Things That Make You Go Hmm

Things That Make You Go Hmm

by Mitch Trujillo, PCI #244/EMSCI #248T
Boulder (CO) Police Department
Education Director - IPMBA Board

These highly innovative products have features that should be distinctly beneficial to public safety cyclists.  They have been trialed over a three month period.

Camelbak Octane LR
The Octane LR hydration pack is new for 2011.  I became intrigued by the pack’s hyper-light weight and its ingenious lumbar bladder design at Interbike last fall.  The pack is made of coated rip-stop nylon.  There are two zippered hip-belt pockets, as well as two stash pockets on the comfy shoulder straps for snacks or small essentials.  The pack distributes all the items I need for patrolling (Prestacycle Ratchet and bits, flat repair tools, jacket, first aid supplies, etc.), the pockets are easily accessible, and the weight is distributed low.  Comfy sternum and waist straps keep things stabilized during intense activity.  The hydration pocket allows easy access to the bladder, which sits wide, low and flat on the back.  The design doesn’t interfere with duty belts.  The Antidote™ reservoir has a center baffle which prevents sloshing and water shifting.  It holds 70 fl. oz., is taste-free, and easy to clean and fill via the large opening.  I route the bite valve into an upright position for ease of drinking.  While the “Mirage Grey” won’t match dark uniforms, it shouldn’t clash with many Fire/EMS/SAR/Ranger kits.  Front and back reflective accents help with the visibility during low light.  MSRP is $80, but tacticalwearonline.com offers a 15% discount through our IPMBA Product Purchase Program.  Promotive.com also offers discounts on Camelbak products – check www.promotive.com/lawenforcement to enroll and discover the current deals.

Prestacycle Ratchet/Bits/Torque Wrench Adaptor
The PrestaRachet and bits have convinced me to put aside my conventional folding micro-tool.  The kit employs chrome bits specific to bikes, all torque wrench compatible.  The bit carrier holds the bits securely and can be trimmed for a custom toolset-to-go.  Carrying the mini-ratchet tool, 2-, 2.5-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 8- mm. hex keys, with T-25Torx®, and flat/Phillips screw bits seems to more compact and weigh less than a comparable folding micro-tool.  Because the ratchet is reversible, incorporates a thumb-wheel, fits more ergonomically in-hand, allows more secure access to tighter spaces as well as faster wrenching than folding tools, I am a devout convert to the ratchet method.  My set of over twenty bits with the torque wrench adaptor is priced at $27 US and backed by a lifetime warranty.  Prestacycle is not yet listed in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program although we hope to remedy this.  Go to their website at www.prestacycle.com to check out the PrestaRatchet and other gadgets, including the PrestaLever and the home/portable nitrogen inflation system.

Tallac Bags
Tallac products were reviewed in a 2004 issue of IPMBA News, and they return in 2011 with more ingenious items.  I have been using the King Cage-made Behold cage with tool pouches made by Tallac, and have been really impressed by the design and function of the system.  So far, I have no qualms about it; once set up, it is pretty straightforward.  Just mount the stainless King Cage to your frame’s water bottle cage braze-ons, and follow the directions when mounting the pouches.  A grommet plate inside the bag reinforces its mounting.  The bag is made from water resistant, ballistic nylon.  A durable, full-length zipper with pull tab allows easy, gloved access to the innards.  There are different sized bags, ideal for carrying the basics: an extra inner tube, tire iron, CO2 inflation, patches, Prestacycle ratchet + bits, and a couple of small first aid items.  The stem’s top cap-mounted bag will fit a cell phone or external battery for a headlight.  Tallac has defined a unique and compact method for carrying small items on the bike which ensures the items are organized and separated from the other items in your bike bag or panniers.  My setup is priced at $35 (Behold cage/bag) and $28 (stem bag).  Tallac offers 30% off to IPMBA members through the Product Purchase Program.  See their listing on page 16 of this newsletter.  All system items are made in the USA and available at www.tallacdesign.com or www.kingcage.com.

Twofish Fasteners
Since 1993, Twofish Unlimited has specialized in fasteners and adaptors for mounting necessary items to your two-wheeled steed.  I’ve been using the Lockblocks Flashlight Holder™ and Quick Cage™ Adaptor.  The Flashlight Holder allows quick, secure, mounting and access to a small backup flashlight.  It employs a grippy block with a hook-and-loop strap.  While it doesn’t allow removal and replacement on the fly, it does a great job of mounting an extra AA light at the helm – at the low-cost of $14 US online.  The Quick Cage Adaptor is a lightweight adaptor for securing any standard bottle cage onto the frame or seatpost.  It will mount to non-round tubing and is non-marring.  It seems to be the best solution compared to similar designs in the market.  The price?  As low as $8 US online.  See even more inventive applications at www.twofish.biz.

Mitch is an IPMBA Instructor Trainer, serves as Education Director on your IPMBA Board, and has a penchant for singlespeeds.  He can be reached at trujillom@bouldercolorado.gov.

© 2011 IPMBA.  This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of IPMBA News.

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