Part 1 – Internal Minivan Bike Mount

Part 1 – Internal Minivan Road Bike Mount

Returning from Thailand we needed to find an easy and safe way to move our road bikes around Northern Michigan – without purchasing new gear or messing up the minivan we were using.

At first we just put the road bikes in the back of the van. It was so easy but the bikes moved around getting everything dirty and potentially knocking into passengers.

The Dodge Caravan’s Stow & Go Seating (https://www.dodge.com/grand-caravan/interior.html) is the perfect solution to the minivan seat stowage problem. Leveraging the mounting options seemed to be the best way to go.

Part 1 shows the easiest way to improve our storage system. It is so simple but required a couple creative insights to make it actually work. Strapping the road bike to the side wall of the wan worked very, very well.

We used this simple solution most of the riding season.

Part 2 – Internal Minivan Road Bike Mount

Near the end of the riding season I was inspired to up-the-game on the internal minivan road bike mount. I realized that the Dodge Caravan’s Stow & Go Seating system could be further leveraged to mount a bracket to the floor of the fan.

I figured out how to mount a road bike stand to the van floor!

Please watch both videos. They really are better methods to carry the road bikes in the van.

Now to wait out the winter season by riding the bikes indoors. It’s way to cold to ride outside – at least for me as I’m missing the roadways of Thailand!

More Great Thailand Road Bike Ride Photos

More Great Thailand Road Bike Ride Photos

Finishing up this year’s riding season with a bunch of meaningful photos. I hope you enjoy them.

Please check out the maps of the 10 Best Thailand Rides at https://youtu.be/zxF3jxCiJpY

And more Thailand Road Bike Ride photos at https://youtu.be/89hf53o201s

Interactive Map of Thailand Road Bike Destinations at https://dataexponent.shinyapps.io/kenthailandlocations/

Where have all the local bike shops gone?

Where have all the local bike shops gone?

A Decathlon Sporting Goods Store has opened up here in Chiang Mai. There are a lot of very good things about Decathlon; great selection, great price, and a good quality spread.

But, it’s means that our local bike shops now have competition and that is hurting their businesses.

Kind of sad to see them go but we all have to adjust to the times.

http://www.decathlon.co.th/en/c/101-chiangmai-store

Decathlon - Local Bike Shops
Decathlon Logo

Riding when sick may not be the smartest thing to do…

Riding when sick may not be the smartest thing to do…

Sometimes I just have to get out. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing because my voice totally went and I had a good sore throat for the next two days.

But, I saw the elephants https://twitter.com/oldmanriderr/status/843294956487770113,climbed a mountain https://www.strava.com/activities/903482202, and feel better about everything today.

Ride without Bike Shorts? Here’s why not.

Ride without Bike Shorts? Here’s why not.

People, and a lot of YouTube videos, spend a lot of time comparing one brand of bike shorts with another. They compare a laundry list of features and decide what is best.

But, no one seems to talk about what features are actually important to the rider. Anyone can read a product tag and parrot back marketing talk.

This video looks at the four most talked about bike short features; cut, material, synthetic chamois, and leg grippers and decides that only three are important – because the fourth feature is common to all bike shorts.

Riding without bike shorts – you can if you want. I know why I’ll continue to wear mine…

When to Replace a Chain & What a New One Looks Like

I started hearing some chain noise and thought I needed to adjust my derailleurs.  I knew my riding over the last several months has been focused on hills but I didn’t realize how fast that would wear the chain and cassette.

I’ve been getting about the expected 2,000KM per chain and cassette but this time the amount of wear took me by surprise. I hadn’t even gotten to the mileage where I thought I should start checking for chain stretch.

My good friend (and bike whisperer) Andrew looked at the bike for about 3 seconds from about 5 feet away and pointed out the problem – derailleurs look find but the chain was riding bad around the cassette in back. Hence the noise.

The new chain and cassette make all the difference in the world. A technical side note is that the new cassette isn’t the same as what I had before (11/30). It’s a bit smaller (11/28). That’s going to make it a bit harder on the hills and I had a secret hope to either not change or go the other direction.

The Thailand bike shop has ordered a drop hanger so I can go to a larger cassette. But, for the near future I’ll go back to exploring the flats and valleys…

 

Torsional Stiffness: Am I Making This Up?

When I crashed my bike, I ruined the front Shimano stock wheel and had to replace it with a new wheelset as you can’t just buy one wheel here in Thailand.

The first wheelset I purchased was a Reynolds Stratus Elite set. Unfortunately, they were total junk and the freewheel failed within the first two weeks and after factory replacement the spokes pulled thru the hub. Not impressive.

Wheel stiffness
Wheel stiffness

What intrigues me is the difference between the stiffness between the Shimano and DT Swiss wheelsets. There are three types of wheel stiffness; lateral stiffness (side-to-side) stiffness, radial stiffness (towards the hub), and torsional stiffness (twisting around the axis). I don’t think I can tell the difference between the wheelsets with respect to radial stiffness, the road vibrations feel the same. My riding style doesn’t push the limits of lateral stiffness so I haven’t experienced any difference there.

Experts (see links below) write that there is very little, if any, measurable difference between the torsional stiffness of various wheels. However, I’m sure I feel a difference in how my peddling power is transferred from the crank to the wheel. The peddling impulse when riding the DT Swiss wheels feels sharper than the Shimanos.

That’s a bit of a dilemma. I’m really convinced I feel something that is too subtle to measure. I think that means that what I’m feeling is not exactly what is being reported by the experts.

I would really like to understand the subtleties.

http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Debunking_Wheel_Stiffness_3449.html

http://caravan.hobby.ru/materiel/Bicycle_Wheel_-_Jobst_Brandt.pdf

How To Read Gatorskin Tire Tread Wear Indicators

How to read the Tread Wear Indicators on Continental Gatorskin road bike tires.

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire (All Sizes)These tires have stood up to thousands of kilometers of Thai roads in all the heat and junk that Thailand could put them up against.  These are not subtle tires, nor are they especially light. But, neither have they worn out quickly.  I can’t say that for the other tires I’ve used out here.