Sunday, February 28, 2010

Duplicate Sunday

Today was a carbon copy of last Sunday, when I had fun putting up Sunday Rooster Tails. Rain starting Saturday night, tapering off towards the middle of the morning Sunday. And then coming back lightly as I went for a Tour de Starbucks. Only difference today was I rode Hardiboi rather than The Roadley.

And the puddle in the bank drive-thru lane wasn't nearly as deep. Was hardly worth the one spin through it. The knobby tires on Hardiboi still put up some decent rooster tails, though.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fixed the Click

I mentioned in a previous post that there was a clicking noise coming from the bottom bracket of Hardiboi.

I took him into The Bike Barn yesterday, and told the tech about the click with each rotation of the pedals. I also told him how you could hear it if you torqued the right crank left and right. He said "Well, it could be just loose," as he reached down and tried it for himself.

"Uh, oh," he said, and showed me how the whole crank would move as he twisted it. "It could be just loose, but it could be the bearing needs replacing."

"What's the price on the worst case scenario?" I asked.

"Around twenty-five bucks for the part and another twenty-five for the labor. It shouldn't be over fifty."

I told him to go ahead, but give me a call if he had to replace the parts. About an hour later he gave me a call and said, yes, the bottom bracket sealed bearing was bad and needed to be replaced. In the meantime, I had checked on-line for pricing on the TruVativ 113mm sealed bearing prices, and found it varied from $10 to $40 for the bearing. I felt it was a pretty good deal, so I told him to go ahead and about an hour after that he called and told me it was done.

When I picked up the bike, another tech who wrote up the bill told me I might want to get an 8mm Allen wrench to make sure those cranks stayed tight. I had wanted to check the tightness of the cranks on Hardiboi --- and Bluetiful and The Roadley --- but I didn't have a big enough Allen wrench. I picked up a Park Tools HR-8 crank wrench for five bucks.

No more clicking! I've read the section on cranks in my Parks Big Blue Book, and apparently the right-hand, Allen bolt is standard right-hand thread. Does anybody know if the left-hand crank Allen bolt is reverse thread?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Rooster Tails

It drizzled for about six hours, starting late Saturday night and tapering off early this morning. I did some chores, and then hopped on The Roadley to make a Starbucks run. It started drizzling again just as I exited the store, so I parked the bike under one of their umbrellas and enjoyed my Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

It rained steadily for ten minutes or so, and then began to let up, so I started to head back home. Less than a block later, I passed by a bank drive-thru lane which had a wonderful puddle in it. I couldn't resist; I circled around the bank three times, sending up rooster tails from both wheels as I zipped through the puddle.

The rain returned as I rode the mile and a half home, rinsing the bike so thoroughly that I just needed a terrycloth car rag to wipe the spots dry. Even though I was pretty soaked, in the 53°F temperature I was perfectly comfortable.

It sure beat going to church.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Real Jaw Dropper

Last evening, at around 6:00 PM, I was riding The Roadley near my place in Phoenix. I was eastbound, in the right-hand lane, waiting at a stop sign for traffic to clear so I could cross a busy Street and continue east.

I heard a beep behind me, and turned around to see a Phoenix police officer, in a marked police car, motioning me to get over to the side of the road. I dismounted my bike, carried it to the sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection, put down the kickstand and turned to face the police car. The officer rolled down the window on the passenger side of the police car, and surprised me by saying “You’re not supposed to be out there.”

I told him I was waiting to cross the street, and he said I was supposed to be “in the bike lane.” There was no east-west bike lane, but there was a bike lane going north and south on the busy street. I told the officer I wasn’t going south, but was going to cross the street and head east. He reiterated his statement that I wasn’t “supposed to be there in that lane” and then asked me “how am I supposed to make my turn?”

I looked, saw that he did not have his emergency lights on, and replied “you’re supposed to wait for me to cross, just like any other vehicle,” at which point he repeated “no, you’re not supposed to be there.” This went on for the next twenty seconds or so, the police officer shaking his head, telling me I wasn’t supposed to be there, and my replying that I had every right to be there. I even asked him if he wanted me to show him the law. (I carry a copy of the Arizona bicycle laws, because this is not the first time a motorist has attempted to tell me something inaccurate about them. It is, however, the first time a police officer has attempted to tell me something incorrect.)

Finally, the officer shook his head again and drove around me, headed south on the busy street. Directly behind him was another marked, Phoenix patrol car, one of those sport utility vehicles. I spread my arms in a questioning manner. The officer behind the wheel just gave me a wave, turned the corner and followed the other police car south. That SUV patrol vehicle did not have its emergency lights on either.

When I got home, I telephoned the non-emergency police number and explained to a dispatcher what had happened. To my amazement, she, too, said I was not supposed to be out there in the traffic lane. I said that was not my understanding of the law. She then said she “wasn’t a police officer” and offered to give me the regular number for the police.

I telephoned that number, and explained what had happened to a gentleman whose name I failed to catch. He said, yes, I was correct and then simply said goodbye.

I am deeply troubled by the fact that in space of just over an hour, I spoke with three representatives of the Phoenix Police Department who are evidently unaware of the provisions of Arizona Revised Statute §28-812. This statute states that “A person riding a bicycle on a roadway or on a shoulder adjoining a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”

I've sent an email to the Phoenix Police Department, it will be interesting to see what they have to say.

Update on New Headlight

The NiteRider is terrific. Lights up the path far and wide!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Headlight

My commute to work includes a multi-use path which follows the Arizona Canal:

While riding up this path one dark morning a few weeks ago, I found that there were no lights at all, and the moon was not out. The Blackburn Voyager 3.3 headlight on Bluetiful is more like a spotlight than a broad beam headlight. It was so dark, and the circle of light the Blackburn provided was so small, that I had to keep moving to the left of the path so I could keep track of the edge of the concrete. If I did not do that, I was afraid the road would curve left and I would run off the right edge of the path and into the drink.

Visiting the Bike Barn, they had this NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB rechargable headlight in stock. It is rated at 110 lumens; I almost believe it is more than that.

It will charge both from an AC adapter and a USB connection to a computer; USB charging is, of course, much slower.

My only reservation about the light is that it attaches to the handlebars using one of three different sizes of rubber rings. The small crossbar at the top of the handlebars of Bluetiful seems a tad small, even for the smallest ring, so the light does not seem to be very solidly mounted. I looped the power cord underneath the rubber ring, and it seems to be a bit better. There were no problems with the light falling out of adjustment on the two test rides, we'll just have to see how it works out on the commute.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bluetiful Rides Pretty Quickly

Even with all of the weight of the panniers, the rack bag, the handlebar bag, and the contents of all those things, Bluetiful rides pretty quickly.

I was coming home from work last Thursday and a fellow on a road bike whizzed by me as I was just cruising, grabbing a drink. I put the water bottle back in the cage and spun up to catch him before he got too far ahead of me. I stayed behind him for about an eighth of a mile, letting him pull me uphill in a little headwind.

I backed off a little bit when we came up to a traffic light controlled intersection because there were a few cars passing us and, if one of them pulled a "right hook" at the light, I didn't want to take out his back wheel if he had to hit the brakes hard.

I caught up to him, and was right off of his rear wheel once again, when the light turned green for us. He turned and looked back at me. I thought he looked a little surprised that I was right there behind him.

He smiled, I waved and turned right while he went straight.