a full report of the tour, with pictures, will be put up once i get back.
last thursday mrs. dr. and i left bangkok and made our way to hong kong for 4 days. hk is a crazy city with an interesting mix of eastern and and western cultures. my very good friend from library school lives and works in hong kong and visiting with her was the main purpose of the trip - so seeing her has been a blast. today we'll wander around a bit more before heading back to bangkok and then kuala lumpur
- the friendliest people and verypolite, and at the same time there are those who will hustle you in the blink of an eye - depends where you hang out.
- hot, humid, rains every afternoon
- the food is out of the world everything from inscets to deep fried breads, to the most amazing fruit - hot, sour, salty, sweet and spicey
- caucasian men walking around with thai women and boys are creepy
- luxury to poverty in twelve steps or less
- thai massage is fantastic - and no, i did not get the massage with the "happy ending"
- with my certificate from cooking school i am ready to venture forth in new cusines, now if i can only find some great markets
- traffic lines on the road are only mere suggestions, a free for all that seems to work(those in the lead have the right of way)
- ferrys and boat rides are way to get around
after the first day we are starting to get a little more adventurous with where one can go to eat. hawkers are everywhere and everything they have looks interesting, did not try the variety of insects that went by on the one cart - maybe today though. if you jettison north american concepts of food handling and storage from your consciousness there are great tastes everywhere.
Pretty excited about the bike and I believe Laura will be as well. It comes in at 22lbs the way you see it here, which is not bad for a city/utility bike. Many thanks to Tomek for building the wheels and the gifting me some brakes, the guys in the shop for advice and not laughing (too much) at my silly mistakes, and Matt for the handlebars.
on saturday i was filling up the car with gas before i headed out to bur oak to map the trails with vern from the OCC. as i was filling up with gas, i heard a loud crash coming from the street behind me. i looked over my shoulder to see a bike down on the street in front of a car, the cyclist was sitting on the pavement looking rather stunned. she quickly got up as the driver of the vehicle ran out to see if she was alright. people gathered to offer their assistance so there was no need for me to go over to help. at first i was a little shocked and my sympathy went to the cyclist. i've come very close to this scenario several times and know how disconcerting this is. but then i began to change my mind on what had just happened - you see, the problem was that she was riding her bike on the sidewalk and i soon felt she was the author of her own misfortune. statistics have shown that sidewalks are often less safe than roads for cyclists, this appeared to bear that conclusion. this cyclist was going against the flow of traffic because she was riding on the sidewalk on the south side of Portage Ave traveling west, like a salmon swimming upstream; drivers turning onto Portage would be looking to their left for traffic and not their right. this is not to say the motorist is without fault, it is just the cyclist put herself in a very risky position by riding on the sidewalk. i was glad she was alright, i just think she put herself into a very vulnerable position when she thought she was being safe by riding on the sidewalk.
too many cyclists do not ride with enough precaution and are immediately outraged when they have close calls or encounters with vehicles, but how many times is their own fault?
yesterday's free press had the following letter to the editor, the editorial cartoon, and the front page article on the local section of yesterday's free press - somewhat timely considering what i witnessed on the weekend.
letter to the editor:
Get jerks off sidewalks
E. Rosenberg is right (Put bells on bikes, June 4). I was the other pedestrian who shared his close call while walking on Wellington Crescent last Sunday. Shortly after, I met head-on with a sidewalk cyclist running a large dog on a leash, followed by a caravan of four adults, one trundling a babe in box arrangement at the rear.
How safe is that?
As I pointed out in an article printed in the Winnipeg Free Press in August 2006, cycling on sidewalks is illegal. The provincial Highway Act states, only bicycles with a wheel circumference no greater than 410 mms are allowed on Winnipeg sidewalks. This law is not respected or enforced. Pedestrians are increasingly at risk.
Pedestrian is defined in the Act as "a person afoot or a person in a wheelchair or a child's carriage or physically handicapped person operating a motorized mobility aid." Yes and some of those can slow down too.
The situation is getting worse. Freewheeling on the sidewalk is leading more and more to freewheeling on crosswalks. Try crossing Osborne and River; on second thought, don't. The "blue-haired brigade," which includes me, has a tough enough time beetling across before the lights change without cyclists compounding the challenge.
Why not license bicycles? Plate numbers included. Open cyclists to inspection by police for functioning equipment such as front and rear lights and brakes, a warning device, knowledge of road rules and adherence to speed limits.
Dedicated cyclists, who are the majority, would gain from this elevated profile. It would increase public respect for them, emphasize their legal right to safe passage on the road and enhance their campaign for more dedicated cycle paths. Let's work together to get the jerks off the sidewalks.
article on city councilors cycling to work
laura is receiving the benefits of my need and addiction of building bikes. is it more bike than she needs - she seems to think so, but i would argue that sh will be getting a kick-a** bike that should last a long long time. doesn't matter who you are, you got to appreciate a well built bike that is going to be easy and comfortatble to ride.
in case you are wondering here is the tubing that is being used for the bike (from Mike's email)
"I have some sweet tubing here that I have been hanging onto, and this could be the perfect bike for it.DT, TT and seatstays are all Tange Prestige- the origional stuff, made in Japan, super strong and medium light weight.Seat tube - Reynolds 631 ,externally butted.Chainstays - true temper HOX2 - these are bent specifically for 29" wheels, which is perfect in this case"more to follow...
Blow Them Away, curated by Diana McIntosh
WHEN: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 8 pm
WHERE: Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall, U of W
TICKETS: Adult: $19 / Senior: $17 /Student: $9
The exciting international duo of Allen Harrington, saxophone, and Laura Loewen, piano, our featured artists, will 'blow you away' with their breath-taking artistry, virtuosity and musicality. They'll amaze you with their expressive and dramatic powers in works by Belgian composer Piet Swerts and Jean-Luc Fafchamps, French composer Jean-Pierre Leguay and Canadians Robert Lemay and Diana McIntosh. Winnipeg's own colourful clarinetist Patricia Daniels will join Diana in the premieres of pieces for clarinet and piano by Sid Robinovitch and Allan Bell.
Allen Harrington, saxophones
Patricia Daniels, clarinet
Laura Loewen, piano
Diana McIntosh, piano
started a new training regime - i've constructed an oxygen deprivation system, using WWII surplus materials, which i use when i am on the trainer while the weather continues to be crappy. i'm hoping that this will boost my red blood cell count thereby delivering more oxygen to my aging muscles and allowing me to keep up to the younger set in expert.
the show was very cool with a ton of amazing bikes. it was pretty crowded, but if you were patient you could talk to the various frame builders who were more than happy to chat. in addition to the bike builders there were also reps from components such as: paul, velo orange, chris king, white industries, etc.
following a quick lunch i was back on the road. durham was still 10 hours away, which meant it was going to be a long day of driving.
on monday chris and i headed out for a little 'spring classics' style riding, durham has plenty of paths to cycle on and we tooled around on these for a few hours. the other thing durham has is hills and i quickly discovered that riding around winnipeg in winter does not prepare one well for riding hills
we arrived in pisgah shortly after lunch and started on the first ride. the way it works here is you climb for 40 - 60 minutes and then spend the next 20 bombing down single track.
day three we picked a couple of new trails and continued the modus operandi of riding fire roads up and bombing down technical single track for the descents. the arms were getting quite the workout as i rode rigid for the entire 3 days
it was a great trip and many thanks to chris and alex for taking time off so they could show this flatlander around the great trails of the pisgah national forest.
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the plan is to leave on friday at noon, and weather permitting, make it as far as madison WI before i stop for the night. the next morning i plan to get to indianapolis in time to take in the north american handmade bike show. after a couple of hours there i will try and make the push to mr. dr's place. the next 5 days will be spent biking on the road in the mountains before i make the long journey back.
after some time fooling around in the with the brake on the frame i came up with a design and sent it off to mike. on monday mike sent me the photos of what he did based on the drawing i sent.
the first photo looked pretty good, showing the mount that he had milled for me.
the next photo - oops. seems like i forgot to take into consideration the cylinder for the brake and as you can see in the next photo i don't quite get all the use of the slot i designed for the brake mount. this is why professionals get the big bucks for what they do, they take into consideration things like this and design and build systems that have taken these things into account.
the good thing though, i had put in a longer arc than i needed. mike saw that, and positioned the brake mount in such a way a that it works - thank god for people who help me solve problems that i create for my self.