Tuesday, March 30, 2010

just a few things

Interestingly enough, I went to my usual small, local coffee shop, where I often go after work to do a little writing, and instead of the mid-afternoon quiet that I was expecting, nay, even counting on, I discovered that they were shooting a commercial. I'm not even sure what the commercial is for. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be for the coffee shop itself, which tends towards newspaper ads if they do any advertising at all. They have something along the lines of thirty people here, bustling around, some doing stuff, some just acting important. It's strange that it would take so many people and so much effort for such a short piece of film. The average commercial is what, fifteen seconds? They just put fake trees outside of the window. I guess the street scene isn't natural enough for the shoot or something. And in addition to the bright afternoon sunlight streaming into the windows, they've also added an unbelievably bright spotlight shining in from the outside. Every time I get even a glare from it, it's painful and leaves those retina spots.

I've been invited to participate in a photo mashup which excites me a lot. I'll put a link up to it when it goes up in April.

Also interestingly, just about a week after my rant about bikes and the quality of various ones thereof, my bike broke in a rather spectacular manner. Right in the middle of a busy intersection, while I was making a difficult left turn. I made it to safety and work only fifteen minutes late. But to quote my bike mechanic, "I've never seen one of those do that before."

It was my freewheel that broke. I have a single speed bike with a flip flop hub. Rather than run it as a fixie, I run on the side with the freewheel. For those not in the know, the freewheel is the little gadget inside a bike wheel that allows the wheel to spin without the chain (and therefore the pedals) moving. Mine snapped inside the cog, which in turn caused the whole gear to rip apart. It's not uncommon for the freewheel to break and I've had a broken freewheel on this bike before, but the bike mechanic had never seen one where it tore the whole gear apart like that before. The good news is I got it fixed for under $30. The bad news is also that it only took me thirty dollars to fix the bike.

See, it turns out that most freewheel and single gear combos are total junk. They're meant for little boys BMX bikes and if you use them for serious, year round riding, you can expect to go through them about every two to three years. I've been lucky and this is only the second time its broken in the eight years I've owned the bike. It bothers me that this part is considered to be almost disposable.

Luckily, there's one guy, out in California, who makes a freewheel single gear cog combination that won't break in a few years. It costs nearly $100. Shimano and other bike part makers charge about $15 for the same part. It wouldn't make sense to put the good part on a bike that you'd only keep for a while, but I plan on keeping my bike indefinitely. I'm going to pay for the good part. Quality parts for a good bike.

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