Monthly Archives: January 2013

Another Mule Day, and the Feed

Time to make like a pack animal again and retrieve the comestibles from the grocery store. This is actually one of the rides I look forward to every week, as it means 1) I get to eat the rest of the week and 2) I prove that a bicycle is actually a useful vehicle that can be used to do things that we normally only associate with using cars (or big SUVs) to perform. I have 2 40 pound buckets that used to contain kitty litter that I use as panniers on the back of the bike, and I also have an ’80s vintage ALICE ruck to carry things that won’t fit through the hole in the lids of the bucket panniers. Between all that I can get a full week’s groceries for a family of 3 adults home in a single trip. I usually go with Mrs. the Poet and she carries home the bread so it doesn’t get squished, but I have been given the list and the money and told to get the groceries by myself and not had any trouble getting it all home without squishing the bread. It just takes a lot longer to pack when I don’t let Mrs. the Poet carry the bread home. The kitty litter buckets will swallow a gallon of milk or a 10 pound sack of potatoes with ease, the biggest “problem” being to remember to pack the left side of the bike first so it doesn’t fall off the kickstand because it got too heavy on the right side and unloaded the kickstand. I think the cure for that would be a 2-leg kickstand that doesn’t require the bike to lean against the stand like a regular kickstand, but I don’t have the time to build or the $ to buy such a thing at the moment, other projects are way ahead of that on the list. But yes, I can bring home the bacon, and the milk, sugar, potatoes, yogurt, cereal, ground beef, 500 count box of cookies, frozen pizza… all on a single bike trip without a car. And with tie down straps I have even brought home a 24 roll pack of toilet paper with all the other “stuff”.

The only live link I have on an actual non-racing bicycle story is this LifeStyle link from LA. Bike ride set in Covington for teen cyclist killed in accident If you’re in the area this is a WoaB Approved Ride 😉 Not that anyone needs my approval to go on a bike ride…

I had several links to stories that were behind paywalls, which I count as “dead links” when I’m filtering. If I can’t click on the link and read the story, for all intents and purposes it’s a dead link. Sorry for all the riders whose stories end up this way.

Billed @$0.02, Opus


I’m going to go ride my bike today, and the Feed

I have been a little down the last couple of days, and I have also been off the bike the same period of time. Coincidence? I think not. At any rate I have an errand to run today that will require I get on my bike, so we shall see how I feel tomorrow. I have also been working on a DIY project to turn $5 in Harbor Freight work lights and some sheet metal and hose clamps into a stylishly functional bicycle lighting system. The plan also includes switches, a 3-AA battery box and solar power panels to keep the batteries up a little better between full charges at home. If I get the solar power right and park the bike in the sun I could get by with charging the batteries just once for the life of the light. I’m building this project for the 20/20 Crank Forward bike project. I have moved the timeline for that project to show it at the 2014 Custom Car Show in the Non-Motorized division, as there is not enough time to finish the bike and get the job done right, since I just solved the seatpost rotation problem a few days ago (the seat tube is set at so shallow an angle that keeping the seat pointed in the right direction is a major issue in riding the bike).

So far the only link I have to a wreck is a re-hash of the hit-and-run near Bellingham WA that I mentioned a couple of days ago.1 bicyclist killed, 1 injured in Whatcom Co. Still a dead cyclist, still an impaired driver with zero compassion towards the injured cyclist. She still deserves the death penalty, so nothing has changed in this story.

This came late. Bicyclist dies in wreck Another ht-from-behind by a blind driver. Use the protocols to avoid, and get the infrastructure right to prevent.

This is kinda cute… A Strava inspired mobile phone ad I don’t watch much TV these days so I haven’t seen the ad mentioned.

And this is not cute. Plea to online users not to circulate photos of boys’ bodies I have inquired if arresting the driver is routine in fatal wrecks or if this indicates who was at fault in the wreck, still waiting an answer.

Infrastructure! news from NYC, where stupid people get newspaper columns. Hamill: ‘I hate bike lanes’ and support the mayoral candidate who will put the brakes on them

Blue and I will be making a public appearance at the BFOC Mardi Gras ride on February 10th. The Official Dallas Tweed Ride, Cancelled; Rescheduled for November 2013 Link to the Mardi Gras ride is in the article about the Tweed Ride (which I might also show up for). I’m looking for a supply of cheap beads to throw, and a pink feather boa to go with the HiViz jersey I have and my black tights (if wearing pink and ANSI Safety Lime doesn’t convince people I’m either straight or completely color blind I don’t know what will).

And those are all the links I have for today, now I’m going to go ride my bike.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Insert witty headline here, and a very small Feed

Yep, I have hit The Funny Wall today, nothing tickles my funnybone today. Combine that with an article that is basically only an update to the UK tandemists getting killed that I reported on yesterday, that doesn’t change the fact that they are still dead. Also I still haven’t been able to get the water turned off to fix the leaky toilet that is running to the tune of about 30K gallons a month (our “normal” water bill is about 4K gallons a month for 4 adults). The water bill is hurting my feelings, it went from under $30/month to over $200…

The only link today is an update on the UK cyclists killed riding a tandem they had recently purchased. Tandem cyclist couple killed in hit and run crash The driver of the weapon vehicle was out of control and running from LEO well before he hit and killed the cyclists… You think that maybe this wreck will result in a significant sentence in prison? I’m not holding my breath on it.

I hope that tomorrow I will feel more like myself and less like a severely depressed person. I mean I’m no bouncy ray of sunshine at best, but today is really bad.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

In a rush today, and the Feed

Mrs. the Poet has a part-time job coming up next month, and she wants some help finding the location via the local transit system DART. That means I will have to get done with the blog and on the road about 1300 to meet her at her work and guide her to the right buses and get off at the right stops. That means that links I would normally wait for are going to go to tomorrow’s post. On the plus side it means I will get out of the house for a bit, get some fresh air, and do a little walking.

Near where I used to live when I was in the Pacific NW, a cyclist is killed and another is injured by an impaired driver committing hit-and-run. Driver facing charges in death of cyclist near Kendall This story keeps changing. Last night the dead cyclist was lighted like a Christmas display in Las Vegas, today he was wearing dark clothing and riding without lights? Anyway, hit from behind wreck, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. In this case it would be putting bike and pedestrian facilities on the only road in and out of the area. A different news outlet had this report. One cyclist killed, one injured after accident on Kendall Road off Mt. Baker Highway

A PA cyclist is injured in a wreck with a motor vehicle. Injured cyclist remains in critical condition At this point I think the wreck was in an intersection, so use intersection protocols to avoid. What I’m not sure of is if the bike had a motor or not, and I’m not real positive about the wreck actually being in the intersection either.

A cyclist is injured in far West Canuckistan. Cyclist injured after being hit by taxi in Vancouver The cyclist was making a left turn, but the direction of travel for the taxi has not been released. Intersection wreck, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Given the cyclist’s left turn, this is most likely a case of the cyclist not looking in front because of fear of being hit from behind while making the turn, which is also an indictment against the infrastructure.

UK link, 2 cyclists are killed in a hit-and-run. Cyclists killed in Bristol ‘hit-and-run’ The followup posts on the sidebars tell that the driver was caught almost immediately as police followed the vehicle, and that the cyclists were riding a tandem bike roughly the size of a VW Golf. I’m sure they were wearing a few square feet of HiViz clothing and helmets too, because the lack of was never mentioned.

And that’s all I had in the morning part of the Feed.

Billed @$0.02, 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

Posting on a dreary day, and the Feed

The weather is gray and dreary today with temperatures that are more normal than the recent spate of high 70sF we have been “suffering” under. I place the quotes because while the temperatures are comfortable, having to dig through the closet to find suitable outdoor clothing to wear was annoying. That’s one of the things about living in this part of Texas, you can never put away your Summer wear like you can further north. I’m sure my friends in MN don’t have to have access to their short-sleeve wicking bike wear in January except for riding the trainer in the basement, which is more stuff I don’t have, either a trainer or a basement. I take that back, I bought a trainer at a yard sale to hold bikes up while I adjust shifting under strain. I know you aren’t supposed to shift a derailer under power, but we have hills that go from nearly flat to over 10% in practically no time with no downhill to build speed first that the only way to downshift without putting power through the chain is to get off and walk the bike. So being able to shift to easier gears while under power without destroying the derailer or anything else is vital to riding around here. So, to get back to the opening sentence, it’s on the cool side temperature wise and cloudy with some spitting rain, not weather to induce “happy” blog posts…

Down the road in Austin, yet another hit-and-run against a cyclist. Help needed to find hit-and-run driver who injured cyclist I don’t consider this as a hit-and-run, I see this as assault with a deadly weapon. The cyclist was riding in a large group of cyclists when he was hit and was legally lighted and reflectorized, not to mention all the other lighted and reflectorized bicycles in the area with him. Since there was nothing in the article giving directions of travel for either vehicle I can’t say what could be done to avoid a wreck like this with the current built environment, but as almost always getting the infrastructure right would prevent a wreck like this.

An IL man gets 2 months in jail for shooting a cyclist. Man gets two months for shooting cyclist he thought was a skunk How someone could mistake a human being for a skunk does not pass the “smell test” for me. Did anyone check his browser history to see if he ever left threatening or derogatory posts about bicycles in newspaper comment sites?

Something I have been meaning to link to for a while but just got around to doing it, why so many people that ride a bicycle for transportation seem to be a bit jumpy at times. Context I keep telling people that riding a bike for transportation is like being in war, the kind of war that has no lines or definitive areas of conflict that you can remove yourself from and be safe (like the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts) while in-country.

And seriously, that’s all I have for you today. Now go ride a bike or hug your kids, or take your kids on a bike ride and give them all hugs when you get home.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Planning another DIY project, and the Feed

I have one of those busy minds, that won’t stop planning things to build. I guess that is one of the things that goes along with accepting Hephaestus as your masculine deity to go with the Lady Ghisallo as your feminine deity. Anyway I was looking at the 27 LED worklight/flashlight I got at Harbor Freight and was thinking “Two of these would make great ‘seen by’ lights for a bicycle.” The trick would be to mount the lights so they used a common switch and had the 24 LED bank facing forward and lighting up the road and road signs, with the 3 LED flashlight portion aimed sideways to definitively announce your presence at street intersections. The trick of course would be re-wiring the light to bypass the installed switch so that everything lights up at once on both lights at the same time. Keep an eye peeled for a Wreck-Free Sunday post about doing this project.

The driver of an SUV failed to yield to a cyclist with right-of-way in Enn Zed. Cyclist injured in collision with car Intersection wreck, not clear as to which direction the cyclist was traveling in relation to the SUV, but intersection protocols none-the-less to avoid. Get the infrastructure right to prevent. Look at that sea of asphalt in the picture, there’s no reason that couldn’t have been divvied up for bicycles and motor vehicles to use safely instead of having to fight for space. Of course given that the SUV driver failed to yield already, physical infrastructure without strong legal infrastructure to back it up is not worth much, you need laws that make the physical infrastructure work.

Infrastructure!-ish sort of article from NYC. 17 Pedestrians & Cyclists Killed In December, 1,500 Injured If people were actually paying attention to what was going on instead of what the mass media tells us to pay attention to, someone (besides me) would be clamoring for some form of “car control” to stem the tide of dead and injured pedestrians and cyclists.

And those are all the links I got today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Maybe it’s my browser, and the Feed

I’m still flailing away at the article on building the mask. I can’t get any pictures to show for me when I make changes to get the pictures to show. I finally got the URLs in the IMG tag to change to the URL now assigned to them, but I’m still not getting anything when I load the article to read it. So, to make sure this isn’t a problem with my browser could some of you look at the article and make a comment on if you see the pictures or not and the browser you are using to see or not see the pictures?

A cyclist in Enn Zed is hit because a driver failed to move over when passing. Serious injuries for cyclist The “swayed into a lane” quote tells me that drivers were passing way too close and not allowing for the cyclist to move around debris on the shoulder or acknowledging that bicycles have a right to the roads even in New Zeeland. Hit from behind protocols to avoid, and fix the infrastructure including driver education, to prevent.

An apparent pinball wreck in Oz. Cyclist, passengers injured after truck and bus collide The semi hit the bus from the right, and apparently the cyclist was hit by the bus. Not a whole lot of information on the injured cyclist who was riding with a group. Pinball wrecks are impossible to avoid, and can only be prevented by segregated infrastructure with a barrier to prevent out-of-control vehicles from entering the bicycle area.

And those are all the bicycle links I have today. There were lots of motorcycle wrecks but there was nothing in them that would be of use for this blog.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Drinking coffee and listening to drumming, and the Feed

I have my music player set up to shuffle among the drumming CDs I have stored in it while I’m reading the Feed and drinking my coffee. Drumming is very calming for me and distracts my mind from other things enough for me to pay attention to the actual words in the Feed and interpret the sub-text of what’s not being said from what is being said. Being able to tell what’s being left out is as important a reading skill as reading what’s there, and is a skill that is rapidly becoming lost in today’s educational system. Reading for sub-text is a critical thinking skill and today’s educational system has been cutting out critical thinking skills for almost a generation now. Some people, like myself, have meta-learning. That is we were more or less born with the ability to do things that others have to learn, or we learn it so quickly and easily that it appears we were born knowing the skill. The athletic equivalent is the “born” athlete who has the skills for a sport so quickly and easily that he or she appears to have been born playing the sport. Where this particular wandering of words comes from is the comments section of one of the articles I have in the Feed today where readers apparently don’t even bother to read past the first paragraph of the article before spouting off about it and making comments about the group mentioned in the article as benefiting from the main subject of the article.

Up first is a wreck in CA. Cyclist Injured In Great Highway Collision Left cross, always the fault of the driver. Intersection protocols to avoid, and remember that every driveway and parking lot entrance is an intersection. This is another wreck where poor infrastructure and bad driver training contributed to the wreck which probably would not have happened with the “proper” infrastructure.

Our second link is also an injury wreck in CA. Cyclist suffers major head trauma in crash with car As the article reads now, the cyclist was hit from behind while riding on a street that has bike lanes, but where the cyclist was hit is not known and if there was debris that obstructed the bike lane is also unknown. Generic hit-from-behind protocols to avoid, but more information needed to say for sure. As (almost) always, getting the infrastructure right would have prevented this wreck no matter which lane the cyclist was riding in at the time of impact. Side note, since the lack of a helmet was not mentioned it may be safely assumed that the cyclist was wearing one that had its envelope of protection exceeded in this wreck.

Infrastructure! news update from VA as an anti-dooring bill wends its way through the legislature. Va. Senate OKs fining drivers who fling open doors This bill would make VA the 28th state that specifically makes opening a car door into traffic illegal. VA needs this law because their VC is permissive, if there is not a law against it it is legal to do in a motor vehicle. And we are losing the poll question by a hair. Log on and vote in favor of the law…

And that is all the links I have today giving me fits or not.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Another late start today, and the Feed

I didn’t get home from the widow woman’s house until after 3 (1500) this afternoon. Her meds didn’t wear off until 1 and she was still groggy preparing breakfast (I don’t cook in other people’s kitchens unless asked) so I didn’t eat until 2:30 (1430), then I had to do some minor work on her car as she dressed for the day, and on the road a touch before 1500. I am also severely caffeine deprived as there was only a single cup of coffee in the pot when I got home, so this post will undoubtedly have a great deal more snark and anti-driver sentiment than I normally display in my normal calmly buzzed state (Think Fry after 1000 cups of coffee on Futurama). Normally I’m Flash Buddha by this time of day, Zen at the Speed Of Light, today I’m just a grouch, Oscar without the trash can.

Up first from Upstate NY a drunk driver hits the jackpot. Cyclist Killed by Drunk Driver The driver has a previous DUI conviction, which is very hard to get in NY (by reputation at any rate, reality might be a little different). We’ll have to see what this might get in the way of prosecution, if any. Since mode and direction were not given I can’t say how to avoid, but getting the infrastructure right would probably have kept the drunk driver away from the cyclist riding home from work.

A cyclist is killed in PA. Cyclist killed in morning West Goshen crash At this point all that has been released was the direction of travel for the weapon vehicle, the cyclist’s direction is either unknown or being kept secret so as not to arouse pitchforks and torches. So I can’t say again what could have been done to avoid the wreck, only that woeful infrastructure (hey, this is the USA all of our bike infrastructure is woeful) had a major part in causing the death and fixing that condition would prevent most of the 600-700 annual deaths and millions of injuries suffered every year because people in motor vehicles run into people on bikes.

And those are all the links I have today, except for the motorcycle wrecks…

Billed @$0.02, Opus