Phil Wood Spokes

When I went to Montano Velo to buy some spokes and a rim for a new wheel build, they sold me Phil Wood spokes. I bought double butted spokes, so it took a few minutes to prepare them on the spoke machine. I had always used DT spokes and I really didn’t notice that they weren’t DT spokes until I started threading them through the hub and saw “PHIL” embossed on the butted section near the spoke head. I used Damon Rinard’s free spoke length calculator, which is an Excel spreadsheet with macros, to calculate the length of spokes that I needed. After truing and dishing the wheel, the spoke length calculations proved correct.

I also used a Mavic Open Pro rim. The Mavic Open Pro rims have double eyelets, which hopefully distribute the stresses through the two sections of the rim. I considered the Mavic CXP33, which has more of a V-profile than the Open Pro. I guess I’m a traditionalist. I’m not interested in saving weight – I just need strong wheels that will hold up to someone who weighs 13.8571 stone and occasionally bunny hops on craggy Oakland streets. I have never had any problems with Mavic rims. In the past, I have used the G40, GP3, GP4, MA40 and MA3. On my first ride today, the wheel didn’t pretzel so I guess it’s working.

Camera: Nikon D7000. Lens: Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 (lens gift of Joe McNally)

Sunita Williams Gives a Tour of International Space Station

Sunita Williams gave a video tour of the International Space Station a few hours before her return to earth on November 18, 2012. I found it fascinating because her tour gives a great sense of the layout of the interior of the ISS and what it actually looks like. Also, in a weightless environment, the meaning of up and down have different definitions.

There were a couple of things that were especially interesting to me. When the crew uses the exercise bike, they don’t need a seat because they don’t sit down. They use clip-on pedals to hold them to the “bike.” The pedals look very similar to the Shimano road pedals that I use on my De Rosa. The exercise machines need to be isolated from the walls of the space station so they don’t put any forces into the structure of spacecraft and solar arrays.

When Commander Williams entered the Russian segment where Service Module Central Post of the space station is located, there was a nice assortment of Nikon photography equipment on both walls.

Nikon D700

Nikon introduced the new D700 SLR, their second digital camera with an FX format CMOS image sensor. The sensor is 23.9 x 36mm, almost the same size as 35mm film camera.

Why do photographers want a 35mm film sized sensor? The lenses on the FX format cameras don’t have the 1.5x crop factor of the DX sensor cameras, so you can spend a lot more money getting wide angle lenses. For example, this AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens on the D700 is going to be the equivalent of a 21mm lens on a DX format sensor camera.

Priced at $2,999.95 USD, the Nikon D700 is a little more attainable than the Nikon D3 at $4,999.95 USD, I guess.

With all the improvements over a few short years, the Nikon D700 is at least 10 times better than my D70.


Nikon D700 (Nikon USA) press release.