Blog entries from March, 2007

A working bicycle pump is essential

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 at 7:44 pm

I picked up a nail about halfway to work this morning.

In itself that doesn’t sound too bad except it was the rear wheel of my bicycle that picked it up. At first I thought I had just run over a stone that I hadn’t seen on the smooth asphalt but it happened a couple more times (as the wheel rotated) and I started to notice that my bike felt a bit wobbly and by the time I stopped it was fully deflated.

After some swearing I realised that it wasn’t that big a problem as I had everything required to fix it so I flipped the bike over and removed the rear wheel. A few minutes later I had removed the nail and the tube it had punctured and I set about fitting the spare tube.

It was here that I found a larger issue. The pump that has been attached to my bike for quite some time now didn’t want to pump. Thirty minutes later I arrived at work after walking for about four kilometres in my cycling shoes, not a terribly pleasant task.

So where did that leave me? At work with a bicycle that was functional except for a deflated rear type. Fortunately I knew one of the other regular riders carries a pump that I would be able to use. Was this the end of the saga?

No. When I fitted the tyre back on after replacing the tube I must have been careless with the tyre levers (they do have fairly sharp corners) as this tube also had a puncture, two in fact, which meant that over lunchtime I applied four patches, two for each tube.

Why two for the original tube? On the outside of the tube there was a single hole where the nail had penetrated. However on the inside there were five holes. As the wheel went through a few rotations before I stopped the end of the nail moved around and found a new place to put a hole. At least I was able to cover all of them with a single patch.

From that point on it was smooth sailingriding all the way home with the exception that it was a bit soft. Application of the floor pump I have at home rectified that.

So what now?

For starters I need to get a working pump. I should also get some new patches but I think I will buy a new repair kit as the tube of cement is almost empty.

(I may not be at fault for the punctures in my spare tube as I found a sharp bit of plastic inside my seat bag where I kept the tube…)

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It’s clock adjustment time

Sunday, March 25th, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Today marks the end of daylight saving time.

As well as simply changing most clocks back an hour there are some devices that need special attention. One of these is my phone which I synchronise with iCal. The trick there is to not use the summer/wintertime setting the phone has. Instead I manually change the timezone back and forth between +1000 and +1100. At least I remembered to do that this time which saved a few hours.

Today also marks the day on which I need to start seriously reviewing the lights on my bicycle. I actually started this a few weeks ago with the purchase of some new LED based lights through eBay which allowed me to buy some Cat Eye lights at a third of the retail price. All I really need to do is work out how to mount the new rear light and how I want to use the front light in conjunction with my existing front lights.

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Airshow 2007

Friday, March 23rd, 2007 at 11:11 pm

I have just returned from the Airshow. Apart from a few things (the incident in the Burnley tunnel delaying our journey, it being windy and dusty, poor traffic management leaving the carpark) it was well worth it.

I ended up taking around 500 photos although a large number of those were taken using the continuous mode on my camera in order to try and capture a good shot of the aerial displays. I’m not going to sort through them (and upload them to Flickr) until sometime next week as I am going to wait until I can get a copy of the photos Damien took.

Although in the last week I have uploaded some other photos:

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Handlebar pouch for camera

Sunday, March 18th, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Two weeks ago I mused about taking photos while riding. Last week I picked up a small camera pouch from a computer swap meet for the grand sum of AU$5 with an eye to mounting it on the handlebars of my bike.

Earlier in the week I modified the pouch to remove and extra bit of padding that actually made it more difficult to fit my camera (which is one of the smallest…) and today was the maiden voyage one my ride out to Endeavour Hills and back.

How did it go? Excellent as I was able to take a lot more photos that I normally would. It also gave me a location to store a map of where I was riding, given that I folded it up pretty small. My next action is to make a more secure mount as I don’t quite trust the velcro on the belt loop, at minimum I will add a backup connection to ensure that the pouch doesn’t go far if the velcro lets go.

And here it is (follow the link to flickr to see notes):

What's on my handlebars

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LAFD has a blog and flickr stream

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Thanks to Boing Boing I just found out that the Los Angeles Fire Department has a blog and a Flickr stream.

As these are maintained by the media and public relations department of the LAFD it is obvious that there won’t be any negative posts or photos. But that doesn’t matter as there are plenty of photos and commentary (in the blog posts) to satisfy the voyeur in anyone.

It would be great if more organisations (such as the MFB) followed suit.

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Notification of followup comments

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

After I got my first legitimate comment I started to wonder how they would know if I responded with another comment.

A short time later I found Subscribe to Comments which does exactly what I want. If the commenter checks the notify box they will be emailed whenever there is a followup comment.

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Taking photos while riding

Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 8:56 pm

Ever since I got my camera I have had it with me almost all of the time, either in a pocket, in the top of my backpack or in my laptop bag. When I am riding, such as commuting or rides such as this afternoon, I rarely take photos as it is a hassle to stop, release two clips, swing it around, and unzip the top of my backpack in order to get to the camera.

For a few weeks now I have been considering getting another pouch for the camera to attach to the handlebars of my bike, the headstem in particular. This would make the camera readily accessible. Instead of stopping I could even take the riskier path of actually taking the photos without stopping.

As well as taking photos of landmarks or interesting things I have also been thinking about documenting my commute as has been done by others, and they are just some local ones.

What about taking it further?

Some time ago I found an article about building a simple camera mount. There are other homemade solutions as well as options you can buy but for me they all have the same issue. The view is fixed to be ahead of the bike. What if you want to take a photo of something else?

The next step is to consider recording video instead of taking still photos. As well as homemade options there are commercial options targeted as pretty much any action sport. But whatever option you take it seems that the cost is non-trivial which eliminates it as an option for me.

So what is the outcome of all of this? I’m going to look for a suitable pouch or small bag that I can attach to the side of my headstem. This should only set me back at most AU$20…

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Riding to Ferntree Gully with Bikely

Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 5:11 pm

This afternoon I decided to ride out to Ferntree Gully via Ferny Creek and then back via the Blind Creek Trail. However first I decided to plot out the route on Bikely. As well as giving my a better idea of where I would be riding it also gave me a distance estimate of 33.2km which would be easy to do in two hours.

When I got back home (after riding for just under two hours) I needed to update the route to reflect where I actually rode. This bumped the estimate up to 36.6km which is still short of the 38.9km that my speedometer recorded. I guess this is understandable as the route entered into Bikely is only an approximation using straight lines and I don’t know if it takes elevation into account.

The route: Shepherds Bush to Ferntree Gully and back

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