Tag Archives: Minnesota

Stuff I Like: Wolf Tooth Components B-RAD 2 and Morse Cage

If there is one development in the world of cycling that has been a positive it has to be the evolution of the sport away from the duality of road cyclist versus mountain biker.  In the halcyon days of the 1990s this was the only distinction that mattered.

Fast forward to whatever we call these years and there is a proliferation of cycling “genres.”  Sure, the traditional roadie still exists but that rider shares space with the bikepacker, gravel cyclist, fat biker, fondo enthusiast, and so on.  These new or rediscovered styles of riding suit a lot more people and a lot more fun than spending your afternoons in a group ride staring at someone’s lycra clad rear end.

My preferred riding style falls into the big day ride camp.  I do not bike camp—yet—but I may spend an entire day in the saddle over mixed terrain pretty far from home.  As such, there is a decent amount of stuff I want to carry with me including enough water to complete the ride or at least make it between widely spaced trusted sources.

The problem that I have discovered is that my new bike’s frame triangle was quite small.  There were two bottle locations in the main triangle, but the one mounted on the seat tube did not allow for the insertion of a Zefal 164 water bottle.  These bottles are a favorite of long distance riders here in eastern Iowa because each one holds 33 ounces of water.  Two of these give you more than a half-gallon of water for any given ride.

Enter Wolf Tooth Components.  Probably best known as one of the original aftermarket specialists making narrow wide chainrings.  The geniuses at this Minnesota company have branched out into all sorts of solutions for those of us looking to tweak our rides into some semblance of personal perfection.  In my case it was the combination of a B-RAD 2 and Morse Cage.

The B-RAD “system” is a series of mounts and accessories to maximize your on bike storage.  What the B-RAD 2 allowed me to do was shift the mounting holes for my seat tube bottle cage down a few inches.

I also paired this with the most excellent Morse Cage.  Made by Durango, Colorado based King Cage for Wolf Tooth the Morse Cage features holes and slots for the perfect positioning of a water bottle cage.  Witness:

MorseCageShift_400_large.gif

Made of bent hollow stainless steel tubing—titanium is available for you crazies out there—these cages are a thing of beauty.  Okay, I geek out a little about small things like cages.  Just wait until you hear me opine about the cable housing that I have eyed up.  Bike bling is a real thing.

The end result is a main triangle that looks like this:

IMG_20181112_165412083_PORTRAIT.jpg

This setup give me two bottles within arm’s reach when in the saddle.  It also puts the spigots up higher than if I used the underside of the downtube.  I cannot imagine how much limestone dust would be caked on the spigot after ten miles off of pavement.  It all seems like small ball stuff until you realize that after spending hours in the saddle on a ride the last thing you want to be dealing with is a water bottle that is strangely out of your reach.

Note: I bought both the B-RAD 2 and Morse Cages with my own funds.  I receive no compensation from Wolf Tooth Components for my endorsement of their products.  I just happen to really like the stuff these guys make.

Advertisements

Friday Linkage 8/31/2018

It is almost September and I do not know if the United States can get any crazier.  The President of the United States surrounded himself with convicted and admitted felons.  Imagine Barack Obama having a member of his inner circle convicted of or admitting to a felony.  Sean Hannity’s false outrage would still be spewing from the Fox News caldera atop Mount Murdoch.  Right now?  Not so much.

Now the Trump administration is systematically denying American citizens the right to return to the country of their birth.  Why?  Mostly because they are brown people who have no powerful allies in Washington D.C. and with the midterm elections a little more than two months away someone needs to gin up the racists that comprise the Republican party’s base these days.

These are scary times, but do not despair.  We possess the tools to end this budding dystopia.

On to the links…

Here’s House Republicans’ List of All the Trump Scandals They’re Covering Up—If your member of Congress is not demanding hearings and investigations then they are part of the cover up of the Trump administration’s misdeeds.  If the House of Representatives can spend days on emails they can spare a little time to spend on actual corruption.

Environmental Law Experts find Major Legal Flaws in Trump’s Replacement for Clean Power Plan—Surprise, surprise.  When you major objections to something are “coal is good” and “it was created by the black guy” there is bound to be a lack of sound legal reasoning behind the replacement.

Coal Country: EPA Plan Is Short Term Boost, No Solution For Industry Decline—Remember, when Donald Trump leaves office in 2019 or sooner if the federales finally figure out a way to indict a sitting president all of the coal barons who buddied up with the corrupt administration will have no friends.

Research Shows That A Low-Carbon Future Will Be A Renewable Future—That is unless nuclear fusion comes to fruition.  It’s a decade away and it always will be…

Affordable Clean Energy Rules Or Not, Coal Stabbed In The Back Again—At the same time that the Trump administration is trying to prop up coal it is also promoting natural gas, which is one of the primary drivers behind the collapse of the coal industry in America.

Western States Could Save $600 Million By Using More Renewable Energy—Colorado is leading on this front, but the other three states on this list are really lagging behind their true potential.  Ironically, Wyoming seems to be making some progress because it sees the development of wind power as something it can export to the Front Range in Colorado.  It’s not coal, but it’s an extractive mindset.

US Army Installs Largest Battery Storage System—The military has great need to be able to operate independent from the grid in times of natural disaster or conflict.  Combined with renewable energy generated on site a military base could become a self-sufficient island in terms of electricity.

Minnesota Could Reap $30 Billion Driving on Electricity—The dollar savings are one thing, but for a state like Minnesota that produces no oil for gasoline or diesel but does produce a lot of electricity from wind turbines the dollars that are spent can be kept in the state.

Planting a Mix of Tree Species ‘Could Double’ Forest Carbon Storage—One area where we do not focus enough energy and resources on is reforestation.  Degraded and denuded lands need help to regain vegetation coverage, especially in a climate change paradigm.  Effectively locking up more carbon is icing on the cake.

Photos: Scenes from the Yellowstone Fires — Then and Now—As the west burns and the fires become more common, it is important to remember that fire is part of this landscape and that the land can be restored.  Perhaps with a little help from humans we can accelerate the progress just like we accelerated the destruction.

Here’s How Climate Change is Affecting Your Cup of Coffee—It might be time for pumpkin spice lattes, but climate change is a real threat to actual coffee.

Republicans Tout Hemp’s Potential—Just like marijuana legalization made strange bedfellows of libertarians and hippies, hemp is finding advocates in staunch right wingers looking to toss a life line to struggling agricultural communities.

How to Identify Truly Green Products—Most of the stuff out there is just dreck.

No Helmets, No Problem: How the Dutch Created a Casual Biking Culture—I see lots of people in lycra riding bikes where I live, but a casual bike culture has been slow to develop.  On the weekends people will cycle between bars in downtown Cedar Rapids, but it is not an everyday part of a person’s life.  We need to develop a casual bike culture.

‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans—I may rag on baby boomers a lot, but I believe it is because that particular generation is due some serious scorn after decades of general misbehavior.  I wonder what the correlation is between the rise in older Americans declaring bankruptcy and the general ageing of the baby boomers into that cohort.

5/11/2018 Friday Linkage

The world is full of bad news.  However, a beacon of hope was shining this week when it was announced the Wyld Stallyns would be returning for a third installment of most excellent adventures.

San Dimas high school football rules!

On to the links…

What Genuine, No-Bullshit Ambition on Climate Change would Look Like—Here is the deal: We have the tools necessary to make a serious effort to combat the causes of climate change.  We understand the risks of climate change and we can estimate the costs.  We have no excuses.

Winter Athletes Aren’t Going to Let Snow Vanish Without a Fight—I am a member of Protect Our Winters, but if you are a skier or a snowboarder or anyone who just likes winter you should be a supporter.

695,000 Winter Sports Jobs at Risk Due to Climate Change—Those million dollar houses are not going to be worth very much when the ski slopes are abandoned for lack of snow:

BLOGS18APR-3-NEW

EPA Clamping Down on Public Records Requests Related to Scott Pruitt—Take a moment to remember that Donald Trump was the political outsider who was going to “drain the swamp.” Too bad he just found the worst creatures to repopulate his swamp.

Passengers ‘Lashing Out’ At Scott Pruitt Justify First-Class Travel, New EPA Memo Says—People were going to be mean to Scott Pruitt so he had to fly first class.  That is the logic of these people.  It is also just corruption and thievery.

EPA “Head” Scott Pruitt Discounts The Value Of Human Life—This is dynamic scoring for the pollution set.  Your health and well-being does not matter one bit compared to the profits to be gained by soiling the air, ground, and water.  This is the world of Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt.

Rick Perry Suggests Using ‘National Security’ to Override Opposition to Pipelines—If “national security” were really the goal, would it not be a better solution to produce power as locally as possible so it was not reliant on an exposed infrastructure?

Sun And Solar Power Cut Electricity Demand From New England Grid To Lowest Ever—Demand for baseload power dropped to a level lower than when the sun is not shining.  Solar works.

For First Time Ever, Solar Dominates UK Power Supply—This is the United Kingdom, famous for its notoriously gray weather, not Spain, famous for its sun.

US Wind Development Surges As Pipeline Exceeds 30 Gigawatts—The pipeline is critical because these are the projects that will keep the industry humming along until we can vote out the fossil fuel soaked members of Congress and the sitting President.

U.S. Added 2,000 Wind Turbines in 2017—AI Would Add 2,200 More Today—It’s not about adding more wind turbines, but wringing more power out of the wind turbines that we have already installed.  Combined with replacing the oldest and least efficient wind turbines there is a huge opportunity to expand power production.

The Puerto Rican Families Who’ve Gone Off the Grid—Puerto Rico is the unintentional laboratory for renewable energy and resilient microgrids.  What this community has learned the hard way will be good lessons in our rapidly changing climate.

The Miracle of Finland: What a Tiny Northern Minnesota Town can Teach America—In a less industrialized and less carbon intensive world I think that things will begin to look a lot more like Finland, Minnesota.

Cheap Tires Are Costing You Money and Probably Also Killing the Planet—I have a car enthusiast friend who always says, “People will spend five bucks a day on a cup of coffee, but want to save a few dollars on tires which are the only thing between you and the road.”  I have the same feeling about bicycle tires as well.

Friday Linkage 10/6/2017

This country is messed up in so many ways.  What has happened in the past weeks in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas are horrific reminders of the role our politicians play in responding to disasters and shaping our future.  However, we are saddled with Trump and his merry band of Republican sycophants who care for nothing more than self-adulation, guns, and tax cuts.  In reality, Trump cares only about self-adulation and Republicans really only care about tax cuts but both are willing to use the issue of gun rights to get their desired outcomes.

I do hold out hope that there is a better and more constructive future in the works as the coalition that has propped up the right wing for the past twenty years fractures under its own internal pressures and external demographic realities.

On to the links…

The McKibben Effect: A Case Study in How Radical Environmentalism Can Work—It’s not radical if the end goal is the survival of humanity as a species.  It’s only radical because the forces opposed have deduced that the easiest way to create opposition is to label something as radical in an effort to saddle it with semantic baggage.

Skiing IS Politics—The personal is political and it always has been.

New Era of Solar Power is Now Upon Us—According to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of the power installed in 2016 was solar.  The same agency predicts that solar growth will be the highest of any energy source through at least 2022.

US Renewables Grew 10% In 1st Half Of 2017—That is a damn good number for the first half of the year given that the number usually spikes in the second half due to large projects coming on line before the year’s end.

Growth of Green Energy Sector Surges in Minnesota—Clean and green energy is producing a lot of jobs in a lot of places.  No one really thinks about Minnesota being a hot spot for solar, but solar is big business now.

What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs—This is what the future looks like.  It is not Trump’s attempt to use clowns like Rick Perry to prop up the coal industry for the benefit of a few crony capitalists.  It is about providing jobs for people in an industry that can help make the world a better place.

Courts are Waking up to the Cost of Climate Change—The guy at the top and his minions—here’s looking at you Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke—may be tools of the fossil fuel industry, but it looks like the rest of the world is realizing the true costs of these fuels need to take into account externalities.

Here are the Actual Tax Rates the Biggest Companies in America Pay—As the debate over tax reform…errr tax cuts heats up in Washington D.C. take note of what is really happening.  American companies do not pay higher taxes than their counterparts in Europe.  However, you will hear this time and again in the coming months.  It is a right wing myth.

Americans Have Soured on Junk Food. Don’t Worry, Food Companies Have a Plan.—Americans no longer mindlessly consume ever more Big Macs, Whoppers, and whatever the hell Taco Bell is making today.  Oh, we still consume the veritable shit ton of junk food but the growth has stalled.  On to the developing world the titans of garbage in a paper sack say.

Bicycle Highway in the Netherlands Built Using Recycled Toilet Paper—Leave it to the freaking Dutch to build a bike path out of recycled toilet paper.

This Entire Barley Field was Planted and Harvested without Humans—Automation in farming may happen before automation in our personal automobiles.  I do not know what the positives and negatives are of this development but robotic farming is kind of cool.

Which Is Better for the Environment: Meatless Mondays or #NoRedOctober?—Why not do both?

Friday Linkage 9/15/2017

The aspens are turning yellow in Colorado and the tulip trees in my backyard are doing the same.  The temps may still be in the 80s during the day, but fall is almost here.  That means on of these weekend nights will be spent waxing skis and checking over the gear.  It is time to start watching Open Snow’s reports and praying for powder.

On to the links…

As Hurricanes and Wildfires Rage, US Climate Politics Enters the Realm of Farce—It is my hope that we look back on the last fifteen or so years of American politics as an embarrassing interlude before sanity regained its footing.

Why Environmentalists Can’t Afford to Wait Until 2018—Too many times I have heard that a forthcoming election was the moment when the coalition of various environmental groups finally got their act together and drove votes to the polls.  Maybe the combination of the worst president in American history, successive natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, and a joke of Congress actually means it will happen.

The World’s Future Energy System: Cleaner, More Efficient and Less Demand—Despite how messed up things seem to be there is actual hope in the air.

Obama’s Solar Goal Has Been Met, Trump’s Energy Department Brags—Trump loves a win even if it is for something he purports to not like and set up by a man he openly loathes.  When are we going to be done with this flaccid cantaloupe and get back to some real leadership?

New Research Shows Solar Energy May Have Been Undervalued—You have to love simulations that do not include the fastest growing slice of the energy production market.  There are a lot of roofs in my neighborhood that do not have solar PV panels on them yet that are better candidates than my roof, which produces more than 100% of my household electrical needs.

Colorado Utility says Odds it will Build a Major New Coal Plant are now ‘Remote’—The key line in this article is when the representative for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association said that some of the costs for the coal plant expansion were unrecoverable.  That means the finance people in the room said that a portion of the project would be a loss no matter what.

Offshore Wind Power is Cheaper than New Nuclear Power in the UK—Coal is dead.  Nuclear is non-competitive on a cost basis.  The future is clean and renewable.

DONG Energy To Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm—Hornsea Project Two 1,386 MW of offshore wind power is a lot of wind.  Like one quarter of the state of Iowa’s installed wind power in one installation.  Together with Hornsea Project One the combined wind installations represent more than 2,500 MW of clean power.

GE Renewable Energy Unveils Largest Onshore Wind Turbine—Imagine replacing existing GE 1.5MW turbines, which dominated the U.S. market for many years, one for one with 4.8MW turbines from the same company.

MIT Researchers Propose an Ancient Technology to Store Clean Energy—Thermal energy storage is an already developed and vetted technology that could help us in shifting the demand curve to match the production curve of renewables.

How Does Thermal Energy Storage Reach Scale?—It can reach scale by being mandated.  If you want to build a large building in a hot climate like southern California or Arizona you should be required to use a thermal energy storage system to help regulate the peaks and valleys of energy demand and production.  If you are a grocery store or warehouse with huge refrigerator systems you should be required to install these systems.

If Power Start-Up Drift can make it in New York, it may be Lights Out for Traditional Utilities—Utilities are one of the last great true monopolies left in the United States.  Heck, you can get out from under the thumb of the cable company now by cutting the cord but you cannot pick your power company.

Vivint Solar & ChargePoint Announce Fully Integrated Solar Residential Energy Management Solution—The future will be a place where the solar panels on your house, the battery in your garage, and your EV are all integrated into a single system to maximize performance and stabilize the larger energy grid.  Tesla is trying to get to that point with a closed system of Tesla products.  This partnership may be more effective because it can be open source to a degree.

Wyoming ‘Ag-Gag’ Law Suffers Appeals Court Blow—Ag gag laws have flown under the radar in the age of Trump but there is legal wrangling going on that will decide the fate of such restrictions on the First Amendment.  How anyone can interpret these laws as having anything other than a cooling effect on free speech is beyond me.  The other irony is the same people pushing these laws trumpet anything done by James O’Keefe.

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial—We are all just living a premium mediocre life now.

Minnesota Named the Happiest State, while Red Ones Roil in Angst—Is anyone really surprised by this?  I am just amazed that people in red states just keep electing the same people while their quality of life sucks and accept that the answer is someone else is to blame for the problem.

Health at a Planetary Scale—Getting people to even say public health is hard.  Republicans automatically think it means socialism because the word public is akin to saying Lord Voldemort.  The rest of the world generally does not know what it means and those that do are prone to wonky discussions about outcomes, policy, and efficacy.

As Bees Die-Off, Coffee Production could Plummet more than Previously Thought—Well, piss in my shoe.

Friday Linkage 4/7/2017

At what point do we look into the abyss and see nothing but Donald Trump’s searing ineptitude staring back at us?  Every time the man goes to the podium with a world leader to his right he stumbles through a word salad of “very this” and “tremendous that” without ever actually saying something of substance.

Every time he steps to the podium I am reminded of Robin Williams’ line in Dead Poets Society:

becdb2d465a2b75353959dea0de75b7c

Unfortunately laziness is now the currency of the land.

On to the links…

The Question I Get Asked the Most—Take a moment and read the entirety of Bill McKibben’s piece at Resilience.org.  Think about the meaning and do something.

Can Steve King be Defeated? History Says Probably Not—People in his district love Steve King.  He is one of the most embarrassing human beings in politics and the people in his district will reelect him in a walk in 2018.   Why?  They are also the same people who are probably standing behind Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly.

Why Is Trump Ignoring These Good Heartland Jobs?—Why?  It does not fit his easy narrative and the man is lazy.  It does not matter that renewable energy employs more people than coal and that the renewable energy jobs sector is growing.  It also is a narrative that does not line the pockets of Koch Industries and other Trump lovers.

6 Charts That Show Trump Isn’t Stopping the Renewable Energy Revolution Any Time Soon—I hope the conclusion is right.  I just hope that there is enough inertia to overcome the amazing level of stupidity coming from Washington D.C. right now.

US Coal Production Hits 38 Year Low—Here is the thing.  As coal production volumes fall there is a self-perpetuating cycle of decline that follows because it is a capital intensive business.  As coal gets more expensive to mine it gets more expensive to make coal fired electricity, which leads to utilities closing down coal fired power plants.  This causes coal demand to fall further which causes the price of mining coal to increase.  So on and so forth.

While Trump Promotes Coal, Chile and Others are Turning to Cheap Sun Power—Again, it does not fit his lazy narrative.  Plus, solar jobs don’t allow you put on cool hard hats and gesticulate:

ktbt7oppbvaejaiwosx7

Wastewater: The Best Hidden Energy Source You’ve Never Heard Of—I hesitate to call this renewable energy, so why don’t we go with recovered energy.  Nonetheless, in a system where we are looking for every kilowatt hour that can be generated from non-fossil fuels this is a potential source of goodness.

What Pollutes the Urban Mississippi? Lawns, Dogs and Lots of Pavement Runoff—We may not be able to make rural communities do something about the runoff from farm fields because the rightward lurch of those areas has made progress a daunting task, but there is a lot that can be done in our urban watersheds.

Pot’s Cousin Explored as Viable Crop Option for Minnesota—Illinois is talking about legalization and Minnesota is exploring hemp.  Paying taxes and giving rural communities another crop option is the death knell of federal prohibition.

Ten Cool Facts About Hemp From the NoCo Expo—Did you have an acquaintance in college who spent hours telling you all the cool facts about hemp that “the man” would not allow to become mainstream because reasons?  That person is mainstream now.

Peak Auto? These Charts Point to Industry, U.S. Economy Concerns—We may be “over auto-ed” as a country.  The implications for the economy are fairly dramatic.

The Couple who Coaxed 300 Acres of Barren Farmland Back into Lush Forest—It’s only 300 acres, but it is also only two people.  We have the tools to make the world a better place.  Let’s get cracking.

Friday Linkage 3/31/2017

It is starting to feel like spring in Iowa, which means it has rained for several of the past few days and the temps are holding to a balmy mid-40s range.  Joy.

Despite the less than stellar weather it is time to start thinking about warmer weather projects and the list is long this year.  I cannot wait to get my hands dirty again.

On to the links…

What If They Killed The Clean Power Plan & Nobody Cared?—This is the best case scenario for the next few years.  We can only hope that the cost curve keeps bending in renewable energy’s favor and that coal continues to die a long, slow death.

Top US Coal Boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘Can’t Bring Mining Jobs Back’—Donald Trump lied, no big surprise, because coal jobs are not coming back.  No one is going to reopen old mines in Appalachia and the mines in the western U.S. are all about big machines.

Clean Energy Employs More People than Fossil Fuels in Nearly Every U.S. State—Seems like the jobs argument is pretty simple.  Granted, Exxon Mobil does not give donations to its political cronies to promote solar jobs.

Do Environmental Regulations Reduce Employment? Not Really.—Facts do not matter to the current administration and its Russian stooges, so I imagine that a fact based argument about environmental regulations would be shouted down as fake news or some such bullshit.

Alaska Warms to Solar Power as Prices Fall and Benefits Grow—This is Alaska.  Other than Wyoming fewer states are more associated with fossil fuels than Alaska.  If Alaska goes solar what’s left?

As Energy Mix Becomes Cleaner, Minnesotans Paying Less for It—So a cleaner power grid is a cheaper power grid.  Okay, who wants to argue against cheaper and cleaner?

Tesla Solar in Hawaii is a Sign of Things to Come—The future is now.

Australian Rooftop Solar Installs Are Up 43% In 2017—Australia should be covered in solar panels.  The country is more sun baked than any I can think of outside of the Middle East.

Rescuing Los Angeles—I am beginning to think the future will look a lot like this small patch of Los Angeles.  As institutions are increasingly prevented from being effective by elected leaders beholden to deceitful special interests solutions to livability will be hyper-local and inherently DIY.

Solving Global Dietary Problems is a Bigger Challenge than Climate Change—Meat is bad for the climate.  There is little logical argument against this statement.  Also, western societies eat too much meat.  Again, there is little logical argument against this statement.

Cycling in Minnesota Creates Thousands of Jobs and Cuts Health-Care Spending—Basically, cycling is awesome.

5 Packaging Materials You Didn’t Know are Difficult to Recycle—How many of these packaging materials have you or I blindly thrown in the recycling bin?

Illinois Considers Legalizing Marijuana for a Fiscal Boost—This is the end of prohibition on marijuana in the United States.  Once the first state does it for economic reasons every other non-legalized state will follow.  It’s all about the Benjamins.

U.S. Craft Brewers Up 6% in Volume, 10% in Retail Dollars—Craft beer in the U.S. continues to grow at a rapid clip. However, I am worried about the long term prospects for so many breweries.

Rapidgrass Sings The I-70 Blues—If you have ever thought your ski vacation would begin soon after seeing the mountains poke through Front Range haze on I-76 you have not experienced the I-70 blues.