Monday 27 October 2014

Project SubZero Update 2

Project Subzero, the Icebike, side view.
All set up and ready to go!
Project: SubZero has made some further progress.  It won't be long before my little blue terror is tearing up some ice.  My road bike had it's last official outdoor day of 2014 so the project has seasonally inherited some goodies.  I will be getting more saddle time in so everything is properly broken in.  I'll just have to use mud as a reasonable substitute for snow until it falls.

I had ordered Dave's Mud Shovel front and rear fenders.  They're normally used on fat bikes.  But I was considering wider rims (just not fat-bike wide) and I wanted to make sure to contain the icy carnage being thrown at me.

The front fender on my icebike.
PDW Origami Front Fender
The front was back ordered.  When it finally came in, the plastic fender had a split in it.  More than likely from the way MEC packed the package.  I didn't want to order another only to wait 2 weeks for another cracked fender, so I went to a local store.  Of course, they don't carry the front fender in store.  So I picked up the PDW Origami front fender to see how it would do.  I'm not sure if I will bring in the rear one, you can't get Origami rear fenders in store either.

While the rear one is much larger than the front, I might still keep it. I'm happy to get as much snow/water coverage from my back tire as possible.

Both fenders are ridiculously easy to install.  The fenders install without needing tools, aside from scissors to cut rubber fasteners.  Once set up it's easy to put on or remove the fenders.  You can use the snaps on the fenders themselves or easily remove the entire mount.  The fenders can flatten out and be tossed into a backpack.  Their flexibility would be an asset in surviving crashes.

I heard that using a non-stick cooking spray on fenders will stop snow and slushy accumulation.  When we start seeing some snow I will crack out the PAM and put this theory to the test.

My light shining on the road and reflective surfaces on a dark night
I had the opportunity to try my existing road bike light in dark conditions.  It is a MEC Zinger 480.  It is a USB rechargable LED headlight.  On the highest setting it produces a light at 480 lumens.  I was pretty happy with the visibility and will stick to using this on Project: SubZero.

I had my light mostly aimed down in the photo to the right.  I found that it was able to light up signs from far away and it gave adequate riding light.  I could have aimed it slightly higher and gotten a much larger patch of light in front of me.  I really didn't want to try my luck though, I already had one person high beam me because of my "overpowering" front light.  No kidding, take a look at the video below.

The rear bike light on my icebike, it has a line laser!
Lasers with camera flash.
My bicycle rear red light projects these laser lines.
Lasers without camera flash.
My rear light was an interesting find on AliExpress.  It uses a pair of AAA cells and provides 5 LED red lights and 2 red laser lines.  There are a variety of settings for blinking patterns for both.  It feels pretty flimsy but what else do you want for $5 including shipping?

So far it looks great, the pictures don't do it justice.  But I will have to watch that rear fender as it can block the lasers if moved around.

I also have a LED head lamp.  It's a Black Diamond that is several years old.  Can't find the specs online so I don't know how many lumen's it produces.  But thanks to it being liberated from my camping gear, it has a very low cost of 0 dollars.  Hard to beat!

Rear stay with red reflective material.
Front fork with reflective white surface.Reflective Strips
I added in reflective strips so I would be legal to ride in Ontario at night.  I'm not sure if it applies for off-road cycling but you never know when I might end up on a roadway. They went on fine but I did have to trim some material to fit around cable mounts.  Despite my dislike for uglying up my bicycle, I do notice they're extremely reflective.

I'm also hoping they do give me a different looking profile than a snowmobile or ATV at night.

My various gadgets mounted on Project SubZero, my icebike.
Horn, Light, (on stem) RFLKT+, Action Cam, Bell
(below) Handlebar bag..
Other Changes
Since my road bicycle is moving indoors for the winter, I have a bunch of gadgetry that I will be moving over to Project: SubZero.  I also had a few items that didn't work out.

  • Electric Horn. Great for when you need more decibels than a bell can provide.
  • Action Cam. So I can capture whatever winter action I find.
  • Handlebar Bag. I usually put my emergency tools, first aid, phone and other goodies in here.
  • RFLKT+ Mount.  I will be using my RFLKT+ in spin class but I have two mounts.  I put the stem mount one on Project: SubZero.  So I can switch the head unit between either bike.
  • Saddle Bag.  Tried replacing it with 2 other saddle bags I have.  Nothing would fit with both the fender and the rear light.  Will just use front bag and backpack in lieu of a saddle bag.
  • Phone Mount.  I don't really need it as I have the RFLKT+ showing me everything I need.  I will either put the phone in the front bag or in my coat.  The latter seems to be a great idea for when its very cold.  I will probably have this on the hybrid as it has no RFLKT+ mount.
  • Snack Pouch.  I was going to put it on here but it would just ensure my food would freeze.  It only has a mesh cover.  Better for me to just put food in a backpack.


  1. I have the Daves mud shovel in the front but I couldn't do it in the back. My seat post is already as high as I can put it. I'm a hobbit! So what does the lasers do exactly, other then showing red lines on the ground?

    I just purchased a rear bag, so I can offload my coat when the temp rises. I got caught the other day with way to many layers on. I came home a dripping mess.

  2. Well if it;s any consolation, my ogre sized frame has the same seat post issue. Fender, Rack, Light, Seat post bag -- pick two. I ended up going with the fender and the light.

    The lasers also blink. I wasn't going to say anything, as I know you hate blinking lights :D . But the pictures don't do it justice, it makes you really stand out when it's dark. Solid (no blink) is the best but it burns the battery life pretty fast, think 2 hours max.

    That bag will come in handy. Your morning and evening commutes will be different temperatures so bringing layers (and having room to store layers you remove) will be an asset.