My new fat bike

I got a new bike, a Kona Rove NRB DL
I managed to buy my bike for only $2,400! This might seem excessive, but it is normally $2,999! I pick it up Friday, June 15

My fifth decade on this earth is approaching and I am getting a little wide in my girth. I have a perfectly good touring bike sitting in the garage, a Bike Friday Pocket Lama:

The only problem is because it is a foldable bike, there is a weight limit for the frame. I am over that limit 🙁
I need a new bike to ride my plus size me and the Kona Rove NRB DL fits the bill.

So why this bike?

The marketing spiel for the bike starts with:

what does a modern road bike look like? If you ask us, it would be quick on the pavement but completely capable of putting in time on a variety of surfaces. Thru-axles, hydraulic brakes, and room for big tires. 

SO:

  1. A road bike with drop bars, thru-axles, and hydraulic brakes
  2. Room for big tyres: in 700c > 40mm and/or 650b > 45mm
  3. A wide range of gears with a low gear suitable for cycle touring
  4. Must be able to mount a rack and mudguards (fenders)
  5. At least three water bottle cage mounts (two in the frame, one underneath)
  6. A steel frame
  7. On the front fork, attachment points for water bottle cages
  8. On the top tube, attachment points for a top tube bag.

Bikes with these attributes are usually aim at the gravel market. This is for cyclists who like to ride on unpaved roads or even technical single track like a mountain bike.

Bikes in this category are often used for bike packing

The bike I have purchased meets the first five categories, but instead of steel uses aluminium for the frame.

Despite the ease of putting points 6 and 7 on a bike they didn’t do this for my bike.This would be down to two factors, cost and market differentiation.

Bike designed for the bike packing scene have lots of attachments points everywhere. This is incrediably versatile, but a little ugly. An excellent example of this type of bike is the Surly Troll.

While my dream bike entails images of cycling a heavy ladden bike through a desert or mountain pass, reality is moving around quickly, comfortably in a busy city with the occassional foray into the bush.

This is best served by a Road+ bike, which is essentially a comfortable road bike with fat tyres, in my case 47mm 650B (27.5″

One of the bikes I was considering was the Surly Midnight Special which epitomises the Road+ category. I didn’t get this bike because

  1. It wasn’t on sale! So $600 more then my  Kona Rove NRB DL
  2. No hydraulic brakes.
  3. Rims are not tubeless compatible
  4. No closed through axle dropout due to the frame supporting QR and thru axle wheels, see THE SURLY MIDNIGHT SPECIAL IS TRULY A FAT TIRE ROAD BIKE

On the plus side it did have mounting points on the front fork. I love their marketing spiel which is just as applicable to my Kona Rove NRB DL:

Today’s road bikes are tricky little buggers. Sure, there’s still a place for super narrow, pizza cutter-esque tires that save watts and shave grams or whatever. There’s probably still even a place for a road racing bike. Those places still exist. We just don’t know – or particularly care – where they are. When it comes to road bikes, we just want to toss a few banabikenas into our pockets and see where the road takes us. We seek out varied surfaces on our rides and frequently go from pavement to gravel to shittier pavement. 

Enter: The Midnight Special – a Road Plus bike designed to provide comfort and speed on those all-day rides that extend well beyond fresh pavement. It rides like a cloud on smooth pavement. but that’s expected. Any bike can do that. Where it truly shines is on pot-holed, deteriorating pavement and the occasional long stretch of gravel. The Midnight Special’s 650b Road Plus tires eat up road chatter and absorb all the bumps in the road like the champion it was designed to be.

If you’re some masochist who is unfazed by the thought of a bumpy, chattery eight-hour road ride, you should know that the benefits of Road Plus go beyond just comfort. They also create a wider contact patch, thereby increasing your traction. And traction is a good thing. Additionally, higher volume tires allow you to better fine tune your tire pressure on varying surfaces. Let a little out on bumpier roads and pump those suckers up on smooth ones.

Want to know what bike packing is? .. have a look at bikepacking.com for lots of great photos and stories.

SPECIFICATIONS

FRAME MATERIALKona 6061 Aluminum Butted
SIZE56
REAR SHOCKn/a
FORKKona Full Carbon Flat mount CX Race Disc
CRANKARMSShimano RS510
CHAINRINGS34/50t
B/BShimano 68mm
PEDALSn/a
CHAINKMC X11
FREEWHEELShimano 105 11-32t 11spd
CHAINGUIDEn/a
F/DShimano 105
R/DShimano Ultegra
SHIFTERSShimano 105
BRAKE CALIPERSShimano Hydraulic Flat Mount
FRONT BRAKE ROTORShimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
REAR BRAKE ROTORShimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
BRAKE LEVERSShimano Hydraulic
HEADSETFSA No. 57SC
STEMKona Road Deluxe
SEATPOSTKona Deluxe Thumb w/Offset 31.6mm
SEAT CLAMPKona Clamp
GRIPSKona Cork Tape
SADDLEWTB Volt Comp
FRONT HUBFormula 100x12mm (centerlock)
REAR HUBFormula 142x12mm (centerlock)
SPOKESStainless Black 14g
RIMSWTB Asym i23 TCS
FRONT TIREWTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
REAR TIREWTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
PAINT COLORMatt Metallic Sand w/ Charcoal & Red Decals

Geometry for 56cm Frame Size

mminches
1ST LENGTH56022.0
2TT LENGTH57922.8
3REACH39215.4
4STACK61024.0
5STANDOVER80331.6
6HT ANGLE71.571.5
7HT LENGTH186.67.3
8ST ANGLE73.017.1
9CS LENGTH43517.1
10BB DROP702.8
11BB HEIGHT27310.7
12WHEELBASE105041.3
13FRONT CENTER62424.6
14FORK LENGTH39515.6
15FORK OFFSET451.8

References
KONA’S VERSATILE ROVE LINE EXPANDS WITH 650B, REYNOLDS 853 – ROVE LTD, ROVE NRB DL, ROVE NRB
Riding the new Kona Rove NRB gravel bike in southern Spain
pelotonmagazine article
Riding Gravel Forum Post

2018-06-14-Kona-ROVE-NRB-DL

Ergonomics

After breaking my last chair (is someone telling me I am too fat?) I decided to buy a new chair.

It seems there is an official standard for chairs if you want a government or corporate contract. My chair meets it and has a seven year warranty compared with the standard one year warranty.

At time like this I wish I had a car. To get my chair I cycled 15km into the city and wheeled the chair and bicycle to the train station, took the train back home and then walked another kilometre back to my house.

Price(Inc GST):$390.00 
http://www.melbofficefurniture.com.au/office-chairs/task-chairs/oxley/243/productview.aspx

Description:
Fully ergonomic office chair. 
Heavy duty
4 levers
Seat slide
Adjustable arms
Moulded back and seat
Black
7 Year Warranty
140kg rated

When I was shopping for the chair yesterday I decided to have lunch at my favourite Korean restaurant. It had gone out of business, the inside was gutted … it felt a little demoralizing.
So I went to my favourite computer shop, the usual guys weren’t there and I was talking with salesman about business. He said the rent for the small shop was over AUD $200,000 per year.

That’s highway robbery, so wandered down another few doors to an old chinese restaurant I really liked near RMIT … it had bloody closed, in its place another Korean restaurant 🙁
In disgust  I wander back down the street and ate at the big Korean restaurant .. yummy

More Mac software

Just purchased  StackSocials  Mac Bundle 3.0 Ft. Camtasia 2 for $11. I purchased it mainly for Camtasia 2, a screen capture utility used for screencasts (video tutorials of computer programs). It is a PC port to the Mac of an excellent package. The main competition on the Mac is ScreenFlow.
But since both cost $99 and I got it for $11 I can’t complain even if I don’t use it much.

Continue reading

Playing music on the Mac

Just installed version 1.0 of Vox a lightweight music player for OS X.

I like it a lot, even through it initially crashed a lot.

Solution is at https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/24852/vox

– Open /Application folder.
– Locate Vox.app
– With control+click (right click) on Vox icon select ‘Show Package Content’
– Open enclosed folder Contents->XPCServices
– Remove com.coppertino.Vox.GNTPClientService.xpc
– Restart Vox

For today only I think, you can unlock the radio function for free – http://coppertino.com/vox/unlockradio.php?code=VOXRUMORS

To get around sandbox restrictions, an add-on for hardware control is downloadable at http://coppertino.com/vox/addon.html

Statistics and Programming Tutorials

From my point of view I am only interested in three languages for stats, R, Python and Excel. Excel I won’t cover here, but there are many fine books on it on Amazon.

R and Python are free open source languages. R is a language for statistics, whilst Python is a more general purpose programming language.

I prefer the syntax of Python over R any day, but for statistical modelling and making pretty graphs, R has a great mindshare.

Books about Python and statistics

Think BayesThink Bayes is an introduction to Bayesian statistics using computational methods. This version of the book is a rough draft. The author is making the draft available for comments, but it comes with the warning that it is probably full of errors.

Think Stats: Probability and Statistics for ProgrammersThink Stats emphasizes simple techniques you can use to explore real data sets and answer interesting questions. Think Stats is based on a Python library for probability distributions (PMFs and CDFs). Many of the exercises use short programs to run experiments and help readers develop understanding. Most introductory books don’t cover Bayesian statistics, but Think Stats is based on the idea that Bayesian methods are too important to postpone. By taking advantage of the PMF and CDF libraries, it is possible for beginners to learn the concepts and solve challenging problems.

Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer ScientistThink Python is an introduction to Python programming for beginners.

R

R is used a lot in academia and science. A lot of online stats courses use R for teaching statistics.

A Crash Course in R | (R news & tutorials)single program with many examples of syntax

Getting staRted with R. | (R news & tutorials)lots of links to good tutorials

twotorials by anthony damicoexcellent tutorial screencasts on R

Flowingdata TutorialsFlowing data is a great site, not just for R, but statistics and presentation in general

The Guerilla Guide to RIt’s basically a number of Stack Overflow links organized and ordered in a way to help R programmers learn their way to the next level. If you are proficient in R, I hope these resources will help you get closer to being amazing. If you are just getting started with R, I’d suggest adding this page to your bookmarks and returning when you are familiar with the basics of R programming.
This “book” essentially writes itself since most of the experts (and peer-reviewers) are answering the questions. Most of the questions are “real-world” and are asked by novice or intermediate programmers.

Books

IPSUR – Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using Ra textbook written for an undergraduate course in probability and statistics.

Learning Statistics with R | Computational Cognitive Science LabA free book form the university of Adelaide, designed for an introductory statistics class for psychology students, using the R statistical package as the primary tool 

Introduction to Data ScienceThis book provides non-technical readers with a gentle introduction to essential concepts and activities of data science. For more technical readers, the book provides explanations and code for a range of interesting applications using the open source R language for statistical computing and graphics.
Available in PDF and ibook format 

Reader is dead, long live ?

Google Reader dies tomorrow. The king is dead, long live the pretenders

http://katiefloyd.me/blog/how-to-download-your-google-reader-data
http://www.leancrew.com/all-this/2013/06/feedle-dee-dee/

TidBits – The state of Google Reader Replacements
The Feed Reader Reviews: Feedl
The Feed Reader Reviews: Feedbin
The Feed Reader Reviews: Newsblur
http://readerisdead.com

iOS Readers

http://www.macstories.net/news/mr-reader-2-0-adds-support-for-feedly-feed-wrangler-fever-and-more/
Bye-bye, Google Reader: Alternative RSS solutions for Mac and iOS users

Lion of the Sun

Just finished the third book, Lion in the Sun. Those Romans had it tough. These days the US Military is spending north of 20 billion plus on air conditioning for its troops!

 


The third book in the Warrior of Rome series – Lion of the Sun

 In Mesopotamia, AD 260, Ballista faces yet another enemy, the man the Syrians call The Lion of the Sun, in this third novel in the ‘Warrior of Rome’ series. Betrayed by his most trusted adviser, Roman Emperor Valerian has been captured by the Sassanid barbarians. The shame of the vanquished beats down mercilessly like the desert sun as the frail old emperor prostrates himself before Sharpur, king of kings. Ballista looks on helplessly but vows under his breath to avenge those who have brought the empire to the brink of destruction with their treachery. But first he must decide what price he will pay for his own freedom. Only the fearless and only those whom the gods will spare from hell can now save the empire from a catastrophic ending. Ballista, the warrior of Rome, faces his greatest challenge yet

From Amazon:

Kings of Kings

Finished the second book in the Warrior of Rome Series – Kings of Kings, so naturally what should I do after that? .. read the third!

For this type of novel with a lot of maps at the start, I would be constantly referring to them when I read place names in the story, but with e-books it is not that easy.

I noticed this edition underlines latin terms, so you can click on it, and then easily return to where you were reading. Its not a bad method, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

What is needed is something like Apple’s dictionary definitions that pop up above what you are reading. Better yet, the ability in a pop up to see the maps at the start.

From Amazon

AD256 – the spectre of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman world. The sparks of Christian fervour have spread through the empire like wildfire, and the imperium is alive with the machinations of dangerous and powerful men.

All the while, Sassanid forces press forward relentlessly along the eastern frontier. The battle-bloodied general Ballista returns to the imperial court from the fallen city of Arete – only to find that there are those who would rather see him dead than alive.

Ballista is soon caught in a sinister web of intrigue and religious fanaticism . . . his courage and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test in the service of Rome and the emperor.

Fire in the East

Just started reading fiction again. This time Hary Sidebottom’s Warror of Rome.  I am learning more then I need to know about Roman military siege tactics …. love it. Should have it finished tomorrow, then only four more to go.

From his website:

The Warrior of Rome novels are set during the great crisis of the Roman empire in the mid-Third Century AD. The first three – Fire in the East, King of Kings, and Lion of the Sun – focus on the eastern half of the empire and on the war-torn borders with the rising power of Sassanid Persia. In the second three – The Caspian Gates, The Wolves of the North, and The Amber Road – the action shifts to the north; to the Black Sea and the client kingdoms of the Caucasus mountains, the Crimea and the steppes, and the great rivers that could be followed north to the Baltic.

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