Category Archives: Nate TV

I don’t watch TV, I make TV. This is where the “produce” comes from on my tagline. TV does not have to be a one-way conversation anymore. We don’t have to accept what is told to us on the tube. Produce it.

On the series What to Watch, I recommend videos periodically that you should watch.

The Ultimate Commuter Bike Two

Bike to work, because driving cars everywhere makes us soft and weak.

-Nathan Ruffing, January 2014, from The Ultimate Commuter Bike

On my last Ultimate Commuter Bike, I gave links to all of the products. It is very easy to find these items online, but I recommend that you go to your local bike store with this list and use it to order some of the items through the store. You get a lot of good advice buying at the store and learn a lot about bikes while you are there.

It has been 4+ years and thousands of miles since my last Ultimate Commuter Bike post, and I am still using the same bike and same gear after zero tune-ups and very little basic maintenance.

The Ultimate Commuter Bike 2 Video Tour

Frame / Bike

$400: Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno (or similar)

www.bikesdirect.com

If you can find that specific model, it is a great bike. Otherwise, there are many options out there. You are looking for:

  • Single speed, not fixed-gear, or “fixie.” Make sure it has the freewheel.
  • You will find them under cyclocross or hybrid bikes.

Good bikes are sized by the inseam length. My height is 186cm (6ft 1.5in) and I ride a 61cm bike. 61cm is a size up for me, but I like the larger bike. If you are over 6ft tall, you have to go to a bike shop just to get a bike that really fits. Cheap bikes are made for average height people only. With a proper bike, your legs will extend to the pedals the way they should and you will be more comfortable and efficient.

Single speed bikes are great because:

  • they are very very low maintenance,
  • you get a variety of exercise throughout the ride,
  • it naturally limits your speed. Most of my friends who ride have crashed at least once. Some crashed fast. Trust them, you want to crash slow. Single speeds go reasonable speeds.
  • unless you live in a mountainous area, or are pulling a trailer, you really don’t need the extra gears and moving parts.

Seat

$40: Sette Flex-V

Sette makes various cushion sizes of this seat. They are the best.

Tires

$80: (for both, $35-$40 each) Continental flat resistant tires

Continental makes tires that have a teflon guard against flats. They are not cheap, but they are worth it!

Write down the tire size that comes on your bike. 700c is very common and is roughly equivalent to 29″.

Gears

Again, you want a single-speed that freewheels. You do not want a “fixie.”

Pedals

$50: (+ bike shoes if you don’t have them) Crankbrothers Eggbeater clip-in pedals

Info on the Crankbrothers website.

These pedals are typically used for mountain biking. They are ideal for commuter biking because:

  • They are very easy to clip in and out.
  • They allow your foot to rotate, avoiding any knee issues you might have with clips that are too rigid.
  • They can get dirty.
  • You can walk almost normally with the shoes as the cleat is not very big.

Bag and Rack

$120: Topeak MTX Trunkbag DXP. $80 for the bag, $40 for the rack

Information from Topeak.

You want to get the rack and bag from the same company so that the attachment works properly.

Tool

$35: Topeak Alien II bike multi-tool

Cold Weather Gear

First, ride less in the cold because it’s cold. Keep all this stuff together so that it’s not a nuisance to find when you want to get out and ride.

Thick socks are nice, but feet get cold in wind. They make foot covers for rain that also block wind and would help when very cold. I haven’t gone to that length yet. My feet get cold.

You want a tight-fitting under layer like UnderArmor because the wind can’t get between the clothes and your skin.

You want good thick gloves and a balaclava that can fit under your helmet. You want to cover up all exposed skin. Any exposed skin will have a 20mph sustained wind.

You want to be a little cold starting the ride because if you sweat too much, you will be very cold when you slow or stop.

Cincinnati to Columbus Ohio on the Ohio to Erie Trail

The Ohio to Erie Trail website is here, click for a great interactive map.

Thanks to Aaron for accompanying me on the journey!

Cleveland coming soon, hoping for a warm November to get to a Browns game!

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Click here for a summary of my first bike trip to Cincinnati.

What to Watch 24: Energy of an Industrialized Society – How Many Joules 3

How Many Joules?

  • 2,000 food Calories = 8.4 million joules = approximate energy usage of the human body in one day
  • One Tesla Model S battery charge ~ 36x this amount
  • One 2017 Honda Civic gas tank ~ 177x this amount
  • Typical furnace (100,000 BTU / hr rating) operating for 1 hour ~ 12x this amount
  • US energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 33.5 billion x this amount, or ~ 102x the US population*
  • Global energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 129 billion x this amount, or ~ 17x the global population*

*Relating the energy consumption of the modern world per person to the energy consumption of just the human body by itself is ambiguous, I realize. However, it puts in context the massive numbers that are constantly thrown around in the media on this subject, and consolidates the hype and various units into one unit.

https://nathanruffing.com/nates-numbers-hub-january-2017/ 

Start at How Many Joules 1

https://www.unitjuggler.com/energy-conversion.html

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

What to Watch 23: The Tesla “Gigafactory” – How Many Joules 2

Tesla’s Introduction Speech to the Gigafactory in Nevada, Elon Musk, 4 September 2014

How Many Joules?

  • Tesla Model S with large battery pack, 265 mile range = 306 million joules
  • 2017 Honda Civic 12.4 gallon gas tank,  (2017 best selling car in US) = 1,490 million joules
  • Energy from 1 barrel of oil (BOE unit) = 5.86 billion joules
Go to How Many Joules 3
Start at How Many Joules 1

What to Watch 22: The Lithium-Ion Battery – How Many Joules 1

Intro to 18650 Li-ion Cells, by LDSreliance

How Many Joules?

  • 1 Food Calorie (the one on nutrition labels) = 4,180 joules
    • Note: 1 food Calorie defined as amount of energy to raise the temperature of 1Kg of water 1°C at sea level
  • Typical smartphone battery charge: 41,760 joules
  • One 18650 Li-ion cell: 43,074 joules
  • 1 kBTU = 1.06 million joules
    • Note: 1 BTU is defined as the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1°F. 1 kBTU = 1,000 BTU.
    • The rating system on appliances that we are familiar with that is shortened to “BTU” is actually BTU or kBTU per hour.
  • 1 Kilowatt-hour = 3.6 million joules
  • 2,000 food Calories = 8.4 million joules
  • 1 gallon of gas equivalent = 120 million joules
Go to How Many Joules 2