GoPro Hero4 Sessions and Why You Shouldn’t Buy It

gopro-hero4-session-15The most viewed and most commented on post I’ve written is GoPro Hero3 and Why You Shouldn’t Buy It.  If you type gopro sucks into google I’m the first result.  I’ve gotten quite a few comments about that post, mostly negative.  People get connected to their brands and like to defend them, it’s understandable.  In that post I was pretty negative about the GoPro 960 that I bought, I didn’t really like the camera, but I didn’t do a very good job of actually explaining my real problem with it, I’ll try to do better in this post.

I’ve watched a promotion video for the GoPro Hero4 Sessions and it looks awesome.  They improved alot of things, the shape and size are 100 times better, the fact that it’s not in a lame plastic case any more is really nice.  Unfortunately there is a problem, apparently image quality sucks, at least according to reviews, oh yeah and it costs 400 dollars.  The Hero4 Silver edition also costs 400 dollars, and it’s image quality is probably worlds above my old 960, it’s probably a fantastic camera.  I’ve never used one.

So here I am again telling you not to buy a GoPro, a guy who last used one that was outdated by like 4 generations, maybe I’m crazy.  Before I just drop a blanket statement and say you don’t need a GoPro let me ask you these questions.

If this looks like your trail then yeah, get that gopro.

If this looks like your trail then yeah, get that gopro.

If you’re a mountain cyclist ask yourself. do I ride my bike off the roof of my house?  Do I careen down mountains at highly unsafe speeds?  Am I likely to crash in spectacular fashion?  Do I have a bunch of crazy friends who do these things?

If you are a road cyclist ask yourself, do I race?

If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these question you shouldn’t buy a gopro.  If you do you’ll fill your hard drive with really boring video that no one wants to watch, you’d be much better off with a still camera.

Now lets say you surf, kayak white water, race cars, run with bulls. jump out of airplanes, or pretend to be a flying squirrel and jump off of mountains?  You should probably get a GoPro.

So lets boil this down even further.  Do you regularly do things that are dangerous and likely to result in serious injury or death?  You should probably get a GoPro.  The rest of us should look elsewhere.

By the way, I’m not the first person to realize this.  

Posted in Barn Door Cycling, Mountain BIking, Rants, technology (geek) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour de France 2015

Vincenzo Nibali attacks on stage seventeen of the 2015 Tour de France

I lost complete interest in bike racing when Leige Baston Leige ended and didn’t become a fan again until the Tour.  I watched hours of video from the cyclocross season with Flemmish commentators that I couldn’t understand, then I watched almost all the classics, then “poof” nothing.  Apparently I missed an exciting Giro and even more exciting Tour of California.  In the past I’ve paid for the NBC Sports web feed of the Tour and watched nearly ever stage to completion. Luckily I remembered I liked cycle racing the day after the Tour started.

My strategy for watching the Tour was a different this year.  I downloaded the 30 minute ITV4 stage recaps, these 30 minute recaps feature about 20 minutes of racing and some features with Gary Imlach, Chris Boardman, David Millar.  Another change this year is that Shauna joined me in watching these 30 minute shows and got kind of into it.  She asked lots and lots of questions so I could pause the video and explain all the minutiae of stage racing.  Explaining jerseys, stage wins, and the overall classification was one thing, but trying to explain team dynamics and breakaways was another thing all together.  At one point when there was a group of riders over 10 minutes up the road she couldn’t understand it.  “Why isn’t Nibbles up there?” she asked.    Nibbles was her nickname for Vincezo Nibali, who became a favorite.

Something that has been bothering me since last year was the media’s reaction to Nibali’s win last year.  It seemed to me that the media discounted his win rather unfairly almost like it was his fault that Froome and Contador crashed out.  They didn’t seem to notice his brilliant ride on the cobbles last year and the fact that he was the best rider of the tour that managed to finish the race.

The most exciting day in the Tour for me this year was stage 19, Froome had some issues with his bike and slowed down, but it looked to me like maybe he was cracking and drifting to the back.  Nibali launches off and wins the stage breaking the unwritten rule that you don’t attack the yellow jersey when they crash or have a mechanical and he got a bit of flak for it.  Now I’ll just say, I’m not the biggest Chris Froome fan, he seems like a great person and a fantastic rider, but his riding style is so mechanical, sometimes I think he might as well be riding a watt meter.  In a way I really wanted to see Nibali win this year to prove all those who discounted his win last year, seeing him win that stage with an aggressive attack made my day.  As for Nibali’s attack, he was 8 minutes down on Froome, he was racing for the stage win, and he was looking for an opportunity to attack when it happened, it was an honorable attack in my mind and if Froome wanted to he probably could have pulled it back anyway, so why whine about it.

I’d say that several people were saying what goes around comes around when Nibali had a flat tire on the base of the Alpe De Huez, it was nightmarish bad luck, and maybe a bit of Karma but I wish he wouldn’t have been there on the final sloops of the Alpe.  At least we had Quintana throwing everything he had a Froome and getting some time on him.  I was equally glad to see Pinot win a stage, I’m always glad win the French win a stage and Pinot is turning into super climber, horrible descender, but great climber.

One final note on the Tour de France 2015.  The expected showdown between Talanski and TeJay went poof.  Then TeJay went poof when he got sick and dropped out on stage 17/  I really want to see TeJay do well, but as a rider he doesn’t really excite me, it seems like in the mountains he just follows until he can’t follow anymore.  He’s a great defensive rider, but he’s going to have to learn to be there on the final kilometers of the climb if he wants to make the podium.  Good luck next year!

Posted in Barn Door Cycling, Racing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Nick’s Brew Tour July

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday I met up with many Southern Illinois area cyclists in DuQuion  for St. Nick’s Bicycle Club’s Brew Tour.  It was a 40ish mile ride from St. Nick’s Brewery to Scratch Brewery in Ava IL.  I didn’t count how many riders but I’d guess there was around 30.  Considering the temperatures was mid 90s with a heat index well over 100 that was a good turnout in my opinion.

DuQuoin is over an hour away from home, and I normally wouldn’t go that far for a bike ride unless I was really excited about it.  With my Saturday work schedule I don’t get to many opportunities to ride with a big group and I was hoping for a big group and some exciting peleton action.  I suppose watching the Le Tour has me fired up.  The ride didn’t disappoint.

St. Nick’s cycling team is new on the scene, but they seem like they have everything they need to be successful, a cool team kit, a bike friendly sponsor, and awesome motivated riders.  I’m looking to see this group grow.  It seems like they have just as many women riding as they do men which is awesome.  They put together a nice route and I’m sure a big part of the draw is connecting two area breweries together, the excitement for the local craft beers was infectious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The route was mostly flat, there were a couple of rolling hills near the middle and a climb of about 200 feet at the end, I got less then 1000 feet of climbing and did the big climb twice, so yeah, flat.  The route is a zig zag of right angles which is awesome for headwinds since you’re not likely to sit in the wind for 20 miles, the road conditions in the area ranged from excellent to good.  It’s the kind of route that would be good mind numbing training alone but with a feisty group becomes exciting fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our group got pretty feisty about 5 miles in and we formed a breakaway of 13 riders.  I came to the ride with my friend Barry, and he did his best to go to the front and wind things up.  For awhile he was pulling 24 into a bit of a headwind.  A St. Nick’s rider named Katie was the route leader for our breakaway group and did a heroic job keeping in the front of the group and making everyone aware of the turns.  I know from experience just how hard it is to keep a ride like this together.

20150719_130546(0)

Scratch was the turnaround point, it’s a rustic farm microbrewery with tons of character.  It looked like a real cool place to hang out.  Almost everyone had a drink of some kind, I had some of the gooseberry soda which was awesome, and some guys got a huge rustic crusty loaf of bread.  I was able to procure half a loaf to take home with me and snack on for the ride back.  By the way that bread was great with the salmon we had for supper.

20150719_125856

The return trip was a bit more civilized.  The local riders stayed on the front and pulled most of the way keeping the pace plenty high to keep everyone satisfied.  In the last few miles a few of us went off the front and I pretty much rode myself into the ground staying near the front.  In the last couple of miles we had a 24 mph average speed, so yeah, fast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you asked a cyclist to design the ultimate place to meet up for a ride and refuel after the ride then you’d end up with St. Nicholas Brewing Company.  I   had a plate of pretzel sticks which were amazing, but thanks to Moe and Tony I was able to sample some excellent pizza and fantastic roasted olives.  Moe and Tony rode from Desoto for an 80 mile day, they needed lots of fuel for the ride home.

So thanks again to the St. Nick’s crew for putting on an excellent free ride!  Looking forward to the next one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Can Swim

When I was young I would go swimming in the summer like most kids.  At some point and I can’t remember when I had to quit.  After swimming my ears would feel like they had water in them for days, they would eventually get sore, and I would would freak out trying to get the water out for the next week.  I decided I had messed up ears and vowed to never put my head underwater again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This March I went to the doctor for what I thought might have been strep throat.  Turns out it was just a cold, but the PA did something that no doctor has done in years.  He actually looked in my ear.  I’ve had doctors go through the motion of checking my ears before but this was the first time the doctor actually said something, “Man your ears are completely clogged,” he said.  He brought in the nurses and they did something with a squirt bottle.  I huge dark brown chunk of rock fell out of my ear.  They did the other side an even bigger chunk of rock fell out.  Good Lord, there were huge chunks of rock in my ears, like I didn’t even realize there was that much room in there.

I started thinking about it, and I was like, “I wonder if that’s why I couldn’t swim.”  Shauna and I went to Burdette Park on a recent trip to Evansville Indiana where there is sweet outdoor pool and went swimming.  Afterwards I had water in my ears, for maybe an hour or less.  Cured!  I can swim again!

While swimming I assured Shauna the Olympus Tough TG-820 camera was completely waterproof, well it’s suppose to be anyway.  Mine didn’t die, but it definitely got water in it. The LCD screen stopped working for a short time.  I opened up the battery compartment and there was a bit of moisture in there.  That was after having it totally submerged for a long time.  Luckily it dried out and seems to be working fine with no ill effects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In other news I remembered today that I wanted to submit some photos and a painting to the Saline County Fair.  I remembered in a knick of time since the entry day is tomorrow.  I spent most of the afternoon printing photos with my Epson Stylus 2200.   It’s pretty ancient I suppose but I printed out 3 12×18 inch photos, and several smaller ones without any problems and they look great.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh yeah, I’ve got back to riding my bike some after seemingly taking most of the last couple months off.  I rode my bike less in June then I did in January or February.  That’s pretty disgraceful.  More on that when I have more time.

Posted in lifestyle, technology (geek) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Cyclists Break the Rules?

This is my idea of a stop sign.

This is my idea of a stop sign.

I was listening to Science Friday yesterday, yes I’m a nerd, and they had a short segment on cycling called, “Why Do Cyclists Break the Rules.”  In a study by The University of Colorado it was found that almost everyone who uses the roadways breaks laws.  Furthermore, cyclists and drivers break the rules at about the same amount but in slightly different ways and for very different reasons.  For the most part drivers are breaking laws to save time, where cyclists are breaking laws because they feel it will make them safer.  It was a short 5 minute segment and didn’t go into much detail but I was glad that it aired, it’s a good thing for drivers to hear.

I once rode with a guy who would go on and on about cyclists must follow the rules, must make complete stops at all stops signs and stuff like that.  I rode with this guy a few times and while he rode very safely I don’t remember him putting his foot down at every stop sign.  I’ll be completely honest.  I almost totally ignore some traffic laws while I’m riding.  I don’t stop at stop signs unless I have to.  Sometimes I don’t even slow down, especially when I can see for miles in all directions.  I pass through red lights when its safe to do so.

I don’t do this because it makes me feel safer as suggested in the study.  I do this because I don’t want to stop.  I don’t want to brake, uncllip, put a foot down, reclip, and pedal away.  In complete honesty I do something similar in my car.  I don’t just flat out drive through a stop sign, but I slow to a near stop and make sure its safe before rolling on.  I can’t see or hear as well in the car so its worth taking more time and double checking before going.  I’d wager that’s how most drivers do it.

It’s strange that Idaho has the most common sense cycling law in the country, the Idaho Stop allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yields and stop lights as if they were stop signs.  It’s the most common sense approach, and how pretty much all cyclists do it anyway.

Posted in Barn Door Cycling, lifestyle, Rants, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fixing What Isn’t Broke… The Keurig Ripoff and Bottom Brackets

I’ve tried to keep my blog focused on cycling, and in the spirt of that I’m combing two separate topics that kind of go together.  First the Keurig Ripoff

My wife has recently become very interested in the Keurig coffee system, she drinks a cup of coffee every morning and our coffee machine has been acting up.  The problem is the filter folding over and allowing coffee grinds to come through.  She became interested in the Keurig system primarily because of the wide variety of different coffee flavors available and the fact that since I rarely drink coffee she only needed to make one cup.

keurigB40c__22405__44452I’ve noticed these Keurig systems are popular, in fact based on how many I delivered to peoples houses last year it was a popular Christmas gift.  I started looking at them and couldn’t’ believe it.  A machine that costs way more then a coffee machine and yet can only produce one cup of coffee at a time, then here’s the kicker, those little flavored coffee cups cost between 50 cents and a dollar.  Come on this has to be a joke, why would anyone want this thing.  I’ll tell you why, it’s cool, its new, its improved.  When I showed my wife a small traditional 12 dollar coffee pot at Wal-Mart that brewed a tiny little pot of coffee she wasn’t interested.

Industry is always looking for new ways to part us from our money;  you can make coffee the old way for about 6 cents a cup or you can buy a 75 dollar machine so you can make it for 60 cents per cup?  I’m lucky because Shauna is smart.  She struggled for awhile with the desire for a Keurig system but couldn’t get over the price.  I suggested a reusable coffee filter and that she buy small bags of flavored coffee and make half pots.  The metal mesh coffee filter was two dollars and is very easy to clean.  Since she started using it there have been no grinds in her coffee. Seems to have worked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Hollowtech II bottom bracket in the Scud. 

Now on to the bike part of the post.  I got my mountain bike down yesterday for a ride.  The crank was completely seized up.  This seems to happen about every 2 or 3 months.  Yes I ride in mud, yes I cross creeks, but no I don’t ride my bike underwater.  I’ve decided the Shimano hollowtech II bottom bracket design is a horrible design for mountain bikes.  At least mountain bikes that are ridden in wet conditions.  Me and Luke used to joke all the time about driving over to Carbondale and buying the 18 dollar Shimano Bottom Bracket every 3 months, but really its not that funny.

I was able to oil and free up my bottom bracket but it was a bit crunchy; I might have lost a watt or two, but I started thinking, how many times did I replace old style internal bottom brackets ?  The answer, not that often.  I might have replaced 2 or 3 internal bottom brackets over ten years, and I’ve replaced probably 1o outboard bottom brackets in that time.  The old school Cannondale that I built up a while back has a square tapered bottom bracket and it seems to work great.

The old school internal Bottom Bracket and square taper crank.

The old school internal Bottom Bracket and square taper crank.

The outboard bottom bracket moves the bearings outside the frame so they can be bigger and closer to the outside of the spindle.  This is better, and on a road bike I’d agree, though I don’t really think its that big of a deal.  On a mountain bike the bottom bracket is constantly exposed to dust, dirt and water.  The water and grim leaches through the seals and contaminates the bearings, when the water dries you’ve got a seized or nearly seized bottom bracket.

Now honestly I’m behind the times, the new designs move the bearings back inside a larger bottom bracket shell like the press fit and BB-30 systems.  I have no experience with them, maybe they’re better.  What I’ve seen from a few people who have them isn’t promising.

The broken Hollowtech II crank on the Bandersnatch, the splines wore off.

The broken Hollowtech II crank on the Bandersnatch, the splines wore off.

The hollowtech II crank on the Bandersnatch broke awhile back, as soon as I get around to it I’m replacing it with my old hollowtech I internal bottom bracket and Shimano Octalink crank.

So progressive new technologies march on and continue to fix things that weren’t even broken, and get us to spend money on new stuff we don’t need.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

High Water

 

I went on a ride earlier last week and decided to take a gravel road for a few miles for something different.  I wasn’t considering the high water from lots of recent rain.  I rode through a section of water that was maybe 8 inches deep, crossed the bridge and then the water got deeper.

crossing high water

crossing high water

So what else is up?  I’ve been wanting a shaved ice snow cone type treat  all summer, last night we went to get one at a new place in town that sells them called Riptides.  They cost $2.50 for a medium which is a lot of money for ice with some flavor on top.  As we were driving home we both realized how terrible they were, they contained almost no flavor, despite being covered in a sugary syrup.  It was a major disappointment, I should have went and asked for my money back.

I’ve been busying taking photos all over the place, took my camera with me on the mail route the other day.  When dropping off a package a friendly dog got in my car, I couldn’t get him out.  I had to use food to entice him out.

dog in carI also spent some time in a really cool spot the other night taking pictures, I ran across some deer that were bedding down for the night.  They jumped out of the tall grass in front of me and leaped into the brush before I could even get my camera up.  Here’s a picture of the deer from a distance before they went under the grass.

sunset on gob hill 4sunset on gob hill 3

Posted in Barn Door Cycling, lifestyle, Rides, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment