Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama's weekly address and call to arms

I took the time to watch his 5 minute address here. Very powerful and I recommend you watch it. A summary from the site is below:

In the Weekly Address this morning, President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate. On fiscal responsibility, a fair tax code, a clean energy economy, real health care reform, and education, this budget sets out a new vision for our country.

But having put his priorities on paper and having stood behind them, the President recognizes that there are those who will fight against change every step of the way.

"I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

"So am I."

(note this is autoplaying, I can't stop it so I am leaving it on autoplay, let me know if it is annoying and I will remove it and replace with a link.)
Update: I added the link and removed the embed. It was causing too many problems.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Awareness test

Check this out. Quite amusing.


I woke up this morning to snow!?! I had thought we were done with this. It is about 1-2 inches and the world is white again. How odd. Well, I suppose I won't be riding today, my 23mm tires don't love the snow at all. I took out the laptop and am planning on working from home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Possible Training Route

For training I was told to find a nice 4-7 mile loop that I can gauge myself on and repeat for larger numbers. So I went looking for something that might serve in my area. This is a possible route, I will try to give it a try on Sunday. Saturday I have a ride planned with a friend (the writer of On a clear Day blog) so I won't be able to get to this before then. I am looking to improve my speed and a 5 mile loop should be good for that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Raptobike update

Kirkland Bike Shop

Kirkland Bike Shop contacted me today and has most of the build ready for my frame to arrive. They are having trouble with the 13 tooth sprocket for the Rohloff. I wasn't able to find a quick source on the Internet but will continue to look. The frame kit hasn't shipped yet as Raptobike is waiting on the carbon seat. Additionally Kirkland Bike Shop also told me the quote was high and they forgot to give me the bulk discount. Good news all around, delays on only two items (13t sprocket, and seat) isn't so bad. I believe the wheel can be built up around the hub and the sprocket added when it arrives, so it won't cause too much stress. The frame kit does need to ship though, but I have a bit of time before my 40th birthday on April 3rd.

ref: Raptobike Plans


Kristin and Casey
One of my favorite pictures of Kristin

I spent almost all yesterday evening playing around with my photo collection and flickr. I noticed a few things.
  1. I have a lot of pictures I haven't organized.
  2. Somewhere around 2006/2007 I really got out of shape.
  3. I really like Flickr.
  4. Pictures that you upload to photo-management sites survive much longer.
  5. I should get all my slides from the Australia trip converted to digital.
  6. Looking at old photos really illustrates how much my life has changed over the years.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chilly Hilly Route map

View Larger Map
This is one of the reasons I love my GPS. I pulled this route from my GPS after I rode the Chilly Hilly yesterday. I can convert this to a course in my gps or give someone a turn by turn route sheet all from this data. I think I will use this go on training rides over this route later in the season.

Reasons why Corporate America needs to change

AMERICAblog has this story on the McDonald employee who got shot while breaking up a fight in the store. Thought he was called a hero by the Judge during the criminal trial of the shooter, McDonald's denied his claim for worker's compensation and won't pay his medical bills.

This really pisses me off and I am sure it will generate outrage in many viewers. It is an excellent example of the way insurance companies will do anything to deny coverage. It also is a great illustration of what needs to change. I am still stunned that anyone at McDonald's thinks this is a good idea.

Chilly Hilly Slideshow - flickr and Ride Report

I want to see how the Flickr version of the Chilly Hilly slideshow looks. I am considering a switch over.

The ride was great, Cascade Bicycle Club knows how to organize a ride. It was well supported and there was a lot of people providing snacks, food, cider and encouragement. Riding over on the ferry was a treat. Seeing all the bikes in the ferry really makes you wonder what it would be like if every day people rode their to work. The forecast was horrible, wet and cold, instead we got a light sprinkle for the 8am starting riders and mid-40s weather all day. The sun was out and it was beautiful.

I was on the first ferry out and weeble-wobbled out with the mass of cyclists in the start. My initial speed was 5mph out of the ferry and it didn't get much better until 4 miles in. It was just too crowded. Everyone was cheerful though and a lot of the riders were experienced with group rides so there was a lot of calls of "Car up, Car Back, and on your left". The first 10 miles are a joy, the hills are small and it lures you in. Later on the hills started getting steep, I have heard various stories about how steep they were. Supposedly the hills are only 8% grade, but my garmin edge doesn't agree with them. Three of the hills were longing and about 11-12%, some of the middle third were short and steep. The crowd pushed me along and I averaged a decent clip. I did see a trike at the beginning but the rider was faster than I and I only caught a glimpse of him once in the 33 miles around.

I did stop at the famous cider stop at the 18 mile mark, but I didn't get any cider, I was too concerned with pushing onward. Overly concerned it turns out, I neglected my nutrition and hydration. Nearing the end of the ride I had my left calf cramp up, I couldn't move my leg and crashed down. I was able to get my right leg out and catch myself so it was a controlled crash. Lucky for me someone stopped right away and massaged my leg and helped me stretch it out. I drank a bit of my propel (water) and finished the ride. At the end my calf stiffened up again but it was at least walkable. Everyone on this ride was great. I talked to a Giro rider (another recumbent) and kept pace with him for a bit, until he and his wife left me in the dust. I believe I saw five recumbents on the ride; A Giro 26, a Terratrike Tour, a yellow Haz (sic), a tandem Rans Screamer, and a tandem with a recumbent captain and upright stoker.

Great fun.

Dalmation rides a bike

(h/t BikeHacks) This is one funny video and quite amazing. Watch this dog get on the bike and ride. One day he might even lose his training wheels :). Enjoy.

Incoming Reading Material

I just got an email telling me that White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison is on its way to my house. I am a heavy user of's pre-orders and purchased it as soon as I realized it was available. I recently received Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs as well. Both of these are great series. I have a tendency to pre-order books from my favorite authors. Most of my book store browsing is more casual and just looking for new potential authors and taking chances.

All in all this is shaping up to be a good week, I love Kim Harrison's series and the Chilly Hilly was a lot of fun yesterday. My left calf muscle has loosened up a bit today, though I didn't ride to work on it. I will stretch it out a bit today with a walk around the office.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chilly Hilly 2009

I rode the Chilly Hilly today. I had a ton of fun though I did have some nutrition issues that caused my left leg to cramp up. All my fault but it was and is painful. My asthma is annoying me and it caused me some concern as well. But the ride is great, 33 miles around the edge of scenic Bainbridge Island. I recommend it. The people and the scenery were wonderful.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Raptobike P0rn

RaptoBike - No Hands from RaptoBike on Vimeo.

I am still waiting for the Raptobike to ship but I figured I would assuage my desire with a little video. The video pictures Arnold, the Raptobike company owner, riding a Raptobike hands-free. This was one of the videos that helped me decide to buy this. Recumbents in general are not easy to ride hands-free, it is very cool to see that the Raptobike is one that can be ridden in this way.

As I wait for my bike, my plans become more and more intricate. I am going to build a tailbox out of coroplast and aluminum for my rapto. I want both the storage space as well as the aerodynamic benefits. I will use mostly rivet based fastening and plan on having 4 thumb-twist screws to attach the tailbox to the seat. The inverted U shaped rack will fit into the tailbox joining an aluminum and coroplast mate. I will then slide a shoe horn shaped plug under the arc to keep the position stable. My ideas probably outstrip my crafting ability at this point, but I will prototype on cardboard and excess coroplast. I figure practice may help me improve my crafting to the point that the tailbox won't look too bad.

My color scheme will be black and white. The frame is white, all accessories will be black if I can manage it. I will use that cool reflective black 3m tape as well. At night the black will become florescent white keeping my visibility high.

Chilly Hilly

From Drop Box

Tomorrow I will do the Chilly Hilly. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it since the weather is supposed to be cold and wet, and I have a cough. I decided that it will be mild enough for me to be fine, both the cough and the weather. It means that I am going to strand my wife in the morning as I will borrow the car to get to the ferry. This will be my first organized ride of the year.

Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax

Transit blogs everywhere are going nuts (ref: 1, 2, 3) over the VMT proposal Secretary LaHood proposed. The White House already walked this back and said no such tax was being proposed. The problem for transit followers is that as we go to electric vehicles and reduce gas consumption it affects the national funding for highway repair and transit. Additionally the gas tax is nice but a VMT tax penalizes people for living far away from work and transit groups are anti-sprawl.

A couple of issues jump out for me. First, I am highly sympathetic with the transit crowd but the implementation of this VMT idea is being tied to GPS technology. It is a redux of the electronic voting crowd, look fun new technology is here to needlessly complicate something that works. Maybe we can make it more fragile and less reliable while opening up the possibility of hard to detect fraud. If we try hard we can open up tons of privacy concerns and increase our cost as well.

There already exists a simple mandatory technology that is in every car on the road to track miles driven. The odometer is simple, it is relied on for warranties, for assessing value and already has been made reasonably tamper-proof. Additionally the legislative and social penalties for tampering with the odometer already exist. If we want a VMT, establish various weight classes so that the 300lb EV doesn't pay the same VMT as a 4 ton SUV and base it on yearly odometer readings. Simple, easy to administer and free of troubling privacy concerns. It also requires zero retrofitting.

Secondly, I don't think this is the year for the VMT. There is a lot happening this year, we have health care reform, the second depression to scoop ourselves out of and two wars going on. Wait for 2010 for this kind of action, but remove the unnecessary technology, it is just a waste of time and energy.

Friday, February 20, 2009


  • February 22, 2009 - Chilly Hilly, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • May 23-25, 2009 - OHPV PIR Human Powered Challenge, Portland, OR
  • July 10-11, 2009 - Seattle-to-Portland, Seattle, WA
  • Late September, 2009 Texas 24 Time Trial, Crewing and moderate participation, Cleburne, Texas
My current event calendar, some events are tentative.

Goal Assessment

Rapto during 30 min crit WC2008
I have been looking at my goals for this year. The idea of completing a super randonneur series is not going to happen this year. I will instead focus on doing a couple 200ks, and maybe a permanent or two. I will supplement my endurance cycling with some HPRA racing. I want to get faster and that is best achieved by pushing oneself in shorter rides aka racing.

I signed up for the OHPV PIR event on Memorial Day weekend. There are a number of race events there and I will get to meet a ton of recumbent and streamliner notables, riders and builders. I also am penciling in the idea of heading out to the Texas 24hr Time Trial. The RBent crew from Texas really ripped up that course last year. I will go down there and crew for them and do one of the shorter events as well.

This year is planned to be the year I reboot my health and fitness. I can worry about performance goals next year, now I need to focus on getting fit and enjoying myself.

Nice to have a good White House Press Secretary

I didn't cover the tirade by CNBC's Rick Santelli. Suffice to say, he is a bit over-caffeinated in his self-denial rant on how the collapse is all the homeowner's fault.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the briefing room today regarding Mr. Santelli's rant. It is a nice takedown and also a good example of how education and knowledge now has a place in the White House today. No more belittling reading or expert knowledge, instead we have policy based on facts, research and thought. I have to admit I am pretty happy about this change. By the way, watch the above video to its conclusion, it is more fun that way.

Training, Motivation and Energy

Lately I have been pretty introspective, trying to resolve my motivation issues and working out a way to get healthy and fit. I am still trying to find my way forward but today I feel better, I have more energy and it is a good day. I appreciate days like this, I feel like they are signposts along my path and that I am moving forward.

Regarding training, I know I need more than just cycling to get fit. I believe yoga is the right choice for me in that regard but I have yet to explore that option. I picked out a couple of studios and will look into classes and sessions at each so I can get started. I am trying to get Kristin to join me but I need to find a solution soon. I have doing a few upper body free weight exercises in the meantime but with no structure and planning that will drop off soon.

Currently I feel that I am sitting at the end of a plateau, I just need the right catalyst to see major improvements soon. I really want this respiratory condition to go away, I feel that I can deal with it better if I was 40lbs lighter. I think my diet changes and attempts to modify my habits will soon pay off in that regard.

Greek aphorisms updated for recumbent riders

I stole this from Garrie Hill and Jeff Hunn.
Ancient Greek Modern
Know thyself. Know your bike
Nothing in excess No such thing as too much riding or too many bikes
Aid friends Stop to aid cyclists in need
Control Anger Don't get angry with the DFer; just blow by him on the next downhill
Shun unjust acts Don't steal another's ride
Acknowledge sacred things. Pursue the biking holy grail: light, strong & cheap
Hold on to learning. Know how to adjust your ride
Praise virtue. Praise other bentriders, for they have seen the light
Avoid enemies Ignore the UCI
Cultivate kinsmen Gather with other bikers and RIDE!!!
Pity supplicants Don't curse the headwinds; ride a lowracer
Accomplish your limit. Give HPRA racing a try
When you err, repent Apologize when you cut in front of another racer because you failed to use your mirror!
Consider the time. Give HPRA racing a try
Repeat not Recumbancy, not redundency
Worship the divine Carbon Fiber is kewl!!!
Accept old age. Don't give in without a fight -- ride streamlined

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GreenWheel - easy electric kit for cycling

From Discovery News

Discovery News has this story about GreenWheel a system being developed at MIT. The cool thing about this system is that everything is contained in the wheel. Power generation, energy storage and propulsion are all in the dinner plate sized hub pictured above. The throttle is connected wirelessly via bluetooth. That means you can just swap the wheel on to a bike, trike or HPV, attach the throttle and ride away. You can still pedal the bike, which doubles the range while under power. From the article in Discovery:
Under its current configuration, a bike powered solely by a single GreenWheel (front, rear or both wheel can be equipped with a GreenWheel) has an estimated range of 25 miles. Pedaling the bike doubles the range under electric power, provided the rider isn't traveling at the nearly top speed of 30 miles an hour. The bike can be charged by pedaling or by plugging it into the electric grid.
I could see investigating this, it makes going car-light or car-free much easier, the target cost is a few hundred dollars. For that price I would happily add such a wheel to a cargo bike or utility bike such as the Rans Hammertruck . I would love to get one of these wheels for a trike to give my dad more mobility as well.
(h/t Treehugger)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Excellent Photo

Rapto in 3hr WC 2008
This is a picture from the IHPVA World Championships 2008. The rider is on a Raptobike Lowracer and has a huge grin considering he is in the middle of a 3hr criterium.


Ezra Klein has a story I never thought I would see. Greenspan backs bank nationalization.

Bonus points for a great blog post title AND RANDIANS SHALL LAY DOWN WITH MARXISTS. Something I thought I would ever see, but hopefully this will be the start of sanity in our economic policy.

Raptobike Lowracer- Bike of the Year 2008 - BROL

Raptobike Lowracer

The Raptobike won the Reader's choice Bike of the Year 2008 pick on 'Bentrider Online. Apparently the choice was a runaway winner. Congratulations to Raptobike and I can't wait for my Raptobike Lowracer to arrive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

UK PSA on speeding

(h/t Treehugger) Treehugger pointed out this amazing public service announcement on speeding. Quite a persuasive argument. Given NY incident statistics, if this happened in the US, the driver would not even get a citation.


I have been slacking off. Since December and the Snowpocalypse, I have been wimping out on my rides. As you can see in the report pictured, I rode 3 times in Dec, 10 in Jan, and 4 in February (I commuted today).

I need to get back on the bike and ride more. I have been fighting a persistent cough but it went away only to recently return. Blech. Sunday Feb 22 I ride the Chilly Hilly, I am a bit concerned about this ride but baring illness I will go. I will just take it easy, it runs from 8am to 3pm so I don't think I will have difficulty making the time cutoff. I need to lose weight and get my heath pointed in the right direction. I am thinking about Yoga and adding workouts at home into the mix as I just don't like feeling this way.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trike Sold

From September photostream

The trike is now in someone elses capable hands. I sold her today to a nice couple from Tacoma. It went much faster then the sale of my Fuji Cross. The first visitor took it away. I suppose that part of that is due to the larger adjustable range for a recumbent than a "normal" bike. It was pretty easy to set the trike up for its new owner and get him ready to go. It is very easy to ride as well so once someone gets on a trike, they are almost sold.

Farewell my trike, now I have room for the Raptobike. Next up for sale, the Rans Vivo.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Check out these suggested names for Ben & Jerry's Bush themed ice cream flavors. Quite amusing. My favorite:
I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands...with nuts

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More on Portland's Masked Hero

Oregon Live has the story. More data on the 'phantom bike hero' who rides Portland at night.

I love this story and it just feels so right that it is happening in Portland.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kirkland Bike Shop takes on the Raptobike project

Kirkland Bike Shop

I approached Kirkland Bike Shop to build up my frame kit for the raptobike. I brought my part list and pictures of the bike. They aren't a recumbent shop but were very excited to work on my project. They have worked on my recumbent bikes before and have always been very nice. No roadie attitude or mountain bike bias from these guys. They are genuinely happy to help anyone get the bike that works for them. In other words a dream shop. Their prices aren't great but they are on the Eastside and in a ritzy town so that is to be expected. They helped me when Performance bike screwed up my new compact crankset install on my old Fuji Cross. No need to rehash that story but Kirkland bike shop has worked on many of my bikes and has done some free work as well.

So now they have my deposit and are ordering the parts I specified. They are building the wheels for me as well including the Rohloff hub. I had the entire shop staff around me talking about this project. It was pretty exciting. Now I just have to wait ...

Texas Teacher Suspended for Atheism

My Father is a retired English and History teacher, he also happens to be a retired Presbyterian minister. This story from Texas would disgust him. The story of Richard Mullens is a sad commentary on the situation in Texas as pertains to education. Follow the link and read it there, I don't want to quote the entire article.

I do hope that Richard Mullens gets good legal representation and sues the heck out of Bookeland's School Board. The behavior of the school board here is utterly reprehensible.

Bicycle facilities (Soapbox)

There has been some discussion in the Cascade Bicycle Club lately regarding facilities for locking up bikes. This is a subject near and dear to my heart as I have been a cycle commuter for over 25 years*. To properly lock a bike up involves locking both tires, the frame and the seat to a solid object that is hard to remove. The lock needs to be strong and any cable based locks are considered only a barrier to casual theft. Any bike thief who has equipment can cut almost all cable locks.

These requirements get to be pretty rough. I myself only deter casual theft as carrying the necessary 20lbs of gear to really lock up my bikes is too hard. Accessories like bike computers and lights are nearly impossible to protect, the standard rule is to strip your bike of accessories and carry them with you. This gets to be quite annoying. When I was commuting in Brentwood, NY to the train station I just used a beater bike and even then locked it up at the Library 2 blocks away, near the security guard smoking station. As it was the sad bmx bike was still vandalized and I had to deal with angry notes from the Library on occasion.

Nowadays my bikes have $400 or more of accessories on them. If you add up the cost of my garmin cycle computer and my lights you hit $500 retail without even counting anything else. My Corsa's front wheel is worth $400 as well. I find myself less willing to ride a crappy bike nowadays. Why should I ride a bike that is garbage so I can not worry about it being stolen or vandalized? Especially when even dedicated care can cause problems. I commuted for 2 months in Tel Aviv by bike. I locked the bike inside the office stairwell. It was stolen 1 month in. Our investigation came to the conclusion that a courier cut the lock and stole the bike from the stairs.

Parking facilities for automobiles are typically expensive and take up a ton of space. For instance a 725 car garage built for Huntington, NY LIRR station cost $10,000,000. A cost of $13,800 per space. Spending a fraction of that cost on bicycles could easily make mixed mode commuting much more accessible. For instance there are bike lockers such as this one pictured below.

There are also bike cover type lockers available at Tri-met stations in the greater Portland area. These are plastic covers that fold over a bike, you lock it with your regular U lock or bike lock. Most bike lockers today are rented out, though some like the plastic cover style are often free for use on demand. Bike Lockers could easily be stacked if they were equipped with a tongue that comes out as a ramp. Stacking would improve the space consumption. The cover and locker style facilities really help the theft issue, especially the accessory theft. They also protect against weather. Bike facilities are much cheaper than auto facilities and take up less space. A bike locker similar to the one pictured above ranges from $500 to $2000 per bike cost. That is less that 1/10th the cost of similar facilities for cars. You can fit 4 or more bike lockers in the space for 1 car.

The point is that bikes really make commuting easier. They are an excellent solution to the "Last mile" problem that you often hear in transit issues. A cyclist will happily ride 3-5 miles on each end of a transit based commute. That cyclist also consumes less resources and parking facilities. It makes a lot of sense to improve our parking facilities to encourage cycling. I would love bike lockers or fold over covers at light rail stations, at bus transit centers and at workplaces. For every converted car commuter you would save a decent chunk of money as well as lowering maintenance costs. Congestion would also be improved or at least congestion growth would slow.

Let me hear your thoughts on this subject.

* I do count my high school bike commuting here, but since I did it every day and rode even in snow storms, I feel it counts.

Stupid Unix tricks that save me

I multitask a lot during my day, just the nature of having both development responsibilities and support responsibilities. One of the tricks I use a lot is using various shell scripting tricks interactively. For instance.

sleep 600; /home/duncanw/workspace/qavod3/

That silly line will sleep for 5 minutes then run my script. So I can restart a server by hand, then run the above command. It will wait 5 minutes for the startup to complete and then execute my little script. So I don't have to pay attention, and I don't get impatient about the 5 minute wait.

I also execute a lot of interactive for loops in bash. For instance

for site in `cat /tmp/x`
ssh $site

When I need to check some arbitrary list of servers for some condition, I can just type that in above interactively and voila, I won't loose track of where I am. I will check all the servers in the list and the shell keeps track for me.

I know this isn't rocket science but this type of off the cuff interactive shell scripting helps me a ton. I do similar tricks with python interactive shells, mostly to do math and convert epoch timestamps into wall clock times.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Portland - Phantom bike-riding hero

Portland seems to have acquired a "bike phantom" who helps those in need.

Rahm (humor)

Ezra Klein penned one of the funniest paragraphs I have read this season when talking about the stimulus bill.

I'm half ready to believe that Rahm convinced Ben Nelson to ratfuck the Republicans. "Get them to cut school construction for poor kids," he (might have) told a visibly nervous Nelson. "It's the most sympathetic item in the bill. It's clear stimulus. It makes sense long-term. It's easy for reporters to understands and voters to remember. It will define the bill as obviously worth, undermine Republican attempts to paint it as a porkfest, completely discredit the centrists, and Nancy Pelosi will simply replenish the funds in conference committee." Then he bit the head off a bear, punched through a wall, and asked Nelson if he didn't mind helping out.
Now that is an image.

Dark Humor

cool stuff

I discovered this cool item on bike hugger. I didn't know that it existed, which is silly since I have used GU for years while rock climbing. The best part about this item for me is that I can carry 5 GU gels in the flask and not have to deal with the waste packets of GU while riding. The worst thing about GU is the mostly empty seeping packet that remains after you consume one. More than one packet has made a mess in my fleece pockets, backpacks or bike bag.

Hammer Gel has a similar item and it also comes in 26 serving jugs. This means I need to try out hammer products to see if they work for me. I would appreciate the simpler method of loading up and prepping for a ride that way.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Raptobike Ordered


I placed the order for the Raptobike frame kit today. I emailed Arnold regarding shipping costs and he confirmed that as a US customer ordering the frame kit I could use the TNT post shipping option. This saved me $457 USD, so I was very happy to hear that. I need to talk to my LBS about working on the frame kit and helping me build it up. If they are willing I will probably order all the components through them as that will help them out as well as me. The Kirkland bike shop has been very nice about working on my recumbents to date and has been very willing to "chew the fat" about them as well.

I am very excited and can't wait for the frame kit to arrive.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cyclist killed in Ballard

Cyclist killed in Ballard, I don't normally note cycling accidents but this one was not far from me and the cyclist killed was my age. His name is Kevin Black.

The cyclist was riding downhill (Southbound) on 24th Ave approaching the 65th St. A van was swinging right to make a wide U-turn, Kevin assumed the van was turning right, and passed on the left, when the van came about Kevin realized what was happening and laid the bike down, going under the van. Here is a link to google maps street view . As you can see there is no room for a U-turn there and a U-turn is illegal in that spot. Given the speed that Kevin had from the hill I don't see how this could have turned out well. My suspicion is that the van driver will face no citations or charges for her actions.

Am I fast?

So I have been posting a lot of stuff regarding making bikes more aerodynamic and lighter. This might give you the impression that I am a fast rider pushing the envelope of speed. I am not. I am big and slow. But I do push my bikes fast enough that aerodynamics can help me. And lower weight always helps climbing. I also find the engineering of recumbent bikes to be very interesting. And I want to be faster and ride longer.

(BTW - the answer to the question posed in the title is NO)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wheel Covers

4mm Coroplast wheel covers

In my search for aerodynamics I wanted to look into wheel covers. I found this cool thread on BROL that talked about various commercial and homebuilt options. This page on also covers the process of building, measuring and attaching wheel covers.

The design that caught my eye was the one used by the Rbent guys in Texas at the last 24h Texas Time Trials. They took black 4mm coroplast sheets, split in two lengthwise resulting in 2 sheets. Then they cut the sheets into disks with a split to adjust for the dish of the wheels. To fasten they used black electrical tape, which apparently holds as long as the temperature is below 95F, past that and you need to use some glue.

I think I will get some black coroplast once I get the raptobike for this purpose. Should be fun, and the result will be both atheistic and aerodynamic. I may just get enough coroplast to make a tailbox as well, which would give me some nice storage for the raptobike as well. There is a very nice mounting bracket available for the rear wheel on the raptobike. It is shaped like a large inverted U that goes over the rear wheel. I think it would be very easy to use that as a mount for a nice tailbox. Add some of that nice black 3M reflective tape and you have a stylish but safe design.

Update: This site has excellent coroplast instructions for wheel covers. Just use Bud_bent's technique of splitting 4mm Coro into 2mm sheets first.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SEC idiots in Congress

This is pretty self-explanatory video. I do want to say, I used to live in the Congressman's district. It is nice to see someone upset. Hopefully the SEC will start doing some oversight nowadays.

Cycle videos

I am not happy today with the political news. Not going to post today regarding it, it would just be a rant and get me an unpleasant interview with LE. So instead I want to post a number of my favorite cycling and recumbent videos. There are some really amazing ones out there. I posted one yesterday so I won't repost it.

This one is also by H@rry in the Netherlands. The text inserts are all in English though. He is riding his M5 carbon hi-racer and has a camera mounted facing rearward. It really gives quite the view of his commute. Great fun, excellent video.

This one is from H@rry in the Netherlands again. This time he is commuting on his Quest velomobile. You can see the difference between the commutes and how he corners and handles traffic on each.

This one is also from H@rry. He is delivering some parts to Germany using the Quest velomobile. This is the first video I saw from H@rry and it stuck in my mind. His videos are great and highly informative. The delivery trip is 110km one way about 70 miles. IT is an inspiring video for many reasons.

This one is just fun. Great narration, lots of interaction. I particularly like the dog and the velos.

More race videos from H@rry, here he is going 50km/h on an M5 hi-racer. This is the chainstay camera view. Excellent video though in Dutch, which limits my understanding. The music is great. Correction, H@rry just changed the text inserts to English in this video.

NMERider's Vk2 video. This is a fun video, with a bit of wind noise but it is pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Awesome race video

This is one of the best videos I have seen. It is 4 minutes of a three hour long criterium held in the UK. There is a high quality version available on youtube, just click through. Great music, nice text inserts, just a great video.

The lowracers in the video are screaming along too, 40+ kph, roughly 27 mph.


Sam Whittingham with Varna Diablo

Pictured above is Sam Whittingham with his record breaking Varna Diablo. He broke his own record last year in September reaching 82.3 mph. I just love the picture, the streamliner looks so elegant in that shot. It really makes me wish for a commercial two wheel streamliner platform. Quest velomobiles and other commercial velomobiles have a similar finished look. Most homebuilt streamliners look more like this:
John Tetz Orange Foam Streamliner

John Tetz's work is actually very good and he spends a lot of time on design and engineering with his projects. His later work is quite finished. It is just that when I see the Varna Diablo, I see elegance and beauty. I would love to have such an beautiful machine.

Valet parking for bikes in Santa Monica

Treehugger has a story on valet parking for bikes.
It is amusing to me as I probably wouldn't want anyone handling my bike, but it is interesting.

Banks still swilling champagne with your money

Apparently the banks still think Americans don't understand the basics of money. One of the fundamental properties of money and all currency is that it is fungible. What this means is that there is no difference between units of the same currency. Your dollar bill is worth the same as my dollar bill, when I have 100 dollar bills, it doesn't matter which ones I use to pay a debt with.

So when Citibank says "No TARP capital will be used for the stadium" referring to the $400 million deal that Citibank has made with the Mets, it is a LIE. This is not an exaggeration, an obfuscation, or a misstatement. It is a flat out lie. As they are BANKERS, they do know that money is fungible. Of course, my nieces know that as well, so it isn't much of a standard. Citibank is not alone in this, Bank of America spent $10 million on a big Super Bowl party. Of course all of this pales in comparison to the direct looting of taxpayers with the bonus payouts in 2008, Wall Street payed out $18,000,000,000 in bonuses. That is 5% of the first set of TARP payouts. In contrast, House Republicans unanimously voted down a stimulus package for regular people like you and I because 1% of the funds went to provisions that they disagreed with.

The class warfare is stunning. If you are a rich investment banker, you get billions of dollars, if you are a regular guy... You get to pay the rich banker. Color me disgusted.

All Your Republicans belong to Limbaugh

(h/t - FDL)

Monday, February 2, 2009

When will laws protect cyclists and pedestrians?

I have been noticing that many cyclists, including myself, don't feel law enforcement cares about cyclists or pedestrians. We all read about high profile crashes (calling them accidents ignores the negligence involved in most of these incidents) where the perpetrator gets away without even a citation. In one case in Kansas a sheriff's deputy was killed by a young driver who was playing with his phone and radio. A clear case of negligent homocide, the driver wasn't even cited for a traffic ticket.

A recent study of New York City records looks at the 1020 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities that occurred from 1994 to 1997.
Using police records, the authors found that “drivers were largely or strictly culpable in 74 percent of cases where sufficient information existed for culpability coding, and were largely, strictly, or partly culpable in 90 percent of the known cases. Hit and run, turning into pedestrians at crosswalks, and speeding were the top three driver faults in killing pedestrians and cyclists.”

The police cited motorists for traffic violations in only one-fourth of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, although motorists were involved in 98 per cent of these fatalities and were unquestionably at fault in at least half.

In only one percent of fatalities did the police issue summonses to motorists specifically for violating pedestrian and bicyclist rights of way (such as failing to yield in crosswalks or driving in bike lanes).

This unfortunately bolsters my feelings that cyclists and pedestrians are second class citizens. It used to be a bad joke in 1970s fiction that if you wanted to kill someone just get drunk and run the target over. Sadly now you just play with your radio and claim "I didn't see him, officer" and you can get away with killing a cop. Witness this incident that happened over the weekend to one of the bloggers I follow. Luckily with the number of witnesses willing to testify the police are following up. But anti-cyclist bias is strong and isn't just in New York. Here are a few stories from Portland, OR an area renowned for its bicycle friendly policies. In Tuscan, AZ, a lawyer couldn't even get police to investigate a case of assault by passing car with a baseball bat.

Then I read statistics on how drivers of Hummers have five times as many traffic tickets as the average driver. These actions have reinforced the poor training of our aggressive drivers. They have noticed these developments as well, but with an eye for abuse. Isn't it grand how we coddle our polluters and killers. This is unacceptable, why should we let lawbreakers get away with killing our children. Why don't we make sure that dangerous driving like this is punished?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Raptobike Plans Continued.

Raptobike with Tailbox

The Raptobike is now offered as a frame set. This has proved to be the final temptation for me, I will now buy one as soon as my bonus money comes in. I will sell my Trike and Vivo. I already cleaned up the trike and took the pictures, now I need to post it on craigslist, BROL, and some mailing lists. I will also sell my climbing gear. All together the sales will cover the new bike.

I want the carbon seat, and the boom with a light mount, so I am waiting for Arnold to modify the listing to allow me to select both as part of the frame set. I will then add some components
  • Front Rim - Velocity Fusion 406 (drive wheel)
  • Front Spokes Wheelsmith
  • Front Hub- Rohloff SpeedHub
  • Front Skewer- Pitlock Skewer
  • Rear Rim- Velocity Fusion 559 (non-drive wheel)
  • Rear Spokes- Wheelsmith
  • Rear Hub- Shimano Ultegra HB-6600
  • Rear Skewer- Quick Release
  • Bottom Bracket- FSA MegaExpo
  • Crank Set- FSA Gossamer Crankset (165mm)
  • Front Chain Ring 53t Q-Ring 130BCD
  • Drive Wheel Sprocket- 13 tooth
  • Front Brakes- Avid Single Digit 7
  • Rear Brakes- Avid Single Digit 7
  • Brake Levers- Avid Single Digit 7
  • Chain- SRAM PC-951 or KMC X9SL-TI
  • Tires- Schwalbe Stelvio or Durano (406 and 559)

I will get both wheels built and have my bike shop install the crank set and bottom bracket. I am considering just walking into Kirkland Bike shop and talking to them about the frame set. I'll bet they will be very happy to build it up for me. All in all I am extremely excited and can't stop playing around with options. I am avoiding the temptation to go all Ti for components in an attempt to really get the weight down. The gear range with the Rolhoff should be 20.7" to 109". That is more than enough to handle hills and the flats. Hill climbing at 50 rpm will be 3.1 mph, or 70rpm at 4.3 mph which is roughly my minimum speed on a recumbent anyway, or I fall over. Then at 120 rpm in high gear this yeilds 38.9 mph, so my downhills will be exciting.

Update: I spoke to Garrie Hill and he won't be importing the Raptobike. So I will be ordering direct. On the other hand, he does have a mold for a tailbox that he is adapting for most lowracers and even reclined trikes. This means that I may have a US source for a tailbox to fit the raptobike at some point.

Update: Pedals, I always forget pedals. I will probably use speedplay frogs, though I might just steal pedals off one of my other bikes. Additionally Arnold at Raptobike has updated the web shop there to include all the options I want for the frame kit. Great company, they really pay attention to their customers even before purchase.