Droid Incredible, a Bridge and a Blader

Reader Pam Henderson sent me a question the other day, “Know what the grade is on Lake Worth Bridge?”

Lake Worth Bridge

I told her I’d have to dig out some old GPS tracks to calculate it, then I realized that I have on application on my brand-new Verizon HTC Droid Incredible that emulates a level. When I looked at the options, it allowed me to turn on angles and pitch.

Magic Droid Incredible Bubble Application

Osa called and said she was ready for a short ride after our LOST Full Moon adventure, so we headed to Lake Worth and the bridge. I set the phone up on the bridge railing, which appeared to be parallel to the bridge deck and saw that the angle was somewhere between 3 and 4 degrees, with a rise of about one inch of climbing for every foot of horizontal travel.

The photo also shows that my Glo Gloves are beginning to come unraveled.

Roller Blader Lynn Pohl

While mucking around with my camera and Droid, a roller blader whizzed past me on her way up the bridge. She and Osa were chatting at the top of the bridge when I got there.

“How fast do you go DOWN the bridge?” I asked.

“Pretty fast, when these walkers get past us, but I don’t know exactly how fast,” she replied.

20 mph down the bridge

I paced her on the downstroke, calling out speeds as we went along. Two-thirds of the way down, she hit  20 miles per hour and held it for some distance. Unfortunately, I pushed the wrong button on my video camera and missed capturing her descent.

At the intersection of A1A and Lake Worth Road, she turned south onto the multi-use path that parallels the road. I decided to follow her to see how fast she could go on the flats. She rarely dropped below 11 mph and frequently topped 15, for an average of about 14.4 mph.

A1A Trail between Lake Worth Road and Lantana

How to Mount a Cateye Strada Computer on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

One of the members of the Surly Long Haul Trucker Google Group bought a new LHT.

His LBS was having a hard time mounting the sensor for his Cateye V2C computer because it wanted to go where Surly puts the spare spokes.

I sent him to a page showing how my Cateye Strada Cadence computer was mounted.

Unfortunately, when I downloaded the docs for his computer, the sensor wasn’t a simple as mine. It looked like it really DID want to mount on the top of the chain stay.

I have a Cateye Strada Cadence Computer

My LBS discouraged me from buying a wireless computer. They said they have found that folks who use their bikes a lot burn batteries quickly. (I’ve been slacking off lately, so I’m afraid a battery would have lasted me a long time.) They are also prone to freaking out or going blank in an urban environment with lots of high voltage EMF floating around.

They recommended the Cateye Strada Cadence Computer.

How to mount the speed sensor on an LHT

A little bit of rubber material folded up brought the speed sensor close enough that it could pick up the spoke-mounted magnet. The two small nylon ties don’t interfere with the spare spokes.

Cadence pick-up mounts the same way

This sensor faces outward toward the crank arm and pedal. The nylon ties clear the spokes easily.

Rare earth magnets work very well

I’ve had trouble keeping magnets mounted to my crank arm when using factory-supplied parts. My kid brother, Mark, turned me on to the idea of using tiny rare earth magnets sticking onto the crank arm to trigger the sensor.

When I mounted them on my Trek 1220, I bought my first set of magnets from Radio Shack and put a drop of Marine Goop on the crank arm. (Goop is the greatest thing since sliced bread and binder twine.) It stuck for several years and thousands of miles with no issues.

Rare Earth Magnet on Candy C pedal on LHT

When I bought my Surly Long Haul Trucker, I found that the sensor / magnet sweet spot would let me put the magnets directly on the Crank Brothers Candy C Pedal spindle. I used two of them stacked to get them close enough for the sensor to trigger. I didn’t even bother with the Goop this time. The magnetic attraction is enough to keep them anchored to the pedal.

I also found I could buy larger, cheaper magnets from Amazon. I use the Magcraft NSN0573 3/8-Inch by 1/8-Inch Rare Earth Magnets that sell 30 for $10.99. It’s amazing h0w many ways you can use them. (Once my grandson was old enough that I didn’t have to worry about him swallowing them, we Gooped them on a bunch of his toys so he could pick them up with a toy crane.)

How to Fix Your Bike’s Flat Tire

THAT’S a blowout

I mentioned last week that I had a problem with flat tires. Well, over the years I HAVE had a couple of blowouts, but nothing like the one on Valentine’s Day in West Palm Beach.

Just a few hours earlier, that 42-foot pile of debris behind Osa had been a 30-story condo damaged by two hurricanes. At a few minutes past 9 A.M. on Valentine’s Day, it took about 10 seconds for 2,000 pounds of explosives to pancake the building. You can see a video of the implosion on this TV station’s site.

I decided that it wasn’t worth fighting the crowds to see the explosion (plus it was chilly), but Osa and Chuck and I cruised by the site that afternoon.  [I could have used a picture of Chuck, but I looked at Osa. Then I looked at Chuck. Yep, no contest, even if he WAS riding a bent.]

How to fix a flat tire

After my flat tire experience last week, I decided to let Wayne at Bicycle change my front tire so I could video the process for those folks who are a bit intimidated by the thought of doing it on the side of the road. Wayne was kind enough to let me shoot a video of him building a wheel around my SON generator when I first bought my Surly Long Haul Trucker last year, so he was OK with shooting the flat fixing.

I’ve been lucky enough not to have so many flats that I’ve gotten proficient or fast at changing them. I’ve done it – on one memorable ride on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail when I flatted at Mosquito O’Clock – but I figured I’d let a pro do it on camera. Plus, it’s about as easy to film yourself changing a tire as it is to change a tire while swatting mosquitoes with both hands.

Patch or Pitch?

Some of you may question why Wayne said that he was going to discard the tube because it had been punctured. Why not patch it?

Wayne’s perspective as an LBS owner is that the customer will always blame the patch if there’s ever a flat on that tire in the future. He’s perfectly happy to give you the old tube back if YOU want to patch it, but he always installs new tubes.

What’s that Presta to Schrader adapter he’s using?

Wayne prefers to adapt Presta valves to the automotive Schrader format when he’s working with tubes.

  • It means that he can use the same chuck on his air hose for all tires.
  • He thinks the Presta valve is less likely to be damaged.

(Note: the adapter is installed upside down here on my tire. I keep it that was because it’s easier to take off.)

If I’m home with my Blackburn floor pump, I’ll use it in the Presta mode. If I’m on the road, I’ll use the Schrader adapter for my Topeak Road Morph with Gauge or my CO2 inflator.

That keeps me from having to switch heads around and lessens the chance of damaging the Presta valve stem.

Florida East Coast to Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

Thad S sent me the following question:

I am planning on doing a loop of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) the first week of March. I plan on riding from Jupiter and taking about 5 days, with possibly a day off in Clewiston for a day of fishing. Is there a good way to get there from Jupiter? Also how regular are motels/sleeping accommodations and places to eat around the lake? We are not planning on any camping.

We will not be riding mountain bikes with suspension, but race-ready cross bikes with panniers. I don’t think my single speed MTB would fare so hot on this long one! We would like to ride the dike as much as possible, but I will follow your advice for parts that are not suitable.

We would like to do between 40-60 miles day. We can go over 60 if we need to. We are both experienced cyclists, and have done some long rides in the past. I myself am a mediocre cyclocross racer, and my girlfriend is a seasoned commuter/recreational cyclist. Also, we live in South Philly, so traffic is not a problem!

Hobe Sound to Port Mayaca is a great ride

View Hobe Sound to Port Mayaca LOST Trailhead in a larger map

When I was scouting a route for Son Matt and me to ride across the state, I talked to some club riders in Hobe Sound about 708 to 76. “Oh, I wouldn’t ride that if I wasn’t in a group. It’s too dangerous.”

I don’t know where he got that idea. It was one of the nicest stretches.

Traffic on the road is light and friendly. Almost every vehicle pulled way across the center line to pass me.  I’d give them a wave of thanks after the pass. I’d see them looking in their mirror, and they’d give me a wave in return. THAT’S how you know you’re in the country.

You can resupply or overnight in Indiantown

If you’re hungry or need water, you can go into Indiantown when you reach the intersection of 76 and 710. There’s a tall bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway that doesn’t have shoulders, but traffic is light enough that you can catch a break fairly easily. If you decide that’s far enough for the day, you could stay in the historic Seminole Inn.

View Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail in a larger map

Clockwise or counter-clockwise? Let wind decide

When you hit the 441-76 intersection at Port Mayaca, you have a choice.  You can go north on the paved LOST to Okeechobee or you can take 441 south. I generally let wind direction determine whether I go north or south. The dike is under construction between Port Mayaca and Pahokee (and a few points south of there), so you have to ride the road there.

441 south of Port Mayaca has been repaved recently and has small, but adequate, shoulders if you don’t mind riding in traffic.

Unless you enjoy being beaten to death or have a mountain bike with suspension, I suggest you stay on the road on the west, unpaved section of the LOST. Y0u can read about my Surly LHT’s shakedown cruise here.

I’ve marked the overall map with some places to eat.

LOST lodging options

Your best chances for finding a room are in Okeechobee and Clewiston.

I recommend the Scottish Inns in Okeechobee if you’re looking for no-frills cheap. If you want something more upscale, there are plenty of motels on the road going into town.

West of Okeechobee is the Lakeport Lodge, which looks new.

The last time I was in Clewiston, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express (because my wife picked it out after being freaked out by Reid’s Motel in Moore Haven). If you want a more historical place, go for the Clewiston Inn. It was a little rundown when I stayed there in 1990, but it’s been rehabbed since then.

The Loggerhead Club and Marina right on the lake next to the trail in Pahokee has a number of small cottage-like accommodations. They were brought in after the 2005 hurricane season. When I called, they said the rooms rent from $80 to $125. They suggest making a reservation two weeks in advance because they fill up quickly in season.

Approximate distances for planning purposes

(Hobe Sound to counterclockwise loop of Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail)

  • Hobe Sound to Port Mayaca Trailhead – 34 miles
  • Port Mayaca Trailhead to 441 Pier in Okeechobee – 22 miles
  • Okeechobee Pier to Okeetanta Trailhead and 78 – 4 miles
  • Highway 78 to Moorehaven Trailhead – 34 miles
  • Moore Haven Trailhead to Clewiston Marina Trailhead – 13 miles
  • Clewiston Trailhead to Southbay Trailhead – 13 miles
  • Southbay Trailhead to Pahokee – 11 miles
  • Pahokee to Port Mayaca – 14 miles

Some of these distances are accurate; some will be longer if you have to detour around construction.

PalmBeachBikeTours Pages with more LOST info

Okeechobee Scottish Inns: Clean and Cheap

One of the reasons I don’t do many group rides is that they start too early. I really hate dragging myself out of bed at ye-god-o’clock just to get dropped by a whole herd of riders.

2009-rotary-club-lake-okeechobee-ride-7876The Rotary Club Lake Okeechobee Ride is about 75 miles away

When I signed up for the Rotary Club Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (L.O.S.T.) ride held March 28, I wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 4:30 in the morning to drive from West Palm Beach to Okeechobee to photograph the 8 A.M. start.

Where’s a cheap place to stay?

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m cheap. And my motel standards are pretty low.

  • It has to be clean.
  • It has to have a shower.
  • It has to have air conditioning if it’s hot.
  • The bathroom has to have toilet paper.
  • A working TV is nice, but not essential. [Old joke: a pair of newlyweds check into a motel and are given the Honeymoon Suite. When they walk out, the night clerk says to the day clerk, “What do you mean ‘Honeymoon Suite?’ That room’s just like all the others.” “You’re right,” the day clerk says. “Except that the TV doesn’t work.”]

Okeechobee Scottish Inn

My range of options was expanded

I had one advantage in my motel quest: Wife Lila had something to do back in West Palm Beach on Saturday, so my range of options was expanded.

She has some crazy idea that, in addition to my criteria, the place should actually be big enough to turn around in and be “nice.”

I decided to check out the Scottish Inns

What caught my eye was $44.10. An extra couple of hours of sleep is worth that. But, did it meet my checklist?

I remembered passing the place and recalled that the exterior looked like your old-fashioned 60s motel, but it WAS freshly painted and the grounds were well-kept.

I made a call to Jim McInnes

Okeechobee Ride Organizer Jim McInnesCalling a local to ask about motels generally doesn’t do much good. After all, if you LIVE in the town, you probably don’t have a lot of personal experience with the local sleeperies. Still, I called ride organizer Jim McInnes to see if he could give me any advice.

He had to think about it for awhile, but he said it would probably be OK.

Okeechobee Scottish Inns bedA non-smoking room cost $54.45

When I finally called the Scottish Inns, I was told that a non-smoking room was five bucks more than the cheapest room advertised, so it came to $54.45, with tax.

First Impressions

  • The room was clean.
  • It had that sweetish disinfectant smell that’s a little irritating, but the windows in the room opened and there was a strong breeze that made it tolerable.Okeechobee Scottish Inns room
  • It was Tiny with a capital T, characteristic of rooms of that era.
  • It had a shower.
  • It had an air conditioner.
  • It had a microwave oven and a small refrigerator. I didn’t try the microwave. The refrigerator didn’t seem to work all that well, but it did keep ice that I put in it overnight from melting.
  • There was a weak wifi connection, but I ended up using my Verizon Air Card to check my email.

Okeechobee Scottish Inns bathroomYou won’t get lost in the bathroom

There wasn’t room to back up to shoot an overall of the bathroom. Let’s just say that it was clean and functional.

[A thumbnail shot is plenty big to get across the feeling of spaciousness.]

Two small nits to pick

tpThe first thing I noticed in the bathroom was that the toilet paper roll was just about empty. [See checklist above.]

A call to the front desk remedied that. It wasn’t until later that I noticed a spare roll above the towels. Most places would have changed out a roll as low as this one, but I guess that’s how they keep prices low.

While the manager was there, I pointed out that the wall-mounted lights above the bed didn’t work. He said that they had been replaced by the two lights on either side of the bed in the picture, but the old ones hadn’t been removed yet.

Would I do it again?

Yes. I got a good night’s sleep on a decent bed for a reasonable amount of money. [It’s hard to believe that I consider a $55 room reasonable when I think back on one I rented in the Missouri Ozarks for $2 a night back in 1965 or 1966. I can remember when the 8 in Super 8 stood for $8.]

Where is the Okeechobee Scottish Inns?

  • Scottish Inns
  • 3190 Highway 441 South
  • Okeechobee, FL 34974
  • 863-763-3293