Disclaimer: Opinions here are my own and should not be mistaken to be anything else. I am not affiliated with the Transcontinental race or related organizations and I am organizing cycling events of my own.
I don’t know how many people read their T-shirts. Considering what kind of T-shirts people usually wear, I think very few do. Hence I don’t know how many have noticed the words ’Autonomy, Integrity, History, Ecology, Creativity, Technology, Community’ in the back of the TcrNo7 T-shirt. The words, excluding ecology and creativity, were first noted in the back of TcrNo5 T-shirt and, for what I know, haven’t been seen elsewhere.
The words are meant to describe the race, each theme being part of what makes it the whole. I’ve participated all the seven races so far. In this post I will try to describe what these words mean to me and why they matter to the Transcontinental race and all unsupported events. I will focus on issues around Rule 2, no 3rd party support, and autonomy. I will not include names in the examples, as I often don’t remember or know them, but some of you may be able to figure them out anyways. I also assume that anyone reading this has some kind of basic idea of what the Tcr is. A bare minimum would be the Transcontinental’s official videos describing race, spirit of the race and rule 2. Enjoy.
Kuutamourakointia ja hämärähommia vuoden pisimpänä yönä. Pyöräilyä auringonlaskusta auringonnousuun. Matkaan voit lähteä kotiovelta ja maali on joko Tampereella hotelli Ilveksessä tai Oulussa Oulun baarissa auringonnousun aikaan.
Transcontinental race 2019 #tcrno7 ajetaan Burgasista (Bulgaria) Brestiin (Ranska). Kontrollit ovat Bulgariassa, Serbiassa, Italiassa (osa reitistä Itävallassa) ja Ranskassa. Tapahtuma alkaa lauantaina 27.7. Mukana on neljä suomalaista.
Reitin pituus on noin 4000 km ja aikaa on 15 päivää ja 17 tuntia. Osallistujia on noin 300, joista suurin osa ajaa yksin ja noin 30 pareina. Osallistujat ajavat ilman ulkopuolista apua eli myös seuraajien internetissä antama apu on kielletty. Kannustaa saa, mutta osallistujille ei saa antaa apua tai tietoa, joka voisi vaikuttaa suoritukseen.
Seuraamisessa kiinnostavia asioita ovat esimerkiksi kalusto- ja reittivalinnat. Lisäksi seurattavaa riittää ylipäätään siitä miten eri tavoin osallistujat lähtevät ajamaan Euroopan halki ilman ulkopuolista apua.
Same old story. Another year, another Transcontinental race and another kit list. Much the same, but quite a bit new too. I recommend you also read my previous entries from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 as I will refer to them. For a few more photos from this year check this link.
Over all it is the same old frankenbike. Tunturi F500 hybrid frame from 2003 with very few original parts. In a real frankenbike fashion it now has different pair of brake pads (Swisstop stopped making old V-brake model and I had one pair left) and, again, different quick releases.
The basics are SON hub dynamo, Powertap rear hub, Campagnolo/Shimano mix of 10 speed 50/34 cranks and 12-30 cassette. Tires are new 28 mm GP 5000s.
Lights are B&M IQ-X and Sinewave beacon. Also Lupine Piko as backup for downhills and gravely sections. Once again GoPro for downhills and other sections where I prefer not to stop or slow down for photos or videos.
Tail lights are 2 B&M Seculas and for blinding people also a Niterider solas.
There were quite a bit of changes from last year in terms of bags. Carradice saddlebag, Missgrape top tube bag and Apidura food pouch are old, but all the other are different. The frame really can’t fit any proper frame bag so I switched back to Deuter’s that leaves full access to water bottles. Or so I thought. Their model had changed since the last one and the (permanent) attachment strap happens to be at exactly same position with Missgrape top tube pack’s. Good enough, but looks a bit silly. I switched Alpkit accessory bag to Apidura’s fork bag as I happen to have plenty of space for everything this year. This bag rubs my feet a little less while pedaling and doesn’t add extra bulk. The new Apidura handlebar bag limits usage of handlebar a bit, but I kind of got used to using the aerobars and handlebars while climbing last year. It is mostly for food as the side pockets are easy to access on the go.
The dashboard had changed a bit with higher mounts for the aerobars. This time I have the remotes in place where they are, relatively, easy to access from aero position and while climbing with hands on the aero pads.
Symmetry is slightly better than last year.
I did quite a few changes to wirings. I remade all the connectors, wired lights in parallel and did quick release for the dynamo. Now I can use 0, 1 or 2 headlights and 0, 1 or 2 tail lights without doing any changes to wiring even though I lose a bit of the maximum light brightness. Both lights also have full length cables so that they can be easily attached directly to dynamo in case there are problems with the connectors.
Equipment on me has mostly been replenished since last year. New shoes as the old ones broke at Silk road. The new Fiziks don’t have any grip in the sole so I need to be extra careful when getting on the bike, but otherwise they are fine. Assos stopped making red gloves so I had to get white gloves even though I don’t think I fill finish with white gloves. Short sleeve merino jersey with PBP print this year so I had to pack arm warmers for the first time since 2015.
I’m using Polar Vantage M with optical heart rate monitor this time. Hence I don’t have a HR strap and Vantage’s battery life appears to be suitable for the purpose.
The Restrap tech bag happened to be exactly the right size for my charging equipment. Easy haptic feedback that I remembered to pack it and easy access as I will take them with me to nearly every significant stop. 3 micro-usb cables, usb-c cab, Lupine usb accessories and Vantage cable. 2 2x usb chargers so I can charge 4+ devices at once.
Also spare batteries and Powertap opener are in tech bag for easy access as I will eventually need them.
In the Apidura handlebar bag I have handsfree for listening to music and its pouch that can also be used for cleaning glasses and camera lenses. On the other side are cables and extra batteries that are needed while on the bike. Sinewave usb support cable and also a bit longer micro-usb and usb-c cables. The larger compartment fits my ”civil” clothes.
The top tube bag has a spork and working glove, but most of it is used either for food or as a trashcan.
In the Deuter frame bag are the most likely needed extra clothes. Full finger gloves, toe warmers, merino buff and knee warmers.
More rarely needed spare clothes are in the Carradice bag. Long sleeve windstopper jersey, spare bibs and a pair of socks.
Also in the Carradice bag are some hygiene products and toilet paper. Also some plaster. This year I also did the ultimate weight save and cut my toothbrush.
Shampoo will again be used as a full body wash and for cleaning my clothes.
Still going through the Carradice main compartment. There are the required tools and spare parts. Much the same as last year. 2 spare tubes and tube repair kit. Multitool with added chain links and hollowtech tool. Btw. the Topeak chain tool’s ends also work as a presta valve core opening/closing tool. Just in case you didn’t know.
A new cleat, derailleur hanger, cable ties, spokes (are in the bag’s wooden support), nipples, tape and spare cables. For some crazy reason Mucoff doesn’t sell those tiny chain oil tubes, but does give them away for free.
My spare outer tire is this time under the saddlebag.
Some electrical spares are also in the Carradice bag and hopefully this pouch never needs to be opened. Spare Garmin, small power bank, spare phone and spare Lupine usb accessories.
In the left pocket of Carradice are chamois cream, sun screen, hand disinfectant and camera stand.
In the right pocket of Carradice are reflective vest, packable backpack and Petzl Tikka 2 xp headlight. Same as always.
In the Apidura pouch under the saddlebag is the sleeping gear. A small strip of 4x bubble wrap and a emergency blanket.
I participated Transcontinental race #tcrno6 and Silk road mountain race #srmrno1 this summer. This post is about logistics and practical issues while solo traveling with a bicycle for a, relatively, long time. My earlier similar post from 2015 (Tcr and PBP) can be found here.
It took a while to figure out all the logistics needed to participate both races that were just a few days off. I’ve had a ”handicap” of flying only once per year (one take-off, one landing) since 2008. Quite a few people have asked me to write about the details so here is how it all played out.
Back to basics, so to say. After year with Orbea road bike I’m back to my frankenbike Tunturi F500 from year 2003. Original parts today being frame, headset, seat clamp and derailleur hanger.
I will ride the Silk road mountain race after Transcontinental so a few details are due to that. I have 3 Lupine batteries, 12-30 cassette and some other gear mostly due to using same bike 5 days after Tcr for a very different event.
Tires are this time Durano 28 mms. I took a little more robust quick releases. In real frankenbike manner there is a Shimano in rear wheel and Campagnolo in front. This is also the first year I’m riding without power meter. For simplicity and no need to change batteries, but also a chance to push too hard in the headwinds. Also a bit heavier SON original hub dynamo this time.
Camelbak podiums again like ever since I bought them. The Brooks saddle has travelled with me over 50000 km already.
Luxos U again as the main light. Lupine Piko R is for uphills and downhills. Remote for Garmin 1030 on the left hand side and Lupine on the right hand side. GoPro session for video as usual. I usually like symmetry and simplicity in my dashboard, but this time it’s completely gone.
I lost my Solas 2 last winter and replaced it with Solas 100 which is pretty much the same light. For all the good (very bright) and bad (easily gets wet) features. B&M Secula is again the main taillight powered by dynamo.
New helmet since last year as I left old one to a train to Thessaloniki last year. Some new shoes as I am using Shimano spd pedals this time. Otherwise the kit remains the same.
Spare cloths are in Carradice rear bag. Jacket, toe warmers, buff, leg warmers and spare shorts are the same. New gloves and wool spare socks were added since last year.
In the Alpkit drybag I have a bivy and sleeping pad (Neoair xlite). Big change from bubble wrap, but these are again needed after Tcr anyways so why not bring them to finish on my own. Same goes with the mosquito spray and hand disinfectant.
Hand disinfectant, mosquito spray, sun screen and Mucoff chamois cream. The same sh*t as Assos, but it just happened to be available in a shop once upon time. These are in left pocket of Carradice.
Tools are a little more scarce than previously as I dropped Power tap and shoelace tools. Otherwise nothing new here.
Right pocket has some plasters, packable backpack, Petzl headlight and reflective vest. Vest was renewed last year with some reflective cloth. I did it myself and you can see it from the result.
Then some spare everything. A Garmin 820, Sinewave beacon dynamo light, cables likely to break or get lost and a last resort power bank. Hopefully I’ll only need the Polar V800 charger once, but that might be wishful thinking.
In the Missgrape framebag I have chargers, spare tire, bicycle tool, universal tool, spare phone and basic hygiene items. Also Sbh-52 handsfree for listening to music will initially be there.
Missgrape top tube bag will have a work glove and spork. It and right side Apidura food pouch will be dedicated for food most of the time.
Finally the merino jersey’s pockets will have wallet, Xperia X compact phone, musette and Olympus TG-5 camera. Rightmost pocket with camera will also have some coins to save time during fast stops.
Transcontinental race 2018 #tcrno6 ajetaan Belgiasta Itävallan, Slovenian, Puolan ja Bosnian kautta Kreikkaan. Tapahtuma alkaa sunnuntaina 29.7. Mukana on kolme suomalaista.
Reitin pituus on noin 4000 km ja aikaa on 16 päivää. Osallistujia on vajaa 300, joista suurin osa ajaa yksin ja noin 30 pareina. Osallistujat ajavat ilman ulkopuolista apua eli myös kannustajien internetissä antama apu on kielletty. Kannustaa saa, mutta ei vaikuttaa suoritukseen.
Disclaimer: I bought the Sigma Rox 12.0 and returned it within the 14 day cooling-off period. I rode a 200 km commute, tested it for various routing options and rode a 1200 km brevet with it. This post is made based on the initial firmware version that the device was released and shipped with. These issues are hopefully fixed in later versions. But right now. If you are a bikepacker or randonneur and you see the device, turn around, run and don’t look back.
There is already an excellent review by Dcrainmaker, if you want to know more, go check it out. There are many things right in the device, but here are the fundamental flaws:
It does not show your route
It does not support routes over 300 km
It doesn’t show your route. Greetings from the engeering orgy. You have to navigate, you can’t just see your route. Not only does routing slow down the device and waste your battery, but you are also likely to be directed off route. There is a red line indicating the correct route, but it is mostly obfuscated by a green line where the device tries to lead you. Brevet organizers and various types of long distance cyclists spend incredible ammount of time and effort to make their route, but Rox 12.0, as of now, doesn’t support showing that route on screen.
It also doesn’t appear to support route waypoints. Good luck spotting those controls. It ”smoothed” out all the controls from our brevet route anyways. Having a navigator and having to check your phone for route is, well, stupid.
It doesn’t support routes over 300 km. You can upload a longer route and view it, but when you start a course it says there is a 300 km limit. This may sound trivial, but I hope next example help you understand the problem. Imagine you are in the middle of a ride and you need to download another route, but it is over 300 km. At that point you can do nothing with it. If you were at home you could always use simple gpx to split your track. But imagine doing it with your cell phone in the middle of Durmitor at night, in rain and dead tired? I had to juggle a route with a memory card to my spare navigator when primary device run out of battery and I had forgot to push one route segment to the spare device.
There is absolutely no reason why Rox 12.0 couldn’t support longer routes, or automatically split them if that is required. There is also no reason why users should adapt to device’s arbitrary maximum distance.
The green line is what Rox guesses I want to ride, ie. result of routing. And Red line is the actual planned route. Depending on quality of your map the green line can be completely off route.
Things to fix
I have returned the device because I didn’t feel like doing product testing for Sigma. In my communication with their customer service there was no realistic timeline of when these fixes would be available.
Anyways, the device is great. It really deserves better software so here is a short list things to fix.
Battery saving mode timeout. Right now the device goes to sleep (continues recording with screen off) by press of power button and wakes up from another press. So you have to remember to put it back to sleep. Also waking it up can be tricky. Any button, or even press of screen, should wake it up.
Per screen map zooms. You can have a map in any of your data screens. Yet if you zoom one map, all maps are zoomed in all screens. Allow different zoom levels on different screens.
Long press of buttons to zoom in/out. By far the most annoying thing to do with navigator mid ride is trying to press those too small +/- buttons. The side buttons now scroll through data screens. With a long press you could zoom in (left?) and out (right?).
Zooming of elevation screen. Well. Simply allow user to set the x and y of the elevetion screen.
Fix gpsies integration. If you have the device you know what I mean. 🙂
There are many other things that need fine tuning, but mostly the device is really good. I didn’t see any hick ups during a 500 km exercise. Battery life was as expected.
And finally. The device isn’t worth much as long as I can’t see my precious route (and maybe my waypoints too). So allow me to stop routing and just display the route. Period.
Your routing is only as good as your map source, in this case Openstreetmaps. It is not the devices or routing algorithm’s fault. This pedestrian crossing was routed to with ”+major roads, -unpaved, -paths” setting. No navigator can do magic if map source isn’t right. So please go contribute to Openstreetmaps when you find errors.