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humangear capCAP+

Ten year ago I discussed the humangear capCAP. My conclusion was: the capitalization of the brand and product name is stupid, the cap itself is a good upgrade to any wide mouth (63mm) bottle, but it will allow a few drops to leak out of a wide mouth Klean Kanteen.

Recently I was made aware of a new model: the humangear capCAP+. This one adds silicone gaskets to both parts of the lid, and boasts compatibility with a wider range of bottles. However, humangear explicitly states that this one remains incompatible with the wide mouth Klean Kanteen.

I like to live dangerously, so I bought the new model anyway. For a couple weeks now I’ve been using it on the same Klean Kanteen Wide 27oz bottle used in the previous review. Despite humangear’s warning, I have had nary a drop leak out from the cap. I have tried to make the lid leak by filling the bottle and storing it on its side, and by balancing the bottle upside down on the cap, but no water has escaped.

humangear capCap+

Other changes in the new model include redesigned grip cutouts, which I find to have made no practical change to the functionality of the cap, and a cap retention thing that I thought would be kind of a gimmick but is actually surprisingly useful. (I will point out that the full name of this feature is the “humangear capCAP+ CapKeeper”. Someone at this brand hates English.)

humangear capCap+

The new model weighs 56 grams (2 oz), which is 20 grams (0.7 oz) more than the original capCAP.

I’m happy with the capCAP+. If you have the original capCAP, and it doesn’t leak on your bottle of choice, it probably is not worth upgrading. If it does leak, consider trying the new one. If you have neither model, but you use a wide mouth bottle and rely on something like the Guyot Designs Splashguard, the capCAP+ may improve your life.

Cleaning Brakes

The same spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol used to clean my human interface devices is also used to clean the brake pads and braking surface on my bike.

Cleaning Brakes

Soap, degreasers, and similar cleaners are best avoided on these components. They can leave residue that decrease braking performance and causes squealing (thus diminishing the all important bike ninja factor). Spraying the brake pad with isopropyl alcohol and wiping it off with a clean rag is usually all that’s needed. Sometimes I’ll hit the pads with a Scotch-Brite Scour Pad after spraying them.

The braking surface on the rims is cleaned the same way: spray with alcohol, wipe with rag. Occasionally, if the wheels are especially dirty, I will break out the big guns in the form of my all-purpose cleaner. Before spraying the rim with this I remove the wheel from the bike because I don’t want to get the cleaner on my brake pads. After spraying the rim with the cleaner, I wipe it down with a clean rag. Finally any residue from the cleaner needs to be removed, which is accomplished by spraying the rim with isopropyl alcohol, and wiping it down again. Sometimes it takes a second cycle of alcohol-and-wipe to eliminate squealing.

This post was published on . It was tagged with bicycle, ablution.

I added a bottle cage to my rear rack.

A Cleaveland Mountaineering Fork Clamp Mount allows me to mount a King Cage to my old Tubus Vega rack, providing another option for carrying water. I’ve wanted something like this since I saw Logan’s Vega modification on bikepacking.com. Cleaveland’s mounts makes it easy.

Rear Rack Bottle Cage

I use Norma Torro Worm Drive Hose Clamps to attach the mount. These German made clamps are far superior to the Chinese hose clamps frequently found in hardware stores. The 9mm wide, 8-16mm diameter clamps are the right size for this job.

This post was published on . It was tagged with micro, gear, bicycle.

Luer Lock Lubing

Earlier this year I purchased the Occam Lube DIY Kit from Occam Defense. This is a simple but ingenious solution for carrying and applying oil and grease by utilizing the Luer lock system from the medical industry. I shoot tupperware that runs dirty, and I have not travelled enough with firearms to need to think about lubricating them away from home, but I have needed to pack chain lube for my bike on longer tours. In the past I’ve been disappointed by the bottles of both bicycle and firearm lubricant, which may either leak or make it difficult to apply the contents precisely. There’s nothing in the Occam kit that you couldn’t put together yourself, but it is very reasonably priced and I credit it with being my introduction to the idea of using Luer components for lubrication. As soon as I stumbled upon the kit I purchased it.

The Occam kit includes one 30ml Luer syringe, three 3ml Luer syringes, three 22 gauge Luer dispensing tips, three 14 gauge Luer dispensing tips, four Luer caps, and a Luer gender adapter. Oil is drawn up into the large syringe, which is then attached to one of the smaller syringes via the gender adapter. If using grease, the grease is simply packed into the large syringe after removing the plunger, and then pushed into one of the smaller syringes. About 1.5ml of oil (or grease) may be pushed into the small syringe from the large syringe. The remaining 1.5ml of space inside the small syringe is needed to store one of the dispensing tips and the plunger cap. The intent is for the filled, smaller syringes to be placed in various kits and be taken on the road, giving you the ability to store the oil in a leak-proof manner and dispense of small amounts of it in precise areas. For applications where you need very little lubrication, like firearms, this works great.

Luer Lock Lubing

I had never given much attention to what volume of oil I use when lubricating a bike chain, so I wasn’t sure if the smaller syringes would really be useful for this application. I’ve always been a one-drop-per-roller kind of guy, which I think results in the best lubrication with the least amount of waste. With my current oil of choice, I find that I use a bit over 3ml of oil when servicing my chain. When one of the dispensing tips is stored in the small syringe, the remaining 1.5ml capacity won’t work for me. But I can store the dispending tip separately, fill up the entire 3ml with oil, and still have a very compact, lightweight, and leak-proof option for lubricating on the go.

As happy as this makes me, I admit that carrying lube on a bike isn’t the most pressing concern. Good oil lasts, so unless you’re putting on a lot of miles in challenging conditions, you probably won’t find yourself needing to drop oil away from home. However, I have found that the Luer system is useful even at home, with a few additional purchases to supplement the contents of the Occam kit.

Chain-L for Chains

I purchased Luer lock bottle caps for 15-415 threading, 24-410 threading, and 20-410 threading. Between these three sets of caps I can convert most existing lube bottles to the Luer system. If I come across an oil in a bottle with some other type of threading (as is the case with Boeshield T-9), I transfer it into an appropriately sized bottle with standard threading.

I also purchased a few additional dispensing tips (the angled ones are nice), and a package of syringe tip caps to make the lids leak-proof when no dispensing tip is attached.

Tri-Flow for Derailleur Pivots

I can now be sure that none of my oils will leak, which is important to me whether the bottle is in a bag or a toolbox. Using a Luer gender adapter, I can easily transfer oil to a smaller travel sized container, be it one of the Occam syringes or simply a 0.5 oz bottle, or any other Luer-compatible container. Using a dispensing tip, I can accurately deposit precise amounts of lubricant, eliminating waste.

All of this is entirely unnecessary, but I find that small improvements in efficiency like this do translate to a higher quality of life. If you ever find yourself dispensing small amounts of a liquid, and you have a personality that values accuracy and precision (and tidiness), I’d definitely recommend picking up an assortment of Luer components. The Occam Lube DIY Kit is a great place to start.

Travel Tri-Flow

Last year I bought a set of Orfos Pro lights.

The Orfos Pro is a simple and flexible LED light that is powered by a separate USB battery. I use the white light model as my bike headlight. This means that, when not in use, the light has a male USB Type-A plug hanging off the bike. In inclement conditions I usually want light, so I’ll have the connector inserted into a battery. I haven’t been too worried about protecting the plug when not in use. Over the past 14 months I haven’t noticed any problems. But when I saw the CozyCaps USB Caps I decided they would be a worthwhile addition to the setup. I expect they will do a good job of protecting the connectors from dirt or light moisture.

Orfos Pro with CozyCap USB Cap

I power the headlight with an Anker PowerCore 5000, which mounts to the down tube via a Twofish Bikeblock.

This post was published on . It was tagged with micro, bicycle, gear.

A Brief Survey in Marin

This past Sunday I rode to Mount Tam.

The electrical grid was down throughout Marin county, and for some reason that meant the state had closed some of the roads in the park to motorized traffic. Fortunately my vehicle runs on man-power and works just fine when the power is out. I figured the closure would make the ride more pleasant and I would just slip around any gates.

As I was riding in the general direction of fire I decided it would be prudent to throw a radio in my handlebar bag. From past experience I know that my cell phone reception can be spotty at the best of times in the hills and valleys up there. I assumed that the power outages and strong winds wouldn’t do me any favors. (It turns out I was right.)

After much climbing and much wind I reached Ground Equipment Facility J-33. This abandoned Nike missile site on the West Peak of Tamalpais is a reliable site for radioing. It has been host to a couple Field Days and was the destination of last year’s SOTA trip. And it’s a nice spot to bicycle to.

J-33

The Marin Amateur Radio Society maintains an excellent network of linked repeaters that I was able to hit immediately upon turning on my radio. Despite the distance, I was also able to reach back into San Francisco. Line of site to Sutro Tower meant I had a clear, strong signal on the San Francisco Radio Club repeater W6PW. I talked to a guy on there who told me that the Marin Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service had been activated due to the fires. I keep some of the Marin RACES simplex frequencies programmed into my radio, just in case Godzilla walks through the bridge and we have to coordinate across the bay, so I jumped over to those channels to listen for any action. After that I was able to reach out to the East Bay, and listen to the effects of the fires that had just started that day in Contra Costa County.

Line of Sight to Sutro Tower

  • Radome
  • Tam West Peak

After completing my survey of the airwaves I flew back down to sea level at approximately Mach 3, though I had to stop once for a California Highway Patrol helicopter that decided to use the gated off road as a landing pad.

It’s impressive what you can get done on a little handheld radio with 5 watts and a small antenna, assuming you can get to a good position. A bicycle is a good way to get there.

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This time of year it is traditional for me to treat my saddle.

While the weather is still warm and pleasant here in Baghdad by the Bay, the hot sun and ass sweat of summer is fading into the past, and The Great Wet is on the horizon. Tonight I took my saddle to the sink and rinsed it off with some Dr. B. I don’t wash it every year, but it looked like it wanted it. After drying, I treat it to a sensual massage with a healthy helping of Obenauf’s LP. Obenauf’s products have served me and my leather well for a while now, and it’s a nice treat for my skin. The saddle will take a couple of coatings tonight. In the morning I’ll wipe off the top, and then give it an ass polishing with the day’s riding.

Obenauf's Saddle Massage

This post was published on . It was tagged with micro, bicycle.