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Archived Boards (Read-Only) => => Topic started by: blademan on January 08, 2013, 01:07:51 PM

Title: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on January 08, 2013, 01:07:51 PM
Gonna keep this as simple as possible. Here are the skills I have chosen. I have 14, cycling is a bonus skill that I realized I could add becuase I'm going to do that as a part of my fitness goal and it is a skill on the list. Many of my skills are complementary with each other and I have a secret goal that I'm not going to publish yet unless I actually do it as it is a extant project that has sort of fallen by the wayside that I plan on pursuing.
   The list:
Marksmanship (specifically, air powered weapons)
Martial arts
Leather working
Small engine repair
Welding, soldering, brazing
Knife making
Shelter construction
Foreign Language (portuguese and russian, improve my spanish)

 I will update the skills I have already started later today.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on January 10, 2013, 10:32:33 PM
   This is what I have done so far:
  Cycling/ fitness: I was gifted two bicycles and a stand for christmas from a stranger on craigslist. (Usually stories involving strangers from craigslist end far worse than that.)
   This is what I got: two 1996 (yes bikes have year models) Trek 800 "mountain track" mountain bikes. One is a 18" and the other and a 21" (these measurements are of the seat tube, they both have 26" wheels) other than size, they are identical. This means that I have spare parts, which has already come in handy.
    They are both in great shape for being older than the bike I bought in high school and had for ten years.
   They both need some small work, but I have the 21" road worthy and outfitted for commuting. I got headlights, helmet, helmet lights, tail lights, tube slime, pump, tools, tail rack, milk crate tail rack as a cargo box, speedometer.
   I just added a 15th skill incorporating a few of my skills into alternative transportation.
   Martial arts,
   I am going to learn escrima this year. I hope. There is a pretty dismal selection of escrima instructors in my area, the one I have talked to is a bit expensive and based on what I have seen, and been advised, slightly questionable as to his expertise. However, there is a large asian population in my area, I have already put a feeler out in that area, and hopefully that will pay off. Failing finding actual instruction, I will get dvds and use youtube to teach myself. I can see this becomming an actual stepping stone into me developing an american stick fighting martial art. Given the nature of escrima, this could also qualify as swordsmanship, as in the wartime combat usage of escrima, kali, or silat and arnis, the sticks can be replaced with swords or knives of various lengths. And since the concepts and movements of escrima and related styles are also used empty handed, this also qualifies as self defense. As to my progress, I have the blanks for my bastons (sticks) roughed out. I cut them to the length of my arm from armpit to middle finger length out of a walking stick I bought last year from the local boy scout store. I am going to sand, stain and seal the sticks and then add some hardware to allow me to join them together to use as a walking stick so that I may carry them with me when I am out and about.
   I have more progress, but I will post more later.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on January 19, 2013, 02:45:37 AM
Ok. Huff puff wheeze. Cycling, alternative transportation and fitness oficially underway. Rode/walked over 15 miles yesterday. Proof of concept and feasability for using the bike to commute to work and back. I learned a few things: one: I am horribly out of shape, but not as bad as I thought, the brakes on my 15 year old nike are probably the ones that came on it new, they work, but not to my standard and will need to be changed, my choice of primary headlight was naïve and will have to be upgraded. I also learned to beware of the pedal monster. Cyclists will understand that. Anyway, I made the entire ride with no physical problems. Which is really good considering that the last time I did a distance ride, 3 years ago, I almost got hurt because both my legs severely cramped at the same time and I almost fell uncontrolled onto pavement. Only small cramps on the ride home, nothing dangerous. Will have to finish my escrima batsones/walking stick because the best route for me to get to work goes through some roughish areas to be alone at night. Will need to get a spare battery, external battery or spare phone for emergency use. I also learned that I really need to quit smoking. Soon.
  I had a really cool day. Really really inspiring since I found out that I can still make a cross city 10 mile ride in just over an hour even though I am 330 lbs, out of condition, and smoke. I even broke the speed limit: I was going 25.1 mph in a 25 mph zone. Downhill. Its pretty neat!
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on February 07, 2013, 07:04:36 PM
   Have the sticks for my escrima bastones sanded now. I have to decide on a stain and finishing method. I also purchased a rotary tool to help me put any finishing touches on them with along with some other projects.
   On the cycling front, I have been riding more often. I made the entire ride to work, work, ride home lap a couple days ago. It was too foggy the next day, and today, I was more sore than I was yesterday, so I didn't ride but have a shorter trip planned tonight. Will be doing the whole trip tomorrow. With the money I will be saving from riding, I should be able to afford the motor option soon. I really want the two stroke engine, however, I can't seem to find clear information on if I have to have a license, registration and insurance on it if I use it on public roads, the laws are vague, and contradictory depending on which agency is writing them. And since I do not and won't have a license for a bit, I have to worry about that.
   It may be better to opt for the eletrical option, as it is very much less obvious than a two stroke. Its a bit heavier, but its still a neat way of doing it.
   I asked a random cop, (I, know, I know, cops don't always know the law and are awful sources of legal advice, that's exactly why I asked one, they are the ones I will have to deal with so I want to know what they think.) He said he thought putting the motor on it made it a "motor vehicle" and subject to all the motor vehicle laws and regs and such. I then quoted some of the laws that seemed to contradict his opinion, and he said he was not aware of those laws and I would need to get advice somewhere else. He was nice, but pretty disinterested, pretty typical.
    The other option I could do is to build what is known as a pusher cart which is a motor (usually electrical, though a gas motorr could be used) and power source stuck into a trailer and the motor powers one or more of the trailer's wheels, pushing the bicycle. This has the stealth advantage as it looks like a cycle pulling a trailer, not a trailer pushing the cycle. Pedaling at a normalsh pace completes this illusion. It also allows depending on design the complete and easy removal of propulsion system from the bike, if you don't want it for some reason, or you need to ride, while it charges if it is electric. Also, it gives you (depending on design) a cargo space of much larger and better in my opinion than what you can get on a standard bike.
   Now for the downside, trailers introduce an not inconsiderable engineering problem, if the drive is to one wheel only on a two or four wheel trailer, then you have a out of track drive which can create some issues. The problem is that most trailers I have seen have fixed axles and free wheels meaning that the wheels have bearings in the hub and turn around a axle independantly so driving the axle won't work so I would need to have a complicated tansmission or a motor similar to a bench grinder to drive both wheels simultaneously, or install a third or 5th wheel in the center of the trailer to have the drive in the same "track" with the bike.
   This is complicated. I can see all the finished products in my head and have some clue how to get there, but its more work than its worth in some respects, so I'm looking for a simpler way. The other downside to a trailer is that it make the bike less manueverable, especially for having to go onto or off a curb or other elevation at an angle, but that is something that I am willing to deal with because I usually go out of my way to avoid having to curb hop if I can. Its hard on the bike and you and really increases your chance of a wreck. I got tossed the other day by grass edging next to a sidewalk. (Not a proud moment, but it happened and I'm still riding)
    So, if anyone has experience, ideas, opinions, or just wants to tell me I'm overthinking it, I'm all ears.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on March 16, 2013, 04:41:18 PM
Ok, so the brakes were being a little not brake-ish and the weather was pretty cold and wet for a little bit, so I decided to back off on the riding a little. Got tired of not riding, so I odered some new brake pads from the local bike store and adjusted the ones I have (w7 year old bike and I think its the original pads on it, its time to get new ones) on to work a little better.
  Did a few rides this week but am dealing with really bad leg cramps because I put on a few pounds while I wasn't riding. Working through it, taking it as slow as I need to. Going to do a ride tonight here in just a bit since the government decided we coul have our daylight back during reasonable hours again.
  Going to ride to work tomorrow and back after.
 On fitness: was finally able to scrape together enough funds to go but some actual food from the grocery store. (Rode the bike to do it!) I have been living off food from the burger place I work at (really bad) and some scavenged stuff that I have access to but it is mostly carby and sugary crap.
  Haven't found an escrima instructor yet, but I did find a Systema instructor that has very reasonable rates (the escrima guy here wanted $125 a month for a few lessons in his apartment and in the park) and looks pretty legit. So I may include Systema in my martial arts skill set and buy some escrima dvds and make a bag to practice on.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on April 20, 2013, 06:40:33 PM
Ok, I have an update in alternative transportation.
  I was really fooling myself and possibly taking the chance of hurting myself to think I was going to be able to ride over 100 miles per week and work between each ride. Not to mention it was a real time eater. I am still riding, I haven't given up on it, I just don't want to kill myself.
   So I needed another solution. That solution was an electric bicycle. So I started looking. I found a 2008 ezip trailz (currietech's walmart offering) that was so new it still had the bub tag in the front wheel. This guy bought it or received it as a gift and probably never rode it. I was really worried that after 5 years, the battery was shot. Well the guy wanted $300 obo, and I got him down to $200. The bike ran fine and was in great condition.
   So here's the review. It's not a corvette, but its good for short trips or long trips when you will pedal a lot and use the motor for leveling hills and keeping a consistent pace. Its not even as fast as me pedalling on my mountain bike on a flat or down a hill. If I pedal to a certain ammount faster than the motor, the motor actually slows me down, but over all, its faster since it let's me take hills faster and gives me a more consistent pace. However, its all steel and a heavy son of a gun, so if you are going to be going a long distance, keep thay in mind, its HEAVY to go up a hill on a dead battery. It comes with one battery, but it is designed to accept a second battery to extend your range. It won't quite double it because it only draws from one battery at a time, you have to switch between them. So that means that each battery is carrying the effective dead weight of the other battery, at almost 30 lbs, that's a significant load on a 450 watt engine. Especially considering that the battery is a 24v 10 amp hour battery for. 240 watt output.  My range varies but averages between 4 and 10 miles depending on terrain, my effort, pace, and additional load. Store the batteries at room temp, cold or hot extremes will shorten its capacity on a given charge and load and can damage the battery's over all life span. You can charge on the bike or remove the battery, and charge inside or take the battery with you for security. The battery has a corss bolt retention system that is operated by a keyed lock. Don't rely on it to keep somone from stealing your battery, but it does keep the battery from popping out of its slot. Using the rack for cargo is doable but problematic with the battey on, but the company ( sells cargo bags and panniers for the rack. They are also sold on amazon. Not a bad idea if you ride a lot and carry a lot of stuff to and fro. Otherwise a backpack is a good idea. 
 The battery is a SLA, so it needs to be charged after each use even if it is a small use. There are LiFePo batteries available, but they are more than the new bike and two SLA batteries combined. So for now, the lithium batteries are deffinitely not worth it from an economic perspective. It seems from my use that the battery will go further if you take a short 5 or 10 minute break once or twice during longer trips. That's not psychological, I've actually logged the miles when I have been riding hard as opposed to when I have been taking it easy along the same route. This may change since the company says there's a break in period for the battery, and it says the performance improves after the break in. The bike looked so unused, I'm sure that the previous owner didn't put it through its paces. 
   So, if you are looking for a cheap (I got mine for $200 from craigslist, they usually cost between $400 or $500 new, which I would say isn't worth it) mode of transportation that isn't really fast or really slow, and isn't a road trip bike, this may work pretty well. One warning, if you are a heavier person, you should plan on a fair bit of pedaling, the battery doesn't really do the motor justice, so its not the work horse it could be. The motor easily does 15 mph on a level surface with my 300+ lbs on it and 12 or 13 up even moderate hills with no pedaling. So it could be more powerful with a new wiring job, a new controller, and higher voltage batteries, without changing the motor or transmission. (Chain drive)
   Also, if you are going to be riding this as a primary mode of transportation, you will really want to invest in a folding portable bicycle work stand. These can be expinsive, and aren't really hard to make, so either way, you will need one and a set of wrenches and other tools for changing a tube. It would be possible to convert the tires to a tubless configureation (look that up, I'm not going into it, but bikes can use pneumatic tubless tires), but I wouldn't recommend it unless you were planning on using it off road. (Don't do that, the battery will die in like 20 minutes)
  This thing is built for durability and safety and avoiding liability suits, so this has no quick releases on the hubs, so you need wrenches. I would reccommend sliming or using another sealant and a tire liner to avoid flats. And just like a car, proper pressure gets your better milage, and in this case, speed. I don't think you will be able to flip it upside down and change the rear tire very easily. You probably could with the front, but the rear is a different critter because of the motor.
  It might be possible to but a double leg center mount lift kick stand, but you might have to do some mods because the bike has a pretty sturdy integral kick stand. Deffinitely have a set of tools, this is a truck of a bike and won't take well to someone winging it with a letherman. Get real tools, not the compact bicycle multi tools, this thing is overbuilt and you need something that will give you leverage. Its worth the wieght.
   All in all, a good product, you just have to understands its abilities and not expect things it can't do.
    I would post a pic, but I don't know how, but I get lots of comments about what a nice looking bike it is and people aske me about the motor system all the time. I'm not really pleased with the aesthetics, but its not horrible.
   This will allow me to save enough money to purchase the gas engine kit to attach to another bike. I have three bikes now, but I'm not sure I want to put the gas motor on any of them, I may use a cruiser style or even a chopper style bicycle to put the gas motor on. They both look better with a gas motor than a mountain bike. I will post about that when I get that done.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on May 07, 2013, 10:43:19 PM
So, it's May already. Thank's Jack, you are making the year go buy too fast with this project. Thanks.
   Well, more news in the alternative transportation department.
 I was getting a little antsy about being able to get around a little wuicker and a little more convienently. I found this product that I will not name but will only describe. Its a commercial version on the "bidwell pusher". This means that its a electric motorized trailer that pushes your bike around at about 20 mph.
  Its pretty neat. Except that it costs about 600 to $1000 depending on the battery your get. (SLA or LifePo)
  So I emailed the the company offering to do a review of their product in a long term, real life end user scenario via a blog. I also offered to talk to people who ask me about it and to distribute literature and write a weekly or daily blog about my use of it in exchange for one of their products.
Well their counter offer was very reasonable and polite, but not in my ability to do at the moment.
  So, I thought for a moment, what I really need is a second battery to extend my range and a new charger (the one I bought with the bike broke), so I emailed the company that makes the bike I currently ride, and made basically the same offer in exchange for an additional battery. They didn't like my idea too much, it wasn't good enough for them. What they came up with was this, "We will send you an entirely new year model (not ready yet because we haven't started building them) electric commuter bicycle with a brand new LifePo4 battery pack in a few weeks, as soon as they are being made. All we want in return is for you to write a blog (once a week) for a year, detailing your use of the bike and what you think of it.
  Let me explain it another way, they (Currie Tech) are going to send me a brand new, nearly $1000 electric commuter equiped bicycle, for free. Well for no money. I just have to ride it and write about riding it.
  So this is going to be awesome. I'm going to be getting a bike that already has a awesome battery with it and the new bike will accept my current battery. I will have plenty of range now.
 I am already setting up a sale for my current bike less the battery (which I am keeping) to someone I work with (once I get the new bike) who wants it because they also ride a bike. They realize they will have to buy a battery and a charger, but it looks pretty promising. This is a pretty cool experience. I'm going to do the year of blogging and then see how it went and then see if they want me to review one of their higher end models. Higher end=faster. 
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on May 22, 2013, 09:28:26 PM
Cycling update:
   Learning more about working on bicycles. Had a chain jump the largest front gear. Usually one stops, puts the chain back on, and keeps riding. Well I sort of did that except I went straight to keep riding and tried to backpedal it back in place. This resulted in a probably 70* twist in one of the links of the chain.
  The problem was that I was already running late for the bus and if I didn't catch it now, I was up for a nine mile ride or push with a twisted chain. Well I had to sort of quarter pedal meaning I could pedal about a 1/4 stroke forward and then had to back pedal and bedal forward and back and forth and back and forth.
Luckily, it sort of self adjusted and was able to eventually pedal more or less normally and I caught the bus. Well I had a parts bike at home that still had a chain on it. I watched a video, borrowed a chain tool and chainged that chain out and got it right the first time.
 I am deffinitely building me a work stand for use at home and I am designing a portable workstand that can be carried on the bike. This will be important when I get the new Ebike because they are much heavier and a little more complex to change a flat or work on than a standard bike. I got a flat on my current bike one day and just walked it home and got a ride with a neighbor.
  I signed and returned the advertising agreement with Currie Technologies today. I expect to get delivery details tomorrow or friday. I bet I have the bike by the middle of next week. Now for the big question is, will the bike get here mostly assembled or not? Will they send it to a bike shop to have it assembled and have me pick it up there, or will I have a crash course in frame up bicycle assembly, quite possibly ending in a crash if I do it wrong? Tune back in next week to find out on Blademan's 13!
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on June 09, 2013, 03:38:36 PM
Butchering update:
  Recently accepted a job at the local Whole Foods in the meat department. So I will be increasing my retail meat cutting skills.  Its not butchery per se, but a related skill set.
  Still waiting for the new ebike to arrive. Its kinds slow, I've turned in two blogs entried even before I have the bike.
  I have also found some exciting new information and products for building the gas powered bikes or even high powered electrics. Turns out there are ways to power the crankset directly from the motor, allowing you to use the power of the motor throughout the gear range of the bike. This is awesome and in many ways better than bolting a sprocket into your back wheel. I have a lot of ideas about to to best use this to make a really awesome bike.
 Anyway, year's half over. Got to get busy.
Title: Re: blademan's 13
Post by: blademan on July 24, 2013, 01:04:52 AM
Ok, so its been a little longer than a week. I've been pretty busy. I got the E-Bike. Its a nice bike. Structurally, its identical to the older E-Bike I purchased off craigslist. Its the same frame and the same or similar components. However, there's a few differences that make it a lot different. The first is the battery, its a 24v 10ah LiFePO4 lithium ion battery. Its so light that when I first picked it up, I almost called the company to tell them they sent me an empty battery pack. But sure enough, its a complete battery and it rocks. I am a heavy guy, the marketing for the bike states that the battery gets a 15 to 22 mile range depending on rider effort, weight, and terrain. 10 to 15 without pedaling, 15 to 22 with "normal" pedaling. Well here's the experiential data: I weigh let's say 330 lbs. I have actually got anywhere from 7 to 14 miles out of a single charge depending on my pedaling effort.
 The specified speed is 15 mph on a level surface. Well my experience is that this actually tops out about 16 to 17. So this motor is programmed to reach its top speed regardless of load (up to its maximum output, of course) so big or small you can zip around at a mile every 4 minutes but the larger the load you put on it, the less range you will get obviously.
   The other differences are: the handlebar, its a commuter type set up that puts you in a upright riding position rather than the typical forward leaning mountain or road bike position.
  The post has a shock in it. This is good and also just ok. For short to medium trips, its great and really soaks up bumps. For longer rides, its a little too much motion, but its very good for the way most commuters use their bikes.
   I did have a mishap already, I accidentally allowed a bungee cord to fall into the drive system. The drive system consists of a wheel with the standard pedal drive system in the usual place. On the left side is a bmx style sprocket on a freewheel bearing reverse threaded onto the wheel hub. There's a plate attached to the axle that the motor mounts to, and a sprocket on the motor drive shaft. A chain runs between the two sprockets and that's how the motor moves the bike. Well the hook end of the bungee became lodged between the motor mount plate and the freewheel sprocket on the rear axle. It bound up and derailed the chain, and busted the freewheel bearing. Its ok, I just need to get a new sprocket assembly, which I will be ordering soon.
   I have been riding the heck out of it, and its a champ. I am riding the old bike until I fix the new one and the new battery works with the old bike just fine.
  As for the gas bike, I'm waiting for my income to catch with my outflow. As I'm waiting, I'm getting more ideas about how to improve the eventual outcome of building it. If I can do this right, I will be able to write an illistrated e-book about how to build high quality usable and safe gas bike that I can publish on amazon.
  So, I have been at Whole Foods for a little over a month now and its been an interesting experience. I'm learning and I like it. Its a different environment than I have worked in before even among corporations.
  I haven't lost much weight, but my nurition is pretty low at the moment. That will change soon with making more money and having discount access to healthy food will help my fitness goals immensely. Additionally, I have been unable to find an acceptable escrima instructor in my area. I have located a Systema instructor who teaches in the area. I will be investigating that lead soon. And while viewing the memorial facebook page of a friend and former instructor, I located a person in my area who teaches a martial arts system based on multiple martial arts and the Marine Corps martial arts (not MCMAP, I think its the predescessor to that) and he is actually willing to train with me for free as long as a get a doctor's opinion that I am healthy enough to train.  Its not escrima, but his system includes stick techniques.
   Well that's the update for now.