Random Geekage

Brake maintenance was well overdue.

I'm not the best at bicycle maintenance and repair but needs must. My front brake has been squealing on and off. Compounded with my lack of finesse at adjusting the caliper lead to one pad being a lot more worn than the other.

The rears are fine for now but they are on the todo list for completion in a few months.

DIY Skin Salve

A while ago, Brian Green of Brian's Bees posted about some skin balm that he created using wax from his beehives. I've tried some commercially available salve and figured a replica of Brian's salve could be tried.

My partner and I have had a couple goes at it now, pretty simple. Melt down roughly 1:1 beeswax:food grade coconut oil by weight in a container, add some olive oil to make it easier to apply to skin plus any essential oils for aroma. Mix thoroughly and decant into little tubs and let them cool down and solidify.


Any cuts, dry patches, blisters, cracking or flaking gets a dollop of the salve rubbed in and it seems to make a difference in healing time.

I've been having some issues with skin irritation on the back of my knees for a couple months. Initially, I thought it was some sort of fungal infection and I have been slapping on some anti-fungal creams of various brands, none of which had any effect. On a whim, I had a look at other possible options and figured the next best fit was likely to be dermatitis.

I started using some of the hand salve on the offending skin and I have seen a massive improvement in condition. Much more pleasing is the lack of itching at night which is aggravating when trying to sleep.

Backpack Pannier

Cycling to work is undeniably a good thing. Sweat on the other hand, is not. My commute is 7.5 miles, a lot of which is uphill. Riding a bike with a backpack full of stuff makes me sweat quite badly and my work doesn't have any sort of showering facilities. Couple that with being required to wear a shirt and tie and you have a recipe for disaster.

My bike has a pannier rack on it so the natural idea is to put a pannier bag or two on. This however would mean transferring stuff between the pannier bag(s) and my EDC backpack irritatingly often and means having extra kit about the place.

The solution then is to put the backpack itself on the bike. A few options were brainstormed. Ratchet straps were tried but ended up being more hassle than they are worth. Using a Greyman Tactical RIP-M panel was attempted but unsatisfactory. What is needed is a way of hooking the backpack straps to the rack.

Way back in the day, I got a Kifaru Paratarp with the peg and pole kit. The kit has basically been retired, got better pegs and hiking poles for that purpose but I kept the poles around for future use. I attached one of the pole segments (basically a bit of aluminium pipe) to the rack with a couple of hose clamps and used a couple pieces of kydex from a previous project to space it out. Hook the straps over the pipe and tighten them down and the bag is securely attached to the bike. Doesn't move an inch.

The major downside to this approach is at low speeds (namely moving off and manoeuvring on foot) the bike is biased to one side which is interesting getting it down the hall at 04:30. At regular cruising speed I don't notice a thing.

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