Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Proving that I ain't a Robot

Many blog authors use Comment Moderation as a means of avoiding SPAM. I do this myself. If comment moderation is enabled on a blog, then one needs to type in two random words produced by an engine, to prove that the commentator is not a robot. This is a fine idea, except when it comes to how crazy some of these words are to figure out.

I notice that it is getting harder and harder to read and decipher the words that need to be typed in the box, such as the one pictured below, to prove that one is not a robot.

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.

Please prove you're not a robot


Blogger ----> are you reading this one? Please make it somewhat easy to read the words, which we need to reproduce in the box, before our comments are published. We are not illiterate, but it is hard to read letters that are atop each other. Thank you!

Paz :)

Meera Minus Basket

Since I met Meera, my Raleigh Twenty, a few years ago, she has always been adorned with a milk-crate basket on the rear rack. I use Meera to go to the grocery store and to the Table Tennis club, about 2x a week.


You will seldom see Meera minus the basket, unlike in the photo below.

A couple of weekends ago, I took the basket off Meera, so that I can raise the seat-post when I loaned her to a friend of mine, who went on a ride with me. This friend is much taller than I, which meant that I had to raise the seat-post. The basket on Meera was attached to the springs on the Brooks saddle and then onto the rear rack, which meant I could not raise the seat without "severing the ties". So, I removed the basket before raising the seat.

I don't have any clamps or something fancy to attach the basket onto Meera's rear rack. I simply use zipties to get the job done. So, removing the basket requires cutting the zipties; by the same token, putting the basket back on Meera requires use of zipties to tie the basket to Meera's rear rack.

I have been thinking real hard about this dilemma :) May be I will use something like a bungee cord or pieces of a rope to tie the milk-crate down. Why waste a good ziptie, ya know? :)

BTW, here in Dallas, Texas, it is toasty. Hotter than curry! 100+ temps, over the last few days. I know it is only gonna get hotter in July and August. I don't like the intense heat. I am riding in moderation.

That's all for now.

Paz :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One Hundred Billion degrees

Well, it is that time of the year again, here in North Texas.
Today, I think it reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit, around 2 PM this afternoon.

I drove my bicycle to work today. I am toast.

Need I say more? :)

If you are in a hot weather zone, please remember to hydrate properly.

May you find some cool shade during your commutes and other rides!

Paz :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Testing GoPro Hero 2 Helmet Camera

As indicated in a recent post, I ran into an unpleasant situation, which prompted me to consider mounting a helmet camera on my helmet. I ran a survey on this topic, and 78% of the survey takers said they would use a Helmet Camera. The sample size was quite small, but for what it is worth, I am going to consider using one anyways.

I am testing out some helmet-mounted cameras. I see there are a lot of options for these cameras these days. The most popular ones are:

  1. GoPro Hero
  2. Contour
In the past, I had used a Oregon Scientific Helmet Camera. I used that for a little bit, but I can't say I enjoyed it very much. It was quite bulky and the button on the camera were hard to use. The video quality was very poor, granted that was a few years ago.

I tested the GoPro Hero 2 and the Contour. Of these two, I like the GoPro Hero 2, which seems very versatile and smartly designed. I will do a full-review of the device, if I decide to stick with it.

But in the meantime, here is a teaser video. I had to put it to use and post a video here, ya know? 

 

Paz :)


PS. Of the blogs I read, my Canadian buddy, Rantwick posts some really nice videos. Rantwick's posts are clever and funny. Check him out sometime.

PSA: Teach'em Young and Keep'em Alive

Where I live, some kids ride their bikes to school and some ride their bikes to the recreation center; to play Tennis, Basketball, etc. That's great.

I love the idea of kids being active, instead of spending time with a video game and having an imaginary conversation with their friends, Mr. Potato Chips and soda.

When it comes to kids riding bicycles, there are three things that I don't like:

  1. Riding on the sidewalk
  2. Riding without a helmet
  3. Riding with a huge bag hanging from their shoulders (can make one lose balance easily)


I strongly believe that #1 in the list above is extremely dangerous to anyone. In getting from point A on the sidewalk, to just past the stop sign, one may run into many dangers: some of those parked cars could suddenly start and make a right turn - they may run right into the sidewalk rider. There are other dangers as well.

Please note: Bicycling itself is NOT a risky endeavor; but unsafe riding practices can be dangerous.

Can we as parents teach children to ride safely? Shouldn't this be a priority?

We want our children to graduate from Harvard and Yale; become doctors, engineers, mathematicians, statisticians, and scientists. That's awesome and fantastic and all that good stuff.

But shouldn't we also make sure that they get to such greatness, by staying alive?

Shouldn't we teach our children how to ride their bicycles safely?

When are we going to start that?

If you are in the DFW neighborhood, please note that BikeDFW and other organizations offer Bicycle Safety courses. Please consider one of them for yourself and your loved ones.

Paz :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I need your help; will you please answer my quick survey?

Last night, a friend of mine and I were accosted at the Cimmaron Recreation Center Parking Lot, in Irving, TX. This verbal confrontation took place around 10:15 PM, after our Table Tennis game, by two young men, one of who claimed to be a police officer. This person went on tell me that I should turn off my red tail light and as it is against the law to have a blinking red tail light for a bicycle. I made sure to be assertive and tell the person that it is not against the law.

While I did suspect this person's claim of being an officer of the law, I was afraid that he might be carrying a firearm and hence I did not ask for an ID. I am considering adding a helmet camera to my arsenal. So, my dear reader, please tell me... Thank you for your time, dear readers!

Paz :)

Creative Spamming

As you may have noticed as well, my dear readers, Spammers are getting creative these days and are leaving comments on blogs, in a manner that is least suspicious to the SPAM detector.

One such a comment I received on my last post was:

Maybe the tornado sirens kept the cars off the road? Or is your route normally so deserted? I've never ridden during a tornado warning, but I have been caught out on my bike in torrential rain and thunderstorms more times than I can count! on Storm Chasing on my bike
 
The comment in itself looks like a normal comment, but the catch was that it was from a commercial entity; in fact, from a folding bicycle seller, who had included a link to his/her website, as a part of the comment. Not surprisingly, I have received such comments from a "big name/brand food multinational manufacturer" on VegetarianCyclist.

So, these days, I am more cautious and diligent about comment moderation, than ever. I am hopeful that I did not inadvertently miss your comments in so doing.
 
Well, here is my take on it: If you want me to advertise for you, be willing to compensate me for my time; send me your product that I can test and write a post about. 
But you ain't gettin' it free! Tough turkey, ya know?

Paz :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Here for a visit or here for the long haul?

Last week, I picked-up a Dahon Boardwalk from my friend Sho. It is a pretty good bike, with very little to fuss around with. It is a single-speed bike with coaster brakes. No derailleurs, cables, etc to fuss with.
I have only ridden it around the block a few times so far. So far, so good. I still need to get the mudguards and the rack from Mr. Sho and make the bike more practical.

I originally bought this bike from Mr. Sho, for a friend of mine, who has decided it is not the bike for him. So, now I have 1 more folder. I may use this bike as the bike to get the Table Tennis club. Since moving to a new venue this year, I can not take my bicycle into the gym, whether or not it is a folder. I don't feel like taking my nicer bikes to the gym and locking them to the bike rack outside. So, I have been taking Meera to Table Tennis. Well, that's one place I can use the Dahon for. On the other hand, as I already have two other folders, Brahma and Meera, I am not sure if I will keep this bike for long. I may flip it, just so I can have more room in my workshop.

The Boardwalk is Shaggy Approved (SA), of course!
What's new with you?

Paz :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Storm Chasing on my bike

Last Wednesday, it stormed like nuts in DFW. After work, when I was just fixin' to leave, I heard the Tornado sirens go off. For a minute I hesitated. Along came a coworker who tried to talk me out of riding home in the potentially dangerous weather.

I looked out the window from my work building. I didn't see a drop of rain or anything that remotely resembled scary weather. So, I left work and started my ride back home.

Along the way, I saw many a sky that looked ominous. There were real dark clouds in one direction and on the other side there was the bright sun shining in the semi-azure skies.
The streets were somewhat wet, either due to the poorly maintained sprinklers of many a business along Las Colinas Blvd, or the roads were wet because it had rained.
If you ever ride East on La Villita Blvd in Irving, watch out for the big puddles of water just before the intersection of La Villita and Colwell Blvd. These puddles can be somewhat deep and dangerous. And, if you ride in this area late in the evening, you may see a few Coyotes!
Now, I am further along on La Villita and the storm seems to be moving away from Valley Ranch. Glad there was no tornado or a thunderstorm to deal with.
Now, I am finally making it out of the Campion Trail, onto Valley Ranch Blvd. You can see the storm clouds way in the distance. Almost home!
I made it home safely.

I was a bit nervous, because I fell the last time I rode in the rain. I can't say I am that nervous if I ride a bike with fatter tires. It may be a fallacy that they slip less, but that hasn't happened to me yet, so...

BTW, storms hit Dallas pretty hard on this particular day, with tennis ball sized hail. Yikes.

We sure could use a lot more rain. It is hotter than hell here.

I am not liking the heat much. I am burning up inspite of using sunblock. This hot weather is taking a toll on me. It will be a while before cooler weather comes by. I might slow down riding my bicycle a bit. But then I won't like that either. Isn't that tricky? :)

That's all for now.

Hope all is well with my readers.

Peace :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PSA: Please help my friend's family if you can!

My friend Michael McNair was hit by an automobile and has been in the ICU at Baylor Hospital in Dallas for 31 days as of today.

Michael is a great guy and a cycling advocate. He is a bicycle commuter like many of us.

Michael's family can use any and all help that they can get during this difficult time.

Kindly consider helping the McNair family by chipping in to his family fund.

Please click here to chip in.

Thank you for your generosity and taking the time to read this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sincerely yours,
Chandra

Paz :)

PS. When I first heard the news, I was very upset and distraught. I meant to post about it, but since this topic made me very sad, like a coward I didn't do it for a while. Now, I have decided it is time for me to try and help my friend's family.


PSA: Please support my friend's family if you can!

My friend Michael McNair was hit by an automobile and has been in the ICU at Baylor Hospital in Dallas for 31 days as of today.

You may remember that McNair and I did the Lake Lavon Tour together. We also went on a S24O with Trinity Bicycles a couple of years ago. Michael is a great guy and a cycling advocate. He is a bicycle commuter like many of us.

Michael's family can use any and all help that they can get during this difficult time.

Kindly consider helping the McNair family by chipping in to his family fund.


Please click here to chip in.

Thank you for your generosity and taking the time to read this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sincerely yours,
Chandra

Paz :)

PS. When I first heard the news, I was very upset and distraught. I meant to post about it, but since this topic made me very sad, like a coward I didn't do it for a while. Now, I have decided it is time for me to try and help my friend's family.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scenes from another town!

I was fortunate enough to visit a slightly-less-hot city last year. While this city too is too hot last year, compared to how it normally is, it was not particularly bad on the days I visited. I am simply sharing with you photos I took while I was visiting. This is simply a collection of commuter bicycle photos. There is no cool storyline. One interesting thing: many bicycles were locked using a really thick chain, probably because of high bicycle theft.







Wanna guess the city? It is a huge city in the US of A :)
Peace :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Some cool videos

Found these (see below) two cool videos at BikeSwitzerland.

I am fascinated by the Bike Stroller, although I do not have any use for it. Interesting nevertheless!



What's new with you?

 Paz :)