Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jump rope notes: Buddy Lee replacement cords and cable rope

Replacing my Buddy Lee rope cord

I finally managed to snap the cord on my Buddy Lee rope. It took me about three years, but I finally wore through the cord. All things considered, that's not too bad. I chew through the cheap ropes when I get in a jump rope conditioning phase, though I guess I mostly break those ropes at the handles.

The snapped Buddy Lee cord

I was just going to buy a new cord. An attractive feature of my Aero Speed rope is that the cord is replaceable. And it's reasonably priced at $5. That's when I got the sticker shock of the shipping and handling charges. $15 for shipping and handling is a bit excessive. How expensive can it be to stuff a cord into an envelope and drop it in the mail? Just on principle, I refuse to buy something where the shipping and handling is three times the cost of the product, especially when that said product is a plastic cord. That's $20 for a new cord. For that price, I'm most of the way to buying a whole new jump rope (the Rope Master is $28).

Being the stingy bast... errr... I mean, frugal person that I am, I decided that there must be a Home Depot solution for my problem. I remember reading that someone had made their own jump rope from PVC pipe and laundry line. I checked out the laundry line, and lo and behold the inner diameter of the laundry line was close enough to the original cord to be workable.

Laundry line = jump rope replacement cord

The tough part about using the laundry line as a replacement cord is that the laundry line has wire running through the middle of the vinyl sheath. It takes a bit of jiggering, but you can get the screw tip of the jump rope handle swivel bearings to insert into the vinyl sheath just off center from the wire. After a bit of turning, you can attach the laundry line to the Aero Speed handles just like the original cord. Getting the cord attached to the swivel bearings is a bit of a hassle, but it's totally doable. You just make sure to measure the cord to the right length. I cut the cord too long and had to repeat the process of screwing the cord to the swivel bearings several times as I adjusted the cord length.

Replaced Aero Speed cord... now it's green!

How does it work? Actually, surprisingly well. I can get similar speed as I was getting with the original cord. It's a bit more tiring to turn the cord since it's a little heavier with the wire running down the center, but I consider that a bonus. The added mass also means I'm just as careful about wearing shoes with this cord. I do sometimes miss and catch the rope on the feet. The extra heft of the rope means those misses sting more now. The clothes line cord holds its shape a little better, so I seem to recover better when I occasionally miss slightly and snag the rope on my heel. The flip side to that is that the rope is a little less flexible than the original cord. You have to be a little more precise in your timing of crossing the rope since it's not quite as responsive as the original rope. Again, I consider this a bonus. My technique has to be a little cleaner when I cross the rope, so I'm paying more attention to my jump rope workouts.

Replacement cord test

Note on cable cord jump rope

I tried my buddy Kevin's cable speed rope this weekend. While I don't regret getting my Aero Speed, if I had to do it over again, I'd probably seriously consider a cable rope instead. I can actually get the cable rope turning faster, which provides a better cardio and foot speed workout. I nearly got a triple under with the cable rope, and I could still do all the rope crossing steps. The only downside to the cable rope is that it's a thin wire that moves really fast. If you miss, you're going to have red welts (so you learn quickly not to miss... :).

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