC to Guatemala and didn’t have anything.

I’ve had this NeoAir about a year and a half and have used it on a dozen weekend trips, like packed hotel rooms and staying with friend in other cities.

Touring is a different story. Will inflating this thing every night after a long days ride be something I like? After I lie on it will.

I think I bought this at EMS in Manhattan during one of their sales.

Cost: about $150

Made in USA


Specialized Alloy Bottle Cage

First, not my photo. I’d have moved the keyboard and mine are white.

I have these from my first tour, they have been used on all my tours. I thought about buying some King Cage bottle cages because they are made in USA. Chose not to because I wrote them an email and they never replied so, no I’m not going to call or go to your website and give you my credit card number if you can’t answer one simple question in an email.

King Cage is based in Colorado if that says anything.

I would like to support a US company producing goods in the US but in this case I’m reusing three cages I already had. And it looks like mine are 3g lighter/per than King Cage’s listed weight of their $17/each Stainless model.

Maybe I’ll try them again if one of my Specialized ever break.

I bought these years ago at a local bike shop.

Cost: $4 each x3

Made in Japan


NYC Tour Brass Bell

I guess in some cities, like NYC, it is a ticketable offense to ride without a bell on your bike. I mean safety’s great and all but I ring the bell for other reasons.

I think of bells on bikes like horns on autos. They communicate thoughts, they express ideas, they say something.

I have some other bell on my work bike but for my touring bike I went the brass bell route. I think what I like about the other bell is that I can ring it with a trigger and the back and forth is a ring with each movement. So it has a lot of control over the sound. 1 ring, 2 rings, 1 ring then 3 real fast, whatever.

I guess I bought this brass bell because it’s got some old style to it. And it’s louder. It comes in 50mm or 55mm versions, I think I have the 55mm. But this thing has a hammer strike so the tempo control is limited but it gets easier with practice.

I mounted it sideways to the quill section of my stem and the hammer lever sticks up above the flat part of the stem. It takes a pull/release motion to ring.

I bought this at a local bike shop.

Cost: $12

Made in Japan


Shimano BL-7402 Dura-Ace Brake Levers

I was once a bartender and one of the locals came in one day with an old DeRosa frame in my size. Just the chipped, dented frame, no fork, no parts. He said he found it by the dumpster at his storage unit facility. It was a 59cm and a few sizes too big for him but about right for me. I gladly bought his few rounds in trade. Told him I was going to build it into a single speed.

The next day he brought in these Dura-ace levers he had in his spare parts bin. That got him a few more beers on me.

After STI took over I guess there are some single speeds out there that got some lever upgrades.

These were on that DeRosa for a while until the frame broke, then they lived in my parts bin for a while.

Recently, I took the STI’s off my touring bike and added these levers and bar end shifters. Glad I did because new 10 speed STI’s are expensive. Thanks Brian.

In general these are everything you would expect. Works good, looks good. The tops are a little narrow compared to newer shifter/levers. I think a wider top would feel better but maybe my hands are too big, these were designed for tiny racer dudes.

Cost: free

Made in Japan


Brooks Proofide Leather Dressing 25g

I have just applied this to my newish Brooks saddle. I started with a rag from a t-shirt but gave up on that and used a small paint brush instead. Much easier on the under side with a brush.

Seems like I’ll have enough to do a couple complete covers and a couple more light covers on the top side before it’s gone.

I did use the rag to wipe the top after it set in.

I forgot how much this cost. And I’m going to assume it’s made in England.


Michelin Map 581

A far as multi-state maps go, this thing is the shit.

I could get better maps of each state and I will need to find another if I want to go to the eastern edge of Maine. It cuts off before the Canadian border. But besides that there is good detail. All of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Most of New York, a lot of Maine, North East PA and the top of NJ.

I bought this at a Barnes and Noble store in lower Manhattan.

Cost: $6

Made in France


Outlier Three Way Shorts

These are the most comfortable shorts I own. They stretch in all directions so riding in them does not constrict. They repel water and dirt. In a light rain water just rolls off, and most dust and dirt is easy to just brush off. They dry really fast and stay clean. The fabric is soft and comfortable but after months of riding there is nearly no wear in the areas that usually show wear after a few weeks.

I really like Outlier and this is not the only article I own. Good stuff.

Made in NYC with Swiss fabric.