Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hobie Pedal Kayaks

Drum adjustment hole Ribs break.

Cables break.

Hatch seal is poorly designed.

Sprockets break on older model drives.

Fin rods snap in two.

Pedal crank arms break at weak spots.

I really love my Hobie Adventure pedal kayak but the reality of its Mirage Drive quality sucks. 

In the last few weeks two Fin masts (steel rods) have snapped in two while pedaling easy plus the pedal crank arm broke in two. 

Part breakage is par for the course with a Hobie Mirage Drive kayak, at least if using the larger Turbo Fins.

Because of all the breakages, when I go kayaking it is necessary to take TWO Mirage Drives. That is so there is a back up drive on hand to quickly replace the one that fails. 

Carrying a second pedal drive unit is better than carrying a spare part for every part that can break on the Mirage Drive. Trying to replace broken parts on a Mirage Drive while floating in waves and wind can be challenging.

What parts have broken on my Hobie Adventure pedal kayak? Chain and idler pulley cables snap in two (rust on uncovered part of steel cable). Drum adjustment hole ribs break (poor design). Fin mast rods snap in two (rust at rubber mast friction point). Hatch Seals are finicky to close and water still comes in the hatch despite there being a seal (poor design). Carrying handles fall apart due to rust (poor design). Nuts, Set Screws and the Rudder Handle come loose. Pedal Crank Arms break at attachment holes (weak steel alloy). Composite material around the Sprocket Set Screw breaks (steel screw in composite material). Sprockets break around the Fin Mast (poor design in older models). Idler Pulley and Sprocket Shafts wear out (grit in water) and rust causing squeaking and wear of the composite material. Rudder cables can break. Rubber fins have broken. Even the kayak hull can crack near the Mirage Drive well. Some part breaks like rods and cables have happened a half dozen times. 

Interestingly, a Hobie V2 Mirage Drive retails for about $550 and the newer GT Drive about $650. That is for a relatively simple pedal drive unit with only a few moving parts. 

By comparison, a brand new 3.5 horsepower boat motor can be bought for about the same cost of $550. Hobie must be making a huge profit on their Mirage Drive units and making a killing on their pedal boat customers who have to constantly replace broken parts.

Hobie really has a great pedal boat idea. Only trouble is, Hobie puts parts in their Mirage Drive that appears to be designed to break shortly after the 12 month warranty runs out.

Really. My Hobie Adventure pedal kayak has broken while out on the water over 40 times. By comparison, during the same time nothing has broken on my car which has been used much more frequently. 

Guess there is better consumer product watch and protection for motorized vehicles than for pedal boats.

Despite the regular breakage hassles my Hobie Adventure outperforms any other plastic kayak on the market. The Adventure is very stable and fast. I often take the Adventure pedal kayak out in windy conditions that I would not dare to take a paddle kayak out in. Unfortunately, the local Hobie dealer says that those who want to buy an Adventure kayak now have to buy the Adventure Island Sailboat Kayak which costs about $4,600. Yeow.

Despite 10 years of urgings for a high performance pedal kayak, Hobie still offers no HP pedal kayak. Probably because Hobie's Mirage drive units break often in their recreational kayaks so the drive units sure could not handle the stress that racing kayakers would put on them.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Rough Weather

Weather has been less than idea lately for kayaking. Sunday on Dog River was windy with the shoreline obsecured by fog. 30+ mph winds on Monday and Tuesday was enough to keep me off the water.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Big Creek Lake


First time I ever saw a white Fog Rainbow. Sun was behind me. 

After the fog burnt off. Not a ripple on the glass smooth water surface.

Submerged aquatic vegetation being combed by the current. 

Upstream of Big Creek Lake the creek narrows.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Is This Polluted Shoreline Acceptable?

February 2012

February 2013

March 2014

October 2015

January 28, 2016

This is the trashy shoreline of Dog River in Mobile Alabama, USA. All the photos are taken in nearly the same place about 100 yards from Dog River Park.

The City of Mobile's Municipal Storm Water System serves as a conduit to propel the litter chunking community's trash into the State's public waterway called as Dog River.

Despite years of complaints about City's MS4 trash being sent to the shorelines of Dog River you can see the result of the City and State's response to my complaints. The shoreline trash, which occasionally is floating in the water is getting denser Year after Year and no one gives a fuck.

What is floating in the public waterways in the City of Mobile's jurisdiction? No one really knows because the Environmental Enforcement Agencies are incompetent and do not care to address pollution complaints.

Is it acceptable for a City to fill wetlands with trash some of which is hazardous to public health and marine life? 

Here are a couple more photos of the wetlands of Dog River.

January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016

And all this trash is about 100 yards from Dog River's Spring Clean Up and Fall Coastal Clean Up Zone. That is why I say volunteer clean ups are worthless in cleaning up a polluted waterway like Dog River.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stormwater Systems Bandalong Litter Trap

Shoreline upstream of the Stormwater Systems Bandalong litter trap remains polluted with trash.

Trashy shoreline downstream of the litter trap.

Trashy shoreline downstream of the litter trap.

Trashy shoreline downstream of the litter trap.

Any community considering the purchase of a hugely expensive Stormwater System's Bandalong Litter Trap should NOT waste money on it. At least not if the waterway is in the tidal zone.

Despite a $660,000 Bandalong litter trap installation in Eslava Creek, the creek remains polluted with trash both upstream and downstream.

Expecting a single litter trap to result in a cleaner watershed with many tributaries is like putting a large dust pan in one place along a Mardi Gras parade route and expecting it to corral the parade trash for easy removal. Sure, a large dust pan will catch a few pieces Mardi Gras trash but the remainder of the parade route will remain trashy unless laborers pick up the rest of the trash not caught in the dust pan.

The reality from the perspective of my kayak is, if a community wants clean waterways it will take manual labor working on the water from an appropriate boat and on the shorelines on foot to remove the litter chunking community's storm water trash from where it ends up in each navigable waterway after rains. 

To me it seems the Stormwater Systems Bandalong Litter Trap is a burden to the City of Mobile because to remove a few pounds (bags) of lightweight plastic bottles and styrofoam trash after a heavy rain seems to require removing tons of leaves, pine straw, twigs, and grass too. Then those tons of wet natural debris have to be hauled away.

Mobile's $660,000 would have yielded better results by employing a Clean Up Boat trash picker upper person for 15 years. 

Look no further than the Charles River in Boston to see a Clean Up Boat operation that has been successfully keeping the Charles River clean for over a decade at almost no cost to the City if Boston.

Local environmental groups and the City of Mobile were told about the successful Charles River Clean Up Boat operation over 5 years ago and all turned down a opportunity to mimic the waterway cleanup in Mobile's trashy waterways. 

Nooo, some environmental group leader was bent on getting a litter trap instead of helping to get a Clean Up Boat in operation. She got her wish and Eslava Creek and Dog River are still lined with a sickening amount of trash because apparently the City and Community as a whole still employ ZERO full time trash picker uppers to clean the community's trash polluted waterways. That is retarded.

Trashy shoreline of Dog River downstream of the Bandalong Litter Trap.

Contrary to the popular notion that all storm water trash is benign, storm water trash includes trash hazardous to the environment and public health, like electronics and chemicals.

Not only have environmental agencies, groups and the Government failed Flint Michigan, they are failing to care about Alabama waterways too. That is pathetic.

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