My last 2 trips I had to pack 2 different outfits for the outbound and returning legs because of wild temperature swings from outbound to inbound legs of the trip. Last night I went to the RPG group, and leaving Casa del Poeta I was riding in mid-60′s F (18°C). On the return leg I was riding in 44°F (7°C) temperatures, slightly more than 20°F (11°C) colder. That requires completely different types of clothing for a 6 mile bike ride (each way). Riding outbound I was wearing cotton shorts and a short-sleeve jersey (I needed to have pockets, so I wore the cotton shorts) but on the way back I wore heavy tights under the shorts and a heavy sweatshirt over the jersey and was still slightly chilled.
This morning as I was laying out my clothes for the day the temperature was 56, but the hourly forecast called for a temperature of 42 for the time I was going to be riding. By the time I was finished with my shower the outside temperature had jumped to 62 and by the time I was out the door it had gotten to 65, and was 70°F on my return leg from morning services. I was wearing tights under cotton shorts (needed pockets again) and a lightweight long-sleeve jersey and was way over-dressed for the conditions even on the way out, definitely for the return leg of the trip. This is much more like March weather than what we normally get this time of year in TX. I have no idea what to wear for the ride to evening services, maybe mukluks and a parka?
For those who may be wondering, this was our celebration of Imbolc, where Winter fights a retreating battle against Spring. We blessed our tools both magical and mundane for the upcoming season. It was interesting looking at the things that were on the altar to be blessed, ranging from paper notebooks to notebook computers, sticks with twine wrappings to swords, kitchen tools of all descriptions, and my helmet standing in for all of my bike stuff. For things that could not be removed to bring into the building there were paper notes naming the items that were blessed in absentia
The DIY bike light project is still going on as I tested the solar cells to determine which side was “+” and which terminal was “-” as I want to recharge the batteries, not quick-discharge them. Also while testing for positive and negative I found the solar units were under-rated for voltage, as I was getting readings of 4.77V as I was trying to find which terminal was which. I wasn’t testing the current out but the rating was 90ma at 4.5V and 200ma short-circuit. As I put in an earlier post, these units were made to charge solar yard lights with 3S NiMH cells and 3 will put out C/11 into my NiMH AA pack. This is a very safe charging rate and will top the cells nicely.
One of the things I have to do is make the bracketry work for the handlebars I’m using on this project with the large horizontal brace between the actual bars I hang on to. The light has to clear the bars when they are laid back at a comfortable angle as it will be almost 8″ wide at its widest point (lots of LEDs). Placing the solar power behind the lighting units will move the wide part of the light about 2½” forward from the bars so that the light has clearance to swing down and shine on the road rather than the trees and clouds overhead. I also have to be careful about running the wires where they won’t get damaged in handling and normal use, and are esthetically pleasing (mostly invisible). I’m slightly torn about some of the esthetics of this build. I could frame the lights with angle and weld the angle to the backplate and extend the part where I mount the solar power units forward to act as a visor to help keep stray light from getting in oncoming drivers’ eyes, or I could just mount the lighting units to the backplate and the solar units behind the backplate, leaving the lighting units completely exposed and also allowing that stray light to light up street signs (and get in oncoming drivers’ eyes). So 6 of one and half a dozen of another. The good part about framing the backplate with angle is that it automatically jigs the top panel for the solar units at right angles to the backplate. One thing I know I’m doing is running angle from the backplate to the mounts to the handlebars to reinforce the top panel against bending, so I might as well go ahead and frame out the backpanel while I’m doing it. Another thing I’m doing is using an Altoids tin as a battery box as they are (mostly) weatherproof, especially if they are protected against direct spray against the hinge line and since I’m putting the box behind the backplate it will be protected against direct spray. It won’t withstand direct immersion, but for riding around on a bicycle it will be fine, especially mounted under the solar top panel and behind the backplate.
So, the bike light project is moving forward, the project the bike light is going to be attached to is moving forward, and I survived another cross-quarter celebration with hair still on my head. By the next solar sabbat I will be shaved of head and my fuzzy locks will be lining local birds’ nests and keeping the chicks comfy, and maybe I’ll be riding the new bike and debugging the design.