Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Mrs Monkey Craft (Festive Mice) #Craft #Crochet

The talented Mrs Monkey has a Festive Craft Fair (Fayre?) to do soon, so she's crocheting lots of Christmas themed things at the moment.

Among them are this family of little winter mice, intended to be either tree decorations or free standing ornaments. Lots of nice detail on these, including the smallest mouse's jumper, which has a hole for his tail...

As for me, I'm wheelbuilding again, this time for Mrs Monkey's bike - hopefully I'll have the build finished by tonight.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

From "The Heavy Table": Lanny Hoff, Beer Knight


Minneapolis importer honoured by the guild of Belgian Brewers - nice article, in which Hoff describes some of the things that make the Belgian tradition unique in the world of beer. And some new names to try, for me at least...

(If you're inspired, and in Cheshire, I recommend Sandbach's Beer Emporium an excellent place to explore the brewing traditions of Belgium, among other countries....)

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From Bike Commuters: Rainy Day Biking reflective fender mudflaps

Read More at Bike

They're not sexy, but it's the time of year that the commuter's thoughts turn to mudguards, waterproofs, and other ways of keeping the rain & roadspray off you and the bike.

Full 'guards are good for this, but I've been thinking of some proper mudflaps to keep my feet, drivetrain, and the folk behind me drier for a little while. These, from Rainy Day Biking have the added advantage of giving your bike some extra visibility in the dark. Read the full test at Bike Commuters (link below the picture).

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bad Astronomy: Record-breaking galaxy found at the edge of the Universe

The record for the most distant object in the Universe ever seen has been smashed: a galaxy has been found at the staggering distance of 13.1 billion light years!

Here’s the Hubble image of this incredibly far-flung object:


Yeah, I know. Doesn’t look like much, does it? But oh, what it means…

That’s a galaxy, probably smaller and more compact than our Milky Way, but a galaxy. It’s so dim that the faintest star you can see with your unaided eye is 4 billion times brighter. Its distance is simply numbing; the Universe itself is only 13.7 billion years old, so the light from this object began its journey on its way to Earth just 600 million years after the Universe itself formed.


Remember the line from the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy about space being "really big"?

True Dat.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From Flowing Data: Evolution of Batman logos

Interesting how something can change so much, and yet still be so recognisable. More at the Flowing Data link.

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XKCD: The Economic Argument

Does Woo Work?

XKCD examines the evidence...


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Another Milestone

Overnight temperatures below freezing, and a lot of rain generally mean ideal elbow breaking conditions for the commuting cyclist.

I figured discretion was the better part of valour today, and so resolved last night that I'd ride the Brompton to work. I went to retrieve the bike from the cellar before turning in last night to find that it had a rear wheel puncture (due, I think, to Brompton's dreadful plastic rim tape, which had exposed a spoke nipple that had punctured the tube). Note for the To-Do list - replace this with some Velox tape.

Rear wheel removal on the Brompton is fairly complex, with the hub gear system and chain tensioner to deal with before you can even get to grips with the (frankly, absurdly tight) "Brompton Green" tyres themselves, and in to the punctured tube. Not the sort of thing you want to be doing just before bed, possibly, but infinitely better than before setting off for work. With some help from the internet, and my Schwalbe tyre levers (I mention these because every other lever I've used on Brompton Greens has snapped), the puncture was fixed and the bike ready for today's commute in about 30 minutes.

So, there's another milestone, my first Brompton rear wheel puncture repair. Stripping and servicing hub gears next. Or maybe not.


The Definitive Brompton Tyre Change Manual - Brompton Rear Wheel Removal Video

Kinetics Guide to Brompton Maintenance

I should add that I didn't bother removing the part of the gear indicator chain closest to the hub (as the chap does in the video) - it's easy enough to remove the wheel & work on it without doing this. I didn't futz with the brakes either, as a deflated tyre will go past the pads pretty easily.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From Lines And Colors: Peter de Sève: new website

Peter de Sève’s delightfully whimsical, wonderfully styled and beautifully rendered illustrations have become familiar to readers of The New Yorker, for which he has done a number of memorable covers, and other publications like Newsweek, Time, Smithsonian and Atlantic Monthly.

Peter De Seve has wonderful art, and a nicely written blog - Lines and Colors has examples of, and links to, his work.

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Strange Maps: Planet Berlin & Cartography's Original Sin


Maps are two parts truth, one part lie. They ignore one of the world’s three dimensions so they can squeeze the other two onto a flat surface. These projections mess up the shape and size of the area depicted. Distortions of this sort plague all maps, but are more noticeable on larger ones. Most of all, of course, on world maps.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Bike Hacks: CPD at ORD

« Hand Wash Bike Hack | Main


How big is the Chicago airport?  So big that security patrols it by bike.  Much cooler than patrol by Segway if you ask me.


Posted by Matt at 02:01 AM in Culture, Security | Permalink

Interesting piece on - Security Patrol by bike - makes a lot of sense to me.

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Cyclocosm: How The Race Was Won – Paris-Tours 2010

Anyone else out there tired of talking about doping? How about taking a look at a few races contested by the type of rider who apparently never needs to dope? I’ve been out of town for the past two weeks, but am finally catching up on the late-season classics, and so (turning a blind eye to Danilo Hondo’s fairly significant role), here’s a How The Race Was Won on Paris-Tours 2010.

Cyclocosm's "How the Race Was Won" series is back with a review of Paris-Tours 2010.

These really are excellent - follow the links to Cosmo's blog, and to subscribe to his podcast via iTunes.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Podium Café: What You Need to Know About the Giro del Piemonte

What You Need to Know About the Giro del Piemonte

Muur_lunch_tiny by Chris... on Oct 14, 2010 2:00 AM EDT in News

First, it has a killer logo:


Beautiful foliage, grapevines, hilly terrain... and gruppo compatto. 

More fascinating insight along these lines... on the flip!

  • It's a lovely logo indeed - good article on this upcoming race over at Podium Café - follow the link for more.

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    Copenhagenise: "Lyrca is Killing Urban Cycling"

    I'd be pleased to buy a beer or a glass of New World wine for Dr Chris Rissel from the University of Sydney. Or if I lived in an emerging bicycle culture where people named their bicycles, I'd call my 'ride' The Rissel.

    First there was this from the good doctor and now this blipped onto our radar scope today:

    Cycling versus the cyclist: the perceptive barriers putting off Sydney cyclists
    Popular perceptions of cyclists can make or break our decision to take up the sport, says a recent study by the University of Sydney's Dr Chris Rissel and Michelle Daley of the Sydney South West Area Health Service.

    "Nearly everyone was very positive about cycling and the health and pleasure associated with it.

    "However, the actions of some people riding bicycles were sometimes seen as negative, and the lycra-clad image of cyclists put some people off because they didn't identify with it or thought it a turn-off."

    Follow the link to read the whole thing.

    I can't help feeling that this kind of thing is counter productive; if anything is "killing urban cycling" it's the limp approach to enforcing traffic law and punishing those (especially motorists) who break it. Ask people why they don't cycle, and the major reason tends to be safety, not the idea that they might have to wear funny clothes.

    (For the record, you can cycle in pretty much anything if you take things easy - a definite option if you're able to use separate tracks/lanes. In my experience, taking things easy where those facilities don't exist is a recipe for close passes and intimidation from drivers).

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    On Kitsune Noir: Ecological Footprint Infographiti Rug by Toko.

    Ecological Footprint Infographiti Rug by Toko.
    Posted by Bobby Solomon • October 13, 2010 • Art & Design

    Only a little over a month ago I posted about Toko, a design firm situated in Australia who I was really into because of the diversity of their work. I had to revisit them because of a new project called the Infographiti Rug, which is actually a data visualization in rug form. The colorful blobs you see are actually the ecological footprints of continents, the orange part being the world’s biocapicity. It’s sad that something so beautiful represents something so… bad. ...

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    From Lines & Colors Blog; Art in Flanders, animated view of Flemish art

    Art in Flanders is an animation that serves as the introductory page for the Lukas image bank of digital reproductions of Flemish art.

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    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Rivendell - Long ramble + phots

    0ct 2 long ramble + phots

    October 2, 2010

    We've discontinued things in the past, and will do it again, but there's always what I'd say is a good reason for doing it. The Rambouillet came out during a strong dollar and weaker yen period, and the Romulus that followed it did, too---but not quite as strong a dollar. It comes up a lot that somebody bemoans the passing of these bikes, but if we brought back the Romulus (which retailed for $1500 as a complete bike), it would cost $2300 now; and the RambOUiIllet would cost close to $3,000....and they both presented huge cash flow PROBLEMS to us, and so...we moved on, and now life is different here.

    Grant at Rivendell is always interesting to read - favourite quote in this piece;

    "But 8 now is so old and friction shifting so old and IT'S Fall 2010 and Shimano still produces them [8 speed barcons], and there has to be a reason that isn't apparent. Is somebody at Shimano guarding Shimano's Last Reasonable Shifter from extinction?"

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    Velo-Orange's New Dyno Hubs

    A lot of folks have e-mailed asking about the new dyno hubs I've mentioned. I'm also told there was some rather silly speculation about them in various discussion forums (Due to time constraints I no longer read any forums). In any case I thought I'd say a bit more about them.

    Velo Orange - new dynohubs & headlights. Worth reading in full, as if what Chris says is right, these sound excellent.

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    Cyclocross Buyer’s Guide, part one: Top of the line ‘cross rigs

    Some lovely bikes in this. High End 'crossers - a guide, from Velonews

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