Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Add resistance to aluminum bike roller

BIKE NERD POST! Do you have an old aluminum bike roller? Do you love the feel, but hate that you can't do any more than a tempo ride on it? Would you LOVE to be able to go from an easy zone 1 to "I'm gonna puke" watt output with a couple of gear changes!? I found a solution on the internetz!!!! FOR CHEAP!

Step 1) Buy yourself some Neodymium Bar Magnets for $10! The ones I found on the Amazon were a pack of 6, 33 LB Strength, 60mm x 10mm x 5 mm. I only needed 5 of them.

Step 2) Find yourself a scrap 1x2 (you know you have one) and cut it about 1-2mm longer than the length of the bars between your rollers (as shown in picture). Remember to start long!

Step 3) Loosen one of the bolts on the middle roller — also a good time to tighten everything else up too 😉. Bolt on outside is a 9/16 socket, bolt on inside is a 14mm wrench — you're welcome!

Step 4) Now, wedge the 1x2 between the bars, adjust, tighten the bolt, and test the fit. Make sure the wood scrap is tightly in place and the roller isn't loose. It may take a couple of cuts to get it perfect. Once everything fits well, take the 1x2 back out and it's time to mount the magnets!

Step 5) Before mounting, test each magnet on each other to see which side is the pull side ("pulls" to one another) and mark with a marker.

Step 6) Mount the magnets starting from the center. My magnets came with double sided tape, but you can use whatever. After the center is mounted, space the next two magnets from the center rest just outside the limits of pulling/pushing from adjacent magnet. You want the last magnet to be placed far enough from the end of 1x2 that the whole bar is over the aluminum roller and not the plastic end where the band lays.
UPDATE:  The doubled sided tape didn't work so hot when things got hot.  I added a layer duct tape around each magnet.  I met go back and use another type of adhesive if that doesn't hold.

Step 7) Wedge the 1x2 back between the roller bars and adjust the magnets about 2-3mm from the roller to start. The magnetic pull isn't strong enough to pull the magnet to the aluminum roller, nor is it even strong enough for the magnet to cling to it. Regardless, I can assure you it'll work. 😉

Step 8) Hop on the rollers with a bike and test out the resistance! What you just did was create an Eddy current! You can adjust the resistance by moving the 1x2 closer for harder, and farther for easier.

Step 9) Buy an Ant+ USB Stick ($20 on Amazon), download zwift, connect your gadgets, and enjoy the zwift 7-day trial. 😁

I was able to easily do VO2max intervals with my big ring and middle/lower cassette gears.

Enjoy the suffering!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Working from home — tips from an experienced digital nomad

In the midst of the Corona Virus (Spring 2020), a lot of people are finding themselves working remotely for a while.  As a digital nomad, I have been working remotely for nearly six years.  Here's some tips to help you with the process:

  1. Designate one room to being your office.  After work, you can keep separation from "work".  Try to stay away form "work" when not working.  That separation from work/home is VERY important.
  2. Set strict hours.  Believe it or not, it can be easy to overwork when it's there all the time.  That's a recipe for burnout.
  3. Home is work. Work is home.  Although we try to keep as much separation as possible, it's an undeniable fact.  This means it's perfectly acceptable to do laundry on your breaks.  And if you have to answer an email after hours, so be it.  Just TRY to not go crazy on either end (working too much, doing other things too much) — although it's ultimately unavoidable.  Which leads us too....
  4. Take the FULL hour lunch break.  Even if you don't sit down for a full hour, being at home is going to trigger you to start doing something when you should be working.  If you bang out a solid work day on Monday with no breaks, and then suddenly find yourself disinfecting the house for two hours on Wednesday, it all evens out at the end of the week.
  5. Go for a run, bike ride, hike, or something in the middle of the day when no one else is out there.  Especially important when we are all trying to social distance!  If you go for a two hour bike ride, then add two hours at the end of the day.  If you use Strava, look at the "Elapsed Time" to see how much extra time you need to work.  DO NOT TRY TO USE THAT HOUR LUNCH BREAK FOR EXERCISE TIME. You're gong to need that time elsewhere like for getting ready, taking a quick shower, and/or a short yoga session after the run/ride.  If you start work at 6am, go for a two hour ride, then you're still off at 5pm.  Since you no longer have a commute, that's still a lot of time for yourself at the end of the day.
  6. Bulk cook healthy things while you are at home!  For example, you can fire up the grill, work while it heat ups, throw on some chicken thighs, work until you need to flip, and then take it off the grill with little work time wasted.  Like eggs in the morning?  You're right there to cook them up!
  7. If you don't already, listen to podcasts!  I personally like to watch on a separate monitor with podcasts with video.  Thus, I feel like I'm part of a conversation.  Just don't watch anything too over stimulating.  Movies are a NO-NO!  If you can't be efficient while watching/listening, turn it off.
  8. For ultimate remote flexibility, invest in a USB powered full HD monitor (like the two I have displayed), a wireless mouse, and a wireless keyboard.  Don't expect your employer to pay for them.  But hey, how much would you pay for freedom!?
  9. Make sure to be social extra outside of work!!! Okay, maybe wait until after this quarantine of course.  Remote work sacrifices social interaction with co-workers.  Chatting with them on various messaging platforms helps, but is not a great substitute.  Thus, remote workers need to make sure they are seeing friends/family more.  If you don't, your mental health WILL start deteriorating.
  10. WORK YOUR 🍑 OFF!  If you like working remotely, and this is your first time doing so, you better prove to your employer you work better from home!
Working from home can be a tough balance since work is right there, and so is that "to-do" list.  If you go a little crazy with working too much, flex that time elsewhere (as long as you're manager is okay with it).  If you go a little crazy on the to-do list, work more at the end of the day. Or even on a weekend morning — no commute makes that easy!  As long as you (and you're employer) are flexible, you can strike a perfect balance of work/life.

In closing, I invite to enjoy not having to raise your blood pressure on the daily commute  Being able to have access to healthy foods you can prep on the spot making you work more efficiently.  Having more flexibility in life.  And if you are a new parent, being able to see your child develop everyday.  That's an experience I hold close to my ❤.

And remember, when this quarantine is all over, anywhere with an internet connection can potentially be a workplace 😉  So if you are loving working remotely then maybe, just maybe, you could be a digital nomad too.