i found the magic chicken

After flailing all day trying to get ruby 1.9.3-p385 installed on my os x 10.9.4 machine, and trying many, many suggestions, this finally worked for me:

> CFLAGS=-Wno-error=shorten-64-to-32 rbenv install 1.9.3-p385

To make things more complicated, I previously had fink and macports installed, and wanted to switch to brew, exclusively. You can see from the above that I'm using rbenv, and not rvm.

Other things involved using brew to install readline and openssl and gcc42, but none of those actually fixed the problem.

old wheel, new wheel

old wheel

That's what's left of the old wheel.

new wheel

new wheel

That's the new wheel.

Yesterday evening, I was on my way to dinner. I stopped at a red light right behind a vespa-type scooter, at the corner of 15th and Mission. The light turned green, and I was watching the scooter in front of me so as to not run into it. Then I turned left onto Mission.

As I was turning, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a car heading right for me. Next thing, I was on the ground in the middle of the intersection. I was unhurt, not even really bruised or scraped. I've had worse accidents all by myself. When I got up, I saw that the car was a police car. Oops.

The important fact that I had missed was that 15th street is a one way street. I was in the left side of the right hand lane, thinking that the left lane was for oncoming traffic. While we were stopped at the light, there was nobody in the left lane. I was turning left from the right lane across traffic coming up behind me. The whole encounter was totally my fault.

The cops asked if I was ok, and I said yes, and we all moved over to the side of the road. They had to call in other police officers and report the accident. I think one pair of officers came and went, then another pair arrived and stuck around. They took my ID and checked it out. Finally, an "investigator" showed up, and chatted with the other officers.

He came over to me, and asked "You're alright?"

Me: "Yes"

Him: "Any damage to you or the bike?"

Me: "Nope"

Him: "You know I'm not trying to coerce you or anything, just asking"

Me: "Yup"

So, this nice investigator fellow declared that this was not an accident since nobody was hurt and there was no damage to either the police car or my bike.

I was happy because this meant I did not have to deal with any fallout from an "accident". I got the impression that the officer driving the cop car was happy as well to not be involved in an "accident".

"Let's just call the whole thing off!"

I think it took at a 1/2 hour, maybe 3/4 of an hour for all that. A lot of standing around waiting for cops to come and go.


I hadn't actually really inspected my bicycle. I mean it seemed fine to me when I moved from the middle of the intersection to the side of the road. What I discovered as I was leaving was that my rear wheel was way out of whack. "Out of true" for the bike geeks. So much that the tire would rub against the seat stay and then the chain stay as it went round. I wasn't in the mood to ride right then, so it wasn't a huge deal. I figured I'd take it to a shop and get it trued the next day.

I had dinner and did manage to ride the bike back to my airbnb (not very far). It was not a stable ride. It was surprising to me that the back wheel being out of true could make it feel like the steering was whacked up as well.

So tomorrow (today) comes around. I know that the local bike shop opens at 11am, so I take off for an early lunch from work at about 10:40am. I go get the bike from the airbnb, go the one block to the shop and take it in. The guy at the shop takes a look and is like "I don't think I can fix this. Even if I can, it's probably not going to stay true. You'd better get a new wheel." You might be thinking that he's just saying that so he can sell me a wheel. The thing is they don't have one (the right size/kind) for me.

I talk him into trying to true it for me so that I can ride for the next week or so. $25 to have a working bike for another week seems like a bargain to me. He doesn't want to charge me, cuz he doesn't think it's gonna stick. Anyway, we agree that I'll come back in 20 minutes and he'll see what he can do.

I go grab a sandwich and come back 30 minutes later. He takes it off the stand and says "No go. I can't fix this." And he will not charge me.

I highly recommend Box Dog Bikes. They are good people there.

Next step: Where else can I get service for a bicycle? REI. 

I ride over to REI (going slowly and very carefully since my bike is totally wobbly). The nice fellow at REI takes the bike back into the shop and comes back a few minutes later: "I don't think I can save that wheel." Not unexpected, but good to confirm that the guy at Box Dog wasn't wrong. In some ways, anyway.

Me: "You have a wheel I can buy to replace it?"

Him: "Let me look."

This time he takes longer than examining my wheel. Eventually he comes back with three options and lays them on the table. I very quickly decide on the cheapest option for $100. He says it's a solid, strong wheel, and at the moment, that's the kind of wheel I like.

After he got my old wheel off, I took it and (with a wire cutter he loaned me) cut all the spokes to remove the hub. (I figure I might be able to use it to build a new wheel someday.) I didn't get a photo of the rim, but after I had taken all the spokes out, it was completely obvious that it was never going to be true again. It was really wonky.

I think the police car bumped into my rear wheel and that's what put me down on the ground. The good news is that only the bike was harmed, and I was fine. The worst thing of all this is that my very first bicycle/automobile encounter was with a cop car.

Riding back to the office on a bike that did not wobble was very, very pleasant. I think I got back at about 1:30pm.

note to self

Always, always take a roll of packing tape when taking a parcel to the post office. You're gonna need to re-tape, or re-package something.

72 cans of "beer" in the bag

One popular method to measure the capacity of a bag (backpack or messenger style) among cyclists is "how many beers?" For instance, here's a roundup of bags that hold at least 24 beers.

I recently acquired a Timbuk2 Especial Tres (2014 edition) and was curious about its capacity. It's officially a 40L bag, but it's not clear if this is before or after expansion, or pushing its limits. Today's test doesn't really answer the "How many liters does it really hold?" but it does demonstrate that this is one capacious bag.

Before we begin, here are the tags that came on the bag.

Here is the bag before we begin. I don't actually drink beer, so I have two 24 packs of diet coke and a third 24 pack of assorted drinks. A 12oz drink is a 12oz drink, yes?

Here's the first layer of a dozen cans.
When I did the second layer, I realized I could fit 2 more per layer, so here's two layers of 14 (28 cans).
Here's after 2 more layers of 14. So, 56 cans.
At this point the bag was basically at "normal" capacity. I had filled to the normal top. I closed it up and here's some photos with 56 cans inside.
Now it's time to start expanding.
I don't think the expansion zipper thing on the sides actually adds that much room, but that in addition with using some of the above the roll top line, I got all the rest of the cans that I had into the bag, all three 24 packs, for a total of 72 cans. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo with all the cans inside. I got the additional 16 cans in by laying a bunch on top and then shoving the others down alongside the cans that were already in the bag. I had no trouble closing the bag, and I probably could have fit a couple more inside. Plus, as you can see, I still haven't even touched the stretchy pockets on the outside.
You can see from that last set that I had to extend the top straps, and I could only just fold the roll top. I would not recommend actually trying to wear this bag with this much weight in it, but they do fit pretty easily, and it is definitely "closed" and fairly secure. You can also see that the bag is bulging. It's not straining at all, but it is very nearly totally full.

git up

I've just discovered git-up. I like it.

gem install git-up
rbenv rehash
git config --global git-up.bundler.check true
git config --global git-up.fetch.prune true
git up

I had to do a rehash to get rid of

git: 'up' is not a git command. See 'git --help'.

more about the marin hamilton bicycle

There's a good post/review of an older marin hamilton here.

That year was quite different from the 2013 that I have, but some points still pertain. It's an excellent commuter/all around bike. His model was single speed, I think, while mine was a 7 speed. (Mine is currently a 21 speed since I swapped in a triple ring crank and front derailleur).

He wishes there was disk brakes on his hamilton. The answer to that is to get a marin muirwoods 29er, which has disk brakes and 24 speed drivetrain.

The 2014 muirwoods has hydraulic brakes, while the 2013 had mechanical disk brakes. Personally, I prefer mechanical.

my latest bike: 2013 marin hamilton 29er

Near the end of last year I bought a 2013 marin muirwoods 29er to keep in the bay area, for when I'm there working.

fresh new bike!

One reason I bought it was that it was on sale at the marin factory store in san francisco. It was a "bargain" and a bike that I thought would be really good for the riding I do in California. I ride around the city, in the east bay, and then also go for long rides in marin and berkeley hills and mt diablo with my friend Dave.

Lunch time

I liked it a lot. Really, a lot. 

Recently, I noticed that these bikes were coming up for sale on ebay. For a lot cheaper than my "bargain". (They're selling for about $350 plus shipping, where I paid $600.) Also, the lesser twin of the muirwoods, the hamilton, was coming up for sale.

The only differences, as far as I know, between the 2013 hamilton and the muirwoods 29er is that the hamilton has rim brakes instead of disk, and its a 1x7 drivetrain instead of 3x8. I had been thinking that I'd prefer the rim brakes because of the reduced complexity, and that it's easier to get a rack on.

I bought a 2013 hamilton for about $250 + $48 shipping.

The seller wouldn't ship to Hawaii, but I had it shipped to Dave in California, and then I mailed the frame to myself (another $40) and took the rest of the bike on the plane in a checked bag.

The hamilton was delivered to me in it's original box, unassembled. It never got assembled as originally designed. To get it from California to Hawaii, I disassembled it more, and then I already had plenty of changes to make before I rode it the first time.

  • 100mm, 25 degree salsa stem
  • schwalbe marathon mondial tires (622-47)
  • charge scoop saddle
  • problem solvers backstop
  • cranks, triple front rings and top pull front derailleur (from my other 29er)
  • microshift twist shifters
  • black soma clarence bar
  • spurcycle grip rings

That's the basic changes I made. I did actually put on the original tires and rode those for a day before I put the schwalbes on. I ordered the stem, the saddle, the backstop and the shifters, and had them ready and waiting before I got the bike home. The other stuff was already in my collection.

I've been riding it around here, at home, and still liking it. I'm nearly convinced that these bikes are fabulous. More people should be buying them. And there are still real bargains on ebay, if you have a mainland address.