Friday, February 27, 2009

Something from the Comments

Ham said...

And about "lots of lights", can I add "at lots of levels"?

On my commute, I occasionally come across a guy who has fixed a batten across his pannier rack and fixed four full width cat eyes that is seriously attention getting. Then, I noticed how easy it was to have them all blocked out. I'd advocate at least three at different levels. I use the pannier, on the post below the seat and on the rear of my helmet.

Good call, Ham. I use a row of blinkies across the back of my bum bag, so they're up above the bike and not obscured by anything on it. Spanning the bag like that, they wrap slightly around to provide some improvement in side illumination as well. Reflector leg bands on each ankle add moving reflectivity. But this is just one of many approaches and barely sufficient. I plan to add a helmet light to the front and assorted options for extra side/rear lighting.
This winter I have seen a few cyclists around the North Conway area with little or no illumination. A couple who appear to be trying to be conscientious have only a weak light or two to the front and maybe a single blinky on the back. Their array satisfies the law, but will get them mowed down eventually. On streets narrowed by snowbanks, populated by tired and intoxicated vacationers and locals, dinky lighting is a false economy. Unless these people want to die...

In my observation, lights below the saddle on the seat post are hard to spot compared to the same size and type of light up and out, higher on your person. Lights low on the bike help least of all. They draw the motorist's eye down and away from finding a clear path PAST you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moving Forward

The cellist's Traveler's Check frame arrived along with its FSA Orbit UF headset. I wasn't going to build it up right away, but she mentioned that she thought I was going to convert her old 'Check into a fixed gear for her spring training. That moves the project up the list. Fan that flame of interest!

Hmm. She has the leg length to handle a 175 crank. I have several of those kicking around, no use to me. That'll save a little money. I need a BB, stem, bars, pedals, wheels...

To build or not to build? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to swap out the axle in a pre-built fixie wheel from the local parts house or take wrench against a pile of spokes... The production wheel is probably cheaper than the hub and rim I would order. But it's my beloved wife.

Last year, the Blue project cost more than I intended. It ate my little cushion of shop credit used to purchase consumables like tubes and chains. I don't want to end up there again. But the biggest chunk after the frame itself was the traveling bag.

For the second Traveler's Check I was going to buy the hard case. That way our family arsenal would have both types. Cha-ching! I might have to let that slide in favor of the working parts of the bike.

Time to start shopping...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Frustrations and Injustices: A Hard Word Lingered

redcliffs said...

I always find your posts interesting. That said, the title of your blog promises advice, yet most of what you write is just whining about the frustrations and injustices of your chosen life. What gives?

Red, I am not a whiner. Accusing someone of whining is a snide tactic we use these days to shut someone up for various reasons. It's a barely veiled insult, even when preceded by apparent praise. I resent it. If you did not mean it that way, you should know how it came across. If you did, you know what you can kiss and how often.

Every life has frustrations and injustices. I have tried to live a consciously good life in my transportation and recreation choices. What seemed like clear benefits to me have been completely ignored by vast numbers of Americans, leading to more congested roadways, gigantic cars, aggressive driving habits, obesity and a whopping sense of entitlement. A massive consumer lifestyle has led to all the environmental, social and economic problems we face now.

Frustrated? You bet your ass. Frustrated by injustice? Who wouldn't be? Aren't you?

A person should be able to be a cyclist in addition to other aspects of life. Every rider shouldn't have to be a committed advocate and road warrior against the forces of motorization. Yet the frustrating unwillingness of this country to accept cycling completely into the transportation mix has led to what are basically battle lines.

That does make me editorialize quite a bit. Now go make sure your tires are fully inflated and lube your chain just the right amount, not too little, not too much. Always ride with traffic and use LOTS OF LIGHTS at night.