Wednesday, November 25, 2009

VDO MC1.0 Wired Bike Computer

I've had my VDO MC 1.0 for over a year now and I can without reservation heartily recommend it. It has worked flawlessly throughout the year. I'm still on my original battery and it's worked through rain and shine.

I got the wired 1.0 rather than the wireless 1.0+ because of the horrible experience I had with the sigma wireless. This wired unit turns on right away when the wheel turns and I don't think I've missed a single mile the whole time I've had it.

I like that it always shows the temperature, I wished it always showed the clock too, but it's not hard to get to the clock anyway. The altimeter seems to work great, agreeing with the total ascent on several of the large rides I've been on and also being consistent from day to day. The buttons to get to and set functions are very intuitive and I find it really easy to use. I like that the mount has the ability to mount on the stem or the bars and spare mounts are cheap (I have three). Be careful when ordering a mount, if you want a stem mounted one you have to make sure to get that spare mount. They also sell a spare mount that only mounts on the bars. Sadly the only place online I found that sold them was pretty lax about shipping all the parts when I ordered a mount.

Even though I love it, there are of course a few things I would change. First of all, I'd add a backlight, it's a glaring omission in a computer of this price and I miss it on my night rides (I ride with bar mounted lights). I would also change the odometer menu so that it went clock, odo1, odo2, navigator, because I never use the navigator, but if you want, make the navigator come after clock, not before it. The numbers are pretty small, like I said I'd like to show the time all the time, but once you get used to the font and the display reading the numbers isn't that hard, even on a bumpy mountain bike trail. I'm also a bit bummed that I can set the odometer readings but I can't set the total altitude settings for each bike (It has settings for 2 bikes). I've run this over the altimeter counter's max twice now, when it goes over 200,000ft it ends up showing 10's of feet so it will display 250.34 when it means 250,340ft. hitting the all reset button on the back and programming in your wheel sizes, time, home altitude and odometer settings gets you back up and running. It's bit of an inconvenience but you only have to do it once or twice a year if you care.

The sensor wasn't quite large enough to mount on the disk side of my mtb fork, and the magnet that came with it was kind of lame, luckily I had an old sigma one left around to use :)

Cambria is currently selling the VDO MC 1.0  for $100, if it was a bit cheaper I'd buy another one just so I have a spare. Or you could get it direct from the manufacturer for the same price.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trail Maintenance Tools

Winter storms leave lots of detritus on the trails. Here's something you could easily carry along in your camelbak to quikly open up any trails that have small to medium trees blocking them. I like to only clear out trees that stop cyclists riding through the trail. If the log is low just pile more logs next to it to make a nice trail feature. If it's high enough to duck under and keep riding then why not leave it there for extra trail riding fun.

Obviously I would never advise cutting down tress or doing any trail maintenance where that is not allowed.

Corona 10 inch folding saw. I've been carrying a Corona saw around on the trails for years now. This latest one is the best by far. The 10" length lets me cut through some sizable trees and the curved blade really cuts through the wood efficiently.

When the log is too big for that saw above, or too many cuts would be required to affect the ride too much, I usually just end up leaving it, usually within a week, someone with more fortitude has come along and fixed things. Occasionally a log remains on a favorite lesser used trail for longer and then it's up to you to fix it. That's where a sawzall comes in handy. I've found this battery powered ryobi unit fits perfectly in a camelbak hawg with two batteries and an obscenely long blade. I put in some cardboard too so that there weren't any lumps sticking into my back, it works surprisingly well. Here's a picture gallery of how it al fits in.

These are the blades I want to have, super long and come in a 5 pack for a pretty reasonable sum.

These are the blades I have. They work well and they also have The Ugly written on them.