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back to article Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Lots of techies ride bicycles and it is not hard to see why: both pursuits involve the creation of heavily customised and finely-tuned machines coaxed to peak performance after arcane preparations and exhaustive effort, often at odd hours of the day or night. The overlap looks even more likely of late, because bikes now pack in …

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Nya

Missed a few bits!

You forgot the KMC DLC (Diamond Like Coated) chain! Let alone brakes, come on, should be looking at maybe hydraulics on a fully twinked out techno bike.

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Headmaster

Re: Missed a few bits!

DLC = Diamond Like Carbon :)

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Facepalm

Re: Missed a few bits!

...and disc brakes!!! You forgot them. All the best bike shops advertise disc brakes as the best option.

Personally I thought all bikes had disc breaks. You know, those rubber blocks that grip the rim, ie "disc" of the wheel.

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Re: Missed a few bits!

Hmm...

No, disc brakes have a separate aerated metal disc attached to one side of disc compatible hubs of a disc brake specific wheel, and needs special frame/fork fittings near the axle mount with a stiffer frame/fork to stop the frame/fork bending from the high braking torque.

Rim brakes are the older kind of brake and press in a flat surface either side of a rim brake compatible wheel rim. I have some of the V-brake kind on an MTB bike, but mine are the expensive Shimano XTR parallel push ones, and used on decent Mavic wheels which don't bend.

Disc brakes tend to be better in dirty or wet conditions, or when you need to really slow down fast, but tend to be a lot more expensive to buy and maintain than any V-brake, and can disable the bike if you bend a disc somehow e.g. too much wear or a crash.

Anyhow, this article is obviously biased to "Summer Cyclists" on big 700c wheel road bikes, which are often stupid expensive for something usable, even without rip-off bicycle electrics/electronics, and often have worse brakes, worse comfort, less stability/agility and less versatile tires than MTBs; just try riding a road bike in heavy rain, mud or sheet ice in winter, not good, but easy on an MTB with the right tires, which I have, including tool metal studded tires.

As for most Hybrids, putting MTB parts on a road bike like frame; just dumb, because 700c wheels are too fracking big!

Lastly if you buy a four figure bike the 10% you should spend on locks and an annual 10% on insurance soon make this look a costly hobby! Frankly I'd rather have savings, and spend more on computer gear and other useful/fun stuff.

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Re: Missed a few bits!

"No, disc brakes have a ... metal disc

Rim brakes...press in a flat surface"

Hmmm....yes. I suppose I really ought to have used the joke icon.

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Re: Missed a few bits!

Road bikes can do anything an MTB can do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhabgvIIXik

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All the way

How about the pedals drive an alternator that charges a battery that drives a wheel axel motor, which is controlled by a twist-grip on the front-right handlebar? It would have regenerative braking of course.

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What a waste . . .

I will never understand you people. Such an expensive and pointless hobby engaged in by grown men and women who play at being professional sportspeople.

Now, if you bought a couple of guitars, hand-wired (scatter-wound, of course) pickups, vintage amps (with NOS Mullard and RCA valves) and boutique pedals* to play at home while the SO gives you a string of weary looks; that I can understand. But that is entirely different. Entirely.

Indeed, all this talk of carbon fibre and titanium for a 5% improvement is nuts. Far better to put your money into silver solder and a 60's Celestion Blue or a set of Fanes.

* - Mounted on a professional pedal board with custom-made patch cables and expensive buffering and switching equipment. Of course.

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Re: What a waste . . .

Good to see that you're proud of your hypocrisy. Well done.

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Re: What a waste . . .

I see what you did there..

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Coat

Re: What a waste . . .

My bike gets me from my place of residence to my workplace just fine. It may not be glamorous, but it's fine as a mode of transport, and I need to earn a quid somehow.

Sure, I'm starting to fiddle around with a software drum kit… contemplating wiring up some piezo elements to a microcontroller to making up a crude USB MIDI drum kit both as a learning exercise and to give me something better than a keyboard to do the drumming on.

But right now, with my skill set, the likes of Rick Allen would outperform me one handed. So I best not give up my day job just yet!

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Facepalm

Re: What a waste . . .

Surprised to see that several people really didn't undertand Dan1980's comment.

This is for those that dont quite grasp anything below the first degree.....----------->>>>>>>

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Re: What a waste . . .

@Khaptain

Thanks mate . . .

I was going to put a joke icon but I just felt it would be condescending. I guess I gave everyone on this site the compliment of assuming they were intelligent and worldly enough to at least understand when someone has their tongue firmly in their cheek. I was wrong but I'm an optimist, damn it; I'll keep giving people here the benefit of the doubt.

For those who need it spelled out explicitly, I was agreeing with my countryman on the techie obsession with spending what, to many of our partners seems exorbitant quantities of money and then adding and swapping and tweaking away happily until we've got things just the way we want them, then adding and swapping and tweaking some more.

In other words, while our specific hobbies might differ - Simon with his bike, me with my guitars and others with their hifis or gaming PC rigs or RC helicopters and planes - us techies share a common bond. Even though I don't share Simon's passion for his hobby, I understand it and my partner would, upon sitting down with Simon's partner, very quickly recognise that we are of the same stripe.

So, to be explicit once again, I salute you Simon and your passion to strive for the incremental improvements that many dismiss as not worth the effort but us techies pursue with undiminished enthusiasm.

And it seems to me that you're equal third, not fourth!

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Re: What a waste . . .

I think he's being proud of his irony...

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Re: What a waste . . .

@unwarranted triumphalism

Mate, I realise my humour isn't for everyone but you obviously have the most dismal view of your fellow posters if you saw my post and jumped to 'hypocrisy' rather than the alternative.

Personally, I usually try to give people at least the benefit of the doubt - especially when I don't know them. Go back and re-read my post and tell me if 'hypocrisy' is really the interpretation you're going with. If that's what you're sticking with, well, I'll accept that I'm funnier in my head than in writing but to be honest I think it says more about your uncharitable nature than my apparently unamusing writing style

Though, to be fair we do have something in common - our chosen handles do describe us each aptly. (My name is Dan and I'm thirty-four years old. It's not a good username but I never intended to hang around here.)

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Re: What a waste . . .

'Go back and re-read...'

No, we're done here.

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Re: What a waste . . .

@Anonymous Blowhard

I was rather; thank-you for noticing. Though, considering irony is supposed to consist in the audience realising what is really happening, perhaps I should not have been so proud of it.

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Re: What a waste . . .

"Indeed, all this talk of carbon fibre and titanium for a 5% improvement is nuts. Far better to put your money into silver solder and a 60's Celestion Blue or a set of Fanes."

Absolute rubbish!

A decent ride cymbal that cuts like a guillotine through the rest of the noise that guitarists make is what you need!

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Re: What a waste . . .

It takes a big man to admit he's wrong.

I guess you're the other kind.

Of course, we could just refer to some of your posts for insight into this topic:

"That reminds me...of the time I fired someone for riding a bike to work. News just in: your childish hobby is not a protected class." (link.)

Followed by:

"I tried to be reasonable. I told him I'd hire him back if he bought a car like a normal person." (link.)

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Re: What a waste . . .

@Elmer Phud

Boom tish!!

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Re: What a waste . . .

@Stuart Longland

Volca. Beats.

The end.

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Re: What a waste . . .

What topic? Explain what you mean.

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Windows

Grumpy old git

Is it me, or does most of this just sound gimmicky, designed for those with more money than sense?

I can't see that any of these "toys" are going to make you a better/faster/safer cyclist. About the only useful gadget is a cycle computer for monitoring basics like distance, speed, climbs, etc.

Bah humbug.

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Re: Grumpy old git

Yep, you're quite correct...

However, just as you can do 99% of what a Galaxy S5 can do with a 100 pound landfill Android, the SG5 is more sparkly, more nifty, more posey...

Every hobby has the niche upper end - you can pay a grand for trainers, several grand for a lens, a couple of grand for a tent and so on - 99% of hobbyists won't need it, and won't want it.

Those that do, can, and good luck to them. If it's your dosh, spend it how you wish.

That said, you pay increasing numbers of grands for each pound lighter the bike is (law of diminishing returns applies). Alternatively, a few less pies each week, and you save money, and probably scythe more weight off the bike. But, unfortunately, I like pies. A lot.

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Nya

Re: Grumpy old git

Usually it's the second tier kit that gives the best bang for the buck. And yes most of the cost is sold via reducing weight mostly (except for the electronic gears etc which are simply far more flexible and accurate than cable) which all means better acceleration and easier climbing hills due to the weight being dragged along.

Once you try a system like Di2 sheesh, you wonder how you suffered the clattering and chain rubbing of cable systems.

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Re: Grumpy old git

On a race bike there is always a strict tradeoff between technical advantage and weight. Particularly on hills there is a desire to spare every gram possible. It was not unusual for people to file or drill things that they thought they could do without. There are even those who consider something like a computer as too much extra weight.

Recently, however, carbon fibre frames have put a floor under the practical weight of a bike - much lighter and they won't really be ridable. You still won't find most of the gimmicks on a race bike but electronic gearing might be nice on a hill as that's the place that you're likely to have problems changing gears. I can also imagine some of the hard core preferring indicators over hand signals so they don't have to take their hands off the bars.

In real life there is usually more weight to be saved on the rider than on the bike so there is more room for creature comforts. Hub dynamos are down to around 450g and can easily provide enough power to charge a phone - handy if you're planning an extended camping trip.

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Re: Grumpy old git

Actually the "floor" for road racing bikes is the UCI minimum weight of 7.5 Kg or around 15 pounds. Since the average pro level road bike is in the 13-14 pound range this puts the pros in the slightly ludicrous situation of having to add ballast to their bikes to keep them legal. Trek just announced a 10 1/2 pound production bike with a semi reasonable 200lb maximum rider weight.

Of course in the real world, away from the weight weenies the real gain is in rider weight reduction through diet and exercise as you call out in your last paragraph.

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Nokia had a phone charger for bikes a few years ago. Unfortunately I think they sold it only in India.

No mention of electrically powered bikes?

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Anonymous Coward

Missed some

What cyclists need is a big sign on their bike that simply says "RED MEANS STOP - EVEN FOR YOU!"

Oh yeah, and a bell with a proximity detector so it sounds *BEFORE* the cyclist rides up your backside; the rider is too stupid/selfish to sound it in advance.

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Nya

Re: Missed some

Same goes for cars who decide red at a traffic light doesn't apply to them also. Red light jumping asses come with any number of wheels attached.

An airhorn doesn't shift some numpties who utterly ignore bells. Trust me, I've tried!

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Re: Missed some

Oh yeah, and a bell with a proximity detector so it sounds *BEFORE* the cyclist rides up your backside; the rider is too stupid/selfish to sound it in advance.

My solution thus far: two pairs of LED motorcycle indicators, a 12V 85dB waterproof piezo buzzer, some switches, 4 1N4004s, a NE555, an IRF540N and some resistors and capacitors, wired up to the 12V bus on the bike.

Buzzer starts sounding when the indicators start flashing, it's quite loud up close and the indicators give the pedestrian a clue which side you're going to pass them on.

Sadly, no good with cars, and you still get the odd selectively-deaf pedestrian, so I see a trip to the wreckers to get an old car/motorcycle horn some day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Missed some

> you still get the odd selectively-deaf pedestrian

Epic fail is epic. It's not up to the pedestrian to get out of your way, it is *YOUR* responsibility as the ride to get out of the pedestrian's way. Vehicles yield to pedestrians (unless signs state otherwise).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Missed some

> Same goes for cars who decide red at a traffic light doesn't apply to them also. Red light jumping asses come with any number of wheels attached.

We have red light cameras and cars have license plates. Errant car drivers are dealt with. Arrogant (probably uninsured as well) cyclists do not.

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Re: Missed some

You can trust that the comments section will have some moron mentioning red lights, DING you win a prize. Although not first prize as you didn't mention lycra.

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Re: Missed some

"...An airhorn doesn't shift some numpties who utterly ignore bells. Trust me, I've tried!..."

Doesn't the old sail-before-steam adage apply here? As a pedestrian (often pushing a wheelchair, but not always), I know that I don't have the reaction time to hear a bell, think "oh, that was a bike bell", turn round to see where it came from and attempt to leap to safety before I'm run down by some speed king on a bike.

Surely it's up to the cyclists to watch out for pedestrians in a mixed bike/pedestrian environment?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Missed some

> Surely it's up to the cyclists to watch out for pedestrians in a mixed bike/pedestrian environment?

It is. The bell is a help and they should sound it, but the typical cyclist has a holier-than-thou attitude to all other road/path users.

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Re: Missed some

Epic fail is epic. It's not up to the pedestrian to get out of your way, it is *YOUR* responsibility as the ride to get out of the pedestrian's way.

It depends on where the pedestrian is and the situation in question.

If it's on a shared cycleway/footpath or standard footpath, yes, I agree with you. My preference here is to just throttle back and coast, and wait for a suitable moment to pass safely. Usually an opportunity avails itself in a minute or two and I'm not in that much of a hurry.

If it's a dedicated cycleway with clear signage that says "bicycles only": you better have a guide dog or a walking cane in your hand as an excuse as I won't accept much else. Again, I'll avoid collision, but don't be surprised if I comment on the strange bike you're riding. Disagree with this? Try walking down the middle of a main road and see how far that gets you.

Of course, that particular remark was made to one particular variety of pedestrian: they are in the extreme minority thankfully, but they're the sort that deliberately place themselves in the path of an oncoming cyclist, ignore the alarms then claim (over the top of the aforementioned buzzer) "I don't hear a bell!" whilst continuing to unnecessarily obstruct the path.

Hence my remark selectively deaf. The rules are to share the path. I do my bit, you do yours.

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Re: Missed some

> Errant car drivers are dealt with. Arrogant (probably uninsured as well) cyclists do not.

Ha! Pull the other one mate. I've lost count of the number of times this has been wheeled out by the anti-cyclist brigade... "oh vehicles have reg plates and insurance and their drivers are highly trained individuals so they don't get away with anything". Utter bull.

Sure we (as in drivers) get caught by speed cameras but whose fault is that exactly? Certainly haven't heard of anyone being prosecuted for sailing through a red light, and I see other motorists doing it dozens of times every day. To illustrate the attitude that exists amongst some motorists I actually got grief from some woman behind me the other day when I stopped at a light that had just turned red. She was screaming and shouting that "there was plenty time you f*ckin wanker". What part of red=stop is so difficult for some people to understand? Sure cyclists do it, and it's annoying and when I'm on my bike I will have a go at other cyclists for thinking they're above the law but don't even TRY and tell us cyclists get away with more because that's just nonsense.

Arseholes are arseholes no matter what mode of transport they choose.

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Re: Missed some

"An airhorn doesn't shift some numpties who utterly ignore bells. Trust me, I've tried!"

Yup, even the fully-pumped wide-open Air Zounds is somehow 'ignored' at times.

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Facepalm

Re: Missed some

" Although not first prize as you didn't mention lycra."

Or pavements --- major fail

gets facepalm icon

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Re: Missed some

I think you will find he is talking about the pedestrian and their friends walking 4 abreast on the shared cyclepath. The picture of the bicycle on the pavement is a bit of a clue.

Or the pedestrian or car that sees you coming and pulls / walks out in front of you.

I love the cars that overtake you then turn left. I really enjoy tapping the rear screen and watch them panic.

of course as we don't pay for the roads etc!

I like decent dynamo lights with stand time and a USB charger for my phone / GPS.

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Re: Missed some

Here's the thing: there is a certain percentage of humans who are arrogant and inconsiderate. Some of them drive cars, some of them ride bikes, some of them walk; most of them do at least two, if not all three.

While (thankfully) these people are not in a majority, cyclists will complain LOUDLY about the small percentage of drivers who are dicks and drivers will complain LOUDLY about the small percentage of cyclists who are dicks. Pedestrians will mutter under their breath about both.

Whichever way you split it, the simple but unfortunate truth is that there are people in this world who seem to feel better the pettier and more vindictive they are.

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Re: Missed some

Haven't seen anyone prosecuted for running a red?

than I suggest you look a bit harder, it happens all the time. what do you think those enforcement cameras are for?

so spake the man who carried 3 points for running the lights in bilarickay about 10 years ago.

(yes I know, I would have thought being in bilarickay was punishment enough too!)

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Re: callow youth!

In a pedestrian/cyclist situation the cyclist _clearly_ takes priority. They are bigger, stronger, harder and faster than you! so you'd better look out.

Now in a car/cyclist situation, the cyclist _clearly_ takes priority. They are smaller, weaker, softer and slower so that car driver has to take care.

At least that's how it works on planet trick-cyclist

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Re: Missed some

Uninsured?

Third party insurance for riding a bike comes for free with household insurance policies.

I have additional third party cover from my British Cycling membership.

Try again.

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Re: Missed some

I regard myself as a fairly typical cyclist and I don't a) jump red lights - great, save 30 seconds. And get killed by a bus. Genius idea! b) race down pavements - while I do go on pavements (see "get killed by a bus!" - some of the junctions around here seem designed to eliminate the cycling population) if there's anybody in sight it's into first gear. Hitting people is most of the time as bad for the hitter as the hittee.

Don't have a bell so I have to lock up the back wheel to get attention, which does, admittedly, work quite well but isn't terribly good for the bike. And no, I don't do that if you're just walking around, see "into first gear" - I don't have the speed to lock up the back wheel _unless_ you amble into the cycle path \ road.

Ad

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Facepalm

The only safe bicycle environment is the road

At least on the road, everyone knows the rules, and if they play nice (which the vast majority do) everything's fine.

Anecdote: I was going for a ride with a friend who'd just got a spiffy new bike with V-brakes. I suggested he might want to try a few stops to take their measure, but he wouldn't hear of it. He wanted to ride a dual-use path. I pointed out that it was safer on the road, but he'd have none of it. So we drove over to the trail.

So there we are, tootling along, and came up behind a family of four, one of whom was a three-year-old on a tricycle. We slowed down to a walk, checked that they seemed to be just going along the path, and pulled out to pass. Just as my friend came abreast of them, the tricycler hung a hard turn right across his bow. He hit the brakes and went over the handle bars. (No one was hurt.)

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FAIL

We've got the motorists trained over here

I was on a group ride last year when we got to a light going from yellow to red. We stopped. A driver on the side street (now with a green light) wouldn't budge, and waved us across. It took some seconds for us to make it clear that we were staying put before she would enter the intersection.

Sad.

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Megaphone

Re: Missed some

An Airzound Bicycle Air Horn is much louder than any buzzer; it can be as loud as 120dB at full volume, so I have the pressure regulator reduced to car horn volume. I have to occasionally use a horn with stubborn idiot dog walkers, 'drunk' cyclists, 'deaf' pedestrians, and when I need to warn people many car lengths away.

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Re: Missed some

when I need to warn people many car lengths away.

Probably the best reason for having a horn that loud: you can warn them when you're a good 30 seconds away so they've got plenty of time to react, see you, and take evasive action.

It's basically "I'm coming, please make some room". 120dB sounds like it'd stand a chance against an iPod, something a bell never seems to manage.

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