Thursday, January 19, 2017

Killing in the name of

Welcome to America - the land of the free! We have our rights guaranteed by the world's first modern democratic constitution. This amazing invention gives us so much freedom and liberty, yet at the same time makes us all equal in obeying the law. At least that's how it was in 1789. In 2017 however, some people are more equal than others.

Senator Jim Tomes (R) of Indiana wants to flush the First Amendment down the drain by introducing Bill 285 that allows police to "deal with traffic obstructions by protestors" (defined as 10 or more people) "by any means necessary".

Similar solution is considered now in North Dakota, where it may be completely legal to run someone down with a car as long as such person is obstructing traffic during a peaceful protest.
Wait, what year is it now? Is it really 2017?

Ah, car traffic. The holiest of American things. We love unobstructed flow of car traffic so much that we designed the entire transportation policy around it. We love our cars so much that soon new generations of Americans will be born with right foot stronger and larger than the left one. And now, we are trying to protect our holy "right" to drive by introducing this convenient option to shoot or run over those unprivileged people with no cars - merely traffic obstructions, not human beings anymore.

Is it just me or is this shit seriously wrong? Or maybe I'm wrong and Jim Tomes just wants to get home early?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SLADDA - transport for Swedish meatballs lovers

Apparently, there is no real winter this year but despite this, the shifter cable on my old Schwinn developed some weather pains. Looks like there must be some water inside the housing that freezes when it gets sufficiently cold. Yesterday morning I had to limp to work in 3rd gear, but as it warmed up significantly during the day, I returned back home with all 3 gears working.

Maybe I could avoid all these problems if I had one of the new IKEA bikes. Yes, IKEA started selling bicycles. The one and only model they offer is called SLADDA, which means "limp forward" in Swedish (Or was it actually "a skid"? Not sure.) and it looks like this:
Interestingly, according to IKEA this vehicle is just a piece of furniture:
Tipping furniture, err.. I mean bike, can kill you. Thank you IKEA for a friendly reminder.

It has two wheels, adjustable stem, both pedals and a fancy forward-propelling device called belt drive, so it's virtually maintenance-free. It has two (2) automatic gears to keep you moving (cleverly hidden in the rear hub) and a set of brakes to make you stop (coaster in the rear, mechanical disc in front). It comes with fenders, lights and even a kickstand. Finally, it can be yours for a total of $499, not counting the optional front and rear racks that will cost you $60 extra. On top of that it's covered by a 25-year warranty on the frame and a 10-year one on the belt drive.

I didn't have a chance to test it in the real life, but it all sounds pretty good on paper. Very good actually.

Of course, there is one question that we have to ask - do we need to first assemble it with the included hex wrench?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Winter rollercoaster

Stupid winter. The air temperature changes more often than politician's opinion. One day it's warmer and everything melts, then the following day it freezes again. The whole cycle then repeats again and again. The result? Ice on bike paths, like the Minuteman Bikeway I use daily. The Bikeway runs through an environmentally protected area, which means that no salt can be used there to melt ice. So basically, riding on the Minuteman this time of the year is more like ice skating.

Lesson learned. I ordered studded tires for my winter bike.

The other problem is even more frustrating. I'd much rather have a winter like two years ago when everything was completely frozen for the whole two months. Otherwise, water gets into all possible gaps during the day, then freezes overnight and I end up not only with frozen shifter cable, but also frozen storage door. This morning, I had to fight with the lock for a few freezing minutes to open my bike garage door. Riding a bicycle to work seemed questionable, at least for a while.

Honestly, it's not my kind of winter (even though it could be far worse, of course). Five American degrees (or -15) this morning, followed by 50F (11C) this Wednesday. Then down to freezing on weekend. It's a winter rollercoaster ride!