What To Look For In A Used Bike

It is nearly impossible to buy a new bicycle from the local bike shop but there are a lot of used bicycles out there.  Beware though as it is a sellers market and if you see a gem you should snatch it up as quick as you can.

The funny thing I think I have noticed is that vintage (1990 and older) bikes are reasonably priced.  Just looking through Facebook marketplace shows some very fairly priced Trek 800 and Trek 830 bikes.  Those were Chromoly Steel bikes and many, many people use these  old steel frames to build up top of the line touring bikes.  So the Facebook Marketplace sellers have it exactly backwards on the vintage stuff.

Which leads me into my next point…………As long as the frame and the fork and bottom bracket is okay MOST EVERYTHING ELSE IS A CHEAP AND EASY REPLACEMENT.

Case in point.  Here’s a Tern Folding Bike I found a while back.  I will use this bike as an example of used bike selection.  It was in essentially good shape with minimal issues that were cheaply fixed.  It also came with lots of extras making it a good purchase candidate.

Tern Link D7i

There was quite a few things that needed some attention on this bike BUT IT WAS STILL A GOOD DEAL because none of those things cost a lot to fix.  Here’s a list of things I noticed on first inspection:
Continue reading

Folding Bikes – Dahon Review

1968 Schwinn Stingray

Do you remember your first bike?  I do.  That first bicycle was your ticket to independence.  You could GO PLACES that were previously unobtainable to you or they suddenly became obtainable a lot faster.

This may have not been my absolute first bike but it was my first REAL bike.  A 1968 Schwinn Stingray.  I’m mostly sure about this because I remember the Coppertone color and not the year but the Stingray history has the Coppertone color in 1968 which would have been about the right time as well.

Getting a new bike is still like that for me.  Although primarily I ride my bike to lose weight and maintain health I still get a thrill of GOING PLACES and driving down roads that I probably wouldn’t take my car down.  The ability to view your surroundings is greatly enhanced with a 360 degree unobstructed view traveling at 15 miles per hour vice 55 miles per hour in a metal cage.

Alas, this is supposed to be a Tech Blog but bicycles are quite technical these days, and what could be more technical than a bicycle that folds up into a small space and is ready to unfold and ride in SECONDS?.

I got my first folding bicycle around 2008, I think, from a Sporting Goods shop in Okinawa called Sports Depo.   Pretty sure it was a 2008 Dahon MU P8.

Dahon MU P8

I was going through a bike phase and something about this bike intrigued me.   It was small, relatively light, and folded up into a neat little square.

I used to travel to a nearby island for work called Ie Shima which was accessible by ferry. I would sometimes just carry the bike onboard with me and unfold on the other side and go have an adventure.  Such are the things memories are made of.

Continue reading

Bicycles – Saving Your Life Since 1817

Several months ago I reached a saturation point with the guy in the mirror.  He was clearly getting too fat.  I was also staring my retirement directly in the face and didn’t want to be old, and fat, and on the couch.  I wanted to LIVE and ENJOY my retirement.

When I lived in Japan about 6 years ago I was an avid runner, and bicyclist, and when I moved back to the US all those interests began to slide.  It’s a lot more dangerous to ride in the US than it is in Japan and in fact on my very first bike ride in the US in New Bern, NC 6 years ago someone threw a bottle at me.  On a Sunday morning, no less.

So I dedicate this post to Baron Karl von Drais who is credited with inventing the first bicycle called the “Draisine”.  Too bad for him we don’t still call it that.  Then again one of the guys who didn’t necessarily invent something first but made patented improvements on it may have something to say about having things named after you.  Case in point.  Thomas Crapper.  People are forever still going to “The Crapper”.   I’m not joking.  Look it up.

Continue reading

Wyze Cam V2

Wyze Cam V2

This is the latest toy I’ve been messing with.  This is the Wyze Cam V2 indoor camera.  I typically link things like this to Amazon but you can pick these up at HomeDepot for about $25 which makes them a bargain.

Much like every other smart device they are controlled by their own app.  Before you know it you have an app for the doorbell, one for lights, and another for cameras, among a multitude of other devices. Apps, apps, apps.

 

When I buy smart devices I like to make sure they are compatible with my home automation system which is Home Assistant.  Well the Wyze camera can be pulled in however you have to use what is called a Real Time Streaming Protocol or RTSP stream.

Here’s the bad news.  Right out of the box the Wyze V2 does not support RTSP however, Wyze does offer a beta firmware that enables RTSP.

Continue reading

Indoor Home Security Cameras

Today it is my pleasure to teach you a little about indoor home security cameras.  I have several outside cameras, which is an entirely different subject.   The best outdoor cam in my opinion are Reolink RLC-410-5MP .  I have a lot of reasons why I love these but today we are talking about indoor cameras.

Oddly enough you are more likely to find an indoor security camera called a “Video Baby Monitor” if you go to the store looking for them so keep that in mind if the electronics section doesn’t seem to have what you want.

There is no shortage of cameras out there from all manner of companies.  They range from “pretty darn cheap” to “pretty darn expensive”.   I don’t think I’m going to hone in on any particular BEST brand as much as I just want to discuss features to look for and things to think about.

Primarily, with an indoor home camera SECURITY needs to be the thing you are thinking about the most.   I just bought a couple of cheap cams from a company called Wyze. Cool cameras and very cheap and they do some of the things I like. BUT I was just at my girl friends house and showing her my new cams and I could reach them from an app on my phone.  The bad news here is that if I can do that, potentially so can someone else.

Continue reading

Jackery 300 Hands On Review

Jackery 300

Just got the latest in the Jackery product line, the Jackery 300. I have SEVERAL other Jackery devices and you may wonder why in the world I would buy a Jackery 300 watt power station when I already owned the 1000 watt, the 500 watt, and a Honda by Jackery 290 watt.  Oh yeah I have the 160 watt too.

To answer…….I’ve not a clue.  It would seem that I have enough……..but I ACTUALLY USE THESE THINGS.

 

I wouldn’t say I’m a prepper or trying to go off grid but I do find that if I have these things positioned around the house I will use them.  Case in point:  Just the other day I was trying to plug something in near my entertainment center to test it.  but there was a problem.  No outlets left.  Enter the Jackery.

I also make every attempt to charge all my USB type devices (phones, tablets, transistor radios, bluetooth speakers, etc.) with Jackery power stations.  I also make every attempt to charge them up only with Solar power.  I recognize that charging things off power stations doesn’t really affect the electric bill much but hey, a couple of bucks is a couple of bucks.  You’ll never recoup your investment though.

Every review you will read about a Jackery will tell you how many times you can charge something.  And in reviews people will ask all manner of questions about how many times you can charge things or how long it will run a CPAP or something.   Then there will be the “It’s Never Enough” crowd.   I cannot believe nobody ever says “GET TWO OF THEM”.   Yeah, they’re expensive but hey, if that’s your problem, that’s your solution.  I use a 500 by my bed.  When the charge starts getting low, I replace it with the 1000 while I set the 500 in the sun.  End result: There is always a charged Jackery by the bed.

Continue reading

SiliconeDust HDHomerun HDHR5-4US Connect Quatro 4 Channel Tuner Review

HDHomerun Quatro

For years I had a SiliconDust HDHomerun Connect Duo HDHR4-2US.  The HDHomerun devices are network TV Tuners that can turn any device on the network into a television.

In short you can install an antenna, hook it to the HDHomerun, then plug in the ethernet cord to your home router or switch.

Rather than run wires all through the house you can then watch on just about any smart TV device (Firestick, Kodi on Raspberry Pi, or Roku, but only on Apple TV with 3rd party media servers).  Or you can watch on your iPhone, Android, or Tablet.

In short, it is an amazing device that any cord cutter should have.  Yep you can install an antenna directly to your TV without a $100 box in the middle but then that TV is the only place you can see it.  A network tuner really expands your ability to connect. Not only that but I can VPN into my network and watch local TV from ANYWHERE.  It isn’t something I do a lot but every once in a while I might want to see the weather or local news.

Continue reading

Over The Air Television Antennas

Mohu 60 Antenna

I am a cord cutter.  In fact, since returning to the US in 2015 I never once bought cable.

Having previously lived in Japan I used the Armed Forces Network (AFN) satellite and had Netflix and Hulu.

So when I came back I stuck an antenna (Mohu 60) in the attic and got internet in the house and called it good.  After much fumbling around pointing the antenna and purchasing a high gain preamplifier  I was able to get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and PBS at my location.

When I go camping I watch Over The Air (OTA) television too. Usually internet connections are not that reliable at the campground and I don’t want to use all my hotspot data on Netflix or whatever.  I’m perfectly content to watch broadcast TV when I’m just sitting around between adventures or if it is raining or something.  Besides, I’m a MeTV mark.  I love watching all those old shows from my youth.

Continue reading

Over The Air Television

Some time back I did the math and decided that full blown cable or satellite TV just wasn’t worth it. High speed internet, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling are still way cheaper per year than cable TV. Also if there is that one or two shows that you can’t live without in this day and age you can buy them on Amazon Prime or Apple TV and it is still cheaper than a year of cable TV.

Of course now that broadcast, over the air television is transmitted in digital you can improve your content simply by sticking an antenna up. I’ve run the gamut of indoor amplified antennas and suffice to say I’m in a poor region for broadcast TV. I can typically get 7 or so channels at my home, 6 of which are mostly worthless. So I opted to get a Mohu Sky 60 Antenna to stick in my attic.

Right away I got a slew of channels including the two major players I needed. Fox and CBS (FOOTBALL!)

Although they claim the Mohu Sky 60 is omni-directional it is very much a directional antenna. and unfortunately for me positioning it to get great reception on CBS screws up Fox. Still I’m convinced there is a magic location that will pull it all in with ease. I know it is there, because I’ve found it several times however when I mount the antenna the magic spot loses its magic. The Mohu Sky 60 also comes with a preamplifier WHICH IS WORTHLESS. The antenna performs better in every respect without it (in my application).

Continue reading