Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Redundant Systems

While I tend towards minimalism in my equipment, there are various instances where it seems smart have some redundancy. In the photo above the light on the left is actually 2 Watt Blaze head attached to a 1/2 Watt Blaze body. My old, larger handlebar bag bounced against the light on a bumpy trail, sending it flying. The body of the light cracked, but I was able to duct tape things back together well enough to get home. I now run with two lights, mounted better. I carry spare batteries anyway, why not carry them in a spare light?

Note the time on the two computers, nicely illustrating the old proverb that "a man with one watch knows what time it is, while the man with two watches is never sure." The Tour Divide maps wisely state "A mileage odometer is absolutely necessary to enable you to follow the narratives. DO NOT attempt to ride this route without an accurately calibrated odometer." While many Tour Dividers choose to rely on GPS, I rely on redundant computers. Both use CR2032 batteries and both are pretty simple, wired models. The Cateye's sensor reads off the front wheel, while the Bontrager reads off the rear. I have them mounted on the top-tube, where they are reasonably well-protected and out of the way yet visible.

For some things, like frames,bottom brackets, and your own body, you bet it all on one thing that should be tough enough to go the distance. For some other things, a back-up unit is worth the extra weight.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


Gunnar Berg said...

The most accurate watch is one that doesn't run. It's exactly correct twice a day.

SS:Mtn Biker said...

Good idears! :-)

Kevin said...

Too bad you weren't racing the year this was filmed eh?

Bob said...

Hi Kent,

Any particular reason you have both computers mounted rather than stashing the spare in a bag? Any additional functionality? I have 2 identical wired Cateye Stradas and was planning on just mounting one and using the other for parts in case of a malfunction.



Kent Peterson said...


Having the second computer mounted does give me a few extra things. I now have two trip counters, so I can reset one at the start of each map segment and the other at the start of each day. I can keep the overall ODO readings for cumulative totals. I can also have the different computers displaying different stuff, so one can be displaying rolling time while another is displaying some distance function. Finally, if one goes out, I keep rolling. You stop and install your spare computer!

Bob said...

"Finally, if one goes out, I keep rolling. You stop and install your spare computer!"

Ha! I forgot that you're a highly experienced long distance rider. Seconds add up to minutes add up to hours = less miles/day. I need to remember that, especially at stops.

Thanks, Kent.


phil_rad said...

I agree Kent, I'll be using two bike computers, both mounted. But I only have one light. ;-)


Andrew said...

Captain Dashboard!

Brilliant re: spare batteries. Sea kayaking guru, George Gronseth, recommends the same thing. No fumbling in a tight situation -- just click on.

Best of luck!

jimmythefly said...

I like the 2 computers idea. I've had my spoke magnet get knocked out of whack fairly often. Usually it's merely annoying to know I haven't been recording any data for who knows how long? But in your situation having 2 computers seems a really good idea.

does on of them have a backlight, or do you just use a headlamp for night navigation?