Syndicate This Blog
Tuesday, July 5. 2016
Getting back into bicycle riding as I work on getting into shape. My bicycle needed a rear tube replacement and a good cleaning to remove the cat hair from the gears. As a 'return to cycling' event and a July 4 adventure, Christine and I rode the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail on Monday.
Only the ends are paved, but the packed gravel in the middle is reminiscent of the lane at home, so it wasn't uncomfortable. Although at first I felt my bike was a little stiff for gravel, by the end I realized it was the rider not the bike that was stiff. A beautiful ride in the country with farms and fields on either side and gentle slopes, even for a rail trail. We rode in light rain and mist on the return leg, but my gear kept me dry and it proved rather refreshing.
Longer than I expected; about 10 miles each way, as they finished more parts of it than when I had investigated it in the past. 20 miles was probably a bit more than I should have tackled after having not ridden in years, and led to being quite sore this morning.
Saturday, June 25. 2016
After years of using an otter case on my Samsung Note II phone, figuring it was near the end of life and wanting to enjoy a slim phone for a while before retiring it, I started using it without the case. I enjoyed having a phone that actually fit in my pocket, but alas the inevitable happened, I dropped it and the screen broke. This older phone still fit my needs however, so I was loathe to replace it. I've always wanted to tear one of these apart, so instead of throwing it away, I decided to replace the screen.
Replacing the screen on these isn't particularly easy for the unexperienced. There's many small parts and screws, the components are sensitive to ESD, and to get a good job without wrecking the case proper tools are needed. Fortunately I'm an N scale train hobbyist; these have similarly sized components and similar issues dealing with tiny electronic components.
Ifixit has a guide for replacing the screen on the Samsung Note II which I used as well as an order page for the various parts. It actually works the first time, I have no extra parts on my workbench, and my new screen is unbranded, which is a rather cool side effect of the surgery.
Thursday, June 23. 2016
Riding in to work last week I picked up this stowaway. I heard a noise when I hit it, then after riding a few hundred feet, came to a stop sign. When I pulled out from the sign, the back end felt slightly mushy and I started hearing a ticking noise as I began moving faster. I changed road position, thinking it was the road as the stretch I pulled onto was under construction, but in the course of turning I noticed the back end was very mushy, and it dawned on me what was going on. My first flat tire on a vehicle.
Pulling off towards the side of the road as far as I could, I looked back and saw this nail sticking out of my tire. Unfortunately I was at a bad spot where there wasn't a berm to park in. After assessing the situation I decided to move the bike at a few MPH up a driveway to a storage facility where I could safely park and wait for help.
Waiting a while in occasional rain, contemplating how it had been a while since I had time to just relax and watch the rain, I was able to arrange a ride home then come back for the bike with my trailer. Loading proved to be a challenge on a wooden tilt bed trailer; my rear wheel skidded off when I tried to go up. However, there was a location with a pile of stone where I was able to load with some strategic parking and riding. Looking for a way to unload the bike off the tilt bed safely, I ended up buying a patch kit, cutting the nail out with bolt cutters, patching the tire, then inflating it. With sidewall damage like this, there was no permanent fix for the tire, but this was enough to get the bike in my shop and remove the rear wheel.
YCH examined the wheel when I brought it in and determined the damage was cosmetic. With a new tire, the bike is back on the road in time for the Triumph rally in Oley and I have a new experience to add to my motorcycling repertoire.
Sunday, June 12. 2016
Having experienced many motorcycles by now, I still hadn't ridden a Harley Davidson. Generally their price is exorbitant and their reputation for quality is poor. Although typically thought of as behind on technology, they are one of the only companies selling mid-size cruisers with ABS brakes, a strong part of a purchase decision for me. In this case it came down to a Triumph Thunderbird ABS or a Dyna Switchback ABS. Both were similar in price (albeit the Triumph was new, and the Harley gently used), the deciding point came down to a review which actually rated the Harley higher; rare for this magazine which frequently lampoons Harleys. Reading about the Dyna; with a rubber mounted engine for the famous Harley vibration, and arguably the best handling of Harley's bikes, it seemed a great choice for me.
On a technical checklist basis, the Harley is inferior in nearly every way; crazy weight and balance, shaking, short service intervals, the frustrating bag mechanism, proprietary tires, the checklist goes on. It leaked oil on the ride home, which got me thinking 'oh boy'. The saddlebags had a locking component which appeared to have been broken by the vibration; this specific bike is a bit famous for the bags coming off. I believe this locking mechanism breaks as the locking pins are on a cast part, and if undetected for too long the bags jiggle off. It turned out the oil was overfilled, which is apparently common by Harley dealers. Once the oil level was adjusted, it no longer leaks a drop. I replaced the broken saddlebag component, time will tell if it happens again, but now I know what to watch for. As I do my own service work, the short service intervals shouldn't be a big cost for me.
On this four state all day tour to Harper's Ferry, I rode it long enough to get used to the shaking and certainly loved the journey. The experience reminds me of the 1952 Ford 800 I have versus my Kubota B3200. Modern Kubota is more practical in every way, and it's what I reach for to do real work, but the Ford has character all its own. I'll give and get a fair shake from this bike, and use experience to determine for myself if I like the brand.
Saturday, March 26. 2016
Heated gear is something I have avoided in the past, even though I ride year around. Smaller bikes I enjoy most don't have the alternator output to power it, and the battery powered options aren't suitable for my ride length and frequency. Cycle Gear had a sale on heated gear this winter, and I now ride the Kawasaki Voyager 1700 most frequently in cold weather, which has plenty of electrical output to spare, so I decided to try a vest.
Keeping my core warm with a vest certainly extends the amount of time I can ride below 40F; typically on the one and a half hour ride to work I would need to stop once when in the 30-40F range, twice in the 20-30F range, and sometimes four times below that to walk around and warm up appendages. With the vest I've been able to ride straight to work without stopping. However, although I didn't have too much trouble with my hands before, now with the vest and the longer range I am riding without stopping, my hands were the next target for heat.
The Cycle Gear vest has matching glove liners I then purchased; this solved the cold hands, however these do have an annoyance. I expected them to be controlled via the same controller the vest has, however they seem to go full heat whenever plugged in, ignore the controller, and don't shut off until unplugging. This works fine below 30F but tends to roast my hands after a while above that, with the only way to shut them off being to unplug. Fortunately the connector is rather easy to just reach down and remove; although I do have to stop to plug back in.
Now as I'm able to do longer rides without stops, my legs and feet are starting to get a bit chilly . . .
Thursday, December 17. 2015
It is a great time of year to ride on those narrow back country single lane pavement and packed dirt roads, as normally the dense trees along many of these roads are particularly effective at blocking the view. Slower speeds involved on such roads allow longer riding times between warm up stops. Care does need to be taken as such roads are poorly maintained, particularly an issue if it is below freezing and/or the ground is frozen, which makes these roads a better late fall choice than winter.
Wednesday, October 7. 2015
Fortunately it cleared up on Friday the 11th, so I headed out at my usual time. It was a gorgeous ride out with clear skies and nice weather; until I got within a few hours of Lake Hope. As I approached it became clear storms and rain were prevalent over the park; a particular issue for someone planning on setting up a tent, compounded by the fact that it would be both raining and dark when I arrived. I contemplated the idea of camping to the east where it wasn't raining, but the forecast made it clear that wouldn't help as it would be raining Saturday. So for the first time on one of these trips, I stayed in a hotel in Parkersburg, WV.
It was still raining in the morning, but with daylight to ride, in I proceeded to Lake Hope. When I arrived I didn't find any Rebels; it turns out I missed the pack leaving by 50 minutes. After enjoying a fine meal at the lodge and generally puttering the park around for a few hours, the rain finally relented so I headed to my campsite to set up. Afterwards, I went for a ride to Ash Cave, a few trips on the Zaleski roller coaster, and a few of the other wonderful motorcycle roads around the park.
By then evening had arrived, the party had returned to the cabin area and had a campfire going, so I joined in. Although the party was small; the rain had scared off most of the riders it seems; there was plenty of fun conversation and Guba's famous chili to enjoy.
Sunday we enjoyed Lake Hope Lodge's breakfast buffet which includes their delicious brisket. Afterwards, I hung around the park, explored the campground and some trails around it. Guba stopped by with a large pile of firewood, and B.O.B. the bear. After dark, DNC stopped in and we enjoyed a fine campfire on a glorious clear night full of stars; a fun change from year's past where I'm usually the only one still there.
B.O.B. the bear (shown in the picture) has been riding around the country on Rebels for 10 years. Apparently I was the only one at the Rally who hadn't ridden with him yet, so he accompanied me on the ride home. Now to plan some trips with B.O.B. before I hand him off to the next Rebel rider . . .
Friday, May 1. 2015
I was hesitant to go with a Triumph after other experiences the family has had with them. However, this one being inexpensive, and hoping that was a two-off problem, I decided to try one. Alas, I had issues too; there was a defective part and Triumph apparently isn't open Saturdays to provide any support to their dealers, and they don't provide adequate documentation or instructions to dealers as to what the computer codes mean. This resulted in a bike that wouldn't start, then one throwing error codes. Unfortunately this means my family is 3 for 3 with Triumphs not working off the showroom floor; fortunately the dealer got it working the next week and I hit the road.
Amazingly smooth bike; I'm still in break-in so I haven't had a chance to push it yet, but handling and weight are similar to the 250. I love the 'sitting on the hood' feeling which is more extreme with this bike than my other ones; it's easy to forget the bike is there. I had some concerns the bike would be too powerful, but it has very good manners; smooth and controllable power with more only if asked for.
With my Ventura Rack and Scottoiler installed tonight, I'm ready to start tackling longer distances with it.
Saturday, February 28. 2015
Finally as of today we had enough days in a row of sun to clear the roads of ice, and with the balmy 20F degree day I got a chance to hit the roads before February ends. My first ride of the year, although shorter than I would have liked, was glorious indeed.
If next winter is like this again, I might have to invest in a snow cycle (aka snowmobile) to make it through these trying times.
Monday, February 16. 2015
It took a while to set up, a few decorative rocks to tweak the heights so the car drivers don't lose their heads, and quite a bit of testing and tweaking the many feet of seams, twists, and turns to get running smoothly. As such I certainly wouldn't recommend this as a 'first' set lest one get discouraged, but once set up it is quite amazing. With some extra landscaping pieces from my collection of HO scenery, and the included pit and grandstand displays which are a nice extra touch, this set has certainly lived up to my expectations.
Thursday, January 22. 2015
By this point in time we have tried quite a few recipes. Our favorite so far is undoubtedly one originally based on this Light Oat Bread recipe but with a few changes to match our tastes:
It's interesting how sensitive these recipes are; with more experience I hope to get more consistent round tops for example. So far though, we've devoured every loaf.
Beyond bread, there is a recipe in the book for pizza crust. Although it took 1.5 hours on the dough setting, it made the best pizza crust I've ever managed to turn out. Looking forward to more dough recipes, and I need to try rolls at some point.
Thursday, January 1. 2015
As I study for my Ham Radio Technician exam, I picked up a Galaxy DX 2547 CB base station and set up an I-Max 2000 antenna in the back yard. Being near a highway, I figured I would at least pick up some truck traffic and see if there's anything interesting going on nowadays on the unlicensed CB airwaves before I'm ready to expand into licensed spectrum.
There's no shortage of the expected truck traffic, which is sometimes interesting. And there's something called the 'super bowl' on channel 6 of people who use ridiculous overpowered transmitters to communicate over long distances. CB is very wild west nowadays as far as traffic and enforcement; rules which used to be ironclad like channel 9 being for emergencies are now widely ignored. Whether this is good or bad is another argument, but at least the frequencies are being used.
My first CB radio supporting single side band, I did some research on line which indicated SSB in the CB space is usually used on channels 35-40, and English traffic is usually Lower Side Band. Hanging out in these channels, there is indeed much interesting traffic. Today for example I was picking up long range DX traffic between members of the World Radio Club. I'm regularly hearing traffic here between Texas, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, etc.; but of particular interest today was traffic from Great Britain and Portugal. I also periodically pick up CW (morse code) traffic, which research indicates is often survivalists communicating with each other, although I won't know more until I learn CW. Of greater interest in the standpoint of what I would actually want to participate in, there is also some local traffic in my area on these bands.
Wednesday, December 17. 2014
As more games become available for Linux on Steam, I've been adding to my collection. Although I don't get much time to play, I like to support bringing titles to the platform with my dollars. Of the ones I have tried, the Wargame series by Eugen Systems has been a standout.
Purchasing the trilogy during a sale, I started with Wargame: AirLand Battle due to it having a tutorial as a starting point. Going into this game thinking it was a more typical RTS, I quickly found out just tossing your units at the enemy results in a quick loss. The game has a dizzying array of units modeled on real world counterparts, and requires knowledge of how to use reconnaissance and correct unit selection and tactics. Unlike other games where one can just crank out more units if a strategy doesn't work, this game has 'decks' of available units. Just like in a real battle resources for each action are limited, and there's no time spent building bases and collecting resources.
In one of the tutorial missions I went in not realizing how the game works, and began to use the usual RTS tactic of building tanks then working my way up the map to clear each area in turn. By the time I got to the top, I had plenty of 'resources' (action points in this game), but was confused; why couldn't I build more tanks? By this time the AI was tearing my tanks to pieces with their air force and I was getting quickly overrun by their tanks. Reading more about why I lost and how the game actually works online, I tried another strategy next time; instead of wasting resources fighting battles that didn't matter, I flanked the enemy and cut off their air corridor. This time, with logical tactics, I won easily. I've been hooked ever since.
Thursday, November 20. 2014
I have resisted creating a LinkedIn profile for a while now as I didn't want to manage yet another social media site I won't use. However, as it seems to be a prominent place for career connection building, I decided to give it a try.
Especially as it is more about connections than posting content, it will be interesting to see if it brings any friendships or opportunities my way.
Thursday, November 6. 2014
Finding one in Altoona at Steve Seltzer Powersports in the Pearl Alpine White / Pearl Luster Beige color combo, from the pictures I actually thought it would be too gold to appeal to me, but in person it is a mellow tan and off white combo which I enjoy. I have been debating various ways to add orange highlights, but will likely leave it unmodified at least for a while.
Rode it west of Cleveland and back over the weekend; I have no regrets trading the vStar 950 in for this one. Although I loved the looks of the 950, the cockpit dimensions never really fit me and I wasn't comfortable on it even after 21,000+ miles of riding. I regularly scraped the floorboards with the 950, but the Voyager actually has better clearance and better handling; certainly something I didn't expect moving up to a full dresser. I also really like the high seating position on this one; it feels more like I'm on top of the bike and looking over the fairing; no doubt one of the reasons I liked the test ride as it feels more open. I am thinking the full faired front is going to be too hot in the summer, but I have other rides for those hot days. That warm engine heat makes trips to Ohio in November significantly more comfortable.
(Page 1 of 15, totaling 221 entries) » next page
Lexiyntax @ Twitter