The problem with preaching personal responsibility to save the environment

One of the things that bug me the most about the frankly amazing increase in environmental awareness and the pressure put on governments, is the focus on "personal responsibility", meaning the contribution each one of us can make to save our planet.

Granted, it makes sense for every single person to do everything they possibly can to put less strain on the environment, and personally I'm trying to do my part as well. For example by not using my car for grocery shopping anymore.
I also don't doubt the concept of social proof, to show others that living a comfortable life without being destructive is possible.

Still, I find it concerning that "personal responsibility" is what a lot of media organisations and governments present as the best possible way to reduce CO2 emissions and help the environment. These increasingly feel like attempts to place the blame for environmental deterioration on the shoulders of consumers, when the big polluters are a few large corporations. The following comic by Alex Norris encapsulates the issue brilliantly:

Comic by Alex Norris (@dorrismccomics on Twitter)

I recently saw a tweet that I sadly cannot find anymore which neatly juxtaposed two articles in the Guardian about helping the environment. Luckily I remembered the headlines:

19 Jan 2017, Chris Goodall:
How to reduce your carbon footprint

10 July 2017, Tess Riley:
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

Climate change and the catastrophies it's going to bring with it is a given and we're feeling the effects already (although not as much as people in developing countries). Doing one's part to reduce carbon emissions, waste, and other factors of driving our planet over the cliff, is undeniably important and a good thing to do.
What mustn't happen, though, is big corporations directing focus towards personal responsibility when they practice none and continue destroying the planet. We have hold the polluters and the institutions enabling them accountable.

Arzneimittelhersteller Hevert droht Journalist per Anwaltschreiben

Gefunden durch den Tweet von Mela Eckenfels:

Es ist wirklich lohnenswert diesen Artikel im Journalist Magazin zu lesen: Arzneimittelhersteller schickt Anwaltsschreiben zum konstruktiven Austausch

Ich muss echt sagen, dass ich bei sowas zu viel bekomme. Es ist völlig klar, dass Homöopathie nicht über den Placebo-Effekt hinaus wirkt und nicht erst seit dem schönen Video von NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE.
Es geht dieser Industrie der Betrüger und Quacksalber jetzt scheinbar Stück für Stück an den Kragen, wie die Entscheidung von Frankreichs Regierung vor einigen Tagen schön zeigt und bei den Profiteuren dieser Menschenverarsche läuten natürlich die Alarmglocken. Deswegen wird fleißig mit den Methoden rechter Trolle und eben auch mit der Anwaltskeule auf jeden eingeprügelt, der das Weltbild von Homöopatisten in Frage stellt oder die Gewinne in Gefahr bringt, die mit falschen Versprechungen erlogen werden.

Es macht mich sehr traurig, dass meine Krankenkasse, die Techniker Krankenkasse, diesen Blödsinn finanziert. Ich würde am liebsten meinen Mitgliedsbeitrag um den prozentualen Anteil reduzieren, den die TK jährlich für Homöopathie und verbundene Dinge ausgibt, mit der passenden Begründung.

"Weaponised discomfort"

I don't often share TED Talks. I have only seen a few in recent years that weren't self-congratulatory or stating the obvious. This one is different.
Baratunde Thurston deconstructs headlines about incidents of racism to drive home a point about the way racist white people are weaponising the police against people of colour simply for existing.

Absolutely worth your time.

Tips for descending on gravel

This popped up in my YouTube feed earlier today and I found it quite useful. I'd add one tip of my own: gloves.

Whether it's descending on a hot day where your palms are already sweaty and you're sliding around on your drop bars or a hard ascent in the rain, having good and tight-fitting cycling gloves that wick away moisture and help you grip your bars confidently, is going to be useful.

I slipped off the drops and the hoods of my gravel bike more than once on a fast and tricky descent and it's luck that I didn't crash hard at times. Gloves made all the difference for me.

One important thing to look out for when buying gloves is that they don't have seams in places that will cause pressure spots or chafing when using drop bars. Many gloves are made with mountain biking and flat bars in mind. Try them on, hop on a drop bar bike, and get into the various positions you're riding in most frequently.

Bike re-build project, part 3

The bike is done and I‘m very happy with the way it turned out.

Part 1: intial thoughts and considerations
Part 2: ordering components, beginning assembly, a few discoveries

For comparison‘s sake, this is what the bike looked like as a CX/gravel bike, before I bought my Litespeed T5 Gravel frame set, and this is what it looks like now.

CX bike after a very muddy and fun ride

Finished CX bike to city bike conversion

I have to give a big „Thank you!“ to the folks at Fahrrad Heidemann for being so quick with fitting the DUB PressFit bottom bracket, shortening the brake hoses, and bleeding the brakes. These were three tasks that I wouldn‘t have been able to accomplish without buying a lot more equipment, which would‘ve increased the overall cost of the project. Not to mention the fact that I‘m not experienced in doing these things (yet).

The remaining build-up was pretty standard and enjoyable.

The Continental tyres were very cooperative and easy to fit with inner tubes. I also have to give it to Shimano with their Center Lock system: both disc brake rotors and the cassette were easily mounted and everything fits precisely.
Just like on my other bike, I applied Flectr 360 rim reflectors. I find them to be very effective, highly visible, and they look very good on the DT Swiss rims.
I‘ve had the fenders for quite some time but rarely used them while using the bike off road because they reduced the tyre clearance. They are a pair of SKS fenders that have been custom fitted by the fine folks at Fahrrad Heidemann in early 2018.

DT Swiss rim, Continental tyres, Flectr reflector

The cockpit setup was a bit fiddly, because the SRAM shifter and the Shimano XT brake levers aren‘t exactly meant to live next to each other and finding the right order, position, and angle took some time. I also found that while I enjoy using this Canyon MTB handlebar, it‘s wiiide, so wide in fact that I shortened it from 720 mm to 680 mm after a first test ride revealed that I felt too spread out and bent over.
I opted for Ergon MTB grips that sadly might be replaced with a different model because the ridges in the grips dig into my palms too much right now. I suspect that the grips are meant to be used with gloves but I‘m not going to do that with this bike.
There wasn‘t even a question which bike bell to use. I bought another Spurcycle Bell. These are very loud, sound great, are well made and robust, and user-servicable.

Front of the bicycle and the cockpit

The Spurcycle Bell in all its glory

Saddle setup was fine but I‘m not entirely sure this new Ergon SM Comp MTB saddle is all their advertising promises. We‘ll see. My butt has gotten so used to my Fabric Scoop Pro Shallow perch, maybe it just needs time to accept the Ergon and the more upright sitting position.

Ergon SM Comp saddle

My Abus Bordo lock now has a permanent spot on the seat tube of the bike and I hope that it‘s going to continue to offer enough protection when I have to leave the bike alone in places.
There are few bottle cages that fit a Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle properly (especially not Klean Kanteen‘s own offering) but the Iris King Cage seems to do the trick. The bottle sits in there securely even over rougher terrain and without rattling. There‘s a matter of the bottle being scratched up but personally, I don‘t mind.

Abus Bordo Granit X-Plus and Klean Kanteen Reflect in an Iris King Cage

Last but not least, I‘m very happy that the chainline worked out, using the full SRAM NX Eagle groupset on my CX bicycle frame set. I‘ve documented everything in detail in English here and in German here.
In short, SRAM dissuades customers from using their MTB groupsets on anything but MTBs, recommending their road bike- and gravel-specific components instead. Nowhere did I find any hint that with the right spacer rings everything would work out just fine.

Even the 32-tooth chainring up front, which I feared might be overkill combined with the 11–50-tooth cassette, was a good choice. In the 32+50 gearing it provides a ratio of 0.64 allowing me to almost effortlessly get up the hills we have here. Well now, that‘s a lie: pedaling uphill on an 18% incline is still a pain but much less so than with the lowest gear ratio of 0.9 on my gravel bike.

The bike has also already proven to fulfil its second purpose: being a shopping bike.
I did two weekly shopping trips with it already and even going up a hill and some short but steep inclines with a trailer filled with a week‘s worth of groceries and some beer was much less daunting/taxing/sweaty than expected.

All in all, this project seems to have been a success and I now have two really great and versatile bicycles at my disposal. I‘m particularly happy about this because I was also told in no uncertain terms by my partner that n+1 = s-1 = 2 in my case, so this is where it‘s at. 😉

Photos June 2017

June was another month with lots of time spent outside with friends and our dogs.

Lacey being clueless about food above her head

I really like this shot below because Amy, the Chihuahua of an aquaintance, was really enjoying the cold grass next to a lake. This was also shot with an old Soviet lens (a Helios 44M-4) that is known for its swirly bokeh.

Amy enjoying the cold grass next to a lake

I also attended FedCon in Bonn, which was a hell of a lot of fun. Among other things I received some Oo-mox from a Ferengi and a Cardassian and met this beautiful couple. I'm sure their child is going to have a very nerdy upbringing.

Oo-mox by two unlikely companions

Star Wars and Star Trek coexisting

Using SRAM NX Eagle on a cyclocross bike (road bike)

The purpose of this brief entry is to document that the use of a complete SRAM NX Eagle groupset, including a DUB standard crankset works in CX/road bikes.
While doing research for my bicycle rebuild project I did not find any useful information online or by calling bike shops and mechanics. Instead I only came across some vague hints from SRAM that the chainlines of the NX Eagle and the SRAM road bike groups (Apex, Rival, Force, etc.) are different and that using the robust and cheaper MTB groupset on CX/gravel/road bikes is a no-no.

During assembly it quickly became apparent that the chainline in gears 6 and 7 (out of 12) was pretty much perfectly straight, which also means that the angle of the chain in the lowest and highest gears is within the specifications of SRAM.
Of course, all of this depends on the components and the frame of the respective bike, so here are the details of my setup as a point of reference:

  • Rear axle width: 135 mm with quick release (142 mm with thru axle)
  • Spacer between cassette and spokes: 2 mm
  • Cassette: SRAM NX Eagle PG-1230 (12-speed, 11-50 teeth)
  • Bottom bracket shell width: 86.5 mm
  • Inside diameter of the bottom bracket shell: 41 mm
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB bottom bracket PressFit PF41 BB86 Road
  • Crankset: SRAM NX Eagle DUB crank 1x12, X-SYNC 2 Direct Mount, chainring with 6 mm offset
  • Spacers at the bottom bracket: right 6 mm, left 3 mm + use of preload adjuster

SRAM NX Eagle on Inflite AL close-up

SRAM NX Eagle am Cyclocross-Rad (Rennrad) nutzen

Dieser kurze Beitrag hat den Zweck knapp zu dokumentieren, dass die Nutzung einer vollständigen SRAM NX Eagle-Schaltgruppe inklusive Kurbelgarnitur mit einer Kurbelwelle des neuen DUB-Standards von SRAM in CX/Rennrädern funktioniert.
Bei meiner Recherche für einen Fahrradneuaufbau habe ich hierzu keinerlei nützliche Informationen online oder durch Anrufe bei Fahrradläden gefunden. Stattdessen nur wage Hinweise von SRAM, dass die Kettenlinien der NX Eagle und der SRAM Gruppen für Rennräder (Apex, Rival, Force, etc.) unterschiedlich sind und daher die Verwendung der günstigen und robusten MTB-Schaltgruppe an Cyclocross-/Schotter-/Rennrädern tabu ist.

Beim Aufbau habe ich schnell festgestellt, dass die Kettenlinie auf den Gängen 6 und 7 (von 12) so gut wie perfekt und entsprechend die Schrägstellung der Kette im niedrigsten und höchsten Gang auch problemlos ist.

Natürlich hängt alles von den Komponenten und dem Rahmen des jeweiligen Rades ab, deshalb hier die Einzelheiten zu meinem Aufbau:

  • Breite der Hinterachse: 135 mm mit Schnellspanner (142 mm mit Steckachse)
  • Spacer/Abstandsring zwischen Kassette und Speichen: 2 mm
  • Kassette: SRAM NX Eagle PG-1230 (12-fach, 11–50 Zähne)
  • Breite der Tretlagerschale: 86,5 mm
  • Innendurchmesser der Tretlagerschale: 41 mm
  • Tretlager: SRAM DUB Innenlager PressFit PF41 BB86 Road
  • Kurbelgarnitur: SRAM NX Eagle DUB Kurbel 1x12, X-SYNC 2 Direct Mount, Kettenblatt mit 6 mm Offset
  • Spacer/Abstandsringe am Tretlager: rechts 6 mm, links 3 mm + justierter Vorspannungseinsteller

SRAM NX Eagle on Inflite AL close-up