Impact Mouth Guards – Won’t Ride Without Them Anymore

Impact MouthguardI bought a couple of Impact Mouthguards a few months ago. The roads I ride are pretty chopped up and there’s always a few times during a ride that I hit a bump or some washboard that makes my teeth clonk. Mouthguards are always recommended for people participating in collision sports, but I hadn’t heard of them used for cycling.

Owing to a coincidence where I was on a project researching mouthguards, I stumbled upon Impact Mouthguards and decided to give them a try. I have a bridge and don’t want to replace it due to an avoidable sports injury. I was drawn by their impression kit which promised a truly custom fit.

The kit came and was easy to use. It came with two trays, a small and a large. I test fit them to see which one was best. Then I kneaded together the impression material, fit it to the tray, and bit down for a couple of minutes. Afterwards, you put the impression, still in its tray,  along with the unused tray, and send them in via the provided box and shipping label.

My mouth guards arrived a couple of weeks later – I took advantage of the 2nd mouthguard discount. They didn’t fit quite right. I emailed the company over a weekend. The owner – a cyclist himself, replied, instructing me to take a picture of my mouth, mail that in with the guards, and they would adjust. That’s what happened.

Now the guards fit right and they’ve won me over. I breathe easier on climbs, and hitting a bump or getting an unexpected jolt doesn’t risk an oral problem.

I won’t ride anymore without the guard.

Note: I’m just a happy customer. I have no relationship with Impact Mouthguards.

Bianchi Volpe – Ideal Winter Bike for Northeast

2012 BIanchi Volpe

2012 BIanchi Volpe

Purchased this bike for winter riding here in CT at bike shop’s recommendation—Smart Cycles. Planned originally to buy a lower-end bike, but boy did they steer me right. I wanted a bike with dropped bars, wider tires and compliant ride for the cruddy roads and ability to take it onto trails.

The bike is decked out with a compact 3×10 (50-39-30, 12-30), strong wheels, 700×32, double-butted cromoly frame, and Wellgo spd pedals. Eyelets galore. An entry-level race-worthy cross bike, this steed can be set up for touring, commuting, or randonneuring. Volpe offers a plush ride: there’s no chatter like I get from my carbon road bike. But it’s responsive, not sluggish. A total joy.

Smart Cycles in Norwalk Blowout Sale of 2013 Items – Till Oct 31, 2013

smart cycles logoSmart Cycles launched its 20%-30% sale of nearly everything today, ending on Halloween. Located on Strawberry Hill, just off Rt. 1 and across from Marshall’s, this fantastic shop is offering 20-30% off on most of their bike, frame, and accessory inventory.

20%-30% OFF just about EVERYTHING IN STOCK!
NO matter what you need to get ready for the great fall riding season that approaches, you can save big during this event. Road bikes, mountain bikes, kids bikes, FAMILY BIKES, clothing, accessories, car racks, and MUCH MORE all on sale! But hurry…things are going to move fast!

THE Details:
20% or 30% Off items paid with cash or check ONLY. Off our regular price.
In Stock Items ONLY!
All Sales FINAL. No refunds or exchanges.
2 Weeks ONLY! No Retroactive Credits.
Phone and Email Orders Accepted. We do not ship Santa Cruz products.
This email MUST BE PRESENTED at ringout for discount!
IL MASSIMO FRAMES, Labor, Workorders & Early Intro 2014 Bikes Excluded.
*There are some in stock items that do not qualify, see list in store before you shop.

email: info@smartcycles.com
voice: 888-711-BIKE
web: http://www.smartcycles.com

Serfas Dual Density Gel Saddle, Mens, DDM-200

Update:

This saddle was comfortable but it was a little too bouncy for my taste on Mountie. Continental Town & Country tires wrap Mountie’s wheels; these offer enough suspension so that the Serfas cushioning wasn’t needed. Being a road rider for decades I’m accustomed to road saddles so I swapped this out for a Selle Q-Bik sitting in my bike box that worked just fine.

Original Post:

I just put this saddle on Mountie, my commuting bike, and I’ll report back on it in a couple of weeks. I had been using an old Trek sprung saddle because I wanted the comfort and shock absorption for the roads I take since I don’t have a suspension post. I bought this one at REI after reading the specs and the reviews. The Trek worked well, but I found that the short nose and its width caused chafing on longer rides. I’m hoping this one’s construction and shape makes for more enjoyable riding at all distances.

Bell Night Shield Seat Post Light Battery Replacement

Bell Night Shield

I’ve been using this seat post light for a couple of years now and it works day after day. I usually save all my manuals but for some reason misplaced this one and I had to spend a little time figuring out how to change the dying batteries. It just required a penny that fits into a slot at the base, a twist, fresh AAA batteries and then replacement of the cover. The light has a yellow gasket that runs around the perimeter of the light; make sure you don’t lose it when you take the cover off and make sure it’s in place when putting the cover back on. After I completed the change I found this post on eHow.

Trikes

Desoto Trike

When my mother, 83, told me she was in the market for a trike, I was happy. While she walks unassisted, her hip hurts, but she wants to get in a little more daily exercise. She heard that a basic trike was available from mass merchandisers like Walmart, but I felt that there must be a better selection available. After some research I found Industrial Bicycles which carries a variety of industrial trikes for use in warehouses and specialized applications, tandem trikes, trikes for carrying kids, recumbents, and a special line for seniors. We haven’t finalized the decision yet, but I hope to within the next couple of weeks. I was really struck by their affordability – a few hundred dollars, and they encourage customers to call so that they can assess their needs and recommend the right model. Trikes are delivered fully assembled, taking out the need for a handyman or bike shop to be involved. They come with baskets, which makes them convenient for light shopping and running errands, a variety of seats, and wheel sizes. Definitely worth checking out, if only for curiousity.

Cateye Strada wired with cadence

Cateye Strada wired with cadence

For whatever reason, the Sigma Sport 2606L wireless computer with cadence just wouldn’t work properly on my road bike Trekkie. I like Sigma products generally and their warranty and customer support are exceptional. They worked with me to resolve, swapping parts and such, but no luck, so I looked elsewhere. I’ve had great experience with Cateye – one of their cadence units installed on an older road bike works perfectly after 18 years. I would have moved it, but the display doesn’t show speed and cadence simultaneously, whereas the Strada does.

I went for the wired version. They have a well-regarded wireless unit, but at this point I wanted dependability and simplicity. One of Cateye’s calling cards is that speed is taken off the rear wheel and cadence from the left crank, putting the sensors in one line and avoiding having to wire both wheels, which gives a clean appearance. Installing is straightforward. The manual specifies 3mm (about 1/10 of an inch) distances between the magnets and sensors, but there was no way I could make the gaps that small. The nearest I could get was about 10mm. I routed the wire anyway, configured the head (off the bike) and then mounted it on the handlebar. A few turns of the crank confirmed that the sensors picked up the magnets just fine. For my road riding, I care more about cadence than speed, so I’m happy. Some people have written that the cadence display is small, but I haven’t found that to be an issue. The unit does what it’s supposed to do; it’s one-touch control is a nice feature.

New cassette – riding shows a real improvement.

Harris Cyclery Century Special 13-30, 9 speed

It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve been riding Trekkie with the new Harris Cyclery 13-30 9 speed cassette. I bought it with the recommended Sachs chain and had both installed by Smart Cycles, who did the swap overnight. Shifting is crisp and clean across the cassette and up and down the chain rings. I had thought about changing the rings to lower the ratios further but decided to wait and see how widening the cassette from 12-25 to 13-30 would feel. So far, the extra points have made a real difference, allowing me to find climbing gears on which I can keep my cadence up and not struggle or lose form. I haven’t had to use my 30T chain ring yet, which I sometimes dropped down to for some of the short, steep climbs on my routes because I needed something lower than 42/25. Looks like I’ll have plenty of reserve, which was a goal, and don’t have to lower the front rings. While researching cassettes I learned that 11-32 are quite popular on triples and compact doubles. For the type of fitness riding I do – and the terrain I ride – on Trekkie, I didn’t think I would get much use out of the 11T and 12T cogs, so it seemed that starting with a higher cog like 13 would be a better choice for me. If I owned, or was buying, a new bike with a 10 or 11 speed cassette compared to my 9, the 11-32 seems to be a good choice, as it gives a wider range and the option of bigger gears when you want them.

New Stuff for Mountie working well!

I had to change tires recently because the sidewall on my rear tire started going after a long period of service. I ordered a pair of Continental Town and Country from PhatTire, along with a Planet Bike Beamer 5 headlight.

Town and Country Tire - used by many police departments

Town and Country Tire - used by many police departments

These tires are used by a lot of police departments, and it’s easy to see why – low rolling resistance, suitability for urban pavement, and the ability to go off road a bit, make it a  great commuting tire. I was pleasantly surprised by the way they ride. These have a suppleness and a nice road feel compared to the Avocet Cross I used for the last 10 years or so. The bike seems easier to pedal.

5 Led

Planet Bike Beamer 5 LED Light

The Beamer 5 headlight is a big help, now that the mornings are pitch black. It snaps on to a mount. It’s two modes – one flashing, the other continuous, make it useful for different conditions. I used the flash when riding home when it’s still light to increase visibility. On the way in I used the steady version which throws a nice beam. For my station commute, this light is all I need. Kudos to Phat Tire for a smooth transaction and advice on the light.