Sunday, November 11, 2018

No More Speed Bumps? No, More Speed Bumps!

Turns out I really shouldn't have trusted Sports Basement to put the bike together. I figured "what could they possibly screw up?" Turns out, a lot of stuff.

First off, one of the shifter cables is catching on the stem bolts and is preventing the bike from steering properly. That's only potentially fatal.

Secondly, the cable guide in the bottom bracket is very clearly printed with "USE WITH METAL SUPPORT" and guess what's missing? The metal support.

Finally, the clueless retard managed to use a piece of brake cable housing to route the shifter cable to the rear derailleur. These are literally physically incompatible (brake cable housing is 5mm, shifter housing is 4mm) so you have to go out of your way to bodge it into working.

I'm going to be getting my money back on that service, and hopefully they'll be able to find the missing parts, although if they're gone for good I can just buy them online.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Bike 2! (Almost)

Getting closer. Seat post should be here this coming week, it's just making its way through shipping. Pedals are still ??? but I'm sure they'll show up eventually.


Curiously enough, when I was first shopping for my CAAD9 I had my eye on the matte black color, but it wasn't available with the components I wanted (SRAM Rival) so I ended up with red instead. It's all coming around I guess.

The new frame has much better tire clearance, particularly around the rear brake bridge, so once these 23mm GP4000sII tires wear out I can switch out for 25mm GP4Season without any trouble to make the bike more rain-friendly.

Сука блять

So I got myself a dashcam for the Pedovan. Now I just have to remember to shout "Сука блять" every time someone does something stupid in front of me.


Nice thing about the van is that the windshield is huge, so I can stick the camera just about anywhere and it won't be in the way. For the time being it's down at the bottom of the windshield and wired into the 12v port in the cupholder. Later on I'm planning to dig around in the overhead console to see if I can wire it in there instead and then move the camera up to the top to tidy up the installation.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Last Speed Bump for Bike 2 (I Hope)

So it turns out the new Cannondale frame doesn't come with a seat post, which I wasn't anticipating. The old seat post is a different size and so I can't just use that one. Thankfully this isn't much of a setback because the pedals are still on order so I'm not really missing out on any riding while I order up a new one. Also because I already have a working road bike.

Only hitch now will be if the bits don't come before I move. That would be awkward. Still got a few weeks before that happens though, so I should be good.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Adventures in Banking

So last week I deposited a total of four Canadian cheques. Three of them were in Canadian dollars, and one in American. They didn't all arrive at the same time, so I had to deposit them in two goes.

First two cheques come, both in Canadian funds. I deposit them and the teller takes maybe 20 minutes figuring out how to do the deposit. No big deal, things eventually get going the right way.

Second two cheques come and the teller (a different one this time) seems to know what she's doing. She deposits the one Canadian one using the weird procedure, and deposits the one in American funds directly, the latter being on the order of $60k.

Monday this week I go to drop off an escrow cheque for about $38k at the title company, and before I do I double-check my bank balance to make sure I have enough available funds cleared, and it's showing something like $57k available of the total amount I have in the account. No problem. I drop off the cheque and go on my way.

Later that day I check my account again to see if the cheque has been cashed already, and lo and behold my available funds has gone negative!

I get on the online live-chat with my bank and the rep doesn't seem very helpful, and just thinks that I tried to deposit a bad cheque. Excuse you, but the cheque is perfectly fine. He can't actually help me though and directs me to call the cheque fraud department. I call the number he gives and navigate through a voice menu for about 5 minutes before landing on a "we're closed for the day" message. Thanks. Couldn't have told me that a little sooner in the call.

The next day I drop by the bank branch in person to try to get to the bottom of things. The branch manager is out for a few days so I end up talking to one of the ordinary staff, and she tells me that the second teller had made an error trying to directly deposit the $60k American cheque, and reversed the deposit to send it out to be processed the slow way. Unfortunately that reversal came out of the available funds rather than the held funds, which is what put me into overdraft. To make matters worse the branch manager, who was out, was the only one with the authorization to clear the holds.

Now I had also gone ahead and sold off my Google shares in my US investment account, and set up a wire transfer to drop those funds into my account immediately, but unfortunately those transactions take two days to settle before they clear, so that would be no help either.

Luckily some sort of stars align and just enough funds get released to allow the escrow cheque, as well as my monthly rent cheque, to clear. But I learned an interesting lesson: you can, by some manner of financial witchcraft, overdraft a bank account by making a deposit. Go figure.

The $60k hasn't reappeared in my account yet, but the bank assures me that it will once the cheque clears. I'll give them a week and poke them again if it's still missing, but in the meantime I have enough deposited to close on my house so it should be all good.

Friday, November 2, 2018

So Close

Dang it! Gonna have to go do another bike ride before the end of the year.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018

Purple Haze

And so it is complete, my new road bike Purple Haze.


Once I'm sure I'm comfortable with the height of the bars I'll get the rest of the steerer chopped down, but I want to give it a week or two of riding because it's really tricky to make things longer after chopping them short.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Speed Bump on Bike 1

So I got a replacement for the broken brake lever this week, and today I went to install it only to find that the replacement was the Force 1 lever, not the Force 22 lever, which means it lacked the front shifter. Oops. Bit of a setback there, but nothing too serious at least, just need to wait for a second replacement now.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Speed Bump on Bike 2

So it turns out that Cannondale has a policy where they won't give you a warranty on the frame unless it's assembled into a full bike by a Cannondale dealer, because apparently they're jerks or something. So even though my frame is sitting at the shop right now, I can't take it home yet because I need to get all the parts to make it into a complete bike and then bring those parts to the dealer and have them assemble it for $250. Not real thrilled about that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It's Time to Pack My Bags

The property management has recently got their panties in a twist about my bamboo and has been handling the situation in a very poor way, leading to a great deal of stress for me since Friday. On top of that, today they decided that it's somehow unreasonable for me to park 3 motorcycles in my one parking spot, even though they take up less space than a single car and all fit well within the confines of the spot. Add to this the continuing aggravation of the neighbour's range hood vent blowing directly into my apartment and it all leads to one conclusion: As much as I like living in Cupertino, I'm done with apartment life.

Moving away from Cupertino is a bit of an unfortunate financial side-effect, as I'll only likely have about $400k to put down (depending on market fluctuations, taxes, exchange rates etc), and with the monthly payment range I'd like to hit that'll leave me in the $1.2 mil range, and there's just nothing in Cupertino at that price range. Thankfully I don't have to go too far to find good houses for that amount, and I think a change of scenery might do me some good, shake things up a little.

I got a recommendation for a good real estate agent from a friend so I'll be having a chat with them soon to see what makes sense for me. I might take a bit of a hit breaking my lease early, but I think not having someone constantly looking over my shoulder judging me and trying to enforce arbitrary and absurd rules will do wonders for my happiness.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

First Steps Towards Bike 2

Dropped the broken CAAD10 frame off at Sports Basement yesterday and got the process rolling on getting its replacement, which will probably end up being a CAAD12 since the 10 is out of production now. This is fairly good news since what I've seen of the 12 leads me to believe that they fixed a lot of the quality and finish issues that the 10 had, though it's still not in the same ballpark as the CAAD9 that I started out with.

I think as long as nothing goes wrong with getting this replacement frame I'll build it up into a winter bike with some nice fenders and lots of lights.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Sweet Taste of Defeat

The pile of parts is still a pile of parts, and not yet a functional bike. Ran into a snag when swapping the brake cables when the banjo bolt stripped out the lever way short of the spec torque. Not impressed. On the other hand waiting on the replacement part will give me an excuse to strip down Phoenix Down so I can get the frame replaced.

In other news I trimmed the bamboo this morning. The landlord left a note on my door saying "we've hired a tree crew and they're going to enter your patio" rather than, say, calling me and telling me that they'd like me to trim my bamboo. I guess that's a little bit too much to expect. Hopefully this will ward them off and they won't butcher the bamboo with a hedge trimmer like they did last time.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Pile of Parts

The new bike is coming together surprisingly quickly. I did decide to make the leap for disc brakes, and the frame came in on Thursday which actually caught me off guard a little bit. I hadn't been expecting it quite that quickly.

The frame looks magnificent and is of course light enough that I need to weigh it down so it doesn't drift up and bump along the ceiling. The wheels also arrived quite quickly, which was a pleasant surprise as they came all the way from the UK (not for any particular reason other than they somehow had a really good price on them).

The rest of the bits have been trickling in from Amazon, as they wont do. I've got almost everything I need from there but I'm waiting on the front derailleur and the bar tape before I'm at 100% of a bike. They should hopefully come in sometime next week. Hopefully. If push comes to shove I can run without bar tape for a few days but it'd be nice to have everything wrapped up at the same time.

I've been waffling over what to do with the leftover bits from my old bike. At this point I'm only a few parts short of a full bike, and I could either sell it off as such, or buy the few remaining bits and have two bikes? Like I could fit fenders to it and maybe use it as a winter bike. I suppose we'll see how I feel.

Speaking of extra parts, I did manage to accidentally order more parts than I need. I had bought a pair of lockrings for the disc brakes without realizing that the wheels came with a set, and likewise I ended up with an extra set of caliper spacers. Not a big deal, I'd rather have extra than none at all.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bike Bits, Take Two

I've set aside the idea of getting the Colnago for now as I have some concerns about durability and warranty service on it, and instead turned my sights to a Specialized Tarmac frame, like thus:



It's a top quality, reliable carbon frame, and now all I need to do is find one in my size... which is proving difficult. I'd like to get the rim brake version so I can reuse more of my existing parts, but if push came to shove I might have to switch to disc which would mean new wheels, and some other bits will get more expensive.

On the Cannondale front, it looks like Sports Basement will be able to take care of my warranty claim so I'll be able to recycle that frame into a new one, which I plan to sell, along with some other bits that won't carry over, on to help recoup some costs.

In the mean time it's starting to look like I might have to ride out the rest of the commuting season on my XC bike. Not the worst fate and at least I'm still getting exercise, but all the same it's not quite what I was hoping for.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Phoenix Down is Down

Looks like my ENERGY LEGS have claimed another victim, and this time it's the frame of my road bike, or at least a weld between the chainstay and the rear dropout.


Sadness and woe. I'm pretty sure I can get a replacement from Cannondale but I'm thinking of maybe going a bit more upmarket and getting this fancy-pants Colnago C64 frame:


I'll be transferring most of the parts from Phoenix Down over (should I go this route) and probably upgrading one or two bits that I've been overdue on refreshing. It's a little spendy but nothing out of my reach; assuming I can get a replacement frame from Cannondale I'll sell that off to help offset the cost, but it's not a big deal either way.

It's a good thing I have more than one bike, there's still a good 2 months of bicycle commuting left before the time change.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Weekend Spent Well

It's a good thing this weekend had 3 days, because I somehow managed to fill all three of them.

Starting off with Saturday, the main job of the day was modifying my triangle bag on BlackBirb, my mountain bike. The velcro-and-elastic holding it on was doing an ok job, but it was showing signs of not really being the most secure long term solution; the tension from the elastic was pulling the velcro off itself. Rather than going to any huge lengths to re-engineer this I decided to just add some hook-and-eye fasteners to the velcro, and the result was quite satisfactory.

Fast forward to Sunday and the main event, a ride from Lexington Reservoir to El Sombroso. I initially planned to go down Woods Trail as far as Hicks Road, but I was being swarmed with tiny flies that kept buzzing an inch from my sunglasses (not biting or anything, just buzzing away in front of me), and by the time I was at El Sombroso I felt like I had done enough to call it a good ride.

Sunday was bike wash day, as the trails around here are hella dusty, so much so that the dust actually scrubbed away all the lube from the chain on BlackBirb by the time I was 3/4 through the ride. But I washed both it and Phoenix Down while I was at it, and gave them both a once-over with the lube.

The hours in between were filled with the usual minor weekend tasks and chores that don't bear mentioning. Doing laundry, taking out the trash, doing my nails and so on. Cleared out a bit of a backlog too, so I should be able to get started on something new next weekend (though I've been saying that for a few weekends now, at some point it'll actually come to pass I'm sure).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A change of venue, and a key holster

So I've decided to revive this blog once again, due to G+ deciding that one of my posts was spam and deleting it outright, including the lovely description I wrote up. Plus let's face it, who even uses G+ anymore?

That aside, here's a new 3D printing project I recently completed.


It's just a little holster for the amenities key. I had a hook here before, but I found it somewhat annoying and unsatisfying to use. This should be much easier to drop the key into and grab the key out of.