Portable Chargers Are a Must on My Bike Rides


Portable chargers are great!  With the way we use Garmins, smarphones, cameras, and expect them to last throughout the whole ride, what we don’t realize is that it can run out of juice.

How many times, do you go through a ride (lasting > 4 hours), where you want to take a picture on your smartphone, and you are out of batteries … or when your Go Pro runs out of batteries, and you miss the opportunity to capture a deer running across the road, which would have made a great viral Youtube video?

Now I don’t have to worry about that.  Just carry myCharge portable charger, and I can get it charged pretty quickly.  I used to conserve on my Go Pro, by picking the lowest resolution, just so that I can get it to last through the day.  Now, I can bump it up to 1080p at 60 fps (as long as it doesn’t exceed 16 GB).

BTW, this is the RZ60G-c, and it has a 6000mAh capacity, which is recommended for high end smartphones, like iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, etc …

The only challenge, is when you stuff this in the back jersey pocket, pulling out the phone, with the cable dangling in the pocket, can be a mess … but if you can work around that, this is golden.

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So Far I’m Liking Google Fi

This year, I decided to sign up for Google Fi.  You may ask, what is Google Fi?  Well, the biggest benefit is that it attempts to latch onto cell signal from a number of different carriers (including Sprint and T-Mobile, to name a few).  It also charges you for only the data that you use.  So what you do is you specify how much data you think you are going to use, and whatever you don’t use, they will credit you back the following month.

Pretty cool, eh?  There is one catch … you have to have a Google phone, which includes Nexus 5x, Nexus 6p, Nexus 6, and the Pixel phones.  I just happen to have a Nexus 6, so great.  They send me a SIMM card, and fill out a particular form on their web site, and voila … they transfer service from my existing T-Mobile to the Google Fi.

They charge $10/GB data used.  I found out the maximum I ever use is ~ 2 GB/month.  Just to be on the safe side, I specified 3 GB.  For the first month, I ended up using 2.08 GB, and then I saw a credit of $9.43 for unused data.  That’s really cool.

When I drive down to LA every month, I typically take I-5, and usually, I get a dead spot from Hwy 152 down to Kettleman City.  I just tried it with Fi, and I got a dead spot for about 10 minutes, but after that, I was able to get signal all the way through.  That was what I was after … seeing how my coverage is going through rural areas.  This is a win win for me.

Now, I gotta decide how long to keep my Nexus 6, because I really like what I see from the Pixel, and hear lots of good things from Pixel owners.  Gotta resist …

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Super Sunday … Meh

I should have been really excited about this year’s Super Bowl.  I mean it has two of the highest scoring teams, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.  But I think the way the hype has been, instead of charging up the excitement, it left me going the other way.  Call it a boycott on the circus leading up to the Super Bowl, but to me, the playoffs leading up to it were the most exciting.

There is life, outside of the Super Bowl.  Even though I was on call, I did manage to get a short little lunch ride in, and even after getting home, I just binge watched … or should I say re-watch Dirk Gently.  I love that show .. such a cult following.

I didn’t get any calls, but wish I did .. otherwise, I wouldn’t have to search for something to do.

It seems lately much of the attention on Super Sunday is how the national anthem is performed, and how the halftime show went.  Well, I was underwhelmed by the singing of the national anthem, and I just avoided the halftime show (although I hear it went really well).  I’m not a Lady Gaga fan.  Plus, when it got to 21-3, I decided to watch more  Dirk Gently.

I just don’t like short 13 minute concerts, in the middle of a football game.  Call me a traditionalist, but I’d rather watch marching bands, like the old times.  Maybe if Lindsey Stirling was playing, I’d watch.

Turned it back on to the game at 7:30 pm, and WTH … 28-20, and the Patriots are driving?  Wow, the Falcons really stepped off the gas, and went into reverse.

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When It’s Cold, It’s Colder at Higher Altitude

Yes, it is winter, but this is California.  So when it stopped raining, I was all excited, because for one, it’s dry … two, I’m not working the weekend (I’m not on call … yay!!!)… three, it’s a 3-day weekend.  That means more free time, more play time, another day to ride!

However, the temps have been down, and the air temperature was around 45-50 F.  Not a big deal, I’ve gone through 25-35 F commutes … but that’s a commute.  

So if you’ve read my blogs, you know I like to climb.  Only thing is, when you climb, you get hot, and therefore, you’ll want to take off the jacket.  It’s pretty when you get to the top.

However, when you’re at the top, it can get pretty cold.  It gets worse when you descend … I forgot all about this.  

Usually, I bring a balaclava, for face protection against the cold wind, but I forgot to bring it.  Oooh … the descent was ccc-cold.  When I got down, I had to find the first coffee shop I could find, and thaw out.

So I guess next time, if it is cold, I think I’ll just revert to rolling hills, and not long sustained hill climbs.  At least I didn’t decide to go up to Mt. Hamilton.

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Crazy Enough to be “Riding in the Rain, just Riding in the Rain”

We’ve been having a slew of rain storms since the beginning of the year, and it didn’t really let up.  This past Monday, it stopped long enough to consider riding into work.  My typical commute is riding out to the San Tomas Aquino Multi-Use Trail (MUT) .. what I like to call “bike trail”.  But I guess MUT is for all the walkers, joggers who also use the trail for those purposes.

Anyhow, my friend, who goes by the handle cyclicious, has a web site that gives you at a quick glance, flood status of the MUT.  Monday morning, I looked and saw that it was in the green, which means the MUT is clear (no ponding, no flooding).


I thought great, the ride in should be normal, and will not have to slog through a 6 in deep puddle.  However, along with rising creeks, you’re bound to find mud along the route (which I did find … I had to ride cautiously here).  What I wasn’t prepared for was a buttload of crap, debris, tree branches …

Well, this was surprising.  Looks like there’s going to be some major cleanup needed.  There was no way I was going through there, so I made a quick U-turn, and went into work by surface streets.

A couple days later, I was able to ride again.  I’d try the same thing … well, they did clean up, but either they ran out of time, or more debris kicked in.

I could have ridden in by street, but I wanted to verify to see how accurate the flood detection tool is.  It is pretty accurate, but it has no way to detect debris on the trail.  I guess you take your own risk when there is heavy rain the night before.

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Massive Rain Storm and On Call means Zwift time

Massive rain storm hitting California is the biggest news story here.  It is pretty bad, as the Santa Cruz mountains getting 5-6 inches of rain in a day.  I’m on call, so at least the rain didn’t impede on my free time.  This just means it’s time to break out the trainer, and do a bit of workout on Zwift.

I didn’t realize that the previous time I used Zwift, it was a trial coordinated by Strava.  I also forgot my password, so I tried to get them to reset it, but was waiting and waiting for the reset email, but it never came through.  Screw it … get a new one, using an email address I never use.

Now I remember why I didn’t use Zwift for awhile … it’s hard to stay motivated to stay on the trainer that long.  First, I have riders passing me all the time.  I mean, it’s at a rate 3 times what would normally happen if I’m on the road.  Then, after some time, I start sweating so much … sweat gets in my eyes.  It got to a point where I couldn’t take it any more … only stayed on the trainer for 20 minutes, and only 5.3 miles.  I later saw some others, who was taking the same Zwift course, who lasted an hour.  How the heck do they do it?  I guess I’m not disciplined enough, eh?


At least I was able to say I did some riding … the Raiders game was a lost hope anyways.

Posted in cycling, training | Tagged | 5 Comments

I Should Stop Looking at Weather Reports

I normally would ride into work, no matter what the weather is … but lately, I’ve been looking at tweets from the National Weather Service … and then I see this


Yeah, when you see flash flood watch, it does prompt you to change your habits.  Granted, it’s not raining now, but when you watch the news, and see all the problems others are seeing due to the rain, it makes you re-think.

I have actually done commutes without looking at weather reports … but that’s when I got stuck on flooded underpasses of the bike trail.  I’d like to avoid doing that again!

So here it is, 1/4/2017 … 4 days into the year, and I’ve only ridden once … at new year’s … I do hear Thursday and Friday will be dry, so maybe I’ll focus on that.  I guess I shouldn’t look at it as wimping out … more like keeping dry.  I guess I could always ride the trainer … but that’s sooo boring.

Posted in weather | 6 Comments