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As a bicyclist, are you a gadgeteer or a minimalist?

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As a bicyclist, are you a gadgeteer or a minimalist?

Old 08-03-15, 10:19 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
As a bicyclist, are you a gadgeteer or a minimalist?


I’m certainly not a minimalist, but not a gadgeteer for gadget’s sake. As an avid cyclist: year-round commuter, road cyclist,and former tourist, I have an extended list of “necessities” to make cycling safer, more efficient, fun, and interesting. I’m particularly pleased by some of my own improvised innovations.

A non-cycling colleague is amused by the gadgets and innovations I acquire and it’s an inside joke as I relate them to him. I can’t wait to tell him about my most recent, and very useful relating to my cell phone, itself like a multi-use tool, combining a single (minimal) object with multiple gadgets.
I definitely have similar relationships with coworkers, who are otherwise bored to death with incessant cycle ramblings, but they're always interested in clever concepts, and to me that is some of the draw. Cycling is a relatively old technology, and at its core, it doesn't really change, but some of the interesting refinements that are being made just make sense. For example, I am really excited for Fabric's cageless water bottle coming out in september:

Fabric Waterbottle

it's clever, it looks sleek, I like the idea of not having bulk on my bike when I have no need for 2 cages on shorter rides, it's simple, it weighs less than carbon cages, and will cost way less. In a way, it's gadgetry that, by design, promotes minimalism.

Another one I like is the crankbrothers new compact multitool:


It always sits in one place (my commuter/light tour pack), and I know everything I need is in one pocket, and will never jiggle around or hide in some crack of my pack. It's all conveniently in one place. There's one thing I hate when I break down with a flat is rustling around to find all the little things I need.

I guess I don't call myself a gadgeteer, because I don't believe in gadgets for the sake of it, but if I feel there's a real benefit to it that will make my life (or cycling) a better experience for me, and it's an innovative idea, then why resist just for the sake of resistance?

A lot of vintage items are the way they are, simply because we didn't have the manufacturing capabilities of making them better. They weren't designed with ergonomics in mind but rather with manufacturing restraints in mind. I have no irrational need to resist those kind of changes. Having said that, I totally understand the resistance for other types of gadgetry like electronic shifting, garmins/gps, etc (even though I don't necessarily agree with it, I can still understand it and empathize with it). But I do always get the feeling that hardcore minimalists are in a sense judging those who like all the new innovations in the same way a hipster sits at a drip brew coffee house tapping away on his typewriter...lol

But as a child of the 70s, I do appreciate the need to be able to leave the house and not be totally connected and wired in. A time when you went out the door and no one could get a hold of you until you came home. Or to appreciate a beautiful vista without the need to post it to instagram within seconds of seeing it, disengaging ourselves from the pure moment. I totally get that.
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Old 08-03-15, 10:43 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
It's a false distinction.

A bicycle itself is a 'gadget.'
Oh, but I still like my simple downtube shifters... not those complicated brake shifters.

But, you're right, there is a lot of technical gadgetry with the bikes.
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Old 08-03-15, 11:19 AM
  #28  
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'Gadget' is a mildly derogatory term, isn't it? Well, whatever... I consider a dynamo hub with headlight and taillight, wired so they're always on, to be basic cycling equipment. Any bike that lacks these is basically a toy (though I must admit I have a few toys bikes). I don't think of lights as gadgets. I also have old digital mileage tickers on a couple bikes. Those are definitely gadgets. That's all I can think of.
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Old 08-03-15, 11:44 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
'Gadget' is a mildly derogatory term, isn't it?
I really don't think so. What I had in mind was a clever little device or tool, especially one that was developed fairly recently.
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Old 08-03-15, 11:54 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
'Gadget' is a mildly derogatory term, isn't it? Well, whatever... I consider a dynamo hub with headlight and taillight, wired so they're always on, to be basic cycling equipment. Any bike that lacks these is basically a toy (though I must admit I have a few toys bikes). I don't think of lights as gadgets....
Are you thinking of "widgets"?

Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I also have old digital mileage tickers on a couple bikes. Those are definitely gadgets. That's all I can think of

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...That trip was in 1977 so we had nothing like GPS with elevation. At that time, the most significant way to measure progress was mechanical odometer with a metal striker on a spoke to hit a wheel attached to a counter to show miles. One of the most high tech modifications was by a nuclear engineer I knew, who fashioned a nylon striker for the spoke, to silence the constant click…click…click… ...
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Old 08-03-15, 12:26 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
'Gadget' is a mildly derogatory term, isn't it?
Nope.
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Old 08-04-15, 02:48 AM
  #32  
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It depends whether you put the word "Inspector" before it.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:10 AM
  #33  
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It more than likely depends on which side of the line you fall on as to which word is derogatory. The farther you are from the middle the more the words are used to describe someone different from you.

I don't consider STI shifters as a gadget I consider them as standard. Even Electronic shifting seems normal. Non indexed down tube shifters seem like hand saws in a power tool world. Garmin has replaced paper maps much like a computer replaced a typewriter.

Even electronic shifting is simply a easier method of shifting and trimming your drive train automatically.

But then I am not a minimalist by nature unless being a cyclist makes me one.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:51 AM
  #34  
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How about we try to keep it kinda fun and light for once? So just you personally, what kind of gadgets do you like? Or do you have some work-arounds for tasks that people sometimes use gadgets for?
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Old 08-06-15, 02:28 PM
  #35  
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I'm most likely a gadget nerd. And possibly a minimalist, all at the same time. My touring bike has the best headlamp and rear blinker I can afford (my morning commute is at 4am). I have a Tobus front rack and panniers. I have a BOB trailer to pull. Love it.

My SS/FG whip is the opposite. I run headlamp/blinker when needed. Not even bottle cages.
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Old 08-06-15, 02:36 PM
  #36  
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I like minimalistic gadgets.
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Old 08-07-15, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I like minimalistic gadgets.
Like what?
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Old 08-07-15, 08:29 AM
  #38  
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I carry the basics with me (tools, pump. spare) and dislike anything that distracts me from the task at hand... my touring bikes (2) and my race bike have computers as it is nice to know how far and how much farther one might need to travel.

My phone has a gps so I can track data that way without ever having to look at it, the GPS also runs without the need of a data plan but a little bike computer will run all season on a coin cell.
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Old 08-07-15, 09:57 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Like what?
I guess I was just trying to be cute.

But really, I go to great pains to make any gadgets I do have as effective and efficient as possible. I do like my gadgets, but I don't like clutter. I LOVE the integrated DuuTrap sensor on my Domane. I like to have a speed and cadence sensor, but cannot stand zip-ties and bulky sensors on chain stays. I even went so far as to find a suitable magnet I could leave on the back of my pedal spindle rather than ziptie a magnet to the arm. They now have the sensors that attach to the hub and crank arm. That's better, but still looks kind of awful to me.

For me, anything wired is a real issue because most people just slap zipties to it. When I ran dynamo lights front and rear on my last commuter build, I bought some Di2 wire cover tape to route the wire on the inside of the fork and down the downtube for the rear light. I also hid the wire for the rear light inside the rear fender.

I also prefer one really good light front and rear as opposed to a blinky on each chainstay, seatpost, helmet, and jersey as well as an array of lights on the front taking over my handlebars. If I can ride without a front light, I will. I'm even thinking of getting a particular stem for my next commuter build that allows me to hang a light directly below the stem, so it's out of sight.

And I know this is a no-no in this forum, but I hate racks on my bikes. Mostly because I don't have the right bike for them, but that relates to the fact that I don't really want one of those bikes. I prefer backpacks or bikepacking style tail and frame bags. Lighter, more compact.

Basically, I'm totally vain.

Also, I'm looking at a set of the newer Bontrager lights (Ion 700 and Flare R), but while I think the option to get a remote for the ANT+ compatible lights, I can't stand the idea of a remote hanging off of my bars. I'm sort of hoping Garmin plays nice with Trek (which they seem to be) and add support for those lights via my Garmin 510.
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Old 08-07-15, 12:30 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
I
...Basically, I'm totally vain....
I think elegant is a much better word!
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Old 08-07-15, 02:17 PM
  #41  
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the only gadget i've really bought is the cycliq fly 6. but it's for being visible and for recording anything behind me. we'll be getting a front light/camera as well later this year. so lights and camera.

other than that. nope. i see people who have a handlebar attachment for their phone. sounds great to me but i haven't done it though. i have a hand-me-down garmin watch i occasionally use but not really. it's more for runs. i use strava on my phone (in my pocket or bag) for recording cycling rides.

i have fix a flat tools and a multitool.

that's about it!
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Old 08-07-15, 02:53 PM
  #42  
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My bikes each have a purpose. And they have the items that help serve that purpose (and a few touches that don't cost much, either effort-wise or cost-wise).

For example: my two newer customs - rivnuts for 3 waterbottoe cages (for hot, long solo rides), toolbags with patches, tire irons, 2 tubes, Allen keys perhaps a spoke wrench. A full size pump with velcro strap securing (on all my bikes - I will keep carrying those things as long as compressed air in a fragile tube is required for a good ride) and a rear flasher. The fix gear carries in addition a spanner/hum wrench and a cog wrench on the top tube if I carry a third cog. Both these bikes have fenders that come on and off. I have a headlight that goes onto whatever bike might need it.

My winter/city/rain fix gear has only two WB cages, but full time fenders, lowrider rack and U-lock. Also mounting hardware for NightRider light and taillight.

I have had foot issues in recent years so I also purchased a WB cage with two sides but one down the middle and use it to carry sandals on long organized rides so I can get out of my cycling shoes at the rest stops. (In the third WB location, under the down tube. Out of sight, out of mind and therefor doesn't slow me down.)

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Old 08-07-15, 03:06 PM
  #43  
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I do run a modified set of pedals on my fix gears that some might call a gadget. I use Shimano 600/105 semi-platform pedals with steel rattraps and oldschool aluminum slotted cleats on my shoes. To speed pedal pick-up, I make steel tabs that extend back almost and inch. Because these now weight the pedal wrong, I add two large heavy washers fastened with an overlength toeclip screw. Makes for easy, usually first try pick-up in traffic starts and on steep hills. Toestraps are of enough importance on those bikes that I buy straps with good buckles and replace the leather with better leather that I buy and have cut to strap width.

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Old 08-20-15, 12:08 PM
  #44  
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I'm in the middle. I use a cyclocomputer and have a light mounted but don't use strava/map my ride/etc.
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Old 08-20-15, 12:34 PM
  #45  
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I'm a geek and as a every geek does I love gadgets. I have a GoPro Hero2 and 3 and have had other helmet cams before them, I have a cat eye and a Garmin Edge and a couple older simpler cycling computers, I have a Garmin watch, and an iPod watch for music and blue tooth speakers in my snowboarding helmet.
The truth is though I use almost none of the devices on a regular basis. I've found that making sure everything is charged and connected and has available media or is connected to GPS takes so much away from the experience. To me there is nothing better than sliding out of bed putting on my cycling kit and heading out the door no worries and all the gadgets were making that impossible. All the videos and other data I was collecting was only interesting to me and even then only slightly interesting.
As much as I love the technology I'm a minimalist
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Old 08-20-15, 08:02 PM
  #46  
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My only gadget are dynamo hub lights. There's nothing like leaving home in the morning knowing that you can ride home whenever you feel like it without having the remember those damned lights.
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Old 08-23-15, 12:56 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
My only gadget are dynamo hub lights. There's nothing like leaving home in the morning knowing that you can ride home whenever you feel like it without having the remember those damned lights.
Amen. I'm not a gadgeteer OR a minimalist. I buy the things that make a meaningful difference to me that seems worth the investment.

Some people say a dynohub is not worth the money. It is to me and apparently others. And it's a one time expense. Then the more miles you ride the cheaper it gets. And like you point out, it makes managing life less complicated. All these little things might seem like nothing. But I think that's an illusion - it pays to really focus on eliminating the necessary rituals associated with what you consider basic function. This opens your life and your mind to be seeded with things that feel more rewarding than just continuing to exist.

I have a speedometer. I'd like to track my weekly mileage. But I don't care about much else so it is an el-cheapo model. It has other features. You probably can't buy a speedo that only shows your current speed and has an odometer.

Edit: The best gadgets save you from buying and managing other gadgets. That's why I have an iPhone. I could use my iPhone as my speedo but that's not as simple to manage. But it does save me from having a gps.

Last edited by Walter S; 08-23-15 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 08-23-15, 03:57 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Edit: The best gadgets save you from buying and managing other gadgets. That's why I have an iPhone. I could use my iPhone as my speedo but that's not as simple to manage. But it does save me from having a gps.
Well, if a cell phone is a gadget, I'm a gadget person. There are so many things I use the phone to do... almost nothing bike related... but. I started playing violin recently. I have an app that helps me tune the strings and I have another app that serves as a metronome. The smart phone is my personal library (my Kindle reader anyway...), my meditation timer, music library, weather tracker... the list is long. I'd say the cell phone has helped me read many more books than I normally ever had time to read, just by being around when I had a few spare moments...
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Old 08-23-15, 04:17 PM
  #49  
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Yep, I like gadgets. Dynamo lights with a USB charger. A smart phone with GPS and map app to match up against the foreign language map book because the river has actually forked and really it should be running the other way. Google translate... Bluetooth Intercom so I'm not stopping every intersection to consult with my partner. USB charged head torch so I don't go arse up in some camp ground. Compass on my watch so I know which way the door of the shopping mall is, especially after wandering around in circles and going up and down 6 floors. Barometer on my watch so I know when the weather change is coming through. Strava so we know why we are so shagged when the 70km the map says we had to travel turns out to be 105km in reality.
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Old 08-23-15, 05:10 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Well, if a cell phone is a gadget, I'm a gadget person. There are so many things I use the phone to do... almost nothing bike related... but. I started playing violin recently. I have an app that helps me tune the strings and I have another app that serves as a metronome. The smart phone is my personal library (my Kindle reader anyway...), my meditation timer, music library, weather tracker... the list is long. I'd say the cell phone has helped me read many more books than I normally ever had time to read, just by being around when I had a few spare moments...
My wife plays guitar and fiddle. I can definitely relate. There's so much good software that's music related. Teaching, tuning, composing, recording, sharing, discovering.
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