Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shimano DH3N70 Generator Hub Installation

I purchased a Shimano DH3N70 generator hub (correction: it's a DH3D71). It's a pre-built wheel from Hiawatha Cyclery. The price was good enough that it wasn't worth seeking a hub, rim, and spokes, then building the wheel myself. I bought it Saturday afternoon, strapped it to my bike, and rode home.

The hub is replacing the battery pack shown here. My current headlight, an Inoled, works with either power source. I will not have to plug the battery in for recharging ever again. I won't have to forget it ever again. The battery pack blocked access to my bottle cage too. No more of that.

Here's a photo of the wheel installed, but no wires are in place yet.

This shows the holes for the wires. At first, I was a little bit lost as to how the get the wires in there.

I found a PDF of the instructions for hooking up the light in a Google search. This looks like a lost Lego part, doesn't it? To remove it from the hub, you just pull it off. It only took a little strength.

It's a two-piece affair. I popped the two pieces apart by pressing a tiny screw driver into a slot on the back of this piece (the slot is not shown in the photo) and prying them apart with my fingernails.

Separated at last.

Then I fed the stripped wire ends into the holes and bent them over into the little channels shown here. At the point this photo was taken, I had only bent over one of the wires. After bending the wires, I snapped the black cap back onto it and plugged it into the fitting on the hub.

I rode it around in the daylight. From what I've read, some people claim that they notice the increased drag. Others say there is no noticeable difference. I couldn't tell during my quickie test ride.

I'll compare its brightness to that of the battery pack tomorrow morning. It'll be an easy comparison, because I can change the power source from the hub to the battery by plugging in the other wire.

Just for fun, I recorded a video showing the drag created by the generator hub. I compare it informally to a conventional hub. I'm not worried about the drag, but I thought it would be nice to show it, because the topic always comes up in conversations about generator hubs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day of the Dead

Here's the skeleton mural I mentioned in my last post. I guessed that it had something to do with the Day of the Dead. Wikipedia helped make it clear for me.

Someday, I'll ride by with a better camera.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today's Ride Home

The wind was at my back on the way home today. It was a very strong wind. The leaves raced me and they usually won. Every once in a while they caught in my fenders and buzzed the tires loudly.

Some people have decorated nicely for Halloween.

The sign says, "Bus stop to HELL" The little kid on the bench has a demon face.
A beautiful day.

These leaves are swirling, but you can't tell in this cell-phone cam shot.

I took this photo of the light rail train from a bike bridge overpass. The cell phone cam can't catch leaves in flight, but it stopped the train.

I had another phone shot of a nice skeleton mural, but my Verizon phone won't mail it to me. I have to email each photo to myself from my cell phone. My phone has a USB jack, but it's disabled by Verizon. Anyhoo, I tried to send the photo of the mural to myself three times. It never shows up.

This is where I park my bike when I pick the kids up from school. The school doesn't have bike racks. I wonder why the kids are so chubby?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Netflix Flicks

I finally signed up for Netflix and this is the first movie I returned: The Fog of War. It's a great documentary. I feel like the topics covered are so important that I should spend time learning more about the questions the film raised.
  • U.S. build up in Vietnam
  • Firebombing of Japanese Cities in WWII
  • The World Bank
  • Curtis Lemay
  • I also watched American Movie. I felt depressed after watching it. I'm still thinking about it and don't know what else to say.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Replacement Camera

I lost my pocket camera this summer. It was a Canon A530. I've been trying to make due with the cell-phone cam since then and it's getting old. The cell-phone cam has lots of shortcomings.

I sold a bike the other night and it occurred to me that I could easily replace the missing camera with the bike money. Today, I went to National Camera to buy a camera that's a step down in the Canon line, the A460. When the salesguy handed it to me I liked the feel of it and that's important. He asked me why I picked that particular model. I explained that I lost an A530 and he told me they had refurbished ones for $90.

To heck with the feel. I'm cheap.

Gimme, gimme, gimme!

I went home, loaded the batteries and walked around the house taking photos. Here are some of the them. Photography is fun.

This dried up rose bud reminds me of a jester's hat.

How do they make red leaves?

The heron.

These leaves are the right color.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Followup on Bus Incident

I received a message from the local bus company (MTC) in response to my complaint about a specific driver. I think it's great that MTC responded. I usually find the MTC bus drivers to be great. It's the school bus drivers that are scary.

The response was from an MTC manager who said she talked to the driver and that the safety specialist would also talk with the driver. I'm satisfied with that. I've ridden the same route and not had any bus troubles again, whatever that's worth.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Ride

Because of the wet trails from days of rain, I didn't ride offroad today. I went for a fun ride in town. I first stopped to watch the Twin Cities marathon with my family. We cheered on the runners. The race passes about 6 blocks from my house.I crossed the path when it was clear enough to not get in the way of runners and rode north on 4th Avenue to the Midtown Greenway bike path. I've never used 4th Ave. as a through street, but I found it to be very nice. Not many cars or lights. Lots of interesting things to see.
The graffiti on this building is really nice. I hope it's OK with the owner.

One portion of today's ride goes through an area of St. Louis Park (or Hopkins) that has lots of elderly living facilities. I saw lots of older people out walking and enjoying the nice day. It immediately reminded me of Ray's comment on visiting people who live in elderly residences.

If you had a scratch-and-sniff monitor, you'd know the cloud above my bike smells like Ovaltine.
While downtown. I found this giant, red garage door. I thought it would be a nice backdrop for the Davidson 650B conversion bike. Instead, the result is that I really hate my cell-phone camera. I have officially started shopping for a replacement for the camera we left on a park bench in Duluth.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Historic Spanish Outpost in Minnesota

A coworker (shown on his bike in the photo) and I rode to lunch today in Roseville where we work. We ate at a Davani's restaurant and discovered an old, Spanish adobe building next door. I had no idea Spanish settlements stretched as far northward as Minnesota.

I did a little research. Here's what I found.

The Spanish moved northward into Iowa and Minnesota in search of a permanent ice supply in the early 1770s. During the summer of 1771 the Spanish government sent a muletrain of 40 soldiers and a priest northward. They crossed the Mississippi River during late October. Winter was approaching so they set up a camp a couple of miles north of the river. They liked the flat ground that allowed them to see all directions. Sadly, their leader, Luis Portola Ortega died of a painful leg infection.

The winter of 1771 was mild allowing them to recuperate from the difficult journey north. Despite the setback of loosing their leader, the explorers flourished. They built wooden cabins using the abundant forests. They trapped beaver for clothing and hunted the plentiful deer population. Spring found them in better condition than in the preceding fall. They decided to turn their encampment into an outpost and named it Santa Muchos Lagos. They rebuilt the wooden buildings using their familiar technique of adobe construction. They also had time to build a little church. The building shown in the photo is believed to be the church, it's not for certain though.

Word of the comfortable settlement traveled back with the ice shipments to the large Spanish towns in the southwest. Settlers began to arrive and it's estimated the population may have reached 200.

The harsh winter of 1773, even by Minnesota standards, caught the newcomers by surprise. They didn't have the experience or proper equipment to withstand the cold. Evidence indicates the settlement was struck by an outbreak of food poisoning. Most of the Spanish explorers and settlers died during the long, snowy winter. The few who lived until spring, headed back south to more comfortable climates as soon as the snow melted. Their trek was slowed by thawing mud. They were forced to leave several other outposts along the way.

This building is the last piece of the Santa Muchos Lagos settlement. If you listen with your heart, you can still hear the voices of the intrepid, Spanish explorers skinning beavers and tending to their mules.

Male Teachers?

Lunatic Biker mentioned something about male teachers on his blog recently. I thought of the male elementary school teachers I had. One guy, Mr. Peavey spanked kids on their birthdays with a paddle. We feared him.

Another guy, Mr. Fero, was a real sicko. I moved to a new neighborhood the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. All summer, I heard from my buddies that you don't want to get Mean Gene Fero for a teacher in 4th grade.

A week before school, they posted the class rosters on the teacher's doors. I walked to school with my friends to look at who I got. I read the roster in front of Mr. Fero's door. My name was on it! I yelled at my buddy down the sidewalk, "I got Mean Gene!" I turned around and saw the janitor scowling at me. My buddy told me later that he wasn't the janitor, he was Mr. Fero. He dressed in gray pants, a gray shirt, and wore a matching gray hat. He looked like the janitor to me.

That was a really crappy way to start a really crappy semester with Mean Gene. I have lots of stories about this guy, but I won't bore you. He and I just didn't ever get along. My dad went to a special teacher conference and met Mean Gene. My dad came back and told me he understood why I was having trouble with my teacher.

The Air Force moved our family at semester and I was saved.

My point: I don't remember any decent male, elementary school teachers. I'm sure they exist, but I didn't have them. I remember plenty of great male teachers in Junior High and High School, though.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Odds and Ends

Yesterday, an MTC bus cut me off. I passed the same bus a couple blocks later and took a cell-phone photo of it. When I got to work, I submitted a complaint using the MTC website. I requested that they contact me. If I hear from them again, I'll mention it here.

I replaced the batteries in my flashing lights last night. What a huge difference it made! I thought they looked OK, but decided to replace them anyway to see if I noticed a difference in brightness. I think the brightness dims so gradually over the course of a few weeks that I don't notice how dim they become. I've tried to think of a way to prevent this and install batteries before it becomes an issue. I'm going to write the date I replaced the batteries on a piece of tape and stick it on one of the lights. That will give me an idea how long the batteries have been in there.
If anyone has other ideas for remembering when to change batteries in the flashing bike lights, let me know.

I was a little late riding in this morning and saw a nice sunrise.
Sunrise over I-35W and Industrial Blvd.

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