Daily Archives: May 12, 2013

Struggling to stay awake on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Once again, plants are having sex in my sinuses, and I’m taking the diphenhydramine to alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately that comes with its own set of problems, first of which is drowsiness that frequently progresses to actual sleep. If I stay up and moving about I can stay awake for a bit but if I take enough to keep me from experiencing the allergies I have taken enough to put me out if I slow down too much. I didn’t feel too bad so far today, but the day is not over yet.

Mrs. the Poet is still enamored of the Factory Five Model 65 over the Speedway Motors ’27 T, and I have to admit the Model 65 is much more practical as a day-to-day car. The thing is I have had my fill of “practical” cars, from my first new car the 1978 Honda CVCC to the last car I owned the Hyundai Excel. Practical as can be, every last damn one of them. The first car I actually owned was a two-seater with a Fiat motor in the back, that I got when it killed its third owner. That was a fun car to drive, and not very practical except it got fantastic mileage for the era. It had the bad tendency to suddenly flip over and kill whoever was riding in it when cornering at the limit, and because it had such ridiculously skinny tires it reached that limit very early. As I said I got the car cheap after it killed its third owner, who got it at a good price after it killed the second owner, who made a deal with the widow of the first owner. I installed a travel limiter (chain) to slightly tame the beast and managed to tear something else up before it killed me. This was almost 40 years ago so you’ll forgive me for not remembering the name of the car or what tore up that caused me to junk the car. But yeah, given my “druthers” I would choose a car that was fun to drive over a “practical” car. The difference is that today I will pick a car based on how well it can stop over how fast it will go, because I have this thing about not hitting people now.

It’s funny in a way that I’m discussing my next car on a bicycle blog, because when you stop and think about it the most practical “car” is a bicycle, except that you have to share the roads with cars. That’s really the only thing that keeps bicycles from being more useful than cars, the fact that cars are so massive and deadly when trying to share the same space with bicycles. The car that I prefer out of the two listed has an average curb weight of 1700 pounds with a cast-iron block and heads Chevy 350/350 combination. I don’t plan on using an iron block and heads Chevy, I might use a Chevy but I’m looking at the LS376-515 with aluminum heads and block, more power that uses less fuel, and much lower weight. The LS376 weighs 414 pounds where the cast-iron small-block is listed at 575 pounds and “only” 300 horsepower, compared to the 515 available with the other engine. I probably will only be able to use that much power when I take the car racing (at sanctioned race events only), but I will get the better gas mileage every time I drive. The car I like (the ’27) has limited cargo space that is only slightly more than the kitty litter buckets on Blue, and you have to tilt the seat forward to get to it, but the brakes and light weight make for a car that goes like stink and stops like catching the wire on an aircraft carrier. But even that is still way heavier and more deadly than a bicycle that weighs maybe 350 pounds fully loaded and has a top speed of 20 MPH. The ratio between curb weight and loaded weight of the car I prefer is miniscule compared to the bicycle, and the car that Mrs. the Poet prefers is even worse because it starts 800 pounds heavier than the car I like. But overall not that different because the car Mrs. the Poet likes has a huge trunk.

I mentioned racing, and that would be one reason why I would get a car again, to have a car that I could race in SCCA Solo II competition. The ’27 would have to be entered in A/MOD, the Model 65 could slot into the slightly less-competitive E/MOD. This would require a second set of tires just for racing, of course, which opens a whole new can of worms… As far as the rules are concerned the Model 65 is closest to being competitive out of the box as the suspension is 95% sorted for racing tires and the weight is only slightly above the minimum for the class in street trim. I might have to add ballast to keep the car legal when I run race tires. The ’27 on the other hand is way over the class minimums in every way: weight, width, wheelbase, and wheel size and anything I can do to make it faster as a race car won’t put me outside the class.

And on a completely different note, I am in discussions with the people of Occupy Dallas to establish a bike co-op. At this point all they know is that they are interested in having a bike co-op to give people options in travel, and that I know how to fix bicycles. We have established what needs to be done to have a co-op; space to work on bikes and store tools, tools to use to fix bikes, and somebody that knows how to fix bikes and is willing to teach that to other people. Of that they actually have me knowing how to fix bikes and willing to teach others how to do it. I have a tentative suggestion that my church would be willing to work with Occupy for providing tools or a place to work on bikes. So I may be losing at least one night a week from my free time.

PSA, Opus