katsmeat: (Default)
A tale of good and bad luck...

Yesterday, I had the notion to kill 10 minutes in a Barnado's charity shop whilst waiting for somebody, and received that pure moment of exultation only generally had by suddenly-successful gold prospectors (insert movie stereotype of a crotchety bloke with a waist-length beard, a gold pan and a laden mule; wearing only a hat, boots and union underwear with a bum-flap)

Yes, pair of North Wave snowboard boots - a few seasons old but looking unused and only £9.95. And, praise $deity, they fitted! Perfect fit of these things being of such huge importance that the general advice when buying a pair is to set aside an afternoon and try absolutely everything the shop stocks. Whilst moseying around the empty shop, gripping the prize tightly, I noticed a crappy pair of ski-gloves. I asked the obvious question - yes somebody had come in to donate a complete set of stuff, but the jacket and pants had been sold. But half-full and all that.

I took the boots for a spin last night and they're an awful lot better than the crappy old Nitros I've been putting up with for far longer than I should. Huzzah! Thank you $deity, for the idiots in the world. Especially the people who buy all the equipment for a sport before finding out if they actually like it. I'd been contemplating new boots, and the associated £170-ish price-tag, with much apprehension.

And this afternoon, a crank axle on my bike snapped with no warning. The left crank-arm simply dropped into the snow with the a little snib of the axle. Fuck fuck fuck... I though Shimano UN54s were supposed to be ancient, obsolete, reliable, enduring and utterly bomb-proof. Now I suppose I have to get another one, given that I'm not about to pay ohmyGodHOWMUCH! to put one of Phil's on my round-town beater. Broad, consumer choice doesn't seem to happen much in the world of old-style, square-taper, bicycle bottom brackets. The distrsssingly polarized nature of the market is a fact that, I'm sure, is keeping you up at night.

On the plus side, my plan to put a fat, knobbly, off-road tyre on the front, and run it at low pressure, had worked quite splendidly in the slush.

GoodBadLuck
katsmeat: (Default)
Damn!

Shoulda, should, shoulda, shoulda...

Too late now. < shrugs >

I'll just swap over a pair of off-road knobblies onto my around-town bike, run them a bit deflated and hope for the best. Actually, it's the thick end of £100 is silly for two tyres that might see under a week's use a year - an idiotic idea.

I'm spending the evening tuning an application for this. Unfortunately, with no particular enthusiasm.

Actually, the project does sound sort-of interesting, and I'm spot-on for the skills. But I don't think "sort-of interesting" is a level of enggement that's not going to persist for three years (in the unlikely event of it carrying me through the interview). Plus it's in Guildford, and I've been musing on how far a Phd stipend doesn't go in that town.
katsmeat: (Indescribable)
I've read Daily Mailish comments about the likely carnage that will be caused on our streets amongst innocent pedestrians by the imminent, mass-introduction of TEH SILENT EVIL DEATH MACHINES - aka electric cars.

Well, allow me to hope that the reliance solely on hearing to warn of traffic will, in future, carry a reasonable probability of death under the wheels of a Tesla Roadster. Because, even if that doesn't deter morons who, without warning and without looking, step off the pavement and in front of bicycles, it will at least REDUCE THEIR NUMBER!

< Still slightly shaken after getting spilled over the road this afternoon, by an imbecilic middle-aged man >
katsmeat: (Default)
Oh smooth!

How to make completely sure that even a minor crash will break all eight of your fingers.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/05/knuckle-duster_handlebars.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890
katsmeat: (Windy)
Just in time for the recession, the $110,000 bike.

http://fixedgeargallery.com/2008/sept/2/EricTotten.htm

Though for some reason, they stuck on a Brooks B17 Standard saddle - which is the cheapest one in Brooks' range. They didn't even blow £20 to upgrade to a B17 Special. And it's at a wierd angle.

Ghastly.
katsmeat: (Default)
Sporks on a carabiner are the new black

Points and laughs.

Though I've got the same courier bag as 'Dilweed'. But not the camo one, thankfully.


----------------
Listening to: Fabulous Disaster - Down The Drain
http://foxytunes.com/artist/fabulous+disaster/track/down+the+drain
katsmeat: (Default)
Will somebody please hit me over the head and remind me I don't need another one right now.

Anyway. I just swapped over the tyres on number 3. I got paid just in time as the one on the back was well past its use-by and a pair of Conti Sport-Contacts are bit credit-card melty. It was somewhat vexing to realize, a few weeks back, the tyre I'd hacked up in January to make a tyre-belt was in much better condition than the ones I was running on and I couldn't afford to replace them.

Before changing them, I took the bike out and spent half-an hour having fun skidding on the old tyres. It was down to the canvas in no time and the road was covered in black marks. Sometimes I just have to act like a twelve-year-old boy, I guess.
katsmeat: (Bored)


Jeez, get a clue dude!

It's just that 'young lads', aka 'morons', are conditioned to be hyper-intolerant of any deviation by any person from their oh-so-narrow social norm. Actually, the jeering's got little to do with him. The simple creatures are simply displaying to each other their personal conformity to the pack identity.

Now whether _that_ is solely down to testosterone, is another manner. Though I doubt it - my observation is that going on "T" does not turn transmen into drooling idiots.

Although, interestingly, when cycling was new in the 1870's, cyclists frequently complained about being pelted with stones from young men. I think things like this were only nominally for aggressive dogs.

(Once tried unicycling - it's actually a tiny bit easier than it looks)
katsmeat: (Default)
Yesterday... went to the dump to dispose if the last remains of an old bike frame (sob). Went to a bike shop to look at the trainers they have and then to the library.

I saw this... it's a wonderful book. The "1001 Xxxx Before You Die" book phenomenon taken to the final absurdity. It's the "he/she who dies with the most toys, wins" philosophy set out in print for people too dorky to know what toys to get. Clink the Amazon link for some quite funny reviews.

Unfortunately, my family has fallen in with one recommendation of the book - my mother's got a Dualit toaster. Though it is going strong after nearly 20 years of use and there is something oddly satisfying about having toast made by something that's built like a Russian T34. If I had £150 lying around, I'd be tempted to get one for myself.
katsmeat: (Embarrassed)
Im starting the big bike trip tomorrow. The first leg will be south-west from Edmonton to somewhere called Pigeon Lake. Then Nordegg (a ghost town, so don't look for it on Google Maps) via Rocky Mountain House and the David Thomson Highway. Tuesday should see me in the Nordegg Youth Hostel, after which I'll be leading north to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. I imagine I'll be in Jasper in about 8-9 days time. And I'll spend a day or two pootling about the trails around Magline Canyon. Then Northward to Grande Cache.

Oddly, I feel very ambivolent about this trip. I suppose the timing of my trip to Canada was determined by my brother's wedding, not my own inclination so it's been difficult to get into the holiday mood. The bike trip feels like something that got tacked on solely to justify the cost and carbon associated with coming over here.

At the same time, I know I'm doing something most people will never get a chance to. So I'll be setting off tomorrow, filled with the hope that at some point, I might start to like it.

KD mentioned to me somebody he knew who ran the Boston Marathon every year. Until one year, when he was pouding along he realized he didn't enjoy it and he didn't need the all-too-brief buzz of achievement. Ignoring (and dumbfounding) the cheering crowds, he stopped there and then and went home. In a way, he liberated himself.

"His road to Damascus was the road to Harvard Square," I said.

I've spent too much money to emulate him, though I do feel like it.

In other news, I've still not found time to read Julia Serano's book. So I'll bring it with me. You can imagine me reading it under the light of a headtorch while outside the tent, the wildlife makes free with my food supply.
katsmeat: (Dreamy)
Yesterday, to London to see the Tour de France Prologue time trial, seemingly with half a million other people with a similar idea. I don't follow the roadie scene much and take only a passing interest in the Tour. But since it was pretty much on my doorstep, there was no way I couldn't go and see what it was all about.

Read more... )
katsmeat: (Default)
Don't suppose anybody would be interested in going to London on Saturday to watch the Tour de France Prologue?
katsmeat: (Bored)
How should I waste Bank Holiday Monday, tomorrow?

a) Research and write a Wikipedia article on the Texas Instruments Ti-95 calculator 'cos I've got one and I feel its faithful service through multiple degrees needs to be commemorated.

b) Reassemble my P7, currently in pieces.

c) Research and expand the Wikipedia article on the Soviet-era Yastreb (hawk) space suit 'cos I've done one on the Sokol (Falcon) suit and the Yesterb article is looking pretty pathetic in comparison.

d) Continue to make space by throwing old numbers of "New Scientist" into the recycling bin. A slow process as they clearly can't be thrown out without being re-read first.

e) Finally pick up my picaroon romance Harry Potter fanfic, that centres on a very cynical, snarky, slightly geeky, ex-Slytherin girl, who is most certainly completely not an author-insertion... oh my goodness, no. How could you possibly think such a thing?

f) Get out and enjoy the sun (if any).

The options of 'Work' and 'Jobhunt' are clearly too absurd to be even considered.
katsmeat: (Default)
Screams with frustration!
From:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech/?id=2002/reviews/Park_CN10


Now the US$23.99 price tag will be bit steep for some people, but if you consider that these really do save a lot of time, swearing and in some cases cables, then it's not that much of an expense. I know it might sound very geeky to say so, but this really is a funky tool. And it's a worthy addition to any toolbox.

Price guide: US$23.99
Sizes: Just the one, Chunky.
Weight: 363g
Pro: Strong, sharp, does what it's designed to
Con: Not cheap


They're £29 in the local bike shop.

< Grrrrrrrrr! >

Feb 14th

Feb. 14th, 2007 12:28 pm
katsmeat: (Default)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


< sigh >
katsmeat: (Default)
< sigh >

Isn't it great being into bikes in the UK?

Park lockring spanner - US$13.95 or UK£16.50

Only two and a quarter times more!
katsmeat: (Default)
Over-excited fangirl squee at the cool bike video




I feel inspired, it's 10:30 pm and I'm going to stop procrastinating, get my toolbox and put all the parts on my Pompino right this minute. Damn it!
katsmeat: (Default)
I wrote a bitchy post on Bikepirates about a stainless steel Egg Beater pedal whose spindle cracked on me without warning. I politely emailed Crank Brothers without much hope. I told them the full story - the pedal was bought 2nd hand on eBay about 10 months ago (the vendor claimed it was only a few months old, though that's quite possibly BS). Therefore, it might be within their 2 year warranty period, but it might not - there's no way of knowing and I have no way of proving it.


Despite this, the guy form CB just emailed

Thanks for the email. I can mail you a replacement spindle, it should be easy to swap that out. Please let me know your mailing address.


jason // rider support
Crank Brothers
310 Broadway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651



(cp to [livejournal.com profile] bikepirates )

< grins, wishes all companies were as cool as this >
katsmeat: (Default)
After not bothering to check mail for weeks, I find I'm running down to the post pigeon holes about 3 times a day now. The reason? I'm waiting for a free student-only Beta edition of Matlab. Of course, I'm no longer a student but the people at Mathworks only wanted a picture of my campus ID as proof of 'student status' and luckily the UEA's staff card is pretty much the same as the student. It doesn't say anything inconvenient like "Staff" on it. I have visions of 60 year-old full-professors and School Deans trying to scam cheap movie tickets by flashing their cards and pretending to be students.

Anyway, full-blown Matlab is about £1000 - an awful lot of money for a cardboard box with a couple of DVD's in it. When it arrives, I can shove it on my laptop and work in the coffee shop.

I cam in this morning on the single-speed, after swapping the broken Eggbeater for a couple of single-sided touring pedals from my parts box. Dunno what I'm going to replace them with. The simplest thing seems just a couple of new Eggbeaters. But I'm tempted to say "sod Crank Brothers". I don't like buying Shimano simply on principle so that pretty much leaves Time ATAC's or Speedplays. Instead of having a cleat on the shoe that locks onto the pedal, Speedplay seem to put the locking mechanism on the shoe. As you're walking on that, I'm not sure that's a good idea. AFIK, Look now only make road pedals leaving Ritchey as the only other option.
katsmeat: (Default)
A follow up to my 'pissed off with everything in the world' post of yesterday. On the way home, this happened to one of my bike pedals, without warning.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


That's a Crank Brothers Egg Beater SL. Yes, they do cost £85 a pair and no, that should not happen to them. Crank Brothers generally have a good reputation.

I got this pair for £50, a nice discount price, on eBay, but that means I have no original proof of purchase and can't therefore claim on the warranty.

Oh yes, my Macbook picked up a dent in the corncer on account of "Incase" neoprine slipcases being useless pieces of crap that don't do much more than protect the computer against scratches. I wish Apple made that clear when they sold me the bloody case! The only good thing is that it's going back to them anyway and I just bought a proper Samsonite rigid case so the new one won't go the same way.

< wonders what other royal bloody catastrophe is about to happen >

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