Welcome back to my weekly Friday post! Last week I posted that we were going to try racing cyclocross and we did, and it was fucking awesome even though my lungs crashed and burned… literally.
RL, Rocky and I headed to Moreno Valley to give Cyclocross a try. Rocky does not own a Cyclocross bike but the race promoters were renting them out for $10.00, yes, ten dollars!!! Rocky rented a nice Raleigh RX 2.0 cyclocross bike.
They had the perfect “race” for us newbies to try out. One lap of the circuit and we even got a clinic! We were taught the basics of cyclocross such as dismounting, mounting, carrying the bike, going up the stairs, riding through sand and hopping the barriers. The clinic helped a lot because we actually got to pre-ride the entire course giving us a sense of confidence.
There were 13 of us, some racers chose to ride Mountain bikes and others were riding proper Cyclocross bikes. I started pretty strong, felt good but then my lungs started to burn, my bronchial passages started to close and I could not breath properly. By 3/4 of the race, I was done. RL and Rocky passed me by and so did the rest of the riders except the 10 year old riding the BMX bike. Yeah, I sucked and I was hurting but dammit this shit was fun.
Unfortunately we chose to race the last race of the season, but now that we have a cyclocross under our belt, I am already planning for next season!
Hello fellow Mountain bikers, cyclocrossers, downhillers and anyone who happened to arrive via Google. I hope you enjoyed our last 2 reviews; that Whisky sure makes a great after-ride drink! If you have followed us for the last 10 years, yes, Ten.Freaking.Years. You know that we have tried all sorts of racing; Downhill, XC, Super D and 24 hour races. However, we have never raced cyclecross.
If you follow my posts at bikecommuters.com, you probably know that my commuter bike is a Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike. I always said that CX bikes make excellent commuter bikes, they are sort of the “Jeeps” of bicycles. If you are not familiar with cyclocross bikes, they are basically road bikes with knobby tires and higher clearance. They are stupid fun to ride.
So this weekend, yours truly and the Bossman are going to race cyclocross. Well, more like “attempt” to race cyclocross. The holidays were really kind to us with tamales, ham, wine and more tamales so we are lugging around a few extra pounds. It does not help that the famous “El nino” got here a year late (typical Mexican) so we have not had much riding time, but what the hell, it is not like we ever did any training when we used to race!
So, you like to rock out on the trail while you ride your bike with your ear buds in. You like the solitude of not listening to your friend telling you about every piece of flora and fauna as he’s riding along, or maybe telling you about his extraordinary bowel movement he had that looked like Johnny Cash flipping the bird.
Better yet what if he’s yelling at you to tell you that the trail ahead washed out and there is a huge 15-foot gap you can fall into.
Well fear not because O-Tus helmet speakers or what they call “Near Ear Speakers” are a great way to hear your trail jams without fully compromising your ability to hear outside noise and let’s not forget the fact that in most states having earbuds while riding a bike on the street is illegal and at some point, you will be riding on the street someplace.
NEAR EAR SPEAKERS
Now what is a “Near Ear Speaker” one will ask, well it’s quite simple. Instead of having the speakers in your ears the placement is near the ear. This allows you to be able to hear the surrounding noises that one would hear when riding without something in the ear to cut off important noise one may need to be aware of.
This being your friend yelling a warning, hearing a noise on your bike that may not be right, a car coming up behind you, or most important hearing an emergency vehicle.
Now I have never been one to want to have something in my ears to hinder hearing, let alone have music playing while riding, though this is nice at times and I have to say now that I have used these, I take my tunes with me all the time while riding. I love the fact that I am able to hear everything around me, even with the volume cranked up.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES
The number one key feature to the O-Tus helmet speakers would be they do not sit in your ears like most ear type speakers for MP3, iPods, and Smart phones do.
They put out 15 watts of clear stereo surround sound near your ears. O-Tus also offers a Bluetooth controller that you can sync to your smart phone allowing you to be wireless with your phone too.
Other things to know about the speakers are the;
• Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
• Sensitivity: 108Db
• Impedance: 16ohms
This is made very easy, O-Tus provides pre-cut heavy duty Velcro pieces that you apply to the helmet in the proper positions suggested. Now depending on your helmet, you may have to shave a flat spot to have a good flat surface to mount the Velcro for the speakers.
There are some bigger pieces of Velcro in order to mount your MP3, iPod, or the O-Tus Bluetooth system on the back of your helmet. This is your choice.
I was using the small square iPod shuffle on a Giant Rail helmet I was reviewing, along with the Bell Super 2, and my XC helmet.
I mounted Velcro on the back of the helmet’s shell for the iPod and it was perfect in this area.
After routing the speaker wires to the back and into the iPod I was set.
Moving from helmet to helmet was a snap and never an issue.
ROCKING OUT ON THE TRAIL
As mentioned I have or was using these for a while with my XC helmet, then I installed them to a GIANT RAIL Enduro trail helmet till this latest review helmet was stolen last year at Sea Otter, along with the Bell Super 2R I just received for review.
“Hope you are enjoying my helmets and iPod you butthead!!”
The O-Tus speakers are, well AWESOME! I can hear the music at any level, moving the speakers from helmet to helmet is a snap.
If you need help you can go to the website, o-tus.com, where you will find full instructions on how to boost the sound to your Apple products, work the Bluetooth
I myself found the sound was perfect for me and at times had to turn it down just to hear who I was riding with.
I found the sound quality to be great where I placed the speakers on the two helmets I used them on.
The way I positioned my Shuffle on the back with the Velcro allowed me to higher or lower the volume or change the song with no problems.
The Velcro held the speakers and my iPod in place super, with no fails. Even on the roughest of rock section I never once lost my iPod or the speakers.
This is top notch in my book when it comes to a product during harsh trail use.
The thing I like the best about the O-Tus speakers is no long ear phone speaker wires hanging down to catch your bars. If you run the Bluetooth system, no having to route the wire in your shirt and out the top of your neck to your ears from your device.
Maybe you have your device in your shorts pocket, having the wires route from the pocket to your ears, from your hydration pack and when you remove your pack the ear phones get ripping out of your ears.
This is just a plain smart way to go and since using them (well sad now because I have noooo music now) and I am lost without my tunes.
This is a super way to be safe hearing you surrounding and still hear your mojo motivation music to get you going down or up any trail. Even if you commute by bicycle this is great way to rock out on the road.
The system comes in two colors, black or white. You can get just the speakers only or in a speakers Bluetooth combo, and the Bluetooth remote only
I have to mention that at the time of getting the speakers we only reviewed the speakers.
I do want to mention the features that come with the Bluetooth remote.
The Bluetooth is durable unit with;
• 3.5mm audio jack for Customized Otus Helmet Speakers!
• Remote control feature with Adjustable volume
• Talk on the phone or listen to music hands free.
• clothing clip.
• Working range is up to 10 meters.
• Compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled phones
• Rechargeable life: play time is up to 6 hours & standby time is up to 130 hours
• Dimensions of product: main body is 53.3 x 33.6 x 9.9 mm
• Well designed and easy to use
If you choose the combo it will include with it;
• 1 x Bluetooth Headset
• 1 x USB Cable for charging
• 1 x Clothing Clip
• 1 x User`s Manual
• 1 x Set of Otus Helmet Speakers
COST FOR YOU TRAIL PLEASURE
Speaker – $42.00
Stereo Bluetooth w/ Speaker Combo – $75.00
Bluetooth – $55.00
AT THE END OF THE TRAIL
Is this worth it all, YES!! I was never one to use any device to hear music on my trail rides or when on a road ride (yes, I ride road to train as well was CX).
Especially on the street, I want to hear all thing around me, plus here in California if caught on the street while riding you will be cited, so why chance that.
Since using the O-Tus ear phones I love having music on my rides, I feel safe, and for the price it’s worth it seeing that some earbuds can cost upwards of $100 bucks and that’s just for the earbuds.
That’s seems just plain stupid to buy just a set of earbuds up to or over $100 bucks.
Check out the O-Tus ear phones and Bluetooth systems, I think you will love them.
And when we are able to review the Bluetooth we will let you know about it.
Now we have been down this trail before on MtnBikeRiders.com, trail etiquette is important to all users and there are three basic groups you will encounter on any given trail depending where you are at.
You have Hikers, Equestrians, and Mountain Bikers. It’s not uncommon that these three groups will bump into each other on any given trail here in our local area or your local area for that fact.
Multi use trails have simple rules, they are not hard rules to understand and if you can’t heed these rules of the trail, I will be the first to tell you to leave the trail no matter who you think you are.
I have been all three of these users at one time or another and it blows me away that some people think they can do as they please on the trail while not giving a rat’s ass about others.
OK I’m not going to single out any one group yet, but I must say I have encountered bad Hikers, Equestrians and Mountain Bikers. These bad apples all thought they were God’s gift to the trail and we all should bow down to their wills, more like their rules of their road.
“NOOO, SORRY!!” It doesn’t work that way. SHARE means SHARE, MULTI USE you idiots.
We have all seen the simple sign the shows you the “YIELD” to triangle (see sign above). Hiker yields to Horses; Mountain Biker yields to both Hiker and Horses. Simple, right?? Well not for some unfortunately.
We wanted to share with you a story told by Wendy Engelberg from “Girlz Gone Riding” that happened this past holiday while she and her group were out riding on the local trail.
This incident has to do with one mountain biker and a group of hikers, where bad trail etiquette was shown by one Mountain Biker and why we as Mountain Bikers are all lumped in the same group of “ALL MOUNTAIN BIKERS ARE BAD”.
“This morning’s ride was an unfortunate adventure for part of it.
We came up on 4 hikers on Westridge fire road. One of them was sitting on the ground with something obviously very wrong, so we slowed down, pulled over and asked what the problem was to see if we could help.
He said a mountain biker took him out and he went down on his hip, can’t stand up or walk. He said the biker only stopped to yell at him for not having his dog on a leash. (Westridge dogs are actually permitted OFF leash. There is a huge sign at the trail head stating so). The biker did not slow down or call out what side he was going to pass on, so instead he just took the hiker out.
Naturally these 4 people were pissed off, especially the older gentleman Jeffrey who got injured. The 1st thing he did was lump the mountain bikers into being all bad. Lena and I stayed with them proving to him that was not the case and I think he was grateful that we did. He told 911 that Lena and I were going to ride up and meet the fire trucks to let them know where he was located on the trail. (after calling the biker who hit him an asshole many times over to the 911 operator, he let them know that the cyclists that were going to ride up… Lena and myself… to meet them were not). I gave him my card as well just in case.
5 fire trucks and 2 helicopters later he was rescued, so the firemen had to cut the locks on the gates to get through.
THIS is one of the reasons hikers don’t like mountain bikers. This happens more than you think. It only takes a few bikers conducting themselves as tools and feeling they are entitled to the entire trail and not sharing the trails…to shut down the trails.
Yes, dogs off leash are a pain, yes, hikers don’t pay attention a lot, HOWEVER……we must SHARE the trails! SLOW down when you see others, smile and say hello! Let them know we are good people and will ride safely around them and their dogs.
I’m glad Lena and I were there because no other bikers stopped except for the riders in our group, only hikers stopped. Please, please be mindful and respectful to ALL other trail users. Just yesterday on Rogers Joanne and I came within inches of being taken out while we were climbing with another out of control biker. Saw us climbing and still didn’t slow down or pull over on a narrow single track.
Everyone I ride with is absolutely awesome and respectful thank goodness. However, there are those out there that are not and this is what happens. Here is a reminder of some basic trail etiquette. Thank you for listening and please be respectful to all trail users!”
WE’RE NOT ALL BAD SEEDS
Just as if I were riding a Harley in a leather vest with patches on down the highway I am thought of as a member of a biker gang.
Remember this, “1%”, the one percenter. This would be the number that each group has with the bad apples in it. Not all of us are idiots, but each group has them and that 1% sure does make up the whole when a bad taste is left in the mouth of the other groups due to bad judgment.
HOW TO HANDLE YOURSELF
As Wendy put it, if you come around a corner and startle someone, say hi, apologize, make sure they are okay and if someone gets hurt, help them be courteous and exchange information.
Remember if an accident occurs, stop and help, don’t run. This goes both ways for all parties and we all have a responsibility to one another on the trails we love.
Making the trail safe for all of us starts with all of us. We all love the outdoors and we all love being on the trails, so let’s all work together to make it great for all.
Thanks to Wendy Engelberg from “Girlz Gone Riding” for letting us share her story.
I figured I’ll come in and post something here and there about what’s been going on.
Well mountain biking is still taking a break from my life. But smoking cigars and drinking whiskey hasn’t. If anything I wanted to talk to you about one type of whiskey I had the pleasure of trying out.
I was recently enjoying some pozole at Art’s house. His pops came to visit and since this was a special occasion, Art busted out the Crown Royal XO. I’ve had Crown Royal before but never the XO. Well I was pleasantly surprised on how smooth it was. My goodness, this has to be the smoothest whiskey I’ve had to date. No harsh bite, just flavor and that warm feeling of the spirit of the whiskey coming into your body…wait, that sounded really sexual. Eh, who cares. You get the point right?
It’s smooth, it’s yummy and yes it will get you drunk, quick. As it should since it’s 40% (ABV 80 proof.)
The aroma of the XO was very pleasant. You can smell a hint of oak, the first sip allows you to taste notes of vanilla and fruits. Once you kick it to the back of your throat, you’ll then realize how smooth this whiskey is.
Hello everyone, yes, this is The Bike Geek from bikecommuters.com. what am I doing here? Have you seen this place lately??? This place needs a little content and since I happen to ride the dirt trails from time to time, I figure that I’ll contribute a bit.
So let’s start with what I did on 2016… Well, I rode the Fullerton Loop a bunch of times, in fact, I also used the world famous Fullerton Loop as part of my commute home. Whatttt you say? Yes, I scored a sweet Spicer Cycles Cyclocross bike that I used to ride to the train station then to work and then back to the train station and then home via the Loop. Shit, I even have it on video! But for that you will have to visit the BikeCommuters.com Facebook page. So go on, I will wait….
OK, now that you have liked BikeCommuters.com and you are probably asking yourself why are you liking a bike commuter site? I mean, some of you mountain bikers think that riding on the road is for pussies…. but how many closed calls have you had with a car while riding single track? Anyhow, I am not here to say that bike commuting is better than mountain biking, I actually enjoy all sorts of riding and riding all sorts of bicycles as well.
So one of my goals for 2017 is to mountain bike more and go to different places. In fact, I want to go ride some of those epic places that rich people brag about like Moab, Fruita or Whistler. I just gotta make sure that my wife signs my field trip slip first.
Stay tuned for a weekly post from me, I may do it on Fridays or maybe Wednesdays, I will let you know. Ride on..
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers.
Its been a hectic few last months here, but we are still here and will be bringing you lots of new stuff to read, products to review, and places we have gone to.
Two weeks ago I was feeling down. Rather than drinking my way to happiness, I decided to get on the bike and do a short ride. 6 miles to be exact. Mind you it’s been months since I’ve ridden so that meant my pace was slower than usual. What’s difficult for me is when I was riding, all sorts of emotions started coming up and at one point I wanted to cry. Eh…this sucks.
Then part of a trail had a little jump, I took it and while in mid-air, I quickly remembered why I love to ride. My heart jumped and all my sorrows went away and it produced a big smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong, the whole ride was just tough on my body. I took everything slow and wanted to enjoy the moment, you know, be present.
I stopped at a local lake to just take it all in. I was grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. Maybe if I just approach riding as a way to enjoy what’s around me and not focus on what was and focus on what is, that might help me get back into it a bit more.
This is RL Policar, I’m the founder of this here mountain biking website. In the last year I’ve had some personal challenges that I’ve been dealing with. Don’t worry I’m not dying, at least I don’t think I am. Anyhow, I’ve been going through some major life changes and remaining strong. However, mountain biking has been put to the back burner for me. I no longer enjoy it nor do I find any excitement for it. Perhaps it just reminds me too much of the shit I’m going through.
Though I’m not riding mountain bikes, I’ve turned my focus more on motorcycles and scooters. I find it therapeutic to buy/sell and work on them. I’ve bought and sold so many in the last few years that I really should have my own reality TV-Show.
Anyhow so that’ where I’m at, not much riding in the last 6 months. Perhaps I’ll come back to it once I’m doing better. In my absence, Art Aguilar has been put in charge of MtnBikeRiders.com. I’ve also handed over the reigns of BikeCommuters.com to my best-friend Moe Ramirez. He’s doing a bang up job over there.
Well its that time of the season again, where the holidays are fast approaching. The days are getting shorter, the trees are changing color, and its getting colder outside. Well maybe not so much in Southern California where we have cool 68 to 75 degree days during fall and winter most of the time.
Who am I kidding, anything under 68 can be down right COLD!! I’m talking the tundra here.
So what can one do to spice up that ride around your local area trails. How about dressing up for the occasion and have a little fun on your ride with a group of friends.
I’m not talking about your riding gear your wearing here and I’m not saying go out and buy some all new gear ( well that is always fun to do, right).
No what I’m talking about is getting together with your buddies and dress for the holidays on your group ride. Its always fun to see a group of people dressed in costume for Halloween, fall Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
Being creative with your costume is great to see when your on the trail, its always a pleasure to see a group of riders dressed up on a ride having fun, I just don’t suggest the crazy clown suits this year if you know what I mean. Man those things freak me out.
So get out there and have a great time dong the Halloween ride this weekend, Christmas get out that Santa hat, or elf cap, maybe some antlers for your helmet perhaps. Have fun and be safe, unless you decide to go with the crazy clown thing, I say good luck on that one.
Have fun and dress up that ride this weekend or during the next couple of months.
MtnBikeRiders.com Staff wishes you a safe fun Halloween.