Tag Archives: Bicycle camping

Heard from the surgeon’s office today, and the Feed

The earliest date they could schedule a consult was 5/14 because the doctor is “overbooked” through then at the office I can get to and I can’t get to the offices where he’s not overbooked. The thing is this doctor is serving a very large area, his territory extends from Rowlett all the way to Greenville. That used to be sparsely settled until recently when it became the newest outer ring suburb of Hell. This is another symptom of the severe sprawl facing the Metromess, which is now more populated than the entire state of MA and almost the same area.

I thought I would open the links with someone having a much better day than I am, with our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Turning private tragedy into help for others, and a 3-decade old AG opinion on sidewalk riding

Another case of assault with a deadly weapon going undercharged. Syracuse woman drives car into ex-girlfriend riding bicycle, court papers sayAttempted assault“? Sounds to me a whole lot like the attempt was successful as the bike was totalled.

Crap infrastructure in Upstate NY. Kingston man, 57, critically injured in bicycle accident on U.S. Route 209 in Ulster The cyclist hit a patch of bad pavement in the dark under an overpass, the very definition of crap infrastructure.

Still in NY state, another case of bad infrastructure causing injury. Queens Man Seriously Injured By Vehicle While Riding A Bike

This makes 2 cyclists shot within a 7 day span. Gary teen shot while riding bike near home Fortunately this cyclist looks like he will survive. I don’t know about the kid hiding in the bushes though.

The widow of a murdered cyclist asks the killer to reveal where he hid the murder weapon. Widow of cyclist calls on man to reveal hit-and-run vehicle Ran all the way to Oz from Ireland, what did he do with the vehicle? If he sold it there would be some kind of record of the sale, which Irish LEO have been unable to unearth. So, where did he stash it?

A UK driver gets a laughable sentence for killing a cyclist waiting at a stop light. HGV driver receives 12 month jail term after the death of 65-year-old Wistaston man Gee, a whole year in jail, not even prison, and then another year where he will have to mind his p’s and q’s while he drives without a license. For killing a man standing plainly in the street waiting for the light to change and then driving off leaving the crushed corpse in the middle of the street?

And another cyclist is left injured in the street in the Emerald Isle. Omagh cyclist appeals to motorists after being hit by car At least in this wreck the cyclist was left in the street because it wasn’t safe to move him, not because the driver left the scene.

Need something a bit warmer than a tent bike camping this winter? This Well-Insulated $150 DIY Bicycle Camper Is Perfect For Year-Round Solo Trips It needs a fly over it for a TX summer shade, but it looks OK otherwise. I would suggest a welded light steel or Al frame rather than the wooden frame, but that’s just my conservative structural engineer side speaking, I’m sure the wooden frame in the video is adequate. The floor would be more bug tight if the wheels were on the outside of the trailer.

After decades of neglect FL starts building bike/ped infrastructure. Good news abounds for Lee County cyclists, pedestrians Maybe in another decade FL will not lead the country in bike/ped deaths per capita.

Is your infrastructure a disaster area? Are you sure one way or the other? State of Emergency: Two Cities Strategize to Fix Infrastructure Fast I have been to MS, “disaster area” is one of the kinder things you can say about the state of their roads.

When you need to add weight to meet that minimum something that will make your bike faster up a hill might be just the thing. Hidden electric motor for bicycles Change from a straight bevel to a spiral bevel gear and a glass or Kevlar reinforced nylon ring gear and the carbon frame may be enough to deaden the remaining noise from the installation. You could even make a hidden connector in the water bottle cage to swap out the battery so that only an X-ray inspection could find the motor system.

Last link, Bono may never play the guitar again after his bike wreck. U2’s Flight to Now (Turbulence Included) The band is not what they were when they released “Where the Streets Have No Names” or “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, but they don’t sound too bad, either.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

It pays to develop a relationship with your LBS, and the Feed

I just got back from the trip to Plano Cycle to price out the repair parts for Blue. as I stated in the headline it is a good idea to develop a good relationship with your LBS, because by doing so I can save about $50 in shipping costs by ordering parts through them and picking up at the store. I’m still paying retail either way, but this way my LBS gets a cut, a piece of the action as it were. So I’m looking at $255 with tax in parts this way as opposed to the $300-310 with shipping and the tax man looking for me. That assumes the seat cover that is being sold as a replacement part will fit the seat that I have, otherwise add $108.25 to that total for a new seat assembly that includes a new seat pan, tilting bracket, seat post (custom made for a crank-forward bike to prevent the seat post from rotating in the tube as I pedal) and various bits of hardware to install the assembly to the bike. This total does not include replacing various nuts and bolts that had been removed from the bike and either left off or replaced with non-stainless steel, and which are in danger of corroding to the frame.

Up first today is Our Daily Ted. (Late) Morning Links: LASD changes deputy distracted driving policy, CicLAvia is coming, and we’re #9 Why does it take a death and over a year to realize that cops are no better at driving distracted than us “ordinary mortals”.

Still in CA more rubbish arguing from bad information on the proposed all-ages helmet law. We all have skin in the game in bicycle helmet bill Still using the falsified “90% killed had no helmet” data from the Governors’ whatchacallit report that added “no helmet” to “helmet use unknown” where there was a helmet present but it wasn’t on the rider’s head when it came time to make the report. There is enough evidence that the vast majority of these cases the cyclist’s helmet was removed by forces of the wreck or so severely damaged that there was no way for the helmet to stay with the head. Especially in the latter set of cases the cyclist would have died from head injury regardless of helmet usage. And in every place where a mandatory helmet law has been enacted cyclists lose, mode share, safety, and personal freedom as LEO use the helmet law as a pretext for illegal searches.

And this came in after I did most of my filtering from Ted. Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings I hardly ever see a driver not plead down so this one must have been a drop dead shot.

The metro area where my brother lives is seeing an increase in vulnerable road user deaths. Winter’s bike, pedestrian fatalities underscore importance of infrastructure, safety and awareness They have a terribly long way to go, but at least they have a reliable template in the form of the CROW manual. It only took about 10 years to get the Netherlands 90% of the way they are now with trial and error, I expect it to take a lot less time with the manual and in a lot smaller area.

More boring statistics from Streetsblog as the death toll rises ever higher in NYC. NYPD: Drivers Killed 7 Pedestrians and Cyclists in January, and Injured 1,017 I wonder how NYPD would be dealing with this if those dead pedestrians and cyclists were all NYPD?

I think this has a massive effect on why LEO “don’t care” about dead pedestrians. Pedestrians Dying at Disproportionate Rates in America’s Poorer Neighborhoods

A pedestrian in Jolly Olde was hit-and-run by a cyclist. Six-year-old boy left with broken leg by hit-and-run cyclist in Darlington DON’T HIT THE PEDESTRIANS! And if you do hit a pedestrian, stick around to leave your details.

A hit-and-run driver is convicted in Oz. P-plater who left cyclist for dead after collision pleads guilty Now a stiff sentence with a lifetime ban on driving…

Still in Oz, a multi-bike pileup seriously injures a cyclist. Beach Road cyclist left with fractured skull in wake of “Hell Ride” Somebody didn’t hold their line in the pack and 8 people suffered for it.

A massive infrastructure campaign covers the entire EU. ‘See Me Save Me’ campaign for Eilidh Cairns heard in House of Lords That HGV are even allowed on the roads with massive frontal blind spots as deadly as they can be even in incidental contact is just insane.

More infrastructure news from Oz over the cyclist that “won the door prize”. Thousands ride in moving tribute to cyclist killed on Sydney Rd, Brunswick It might have been a “tribute” but it was also a protest against crap infrastructure. More Cyclist groups push for safety awareness campaigns after dooring death in Melbourne

This is really “lifestyle” as an injured soldier regains mobility and a sense of self-worth. Injured Mansfield soldier to hand cycle 400 miles

And I really wish I had the money to do this trip. The Tour de France on Recumbent bike Not a race, but a 2600 km (1600 Mile) trip around the flatter parts of the country with camping instead of hotels at overnights.

And that’s all I got tonight.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

Things are a little less hectic around here, and the Feed

An unstable détente has been reached between the tenants of Casa de El Poeta, but I’m still keeping the shovel handy for quick disposal of the bodies. Things have gotten more than a bit crazy around here as accusations and counter-accusations fly like hornets, but at the moment the metaphorical knives have been put away as most of the crew has gone to get dinner as the last of the laundry dries. Some of the stuff that happened was just crazy, and I wish I could tell y’all about it.

Up first, can people stop putting these things in internet comment sections when there is an article about bicycles? 9 Things Drivers Need to Stop Saying in the Bikes vs. Cars Debate I know this triggers that twitch from the “One Crazy Thing…” meme that people use to sell crap that doesn’t work, but this is the real thing.

A cyclist is killed by bad infrastructure in this edition of our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Dangerous SaMo corner, LA Calbike board members, East LA man killed in bike dispute In this case it’s bad car infrastructure, and some other links in there as well.

Mass protests against crap infrastructure are planned for the UK. Join us on Saturday to demand Roads Fit For Humans! WoaB heartily approves this event.

Even “crack” NYPD drivers sometimes find themselves unable to avoid a wreck when someone turns in front of them. Video: Teen Rescued After Being Struck & Pinned By NYPD Van Driver

NYPD Infrastructure FAIL! 70th Precinct Fines People for Choosing a Safe Place to Walk or Bike at Night Imagine closing down a street at dusk because crimes are committed on it after dark, instead of maybe catching the criminals or something?

I’m hoping this doesn’t devolve into another “helmets and hi-viz” program. Street Smart traffic safety program aims to protect cyclists, pedestrians

How to build a bike to go more than 80 MPH using the power of a single rider, from a guy that has been innovating bicycles for more than 20 years. Graeme Obree: We’re building a dragster The trick is to get the aero right, and then get the power production right with ergonomics, then get the handling right when you get the bike up to those rarefied speeds.

A problem with the legal infrastructure in BC. People seldom charged when cyclists get ‘doored,’ Vancouver data shows In spite of there being potential criminal charges when someone gets the “door prize”, LEO doesn’t want to get involved. Tough! “Getting involved” is their freaking job, ignoring this crime is discrimination against the victims.

This bit really gets to me, as the victim was trying to fix the world. Cycle death claimed health care champion This is Not A Wreck article.

A pop-up bike trailer that is a camper for 2 people. This foldable bicycle camper lets you live comfortably on the road Mrs. the Poet and I could sleep quite nicely in this for a few days at a time. I don’t see this working for much more than a long weekend though.

And those are all the links I could stand to read.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Getting ready to leave for a while, no Feed

Every so often I have to completely disconnect from modern life and spend some time closer to nature than our modern hyper-connected world. I know that reads like a cliché, but clichés start as truths that get repeated so often they lose their meaning. So I’m going to spend the next 5 days at a clothing-optional campout with about 700 like-minded people, celebrating the change of the season and the Celtic New Year. We traditionally have a consecrated camp fire that we bless at the start of the camp and do not extinguish until the last thing before we leave. Our fire pit at that point is so heat-soaked that the water we put on the fire boils for up to 10 minutes after the fire is out. I put a picture of the fire pit full of boiling water from the spring edition of the campout with the report I made from that camp.

fire pit full of boiling water and no fire

I will not be taking Francis/es this trip, although I had planned to. Unfortunately the growth on the back of my neck makes riding Francis/es impossible at the moment. I find this deeply annoying, to say the least, and the hoops my insurance is making me jump through to get this thing removed are even more annoying. I have to make an appointment with my PCP to get a referral to a surgeon in my network, then get an appointment with the surgeon, then get the surgery signed off as “necessary”, then schedule a day for the surgery… Of those steps more than half are just for the insurance company, the PCP has to agree with the Lab Rat Keeper, the surgeon has to be “in network”, and then some bureaucrat has to agree with the LRK, the PCP, and the surgeon, that I need to get this thing off my neck so I can finish a cup of coffee and see where I’m riding my bike. Stuff like this is why the US needs single-payer health care like the rest of the civilized world. If we had single-payer then this thing would have been removed from my neck shortly after starting to interfere with my everyday life.

One thing I like about this particular camping trip is we pay for someone to shop and cook for the group, and she does a fantastic job of preparing gourmet-quality food in primitive conditions. I’m not sure of the menu this trip but I have heard rumors about crab legs, boudin sausage, and all kinds of snacky goodies. Our cook has Carnivore, Omnivore, and Vegan options for every meal, and they are always delicious. Being a cyclist with the definition of a cyclist being “eating machine on two wheels” I take a little from column A and a little from column C and a bunch from column B.

I bought a new tent for the fall this year but I’m also taking the old tent in case there’s something wrong with the new one that can’t be fixed at the campout. I’m also taking the air mattress that is the main reason for buying the new tent and fervently hoping the old tent stays packed in the car. I have been accused of packing “Party Central” this year as the new tent has space to put two queen-size beds and still leave room to stand between them. This is so Mrs. the Poet can camp with us next spring, although I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the bed frame to go with the queen-size air mattress I’m buying…

Packing for this event is… interesting. While the entire event is clothing-optional there are certain gatherings that are not, in that some types of clothing are NOT allowed. One that I plan on attending does not allow bifurcated lower garments, i.e. no pants allowed. Males are allowed to attend only when they wear a skirt. I have a long skirt (mid-calf) to wear specifically at this meeting, red with blue mimosa blossoms on it. The skirt really accentuates my farmer tan from wearing shorts all summer with usually ankle-high socks so I have “socks” showing whether I wear any or not. Also there is such a temperature swing at this time of the year, some times you need long pants and sleeves with heavy socks and gloves, other times you need sunscreen… and maybe some wicking garments if you are wearing anything at all. I have attended gatherings this time of year that had temperature swings from high 50s F to low 90s all in the same gathering, sometimes in the same day. Needless to say packing for that involves a lot of clothes that never get worn but forget to pack them and… The forecast is 50s in the morning/late at night with low 80s during the day which means layers or lots of wicking clothing. And spandex shorts for moving around in.

And I have to stop typing and get packed so I guess this means I’m ending the post now.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Wreck-Free Sunday on a Monday, or how I spent my spring break

I got back from my camping trip late last night nearly exhausted from my adventures and somewhat the worse for wear. I’m nursing a sunburn on my scalp again because I had to remove my hat to be able to see where I was going during part of the campout, and in spite of wearing long sleeve shirts every day I managed to get some sun on my back and arms somehow.

This was Francis/es public debut as a working bike, and I couldn’t have hardly picked a better demonstration ground than where I was. Spirit Haven is ~100 acre semi-primitive camping area about halfway between Austin and Houston, about 2 miles north of Flatonia and 26 miles west of LaGrange, just east of TX 95. There is one “road” that loops around the grounds that is about 3/4 of a mile around from the front gate to the point where the loop comes back to itself (AKA “the end”). This “road” is actually more of a double track with some mud/dust, some gravel, lots of ruts, and washboard. IOW small enough to make riding a bicycle easy and pretty much a wash over going on foot, but rugged enough to make riding a cargo bike a challenge. Photography was limited to your own camp site so I can’t show much in the way of pictures, but I did get a few.

This one is a typical load I moved around from Vendor’s Row to a camp site.
not very heavy, but hard to steer around

My best customer as a passenger, she took like 5 trips to or from Vendor’s Row.
Passenger service
As you can see a Clyde can be used for passengers. It just isn’t as easy as a dedicated pedicab.

This was not without complications. The roughness of the road and the geometry of the bike combined to have me wind up with blood in my shorts twice in 4 days of working the event because of bad fit. I really need to raise the handlebars about 6-8″ from where they are in the pictures in order to have the hardened parts of my butt resting against the saddle, and probably a broader saddle to absorb the bumps. Riding around getting blood in the shorts from resting against the wrong parts of the butt is a highly sub-optimal condition for making money on a cargo bike.

Speaking of making money I did make a few bucks at $1/ride or delivery anywhere on the grounds. Delivery was for anything that fit in the cargo bed and less than 300 pounds, and I had a wood delivery that came very close to those maximums. I also had a passenger run that did likewise 😉 Running close to max loads caused the front tire to deflect a lot bouncing over the washboard “road”, but the ride was smoother with a bigger load. Launching caused Francis/es to live up to hir name as a stubborn mule especially in the open field of Vendor’s Row, but I never lost a load or rider on launch. I did dump one rider at the end of her ride when I pulled off the “road” and into a hidden hole that caused me to lose my balance. Because of the way the bed was built it was a “no harm no foul” kind of a dump, but I still felt pretty bad about the rough end to the ride, especially as she was recovering from a really bad car wreck (a semi running near DOT maximum GVW T-boned the car she was riding in from the driver’s side at 70 MPH, killing her husband instantly and putting her in hospital for 3 months).

The group I was camping with blesses their camp fire at the beginning of the camp, than never lets it go out until either the end of the event or some weather emergency requires all open flames to be extinguished. The evening fires can have flames over 8 feet tall from a stack of wood right at 4 feet tall, and let me tell you it can be quite a sight. Having a fire going that long and that hot causes a lot of heat to get down into the ground under the fire pit. This picture shows how much heat there is after burning for more than 4 days continuously.Boiling water in the fire pit
That water is boiling furiously 5 minutes after the fire was put out. Yes it really was that hot.

Now that I have this post almost done I have 5 days worth of e-mails to sort through and file before I can get my online life back in order. Not to mention 5 days worth of comics to get caught up on so I don’t lose the threads of the plots.

PSA, Opus

Getting ready to go off-air for a week, and the Feed

OK, here is what is going down. I have a gig/vacation coming up next week with zero Internet access from Monday on to next Sunday. I’ll try to get a post out Monday before getting packed, and I’ll be loading up early Tuesday for an extended camping trip. While I’m at the camp out I will be helping man a vending booth that will pay for my trip there. I will also be using Francis/es to demonstrate how a fleet of cargo bikes can replace a fleet of aging golf carts for moving “stuff” around 100 acres of camp grounds. I would like to also have a passenger box bike/trike to show how they can move people and cargo, but since my intentions were strictly cargo when I bought Francis/es I bought the cargo-only bed.

Good News! Thanks to the ACA (AKA Obamacare) I now have a BCBS insurance card in my wallet, and Mrs. the Poet has a nearly identical one with her name added as co-insured in her wallet. The difference in costs and coverage between the policy she had through her job and what I got both of us via the ACA is astounding. First Mrs. the Poet’s insurance, which had a $2K deductible and OOP and moderate levels of coverage that cost her $70/month after the payment from her employer. Now the ACA policy, which has a deductible and OOP of $500 per person, has many more treatments covered, and will cost me $17/month after subsidy. This policy did not exist prior to March 1 (that they are telling me) and was created as a reaction to the number of people that Gov. Goodhair dumped in the ditch when he rejected expanding Medicaid for TX. The fact that so many people are qualified for the expanded Medicaid and didn’t get it says something about wages and employment in TX. As in both of them pretty much suck especially if you have a less-than-perfect job history.

Since the Sprint Cup race was on last night while my Warlock was wreaking havoc on nasty plant creatures in an overgrown temperate rain forest, I have been watching the Indy Car race from Long Beach, and the NHRA Four Wide Nationals from Charlotte NC. The Indy Car race was pretty much a case of follow the leader except for a rare pass in the turns that didn’t result in a wreck, but those wrecks determined the outcome of the race, except for Scott Dixon running out of E85 three laps from the finish. Congrats to Ed Carpenter racing for getting the win with their street race/road course ringer from the World Endurance Championship over in Europe.

In other news, here’s the mayor of Dallas examining Francis/es.Hello, mayor!

The weather for this event and photo shoot was great, today’s is not so great. I walked to church from the transit station in a light rain, and back from the store sprinkling and windy. All that means is it is spring in North Texas. We have been switching back and forth between heat and AC at least three times in the last 4 weeks, but now we are pretty much set on either AC or nothing. The big thing that causes the AC to come on is running the dryer after doing the laundry, because that makes the inside humidity go way up and get way uncomfortable for Mrs. the Poet.

The broadcast for the drag race is still going on, but I’m cutting the post here because I don’t have anything else to say.

PSA, Opus

Sunburned and sore, I’m back from my Spring Break

I am returned from a very “eventful” event. I still haven’t caught up on my e-mails yet (only 199 unread messages to go!) but suffice it to say I had a good time. Quick observations: Riding a hardtail MTB with a decade old plastic saddle is not good for the sitz bones. Sunscreen and long sleeves are your friends on a camping trip. Spreading aloe vera on sunburned teens can be entertaining, especially if that aloe has been kept at a comfy 35°F. Spending 4 days in the bush is NOT the “perfect” time to detox from a 120 oz. a day Diet Mt. Dew habit. While the 15YO US Army surplus sleeping pad was no longer up to the job of keeping me comfy at night, the 40YO Dutch Army sleeping bag was in spite of the flooding thunderstorm the first night of the campout. Henna works on skin grafts, I have a wonderful temp tattoo that will be posted as soon as I find my camera and plug it in to the desktop computer that has GIMP loaded on it to make the image blog-friendly. I took part as a model in a photo shoot for a pin-up calendar, more on that in a later post. Next event I will be coordinating the use of cargo bikes as a replacement for the golf carts that are rapidly aging out of service at the event site, much more on that in a later post. I didn’t ride my bike to this event unlike the last one where I rode my 1983 Stratus (almost) to the event back in 2006. That ride ended with my getting a hitched ride about 50 miles shy of my destination after rubbing a hole over my tailbone when the cushion collapsed on the original RANS hardshell seat (replacement cushion under the original upholstery), which has made m a minor celebrity at the event.

PSA, Opus

A slow trip camping, Wreck-Free Sunday

I’m back from my trip, a simple overnight on Blue, running the kitty-litter bucket panniers under load for the first time. The verdict on the panniers is when mounted properly they are very nice. Loose stuff inside the pannier will cause some drumming as expected, but there was no other noises from the converted kitty-litter buckets.

Now the trip, I had a little bit of a mix-up with the rally point in that I got there after the rally time but before everybody else, which had me worried a bit until the rest of the party showed up about a half-hour after the previously announced rally time because of a late start and slow average speeds. After lunch at the rally point I led to group through what was normally the calm back streets of Sachse and Wylie, well yesterday they weren’t so calm. I got passed by more cars yesterday than I normally get passed by in a week of trips through that area. It was insane the amount of traffic we had to deal with. It was actually more comfortable back out on TX78 with 3 lanes and all that traffic with the 50-55 MPH speed limits which meant the cars were passing at 60-70 MPH, but they all were moved over to the next lane.

About that average speed I mentioned earlier. It was SloOoOoOWwWwWwW! Basically I was the fastest rider in the group. My computer average at the end of the ride was 8.9 MPH, which included a 14 MPH average for the first 4 miles getting to the rally point. I spent the entire ride in the bottom 4 gears on my cassette and taking about 20 RPM off my normal 100 RPM cadence. The trikes I was riding with were heavy and had motor issues in that their riders were riding with one form of handicap or another, and I’m not talking about carrying extra weight, I’m talking a physical challenge. I’m not going to cause any embarrassment to the other riders by naming their physical challenges, I’ll just say that I was the healthiest rider on the ride with just the problems I have with my leg.

The camping was a slight disappointment as the flushies and showers were locked up except for one set of flushies about a half mile from where we were camped. So I had to do a cold-water washup at the camp site to stay clean. We ordered out for pizza because the park was still inside Wylie’s city limits, and it tasted much better than Domino’s usually tastes. I don’t know if riding made me hungry or if Domino’s media campaign about improving their pizza is actually true. I had some food of my own that I hauled in the panniers for breakfast, with coffee at a local fast-food outlet, then home.

I had one equipment failure that resulted in having to put my sleeping bag on the sag wagon out and everything that wouldn’t fit in my panniers on the way back. I use a rope to lash down my external cargo, that broke on the trip to the rally point and caused me to almost jettison my sleeping bag coming in to the rally point. I plan on getting more rope before the next trip and maybe building a extension on the back of the rack that will keep the stuff a little more under control and give me more lashing points to tie down the cargo.

I expect to be getting pictures from the ride in the next few days which I hope to be able to post in the blog so that Blue can get a little love like Gigi has.

Have a happy Sunday and a nice ride.

Opus