Saturday, September 11, 2010

Things Take Longer Than They Do

I had planned to catch up on some maintenance on Friday, while Kimie was at work. Last year I kept an inexpensive bike at Hinuma station so that I could take the train up there and ride the bike to the harbor from the station. However, after only one season the exposed metal was rusted, requiring a complete overhaul. Also, I was always concerned that something would happen with it and I would arrive to find flat tires, or that the whole bike had gone missing.

I haven't been doing much riding this summer in the 90+ºF heat, so haven't needed the bike at Hinuma. I have found a better solution to leaving a bike at the station anyway - a Brompton folding bicycle which I can take with me on the train.

The saddle bag carries a cover (required on trains in Japan). It takes just a minute or two to unfold or fold and is light enough to carry up the station stairs without difficulty. It also has two luggage sized wheels which allow one to pull it along when it is folded. Mine is a 3 speed and it rides even better than the bike it replaces.

Friday was my first trip to the lake with it and it worked like a charm. The weather was nice too, as the temperature had backed off into the mid 80's F.

I had a number of tasks I wanted to complete. First was to check to see if water had gotten into the boat during the storm we had this week - remnants of a typhoon which dumped a lot of rain here. Yes, some had, due to three small holes in the boat cover. Those holes had been previously patched, but the patches were worn out and in need of replacement. I found that the jib, which was laying in the bottom of the boat was wet. So first job, lay out the jib to dry and patch the holes with a more permanent material. I also put some lubricant on the jib snaps that attach it to the forestay to make them easier to use, cleaned up the mast and replaced a worn nylon cleat. An hour gone already! Lunch time.

I rode the bike down to Mama's and though they were curious as to Kimie's whereabouts, was served another great lunch. This time, flounder with a thick, sweet shoyu sauce and slivered ginger on top.

Horenso (spinach), tofu, rice, marinated (spicy) stems of wakame (a seaweed, the leaves of which are used in soup), miso soup with shijimi (lake clams), and karei - flounder (with roe).

With Kimie absent, there was no desert (thankfully) but Mama brought me a delicious glass of iced green tea instead.

Fifty minutes lunch break, so back to work. The next agenda was to try out a solution for Bluesette's dinged up transom. (The transom, for my non-sailor readers, is the "back end" of the boat.)

The classic Lido 14 had a track and car system for the mainsheet to travel on, so a metal track covered the transom and protected it from the boom when one lowered the mainsail. The new model - hull #6000 and above, uses a bridle attached at either side of the transom so the transom itself is unprotected and the boom can, and does scratch the gel coat, especially when you lower the mainsail on a windy day.


An hour of wet sanding with 3 grades of paper and buffing with rubbing compound, I had this:
Better, but not quite good enough

My "solution", once I get the finish back to where I want it, is to lay clear plastic car door bumper strips across the transom. I found some just the right length so that there will be a short one where the rudder cutout is and a longer one on each side. They will no doubt prevent scratches, but the question is whether or not they will stay on. Since they are designed to stick to car doors, I'm hoping the glue is strong enough.

That test will have to wait. As it would take twenty minutes or so just to put everything away, I was out of time if I were to catch the train home. I should have remembered the universal law of time: Things take longer than they do. (Though, paradoxically, the trains here run on time.) As it was, I just made it to the platform as the train pulled into the station. Whew.

We'll be sailing again tomorrow. Sometime next week I'll go back to work on the transom again. This time I'll take an earlier train up and a later one home and hopefully complete the task.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Don Snabulus said...

Progress was made. The new bike looks quite interesting. I always wonder how the portable bikes do when faced with real riding situations. Hopefully, you can enlighten me.

While my non-electric bike has seen most of my recent action this summer, I am thinking of employing the eBike now that the days are shorter and the eBike lights are much brighter.

Since this is a sailing page, I will commend you on your sanding progress. Keep up the good work!

Pandabonium said...

Don - As with other bicycles, the folding bikes vary considerably in every aspect. I read lots of reviews and looked over lots of specs before making a decision. The Brompton is pricy but very well made and does everything it is supposed to very well. There are other manufacturers who have loyal followings as well at various price levels. The good ones put one in a good riding posture, offer a reasonable gear range, good control, and of course fold up easily into a small enough size. Lots of people are using these now for commuting by bike and train. As you might imagine, they are most common in places like New York City, London, Tokyo, etc. One feature people like is that they don't have to worry so much about theft - they take the folded bike with them into their office or even restaurants.

So generally speaking, while there are some real "dogs" out there, many folding bikes perform very well, even compared to non-folding bikes.

"Keep up the good work" - aye aye. Thanks.

Frankie said...

On a french sailing magazine I found an ad for a folding bike that I'd like to take with me cruising. But I don't know its worth really. See:

Pandabonium said...

Frankie - Looks great. No pricing yet. There are some articles and youtube clips about it which one can find with a search engine.

The website The Folding Cyclist" has a buyers guide - it's US based so shows prices in dollars. Also lots of articles there.

O Docker said...

Folding bikes and boats seem to go together.

We got a pair a few years ago to keep on the boat, so we'll have some way to get around once we sail to a destination (we've used them in SF and Monterey). The Pardeys did the same and have written up their experiences.

We ended up with Dahon's - a few notches up from the bottom of their line - about the cost of an entry level mountain bike from a mainstream bike company today. Ours have rear derailleurs and seven speeds - good enough to get up most serious hills.

The frames aren't quite as stiff as a 'real' bike, but once you're on them, they feel amazingly like a full-sized bike.

To keep the transom of our dinghy from getting dinged, we tied some foam around the boom at the spot where it made contact. Cheers.

Pandabonium said...

O Docker - The Dahon seven speed bikes get good reviews and represent an excellent value. Having a folding bike really gives one a lot of options.

Thanks for input on the boom situation. I would have liked to go that route, but on the Lido, the part of the boom that comes into contact with the transom is also where the main sheet's pulley is located- perhaps I should just saw 6" off the boom....

Zen said...

Great looking bike. I saw one yesterday I was considering for LZ or myself, but it does not fold up as neat as my current one, but the price was/is good...I'm holding off.

More good looking food pictures!!! Makes me hungry!!!