Saturday, March 20, 2010

But, still, the bicycles rolled

A little reading for a rainy Saturday...

(Picture credit: Mohammad Karim Faiez)

The bicycle man prefers working in the sun, sitting on a cushion nailed to a wooden block, stretching out his right leg, the one with a missing foot, taken years ago in that instant when a man's life veers another way.

Abdul Hibib has been fixing bicycles for almost 30 years. His hands are quick, clicking gears, moving across spokes as if he's plucking a harp. So much worn rubber and troubled history have rolled past him. His country tumbled from war to war while he tinkered with bicycles, outlasting the Soviets, surviving the Taliban.

[ . . . ]

He grasps a bent rim, breathing lightly, the sun in his gray-black beard, his hands a diary of scrapes and cuts, seldom resting. He twirls the rim; it wobbles and he stops it, bending it some more and then spinning it again, hypnotic almost, the blur of rust and steel.

(Fleishmann, Jeffrey.  "Fixing what he can in Afghanistan."  Los Angeles Times 15 Mar. 2010.  20 Mar. 2010.)

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some call(ed) me "Peter Pan"

This was taken, oh, 19 years ago when I was 17 years old  young.
Click here or on the image for the cheeky news article.

A more recent pic at 36 years old  young.

Of course, these same people dream-killers ghouls are languishing in mid-life crises now.

I, too, am no angel, far from perfect; here's perdition: here, hear me gloat:

Hey, how are the high-blood pressure, pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, medications coming along? How many gallons of Botox are you using per day?

[T]he consolations of history, thus, turns out to be especially satisfying[...], for time humbles those who once humbled others.
         (Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul)

Friday, February 19, 2010

NicIz2hardkore's SS Shoulder Upgrade

After 2 impacts with Mount Faber, and head-butting a NTUC Comfort Del Gro taxi cab, it was time to upgrade NicIz2HardKore's right shoulder with hardier components  :-P

More info (and comments) here.

He's got a DVD of the operation too!

The surgeon used stainless steel anchors, wires, and Kevlar cord on the 2HardKore  0_o

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.


         Home delivery of...

         ...a pound of flesh from Wendy's.

Om nom nom nom nom...

Ambidextrous Nic makes it look easy.

After he was done with the 1 pound burger, he's presented with a tub of Wendy's Beef Chili — large  :-D

         You're kidding, right?

Spacing out after beef-overload.

I think there's enough room to hide a breaker bar or chain whip in that sling...

Heal up quick and kick more butts, Nic!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Sprint. Sprint. Pop. Crash!

Or, that's how Bertram described NicIz2HardKore's most recent crash:

Nic was just riding along, minding his own business, past the Esplanade when the front tire of his Cannondale suddenly popped. As he struggled to control the sudden deceleration, Commissar A Dumb LardButt (the lesser known, more officious, way less photogenic, non-talented twin of Adam Lambert) waddled by on his Tomac Kar Pai — after consuming 2.3 metric tons of brownies; the ensuing gravity well caused the Cannondale's rear wheel to come off...

Drive-side brifter.

I wonder how carbon fiber would fare here.

Non-drive-side brifter.

Sella San Marco Regal Titanium Saddle.  *sob!*

Damage to the Cannondale: scored brifters and surprisingly little scratching to the frame. The saddle is totaled though — in addition to the torn leather, the rails are bent.

Damage to the engine.

From The Unauthorized Bicycle Repair Manual:

Engine Repair

Step 1:  Drink Beer.

:-)  :-D  :-P

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Jetboil Personal Cooking System: Remote Canister Stands and Adaptors

My 1st generation Jetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS) has served me reliably for almost half a decade.

Basically a modern day Billycan that's self-contained with stove and fuel, it's a piece of gear that's highly compact, fairly robust, and acceptably light. (Sure, the MSR Reactor is more wind-resistant, more efficient, and possesses better ergonomics — e.g. ability to lift pot off the stove if it boils over to shut the valve — but it is also larger, weighs more, and is overkill for the solo bicycle tourer, all-day Camelbak H.A.W.G. rides, and daypack hiker.)

Now, if I were to engage in the other type of bike touring, the MSR Reactor would be a no-brainer.

In fact, someone in Japan actually made his Jetboil even smaller and lighter. I guess weight weenies exist everywhere  :-D

Among the plethora of accessories available for the JetBoil PCS (and the newer Flash) are the pot stabilizer (increasing stability), and the pot supporter (allowing the use of generic pots and pans).

The JetBoil (and MSR Reactor) utilize a female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve, following EN417 specifications.

Sometimes, however, female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve gas canisters are either hard to find / unavailable (Singapore and Malaysia), or much more expensive (Western Australia).

This is where a little more versatility in gas canister interface is desirable.

CP250 gas canisters or "Spray Can Valve Gas Canisters" are commonly used in Singapore and Malaysia for tabletop / vehicle-portable gas stoves. Weighing about 358 grams each, and filled with 250 grams of butane, they are also used for blowtorches in workshops and kitchens (e.g. for crème brûlée).

The CP250 valve is also known as the CP Twist Fit Bayonet.

To use the CP250 gas canisters, an adaptor is required. Hon Shin bought a pair of these adaptors a couple of years back and handed me one to try out with the Jetboil PCS. As they vary widely in price, do shop around.

The side that interfaces the gas canister.

The CE020 Adaptor is made of PVC and aluminum, and held together by 2 steel screws. I have not disassembled the unit but it appears not to utilize any o-rings.

As this adaptor lacks a gas flow control valve of any sort, unless you are planning on self-immolation and/or contending for the 2010 Darwin Awards, inserting a CP250 gas canister into it without priorly attaching a gas flow control valve is a bad idea. Bonus points awarded if you attempt this near smokers, other operating stoves, or a roaring campfire.

Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.

Agree with Avicenna, the JetBoil stove has a gas flow control valve — use it.

Screw the CE020 Adaptor into the Jetboil stove as you would a regular threaded gas canister.

Note:  This works for the JetBoil PCS. I have not tried this with the newer JetBoil Flash yet, but the new valve appears compatible, your mileage may vary.

CE020 Adaptor installed.

Lower the assembly onto the CP250 gas canister, aligning the outer protrusion of the CE020 Adaptor with the notch on the collar of the CP250 gas canister.

With the assembly fully seated, grasp the knurled part of the CE020 Adaptor and rotate the CP250 gas canister counter- clockwise to lock it into place.

This was how I use my Jetboil on my rides (and hikes) in Malaysia and Singapore. A cursory look would surmise that stability is an issue.

Enter the Brunton Canister Stove Stand, courtesy of Mr. E  :-)

Coiled up and folded. Looks good enough to be jewelry, stick it up your nose.

The Brunton Canister Stove Stand has male and female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded fittings on it.

Ensuring that the gas flow valve on the Jetboil stove is shut, thread the stove onto the Brunton Canister Stove Stand as you would with a regular gas canister.

Note:  This works for the Jetboil PCS. I have not tried this with the newer Jetboil Flash yet, but the new valve appears compatible, your mileage may vary.

Gas stove seated.

Ensuring that the adjustable gas flow valve (small black knob) is shut, thread the CE020 Adaptor onto the other end of the Brunton Canister Stove Stand.

CE020 Adaptor installed.

Insert CP250 gas canister into CE020 / Brunton Canister Stove Stand assembly.

As before, align the outer protrusion of the CE020 Adaptor with the notch on the collar of the CP250 gas canister.

Grasping the knurled part of the CE020 Adaptor, rotate the CP250 gas canister counter-clockwise to lock the assembly in place.

Owing to the absence of a side stand on the CE020 Adaptor — which orientates the gas canister in a specific position so that the pick up tube inside the canister is pointed up, feeding butane vapor to the stove, and not liquid butane — the CP250 gas canister must NOT be used lying on its side in this configuration.

Now, if you want your Jetboil to spit fireballs...

With a wider base and a lower center of gravity, this set up is much more stable. Wind is also less of an issue with the stove sitting lower on the ground.

The Brunton Canister Stove Stand also includes an aluminum windscreen.

Normally, using a windscreen for a top-mounted canister stove is a no-no as the gas canister may heat up dangerously; and, though butane / iso-butane canisters are generally safe, what with a concave bottom designed to pop out as an obvious visual warning of severe over-pressure, they are still capable of erupting into a ball of fire if sufficiently abused, along with the usual sharpnel, 72 virgins, nirvana, death, and pain (not necessarily in that order).

So, some people get creative with their windscreens and engage in metal origami. Read "Is it Safe to Use a Windscreen With a Canister Stove?"

With the gas canister located remotely, there's no such need to recreate Mel Gibson's Mad Max set.

Other adaptors and additional information

Remote Canister Stove Stands

Besides Brunton, Vaude / Markill also manufactures a remote canister stove stand. The Markill Stove Base Adaptor appears to sit lower, and its gas canister connector does not feature an adjustable gas flow control valve.

Remote Canister Stove Stand + CP250 Convertor

Another remote canister stove stand comes along with an integrated CP250 to female Lindal 7/16 NS adaptor.

The CE 0191 Adapter Nozzle Gas Bottle Screwgate Camping Stove Gear with pipe is made of stainless steel and brass. The canister end of the adaptor has 2 protruding tabs which serve as legs to orientate the CP250 gas canister, enabling safe operation whilst lying on its side.

This unit too, seems to lack an adjustable gas flow control valve.

Semi-Remote Stove Stand + CP250 Convertor

The Gasmate Butane Adaptor — Screw to Bayonet (Model AD220) is a curious unit with 3 foldable legs.

The CP250 gas canister attaches from the side. A fixed mount ensures that the CP250 gas canister is oriented in the specific position for safe operation. This unit also appears to lack an adjustable gas flow control valve.

It can also be used with a remote canister stove stand or remote canister stove.

Apart from the female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve and the CP250 or CP Twist Fit Bayonet gas canister, there's also the CampinGaz CV series gas canisters, which are readily available in Singapore and Malaysia.

The CampinGaz CV series valve looks like this.

Vaude / Markill makes a Valve Cartridge Adapter (Ref: MK92497-100) that converts a CV270 or CV470 CampinGaz gas canister to the female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve interface.

CampinGaz also has an older "C" series. These gas canisters have no valves, relying instead on the stove to puncture an opening. As these gas canisters are not resealable, they cannot be removed until they are empty.

The Vaude / Markill Puncture Canister Adaptor for C206 converts the CampinGaz C206 puncture gas canisters to the female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve interface.

This adaptor has 3 arms which grip the bottom of the gas canister. The bottom of the 3 arms are then secured by a thick o-ring (not shown). The black knob on top is then screwed down until it punctures the CV206 gas canister. This set up enables the CV206 gas canister to be safely removed from the stove and stored apart for later use.

GoGas used to sell a CampinGaz C206 to female Lindal 7/16 NS threaded valve adaptor as well.

Since being acquired by Karrimor, GoGas is now Karrimor GoSystem.

Cold Weather Operation

At this point, the JetBoil PCS / Flash is using gas vapor for operation. However, when temperatures drop below 31° F (0.5°C), butane does not vaporize well and performance suffers. Isobutane works down to 11° F (-12°C). Propane is good until -43° F (-40° C); however, propane canisters are usually much heavier, discounting them from bicycle touring and light-hiking.

One way is to invert the gas canister such that it forces liquid fuel to the stove. This requires a preheat / vaporization loop — which goes over the burner — in the stove's design. The Jetboil Helios, which inverts the gas canister, uses such a setup. GearActive has an excellent series of pictures on this.

As the JetBoil PCS and Flash do not possess a preheat / vaporization loop, flipping over the canister is dangerous as there is a very real likelihood of a flame lift-off or flaring — this can, among other things result in the neoprene cozy and handle of the Jetboil melting; setting the tent / roof / annoying campmates / your goatee on fire; raising global temperatures and suffering Al Gore's ire.

Rather than fabricate a preheat / vaporization loop, one can add a heat shunt. A small brass block can be attached to the fuel inlet tube of the Brunton Canister Stove Stand. The brass block will have a small blind hole tapped on the side, to which a copper strip is attached. The other end of the copper strip is put near the flames, conducting heat to vaporize the liquid fuel in the fuel inlet tube.

Here's a modified Brunton Canister Stove Stand working with a Snow Peak Giga Stove. Note that while the connecting block is brass, the strip must be copper.

You can also stick an upright stove on the Brunton Stove Stand and run the canister inverted. In the photo here my Snow Peak is happily working away. However, a caution is imperitive here. The Brunton Stove Stand does not have a preheat tube. There is nothing to stop this arrangement from flaring badly, and dengerously. My solution is to attach a small brass block over the inlet tube (red arrow) and a strip of copper up from that to the flame (blue line). This acts as a heat shunt. I start the stove with the canister upright, wait maybe 10 seconds while the flame heats the shunt and the heat travels down to the brass block, and then I turn the canister upside down - gently, and at low power. The heat travelling down the shunt will make sure the liquid fuel is vaporised before it gets to the jet. It works fine for me, but no responsibility is accepted if you do this yourself. There is a full article about this at Backpacking Light.

A caution is in order here. When you turn the canister upside down the needle valve will now be throttling liquid fuel, not gas. The liquid fuel will expand into gas at about 250 times the volume. If you are not careful you may find that the stove will suddenly roar a little too fiercely! So before you invert the canister, just turn the stove down to a gentle low. It may pick up a bit even so when you invert. Once the canister is inverted, regulate the stove as normal. You may find the valve slightly more sensitive.


As the JetBoil PCS / Flash burners are much further away from the fuel inlet tube of the Brunton Canister Stove Stand, implementing this might be tricky (and adds 2 more failure points to the stove stand). That, and the heater tab would have to take a labyrinthic path to the burner — unless sticking it between the cooking cup's heat exchanger fins is enough. I am considering if using a single, thick copper wire, with one end coiled over the Brunton Stove Stand's fuel inlet tube works just as well in vaporizing the fuel when the gas canister is inverted.

Disclaimer:  These are my own ruminations, not suggestions to readers. If you embark on any of these harebrained Wile E. Coyote "Acme" schemes, you do so entirely at your own risk and bear all consequent responsibility and liability.

As Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs' FAQ on Gas Stoves illustrated, there exists a multitude of ways to fabricate your own inverted canister stand. FWIW, Jim Wood compiled an excellent overview of the various gas canister diameters and available stands.

Mark Ferwerda also has an excellent idea, utilizing a Primus Foot rest Canister Stabilizer. Mark later reported that the epoxy broke after some time and came up with a more robust (and elegant) solution with a drill press and a couple bits.

For now, I am rather pleased with the Brunton Canister Stove Stand. Unless I ride or travel in subzero regions, the acquisition of a Vaude / Markill Valve Cartridge Adaptor will probably provide sufficient versatility for my venerable Jetboil PCS.