Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wide Angle Lens

It's irritating that I find myself constantly either retaking footage or deleting it altogether b/c I couldn't catch everything I intended to in the frame; which is why it got my attention when I found this:

I've always wanted a fish eye lens and found that they make 'em for flip cams and cell phones! Yup, it's attached by a magnet. Super tiny and it arrived in the mail just a few days ago. $16 shipped from China I presume.

It works well! Loving it actually. I made a couple videos already. The thing comes with two metal rings (one is a spare) and it sticks onto your existing camera.

The lens itself is magnetic and just snaps right on when you need it.
Purchased from Deal Extreme. Indeed the deals are extreme but so is the wait time. It took 3 weeks to arrive!

This is me blogging on the kitchen table. Decent shot, but you can't really see much of the context.

With the camera held in the exact same place with the new lens, you get this shot! Wow, what a difference eh? You can easily see the entire table and back wall.

If I lowered the camera and shot straight, I could have captured the ceiling! I can't wait to see what this does for trike footage. I'll update the review after a trial run to see how many times the lens falls off the camera while riding - hopefully I won't have to report any of that. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: 10/2/11
I lost the fisheye lens!!! I went on a ride yesterday and apparently the magnet isn't as strong as I was hoping it was. I'll purchase another, but this time no action shots.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Replacement KMX Wheels In This Week

I got a word from Matt at Utah Trikes that my new replacement wheels will be shipped out today. He said I can expect to see them by this weekend! Great news. That means I can ride this Sunday if I have some time. Hope they last longer than the previous ones w/o making annoying sounds!

UPDATE: 9/29/11
The wheels actually arrived last week on 9/21/11 in the afternoon. I love the mail delivery guy! Knock! Knock! Knock! The wheels looked great. They were wrapped better than the last ones! Indeed the j-hooks were installed in alternating directions onto the hub like they should be. I'm glad Matt from Utah Trikes recognized this when I brought it to his attention and fixed the issue so quickly. Instead of spending $85/each on relacing wheels, I only had to spend $14.75 or so to ship my old wheels to them.

Of course getting new replacement wheels (the ones they now use on the newer KMX's) meant I had to put on new reflective red tape (which I had plenty of left over) and remount the computer magnet. No biggy. Both worked out fine and I finished that and mounted the wheels in probably a bit over an hour. Not too bad.

I'm ready for this Saturday's ride....squeak free!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the Fence About ALC?

No, this isn't a post for myself. It's for anyone like Vickie (yes, that's spelled correctly). I met a newbie named Vickie on this morning's Recumbent Riders of the East Bay monthly ride. She's heard of the ALC and mentioned she had considered riding. What do I tell people who are on the fence as a first time rider?

1. It can easily be one of the most or the most physically challenging event that people do in their lifetimes.

2. "You only live once." I hear this clique all the time. It's so overused that I almost don't even know what it means anymore. But it's so true. There will be lots of things we do in our lifetime and most regrets we have in our lives will be things that we wish we did - not things we wish we didn't do.

3. The ride is fully supported. Food, tents, organized rest stops, vans to carry your stuff. It's all there.


1. Of course! Most people who do the ride aren't hardcore cyclists, yet they're able to participate in the ride and complete a majority if not all of the 545 miles.

2. 2,500 people do it a year. You can do it too. Remember, one guy last year strapped his walking cane to his bike frame! Also remember that rumors have it that one person also passed away due to an accident on the ride. Be careful!

3. Better to have attempted and failed than to have never done it at all. Don't be intimidated by the sheer number of miles (or days). Not everyone completes every mile due to physical constraints and sometimes our bikes just won't let us continue. It happens.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I signed up! Peer pressure got to me. It wasn't at all the possibility of winning the raffle prize of a $1,000+ road bike for my sister. No, it couldn't have been that. I may not ride this year and figured even if I didn't win the bike (which I didn't), the $55 would go to a good cause - and of course is tax deductible.

Paul even offered to pay for my registration fee! What a great guy! He literally handed me his credit card. It was an awesome gesture, but I declined. Figured I'd use my Expedia rewards gift card! I knew that would come in handy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Source of the sound

I figured it out or rather City Cycles figured it out. 20 minutes after dropping off my trike this morning, I get a call back from Hansen telling me what's making the noise. Spoke rub. Apparently the KMX front spoked wheels are built incorrectly. Rather than alternating the j-hooks of the spokes like standard, KMX built them facing all in one direction. This causes increased rubbing btw the spokes - more than normal. Over time this has started making even more noise. I'm told that eventually this could pop spokes. Not safe.

Conclusion? Well, Mike and I were already disappointed with the mag wheels. The cup of the hub on those black mags were weak. Overtightening easily snaps it causing all the bearings to come loose which makes the wheel shaky. Broken cups can't be repaired. The whole wheel was replaced. I thought that spoked ones would be better. At $240 for the set, I was expecting at least a decent correctly built wheel. Not the case! Ugh, after this rebuild of the wheel so that the spokes are facing the correct direction, I would have paid $240 + 2(85) = $410 for the set! That's ridiculous!

If I knew I was going to be this serious about riding the recumbent trike and would be putting this many miles on it and had all this information about lack of quality, I definitely would have spent more on a Catrike (assuming I wouldn't mind parting with the extra dough to acquire one).

To sum up KMX's design quality in one word? Disappointing.

UPDATE: 9/7/11
I was asked by BROL to give Utah Trikes a chance at correcting the issue. I contacted them and heard from Matt today. He offered to replace the wheels with the newer style which are laced properly. Sounded like he was glad that I brought this issue to his attention. I guess shipping will be the only cost and that'll be much cheaper than relacing at $85/each. I just hope City Cycles hasn't started on the wheel build yet. I'll call them now.

They haven't started yet. I offered to pay City Cycles for helping me identify the problem but Hansen from the shop said it's okay and they're cool with me just picking up the wheels.

UPDATE: 9/9/11
I bought the guys at City Cycle a 12 pack of Red Label Jamaican beer for helping me identify the source of the sound. I swapped the paper bag with John who built my 20" wheel last time in exchange for my original wheels back. I need it for Sunday's ALC Thank You BBQ ride. The alcohol set me back $16.60 but I figured I was saving $85 x 2 (wheels) = $180 - $14.50 (shipping to Utah Trikes) = $165.50. Not bad.

I shipped the wheels out per USPS and it should arrive at UT's door step in about a week. It'll take some time for Matt there to send me the wheels so I should be in good shape with brand new replacement wheels in about 2 weeks at the most. I just gotta be sure I have enough reflective rim tape to cover an additional two wheels. I'll probably have to hit up Ebay for another $7.99 set. No biggy.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Ugh, this squeaking thing is killing me. Ever since my ride with Paul a couple weeks ago, there's been a constant squeaking noise coming from the right wheel. After all this time, I'm starting to hear it in the left wheel as well. It's definitely getting irritating and even moreso is that I've tried pretty much everything I can think of to fix it w/o luck.

- Removing the rim tape, cleaning the holes/screws and retaping.
- Tightening these screws.
- Removing the king pin, cleaning the top and bottom sealed bearings, regreasing it, reinstalling.
- Removing the brake pads. The sound still occurs with the pads removed.
- Removing and cleaning the tie bar from the steering mechanism. Lube and cleaned.
- Tried the pencil thing. Tried tapping on all the spokes and they sound fine. Squeezed it and they're tight.
- Applied red Loctite to the outer race of the bearings.
- Tightened the rotors. 
- Put graphite powder btw the nipples and rim. 
- Put lube in the same place.

I even brought the trike to a new friend of mine, Tom who tried a few things at his house this afternoon in the list above and no luck. I dropped by 3 bike shops and all told me they were either too busy or didn't know what to do. 

One bike shop owner I came across accidentally while visiting another shop said he was in the business for over 40 years as a bike mechanic. He had a difficult personality, but sometimes these are the guys that you can really learn from if you can get over their big heads. I stuck with him and listened to what he had to say and he thought it was the drivetrain - something to do with the derailleur on the back wheel. Front wheel noise is coming from the back wheel? Uh, I highly doubt that but this guy's got 40 years experience. He looked at least 60 and I can't really argue with that. I'll try some adjustments tomorrow, but I'm not hopeful.