Sunday, August 6

Plastic Fantastic

FAIL of the Plastic Tire Iron

The first thing I needed to do to the Univega was get the front tire to hold air. Accordingly, I removed the tire and tube. I found out the tire had an oversize tube, so I simply replaced the tube with a new one of the correct size. Along the way, I discovered that my plastic "tire iron" wasn't up to the job. Note to self: carry a plastic tire iron on the road, but keep the steel ones to use at home when a "real fix" is necessary. I guess there's a reason that steel "iron" was used back in the day instead of the plastic they give you nowadays.

Along the same line, our Jaguar car club had its annual show yesterday. One of the cars, a mid 1950's XK 140 emphasized the theme of this post. From a distance, it looks like the car has some gold trim. You can see it below.

Note Gold Color Around the Headlights and Turn Signals
However, if you look closer, you can see a statement is being made.

Some Things Were Done Differently Back in the Day...

Tuesday, July 4

Hawaiian Rescue Bike

I really don't go around garage sales looking for bikes or bike stuff. However, once in a while something drops into my lap affordably enough that I have a hard time passing it by. Ocean Shores, being a tourist town, has GOBS of garage sales on holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Oddly, it doesn't seem to have nearly so many on the town's biggest holiday; Flag Day.

This particular example showed up over the weekend. Apparently its owners traveled, with a bicycle registration from Fort Collins, Colorado. Relevant to this post's title, it also had a "Bicycle License" from Honolulu, Hawaii. According to the script on the "License," it expired on December 31, 1990. Apparently, Hawaii has changed its laws, since nowadays, the city imposes a $15 "permanent" fee, as noted here. This is also enshrined in STATE law, documented here. Apparently, the most recent change was effective starting this year. Apparently you can be tasered and jailed for not having a bike license in Hawaii, or more likely they'll just take away your bike and sell it as described here. I thought about trying to contact Honolulu to see what records they had on it, but nearly 30 years after the "license" expiration, I decided that some things are better just left alone. You can't see it in the photo, but Hawaiian bike licenses didn't use to be permanent since there's another one underneath. Like car license tabs in many states, each year they use a new color.

But I digress. The bike's asking price was $25, but the seller readily accepted $20. There were a few other bikes up for sale, but they were all junk bikes. The bike is a Univega. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Univega was pretty popular in the 1980's. Unlike many other Japanese brands, Univega didn't build their own bikes. Instead, they contracted with other companies, notably Miyata. These bikes were built to Univega's specifications. Technically, Univega wasn't a Japanese brand, as it was started by an Iraqi immigrant, Ben Lawee. Univega headquarters was in Signal Hill, California and it was Ben that designed the bikes built by Miyata.

Still, the bikes, after an early period in which they were imported from Italy as "Italvega," were pretty purely built entirely in Japan. In the late 1980's, manufacture moved to Taiwan and the company was bought by Raleigh in the mid 1990's. Raleigh discontinued the brand around 2000 or so.

This particular bike had a flat front tire upon purchase, along with surface rust that you can see in the various photos. It also looks like it had a peg-mounted pump at one time.

The bike is a mixte frame, and uses Suntour ARX derailleurs. It rides on 27" Araya rims and uses middling Dia Compe brakes. I think the pedals originally had toe clips since there are pedal reflectors only on one side of each pedal. You can see the Lawee imprent in the "Lawee design" decal on the chainstay.

Suntour ARX Derailleurs. Designed by "Lawee design"
Just a Touch of Drivetrain Rust! However, Everything Works
You can see there will be a bit of rust removal necessary on this bike's drivetrain, which has suffered over the years in the humid climates of Hawaii and Ocean Shores. Though it is an early 80's design, it does have a six-speed freewheel. That's particularly convenient since my daughter's bike has Shimano shifting indexed for six speeds. The Univega's Suntour has no indexing so I plan to swap the freewheels.

One oddity is the saddle on the Univega. I suspect it is something the bike acquired during the years. It's a fairly low end mattress saddle. Actually, it might work well in Ocean Shores, since the place isn't all that big anyway.

Vinyl Saddle by "Bike Extras Cycle Products Co"

Monday, June 19

Bicycle Mystery

In response to my "Goodbye to Old Friends" post, Whareagle made a comment from which I quote:

  • "whareagle said...  Dude - go to "Google Trends" and type in 'cycling', then focus in on the US, then Texas, and set the date to 2004-present. We're F'ed. The US is F'ed in regards to cycling, and Texas is REALLY F'ed.  I'm out of business. I got a call from TWO other Level 1 coaches, asking for work..."

At the time, I advised against panic (I've been known to cite Google Trends myself, such as here and here), even though he was completely correct in his observation of the Google trends.  These are shown in the two graphics below, along with "bicycle" for comparison
US Google Trends for bicycle and cycling. Bicycle now sits at 33% of its Peak

Things Look EVEN WORSE in Texas, Where Bicycle has dropped to 25% of its Peak
Things certainly look dark for those of us that frequently use human-powered two wheeled vehicles for transport. However, things are not always as bleak as they first appear. To check things out a little more thoroughly, I tried a couple of similar, but different search terms, adding "Bicycle" as a topic rather than a search term, and also "bike" as a comparitive search term. THAT shows a rather different story
Searching for the Term "Bike" Suggests Searches are 76% of the Peak
I checked further, Looking at my old post, I decided to see how the term "vampire" has fared over time, since it was more popular than "cyclist" back when I posted here. Well, instead of cyclist and vampire in Texas as I used then, I used bike and vampire in Texas. The results are shown below:

As you may note, the term "bike" is still sitting at 69% of its peak, while interest in "vampire" has dropped to 29% of its peak. My point? I think panic is premature and we'd be wise to not get too thrilled with cycling-related results from Google Trends.
Vampires Seem to be Disappearing from Texas!

Friday, May 26

Spring Locals and Alien Invaders

Rhododendrons are the Quintessential Pacific Northwest Shrub and Flower

The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful plants to be found anywhere. Besides obvious choices such as the rhododendron at the top of this post, even our evergreens have color not often appreciated or commented on.
Until They Turn Into Cones, Pine Flowers are an Attractive Yellow

These are Past Their Peak, When They'd Almost be Pink

However, we also have alien invaders. As you may see below, the lillies in front of the rhodie are not native. Ubiquitous also are things such as Himalayan Blackberries and Scotch Broom. The Scotch Broom adds a lot of color this time of year, as it grows in recently cleared areas. Blackberries also grow in clearings until local plants reclaim them.

Native and Foreign - Lillies in Front of a Rhododendron

Wild Invader - Flowering Scotch Broom in an Empty Lot.
At Least They don't have Stickers Like Blackberries, but They don't have Fruit, Either
Heck, as noted in my previous post, here, we've even got a few palm trees up here...

Sunday, May 21

Losing Another Opportunity in Texas

From time to time, I make a post lamenting how our fellow people needlessly miss opportunities to make communities easier and safer for people not in cars to get around. For example, here, I showed how a brain-damaged developer in Keller put up a fence that prevented kids in the development from walking to a school (in the same development) a couple of hundred feet away and how the locals cut a hole in the school fence to allow kids to walk. A couple of years later, here, I showed how our local city spent a lot of money on a road "improvement" that turned a local street into something hostile to safely and legally operating cyclists, not to mention driveways that cut across the remaining sidwalks. In that post, one thing I noted was the "Cute Path to Nowhere." That path runs in my own development, but it doesn't go anywhere. It simply turns around.

Things seem to be getting closer to home. Right next to my development, someone got approval to put in a "gated" community. Gated communities are an excuse, IMO, to avoid integrating with the local community. People buy there to feel "safer." Well, maybe, or maybe it simply satisfies the urge to "be better." Few gated communities help anybody but themselves. The "Strong Towns" blog has noted this repeatedly. ONE example is noted here.

In this case, I fear the opportunity to connect with a newly building shopping center via foot or bike will soon be lost. The "Cute Path to Nowhere" may become the "Cute Path to Nowhere That COULD have Served All of Us." I brought this up at our HOA meeting a while back, but I didn't sense any urgency on the topic from our HOA board. They seemed more concerned that someone would use this "back route" to enter our HOA neighborhood rather than the far simpler access via city streets. Whatever...

In the top photo, you can see the end of the "Cute Path to Nowhere" at location 1. The photo below is take from location 1 towards the disappearing forest that's getting taken by the gated community.

Photo looking from Location 1 Towards the Disappearing Forest
Locations 2, 3, and 4 show views where the forest has been chopped down, as seen just beyond the end of the "Cute Path to Nowhere"

Photo 2, Showing the End of the New Cul de Sac. Oddly, There's no Fence Here

Photo 3, Looking Northeast Where a Pedestrian Bridge Would be WONDERFUL, but There Won't be One.
Colleyville Parks Said "No"

Photo 4 - Looking East Along the New Subdivision "Back Wall" and the Start of the Fence
Finally, Photos 5 through 7 show just how easy it would to add a crushed gravel path to connect to a MUP (Photo 8) the city REQUIRED the developer to put in.

Photo 5. Looking East Along the New Subdivision Fence
Photo 6. Interestingly, the City Required no Erosion Control.
Note how the Developer Protected the Side Toward the "Back Wall"
While doing Nothing on the other Side of the Stream.
I Suspect Someone Will Regret that Choice

Photo 7. The Eastern End of the "Back Wall" Looking Toward Heritage Avenue
Photo 8 - Looking North Along the MUP that the "Path to Nowhere" Fails to Connect.
New Shopping Mall is Ahead and to the Right. A Short Walk.

Bird's Eye View of the Disappearing Forest
For reference, a "bird's eye view" of the area from Google Maps is shown above.