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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 10-10-12, 09:51 PM   #1
StephenH
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Experiments that worked

I tried two or three different things out lately, so some results.

I love the Planet Bike Superflash. Only issue is, they're not just especially waterproof. I've heard of people using electrical tape to seal them, but that sounds like a pain. So on a recent ride, I tried putting one in a baggie (snack size baggie, smaller than a sandwich baggie). I wasn't in just a major downpour, but still I got wet through and through and the light kept right on working:

Note that I was able to clip the light on without punching a hole in the baggie.

I have bought a different taillight, the Princeton Tec Swerve. On the last couple of rainy rides, it hasn't gone out, and thus seems to be more waterproof than the Superflash or the Cherrybomb. The switch also allows you to tell for sure it is on, even when you can't see it, unlike the other two. No picture, but the listing is here: http://www.rei.com/product/792655/pr...ear-bike-light

Similar issue, I have used a number of different speedometers in the $15-$60 range, and they all eventually had problems in the rain. So on that ride, I also put a baggie over the speedometer, and the speedomer that went out at 15 miles in the previous rainy ride was still going strong at 200+ miles on this ride.


I've had trouble finding a good helmet light. One irritating thing is most of the them have multiple flash modes and you have to cycle through each mode just to turn it on and off. So I got the Gizmo:

Holding the switch down, it will cycle through a bright/dark cycle and let you adjust brightness. Then you just turn it on and off and it stays at that brightness level. Very handy, and you don't have to cycle through a flash mode each time. It uses 2 AA batteries, not 3, so it's lighter than a lot of these lights. It's billed as "stormproof", not "waterproof", but has held up fine through prolonged, though not heavy, rains on two rides now.
Drawbacks are that it's not made for cycling, so I had to make a velcro strap to hold it on the helmet. And it won't pivot to 90 degrees, so you have to mount it near the front of your helmet, not at the top. But still, it's $20, a great deal. Available at REI.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:42 AM   #2
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but all that extra weight?
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Old 10-12-12, 09:17 AM   #3
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that's a good idea. I never had trouble with my PBSF until a recent brevet with a torrential downpour. Had to take the batteries out and switch lights.
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Old 10-12-12, 01:38 PM   #4
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I use Sigma computers because they work in the rain. Yes, Planet Bike stuff tends to be sketchy in wet conditions. This has always been a big complaint of mine, that manufacturers tend to build stuff for the California market, where there are LOTS of riders, but it seldom rains, and most people don't ride when it rains. It would be really nice if manufacturers were able to certify products for the Pacific NW market, where it rains most of the time, and we find out very quickly indeed what products work and what products are total crap. A lot of the "sealed" bearing stuff is total crap. You pretty well need to pop the seals and re-lube on a monthly basis; otherwise, the bearings start to wear due to all the grit brought in by the dirty water, and lots of play develops. I have destroyed Phil Wood hubs on a monthly basis back in the 70's, and I can destroy an F.1 ceramic bottom bracket in one season of riding if I don't relube scrupulously.

I laugh at manufacturers' claims of reliability! Bring it on!

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Old 10-12-12, 02:01 PM   #5
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My Cygolite Hotshot had issues during the last brevet from all the rain. It worked fine - just couldn't turn it off.

After a week or so of letting it dry out, it appears to work just fine. I think I may try an old military trick and bring a condom on the next brevet. You know...just in case it rains.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:43 PM   #6
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When the PBSF gets wet, it won't turn off, but is usually okay once it dries back off. I had a couple of Cherry Bombs get wet, and one of them just wouldn't work at all.

One difference, too, is I've had some of these mounted on the rack over the rear wheel, so they may be getting more spray than rain.
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Old 10-13-12, 07:53 AM   #7
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I am not sure putting the light into a baggie is any more difficult than running a piece of electrical tape around the join to seal it off. To me, the latter is a more elegant solution.

As to the computer, some are coming out these days with fewer buttons, and the ones that are on it are underneath the casing. It's a bit like watches -- keeping things waterproof is easier when there are fewer openings for water to penetrate.

Usually, however, computers stop working because water bridges the connection between the two contacts on the foot of the mount. They later corrode slightly, and interfere with the connection. I usually just take the computer off, wipe away the exccess water, or scratch the contacts with a tool, and replace the computer. A few turns of cling wrap can help prevent ingress of water, of course.

Going with wireless is a start to solving these issues. The Topeak Adventurer I lost recently was really good for this sort of thing -- buttons underneath (you have to press the body of the computer to scroll through functions), and no wiring. It did chew batteries, though.

Helmet lights can be a pain, too, as far a waterproofing. However, using clear shower caps as a helmet cover seems to work quite well without interfering too much with light output. I find the "waterproof" press-button switches on the majority of helmet lights to be a nuisance to (a) find and (b) press downwards with quite some force with a finger covered in gloves and maybe mitts. I much prefer the slide switch found on Energiser head lights, although even these are now being superseded.
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Old 10-13-12, 11:50 AM   #8
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How about vacuum bagging the parts? We have a vacuum machine we use for bagging up vegetables and meat for the freezer.. I bet it would work pretty good. The nice part is the bags can be cut for a perfect custom fit.
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Old 10-14-12, 07:39 PM   #9
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A small piece of Saran wrap (cling film) secured with a rubber band takes care of most rain problems. I always keep a couple of rubber bands somewhere on my bike, as well as one or two small shopping bags from food shopping at convenience stores for protecting things like my wallet and mobile phone.
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Old 10-15-12, 07:27 AM   #10
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For the PBSF, The tape also holds it together if you hit a big bump. I actually have a bread tie around mine now.
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Old 10-22-12, 01:59 AM   #11
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I have two bottle holders on my bike, one on the top tube (horizontal), one on the seat tube (vertical). When the bottle on the top tube gets empty I swap the bottles around.

The problem I had was that on bumpy roads (especially some bike paths with speed bumps) the spare bottle in the vertical holder (a cheap one made from relatively low friction steel wire) would gradually shake loose and jump out on the next bump. Not wanting to lose my bottles, I tied a rubber band to the bottle holder, which I put around the neck of the bottle. No more jumping water bottles!

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Old 10-28-12, 03:10 PM   #12
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I made a "brevet card wallet" out of coroplast. This is the plastic "cardboard" commonly used for signs, in this case, an "Open House" sign from Lowes. Plus duct tape. It's light and keeps your brevet card from getting smushed up. Keep it in a baggie. Those in the US can probably pick up several acres of this material right after the election.
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Old 10-29-12, 01:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
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It's light and keeps your brevet card from getting smushed up.
Is that just for your peace of mind, or do a lot of administrators get upset if the cards get a little bent and battered?
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Old 10-29-12, 08:41 AM   #14
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Last week I was cruising with a group at around 17 to 18 mph. I leaned back to turn on my Planet Bike Superflash, and it came apart in my hand. I managed to grab the red section, but the batteries fell into the road. I managed to retrieve them, re-insert, snap it back together, turn it on and keep going. But I remembered this post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I actually have a bread tie around mine now.
...and have now done the same thing.

Thanks for the idea.
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Old 10-29-12, 09:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I tried two or three different things out lately, so some results.

I love the Planet Bike Superflash. Only issue is, they're not just especially waterproof. I've heard of people using electrical tape to seal them, but that sounds like a pain. So on a recent ride, I tried putting one in a baggie (snack size baggie, smaller than a sandwich baggie). I wasn't in just a major downpour, but still I got wet through and through and the light kept right on working:

Note that I was able to clip the light on without punching a hole in the baggie.

I have bought a different taillight, the Princeton Tec Swerve. On the last couple of rainy rides, it hasn't gone out, and thus seems to be more waterproof than the Superflash or the Cherrybomb. The switch also allows you to tell for sure it is on, even when you can't see it, unlike the other two. No picture, but the listing is here: http://www.rei.com/product/792655/pr...ear-bike-light

Similar issue, I have used a number of different speedometers in the $15-$60 range, and they all eventually had problems in the rain. So on that ride, I also put a baggie over the speedometer, and the speedomer that went out at 15 miles in the previous rainy ride was still going strong at 200+ miles on this ride.


I've had trouble finding a good helmet light. One irritating thing is most of the them have multiple flash modes and you have to cycle through each mode just to turn it on and off. So I got the Gizmo:

Holding the switch down, it will cycle through a bright/dark cycle and let you adjust brightness. Then you just turn it on and off and it stays at that brightness level. Very handy, and you don't have to cycle through a flash mode each time. It uses 2 AA batteries, not 3, so it's lighter than a lot of these lights. It's billed as "stormproof", not "waterproof", but has held up fine through prolonged, though not heavy, rains on two rides now.
Drawbacks are that it's not made for cycling, so I had to make a velcro strap to hold it on the helmet. And it won't pivot to 90 degrees, so you have to mount it near the front of your helmet, not at the top. But still, it's $20, a great deal. Available at REI.
I use the Planet Bike Supetflash, and have never had a problem with it getting wet. And living in Florida, I've gotten caught in some pretty "good" storms.
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Old 10-29-12, 10:55 AM   #16
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Wet Electronics

To those who've experienced wet electronics try this get a bag of rice and stick the item on it to dry it out.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:29 AM   #17
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Use dielectric grease for your contacts. Would work well for seams as well such as the joints of the PBSF. Better than a baggie or electrical tape.
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Old 11-08-12, 09:38 PM   #18
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Is that just for your peace of mind, or do a lot of administrators get upset if the cards get a little bent and battered?
I just like to have an undamaged brevet card when I get done, I've not heard complaints from RBA's or perm owners.
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Old 11-09-12, 06:43 PM   #19
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I have multiple Planet Bike Superflash lights on bikes, and have never had a water problem whether riding through a thunderstorm or an ALL DAY rainy 200k (and I mean *continuous* rain).

But to add to the ideas, when printing my own cue sheets or control cards, I use waterproof/tearproof paper from Graytex. It's not expensive, yet guarantees a usable card/sheet if printed with a laser printer. I also carry my own superfine Sharpies for the clerks to use. At the end of a ride, I can immerse the control card in a bucket of water, and no damage will occur.

I suggested using waterproof paper for control cards to our local group but got badly shot down; kinda soured me on the group that no one thanked me for doing the research as to what papers were a good value. Oh well.
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Old 11-09-12, 08:28 PM   #20
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I've stopped using front deuraliiers. I really wasn't using the FDs on my bikes, so they'd just rust/rot on the frame. For everyday riding I just use a cassette with a big ring (a 32 - 34 tooth ring on the cassette),and a long cage RD to take up the slack while in the smaller cassette rings. I still have 2 chainrings on the crank, and if I need to switch to the smaller ring I just get off the bike, switch it by hand, and ride on. Works for me. Your mileage may vary
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Old 11-13-12, 06:14 PM   #21
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Is that just for your peace of mind, or do a lot of administrators get upset if the cards get a little bent and battered?
I'm not an RBA nor have I been a brevet administrator. However, I saw two cards as they were being handed in this year, one in April, the other in August, that if I had been the RBA, I might well have handed the sodden mass back to the rider and told them that if they managed to get it flat and dried out in the next couple days such that I could read it, I'd accept it, otherwise ... . The RBA didn't manage to completely hide his disgust either time, but he didn't DNF either person nor otherwise say anything. (This particular RBA provides a brand new zip-lock baggie for the control card and a brand new 8.5 x 11 zip-lock bag for the cue sheet when you complete your sign-in -- there were no exposed to the weather controls on the brevets in question.)

If nothing else, I think it is just good manners to keep the card as pristine as possible.
===================================================================
I suppose I would do similarly to the above-described-RBA if someone turned in a sodden mass after riding one of my permanents. However, although I might not say anything, I can give an awfully deep and long sigh.
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I suppose that some day I'll be the one with a sodden mass that was once a control card. I'd like to think that I'd take my medicine without whining, but only time and circumstances will tell.
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Old 11-13-12, 07:02 PM   #22
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The RBAs (event organisers) in Australia are pretty good all round. They are generally seasoned randonneurs and know the effort that goes into completing events, and especially when the weather turns nasty.

In my book, it would be very bad form for any organiser to refuse to take a card even if the information was only faintly legible, and especially if there was a long and laboured sigh as though the participant was a pain in the arse (honestly, do those sorts of organisers still exist??).

The really good ones would probably tell you what a great job you'd done in such lousy conditions, and cheerfully suggest that they transcribe the information over on to another card and authorise the entries before putting it in the finishers' box.
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Old 11-13-12, 07:09 PM   #23
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are the batteries on the superflash inside the case, or is there a separate battery door? you can get some RTV sealant, run a bead around the bottom part of the housing and set the top in it temporarily, then let the rtv set, this would give you a nice gasket
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Old 11-13-12, 07:17 PM   #24
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The RBAs (event organisers) in Australia are pretty good all round. They are generally seasoned randonneurs and know the effort that goes into completing events, and especially when the weather turns nasty.

In my book, it would be very bad form for any organiser to refuse to take a card even if the information was only faintly legible, and especially if there was a long and laboured sigh as though the participant was a pain in the arse (honestly, do those sorts of organisers still exist??).

The really good ones would probably tell you what a great job you'd done in such lousy conditions, and cheerfully suggest that they transcribe the information over on to another card and authorise the entries before putting it in the finishers' box.
Rowan -- you are referring to slightly smudged cards with a few water drops on them. I am referring to what could only be described as oversized spit-balls. See the difference?
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Old 11-13-12, 07:41 PM   #25
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Rowan -- you are referring to slightly smudged cards with a few water drops on them. I am referring to what could only be described as oversized spit-balls. See the difference?
No, I'm not.
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