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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Common Sense vs The Nannies

Hugh Pickens writes in about the detrimental effects of mandatory helmet laws (at least as applied to adults): "Elisabeth Rosenthal writes that in the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God's truth but many European health experts have taken a very different view. 'Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury,' writes Rosenthal. 'But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.' On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles causing more health problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Bicycling advocates say that the problem with pushing helmets isn't practicality but that helmets make a basically safe activity seem really dangerous, which makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network like the one in New York City, where a bike-sharing program is to open next year. The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule. 'Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn't justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,' says Piet de Jong. 'Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.'"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We the people ...

The Downside of Liberty
For hippies and bohemians as for businesspeople and investors, the extreme individualism of the ’60s has been triumphant. Selfishness won.

A must read article from the New York Times is here. The all-about-me generations shouldn't complain when it's not all about them. It's really all the same.

Monday, April 30, 2012

MotoCrossing a GP Bike!

I like to get air on my dirt bike but this is a little insane.

Thanks to Hermann for this.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caine's Arcade

Next time you're feeling like what you're doing just isn't working out and you're thinking of quitting come back and watch this video again. We all get by with patience and a little help from our friends.

Thanks to Mary for bringing this to me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Buenos Ares to Santiago

El Paso de Agua Negra in the Andes between Argentina and Chile is supposed to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world. These short videos make me want to go there soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flying is still fun!

FinnAir seems to get it that flying doesn't have to be a drag.

Surprise Dance on Finnair Flight to celebrate India's Republic Day

Finnair A340 Angry Birds flight to Singapore

A group of Flight Attendants do a surprise dance for their colleagues.

Can you imagine any of the US airlines having this much imagination with the exception of SouthWest?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The adventure continues ...

My friend Marty was in town so we decided to go dirt bike riding. Unfortunately the forecast of Sunny 45F turned into rain and sleet. For lack of anything better to do we decided to go buy a motorcycle. A CB900F to match my CB1100F.

After lunch we connected with the seller in NH and arranged a meeting. The bike was close to what I expected and a price was agreed upon. We loaded the bike into the back of my pickup and were back on the road. So far, so good.

I dropped Marty off in Boston and headed back to CT on the Mass Turnpike. It was late and I was tired but the rain had quit so I was looking forward to an easy ride home.

I usually stop in Sturbridge to get gas because it is usually ~20¢ cheaper than in CT. Because I was tired and was listening to the Willie Mays' biography audiobook I drifted past the exit. $6 down the drain I thought. I also noticed the truck pulling slightly to the left. Something to check into in the morning.

At the Rt 32 exit it all came apart. The left front tire went flat and I limped into the Park & Ride lot across from the exit. The spare tire wouldn't release from the hanger but that turned out to be moot because it was flat anyway.

I was stranded. Or was I? I had a motorcycle on the back of the truck and it had turned surprisingly warm (40F). The small matter of no helmet or license plate were only technicalities that probably wouldn't interest anyone at 11:00 at night.

Getting a 530 pound bike off a listing pickup in the semi-darkness was certainly an experiment in terror. Slowly, carefully, itsy bitsy tiny moves and it was down. And just then a State Trooper pulled into the parking lot. Hmmm. Those technicalities were suddenly a little more prominent than I expected. I figured that I would just wait it out until he/she came over to ask what I was up to. Turns out they didn't care. They were "cooping", which is to say sleeping for an hour.

After they took off I zipped up my jacket, put on my work gloves, and took off for home. This was pretty uneventful. I didn't freeze but I was definitely shivering along the way. 22 miles of mostly clear roads that I took at a moderate 45mph for fear of a spot of ice. The hardest part was arriving home and tippy-toeing down the snowy driveway. I parked it and ran in to turn the electric blanket to HIGH.

The next morning I looked out on my new purchase and decided that all was well with the world. I would just go back to the pickup, take off the tire, get a new one mounted, and bring the pickup home.

Of course this was but a dream. First the jack handle broke. A nice man offered the jack from his Prius but that proved to be futile. So off to Harbor freight 12 miles away to buy a jack.

Back with the jack the truck went up into the air with ease but now the wheel wouldn't release from the hub! I tried kicking it. I tried moving the steering wheel back and forth. I tried driving around the parking lot with no lug nuts. Nothing.

So time for a call to AAA. The guy came out with a BIG hammer and he couldn't get it loose. Up on the back of his truck it went and down to the Goodyear dealer who called and told me that it would be $400. WTF!! I was waiting for him to tell me that the headlamps needed a quart of light juice while it was in the shop.

When I balked he said that it was a mistake, "Sorry, I was looking at the wrong screen. It's only $268 for two tires." Much better. I'm supposed to pick it up in an hour. I wonder what the final charge will be.

$142 for the new tire, mounting, and tax. Reasonable. Add in the $6 I lost by not getting my gas in Sturbridge and the $150 savings I negotiated from the CB900's asking price shrinks to only $2. Oh well, that's life!