Friday, November 18, 2016

Kevin update

Haven't posted any Kevin updates lately.

He still eludes being held or touched.

Here's one from the other night that looks promising. :)


The video makes him look huge, but he's really not as big as he may seem.

When I eat breakfast, he hangs on the side of his cage waiting for a taste. It's usually a bran flake from my Raisin Bran. He loves them.

Once I can find a larger table, I plan to connect another cage to his so he has more space to explore.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chomp

Kevin loves peanut butter.

Kevin can also bite harder than he has been.

Last night I decided to give Kevin a special treat: peanut butter. I have read that they can eat it, in very tiny amounts. Too much and it can block their airways(?) I guess that makes sense, since it's very sticky.

Anyway, I smeared the tiniest amount on my finger tip and offered it to him. He licked and nibbled at it until it was gone. He then wanted more. I gave him more. This time, he decided to bite my finger. He bit it fairly hard too, although it didn't break skin or leave a mark. This is more inline with what I originally expected. :)

I also tried a few times to pick him up, but he wouldn't have any of that.

Earlier in the week I placed a large rock in his cage for him to climb on, and hopefully wear down his little nails. I noticed they were getting a little long, and since I can't hold him to trim them, this is the best I can do.


He was cautious at first, but now he seems to like it.

His routine now is to climb up to the door and almost immediately he'll climb back down and wait for me to put my hand in the cage and offer him a treat. He knows that I won't give him anything at the door anymore.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trust

It turns out that Kevin doesn't like carrots. I tried to give some as a treat and he completely ignored it and wanted to bite my finger instead.

I got brave and let him take a bite. Or two. Or three. Or ten.

It didn't break the skin or hurt at all. Either he went easy on me or that's the best he can do.


I tried to coax him onto my open hand later, using a few different seeds as bait. He seemed puzzled and bit me a few times. Again, no pain or blood shed, but he was pretty determined to make my hand go away.

I think his biggest problem is that he closes his eyes when he puts his face near my hand. He goes into cautious, defensive mode. I guess he's protecting himself in case I attack? His vision is already bad because he's a mouse, but with his eyes closed he can't see where the seeds are to grab one so he just bites at random with hope that he'll find an edible snack.

Anyway, I think this was a huge step in building trust with him. I wish someone had told me that the bites didn't hurt or draw blood. Is this really normal for a domestic mouse?

When he climbs up at the door, he's starting to look down at the table more often as if he's tempted to jump down. I still try to avoid giving him any treats when he's there, and instead give them to him inside his cage.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Still patient

Kevin is still eluding my attempts to pet him or hold him. He does seem to be getting used to the hand intrusions in his cage though. Even my kids were able to almost pet him yesterday when they were over.

One of these days I'll keep my hand in the cage when he attempts to nip me and see if he'll try it more than once. :)

A Google photos compilation video of a bunch of clips...


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Don't touch my stuff

This week I discovered that Kevin doesn't particularly like "the big hand" going inside his cage.

I thought we were making good progress toward him being held, so I attempted to pet him while he was inside his cage. If he ran off, all I had to do was stir up the bedding on the floor of the cage a little and he'd come running back to make me stop.



He tried to nip at me a couple of times as if to say "No, we'll have none of that. Beat it!" No broken or even scratched skin, but they were definitely his teeth that I felt. It was still kind of cute. He was getting a little too excited, so I gave him a few treats and left him alone.

No more of this

Last night i tried a different approach. I've stopped giving him treats by allowing him to climb up to the door and hang out to take them from me, and instead I am now putting my hand inside the cage to give them to him. I think he just needs to get used to having my hand in the cage to build more trust.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kevin, one week later

Kevin is getting better about coming to the cage door for treats. I tried to pet him a few times last night when he climbed up to see if I had anything for him. Needless to say, he dropped back into the cage and scurried off quickly. :)


Kyle and Kaitlyn came over for dinner and had fun giving him treats. We had to coax him down though since he seemed more interested in sleeping.

Later in the evening I tried putting a seed in my open hand and resting it on the cage bottom. He approached very cautiously to smell my hand. He even tried to nip my finger once; I felt his teeth brush against my finger. One thing I noticed, and Kaitlyn also noticed, is that he squints when he's taking food from you. I think that's a sign that he's still a little bit afraid.

Friday, September 30, 2016

More progress

Last night, for the first time, I was able to put my hand inside the cage and give Kevin a couple of treats, as he hid inside the tube to his eating area. He doesn't seem to like the sunflower seeds as much as I expected. I had hamsters when I was younger and they loved them. Pumpkin seeds and, what I think are, watermelon seeds seem to be his fav.

Even when I don't have treats for him, I hold my fingers near the cage so he can get used to me. He doesn't run away as often.

He still fills his water bowl with bedding. I had to clean it twice this morning before I left for work. I need to find something better soon.

I should also mention that Kevin has his own Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/kevin_the_mouse/

Yyyyep... why not.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slow progress is still progress

On Tuesday evening, I made my first real attempt to hand-feed Kevin treats through the bars. He accepted them without too much trouble and came back for more many times, but he tends to run off to eat them. He's very quick.
More treats please!
He has a really bad habit of filling his water bowl with bedding and I have to clean it out and refill it. I need to find a small water bottle that will fit through the bars of the cage. Pet Valu didn't have anything suitable.



This evening I hand-fed him more treats through the bars. I feel like he's getting used to me now, but I'm still not confident enough to attempt to pick him up for fear he'll jump out of my hands and get lost in the apartment, or worse, hurt.

Monday, September 26, 2016

2 Days with Kevin

I managed to clean Kevin's cage on Sunday. I waited until he was in another area of the cage, then disconnect the other parts and cleaned them. He's still very skittish. When he smells my fingers or I put my face near the cage, he scampers off to his eating "room". I would too if I was him.

This morning, I left small strips of paper towel in his cage and he used them to "wallpaper" his sleeping quarters. I gave him a full sheet of tissue later in the evening and he managed to figure out how to get it up to his sleeping area; he dragged it backwards up the pipe. Smart little guy.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Meet Kevin

Today I adopted Kevin from the Ottawa Humane Society. He's 6 months old and was born on March 16, according to his papers. He cost me $10 and they included the cage. I picked up some food while I was there for $9.



The adoption process was easy and fairly quick. They had a few other mice to choose from, but I think when they said I'd want Kevin once I saw him it gave him an advantage. :) They said they usually sit his cage on the counter and he's active all day. When I was leaving they asked me if I was going to keep his name and I said I would. It suits him.

I walked to the nearby Pet Valu later in the afternoon and purchased some treats and fresh bedding.

I'm not even going to attempt to pet or pick him up for a while. I've had hamsters and a rat in the past, so I know how to approach the situation, but he's way more skittish and fast than they ever were.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bikes are all working... knock on wood

I brought the rear rim of the Allegro 1X to the bike shop to get a spoke fixed. I had expected the work to be completed early Saturday so I could get in some riding but it didn't happen until after 4pm. $35.31 later it's fixed. What a cost difference in comparison to getting a spoke fixed on the Neo Carbon. Of course, it's too different shops; one specializing in electric bikes and the other regular bikes. They may claim that e-bikes are just like regular bikes, but they're not when it comes to repairs. That's something to keep in mind if you're thinking of getting one.

I discovered the obvious on Friday as I rode the Neo Carbon home and I saw that I had almost double the charge remaining in the battery than I usually do. Changing my riding style takes all the credit for that. I've started coasting as often as I can, whereas before I would always pedal, even downhill, to get to where I'm going faster. What a difference. This should have been obvious right from the start. Duh. :)

I need to ride 28.6kms per day, every day, for the entire month to catch up on my Great Cycle Challenge goal of 750kms. I've switched to a longer route to and from work that should help make up for lost time, but it's only going to help if the weather cooperates every day. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bikes... the things I hate about them

After replacing the inner tube in the rear wheel of the Neo Carbon (and finding a third puncture on the old one) all was well up until yesterday.

About half way home I heard a spoke "pop" sound. If you've broken a spoke, you know that sound. Fortunately, the bike shop I got it at was along my route home. Unfortunately, after waiting half an hour, they told me it couldn't be fixed yesterday because it was more complicated than they first thought, with the spoke pattern and all. On top of that, it was going to cost around $55 to fix. I don't think I have much choice than to get it fixed there, since it's the rear wheel with the motor in the hub. I hope that estimate isn't higher today after they realized it was more work.

As if that's not bad enough, when I took the Allegro out for an hour on Saturday, I heard that familiar spoke pop. I couldn't find a broken spoke, but the wheel became untrue. I managed to finish my ride and had planned to take it to a regular bike shop yesterday after I got home from work. By the time I walked home, I wasn't in much of a mood to go back out and spend more money. I'll probably do that today.

What sucks even more is that today was suppose to be the first day of the Great Cycle Challenge.

Come on June, be good to me.

Update: the repair cost is $98.25 :(

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More bike woes

This happens at least once or twice a year: flat tires.

It happened to me this morning, about 1½ kms from work. I walked it the rest of the way and checked it out when I got to the bike room. I lucked out and found a tiny thorn stuck in the tire. When I pumped up the tire I could feel the air leaking out where the thorn had been. Finding the leak is half the battle. Or so I thought.

I went down at lunch and attempted to repair the flat. The Neo Carbon's rear wheel is held on with 19mm nuts, and I don't carry wrenches with me, so I had to repair it without removing the wheel. That's not too difficult. Once I repaired it, and put some air in the tire, I examined the tire for any other punctures. I found a small metal sliver stuck in the tire. I removed it and air came out. Of all the shitty luck. Why me?

Once again, I removed the inner tube enough to patch the second hole. I was fortunate enough to find someone in the underground parking who had a portable air pump so I could inflate it to the right pressure.

I returned my bike to the bike room and crossed my fingers that it would stay inflated, but in the back of my mind I didn't have much confidence in my repair job.

I went back down an hour later to find it flat once again. If I had a 19mm wrench with me, I would have replaced the entire inner tube like I usually do and this probably wouldn't be a problem.

I hate taking the bus.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ride comparison

After riding home from work yesterday on my Neo Carbon I decided to take my Jamis Allegro 1X for a ride. The weather was warm enough, so I changed quickly and headed out for a ~10km ride that I had mapped out earlier in the week.

What a difference.

I fully expected more of a workout, but it felt like I was pedaling with the brakes on. And to think that I used to ride ~40kms per day to and from work on this bike.

I need to do this more often for the workout. I'm aiming for a daily ride after work, weather permitting. First, I need to make a few adjustments to the gears this weekend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ContourROAM upgrade to ContourROAM 2

I discovered this last week while trying to find a fix for an issue I had with my ContourROAM camera not keeping the correct time:

How To Upgrade ROAM1 into ROAM2

http://www.wikihow.com/Mod-a-Contour-Roam-to-60Fps#How_To_Upgrade_ROAM1_into_ROAM2_sub

There are other web sites and videos that all describe the procedure. Be sure to install the Contour StoryTeller software and check out some of the other new features that get added.

There is one complaint about doing this though; it doesn't record well under low light after the upgrade. If filming at night is important for you, don't do it.

The upgrade/hack also fixed my time issue. :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Good time

I discovered another perk of riding a pedal-assisted e-bike; it's easier to get from one green traffic light to the next without hitting a red light.

I changed things up a little for this morning's commute and rode over to the Gatineau side bike path, and then crossed back over to Ottawa and continue along part of the Ottawa bike path. Compared with last year's time for the same route, I shaved about 4-5 minutes off the total time, and my average speed went from around ~21km/h to ~25km/h. However, I did find that I was still pushing harder than I probably needed to and I was starting to break a sweat when I arrived at work.

I'm a little concerned that I'm not getting the suggested distance off a full charge of the battery. For a 15km ride, with a few steep hills, the battery went from 100% to around 60%. That's good enough to get home using the same route, but apparently I should get close to 80kms on full charge using the lowest assist level. Hopefully this is due to the pretty chilly mornings and it'll get better as the weather warms up. I know I'm also a little bigger and heavier than the person this bike is designed for. I'd be fairly happy if I could get 60kms on a full charge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

So... it is a little faster

My ride home from work yesterday was fast. I'm pretty sure it was faster than any previous ride on the same route, at just over 31 minutes.

I checked my average speed for the route and compared it to last year. Most of my rides last year were in the 18-19km/h range. So far, this week, it's 21-23km/h.

So, whatever I said about an e-bike not being faster, I take I take it back. I'm anxious to get back to riding along Ottawa River path where there are almost no stops. Once the Ottawa Locks open for crossing, that'll be my route.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

First Ride

I rode to work on the Neo Carbon today and it went well.

Despite how uncomfortable the seat looks, it wasn't bad at all. I do feel like I'm leaning more than on the Allegra, but I don't think it's going to matter for commuting purposes.

The new placement of the year paddle and brake lever work well and don't feel awkward at all. I found a video review of the bike that zoomed in on the right handle bar controls and I can't figure out how they work without hitting each other while mine didn't.

Snapshot from the video review

The downshift paddle that you can't really see in the photo hits the throttle.

The acceleration of this bike is great. I found that I can take off from a stop in the highest gear without any problem. I rode it on the lowest assist setting for nearly the entire ride. I was just starting to break a sweat when I arrived at work. My brain is still stuck in a "go fast" mode, despite the assist.

One little thing I need to get used to is the sensitivity of the sensor that detects when you pedal. When I stop at a light, I usually have the right pedal up and my foot on it. On this bike, it detects the pressure on the pedal and sometimes makes it want to assist and the bike starts to move on its own. I need to remember to keep a hand on a brake to kill the power to the motor.

The weather forecast for this week looks good, so I should be able to ride for the rest of the week. I hope.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Done deal

I walked to the bike shop on Saturday morning to check out the Neo Carbon I was offered as a replacement for the defective Ion; I even took it for a test ride. It didn't take me long to see that getting it as a replacement for the Ion was a no-brainer.

It was a great ride. The seat was more comfortable than I expected, although I suspect I'll still replace it at some point. The pedal assist and throttle control are amazing; way better than the Ion.

I agreed to the swap and they got it ready for me while I waited and enjoyed a coffee.

When I was riding it home, I had some trouble changing gears. The shifter was hitting the throttle control. I had to really force it to shift down. Once I was home, I had a closer look at it. Surely, this wasn't the way it was designed? They had told me at the shop that they tuned it up, and replaced the grips, so I'm guessing parts were removed and put back on and somehow this was overlooked. Anyway, I swapped the order of the brake lever and gear shifter on the handle bar, which made more space for the shifter and that fixed it. I haven't taken it for a test ride, but I'm confident that'll do it.

I also moved my carrier rack from the Allegro to the Neo Carbon without a hitch. The flat carbon look of the rack really goes well with the bike. :)

I'm really anxious to start riding it to work. Seeing as how this is also used, I've got a 60 day warranty to ride the hell out of it to work out any issues.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bike update

I received a call late yesterday from the bike shop and they left a message asking me to call them back when I had a chance. Because it wasn't a "bike is ready, pick it up" kind of message, I suspected something was wrong.

I called back when I got home. They apologized for the delay in getting back to me and explained that it took them a while to figure out what the problem was.

It turns out that there was a hairline fracture in the motor hub, and it's not repairable. To get a replacement motor would take months. So, he provided me with two options. I can get my money back, or they would exchange the bike for another used bike of better quality at no extra charge.

The bike is the Easy Motion Neo Carbon. It's a very similar style to my current Jamis Allegra 1X.  He said it's in immaculate condition and they're currently selling it for around $2400 (original price ~$4000) He said the original owner had back issues and had to exchange it for a different style.




I looked up details and there appears to be two models, one with front shocks and one without. I'm not sure which one they have. The reviews I've read and watched are all great and I really like the specs on it; it has more gears and features that the ION Commuter. But, it doesn't have a carrier rack and the seat doesn't look too comfortable. I could move the rack from my Jamis over to it, and buy a more comfortable seat so that's not a deal killer for me. This would also let me use my Ibera PakRak bag that is built for the rack. The biggest concern is the frame size. It appears to be designed more for a 5'10" rider and I'm 6'2".

I'll definitely have to take it for a test ride and see how it feels; that will be the deciding factor.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stranded... part 2

When I left work yesterday, my biked fucked up again. This time I couldn't get it to work, no matter what I tried.

I called the bike shop and explained. He gave me some suggestions, which I had already tried but would try again. I explained that if they didn't work, I wasn't sure how I'd get the bike to their shop to be fixed. He offered to pick it up this morning with their van.

I locked it back up in the bike room at work and took the bus home. This morning, just as promised, he called about 5-10 minutes before arriving at my work and met me out front to load it up. At least he could see that it was definitely non-functional.

Today it's raining, and is supposed to rain all day so I'm not missing out on any biking. I guess that's a plus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stranded... temporarily

I've ridden my new bike about 9 or 10 times since I bought it. At least once per ride, usually as I begin to pedal from a stop, there's a feeling like when the chain slips. It lasts a few seconds and then the pedal assist activates and everything is fine. Up until this morning, that's what I thought was happening.

However, this morning when it happened it wouldn't stop happening. I got off the bike to check the chain and it was fine; full contact with the cassette and crank set. But when I turned the crank set by hand the rear hub/cassette spun freely and wouldn't drive the rear wheel at all, as a regular bike would.

I turned off the pedal assist and battery and the same thing happened. The crank set turned without resistance. (imagine a stationary bike) :( I still had 1km to go to get to work. That's not a big deal, but then I wondered how the hell I was going to get this bike to the store where I bought it to get it fixed.

After 5 minutes of walking it, I decided to get back on the bike and see if I could get it working again. I enabled the pedal-assist and slowly tried to pedal to make the pedal assist activate and that made the cassette finally "engage" and drive the wheel, and I was able to pedal as a normal bike again with or without assist.

Once I got to work I sent the store a message on their web site asking if I could drop it off on the way home today. (Assuming it works well enough to get me there, that is) It was a final sale, since it's actually a used bike, but they did give a 60-day warranty on it. They replied saying they would schedule it to be looked at tomorrow if I dropped it off later today.

One other thing, that is more of annoyance to me, is that the computer will not remember the time after being programmed. I tried replacing the battery in it and that didn't help. I was going to live with that but since this new issue popped up I'm going to get that fixed as well.

I hope this is a one-time thing; I really don't need the stress from this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not a time saver

I decided at the last minute to ride to work today. The roads were wet, but it wasn't raining or snowing, and there didn't seem to be any of either in the forecast.

Overall, the ride went well. Better than the last one. There were a few snowy patches along the route, but there didn't bother me. In fact, I was attracted to them like a kid... wanting to leave tire tracks. :)

I tried to keep the pedal assist level fairly low this time. During the ride home the last time, the battery indicator would fluctuate wildly when the assist kicked in, particularly on hills. I suspected that was a good indicator of the remaining power in the battery. Despite that, it lasted for the commute. Anyway, this time I stuck with it at 2. There was much less wind this time too, so it (and I) didn't have to work as hard.

The entire ride took longer than Monday morning's ride. ~7 minutes longer. I'm not surprised since I wasn't pushing hard for speed. I had read before that e-bikes won't really save you any time, so there you have it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New transportation

I bought a pedal-assisted bike (aka e-bike). I don't have easy access to a vehicle, nor can I afford one at the moment, so I decided this was my best option.

I'll be using it for all commuting to and from work, and other assorted non-workout rides where I'd rather not be drenched in sweat by the time I reach my destination. Plus, I'll save the $100 that I currently spend on a monthly bus pass. Not that the bus savings will pay off the bike any time soon.

Aside from the "stay drier" benefit, it'll also allow me to start riding earlier in the season, and continue later at the end of the season since I'll be able to dress much warmer.

It has five levels of assist, from 1-5, all of which require pedaling with varying degrees of effort. I switched between 5 and 4 for most of my ride, which provided me with the most assist to keep me moving along at a decent pace.

This morning was my first ride to work, and the temperature was 7°c. Despite wearing what I thought were warm gloves, my fingers were freezing. The rest of me was great.

One thing I noticed during my ride was that I was still putting a lot of effort into pedaling, even with the assist enabled. Right now with the cold weather, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when summer comes along I think I'll still be working up a sweat. I'm fairly certain it's due to my riding style. When I ride, I tend to pedal hard. Every time. That's a problem, if my goal is to not work up a sweat for a work commute. I'll need to retrain myself to take it easy, and let the assist help more. :)

There are a few hills on the route I took this morning. With the assist enabled, they weren't nearly as annoying as they usually are.

We'll see how this goes.