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Thanks to Really Useful Bikes I was able to replace the broken clip the Xtracycle sustained when it decided to roll down a set of stairs in December*, just in time for the snow and ice to melt so I can get bit further afield.
First long(ish) tour of the new year scheduled for Saturday.
*The shop in Germany I contacted -twice- for a replacement still hasn’t got back to me.
I’ve been a bit busy this weekend, doing yet another course which I’ll tell you about sometime when I’m more awake. I’m aware I haven’t even replied to the comments on the last post, sorry about that.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of the Bakfiets on a shopping trip.
It was minus 12°c (about 10°F) and my hands were numb by the time I’d finished taking the pictures.
Last night the super-duper high tech boiler on our apartment building stopped working because the oil was getting cold and too sticky. Our heating system doesn’t like the cold either.
I’m told it will get warmer soon…
After one ‘interesting’ road journey (ever tried crossing a suspension bridge in a typhoon?), a remarkably punctual flight to from Nagoya to Helsinki, an almost comically delayed flight from Helsinki to Stuttgart, we are back where we started five weeks ago, although there will probably be a couple more posts about Japan when I get the time.
went for a ride went food shopping on the Bakfiets. I’d forgotten how much work is needed to move a 30 kilo bike uphill. This, and the fact that we spent more time in a car in the last five weeks than in the previous year, probably explains why my waistline expanded over summer. Looks like I’ll need to go out cycling more. It’s a tough life.
In other news, the tomato plants on the balcony are giving a crop of tomatoes, including the one I raised from seed and was told would die before it gave any fruit. The tomatoes have mysteriously been joined by several other plants, some of which I can identify, and three carrots which I forgot about survived the summer and are pretending to be a bush.
I’ll report on the garden when I have the courage to go and see what’s happened there.
I muttered last week about the project to make the Xtracycle’s hub dynamo actually produce some light for the extra weight it provided. Unfortunately this would involve working with electric circuits, which are populated by gremlins, which hate me.
When the front light worked first time it was, therefore, rather a surprise.
After soldering the switch on and making a complete rat’s nest of wires in the deluxe switch housing unit, I spun the wheel, and the headlight worked again. Much euphoria. I wired the rear LED light to the system directly to test it.
The back light worked too.
I wound the wire through the Xtracycle frame and connected the rear light again.
The back light was dead, and now the front was sulking too.
This was electronics as I remembered it. I poked at wires, checked what was connected to what, and put them back again exactly as they were before.
Suddenly both lights worked: I had a working dynamo light system and I hadn’t blown anything up. Medals all around, celebratory lap of the village, waited for sunset so I could test the lights out. Lights visible from space, started to think about about fitting capacitor so front light has continual beam at stop signs.
I’ll keep the battery lights to hand in case the Gremlins decide to get stroppy later.
Water supply in the garden, with the all-important privvy in the distance.
The dustbin lid-like object under the tap is apparently a steriliser for use with an open fire. I’ll experiment with that later. I need to get the privvy working first. To do that I need to make a compost bin, for which I need wood, which I’ll salvage when I clear out the shed. After I’ve emptied the Shed of Asbestos…
Some people manage to do all this and keep livestock. I can’t even find my tools.
Xtracycle basking in the sunset. One of the advantages of using a bike to get around, instead of a metal box, is that I notice things like this and can stop to watch them.
Not that I was enjoying myself really: it’s all hard slog motivated by concern about global warming, honest…