Saturday, May 19, 2007

One Hundred Percent

Here is a test created by GMAC. Apparently only 1 out of 10 American drivers can achieve 70% or better.

As Dave Barry says, "Every US driver thinks they are 'above average' and that everyone else is an idiot."

I tend to think most cyclist are better than average because they are at the mercy of those stupid cagers. How'd you score?

I'm proud to say I got 100%, so for once I can say I'm above average. Does this mean if I know 9 other people, none of them can score 70% or better. Man, I hope not.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Suck it up Blog Boy

So in an earlier post I whined about being a cheapskate and getting what I paid for. I'd bought a gNashbar hub and dang if it didn't break after thousands of miles. Yet it broke under legitimate use, not abuse, and I'd never broken a spoke or had a bearing fail on that wheel so it clearly was in pretty good shape.

Last night
I took a fling and wrote NB an email describing my plight. No nasty or foul language. I got a pretty fast response. Please send a few photos if you could, please make them an attachment so it can be virus scanned separately. Seems all reasonable. I sent those from my Picasa page. I'd sent the link, but they assured me they couldn't "surf" anywhere while at work. Yikes!

Next message was a little more annoying. Please send in the wheel.

I wrote back and said the whole stinking wheel? I explained my objection. First the shell is built into a almost functional wheel. The shipping cost is not trivial.

Then I really launched. I informed them that my day job is to analyze items for root cause and failure analysis. Which is the truth. I have connections with material analysis labs and that the axle is in fact with them at the moment as they were going to study it using x-ray, crystallography, and SEM to determine cause of failure. I didn't tell them they wanted to do this for a class this summer being taught to High School seniors who might like to see failures that fit more into real life rather than the crazy things we make at the business which are pretty dull to the average person.

They replied that they would like to know how I used the wheel and do I remember when I ordered it?

I actually found the shipping paperwork. No kidding. So I sent a very long note pointing out I bought four copies of the hub, two in red and two in black. I gave them part numbers, order numbers, customer numbers and even rack, shelf and bin numbers. It showed I'd bought the hub in March 2001 which is the spring I sprung for the Atlantis frame from Sarah Gibson's shop (Acme?) in Kansas. I had the wheel built by Sunset Cycle in Circle Pines, which is a neighbor town of Lino Lakes where I lived then. They built several wheels for me and they all were very good. I'd recommend them to anyone as wheel builders. Last I explained in lengthy details how many miles that the bike has been estimated the touring versus commuting miles and sent photographs of it packed and ready to roll for both applications.

Damn, I can be thorough and organized when I want to be an ass.

The wrote back, they'll let me know on Monday if they can provide me with a replacement axle or any compensation. The delay is because they aren't sure they have any axles. And they have to discuss what they will offer as replacement because that model has been discontinued. Duh, that is why they were selling it for $29.95, which is what I paid for it. It pays to have data, experience, knowledge, ability, and especially for once the ability to keep a civil finger on the keyboard. I can get annoyed with email pretty quickly. I truly think they saw me as some crank at first and once I sent both photos and the order information, they were better believers.

I'll believe it when I see it, but still at least it seems like they are thinking about standing behind their product. I'm not asking for more. I wasn't injured. It didn't strand me out in Ontario. I have another bike I can ride at the moment. So, no more griping about NB for the moment. Even I can be momentarily humble.

You Think!

So, when an acquaintance tells you that helmets wouldn't have made a difference in a crash, tell them about this guy.

Then kindly tell them they are full of dung and a moron to boot.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is It Warm Enough For You, Now?

Well, I had a great rant regarding Jerry Falwell. I believe he's not enjoying his eternal life in hell. I believe he has gone there for his inability to forgive, to see himself as the judge of mankind and he found them wanting. Instead of encouraging their actions to improve, he deplored those who had. So ye reap what you sow, Jerry. Condemnation is a bitch. I can forgive you, but its too late for you.

Somewhere while typing it, I stopped to think and meandered away to look at a web site on what else, bike parts. Through no fault of the website, my browser locked up. I can't explain it, I can't seem to prevent it, because I don't know what exactly I do to make the situation occur. I can tell when it has happened because my cursor takes on a new appearance. And I can't use Alt-Tab to cycle through programs. At best, I can use Task Master to just kill my browser window. Worst case, like this, I have to restart. Dumbass. I should know better and type my rants into Word Imperfect (take that Microshaft) and then copy and paste it into the Dashboard.

Its gone and I'm not one to try to recreate it. I also wrote about Wolfdownadick and his inability to see how his nepotism wasn't more than poor judgment, it was evidence of poor leadership. I wonder does his girl friend now wear a tee-shirt that says, "I dated a dick head and all I got was an undeserved promotion and a ginormous quarter million dollar undeserved raise"? Do you think I could quit my job and make enough selling them to go cross country on my bicycle? I didn't either, but I thought I'd ask.

That rant flowed into one more about our AG, the new and improved "G" man. How the man is upholding the law, right law. Thanks a lot and say "Hi" to Jerry when you die.

Last I wrote a long bit about the new "War Czar" and how many other folks, like retired four star generals turned this "opportunity" down. So this three star general was hungry enough or stupid enough, you pick, took the position. I think this is his punishment. Back some four years ago, he was publicly advocating that we force the Iraq army and police to step up and take responsibility. He was then for pulling our troops out. His aim, don't let them get used to our support, the faster they stand on their own, the better.

Now the rationale in the Rove-Cheney-Shrub tricycle is that this dude will cut through the bureaucracy. Sure he will, when the generals in command outrank him. Right. I painted a tale from a joke where US corporation holds a rowing race against our Asian counterparts. We lose, so we add managers to the staff thereby making the boat heavier and slower not faster. The Asians just keep on training looking to get better, incremental improvements. We keep adding management and oversight and losing by more even though eventually we invest huge amounts of money into technology that does little to reduce the management impact. And so it goes.

That is what I see this War Czar as. It isn't moving to the pace the public thinks it will and the best things the Shrub can think of is, add troops and add a layer of management. What a fucktard.

If you want to see a few photos of the axle that busted, they are in the bike building folder at my Picasa website. There are more photos under the Bleriot folder too. Last there is the ubiquitous photo of Ray riding the Segway, as well as photos of two others trying them out and a lot of other photos from the Hiawatha Cyclery rides. Under Hiawatha Cyclery Rides, what else?

Monday, May 14, 2007

You Get What You Pay For

So, I made progress on the Bleriot, but not enough to ride it. I've got to get the handlebars taped and I can't seem to get the diamond pattern using two colors of tape right. I got pretty frustrated working on it Sunday. Spent some time last night looking for instructions on the web and got an idea or two. Tonight it went better.

Rode the Quickbeam today and boy did that stink. I used the messenger bag and yeow it was so hot on the way home. Okay it wasn't all that cool on the way to work either. I've got to figure something better for tomorrow. You'll see why I have no alternative. This time of year, I'd ride the Atlantis and use the small front panniers. Except the Atlantis has had an odd problem.

The problem is that it seemed like the cassette freehub was stuck. Or sticking. Or something. If I coasted, the freehub and cassette would continue to turn with the wheel. This caused excess chain to collect on the chain stay between the crank and the axle. Followed by a immediate slip into the smallest cog.

So I guessed it was due to the freehub needing some lubrication and I thought a little Phil Wood oil or maybe Mobil 1 I use in the Elephant might do the trick. I thought that wouldn't take too much. Put the Atlantis in the spare stand and went for it. Pulled the rear wheel and pulled off the cassette. I was even pleased that I found the Hyperglide cassette tool without a week long search or buying a new one.

When I looked at the hub, I was shocked. the freehub was stuck to the cassette. I tapped the cassette on the workbench and the freehub fell out, followed by falling apart. I'd busted the axle. This is where the subject comes from.

Years ago, Gnashbar had these hubs for really bargain prices. I don't remember at the moment but lets say, $30 for a cartridge bearing hub. Huh? Yes. No maintenance. Music to my ear, especially the cheap part. I bought several and had a rear wheel built in preparation of the Atlantis. I've been using it since I got the frame set. This is way back when I was married and the ex wasn't too pleased at an even more expensive bike. So I got a cheaper wheel to compensate. Now, I'm not saying its her fault at all, it was still my choice and decision.

Now I know why those hubs were cheap. I'll have to clean some of the goo and dirt off and take a few photos to show the cheap material and construction. I believe the wheel is toast. Oh, I suppose I could respoke a new hub in, or something, but I'm not sure what direction I'll go yet. I'm leaning toward a real bullet proof hub (Chris King or Phil Wood) but that's some savings away. Now the pressure is on to get the Bleriot running so I can work on the Atlantis. Its always something.