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Performance Grip-Tech Bar Tape

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Cycling | Add Comment

Last year I installed some Forte Grip-Tech bar tape on my road bike, which I blogged about at the time.  I said I'd do a review, and well, here it is.

It's been just over one full season, or around 1000 miles since I last wrapped my bars.  It was a light season due to weather and travel, but it's about all I get these days.  Plus, last year consisted mostly of mountain biking, so the road miles suffered.

The Grip-Tech was so so.  It did what it was supposed to do, but it didn't last long, as you can see here:


Forte Grip-Tech bar tape - used

This is what my Deda tape would have looked like after 5000 miles, not 1000.  Next time I'll definitely stick with the Deda.

That said:


  • Looks nice when new
  • Shock absorbent
  • Grippy
  • Good price point


  • Doesn't last long
  • Gets dirty quickly and stays dirty
  • Difficult to clean once it's dirty


I finally got around to replacing this tape, and ran into a whole other issue.  The glue holding the tape on is way too strong, so when you peel the old tape off, it shreds, leaving you with numerous bits and pieces to pick off.  It took me AGES to get the bars clean and prepped for the new tape.  At the risk of sounding like an ad (or a shill), save yourself some headache and just get some Deda.

Not many posts, eh?

Posted: June 25, 2014 in Misc | Add Comment

No, I haven't been making many posts recently.  Actually, I have. They're just not here.  The primary reason for this is because whenever I try to make a new post, Firefox figures out a way of either crashing or closing the browser window before I'm done, thus losing the post.  And I don't retype things, ever, for any reason.

So you'll have to use your imagination for a while. ;)

Ride log added

Posted: May 24, 2014 in Cycling | Add Comment

It's been a good year for cycling so far, despite the seemingly endless weeks of rain, rain, and more rain.  So good in fact that I've started logging my mileage again.  I use an old Garmin Edge 305 GPS-enabled cycling computer, but unfortunately the Garmin software for it looks like an old Windows 3.1 interface.

I also have an account on Strava, but that means I have to tote my phone around with me on rides - which I tend to do anyway, but in this case if I stop to eat, tweak the bike, chat with other riders, fix a flat, or pull a tree branch out of my spleen, I have to fish the phone out of my jersey to pause the timer.  Also, Strava has wildly different opinions on things like calories burned and feet climbed (the Strava uses GPS data for the former, whereas the 305 has a more accurate altimeter).

But after fiddling around today, I figured out that I can upload rides from my Garmin directly into Strava.  This is a good thing, because it means that I'll get more accurate data (especially if I but a speed sensor for the mountain bike) and I can keep my phone tucked away safe.

In addition to all of the above, I've also decided (for no good reason) to track my mileage on this website as well.  Up top there's a new tab called "Rides" which leads to my ride log. I figure if Strava ever goes away or turns into a pay service, I'll still have my rides somewhere I can get to them.  After all, you can never have too many backups!

A "WTF" moment

Posted: May 20, 2014 in Cycling | Add Comment

I ordered some helmet pads and some handlebar take from They're in the UK but they have free shipping to the US. Helmet pads weight less than the packaging they're sent in, and cork bar tape isn't much heavier.

The box arrived last night and seemed a bit heavy. When I opened it, I found the following:

  • Helmet pads (the wrong ones)
  • Handlebar tape (the one I ordered)
  • One 250ml bottle of Lipton Iced tea.

I mean wtf? Why would you deliberately increase the shipping weight of something YOU'RE paying to ship?? It's not like iced tea is some cycling related thing they're trying to promote.

I don't get it.

Ubuntu 14.04LTS

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Tech | Add Comment

As I've no doubt mentioned at least a hundred times by now, I've been using Ubuntu Linux as my primary OS since sometime in 2006.  I've gone through some ups and some downs with it, and have tried a few other distros (Mint for one) but somehow I keep coming back to the good old "U".

One hurdle that many Ubuntu users have is dealing with a desktop manager.  Ubuntu jumped on the Unity train a few years back, and it's pretty much gone over like the Netflix streaming/DVD split.  I've bounced around between desktops (Gnome3, Cinnamon, Mate) but Unity seems to be where all the development effort is focused, so I decided to give it a shot back in 12.10.

And 12.10 is where I've been stuck until now.  The geniuses at Canonical decided to depricate the systray while hundreds of apps still used it.  The result?  No tray icons for anything (chat, IM, music players, etc) rendering them all pretty much useless.  In 12.01 you could sort of bring back the tray, so my feet stayed firmly planted there.

Until now.

The beta of 14.04 started getting really good reviews.  Lots of bugs are fixed, and the look and feel has improved.  Most of the apps that used the tray now have indicators (most, not all) so that was good news.  It's also a LTS release, so I figured it would be a good one to try.  So far I was right.

"Trusty Tahr" as it's called has been pretty smooth since my install last weekend.  Indeed I have indicators, and a lot of annoyances were fixed.  I still have a few niggling problems (a shadow on my conky system monitor) and some designed-in bugs (window controls stuck on the left in a mac-like stupor) that are being rammed down our throats (I thought this was Linux?) but hopefully the former will be solved and if the latter isn't, I suppose I'll have to get used to it.

It seems more stable than my 12.10 install (I was always getting "Ubuntu has encountered an error" popup) and so far everything works.  The look and feel of the desktop is noticably slicker (I'm running the Numix theme with Moka icons), and the Nvidia video drivers installed without a hitch for the first time ever.  Ok, there was a hitch with the plymouth boot screen, but it took 3 minutes to fix.

So far so good.

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We had gay burglars the other night. They broke in and rearranged the furniture.

- Robin Williams

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