Sunday, February 15, 2009


I am reely excited to have gotten a set of Reelights. These are Danish bike lights that run without batteries. Instead they use induction energy from magnets mounted on the spokes.

It is fairly advanced technology. There are a couple of practical features that make them attractive to me. The kind I got flash only while the bike is in motion. Because they are mounted on the hubs, they extend the light profile beyond the battery-powered lights mounted on handlebars or saddlebag.

The front wheel hub on my electric bike is too big to allow for even their extended version bracket, so I got the basic set (SL100). The front light is going on my trail bike to provide emergency get-home-past-sundown light and perhaps to provide a visual warning to hikers. The back light goes on Black Bike.


Some scenery from a bike ride home.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gray a.m.

The view along the canal I bike past in the mornings. It was foggy yesterday. I'm amazed at how black-and-white this photo turned out without any post-processing. (c) 2009

Bike book idea

Think I have a pretty good idea for a book: "Bike Culture: Great Minds and the Bicycles, Boneshakers, and Penny Farthings That Propelled Them." The image above, apparently from the California Institute of Technology, is Albert Einstein riding a bike in Santa Barbara. I have also seen Ernest Hemingway on a war bike in Italy c. 1917. I'd like to develop the stories beyond the images.

Einstein is said to have meditated on his Theory of Relativity while cycling. "Life is like riding a bicycle," he wrote to his son Eduard. "To keep your balance you must keep moving" (Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Simon & Schuster, 2007).

Hemingway developed a passion for bicycle racing while in France. The sport also found its way into his metaphors: "Writing a novel is like a six-day bicycle race . . ." he told Mary Harrington of the New York Post in 1946. "Only it goes on two years."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dinosaur industries?

Remember when Bush was handing out tax incentives for people to drive bigger, heavier cars? I'm referring to the tax write-off businesses could get on small trucks---in practice, often SUVs.

Eight years of that, and the U.S. auto industry still can't make a profit. Perhaps they should simply scrap it and start from scratch. Electric sports-car maker Tesla is reportedly following more of a computer-industry paradigm. And the likes of Cirrus and Eclipse have revolutionized the once moribund general aviation industry by similarly throwing away the established playbook.

India can put cars on the road for $1500 each. How much longer can U.S. citizens compete in the world economy if they're paying ten times that for transportation, as well as for housing and probably food too. There's a reason everything is made in China now.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Days are getting longer

The days are getting longer, and my plants can tell. I have an ornamental sweet potato parked next to an AeroGarden and it is going nuts, sending new shoots skyward.

The salad greens seed pod I transfered to that AeroGarden is doing well, although the light is on the tallest setting due to the 1 year, 2 month old basil plants in there, which are trying to go to seed now.

My home aquaponics setup is down, as I needed the microphone stand for a recording project.

I have a couple of green beans plants going, enough to enhance a bowl of ramen every week or so.

These plants still look like crap: lemon tree (virtually no leaves), poblano pepper plants (which never did anything), and a florist-assembled multi-tropical planter is starting to go to pot after a couple of years. Also, my little ornamental pepper plants that I've kept going maybe three years are starting to look dessicated.

I have a Christmas cactus that is doing well next to the AG, but no blooms. Maybe it needs plant food.


I do think the Tersano Lotus helps keep vegetables fresher longer. This has been my experience with some broccoli and celery I processed, dried, and dumped in the fridge's veggie drawers (which I also sanitized).

Friday, February 6, 2009


Although the leaky tire hasn't been resolved, at least in the back, I took a leap of faith and rode Black Bike to work today. I'm glad I did!

The temperatures were in the mid-20s'F this morning, about my cutoff for cold weather (gloves being the weak link in my thermal armor). It was due to get warmer, and a beautiful, clear day.

I think it had been two months since I was riding the electric bike to work on a regular basis. This was its big debut after the Overhaul.

I'm pleased to say, it went great. Everything worked well. It was so incredibly SMOOOTH. I seem to be getting more range out of the batteries too.

So, it's been a fairly inconvenient process, full of inconveniences. But so satisfying when everything comes into place. Again, a successful 2.3 mile round trip using less than five cents' worth of fuel.

I'd ridden my unpowered bike a couple of times this month, opting not to when it was too cold or wet. I appreciated the electric assist on The Hill. I arrived relatively unruffled and not sweaty.

Did I mention the bike looks great? I am more delighted than ever to be back in the saddle.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Continued chaos and disappointment

Long story short: the front tire on Black Bike spontaneously mended. Now the rear tire has a slow leak for some reason. I didn't even ride it anywheres. I suspect maybe the valves are disjointed or something.

The Tersano cartridges I got on eBay didn't work. They were apparently all expired. The little indicator was green, indicating they were expired. Apparently they can expire without you even using them. Fortunately, the merchant refunded my money instantly; I suspect she found them on clearance and didn't know what she was getting into.

I ordered some replacements from Amazon, hoping they of all people will sell enough to keep fresh stock. I'm also picking up a six-pack of the AeroGarden 3 salad greens, thinking I should be able to grow that stuff now that it's cooler and I have some neem oil.