Saturday, January 31, 2009

Open Cockpit vs. Tiller (preying mantis) Steering.

One of the debates about recumbents is which type of steering is best. Lately Open Cockpit aka superman style steering is getting all the attention. The other common alternative is tiller steering aka preying mantis style steering. Open Cockpit tends to be more comfortable and less twitchy. Tiller steering tends to be more aerodynamic, less comfortable and more twitchy. But that is only the broad strokes of the differences.

Here is an example of an high bottom bracket open cockpit design, the Bacchetta Corsa:
Corsa - Open Cockpit steering


Now as you can see the rider pictured here (myself) has fat sausages for legs. Because of the high bottom bracket (the height of the pedals from the ground basically) and the reclined position the thighs get in the way of the handlebars during turns. This means that when I want to make a tight turn I have to drop the inside leg off of the pedals so I can get the angle needed. This becomes annoying and prevents me from pedaling during turns, which means if I am going slow or uphill the turn is not easy.

Raptobike - tiller steering

Above is the Raptobike, with tiller steering. It also has a high BB relative to the seat height but the tiller steering won't hit my inside thigh. I have a Rans Vivo with tiller steering and I find it very easy to use. Though my elbows are in a closed position with the Vivo. This isn't as comfortable and my elbows sweat a bit over time. For a picture of how this looks, here is a rider on an M5.
Anja on M5 Shockproof in Norway

This can be changed by cutting down the stem, moving the handle bars closer to the legs and increasing the reach needed. There are pros and cons of this approach as the stem also moves in the direction opposite of the turn like a boat tiller. So by increasing the reach you also limit the final angle of the turn available due to reaching the limits of a given persons reach.

The net result of all of this verbiage is that due to my desire for high BB recumbents and my sausage legs, I find tiller steering more to my liking. But like all things in recumbent land, adjusting the particular steering to my own fit and expected usage is key to satisfaction.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cool Video and Song


Enjoy

GOP revels in powerlessness

video
The House Republicans was very proud of being the party of NO yesterday. They decided their leader, Rush Limbaugh, had it right. The US Economy should fail, since Americans had the bad taste to vote Democratic for President, for Congress and for the Senate. Since Republicans are the minority party though, they couldn't actually stop the Stimulus bill or the Nadler amendment. But that didn't stop them from celebrating.

I made sure to call my Congressman and thank him for his vote for the stimulus and the Nadler amendment. I also called my Senators and asked them to support the stimulus and infrastructure spending as it now goes to the Senate.

The video linked above is Colbert being Colbert. He is amazing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lowracer

Raptobike

I was speaking to Kristin today about the Raptobike. I need to sell the Vivo and the trike, after that I have a green light to proceed on the Raptobike lowracer. I think I will go light on the options, just a Rohloff, carbon seat and Stelvio tires. The Schwalbe Stelvio are being discontinued but until their replacements are in the dealer chain, they are still available. I will order the bike with them since Raptobike has them in stock and I don't end up with a tire that I will just be replacing later. The wheels may also be a place to get some weight off the bike but I can have that done locally and save me the import tax.

I am hoping to hear from some of the shops that talked about importing the raptobike if there was enough interest. Garrie Hill was considering it since he also does low volume M5 imports. Both M5 and Raptobike are Dutch companies and sell lowracers, so it might make sense for him. I haven't heard yet what his decision is.

I believe the ride will be pretty smooth given that the tires will be about 5mm wider than my 23mm tires on the Corsa and the wheelbase is also longer by about 6". This should smooth out chipseal, and other miscellaneous bumps. I also have the option of going to 38mm (1.5") tires which should make a big difference. That flexibility is nice as the Corsa has pretty tight clearance and 25mm (measured, not marketing values) is the max I can go.

If everything goes well I will be able to take the Raptobike to the Idaho TOT in June and the Recumbent Rally in August, and maybe even the OHPV event in May. Lets see how it all turns out.

Jessica Alba pwns BillO

Now I know that pwning BillO isn't a lifetime achievement or anything but check out this story and accompanying video from C&L.

Basically BillO was upset that when Jessica Abla was ambush interviewed by his "reporters" she said some unpleasant things about him. During the exchange she called BillO an asshole. So a week after said event he has a story calling Jessica Alba a "pinhead". He sent another ambush crew over:
Well, when Alba was again cornered by one of Fox's ambush-squad camera crews, she turned the tables by getting out her camera and asking questions of her inquisitor. When he refused to answer because he's a "journalist" (note: this is a fake excuse) she asked, "Why not? Be neutral. Be Sweden about it."

BillO then tried to pounce on air on the Sweden comment. Saying it is Switzerland who is famous for its neutrality. Jessica replies via a Myspace post:

I want to clear some things up that have been bothering me lately. I find it depressing that in the midst of perhaps the most salient time in our country's history, individuals are taking it upon themselves to encourage negativity and stupidity. Last week, Mr. Bill O'Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people...it's so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II if you want to see what I was referring to. I appreciate the name calling and the accurate reporting. Keep it up!!

Poor BillO, he really should be careful attacking people who are smarter than he is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good quotes


What did Gandalf tell Grima?
Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.


Great quote, I should remember it.

Cute Video


Cute video. I would never have known about it except BillO decided it was bad and hate-filled. Now that it has national attention it will go viral in a big way. That makes me quite happy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Velomobiles

Quest Velomobile

I have been looking at my traffic and which pages get hits. What I find very interesting is that my readers seem to really like Velomobiles. Any post that have velomobile pictures, information or video does very well. I can understand that, my own interest is piqued by velomobiles as well.

One very interesting project that I have seen is John Tetz's foamshell Velomobile project.

From Foamshell Velomobile by John Tetz


The image is linked to his design documents and project info for the Velo. I love this project though making the trike itself is outside my skill set. But you can see the process of making a streamliner shell for a trike or bike. It is really amazing what people can make with limited facilities. There are also coroplast fairings that people make, there are even kits for various trikes.

I have to admit these home built projects are very alluring. The idea of doing my own work and making a fairing is pretty cool. Any time I build something, even as simple as a hack to fix my fenders, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I like to work with my hands, and the garage has been given to me as my domain. Additionally making a fairing is cheaper than buying a velo, though the process of prototyping and acquiring various tools will surely have the cost approach that of a velomobile. I do believe that having the skills is of itself valuable and the fairing will be lighter than a velomobile. So for myself I think I would strongly consider a homebuilt project vs a finished product such as the quest. One final point is that John Tetz's Velomobile is ~40lbs vs 75lbs for a Quest. But I think it is something that everyone needs to decide for themselves. And if there was a kit for a lowracer, or one of my trikes, then I would strongly consider it. I do wish that there were some US Velomobile manufacturers. Having them all in Europe makes the costs pretty high.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lucy on Flickr


IMG_1373, originally uploaded by Watson House.

Lately I have been trying to decide which photo site I prefer, Flickr or Picasa. Picasa has nicer photo editing and makes it easy to get the pictures off of my camera, flickr has better web features. I really like the various flickr features.
1- The photostream concept is great.
2- Moxi integration, so my DVR can be my slideshow.
3- Great sharing via groups and adding to other photostreams.
4- Nice support for embedding and blogging.

I think I will give Flickr a try for the next month or so to see how I like using it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ultimate Cycle Commuter

EcoVelo has a nice article up on Bicycle Design’s “Commuter Bike for the Masses” design competition. A recumbent design won the competition and I do like that a recumbent won, I am not a huge fan of the winner. Go take a look at ecovelo for the winning entry.

Quest Velomobile

Personally I would recommend a velomobile for the ultimate cycle commuting vehicle for the masses. Something like the Quest would be great for many people. Sure it weighs 70 lbs give or take but the carrying capacity is huge and it flies on the flats, 25-30MPH by non-athletes. The stability of three wheels is also very user friendly.
John Tetz Streamliner

Now for myself and anyone wanting 2 wheels and less weight, I would go with something like John Tetz's streamliner design. His zote-foam fairing adds 7.2 lbs (3.3 kg) give or take to the bike underneath. This is a heck of a lot less than the 70lbs total you see in the commercial velomobiles. It comes at a cost, less durability, not quite as finished appearance and the need for home repairs. But the foam designs he has are relatively easy to repair and pretty durable. John accidentally experienced a 40mph crash in a previous iteration of his design. Here is his report from that crash:
How does it hold up to high speed crashes? A few months ago I crashed at the end of a 40 mph (64 km/h) grade with the first foam shell, when the Sachs 3x7 hub locked up after hitting a high-speed bump (one of the pawls jammed). The bike slid for about 75 feet (22 m) flipping back and forth until wearing the tire flat, I lost it to the right hitting the ground hard. But interestingly I got out of the vehicle on the left side! It must have done a complete roll-over. Also, it did not slide very far - another advantage over slippery hard shells.

An after crash inspection showed a deep scar in the foam on the right side where the seat frame was located along with several scratches and a scatter of deeper scars. The left side also had scratches and a couple of deeper scrapes, evidence that it must have rolled. Basically nothing happened to me. No loss of precious skin, except my little finger must have been bent in a way that a tiny bone in my hand was sprained, possibly fractured. Not bad for a high speed crash. I shudder to think what I would look like on a unfaired bike. This foam can indeed make a light fairing and still have reasonable crash protection. I have a seat belt in the hard shell - I need to add this in the foamshell to stay inside when crashing.


If I had the time and willingness to make a few prototypes I would love to put a streamliner shell around a raptobike using John Tetz's design as a guildline. I would absolutely love a streamliner. In fact I suspect streamliner kits to put around a raptobike would be a reasonable small side business for some entrepreneur. For me a streamliner would be an incredible commuter machine. There is decent storage available in the one above. Check out the storage compartment
Streamliner storage

Obamicon.me


There is this very cool site called Obamicon.me that allows you to create, rank and save various Obamicons. Quite a bit of fun, and I could waste so much time on this. But I did create one of me on my recumbent. My wife Kristin took the original picture.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Surprise, everything we suspected about the NSA wiretapping program is true


Emptywheel has a great post up on how all the worst suspicions regarding the illegal wiretap program are true.
  • All US communication was made accessible.
  • Metadata about all communication was collected and used to choose what to look at further.
  • Journalists were particularly targeted.
Go read emptywheel's post but you can see the rule of law was completely absent here. We already know that Senator's and Congressman's communication was caught in the net. We also know that choice bits of prurient interest were passed around between agents in a locker room atmosphere. This is an important revelation, but a very sad chapter in US history.

Commuting Continues

From Corsa Commuter

I am still commuting though my bike is lonely at work. The East Side of Seattle and Kirkland in particular still has a ton of gravel on the roads. The temperatures during my commute range from the upper twenty degrees F to the lower thirties. Today it was 30F on my ride in. There is some pretty dense fog which tends to stay around all day. Even with the highly impaired visibility I was passed by 6 cars in a row on 124th that didn't have any lights on. I am strongly considering getting a video camera with a bike mount. I am tired of drivers being so unsafe.

I suppose given the conditions I understand why my bike is the only one in the rack at work. The gravel situation on the East Side is pretty poor. Yet another reason to have a camera to document the conditions. But with all of that said, I feel great riding. I have already noticed my weight loss has resumed now that my cycling as returned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Montage

Benwilker.com pulled off a very nice bit of work, check out his montage of news headlines.

History


This is just incredibly funny.

Typealyzer

I keep playing around with Typealyzer. It is a site that will analyze web pages and blogs for you to try to determine what personality traits were dominant during the writing of said blog. It has some nice tools and the results are supposed to correspond to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator temperament test, which is sometimes used by various employers.

It is a fun toy which fascinates me for some reason.

My results vary depending on what I post but it tends to show this:
ISTP - The Mechanics
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Commuting on the Corsa

From Corsa Commuter

My first commute of the year on the Corsa. The roads are finally clear enough and I am so happy to be back on the Corsa. Kiley (the Corsa) has better lighting as far as "can you see me" style than my trike, and has much better reflectivity due to the tape and bags I have on her. The ride is higher which has upsides and downsides. I am more visible in traffic but also less stable at lights, starting and stopping. She is still (ordered in early Oct) missing her SON dynohub and IQ Fly headlight, I am currently relying on some cateye LED light which is fine as a backup but not great for primary "can I see" light. I have my cateye LED helmet light as well so I am doing well but I want a wider beam.

I am faster on the Corsa and push myself more. This is good since commuting is also training for me, I can shower at work. I have been dealing with some left leg extension when riding the trike, my Achilles tendon has been feeling stretched when riding the trike. I had zero issues with that on the Corsa, which is a welcome change. I really don't want to end up damaging my Achilles tendon. I will need to work on the trike to fix that problem, I need to move up the seat which requires some new aluminum stays to attach to my rear rack.

All in all, I feel good and that is wonderful.

The Ultimate George Bush Retrospective

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

I missed this one when it came out. It should be required viewing. After watching it you should take the time to look over the Bush scandal list, and read this post

The Joy of Python


I am a big python geek, so this xkcd is a definite favorite.

Barack Obama, our 44th President of the United States

the 44th President of the United States...Barack Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lowracer urge still present.

Anodised RaptoBike
I am still thinking of getting a lowracer. The raptobike pictured above is one that I am strongly considering. Who knows when I will do it but the desire to get one is still there. I want one with a Rohloff hub as well, it is one way to get the range I want.

I need to get more cycling miles in my week and out of my snow induced rut. I will ride tomorrow after switching all the gear over to my Corsa. So tonight will be a bit of maintenance. Kristin is out of town for the bulk of the week so I need to take care of myself. I am also planning to get some weekend rides in with Cascade Bicycling Club. I need to practice group riding as well as solo pedaling.

Important Posts from Other Blogs

Every day I read posts that I think are important and good, but I either don't know enough or have enough time to add my own commentary. Today I would try to put them together in a compilation post.



That seems to be enough for the moment. Read and enjoy.

A Highlight of Bike Infrastructure Improvements

The good guys at Treehugger have an article highlighting a variety of bicycle infrastructure improvements. Their point is that there is a ton of press and coverage regarding new cars and new roadway facilities but very little regarding cycling infrastructure. They mean to address that lapse and cover five examples of recent infrastructure improvements in the US and abroad..

I am a huge fan of improving cycling infrastructure. The changes in Portland, OR and NYC have like a siren call to me. I keep finding my thoughts tending to wonder what it would take to move back to Portland or NY. My wife and I were car-free for 8 years and we are now car-light with one vehicle. I have used a bike to commute to work or school since 1984 with some periods where I used mass-transit instead or coupled with a bike. Any improvement in cycling infrastructure makes me quite happy. Cycling is easy to do, very efficient in terms of energy usage, and remarkably fast way to get places. Bikes take up very little space and are simple to park. The health benefits of riding are numerous and in my experience I feel more connected with my local community when I ride, vs when I drive through it.

I hope that more cities follow the examples of Portland, NYC, and the Netherlands.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

George Bush and his Vaction time

According to public record George W Bush spent 487 days at Camp David and 490 days at his Crawford ranch on vacation. Quite an interesting set of statistics. If you do the math he was on vacation 33.43% of the time during his 8 years served. Additionally there are numerous examples where he didn't cut his vacation short to deal with crises. For instance during both the Israeli attacks on Gaza and Katrina GWB stayed on vacation rather than respond to either. With Katrina he did respond 3 days after the fact due to public pressure.

To put this in perspective here are a list of past administrations and the vacation time each spent while in office.

  • 2000-2008 - George W. Bush - 977 days over 2 terms, 33.43% of the time on vacation.
  • 1992-2000 - Bill Clinton - 152 days over 2 terms, 5.2% of the time on vacation.
  • 1988-1992 - George H.W. Bush - 543 days over 1 term, 37.16% of the time on vacation.
  • 1980-1988 - Ronald Reagan - 335 days over 2 terms, 12.15% of the time on vacation.
  • 1976-1980 - Jimmy Carter - 79 days over 1 term, 5.4% of the time on vacation.


Obviously we can see where Bush Jr. gets his work ethic, he inherited it from his father's side. Also of interest Democratic presidents seem to take a lot less vacation than Republican ones, at least in this sample. I need to look at more data, the Bush family seems to be particularly bad in this regard, by a factor of 6 as compared to the Democrats.

I don't know anyone personally who gets one day out of three off from work, but maybe you do. It is a pretty sad legacy that the Bush crime family leaves behind.

Village Idiots

Sometimes co-workers wonder why I am so disrespectful of our nations media. Maybe this link will help them understand.

Eleven days after the presidential election, 100 people were invited to the home of Vernon and Ann Jordan. The guest of honor was former Time Warner chief Richard Parsons, but the belle of the ball was Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama's best friends and a newly named White House senior adviser.

All night the Jordans' guests -- many VIPs in their own right -- surrounded Jarrett, eager to introduce themselves and welcome her to D.C. Business as usual. Every four or eight years, Washington's primarily white, influential, moneyed set rushes to cozy up to the new power brokers in town: Texans when George W. Bush arrived, Arkansas buddies when Bill Clinton came to town. The city's high-level social scene -- dinners, black-tie fundraisers, receptions, ubiquitous book parties -- is the place where money and experience are subtly traded for access and influence.

Except for the first time, the face of ultimate power is African American. With a black first family in the White House and a diverse group of appointees and Cabinet nominees, the all-white dinner party feels all wrong. Certain hosts are suddenly grappling with a new reality: They need some black friends. Overnight, black politicians, lawyers and journalists are hot properties, receiving engraved invitations from people they never got invitations from before.

Blacks have gone from barely being on the list to being in charge of the list.
(h/t Atrios)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why don't people despise Bush as much as he deserves?

I went out to breakfast with some co-workers this morning. We were at the office due to a planned HVAC outage and had some free time while we waited for contractors to get the work done. While there I overheard another table talking politics and hawking various excuses for Bush's performance. You know the ones "he inherited all his problems and did the best he could.", "Saddam really was a bad man and we should have invaded for x, y, or z anyway", yada, yada. Our own conversation drifted that way since we all know someone who is attending the inauguration in 3 days. What surprised me was how my co-workers weren't convinced that Bush was a bad president.

I have to admit, I just don't understand that viewpoint. If you are a dedicated right-winger I expect it. I am used to people of that bent choosing to believe fabrications and lies while choosing to ignore documented facts and even the words of their chosen heroes after they are no longer convenient. But for regular people to think that Bush isn't that bad confuses me. I am not very social, I don't have a lot of close friends and normally avoid politics at work or in polite conversation. I normally talk about cycling, rock climbing and travel. So I suppose I just didn't notice this before as I avoid topics such as this. The root cause seems to me to be based on how little others pay attention to politics.

I just don't get how President Bush's history is hard to remember.
  1. He deliberately ignored the threat of Osama bin Ladin, specifically setting aside intelligence warning of 9/11.
  2. He lied to get us into a war with Iraq, threatening visions of planes dropping nuclear bombs on US territory.
  3. He systematically dismantled regulatory agencies in charge of the environment and finance. Leading us into the current financial crisis and deepening the threat of global warming.
  4. Katrina.
  5. He specifically cut Armed Forces pay and benefits while forcing them to serve multiple terms of service in foreign wars via "Stop-loss".
  6. Torture.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, I am only touching on highlights and I am sure I didn't touch upon numerous issues, screw-ups and crimes.

My question is why and how do regular people forget this stuff?

Chris Matthews on Bush Legacy

video
From Crooks and Liars
Discussing the Bush legacy yesterday, Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball came up with a good metaphor:

Matthews: I found it interesting that the president, who admitted he was wrong about WMDs as a justification for war, called it a "disappointment." If a police officer in the line of duty in the middle of the night shoots a fellow because he thinks he's got a gun, it turns out he's got a wallet, your reaction if you're a police officer is not that you're disappointed he didn't have a gun, it's shame that even if it was a technical mistake that you've made, that you've killed a guy without reason. Why does the president use the word "disappointment" when he says they didn't have the WMD to justify us going in? I think it's an odd use of the word.

There are days that Chris Matthews is ON, he can sometimes get to the root of the issue in a very clear way. This certainly is one of them. This is a great video clip and you need to view it. Tony Blankley tries to weasel out for Bush, denying that Bush knowingly lied, but even in the most favorable case for GWB, he was horribly wrong on Iraq. In the more reality based case we see the cherry picking of false intelligence over directly contradicting intelligence from US agencies. All of this in support of his predetermined plan to invade Iraq. That is a very sad story for GWB, in that story he is a monster, a war criminal, and the worst president of the US to date.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Politics and Heartburn

Lately I have been getting the unsettling feeling in my stomach from following the events on Capitol Hill. The stimulus is small, it is focused on tax cuts, the press is relentlessly focused on center-right dialogue, more financial bailout money going to waste, time for some pepto. But not all is bad. I need to remember that we did actually elect a Democrat and his name isn't Harry Reid, it is Barack Obama.

This way when I read a positive article or blog post regarding Social Security and Medicare like this one at the Washington Monthly, I won't be so surprised. I strongly believe that progressives need to get their act together and continue to keep up the pressure, but positive signs have been so hard to find in the last 8 or even 12 years that you forget to expect them. I keep bracing for more bad news, my shoulders are cramped up from all the tension. I am very glad that President Obama (Bush is checked out, forget this PEOTUS sillyness) is planning to leave Social Security alone and fix Medicare as part of a larger push to fix health-care. This is the right kind of framing. It is really nice to see.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stimulus plan call to action

The summary of the Stimulus plan circulating the House right now is pretty weak. It concentrates the majority of the funds in a tax cut and a good portion of that is corporate tax cuts. Basically this plan sucks. The bang for the buck in terms of GDP increases vs Tax dollar spent or not collected is low.
As you can see from this chart I borrowed the GDP increase per dollar is better spent in infrastructure, unemployment benefits and temporary increases in food stamps.

(click image for larger version).

If you want a larger stimulus that will actually increase GDP please visit Campaign for America's Futures website and sign their petition.

Watch your Bailout money go for "hookers and blow"


The Financial bailout has been handled with criminal negligence. Lack of oversight, money benefiting executives and going to mergers, and being spent overseas, the laundry list is long and miserable. My feelings of for bankers and mortgage brokers are at an all time low.

This video is regarding Bank of America and the abuses and new bailout money going toward enriching more executives, while putting 35,000 people with a median income of 23,000 out of work. But the fleet of corporate jets are still flying the airways, estimated cost of those 9 jets $200M. Watch the video and read the original post at Brave New Films

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Computer is like a bicycle for the Mind - Steve Jobs


(h/t Alan at EcoVelo )

I love the comparison, particularly since it uses a streamliner recumbent for the massive gains in energy efficiency to cover 1km. I will try to dig up the source comparison as well.

TN GOP dealt blow by one of their own


Rep. Kent Williams (R-TN) in a deft political maneuver used the delicate balance of 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats to his favor. Tennessee was poised to elect Rep. Jason Mumpower as Speaker of the House in the Tennessee legislature. Instead the Democrats nominated Rep. Kent Williams and voted as a block for him. Then Kent Williams voted for himself and accepted the nomination. Rep. Kent Williams (R-TN) is a moderate Republican who has often been attacked by his own party.

The drama is hilarious and it is a well executed coup. I do think our Democratic leadership in Congress and the Senate should take note.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A restospective of GWB Legacy.


Ben Sargent's retrospective on George Bush

I was tipped off to this nice series of political cartoons. I do think it provides an unfortunately accurate portrayal. Maybe with a new POTUS the bile I have been swallowing for 8 years will recede,

Why transit guys hate BRT


One of the traditional tools of transit opponents is the promise of Bus Rapid Transit. It is pitched a lot because there are no right of ways to negotiate, road infrastructure is loved by transit opponents and is considered "free" and it can be used to kill rail. Then of course no one funds the buses and infrastructure for the BRT system and many people hate to use buses. Mostly because they are fine for local trips but bad at being part of a longer distance backbone. Buses are also easy to kill by inches, keep the system, spread the frequency out and no one will use it because they can't get to their destination on the schedule they live and work with. Then kill the entire system due to lack of use. It is a standard ploy.

Openroads has a nice link to this being used in 1946 in Detroit, so classic. The funny thing is that so many people find BRT ideas new and innovative.

Congestion Pricing - IBM ad


This is IBM's commercial regarding congestion pricing and how it helps traffic flow and improves energy efficiency. I have read quite a bit about congestion pricing in various blogs and am glad to see IBM bringing the concept mainstream.

(h/t The Overhead Wire)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trike slideshow


I discovered that my terratrike happily fits on my Ultimate Pro Elite repair stand. It made working on the brakes and cleaning the drivetrain much easier. I also discovered my chain is at about 50% wear, so I need to start looking into a new chain before it wears too much more. But the trike is much better adjusted now. I can't wait to ride it tomorrow.

Ride home

I rode home today on the trike after fixing the flat. I wanted to get home to compare my ride stats on the trike to the historical records from my garmin. Compared to the other commutes with the trike today was much faster. It also compared well to some of the Corsa commutes though generally the Corsa is faster.

I need to clean up the drive train and check the chain stretch on the trike. But I am very happy with the changes. My increased level of fitness, the faster tires and removing the rubbing of the chain on the return idler has had a large effect. I do have some brake rub right now on the right disk brake so that is my next project.

First bike commute of the year

So with my trike all set up I rode in today. I ran into a few issues. I was lazy and didn't pack my standard tools/pump in my bag. I just grabbed a multi-tool, camel-back and my work clothes to ride in. I ended up paying for it as I got a flat on the way to work. At the end of my 3 mile ride I go down a small hill and noticed the rear was sliding out. I realized I had a flat, blech. I got off the trike and just walked the final 40yrds to the office. I had to call Kristin (my wife) to ask her to bring me a pump and my patch kit.

When I had the trike up and was repairing the flat I noticed that my chain was running directly on the idler guard on the return side. It has chewed through a bit of the guard so it probably has been running this way for a while. I fixed that while I was there. I think I found a few of the reasons why my trike was running so slowly. I will clean the drive train tonight and see how much better the trike runs on tomorrow's commute. Lesson learned, don't tempt the tire gods by leaving the tools home for "just one ride".

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trike work

From Terratrike Commuting

With the weather and the tons of gravel on the road I am not comfortable riding the Corsa with its 23mm tires. So I swallowed my pride and took the trike to the shop. I needed new brake pads for the disks, needed to adjust the disks and I wanted new tires. The Maxxis Hookworms are nice fat, bullet-proof tires but they are slow and my front fenders rub on them making my fenders unusable. So I had them but on new tires, schwalbe marathons, which are faster, lighter and thinner. When I got home I put my fenders back on and everything is set up for commuting.

I had been thinking about selling the trike and the vivo to get a lowracer or maybe a pair of delta trikes to ride with Kristin. The pair of delta thing might happen but not for more than a year I think. OTOH I will keep the TerraTrike and ride her more often. I think for commuting and even certain rando rides the Terratrike might be fine. It certainly is comfortable. I will put in some miles on her in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tandem riding


I was talking to my wife (Kristin) about riding together and what would be ideal. We both like recumbents and we would love to ride a tandem. But we also want the ability to split up and to ride alone, etc. So what would give us this ability? Well it appears there are a few recumbent trikes that can be setup as a tandem train like so:

So it occurs to me that Rans just released their Trizard (pictured at top) that is able to be linked as shown and is made in the USA. It also has Rans excellent support network and I happen to know a Rans dealer. Hmm, something to consider.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Flevo Alleweder Velo video


This video is of a Flevo Alleweder Velomobile. It is a great video and it is wonderful to see a 14 year old Velomobile on the road. This velo has some impressive lighting systems as well. I am very impressed.

STP todo list


The new year is now behind me and I want to take care of the various todo's left hanging around waiting for 2009 to start.

I signed up for the STP and the Chilly-hilly. Both are good rides and should be fun. Now I need to think about what to do to prepare for the STP.
  1. Where to stay mid-trip?- Longview has been suggested and the Quality Inn is cheap and has a hot tub in the rooms. I should book the room soon as the size of the STP this year is 10,000.
  2. Where to stay in Portland? This is also an issue, I need to coordinate with my wife and her friends who may or may not head down. But again 10,000 people so I need to do this soon.
  3. How much time do I want to spend in Portland? I think a few days would be nice to ride around and check out what has changed.
  4. What to pack and how to arrange the drop bag? I want to ride to the start as well so I need to plan for that, that means everything needs to fit in my panniers. Change of clothing for Sat night, change of clothing for riding Sunday, toiletries. I can put a duffel, + clothes/toiletries in my panneirs and drop the duffel in the longview truck when I get to UAW. I will carry any bike spares with me, spare tube, tire, etc.

Not too bad. Just writing the list seems to take care of a lot of issues. I will plan a bit more to make everything as smooth as possible.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday Dog pictures


How can I resist?

STP and Chilly Hilly


January 1, 2009 is here and so it is time to register for many of the 2009 events. I registered for the STP and for the Chilly Hilly. The STP is in July so I have time to prepare but the Chilly Hilly is February 22. I need to get more miles under my belt and get back into hill climbing shape. I think I will be fine. There are a number of Digeo co-workers who will be riding the STP with me and possibly the Chilly Hilly as well. I also sent out a note to some nCUBE friends to see if anyone wants to come up from Portland and ride back down. I think it would be great to ride with my old nCUBE buddies.

This year will be a big year for me on the bike. I want to put in a lot of miles.

Happy New Year from Seattle