As you no doubt know, I’ve had an electric bike for over two years now, and it’s left a fantastic impression on me physically and mentally too.
About me, I’m 47 years old, I’ve smoked for over 30 years, I live in Halifax West Yorkshire (a VERY hilly town), I also suffer with depression and have done for 20 years. I bought this bike because I’d started cycling again the year before I tore my knee cartilage, and I struggled getting any power through my knees.
A few months after buying the Carrera Crossfire-E I had my knees fixed, and soon after I was back to normal.
So now you know I’m a prime candidate for using an e-bike, and so far I’ve done 2,000 miles on it. But how has it changed me?
I now get out of the house more than ever and it’s all cycling,
I have lost a significant amount of weight, and it’s stayed off (mostly),
My mood improves every time I go out, and I look forward to going out too,
Instead of getting in the car to go to town or Asda for a few bits, I jump on the bike,
I can also keep up and even beat the wanna-be pro’s, especially uphill,
If I did have a job I’d almost certainly commute,
Hills are not an issue anymore.
If you ride instead of driving then you get all this and save money on fuel too.
There’s also the issue of distance. Previously when I owned a non E-Bike (Specialized Myka) I could manage 15 miles and only with nearly a full year of prep, now I can manage as much as 45 miles. That is what e-biking is about, freedom, it’s this that makes such a positive change from driving the car, all the benefits of cycling without the stress and strain of normal bike riding.
You don’t need to be like me to benefit from an e-bike, anyone can and will benefit from using an electric bike, even commuting to and from work would be an improvement, both in speed and sweat. If you already commute on a bike then an e-bike would be faster and a lot less sweaty.
So if it’s something you’ve considered and would like to try, then pop into a local bike shop and try one out.
(True story). I went to PedalSport https://pedalsportshop.com/ for a new bike light and a few bits just after buying the Crossfire-E, and while they did sell me what I wanted they scoffed at the thought of an e-bike and one person even laughed in my face. I haven’t since been back and never will because of the sheer snobbery and arrogance of the staff. But look at them now.
True story: My UFO sighting near Manchester Airport. It was around 2005 and I was driving from Halifax to Airdrie (Near Glasgow) and back.
I was a class 1 HGV driver, and since it was a very long drive and could over run my driving hours it was double manned, so there were 2 drivers taking turns. On the way back we’d come down the M6 – M61 – M60 – M62, and this one morning we were stuck in early morning rush hour traffic trying to get on the M60 just south of Bolton and I was driving, the other guy, (Shane) was fast asleep.
Then I noticed a small but very bright light to the south, around Manchester airport area, and for a while I just watched it dart around, sometimes smoothly moving around, sometimes darting, almost like it disappeared and reappeared instantaneously some miles away. After around 10 minutes (we really were stuck in traffic) I noticed what looked like a fighter jet trying to chase it. The jet had no chance, it just couldn’t keep up, I thought it was just my mind playing tricks, so I woke Shane up (he wasn’t happy about it) and told him to look, and he saw it too. This went on for around 30 minutes before the light vanished once and for all, but the jet kept circling for a while before it too disappeared (problably landed).
Cue Deep booming voice, “In a World,” cue normal voice, flooded with World War 1 and 2 shooters, Infinite State Games releases a WW2 styled shoot ’em up harking back to the halcyion days of Capcom’s 1942, but with a much more modern (but still slightly retro feel) aesthetic and style. While 1942 was a top down scrolling shoot ’em up, Rogue Aces is up, down, left, and right all at the same time. Keep your eyes peeled!
The old school feel also massively extends to the leaderboards, be it global or just friends, you’re driven to keep besting yourself and others, but at least today it will read dazbobaby at the top and not just DAZ.
I’d initially heard about Rogue Aces, more than a couple of years ago, (Wing Kings was the working title – InfiniteStates wanted to call it something like… Rogue Squadron, but seeing as George Lucas has a lot more money than him, he renamed it Rogue Aces), I actually know Charlie (InfiniteState Games) from the Sony PlayStation forums, then he became a member of a forum I created to allow for more mature posts (mess-hall.co.uk – gone forever 🙁 ), but still gaming and playstation related. We even met in person at Eurogamer a few years ago, and while it’s not a traditional friendship, we live hundreds of miles apart, I would consider Charlie a friend. I actually thought the concept sounded promising, and even the VERY early alpha gameplay looked promising.
You might be fooled into thinking that this is a copy of Luftrausers, it’s not, though the gameplay is a tiny bit similar, and both are about arial combat and war, the similarity ends there.
What you have here is a very well rounded, incredibly fun and challenging World War 2 shoot ’em up, that includes a campaign mode, an island hopping mode called Frontline, survival mode, and Hot Potato (these are the ones I’ve unlocked so far), and even more.
Campaign: you have one life but 3 planes, keep going as long as you possibly can (hint theres a 100+ missions)
Frontline: One plane and one life, but WHEN you die, you restart from the last island you took. There’s also mission timer, you have to get to the boss island and beat the final boss in a set amount of time.
Hot Potato: your plane will explode in 8 seconds… get into another as soon as it does.
Survival: one life, one plane… survive as long as possible (hint – hot potato)
When you intially start playing you’ll probably concentrate on shooting down other aircraft, these will also drop the occasional booster such as faster firing, more bombs, more rockets, faster turning, more powerful guns and so on, while you stay alive you keep these, and in frontline, you keep them until you run out of time. As you progress you’ll rank up, this allows you to unlock these boosters from the get go, and you’ll need them too. I did say it was challenging, oh yeah, it’s also roguelike, meaning when you run out of lives… you start all over again, but at least the ranking up and the unlocked boosters mean you’ll get to play for longer next time.
One of the things I really like about Rogue Aces is the hilarity, I’ve spent hours and hours playing and only a handful of times did I die and restart because I was shot down… no, I keep bloody crashing. And yet I never feel frustrated like many games leave you feeling. In fact I usually end up laughing at myself for doing something stupid 😀
The Campaign is fun and highly addictive in it’s own right, but Frontline is where I’ve spent most of my time, it’s damned hard, funny and utterly brilliant.
Imagine if you will an Angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, and the demon just keeps whispering “one more game, do a little better, beat that score and best everyone else”, while the angel is saying “but you’re a brain surgeon, people will die if you don’t go to work”. All I can say is people will die, and scores will be beaten.
How can I score it? I know Charlie, but I can honestly say it’s worth a punt at £9.99 (PS+ see’s a 20% discount).
But to be honest, even if I had no association with Infinite State Games, and I hadn’t been provided a code (not for review, but from a friend) I think I’d still rate it 10/10, just look for my name on the top of the leaderboards, I didn’t get there by chance.
Here’s a playlist from InfiniteStates Games, showing the intital alpha test flights and on to actual finished gameplay. This is a treat really, nobody ever gets to see the first gameplay tests up to the finished product.
Prefix – “Alexa, Ask/Tell Ghost to show/tell me about…”
Alexa, ask Ghost what I should do next.
Alexa, ask Ghost what is my next mission.
Alexa, ask Ghost who in my clan is online.
Alexa, ask Ghost for a clan update.
Alexa, ask Ghost about the Tower.
Alexa, ask Ghost to tell me more about the Speaker.
“What’s next?” . . . Gear:
“Save my current loadout as my crucible/raids/strikes/nightfall loadout”
“Equip my crucible/raid/strike/nightfall loadout”
“Equip my most powerful kinetic weapon/energy weapon/power weapon
“Equip my most powerful hand cannon/shotgun/submachine gun/auto rifle/ rocket launcher/sword/etc.” . . . Clan:
“Call for backup for nightfall/raid/strikes/crucible”
“Clan Rewards . . . Lore/Other:
“The planet Earth/IO/Titan”
“The Battle of Six Fronts”
“The Red Legion”
“Tell me a joke”
“Tell me a story”
“Tell me something funny”
“Ask Ghost about Twilight Gap”
“Ask Ghost about The Battle of Six Fronts”
I had a problem, I previously owned logitech z506 speakers, and for my PC they were awesome, the only problem with them is that they lacked a toslink input, they only had 3.5mm jacks, so for 5.1 PC audio they were great, but for anything else they would be useless. So I also used a samsung HT 5.1 system for audio from my PS4. So I actually had 12 speakers in all – 10 satellites and 2 subwoofers.
Now that really wasn’t a huge issue, the cables were all neatly hidden and it worked. But I also have SkyQ and a Mac Mini, so overall a great Home Theatre setup. The Mac Mini has a toslink, so does the SkyQ, so does the PS4. But the Samsung HT only has 1 toslink input, so a toslink 3 way splitter it would be.
For the most part this worked but it’s all really overly complicated, and when the splitter died I was left with disconnecting devices one at a time as and when I needed too. A bit of a pain really, so I decided to take the plunge and get the Logitech Z906 because it has 2x toslink inputs, one coaxial 5.1 input, 3 x 3.5mm inputs for the PC, and phono for the Mac. So at last I would be rid of half of the overall speakers and not only that… a 1,000watt system instead of 1×100 watt and 1 500watt. Plus I wouldn’t need another toslink splitter, the weakest link in the chain.
Logitech z906 subwoofer rear
So now after 24 hours of listening to music, watching a few films, and playing some games (PS4 and PC) I can happily confirm the sound is both crisp and clean, and man that subwoofer. You don’t need a wrecking ball to knock down a house… just turn that up and bang on some Massive Attack.
I was surprised at the sheer size of the sub, it’s enormous! Excuse the mess, I have yet to tidy up the cables.
The satellites are only a little bigger than my previous speakers, but they can also deliver quite a punch when you crank up the grammy 🙂 I still have a lot of testing to do, but I’m really surprised and very pleased with the whole package, it’s loud, it’s soft, it packs a punch when it needs too, and it’s well built, but you’d expect nothing less from something that’s THX certified.
The last good day was way back in January, and while I did go for a ride, it was just to discharge the battery for the upcoming cold months, I didn’t want it sat there with a full charge, after all, that kills Lithium Ion batteries fast!
I’ve also got a new camera, a Garmin Virb X, this records 1080p and GPS data from a ride, so I can now show you my speed, distance, pitch, roll, g-force, gradient and a whole hell of a lot more.
The layout I’ve used is…
Bottom left = Distance traveled
Middle = Pace in minutes per mile
And oviously speed
The camera is not the best, the video is captured at 1080P, but it’s very poor quality and suffers from a lot of compression, then the video editor compresses it further and finally youtube does it’s thing too, so the final output is crap compared to a gopro. But at least I now have telemetry data to show you. Personally I’d have gone for the Virb X Ultra 4K, but that was too rich for my blood. Though I might get a Hero 5 Session and use that video instead. To save on youtube’s compression I’ve uploaded it locally.