Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Musette

Winter weather

Oklahoma is windy in the winter. I can almost count on south winds bringing warmer weather and north winds bringing the cold. That's exactly the pattern of the last week or two. But high winds increase the fire danger here regardless of their direction. It's tinder-dry out there. What's most worrisome is the fact that winter precipitation is our summer water supply. We're looking at drought conditions.

But back to the wind. My front fender vibrates when my air speed reaches 30mph. (As an aside, fenders extend the usefulness and utility of a commuter bike, and I'd be dearly happy if we received enough rain to make them necessary!) Winter brings powerful winds and I've been fighting them either coming to work or going home. Today, Friday, I get them BOTH ways! Oh, the joy.

I've been riding the fixed gear exclusively for the last month. That has nothing to do with machismo. The bike is geared 42x20, so it's hardly a big, manly gear, but it's perfect for carrying baggage, going up hill, and riding into the inevitable wind. Still, on days like today with a stiff headwind, it seems like riding uphill constantly, without the payoff of riding down the other side. Earlier this week, I fought the wind all the way home, struggling mightily up the hill to the house, and then stood slumped over the bike wheezing for a minute before trying to dismount. I was so fragged, I was afraid I'd topple over! It has to be the fault of the Public Works Department. They come by now and then to jack up the hill, making it longer and steeper. Surely it couldn't be ME.


Normally, I don't write about work, but just this once...

Last month, I received a set of extender boards that allow me to mount computer circuit boards outside the case of the unit for troubleshooting. I've been learning a lot more about the circuitry and how it operates. Now, before you go ahead and think there's a description in the technical manual, realize that while the descriptions do exist, they're not terribly detailed. This means I have to spend a lot of time with an oscilloscope probe, looking at signals. It's time-consuming, painstaking work, and while it's absolutely necessary, it's not one of my favorite things to do. There are a lot of blind alleys to investigate. Progress is slow and frustrating, and it's the slowness and fustration that eat at me.

That's what makes riding home so much nicer, despite the wind! Cycling as therapy? Hmmm....


There's a board meeting for the Oklahoma Bicycle Coalition tomorrow out in Stroud. Since I'm the membership director, I'll be attending. Stroud is along historic Route 66, roughly halfway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It's a small town that had a big outlet mall at one time, but a tornado destroyed the mall and it's never been re-built. I've been through town once or twice, preferring to drive the old highway rather than the interstate. As I recall, there are the usual small town businesses, some antique shops, and the Stone Cafe(?), a Route 66 landmark. Unfortunately, we're not meeting at the cafe, and since three of us are car-pooling, I won't get a chance to wander around.



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