Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Interesting times

I had an exciting moment on the way home last night involving a free-swinging cable, a large truck and a blissfully ignorant truck driver.  As I rode down the bike lane on Portland I approached the construction site at Lake St.  I watched the truck driver prepare to pull out in front of me and slowed down appropriately to avoid being crushed.  No biggie, after all these years I can almost see these guys with my eyes closed.  The truck pulled out without incident and went across three lanes of traffic, preparing for a right turn.  As he did, I noticed that there was a length of cable trailing from the top of the truck.  And as my eyes traced it back, I realized it was going to hit me.  I wondered if it would just snake past me, or tangle up and pull me to the ground.  As I was deciding what to do, it hit me in the head and knocked the visor off my helmet.  I stopped riding and wondered how this was going to play out.  Fortunately another construction guy started yelling, so the truck driver stopped and I didn't get to find out what being dragged by a cable behind a truck was really like.  Exciting!
 
In less exciting news the change of the season is officially upon us, regardless of what the calendar says.  It was 45 degrees out this morning when I left for work.  45 doesn't sound too bad, but 13 degrees above freezing sounds cold.  And it was a little chilly.  Yesterday I broke out my schpants to keep the knees warm, and today I actually wore gloves.  Not bike gloves, but fleecies that keep my fingers warm.  It's also getting dark.  When I leave the house, it's pitch black.  By the time I get through Ft Snelling the ambient light plus the street lights are enough that I can switch my headlight from steady to blink.  But it's getting darker every day.  In past years I've considered getting a generator hub and light so I don't have to worry about batteries and whatnot.  But I have been riding so many different bikes that it always seemed like a hassle to have a good light on one bike and then be stuck with the lesser system if I want to ride something else.  But this year I've been riding the Kuwahara pretty much exclusively, at least on the rides where a light might be required.  And I'm mentally revisiting the generator hub option.  The fellows at Hiawatha have a pretty darn good deal on a generator hub combo right now too which is or isn't helping, depending on point of view.  Hey honey, can I have a couple hundred bucks?

11 comments:

WheelDancer said...

Yikes on the cable, glad your visor was the only casualty! I saw a guy in an SUV driving down Cedar Lake Rd. yesterday with a small pile of boards sticking out the passenger window a good three to four feet. Another way to describe it was the boards were sticking well out into the dedicated bike lane. No bikers were injured in this nervous moment but only because none were in the bike lane.

As for the lights, I have thought about the generator angle but settled on the Dinotte headlight which moves easily between bikes but does require a fresh set of batteries every cold (below 10 or 15 degrees above zero). It's just part of my routine to charge them everyday.

Snakebite said...

Was it coax cable? 57 channels and nothin's on?

Glad you only lost your visor.

Pete said...

WD, I've been using a helmet mounted headlight with a rechargeable battery pack for the past several years. It's working well enough. But I still have a hankering for a generator.

Was it coax cable?

Braided steel, baby.

Apertome said...

I think you could make a safety argument for the generator. That might help convince the wife ;)

Anonymous said...

Get yourself the generator and the IQ Fly. It makes winter riding that much better, given that you're always in the dark.

rigtenzin said...

If you don't mind charging a battery, some of the LED lights are brighter than any generator lights and about $100. I got one that I use to ride off road and it holds a charge for three hours. It's so light, I don't know it's on the bike and I can transfer it from bike to bike in just a movements of a velcro strap. That's the big feature for me. I like to ride different bikes.

midway cyclist said...

Way to show that cable who the boss is!

I converted to generator light last winter, it's fantastic to stop thinking about batteries. Well, the rear light is still a regular blinkie, but those last practically forever. Actually, i might build myself a tail light this year too, if i can find the time.

Yeah, i vote generator light. It's really not a big deal to move the wheel and light between bikes of the same wheel size.

Tex69 said...

Generator. There's no better feeling than a dark morning and being able to click that light on (unless it's already in "auto" mode, which I don't use much). I would take a strong look at the new generator LEDs. Bulbs forever and generator forever. As for price, well...

The cable story sounds funny afterthefact, but that's scary as hell. You could get your head lopped off in that situation.

Reflector Collector said...

Glad you are okay with the cable incident.

Another vote for the dynamo hub. Spring the extra $25 for the IQ Fly. A generator powered lighting system is one of the best cycling related products that I have ever purchased. The only problem with owning one is much like owning any quality product that you learn to like. Once you have one on one bike, you’ll want one on ALL your bikes.

There is a lot of useful security in knowing that your lights are always going to be ready on your bike when you are. I will agree that battery lights are just fine if you only occasionally ride in the dark. For day in/day out commuting during the winter when it is dark on both sides of a commute, charging a battery is just one more inconvenience with potential to stack up against the idea of jumping on a bike.

Boone's Farm said...

Pete, you've blinded me numerous times with that helmet mounted ball of fire that you have, passing by me through minnehaha park. So for self preservation reasons, I vote for the hub dynamo.

Yokota Fritz said...

Was that cable just dangling out of the back or was the tail end connected to something?

SOunds scary, anyway -- getting whipped by one of those can be a serious downer, I'm sure.