Category Archives: Department of DIY

My neck and butt hurt on a Wreck-Free (almost) Sunday

I finally finished making the modifications to my safety gear to bring it up to my needs and hopped on one of the BSO in the garage to go to the first Sunday morning service at my church in a very long time. Suffice it to say I have new imperative to create the crank-forward bike I was supposed to be creating. First time I stopped I fell over because I couldn’t reach the ground until I had leaned so far over I couldn’t catch myself. My reactions were all wrong after spending 6 years riding crank-forward bikes and 7 years riding recumbents before that. As I’m sure most of you know when a “normal” bicycle stops the rider has to get out of the seat to remain upright. Well for the past 13 years I haven’t been doing that to stop, all I had to do was take a foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. And as my right leg has been dominant I tended to lean to the left so I could start on my dominant leg. My first stop I did what I have been doing for 13 years, leaning to the left and putting out my left foot. First problem I wasn’t close enough to the ground for that to even touch, second problem is the left hip was the one that got broken and a whole bunch of muscles got damaged in the fixing and then removing the hardware after the broken bits healed up so it would not go as far out as the right leg would. So I was kinda waving the foot in mid-air trying to find something solid as I slowly keeled over and impacted the pavement when I stopped halfway through an intersection to let traffic going the other direction clear so I could continue.

A couple intersections further down I discovered another problem. Because the handlebars were so low I had a hard time craning my neck back hard enough to see past my helmet visor. Part of the problem is the handlebars are seriously too low for anyone but a X/C MTB racer, I think about an inch below the seat where I usually ride with handlebars anywhere from 4 to 5 inches above the seat. Basically my torso was nearly horizontal where I normally ride nearly vertical to slightly laid back (on in the case of the show bike from 2004 completely laid back). So I was moving my neck in the complete opposite way I have been riding for many, many years. Long story short I have a very sore neck that won’t stop complaining now that I’m bent over the keyboard (another position it doesn’t like to hold for more than a few minutes).

And another effect of the too-low handlebars is it rotated my pelvis forward on the seat. Instead of sitting on the broad soft cushions of the cruiser seat I bought just for this bike I’m sitting on the completely un-padded nose of the saddle, or even less cushioning than the seat I took off the bike. I got off the bike more than 2 hours ago and my backside is still complaining about the treatment I gave it this afternoon and morning. Add in the fact I rode in regular pants and underwear instead of bike shorts and not only were things compressed that don’t like getting compressed, but things got abraded that do not like being abraded.

Now you may ask why I don’t just adjust the handlebars up until all this nonsense stops? Well… Remember when I referred to this as a BSO back in the first paragraph? This BSO does not have standard hardware in many places, one in particular is the stem bolt. I tried 6mm and 5mm, one too big and the other too small, then tried the 7/32 SAE size that falls between the 2 and nothing fits where I can apply torque to the stem bolt to adjust the stem height. I might have to weld or epoxy a cheap SAE hex key into the bolt head so that I can apply torque to break the stem bolt loose from the rust and corrosion that is holding it in place. Or it could just be really tight, you know, and because I can’t find a hex key that fits the head I haven’t been able to move it. I’m thinking I have a torch and braze and solder, I might just flow some molten metal between the cheap SAE hex key I bought and the bolt head and apply torque that way, with the heat from the torch also loosening the bolt up a bit. I’ll have to pull the plastic light and reflector brackets off the bars and cover the brake and shifter cables with wet rags, but that would let me apply torque to the bolt.

Now about the (almost) in that headline. I was watching the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona yesterday after I got back from my trips to the nail spa and to Harbor Freight, and they had just thrown a red flag to clean up a serious wreck. And I mean SERIOUS WRECK. Well, watch for yourself Gidley & Malucelli Medical Update Yep, Gidley hit the back of that Ferrari at nearly 135 MPH closing speed, well over the 50 MPH barrier test the prototypes have to go through to get certified to run. The driver of the Ferrari (Malucelli) is shaken up but basically unhurt, Gidley has broken bones in his left side (either the arm or the leg, both are injured and they aren’t saying which one is broken as of the time I read the article), and broken vertebrae in his back, I’m assuming this was from the harness restraining his torso applying compressive forces as it tried to keep his face out of the instrument panel and steering wheel. This is not a design defect it is a geometric requirement of the way the harness has to go over the shoulders and meet at the lap belt. The restraining forces go from horizontal to stop the forward motion of the body to vertical after going over the shoulders to meet at the junction of the shoulder straps and lap belt. This is a requirement to apply the forces to a part of the body that has strong bones (shoulder girdle and pelvis) and still allow for the arms to move the steering wheel. They did cadaver tests back in the ’40s and ’50s but the rib cage just didn’t have the compression strength to resist the forces applied in a wreck. Sternum straps do move some of the forces off the shoulders and into the torso, but not very much, and certainly not enough to prevent back injury in a wreck like the one in the video. Because of the HANS device every driver in the series is required to wear before getting into the car on the race track neither driver had any kind of neck injury.

This is the first “big league” car race of the year in North America, of course I’m going to be watching it, but this year it ended while I was at church so I have no idea about who won, either overall or any of the classes.

So, that’s about all I have to say today.

Well, almost I just checked to see what was causing me pain “down there” and found blood-stained underwear. So, that’s another thing that having the handlebars down too low causes, abrasion injuries to the crotch when riding in regular clothing. If you want to ride in regular clothes the bike has to fit for that style of riding.

PSA, Opus

Bonus post: Things I learned while making the slipper socks

Ah yes, another learning moment. First thing I learned is it takes a lot of silicone-based adhesive to attach things to open-cell foam rubber. Second thing I learned was that when you stack a bunch of flip flop soles together they squish rather than bend when you walk. Third thing I learned is when thing number 2 happens you need something to hold your foot in the slipper. The fourth thing I learned was that when making slipper socks it’s Not A Good Idea to start with tall socks, ankle or just-over-the-ankle socks are much easier to put on with flip flop soles glued to the bottom, and also much easier to slide over a second pair of socks when it gets cold. Add to that that the shorter socks are cooler in summer and well, it’s just a much better idea to start with ankle socks.

The fifth thing I learned is that flip flop soles make warmer slippers than the soles of the commercially sold slipper socks I got from the VA when my Dad got out of the hospital last year. Those were just thin pieces of rubber with a little tread to them and no insulation or protection from pokey things on the walkway, like acorns or gravel which makes the sixth thing I learned. And I still don’t know why they gave me a pair of slippers when Dad got out of the hospital last spring.

So, second pair I’m making for Mrs. the Poet, from a pair of her ankle socks (that she hates with a passion, I don’t know why) so that when things get chilly around Casa de El Poeta she can throw on another pair of regular socks to keep a little warmer. I think I will get lavender color flip flops to make the soles for hers because she has already said she likes the slippers but hates the neon green soles I have.

Something else I learned while checking to see if I had too much or little lift on the bad leg is that nothing from the waist down is symmetrical on me. My right tibia is about a half an inch shorter than the left one, while the left femur is about an inch shorter than the right one. Seriously, it’s a wonder I can even walk. And I figured out where I lost the length in my left leg after the wreck. The tibia was broken and not set because it didn’t displace during the wreck (or got set during the flipping and flopping) and then was held in place long enough to fuse because all the swelling acted as a splint to keep the ends from wandering away from each other. So before the wreck I was even more catty wampus than I am now, but it balanced out better. It’s no wonder my drill sergeant went bonkers watching me marching in formation. I was going every which way when I walked/marched.

And that’s what I learned from making a pair of slippers. Amazing isn’t it?

PSA, Opus

Actively building new slippers, and the Feed

As I type this I am between steps of building my new slippers. If it wasn’t for the added lift on the left foot I would be describing this as “making” new slippers, but with the added lift “building” is a more accurate description of the process. I purchased two pair of lime green flip flops because the craft store was sold out of the white ones, and I wanted to be able to find my slippers easily… ;)

There weren’t many wreck reports today, which I see as good for what few shreds of sanity I still cling to. Seriously I think it’s amazing I haven’t gone down to the cop shop with an axe handle to beat some sense into some car-head cops…

Up first is a “comedy” post… HOW TO DRIVE HOME DRUNK! I suggest riding a bicycle instead. First you present much less of a hazard to others when guiding a 35 pound BSO than a 3500 pound Crossover or a 4000 pound SUV. Second it has been proven that the physical exertion of propelling a bicycle will burn of the alcohol at an accelerated rate making you less drunk by the mile. Also if you force yourself to wait until you are sober enough to keep a bicycle upright you aren’t that drunk when you leave. So if you must travel drunk leave the car at home and ride a bicycle to and from your drinking.

I don’t know how to classify this report. Tennessee Town Cites Grandmother for Letting Grandkids Bike in the Street The street in question is the one in front of said Grandma’s house. Grandma was watching the kids she was supposedly allowing to play “unsupervised” in the street. And as Mrs. the Poet expressed so elegantly, “Where are kids supposed to ride bikes when there’s no sidewalk?”

More on the El Tour de Tucson fatality. Possibility of medical condition investigated in collision that killed Tucson bike racer

A wreck report on a hit-and-run in Oz. Cyclist severely injured in hit-and-run crash on Nepean Highway, Brighton East Hit-from-behind so protocols to avoid and get the freaking infrastructure right to prevent.

Infrastructure! news from OR. City of Bend wants input to improve road user safety My suggestion is to take a hard look at what is causing deaths and crippling people on the roads, then figure out how to stop it, so control the cars.

More infrastructure news from OR as ODOT hits a social networks clinker. After another fatality on Barbur Blvd, ODOT tweet hits a nerve and the raw Twitter feed at @oregondot

And suggestions for changes to the legal infrastructure in UT. Letter: Drivers who hit cyclists should be punished

Infrastructure from the Great White North. Op-Ed: Cars don’t own Main Street Damn Straight they don’t!

Infratructure from the UK. Mother of Northumberland cyclist killed by HGV horrified at new bike deaths and London cyclist deaths: Officers at dangerous junctions also London cyclist deaths: 150 fined in road safety scheme

A bike wreck saved a guy in UT. Cancer survivor counts getting hit by car as blessing

Last link, something that’s near and dear to my heart. COOL NEW CARGO BIKES

And those are all the bicycle links that gave me fits, or not as the case may be, today. BTW those slippers are about 2/3 done right now, if I can keep from gluing my feet inside them.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

Thinking about making slippers, and the Feed

The headline needs explaining, which is the point of this opening paragraph. I have a sandal that was given to me years ago by a woman who died in 2007 (this was the woman who I used to ride my bicycle for 120 miles in a day so I could have lunch with her (and make all the other residents of the nursing home angry at their children)). So I have had this sandal for a very long time that I was using as a lifted slipper so I didn’t get back pains on the days I stayed at home. Well the sole of that sandal has crumbled and now the toe is hanging by a scrap of leather that used to be the insole. This makes the sandal painful to walk in and eventually it will fall completely apart.

So, I will need to replace this sandal with “something else”. The problem is “something else” has to be 17mm thicker on the bottom of the left one than the right one, and I have never seen a slipper that had that as an option. That leaves me with two choices, pay someone else to make me a pair of slippers with the left sole 17mm thicker than the right sole, or make my own pair of slippers. Now the thing is for a pair of shoes I don’t walk very much in the thickness difference doesn’t need to be exactly 17mm, anything from 12 to 20 would work just fine.

Something I have been wearing on the right foot has been a pair of slipper socks (well, half a pair) that was very comfortable at all the normal temperatures for my house. So the idea is to build some slipper socks with the left one having the extra thickness I need to get my pelvis level. The local craft store to the rescue! Slipper socks like the one I was using are nothing more than a thin rubber sole bonded to a knit sock so that the sole is held more or less in place under the foot. I have lots of socks, and also glue that will bond the socks to a rubber sole, but until I saw this one item in the local craft store I didn’t have a sole that I could use and also have significant differences in thickness between the two. The item in question is the decorate a shower shoe refill kit, which consisted of two pairs of white flip flops at a reasonable price and is sold year-round as a gift suggestion. The idea I had is to use both pairs of flip flops without the toe thong-thingy that makes flip flops flip flop when you walk in them, take one pair and glue them together with the wear face out and then glue that to the bottom of the left flip flop and then glue the whole mess to a pair of socks sitting in my sock drawer. Add some straps and velcro strips to the left foot (OK the right one too to make it symmetrical) so I don’t roll the sole over and end up turning an ankle and call it done.

Up first is a wreck that shows nobody is “safe” in the bike lane no matter what non-car mode of transport they are using. 1 injured as car hits wheelchair in Shoreline bike lane The problem is not the cyclists if anyone gets hit in the bike lane, it’s the crappy drivers who seem unable to keep their killing machines away from fragile skin and bones.

More on that El Tour de Tucson wreck. Driver in deadly El Tour crash says it’s all a blur OK as I read it the driver’s blood sugar crashed after the game, and then he did the same. Also Driver ID’d in El Tour de Tucson collision that killed a cyclist.

A CA driver talking on a cell phone could be facing charges in the death of a cyclist. PD: Woman may face charges after hitting, killing bicyclist As this wreck took place in September and this is late November I hope you’ll forgive me for not remembering exactly how this wreck happened…

Update on a more recent wreck in CA. Santa Barbara Woman Jailed in Cyclist Hit-and-Run This was a hit-from-behind wreck that could have been much worse. The weapon vehicle just grazed the cyclist at highway speed rather than the full impact that a few more inches would have brought. Kudos on the LEO for tracking and arresting the driver. Protocols to avoid or to mitigate damages, and get the infrastructure right to prevent.

Moving to the Emerald Isle of Ireland we find a totally clueless driver behind 3 cyclists. Three cyclists struck by car in Co Clare Not one, not two, but all 3 cyclists hit by the same car in the same wreck. Hit-from-behind protocols to avoid or to mitigate damages, and get the stupid blind driver off the roads to prevent… I mean infrastructure, get the infrastructure right to prevent (after they get rid of the stupid, blind, driver).

News from the cycling scientist that brought us the news that drivers pass closer to cyclists when they wear helmets comes another study with a bit more depth to it. University of Bath research shows that cyclists’ outfits do not stop dangerous overtaking Notice that two of the outfits are patterned off of local constabulary bike cops uniforms and that had no effect on the passing distances of drivers.

Infrastructure! news from the UK. RE-Tech launches cyclist detection system for vehicles Additional “eyes” for drivers who can’t see out of their trucks.

More infrastructure news. Britain failing to protect cyclist but should they share the blame for accidents? Well the UK statistics show that even with a police force that has demonstrated a strong anti-cyclist bias their own reporting system determined that motor vehicle operators are at least partly to blame in 93% of all bike wrecks. That says that the cyclists are not the problem, they are already mostly doing whatever it takes to not get hit. The real culprits are bad infrastructure and bad drivers.

A Ghost Bike for a MO cyclist. ‘Ghost bike’ memoralizes killed cyclist Now we know the driver of the weapon vehicle was being chased by her ex, and both are in jail on unrelated charges but not charged in the cyclist’s death because it’s OK to kill a cyclist…

And those were all the bicycle links that gave me fits today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

Running late with a huge Feed

I’m a little :) behind schedule today/tonight because I had another doctor appointment, getting my back fixed. It’s a little late, by about 12 years, but this was one of those things that I could only get fixed when I had my own money to spend on it. Back when I got hit the Victims of Violent Crime fund did not cover chiropractic and as that was my “insurance” for the wreck I got what they paid for.

Up first is a picture of the model bike I’m getting thanks to the Anonymous Donor. This isn’t my bike but the front of my bike will look like this bike.
Clyde bike from Oak Cliff Cargo Bikes
My bike will have a step-through frame to make getting on a bit easier with the bad hip.

The Big Story today is a man hit from behind and killed on a closed stretch of road for one of the biggest annual bike races in the US. Car strikes, kills El Tour bicyclist from behind in bike lane, DPS says and El Tour de Tucson rider struck from behind in bike lane, killed also EL TOUR DE TUCSON CYCLIST KILLED IN CRASH and this Cyclist in El Tour de Tucson dies after being hit by car and last link El Tour cyclist killed in crash wanted to finish race despite cold, rain As of this posting this is what I know: the cyclist was riding in a closed off lane that was coned and marked as closed specifically for this event, and he was hit from behind by the driver of a Nissan Leaf, a fully electric vehicle. As of now it is not known how the driver got into the closed lane with the cyclist. I hate this story, the cyclist was doing everything right on a closed course, and STILL got run over by a clueless driver in a silent car. I don’t know what else could be done, the infrastructure was right, the cyclist was right, and we STILL have a ["colorful" language deleted] dead cyclist on our hands.

A CA cyclist is killed by blind driver. Salinas Elderly Man Struck, Killed By SUV While Riding Bike The cyclist was very nearly missed, the impact was to the back of the back wheel from the left front of the weapon vehicle. Intersection protocols to avoid or to mitigate the damage, and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Suggestions include pulling the licenses of people that drive blindly into spaces they can’t see if they are clear or not, when they’re not.

A low-information article from Enn Zed. Injured cyclist airlifted Nothing in the report that I can use to help it not happen to you, because the roads are full of stones, that’s how most of them are made.

Infrastructure! news from NYC. Guerilla Street Signs In Park Slope Lower Speed Limit To 20 Now if only the NYPD would enforce that speed limit then maybe we would see a few less pedestrian and cyclist fatalities…

Infrastructure news from the UK. Police To Target ‘Death’ Junctions For Cyclists In Bid To Improve Safety

A clueless commentator from the UK. Cyclists vs motorists: A phoney war between two tribes who should be on the same side Really?

Bikeyface gets it right, again. UTILITY VS. SPORT I used to drive race cars back in the day and I had friends who walked away from hitting a concrete wall at over 100 MPH without any airbags…

And those were all the links that gave me fits about bicycles today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

I’m getting a new bike (with picture)

I’m getting a new bike from Oak Cliff Cargo Bikes (est. 2012) to replace Blue and Gigi. What I’m getting is a Clyde cargo-only version of

this bike Bonnie cargo bike

in a similar color scheme. My bike will have a slightly more vertical rear wall on the box and darker stain on the woodwork. And there will be a graphic similar to the header on this blog on the side of the box.

So, this new bike will need a name. At the moment I don’t know if this bike will have a feminine personality like Gigi, or a more masculine personality like Blue. I won’t know until I get the bike in my hands. So at this point boy, girl, or androgynous names are all equally accepted as suggestions.

PSA, Opus

S&M and a fair(er) tax structure on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I know where some readers’ minds went with that headline, and you’re only partially right. The current tax structure is like a master/slave relationship gone toxic, rife with abuse. But the S’s and M’s in this discussion have only technical meaning, not that kind of meaning.

What I came up with is a tax structure based on making things vs. making money. I am of the opinion that making things contributes to the overall good of society, where (just) making money has come perilously close to destroying the economy at least twice in a century that is not quite 13 years old. I am basing part of my tax structure on the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. People and businesses would be classified on a 6 step scale based on how far they were from a sellable product. S0 people and businesses would be the actual products themselves, people would pay to watch these people or companies working. Examples would be musicians, athletes, actors and actresses, performing artists of all stripes for the “people” side of the formula, and the venues they perform in for the companies side. Texas Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway would be examples of S0 companies. At the other end of the scale you would have S5 people and companies that exist only to make money by moving money around, like your typical Wall Street bank CEO and the banks they run.

The M in this case stands for Minimum wage and multiples thereof. This would be used to determine tax brackets in the various categories, with M1 being a person making minimum wage 40 hours a week and never getting a week off, roughly $15k at today’s minimum wage. The top tax bracket is M250, the person in this bracket makes as much in a single day as someone on minimum wage makes in an entire year. Depending on your S classification the marginal tax rate at this level would be anywhere from 50% to 99% when all the taxes are added together. Currently people in the M1 bracket pay 15.3% with no deductions in the form of SS and Medicare taxes, and I don’t see that changing either. If the Social Security tax goes up the income tax would decline the same amount, and not just at this level but all tax brackets.

Now how this would work in the real world is where the going gets squidgey. At the ends it’s quite simple, S0 and S5 persons and companies are easy to figure out. It’s the S3 and S4 companies that are difficult to classify. S1 are people and companies that make actual physical products, the kind that take lots of investments of capital to create the workspace and education and effort on the part of the worker to create the product. Engineers and designers and assembly line workers are S1 people, and I think it’s pretty obvious what the S1 companies are, the Fords, Trek Bicycles, any farm, any restaurant, any grocery store… S2 companies would be the transportation companies, trucking and shipping firms. They can have S1 employees like truck drivers and loaders and longshoremen, but the company is still 2 degrees removed from the actual product. Still vital to the economy, but not actually making things so taxed slightly higher than the people that make things. It all works out in the end as other taxes on companies like this would be reduced because the income taxes would be covering their external costs better. S2 people would be managers and supervisors, people not actually on the line but who interact with the people on the line. S3 people are the supervisors and managers of the people that supervise and manage the people on the line that actually make the products. As the distance between the product and the person grows, so do their taxes. It’s the current money-making champs that have me confuzzled, the mining and extraction companies. These companies make huge financial gambles on if the stuff they are looking for is at the location they are looking in. But at the same time these efforts have high external costs that are not currently being borne by the companies but rather are forced upon the people that live nearby or in some cases get their water from the area being mined. These companies would be in the S3 and S4 status. They don’t actually “make” the product, but they aren’t that far removed from the product. And I guess the refining process would have to be classified as S1, but with the external costs assessed at the extraction point of the raw materials. Moving on recyclers and waste collectors and processors would also be S1, dealing directly with the product but on the other end of the life cycle. Recycling and waste processing are messy but necessary parts of the economy, and as bad as they are things would be much worse without them. Think ecology, without carrion eaters of all sizes we would be up to our butts (and beyond) in deceased critters. Recyclers and waste processors do the same thing for the economy. Retailers would also be an S1 classification with most of the supply chain being S2. They don’t make it or sell it they just move it and store it between the makers and the sellers.

And most if not all upper management of any company would be the S5 workers for the company, people 5 or more levels removed from the actual product design or manufacture. The decider would be time making vs time telling people what to make and deciding where to make it, if you spend more than 50% of your time at work actually making things then you would be S1, so line supervisors who actually run machines as well as do work schedules and deploy workers to their work stations would be S1, but line supervisors that just walk up and down the line rarely if ever touching the product or the machines that make the product would be S2, and the supervisor for either one would be S3 as there would be two people between him and the product. Again the squidgey part is the person at the bottom of an S5 company, as they don’t have an actual product but don’t supervise anyone either. Just on General Principle I would say anyone at an S5 corporation is an S5 worker, to discourage people from wanting to work in S5 corporations.

And that’s how things would be if I was running this popsicle stand.

PSA, Opus