Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May Go Bye Bye

It appears I've pissed away another month of my life. In the blog world, I phoned it in with a bunch of tag-based gliterati posting. In the unelectric realm, a number of projects combined to take me away from the Addiction Chair of computing.

1. Riding ye bike...well, bikes

I'm not sure if it is my weight or newbie incompetence, but the old eBike has given me a few problems. I do have it going again after the pedal came off and stripped the scrank arm necessitating an odyssey in replacing parts no longer sold and finding close subs. The remaining problem is that the front brakes are a bit out of whack and the usual screw tightening and cable adjusting isn't quite doing the trick. I am going to have to adjust the cantilevers I guess (well, Pandabonium, Arkonbey, Seymour, and El Tigre know what the heck that means).

While waiting for parts etc. for the eBike, I rode my regular bike to work a few times. Going 13 miles was too hard on the knees and back to sustain, so I decided to go one way at a time. It doesn't save any gas, but I can go on to ride another day. I am happy that the eBike is nearly on line because I can sustain the exercise twice each day rather than getting really tired every couple of days.

This is the result of a change in my charging system. I bought a couple of low-cost lawn mower chargers on the Internet and soldered up a jack to keep my batteries topped off. My old charge controller died shortly after installation (an apparent weak spot for that bike model). The jack replaces the big 3 prong jack above.

Funny note: The spelling for an informational sticker on the old charger used the word "cuntinuous" complete with the misspelling shown. I laughed and laughed when I saw that (for you Australians, the word play is similar to having the word "fanny" on a circuit board).

2. A little nature

Part of my daily ride passes through a nature park. The morning ride at 6:45am yields an abundance of animals to see, enjoy, and sometimes avoid during the rides. Rabbits, snakes, birds, and squirrels are all more prevalent in the early hours. I just about launched myself over the handlebars to avoid hitting a newt that blended in with the paved path. While the animals were elusive, there were a few fawn lilies blooming in the understory...

The cell phone has a crack in the lens, so the quality is not too good. Just a couple of days ago, we were treated to a "severe thunderstorm warning." The last one of those we had was over 10 years ago, but I saw the thunderhead building for the one that dumped a bunch of hail a scant few miles south of us. The newly restructured Emergency Broadcast System proudly scrolled red across the metro area TV screens. As evening fell, the pinks mixed with the blues, grays, whites, and blacks...

Other than a couple of loud booms from the other severe thunderstorm that dissipated over us, there was only a gorgeous light show.

3. Nonblog Computer adventures

In an attempt to make Ubuntu Linux my main OS, I realized that the Windows partition that was slowing the system down so much had to be converted to something Linux friendly. So I had to back about 60 GB of stuff that had accumulated over years into an unorganized mess. While I try to avoid it in 3D reality, I am a packrat in the digital realm. I back things up onto DVDs, my family's computers etc, then executed the change of my largest chunk of hard drive to the Linux ext3 file system.

I got (kind of) smart though. While repopulating the drive, I took the opportunity to file things in some semblance of hierarchical order so I might be able to find them later. Time will tell if I did it right.

Does Ubuntu measure up on the second go round? Well, it does well enough I will say. Without going into too much detail, the general functions are there but it takes a geek to really do what you want to with it. When trouble strikes, the average power user will find nothing but roadblocks in some areas...thankfully my IT chops got me through so far.

4. A big solo day trip

On Monday, I grabbed our RED Nissan Versa (thanks Moody) and headed to the East. Most people think of Oregon as a giant rain forest, but only the smallish area west of the Cascade Mountains is verdant and damp. Passing through the gorgeous Columbia Gorge with its basalt spires reminiscent of China's landscape art, the mist and fog and hanging waterfalls give way to a stone, grass, and oak terrain with a springtime mixture of green, gold, and black.

Ah, the heck with it...I will continue this tomorrow.


ladybug said...

Can't wait to see the "East of the Cascades" pics...

Love the thundercloud pic too..Awesome!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Electric bikes,
Electric storms,
Electric brains,
Electric post!

Arkonbey said...

more pics! We only had one thunderbumper out here so far and it was a small one. :(

Sorry the bike is giving you issues. My buddy got his recumbent tricycle because of his own back issues. I don't own stock in a recumbent bike company and won't own one myself, but he's got a 15 or so mile commute and only gripes about the hills a little bit.

MM: that is fabulous:D

Dave said...

Zoom zoom zoom...

sqeaky sqeaky sqeaky...

wrench fiddle faddle...

Zoom zoom zoom!

Curious, what type of battery does your bike use?

Don Snabulus said...




Eclectic Electric Monolectic


I will go the recumbent route if I need to, but I've already invested in this so I must proceed forward.


The bike uses 2 small 12V sealed lead acid batteries (7.5 AH each) in series. I bought 2 Tecumseh 3 amp lawn mower chargers from a place that must have a bunch because they were cheap ($12 each I think). They charge the bike up in a couple hours without heating up the battery. Newer models have NimH and Li-Ion batteries, but these work for me.

Pandabonium said...

Great stuff...beautiful pics...to be "cuntinued"?

Maybe if you put a lighting rod on the eBike, or run up a box kite with a key....

Arkonbey's comment reminded me that I've seen a recumbent bicycle (not trike) here in Kashima City twice in the past month. The rider uses the same stretch of road that I do to go into town.

Dean Wormer said...

We really are lucky to live here it's absolutely beautiful.

Great pics.

"cuntinuous" - I had at least three comments pop into my head but none of them were appropriate for mixed company.

Swinebread said...

Sorry to hear about the bike. I know it was great for you while it was working.

The first time my wife saw eastern oregon she was blown away. She couldn't believe it was the same state.