Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Review of Pactimo Ultralite Cycling Rain Jacket (For Men)

Originally submitted at Sierra Trading Post

Closeouts . Pactimo's Ultralite cycling rain jacket features waterproof breathable fabric, underarm vents, and an extremely lightweight and packable design, making it easy to be prepared for rain on every ride. Stretchy waterproof breathable fabric Underarm vents Fleece-lined collar for...

Nice rain jacket

By MyHarpoon from Indianapolis, IN on 6/1/2011


4out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Breathable, Lightweight, Dries Quickly

Cons: Not Enough Pockets, Wish it wasn't see-throug, Needs to be self-stowable

Best Uses: Casual Wear, Wet Weather, Road Biking, Commuting

Describe Yourself: Casual/ Recreational

Was this a gift?: No

For the price, this rain jacket can't be beat (almost).

It is very breathable and doesn't feel like a piece of plastic stuck to your arm.

I wish it wasn't see through and I wish there was a back pocket. It would also be helpful if it stowed in its own stuff sack.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bicycle Commuting Tips

Now that winter is finally behind us, it's time to start bicycle commuting.  Here are some good tips for commuting beginners that I found on the Axiom Gear website:

Bicycle Commuting Guide: Commuting 101


You know it's time to start bicycle commuting when:

a. The price of gas makes you cringe every time you fill up your car

b. You want to reduce your carbon footprint, because every bit counts.

c. You can’t stand watching old lady’s with walkers pass you as you sit in gridlock traffic

d. You made a New Year’s resolution to get into shape but lack the time for a traditional workout.

e. Saving money puts a smile on your face.

f. You’re ready for an enjoyable and stress free commute to work.

g. You believe that your actions can make the world a better place.

h. Paying for gas and repairs and insurance and wear and tear and… you get the picture but it bums you out.
i. You’ve had to take out a line of credit to keep your car running.

j. All of the above.

If you’ve answered yes or heck yes to any or all of the above questions, it’s time to throw your leg over a bike and start commuting to work! If you haven’t answered "yes" why not start bicycle commuting anyways and then re-do the survey (you’ll probably answer "yes" to at least some of the above).

Either way, read on to find out just how easy it is to start bicycle commuting.

Getting started...

1. Bicycle

Let’s start with the obvious; you need a bicycle. It doesn’t have to be anything recent, flashy or hi-tech, all you need is a bike that is comfortable and in good working condition.

Comfort: Go to a local bicycle dealer and get them to make sure you have a bike that fits you properly and is comfortable to ride. It’s much easier and less painful to ride a bicycle that fits correctly.

Good Condition: The old bike in your garage or storage space could do but you should make sure it’s ready to ride! Take it to a bicycle shop for a pre-commuting tune-up.

2. Accessories

While you are sorting out your bicycle, it’s a good time to get the accessories you need for you and your ride. Having the proper equipment will make your commute safer, faster and more enjoyable.

Helmet: Your head is an important piece of equipment and you need to make sure it’s safe. Having a proper fitting helmet will protect you in the case of a fall or collision. A good helmet is light, well vented and, most importantly, fits your head: it should be tight enough to stay in place without being buckled and not so tight that it causes any pressure points.

Water bottle: Riding will make you thirsty (especially on nice summer days) so carry a water bottle or a hydration pack!

Multi-Tool: Get a multi-tool that has the basics for quick fixes on-the-go. A good multi-tool includes: allen keys, a phillips screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver and a chain tool, there are more complete tools available if you want that something extra.

Tube, pump and tire levers: If you commute by bicycle sooner or later you’ll have to repair a flat. It’s a good idea to be prepared! Always carry a tube, a mini-pump and tire levers. Practice fixing a flat at home so you know what to do when it occurs on the road.

Bags: You’ll probably need to carry a few things (clothing, laptop, food, etc.) to work with you, which means you will need the right bag for the job. But what bag is the best for commuting?

Backpacks: You can start with a trusty backpack, however, for longer rides they can be hot and uncomfortable. Still, there are cycling specific backpacks which are great for shorter rides.

Messenger bags: Offer easy accessibility and convenience but may become uncomfortable on long hauls due to uneven weight distribution.

Rack mounted bags: One of the best ways to carry your stuff is to use pannier and trunk bags. These bags are specifically designed for cycling and mount to a rack on your bicycle, taking the weight off your back. Chose bags that are waterproof and have reflective elements for visibility in low light conditions.

Racks: If you are going the pannier route you’ll need the right rack for your bicycle. There is a rack design that will fit almost any bike. Visit your local cycling retailer and let them help you find the right bag for you and your bike.

Lights: Being seen on the roads is important as many drivers aren’t aware of cyclists. If you are ever going to ride when it is dark out make sure you have a good set of lights, one for the front and for the rear of your bicycle at a minimum. When it comes to lights and being seen more is always better than less, you can put lights on your bags or other parts of your bicycle for added safety.

Fenders: Here in the Pacific North-West you never know when it’s going to be raining so fenders are a necessity. It’s best to be prepared no matter where you are; the desert is an exception. Get yourself a good set of fenders to keep yourself as dry as possible.

Mirror: A mirror will help you stay focused on the road ahead while keeping an eye on what’s going on around you. You can buy mirrors that can be attached to your helmet or your handlebar.

Wrinkle free clothing: When packing your clothes for work, roll your clothes instead of folding them! This will minimize wrinkles and keep you looking good.

3. Clothing

Cycling Apparel: Although you don't need to have cycling specific apparel to start commuting, you should aim for clothes that are made of light synthetic fabric with moisture wicking properties. Such garments will be more comfortable since they don't retain moisture; you’ll stay dry and cool. Clothes designed specifically for cycling are your best choice as they are cut to fit well in a riding position. Keep in mind you don’t have to wear spandex. Many cycling apparel brands offer clothing with a casual look and feel. Once at destination, if you can store your bike in a secure place, hang your clothes on your bike to help them dry throughout the day.

Getting there...

4. Route

You probably know your way to work, but is your route the best option for cycling? Here’s some advice to help you figure out the best way to get to work.

1. Avoid high traffic roads, especially highways and roads with multiple streetlights and intersections.

2. Look for local cycling routes and bike paths. Designated cycling routes tend to have less traffic and fewer steep hills making your commute easier. A cycling route map may be available for your area.

3. Plan different routes that will give you a variety of options; shorter routes for days when you are in a hurry, longer rides to decompress after a busy day at work or new routes to avoid the routine, after all variety is the spice of life.

4. If work is too far for you to ride from home plan mixed commuting options. You could drive half the distance and bike the other half.

5. You can also mix biking with public transit. Many transit options will let you transport your bicycle. Try riding a bus or train part of the way and cycling the rest.

Before your first big ride to work..

1. Test ride your route: Before your first ride to work, test your route. That will determine how comfortable you are on the selected roads and how much time you will need to cover the distance.

2. Give yourself plenty of time: Plan for more time than you need. Not being in a rush will make your ride more enjoyable and give you extra time in case you run into any problems along the way. More time will also give you the chance to cool-down before getting ready for work.

5. Safety

Before hitting on the road:

Take 2 minutes to double-check that the bolts on your bike are tight, ensure that your brakes are functioning properly, verify your tires are inflated correctly and your chain is lubed. Regularly gratify your bike (and yourself) by dropping by your favorite bike shop for routine maintenance.

When riding:

Keep in mind that you are sharing the road with others.

1. Respect the rules of the road. Think of yourself as another vehicle.

2. Either share the lane or take the lane.

3. Ride on the shoulder or in the bike lane when there is room for you to ride comfortably.

4. Take the lane when the shoulder is too narrow (if riding in the shoulder only gets cars to squeeze you in between them and the side of the road).

5. Beware of the door clearance zone: Leave enough room between yourself and parked vehicles so you aren’t surprised (or hit) by opening doors.

6. Use hand signals to communicate your intentions to others: When turning, point towards the direction you are going. When stopping, put your hand down behind you to inform others around you.

7. Be as visible as possible to others: Wear bright colours and put reflective material on your gear and bike. Be sure to use lights when it is dark out or in low visibility/light situations such as heavy rain.

8. Look ahead and stay alert: Pay attention to what is coming up: vehicles, children, pedestrians, dogs, other cyclists, potholes, drains, gravel, etc… Be aware of your peripherals. Try to focus ahead and watch for oncoming obstacles.

9. Plan your actions ahead of time: Try and think ahead, consider your next moves before executing them.

Once at destination...

6. Storing your bike for the day

If possible, store your bike inside in a secure bicycle storage area. If you are not sure whether or not your building has storage facilities, enquire with your employer or building management.

If your building doesn’t offer a place to store your bicycle, look into renting a spot in another building, in a secured parking lot or rent bike locker if they are close by. Also, check with area bike retailers, they may offer a bike parking service for a nominal fee.

If you have to lock you bicycle outside?

1. Lock it in a visible spot.

2. Select a bike rack that is properly secured to the ground.

3. Invest in a good lock that is suited for your needs (a good lock is always cheaper than a new bike)

7. Showering

If you have access to showers, consider leaving toiletries and a towel at work. When showers are not available, make use of a washcloth or moist towels. To absorb moisture resulting from exercising, apply talc powder on your skin and hair.

8. Hanging your clothes

Once you’ve cleaned up and changed, hang your clothes on your bike to let them dry. If you do not want to carry your work clothes when riding, bring extras on days you drive to work and leave them there. Leave a set of just in case clothes at work; you’ll be happy the day you forget to bring some from home!

When packing your clothes, roll them instead of folding them. This will prevent wrinkles.

You've started bike commuting, what's next?

9. Keep your momentum

1. Set objectives for yourself and work towards them

2. Get co-workers and friends to start commuting with you, on days where you feel un-motivated they can give you that extra push you need

3. Whenever you can leave your car at home try using your bike for short distance trips such as running to the store

4. Start off by riding a day or two a week and then more as you feel comfortable, eventually you’ll be riding everyday!

5. Join a bike club

6. Start bicycle touring

7. Ask local authorities, such as cycling clubs and shops about more cycling designated routes.

10. Bicycle commuting is good for everyone.

Your commitment to bike commuting makes a difference; every time you choose to bike commute you are making this world a better place. You’ll feel better, healthier and more energetic while reducing your daily stress. So get on that bike and pedal yourself to work, school or the corner store.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Usher is a clown

Did he ripoff Homer Simpson on OMG? I think the evidence speaks for itself:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stupid Football...

Why, oh why, do I play fantasy football?!? I just love having the highest scoring team in my league and LOSING every game by 2 points!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I "heart" Apple!!! (insert biting sarcasm here)

I especially love Steve Jobs' first solution to the iPhone 4 reception problem when Apple's offer of free bumper cases ends on September 30th
iPhone Reception Solutions

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Acer Amethyst Purple Aspire One AO532h-2254 10.1" Netbook PC with Intel Atom N450 Processor & Windows 7 Starter Edition

5 out of 5

Great netbook at a bargain basement price!!
Why buy an iPad? Why pay over $500 for a toy with no keyboard, no Adobe Flash support (for web browsing), a puny 1 GHz processor, and only 64 GB of memory?
The Acer Aspire One has a 1.6 GHz processor, a removable 6-cell battery for long life (over 8 hours), 3 USB ports (to connect your camera, mouse, etc.), a 160 GB hard drive, a front-facing camera, a VGA port (to connect to an external monitor).

Basically the Acer Aspire One is a little laptop for under $300, and the iPad is a gigantic iPod Touch for almost twice the cost of the Acer.
The decision is easy...

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Review of Ravx Econo X Mini Bike Pump - P015

Originally submitted at

Dual valve swivel head: Fits both Presta & Schrader valves with no adjustment necessary. Swiveling head compensates for pumping movement to reduce stress on stem. Dual valve swivel head, Single action stroke, Soft kraton T-handle, Lightweight, Velcro strap and mounting bracket included, Alloy p...

Great little pump!!!

By Harpoon from Indianapolis, IN on 4/30/2010


4out of 5

Pros: Good Handle, Stable, Easy to Pump, Dual Head

Best Uses: City Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

This is a nice little pump. My fiancee has a Ravx pump that came as a set (with a saddle bag and a multi-tool) and it seemed alright to me so I bought an Econo X for my mountain bike (the Blackburn I had was not sealing on the stem very well). However, when I received the RavX, I found it to be much lighter than the pump that I had on my road bike, so I switched them.

I love the dual valve head. Other pumps that claim that their single-head valves automatically self-adjust for Schrader and Presta are junk. They never seal as well as a Schader or Presta-specific head. The swivel head on the Econo X is also nice because when you pump, it doesn't feel like you're going to break the stem off.

I'm only giving it 4 stars for now becauase I have no idea how long it will last.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Review of Topeak WhiteLite Bike Headlight - TMS006

A cool mini safety light to get you hom safely after dusk. Mounts quickly with rubber strap. 3 ultra bright white L.E.D. head light, with on/off, blinking and steady-on functions. Tool-free handlebar mount. Rubber straps fit handlebars O/D: 22.2~31.8mm. Bulb: 3 L.E.D. / 10000 hrs (life time). Batt...


Harpoon Indianapolis, IN 9/2/2009


2 5

Cons: Weak beam, Short battery life

Best Uses: Front headlight

Describe Yourself: Casual/ Recreational

The plastic hook for the rubber strap is pretty flimsy and broke off after less than a month of use. The beam is pretty wimpy too.


Friday, August 21, 2009

mmm...If you haven't been to Tata's Cuban Café on Market St. Near the Capitol building, you're missing the best Cuban sandwich in town...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Review of Eleven81 TRI/Nutrition Stem/Top Tube Bicycle Bag - BAGS1238

600 Denir nylon pouch mounts to stem and top tube for easy access. Pouch has Velcro closure for easy access while riding. Pouch has extra pocket for keys, coins, etc. Pouch measures 5"X3 1/2"X1".

another top tube bag...

myharpoon Indianapolis, IN 8/11/2009


4 5

Pros: High Quality, Good Strap Length, Lightweight

Best Uses: Commuting, Sports, Running Errands, Daily Use

Describe Yourself: Modern, Stylish, Practical, Classic

Primary use: Personal

Yet another top tube bag. When you're looking to buy one of the bags you're looking for 3 things:

1) Velcro closure (much easier to open one-handed than a zipper)
2) 2 velcro straps to attach to the stem (some bags only have 1 strap)
3) Size (small, medium, or large)


My Review of Ravx Bike Basics Bicycle Value Pack - K018

Essentials kit, Includes: Econo X mini pump, Multi X tool, Classic X saddlebag, Patch X patch kit, Econo X features: Dual valve swivel head, Single action stroke, Soft kraton T-handle, Velcro strap and mounting bracket included, Alloy pins, Max pressure: 120 PSI, Multi X features: 6 Hex wrenches:...

Neat little value pack

myharpoon Indianapolis, IN 8/11/2009


4 5

Pros: Rugged

Best Uses: Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes, City Bikes, Bring it With You

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

There are basically 2 combo kits that have the following: multi-tool, patch kit, saddle bag, tire pump.

The Ravx Bike Basics Value Pack and the Serfas Combo Kit 2. The Ravx Value Pack is a little cheaper than the Serfas Kit 2. However, the Serfas Kit comes with 2 guppy lights (one white, one red) if you're willing to pay over $50. You can also get a Ravx Value Pack with the lights and pay about the same as the Serfas Kit if you choose.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stupid baby names...

I don't know what these kids' parents were thinking when they picked these names, forever scarring their offspring.

For one thing, why must parents always have to try to be clever and come up with alternate spellings of common names? I'm still waiting for someone to name their kid "Dhey'vidd". I think parents get a discount if they use an extra 'h', 'y', or apostrophe or change an 's' to a 'z' or a 'c' to a 'k'.

And then there's those names where you can't tell if the kid is a girl or a boy. Think Mike Myers as "Pat" from the old Saturday Night Live.

Of course there's those parents who force their daughters into a lifetime of exotic dancing.

This list was pulled from the Beautiful Babies website on Fox 59:

Dawson (no last names, please!!!)
Laella (I wonder if she will like paella)
Zara (Has anyone named their kid ‘Old Navy’ or ‘Hollister’ yet?)
Brayden (‘den’ #1)
Hayden (‘den’ #2)
Caiden (‘den’ #3)
Braden (‘den’ #4
Jayden (‘den’ #5)
Jaden (does this count as ‘den’ #6 or is this just an alternate spelling of ‘Jayden’?)
Hussain (not to be confused with Hussein)
Payton (NOT a girl’s name…it’s not even a first name)
Peyton (not any better when spelled like an NFL QB)
Hunter (in the end there can be only one…)
Zaire (what, Zimbabwe was taken?)
Mikayla (alternate ‘Michaela’ #1)
Makayla (alternate ‘Michaela’ #2)
Italianna (I wonder if her mom ordered the Chicken Italiana at Olive Garden the night the magic happened)
Cheyenne (stripper alert!)
Serenity (stripper #2)
Madyson (stripper #3 with the bonus of an alternate spelling)
Destiny (stripper #4)
Brittany and Trinity (stripper twins!!)
Violet Skye (porn star alert!)
Taylor (girl or boy? No one knows…)
Carmella (I think they were expecting a boy who would play basketball and fund their retirement…Carmelo?)
Ariyana (ana #1)
Elyana (ana #2)
Marianna (ana #3)
Carma (karma anyone?)
Katelynn (how many alternate spellings of ‘Caitlin’ can there possibly be?)
Jaelynn (lynn #2)
Azriel (not quite Gargamel’s evil cat from Smurfs fame, but close…)
Mason (cursed to memorize secret handshakes and passwords for the rest of his life)
Matilda (were Helga and Hilda already taken?)
Ryleigh (first of all ‘Riley’ was already a stupid name for a girl…did they really have to go with an alternate spelling?
Tristan (someone likes “Legends of the Fall” way too much)
Kia (parents apparently didn’t like ‘Hyundai’)
Marquiz (I assume this is pronounced ‘Marcos’)
Gibson (I hope he’s named after the guitar or the baseball player…not the lunatic anti-Semitic actor/director)
Kameron (I love when ‘C’ becomes ‘K’)
Kamryn (alternate spelling Cameron #2)
Camren (alternate spelling Cameron #3)
Ma’Tazia (oh the lovely apostrophe and capitalization in the middle…)
Trevin, Brodin, Gavin (the ‘in’ triplets)
O’Niah (the Irish apostrophe!)
Summer (why are the other seasons so ill-represented?)

And last, but not least, the 49th leader of the free world:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poor Aggies...

This pretty much sums up how hilarious I think Texas A&M is.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Reading about how Twitter is too big. I think it's lame. What's the deal with posting every mind-numbingly boring detail of one's life?

Who cares that you had the most amazing eggs benedict this morning at Cracker Barrel?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Has anyone been to Put-in-Bay?

I've been there once and it was a blast. The Florida Keys of the Midwest...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Recovering from my somnoplasty last Tuesday. I underwent the procedure at the behest of my mate to reduce my snoring. Feels like a bad sore throat right now (treating w/Tylenol and a Ricola!). 2 nights ago was the worst. Woke up several times gagging on my own, enlarged, uvula. Last night much better.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2/2 y girl, Dezzie, and my sis. Hope Dez doesn't bonk...
1/2 It's snowy here in Chicago. Headed up to Devil's Head to hit the slopes. For once I'll actually hit some fresh powder.
Going w/ m

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My first emailed blog exciting...

Multimedia message

At work with a brand spanking new haircut...I feel so corporate...
My first mobile blog post...

First Day

This is the #1 post on this awesome blog...