Over50's Charger Chronicles

vincent

Well-Known Member
those are cool helmets
personally i am never going fast enough to feel i need a visor but i am sure faster commuters would really like that

i think you cannot have too many lights, feel like the cars see me and stay away from me the more i have on the bikes

interested to hear what you think about those ledbylites, hope they work well for you
 

James Kohls

Active Member
I had the 2 headlights, yellow flashing leg bands and blue flashing arm bands, the stock taillight, a supplemental Knog taillight on the cargo rack (probably won't keep that one), the Rotlicht under the saddle (used as a flasher) and a flasher on the back of my helmet. So I was lit up like a Christmas tree. But maybe one hole was no light on my chest to illuminate the Bosch controller and Nuvinci controller (probably can get by without this though).

For the most part there was little traffic but the cars I did encounter I felt as if they were almost stopping (oncoming) to let me pass. Cross traffic was stopping and waiting. I'm used to drivers not waiting and pulling out in front of me and not slowing down as they pass. Like maybe they were fascinated with the lights? I wonder if a rider can have too much lighting? I recall kayaking classes where the instructor would say "if you don't want to hit the rocks then don't stare at the rocks - don't focus on what you want to avoid". Could yellow leg flashers and blue arm flashers create a novelty that drivers want to check out?

Hey @Over50 sounds like you're ride gear is coming together nicely. I think anyone is going to be prone towards checking out the pretty flashing lights and you can certainly create a blinding situation if not careful about placement and direction lights are pointed. It sounds to me like drivers are aware of your presence and being caution before they proceed.

I'm personally of the opinion that only one light should be flashing front and rear. All others should be steady-on. Flashing lights are good for attention getting, but steady-on lights are better for determining the shape of an object. Our stereo vision is really good at looking at two fixed points to determine an object's direction. If they are flashing, it is harder for our eyes to lock on.

I recently came up behind one of the better equipped night riders I've seen, on a commute home the other night:


I really like his leg reflectors. When he pedals and they move up and down, he is unmistakably on a bicycle, even in low-visibility situations.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
i saw one of these on a road biker the other day

was great except he was on a road bike with a backpack on and i did not even see the helmet until i pulled up next to him
but thought it was really cool


https://lumoshelmet.co

I have one of those and love it. I got mine back during the early pre-order days when they were much cheaper (I have a $25-off referral code if anyone is interested). The only real downside is the helmet is a bit heavier than a normal helmet. Tho, even with my long skinny neck, I haven't had any issues with increased neck pain, etc. I like the turn signals, but I still use hand signals as most people are not used to a bike signaling with lights. If I had to pay its full $180 retail price, I'm not sure I'd be as keen to buy it. It's more of a novelty item and there are certainly cheaper helmet lighting solutions out there.

Interesting note about the backpack. I'll have to keep that in mind if I ever use one on my back.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
That looks like a 'brave commute' @Over50.

Out of curiosity I visited the Boomerang GPS website that you mentioned in your original post. But I have to admit that I'm a bit puzzled about that device. What would prevent a would-be thief from simply unscrewing the device from the bike and leaving it at the place of theft? You would never be notified that the bike moved... It seems to me that hiding the device would be more effective. The would-be thief is going to be stressed out and he might not have the time or tools needed to look for a hidden GPS device.
Very timely post JayVee! Because I am out now on the bike among other things testing the Boomerang! I just stopped for a java and saw the post. First let me say that the Boomerang does not fit the R&M Charger. The bottle mount under the top tube is too close to the seat tube and the Boomerang is too long. So what I've done for now: I mounted one screw (they are torx/security) and use two velcro bike straps (Softride) to secure the Boomerang. As far as ride stability, it aint goin nowhere. I was a bit concerned that the wide and thick top tube might interfere with the signal. Doesn't seem to be so as it has successfully tracked my ride andI can see the bike on the map in my precise location. As for what you mentioned: The Boomerang has an alarm that you activate with your smartphone. As soon as someone messes with the bike, it sounds an audible alarm and sends you a text. I tested this in my yard earlier. I set the alarm and bumped the bike. It didn't sound. I bumped a bit harder and it chirped. I went into my pannier and it chirped again. I started rolling the bike and it sounded. I almost immediately received a text that said ("someone is stealing your bike...."). I need to test the sensitivity some more as somone else posted here that it goes off just getting into the pannier. I was thinking I wouldn't use for my work commute (the alarm) due to parking in a parking garage on a public bike rack where likely it will be jostled and subject to the vibration of passing vehicles. But my initial test tells me maybe I can use the alarm. But yes, you are correct to be concerned because I can see a thief just breaking it off quickly and tossing it aside (if you have the alarm activated it will hopefully text you when that happens). I'll give it some more testing before I make a decision to rely on it or not. I am initially pleased that it is successfully locating on the GPS. Oh, and if you don't have water bottle mounts they say to use the Gorilla Clip. But that just attaches with zipties. So same thing applies as per the alarm and text option but they would obviously be able to get it off the bike faster cutting zip ties vs unscrewing or (horrors) breaking it off.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Hey @Over50I'm personally of the opinion that only one light should be flashing front and rear. All others should be steady-on. Flashing lights are good for attention getting, but steady-on lights are better for determining the shape of an object. Our stereo vision is really good at looking at two fixed points to determine an object's direction. If they are flashing, it is harder for our eyes to lock on...

James - I think what you say here makes a lot of sense. I'm going to apply this going forward and just use a single flasher front and back. I think the blinking Christmas lights I had the other night were too distracting. Fortunately my leg and arm bands can either blink or burn steady (or do nothing and have reflectivity). So although it burns their batteries faster I'm going to ride with them lit but not flashing.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
that lumos helmet was cool

it was daytime when i saw it and the leds were very bright and visible
 

Amanda

Member
I wonder if the boomerang is narrow enough to slide into a seat tube. If future iterations were, they could partner with a fastener company like hexlox to secure the seat tube.

I haven't secured all my hexlox yet and will review when I do, but it could be used on the bottles bosses. Weak point would be someone sliding a blade between frame and boomerang to cut the bit going into the bike but could it be done quickly and without detection...
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I wonder if the boomerang is narrow enough to slide into a seat tube...
They say at their website that aluminum is effective at blocking the signal. Therefore their solution is to not place it inside the seattube. They do need a new clamp solution. It seems like it is as simple as designing a locking clamp made of an inner soft liner to protect the frame and a hard outer shell to resist cutting. They also need to make it smaller. I intend to post some other comments/observations after two days of use/riding and when I do I will post under the gear section and link here.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Some urban commuting gear I've gathered (or: commuting gear from the guy who hasn't actually commuted yet so take with a grain of salt) - exclusive of lights and locks:
Pics included:
The R&M Charger with Body Float and Shimano Saint pedals added (may not keep the pedals). The Charger with some subtly applied reflective tape - added the suspension fork reflectors sent by Propel (thanks Chris), small amount of tape applied to the fork, battery pack, motor housing, spokes.

Helmets: Bell Annex MIPs and Kali Protectives City:
Bell has better reflectivity, has a brim/visor, dials in fit pretty well, light clip on the back, adjustable vents - they sell one option with eye shield that is a bit more expensive. Kali dials in fit very well, I kind of prefer the straps on the Kali, light clip on the back, comes with 2 eye shields that interchange and stow away inside the helmet, removable ear protectors which are very warm and nice for blocking wind noise. The Blackburn Super Flea taillight has a helmet clip that attaches nicely to either helmet.

Jackets: Marmot Gravity in orange: not sold as a cycling jacket hence no reflectivity but I have a reflective safety vest to fit over. The Marmot offers excellent wind stoppage and I've been fine at 30F or over with proper base layers. At 40F I found it hot or I had too much baselayering. Shower's Pass Amsterdam Jacket: a cycling jacket that does not look like a cycling jacket - reflective accents and some fleece protection - sometimes wear this casually with jeans to work and it looks great.

Arm and leg bands LED from Planet Bike and Glow City. Halo head/skull cap - thin and fits in the helmet nicely keeps some warmth in.

Pants and vest: Shower's Pass Rogue pants - cycling pants that don't look like cycling pants. Great fit for me and warm at 45F without baselayers. Warm at 30F with baselayering.

Shoes: New Balance 530 Reflective. Added Jogo Grip lace keepers. For warmer weather I use some Chaco water hikers (no reflectivity) not pictured.

No pic:
Ortlieb Sport Packer plus panniers: good fit and reflective accents. 1 pannier fits some tools with a mini pump and my locks with room to spare. When the locks go on the bike the battery pack will go in. The other fits my laptop and a change of clothes and shoes with a little room to spare. Water proof and seal up nicely.
 

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Over50

Well-Known Member
Woo hoo winter riding just got better. My Fahrer Akku neoprene battery cover arrived today from the UK. Fits the Bosch Powerpack 500 perfectly.

Per the instructions:
use only at temperatures below 59F. When riding under heavy conditions (uphill, high load, high speed) regularly check battery temperature. In case of warm or hot battery remove Akku cover. Always take off battery cover during charging.
 

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Over50

Well-Known Member
Cool and timely review. I kind of came to similar conclusions as Court. The product has some promise but seems like much room for improvement. I figured the larger size was partially due to the alarm function and having to have some capability to project that sound. Also due to taking a different strategy vs a hidden GPS (ie use it as a visible deterrent). I'm holding out hope that the server updates the company has promised will reduce the latency issue that both I and Court noticed (part of the video where he is waiting for the alarm to activate). But once I'm ready to start commuting I'm still leaning towards buying the bike insurance. Not sure I'm going to rely on the Boomerang just yet.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Successful first commute!

Temps were headed up this week and snow/ice all gone (still salt on the roads though) so I had been eyeing today as my first attempt. Monday is a holiday for some and I think some schools went out on spring break so I was hoping for weekend type traffic.

Made a checklist and went through it the night before (tire pressure, suspension fork pressure etc). Laid out my gear and went to bed early. Went with 3 locks and 2 cables probably overkill. Will likely do 2 locks in the future.

29F upon departure at 5:50am. I was extremely lucky in that I hit every light green for about the first 5 miles. I was 12 miles into the 16.5 mile inbound trip and had only counted 2 cars that had passed me. But at about 13 miles in I did have an encounter with a road-rager. I stopped at a red light and no traffic was behind me and no traffic was in sight at the intersection. I had 2 dedicated left turn lanes and I took the interior left turn lane because the exterior has a forced right hand turn at the next light (in a direction I didn't want to go). It was not a legal left on red situation because the other roadway had 2-way traffic. A minivan pulled up behind me abruptly. Driver laid on the horn which startled me in the quiet, dark morning hours. I thought "crazy person" so I jumped the red light (no traffic in sight) trying to gain some distance. Well she also ran the red light right on my tail, swerved around me on the right and while laying on the horn and flipping me the bird she then cut in my path forcing me to abruptly stop to avoid hitting her driver side door. Really not sure what I did to upset her other than taking the left-most lane for myself or that she thought it was a legal left on red situation. And, she was only going one block before she made another left hand turn. So had I held her up by being a slow cyclist she would have had to wait only one block. I received my Garmin Virb this week but haven't learned how to use it yet so it wasn't on the bike. Wish I had that interaction on video because she intentionally tried to or threatened to injure me with her vehicle.

The other scary part was just a 3 mile section of a very impoverished area where I have to pass abandoned buildings and vacant lots. Streets are pitch dark because there is no street lighting. I scattered a pack of dogs on the inbound trip. The section carries a very bad smell to it of raw sewage perhaps. On the return trip there are guys that congregate on corners and drink from paper bags.

Other than the road-rager the inbound and outbound trips went extremely well. I intended to take it easy on my first commute but fear and adrenaline made me pedal harder than I had planned. I did each trip in about 1 hour 10 minutes (35.5 miles total) vs 55 minutes by car the day prior. I returned home with 17 miles of Eco range remaining. Inbound I used about 95% Eco and 5% Tour. Outbound maybe 80% Eco and 19% Tour and to make one green light I went into Sport mode for a short section. I will probably look to charge at work in the future because I'd like to use Tour mode more.

Novice mistakes: a couple of times at long red lights the bike shut off and I didn't notice. So at the green I start to pedal and no power! Didn't fully charge my Boomerang and the battery almost didn't make it through the day (they advertise 10 hours of ride time and I had it about 70% charged when I left).
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
That sounds like a difficult commute. How long are those red lights? I'm surprised your drive switched off so quickly...
 

E-Wheels

Well-Known Member
Over50,
What do you mean "a couple of times at long red lights the bike shut off and I didn't notice"
What caused the bike to shut off and is this normal as I have not heard of it before