Tag Archives: alms for the poor

What should be a short post before Mule Duty, and the Feed

Well there isn’t much in the Feed today, and I think I have played the pictures from the parade line as far as it will go, so there’s grocery shopping and real links today and not much of either one.

First link is not about wrecks, or infrastructure or any of those things, in case you have forgotten the date. Valentine Bikes Day Notice the one word that is not about two-wheeled human powered vehicles? Cowabunga dudes! (and if you “get” that reference you may be younger than you think.)

The Big Story today is closure on a fatal hit-and-run in CA. Man Sentenced to Prison for Deadly Hit and Run and Driver who hit, killed bicyclist in Rancho Santa Fe sentenced to two years in prison I don’t know which is worse, that the driver only got 2 years for killing a cyclist, or the comments that he would have gotten more if he hadn’t been an Asian, or the comments that he got too much for killing “just” a cyclist.

A cyclist trying to cross a highway at an intersection gets hit part of the way across. Family Searches for Answers Following Bicyclist’s Death That intersection is huge, at least 3 lanes in each direction, turn lanes and all combined to 9 lanes to cross in the time alloted by the traffic signal. The cyclist appears to have been hit in lane 7 of 9, if he wasn’t watching the light carefully at the intersection he could have lost 2-3 seconds after the change to green and a slight fumble getting started would have cost him another second, so 4 seconds off the green phase off the bat, with 4-6 seconds of amber could have given him as few as 10 seconds to clear the intersection that would require more than 6 seconds to clear if he hit the intersection at a normal cruise speed. IOW if he had timed the intersection perfectly he would have had barely enough time to avoid getting hit, but any delays or fumbles on the cyclist’s part would have placed him in the middle of the intersection with traffic coming at high speed towards him. The LEO at the scene reports that people get hit in this intersection regularly, so I’m going to call this wreck the fault of the City of Las Vegas for building crappy infrastructure that can only be negotiated safely by motor vehicles, and that only because motor vehicles have crumple zones to protect occupants in wrecks.

Two links to a cyclist who was collateral damage in a police pursuit. Female cyclist injured in downtown police pursuit and SIU investigating Queen Street collision after cyclist injured From what little LEO have released on the cyclist’s part of this there was nothing a cyclist could do to avoid this wreck as it appears to be a “pinball” wreck with the direction of the weapon vehicle altered by impacting a third vehicle (actually a second with the cyclist being the third) before hitting the cyclist. Infrastructure would not have helped much either. The wreck looks to have been pretty severe from the crumpled remains of the bicycle shown in the second link.

Infrastructure! in VA, two links. Petersen’s bike safety bill dies and Bike tailgating measure clings to life in Va. House One can readily see the value the VA GA places on human life not moved inside a motor vehicle.

Infrastructure in Canuckistan. Bike lanes pit cyclists against residents Oh gee, free storage of private property in the public right-of-way, or a safe place for human beings? That is a conundrum [/sarcasm].

A coroner in Enn Zed recommends requiring the very thing that made no difference in the death he was investigating. High visibility gear should be compulsory for cyclists – coroner The off-duty LEO who died in this wreck was wearing all manner of reflective gear and properly lighted, but still was killed by a motor vehicle operator. And the coroner thinks it a “no brainer” to do something that the evidence in front of him has just proven to be ineffective. To talk of a lack of working brains…

Last link has nothing to do directly with bicycles, but is an example of what can be done with talented DIY. DIYers build prosthetic hand for 5-year-old boy Lose a hand? build another one. It’s Open Source Medicine.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Out running around ALL day, Feed tomorrow

I was on the road today from shortly after sunrise until well after dark. Mrs. the Poet needed navigational help again to get to her part-time job, and I took advantage of the bus pass to pick up supplies for the DIY bike light project. I stopped in at BG Micro and picked up some 4.5V Solar power units, a switch, and a 3*AA battery box with leads to power the conversion project. If I got my sums right I should only have to charge the batteries in this light once as long as the unit gets 2 hours of bright sunlight for every hour I ride at night. The solar units are sized to power 3S NiMH cells, and 3 of them will be enough to keep the batteries up if they are charged before entering service. I wouldn’t have enough power to bring 3*AA batteries up to a usable charge from dead, but I can keep previously charged batteries up to or near full charge. YAY! sun. The pack should keep the lights burning near full output for at least 10 hours without charging, and these lights put out a phenomenal amount of light for their cost. But light output alone would not justify the time and expense of doing this project. I could get much more light for the same amount of money (if you figure my time at minimum wage), but it would not have the cool factor of this light. Plus, this is a system that throws intentional light to the side to the side that lets drivers know I’m coming even when they can’t see the front of my bike or the headlight. That other light that puts out (fractionally) more lumens for less money does not do that, nor does it put light out as evenly as this light (I have already tested the lighting units, this is not supposition on my part but a side-by-side comparison). And my DIY light does it on one less AA cell and is solar-powered, to boot. Go Team Witch!

I realize I’m seriously building this up, but that’s because I think this project will perform as advertised, and have the benefit of being fun to plan and build. Of course if you build it then you lose the fun of planning it in exchange for building a known good project. And THAT assumes that this project will work as a whole. I know the bits work, but I can’t say the same about everything together. But when the project is complete I will document the build on a Wreck Free Sunday post.

And links tomorrow!

PSA, Opus

Trying to decide what I want to be when I “grow up”, Wreck-Free Sunday

I desperately need to find some kind of steady income that I can get legally. I think I have posted that my last job interview was back in 2006, and that I gave up applying for jobs back in 2009. I figured that three years of no interviews meant I was pretty much never going to get a job again. I haven’t driven since 1995, so getting a job driving trucks looks to be out of the question. That kind knocks me out of about 2/3 of the jobs openings I see posted either online or in the local papers. Jobs doing what I do here, writing and researching on the Internet, are gaspingly rare, and ones that actually pay a steady income are rarer still.

I lack the social skills to be a bike mechanic, or pretty much any job that would require interacting with actual people on a regular basis. I like people, most of the time, I just don’t like to be around them except in limited circumstances that I can control and be able to leave when I need to. It’s real easy for me to get over-stimulated around people and shut down as in “Don’t talk to me” shut down. In a job situation that is generally considered too not be good for business. Part of that is my personality from before the wreck, and part is what happened after the wreck, and just a tiny bit is because of the actual wreck itself. I have a touch of PTSD, which is what I consider to be what happened after the wreck with GPD totally ignoring the case, and this is not made any better by riding my bicycle in traffic with crazy people. I don’t know many bike commuters personally, but every one has this to some extent, even the ones that haven’t been hit yet. And for many years in Dallas County it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when” you would get hit as a bicycle commuter even if you followed the laws like a pharisee, so most of the bicycle for transportation people I know have been injured by a motor vehicle while riding their bikes.

So, again I ask my readers what I can do to make a steady income, knowing my limitations. I also have to be working at a job that makes to world a better place, or at a bare minimum does not make the world any worse than it already is (so no Wal-Mart greeter jobs, or anything like that). I don’t know that I could work for myself as I seem to lack the ability to motivate myself to “do things” outside of posting this blog 7 times a week. And that is because I have to write, I get really bad if I don’t get to write something of meaning to me. Ideally if I could make money writing, that would be fantastic. Realistically that ain’t going to happen. There are just too many people that are writing for free for that to ever happen. Just look at the people that are doing web comics, the ratio of people drawing comics to people making a living at drawing comics. The ratio of people doing blogs, to the people making a living doing blogs, is likewise. You have your Huffington’s and your Drudge’s making 6 figures a year at top, and you got a bunch of people like me with niche blogs down at the bottom. In the middle you get a few making enough to not have to work a regular job but they’re not even in the middle third of the middle class. I wouldn’t mind making a living in the bottom third of the middle class doing this, but will it happen? Not unless I start writing about something other than bicycles.

So any suggestions about what I could do to make a steady income? Leave a comment.

PSA, Opus

Changing weather, and maybe no Feed

When I hit the office this morning the first thing I did was check the Feed and there was nothing in the Feed folder in my mail. So this may be a very short blog post.

Weather here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell has been variable this week as we had snow on Tuesday with skating-rink driving conditions, and shirtsleeve temperatures with light breezes yesterday. Many people I know are sick because of the rapid changes in temperature because they are not hardened to the cold as I have by running around wearing shorts and slippers as the thermostat is gradually lowered a little bit every day to get the house down to low to mid 60s F (16-18C). I used to go barefoot, but the continuing nerve problems I’m having with the foot on the injuredcrippled leg has forced me to wearing both socks and slippers in the house to prevent pain that literally knocks me off my feet (I go back to bed until my feet warm up). Anyway, the changes in the weather have left less-hardy people abed with colds and flu has also been prevalent in the area. One of the advantages of working at a home office (besides wearing nothing but soccer shorts and slippers to work) is I’m not constantly exposed to communicable disease, unlike Mrs. the Poet who works with those biological warfare vectors known as “children” every day.

Time passes.

The mail came in and among the other things was a big box from Alertshirt.com. My post-Christmas purchase finally arrived and I now have 2 long-sleeve wicking Ts, a short-sleeve wicking polo that I’m wearing as I type, a long sleeve cotton sweatshirt that is oh-so-cozy, and a zippered mesh vest that has a crazy huge array of retro-reflective stripes, about twice what I have with my ancient blinky-LED vest. That blinky-LED vest is going to be salvaged to make flashing wrist bands so I can be better seen while signaling turns, and the rest of the reflective strips will be glued to my Army ALICE ruck to make me less invisible when I’m getting large items from the grocery store. And they also included a VERY COLORFUL pen… When the bulk of your merchandise is ANSI Safety Lime and you put pictures on your promotional items they become VERY COLORFUL! This is the second large purchase that either I made or was done for me, and I’m very happy with the previous purchase as those items are still in very frequent use. I’m sure the stuff I got today will be in similar rotation, especially as everything but the sweatshirt is a 3 or 4 season article when combined with layering. And the vest can be used in any season as it doesn’t add much to insulating properties nor take anything away.

And as there doesn’t seem to be anything in the Feed folder today I’m going to post this and be on my way doing errands like depositing someone’s Christmas money into the bank, for which they will BE GRATEFUL OR ELSE! At least now I’ll be more visible on the trip there and back…

Billed @$0.02, Opus

A mostly infrastructure post, and the Feed

Yep, not many links to wrecks today (thank [deity]), but lots of infrastructure links, and Stupid Cyclist Tricks (thank you David Letterman).

More strangeness in the mails as I was asked to sample ground coffee and do a survey about it. I’ll get back with you (if I am allowed to) about the coffee, but it’s several pots worth of free coffee coming in the mail… even if it’s Not Good coffee it’s still Free Coffee.

And I can tell it’s winter by looking at my average speed on the bike computer, which has dropped from around 11.5 MPH to 10 or so (with several trips under 10 MPH between cold, rain, and high winds that never seem to be in my favor). One thing I have to report on the good side, aside from some condensation problems the new mask is working well at it’s intended purpose of keeping wind off my face and not fogging my glasses. I would still prefer putting a baffle in a full-face motorcycle helmet, but really this mask is doing the job, and is not too bad to use now that I have figured out that the mask works best under the ‘clava instead of over it. I still need to glue that washer to the glasses so that I get them quickly located on the mask instead of having to fiddle with the left-right location to get both mirrors in the view of the lenses. That’s part of the fun of DIY personal gear.

Up first, to borrow a phrasing from Ted Rogers over at BikingInLA, if your casing homes to rob and you have marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and outstanding warrants you might want to ride a bike with lights on it to prevent getting pulled over by police. Thursday’s Sentinel police log

A cyclist in Oz is injured in a hit-and-run, 2 links. Cyclist seriously injured during hit and run and Cyclist injured in suspected hit-and-run If the driver didn’t stay at the scene then I’m pretty sure this was a hit-and-run…Note that you can see the cyclist had both a head and tail light visible in the video to the second link, which places the onus on the driver to see the cyclist since the cyclist has taken appropriate measures to ensure visibility. I still have no sound on my computer so I could not hear whatever voice-over came with the video. I’m not sure of the location of the wreck in relation to the nearest intersection so I can’t give instructions on avoiding this type of wreck, but getting the infrastructure right would prevent it.

Our first Infrastructure! link comes from VA as their dooring bill wends its way through the legislature. Senate panel backs car door opening bill in Virginia The comments on this bill are interesting, to say the least.

Another VA infrastructure law that helps cyclists is this bill being rejected. Panel rejects bill that would limit red-light cameras Right on red is a law that has killed thousands and maimed millions of pedestrians since it was forced on the country back in the 1970s as a way to save gas, but this bill would NOT protect pedestrians and sidewalk cyclists from drivers that roll through intersections without stopping to make sure that the intersection is really clear of traffic, not just clear of cars. Dumping it was a good idea.

Late link, Miami judge sentences drunken bike killer to less than a year in jail after hit-and-run. Michele Traverso Sentenced To Less Than a Year For Killing Cyclist; Carlos Bertonatti Still Awaiting Trial and Michele Traverso, Driver In Hit-And-Run That Killed Aaron Cohen, Sentenced To 364 Days In Jail (VIDEO) 364 days for killing a human being and injuring another in the same incident, with no mention of keeping him away from the controls of motor vehicles after his sentence. After reading the second link I’m wondering if the judge’s bank accounts need to be frozen and examined for recent large deposits, because going from 20-25 year to less than a year in under a week sounds suspiciously like money changed hands in exchange for a lesser sentence.

And that’s all the links I have today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Running late but not much to say, and the Feed

Had another session with the widow woman yesterday, and had to wait for her sleep meds to wear off before I could come back. Instead of coming straight home we stopped at the local Harbor Freight and picked up some stuff I needed for camping and working on bikes. The most important item on the list was a charger that lets me do single-cell charges on my AA size NiMH rechargeables. The other charger I have only allows charging in pairs which means that for those things that used 3 AA batteries I was up the unsanitary tributary without visible means of locomotion as far as using rechargeable batteries was concerned. This includes many bicycle lights and flashlights. But now that’s no longer a concern as I have a single-cell to 4 cells charger that cuts off automatically to prevent overcharging.

Up first because that was what I clicked on first is a link to a hit-from-behind in MA. 60-year-old cyclist killed in Westfield LEO need to subpoena his online activities and see if he ever posted that he would run a cyclist over instead of passing safely, because that’s what the driver did in this case. And I have read too many posts on Boston.com that had comments that said either exactly that or something very similar to that. Anyway, hit-from-behind, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. And start executing drivers that kill.

Next folder had 2 links to a hit-and-run in NYC. Cyclist Critically Injured in Apparent Hit-and-Run in Brooklyn, Police Say and my favorite NYC local news outlet said Cyclist Critically Injured In Bushwick Hit And Run At this point NYPD has not released any details about the wreck that would allow my making a determination about conclusively avoiding or preventing this wreck, but based on what I know no I can say that they were in an intersection and that intersection protocols might have helped avoid this wreck and that getting the infrastructure right would have prevented it. Also see the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

A cyclist is hit-from-behind in CA. UPDATED: Bicyclist killed after being hit by car on Highway 299 At this point there is much speculation about why the driver hit the cyclist bu no hard facts. Another case of protocols to avoid, maybe, and fix the infrastructure to prevent. Also another one to check the driver’s online comments.

A killer driver faces charges in the death of a cyclist in the Great White North. Driver charged in September crash that killed cyclist They left off murder charges so the driver probably wasn’t on the Internet, or never made any comments to a link about a bicycle wreck. The wreck was a hit-from-behind where the driver hit 3 cyclists. This tells me that the protocols would have been ineffective even if used (maybe the survivors did use the protocols), and that the only thing that would have positively prevented the wreck would be infrastructure.

A rare UK link. Cyclist Alan Mort death: Judge warning after John Evans jailed Seldom do you read such a thing in UK media, that the judge actually warns other drivers to be more carefull or face a similar outcome. Also seldom do you see a sentence of prison handed down in the death of a cyclist, most get community service or a small fine. Even the driving ban was higher than usual for killing a cyclist (sometimes there is NO ban). So not only a rare link from the UK for this blog, but a rare link for the UK in general based on content.

Last up I have an Infrastructure! story that will knock your socks off. Death By Dooring? House Speaker Howell Thinks It’s Funny also An open-and-shut case of Assembly’s foolishness and “Dooring” Bill — Yes, it is About the Bike I was amazed that it’s legal to throw a door into the path of a cyclist or the actual cyclist and there is nothing police can do, any damages are the fault of the cyclist, not the driver that throws the door in front of him. There oughtta be a law! Well if this passes there will be a law.

And except for one link I lost while trying to put it in the post, those are all the links that gave me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Recovering from yesterday’s plumbing attempt, Wreck-Free Sunday

Yesterday I tried to turn the water off to the entire house so I could repair a leaky toilet with an equally leaky cutoff valve. Unfortunately the cutoff valve for the house has been pulled below the level of the water meter so the wrench I had had less than 1/8 of a turn to swing before hitting the water meter and coming off the valve, the first time rather violently causing my finger to get bashed against the inside of the water meter enclosure. That finger is still sore and difficult to bend because of that. So tomorrow I shall call the water company and find out how to get someone to shut off the water for a few hours (I expect it will take less than an hour to fix the toilet) because I have tried everything I can to do it myself and can’t. I am strongly considering modifying the wrench I bought many years ago to fit the valves installed now so I don’t have to go through this mess again in the future. it looks to be a simple cut and weld job to do the modification, cut a shape from plate steel that fits over the valve and then weld it to the existing wrench. Also I expect to have a slightly easier job of doing the blog post because my day for the widow woman to cry on my shoulder (which seems to be doing her a world of good) has been moved to Monday night instead of Sunday night. This means that I have a full day to make beans and rice and do a blog post before riding to the church for Mentor’s Circle.

Things have been a little strange since the Mayan Apocalypse last month. I have been having exceptionally good luck with traffic lights detecting my bike and changing for me, drivers have been exceptionally good about changing lanes to pass (Except for one Hispanic lady in a Lexus SUV that passed me driving on the shoulder to my right), and my cold-weather gear has been working pretty good at keeping me warm (even the home-made stuff, the only problem I have been having has been with glasses fogging because I can’t get the baffles sealed all the way). I need to put something that will positively locate the glasses on the mask so I can see out without having to fiddle with them and the wingnut for several minutes every time I use the mask. I have a fender washer that is drilled to fit the bolt I’m using, I might locate the glasses and then use a bead of Goop to glue the washer to the glasses so popping the glasses on it a quicker operation. I have also been experimenting with different methods of putting the mask on since I only wear it on days I wear the ‘clava under the helmet. I tried wearing the ‘clava over the mask to make putting the helmet on a faster operation, and the test seemed to work, but that was just an on/off test. The full test will be tonight in the cold going to and from church. The good thing about mask first then ‘clava is the mask keeps the ‘clava from getting in my peripheral vision while the ‘clava keeps the mask from getting caught on the helmet sweat liner.

The opportunity to complete the 20/20 Crank Forward full suspension bike has been presented before the annual local custom car and bike show, but I’m thinking probably I should do a better job and show the bike next year instead, after a bit of riding to get the bugs out of it. I’m torn between the 20/20 bike and the e-assist bike as to which would be the better bike to put in the show. Since the show is near Valentines Day every year I don’t have much time to build whatever I decide to build.

If things go as planned I should be doing a short post tomorrow and Tuesday.

PSA, Opus

I have awesome readers Pt.2, and the Feed

OK not only awesome, but slightly scary. I clicked a link to a T-shirt ad and said to Mrs. the Poet that I liked the shirt. I don’t recall telling anyone else that, or writing anything about it in my blog (and I’m too lazy to check) but this morning that shirt showed up in the mail with my legal name on the label and nothing else in the package. The shirt was in an ad that was headlined “The Zombie Apocalypse will not be motorized” and had schematic figures (like the ones telling you which bathroom to use) across the front with word and thought balloons depicting three to the left (wearer’s right) as zombies seeking brains and the fourth bent over in exhaustion as desiring a bicycle. The ad also had a caption that said “Rule 1, cardio”. I know Mrs. the Poet did not get me this shirt as she does not have access to the Internet except on my computer, so who knew and how they knew I wanted this shirt is a mystery to me. As you can see, this shirt is also no longer available so the mystery deepens. OK I just checked my Amazon Wish List and I didn’t put it on there either. I’m reminded of what Alice said after falling through the looking glass.

Up first is a local infrastructure project. Changing The Cycling-scape: Garland’s North-South Bikeway Project Will Ease Transportation For Experienced And Beginner Riders The infrastructure they are talking about includes that bike lane I was complaining about a couple of weeks ago. So, progress, but not much progress.

Another CA driver mistakes a cyclist wearing Hi-Viz for a deer. Lawyer Charged in Fatal Hit-And-Run that Killed Bicyclist Due in Court I’m sure drivers mistake cyclists for deer all the time NOT. The other thing that bothered me was that killing the cyclist was a misdemeanor, leaving the scene of a fatal wreck was a felony. They both need to be felonies and hit-and-run needs to be a major felony even if the victim survives. To avoid use hit-from-behind protocol and shark repellent (I don’t know that it works against lawyers, but it helps against their cousins). To prevent get the infrastructure right including confiscating the cars used in hit-and-run and destroying them after the trial if convicted.

A VA man objects to having a bike trail through his back yard apparently because he doesn’t pay attention to his mail. Varina man upset by Virginia Capital Trail’s path I find it telling that the man would not object to a road being run through his back yard, but a bike path!? Heaven forfend!

And last link, that HiViz bike wear may be so much fluff in the Greater Scheme of Things. Why cycling in high-vis may be not as safe as you think The study was done with motorcyclists because people not burning fossil fuels just are not worth the time of day (J/K). But what it shows was something I mentioned in my stuff to get me for Christmas post back in November, that you have to contrast your color with the background to make the HiViz really pop and make you noticeable in traffic.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today, mostly from FB friends and Ted Rogers’ BikingInLA blog. My web search service was crapping out on me again today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Soggy ride last night, and the Feed

First of all I need y’all to go visit this WP post so I can have a better chance at winning a Kindle HD that I could actually use to blog with (there being a WP app for the Kindle HD) and get out of the house more often.

Now that that’s out of the way, I had another meeting at the church last nigh planning a fund-raiser that will require some major planning and stage work on our part. Can’t say much about it yet, but I have been cleared to say we are putting on a murder mystery dinner with some slight parallels to “Harry Potter” instead of the Agatha Christie milieu that most of these productions hinge upon (or the board game “Clue”). One thing I have been tasked with is coming up with a recipe for butterbeer to serve with dessert. Now the getting to and from the meeting was a bit of a production for me, as my rain gear is starting to get old and show some leaks the most annoying of those leaks was the one at the crotch of my rain pants, which are coming up on 4 years old now, them and the jacket both. I don’t know what the expected lifespan of vinyl rain gear is, but I have had to repair the jacket a couple of times now and the crotch leak in the pants is recent (maybe as recent as the return trip last night). This means that between the leaky jacket and the leaky pants I’m now in the market for new rain gear. The problem is the difference between what I need and what I can afford is huge. I mean we are talking a divide worthy of the Grand Canyon. I need rain gear that lasts for years and breathes so I don’t get as wet from transpired moisture (not necessarily sweat, my skin does breathe and lose moisture through its pores) as I would have from just riding without protection, but here in TX the need to ride in the rain usually comes very seldom as we usually get our rain in the form of thunderstorms that are not safe to ride in no matter what kind of rain gear you are wearing. I went an entire year without riding in the rain during the drought 2 years ago. So I need rain gear that won’t dry out and crack or otherwise develop leaks if it just sits for a year or so in the closet and at the same time does not cost as much as a Wally World BSO, that has ventilation so I don’t get wet from my own transpired moisture, and that actually works to keep me dry in conditions that would be better suited to riding with SCUBA gear. Any suggestions?

Up first is a novel suggestion for getting around raising the gas tax from the state of VA. Gov. proposes getting rid of gas tax, raising sales tax As I pointed out in the comments section to the article, this means that people that don’t drive have an equal stake in the infrastructure as people that do because NONE of the money comes from “people that drive”, it comes from “people that spend money” and as the fuel source for cyclists and pedestrians is taxed but gas would not be that makes bike/ped and transit spending a higher priority as our fuel is taxed while cars are not.

First wreck, a CA cyclist is hit twice with the first impact being a hit-and-run. Bicyclist killed when hit twice on Highway 29; Clearlake woman arrested The driver claimed to have hit a deer. The second driver was driving too fast for conditions and should also get a ticket at the very least. Hit-from-behind so the protocols may have made it possible to avoid the wreck, and get the infrastructure right to prevent.

And another link from the UK with an outcome. Two ‘thrill seekers’ killed cyclist as they raced a Mercedes and an Audi at 80mph Hit-from-behind but the description of the wreck shows that the motor vehicles were going too fast to avoid and at the same time removing any escape route by filling the entire width of the road. Getting the infrastructure right would have had the cyclist not riding on a major highway filled with idiots and prevented this wreck. The sentence in this case is another travesty as the driving ban will expire about the same time as the end of the prison sentence. The “ban” will result in minimal inconvenience for the perpetrators of this crime, while the victim is still dead.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Building winter gear from a Halloween costume, Wreck-Free Sunday

I have almost completed making the mask to keep the cold wind off my face, and what needs to be done won’t be visible in pictures so I’m just going to go ahead and document the build now.

First of all you need to start with the right mask, the hockey mask used by the monster in one of those slasher series. you will need to trim it so that it doesn’t interfere with your helmet but still covers your face where the helmet and balaclava (if you use one) doesn’t. I didn’t have a camera for this part of the build so I’m just going to describe the process and show what I had when I got the camera. What I did was I wore the mask under my helmet, and used a Sharpie to mark the plastic at the edge of the helmet. This was an uncomfortable process and I rushed it a bit which compromised the appearance of the finished project but did not effect the performance of the mask all that much. After I marked it I used heavy shears to cut the plastic mask leaving the parts I wanted in good shape.

After that I needed to figure out some way to put my glasses on the mask. I had a spare pair that had single-vision lenses and a broken temple piece so I decided they would be part of the mask. I removed the other temple piece and trimmed back the “barbs” on the side of the frames to reduce the amount of snagging things when I was using the mask. The glasses have a nose piece and a bar across the top of the frame, which suggested that a bolt type attachment could be used along with a wing nut to attach the glasses after I put the mask and helmet on. I had to do this because the frames were too wide to fit while putting the helmet on (from prior experience with identical frames and that same helmet, next time I buy glasses I’m making sure I can put my helmet on without removing my glasses). This required further modification to the frames by removing the nose pad (on these frames the nose pad was one structure that went from one side of the nose, up and over the brow, and down to the other side of the nose, instead of two smaller pads) so that the frames would fit closer to the face at about the same distance they would if I wasn’t wearing the mask. Then I marked the mask and drilled a hole for the bolt. I missed the spot (too low and to the side) so I had to re-drill a new hole that was higher and closer to the center. You can see both holes in the pictures.

After I made the physical alterations to the mask to make it fit the helmet and take the glasses, I modeled it for Mrs. the Poet. She did not like it and pronounced it “scary”, so I painted it black since I was planning on doing that anyway. Black was “still scary” because inside the helmet I became faceless, like Darth Vader crossed with one of those comic book super heroes that wore the stretch mask that he could see out but people could not see in. I became “too anonymous” which was “scary”. As I wasn’t trying to be scary (this time) I decided to add some color to the mask and give myself some facial features. which you can see in the first picture.

Painted mask

Mask rear, you can see the holes for the screw and the nosepad attachment

With the glasses screwed on

You can see which hole was right in this picture with the screw in place

After I painted the mask I needed to put baffles in it to keep my moisture-laden breath from fogging the glasses (which was the original reason to make the mask as previous solutions to the frozen face issue resulted in fogged glasses and having to stop to wipe them off so I could see again). First thing I needed to do was get the baffles cut out, which happened before I got the camera. I cut the baffles from a hunk of PU upholstery foam I had sitting around from a previous project. Then the baffles had to be glued to the inside of the mask in such a way that they didn’t fall off or get permanently squished (glued down squished). This took a couple tests with my favorite craft adhesive, Goop.

Finally getting the foam to stick to the mask, this was why I saved the cut-off piece when trimming the mask

Making sure there was enough baffle to cover the width of the mask

I had a little material left over on each side.

You can really see the hang over in this picture

Which was trimmed off after checking for fit.

Neat and clean looking

You can see the difference in this view.

Similar to the picture showing the hang over from the side, after trimming

Testing showed that the mask was blocking a clear view of my mirrors which required some more trimming, this time on the mask itself.

You can see the lower outside corners of the eyeholes have been pushed out and down

It is really visible in this picture.

All done!

Putting on the mask and having it work right is a minor production bit all on its own. First I have to put the balaclava on, and then put the mask over it.

Handsome devil, isn't he?

Then I have to slide the helmet over the mask, keeping it from getting pushed off my face.

Actually more painful than it looks

The helmet must be seated while the mask gets pulled down enough to spin the wingnut over the glasses.

I can almost see out like this

Then the glasses are installed and the mask moved into place.

And I can see where I'm going, and die from the heat if I stay in this too long indoors

I made a run last night at near-freezing temperatures, and while there are leaks in the baffles that caused the glasses to fog, my face was very warm. Problems yet to be solved are related to the condensation of that moisture-laden breath against the cold surface of the mask, the mask isn’t insulated so the inner surface is only slightly warmer than the outside air temperature. All the mask was intended to do was keep the cold wind off my face and prevent direct heat loss on the skin, but as designed and built now my breath condenses out most of its moisture when it hits the inside surface of the mask which on long rides results in a rather large puddle in front of my face. I’m still working on a solution to that issue.

Another thing I’m still working on is making the whole mess quicker to put on and take off. I see two possible solutions for that. One is to buy smaller glasses that can stay with the mask while the helmet goes on over the mask. The second is to trim the mask so that it fits completely out from under the helmet and the strap goes over the helmet instead of inside, but that would require coming up with a different way to attach the strap to the mask and glasses. That’s doable but I haven’t figured it out yet.

PSA, Opus

Edit: So far none of the pictures I uploaded to the site have shown in this post for me. Can anyone see the pictures? All I can see is what is supposed to be the mouseover text posted to the page as regular text.

Edit 2/24 I finally got the pictures to work, now the alt text doesn’t work, but I don’t care.