Monthly Archives: January 2015

My Stationary Bicycle Trainer Setup

This has been a great winter for bicycle riding and I was able to ride in temperatures just below freezing. However, the trails that I rode just a few days ago are covered with about 24” of snow. The New England weather has finally driven me indoors. In the past I had a gym membership, but I thought that they did a poor job of maintaining the equipment and I quit.

Stationary Bicycle Trainer
Stationary Bicycle Trainer

After some research, I bought a Kinetic Road Machine 2 stationary trainer for my home. I have it in a small room that barely qualifies as a man-cave, so I call it the man-place. Although my mountain bike and the trainer frame are nearly the same color, the color was not a part of the decision criteria. This trainer comes assembled and mounting my bike to it took about ten minutes. It comes with a special skewer for the rear axle that fits the clamp cones.

It’s important to me to know how fast and how far I’ve ridden. I’m not into watts or calories because I personally can’t convert those measures to anything useful. I usually record my rides using the Strava app on my iPhone, which clearly wasn’t going to work in my little man-place.

Bicycle Computer Sensor Rear Wheel Adaptation
Bicycle Computer Sensor Rear Wheel Adaptation

The type of device that I needed comes in the category of “bicycle computer”. These can be very expensive, but I was able to find one for about $25: the CatEye CC-VL520 Velo 7 bicycle computer. I mounted the sensor and the spoke magnet in the rear. Of course, it’s not meant to be mounted in the rear, so I needed to do some “engineering”. There was a perfectly shaped spring in my collection of miscellaneous hardware. The spring is fastened to the seatstay using electrical tape. The seatstay is protected with some double sided foam tape between the spring and the painted surface. The sensor is mounted to the spring using cable ties. The display is mounted to the top tube instead of the handlebar because the sensor wire isn’t long enough. This setup is alright for indoor stationary training, but I would not recommend it for use on the road since I don’t think it would hold up.

A feature of this computer that I like is the ability to input the circumference of your tire to measure the distance. This is a little more precise than the default tire sizes that can be selected as well. It is entered with accuracy to the centimeter. A mile measured using tire circumference to this accuracy can be off as much as 30 to 40 feet because of rounding, but that’s close enough for me.

This is working well for me. It can be dreadfully boring, so I’m hooking up a television that I can watch as I pedal. It’s a small screen, so I will not have the immersive experience of watching a travelogue as I pedal in front of a 60” 4K TV screen. I’ll probably stick with the news channels. I also have my iPod and a music collection that I enjoy. Until the big thaw in the spring, this is my cycling world.

Cycle The Erie Canal Bike Tour Registration is Open!

Buffalo Tent City Cycling the Erie Canal

Parks and Trails New York has just opened registration for their annual eight day bicycle tour of the Erie Canal from Buffalo, NY, to Albany, which is about 400 miles. I have done this ride twice with PTNY and I highly recommend it. My first ride on the canal was self-supported. The travelogue of my self-supported trip is here on the Edek’s Attic. Doing the ride with Parks and Trails New York is a less demanding way to go. This is also a great ride to test your desires to tour on a bicycle.

Riders sign up as groups or solo; there are usually about 500 people and getting to know many of them is a part of the experience. PTNY transports your stuff between campsites and provides breakfast and dinner on most days. All of the campsites have toilets (sometimes chemical toilets) and warm showers (sometimes the shower truck). Morning and afternoon rest stops are staffed with friendly and helpful people. A bicycle mechanic is available in case you have troubles and a ride is available if necessary. Bring your own tent or opt for the tent service for a little extra cost.

The route in upstate New York passes many historic and current Erie Canal features. The ride goes through Rochester, Syracuse, and Rome as well as a number of small towns. Between the towns the country side is peaceful and scenic. About 75% of the ride is off-road on dirt, packed stone dust, and paved trails that follow either the current Erie Canal or historic remnants of the older canals. The remaining 25% uses roads that generally are bicycle-friendly.

You don’t need a touring bike for this ride. Since PTNY hauls your stuff, you can successfully complete this ride with many types of bicycles. I have seen recumbent trikes and bikes, folding bikes, tandems, road bikes, mountain bikes, and touring bikes participating. You do need to be reasonably physically fit since you will ride over 50 miles most days.

See the PTNY web site for more details.