27 July 2008

how I rig a Laser

I made some photos today of the new racing rigg that we recently installed on the remaining two Laser sail boats.
Here is a quick summary how I rig those boats. Fine-points of rigging are in the photo-descriptions. In my first year at the club, I thought Lasers were hard to rig, but now I think it's really easy and quickly to be done!
  1. close the plug and the auto-bailer
  2. put the two parts of the mast together and put the sail on
  3. make sure the battens are in the sail and put the mast on the boat
  4. secure the mast with the tie-down (go once around so the line crosses twice over the rig)
  5. loop the aft end of the outhaul through the boom and the clue of the sail and tie it to the boom
  6. bring the fore-end of the outhaul through the pulleys and pull it while plucking the boom onto the mast; secure by cleating the outhaul's handle into it's place
  7. set up the tie-down at the clue of the sail (as to remind me of not forgetting this, I always leave the piece of line for this tied on the boom when I derig)
  8. set up the cunningham
  9. tie the loose end of the sheet to the aft-end of the hiking strap, make an additional eight-knot just behind the main block (some people also tie the sheet to the fore-end of the hiking-strap. when you do this, make sure to leave enough loose between the eightknot and the end-of-sheet, otherwise it's awkward to pull when the sheet's all out. currently I am trying a third variant: not tying the main sheet to anything in the cockpit, but having two eight-knots with a fair distance between them, so I always have something to pull on, even when the sheet's all out.)
  10. bring the sheet through the block on deck and through the ones at the boom don't bring it down to the transom yet, just tie a figure-of-eight at the end
  11. now I go change into sailing clothes and on my way back bring the life-jacket, rudder and centre-board
  12. run the centre-board's tension cord through the little loops created by the mast tie-down and hook or tie them together; install rudder and tiller
  13. check the plug and the auto-bailer again and put the boat afloat
  14. put the centre-board and the rudder down
  15. being at the transom already, pull the main sheet through the block on deck and tie it back to the boom
  16. hook-on the boom-vang and secure it with the tension string that's already on the boom.
  17. check all your lines again and sail off
Remember that this is only the check-list of things to go through, it doesn't say how to do all those things. Anybody who wants to do this for the first time, should get proper instruction first.

22 July 2008

nice article about sailing in Taiwan

Tourism: Sailing Clubs Face Rough Seas
"One would think that on an island like Taiwan, a vibrant sailing culture would emerge. So far it hasn’t, but that doesn’t keep enthusiasts from doing what they love."

21 July 2008

plus de vélos en ville, moins d'accidents ! / more cycling, less accidents!

article en La Croix, France

The article also reminds us, that safe cycling is a learned skill and rookies are more in danger.

One of the most important rules of the game: stay away from heavy vehicles (trucks and buses)!
  • Don't pass a truck on its right side, better stay behind it.
  • Don't let a truck pass you too tight. Always ride in the middle of the lane to keep safety margin for yourself.
Now that so many French cities have those fancy bike renting machines, educating new cyclists should be easy: explain the rules of safe biking in a sequence of cartoons and display the cartoons on the screen of those machines. A different cartoon for each time you rent out a bike. This will help keep people safe and reduce all accidents that can be avoided.

20 July 2008

fastest way to J-Town

From Harbord and Spadina to Regatta Rd, Toronto, ON

via Queens Quay and Spadina: 8.4 km
via Queens Quay to Bay (then John and Beverley): 8.3 km
via Front Street to John (and Beverley): 7.9 km
via Parliament and Dundas (and Beverley): 7.9 km
(replacing parts of that by Sherbourne, Jarvis, and/or College doesn't change the distance)

So I am wasting 400 metres to ride on the nicer road. That seems totally fair to me.

funny triangle ride

From GradHouse to J-Town Sailing club: 8.5 km
from there to Eastern End of the Lakeshore bike path: 7.5 km
from there back to GradHouse: 11km

View Larger Map

Conclusion: Toronto's East end is not closer to J-Town than I am.

Cindy is getting in shape -- choosing a luggage rack now

After installing her fine Chipmonk-resembling fenders, I trued both her wheels. They were untrue buy less than a millimetre, but now they are even up to a quarter of a millimetre. The trueing stand rocks!
One time I also noticed that the headset was totally lose and I tightened and adjusted it. That's so many things now which I did to the bike!

I also decided that Cindy should get a rack, but no kick-stand, because standing on a kickstand is unstable anyways and a rack is good to protect the fenders when the bike leans somewhere. It generally makes the bike more robust.
I know that Cindy's owner would prefer a basket as luggage thingy, but I think it's better to mount such a thing indirectly to a rack instead of to the frame. Unfortunately I don't have a complete plan which basket to mount and which rack I consequently need. I will try to split the problem up, go for a good, stable rack first and then see what basket to get.

Unfortunately all the cheap racks have only one stay to connect to the frame below, which I find quite insufficient. Such a rack is less strong and also doesn't offer enough protection against luggage getting into the wheel from the side.

On the positive side, Cindy has all the frame mountings necessary for the fenders and the rack. I really hate that guy from CBN who told me to mount the rack against the seat post. That's such totally wrong thing to do! The seat post has to stay adjustable. Especially since Cindy's seat post has a built-in suspension, one can't mount anything to the suspended part.
Why are there so many bloody amateurs in this world?!

Cindy's owner is coming back soon and I am looking forward to hear her opinion and finish the repairs. I have to inquire my buddy from the sailing club where he got his cheap lights and bell. Those would finally make Cindy a perfect ride!

Stay tuned folks!

18 July 2008

tear down those hoary relics


More on this topic to follow.

16 July 2008

Chipmunk Cindy and the fender defender

Isn't it a sign of backwardness of the bicycle industry that one has to go to three different shops to get a pair of fenders and mount them? The first shop, Urbane Cyclist, sells me the fenders, but doesn't even know if it'll actually fit, so they borrow me some tools to try to mount them... I have to work in the street in front of the shop. It turns out that I need some extra bolts and they give them to me. But then I need even more bolts and working in the street really sucks, so I give up and take my fenders and extra bolts to the Bikechain workshop. But Bikechain is closed on Mondays, so it's one day of waiting and then the satisfying experience of having a proper work stand and all the extra bolts and washers that I need.
The only thing that Bikechain is lacking is a tapping tool, so I still have to go to another place to finish the last part of fender mounting. Bike Pirates is that place, but they are only open on Thursdays and Saturdays, so I am currently riding Cindy with a half-mounted fender.
Further updates soon!

Update: The situation is even worse than previously described. I waited two days for Bike Pirates to open only to hear that they don't have a tapping tool either. Then I immediately went to CBN (Community Bicycle Network) who had a tapping tool, but not of the right size. Their solution was to simply force the bolt in (something the people at Urbane Cyclist explicitly told me not to do). Bloody amateurs! I also inquired CBN about a rack and they told me to mount it against the seat-post although Cindy already has special mounting points for a rack in the frame. Now I really don't trust those people any more!

On the positive side, the fenders are completely mounted now and I hope that the forced bolt will never have to be taken off (e.g. when the fender is bent and has to be straightened).

Stay tuned for the story about the rack!

14 July 2008

Fringe Reprise

My favourite Fringe shows were "Crude Love", "The Honeymoon Period is finally over" and "We is Blunderstruck". As I am writing this, those three are already on the way to perform in other Fringe Festivals around Canada.
However, some of the good shows will play again in Toronto from July 18 to July 27 in an event organized by the Diesel Playhouse and called "Best of the Fringe" . But since many of the best shows already have engagements elsewhere, this program would more accurately be called "Fringe left-overs". Or more neutrally: Fringe reprise.

PS: List of shows in the comments below. Thanks, Anonymous!

13 July 2008

Fringe of Toronto Reviews

I am writing (at least a short) review for every piece I am seeing during the festival. Here's the list of all plays and show times. So you can watch pieces that I have made you curious about. By the way, here's the link to Eye Weekly's reviews.

Note: Some shows I like so much that I am planning to see them again towards the end of the festival. To friends of mine: please join me for any of those. You won't be disappointed. (I also want to see the Patron's Picks, if I can get tickets for them.)

Thursday, 3rd July: I am starting slowly with my first volunteering shift and only one show watched.
  • "Crude Love": it's romantic, it's passionate, it's realistic and imaginative. I liked the play, the atmosphere and the acting. Very sensitive show.
Friday, 4rd July: no volunteer shift, much time to see shows.
  • "Death to Dating": not as sensitive a show, but good acting and nice singing. For those who don't need their entertainment to be as profound.
  • "We is Blunderstruck" hilarious gig on a sad occasion, hard rock performed by excellent actors and musicians. Except for the flute but that had to be in. 60 minutes of pure fun and excitement!
  • "The Tricky Part": story of a catholic boy that has been sexually abused, written in first person perspective, read by another catholic. Personally, I found the acting quite superfluous because the words say it all. When the performer came on stage and said "Hi" with a big smile, I already knew he is going to preach to his audience. That's what happened, but it's still a very touching preaching, based on a real story.
Saturday, 5th of July: on this day I tried some shows which hadn't got any good reviews yet.
  • "Cage without a key": dialogue turning in circles, story full of clichés, actors marching back and forth... but at least the whore was cute.
  • "The Reservation": superb dance, but don't expect a story line
  • "The Pharmaceutical Affair": for Tintin fans and people who can stand Tintin's insanely high-pitch voice. I liked the French parts though.
  • "Sherlock Holmes and the First English Gentleman": very good play setting us back in the Victorian Age where our detective hero has to solve a case that links back to his own forgotten past. Excellent performance with thrilling story and wonderful acting.
Sunday, 6th of July: an early afternoon shift allowed me to see two shows to get the day started...
  • "Mating Rituals of the Urban Cougar" one hour of songs and poems presented by a poet performer with a wonderful voice.
  • "The Honeymoon Period is officially over": one woman plays a couple, their aunt and uncle, their cat and hamster and a long forgotten friend. Awesome show about the reality of relationships which is full of hilarious moments.
  • "Silver and Stinky" must-see, of course, for serious cyclists. Also very good and sensitive play, a little melancholic, but not lacking joy. The actors fit very well into their roles.
Monday: my head is spinning; I need a break from this.

Tuesday: more break please

Wednesday: I had a shift, but didn't see any shows.

Thursday: with an appointment for a show I got started for the final rounds and then saw another one during my shift.
  • "A mirror up to Nature": much text and a little hard for me to follow. the parts that I understood were very good. I loved his rendition of Shylock's famous monologue which he had introduced by telling the long story which apparently had Shakespeare inspired to the merchant of Venice. this was awesome!
  • "The Spy": very nice one-man spy-story. I missed much of the British accent lines and also didn't get all of the mimic stories, but otherwise it was at least as fun as watching a James Bond movie.
Friday: no shows, just work and sailing.

  • "Lupe: Undone" chatting with the audience about life and love in her bedroom and a dark alleyway. I loved how she integrated audience members into her show!
  • I also saw "Blunderstruck" again.
  • "Wild About Harry": I had expected a musical and all I got was a long sequence of songs that sounded all the same to me. But the friend I brought really liked it.
That's it now. The Fringe 2008 is over. Jack Sparrow goes back to sailing.

10 July 2008

tuning and repairs of the bike provisionally named Cindy

In what desperate condition I found her: she had fallen from her rack, the handlebars had turned in the steering tube, the kick-stand was broken off, the dérailleur was bend from falling or some other nasty coming-too-close.

Here's what Matt from Bikechain and me did on the first day:
  • remove the little steel piece on which the dérailleur is mounted and bend it back, closer to its original shape.
  • reassemble the dérailleur and adjust: cable tension at the shifter (on the handlebars), low and high stop points
  • tighten the handlebar cone and the handlebar tilt
  • grease the axles for the V-breaks and the break cables; readjust the brake-springs and cable-tension
  • remove the stub from the broken kick-stand
Here's what's still left to do:
  • buy and install fenders (mounting holes seem to be there, although not much space between wheel and frame)
  • readjust the wheels (which are slightly uneven)
  • buy and install a rack (didn't see any mounting holes for that though :-(
  • buy and install a new kick-stand
  • lights -- that's a whole story by itself
so far, so good, Cindy.