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Telehex bike tool

The telehex bike tool is a unique, compact bike tool that replaces a full set of allen wrenches. It was launched as a kickstarter back in 2015, and deliveries of the item happened in 2016. 

The original campaign touted the fact that the tool was only 38 g, but the main reason I was interested was that it was extremely compact. For those people who have a minimalist seat pack on their ultralight bikes, I could see that this would be a big plus.

The tool as a series of concentric hexagonal sleeves, and when you insert it into any allen head bolt, after a bit of wriggling back and forth, you find that it has automatically extended the correct size hex sleeve so that you can turn the bolt.

However, unfortunately after a while, my telehex broke, with one of the sleeves coming loose. It was still usable, but I had to take some care in not losing the outermost sleeve.

More recently, telehex started selling a second generation version of the tool. I was told that the materials were slightly different, and that the tolerances had been tightened up so that this would improve both the performance and the durability of the tool. My copy of the new version is black, whereas the older kickstarter model is red.

It’s too early for me to judge whether the newer model is more durable. However, I can note that the design has been tweaked. There are two obvious changes. One is that two of the edges of the casing have been rounded off a bit. This is an improvement as I found the edges of the red one were a bit hard on the hands when really torquing a bolt. The second change is that the key ring aperture is now smoothly integrated into the handle.

The packaging for the retain version looks like this.

 

I will note that it doesn’t work as well if the allen screw that you are working on is corroded, or it there is dirt in the hole where you insert the tool. However, if you have a bike where the bolts are clean and in good condition, it does work as advertised; a bit like magic, really.

You can buy the retail version here.

Full disclosure: Telehex sent me the second generation key for review.

WHPSC 2017 Poster

The poster for WHPSC 2017 has just been added to the IHPVA site.

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The artwork is by C. Michael Lewis, who donates his handiwork every year.  This year is the second time that he has included elements other than a bike into the poster design. He obviously drew from several different elements to depict the timing table.

The featured bike this year is the PulsaR from Team Policumbent.

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He also included details of the banner at the end of the traps, the timing table, and the two wind meters we used this year.

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“Battle Mountain” is done in a 7 segment LED style, which reflects the fact that we added a display to the timing table this year.

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The background colours might reflect some of the many shots taken at sunset, like this one by Danny Guthrie.

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Not sure where the red T shirt came from, but I recognize the hat ;). Looking forward to another fun week this September!

Family Day Bike Ride

I can’t think of a better way to mark Family Day than with a bike ride. Fortunately, it is unseasonably warm, and all the ice on the roads has melted back over the preceding weekend. Lucy is patiently waiting while I get the bikes ready.

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Here we are just about to start.
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Here we go. K is enjoying her new, adult sized bike.

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As we expected, the park was packed, but there wasn’t a problem getting bike parking.

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Lucy had fun getting a little muddy.

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On the way home, you can see the continuous line of cars circulating in search of a parking spot.

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Looking back, our first family ride of the year was about a week earlier than last year. Looking forward, it looks like we still have some chance for snow in the forecast, but I’m glad we got out and about today.

I’m biking along the Harbord St. bike lanes, and I’m running late for an appointment when I see a group cycle up behind me while I was stopped at Spadina. There were two cameramen, and I recognized MPP Jagmeet Singh, who has been attracting some attention, not only as a sharp dresser, but also as a potential leadership candidate for the NDP. At this point, I thanked him for showing up to a memorial ride for a recent Sikh immigrant, forgetting that it was actually MP Raj Grewal who was there (deepest apologies all around!). He responded that safety was an important issue, and when the light turned, we all crossed Harbord, and then I stopped to take this souvenir shot.

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At this point, the person who was riding behind Singh pulled over and introduced himself as Doug (and he might have even said Doug Ford, but my level of cognitive dissonance was so high that his last name didn’t register; although in retrospect I did recall his Chicago Bears jacket).

Jared Kolb chimed in on a facebook thread that this was part of filming for a new TVO series called “Political Blind Date”.  If I wasn’t in such a rush to get to work, I would have loved to have asked both of them some questions, but I ended up riding off and wishing them a safe ride.

You never know who you’ll meet riding a bike around town.

 

 

Every year, one the main projects of the HPVDT is to build a bike for the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The team is hard at work finishing the design for this year’s bike, and fabrication has started.

Here, several team members are working on their designs.

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Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, the seismic design team is building a balsa wood tower for a competition in April.

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Bill working on a component mold.

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Evan poses with the halves of the plug for the body.

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Here is the plug glued together. You can get a sense of the shape of the bike.

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Alert readers will see the similarity to Vortex, which was the second ASME bike built by the team. It won the overall title at the 2011 ASME HPVC East competition. You can see glimpses of it in its raw carbon state in this ASME video.

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Here is Vortex sitting in a back storeroom.

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After winning at ASME, Vortex went on to be raced at numerous races in the US Midwest, and was run every year at the WHPSC in Battle Mountain. The number on the side commemorates the fact that last September, Vortex made its 100th run at WHPSC, which was the most of any vehicle at that competition.

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After Vortex, the team went on to try a variety of designs for ASME, including a streamliner

bluenose with tufts

a faired trike

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a leaning trike

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and an unfaired lowracer. (Note that Sherry’s feet are not on the pedals in this pic)

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Last year’s design, Cyclone, was based on Vortex, but it was not completed in time to run at the competition.

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Tempest is another Vortex based bike, but with a refined shape. We plan to have it ready, running, and tested before ASME East which is at the end of the third week in April.

Today was the annual coldest day of the year ride. Several of us started a little early by riding in from High Park.

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Quite a good turnout, despite it being actually somewhat cold (-7°C). Here the crowd gathers on Harbord at Art Eggleton Park.

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Never a problem parallel parking the Haul a Day.

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Captain Sam organizes the Cycle Toronto volunteer marshalls.

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A few of Toronto’s finest are along to escort us.

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Jared Kolb and Councillor Mike Layton warm up the crowd.

About half the crowd is what I could get into a single picture. By my count, almost two hundred cyclists.

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Getting ready to depart.

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Bloor at Montrose.

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Along Bloor.

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Down Sherbourne.

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Near the end of the ride on Gerrard, with Rick and a bike dad.

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a few sights and sounds from the day in this video.

Thanks, to Cycle Toronto, Toronto Police services, and Bikeshare Toronto!

Keep riding, and keep warm everyone!

Update:

One of my items on my 2015 list of favourite gear was my Swvre pants. I found them to be warm, and ideal for winter riding. I bought them during a visit to Calgary. When I went to the Swvre website a couple of months ago, I saw that they had midweight regular fit downtown pants and I figured that if they were the same as the first pair, but a little more dressy, that would be a warmer alternative to my three season pants, my Outlier SD’s.

It should be noted that Swvre now produces the bulk of their stuff offshore, although their black label line is still sewn in LA. For these pants, there is about a $40 difference between the domestic and imported versions. Furthermore, the imported versions have waist sizes in 1″ increments, whereas black label only comes in even sizes.

Here are a few pictures that I shot when I got the new pants.

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The downtown pants are the black pair to the left. You can see a zipper on one pocket, and the lack of reflective belt loops.

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the little dart on the knee of my other pants is missing for a cleaner look.

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There are slash pockets that look dressier, as well as a small coin pocket.

So far, so good. However, before I ordered them I tried to get some info from Swvre to verify that they were in fact the same fabric as my other pants, but I got no response. The new ones seemed much lighter than the old. Sure enough, when I put them on a scale I got: (left to right) Swvre downtown: 337g (31W, 32L), Outlier SD’s: 412 g, and older Swvres: 438 g. So clearly then are not the same pant as my older pair. To be precise, I’m not sure what the model of the older pair was.; they could have been a “three season pant”, but they are clearly lighter than their current winter weight pant.

Riding with the new pants, I got the impression that they were colder than the older pair, but slight more wind and water resistant than the SD’s.  So far so good.

However, after cold water wash and hang to dry, the new pants shrunk in both length and width. The length was particularly bad. Below is a picture of the old and the new pants, after the new pants have been washed twice. You can see that the new pair has shrunk in inseam length about 3.5 cm.

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In summary, I’m afraid that I can’t recommend the Swevre midweight downtown pant. It has all the good features such as 4 way stretch fabric and a gusseted crotch that is ideal for biking. However, the shrinkage is not satisfactory. I’ll stick with the older pair of Swvres, and my SD’s for warmer weather.