Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review - It's All About the Bike

I just finished reading this book while on vacation last week. Don't confuse it with the book "It's Not About the Bike" which was written by Lance Armstrong about his comeback after fighting cancer to win the Tour de France. This book is written by a man named Robert Penn, who apparently has ridden his bicycle almost all of the way around the world. (If I remember correctly, he made it to India but decided to stop for some reason) He often refers to his experiences on his ride throughout the pages.

It's All About the Bike follows Penn around the world as he seeks to build his dream bike. He buys a custom built frame in England, a headset in Portland, OR, a drive train in Italy, and custom wheels in California just to name a few. In doing so, he delves not only into what type of parts he wants and why, but the history of the bicycle itself. He has done a lot of research into how the bicycle has become the machine it is today, virtually unchanged in form for more than 100 years. These facts and his opinions are presented in a very entertaining manner, for the most part.

The book is very tailored to a reader who loves bicycles. I don't know who else would enjoy reading 36 pages about the history of the bicycle handlebar and steering developments. But if it's your thing, this book is well worth your while. Just as a note, Penn's completed custom dream bike ends up costing him only around 5500 dollars. This may seem like a lot at first thought, but take a trip to your local bike shop and I can almost guarantee that there are bikes in there that sell for around 8000 dollars. Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the bike.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My First Century Ride: ULCER 2011

- Disclaimer -
This post is long, and there's only one picture, and it's a picture of a computer. I will not be held responsible if you read the whole thing and then feel like you wasted your time. It's not my fault that you wasted your time reading this. Just saying...

For all of you who have been in contact with me over the past few months, you may have heard about the ULCER. ULCER stands for: Utah Lake Century Epic Ride. A "century" is what bike riders call a ride of 100 miles, as you may have guessed. My friend Garrett, my brother-in-law David, and I all signed up to do the ULCER, which was held on August 6. It cost about 60 bucks to register, which made it easier to make myself prepare for it (even though I really didn't do all that much) so that my money didn't go to waste. As you may know, it is now after August 6, which means that the ride is over. This post is a description of my experience on the ride so that you all can read about it.

Friday evening, my friends and I drove up to Thanksgiving Point in Lehi in order to pick up our ride materials consisting of a rider registration number tag to attach to our bikes, our "free" shirt, some advertisements, and a listing of the rules for the ride. I also had to sign a paper acknowledging that I knew that I could get killed and promise not to sue them if anything happened to me. My friend Garrett drove us up there and as we made our way up and back from Lehi all I could think about was how long it was taking to drive there and that I would have to ride on my bicycle all that distance and much, much more the next day.

After getting back from that, I began gathering all of the things that I would need for the next day. Sunglasses, bike pump, helmet, gloves, water bottles, tools, spare tubes, patch kit, etc. We planned on leaving our apartment around 5:40 to get there by 6:10 so I got to bed around 10:30, I think. During the night I slept pretty well, but I woke up probably 3 times between 3:30 and when my alarm went off at 5:00. Luckily I was able to fall right back asleep each time. The way I was feeling kind of reminded me of the way I felt when I was younger on the day before leaving on vacation or before a big wrestling tournament or something.

Once my alarm went off, I was up and out of bed. I first tried to force myself to eat some good food for breakfast. I think I ended up eating a few pieces of toast along with one or two strawberries. I hoped that would be enough, along with the large portion of spaghetti from the night before, to get me through the first portion of the race. I grabbed the clothes that I set out the night before and got dressed, then put one last shot of lube on my chain, grabbed all of my junk, and raced out to Dave's car at 5:45. (I'm always a little late)

I had a feeling of doom and gloom sweep over my body as I sat in the car, riding to Thanksgiving Point. It was as if I were being transported to a camp where I would be doing hard labor all day. I was still excited, but I knew that I was in for a long, hard day of riding and I had never done more than about 61 miles in a single day before. Eventually that feeling wore off, but it was replaced by a feeling of absolute inferiority. When we pulled into the parking lot near the starting line, we saw hundreds of riders on bikes that cost more than my car. Everyone was decked out in matching kits (bike shorts and jerseys). I felt out of my league as we got out of the car and started getting our bikes down.

We rode up to the main pavilion to meet Garrett before the ride started. At the pavilion there was an assortment of bagels, muffins, fruit, and drinks. I supplemented my earlier breakfast with a half muffin (1/4 blueberry, 1/4 poppy seed), some orange juice, and a handful of grapes. I have come to love eating grapes before my rides because they are full of water and they seem to give me magical strength while I am riding. After this, we made our way to the starting line to wait for our chance to depart.

The people who registered to ride as a team were allowed to begin leaving at 6:30, and after all of the teams left, individuals were allowed to leave. We made it to the starting area right as they announced that individual riders could leave. They started out approximately 100 riders every 5 minutes or so, and we got to start in the first group almost exactly at 6:45. There were a lot of people surrounding me as we rolled out under the starting banner where the antennas attached to our rider number officially started our time. Luckily I remembered to reset the odometer on my bike computer so that I could get a real recording of my ride statistics.

The first 10 miles, or so, of the ride were pretty much a blur. With so many other cyclists around you, it's harder to stay with your friends than you would think. Dave went a little slower at the start because he wanted to give his legs some time to warm up before getting up at a quick pace. Garrett jumped ahead of me and I was content to stay in between them (mainly because I didn't have a tire pump with me, so if my tire popped I would need one of them to stop and let me use their pump). Riding in a large group was some of the most fun I've had in a while. There were always people passing people and resting behind people. Pretty soon, I jumped in behind a group of riders and off we went. I passed Garrett sometime and before I knew it, we passed the first rest stop at 16 miles in. I pulled off a little bit and waited for Garrett and Dave to catch up.

Garrett spotted me and pulled up next to me, but when Dave showed up, he was apparently warmed up because he just flew around the corner and was out of sight. I took off after him and Garrett followed. Eventually I caught up to him, and together we pushed on to the rest stop at 25 miles. There, we all got off of our bikes and rested for about 5 or 10 minutes. I helped myself to a few quarter peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some grapes and some Gatorade and water. We all still felt good, so we jumped back on the bikes and set off again.

After a few minutes, we again got separated and I think that I ended up between Garrett and Dave. This stretch of the road took us out of the semi-inhabited neighborhoods between Lehi and Provo and down next to Utah Lake. Again, I jumped behind another rider, this one wearing clothes announcing himself as a fat cyclist, and started passing people. It was around this point that we passed the first photographer out on the course. I was going to pose, but I still felt like a newbie rider and I didn't know if posing was looked down upon. So I just tried to make myself look like I had done these long rides several times before and I rode on.

I don't remember much about the ride from here until the next rest stop except that I ended up getting there first. There was a big line to refill water bottles, so I started waiting and as I waited, both Garrett and Dave rolled up. We didn't take long at this stop because we were all still feeling good. I believe the stop was at about 38 miles and the next would be at 48 miles, just under half-way through the ride. I decided to stick back with Dave and not worry about going fast, something that I would decide several more times over the remainder of the ride.

As we set off for this leg, the large group had somewhat dissipated. Some riders were registered for the 35 or 60 mile route and had turned off the 107 mile route and the rest of the group was beginning to string out along the road. I hung back and took it easy for a bit, but when people started passing me, I jumped in behind them and rode on their wheel so I wouldn't have as much wind resistance. This was good for me, but again I ended up on the road without either of my friends. I just hung out behind a guy who was doing a pace that I liked and pedaled along. About this time, I realized that I hadn't put any sunscreen on and that the left side of my body was getting a lot of sun (since we were riding South, for the most part).

I stuck behind the man in front of me until I saw a long gradual incline in front of us. I'm generally a little quicker on uphill climbs, so I jumped around him and rode through to the next group in front of me. There, I caught up with Garrett and we rounded a corner to see a little more uphill. I wasn't paying attention and I almost missed the turn off of the main route for the next rest stop. 48 miles (approximately) down! Half way (almost) and I was feeling fine. This rest stop was well stocked with lunchy foods like pasta salad, sandwiches, chips, cookies, pretzels, fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit, and sports drinks. I think I ate a cookie, some pasta salad, several quarter PB&J's, some grapes, a few handfuls of pretzels, and mixed up some fresh Gatorade for my bottle. Aside from food, I also found a table full of different bug repellents and sun block. I helped myself and felt better about my chances to not get burned. The one drawback to this rest stop was that we had to go down a huge hill to the beach area where it was set up, which means we had to ride back up it to get back to the trail. The next rest stop was scheduled for mile 72 in Elberta, Utah, and I knew from looking at a map beforehand that this would be the hardest leg of the route, through Genola and Goshen and up to Elberta. This leg would also put me over 61 miles for my longest single day bike ride in my life. 24 miles to the next stop, and we were off.

We got up the hill to the route and went about 4-5 miles when all of a sudden, I heard a loud "PSSSSSSSSSSssssssssss!" My initial thought was, "I hope that wasn't me!" But I looked down and saw my front tire rapidly flattening. I quickly applied the brakes and stopped. I was glad I didn't lose control and crash. Luckily, I was together with both Dave and Garrett, so they stopped with me while I changed my tube. When I got it out of the tire, I saw a large, 30 mm rip in the tube. I don't know haw it happened, but I was glad to have a spare tube with me. So I put in the new one, pumped up and we were back on the road. The great thing was that almost every group of riders that passed us on the side of the road at least yelled out to us to make sure we had all of the tools that we needed to fix it. I was happily surprised with how nice everyone was. Luckily that flat tire was all of the mechanical difficulty that any of us had all day.

The leg we were on was very rough roads and there were multiple cattle guards which I was afraid would shake parts right off of my bike. The leg had several climbs, which I enjoyed. After my flat, I think Garrett was anxious to get moving again and he took right off from us. Eventually I made my way up to the front of a group of riders and I couldn't see anyone else in front of me. So I had to be careful to not lose the path because everyone else was following me. After much climbing, there was a big downhill which was a welcome relief for my legs. But after that, we turned onto an old highway which was a long steady gradual hill. I got stuck out on the road all alone, with nobody to break the wind for me. The long slope began to take its toll on me, but it did on others too and soon I had caught up to a group of three that I hunkered in behind. I noticed that I was getting pretty short on water. A gas station appeared and I saw several bikes parked out front, but no food or water. I knew it wasn't the stop, so I kept on going even though those in front of me stopped. Just about a mile past that gas station, I rounded a corner and saw the real rest stop, with Garrett waiting. It turns out he got locked in on someone else's wheel who pulled him all of the way up the hill.

We waited there for Dave, I put on some more sun block and used the restroom. I also ate some more PB&J, pretzels, and grapes and topped off my water. I was definitely winded by this point. That long hill really took it out of me. I knew now that we were at the highest point on the journey and it was all downhill from there. Well, almost all downhill. It was also good to know that there were 3 more stops (80 miles, 90 miles, and 100 miles).

Garrett and I took off without Dave from Elberta (he told us it was ok) and we were really cooking. I should mention how hard it was to start riding again after each stop. My legs would get all well and rested, but getting them to push the pedals around again was more difficult after each stop. Once they got going, I was fine, but just getting them going was the hard part. Anyways, we were really cooking. A couple passed us, but a little bit down the road, we caught them and just sat behind them. Their pace was really comfortable for me and we chugged along with them for about 10 or 15 minutes. I gave a glance backwards to check how Garrett was doing, but he was nowhere to be seen, which was really confusing since he had been there just a minute before. I looked backwards and saw he was about 400 yards behind me, and off of his bike.

I turned around and started riding back to him, thinking that he had a flat tire or something, but when I was about 100 yards from him, he got back on and slowly started riding towards me. So I turned back around and rode slowly so that he could catch up. When he caught up, he told me that all of a sudden, his energy just totally left him and he got very light-headed. He had stopped and stuffed down some type of energy bar. A few minutes later, he seemed to be back to normal. We passed the stop at 80 miles, thinking that it wasn't the real stop because it was really at about 78 instead of 80. My water was getting warm, which made it hard to drink. Around this point I was getting really hot so I was pouring more of my water on me than I was drinking it. Garrett recovered nicely from his fatigue and left me in his dust. I caught up to him at the 90 mile stop. Dave also caught us here.

It was at this stop that I made my huge blunder. I got off of my bike and walked over to the water to refill my bottles. Since the water was warm, I opened my bottles and dumped them out on the way. I poured a full bottle and a little bit out on the gravel only to discover that there was no water in the jugs to refill with. Apparently this was the exact stop where they ran out of water the year before. It was getting later in the day (around 1 pm) and it was warm, and I had no more water. So we had to wait while some volunteers drove from other rest stops with more water. All the while, I tried to eat grapes, but all I really wanted was pretzels which made me more thirsty. In the end, more water showed up with ice and I was able to refill both of my bottles. We all cheered the guy who unloaded the water.

With that, we all set off again. I once again decided to ride with Dave since I figured his wife and Shanna would be waiting together at the end of the ride to see us finish. Again however, I took off on a climb and was alone on the road. This next-to-last leg took us in to Saratoga Springs. It was pretty hilly. No huge climbs, but lots of smaller ups and downs which I normally like, but was not so excited for after 90 miles of riding already. Once I got over the last hill, I noticed my stomach really starting to hurt. I coasted most of the way down and struggled the last few miles in to the final rest stop at 100 miles. I had the joy to watch my bike computer tick over from 99.99 miles to 100.00 just before the rest stop. Hooray! my first real century. Now I just had to finish.

At this final stop, I felt really hungry. I figured this was why my stomach was hurting. It kind of felt like right before dinner on a fast Sunday. So, I pounded a full PB&J, a bag of chips or two, several Oreos, some pretzels, a rice crispies treat and got some Gatorade. My stomach felt a little bit better so I figured this was the problem. Garrett took off from the final stop without us, and me and Dave left together a few minutes later. This time I truly decided to stay with Dave to the finish.

We hopped up on our bikes and set off on the final 7 miles. Instantly, I knew something was not good. My stomach was on fire. I felt hungry, bloated, and nauseous all at the same time. I really struggled for a few miles. I kind of got a second wind and we started moving quicker. We crosses Pioneer Crossing and started riding through a neighborhood. We could feel how close we were getting. Dave asked if we were getting a tailwind, to which I replied, "I think so." About a half mile before the end, we rounded a corner and then another so that we had turned a full 180 degrees. After this we knew we had been having a pretty good tailwind because it had turned into a strong headwind. What a horrible way to finish a long race, directly into the wind. A very large and round man passed us on this last stretch and I wondered how he had been able to do all that I had just done. He must have had some strong legs. Over the last quarter mile, I accelerated a little to catch a couple who was in front of me. Seeing the finish banner and Shanna and Calvin on the side of the road, I felt a huge welling of emotion within me. Pride, relief, happiness, joy, gratitude. I don't know exactly what it was. I didn't cry, but I just felt good. I don't think Shanna saw me pass, as she was tending to Calvin, but I passed by her and under the banner stopping my time at about 7 hours and 58 minutes. Dave finished shortly after (15 seconds back or so).

A lady handed us a sticker right as we finished, for putting on our car to advertise the race. I rode over to Shanna, chatted for a minute, then Dave and I rode to the car and put our bikes on the holder. Then, with Shanna, Calvin, and Amanda (Dave's wife) we went over to the celebratory all-you-can-eat pasta lunch. I got a big bowl of Alfredo pasta, but could only eat about 8 bites. After about 30 minutes of talking and relaxing together, we took off and went home.

All in all, I consider the ride a success. Not only because I finished, but because I enjoyed it enough to want to do it again. I don't want to do it again soon, but I think I would enjoy doing one of these rides every year. It would be great for helping me stay in shape. I just want to be a little bit more prepared for the next one I do. Here is a picture of my bike computer at the end of the day. It shows a total of 109.61 miles ridden. This probably is a little bit over what I actually rode. The paper about the course we got said it was 105 miles, the all of the signs along the route said 107. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was over 100. On a side note the lifetime odometer on my bike is at 982 miles. In a week or so, I should tick over to 1000 miles ridden on my bike. That's pretty cool.

A few extra notes on the ride:

1. Only the back of my knees and my bum were sore the next day (Sunday). By Monday, I felt totally fine.

2. I think my stomach pain was caused by dehydration, which caused me to get gassy.

3. That night my friend Garrett ate 2 bowls of pasta (at the party), a stake meal at Outback, a chocolate milkshake from McDonalds, 4 bagels, and more. I only had 8 bites of pasta and half of a Costa Vida salad (I usually finish my whole salad and Shanna's if she lets me). It wasn't until Monday that my appetite really came back.

4. Sorry there are not many pictures here. Here is a link to see the pictures the photographers along the route took of me. In two of the pictures, you can almost see Garrett. He's the one in the yellow shirt.

Friday, June 17, 2011

CAD model of Paintball Gun

Here are the final pictures of my paintball gun modeled up in the computer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New parts

New paintball gun parts modeled: The fore grip and mount (Sorry it's so small. Click it to see the normal size)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Next Project

I have started a project this summer with the hopes of entering the final result into a competition to win an Ipod Touch. The project is that I am modeling my paintball gun in CAD. Then I will render it to make it look really slick and enter it into a visualization competition that Siemens, the company who makes the CAD system I use (NX), puts on. I haven't done much interactive CAD modeling since I took ME 172 in 2006, so I'm hoping this will help me remember some of my lost interactive CAD modeling skills. If you don't know, I do lots of CAD every day, but most of the stuff I do is writing computer programs to do what I want to do. Mainly I am posting pictures on here to show Shanna because she was wondering if I had modeled any cool parts yet.

This is the knob that controls the speed of the paintballs.

This is a guard on the back of the gun that protects the hammer.

This is the hammer that pushes the paintballs out of the barrel.

This is the barrel.

So I haven't modeled a ton of parts yet, or done much to make them look realistic, but it's coming along. Maybe I'll post more here as I go.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Disc Golf - Spanish Fork Course

Yesterday I had the chance to go down to Spanish Fork in order to play their disc golf course. I went disc golfing a few weeks ago with some friends from my church up in American Fork and every since then, I have been itching to go again. I've been reading about the different types of discs that are out there and which disc is good for what.

I decided that I wanted a few more to try out, so I placed an order online to get two new discs. One was the Discraft Buzzz which seems to be one of the best all-around discs on the market. I also picked up the Innova Starfire which is supposedly the best for sidearm throwers, which is me. Surprisingly, even though the order was received on Monday, the discs arrived by mail on Thursday. Perfect timing, I thought, as I got excited about giving the discs a try on Saturday morning.
I had invited about 50 people to go with me, but all refused. So I got up bright and early at 7:00 and set off on my own. The course is located just off of the old highway (89) by some railroad tracks just outside of Spanish Fork Canyon. The course is built around an old gravel pit at the mouth of the canyon. It was pretty easy to find and I was somewhat surprised that I was the only person there on a Saturday morning. As I sat in my car getting my stuff ready, I chalked my being alone to the fact that it was still fairly early in the morning. When I finally got out of my car, my reasoning was proven to be wrong.

As I stepped out onto the course, I was met by gale force winds. Immediately, I realized that I was the only one on the course because the wind was blowing at around 30 miles per hour. It turns out that I picked the exact wrong time to go to that course. The chart below shows the average wind speed at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon by season as a function of the time of day. And as you can see, 7:00 am is right at the peak of the wind speed curves for each season. I don't know if it's spring or summer right now, but the wind almost knocked me over at times, so I would assume the wind on Saturday was summer wind. It's no wonder they installed a bunch of wind generators there.

Being the trooper that I am, and not wanting all the gas I used to go to waste, I stayed and played the round of 18 holes. I actually pared several of the holes. But most of the time, the wind had its way with me. The wind caused several things to happen depending on what disc I threw or how I threw it. Sometimes it would lose all lift and just drop 5 feet almost instantly, sometimes the wind would double the lift and throw the disc sky high. On throws with any rotation relative to the ground at all, the wind would stop all forward motion and rotate the trajectory almost 90 degrees.

There are two throws that typified my day. The first throw was actually pretty decent. It went straight about 60 yards and then skipped across the ground to within about 20 feet of the basket. However, as it skipped the wind picked up and lifted it about 10 feet off of the ground where another gust pushed it backwards and to the left, causing it to move off of the hill top "green" and roll down the hill until my new position was slightly shorter than 60 yards from the basket and much farther to the left. Of course, my next throw then had to be made directly into the wind.

My second representative throw was made from about 30 yards from the basket. This throw was made directly into the wind. There was a telephone throw about 20 yards ahead on my right. After I released the disk I could see it drifting right, but I thought it would miss the pole. It didn't. It nicked the pole, which opened up the bottom of the disk to a nice gust. The gust pushed the disc up and backwards. The disc came to rest about 15 yards behind where I actually threw it from originally.

So that was basically my day. The course I thought would be really fun if it weren't so windy. It was built around a gravel pit, so while down in the pit, the wind wasn't quite so bad. However, most of the tees and baskets were up an top of hills, which made it really hard to put and drive effectively. I was really happy with the pars that I did get though and I'd love to play there again without the wind.

On a side note, because of the gravel and wind, I decided not to try my new discs out in order to preserve their newness and not subject them immediately to dings, chips, and scratches. Maybe next time...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Winter Driving Courtesy

Last night I made a trip to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law. The part I dreaded about the trip was the winter weather that we have had the past few days. I don't like driving in the snow, especially when there are other people driving in snow. Luckily, last night there was only one stretch of the highway that had visible snow on the road. I took note of some things as I was driving that really bug me about driving in the winter, particularly when other drivers do, or don't do, them. It annoys me when:

1. Drivers don't knock off those huge ice chunks behind their wheels (see picture below). - First of all, those things look disgusting. Secondly, when you are driving down the freeway at 55 miles per hour on an icy road and you hit a pot hole those big chunks fall off. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREEWAY. This leaves anywhere from one to four basketball-sized hunks of black/brown ice right in front of the Altima behind you. You may say, but if it's an SUV behind me, it's no big deal. However you would be wrong because eventually there will be an Altima behind you. And that Altima will have to either swerve out of the way (not a great idea on a crowded icy freeway) or hold its breath and hope the ice doesn't knock its exhaust pipe off. So next time you go to drive your car, kick those sick chunks of crap off of your wheel wells. Or park next to me, because I kick them off of cars I walk past too.

2. Drivers only scrape a basketball-sized hole in the ice on their windshield, like this guy. - I really don't get this one. There is absolutely no way the driver of a car like that can see anything but a round patch of pavement directly in front of their hood. I mean, they don't even scrape any off of the driver's window to look beside them. My guess is that they think their defroster will get rid of all of the ice during their 10 minute drive to wherever. But when the ice is thick and covered in snow, it doesn't. I walk to school for the most part during the winter. I see these cars drive by all the time and I stay as far away from them as possible.

3. Drivers don't scrape the snow and ice off of their whole car. This one specifically refers to when they are driving on the freeway. In the morning to drive 5 minutes on surface streets to school, I don't care about this one. But if you're going to drive on the freeway, I think you should clear the snow and packed ice off of your whole vehicle. Why? Because going 65 miles per hour, it all blows off anyway, on the car right behind you. Ice on your hood and roof also fall off, right in front of the Altima behind you. Mostly though, it's just a nuisance, making whoever is driving behind them use their wipers even though it's not snowing outside.

On a side note, I want to give thanks to the many plow drivers on the streets. Whoever you are, you do an excellent job, at least in Utah, of keeping the roads clear of snow. That job must really stink. You have to drive all night and all day back and forth over the same roads cleaning off asphalt that you already plowed 4 times. Kind of like cleaning up after children. You guys have my respect. Plow on, my friends.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Summer Project

Well, since Shanna and I still don’t have a TV, I am forced to find things to occupy my time after I get home from work in the evenings.  Until about 6:30 or so, I think it has become my job to entertain and feed Calvin because Shanna does that all day.  After he goes to bed though, I have a few hours where I can sit around or do something. 

We found some old rusted bikes here at the place we’re staying, and I pulled a few into the garage to see how much work they would need to fix.  They are the really cool old Schwinn cruiser style bikes.  Both are very cool.  I was going to fix up this one.


However, as I tried to take it all apart, I ran into some difficulty because a rusty bolt head broke off while the bolt was still in the hole.  I tried to drill it out, but to no avail.  Actually, I may know how to fix it now, but I’ve moved on to another bike.

The one I’m going to fix now is pictured below.


This is a pretty old Schwinn Black Phantom.  It’s got a really cool front suspension with shock absorber, a front fender with a switch on light (which may or may not work right now), a sweet chain guard, and a really cool curvaceous frame.  Here’s a better picture of the frame’s curves.


It’s missing some parts because it’s supposed to look like this.


You will notice that the one I found is missing the tank on the frame, the light cover, the seat, the chain, and the wheels(It’s actually only missing the front wheel).

Anyway, right now it’s just a hunk of rust, so I’ve been removing the rust and trying to get the bike all taken apart, which I finally succeeded in doing this evening.  Believe it or not, I had it all disassembled before today except for the part shown below.


This part holds the handlebar stem on to the front fork.  Unfortunately, this morning when I tried to take it off, it was rusted to the headset.  I pulled and hammered on the bike trying to get it off, but to no avail.  Of course I didn’t want to break anything though, so I was trying to be careful and forceful at the same time.

I read all of the information I could online about getting it out and tried the advice.  I went to a bike shop and asked one of the old mechanics how to get an old Schwinn stem out of the headset.  He said to use some Liquid Wrench which would penetrate the rust and allow me to get it loose. I don’t have any of that, so I used vinegar instead, which I read would work.  I also posted on a bike website asking for help.  Someone gave me a pointer and it worked like a charm.  5 hours after the vinegar was applied, I twisted the parts apart(And the tip I got online said I would need to wait overnight).

So anyway.  Hopefully by the end of the summer I have a cool old cruising bicycle that I can ride around Provo in the fall.  I hope you all have been following the Tour de France that started last week.  Armstrong is around 19th place, and Schleck is around 5th I think. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RC Airplane Demo

Hey everybody. You might want to watch this movie that shows my airplane all assembled and working because who knows what will happen when I go out and fly it for the first time. Maybe I'll have Shanna capture video of my first flight and then put it up here.

Two things about the video:

1. The plane is a whole lot louder in person than it is on video.

2. Sorry about the creepy smile at the end of the video.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bird Watching

The house here in Idaho provides us with the chance to see some pretty birds.  For example, today we were looking out the window when we saw about 3 or 4 western tanagers.  Of course we didn’t know that’s what they were until we watched them for a while and then looked up what they were on the internet.  (The internet is so smart!)  If you’re wondering what a western tanager is, see below.tanager This is not to be confused with the western teenager, which is shown here. (Although this specimen looks like she may be no more than a western tweenager)teenager

This place also has an abundance of red-winged blackbirds, which look really neat when they zoom past your car.


Hopefully we’ll see some more neat birds before the summer is over.