Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TARATS Finale!

Apologies for the glitches and sometimes poor timings in this video. I have HAD IT with my video editor pgm. I spent hours getting everything perfect and it plays beautifully in the editor, but the final output ends up like this. GAH!
Anyway, thanks to all who entered my contest; I look forward to doing it again in the Fall.

Congrats Josh! I will email you for a mailing address soon. You too RCT.

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

-18 C , -0.4 F: At Least It's Winter

Coldest day so far this winter for me here in London Ontario. The ride in was great, but I overheated a bit, having been a little too enthusiastic in dressing for the first real cold day of the year.
I am jealous of those experiencing colder temps, mostly because I would like to break my record of -23 C. That isn't very cold compared to what some Canadians and Alaskans and others do quite regularly, but hey, a personal record is a personal record, right?
Mutant Winter IV is performing really well. Needs a rinse though. The bike thaws out and drips dry indoors when I am at work, but I really should rinse that salt and dirt away. I am, as always, being lazy. I drenched the whole bike  (especially the components, bolt heads and spoke nipples) with Boeshield before the snow flew and it is showing no signs of suffering at my lazy hands so far. I'm sure there is a limit to what it can take, though.
This is one of those days when coworkers see me in my bike stuff and instantly proclaim "you are CRAZY". I like that very much. I think I'll just keep it up.
I am working on the TARATS video, but it is slow going. Thank you, entrants, for submitting your votes. The winner shall be revealed as soon as I can finish the thing. Stay tuned and enjoy the weather, wherever you are... all weather is fun, when you make a game of beating it.

Hey, I have discovered a pretty damned good page (and web site) on winter cycling for those who have an interest: Winter Cycling 101 . This was authored by a fellow Canuck who rides in Edmonton, Alberta. That is hard core compared to me, for sure, and this dude has a good overview written up.
Yer Pal,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pretty Morning and Crazy Dog

As many of you are already aware, I have a helmet cam and I take video of most of my commutes. Over time I have developed a system for dealing with lots of mostly boring footage.
When processing video files it is easier if they aren't too big, so I stop and start the camera as I ride to avoid massive files. The thing is, I often couldn't remember if there was anything good on the cam when I hooked it up to the computer, and was stuck either deleting files because I couldn't remember or wasting precious time watching the clips from beginning to end.
What I do now is this: If I've ridden for a while with nothing interesting happening, I will reach up and block the lens with my hand for a few seconds before stopping the cam. If I have seen something I want to keep, I don't block the lens and sometimes I say something to describe what is on the clip. That way when I'm at home I just skip to the end of the clip to see whether I should delete it (blocked lens) or review it.
Believe it or not, all of the preceding stuff is only there to explain my comments at the very end of this unedited clip from this very morning. It was the first "cold" day in a while (-10 C) and I left early enough to stretch out my ride. It was a really great commute about 45 minutes long. The clip I'm posting here will give you a taste of how nice it was...

When I compare this kind of thing to driving to work, well, um, there is no comparison at all. If you drive a car every day, you gotta try this if you can. Really. 

Have Great Weekends, All!
 Yer Pal,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waverley Mansion, Rantwick's Mother's Style?

I have been away without taking my leave. I know it has left all who read this blog depressed and curious whether I have died, or at least I like to think it has. I have every intention of resuming regular posts soon, but I have been busy with something very important: moving my Mother into a retirement place here in London.

A Thunder Bay resident for the last 55 years or so, this is a big deal for my Mom, and she's embracing it as best she can. I am pleased and proud and generally emotional right now, which is another reason not to write things here, since my few readers have become accustomed to my diamond hard, analytical mind of super scientific exactitude. I can say, without tearing up, that I am super happy that my Mom is now in the same city as my family and that of my sister's.

She is moving into a place that is about 4 blocks from my house and has recently gained some youtube notoriety, Waverley Mansion.

There's the Christmas Song:

And what started all the kooky fame, "Call Me Maybe":

Or their latest release, "Gangnam Style":

My Mom is in none of the preceding videos, being a new arrival, but has expressed an interest in being in the next one. I never ever ever ever would have predicted that. Which is awesome.

Rock On, Mom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Return of the How's My Driving? Sign

I've been reading some old posts on this blog and I think I'm gonna try the "How's My Driving?" sign again for a while.
I have 3 main reasons:

1) I have never tried it in winter. The fact that I'm out in the snow and ice might spur more people to comment. We shall see.

2) My URL is way more simple... (rantwick.com) people may remember and use it more easily. Plus, there are way more smartphones out there than when I tried it the first time. I hope and pray it is the passenger responding, though!

3) That sign kept me really honest when it came to riding responsibly. Having it displayed makes me ride better / more safely.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As before, the sign may draw comment trolls and other honestly angry or rude people to this blog. Engage if you like, but follow my lead and kill them with kindness and utter civility. If you can't do that, do not comment. This is about a hopefully useful discussion between me and the motorists who see me, not name-calling or finger-pointing or any of the other nonsense that plagues comments about cycling all over the Internet. 
Yer Pal,