One Point Two One Gigawatts…

Great Scott 800px

Wheel full 70pxWell, not quite.  While I am looking for a bit of onboard power on my bike, it’s kind of impractical to be tethered to one of these.

Chief Joseph Dam 800px

Chief Joseph Dam, Columbia River, Washington* – Image credit: Wikimedia

Wheel full 70pxA few posts ago I wrote that my ride was not going to be about how many tech gadgets I could bring with me [linkie]. I have to admit that I’ve found there’s a fine line, though, between bringing just what you need and going full Navin Johnson.

I don't need this 800px

Wheel full 70pxBut I do want bright reliable LED lights front and rear without the hassle of carrying extra batteries and keeping up with them and enough auxiliary power to recharge small electronic devices, like my iPhone and Bad Elf GPS unit [linkie] on the fly.  So I added to my bike build one of Schmidt’s P-238 filled hubs.

Peter Schmidt Generator 800px

…heh, just kidding about the plutonium part…

Wheel full 70pxYou can read real facts (and probably more than you ever wanted to know) about the Schmidt dynamo hubs here [linkie].  The big thing for me is that the hub sounds bulletproof.  I just need it to last about ten weeks without any issues.  It sounds, though, like it will still be functioning after I’m not.

Wheel full 70pxTo pull off power to charge electronics I had one of these included in the build.

The Plug 800px

Wheel full 70pxYes, it’s an honest-to-gosh USB port on a bicycle.  Swiss-made, too, by a company called Supernova.  There’s more information here [linkie].  The little rubber cap hanging open in the photo covers the port, which delivers cleanly regulated 5 volt power at 500 milliamps.  That just happens to be the spec power for USB 2.  The only catch is that I have to be riding at least 12 kilometers/about eight miles per hour.  Something about “engaging the flux capacitor,” probably.

Wheel full 70pxBut enough about tech.  In the next post we’ll talk about why my ride is different from this guy’s [linkie], and how I intend to keep it that way.

David Edgren

* I have to admit that having the bike built in the Pacific Northwest, where pretty much everything runs off hydro power, put me in a “if they can do it, I can do it too” frame of mind. I love wild rivers as much as the next guy, but the hydro dams up here are, by and large, magnificent pieces of civil engineering.

RIP Kalamazoo Bicyclists

Wheel full 70pxDamn it. Just damn it.

Kalamazoo Bike Murders 800px

Image credit:

Wheel full 70pxOn Tuesday of this week some geefus driving his pickup truck with a blood alcohol level likely just this side of Everclear ran down a group of nine bike riders on a country road near Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Five of the cyclists died at the scene.  Four were seriously injured.  The geefus tried to leave the scene, but his pickup truck wasn’t up to helping him get very far.

Kalamazoo Bike Murders 02 800px

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Wheel full 70pxHe probably thought he’d hit a squirrel or something.

Wheel full 70pxYesterday the driver of the truck was charged with five counts of Second Degree Murder.  Hanging, as far as I’m concerned, is too good for him.  I was going to segue into writing about the relative safety of long-distance touring on a bike on a trip like mine, but lost heart when I saw a couple of the national press stories, which in the sternest tones have…

…admonished bicycle riders to wear helmets and follow the rules of the road.

Wheel full 70pxYeah, you read that correctly.  There is no report that indicates that the cyclists, who were members of a Kalamazoo area bicycling club out for a regularly scheduled group ride, were doing anything other than riding safely*.  I’m all for wearing a bicycle helmet, but look again at that picture of the truck.  Now look at it again.  That truck plus the driver probably weighed something short of two tons/1,800 kilograms.  That damage was caused by hitting nine objects in succession each weighing an average of about 200 pounds/90 kilograms.  “Wear helmets” my ass.

Wheel full 70pxI have other posts waiting to go up.  I’m just too bummed out to post them today. My thoughts right now are with the cyclists who were struck down, both alive and dead, and with their loved ones. So very sad. So very needless to have happened.

David Edgren

*The coverage of this terrible situation by the web news site has been excellent and thorough. A summary through today of the stories is here [linkie].