This Space for Rent

Nov 30, 2010

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Two dozing cats

Mavis and Buckley doze on the sofa.

Cute baby picture of the day

Russell posts to his weblog while Silas supervises

Russell posts to his weblog while Silas supervises.

Interrupting my commute

UP5542,et al

I was heading down Water Street on my way to the Hawthorne Bridge when I heard a locomotive blowing for the crossings at 11th/12th/Clinton, so I took a hard right turn onto Clay and stopped in a convenient parking lot to see what might come along.

And, sure enough, 4 light engines came sailing on by, presumably on their way to Albina yard.

Nov 29, 2010

Picture of the day

TBM parts, #1

The east side big pipe is finished, so they’re dismantling the tbm and pulling the bits up out of the access shaft at McLoughlin & 17th. I went sailing by this morning, then reconsidered and turned back to get a few pictures before continuing in to work.

Nov 27, 2010

Scrap metal

The recycling pile

The recycling bin this week includes two bent handlebars; the one that came with the Trek (which got bent when a car right-hooked me in Hawaii, but which stayed on the thing until I xtracycled it and needed handlebars that gave me room to get into the drops) and the B135 from the MLCM, which developed scoliosis sometime this year and were eventually replaced with the mustache bars I’ve got right now.

They’re aluminum and I don’t feel comfortable bending them back into shape, so it’s out to the recycling they go :-(

Gone shopping

The Trek at Trader Joe's

The Trek – now sporting an el-cheapo Mavic/Shimano dynohub front wheel that replaced the old one (which was moved over to the mlcm until I either (a) build up a Schmidt dynohubbed wheel or (b) get spare parts to rebuild the pitted cone on the existing dynohub wheel) – sits in the Trader Joe’s parking lot packed to the gills with toilet paper, paper towels, and breakfast cereal.


Nov 26, 2010

New Code (2)!

You may have thought the latest Postoffice beta release was a fairly trivial one. But no, that honor is reserved for discount, which has been pushed up to version 2.0.3 by simply updating the markdown(1) and markdown(3) manpages to correctly describe the thicket of MKD_flags available in the 2.x version of the published interface.

To save the release from being a completely document-based revision, I also tweaked mkd_document() to add a null byte at the end of the generated document buffer. The published interface says that you need to get the length of the generated document from the return code from mkd_document(), but if you treat that buffer as a C string there can be unfortunate side-effects and it’s pretty cheap to concatenate a null onto the end of the buffer before I pass it up to the caller.

So if you don’t use mkd_document() and never read the manpages, this is a complete no-op release. If you do use mkd_document() and want to treat the buffer as a C string, or if you expect the documentation to have some relationship to the code, this is the New Code! that you’ve been looking for, and you should download and install it immediately, if not sooner.

New Code!

Postoffice has been pushed up to version 1.5.4-beta3 with a slight tweak to the milter interface that makes it properly handle milters that return 4xx (tempfail) statuses. It used to treat them as a permanent failure (and would defer them until after the DATA phase of a sendmail transaction) but now spits out the response immediately and ignores the single command that caused the temporary failure.

It’s a trivially small release and it won’t cause any explosions any larger than 1.5.4-beta2 did, so it’s just the New Code! to install on a lazy thanksgiving weekend.

Trolley picture of the day

Orange-yellow sails by

Orange-Yellow pulls away from the station at River Parkway & River Drive.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite's Ice Palace

Dust Mite in the ice palace.

Nov 25, 2010

Still life with mlcm, Mavis, and bicycle helmet

Still life with mlcm, Mavis, and bicycle helmet

I ran the mlcm out for a “longer” loop this afternoon, and came back with aching arms. Not a good sign for using the mustache bars on brevets. There are a few things I can think of trying to do to better dial in the handlebar position, but I’m going to start by unwrapping the handlebar tape and angling the brake levers down a bit, because I end up crooking my hands quite a bit when I’m riding in the hook-analogues.

I might also need to raise the bars a bit (by getting an under 17° stem) so I can rotate them forward a little and level the drops a bit more, but I’ll worry about burning that bridge after messing around with the brake levers.

A horrible oversight


I forgot to make a custom error page for HTCPCP error 418

The joy of software

I finally snapped and replaced Apache on my web server, after several weeks of looking at other web servers and trying to figure out which ones provided the features I wanted (multiple userdirs, cgi support, intelligible documentation, smaller runtime than apache has) I finally decided to try out lighttpd, which, despite having a website that makes up for its weakness in documentation by excessive backpatting does allow me to have multiple userdirs (and has enough chrome on it to let me do hotlink blocking and, after much pounding of my head against the wall because the documentation sucks, http auth.)

I don’t know if it’s faster than apache. But it is smaller (1× 2.4mb binary vs. 4-8×7mb binaries, each of which terminated by signal 11 several hundred times a day) and the config file, if somewhat badly-documented, is about 5 times smaller than the corresponding apache one.

And it’s got some interesting quirks to it. One of them is that my weblog software sets up a posting script in the userdir which is actually a symlink to the actual script in the public cgi-bin. If that actual script isn’t world readable, lighttpd will silently 403 it until I walk over to cgi-bin and a+r the stupid thing.


But at least it’s small. It’s not thttpd, but it’s good enough for now.

Nov 23, 2010

Life on the river

The (teeny) tugboat Rossco

The smallest Ross Island Sand & Gravel tugboat sits by the Ross Island boathouse while the crew pokes at something on the riverbottom.

Nov 22, 2010

mustache bars, good or bad? I’m not sure yet.

Twine looks better, but only if I can find it

I’ve now been riding with mustache bars for two days, and it looks like they’re going to remain mysteriously unclassifiable for quite some time.

On the positive side, they’re quite comfortable in the drops and the hook equivalents. Not quite so good riding on the hoods (mainly because it’s difficult to get braking leverage when I’m on the side of the hoods, but also because they’re so far out there than when I stand to stomp away from a start or up a ramp they wiggle the dickens out of the front end.) They don’t rise up at all so the drops are almost as far down as the theoretically deeper drops on my old Nitto B135 rando bars (the B135s rise up from the stem, then drop down. The mustache bars are all downhill, and they’re a bit wider to boot) so when I’m riding in the drops I’m stretched out much more than I usually ride on drop handlebars, so the mlcm feels really fast even when I’m plugging along pretty slowly.

On the negative side, when I ride slowly I tend to lean on the handlebars (this is a problem with conventional drops, too) and after a few miles parts of my hands start to hurt. And (also as a side-effect of riding slowly, which I’ve been doing a lot of in the last months due to a pair of crashes) they’re really harsh on the gravelled parts of my commute. And, worst of all, they don’t really have usable ramps – when I’m riding slowly, I want to ride on the ramps, and there’s really no way to do that on these bars.

I don’t know if the last problem is merely a matter of learned behavior or not, but I need to ride these bars in for about 2-300 more miles before I can decide. I do like the widely flared drops, so if these mustache bars don’t work out I could always switch to something like the On-One Midge bars (or the near-clone Origin-8 Gary bars) which are more conventional drop bars except that they’re shallow and widely flared. Those bars would have the brake levers tilted sharply inwards, but they’ve at least got a more conventional ramp leading down to them.

I’ll know for certain sometime in 2011. I’ll probably ride the mlcm up to Sandy sometime soon (after brazing the front rack – The ~12"×12" rack I fabricated is a little too deep for the high-trail fork on the mlcm, so I need to bend up a smaller (8"×8", perhaps) platform and use that instead) for donuts, and that’s a long enough ride to give me an idea of how the mustache bars work on reasonably long loops.

Nov 21, 2010

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Two sleeping cats, one messy sofa

Buckley & Mavis doze on the living room sofa.


Can't remove leaves when they're sitting under a truck

The city of Portland decided earlier this year (and without a public comment period?; at least I never heard about it until about a week ago) that it would start charging people US$15/pass for leaf removal (two passes worth.)

Now if you’ve got a couple of mature sweetgums sitting in front of your house, they will dump enough leaves onto the street to make that US$15 actually a competitive price (and, as an aside, give passing bicyclists a really good reason to ride down the middle of the traffic lane.) But if someone parks their SUV in front of your house the night before, well, the amount of leaves left over become somewhat less than a killer deal.

So I had to go out this morning and sweep up the leaves that didn’t have a big ugly old truck sitting on top of them.

I’ll make a compost pile for them later today, I guess; if they spend a few months composting they’ll make good fill for when I remove the next couple of slabs of driveway.

Nov 20, 2010

A small change but with large side effects

MLCM with mustache bars

I had a pair of mustache bars lying around after I bought them at a sale, so when I verified that the old handlebars were damaged, I put them onto the MLCM instead.

The only problem with them (aside from them being very cold when they aren’t wrapped) is that I can’t fit my handlebar bag holder onto them. So I’m going to have to finally get off my butt and braze up the front rack that’s been kicking around my workbench for the past 3-4 months.

Time to replace the handlebars

Yup,that's definitely bent

I pulled the handlebars off the mlcm and sat them on the floor to see if they were bent.

Oh drat, they were. Time to replace them :-(

The dog end of the .com boom has arrived

Not exactly fabulous wealth here

Geeknet (formerly VA Research) stock just did a reverse split, and so they mailed me a check for the fractional share left over from the split. Oh well.

(At least my stack of Redhat stock – assuming I can find it – is worth a bit more. It’s a pretty awful Linux distribution, but at least they’ve found a way to sell it to people.)

Nov 19, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Cat & Mite

Dust Mite and Mavis take a little nap.

Enemy action

A few weeks ago, I was coming home from work when the front tire (a Continental Gatorskin) slipped on some leaves and dumped me onto my right hip with a spectacular crash. This was unpleasant, doubly so because despite having ridden bicycles for about 40 years now I’d never (to my recollection) actually had the stupid bicycle crash like that. So I spent the next three weeks hobbling around in a slowly diminishing state of disrepair, until today, when I first managed to ride to work without creaking any more than my usual run of the mill decrepitude, and then, on the way back from work, slipped on railroad tracks and crashed onto my left hip (and, because the crash happened in slower motion, onto my tailbone, which was an astoundingly painful experience.)

The one common thread for both these crashes (which happened within about 700 miles of each other!) was the Gatorskins that are now sitting on the mlcm. Once is an accident. Twice is not. I’m going to be pulling the gatorskins and going back to the old Nashbar tires that I was using up until the week before the first Verboort preride. And I’ll put the gatorskins back on in the spring after it’s stopped raining quite so much.

Oh, and? Ouch!

Life on the river

The Portland at night

The steam tug Portland is bathed in light as it sits by the seawall in downtown Portland tonight.

New (experimental!) Code!

Postoffice has been dragged, kicking and screaming, up to version 1.5.4-beta2 with an extensive reworking of the milter library to better support milters that (a) don’t want to do all of the phases of the milter protocol and/or (b) refuse messages during phases other than DATA. (There are also a couple of other fixes – the smtp server doesn’t quit on HUP anymore, and the -C command line option uses the specified configuration file instead of the system – but the rework to the milter library is the reason why this release is here and is a beta release.)

This code is not completely untested; it’s handling my mail right now (and we get something on the order of 5-6000 mail attempts a day, so it’s doing actual work, even if it’s not industrial scale actual work) but it is screamingly BETA code that may actually fulfill my dire warnings of converting your servers into smouldering piles of rubble.

But, hey, you might as well live dangerously! Pick up this New Code! and you can live the adventure archeologist lifestyle without even getting up from your desk!

Nov 17, 2010

New Code!

After time for calm reflection, Discount has been unceremoniously pushed up to version 2.0.2 with a small handful of new features, bugfixes (not actually make-me-crash bugs, but things that didn’t work like the reference dingus,) and test cases:

  1. Fix a glitch in new-style [] processing that would collapse two sequential new-style [link]s into one no matter how much space was between them. The reference dingus only coalesces adjacent new-style [link]s together if they are physically adjacent or have one space between them.
  2. Modify superscript grabbing so that it grabs parenthetical and alphanumeric blocks
  3. Rework (again!) the guts of linkylinky to support markdown 1.0.2b8-style <..> links: these are like the original format I implemented before I rolled them out while chasing compatability in that a url starting with ‘<’ contains all characters until an unescaped ‘>’ is encountered.
  4. Change the autolink prefix to closer fit to the reference dingus; if a <url> has a known protocol prefix, it does not need a leading // after the prefix.
  5. Add a couple of functions that write the current runtime configuration (either a flags value (mkd_flags_are) or of an MMIOT (mkd_mmiot_flags)) to a FILE. markdown -VV prints out the flags for now, and the functions are there for other people to use as they desire (see below.)
  6. In theme, add the pseudo-tag <?theme config?>, which writes a listing of all of the runtime settings to the output file. If <?theme config?> is called from the header section of page.theme, it writes the runtime settings in markdown -VV format, otherwise it writes a two-column html table (regrettably this will not work from inside generated content; theme is kind of stupid that way.)
  7. Add test cases for <> links (regular and markdown 1 compat), split the superscript tests out from smarty.t

If you’ve been watching the github mirror none of this will be particularly new, but it’s still New Code! according to my erratic release schedule. So stay inside out of the rain, download it, and warm yourself by the glow of exploding software.

Nov 16, 2010

Railroad picture of the day

Amtrak at night

I needed to loop up to my LBS to pick up some rim tape, and when I was returning I first saw the Portland section of the Empire Builder sail off towards Spokane (in a dark section of town, so the poor L6 was completely befuddled) and then, as I crossed by the north end of Union Station, the running-a-hour-or-so-late Coast Starlight, which was in enough light to only make the photo terrible.

Nov 15, 2010

Not waterproof, but that doesn’t really matter

Water resistance begins at home

It had been at least six weeks since I’d ridden a R200 (possibly 8 weeks; when I look back at my photos the last one I’d taken pictures on was the UGB200.bis loop I’d taken on September 4th) and I was starting to get fairly antsy about not having gone out for a very long walk for too long, so when Bill A put out a feeler for people to ride the Skyline-Vernonia permanent, I leapt at the chance to do it, nevermind the teeny detail that the weather forecast showed rain for the 13th of November.

Fortunately(?) it didn’t rain. Much. Lots of drizzle and the sort of extraordinarily wet fog that makes it seem like you’re in the middle of a very long refrigerated sauna, but not much rain.

I’d set my alarm clock for the ungodly hour of 5am on Saturday (the loop starts close for ORRando permanents, but it’s still ~12 miles away from home,) did a few last minute clothing swaps (long underwear instead of the knee-length underwear I’d set aside, knee-high stripy socks instead of the shorter socks I’d originally planned on wearing,) then rolled out of the house for the trip up to North Portland.

12 miles with other people around isn’t all that bad, even when it’s raining. 12 miles by myself in the rain gave me plenty of time to reflect on this being a fairly insane plan even by my admittedly relaxed standards. But despite this I still made it up to St. Johns before 7am (the official departure time) and squelched my way into the coffeeshop that was the official starting point for this loop, where I met up with Ed Groth, Adam George, and Bill’s friend Amy, who was there gathering evidence to help prove that randonneuring is dangerous to your mental health. And, after a few minutes break (where I purchased some sort of cheese+sausage breakfast roll) LynneF and Bill arrived, then the lot of us wandered out the door into the rain and rode off.

Foggy Rose Garden

It drizzled most of the way into downtown Portland, then it stopped when we wound our way up to the (fog-covered) crest of Tualatin Mountain for an impressively slow grope northwards on Skyline Blvd. I’ve ridden the other way on Skyline at least a dozen times, and it never seemed all that long, but going north into a pea-soup (and rain-filled) fog was painfully slow; The five of us had stuck more-or-less together from St Johns to downtown, but once we’d become separated on Skyline it was as if we were the only people riding bicycles in the state. Lynne & I were traveling at about the same pace, so we whiled some of the time away grumbling about how Skyline felt like it was a really long haul when we were creeping through a tunnel in the mists.

We stopped at Skyline school for a brief snack (and regrouping; somehow Lynne & I had managed to get ahead of everyone else(!?!) and everyone else popped out of the fog while we were still wolfing down cookie bars and I was switching out my outer layer of gloves for a pair of plastic gloves (dishwashing gloves; we were about to drop down into the Tualatin river valley [~800 feet] and I didn’t want to freeze my hands in the process)) and then proceeded down Old Cornelius Pass at a moderate speed (everyone else just dropped, but I was fairly sodden by this point and didn’t want to risk freezing on the way down), turned onto Phillips, and then stomped on the gas to try and catch up with the Ed and Adam (and warm myself up) as they scooted across the valley floor towards Forest Grove.

By the time we reached Forest Grove, the parts of me that had not been previously soaked were now soaked from either sweat or drizzle, and the rubber gloves I was wearing were filled with water (the one problem of completely waterproof clothing; it keeps the moisture IN as well as OUT. Oh, well, at least I can use the gloves when I’m doing chores around the house!) and I squelched into the control there for a nice long pause for hot chocolate, half a cinnamon roll, and heat (as well as prying the now-wet leaves of my cuesheet apart and flipping it over to the Forest Grove->Portland side. The waterproofing of my cue sheet holder is not as waterproof as it should be, and the next handlebar bag is going to just have a way to clip a ziploc bag into place instead.)

Lynne showed up while I was tying up the mlcm; Bill showed up not more than 5 minute later. And we huddled inside for about 35 minutes before we were able to pry ourselves back outside for the second ramp up into the mountains (Lynne & Bill headed out first, then I headed out, and finally Ed and Adam, who then caught up with me about 2 blocks down the road) along Gales Creek Road.

Foggy Timber summit

It had been raining fairly happily while we were warming up in the control, but a band of not-rain came through just as we left. There actually was a brief moment on the run up Gales Creek where the clouds got thin enough so I could actually see shadows! Alas, this didn’t last, but it refrained from raining for the next 15 miles up the road, and the fog didn’t start settling back in until we were almost at Timber. (And by “we”, I mean “me”; I’d kept up with Ed, Adam, and Bill until Timber Road ramped steeply uphill, and then was (as is traditional) dropped like a stone.)

I “caught up” to Ed, Adam, and Bill at the summit of Timber Road; they’d spotted an dumped ATM (signed for a southern california bank) and were in the process of looking it over and trying to call the owning bank to see if they cared (they didn’t care. The customer support person on the phone basically told Adam that if he wanted the dead ATM, he could have it. I guess that’s the advantage of having your banking system unconditionally guaranteed by the government; lose a several-thousand-dollar ATM? No problem, the money spigots are wide open so it doesn’t matter if you spill a drop or two!) And while I was sitting there watching Ed & Adam look the thing over, up came Lynne – she’d stopped at the Glenwood Store and skillfully hidden her sweetpea, so we’d sailed right on by without even seeing her.

The ATM was a source of great fascination, but stopping was bad for the brevet clock, so first Lynne, then Bill, and finally I begged off and headed down the road towards Timber and beyond. I didn’t bother to stop in Timber to get a photo of the SD-9 which is still rotting away on the no-longer-used POTB mainline, but hopped off down the road towards Vernonia with visions of a proper lunch break dancing in my head. I was moving moderately quickly, so I managed to catch up to first Bill, and then after chatting with him for a while, to Lynne, and then after another 10 miles I pushed ahead over a couple of small climbs and ran on ahead into Vernonia, where we’d made plans to regroup at the Black Bear coffeeshop before heading on up the Scappoose-Vernonia highway to metropolitan Scappoose.

45 minutes later, we finally dragged ourselves to our feet, out the door, and onto the bicycles in an attempt to get over the Nehalem divide and into Scappoose BEFORE the sun went down (and we did. Barely. When it’s foggy the evening gloom comes on very quickly; we could still see some light in the sky when we reached highway 30, but it was gone by the time we turned onto Lane Road half a mile further on.)

And by then it had started to rain again, so our run up towards the summit was done in the wet. The Scappoose-Vernonia highway approaches the Nehalem divide in much the same way as Dairy Creek + Fern Flat Road approaches where Snooseville used to be, except the grades are ×2 as steep. Once you turn off 47, the Scappoose-Vernonia highway winds through a moderately open valley with an old railroad ROW visible on first the right side, then the left side of the road, and then the valley narrows and the road pitches steeply up for a twomileandchange grind up to the summit (apropos of nothing, I mentioned out loud that I thought the start of this ramp was about 8½ miles away from Snooseville – it turns out that I was wrong, because it’s only about 7½ miles away.) The five of us had stuck together up to this point, but as the grades got steeper I was progressively dropped by Adam & Ed, then Bill, and finally Lynne (who then stopped to wait for me to catch up before we rocketed down the other side of the divide into Scappoose.)

I reached the summit of the Nehalem divide at about 16:35; Lynne & I made the next 10 miles in 25 minutes, despite the road being more than moderately chewed up and landslidy near the summit. I think we passed Adam on the way down – I spotted a bicycle parked off on a side road that looked like a Trek Y-foil with blinkies – and we passed (but did not see) Bill, because he caught up with us just the other side of highway 30.

And then we had to loop out towards the Columbia River to get one last info control. Which was interesting – Dike Road, which, not surprisingly, runs along a dike alongside the Columbia, is amazingly rural once it gets dark. We were pinned between the Columbia River and Scappoose, but there was absolutely no sign of either of them while we were creeping along this road in the rain and the dark. We could have been in the middle of southern Illinois for all we could see. But we found the info control, and came to a consensus about what it actually was in the dark (it was on private property, so we didn’t want to go trapsing over to look at it with our bicycle lights. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t a B52. Or a rock lobster) and then looped back into Scappoose for a brief intermission at a gas station before heading back into Portland.

Scappoose is about 12 miles away from St Johns, which isn’t so bad on a sunny summer day. In the late fall, at 18:15pm, and in the rain (or fog, or drizzle), well, it’s not so good. The 4 of us (Ed caught up with us after what sounded like an extensive helping of bonus miles while trying to navigate around the Dike Road loop; Adam had apparently decided to head directly home?) headed south into the rain, but the combination of rain on eyeglasses and blinky taillights stretched us out into a long disgruntled line which didn’t properly clump together until we reached Portland and, more importantly, streetlights. Bill started slowing down about 5 miles out of St Johns because his rear tire was running low on air, but said that he’d rather ride it in than stop, so he waved us all ahead just before we reached the St Johns bridge, so Lynne, Ed, and I got to the end of the line about 3 minutes before he did.

And then, after a brief contemplative pause while we got receipts and a drink (or in my case, a veggie sandwich which was very good for the approximately 15 seconds it took for me to eat it) we dispersed and went our separate ways (Ed and I rode together down to Interstate & Denver, where he continued east and I turned south) and I rode the ~12 miles back to home, bringing me up to about 150 miles for the day.

Not very many pictures, alas, because I was wearing multiple glove layers and/or thick gloves (I can take pictures with my thin liner gloves, but don’t have the manual dexterity otherwise) for 99% of the loop, but plenty of wet to make up for it. The clothing I chose was all wool, except for my (allegedly) water-resistant jacket, my el-cheapo Nashbar +4s, and a pair of hastily put together reflective ankle bands (which got wet and disintegrated by the time we reached Vernonia. sigh) which meant that although I was completely wet I was completely warm (except for my toes and occasionally fingers) once I got moving (every time we stopped for any appreciable amount of time I’d be shivering to the point where the bicycle skittered over the road until I warmed up.) I’d been playing around with brake pads and had put a pair of Velo Orange “nonsqueal” pads on the mlcm last wednesday night – this was a horrible mistake to the point that if the ride had been any more bumpy than 5000(gps with elevation averaging)/7000(as described)/9500(gps without elevation averaging) feet I would have had to abandon because I couldn’t actually stop the bicycle on descents (all of the braking on the last 12 miles were from the rear brake, which had worn-to-a-nub koolstop black pads on it.)

Aside from that, the speed-sapping rain + fog, and the limbo-ish loop on Dike Road, it was a splendid ride. The only thing that went wrong is that I didn’t then go out on my bicycle yesterday, but instead spent the day cleaning the house, so my legs seized the opportunity to lock up on me last night.

Nov 14, 2010

I’m not so sure about the durability of these brake pads

Velo Orange brake pads do not seem to be suitable for wet environments

The two brake pads in the center are a pair of still in the box Velo Orange “squeal-free” pads. The two brake pads on the outside are a pair of Velo Orange “squeal-free” pads that I put on the mlcm last wednesday, rode for about 40 miles commuting, then took out yesterday for a loop of the Skyline-Vernonia permanent (~150 miles including the 11.5 miles from home and 11.5 miles back home.)

Near the end of the permanent I noticed that the braking power of the front brakes had faded to the point where they were not actually doing any braking anymore. And when I got home and looked at the front wheel I noticed first that the brake pads were much thinner than they were when I installed them, and secondly that the braking surfaces were coated with a thick layer of brake pad goo.

And this in about 200 miles. Admittedly, it’s 200 miles in the rain, including about 7000 feet of descending in the last 140 miles, but this is western Oregon, where it has been known to be damp even when non-randonneurs are riding around.

I’m not so sure about the durability of these pads.

1 comment

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Cat Seat

Mavis repurposes a child car seat.

Nov 13, 2010

A very special run of the Skyline-Vernonia 200km permanent

Wet cue sheet

And by “special”, I mean “wet,cold,and foggy.” Cold wet and foggy to the point where I ended up being completely soaked to the skin (the only thing between me and hypothermia was the couple of layers of wool I was wearing (backed by an (allegedly) rain-resistant windbreaker and a pair of nylon Nashbar +4s; Every time we stopped, I promptly started freezing, but it didn’t take much longer than a mile of riding to generate enough energy to warm myself right up) and where, if not for most of the 35 miles between Forest Grove and Vernonia, we spent essentially all of our time groping through rain and/or fog.

The amazing thing is that we finished the loop in < 13 hours.

Nov 12, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Fifty flavors of Dust Mite

A tasty treat!

It’s a good light, but the ergonomics are terrible

IQ Cyo

I bought this IQ Cyo from Longleaf Bicycles four or five months ago, and it’s been a pretty good (if somewhat expensive) addition to the mlcm except for one tiny detail. It puts out a lot of light, so I want to turn it off when I drag the mlcm inside (I’m doing some contract programming these days, so every morning I ride the bicycle downtown and walk it over to my cubicle, where it spends the day drying out before I walk it back outside and ride home) but the on-off switch is a rotary one that’s actually the back of the barrel.

And, because the bicycle is used outside, it picks up grit that gets into the switch mechanism. Which makes the mechanism very difficult to operate, particularly when I’ve got a pair of gloves on.

For US$110, I think they could have done a bit better with the power switch.

(Also note the dynohub; this is not the Shimano 3d71 I used to use on the mlcm. No, this is the older (and purchased used) 3n70 that was on the trek, and which is now being switched between bicycles as required. If I’d bought a SON I suspect I would not now be cooling my heels while the LBS pesters Shimano to actually provide replacement parts. But I would have spent another $250 more than what I paid for this wheel ($250 which I did not have; it cost me about $140 for the wheel, and I had to sell a bunch of bike and camera parts on ebay to get that money in the first place.))

It must be fall (II)

Fall Maple Bush

The feral plantings around our house are catching fire.

Nov 11, 2010

Photo of the day

Flood control crane

A couple of cranes huddle around the 17th & 99e shaft to the east side deep tunnel project.

Nov 10, 2010

Cats sleep anywhere

Cats sleep anywhere

Mavis naps on a pile of grocery bags, papers, and one solitary sweater.

Nov 09, 2010

If I’m going to be tweaking the bicycle, I might as well do some experiments while I’m at it

Cassette detail

Can I friction-shift a 9-speed cassette?(Shimano HG-80; still 11-32, but with another gear wedged into the middle. It’s very light, as is the 9-speed chain.) I don’t know, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Nov 08, 2010

Now that doesn’t look quite right…

Suspicious B135

It could just be the camera angle, but it certainly looks like the left horn of my handlebars is tilted down at a different angle than the right is. And for the life of me I can’t think of when I could have crunched the handlebars. The bike has been toppled a couple of times onto its left side (because of the cats trying to leap on it) and right side (most notably when I was trying to check in for the Birkie this spring, but was so cold I ended up tripping over the poor mlcm while trying to get enough circulation back into my fingers to sign the liability waiver,) and I’ve crashed it a couple of times; once on the (still-railroaded-at-that-time part of the) Banks-Vernonia trail last spring, and again just the other week, but that crash was the bicycle falling on me, not flipping me over the bars like it did before.

But however it happened I now appear to have a pair of handlebars with scoliosis. That’s a bit annoying. And confusing, since I don’t know when it happened.

I’ve got a pair of mustache bars sitting in the basement, and I’ve been interested in seeing how they feel, so I suppose I could always do a multiple-bicycle shuffle (pull the rando bars off the mlcm and pull the rando bars off the trek and put them onto the mlcm, then put the mustache bars onto the trek (I think they push my hand positions further out than the B135s do, so that would work well with the cramped operator’s cab on the trek.) I’d need to figure out what to do for brake levers, though, because I’d hate to unravel the twine & shellac that these suspicious handlebars have on them.



A new stem for the MLCM

The old stem on the MLCM cracked recently, and I only discovered it just before this year’s running of the Verboort Flat Tire Extravaganza!, so after gingerly poking around the course (I was an organizer, so I wasn’t officially riding it, but someone needed to run a sweep and I picked that instead of attempting to man the Snooseville control) and returning home I removed the broken stem and put this one one.

The stem came with a couple of ugly decals on it, so I had to strip them off (with sandpaper, which also took off the clear anodization around them, so I then had to remove (unsuccessfully, as you can see from looking at the top of the stem) the rest of the anodization) and repolish the thing (and then attach the ugly wart that my GPS clips to) before sticking it onto the bicycle.

Given how the stem failed (one of the ears on the 4-bolt faceplate cracked. I discovered the fault after I’d ridden out to Forest Grove on Saturday; I noticed that the handlebars were drooping, so I loosened up the faceplate, rotated the bars back into position, then tightened the faceplate up again. But when I did that last step, one of the bolts didn’t stop tightening, and when I looked carefully I saw the crack across the ear. Whoops!) my druthers are now in favor of a traditional 1-bolt pinch clamp like every threaded stem in christendom has. But if I did that I’d have to strip the bartape off the handlebars, and I’ve yet to wear through the twining & shellacking I did to the existing bartape.

Hopefully this stem will last longer than the last one (or at least long enough for me to find a nicer stem to replace it with.)

Nov 06, 2010

Trolley picture of the day

Early Morning Trolley

A train of a Bombardier “Type 1” and a SD600 approach the 2nd & Yamhill station at 6:20am this morning. A band of rain had come through at about 4am, so I decided that it would be better to ride downtown, take a trolley to Hillsboro, and then ride out to Forest Grove from there instead of riding directly out and possibly getting rained on for 24.5 miles.

It didn’t rain on the way out, but it was still a wise choice because I discovered (while in the middle of setting up for the ride) that the stem on the mlcm had cracked, and that meant that I had to do the rest of my days riding at a very cautious pace (I was riding sweep for the verboort sausage populaire so my trip average had to stay around 10-11mph so I wouldn’t overrun slow riders. This would normally be kind of difficult, but it’s amazing how easy it is to ride slowly when you’re trying to avoid losing your handlebars and crashing. (I’d already done that once this week; I capsized the mlcm when my front wheel slipped on wet leaves, and managed to pull several muscles and/or tendons on the insides of my thighs. These aren’t muscles and/or tendons that get in the way of bicycle riding, but it’s been making my walking around a somewhat slower and limpier process.) And since I was riding sweep, it would have been really embarrassing to crash my bicycle and have to walk it into civilization.)

Railroad picture of the day

P&W logger

An eastbound P&W logger approaches Aerts Road (just southeast of Banks) around 1:45pm this afternoon. Unlike last year’s attempt, it wasn’t raining and a cemetery was not in the way, so I could take a few better pictures of the approaching train.

Nov 05, 2010

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

All Hallows Mite

Trick or Mite!

All hardware sucks

The True (bearing race) Death

This is the non-power side bearing race from the Shimano 3d71 dynamo hub I bought last winter so I could get AWAY from battery headlights before I started to ride stupidly long distances at night this year. Note the pretty little pattern embossed into the race? That’s not good. Every time the wheel turns, the ball bearings go sailing over those little craters, hammering down into the pits and flaking off little pieces of metal that get mixed in with the grease and spread all around. I don’t think it’s brinelling (or false brinelling) though; the descriptions of bearing race fatigue I’ve read about seem to say that this sort of damage is material fatigue.

And I’ve barely put 7000(I checked my gps logs and it says I rode 6400 miles between the day I put the wheel on and took it off. Some of that was on the trek, but I’m missing several hundred miles due to the gps running out of power and/or not even being charged in the first place) miles onto this hub, too.

I guess I’ll pull the front wheel off my trek and put that on the mlcm for the populaire tomorrow.

Hopefully my LBS can get replacement bearing races that won’t cost more than replacing the dynamo.

At least it doesn’t come with a hyperactive bouncing dock icon

Unfriendly Reminder

This little reminder has been sitting in the corner of my desktop at work for the past few days. I presume that IT has pushed out an IE update, which, in the grand tradition of all modern operating systems, demands a reboot. I don’t know that this is the case, because there’s no obvious way to see the details of the alleged update, but considering that all of the macs at home have their version of software update demanding that I reboot the machine so they can upgrade their version of IE I’d not be at all surprised if there was some sort of obscure internationalization bug (obscure to me, but not to people who actually use a non-English alphabet) that all the major browser vendors pushed out recently.

But, alas, I don’t use IE, and my horrible windows machine at work has a couple of virtual machines grumbling along inside it (not Unix, alas; they’re running L*n*x but that’s close enough for me as long as I install /bin/ksh, use telnet to get to them instead of X Windows, and keep my laser handy) so I don’t want to knock everything down, wait for windows to do its thing, then try to recover all of my now completely lost state.

So every morning this window pops up in the middle of the screen, and I move it down to the corner of the display and work all day. And then the next day the window moves back, and I grab it and move it down to the corner of the display. Think of it as productivity in action.

1 comment

Nov 03, 2010

Life on the river

A tiny Ross Island tugboat

A tiny tugboat pushes a large (and not particularly evenly loaded) barge into the Ross Island lagoon this morning.

Nov 01, 2010

Why, no, I won’t be using the Apple App Store any time soon

One of the things we’ve taken to doing is buying copies of a local earthy-crunchy(ish) coupon book (the Chinook Book, which isn’t really local anymore), which costs us US$20 a whack and gives us something on the order of US$40’s worth of coupons we can use (things like “buy one/get one free” from Bob’s Red Mill, which is a screaming deal when the “buy one” is a 25 pound bag of oats, which means that the corresponding 25 pound bag of organic flour [needed to balance the load on my trek when I bring it the 4-8 miles back to home (the distance depends on the weather. 50 pounds of cargo on an extracycle pretty much prevents me from doing a R100 after stopping by Bob’s Red Mill, but it’s pretty easy to make up a 15 mile loop shopping loop from Milwaukie to Westmoreland, even if it does involve rowing the mighty xtracycle up one or two steep ramps] costs me an additional 0¢.

This year they’ve got something new that they’re shilling like mad (at least 20 separate advertisements within the Chinook Book itself – they’ve got an online coupon book for the iPhone (and iPod touch) that you can get from the Apple App Store, then unlock by feeding it a unlock code that they provide in the paper Chinook Book.

Now, I’ve got an iPod Touch that I use as an alarm clock and thermometer (it was a gift from my mother, who bought it and couldn’t find any use for it either,) so I thought “why not? It might actually make it worthwhile to carry the iPod down to the store with me.” and tried to get the offending app.

Now, it’s a really pain in the butt trying to do anything texty on the teeny tiny iPod Touch (no keyboard except for an onscreen one. I’d jailbroken my iPod, of course, but immediately found it impossible to do any software development on because I couldn’t type at the screen, but if I telnetted in (iOS? It’s Unix, but with the nice Apple GUI stripped off and replaced by a glossy but almost X11ish clumsy WYSIAYG cellphone UI) the Touch would go to sleep at inconvenient times and require my taking coding breaks to reach over and wipe my finger across the screen just to keep it awake.) But I figured that I’d only need to do the whole App Store nonsense once and then I’d have a nicely lobotomised autocoupon program sitting on my alarm clock.

Well, the first thing the App Store threw at me was a 55(!) page licensing agreement which basically said “you agree that if you’re stupid enough to give us a credit card number we have the right to charge it up to the limit, then laugh at you when you complain.” I wasn’t planning on giving them any credit card information (remember the Chinook Book app is supposed to be free) so I accepted the license and continued to the “set up your account” page, which asked for an email address, a password, a password reminder, and a clue.

So I gave it a password, a password reminder, and a clue.

None of which were accepted by the stupid App Store. The password was TOO SHORT! The password reminder was TOOOO SHORT! And I suspect the clue was TOOOOOOO SHOOOOORT!!! as well, but I didn’t see anything more than the top of that bright red alert box before I told Apple they could screw themselves and shut down Safari.

Dear Chinook Book; I like the coupons, but I’ll stick to paper, thanks, because I’m not in the mood to prove to Apple that I’m conformant enough to be allowed access to their stupid App Store.

(And this answers any of my questions about wanting to get an iPad, too. It would be nice to have a little tablet computer, but if my experience with the iPod Touch is any indication I’d jailbreak the iPad, then just not use it because the rest of the user interface is designed along the lines of “why, yes, the Finder is useful, and that’s why it had to die.” At least MacOS (up to version 10.5) lets you install applications from anywhere, and has a good terminal program so I can get to a command line like G-d himself intended.)