HEMA Powerpack + Flashlight
Power to the people, sure, why not?

I’m a flashlight nut. So when I saw this Powerpack laying at the HEMA for a steal (€2,50) I had to pick one up. Powerpacks are usefull for devices that don’t run on replacable batteries. Like iPhones, other mobiles and tablets. Most of them are charged with a USB cable. So having a USB Powerpack in your bag is very nice.

This particular pack has a 5V 2000mAh output. It charges my iPad partially. It states on the box that it gives 3 hours extra runtime to your device. But what device? I dunno.

Anyway, opening the thing up reveals a 2000mAh 3,7V 18650 Battery. I think that this battery is easely replaced with a higher amp version, like a 3000mAh or higher.

In the box is the charger and a short USB-microUSB cable to charge the Pack. It will however also charge a micro-USB device.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the Flashlight. I tried to identify it and came up with the following specifications: High Power LED / 1W / 70-80LM / 3.5-3.7V / 6000-6500K White.
The light is not very impressive But offers very good proximity lighting. It has a nice smooth wide flood but ample throw.

Build quality is so-so. It’s a light, thin aluminium housing with screw on caps. The caps hold the reflector/lens and the back cover in place. The back cover has a very small on/off switch for the light. There is no water proofing.

The powerpack shown in the last image is the version BoxWave sells. It’s about 3 times more expensive as the HEMA’s normal price, but has a 2600mAh battery.

All in all it’s avery sweet deal for just €2,50. It provides a small charge for my cell or other device, maybe just enough to pull through till the end of the day. This thing will probably be used most of my packs because of the added light. Really convienient.

EDC of the moment

Keychain that lives in my bag at the moment. I have to carry a towel because my bottle tends to leak. I’m going to replace it, but wouldn’t want to be without one untill I do.
The Bic lighter is made portable, has one meter of duct tape wrapped around and is ‘locked’ with a small ranger band.

Mobiel Phone History

Over the years I had a fair share of mobiles. While the first priority being able to call when in need the phone has worked it’s way into my life more and more.
A trip down memory lane:

Alcatel OT311
My very first mobile phone! While everybody at school had either a Nokia 3210 or 3310 I bought this one because it was cheap. I was only for emergency calls right? Well, it was at the time. I got a yellow cover on vacation one day, but it never looked as good as the black one. This phone probably has had the longest service life of all my phones. When I got the Philips it went to my mother who in turn passed it back to my brother. It still works.

Philips CT3508
I wanted a colour screen. Because colour is always better. And to be honest the 128x128 display did look good! The phone was replaced early because one awful flaw: it creaked when you held it in your hand.
Id was the first sim-lock free phone I bought.

Nokia 6610i
The successor if the Philips. This Nokia had one feature I would never want to miss on a mobile again: a camera. No matter how bad the quality was, it saved my butt during a lawsuit after a traffic accident once.
Also I discovered my collection of funny photo’s taken with this phone. Really cool.

Sony Ericsson K800i
Probably the best phone I ever had. Also the first I got with a monthly fee. The camera was phenomenal. And the images impress even today.
When the joystick started to act funny it was time to move on.

Nokia E71
Again I went unlocked. The E71’s camera might not have been as good as the K800i’s but it was enough to get the job done. With the QWERTY keyboard on the phone I made homework on the train. Can’t imagine doing that nowadays, but it saved me a lot of time.

HTC Desire
The E71 was only replaced because I went to another telephone provider. And it had internet! This particular subscription came with a lifetime unimited internet bundle. I still use it to this day.
The phone was originally  only an extra, I got the subscription for the internet bundle. While I didn’t believe in touch screen smartphones I gave the Deisre a go. Let’s just say I love Android and I never used the E71 again. The Desire slowly got worse and now the volume rocker is dead and the physical buttons are real hard to press.  Time to move on.

Sony Ericsson Xperia U
The Xperia U wasn’t the successor of the Desire. Those are listed below.
The U was wonderful until the firmware started to act up. Frequent freezing and not passing calls made the phone unreliable. Because it was outdated Sony didn’t fix the firmware. Same as the Xperia Actives.
I did like the light bar of the U though. Great to show what kind of message is incoming or what you have missed.

Apple iPhone 4S
I used the iPhone briefly because of the trouble with the Xperia U. A friend hated Apple products enough to pass the 4S down to me and let me keep it. I still use it as a iPod/micro iPad today. I love my iPod and iPad, but I didn’t like the iPhone as a phone. 

Sony Xperia SP
My rescue in times of need. Back to Android, back to Sony. Lets hope I don’t run into any firmware issues again. Well, I already did. I upgraded the firmware on day two. It made the phone incredibly slow. Up to the point you wanted to kill yourself. With no update/upgrade in sight I downgraded the phone to original factory standard. Works like a charm.

Not on the list, phones I had briefly

Sony Ericsson G700
I had this for one day. I wanted to try a phone with a touch screen. The screen was to tiny and hard to press along the edges of the screen. Originally intended to replace the K800i I returned it the next day.

Sony Ericsson T303
When transferring from one provider to the next I needed a phoen for a couple of days. This cheapo slider bridged the gap to the HTC Desire.
It was a fun phone for a couple of days, it died in a horrible accident the day I got my Desire. It fell down the stairs hard. It was beyond repair.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active
Fun phoneI had for about a year. Actually I had two. Waterproof and tough as nails. But the firmware made the phone unreliable. Problems the Xperia U would have later on. I returned mine and got a refund. My dad gave me his Active. Hoewever, one week later it showed the same symptoms as the previous one and I returned it also. They didn’t even send it in for repair. I got a full refund.

Nokia Lumia 900
Tired of Sony and their firmware shit I turned back to Nokia. The Lumia 900 is an amazing device. Pretty screen and Windows 7. I was overjoyed. The camera however had a giant pink spot in the middle. And it was no sweet spot. It destroyed the image quality. I returned it after a couple of days. I got the Xperia U instead.

Mobiel Phone History

Over the years I had a fair share of mobiles. While the first priority being able to call when in need the phone has worked it’s way into my life more and more.
A trip down memory lane:

Alcatel OT311
My very first mobile phone! While everybody at school had either a Nokia 3210 or 3310 I bought this one because it was cheap. I was only for emergency calls right? Well, it was at the time. I got a yellow cover on vacation one day, but it never looked as good as the black one. This phone probably has had the longest service life of all my phones. When I got the Philips it went to my mother who in turn passed it back to my brother. It still works.

Philips CT3508
I wanted a colour screen. Because colour is always better. And to be honest the 128x128 display did look good! The phone was replaced early because one awful flaw: it creaked when you held it in your hand.
Id was the first sim-lock free phone I bought.

Nokia 6610i
The successor if the Philips. This Nokia had one feature I would never want to miss on a mobile again: a camera. No matter how bad the quality was, it saved my butt during a lawsuit after a traffic accident once.
Also I discovered my collection of funny photo’s taken with this phone. Really cool.

Sony Ericsson K800i
Probably the best phone I ever had. Also the first I got with a monthly fee. The camera was phenomenal. And the images impress even today.
When the joystick started to act funny it was time to move on.

Nokia E71
Again I went unlocked. The E71’s camera might not have been as good as the K800i’s but it was enough to get the job done. With the QWERTY keyboard on the phone I made homework on the train. Can’t imagine doing that nowadays, but it saved me a lot of time.

HTC Desire
The E71 was only replaced because I went to another telephone provider. And it had internet! This particular subscription came with a lifetime unimited internet bundle. I still use it to this day.
The phone was originally only an extra, I got the subscription for the internet bundle. While I didn’t believe in touch screen smartphones I gave the Deisre a go. Let’s just say I love Android and I never used the E71 again. The Desire slowly got worse and now the volume rocker is dead and the physical buttons are real hard to press. Time to move on.

Sony Ericsson Xperia U
The Xperia U wasn’t the successor of the Desire. Those are listed below.
The U was wonderful until the firmware started to act up. Frequent freezing and not passing calls made the phone unreliable. Because it was outdated Sony didn’t fix the firmware. Same as the Xperia Actives.
I did like the light bar of the U though. Great to show what kind of message is incoming or what you have missed.

Apple iPhone 4S
I used the iPhone briefly because of the trouble with the Xperia U. A friend hated Apple products enough to pass the 4S down to me and let me keep it. I still use it as a iPod/micro iPad today. I love my iPod and iPad, but I didn’t like the iPhone as a phone.

Sony Xperia SP
My rescue in times of need. Back to Android, back to Sony. Lets hope I don’t run into any firmware issues again. Well, I already did. I upgraded the firmware on day two. It made the phone incredibly slow. Up to the point you wanted to kill yourself. With no update/upgrade in sight I downgraded the phone to original factory standard. Works like a charm.

Not on the list, phones I had briefly

Sony Ericsson G700
I had this for one day. I wanted to try a phone with a touch screen. The screen was to tiny and hard to press along the edges of the screen. Originally intended to replace the K800i I returned it the next day.

Sony Ericsson T303
When transferring from one provider to the next I needed a phoen for a couple of days. This cheapo slider bridged the gap to the HTC Desire.
It was a fun phone for a couple of days, it died in a horrible accident the day I got my Desire. It fell down the stairs hard. It was beyond repair.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active
Fun phoneI had for about a year. Actually I had two. Waterproof and tough as nails. But the firmware made the phone unreliable. Problems the Xperia U would have later on. I returned mine and got a refund. My dad gave me his Active. Hoewever, one week later it showed the same symptoms as the previous one and I returned it also. They didn’t even send it in for repair. I got a full refund.

Nokia Lumia 900
Tired of Sony and their firmware shit I turned back to Nokia. The Lumia 900 is an amazing device. Pretty screen and Windows 7. I was overjoyed. The camera however had a giant pink spot in the middle. And it was no sweet spot. It destroyed the image quality. I returned it after a couple of days. I got the Xperia U instead.

The Common Linnets #2 on Eurovision!

Congratulations to Ilse and Waylon for their second place on the Eurovision Song Contest 2014!

With all the loud songs on the contest their entry really was a “Calm After The Storm”. I love the song and the performance.
Which also showed the versatility of the stage the Danish build.

Perhaps if Ilse had a beard we would have made 1st place.
But to be honest I prefer Ilse without a beard ^_~

If you liked Calm After The Storm make sure to check out their album The Common Linnets. It’s a wonderful album.

The Common Linnets #2 on Eurovision!

Congratulations to Ilse and Waylon for their second place on the Eurovision Song Contest 2014!

With all the loud songs on the contest their entry really was a “Calm After The Storm”. I love the song and the performance.
Which also showed the versatility of the stage the Danish build.

Perhaps if Ilse had a beard we would have made 1st place.
But to be honest I prefer Ilse without a beard ^_~

If you liked Calm After The Storm make sure to check out their album The Common Linnets. It’s a wonderful album.
The brakes need adjusting they said.

Yeah right. The pads are worn to the  metal.

Ah well, I got new ones.
Disk brakes are amazing!

The brakes need adjusting they said.

Yeah right. The pads are worn to the metal.

Ah well, I got new ones.
Disk brakes are amazing!

I was feeling a bit optimistic when driving my Strida home last week.
The tires were old and I predicted te front one to leak first.
Appetantly I was wrong and had a blowout on the rear.
Possably I nicked some glass.

Anyway, of my 8km drive I managed to get a flat at 4km. No matter which way I go, I’m screwed.
No spare inner tube, no patching material, no pump.
Just walking.

Lock or laughing stock?
Abus 1500 Web

Abus has a good reputation making locks. But when you look at this lock the only thing you will think is… why?!

The 1500 Web is possibly the smallest chain lock I have ever seen. Where most locks look fierce and strong this one does not.
I’ve put an iPod Classic next to the lock to give you an idea of the size.

It weighs only 140g and has a 4mm chain. You have got to have a really good reason to get yourself one of these.

And I had one.

I did not buy this lock to prevent my bike from being stolen. But to prevent it being unfolded. The chain is just long enough (60cm) to wrap around one of Strida’s tubes and then around the other two. Securing it in folded position.
This prevents a thief from unscrewing the wheels and take the bike.
So, I will have to get an additional lock to secure it to a lantern or something.

It’s a cheap lock to make stealing the bike more time consuming. If they want, they will take the bike anyway. Every lock can be broken.

As Abus put’s it in their bike lock catalogue: 
- Basic security for low risk situations
- Ideal for kid’s bikes (thanks for that!)

Oh, and a big plus? The lock comes in red to suit the colour style of my bike ^_^

Let’s kick it!
Strida Kick Stand

The Strida is a great bike, but doesn’t have a kickstand. You won’t be missing it most of the time. You’ll be riding the bike or wheeling it along.

But sometimes, like when you get home and park it in the garden, or when you visit friends and can park it somewhere safe. Then it would be great to just flip out a kickstand and walk away.

Good news, you can. Strida offers a kickstand. However, I decided not to get one because of negative reviews online. Supposedly the stand would interfere with folding or snag your pants when riding it.

When I was in the store for a pair of pedals I saw the kickstands and thought, why not give it a go? They don’t cost a fortune and if I don’t like it I’ll remove it and put it on eBay or something.

As it turns out I’m really loving the kickstand. It’s easy to park the bike in the basement at work now. I don’t have to look for an empty spot against the wall now. I rode the bike for about 5km and it didn’t snag or anything.

Nor does it interfere with folding. I found one issue (if you would like to call it that). If you kick the wheel loose when unfolding it may hit the kickstand. The front tube doens’t swing that much forwards then. To be honest it doensn’t bother me much.

All in all I’m pretty happy with the stand. It makes my life a little easier and even though it adds a bit of weight to the bike I don’t notice it when I shouldn’t.

Oh, and if you’re not that technical you’ll have a real challenge using the instructions. All the instructions are provided on the box (last image). It basically just shows all the parts ^_^

Strida Tail Light
a light tale

I got a Strida a good a little while ago. If you don’t know what a Strida is you should follow here and see what it’s all about. Short version: it’s a foldable bike.

Since Strida’s don’t come with any lights and I do like to be visible at night I went on s search for a good tail light. Strida actually have a pretty tail light themselves so I got one.

It functions just as you would expect: press the button, light switches on.
It’s a bright light that is also visible from the side. This is by all means better than the €3,- lights you can buy anywhere these days. 

To be honest, those little lights are just an excuse to comply to the law and prevent you from getting a ticket. They don’t do much for actual safety in traffic. Don’t get them, it’s an insult really.

Considering that this light costs little less, only €10,- there is no reason to settle for less.

Okay, back on topic. The Strida light is very easy to mount and can be removed in a second. Just slide in on, or press the tab and slide it off.
The mounting socket is square, sou you can mount it horizontally and vertically.
Though I don’t think you will be removing this often, because the Strida is a folder you would keep it with you most of the time.

Strida didn’t cheap out on mounting options. Three mounts are provided. One for the main frame tube, one for the carrier bracket and one that replaces the rear reflector.

Personally I have replaced the rear reflector with the tail light. However, here in Holland rear reflectors are mandatory and not having one will result in a fine (when the officer is grumpy). I currently am investigating weather the tail light may dub as an reflector during the day. If not I will replace the reflector and move the light near the axle of the rear wheel.

To cut a long story short, for €10,- you can’t really get any better. Plus is is perfectly designed for the Strida to mount it in an unobtrusive way so It won’t interfere with folding or putting it on it’s stand.

Worn & Torn
Bent Strida handlebar lock

Second hand isn’t always the best solution. You should really know the product you’re buying to save yourself from potential disappointment.

But that’s not the story here. The left handlebar lock on my Strida is worn. What I suspected to be a bent tube handlebar (or lock knob) was in fact a worn locking hole. Either by repetitive unlocking the frame by ramming the handlebar or maybe the bike fell. I don’t know. And honestly I don’t really care anymore.

The fact is that the lock hole is worn out. Resulting in the left handlebar riding out when, riding. The bad part about this is that the lock part is not replaceable. Well, it is. You have to replace the entire front tube. Costly.

I contacted Strida about a new front tube and they were available. No problem. But I couldn’t ride my bike!

I decided to hammer the frame back in shape. Feeling like the smith I am not I took a hammer and started tapping. Gently, then harder. This won’t work. Even if you apply enough force to bend the tab you can’t control the direction enough.
I dug around in my toolbox and found a vice. The one you mount on your desk. Big, heavy, clumsy. But the vice easily applies the force needed to bend the tab and makes it very easy to shape it in the proper direction.

I locked the handlebar in place to bend around the brass knob, put an old t-shirt over the frame to protect the framework and applied the vice over the entire tube. Tightening the vice slowly and adjusting position when necessary.

The result is a pretty neat bend following the lock knob. And it does in fact lock in place again. However, bending aluminium comes at a price. Bending it compromises the material integrity and it weakens.
Because of this I would not recommend this as a permanent solution. 
But when you are in a pinch after an accident and waiting for your new tube to arrive? It makes your Strida ridable again.