Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Looking Back: Goodbye To My Hero

How's that for a title to scare off just about anybody? If I saw that on some other blog I read regularly, I would sigh while following the link, wondering who died now and how depressed the author was gonna make me.

Good news! Nobody died! My original GoPro HD Hero (note lack of number) finally calved. I was very happy with that camera. It came with me on pretty much every bike ride and was tossed around for over 6 years without a whisper of trouble.  I must have been pretty tuned in to its physical state because I had replaced it with a Hero 4 Session just two weeks before! I had done that because the battery wasn't holding much of a charge and the lens had some scuffs on it that were visible in the video sometimes.

Once I had the new camera, I mounted the old one in a rear facing position on my bike rack:

I got some pretty good stuff out of it before it stopped working, too, some of which will show up here on the blog/youtube over the next little while. I shouldn't say it has stopped working though. I mean, yes, it will no longer record video, but it is still working pretty damn well at keeping cars off my back, literally. The GoPro in its little clear enclosure is pretty familiar to most people now, so I think most drivers clue in right away to what it is. This is good, because the way I've mounted the new Session it is not visible to drivers behind me; it doesn't stick up off the top of my head like the old one did.

I'm very happy with the Session so far; it is waterproof without a housing and the sound quality while riding is way better. It is also smaller and I like the flat surface over the lens, which is easier to clean and protect from damage (I'm using a clear sticker protector thing) than the rounded one on my old camera.

Well, wasn't that just fascinating? It's pretty bad when the best thing I can say about a post is that it wasn't about anybody dying, but there you have it.

Yer Pal,

PS - Full disclosure: I have not received a nickle or anything else for the nice things I just said about gopro cameras. Hmph.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Things People Say Fridays #17: It's Illegal for Cyclists to Ride in Tunnels!

Hey everybody, I hope your week hasn't been too much of a grind, but if it has, it is now Friday! For those who work on the weekend, I am so sorry. I would take my comments back if I could, but the backspace key is so far away and I'm so tired. Anyway, as the post title suggests, this writing marks the long awaited return of the "Things People Say Fridays" series here on R A N T W I C K. When I say long awaited, I am referring to myself, of course. Nobody "awaits" anything from me; if you do I'm afraid you need to get a life, my friend.

In this installment, I am informed of a law that does not exist, second hand from someone who should have been a traffic authority...

Now, there are undoubtedly some tunnels where it might be very dangerous to ride a bicycle. Dark, narrow,  and/or high-speed tunnels can be some of the scariest places in the world for a cyclist, and I would never recommend riding in them, technically legal or not. In some cases these tunnels may have signage declaring "no bicycles permitted", which indeed makes it illegal to ride there.

On the other hand, there are many tunnels and underpasses that are perfectly well suited to cycling, like the one I rode through. The speed limit is 50km/h. It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in my city and the sidewalks in that area are busy with pedestrians. The only danger to anyone in that situation would have been if I rode to the right instead of controlling the lane.

This is just a theory, but I think cyclists are so unwelcome in tunnels because their presence may extend the amount of time a driver feels like they are underground; I think there is a natural subconscious desire to be in and out of a tunnel as quickly as possible.

I wish the dissemination of imaginary, often self-serving laws when it comes to cyclists were something new or different, but it ain't. I, like many cyclists, have been informed of such imaginary laws lots of times.

Using the logic that things we find inconvenient or annoying can be re-stated as laws is really going to be really liberating I think! I'll bet you've got some suggestions for new laws... lay 'em on me in the comments section, and have a super weekend!

Yer Pal,

PS - For a summary of cycling and laws governing it in Ontario, follow this link: 

PPS - In an effort to cover my ass on this one I looked pretty hard for any legislation governing cyclists and tunnels in Ontario and found nothing at all. If you know of some stupid law that will prove me wrong, please point me to it and I will happily eat crow in a follow-up post.

PPS - If it is indeed illegal to ride through a tunnel where you live but not where I do, tell me about that too!