Well, this is a general kind of whodowhatnotupdate post.
Barandallthingsbar proceeds apace. Papers, phonecalls, lectures, study, questions, etc.
“My Thing One and Two” project seems to be working. For the thing one and two project, I make a huge list of shit I need to do before FL. It’s overwhelming and keeps being added to. But each day my goal is to cross two things off the list. Sometimes I kind of cheat and add something like “buy toothpaste” which I know I can do easily. Sometimes I give myself credit for significant advancement (1-2hrs) on a large multi-day project. Still, it’s a nice way to make sure I’m making some headway on all this crap.
As a nod to my usual type of balancing counter list, I have also added another list to the refrigerator. It reads “Be a Miami Public Defender by 7/28.” Studying for 5 classes is one thing – bar prep, plus out-of-state-move, plus personal life requires something to remind me of all the small stuff. Like paying rent.
NPR addresses Public Defending. While it’s good to see stories on high profile cases, from what I’ve read of the excerpt, it makes PDs seem kind of whacky, useless, and cavalier egomaniacs. It’s also kind of interesting how the author dismisses misdemeanor cases – like they don’t matter or something. But the vast majority of defendants churned through the criminal justice system are misdemeanor defendants caught on a variety of petty charges which nearly always implicate poverty, mental illness, personal drug use, or alcoholism. None of them make an appearance even anecdotally – just those wacky lawyers and their guilty as hell drug-dealing, baby dismembering clients. Hmm.
My 40 was swapped out for a 52 I had lying around. I have a 17 tooth cog on the back which gives me a new gear ratio of 3.1, a gain ratio of 6.0, and 83.1 gear-inches (for you older school types).
The old 40/17 setup was on shorter Pugeot cranks (lighter but my 52 didn’t fit on them) and thus worked out to a 2.4 gear ratio, a 4.9 gain ratio, and 63.9 gear-inches.
Subjectively, this is a huge jump. It means that I am no longer sitting and spinning up hills, down hills, and through Dupont Circle, moving at a near-completely consistent but not breathtaking rate of speed; I am now standing and powering up hills at (what I think is) a higher rate of speed (the inclines aren’t that drastic here in DC). I can also (obviously) get up to a faster cruising pace, and thus I’m going downhill faster as well.
However it’s now hella-hard to resist the cranks and slow down without using the front brake. I think that’s because I’m pushing a bigger ring on longer cranks. You’d think that it’s just a matter of force – you’re rolling forward at X speed, you push “back” against the roll with X pounds per leg, and it all evens out. However, the shorter cranks and lower gear means you have more revolutions per foot traveled to strip off some of your speed. Bigger cranks and a higher gear means you have less, and therefore (or so I suspect) if your braking is not evenly distributed across the entire crank stroke, then it means you’ve got less time to break optimally. Another way of saying that is if there’s a 2 inch span where your tensed leg is best at killing off some forward momentum, then with the short ring you’re looking at 3 of those spans (at 3 turns per tire length) as opposed to just 2 of those spans on a bigger ring, even though, theoretically, you have the same amount of time in those inches. Weird.
And the longer cranks means my legs are turning bigger circles – which I think is good in the you’re-getting-nearly-no exercise-so-shake-it-up sense. However, it may have implications for my fixed braking/slowing stroke.
I’m also acutely conscious of cornering on the 175s as opposed to the 165s. Seems like there shouldn’t be any problem, but I’m absurdly worried about pedal strike.
I have not yet tried to skid on the new rig. Perhaps a midnight experiment is in order. . .
One reason for the lack of skidding is that I’ve been riding rat traps. So I should switch back to clipless shoes for a bit and see what that does for overall control.
Also, bombing about looking for those calculators, I found an I-restored-an-old-bike site. Awesome work by this guy. I think it’s great, largely because it shows you what you can do with older non-super vintage/collectible bikes (i.e., how great they once were in the day before the paint faded and the chrome/aluminum spotted or oxidized.)
I don’t fall into the serious/quasi-professional restorer class this guy clearly works in, largely due to lack of time, money, and tools. However, as a casual restorer and builder I will say there’s a *lot* of things you can do to net you a cool looking bike, if you're willing to put in the time and do some taking-aparting, detailed cleaning/painting, and some putting-togethering, which this guy obviously did. The work *itself* isn’t all that difficult or complicated once you try, and while I'm glad to note that even he balks at powder painting, it's still nice to see someone with more than casual resources do it right, with attention paid to all the small details. And the best part is he *rides* it. Even if only to the coffee shop. Some people drive SUVs there.
I have to confess, I’m not in the “do it right or not at all” camp for many things. I *am* in that camp for such things as: legal representation of a client, bombing intersections on a bike, and skydiving. But for most other things a Vast Majority approach works pretty well. Is it better to have a hardcore 10% of the population who are All The Time Vegetarian Bike Riders or to have the Vast Majority of people eat sustainable foods and ride bicycles for the Vast Majority of the time? And on the individual level, I think a lot of people, based on that all-or-nothing idea of perfection get discouraged from breaking with the American LCD car-driving, meat-eating, shut away in a/c offices life. Hence my dislike of biker elitism, jargon, parts-as-grams comparisons, and general mystery which excludes people from getting on bikes and starting to pedal them around as part of their life.
Some problems (like FL sinking into the ocean via global warming) are ours to fix. And if we get the slightest gain by people doing one errand per week via bike, that's a gain.
I'd love to see supermarkets and such give discounts to people who a) bring their own bags and b) ride their bikes to the store. Again, it's a small step, but anything to get people out of cars whenever possible is a good thing.
OK - back to it.