Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tersano Lotus really works

Hey, I got a Tersano Lotus for Christmas. It does all it says. These should be as ubiquitous as vacuum cleaners. It will really come in handy with my various projects.

Also, I finally got some neem oil to try to keep spider mites offa my succulent aerogreens.

Finally, it's been one year since I got my AeroGarden. The basil is still going, stems as thick as tree branches.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Electric bike overhaul 95% complete

Well the black bike is about back on the boulevard. The overhaul is 95 percent complete; I would just like to do something to tidy up the cabling up front.

I took it out for a very short spin today but had trouble with the next rack. I think that has been corrected now. It rode very well until the rack tumbled off, sending the battery-laden rear back crashing to the ground behind it. Tore up a zipper and a strap, unfortunately. . . something else to potentially replace.

After I got the right length spokes---180mm for my 2006 vintage 406 model Crystalyte wheelhub---the wheel turned out to be not as bad as I expected it to be. It was a bit tedious, but I think I have got the thing trued up pretty well, just by tightening up spokes where the wheel was rubbing against the brakes. I don't think the rim is perfectly round any more, though.

The whole spoke replacement thing was a good experience. I think I understand wheels better now, and feel that much more affinity with the cog and chain set. The black spokes look nice contrasted with the giant silver wheel hub. Hopefully they will last. At 14 gauge, they are finer than not just the ones that came with the hub, but the spokes on my rear wheel too.

The new tires also look great. They are huge! Some big baloony type from Schwalbe (Big Apple). They look like motorcycle tires. I have them at full pressure, 60 psi, to lessen rolling resistance. Like I said, the bike rode really well today. The reflective stripes on the tires look snazzy with the bike's black and silver theme.

I feel a certain sense of accomplishment. I'm not sure exactly what to do with the loose cables up front, the Office Max approach or the AutoZone approach. Probably the latter would be better for wear and tear and weather issues. I'm not sure exactly what to get, at least just a sleeve to protect the main cable, and maybe some Velcro ties. If I had more skills I would get some kind of weatherproof project box to house the computer.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Electric bike overhaul

Well the good news is I was able to replace the throttle successfully, even though the one I got online came with the wrong connectors.

I have discovered other problems, so the electric bike is in the midst of a major overhaul. While looking at the front wheel, pondering whether to upgrade the spokes (one is broken), I noticed the hand-me-down tire is beginning to burst at the seams! This could have led to an ugly accident, if it blew in traffic.

I just ordered some new Schwalbe Big Apple tires (they're said to have some ballooning suspension feature, and my bike has no cushioning whatsoever right now), some new DT-Swiss spokes (in black!) in 191mm length and 14 gauge (based on hours of Internet research; originally the Crystalyte hub probably came with 12 or 13 gauge spokes but of a lower quality manufacture). I also threw in some bottle cages and bolts for good measure.

Combine this with the rack I just replaced, and you can see this little beauty has been an expensive proposition. I'm also starting to think about new batteries. In fact, I am really starting to doubt it's been cheaper than driving this past year. The main financial savings is in the capital cost, but I've probably exceeded $1,000 in total expenditures on it so far. Still, it is easy to drop a grand on a single car repair.

It is a good time of year for the bike to take a little vacation. I might still bring out my conventional mountain bike. Gas is cheap and I am lazy, however.