Tag Archives: fun on a bike

Another grocery shopping day that I don’t have to play a mule, and the Feed

I’m waiting to see if there are any good links in the Feed today (that I haven’t already used) so a little commentary on life in general while I wait. Regular readers know that Blue was stolen back in August of 2013. What I haven’t been talking about is I haven’t had a bike I could ride without pain since then. All the bikes I have at my disposal are either too big or way too small (kids’ bikes). The other problem is my local source for small batches of steel tubing in bicycle diameters and wall thicknesses has ceased its retail operations and gone strictly to big batch orders that would be a 40-50 year supply for my operation and tie up thousands of dollars in metal inventory. This prevents me from building something on my own that would fit and be comfortable. Having tools and designs doesn’t help if I can’t get the materials to build them. And I find this to be incredibly frustrating, to have all these ideas floating around in my head and no way to make them real. The closest analogy I can think of is being perpetually pregnant, only without the bladder issues.

And segueing from pregnancy to the other problem I’m having is I’m gaining weight. I really need active transportation for two reasons, not the least of which is I need the exercise. There is a reason I don’t do the “e word” except for my rehab stuff, and that’s most of it is a waste of time and energy. I’m using the term “waste” in the sense of “for no purpose”, because if I’m going to be working that hard I want the work to be accomplishing something other than “exercise”. Most of the things I can think of to do already require some degree of fitness, they’re not things you do to get fit but they are activities that let you hold on to what fitness you already have. Also they require a degree of sociableness that I’m not comfortable with. Riding the bike was something I could do without having to participate in team sports, but it did require interacting with entitled idiots who think the world revolves around internal combustion engines. Also it was a “useful” form of exercise, I was moving my butt from A to B and frequently also various amounts of cargo so that things would get done. It was also my social outlet in that point B commonly involved interacting with other people. And it was cheap, after the initial costs were amortized. I could make trips similar in length to what people around here drive for the cost of a bottle of water and a PBJ sandwich which I would have needed to buy anyway just to keep alive. So basically for me the costs of riding a bike were nil.

First up, while I’m no great fan of JB I wasn’t a hater either until this. Justin Bieber Arrested For Alleged DUI And Drag Racing In Miami OK for someone like JB to get arrested for this in Miami where a minor pop singer from South America is treated like a foreign dignitary when he kills a cyclist while DUI tells me 2 things: first that he was so blitzed that he was a danger to himself and others, second that there has been a major change in LEO attitude in Dade County. I keep hearing rumors that Canada may deny him re-entry into the country if he tries to return. Bicycle related content: About 30-40% of cyclist fatalities involve weapon vehicle operators that are DUI.

Up close to WoaB World HQ in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, a cyclist gets hit by a train (again). Bicyclist injured in collision with Metro rail car C’mon people, we have hashed and re-hashed this until it’s practically meat puree, not getting hit by a train is about the simplest traffic safety thing you can do. Trains can only be found on train tracks and normally have crossing guard systems or other warning devices. Granted this is light rail in the street, but there are still multiple warning systems that are supposed to keep you off the tracks when a train is coming. Add to that the size and noise of a train, even the light rail variety, and well it takes a rare combination of multiple lacks of awareness or a total disregard for what’s going on around you, or even a personal disregard for safety. Stay away from train tracks to avoid and be very careful and alert when staying away from the tracks proves impossible.

From the former most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike (pending confirmation) another cyclist is hit. Lakeland Man Charged in Bicyclist’s Death OK this is another one that needs to have the car crushed with the driver inside. Drunk and hit the cyclist on the wrong side of the road (salmon driving) and swerved into the cyclist. This isn’t manslaughter it’s murder… and the cyclist was riding exactly where the haters say cyclists should ride, in a park.

From WA, it seems bike paths are a bad place to have high-speed motorcycle chases. Man on stolen motorcycle killed on Renton trail while fleeing Washington State Patrol trooper Those things are full of obstacles that (rarely) kill and (much too often) injure people riding bicycles. Riding on one at high speed with a motorcycle ain’t gonna work out well.

A little south of that wreck a cyclist is injured by a driver who did not hang around. Bicyclist injured in hit-and-run in San Luis Obispo Another candidate for the car crusher. The damage and location of this wreck lead me to deduce the weapon vehicle hit the cyclist as the vehicle left the parking lot to the store and as the victim proceeded straight. So that would imply intersection protocols to avoid or to mitigate damages, infrastructure to prevent.

Nearby a cyclist is hit with a bus. Breaking news: Pomona cyclist killed in collision with Foothill Transit bus

Final outcome in the criminal charges against a driver that hit a cyclist waiting to turn in Jolly Olde. Widow: ‘No sentence can ever match my loss’ and Family to sue driver over death crash A year’s driving ban and a six month suspended sentence. And the driving ban will most likely not be enforced because I didn’t see anything about relinquishing the keys or the car. So effectively no punishment for killing a driver waiting to turn from the opposite lane.

A wreck in Oz results in charges against the driver. Engadine woman charged with injuring cyclist at Helensburgh Nothing on the mode because it was a hit-and-run and the cyclist could not remember what happened, but it looks like hit-from-behind so protocols to avoid and infrastructure to prevent. Along with crushing the weapon vehicle, of course. Nothing prevents a second hit-and-run quite as well as destroying the means of doing so.

They REALLY don’t like bike riders in Pakistan. 15 killed, Spaniard injured in attacks in Pak’s restive areas They killed 6 national police trying to get one bike rider. I don’t think the fact he was riding a bike was the issue, more that he was an infidel foreigner. I do know how to read for content.

A bit of e-assist bike news from the EU. Working Group Decides on Standardized E-bike Interfaces When I first started working with e-assist they couldn’t even settle on a common charge plug so that you could grab a few watt-hours on the road without having to pack a charger, now they have a common software interface with the BMS. That’s progress.

And “old people” who used to ride a lot still ride a lot when they get e-assist. E-Bikes Boosts Bike Usage Among Elderly Whodathunkit? People ride bikes when it doesn’t hurt.

Along the same lines people will take cruises to locales that are fun places to ride bikes and the they ride bikes. Luxury cruise and biking? Turns out it’s a surprisingly good combination for adventurous types

Last link, runners do more damage to bike trails than bikes do to hiking trails. Runners repair their damage to park’s bike trail

And those were all the links I could find about bicycles.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

A sudden change of focus on my projects on a Wreck-Free Sunday post

Well my project focus has changed as a result of Blue getting stolen from the grocery store Friday. I had been planning on building an awesome T-Bucket, now I’m getting stuff together for that full suspension 20/20 crank-forward cargo bike. I’m going to use the tried and true “throw the parts on the jig in the correct places and build a frame to connect them” design process ;)

This is an evolution of the “Crank-forward bike that fits on a bus rack” project from a couple of years back when I discovered that Blue would rest on the frame instead of the back tire when sitting on a bike rack as mounted to buses in our local transit system, just with an extended top tube to support some cargo carrying containers. I have a back wheel, rear swingarm, rear shock, suspension fork, stem, handlebars, head tube, bottom bracket, crank, 44 tooth chainwheel, and brakes. I need to buy a shifter (I’m making this a 1 by 9 or 10 system so only a rear shifter needed), brake handles, a front wheel to match the rear one (I have the rim but I need a hub to match the rear hub), rear derailler, cassette, chain, and some nesting square tubing and bar stock to build the seat tube and seat post so they don’t twist when sat upon, and a few pieces of light 1″ round tubing. I should also mention I have a set of fresh, clean, bright yellow, kitty litter buckets and about 2 square feet of DOT reflective stickers, ready to mount for cargo carrying.

The specs are fairly straight-forward: 42″ wheelbase with a 70° head tube angle and a 45° seat tube angle so that the cockpit is open but there isn’t an excessive reach to the controls, the seat will sit close enough to the ground to get both feet down for slow speed maneuverability and balance but still allow for full leg extension as was pioneered by the Vision Thoroughbred (RIP Vision Bikes).
The bottom bracket will be 19″ from the front axle giving a slight toe overlap but not enough to be a problem giving 23″ from the bottom bracket to the rear wheel.

I’m doing this not because I don’t miss Blue or I was chomping on the bit to build another bike, but because my transportation options without a bike are severely limited in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. Mrs. the Poet gets around strictly by public transit but that’s because she can use me on the bike to do things she can’t get to on the bus, or that the bus is not convenient to use to get to. I seriously need a cargo bike for a bunch of stuff around here. Also I need to get some practice with the new welder I bought and would prefer to practice on a practical project than just throwing bits of metal together at odd angles. But the need for a bike is greater than the need to practice welding.

And I had better get to it.

PSA, Opus

Drumming night, and the Feed

Tonight is the regularly-scheduled night of the month to drum and dance around the fire at my church, something I look forward to with great anticipation. I have been involved with percussion in one form or another since childhood, getting my first set of bongo drums at 11, playing the bass drum in marching band and snare in orchestra. I have also been a (poor) dancer almost as long, having my first dance class as a senior in HS, and belly dance for men in my 30s and 50s. I am a creature of rhythm even if I can’t spell it on the first try, ever. (I keep trying to put the voiced short “i” in the written word.) I can’t explain it so I just revel in it…

Up first on a happy note, semi-famous bike blogger Bikeyface has a new bike that she gushes about here LEFT BANK BIKE I’m sure Gigi is as happy for her about this as I am, wherever Gigi is now.

Big story, what is being described by some as a right hook and by others as the cyclist failing to use brakes, with lots of links. Cyclist dies in SF garbage-truck crash and Bicyclist dies after striking garbage truck in the Mission also Cyclist killed in San Francisco garbage truck crash More Clayton Cyclist Hit and Killed By Garbage Truck in San Francisco and Bicyclist killed in collision with San Francisco garbage truck was 21-year-old from Clayton not done yet Cyclist in fatal S.F. crash identified nearly there Bicyclist killed in Mission District identified as Clayton resident Last link Dylan Mitchell Identified as Cyclist Killed by Recology Truck Earlier reports that have since been deleted had the cyclist impacting the truck just in front of the rear wheels on the right side and being trapped in the rear wheels and dragged for almost a block. Now they are just saying “back” of the truck and not explaining how hitting the back of a garbage truck results in massive blunt trauma and crushing injuries, or how a cyclist can be dragged almost a block after hitting the back of the truck. Anyway, right hook, intersection protocols to avoid and infrastructure corrected to prevent. The truck was signalling a right turn but there is some question if the cyclist was in a position to see that signal.

Another story with more than one link is a hit-and-run in AZ. Suspect arrested in Tucson hit-and-run death and UPDATED II: CYCLIST KILLED IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY last link Sun Tran driver killed while cycling to work Intersection wreck, but at this point it does not appear that intersection protocols would have helped avoid the wreck in any way as the drunk driver appears to have ignored a traffic control when he hit the cyclist. This also strongly implies that any at-grade infrastructure that relied on traffic controls to maintain separation would have been equally unlikely to prevent this wreck and the only thing that could have would be grade separated with a barrier infrastructure which would have been unlikely in this location. I mean there aren’t even any sidewalks for the nearby residences, bike infrastructure would be secondary after pedestrian infrastructure.

An AR cyclist is hit. 7-year-old girl struck and killed while riding her bike Nothing about the mode of the wreck except listing the location as “near” an intersection, so going with intersection protocols to avoid, and getting the infrastructure right to prevent. As the wreck was in a residential area “getting the infrastructure right” would consist of making sure cars were moving at a safe speed and that intersections had good sight lines so that children on bikes could be seen.

A cyclist’s death leads to charges in the Great White North. Vernon cyclist death results in charges The cyclist was struck from behind by a person driving a vehicle in the bike lane at 70 km/hr (44MPH). Given the lack of space to maneuver and the curb to the right hit-from-behind protocols would have been not-very-useful, and the wreck was in bicycle infrastructure the driver was ignoring, so no chance of preventing either except for inventing some way of keeping drunk drivers from being able to start the vehicle…

And those are all the links that gave me fits today… and one that didn’t.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

I can’t dress properly for an entire ride this week, Wreck-Free Sunday

All of the rides I took this past week I was over or under dressed for part of the ride. The weather here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell has been a pattern of temperature extremes lately. Last night it was mid-50s F on the way out to RPG group, and just over 40 on the way home. On the way to church it was right at 60 out, and almost 70 back. That wasn’t as bad as last night but I was still overdressed for the trip back. And there is a huge difference in the clothing for mid-50s and the clothing for 40 F. You can get hypothermia at either temperature but a whole lot faster at 40F, and what works for mid-50s will get you hypothermia at 40F. With temperature swings like we have here in Texas, dressing for the weather is a guessing game that I play to the warm side. I will be uncomfortable but not in danger, either way. On the days where I dress a little cool expecting warmer on the return trip I’m usually right, on the days I expect it to be a lot colder on the return trip I’m about 50/50 for the amount of drop, so some times I’m too warm in both directions, and some times I’m perfect on the way back, and once in a while it drops more than forecast and I’m too cool both ways because I didn’t pack enough additional layers.

Moving on to the RPG group, I’m still waiting to level up my warlock. We have been fighting with a demon that teleports in and out of the battle and has damage reduction except against magic, meaning the only people that have been able to inflict damage against this monster are the people with lots of muscle and big weapons (our barbarians) and me. The problem I have been having is the monster knows I can inflict damage unchecked against it and has been avoiding me and the barbarians while swatting the less powerful members of the party and inflicting huge amounts of damage against them. I find this annoying to say the least.I’m hoping that since it is now dark and everybody is tired (and the monster has taken a lot of damage) that we will get to let our characters sleep and recover (and let my character get his level up) at this rate I will be at level 7 before I can use any of my upgrades I get at level 6 as we go into the 4th game session since I reached level 6 without being able to claim my level up. With the quality of the monsters we have been facing we have been getting 300-500 XP per session with bonuses for good Role Playing and I’m about 1/5 of the way to my next level already… And next level I get a bigger attack bonus and 4d6 damage from my magic weapon. (That’s a lot of damage.)

I’m still working on the 20/20 crank forward full suspension bike so I have a bike that I can take on the bus bike rack. This is important because I can take a bus through places where riding a bike would be unsafe, and because full suspension means I can ride on the worst of the roads around here without permanently injuring my back. The combination would mean that I would have extended range from transit to about 90% of the DFW area pretty safely. And I have a year to get it ready for the Autorama that I won class in back in 2004, 10 years earlier. This is the bike that the solar bike light is being built for. I think that particular feature may be the tipping point to winning next year. The time I won my competition was a pedal car kit that was built stock with a fancy paint job versus my heavily modified bike with a simple monochromatic paint job. I don’t know that my competition will be so easy this time, so I’m thinking that little things like lights made for the bike will make a difference. I’m pretty sure there won’t be more than 2 other vehicles in my class because of the number of classes available to compete in. I know I won’t be in the lowrider bike class because this bike will have a fairly high bottom bracket and not having the pedals scraping the pavement. The seat will be low, but the pedals will be at a normal riding height.

And that’s all I have today.

PSA, Opus

Well that was fun (not), and the Feed

I just want to tell what a rip-off I got from Target when I went to exchange some clothes that were the wrong size. I first had a problem because I didn’t get a gift receipt, the second problem I had was after I finally found the same merchandise as I got in my gift I was charged for the exchange because the price had changed. The price changing was not my concern, I exchanged like for like in a different size and should have gotten a direct exchange, not charged the current price after being refunded the original price. This is a common rip-off method used by big-box retailers to extract more money from exchanges. At least I got a 10 mile ride out of the deal, riding through the maelstrom that is the pickup after school for a middle school on the bike route I took on the way. Something needs to be done about that mess.

Also this is another Mule Day as I need to haul home the week’s food. I glued the reflective strips (in ANSI Safety Lime) from the deceased blinky vest to the back of my ALICE ruck to make me a bit more visible as I pedal to and from the store. You would think I would be visible enough as it is with something that big on my back, but all my online research shows me that drivers in the US are Not Very Bright at looking where they are going and not running into things in the road.

And the only live link I have today is from NZ about infrastructure. NZ researchers create online injured cyclist-door crash map Before you can deal with a problem you need to know what the problem is. This is a good first step as to where enforcement of anti-dooring laws should take place.

And since I have to go make like a mule today, I’ll leave it at that. And send a nasty note to my search provider about sending only a page of ads with no links for the subject I requested.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

No post yesterday because Church Fair! and the Feed

I was working our church harvest festival (Redneck Pagan Fall Festival) and spent all day wearing an old bike helmet with a pair of deer antlers duct taped to it as part of a ring-toss game. One of the things we had was a contest to name things that could not be “fixed” with duct tape and zip-ties good enough to get you home, given a large enough supply of “tools”. Basically the only things that couldn’t be “fixed” that way would be things that operated at too high a temperature for the “tools” to survive, like an exhaust pipe, coolant line to a nuclear reactor (“you are in a nuclear submarine…”) or other such thing, and even then the repair might still hold if you weren’t too far from home, and there was enough duct tape available. So I was spending all day doing this, came home just long enough to get a bite to eat and roll back out for evening services which was a long one because this was when the “twice a year” pagans come out to communal circles. The other six Sabbats can be done properly by a solitary at home, but Samhain (pronounced “SOW en”) and Beltain (pronounced “BELL tane”) are both Sabbats that need to be celebrated with other people. Samhain is a remembrance of the dead, while Beltain is a celebration of the renewal of life. Both of those are much easier to do with others of like mind. Hence the rather large gatherings near the end of October and the first of May. Samhain also marks the end of the Celtic year, making November the 1st the Witches’ New Year.

Up first, after a car runs you down on the sidewalk, it’s not a good idea to go punch it out. Police: Bicyclist arrested after punching car I know (oh believe me, I KNOW!) that after having a near-death experience with a car that adrenaline levels spike to panic-attack levels and the fight-or-flight response is kicked way high and your first instinct is to attack what almost killed you.

From cycling’s Mecca in the US, they can’t decide if a cyclist was hit pushing a bike, or a pedestrian was hit near a bike that he had no connection with. Man dies after Hawthorne Bridge crash Whatever the mode of transportation that victim was using, he was apparently on the sidewalk when he was hit. From what little I know of the area the sidewalks on this bridge leave much to be desired in the way of room and make even a person walking without a bike feel very vulnerable. Since I have no idea how to keep from getting hit while walking on a sidewalk I have to say that this is strictly an infrastructure question.

A hit-and-run in CA. Hit-and-run vehicle injures cyclist; Redlands police seek public’s help Another reason to have wearable ID like RoadID or a dogtag with your name, phone number, and address stamped on it (blood type is good also) because LEO still don’t know who the victim was. Hit-from-behind, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right, so that a wreck like this is physically impossible, to prevent. If you can’t make the wreck physically impossible then make the criminality of hit-and-run so costly for drivers that running becomes a worse option than staying.

Another hit-and-run, this one in KY. Police looking for suspects after cyclist killed by hit-and-run driver Given that what people said in the comments about the road was true that there were few roads that could be used to bypass the area, the cyclist probably did not have much choice in which route was to be taken to avoid this calamity. Use the hit-from-behind protocols to avoid, and fix the infrastructure to prevent. Interesting comments that as I write this mostly blame either the driver for being drunk and leaving the scene to avoid DUI Homicide charges or the infrastructure and the people that built it for not making any space for anything except motor vehicles.

A SWSS wreck in OH. Van Wert woman killed while riding her bicycle and VW woman dies in bike-car crash Nothing useful about the wreck, the cyclist just pulled in front of a speeding SUV like she was trying to kill herself. And once again the driver gets let off for murder because the victim was riding a bicycle and the killer was driving a motor vehicle. Since the wreck was not actually in the intersection but “near” it, I have to assume the driver was not paying attention to the cyclist’s presence on the road until after the impact. Hit-from-behind and intersection protocols to avoid, and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Notice that neither report has the lane position or direction of travel of the weapon vehicle.

From the Great White North a cyclist is killed. Teenager killed after being struck by vehicle while riding bike in Innisfil and Teen cyclist killed on IBR Since LEO won’t say the cyclists were not using lights or reflectors at the time of the wreck it’s usually a pretty good bet that they were. Hit from behind, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. A good start would be making it automatic that anyone hitting multiple cyclists in a single wreck charged with assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder.

A really rare case in the UK. Driver who mowed down teen cyclist sees jail sentence doubled Wow, just nothing else but Wow! Three and a half years for driving more than 40 MPH over the limit in a residential area and killing a cyclist, after the initial 18 month sentence was appealed.

A cyclist in Oz survives a hit-and-run assault with a deadly weapon. Hit-run rider left for dead Hit-from-behind, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. More Hit-run cyclist left for dead

LifeStyle from TX, and did you see that picture of the cyclists? Injured cyclist’s allies to drivers: Pay attention In many areas there is no way to avoid riding on frontage roads if you want to get places. They build the destinations on the frontage roads so you have to ride the frontage roads to go there. Also these highways are like walls or rivers that have been plopped down in the middle of existing road networks with no way to get around them.

LifeStyle in CA. Thousands attend memorial for 2 cyclists killed in accidents and Memorial Ride Draws 1,200 Cyclists

And to close, this is the second time in a month that this has happened in the UK. Cyclist killed after stopping to exchange details The first time was about 2 weeks ago, but the bike wasn’t stolen in that one. This time someone came up and stole the dead man’s bike. In the first wreck the dead cyclist’s bike was destroyed when he was hit by the second vehicle, and I can’t find the link for that one… More Sunderland cyclist killed and bike taken after crash

And those were all the links that gave me fits and were about bicycles. There were lots more links that gave me fits, but they weren’t about bicycles.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Trying to help, and the Feed

For my FB friends I have created a Cause that you can donate to as my Birthday Wish. I think everyone knows that here at the “Casa de las Aves Acuáticas Voladoras” we be “P’ “, we can’t even buy a vowel to be po’. But I still want to help, beyond the drum-banging I do on this blog, so I got together with Causes and FB to make a Birthday Wish to raise $1,000,000 for the Thunderhead Alliance to get small, local advocacy a national voice. The actual work needs to be done at the local level on the streets and roads that bicycles use (or would use if they were safe), but the problem is national in scope. Towns and cities don’t like to be “out on their own” on transportation for the most part, not the least of which is the issues of connecting one town to another when you have bicycle infrastructure. There are so many different approaches that you might end up with 2 towns with a common street grid but incompatible bike infrastructure that prevents cyclists from riding from one town to another. This is unacceptable. What Thunderhead could do with that $1M would be to help local groups lobby for interconnected bike infrastructure that allows cyclists to ride from one town to another as easily as driving from one town to another. Transportation is a basic human right. Let’s work to keep it that way.

A SWSS of a kid on a small e-bike. 8-year-old boy on electric bike killed by pickup truck in San Jose Hit from behind protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Also stop believing everything the driver says in a wreck the cyclist is not conscious to respond after.

A MA cyclist is injured. Man riding bike in Boston struck and killed Hit from behind, use the protocols to avoid, and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Since it wasn’t mentioned in the article it must be assumed that the cyclist had more than the legal requirement of lights and reflective materials

A wreck in CA as a semi passes a cyclist. Ukiah cyclist hit by semi-truck Following distance violation by the cyclist combined with a too close pass by the semi combined to result in a broken leg for the cyclist. There were way too many things that went wrong in this one to say how to avoid, but getting the infrastructure right would prevent it.

Infrastructure! from the UK. Cyclists set to get their own traffic lights What they are trying to do is get a separate set of lights that will allow bikes through on an all-red phase for motor vehicles, something like a “Barnes Dance” crossing for pedestrians except that bikes would not go in every direction. A similar idea would be a separate phase to turning movements when through lanes would be red in both directions.

Infrastructure from OH, as drivers don’t seem to get that cyclists have a right to the roads. Sharing the road with cyclists

And those are all the links that gave me fits (not counting the motorcycle wrecks, they give me fits, too but are not “fit” for this blog).

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Random thoughts on Wreck-Free Sunday

Well I don’t have anything coherent planned for today, just a few random thoughts.

Last night my church selected Hestia as our patroness for the coming church year. The problem is finding 6 virgins to tend the eternal flame out of a committee of 4 ritualists, with half of those being males and a different half being over 50 YO. That kinda makes us fresh out of virgins. On a related note we missed having Lakshmi as our patroness by a single point for the selection process. A few food items or a few votes would have swung the process either way.

Here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell the citizens are an important unpaid part of the PD and streets department. Both are reliant on citizen input to fix problems whether those problems are drivers that drive like they have the only vehicles on the roads or roads that are changing from paved to potholed gravel. I mentioned that I can do camera enforcement of road infractions if I buy the cameras and install them on the bike, well I also need to tell the Streets Department where the dangerous pavement is. Part of the problem is that what is most dangerous for a bicycle is a complete non-issue for a car, cracks and steps along the direction of travel. Those can trap a wheel and throw a bike (and rider) to the ground in a heartbeat.

Fun stuff I’m up to is I have a few parts that I’m using to improve the altermotor assist bike. Since I never mentioned this bike before, the short story is I’m converting a junkyard car alternator to a brushless motor that adds power to the drivetrain of the bike and has no additional drag when it isn’t assisting. The idea is to climb easier, or faster with the same amount of human power, so only about the same power as a human can produce is added to the mix. The original setup had a small sprocket attached directly to the converted alternator pulling the chain so that it saw the gears used on the back but not the front. There were 2 problems with this method. The first was that there was a limited range of RPM that could be used, and all of them were very low. This kept the motor below the speed where it developed the most power at the voltage used which caused a big current drain and also caused the cranks to spin too fast when the motor was activated in the middle and granny gears on the crank taking those gears away from use with assist. So, to get better power and use less electricity I needed to get the motor speed up above power peak at the voltage used and also do something so that I have granny gears even with assist, so that no matter how steep the climb I have the option of adding assist. The plan is to use the same sprocket on the motor driving a jack shaft with 3 output cogs and one input cog for human power and one for assist. This reduces the pedal speed to human levels and also gives granny and mid-range choices for both the rider and assist as both power sources have a single input that feeds through a choice of 3 outputs. I’m still building this so I’m not sure about the ratios yet for the motor side of the shaft. The human power side of the shaft uses a 48 tooth chainring to a 16 tooth cog on the shaft, with an 11 tooth small cog up to a 22 tooth big cog with a 16 tooth middle cog, converting that to what the equivalent crank would be is 33 granny, 48 mid, and 66 big going to a 20″ drive wheel. The equivalent for a full-size bike would be 25, 37, and 50. I still haven’t figured the power peak or the speed that happens at with the motor as I’m building a new controller that will run at full power. The old controller would only run at a maximum of 95% power because of using the power switching process to run a circuit that allowed the high-side FETs to be saturated when turned on. Also I was running the motor at such a low speed that the controller would lose commutation (knowing which phase of the motor to turn on). The new controller uses different high-side FETs that don’t require that circuit to function at full efficiency. This will allow the motor to be run at 100% without any worries about burning up the FETs in the controller. I think the free-spin RPM at the voltage this system runs at will be something between 800 and 1000 RPM. But I’m not sure because there are 2 parts to the equation, the power applied to the rotor which controls the magnetic field in the motor with a stronger field making a slower motor but more torque, and the Kv of the stator windings which I have no idea what it will be because that is a measured variable that I haven’t measured yet. Incidentally that power applied to the rotor is the main reason why this project exists, when there is no power applied to the rotor there is no drag from the motor, which means that a single control lets me select assist or no assist with no drag.

And that’s what has been banging around the inside of my skull this week.

PSA, Opus

Just doing the daily thing, and the Feed

Nothing special going on today. I’m making beans and rice in the slow cooker, Mrs. the Poet is cleaning the church, the crazy house mate is still crazy but at work instead of in my face. One thing we discovered last week but forgot to relate until now, the mixture of beans and brown rice I use takes on a decidedly “meaty” flavor when the leftovers are reheated with soy sauce, and the cheapest soy sauce we had on hand made for the strongest “meat” flavor. I would have to say it was something between ground beef and ground turkey in flavor and texture, and not strongly flavored, more of a strong hint of a flavor. The bean combination in question is equal amounts of dry beans by volume of black beans, pinto beans, and lentils. And the spell checker just borked over “pinto”. What kind of spell checker does not recognize the word for a dappled color pattern on beans and horses?

Also I have been tracking down storage leaks in my system and found another hog in a folder called minidumps inside the Firefox folder. What are minidumps, and why do I have 700+MB of them in 41+K files? Related question, what will happen if I just delete them? I now regularly delete unsent crash reports from the pending folder because they have a limited shelf life measured in the .01 of seconds (IOW by the time I can see them in the pending folder, they are already past their expiration date and can be deleted so long as FF is still up and running). I mention this because several weeks ago I found 1.5GB of unsent crash reports in the pending folder, and now I have almost half that number of minidumps in a different folder. So to reiterate, are these minidumps good for anything, and would something bad happen if I just deleted them?

Up first is a CA cyclist riding a MTB on the road that was injured in a solo wreck. Bicyclist Injured in Crash North of Azusa I especially like the bit about the cyclist striking the mountain La Puente man seriously hurt in bicycle crash on San Gabriel Canyon Road north of Azusa and also La Puente Man Injured in Azusa Bike Accident Looking at that last link I see that the last sentence of the first paragraph has been changed to remove the word “mountain” from the mountain bike, so now I don’t know if he crashed on knobby tires, or road slicks. Either way he lost control because he went too fast for his skill level and his equipment. To avoid and prevent ride within both your skills and your equipment. And if you’re going to be going downhill at a high rate of speed a helmet does provide a small degree of protection, particularly the hard shell ones like I wear or the bike/skate helmets sold for “urban” riding conditions.

Another CA cyclist is killed, his riding companion injured. Bicyclist Killed After Being Struck By Car In Bermuda Dunes also Bicyclist struck, killed in Bermuda Dunes The driver hit 2 cyclists so I strongly suspect either intoxication or deliberate act on the part of the driver, especially since the wreck happened on early Saturday morning but after sunrise.

A CO cyclist didn’t quite make the crossing before the light changed and was ticketed for the wreck. Cyclist ticketed, receives minor injuries after coliding with car in South Boulder This is one of the greatest problems facing traffic engineers trying to integrate bicycles with cars in environments where motor vehicle speeds are high and the intersections are big. The amber phase of the light is timed for the motor vehicles, resulting in a case where a cyclist entering under a “stale” green is still in the intersection several seconds after the light turns green for the opposite direction. To the driver the cyclist appears to have run the light, and if the cyclist survives he is frequently given a ticket. The article even admits the cyclist may have entered the intersection just as the light turned yellow, meaning the cyclist was legal (in spite of the ticket). I don’t know how to fix this except with separate signals for cyclists, as I wrote this is a huge problem for traffic engineers.

A College Coach falls off the bike and breaks a hip. UConn hoop coach Calhoun suffers hip injury while riding bike I didn’t realize rolling hoops was such a big sport in CT ;) Anyway, cyclist lost control because of loose dirt/gravel on the road, strictly an infrastructure problem that can be fixed by keeping the roads in good repair to prevent loose gravel in the first place, and by regular street sweeping.

Another cyclist rides in front of an oncoming train with predictable results. IN man dies after riding bicycle into path of train and Bicyclist hit, killed by train Let’s go over this one again, you can only get hit by a train if you are on the tracks at the same time as the train, trains are big and mostly very noisy especially if there is somebody standing on or near the tracks. They can be seen and they can be heard, and they can only be found in very specific locations from which they mostly do not leave. Also the areas where they inhabit usually have warning devices to alert you that there will be a train there shortly and that you should not be there when the train is there. So, can we all stay away from the trains and not get killed now?

For all those drivers making Internet comments about riding only in parks, I present this article. Bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run accident Friday evening in Mangonia Park identified and Homeless man killed in Mangonia Park hit and run wreck The description of the driver’s behavior is consistent with a legally drunk but not totally sloshed driver. Anyway, hit from behind, use the protocols to avoid and fix the infrastructure to keep drink drivers away from cyclists and other vulnerable roads users to prevent a wreck like this. I strongly suggest that all the cars driven by drunk drivers be recycled as a step towards reaching this goal. To be fair about this I suggest making the first DUI a misdemeanor, with the driver allowed to have the car back after getting out of jail, and all subsequent DUI be felonies with the car getting recycled upon conviction. And in all cases where the DUI results in a fatality the driver gets to witness the recycling from inside the car.

Also from the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike like the previous paragraph, cyclists are killed and the driver and passenger are charged with murder. Miami-Dade men arrested in hit-and-run deaths of two Broward cyclists See, not only was it hit-and-run, but the reason they were running is they were trying to evade arrest, which is a felony in FL. FL also has the provision that deaths caused by the commission of a felony are murder, even if unintended or the victims were not the intended targets. Another batch that qualifies for watching the car get recycled from the inside. As for avoiding these cyclists barely had time to register that there was any danger before they got hit. Avoiding would require either super speed and reactions, or supernatural knowledge of impending doom. And how can you prevent a police chase of fleeing felons with infrastructure changes?

LifeStyle from NY. Bicyclists pay tribute to woman killed, man seriously injured

The same as above but in CA. ‘A summer of sorrow for cyclists’

More LifeStyle from the Great White North. Solidarity bike ride for courier hit by car

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

Billed @$0.02, Opus

When sustainable isn’t safe, and the Feed

The person I fixed the bicycle for Sunday and yesterday had a long talk about riding when she was a little girl, and what riding was like for me now. We both started riding about the same time, she started a little earlier than I did and was a little older when she started but we generally both rode as children in the same era. the early to mid 1960s. I’m sure some of the difference was we were kids back then and adults treated kids differently back then because we were everywhere! This was near the peak of the late Baby Boom and kids and teens were a major part of the demographics, something like 33% of the population was under 20 or it may have been closer to 50%. Anyway there were lots of kids, and kids’ main means of transportation was the bicycle. In many ways it validates the “safety in numbers” hypothesis because drivers treated us if not respect they at least acknowledged that there were lots of us there and made some effort to not hit us. Fast forward to the 1970s and we were now moving from bicycles which had been designed out of the transportation grid to our first cars, with all the romance that had been attached to that with the car culture of the 1960s that we had been steeped in all our lives. Many of us still rode bikes as transportation because we liked them and because we were cheap and didn’t like spending the money that was required to keep a car (and this was before huge gas taxes, mandatory insurance, and steep registration fees), but there were a lot less of us and drivers were no longer as careful around us as young adults as they had been when we were kids or teens. Move another 40 years forward and you get drivers that have never had to deal with people riding bikes everywhere as transportation, have hardly seen a kid on a bike outside of a parking lot, and most kids ride on the sidewalks when they ride for any kind of transportation, which is rare.

Up first are more reports on the man hit from behind on a frontage road south of Austin. Police ask for help identifying San Marcos bicyclist hit by truck and San Marcos police identify cyclist killed Typical TX LEO that know nothing of TX VC 551.103 beyond 103a (the part that required cyclists to stay to the right of the lane)and ignore 103b (that allows cyclists to take the full lane when the lane is less than 14 feet wide, or when debris, stopped vehicles. or pavement defects reduce the effective width of the lane to less than 14 feet. The narrative still shows the driver had no problem seeing the cyclist in his headlights, just in stopping once he saw the cyclist after coming over the top of the hill. EDIT: I finally found the pertinent statute Sec. 545.351. MAXIMUM SPEED REQUIREMENT You have to scroll down quite a bit to find the statute on the page. The relevant paragraph is 545.351.(c)(5)

The really big story is someone that used a car to kill a police officer riding a bicycle. Suspect in death of Phila. officer out on bail and ‘Bad blood’: Police charge driver in death of officer Off-Duty Officer Struck & Killed While Riding Bike and these links are changing as I make them, both the headlines and the body of the link. Man Charged in Off-Duty Cop’s Death not done yet Philly cop hit, killed on bike this is crazy Police: Man fatally struck off-duty Philly cop This story has evolved to the point that the driver is accused of murder in the wreck, between the time I first filtered the links and now. That is a rapidly evolving story. Seriously this morning there were no charges against the driver in this “tragic accident” and this afternoon it’s murder charges on the same URL that I read “no charges” this morning. I don’t know how to avoid someone trying to kill you with a motor vehicle without having barrier separated infrastructure. Even then, if they want you dead bad enough a simple barrier might not do the job.

An OH wreck is still unsolved as to what happened. North Royalton police continue to seek answers in bike rider’s death Apparently the LEO of this municipality can’t recognize a buzz job when they see it.

Another driver not watching the road in front of her kills another cyclist in NY. Bicyclist struck by car, killed and Bicyclist killed in Newfane accident The driver was distracted by 2 toddlers in the car, and a person died for that. Hit-from-behind, not sure if the wreck allowed enough tine or space to implement the hit-from-behind protocols to avoid this wreck. Getting the infrastructure right might have prevented the wreck if the cyclist was not hit in a residential area.

From the Great White North a cyclist is seriously injured in a single vehicle wreck on the same curve that claimed the life of another cyclist the day before. Another cyclist injured at deadly curve OK this is definitely an infrastructure problem with multiple wrecks in a year (the reports on the cyclist fatality said there had been at least one other cyclist injured this year on the same road). The injuries and fatality all happened the same way with the cyclist losing control and colliding with the guard rail and going over the edge. It all depends on the speed of the cyclist and the way the cyclist lands whether it ends up as a serious injury or a fatality. To avoid control your speed on downhills, which I know is hard for a cyclist because the payout for the struggles of the climb is the thrills of the downhill run. To prevent alert cyclists to the existence of the sharp curves with signs that allow them to slow down, and do something about that guard rail so it doesn’t catapult riders over the edge to death or serious injury. The reason that cyclists need signs is there are very few places where a cyclist can reach speeds that would enable a cyclist to lose control and wreck bad enough to hit a guard rail. Another report on the scene Bike crash scene ‘one of the most dangerous’

Still in the GWN, a cyclist is hit from behind. Cyclist killed in Leamington crash LEO have not concluded their investigation at this time but have not mentioned any lack of lights or reflectors on the bike when it was hit at night.

Cyclist killed in East Canickistan. Thompson cyclist killed in hit-and-run collision Nothing about the mode, but the car that hit him was white… cue rant about what to do with hit-and-run drivers that kill… steering wheel… recycle… grrgle…

A wreck in far West Canuckistan. Truck suspected in hit-and-run on cyclist in Surrey This is Surrey BC, not the one in England. LEO are trying to determine if the driver should have known he hit the cyclist before deciding to file hit-and-run charges. That’s the part I don’t understand, I thought it wasn’t if you knew you hit someone, it was that you didn’t stop and render assistance.

Backgrounder on the cyclist killed on PEI. Alberta cyclist killed in P.E.I. safety conscious This report backs up the initial report that the cyclist had done everything possible to avoid the wreck that took her life.

What sometimes happens to drivers that kill cyclists. LifeStyle, I guess. Man who hit, killed Kan. bicyclist moves on Even when they go to jail, not much changes for the drivers… The driver was elected Student Senate president after he got out of jail, which shows how little killing a cyclist carries even with the college crowd that rides so much.

LifeStyle in CT. Cyclist Who Died Twice Celebrates Her EMTs [VIDEO] I never found the EMTs that treated me after my wreck, and it bothers me that I didn’t.

Infrastructure news from Jolly Olde. MPs get behind calls for road justice review and MPs support justice review for those hurt on the road After the sore wrists that drivers have gotten for killing cyclists and pedestrians legally using the roads, MPs that also cycle worry that their lives are suddenly devalued when they get on their bikes instead of behind the wheel of a car.

I need a pretty picture with a bike in it. Thankfully the Cycle Twin Cities club has one. Twin Cities Bike Picture of the Day: 7.17.12

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

Billed @$0.02, Opus