Saturday, January 31, 2009


Commercial Cateye Light (£80, 1 watt) and homemade Frankenlight (£5, 20 watts) on my rusty but beloved single speed conversion. Note sophisticated switching mechanism - unplug one of the power leads.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One small step.

This doesn't have the gravitas of the official version - yet, somehow, I find it more believable ...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Don't misread me - I wish him well.

Not that my wishes amount to much.


It seems to me that a great many people with the scantest of links to the US are delighted with his ascendancy. It's tempting to think of our breathless wittering as ephemeral and of no consequence. Advertising wonks (who, you will remember, are the minions of the first horseman of the apocalypse) are always listening carefully though - look at this -

Flat pack furniture for freedom.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gustard Wood

Another one ...

A bit pixelated - if you can convince YouTube to allow you to copy the original file it's a bit better. will steal a better quality MP4 format file from YouTube for you.

Monday, January 12, 2009


No need to explain what happened here - but it was quite near what was my home. Fortunately the surfer survived.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Christmas present.

A wee video camera - not the world's greatest resolution, but rugged enough for mountain bike handlebars. Or helmet if you can bear the ridicule.

I took it on a very cold Saturday morning ride. Drinking water froze quite quickly, camera batteries froze too after the first hour.

Here's a ham-fisted bit of Windows MovieMaker-ism.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Internet Bird Collection

My bet is that Jill comes back to this blog occasionally. If so - the IBC may be of interest.

Personally, the last bird that was of interest to me was the much sought after Duck Confit. I tried to post a picture on the IBC but the administrator got a bit cross.

Friday, January 2, 2009


This was the most interesting piece of "thinking-a-bit-too-hard" bike design on a web page of such that I stumbled across recently. Click on the pic for a bigger view.

In all the places I blatt about on mountain bikes - I can only think of one where a 2 wheel drive bike might be useful. It's a short steep rutted hill. On a normal bike - if you stay seated your front wheel will come up and you'll fall off; If you stand up then the lesser weighted rear wheel will skitter about, you'll lose speed, and fall off. I can imagine this bike working here.

The transmission to the front wheel appears to be very simple (good), heavy (bad) and I bet there's awful friction losses in those two bevel drives and big fat cable (very bad). Hardly surprisingly the Snowbird fell victim to natural selection.


Velib. A-mazing.

It has grown since I was last in Paris. I had read of it, but was unaware of the gob smacking saturation of the scheme.

Salient points:

- 20,000 bikes, 20 frigging thousand
- a station every 300m, every 3 etc
- after a paltry subscription it is free provided you change bikes every 30 mins
- beautifully thought out bikes, just perfect
- two biggest problems anticipated and dealt with:
= bikes gravitate to the end of popular routes (like the bottom of Montmartre, you need some horse to ride one up the hill), so they are continually redistributed
= return points are hard to find in popular stations - a full station will give you an extension of free time and tell you where there are more stations nearby

The wikipedia page has a pic of a user apparently faffing about with a flat tyre. For goodness sake - put it back in a rack and take another - lying unrented it will call for help and the mechanics will soon attend to it. Rather brilliantly the user community have come up with a convention whereby a seat turned backwards indicates a bike with a problem. So matey might consider doing that as well.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Our car SatNav has a useful trick whereby you press the wee car shown on its screen - and it remembers the current location, saving it as a favourite - allowing you to be led back there later.

On exiting a cross channel ferry we used this trick - with the intention that we'd ask to be led back to the ferry later, principally so we could be led out of the morass of Paris, exiting the diabolical Periphique in the right direction.

This all worked well, but afterward, beetling homeward along the PĂ©age, I noticed that the predicted arrival time at Calais was way too late to catch the ferry. This didn't particularly bother me as I knew the prediction was wrong.

A bit of faffing about with the SatNav's maps revealed why - it was smart enough to know that the ferry exit ramp we'd recorded is a one way lane - and that the only way to get back to that exact point is to take a ferry back to Dover, turn around and get straight back on another ferry to Calais.

Cleverness verging on the ridiculous.