Sunday, November 1

Darkest Morning of the Year

Long Dark Night on Halloween, but it STARTED Late Due to DST
Streaks are Rain Caught by the Flash
Yesterday was the darkest morning of the year. This year, it fell directly on Halloween. You see, thanks to our all-protecting government, Daylight Savings Time has ended later in recent years. Some in other places know DST as “British Summer Time.” Regardless, yesterday, sunrise was around 7:52AM around Ocean Shores, Washington. This morning, in the “Fall Back” mode, it occurred at 6:54AM. Later on, we shall see it occur as early as 7:18AM on December 28th (after the Winter Solstice).
Personally, I wonder how we save energy making the darkest morning of the year in October rather than December, but no one asked me.

Some say that you get an extra hour of sleep when DST ends. IMO, if you’re getting up at dawn, you get to get up an hour earlier. Both statements are demonstrably true.

This morning, I slept in later than usual relative to sunrise, but still rode my bike to the espresso stand earlier than normal. Well, according to official calendar time. Whatever…

Dawn Arrived an Hour Earlier Today!

Tuesday, October 27


From My Post, "Still Unloved"

Some know that I worked at Northrop for many years. Nearly 25 years ago, Northrop lost the "ATF" fighter competition to a combination of what is now Lockheed Martin and Boeing. I watched Dick Cheney make the announcement at 1:20 PM on April 23, 1991, live on CNN. It really hurt a lot. We put up signs around the area that said "Will Design the World's Most Advanced Fighter Jet for Food."

Today, we were redeemed.

News announcement in the Seattle Times, HERE. The LA Times announced it HERE. This is the largest contract award in at least a decade and perhaps in a generation.

In contrast to 1991, I did not see anything on CNN about the award, and even HLN had Nancy Grace on.

While I feel badly for Boeing, redemption is sweet. Jack Northrop and TV Jones are probably both smiling from their graves.

Wednesday, October 21

Even Ocean Shores Makes Bike Progress

Brand New Bike Rack at the OS IGA - Not the Greatest Rack or Location, but Securely Installed
Ocean Shores is an odd place. It's got odd ideas about bicycles, with benighted ordinances such as I recounted HERE. Despite my worries, I have not heard of the police tasering a six year-old girl for riding her bike on a local sidewalk and I've not been cited for violating the "extreme right" definition. Some local businesses similarly "just don't get it." One example was recounted HERE. I avoid patronizing such clueless spots. However, today's post is about neither sort of Ocean Shores oddity, but of two businesses that deserve a shout out. One case took a lot longer than I might have expected, and I might have pushed just a tad in the other,  but progress is being made even in Ocean Shores. Perhaps one day we'll even have a bike rack at City Hall!

EXAMPLE 1     The first example is our local IGA grocery store. As I recounted HERE, I was told by a store worker that "they" were the reason the store had no bike rack. However, the store manager told me in his email that they were ordering a rack. This was back in May. Apparently, the bike rack was ordered for delivery via covered wagon because the rack finally got installed week before last. It was a classic "wheel bender" rack that was placed closer to the building than optimum and as far from the front door as possible, but it provides a place for people to lock their bikes that is under the cover of the front roof. That is an advantage that my preferred location of locking to the shopping cart rack does not possess. It was also securely installed, unlike the "pretty" racks at the Colleyville City Center I recounted HERE. Kudos to IGA! My mom was shocked since she'd been asking for a bike rack at the IGA for several years.

EXAMPLE 2     The second example is our local McDonald's. Honestly, I don't go to McDonald's very often, but for some reason I did so yesterday. For much the same reasons as motorists (convenience), I used the drive-thru. Unlike my previous experience with the drive-thru, recounted HERE, I knew to look for an induction sensor which I had no trouble triggering with my bike. LIKE my previous experience, I was told that McDonald's does NOT allow cyclists to use the drive-thru. At least this time, they took and gave me my order.

Well, long-term readers of this blog know that I get GRUMPY about such things, as noted HERE. So, I rode home, printed off the email I received from the store owner (thank goodness I asked for and received one - phone calls leave no records!).

Well, the employee read the email but argued that it meant they should only serve people on 4-wheeled bikes. We didn't discuss how 2-wheel bikes were somehow less deserving of service than people on horses. After a brief stand-off, I suggested we resolve the question simply by calling the store owner, whose phone number was on the email. Almost surprisingly, the employee (a shift supervisor) agreed. During all this, I was worried that the worker bees' eyes were going to pop out, despite the civility of our talk.

To make a long story short, my bike is once again welcome at the Ocean Shores McDonald's and the shift supervisor sent an email to that effect to all the other store management.

Today, I took the "customer survey" and it is reproduced below.

Wednesday, October 7

Trendy Brooks

Vegan Leather Brooks Saddle on a Motobecane
Sometimes, it is surprising the things you hear from bicycle (and other) marketing types. Earlier this week, I heard of a new bike helmet that had a strap made from "vegan leather." Wow, just how environmentally responsible can a company get? The one that caught my attention is made by Thousand Helmets and was the result of a Kickstarter campaign.

Looking a little further, I discovered that Brooks was a pioneer in the field of vegan leather way back in the 70's with its saddles. Some of us, not knowing any better, castigated them as "PLASTIC."

As it turned out, Brooks was showing us the way.

On a more serious note, the new helmet does have one interesting feature - a hole intended to allow it to be locked directly to the bike via a U Lock. This is a feature sadly missing in mainstream helmets.

Wednesday, September 23

Bicycle Wisdom Rediscovered #2

Air Pumps Work Great for Bicycle Balloon Tires...
Big ol' air pumps can be pretty sweet!

Sometimes, we forget that total lack of effort can be WONDERFUL. While I don't disagree with my earlier statements about floor pumps, such as here, in a place like Ocean Shores, MORE POWER to fill up bigger and wider tires can be REAL NICE. Hence, I recently rediscovered just how nice it can be to have a big air tank in the garage, ready for refilling a tire with no notice at all.

Floor pumps are fine for road bikes, with their itty bitty tires, and even for other types of tires, in preference to a 12 volt electric pump, but it's really NICE to fill up a wide, 26 inch tire in seconds, without any pumping effort.