Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bike computer failure

Mr. Knight and I have both recently watched a truly magnificent film of how a bicycle was made in the Raleigh works in Lenton, and in view of the fact that he tends to blog on a Wednesday night I shall pre-empt him by adding this Link today. Lenton is a suburb of Nottingham and when I lived there a million years ago one of my neighbours must have been the man who filled 1,000 hubs with ball-bearings daily, a career, in the event, that didn't have a future, unless he moved to China of course. I shall also pre-empt him - Mr. Knight that is - by including this truly magnificent picture showing how much water there isn't on the planet and this will be easier because Mr. Knight doesn't discuss global water plenitude with the avidity he reserves for other topicks.

Fresh groundwater and surface-water make up the bubble over Kentucky, which is about 252 miles in diameter. The sphere over Georgia reresents fresh-water lakes and rivers (about 34.9 miles in diameter).

All Earth's water, liquid fresh water, and water in lakes and rivers

Spheres showing:
(1) All water (sphere over western U.S., 860 miles in diameter)
(2) Fresh liquid water in the ground, lakes, swamps, and rivers (sphere over Kentucky, 169.5 miles in diameter), and
(3) Fresh-water lakes and rivers (sphere over Georgia, 34.9 miles in diameter).
Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS; globe illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (©); Adam Nieman.

It doesn't seem possible - that there's actually hardly any water that is, not Mr. Knight's lack of enthusiasm for volumetric ocean measurement - since if I walk down the road there's water to the edge of the horizon. But the average ocean depth is only 2.6 miles, so this picture is accurate. If I was a Clever Computer Person I'd add a bubble representing all the air we have, and it would have a meagre 17% bigger diameter. Unfortunately I'm not a Clever Person at all. I'm a Computer Spastic. I got my road bike down off its hook and the tiddly little computer was dead and all I knew was that you can sometimes resurrect them by taking the tiny battery out and momentarily putting it back the wrong way. Unfortunately this means you lose not only the data but also how big your wheel is and that means getting out the sheet of 'structions. Oh *uuuuuuuuuuck. The sheet of instructions is about the size of an OS map and nearly as hard to unfold and when you've unfolded it you have to find the bit that isn't in Singaporean Dansk Poliski Espanol Francais Magyar Deutsch Nederlands Espanol no I've already done that Portuges Italiano or Cestina. (Where the *uck's Cestina?) And there in a small corner is the bit in English and a Fat Lot of Good it is too.
Press Set and Mode. All Clear. Display Time. Press Mode button for Odo. Press Set button twice. Hold A for two seconds, press three times, press once for Miles, press B. Udskiftning af batteri no turn the sheet over cos that's the Dansk bit. Where were we. Press Mode. Press Mode. Press Mode. Press Mode for two seconds. Now you have set L = 216cm. *uuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! I didn't want L = 216cm.
I knew it would be bad. I'm still traumatised from having to reset my watch to cope without Daylight Saving (Press L. Press A. Hold C for three seconds. Press L. Press C three times. Press L to move to the month setting. *uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! Didn't want to do that. Press A. Press L twice, press C once. Press A for two seconds, hold L and C and press A twice. *uuuuuuuuuuck. Place watch in bottom of tea-towel drawer because now the alarm's set for 4 am and I don't know how to unset it.)
What Mr. Knight and I like is Bicycles because they're uncomplicated and all you have to do is bend bits of tubing to make the seat frame, which require no 'structions at all but do require me to study that How a Bicycle Is Made film again because it has a cunning machine like the plumber's got, which if I manage to make it with applewood formers will mean my bent tubes don't look like the horrible mess that they always do look like.

Here are the seat parts for John's High Racer, the incomplete shards of which have got on my nerves again, scattered all over the workshop. I'll leave these ones as they are. They'll make Mr. English feel smug about the High Offroader he's building.

Off-road machine being built to commission by Rob English

They won't make Mr. Knight feel smug because I'm such an infinitely more careful workman than he will ever be, and anyway I also once lived in Lenton, the centre of the glorious, if by 1946 slightly moribund, British Empire, where a skilled worker fitted the wheels to the bicycle, not just a junior worker. (You didn't just watch the film? Do. Seventeen minutes and twenty-three seconds of pure engineering bliss.)

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