Sunday, March 30, 2014

it will be sunny one day

No, this is not about the weather this weekend.

I make no secret of the fact that I have an anxiety disorder. As I was stumbling around the internet this morning (over coffee, before The Excellent Wife [TEW] was up), I came across this letter from Stephen Fry to a woman who had written him about her depression. It includes this:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It's real.
You can't change it by wishing it away.
If it's dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can't alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.


It will be sunny one day.
It isn't under one's control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It really is the same with one's moods, I think.
The letter goes on; it's worth the reading, I think. If you don't have a mood disorder, it's probably not only completely unnecessary, but possibly completely incomprehensible why someone would have to put such obvious stuff into a letter. But for me, even though I'm not going through a bout of anxiety now, it's important to remember that I didn't cause it, I have no control over it, and, most important, it does pass.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

geeky bike physics

Stumbled across this today. What happens if you tie a string to a bike pedal at the bottom of its travel, and then pull backward on the string?

There really is no end to my bike geekiness; I loved this.The original article is here, but the sound quality wasn't as good, and the video took FOREVER to download, with much buffer-overrun pausing.

I will take credit for making a correct guess that the outcome would depend on the gearing, but I had no idea that the gearing difference would have to be so large to make the difference.

(Between rain and family obligations, probably no group ride this weekend, and I'm looking for bike-y stuff to assuage my disappointment.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

cable lift gets you up the hills

Not to be outdone by Dave H's link, Laura OLPH sent me a link to a page about this "ski lift for cyclists: in Trondheim, Norway:

Hrmph. Here's a photo:

They call it the Trampe CycloCable. I'm going to resist the almost-inevitable "tramp" puns, and just point out that if a Freewheeler needs this thingummy to get up a grade of 10-18°, that's only about 400' long... then you need to set up your trainer, put on a good, long movie, and meditate for a few hours on Rule Five.

That's the one that says, "Harden the Firetruck Up." In the original, the word "Firetruck" is replaced by a word that follows the same rules of initial and terminal orthography.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

evolution of the bicycle video

Dave H sent me a link to this excellent video about the evolution of the bicycle:

Evolution of the Bicycle from Visual Artwork on Vimeo. (It's bigger there.)

I recognize a number of those forms; the Draisine, the Ordinary, the Starley...

... and the excellent Benny Goodman background music just makes this video for me. Thanks, Dave.

See it also on Huffington Post.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

'nother harsh saddle?

Relax; it's an art piece by Clem Chen. I found it here; see more of his stuff here.

It was part of a Vancouver art show called Saddle Up! Check out the Tumblr; there was some other cool stuff in the show, too.

Monday, March 24, 2014

disc brakes on road bikes?

When Ed and I did that pickup ride on Friday, we stopped in at the Wheelfine Imports. Mike, the principal there, has no problem talking, and one of the things he did was give us a printout of this article from Bicycle Retailer magazine about a study Magura, a disc brake manufacturer, is doing on disc brakes fro road bikes.

From the article:

As Pahl walked about Eurobike and Interbike looking at disc brake-equipped road bikes, he winced whenever he saw bikes spec’d with 140- or 160-millimeter rotors. Rotor size and type are vital when considering heat dissipation.
And Pahl said he’s doubtful small rotors—currently fashionable on road bikes—can dump enough heat on long descents to keep braking systems from boiling...

Further, there are questions about the mounts:

The static disc brake torque test for road forks required by the EN 14781 standard is more rigorous than the EN 14766 standard for mountain bikes. Road bike forks must carry an 8 percent higher load than a mountain bike fork and a road fork’s braking cycle fatigue test is 66 percent longer than for a mountain bike fork.
“I don’t know why the road disc fork testing is to higher loads and cycles than a mountain bike fork, but it does reflect higher road speeds and less tire slippage of a road tire on pavement,” Baker said.

But the key thing seems to be concerns about heat dissipation:

 While road standard tests are for higher peak loads and greater cycle frequency compared with mountain bike discs, the heat dissipation requirement is the same. Road and mountain brakes must absorb 75 watt-hours of energy over a 15-minute period without failure to be legal for sale in Europe. To put this in perspective, a 200-pound bike and rider traveling at 25 mph dissipates 3 watt-hours of braking energy to stop, and no matter how many times they stop they are unlikely to overheat brakes.

However, the same rider descending a mountain pass hitting 50 mph in stretches between switchbacks and who brakes to 15 mph for corners uses 11 watt-hours to slow down. If the descent averages a 7 percent grade, add 2 watt- hours to each brake application. After braking for seven or more corners within a 15-minute period, the rider’s front brake could have absorbed much more than 75-watt hours of energy required by the standard.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

late winter slug ride to clinton

I don't give a hang what the calendar says; today's weather was no better than late winter (despite temps in the mid-40's, it was damp and windy today). Because of the threat of rain yesterday, The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I went to the Norman Rockwell show at the Newark Museum yesterday (through the end of May; all the Saturday Evening Post covers and about 50 paintings). I wanted to get out on a ride today, and Laura OLPH had switched her usual Saturday for a Sunday today.

Her blog post for this ride said something about 55 miles from Lambertville to Clinton and back, and I had indicated I'd be up for a tough ride today because I wasn't riding yesterday. Laura did nto disappoint, although I don't think even she counted on the headwind most of the way up, or how cold it would feel.

We did this route, mostly "county roads -- 500's and 600's". It was a hilly ride, although the hills about which Laura warned us were not the worst, and the ones that surprised us were demanding. Six of us came out: besides Laura and me, there were Snakehead Ed, Ron S, Barry, and Marco, riding a new carbon Masi with a compact in front and mountain bike gearing in the back. He was able to test its abilities on this ride.

Although cold, it was a beautiful day, and when we got to Clinton, I took a number of pictures of the river and the mill, most of which didn't work as well as I'd hoped. We had a comparatively short stop for coffee, and came back. The wind on the way out slowed us down a lot (we might not have averaged 12 mph in the first half), but we made up for it with the later tailwind.


I like that one above. Below, in Clinton:

I like that one above, too. Below, back on the road.

Shortly before the end, on Alexsauken Creek Road, we came across this gal riding an old mountain bike, with tweeds and a scarf, and grinning a great grin, having a great time. I had to get her picture.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

why the garage door didn't work

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I have been having problems with the garage door at the condo for years; I've fixed the spring on one side three times, on the other side once; I replaced the springs; I replaced the opener when the nylon gear assembly on the old one jammed and was reduced to the nylon equivalent of hamburger. It doesn't fit well, so there's daylight visible around the door when it's closed, and it's wood frame with panels of "wood fiber product" (essentially a hard cardboard), so it doesn't insulate much. And I've been less than diligent about painting it, so the paint was chipping. I painted over it, so it looks OK from the street, but do me a favor, and don't inspect it too closely.

For the past couple of years, it's been jamming on one side, mostly as it came down. I couldn't figure out what the problem was; the wheels were loose enough in the track, but not too loose. Nonetheless, I probably added several English breakfasts' worth of grease to that side of the track to make sure the wheels were as smooth as possible.

But the rough closing has been getting worse and worse. The other day, it just stopped, and wouldn't go down any further. I shone a light up at the upper corner of the doin's, and found this had happened to the pulley:

The wear of the cable going over the pulley had been sawing at the pulley track, to the point where the one side of it has been almost completely cut away (you can see the jaggedness in the lower right of what's left). Not shown in the photo is that the ball bearings in the hub are also loose.

It turns out that a new pulley is about four-five bucks at Home Depot. It's held on by one nut and bolt. You drop the cable off, remove the old one, pop on the new one (and remark to yourself how much better the ball bearings fit in this one), snap the cable back into the track, and it's done. One of the fastest repairs I've ever done.

But if this pulley was in this shape, I have concerns for the rest of the door. We've got a new one on order, with some more insulation, and I'll have it installed by someone who (I hope) knows more about what he's doing than I do.

Still, I feel SO DUMB that I didn't notice that pulley before.

Friday, March 21, 2014

snake-head ed and i do a pickup ride

Are Ed and I really that fast?

Ed C ("Ed Snake-Eyes", "Ed the Snake", or, as I began to call him today, "Snake-head Ed") sent an email to about half-a-dozen of us asking if anybody wanted to do a pickup ride today. One had a conflict, and all of the others begged off, giving some variation on, "I don't want to push that hard," or "I don't want to slow you down".

So Ed and I met at Six-Mile at Blackwells Mills canal crossing, and did this ride. That link includes my ride to Six Mile, and my turn-off on the way home; nonetheless, 66 miles, which is pretty good.

We went out a little late in an effort to miss the rush-hour traffic (and we mostly did); what we didn't miss was the headwind. While perhaps not Laura OLPH-worthy, it was certainly hard enough for me ("What's riding into the wind good training for?"). Ed had planned to go up Dutchtown-Zion, and we were almost blown back before we got there. I kept telling myself that it was better to have this headwind on the way out than on the way back, but my resolve was certainly flagging well before the stop.

We came to Alexsauken Creek Road from a direction I didn't expect (but I can get lost in a bathroom; I can get lost in my own living room if someone re-arranges the furniture). Alexsauken Creek road is one of my favorites, not because it's challenging, or a whippin' downhill, but it's pretty; it's like fifteen minutes of vacation.

From there to Lambertville. Ed's been to Rojo's any number of times, but couldn't remember if he'd ever been to "the other, small coffee place", so I led him to Lambertville Trading. He wasn't sure if he remembered it or not, but I have a picture proving he was there this time. We stopped for coffee, and decided we would also stop for food in Hopewell (one of the advantages of such a small group is that we can change plans like that).

Out of Lambertville, we went up Franklin, just because there was nobody with us who would complain about it. Franklin gets you near the top of the hill you have to climb to get out of Lambertville in about a tenth of the distance of the other routes. it's short and steep. We like it. We wambled around to get back onto 518, and decided to drop in at the Wheelfine Imports store, which I've passed a gazillion times, but never stopped in.

It's a glorious mess. I've got pictures below. The proprietor is a champion wheelbuilder (he's earned the championship stripes that encircle his building), and he has no problem talking to people who come in. I have no idea how he makes any money, but he doesn't seem to care. He's got bikes, old and new frames, parts... and he's got CD's, DVD's, videotapes (really? Can anybody even play those nowadays?), and he had all manner of accessories, some of which require imagination (or a collection of old bikes) to visualize their utility.

From there to Hopewell for food. We stopped briefly at Brothers Moon, who advertises "bike friendly" in the club newsletter, but it was clear from the layout and the prices that they didn't expect sweaty riders to actually sit in the actual dining room. So we went over to the Boro Bean (which barely won out over the Nomad Pizza, about which I've heard great things) and each got panini. They're big; in future we'll probably split one. Then back. But you probably figured that out.

Come along next time. We had a great time.

Pic's. I got there early (well, THERE's a surprise), and got some pics of the canal:

Snakehead Ed at the start, below:

Along Dutchtown-Zion, there's a section where the paving is a dim memory. Ed's showing me one line to take.

Below: Ed's been to Lambertville Trading:

Below: Several of Wheelfine Imports. I'm DEFINITELY goin' back.

There are two rooms back there I couldn't even get into.

(I love these frames. If The Excellent Wife (TEW) ever changes her mind about my getting a new bike...)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

to st vlad's on a cold, windy day

With the attention on Ukraine and the Crimea, Winter Larry decided to go to Cassville today to stop at the Ukrainian Russian Orthodox church near there. Word that the local convenience store had closed did not change his decision; there was another, smaller store nearby (that might not be so filled with tobacco smoke...). We've done this ride before, and, while there are some nifty roads on the way there, there are often headwinds on the way back... and with today's lower-than-I-expected temperatures, those winds could be uncomfortable. Larry promised us shielded roads on the way back.

Ten of us went on this route (sorry; I was lazy with the camera today; didn't get many of us). We did the first half of the route at high speed (for us), almost bordering on B+ territory. I was congratulating myself for the good shape I was in, even after 60+ hilly miles yesterday. Sean, who was the younger rider who overtook me a month ago, and I traded some leads on a couple of fast stretches (Winter Larry will let folks ride ahead on certain long stretches of road) (and forgive me if it's Shaun, or Shawn, or something else). We passed the supposedly-closed store in Cassville, and Larry thought he saw a delivery of rolls on the porch.

We stopped at another store, and heard from that proprietor that the wife of the fellow at the other tore had died; since then, sometimes he opens and sometimes he doesn't. At the new store, she had no bathrooms for us (she did let Laura OLPH sneak around back to use the facility), but she had hot coffee and a warm demeanor.

From there, we went up to St Vladimir's Ukrainian Russian Orthodox Church, a small but beautiful church with gold leaf and mosaics; I got pictures (below), including the last couple of shots (you'll see one) that made me race to catch up to the group. By now the wind was in our faces, and the going got slow and colder.  Slow, that is, until the coffee I'd had at the stop started announcing its intention to depart its current enclosure, which gave me impetus to keep the pace up the last few miles -- I didn't stop at the Knapp's parking with the others, but went straight (and with celerity) to the Village Park where the porta-potty is, and only said my goodbyes and thank-you's after I had attended to my more pressing business.

A few pics below. At the start, first, Sean, looking larcenous with his face covered:

At the stop:

St Vlad's:

(This below would be a better picture if I had the skills and inclination to edit out the power lines)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

laura leads ed the snake's b'day ride

Laura OLPH's post about today's ride began, "We're going to Main Street in Kingston, where Ed might share a cake with us." It ended, "I put some hills in that only Ed likes.  You can thank me later." I'm not sure we were all grateful for the hills.

Ed, Chris C (rockin' some tights I don't remember seeing before; see 'em in the pics below), Ron S, and I appeared a Laura's house for the ride to the ride, early enough that we interrupted her husband Professor Jack's breakfast. We met Sean, recovering from overdoing it on his bad leg; he went as far as the Pennington start, then took a roundabout way home to continue his recuperation, so we can ride more with him later in the season.

At Pennington, we picked up Eoghan, Barry, and Cheryl, who had gotten the time confused and had spent entirely enough time in the Pennington parking lot, thank you. We did this route, taking a long route to the Main St Cafe in Kingston by way of Poor Farm Road, which might have been one of the hills only Ed likes (it might not have been; Ed is adequate on the ascents, but he excels on the descents). Eoghan's wife, Celeste, had been debating which half of the ride she would do (they live close to the stop at the Main St Cafe), and her absence at the start suggested she had chosen the latter half.

On the way to Kingston, Ed and some others got into a discussion about the "reptile brain", responsible for survival. Through a series of conversational processes too complicated to reproduce, by the stop in Kingston, we were referring to him as "Ed the Snake" (reptile... snake... oh, never mind).

At the Main St Cafe, Ed had reserved a cake, and we had a minor party for him (at which Celeste DID appear to join us for the remainder of the ride). Then we had a major wait for the loo; a gentleman not of our party was monopolizing it for about 20 minutes; I suspect he was changing his clothes, but he might have been going bald and growing a beard as well, for he was certainly bald and bearded when he finally emerged.

The wind had kicked up by the time we left the Cafe (or perhaps we were just going in a direction where we noticed it). It posed a real obstacle as we went up Grandview, by which time we were taking the wind head-on as we climbed; it was a relief to get into the trees as we climbed, and then went across the ridge. Laura had thought to go down to 518 via Hopewell-Wertsville, but we turned off on Mountain Church to save some headwind. And so back to Pennington.


At the top of Poor Farm. Eoghan and I were up first; I got some pictures as I caught some breath:

Above, Cheryl almost got by me! Below, a tree burl on Crusher Road that has been a landmark; I remember it when it was still whole:

At the Main St Cafe:

Below: Ed's cake:

Celeste joins us:

Below: Sorry I cut his head off, but those are Chris's latest tights. He has a fashion sense that I never will.

Below: Some dour Irishman or other: