Wednesday, June 27, 2012

That Rubber Band!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

The RAM X-Grip mounted onto
my bike.
I have been cycling a lot lately. In the previous entries, I wrote about how I am thankful to have the RAM Mount X-Grip Universal Cell Phone Holder, mounts my Droid Thunderbolt smart phone onto my handle bars. The X-Grip allows me to view the trail map while I'm riding.

As much as I like the X-Grip, it has a big flaw: whenever I hit a nasty bump on the bike path,  there is a decent chance the spring-loaded X-Grip will let go of my cell phone.  This happened 3 times within the first week of using the X-Grip!  The first time the X-Grip dropped my phone, I didn't even realize what had happened.  I just heard something drop behind me.  Suddenly I realized my phone was gone so I turned around.  Imagine if I hadn't heard that dropping sound, though!  
My Otterbox-encased
Droid Thunderbolt
mounted on to my X-Grip.

The second time the X-Grip dropped my phone, I could see it hurdling through the dirt.  The third time it happened was about 10 minutes after the second time it happened.  There will not be a fourth time!

Fortunately, my phone is in an Otterbox, a protective case that prevented my phone from total annihilation. The sim card did slip out of its slot- so I couldn't make any phone calls till I took my phone apart and fixed it.

This rubberband that ensures my RAM X-Grip won't
drop my phone again!
I am thankful my Otterbox protected my phone from utter destruction. However,  this entry is not about the Otterbox. It's about my solution to the X-Grip's shortcomings: To keep my phone securely attached to the X-Grip, I have been using a rubber band.  That's right: I spent $50 on RAM's mounting system, but a two-penny rubber band is what keeps my Droid securely fastened to my bike!  

So, here are 3 Things I am Thankful For because of That Rubber Band!

1. First off, it keeps my Droid mounted to my bike!
Before I started using the rubber band to supplement my X-Grip, my Droid fell off my bike 3 times.  Since I started using the rubber band, it hasn't fallen off once.  

This week- since using the rubberband- a pedestrian ran out right in front of me and I had to swerve to avoid running over her.  I swerved off the path, hit a bunch of tree roots and the X-Grip almost dropped my phone again. Even with the rubberband, the phone almost came out.  It came half way out.  It would have come all the way out, but the rubberband held it in place. Without the rubberband, my Droid would have definitely dropped.

I am thankful my rubberband is more reliable than my X-Grip!

2. When I get off my bike, I can use the rubberband to shoot somebody.
If another lady cuts me off and forces me off the trail, I can stop the bike, put my phone in my back pack, then bike up behind her and shoot the rubberband at the back of her head, execution style.  

Then, I can pick the rubberband back up, reattach it and my phone to my X-Grip and merrily ride off into the sunset.

3. I can use a rubberband to hold just about anything in place!
If I shoot a lady with a rubberband, she might come after me. What if she lunges at me and I fall off my bike, down a hill, through the Farmer Jenkins's thorn patch, over the river, through the woods, through Grandma's house and into some more tree roots?  Owie!  If all that happens, a rubberband can hold gauze onto my tree root wounds!  Thanks, rubberband!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

RAM Mount Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder

RAM Mount
Universal X-Grip
Cell Phone Holder
Hi!  I'm Jake!

In my previous blog entry, I wrote about how I have been cycling again lately. To keep track of my miles-per-hour, overall miles, and my route, I have been using a Droid app, MapMyRide.

I went riding with one of my buddies a few months ago and he has a bike mount for his i-Pod.  So I can view the MapMyRide trail map while I'm riding, I wanted something similar for my Droid. Using, I found the RAM Mount Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder.

RAM Mount
Aluminum Short Dual
1.0 inch Socket Arm
I got the RAM Mount Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder, the RAM Mount Aluminum Short Dual 1.0 inch Socket Arm, and the RAM Mount Zinc Coated U-Bolt Base w/1" Ball.  The entire order cost me about $55.

I was extremely excited when I received the package containing all 3 of these items.  However, upon opening my parcel, I realized the shippers didn't send any installation instructions.  Each component came with a plastic baggy and a brochure to buy more parts.  So, I had instructions on how I could get more parts, but not instructions on how to use the parts I already had! Nevertheless, using a screw driver and my manly intuition, I installed the mounting system on my bike in about 5 minutes.
RAM Mount
Zinc Coated
U-Bolt Base w/1" Ball

I have taken the RAM mounting system out for several rides and for the most part, it has worked great! Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because of my RAM Mount Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder!

1. While cycling, I can easily read my cell phone's display.
With my phone mounted right on my bike, I can look down at my handlebars and easily view all my stats (miles per hour, miles traveled, top speed).  I can read the MapMyRide map so I know where I am and how to get back.

I can even see if someone is calling me. So far that hasn't happened yet.  But when I get some friends and they call me, I can brag to them that I am exercising.  Bragging always makes me feel thankful!

2. I can quickly mount my phone on my bike- and take it off again!
The way the X-Grip works is 4 spring-loaded arms clasp around the phone, holding it in place.  To mount the phone, I squeeze 2 of the arms together, slide the phone right in, and let go.

To remove the phone, all I have to do is squeeze the arms together and grab the phone. Another way to remove the phone is to hit a big-ol' bump in the road.  The phone will fall out on the trail behind you- so you can double back and get a little extra exercise!  I'm always thankful for extra exercise!

3. The X-grip cradle can also easily be taken off my bike and used with other RAM mounts.
One other really cool thing about the X-Grip is I don't have to use it with the other components shown above.  RAM makes a windshield suction cup that, along with the RAM Mount Aluminum Short Dual 1.0 inch Socket Arm, allows you to mount the X-Grip in your car!

With my phone mounted in my car, I can view the Google Navigator app, see who is calling me, or even watch Netflix!  Sure, I watch Netflix a bunch in my car already, but now I can do it safely!  I am thankful for that!  Yay!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Hi!  I'm Jake!

Because of my big ol' Texas gut, you haven't heard from me for about a week.  See, I am tired of my gut so when I finally found a decent bike trail here in Austin, I started riding about an 60-90 minutes per day. It feels great!

To help monitor my exercise progress, I am using a GPS-based Droid app called MapMyRide.  It's pretty handy.  Here are #3ThingsIamThankfulFor because of MapMyRide!

1. MapMyRide Informs The Crap Out Of Me!
Back when I lived in Denver, I used to bike 30 miles per day, at least 3 times per week. I was really fit.  At my peak, I was biking around 15.5 miles per hour. 

I'd bike a lot faster if all you poky
chumps got out of the way!
When I started biking again about a week-and-a-half ago, I had no idea how fast I was going.  All I knew is that the only bike path I have found so far is also a pedestrian path.  It's cluttered with meandering pedestrians who walk slowly, with all their friends. They are chunky, trodding obstructions, who hog the whole width of the path. If the bike/pedestrian path is a urethra, they are the gall stone clogging up the works.  Regardless of how many times I call out "On your left!" they don't move out of the way till I just about run them over.  Get out of the way, jerks!  It's for your safety!

I almost got in 2 accidents on Friday!  Do you want me to run over you and your baby?  Get out of the way, dimples!

Because of all the pedestrians, I know I am not hitting my target speed of 15 miles per hour.  However, that's not very accurate information.  That's just a good guess based on fat people. MapMyRide tells me I am averaging about 13 miles per hour and my top speed was 30 miles per hour.  That 30 miles per hour must have been downhill!  

MapMyRide also tells me:
  • How many how many total miles I've biked.
  • How many minutes I have biked.
  • How many calories I've burned, so I know how much ice cream I can eat. 
  • What day it is.  That's important information!
I am thankful for the information.  It is way more accurate than my guesses and hopes.  Now, get out of the way, you mosying pedestrians!

2. MapMyRide shows me a map of my ride.
MapMyRide even displays a map of each ride.  It shows me exactly which route I took.

This is important because every time I ride, I vary my route slightly.  Combined with my speed statistics for each ride, eventually, I'll figure out which route I take allows me to go the fastest.  Another of way of saying that, I'll find out which path has the least meandering pedestrians. Hooray!  I'm thankful for that!

3. MapMyRide has an Auto Pause function.
The current routes I am using also go out into traffic a couple times. Traffic means I have to stop at red lights and/or stop for cars before I cross the road.  As soon as I stop moving, the Auto Pause function stops the clock.  Once I start moving again, it starts the clock again.  I am not really sure how that helps me, but I think I am thankful for that!