Tag Archives: The car you really need

Blogging during a brief gap in the racing on Wreck-Free Sunday

Right now I’m in the one-hour gap between Monaco and Indy with the pre-race show for Indy playing in my background. I have been burning up the sketchbook trying to come up with something automotive that would be acceptable for both Mrs. the Poet as a passenger, and myself as a driver. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but a big factor in not repairing my car when it quit running back in 1995 was that driving had become a job that was no longer fun. I hadn’t been racing in about 4 years before the car expired from a chunk of metal debris breaking the crankshaft. My work schedule had me spending most of my time behind the wheel half asleep, and even when I was fully awake the combination of traffic and my econobox did not inspire trying too hard to stay awake. The car was competent but not exciting. I want exciting and competent. I want acceleration, handling, and brakes that make my eyeballs put dots on the inside of my glasses. I want wind in my face and the smells of my surroundings. In other words I want a car with all the sensory inputs of a race car and a bicycle. Mrs. the Poet wants a mobility appliance since she doesn’t drive. For her lateral acceleration is just uncomfortable when it isn’t terrifying, and she prefers her eyeballs remaining entirely within her face. She also doesn’t want to wear a helmet and a waterproof jacket when she’s riding in a car. Otherwise she’s a pretty decent wife. Just don’t ask her about the time I took her for a ride in the 2-seat car at Malibu GP…

PSA, Opus


Letting my mind “off leash” on a Wreck-free Sunday

Usually when I sit down to my computer I have a specific topic in mind before I set fingers to keyboard. Today is not one of those days. I’m sitting here in the hope that a topic will wander through my mind and hold still long enough for me to latch onto it and get it on the screen… Or that I can throw enough stuff on the screen that something will emerge and make sense.

When I meditate for the last few years I get advice from my male deity (Hephastus) about how to make things, or sometimes what I should make. Lately it has been more along the lines of “Get off your butt and build something!!!” I have ideas, just no way to turn those ideas into actual things. Some of my problems on that front are a lack of the right tool for the job (and I am a master of making the wrong tool work), a lack of money for the raw materials (can’t build a bike that requires a 4 foot long tube when the longest in your inventory is less than 2 feet) and the biggest thing stopping me from building bicycles at the moment is lack of someplace to keep the project while it’s under construction.

My garage/workplace is full of OPS (other people’s stuff) to the extent that I have a bicycle that I can’t even find anymore (I know where it should be, but I can’t get closer than 3 feet to that spot, and the bike is buried under OPS). When I put the bike away it was in perfect riding condition, in 2007. I think it might need new tires and tubes now, not to mention a general cleanup and lubrication. But I don’t know because I can’t even see it under all the OPS. I think there might be another bike out there too, that I was going to sell but didn’t and can’t now because I can’t find it under all the OPS. It’s enough to drive a person with OCD NUTS.

I just got done taking a break from writing by working on the tail light battery, but I had to take a break from working on the battery because I’m having problems getting solder to stick to the end terminals of the battery pack. All the interconnects are interconnected, and the pack is showing 12.75 volts before charging, but I can’t get the charge terminals or the wires from the light to stick to those last 2 tabs. I tried more heat to the point that the ends of the tabs were red hot. I tried chemical cleaning with 2 different kinds of flux. I tried mechanical cleaning with scraping the terminals clean with a craft knife. Nothing has worked, the solder melts and then sits on top of the terminal in a round bead until it cools when it can be flicked off with a fingernail. The really aggravating part is this didn’t affect the rest of the tabs in the pack, even on the same cell, I didn’t change anything between tabs, I used the same torch, the same solder, and the wires from the light to the pack are the same as I used to make the interconnects. I’m stumped as to why those connections are not accepting solder when everything else did. And the frustrating part is this is the last thing needed to be done before bolting the light to the back of the bike for the last time and clicking the switch “on”. I’m literally 2 soldered connections from being able to use this light, If you can think of a better definition of “frustrating” than that, keep it to yourself because I’m depressed enough as it is…

On a completely different subject, there needs to be something I call an E-Ped for lack of a better term. Basically what it amounts to is an e-bike without pedals. Maximum speed 20 MPH (until we switch to the metric system and then it’s 35 km/h) and maximum weight 110 pounds (50 Kg), 2 or 3 wheels with mandatory head and taillights at all times, with any seating configuration. Only one seat allowed, but any amount of power, so that the vehicle could do 20 MPH or 35 km/h up just about any hill that could be paved. Allow use anywhere a bicycle could be used. No license required and a one-time registration to verify weight and maximum speed limiters are in place and to establish ownership, which would have to be renewed when ownership was transferred. A minimum fine for being in a E-Ped that wasn’t registered to you would be enough to enforce the registration requirement. This vehicle would cost between $600 and $10k depending on what you put on it and what battery you used, and range would vary between 20 and 90 miles with more money buying you more range and comfort. I guess there should also be a maximum width to make sure they would fit between the bollards of bike paths, and enclosed models would be required to have rear-view mirrors. Existing Electrathon vehicles could be considered as crude prototypes for this class of vehicle… And some not-so-crude.

I guess I let my mind wander far enough, time to proofread this then hit “Publish”.

PSA, Opus