Andrea Kozma SweatNow App iOS Android Fitness

SweatNow makes trainers celebrities and students communities

sweatnow app ios android fitness appSweatNow, a free app for iOS and Android, allows all of us who only go to classes, studios, and gyms for specific trainers, coaches, teachers, yoginis, and instructors, to follow them wherever they go whenever they go there. They can change studios, gyms, or even towns and cities, and you’ll know where they are. If they plan a pop-up workout, you’ll know; if they need to cancel a class, you’ll know about the understudy before you waste all that time leaving work early, suffering traffic, and fighting for your favorite spot in class. You’ll know. Follow your faves, join their classes, keep up-to-date with what’s going on with them.

Biker Barre, owner Katie Fouts, instructor Ingrid Nelson. Rob StrongCurrently, SweatNow’s epicenter is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but it’s growing fast. If you’re an instructor, it’s the perfect time time to jump on board at the ground floor. Become the first trainer, yogi, coach, or instructor in your village, town, or city on SweatNow. It’s an amazing way to build your fame, to build your celebrity, to build your own personal fitness community. Be the first on board. 

Jordan Ritchie

Jordan Ritchie

You know that when I go to classes, I go for the trainers. My favorite personal trainer is James Harris who I met at XSport Express on Columbia Pike. My favorite Spin instructors are Jordan RitchieKatie Geffken, and Lauren Rice—all of whom I met at Biker Barre. I’m in a cult of their personality. Yes, I love Biker Bar, XSport, and RowVigor, but I prefer Fola Awosika to the other coaches and I choose James, Jordan, Katie, Lauren, and James.  SweatNow allows you to follow your trainer.

One of the down side of following the trainer, coach, teacher, yogini, and instructor rather than the studio and gym and their scheduled classes is that you’re never sure your own personal health celebrity—your fave—is going to need to cancel, leaving you with her understudy. By the time you adjust your bike and the lights go down, only then do you know you’re not riding with your fave. 

Katie Geffken

Katie Geffken

SweatNow solves this problem. SweatNow is the only Fitness Reservation App that helps users search and discover new trainers, instructors, and classes at gyms, studios, and pop-ups. Users of SweatNow can access each SweatNow trainer’s entire teaching schedule on one consolidated platform. Every element of SweatNow is designed to empower trainers and help them succeed. SweatNow bring clients to trainers and keep them connected to their students through constant communication and updates.

The goal of the founder, Andrea Kozma, is to empower instructors to improve their visibility, grow their network, and increase their revenue! SweatNow allows instructors who hosts or want to host a fitness workshop or any pop-up event to reach new and existing clients on the beach, at the park, or down the street anywhere all in real time.

Lauren Rice

Lauren Rice

Andrea Kozma created SweatNow in response to the question “where else do you teach?”  For her, it wasn’t an easy question. She popped around greater Philly and a lot of her classes were pop-ups at fitness stores, boutiques, and in parks and rooftops. She also traveled some and wanted to be able to train as she goes. For he, a self-branded Facebook pages wasn’t good enough, so she developer the app, by her, for her and her students and fans. Now, when asked, she answers with 5 simple words: “follow me on SweatNow.”

And if you don’t already have a favorite, finding a standout trainer that motivates and inspires is the difference between fitness success and fitness frustration! Here’s where SweatNow comes in. SweatNow connects you the follower, to the trainer. So instead of making awkward introductions after class or trolling trainers on social media, you simply follow them. As a follower, you can see your favorite trainer’s entire teaching schedule every format in every gym. We sweat all the details, so you don’t have to.

Andrea Kozma

Andrea Kozma

SweatNow is free to download and free to use. Followers have access to hundreds of classes in various formats. You don’t have to be a member of the gym take a class. Simply pay the walk-in fee on the app and SweatNow takes care of the rest. It’s never been this easy to stay fit and follow your favorite trainers. As an added bonus, SweatNow is continuously partnering with gyms to bring you exclusive walk-in pricing.

I really need to reach out to James HarrisJordan RitchieKatie Geffken, Fola Awosika and Lauren Rice to make sure they get in on the ground floor of SweatNow Metro Washington, DC, AKA the DMV. Currently, there’s only a handful of DC-area SweatNow instructors so it’s the perfect time to jump on board right now!

Some background posts for your enjoyment:


EverStretch: Premium Stretching Equipment for Athletes

EverStretch is so simple it’s genius for stretching, mobility, range of motion, and flexibility

Leg Stretcher: Get More Flexible With The Door Flexibility Trainer LITE by EverStretch: Premium stretching equipment for ballet, dance, MMA, taekwondo & gymnastics. Your own portable stretch machine!Since I’m swinging a kettlebell for 90-seconds every 60-minutes, stretching is important.

I was figuring out where I was going to put my big foot up real high so I can stretch my hamstrings and glutes when I stumbled upon EverStretch which looks like a modified TRX Suspension Trainer Straps

I don’t know them, they don’t have any affiliate program, but they do have one really cool product I like, the Door Flexibility Trainer LITE, which just comes with a door anchor and the stretching strap. It looks like the TRX trainer but it’s designed to easily cycle through the door anchor’s D-ring; also, unlike the TRX straps, there are no sizing buckles or stretching grips (you can order them separately)–just a door anchor and adjustable strap for your foot. It’s so simple and elegant. 

All that and the LITE version is currently only $19.97 via Amazon PrimeI don’t need one right now but I thought I would share it with you. Check out all their videos on YouTube.

2017 Concept2 Holiday Challenge

The 2017 Concept2 Holiday Challenge Begins November 23

2017 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeSome news from Concept2 about their upcoming individual challenge, the 2017 Concept2 Holiday Challenge:

It’s almost time for one of our most popular challenges! The 2017 Holiday Challenge begins November 23 (US Thanksgiving) and ends December 24 (Christmas Eve).

To participate, all you have to do is complete your workouts on either the Indoor Rower, SkiErg, or BikeErg and enter your meters in your Concept2 Online Logbook.

For every person who rows, skis or bikes at least 100k during the challenge, Concept2 will donate $.02 per kilometer (1000 meters) to your choice of the organizations listed below.

Chris Abraham Rowing Concept2 Holiday Challenge Rowing Erging Indoor Rowing LogbookNote: You must choose a charity from the front page of the logbook for your meters to count toward the donation.

Global Giving—Puerto Rico and Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund

Climate Reality Project

Union of Concerned Scientists

Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program

Once you get beyond 100k, we will donate $.04 per kilometer. Note: For kids and adaptive participants, the $.04 rate will take effect at 50k. Visit the Holiday Challenge page for more information.

Wishing you happy healthy holidays!

double-thick concept2 indoor rower sliding seat pad

Start preparing for the Concept2 Holiday Challenge today

2017 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeUnlike most Concept2 Challenges, the Holiday Challenge demands a lot from us from the very beginning: 6,451.61 meters-per-day, on average, to accumulate 200,000 meters over the 31-day Concept2 Holiday Challenge—which is a lot if you’re not used to high-mileage rowing. But you can do it!

There are five things you’ll need to complete rowing 200 kilometers in a month: pacing, training, comfort, hydration, and rest


Seat pads and a fanComfort’s important.

The padding and the small fan help things remain comfortable for long rows

Some folks have bony butts so you’ll need to make sure there’s some padding on your Concept2 Indoor Rower‘s sliding seat

For me, I have two Concept2 foam seat pads on my seat, one stuck on top of the other. Lots of distance rowers choose the Bubble Wrap & Towel solution, preferring the big-bubbled wrap. Be sure to get replacements because you’ll pop them down over time.

There are lots of brands you can explore:


SKWOOSH Row Pad, ComfiLife pad2K Fit Rowing Machine Seat CushionHornet Watersports Rowing Machine Seat CushionEndureRow Rowing Machine SeatVapor Fitness Silicone Seat Cover, JLRacing JeL Pad, PerfOARm Rowing Seat Pad, and the bizarre Sportsmith Tractor Seat

Start out without padding and then sort yourself out—just sort it out well before you start the Concept2 Holiday Challenge on November 23.


Nathan SuperShot 1.5 LI keep a Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L water bottle by my side when I row for meters.

Unlike doing HIIT and Tabata interval training on the erg or killing yourself to get your 500m and 2,000m PR, you might forget that you’re exerting yourself if you’re rowing for meters.


Chris Abraham watches movies rowing

Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L

Nathan SuperShot 1.5 L

If you need to average 6,451.61 meters/day—more likely 10km- or 15km- or 20km-at-a-time if you miss days and get behind and need to catch up on the weekend—then you need to make sure you hydrate and take short breaks.

I’ll be honest with you: sometimes I’ll watch an entire movie while rowing—90-minutes or so—and sometimes my intensity is so low that I need to remind myself that I am actually doing a full-body, repetitive, exercise, and need to keep hydrated.

If you’ve ever been on a crew team or a water rower, rowers and scullers and always taking breaks. To path-find, to orient, to take in the view, to enjoy nature and the river, or just to rest. You’re allowed to stop, take a sip, use the loo, and even get up and stretch a little. It’s okay.

Pacing & Training

I’ll let Concept2 take care of this part of the preparation for your first Concept2 Holiday Challenge! They did a great job:

Preparing for the Holiday Challenge

Chris Abraham does most of his meters while watching movies with the subtitles on

Chris Abraham watches movies rowing

If completing 100,000 or 200,000 meters in a month is a new challenge for you, here are some ideas to help you prepare:

  • Don’t be intimidated! Every year people who have never completed long distances complete the challenge.
  • Gradually build your workout time. Try adding an extra 1000 meters per day, especially if you don’t usually complete 7000 meters at a time.
  • If you don’t usually workout every day, try working out for several days in a row. The workouts can be short, but see how it feels to row/ski/ride more often.
  • Keep some stretching in your routine or add it if you haven’t been doing it regularly.
  • Think about when you will fit your extra Holiday Challenge workouts into your schedule. If it requires you to workout at a different time of day than usual, try it out ahead of time to see how it feels.
  • Plan ahead so that you can make up any missed meters due to travel or other commitments.
  • Pace yourself! Many people have commented that the Holiday Challenge pushed them to do more than they ever thought they could, and it felt great! On the other hand, it is not wise to make a sudden jump in the amount of rowing/skiing/riding you do, so keep this in mind. You can build your daily meters gradually, even during the challenge itself.

Good luck! May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand!


2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge October 25–31

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew Challenge Starts Today!

2017 Concept2 Skeleton Crew ChallengeToday is day one of Concept2‘s annual Halloween individual rowing challenge, the 2017 Skeleton Crew Challenge! It’s simple, on the nose, and fun: row at least 31,000 meters between October 25th and October 31st—Halloween! 

Unlike the more famous team challenges that Concept2 holds annually such as the Virtual Team Challenge (VTC), the Skeleton Crew Challenge is an individual challenge which means participants do not need to belong to a team to participate—all you need to a Concept2 Indoor Rower or SkiErg and a free registered membership on the Concept2 Logbook where you can enter your daily meters by hand; alternately, you can connect your Android or iPhone to your erg via Bluetooth using Concept2’s own ErgData app

Concept2 ErgData App for Indoor Rowing logging and syncing with the Concept2 logbook

ErgData App

ErgData syncs directly with the Concept2 Logbook so after you row a piece towards your 31,000 meters, you can upload your data to the Logbook automagically.

I recommend doing this not only since it’s super-easier but because a direct, secure, link between my PM5 monitor and the logbook through the ErgData app on my iPhone 5 will one day protect me when I row so many meters for a Concept2 Challenge that all the losers in my wake demand an audit of all my hard work as well.

Concept2 PM5 Fitness Monitor Fishgame Indoor Rower Erg Ergometer

PM5 Fishgame

If you don’t have a PM5 monitor on your rowing erg, you can upgrade your Concept2 indoor rower to a PM5 today from any previous monitor—there’s an upgrade path for all the erg models and all the monitors via their PM5 Retrofit Kit.

Hand-entered meters are always harder to defend than the digital chain of custody that PM5 to ErgData to Concept2 Logbook offers. 

Good luck, Godspeed, and many happy meter to you over the next six sweaty Autumn days!

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge Tall

Today’s Day 1 of Concept2 Fall Team Challenge 2017

PBC Potomac Boat Club Unisuit Rowing Singlet JLRacing JLRowingToday’s the first of thirty days of the 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge. I’ve decided to join Hope O’Keeffe over at Team Grotto — currently, there are only two of us. Luckily, you only need two rowers to make up a competitive boat. From 2-∞. The challenge starts today, September 15, and ends on October 15.

While I am rowing for Team Grotto, I am affiliated with Potomac Boat Club so I will be erging with my PBC colors during this challenge. I just received this amazing PBC unisuit from JLRacing.

2017-Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

If you haven’t officially become affiliated with or become a member of a Concept2 team yet, you actually have until September 30 23:59 GMT (19:59 ET) to get that all sorted out, so feel free to start rowing today but you need to find yourself a team and a boat in order for those meters to count at all in the 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge. Even if you’re a member of a team, that doesn’t mean you’ve officially become part of the challenge.  Again, it’s not automatic. Individual team members need to confirm they intend to take part in each challenge. You do this from the Team page.

Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions. You’re welcome to join Team Grotto if you have nowhere else to row.

Selfie with a BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth trucker headset

Update to my VXi BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth headset review

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI received my BlueParrott B450‑XT Bluetooth trucker headset from VXi Corp last week and have put some time on it. Long story short, the sound can go louder than you should listen and the tone is very warm and not tinny or trebly like many headsets. The connection is quick and sure.

The headset worked immediately with the VXi BlueParrott app I installed on my Samsung Galaxy S6 Active with Android 7 and I associated the Parrott Button with mute and it worked fine.

The mute is headset-based and doesn’t turn on mute on your phone. While muted, there’s a light tone that reminds you that you’re on mute.

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI took a long walk in the Summer sun and the B450-XT definitely makes my head hot. All my heat moves through my head so the headset got pretty sweaty, maybe resulting in the headset freezing up on me at my halfway point.  

When I first put the headset on, it was pretty heavy. I quickly got used to it, no worries, because the deep tone and vibrant sound makes up for it, compared to all the other VXi BlueParrott Bluetooth headsets to say nothing of all the other headsets I have had from Platronics, Jabra, and Jawbone. It is huge, it is like a set of Beats headsets but with only one housing and earpad. 

Here’s a comparison between the size of the B450-XT and my B250-XT+:

Size comparison between the larger B450-XT compared to the B250-XT+

Size comparison between the larger B450-XT compared to the B250-XT+

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetI rode on my Surly Steamroller to Miriam’s Kitchen last Wednesday and it wasn’t too heavy and it. And, unlike my experience with the Plantronics Voyager Edge and the VXi BlueParrott Bluetooth headsets, there’s wasn’t a single stutter or problem with the connection when I was listening to podcasts while I rode from Columbia Heights, Arlington, Virginia, to Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC.

In terms of sound and volume, if I increased the volume of the phone to max and then set the headset to max volume, I could clearly hear my podcasts during even the windiest day on the bicycle. 

vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headsetAfter testing phone calls while riding (I don’t recommend it), nobody I called could tell that I was riding my bike or that I was moving through the wind. That’s brilliant. If folks can’t tell I am riding a bike then they’ll surely not be able to tell that I am in a park or working from the cafe. 

The battery last forever with two exceptions:

  1. the B450-XT will always outlast your phone’s battery (make plans) and
  2. I’ve had a couple problems with my B450-XT seizing up and freezing out on me.

When my B450-XT freezes up

VXi Blueparrott B450-XT Firmware Update

VXi Blueparrott B450-XT Firmware Update

UPDATE: I reached out to VXi Corp for help via Facebook and Twitter and they quickly got back to me on Twitter, acknowledged the problem, and asked me to update the firmware on my B450-XT, which just requires downloading the VXi Updater, installing it, plugging in either your B350-XT or B450-XT, allowing your USB time to identify and install any required drivers. Then, once the VXi Updater recognizes the VXi Corporation Blueparrott headset, you can click the update. It’ll take a while for the process to complete so please don’t mess with anything because firmware updates are tricky. Everything turned out perfect; however, I haven’t tested it out so I don’t know yet if it works. I’ll let you know. Looks good so far!

Once the headset freezes, nothing will reset it until I plug it in to its microUSB charger. Otherwise, I can depress the power button for however long and it won’t reset.

I think the same thing happened with the B350-XT but never happens or happened with my old B250-XT+–ever. I am hoping it’s a fluke. It’s only happened twice so far. 

It’s my only concern and I will be sure to reach out to VXi Corporation to ask them about this freeze up. I have done some reading and the only way to reset the Bluetooth headset is to plug in into the charger, which is lame.

I’ll just keep a USB charger on me

Chris Abraham and his vxi blueparrott b450-xt bluetooth mobile headset

Me and my B450-XT

I need to find out if it’s an issue that’s between my particular Android or the apps I use or whether my head is sweaty or not.

My hack fix is to keep a charger on my bike–which I need anyway in order to keep up with the Blueparrott’s unlimited battery and my S6 Active.

That will solve any issues with the headset freezing up on me.

Chris Abraham's 2010 Surly Steamroller Single Speed with Internal 3-speed hub and canvas tail bag

My 7-year love affair with a Surly Steamroller

Chris Abraham's 2010 Surly Steamroller with 3 speeds

My 2010 Surly Steamroller 3-Speed

I have been riding fixies and single-speed bikes since before some baby hipsters were born. Single speed bikes used as city bikes isn’t a new idea.

I have been living with my trusty Surly Steamroller since 2010.

Now, she’s a three-speed.

My Single Speeds: The Early Years

My first single-speed bike was a 2000 Bianchi Pista in black. I ran it with a freewheel and a front brake. 

Chris Abraham's Berlin SOMA Delancey custom single speed Gucci bike

My Gucci SOMA Delancey in Berlin

After it was stolen, I bought a 2007 SOMA Delancey frame and built it up with every single Gucci component I could think of: fat Salsa stem, a Brooks with hammered copper rivets that, fancy track cranks, chainring, and chain, flat Ritchey bars — she was a sweetheart. She also was a casualty of rampant Berlin bike theft.

Chris Abraham's specialized langster gangster aluminum single speed bike

My Specialized Langster Gangster in Berlin

So, then I bought an aluminum Specialized Langster Gangster single speed bike and brought her to Berlin with me as-is. She was a beauty.

She came with a super-smooth freewheel that also got its ratchet frozen open during punishing subzero Berlin winters.

To keep on riding through the cold, I would stop at little Turkish kiosks and order hot water or hot tea and then pour the boiling water over the freewheel.

red white industries eno freewheel for single speed bikes

My Sturmey Archer S3X 3-speed hub 

It works–until that water freezes and there goes all the forward momentum. No ratchets, no teeth, no pedaling, no biking.

Anyone else every do that? I loved how quiet ratchetless freewheels are but hated the freezing-open thing.

So clicky freewheels from now on–they’re sort of like the pedal bike version of loud pipes.

Frank Merfort with my SOMA Delancey bike on the Berlin U-Bahn subway

Frank Merfort on the Berlin U-Bahn

That’s why I ended up going with the buzzbomb-sounding clicks of the red White Industries Eno Freewheel I ultimately installed on my Surly. 

When I left Berlin (for good? I hope not) I left the Gangster behind (now owned by the son of my buddy Frank, in the picture from back in the day–you’ll see the SOMA Delancey in the photo to the left on the Berlin U-Bahn. 

My 2010 Surly Steamroller 3-Speed City Bike

Chris Abraham's 2010 Surly Steamroller Single Speed with Internal 3-speed hub and canvas tail bag

Glamour photo of my 2010 Surly Steamroller 3-Speed City Bike with Canvas Bag

This is how she is now. After all the mods, none of which is very recent. My next mod will be adding a dynamo front hub that will allow me to replace my battery lights with serious night-splitting lumens, including a battery and a USB port. But not yet. 

Salsa two-finger Cross Levers bike levers

My Salsa Cross Levers brake levers

The build is standard. I believe I ordered the complete Steamroller bike from Surly. I didn’t want to go down the Gucci gulch again like I did with the Delancey.

So, it came with simple cloth-wrapped drop bars. I replaced the included brakes and brake levers with Shimano 105s and really shorty two-finger Cross Levers from Salsa.

I replaced the stock saddle with a classic black B17 Brooks standard leather saddle.

700c x 28c Schwalbe Marathon Plus Bike Tire

My 700cx28 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires

I replaced the pedals with chunky MTB cage pedals that accepted generic black plastic toe clips with straps.

I’ve had my original DA22 Alex rims for all seven years and I made sure I got a set of 700cx28 Schwalbe Marathon Plus bike tires–I’m on my second set–though I might go up to a 32 or more if it fits–just to try them out, see what it’s like.

Historically, I have really loved skinny tires. 

How I lock my bike in Portland, Oregon

How I locked my bike in Portland, Oregon

But I love the Marathon Plusses so much and would never try another. Why? Here’s the marketing: “The Marathon Plus is the only tire worldwide that can be called ‘flat-less’.

This is due to its unique and patented puncture protection belt: five millimetres thick and made from highly elastic special rubber.

Even thumbtacks can’t puncture it.” And, I have never had a flat. Ever.

I’m sold on them even though they’re pretty heavy tires. I also love the reflective sidewalls that keep me visible in low light conditions.

My Surly Steamroller Reflects Light!

My Surly Steamroller Reflects Light!

In terms of everything else, I got caught out without my lights on a very late NoVa trail ride home from DC and felt very vulnerable.

So, I bought loads of red 3M reflective tape and taped all the bare black tubes. So, even if I don’t have lights or my batteries die, my bike bike will light up under headlights.

I also added a handmade reversible green/purple Black Star top tube pad. You’ll see some early photos in the green but now it’s purple. I might switch it up for fun some time.

Reversible Black Star top bar pad for my Surly Steamroller in purple and green

My reversible Black Star top bar pad in purple and green

Converting My Single Speed “Fixie” into a 3-Speed “Dutch Bike”

Sturmey Archer S3X and White Industries Eno freewheel

Sturmey Archer S3X

When I moved back from Berlin, Germany, I moved to Ballston, Arlington, Virginia to take care of my mom.  Between DC and Ballston, I could handle the hills.

Once I moved to Columbia Heights, above Pentagon City, the short, steepish, hill between the Pentagon and Columbia Pike just kicked my butt enough that I looked into the state of the art of internal 3-speed hubs.

Sturmey Archer S3X and White Industries Eno freewheel

Sturmey Archer S3X

At least for fixies, track bikes, and single speeds, all roads led to the Sturmey Archer S3X. I bought the 3X Silver and had it installed over at local bike shop (LBS), Papillon Cycles here in Columbia Heights.

They did a great job but I quickly broke them–almost immediately. They rebuilt is gladly and gave me a hint: unlike derailleur gears that require pedaling to actuate them, internal hub gears require a pause between gear changes.

red white industries eno freewheel for single speed bikes

Sturmey Archer S3X

Since then it’s been blue skies. I love them. Early on, I also had troubles with my heal messing with the gear chain and loosening the cable. No more. Everything’s tight and reliable and very effective.

Mind you, the top gear is only as high as the chainwheel and rear sprocket combination. And the low gear is not as low as a granny gear.

This is no mountain goat setup.  But it does surely smooth out the road. It allows my to arrive at my destinations a little less sweaty and beat up.  For me, it’s a game-changer. 

My Surly Steamroller locked up at Miriam's Kitchen

Locked up at Miriam’s Kitchen

Right now, I am very heavy and quite out of shape so not even three speeds get me up the Air Force Memorial section of Columbia Pike or all the way up the Capitol Hill section of Independence Avenue–but I am sure the added lower-end grear-ratio will give you the extra compensation to get you up those sorts of hills if you’ve been frustrated by hills before. 

The S3X is 100% durable and bulletproof once you get the gears changed but, as I said, it’s very vulnerable during gear changes.

So, you need to relearn how to shift because shifting like you do on a 12-27-speed road bike with 12-27 gears with front and rear derailleurs.

2010 Surly Steamroller Locked at Miriam's Kitchen

I ride in to Miriam’s Kitchen

In order to properly shift the Sturmey Archer S3X, the bike needs to be in motion, the rear wheel needs to be spinning, and you need to lay off pedaling for the amount of time it takes to shift — then, you can shift one or two speeds.

So, you can safely go from highest to lowest or lowest to highest in one shift–just as long as you’re rolling and not standing still. 

So, if you want to shift down before you stop at a light in order to speed up your start, think about doing that before you stop.

Surly Steamroller locked to a pole

My bike locked to a pole

So, at the high gear, click right down to the low gear right before you stop for the light. Like downshifting, think of it.

I had the shifter for the Sturmey Archer S3X installed at the right bar end of the drop bars, so it’s right there.  I could say it’s pretty easy to install but I had the folks from Papillon Cycles do all this work. In fact, I’ll also have them do any and all of the work associated with installing a front hub dynamo lighting system. Being loyal to the Pike!

The Canvas Tail Bag

The awesome canvas bike tail bag from Andrew Blake Curry

My beautiful canvas tail bag

I don’t know anything about the canvas tail bag except it was given to me by my mate Andrew Blake Curry who makes me look like an absolute pedestrian in comparison with his obsession with bikes and bicycling. It’s got a wooden dowel on top and I used hose clamps to attach the top to my standard black leather Brooks B17 saddle. On the front of the bag, which is nearest the seat tube, there’s a buckled leather strap that I affixed to the seat tube. 

The inside of the cavernous canvas tail bag, including securing dowel

The inside of the bag

The bag is relatively cavernous. There’s a main compartment and a pocket at either side. Each compartment is closed with buckled leather straps and all the straps and points of stress are studded.

I have it set up that a red battery tail light lives on the bag and the way the leather straps are affixed and attached, there’s plenty enough room for me to store my U-lock on the bag at all times when I’m not locking it down. 

I take my Surly wherever I move

I take my Surly wherever I move

The Surly doesn’t have wheel quick release or locking hubs but they are locked down via nuts and that seems to be annoying enough. 80% of the time, I U-lock the bike via frame and front wheel. 20% of the time, only the frame.

The time it takes to break a chain to get a fixie wheel off of the bike seems to be enough trouble.

And since the Sturmey Archer hub attaches via an additional chain to get the wheel off, I am hoping, as a former bike courier who was always hungry for unbent, unprotected, 26″ wheels, wheel crimes are almost always crimes of opportunity.  

The schwalbe marathon plus 700c tire sidewalls are very reflective

Thise Marathon Plus sidewalls reflect a lot!

So, I definitely would consider locking hubs if that would aid to the perception that my bike is inconvenient to steal. People in greater DC are so terrible at even locking their $3,000+ Gucci bikes at all that I assume my gray man sleeper city bike, when it’s locked right next to someone who is only attached via their front wheel with the quick release hub and the other bike that’s not attached at all but leaning against the rack, the only security being that the rider is only a short distance away. 

Well, that’s it!  That’s my bike.

Pretty photo of my Surly Steamroller 3-Speed

My Surly Steamroller 3-Speed

The only thing left for me to do is add a front hub dynamo, a high-lumen headlight, a fixed taillight, maybe a USB connector, possibly handlebar control of the intensity of the front lamp.

What else?

Maybe a handlebar mount for my cell phone, maybe not. And, then, of course, maybe wider tires and maybe secure-looking locking hubs for security theater. 

So, that’s my love letter to my 2010 Surly Steamroller 3-speed city bike.

I would love any advice or questions you make have for me, especially when dynamo hub do you recommend, what front and rear lights do you recommend for the dynamo system, and what other must-haves should I add to the bike in order to make it the very best, coolest, city bike a boy can have for the next 7 years of proud ownership!



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Stop flying blind with insights SEMRush can offer about your website fake it till you make it fitness blog by chris abrahamMy two-year-old WordPress blog,, has become my personal laboratory wherein I can do live tests on the something I have always loved doing: dancing with Google by way of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s my personal playground, allowing me to have my own island of Dr. Moreau, to be my own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to be my own personal Doctor Victor Frankenstein and have RNNR.US be my own personal Frankenstein’s monster.

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2017-Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

Join a Team for the 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge TallIf you have a Concept2 indoor rower (AKA rowing ergometer, AKA rowing machine) or a SkiErg, you can compete! Even if you just have one at the gym, you can be a global competitor. You can go from pulling hard in a room or at the gym alone to becoming part of a virtual team.

And, if you work hard and drive your team, you can win the respect and approval of your peers and fellow rowers as well as prizes galore (and, if you’re member of an actual–not virtual–club, you might win an erg or a SkiErg.

Concept2 challenges are really very simple: either row as many meters as are required to meet the challenge’s requirement, in the case with the Dog Days of Summer challenge; or, like the upcoming Fall Team Challenge, it’s all about getting as many meters as possible.

Chris Abraham rowing meters for a team challenge at home

Chris Abraham rowing for meters

In the case of this challenge, you’re contributing all your meters to a pool of meters that help your entire virtual team compete with other virtual teams from around the world.  

Some teams have only two members and other have hundreds. There’s no limit to members except you need at least two.

The more the merrier, though the system is fair because, like real rowing competitions, the rankings are sliced and diced depending on how many members are in your boat and what sort of team you have. 

Concept2 team challenges come in two flavors: individual challengers and team challenges. We’re just finishing off the 2017 Dog Days of Summer individual challenge right now before we enter into the upcoming 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge, starting September 15th through October 15th of this year.  

Chris Abraham does most of his meters while watching movies with the subtitles on

Chris Abraham watches movies rowing

The upcoming 2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge is a virtual team challenge, which means taking up the Concept2 online indoor rowing challenge is as simply as just putting in the meters and logging them onto the Concept2 Logbook.

Participating in the 2017 Fall Team Challenge takes a little more planning.  The Fall Team Challenge is a team challenge.

You must belong to a team to participate. If you’re already a registered member of the Log, this is not the same as club affiliation in your profile. 

If you have  or have access to a Concept2 Indoor Rower but are not a registered as a member, you should sign up immediately and then visit the Joining a Team for more information on how to join a team.  

The padding and the small fan help things remain comfortable for long rows

Seat pads and a fan

I used to be the captain of Team Grotto which you can find on the log; however, I betrayed and abandoned the team in order to see if I could row with either the Potomac Boat ClubRed Line Rowers, or the Fitness Matters team. But I think this might be the year when the boys and girl in the boat get back into collecting meters and competing for Team Grotto!

Important: Team members need to confirm they intend to take part in each challenge. You do this from the Team page.  Here’s some more information about the challenge! Here’s a direct link to the official Concept2 challenge page. Good luck!

2017 Concept2 Fall Team Challenge Tall