Bike Accident

I got into a bike accident last week. No serious damage to myself, but the same can’t be said for the bike.

totalled-bike
Taco wheels make me hungry for Mexican food.

Someone left a shopping cart in the bike path. I was biking along on my way home from the lab and was thinking in my own head. I didn’t see the shopping cart until it was too late so I slammed into it.

The effect on my bike is quite obvious. Front wheel is wrecked.

I skinned my palms, skinned my knee, got a hole in the knee of my pants, sprained my left wrist, and got a few bruises. Nothing that didn’t fix itself in a few days.

There were some people walking on the bike path that asked if I was alright and helped me pick up my things (my keys had fallen out of my pocket and my shoe had flown off).

One of the bystanders offered to give me and the bike a ride to my house in his truck. I declined, not wanting to inconvenience him and thinking that walking my bike home would be easy enough.

This turned out to be the wrong decision for two reasons.

First, allowing him to help probably would’ve made his day better. Most people enjoy helping others and he wouldn’t have offered if it was going to severely inconvenience him.

Second, my bike turned out to be a little more messed up than it looked at first.

I’d intended to pick up the front of the bike and easily wheel it home on the back wheel. Turns out the back wheel was also screwed up and wouldn’t turn.

I ended up walking half a mile with the bike hoisted up on my shoulders.

I took the bike to the repair shop. The front wheel is obviously not salvageable, but the back will most likely be delicately coaxed back into shape.

And while my physical injuries will heal my dignity will be forever scarred.

-GoCorral

Jeopardy!

I’m a big fan of the Jeopardy show.

I don’t watch it every night, but when I have time I’ll turn it on.

I started watching Jeopardy as a kid with my mom.

We’d watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune back to back.

I liked Wheel of Fortune more than Jeopardy then. I think it was because Wheel of Fortune is flashier and has more enthusiastic people.

Now I like Jeopardy better, partially because I feel I can participate more in a Jeopardy episode than a Wheel of Fortune episode.

In Wheel of Fortune my only means of participation is to guess what the whole phrase is, I can’t guess individual letters.

But I can guess individual Jeopardy questions!

I’ve actually worked out a system where I can keep my own score along with the Jeopardy contestants on the show.

I watch with a calculator in my hand and keep track of my points as the game goes on.

I get points for answering a question before any of the contestants do. I lose points if my answer was wrong.

If I correctly answered the question before the Daily Double, then I get to participate along with the contestant who found it. I decide how many of my points to bet on a Daily Double in which I participate.

Final Jeopardy works the same as for me as it does for the other contestants. I see the category, bet my money, and guess after the commercial break.

The system isn’t perfect. I and another contestant can both get money from a question.

Also the betting on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy isn’t ideal. The contestants can bet based on what the other two contestants have, but not what I have. I get to bet based on what all of them have.

I get first or second place most of the time. I feel like once I can reliably get first I’ll be ready to be on the show.

The show has tryouts online every year, but I haven’t made it through yet.

I just hope I can get on the show before Alex Trebek leaves.

-Mister Ed

Bike Tire Problems

My old bike tire is behind the new one.
My old bike tire is behind the new one.

I finally figured out why my bike was getting flat tires so often. There was a hole in the tire itself instead of the tubes I put in them.

I grew up in a town where bikes were used all the time to get places. I then went to college in a town that encourages bikes to the point that the town logo is a bike. There’s even a bike museum downtown.

My point is, maybe everyone is not as aware of how bikes work as I am.

Bike wheels have three basic parts, the wheel, the tire, and the tube.

The wheel is the metal part with all the spokes on it that attaches to the bike frame at the center. If there’s something wrong with my bike wheel, I take it to my dad to fix it. Every other Saturday my dad repairs bikes for a charity,¬†The Silicon Valley Bike Exchange.

The tire is the rubber wall that incases the tube. The tire is the part of your bike that actually touches the ground.

The tube sits between the tire and the wheel. It’s also made of much thinner rubber than the tire.

The tube inflates and presses against the tire wall, giving it a firm shape that still yields to bumps and debris in the road. This allows a bike to ride over the various cracks in the road without giving the rider awful saddle sores.

When you get a flat it is usually because of a hole in the tube. The tube is essentially a balloon, so it can pop if treated to roughly. Thorns are a good way to rupture a tube. I have a road bike, so hopping curbs will also cause problems for me.

Over the past three weeks or so I have replaced my bike’s front tube four or five times. One of them popped while it was just sitting outside my house. Another as I was replacing it. Another popped on the first ride I took it on.

I eventually decided to sit down, inflate a tire, and then watch it to see what caused it to pop spontaneously.

As I waited I noticed the tube beginning to swell out of a hole in the side wall of the tire. A one centimeter bubble formed on the outside of the tire and then popped.

So now I knew what the problem was! My old tire had rubber for the section that contacts the ground, but the sidewalls were made from interlaced thread instead.

These threads had slowly come undone until a hole formed that was big enough for the tube to blow out through. Without the tire keeping pressure on the tube, it exploded like an overinflated balloon.

You can see the frayed threads around the hole in the picture above.

Finally realizing what the problem was, I got a new tire and replaced that along with the burst tube.

My bike is all fine now and I’m taking it to work instead of the bus.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed