Monthly Archive for September, 2010

Hit the Ground Rolling

Sunday, 26 September 2010

I got back from Japan on the morning of Saturday the 25th, so after getting the laundry going, I ate and turned in early. The weather on Sunday was nice and breezy, so I met up with Jeff, Sara, Danny, and Paul out at the Ditch for a spin. There was a rental Ford parked sideways in the gravel parking area. Jeff said that when he arrived, a tall-ish Caucasian dude with tiny running shorts and a tank top was getting out of the car. Jeff briefly thought that it was Chris in an unfamiliar car dressed funny, but the guy went running into the trail. Darned trail runners! I thought only triathletes didn’t know how to ride, drive, and park. Continue reading ‘Hit the Ground Rolling’


Well, it’s Silver Week again, and I see all the shiny-skirted, tall-shoed JDM gals and white-tee-shirted JT-wannabe guys around town.


Root’s Speed Shop

P1020215It’s here! Waiting in the driveway when I got home was this mysterious looking plastic wrapped bundle. The newest toy to add to the “shop” was delivered today, less than four weeks after I ordered it, nice! So what is it? My very own two post hydaulic automotive lift. It’s a 6,000 lb capacity mid rise lift from Danmar called the Maxjax and it’s selling point being mid-rise is that it does not require a high ceiling, most standard residential concrete floor will meet its requirements, and the other point is it’s “portable”. At 800+ pounds, you probably won’t want to pack it into your car to take to your buddies for a weekend project, but what it means is it can easily be broken down into smaller parts and the posts can unbolt from the floor and be wheeled away into a corner to be stored, leaving the garage space fully open after your done.

P1020217Little Inyou here came out to check it out too. Haven’t quite decided on that name for kitty, but I think it’s works for her black and whiteness. Inyou is yin-yang.

Anyway, after dinner I set out to unpack it. I wasn’t sure about moving all these hunks of steel by myself, but I didn’t want to leave it out in the open. With judicious use of my car jack and my favorite SGI rollie plate, I was able to unpack everything and move it into the garage with minimal strain. Happy with that! I think it would be advisable to use steel toe shoes as parts did come clanging down a few times pretty close to my toes, but I avoided any injuries.

P1020219Stay tuned for a report after it’s installed!

Double Down

Epic conditions demanded a Sunday ride. Everyone besides Root and I were otherwise occupied or out of action, so it was just the two of us on a Ditch ride on probably the best conditions of the entire summer thusfar. We did the normal side loop, Ditch, cardiac hill, leaning trees, ironwood hill descent run, but after returning to Government Road, we still felt prime and there was adequate daylight remaining, so we took another lap on the side loop. Climbing the second time warm was a lot easier than going up cold off the start. There were a lot of people out on the trail today, from runners and trail pedestrians to horse-walking lady and flatland horse guy to a surprising number of bike riders.

Pictures here

D = 14.02 km (8.71-miles), Vavr = 11.7 km/h (7.3-mph), Vmax = 34.4 km/h (21.4-mph), T = 1-hour, 11-minutes (actual trail time about two-and-a-half hours)


I got home early enough this afternoon to get some bike time in before it got dark. The weather was overcast with a light breeze, but it was still rather hot. I was hoping that getting back into the normal riding routine would possibly help me shake the bronchial spasms that have been bugging me after I got over a cold. Other than a few coughing fits and a touch of a runny nose, my standard training loop went normally. My “seat contact areas” were still sore from this past Sunday’s ride, but I felt back on the game breathing and power-wise. The herd was out today, and again blocked up the works. They were a whirlpool of random movement across the whole width of the roadway. As I passed them head on, riding on the right side of the road as per the standard practices of road traffic in the United States of America, one bikecow just rode toward me on the wrong side of the road with a blank look on her face. Like a deer caught in the headlights, she didn’t yield back onto her side of the road and just stayed directly in front of me, even when I was about a bike length from hitting her head-on. I had to move slightly toward the center of the road to avoid colliding with her. Right-of-way or not, I avoided her as a matter of self-preservation: A collision with her would have definitely resulted in damage to my bike and person. Idiots.

D = 13.15 km (8.17=miles), Vavr = 17.5 km/h (10.9-mph), Vmax = 38.0 km/h (23.6-mph), T = 45-minutes

Okinawa Festival 2010

P1020201As in years past I made it to the Okinawa Festival again this year, and once again the weather was clear and almost brutally sunny. What with the worldwide economy as it is, it seems there were less visiting acts, but nevertheless the quality was good as always. One of the performing groups that stood out for me this year was not a traditional Okinawan art group, they were the Okinawa Prefecture Junior & High School Wind Ensemble Select Band. I’ve seen and heard a fair share of both local and visiting school bands that ranged from good to good effort. Watching these kids in T-shirts and jeans set up they seemed a pretty typical school band group, which set me up even more for the surprise. From first note to last, they simply stunned me. This was coming from middle and high school kids?! I had to justify it in my mind that these kids were Select, basically All-stars of Okinawa school bands. I did hear one reed instrument squeek, but aside, these kids would put many a professional ensemble to shame. They apparently had done some earlier performances one of which was for Niu Valley Intermediate. I dunno, if I had heard them when I was there I’m not sure what kind of effect it would have had on me. I wonder if it would be like when I see videos of BMXers or Trials riders throwing down technique so great that it despires me. I know, thats not a real word, but I think you understand. They are just so good that it makes you realize how piddly you are and that there is no hope that you will ever be anything like them, ever. Anyway, I enjoyed their and all the other performances.

The crowd didn’t feel larger than last year, about the same. I noticed they were more frugal with the food, at the conclusion of the festival just about all the food booths were out of food, even the andagi was sold out so I couldn’t get any last bags of that doughy, oily goodness.

Another nice festival, my only criticisms of this years event is that the Olelo camerapeople were really annoying this year. Previous years they didn’t really bother me, but this year they were constantly in the way blocking my shots. Another is the sound people had lots of problems this year, even though its the same people. And finally the layout when they got the bon dance going was super congested.

Well, I’ll have to go through my pile of pics and see if I have any possiblity of wining something in the photo contest.

Beer is Good – GDM Heineken Pilsener

GDM_Heineken_pils_frontGDM_Heineken_pils_backAs a bonus for working on a bike for one of Chris’ friends, I scored 6 German domestic market Heineken pilsener beers. Although carrying the same pils appellation as the green-bottle Heineken sold on the USDM, this brown-bottle Heineken is noticeably different. Instead of the flowery sweet hopping that I expected, there is more of a bitter initial flavor with just a hint of honey before the flavor of malt takes over. The malty middle fades seamlessly into a very clean finish. The color is a clear amber. The carbonation is light, forming a 1cm head on decanting that dissipates quickly. This is much more drinkable! This definitely is different than the brown-bottle Heineken Special Dark Lager sold on the USDM – it is quite obviously a pils. It is less bitter than Wernesgruener, but similarly refreshingly easy to drink. I’m sold. Now I understand why they go through the trouble of bringing it back from Europe! Continue reading ‘Beer is Good – GDM Heineken Pilsener’

Still Dragging

Sunday morning was damp from overnight rains, so the patchy sunlight from mid-morning through the early afternoon cooked up a thick humidity that sat and stewed because of the lack of wind. Chris arrived soon after I did, being anxious to ride. I was a bit surprised to see Paul show up with Jeff, Sara, and Danny, considering this was the loop that had broken him once. With Ckucke rolling in, the group was complete and we geared up for the grueling ride. I got laid out with a cold the week after out last Luana ride, so I was operating with some lingering chest issues, and legs that hadn’t been on a bike for nearly three weeks. With restricted oxygen uptake, my body gave up quickly on the climbs. Once we left the pavement, I was pretty much off the back. As much as I wanted to stay on the bike and just spin a low gear on the climb from the mud bog up to the big tree, I just didn’t have it in me. I was considering turning back, but I figured if I could make it to the top of Government road, I could probably make the rest of the ride. Although I had to stop numerous times along the climb, I made the top. Continue reading ‘Still Dragging’

FJ80 Power Window Regulator Motor Swap

After almost 20-years of service, the motor of the driver’s door window regulator gave up the ghost. It still worked sometimes if you knocked it around, but the operation was halting, indicating the brushes had been ground down to their wear limit. I took the door apart and removed the regulator to make sure of this, and indeed, when the motor housing was removed, the brushes were bottomed out: The flexible, braided conductors connecting the brushes to the external power wires run through slots in the sides of the brush channels, so when these reached the bottoms of the slots, the brushes were held away from the commutator, and conductivity was lost. There was no “evil intent” on the motor subcontractor’s part to make the motor have a limited lifetime – the location of the braided conductors on the side of the brush was to keep the top of the brush clear for the brush springs. Continue reading ‘FJ80 Power Window Regulator Motor Swap’

2010 Mechanix Wear M-pact Gloves

2010_Mpact_CBThese popped up on Amazon since I got the 2008 iteration of the M-pact glove there a couple years back. My old ones were getting old, and these were available in somewhat subdued tacti-geek coyote brown instead of NASCAR neon, so into my shopping cart they went. The build quality appears as good as my old pair. The molded-on vinyl armor is slightly more minimalist, but looks cool and still does the job about as well. Grip, breathability, and comfort are all about the same. The sizing seems to be a bit loose compared to my older set, which probably is why the armor strip for the pointer doesn’t quite line up with the first knuckle and centerline of the finger properly. These don’t really shrink, so the fit will remain the same for their lifetime. The brown color doesn’t show dirt stains and crud, which is great for MTB use, but they tend to blend in with the background, so avoid dropping or misplacing them in the woods. It would be nice if they were made of a flame-retardant material for actual motorized vehicle wrenching or tactical use, but for MTB riding, they are fine – plunging one’s hands into flames is an exceedingly rare occurrence while cycling. They’d work pretty well for airsoft too (another generally flame-less activity). Like their predecessors, they lack any kind of absorbent sweat/snot wiping material. Although they were not expressedly designed for sports use, it’s not like the need to wipe the sweat from one’s brow is unheard of when working on a car or patrolling the streets of Iraq.

Model # MMP-72

Made in The PRC

About $35 USD MSRP/$25 USD street price

Recommended with reservations (specifically, that PRC part)

Three-and-a-half out of four grinning gear monkeys