small kine scare

Just had a bit of a scare coming down Makakilo. I'm trying out the tires that came with my muirwoods. As I was coming to the light next to malama market the light turned yellow. No problem. I've stopped there many a time when the light changed like that. It got exciting about 1 second later when I learned that these tires do not stick as well as my regular tires. The back tire was slipping.

I realized that I was going to end up on the middle of the intersection. There was nobody there but it still seemed like a bad idea.

I quickly made an executive decision to turn right. I immediately executed. I turned and easily stopped on the side road, it being slightly uphill.

I now have a greater appreciation of my schwalbe mondials. I didn't realize before how much better they are than "average" tires.

It also reinforces the fact that most rim vs disk brake discussions often miss out on more important factors, like does it make any difference at all if your tires give up braking before your brakes?

the one true bike lock

The one, the best, the u-lock that I most highly recommend is the Abus Granit Futura 64, aka U-Lock 64/120HB150.

abus granit futura u lock

It’s small, it’s light, it’s extra hardened. It’s rated by the manufacturer as more secure that some of their other (heavier) u-locks.

Advantages/features of this lock:

  • small & light
  • locks both sides of the U rather than just one end
  • keyhole covered, keeps out crud
  • stronger/harder steel than other, heavier locks


  • no good bicycle mounting option
  • sometimes too small
  • not as secure as top-end u-locks
  • more expensive than less-good locks

Here are the trade-offs between smaller and bigger u-locks:

smaller               bigger
lighter               heavier
less convenient       more convenient
more secure           less secure

When locking with a u-lock, you want a snug lock-up. Longer u-locks may be more convenient, but they’re much easier to break with a leverage attack (pipe thru the lock, twisting). The Futura 64 sometimes is too narrow to fit around some thicker objects like parking meters, but I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t find something to lock to.

I would call this a “high-end” lock, but it’s not tip-top. If you live in a seriously theft-prone area, maybe you need a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Lock. (I don’t know if there is anything else as burly as that.) But for the vast majority of cyclists, the Fahgettaboudit is overkill. To my mind, the Granit Futura 64 is the sweet spot in terms of security per dollar, and security per pound.

second choice

My second choice option is the Kryptonite Evolution Mini 5. This is very similarly sized to the Abus, above, but is a little wider, increasing lockup options. The Mini 5 lock does have a very good bicycle mounting system included. The downsides are that the Kryptonite is heavier than the Abus, and locks on one side of the U with a bent foot on the other side. Theoretically, this makes it less secure than the Abus.

I don't really have any way to judge which of these has the stronger steel, but from what I've read online, it sounds like the Abus has better quality steel. Will it make any real difference? I don't know.

other options

Really, the difference between these higher quality u locks is probably not really significant to make a difference in your bike being stolen. There are other similar options from other brands which are probably just as good, for about the same price.

The important thing is to not buy a cheap u lock. Every brand has a range of u locks available (including Abus and Kryptonite). Deciding which u lock to buy based on brand is the biggest, easiest mistake to make. You really need to be looking for the most secure lock you can stand to take with you (having a smaller lock helps on this), and that you can afford. Buying a $25 u lock is probably a waste of money.

additional info

old wheel, new wheel

old wheel

That's what's left of the old wheel.

new wheel

new wheel

That's the new wheel.

Yesterday evening, I was on my way to dinner. I stopped at a red light right behind a vespa-type scooter, at the corner of 15th and Mission. The light turned green, and I was watching the scooter in front of me so as to not run into it. Then I turned left onto Mission.

As I was turning, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a car heading right for me. Next thing, I was on the ground in the middle of the intersection. I was unhurt, not even really bruised or scraped. I've had worse accidents all by myself. When I got up, I saw that the car was a police car. Oops.

The important fact that I had missed was that 15th street is a one way street. I was in the left side of the right hand lane, thinking that the left lane was for oncoming traffic. While we were stopped at the light, there was nobody in the left lane. I was turning left from the right lane across traffic coming up behind me. The whole encounter was totally my fault.

The cops asked if I was ok, and I said yes, and we all moved over to the side of the road. They had to call in other police officers and report the accident. I think one pair of officers came and went, then another pair arrived and stuck around. They took my ID and checked it out. Finally, an "investigator" showed up, and chatted with the other officers.

He came over to me, and asked "You're alright?"

Me: "Yes"

Him: "Any damage to you or the bike?"

Me: "Nope"

Him: "You know I'm not trying to coerce you or anything, just asking"

Me: "Yup"

So, this nice investigator fellow declared that this was not an accident since nobody was hurt and there was no damage to either the police car or my bike.

I was happy because this meant I did not have to deal with any fallout from an "accident". I got the impression that the officer driving the cop car was happy as well to not be involved in an "accident".

"Let's just call the whole thing off!"

I think it took at a 1/2 hour, maybe 3/4 of an hour for all that. A lot of standing around waiting for cops to come and go.


I hadn't actually really inspected my bicycle. I mean it seemed fine to me when I moved from the middle of the intersection to the side of the road. What I discovered as I was leaving was that my rear wheel was way out of whack. "Out of true" for the bike geeks. So much that the tire would rub against the seat stay and then the chain stay as it went round. I wasn't in the mood to ride right then, so it wasn't a huge deal. I figured I'd take it to a shop and get it trued the next day.

I had dinner and did manage to ride the bike back to my airbnb (not very far). It was not a stable ride. It was surprising to me that the back wheel being out of true could make it feel like the steering was whacked up as well.

So tomorrow (today) comes around. I know that the local bike shop opens at 11am, so I take off for an early lunch from work at about 10:40am. I go get the bike from the airbnb, go the one block to the shop and take it in. The guy at the shop takes a look and is like "I don't think I can fix this. Even if I can, it's probably not going to stay true. You'd better get a new wheel." You might be thinking that he's just saying that so he can sell me a wheel. The thing is they don't have one (the right size/kind) for me.

I talk him into trying to true it for me so that I can ride for the next week or so. $25 to have a working bike for another week seems like a bargain to me. He doesn't want to charge me, cuz he doesn't think it's gonna stick. Anyway, we agree that I'll come back in 20 minutes and he'll see what he can do.

I go grab a sandwich and come back 30 minutes later. He takes it off the stand and says "No go. I can't fix this." And he will not charge me.

I highly recommend Box Dog Bikes. They are good people there.

Next step: Where else can I get service for a bicycle? REI. 

I ride over to REI (going slowly and very carefully since my bike is totally wobbly). The nice fellow at REI takes the bike back into the shop and comes back a few minutes later: "I don't think I can save that wheel." Not unexpected, but good to confirm that the guy at Box Dog wasn't wrong. In some ways, anyway.

Me: "You have a wheel I can buy to replace it?"

Him: "Let me look."

This time he takes longer than examining my wheel. Eventually he comes back with three options and lays them on the table. I very quickly decide on the cheapest option for $100. He says it's a solid, strong wheel, and at the moment, that's the kind of wheel I like.

After he got my old wheel off, I took it and (with a wire cutter he loaned me) cut all the spokes to remove the hub. (I figure I might be able to use it to build a new wheel someday.) I didn't get a photo of the rim, but after I had taken all the spokes out, it was completely obvious that it was never going to be true again. It was really wonky.

I think the police car bumped into my rear wheel and that's what put me down on the ground. The good news is that only the bike was harmed, and I was fine. The worst thing of all this is that my very first bicycle/automobile encounter was with a cop car.

Riding back to the office on a bike that did not wobble was very, very pleasant. I think I got back at about 1:30pm.

more about the marin hamilton bicycle

There's a good post/review of an older marin hamilton here.

That year was quite different from the 2013 that I have, but some points still pertain. It's an excellent commuter/all around bike. His model was single speed, I think, while mine was a 7 speed. (Mine is currently a 21 speed since I swapped in a triple ring crank and front derailleur).

He wishes there was disk brakes on his hamilton. The answer to that is to get a marin muirwoods 29er, which has disk brakes and 24 speed drivetrain.

The 2014 muirwoods has hydraulic brakes, while the 2013 had mechanical disk brakes. Personally, I prefer mechanical.

my latest bike: 2013 marin hamilton 29er

Near the end of last year I bought a 2013 marin muirwoods 29er to keep in the bay area, for when I'm there working.

fresh new bike!

One reason I bought it was that it was on sale at the marin factory store in san francisco. It was a "bargain" and a bike that I thought would be really good for the riding I do in California. I ride around the city, in the east bay, and then also go for long rides in marin and berkeley hills and mt diablo with my friend Dave.

Lunch time

I liked it a lot. Really, a lot. 

Recently, I noticed that these bikes were coming up for sale on ebay. For a lot cheaper than my "bargain". (They're selling for about $350 plus shipping, where I paid $600.) Also, the lesser twin of the muirwoods, the hamilton, was coming up for sale.

The only differences, as far as I know, between the 2013 hamilton and the muirwoods 29er is that the hamilton has rim brakes instead of disk, and its a 1x7 drivetrain instead of 3x8. I had been thinking that I'd prefer the rim brakes because of the reduced complexity, and that it's easier to get a rack on.

I bought a 2013 hamilton for about $250 + $48 shipping.

The seller wouldn't ship to Hawaii, but I had it shipped to Dave in California, and then I mailed the frame to myself (another $40) and took the rest of the bike on the plane in a checked bag.

The hamilton was delivered to me in it's original box, unassembled. It never got assembled as originally designed. To get it from California to Hawaii, I disassembled it more, and then I already had plenty of changes to make before I rode it the first time.

  • 100mm, 25 degree salsa stem
  • schwalbe marathon mondial tires (622-47)
  • charge scoop saddle
  • problem solvers backstop
  • cranks, triple front rings and top pull front derailleur (from my other 29er)
  • microshift twist shifters
  • black soma clarence bar
  • spurcycle grip rings

That's the basic changes I made. I did actually put on the original tires and rode those for a day before I put the schwalbes on. I ordered the stem, the saddle, the backstop and the shifters, and had them ready and waiting before I got the bike home. The other stuff was already in my collection.

I've been riding it around here, at home, and still liking it. I'm nearly convinced that these bikes are fabulous. More people should be buying them. And there are still real bargains on ebay, if you have a mainland address.

Cars don’t kill people; people kill people.

Everybody knows the popular anti-gun-control slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." What's the difference between cars and guns?

Motor vehicle-related injuries kill more children and young adults than any other single cause in the United States. More than 41,000 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes each year, and crash injuries result in about 500,000 hospitalizations and four million emergency department visits annually. Increased use of safety belts and reductions in driving while impaired are two of the most effective means to reduce the risk of death and serious injury of occupants in motor vehicle crashes. (link)

The bit about "the most effective means ..." is really thinking inside the box. Many, many more lives would be saved if we all rode bicycles. If 25% of the current drivers stopped driving, I believe we would see a greater than 50% reduction in those death and injury rates.

Since it's not written into our constitution that everybody has a right to a car, perhaps we could legislate some more rational controls of car ownership? Or do something to lower the death toll?

Seriously, cars don't kill people, except when they are being operated by people. People are killing people. If nobody is driving the car, it sits there, doing nothing, not killing anybody.

Today's Ride

So I meant to cycle into town to have lunch with Kaimana. I rode down the hill and then realized that I had forgotten my d-lock. Cannot ride a bicycle to town without a lock. Since I was hoping to not get too sweaty before lunch, I took a bus back up the hill, rather than ride. Got back home, got my lock, and for good measure a small bag to go on my rack, so I could put the lock and maybe some other stuff there, and not carry everything in my backpack.

I close the garage door, cycle to the end of the street and remember that I should also take the rain cover for my saddle. (Leather saddle doesn't like to get rained on.) Back to the garage, open, get saddle cover, close garage, cycle away.

Note that to go "down the hill" (about 750ft) from my house, I have to first climb 100ft to get to the main road. So I climb the 100ft a second time, trying to not get sweaty, again.

Since I wasted all that time going back up the hill, etc., I no longer have enough time to ride into town and make the agreed time. I catch the C bus, and take it all the way to Ala Moana. Get off the bus, find the nearest subway, purchase lunch, and head over to Kaimana's place of work to have lunch.

When I arrive a helpful co-worker of his (didn't catch her name) points out to me the bicycle rack, where I can put my bike. It turns out that the rack looks to be the cheapest possible bicycle rack purchasable and is not even attached to anything. I picked it up with one hand. It weighed about the same as my bicycle. I was just reading yesterday about bicycle thieves cutting thru iron fences in order to haul away attached bicycles. Locking to this pitiful bike rack would provide no security at all.

Since I have locking skewers on my bike, I locked one wheel to the nearby fence, and left the other wheel touching the rack, so that it wouldn't feel to bad about being ignored.

After lunch, on the way home, I stopped for a minute to call my wife and talk to her about dinner plans for the evening. When I resumed cycling, the ride was really rough. It took me a bit to realize that my rear tire was flat, and I was feeling all the little bumps in the pavement, cuz no air.

I stopped, flipped over the bike, took out my tools and got to work to repair the flat. When I'm starting to get one side of the tire off the wheel, so as to extract the tube, another cyclist comes by. His bike is equipped with a surfboard sideboard rack. He stops to ask if I need anything, tools, whatever. I tell him I'm fine, got everything I need.

It turns out he's from Portland, and wants some directions. I explain how you continue down the path (this is on the Pearl Harbor bicycle path) until you get to the closed gate, go up to the road, follow that until you hit Radford, go left, up the hill, get on the other path, down Nimitz and then into Dillingham. I call out the bits where stuff gets nasty for a cyclist, etc. He comments on how it's much harder to get around on a bicycle on Oahu, than in Portland. There's no bike lanes and the drivers don't want you in the road. Yup. Welcome to Paradise. (I didn't actually say that, but I did agree with him.)

So, away he goes, and I resume work on my tire. The thing is that I've got a thin-walled Specialized tire in front, and an expedition-worthy Schwalbe in the back. It's the Shwalbe that's flat. I was reticent to put that Specialized on the bike at all because I was thinking I'd spend all my time repairing flats.

I get the tube out, pump it up, run it around a couple times looking for the leak and can't find it. Pump it up some more, and go around again. This time I find it. I can't feel it, but I hear it. It turns out that the leak is underneath a patch that I put on at some other time. I decide to just take the old patch off and replace it, and do a better job this time. I rip off the patch, let out enough air so that the tube is not oversized, and open the patch kit box.

It turns out that I still didn't remember everything I need. I have no glue. I have plenty of patches, and sandpaper, but no glue. Neither do I have any of the glueless patches.

Fortunately, even after having removed the bad patch, the leak in the tube is still slow. I reassemble my wheel, pump it up and away I go. I figured that even if I need to pump it back up a couple times, that's better than walking. I managed to get all the way to Don Quixote to meet my wife without needing to pump it up again. I wait a little while and then my wife and daughter arrive. While I'm putting the bike in the back of the van, my daughter points out that my back tire is flat.