This Space for Rent

Jul 31, 2010

It’s very steep

hills to the yeah

I prerode it today, and, my, ~7000 feet of climbing all crammed into about 120km makes for a looooooong day. And Buckner Creek Road, which I’ve now climbed about 5 times; it gets worse every time I try rowing the MLCM up it.

As a R200, it’s certainly doable. I’m not the fastest rider out there, and I still finished the preride in 11h55 (including two hours of very long stops at the controls in Canby, Estacada, and Sandy – riding time was under 10 hours, and someone who’s in better shape could probably crank up everything except for Buckner Creek Road without breaking more than a genteel sweat.) But it’s the sort of R200 that would provoke death threats against the organizer; as a comparison, the Sellwood to Hood & Back R300 didn’t seem even close to as horrifically vertical as this one.

More detail to follow at a later date, after I’ve collapsed in an exhausted heap for a while.


Jul 30, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

ATK90278 brings up the rear

When I was riding home from work, I reached the viaduct at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge just as the southbound 18:15 Cascades started accelerating up the ex-SP line along the east side of the river. So I quickly stopped the bicycle, pulled it out of the bike lane, and waited for the train to come zipping by.

I was using an Industar 50-2 pancake lens, and it seems that the new replacement working *istDS meters a little incorrectly on that lens; if there’s any sort of glare, it wants the exposure to be more than a little overexposed. The lens cost me $1, so it’s not as if it’s a surprise that it should be a bit glitchy, but I do need a way to tell the pentax that the meter is lying to it and it should set the exposure shorter than it wants.

Fortunately the 55mm Super-Tak doesn’t suffer from this, despite the slight radioactive yellowing of the optics.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite snacks

Dust Mite has a little snack.

Jul 29, 2010

Same building, wider angle

Oregon Portland Cement Company redux

I went back to the same railroad crossing tonight, but this time I had the 21-35mm zoom instead of my 55mm Super-Tak. I do need to drill and tap the base of the lens so I can put a little metal tab over the aperture button, because the image quality suffers when I can’t get any slower than f3.5.

Jul 28, 2010

relics of an industrial past

Oregon Portland Cement Company

What used to be the Oregon Portland Cement Company, but which is now FOR LEASE and hidden away under the viaduct that leads to the Hawthorne Bridge.

Railroad picture of the day

ATK 174 (#2)

The southbound 18:15 Cascades hustles through the former industrial district along the waterfront of East Portland.

Jul 27, 2010

Fun with macro lenses

Bellows II led

A little red LED that I salvaged from a piece of electronics last fall, photographed on my desk.

Pentax *istDS, Bellows II, 55mm Super-Takumar. f1.8 / 8, ~1 second exposure, handheld with the frame of the Bellows II wedged against the desk for stability. Wheeee!

Railroad picture of the day

A northbound Cascades departs from Portland Union Station

I left work at ~6pm today, and decided that I would try to go up to Union Station so I could see the 6:15pm Cascades head out (instead of rapidly becoming traditional having it pass me while I’m riding on highway 30 up to the St. Johns bridge.) No zoom today – just the 55mm Super-Tak – but I still managed to wedge the train and Union Station into the same picture.

Jul 26, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

Red-Blue at Naito Parkway

A meet with Red/Blue at Naito Parkway and Harrison St.

Jul 25, 2010

Cute baby picture of the day

Silas & friends

Silas at the Captain Bogg & Salty concert in Sellwood Park tonight.


A piratical bakfiets

A bakfiets, all dressed up for a Pirate Party.

YAFYE picture of the day

UP 8317

A pusher helps shove a Yellow Menace freight up the hill from Brooklyn Yard to Milwaukie.

My work here is done

first search result

Jul 24, 2010

Domestic vermin picture of the day

The dignified cat

Buckley plays with a cat toy.

Jul 23, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite guards some bicycle parts

Dust Mite found a nice pile of boxes to sit(stand? lie?) on.

Out on the line

OPR 1202 under the Sellwood Bridge

OPR 1202 acts as a platform for the motorman, who is either watching or addressing the crowd that’s gathered just west of the ROW.

Jul 22, 2010

Out on the line

X marks the MLCM

I paused for a picture in St. Johns when I was on my way home from work this afternoon.

True, it wasn’t a very direct route home, but that’s just a picky detail.

Railroad picture of the day

BNSF 2907 + 3613

A pair of switch engines stand at the north end of the BN/SF North Portland yard. I don’t see very many locomotives in the BN’s Cascade green anymore, and I can’t even blame the Santa Fe merger for that because BN’s management was already making noises about changing their colo(u)r scheme before the AT&SF merger.

At least they aren’t another pair of YAFYEs.

Jul 21, 2010

Project of the day

New handlebars for an old bicycle

I’ve made one last change to the Murray Baja Experience – I ripped off the flat mountain bike-style handlebars and replaced them with a pair of (steel) Nashbar mustache bars, then pulled the mountain bike-style brake levers and replaced them with a pair of (used) Shimano R400 road levers (there are three adult bikes in this household, and now all of them have R400 levers,) and finally pulled the old Shimano thumbshifters and replaced them with the pair of Suntour “power shifter” column shifters that were on the junkpile frame I salvaged a couple of months ago.

The Murray Baja Experience is still lighter than the MLCM, so it might make (if I put in a much longer seatpost and replaced the saddle with one that’s better suited for my butt) a nice bike to ride on flat populaires and R200s.

It still needs a porteur rack. As does the MLCM. I guess it’s time to buy a torch and some brazing flux.

Railroad picture of the day

OPR 1202 at rest

Remember, if you set the exposure correctly the photos won’t need to be processed into oblivion before they’re viewable!


I exchanged some mail with the LBS I bought the squeaky dynamo hub from, and as part of a discussion they implied that 2500 miles was too far™ to ride it without repacking it. So, because I was going down there anyway (to pick up an el-cheapo silver stem to replace the black one that’s on the MLCM right now) I decided I’d pick up a couple of cone wrenches and pull apart the user-serviceable side of the hub to see if all the grease had come out and if I had to replace the bearings.

When I got the user-serviceable side apart, I first noticed that it was still full of grease – Filthy grease – but that the bearings were fine. But I discovered a second and much more interesting thing when I started mopping out the old grease; there was a little irregularly shaped aluminum droplet tucked into a glob of grease on the bearing side of the labyrinth seal. An irregularly shaped droplet, except for one side, which had been ground flat and shiny, as if it had been scraping against something for some time now.


Gotta love that quality control.

I can’t help but wonder what might be stuffed into the NON-user-serviceable bearing on the other side (it’s not user servicable because Shimano apparently uses delicate wires to carry the current out to the power plug, and if you disassemble that cup+plug+cone assembly too enthusiastically the little wires will snap and trash your generator.) I’ll just put the wheel back onto the bike and ride it to work and back tomorrow – if something else is going to start going *ping!* 30 miles should be enough to coax it out of its cave.

The wheel does spin more smoothly now that I’ve stuffed it to wafer-thin-mint levels with teflon-loaded grease. I’ll just have to remember to keep repacking it periodically to flush out any other junk that the assembly process left in it.

And I’ll have to think seriously about replacing it with a SON hub, or to start carrying a couple of cone wrenches and some grease on brevets, or both.

Jul 20, 2010


The Hawthorne bridge, wildly overexposed

It would have been a nice photo of the Hawthorne Bridge, except that I’d set the camera into manual mode over the weekend to do some flash work and forgot to switch it back to aperture priority for outside photography.

So I had to retouch it to within an inch of its life.

Jul 18, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

Two SD70s approach Flavel St station

A southbound train approaches Flavel St. station at ~7pm today.


The cursed dynamo wheel

Of all the things I’d think might go wrong with the MLCM, I never considered that the bearings on the 5-months-old dynamo wheel would be it. But I gave the wheel a spin this afternoon when the bicycle was up on the workstand and got a chorus of pops and other unhappy sounds.

I ended up taking the front wheel from the Murray Baja Experience so I could have a ridable MLCM, and it was shockingly quiet to ride on wheels with good bearings (the front wheel on the Murray Baja Experience is the 22-year-old front wheel from the Trek, which has substantially more than the 2500 miles I’ve put on this new dynamo wheel) even though it forced me to cut my riding down to 45 miles (because I don’t have a dynamo, thus no headlight, thus no night riding) today.

Shimano claims to have a 2 year warranty on dynohubs, so perhaps I’ll be able to get it fixed for not any more than the cost of a wheelbuild. Failing that, I guess I could just share the front wheel that’s currently on the Trek (though I’d have to then switch away from the 28mm tires that I’ve currently got on the thing.)

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Jul 17, 2010

Well, it’s just as well I’ve got a summer job

I was planning on going out for a nice long ride this afternoon, but while I was on my way south the bicycle started making some irregular pinging and knocking noises which became louder and more frequent as I approached Oregon City, which convinced me to cut the loop short and come home to try and see what the devil was going on.

When I eventually arrived home (there’s something about loud hollow “ping!” and “plink!” sounds coming from somewhere inside the bicycle that makes me not want to go at my already sluggish full speed) I checked online to see if the Oracle or any other of the online bikey sites had anything to say. Alas, there was no joy in mudville – aside from a sort of vague “well, it might be your headset” or “perhaps the spokes on one of your wheels need to be lubricated?” there’s not much there aside from “maybe your $400 frame is cracked and will need to be replaced!”

So, instead of doing a nice 60 mile loop, I tightened the headset (which certainly seemed like it might be the thing to do, given that the star-nut in there no longer grips the sides of the steerer tube – I ended up having to use my headset press to preload the headset) with no changes, I lubed the spokes with no more effect than having my braking get worse, and then I looked at the likely places for a frame to break and found nothing that even came close to being a “yoo hoo! expensive repair job coming right up!” moment.

But there’s no way I’m going to ride brevets or permanents with a bicycle that pings and groans as if it’s on its last legs. I’m not even sure if I want to commute to work on it until I find out what the dickens is making those noises.

I suspect it’s the headset. I’ll have to pull the front wheel tomorrow and tighten the headset up until it won’t rotate at all, then back it down until I can turn the front wheel. Failing that, I guess I’ll start using the Trek for commuting (provided I can fit it into the elevator at work) while I take the MLCM to one of the LBSes to see if they can figure out and dispose of the horrible sounds it’s making right now. No, it’s not the headset – it’s the dynamo hub! I pulled the seatpost, relubed it, went out and got the same sort of pinging noises. Then I relubricated the seat rails, and just before going out on a whim spun the front wheel. *ping* *pop* on just the first rotation, and when I put my hand on the axle I could feel something catching, then releasing as the wheel spun around.

Well, that’s a cheaper thing to fix than replacing the frame.

I guess. Having the bearings die(?) after a whopping 5 months (purchased on 15-Feb-2010) is not a particularly compelling argument in favor of the dh71 dynamo hub.

Maybe I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy a SON (gulp!)


There’s a prototype for anything

A railroad station on a desk

Ever wonder that your nice little display model of a Southern Pacific station might be a little bit unrealistic as it sits there on the display shelf, far up and away from anything resembling a railroad? Well, have no fear; just label it “OREGON CITY” and you’ll be set, because their new real station is, for some inexplicable reason, sitting on a concrete deck that’s raised higher than the actual station platform.

Notice that the station has a platform of its own, so it’s exactly like a display model.

It doesn’t seem very practical as a railroad station, but it makes an excellent modelling excuse.

Jul 16, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

An airport bound train moves out onto the fishhook bridge at Gateway Transit Center

A pair of SD600s creep out onto the fishhook bridge on their way down to the airport. I’m sure it’s useful from a safety viewpoint to have these chainlink fences everywhere around the the freeway and the trolley line, but, boy, they really get in the way of the photos.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Mite & rando junk

Dust Mite and a pair of stubby pliers.

It just isn’t summer without a ride or two up to Kelley Point Park

A slightly deranged MLCM

I wanted to go by Blue Moon Camera to pick up a new lens for the *istDS, and I figured that since I was already up there it would be foolish to waste the opportunity to continue on up to Kelley Point Park, then loop over to the airport and return home via the i205 bike path & the Springwater Trail. (~42 miles from downtown to Westmoreland, which is only about 37 miles longer than the direct route, and once I cleared Kelley Point I had nothing but side and tailwinds all the way down to the Springwater Trail. Not as fast as yesterday, but I was riding more cautiously to avoid launching the inadequately restrained Pentax to its doom on the pavement.)

Riding 40-50 miles a day + 8 hours of work is probably not sustainable, but it’s nice to get out on the line after sitting in a cubicle for 8-9 hours. When I get over 1000 miles for the month I’ll cut back, I promise.


Jul 15, 2010

Unexpected results

So I ripped off the 48 tooth chainring and replaced it with a 42 tooth one, then took a 37 mile route back home from work today. When I went up towards St Johns (against a fairly stiff wind,) it doesn’t seem to make any difference – I ended up in the 42×16 gear as opposed to my previous 48×18 gear, which still left me with three smaller gears – but when I turned east and the headwind became a tailwind, it was a different story.

I’ve been making an effort to pedal faster the last few months, partially because I’ve been trying to avoid the skippier gears, but mainly because it gives me a little bit of extra headroom when I run into a slight grade (so I can grind slower in the same gear for longer before I have to start downshifting) but when I was running west on Columbia I kept finding myself going along at somewhere between 90 and 100 rpm in my 42×12 gear as the wind blew me towards the gorge.

And as a side-effect of this, both knees were making very unhappy noises by the time I turned south and started winding up the long ramp to the summit of the i205 bike path at Gateway Transit Center.

But to counteract that the couple of times I had to drop into my new 42×32 dump gear it made the few (short; maybe I’ll climb Larch Mountain on sunday?) ramps much less exciting in the sort of “oh g-d my lungs!” way that Canby to Estacada were.

Maybe I won’t have to give up and put a second chainring on the front (or I’ll get a really small one and use a spare spoke as a manual shifter, thus avoiding the extra mechanical bits of another shifter and front derailer.)

Time to find a steep ramp or two and give it a better test.

Domestic vermin picture of the day

MIR 1 Mavis

Mavis sits in the meaningless room window while the *istDS frantically scoops up photons.

Stratovolcano picture of the day

Mount Hood from the Columbia River MUP

I wanted to test out the new gearing on the MLCM, so I took a moderately indirect route home from work tonight. When I was about halfway home, I came out from under a bridge and saw Mount Hood through the summertime smog, so I had to stop and take pictures of it.

I don’t have the new handlebar bag sewn yet, so I don’t dare take the new Pentax along with me. This picture was coaxed out of the Olympus D510 CBC, then fairly heavily postprocessed in iPhoto so you can actually see the offending volcano instead of a hazy blur.

Another trivial project of the day

Experimental chainring

After slapping another coat of shellac onto the handlebars, I pried off my shiny! red crankset and put on the old crankset from my Trek (with a single 42 tooth biopace ring to replace the 48 tooth one I was running.)

This drops me from a 115-40" range down to 101-35". Given any luck this will make it easier for me to row up steep grades without derailing the chain into the weeds. If it doesn’t work, I guess I’ll just have to resort to a pair of chainrings up front.

(Note the black and white photo. Now that I’ve once again got a camera that uses interchangable lenses, it means I can toss my f1.8 super-takumar into the fray. But when you take the pictures in the middle of the night without flash, the color balance becomes, um, amusing, and then going greyscale becomes an essential part of keeping my readership from going insane.)

(Also note that the crankset is a Sakae Blaze from the late 1980s. Originally it held a 53/42 double, and the arms reached up the sides of the 53 to stabilize it. If you just rip the old chainrings off and put a 42 tooth biopace on it, all of the arms overlap the teeth and force the chain off into the weeds. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that that a little work with a bastard file, a finish file, and some steel wool won’t clean right up!)

Jul 13, 2010

Trivial project of the day

Twine & Shellac, oh my!

The handlebar tape on the MLCM was sliding and it had gapped on the top curves of the handlebar. So I ripped it off, applied new faux-cork handlebar tape, then wrapped the ends of it with twine and dumped shellac over all (or most; I need to see if there are any non-shellaced spots tomorrow when there’s less solvent and more light in the air) of it.

It’s certainly shiny, and the twine does look better than my traditional bands of red and/or black electrical tape (the problem with electrical tape on the Trek is that it’s starting to tear where the brake cables come out from under the handlebar tape, and the problem with electrical tape on the MLCM is that the seams are too visible for my tastes) but I’ll need to see how the looks of the shellaced cork compares to my traditional grimy handlebar appearance.

This time I’ll duct tape it into the handlebar bag

*istDS #2

When I got home from work this afternoon, I found my replacement *istDS sitting out in the middle of my front porch. Aside from being a little astonished that FedEx would just leave the camera out there going “yoo hoo, burglars, come steal me!”, I am very happy that I’ve got a real camera again, not only because it’s a real camera but because the Olympus D510 CBC has reached the point where it just sits there and sullenly flashes its lights at me instead of doing camera things.

To get this picture, I had to pick up the disassembled Kodak C763 and hold the pieces together while the photo shoot was going on. That’s why it’s so elegantly in focus.

The next handlebar bag (which I guess I need to sew up this weekend; I was going to braze up a front rack for it first, but it’s more important to have a handlebar bag without extra camera springing action) is going to have a mesh inner lid that I can fasten down around the pentax; I may just split the inside into two side-by-side partitions and put a mesh cover over one of them while leaving the other as a fud bin. And when I do braze up a front rack and build a larger rando-style bag, it will also have a camera partition and a mounting point to attach a shock cord that I can tie the camera to (I do still lust after an EVIL camera, but after a month of using various EV point and shoots I’m much less enthusiastic about the whole washed out and hard to focus through EV part of the equation. Perhaps a lottery win and an Epson R-D1 or Leica M9 (the only way I’d be able to afford either of those cameras, damnit) followed by the purchase of a lot of bubble wrap to protect them when I’m out on the line?)

But, anyway, the new camera has arrived, and now all I have to do is put the katzeye focusing screen into it and figure out how to repair my F1.2 lens (or buy some old FD glass and go at it with bold hacksaw and file to give it a m42 mount) and I’ll be almost as good as new.

Jul 12, 2010

YAFYE picture of the day


The MLCM stands on the Springwater Trail bridge over the Yellow Menace mainline while a pair of Eng!s wait for an Amtrak train to pass them by.

Jul 10, 2010

Life on the river

A tugboat in the Ross Island lagoon

A tugboat sits with a load of gravel out in the middle of the Ross Island lagoon while speedboats buzz around it like large internal-combustion waterbugs.

Jul 09, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

dust mite & giant lego army

There is, at this very moment, a used Pentax *istDS being shipped (very very slowly) from KEH to my door. I will be very very happy when it arrives, because then I will no longer need to use the Olympus D510 CBC for all of my photographic needs. And then these terrifying photos of Dust Mite and the giant lego army will not have the same sort of fuzzy vagueness to them.

The claim is that the camera will arrive on the 13th. And then all I have to do is fix the loose filter mounting sleeve on my f1.2 lens and I’ll be ready to go. So enjoy this, the (hopefully) last low-rez (I set the camera to “raw” mode for this image. Big whoop) Friday Dust Mite Blogging™ photo.

Railroad picture of the day

ATK50 steel bridge

Amtrak twinkie #50 pulls a southbound Cascades across the Steel Bridge at about 6:30 this afternoon. It was fortunate that I’d left my bike lock at home today, otherwise I wouldn’t have had to go home to get it and would have been up to REI and back away from the river before the train came by.

Too clever by far

When I was offered a contracting job this summer, I took the opportunity to order some bikey things from REI (a pair of tires, three more chains – the MLCM flexes chains enough so that they start to become iffy after not more than 1500 miles; the chain I’ve got on it now has about 1400 miles and it’s starting to chainhop at the slightest provocation – and a cable lock so I can lock the thing up when I stop at controls and feel insecure about leaving the bicycle unattended.) Well, I got the mail from REI this morning saying that the stuff was ready to pick up, so I cleverly realized that if I was going to pick up a lock, there wasn’t any reason to carry a lock on my bicycle before I went up to pick the new one up.

I should never ever try to make clever decisions like this before I’ve had a cup of tea in the morning. I was thinking that I could just pop up to REI at lunchtime (it’s only ~2 miles away from where I’m working) and grab the parts, but if I can’t actually lock the bicycle up it’s pretty much leaving a “yoo hoo, thieves! Nice lugged frame for you to ride away on!” card when I walk into the store.

So instead I’ll just ride home later (in the 90+°F heat) to grab my lock, then turn around and ride back downtown to get the locks and chains and tires ohmy! I’d rather ride out to Boring and back, but I neeeeeeeeeed those parts, and 15 miles to home, downtown, and home is 15 miles afterall.

Jul 07, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

EPT1202 at twilight

When I went out for a short loop tonight, I had to detour through the ex-Portland Traction Milwaukie industrial park to get around of water main related congestion. It’s been a while since I took pictures of Portland Traction motive power, and OPR 1202 was just sitting there waiting to be photographed, so I stopped and took a couple of pictures before continuing along.


99e waterpark

A water main under 99e exploded at around 5pm today and completely screwed up the evening rush hour for the poor people who had the misfortune to be commuting between Clackamas County and Portland.

It’s not surprising that the road was still closed at 8:30pm. I’m just glad that the planned closure of the Springwater Trail along the Willamette hasn’t happened yet, so I won’t have to dodge pissed off drivers on the way downtown tomorrow morning.

Trolley picture of the day

Union Station trolleys

It’s a moderately hot day today (for a change,) but I still went out on the mlcm because I needed to get some tea (and a flat-sided cat food bowl, because our new cat Buckley just refuses to stop attempting to scrape the bowls around the floor and flat-sided bowls are the only ones we can TAPE down properly) from Kobos. When I reached Union Station, I saw the southbound Coast Starlight waiting to depart, as well as the SD600s sitting in the storage yard.

I waited quite a while (in the 90+°F heat) but the Coast Starlight didn’t move. Fortunately for me the /N and the Clackamas line cars were not quite so shy about running in and out around town.

Jul 06, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

SD70s @ Foster Road

My much-patched collection of inner tubes are reaching the point where some of the older patches are beginning to seep air, so I went down to a bike shop near the airport to pick up some new inner tubes to replace them with (I had a money-off coupon, so I ended up paying about $2.25/tube for the 4 tubes I bought), and, when I was on my way back, I reached Tri-Met’s Foster Road station at the same time a downtown-bound train pulled in.

The CBC grumpily allowed me to take one photo before it pulled in the lens like a turtle and went back to sleep. Better than nothing, I suppose!

This makes me very happy

1RXS J160929.1-210524 and a friend

It’s 500 lightyears away, which puts it well into the range of unattainable goals, and even if I could get there it would be a crushingly heavy place to be, but the gemini observatory managed to get a photo of a superjovian planet (s-l-o-w-l-y) orbiting a sun-sized star.

Sure, it’s an infrared photo, so it’s kind of cheating, but I’m very happy to have actually lived long enough to see actual photographic images of the non-stellar components of other solar systems.

Jul 03, 2010

Stratovolcano picture of the day

Mount Hood at sunset

I didn’t manage to get out on the bicycle until quite late this evening, so I got to see the alpine glow on Mount Hood while I was riding out towards my turnaround point at Jenne Road.

Jul 02, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Watermelon Mite

It must be summertime (despite appearances outside) because the Dust Mites are dragging watermelons into their lairs.

I may have to reconsider the gearing on the MLCM

When I built the MLCM, I set it up with a 1×8 gearset (giving me a little under 300% range; 40" to 115", which means that my typical cruising gear of 90" sits right in the middle of the cassette and, conveniently, right on the best chainline) so I wouldn’t have to deal with a front derailer and to encourage me to not push the bicycle up ramps at less than walking speed (the latter is important, because my reaction to steep ramps is to drop down as many gears as possible then stomp my way up the hill.) This works fairly well, because a 40" low gear is enough for me to shove my way up really steep ramps at juuuust faster than walking speed.

But when I’m in my dump gear (48×32, or ~40") the chainline is ridiculously non-optimal. Which means that unless the rear derailer is positioned juuust right, the chain hops when the grade pitches up and I have to stomp to keep the bicycle moving. And if the chain starts hopping and I don’t correct the derailer position immediately it tends to hop right off the chainring and then derail off the back and into the spokes.

This is not a good long-term plan, because eventually I’ll lose the chain off the cassette in such a way that it does damage to the wheel before I am able to stop and pry it out.

If I had a lot of money, I could get one of the new Shimano 11-speed internal hubs (409% gear range, so I could go between ~110" and ~27") but the “lot of money” part would include having to hire someone to fabricate a downtube (or barend) shifter for it (I don’t have nearly the metalworking tools to build one myself.)

Or I could go to a 2×8 drivechain, and use a very large gap between the front chainrings; If I did something like a 48/28 front (and could shift it!) and a 11-25 cassette, I could get 115" to ~30" with only a 3-gear overlap between the two front rings, at the expense of having to add an additional shifter and front ring.

Given my druthers, I’d jump for the Shimano (which isn’t even released in the United States yet) because that would give me only one chainline & no external gears/derailers at the cost of perhaps a pound (and, um, about US$800 once I threw in a custom downtube shifter.) It would run the risk of the “here I am 400km out on a R600 and the hub just locked into top gear at the base of a 2500' climb. Ooops!” but I could paranoiacally deal with that by carrying a small front chainring and doing field surgery to temporarily convert the mlcm into an awkwardly geared singlespeed. Which I what I would do if the mlcm’s derailer disintegrated in midflight, modulo changing the chainring (the good chainline is ~80", which I can shove up moderately steep hills without too many tears, and I can always push the bicycle up anything steeper.) But the cheaper solution would be to go to a 2×8 gearset, which would “only” cost me about $160 ($50 for a pair of silver shifters, $30 for a cassette, $30 for a 28 tooth biopace chainring, $50 for a front derailer, and I’d just pull the shifter cable out of the partsbox) and the shame of having more external mechanical parts to break on me.

Or I could just leave it as is, and continue to have all of my brevets interrupted by at least one complete derailment and the corresponding stop by the side of the road to remount the chain. Perhaps it’s time to buy a lottery ticket, and then I’ll make a decision.

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Picture of the day

Tillstrom Road rooster

This afternoon, while I was out just riding around™, I encountered a flock of chickens in a farmyard along Tillstrom Road. I only had the CBC, and the flock wasn’t very keen on my coming up to take pictures, but I managed to shoot one of the roosters as it stepped away from the mob.

Jul 01, 2010

A computer programming job. Oh joy.

One of my ex-corporate masters wants me to come back for a two-month indentured labor contract (through a bodyshop, of course) and, even without setting foot into my ex place of employment it has already answered my question about whether I’m at all ready to consider working as a programmer again.

And that answer would be no; I will not enumerate the reasons why I am not happy with commercial programming because the economy is in terrible shape and we must pay rent to the bloodsucking parasites that have overrun the (pathetic excuse for a) health care system in the American Imperium, but I believe that two months of this will be more than enough for me.

At least this means I can buy a replacement *istDS body, and maybe even a brazing torch so I can glue up a porteur rack and move my handlebar bag down and back so it won’t stick quite so far out ahead of the axis of the high-trail fork on the MLCM (and so I can have a better place to put the front light.) And maybe I’ll even be able to get a hotel room and Amtrak tickets so I can (slowly) ride the orrando R600 that’s going to be done in August (assuming, of course, that I can fix the Sellwood to Hood & Back R300 to not include 5 miles of gravel, then build a R400 so I can run myself up to the proper mileage instead of my rapidly becoming traditional “don’t ride anything longer than 50km for the week and a half before the R3/400, then spend much of the first 200km wondering if I’m insane for going it this way.”)

I’ll just have to keep thinking to myself that

  1. there’s only 60 days in this contract, and
  2. lottery tickets are a better investment than the stock market, but I still need to get money to pay for them.