Sunday, 3 March 2013

Passing on Liebster



From here

Passing on Liebster

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

Passed to me from From DFWPTP
Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
Go to their page and tell them about the award.
No tag backs.

Here are the Facts

1 - It is a fact that I am mathematically capable to calculate that, were people to follow the rules, within 11 iterations it would require 41 times the current population of the world to complete. In fact it exceeds it more than 3-fold after 10 iterations.

2 - It is a fact,then, that I will studiously ignore the imperative to pass on this to others, much in the way I would ignore a chain letter. However since this whole thing is a lot friendlier than a chain letter (and I might succumb to a mysterious disease if I don't) I shall continue to do my bit

3 - It is a fact, quite well known among those near and dear to me, that I am lazy. Often this means I will go to extreme lengths to avoid work and effort but it makes sense to me.

4 - I often drive through France with my family, sometimes through the night. Whenever, as soon as we pass the first signpost to Arques, I squawk like a parrot. Loud.

5 - I have lived in the same area for 38 years and can't imagine moving

6 - It's a fact, I spend far too much time each day in front of technology

7 - I never spend too much time on a bike - that's impossible

8 - I one of the select few to have found out what happens when you are wearing bib shorts, seeking to relieve yourself on a ride and let go of the clothing element before the, flow as it were, has ceased. It's not clever and it's not pretty full details available on application.

9 - I am one of the (probably) very few people that can legitimately claim to have got the better of both Rupert Murd0ch and Roger Maxwell

10 - Both I and my two elder brothers have the same middle initials, L & M

11 - I really enjoy knitting but haven't had the time to do any for almost 20 years. That IS my excuse.


The questions I'm supposed to answer:

Does the chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?
Possibly. In order to determine the correct answer, a double blind test will have to be run with a control sample of tasteless gum. Unfortunately, in order to carry out this test people that chew the substance will have to be found, I understand there are some in America.

Are oysters or clams better?
Clams are the better secret keeper, for sure.


Is Ortlieb better than Arkel? Why?
Ortlieb is ok,but their product range is a bit clunky, if I could I'd choose Arkel because I don't like Germans anyway. You have to be careful not to mention the war.


Do you prefer electric shifting or friction shifters?
Wire me up baby!! I've never had electronic, but I am lusting after an Alfine Di2, the mechanical ones just don't cut the mustard


When was the last time you drove a manual shift motor vehicle?
Is there any other sort?


What is your favorite color?
I'm sorry could you spell that for me? Ah. My favourite planet is EARTH.


Without checking, can you name any country that borders Burundi? If so, which one is your favorite? Feel free to consider it your favourite if you're not from the USA.
I only knew Rwanda, does that HAVE to be my favourite?


When will the LA Dodgers next win the World Series and who will be their opponents?
It's a trick question, right? these are probably real life teams playing some sort of game, at a guess?

Is Wayne Gretzky greater than Jennifer Jones, and WHICH Jennifer Jones did I have in mind?
Zebra.


Which agency of the three following do you like most? IRS, EPA, ICE
ICE, essential for any martini

Was Edison right about electricity, or are you a Tesla fan?
I'm on the Tesla side. He KNEW what leccy could do.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Are you fatigued?



The eagle eyed may notice something a little wrong in this picture, the handlebars have taken sick. As this bike is only just over a year old, and probably not much more than 6,000 miles on the clock it came as a bit of a surprise to me. In fact, quite a lot of a surprise at 6:30 in the morning shortly after I set off. What happened was that, when I was spinning along at around 20 - 25 mph (I don't use a computer) the left hand bar just went. I wasn't stressing it at the time, I got no warning, as a result I had a coming together of me and a parked car. Fortunately I was not seriously hurt, a bit of bruising, my helmet stopped by head being hurt as I gave the car's rear spoiler a Glasgow kiss. Frankly, just about anywhere else on my commute the result could have been unthinkable; anywhere on the main route would have been bad, I sometimes touch 40-ish on the 1 Km descent along Holland Park Avenue, mostly in close proximity to traffic [shudder].

This failure has concentrated my mind around metal fatigue, to try to work out how to avoid and survive it. After all, it's not the first time. Back in February my four year old Marin Point Reyes succumbed:



I noticed that crack around the seatpost, given that all that would happen would be the seat swinging around I rode home out the saddle for most of it. That ended up well, as Marin provide a lifetime warranty on their frames, and this was clearly DED. They supplied the current version, which is a 29er, which I sold and found an old model being sold at reduced price, everyone happy.

But now, I've been trying to find out what it is that causes the aluminium to fail (bearing in mind that the frame of the On-One is steel). The bars themselves were 3T Mutant such as these:



I contacted them to ask what alloy they were made from and discovered that they predate the relaunch of 3T four years ago. But, after a little more fossicking on the Internet, I discover that they are made from 6068 T6 Alloy. This is important, as it describes the characteristics; the first part is the alloy - 6061, 7075 are common - which provides its base characteristic of strength and weight and the second is the temper, which provides the added capability to better withstand age, flex, corrosion. This bar also has a 26mm clamp section.

So what is the difference between the different alloys? This is where I poke around the dark corners of the Internet and try to sound as if I have some idea; I don't. If someone turns up who does, I would be grateful for their opinion.

First 6061-T6. This is the most common alloy used. My Marin has 6061 bars. Wikipedia tells me that " the fatigue limit under cyclic load as 14,000 psi (100 MPa) for 500,000,000 completely reversed cycles using a standard RR Moore test", in contrast 7075 (the other common alloy is "159 MPa 23000 psi 500,000,000 cycles completely reversed stress; RR Moore machine/specimen" So, almost half as good again, right? The trouble is I know that most bike manufacturers have the weight weenie marketing inthe back of their mind. So, if something is half again as strong, they will only use two thirds the thickness, or some such. Can't find much about 6068, I assume it falls between the two.

So where does that leave me? Frankly, I don't know. I do know the rigours of my commute are rather harsh on bikes. I do know that I want to get the strongest bar which means the most fatigue resistant alloy and the largest diameter clamp. After that, I don't know how to translate that into real life, any ideas?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Are Addison Lee on a Downward Cycle?



Addison Lee were the rising stars of the London Minicab market, the largest in town. They have thousands of cars on the road, and they brand most of them, so they are visible.

It all kicked off a few days ago when their outspoken chairman decided that he could change the law, and told his drivers to drive in bus lanes and he would pay any fines (read more here http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/new-threat-to-london-cyclists-as-minicabs-told-to-invade-bus-lanes/012893 or many other places). The subtext to this is that he wants to make as much money as he can during the Olympics, and probably thought he could get away with it. However, he misjudged and found himself at the center of a backlash: A direct instruction from TfL not to contravene the law, and opened up the potential for TfL to revoke his license to operate. After all, someone who publicly advocates the breaking of the law can't be a fit person to run a company of this size and standing. In a rare moment, cyclists and cabbies found themselves with common ground to oppose this move.

It then transpired that he had also written an article in his in house magazine, read by customers and people in his cabs which effectively said "It's the cyclists own fault if they have an accident, don't blame yourself if you run into one, it is inevitable" Loads of other crap too (http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/if-addisonlee-wasnt-worrying-you-before.html for more).

As a result there was a "Die In" organised in front of Addison Lee's offices, which I went along to. A wonderfully diverse range of cyclist numbering about 300 turned up despite the poor weather and "died" in front of him. To be fair to John Griffin he did face the crowd - and then mostly spouted the same old crap. His valid point is that training would be good for all cyclists. That is wrapped up in a wrapper of so many misconceptions and ill conceived notions that it is barely discernible. Plus, while he is welcome to an opinion on this or any other matter the only thing he has CONTROL over to any extent is the behaviour of his drivers. He could doubtless make a real contribution to cycle safety if he trained his drivers to behave better and then put measures in place to make sure they did.

So where do I stand on the whole issue? Actually, I can't get as wound up as many do. John Griffin is just another ignorant motorist who fails to understand the value of the cycle on London streets: if more people used cars (as he seems to advocate London would grind to a halt. He does happen to be in charge of a substantial cab operation, though, and as such it is entirely inappropriate for him to voice these inflammatory views where they can influence the attitudes of those drivers negatively and potentially result in injury or even death. Addison Lee in my view are no worse than any other mini cab drivers, probably better than the majority of outer London ones, but they do have the misfortune of having the brand emblazoned on their cars. If John Griffin wants to build the value of his brand, then he needs to grasp the nettle of that branding and make sure his drivers are better than others - ambassadors for his company. You don't do that by breaking the law or barging cyclists off the road.

I can't see their license being revoked, and given the distress it would cause to thousands of the drivers who have done little more wrong than any other and the undoubted need for the service I am not certain that it would be valuable, however appealing the image of the schadenfreude is.

I'll share the road with anyone, I have as much right to it as any car. All I ask is that drivers do their bit and try to avoid me.

This photo courtesy of David Firn, set here I'm not in any, other photos in which I also appear here, I'm easy to recognise as I am the only one is short sleeves and shorts.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Day Out With Rantwick

A few weeks ago, I was the fortunate winner of a competition on RANTWICK, beating off heavy competition on the way. The prize was valuable, but the last thing I expected was for the Rantwick himself to deliver the prize in person. Having now had the pleasant experience of getting to know him better, it is conceivable that in a moment of less than sobriety, he settled down on a bus or train with "London" on the front, and missed his stop. But I am getting ahead of myself.

After he had gone to all that trouble and travel (deliberate or accidental) the very least I could do was to invite him to partake of some ale at my local hostelry. The venture started promisingly enough, at the bar he got his money out

but I told him his money was no good here. What he though a 10 Yuan note would do I can't honestly say, but the gesture was appreciated.
So, we settled down with our pints. It became obvious that even before drinking, coordination was not Rantwick's strongest suit, as he spilled his drink a bit very early on.

As you can see, he did offer to buy the next round, so I quickly forgave him. But, after very little ale, he appeared to get a bit shaky.

Maybe it was jet lag? I don't know. The quality of his conversation and company didn't change which, after all, is the mark of good drinking company. He even told me this joke: A duck goes into a pub at lunchtime, walks up to the bar and orders a pint and a butty. the barman thinks it's a bit odd, a talking duck that drinks beer, but serves him anyway. This goes on everyday for 3 weeks, and a travelling circus comes into town. when the duck comes in for his pint and sandwich the barman says to him: "You know there is a travelling circus in town, they might have a job for you". The duck says "What would a travelling circus want with a carpenter?".
I did start to get concerned, though.

By the time we got through the first pint he was certainly worse for wear.

When it was plain there was nothing left in the glasses, we decided to call it a day

amd a good one was had by all.
Cheers, Rantwick!.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Democracy in Action

The strapline of this blog is “Cycling, London & Life” and to date, cycling has predominated so far, but I’d like to do a bit of the “Life” stuff today.

Over on my main blog I posted a picture of the self-styled “Democracy Village” (like this) and said that I was please that our elected officials were taking it away. A frequent habituĂ© of London Daily Photo, Imajoebob, took the time to leave a long comment, the rest of this post is my response, which visitors here may not be interested in so…

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I'm a packhorse, sometimes. A review of my panniers.

From Panniers and Such
Regrettably I often have to cart my laptop and all manner of other things around on my cycling perambulations. To do that, I use two Altura panniers with which I am pretty happy. But as is the way, I'm always interested to hear what the options are.

Photos with review comments are here http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/londondailyphoto/PanniersAndSuch

The first is the Altura Urban Dryline. That is about 3 years old, and it has ceased being dry for the last 18 months or so. Sure, it keeps light rain off (what wouldn't?) but in a downpour it will get wet from the bottom up. May not help that I don't use mudguards, but the chief cause is the abrasive London dirt. The only ones that might be more waterproof are the Ortlieb, and at twice the price I can't see that being value , unless they can do more than 3 years. From what I've heard and seen, that would be a lot even for them. So, I carry plastic bags into which things get stuffed if they need to.

The other is the Altura laptop bag. My one doesn't have a "dryline" (huzzah!) instead, it has a plastic cover which makes the whole thing waterproof. The storage facilities (pockets) on it are brilliant, especially the outside pocket. Why do so few bags have them? I suppose its because they would affect the waterproofing.

Given the life they have (the rack can attest to that), I am very impressed with the way they have held out.

In short I would definitely buy both again.

Whoops, I did it again

 
Last time I said I didn't mind if I didn't repeat my 100k-in-a-day commute, but I did.

As it happens, yesterday was a beautiful day, and even though I was lugging at least 15kg in my panniers and had done 80Km the day before, it put a real smile on my face. What's more, there was even a (light) westerly to ease my way home. That trip by car or public transport would have been a real drag.

It is funny how relative distance is. This time, now I knew where I was going, seemed much quicker than last. Also the half of the journey that I am most familiar with seems to go a lot quicker than the westerly half, even though it contains the cross town ride. The halfway point is out by Shepherds Bush/Hammersmith, when I hit there it feels like I'm almost home. Whereas, plugging along the Uxbridge Road, the A4 or whatever seems to carry on forever.
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