Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pee Wee Revisited

The other day PeeWee was out in front of his house. When last I visited PeeWee he was getting ready to paint his bike . . . once again. So, when I saw him outside I thought I'd better stop and get a progress report.

One of the things I didn't mention in that post was: The first time I met PeeWee he was admiring my boots. He asked me where I had picked them up and I told him. When we said our goodbyes he said he was going to go out and get him some boots. I'd forgotten that until he did something during this visit that reminded me.

It seems the last time, I stopped by he noticed that I was wearing a motocross helmet with goggles rather than my full-face helmet. I've taken to doing this when it is warm enough and dry. I find this set up is cooler and lighter, yet it offers nearly the protection of a full-face helmet. This visit as I was parking the bike he told he was going to go into his house to get something to show me.

PeeWee seems to like skulls.
He brought out his new motocross helmet and goggles. I suggested he might want to think about taking off the visor. He hadn't thought about that.

Him bringing out the helmet reminded me about the boots. When I asked about them, he said, "Yeah, I got me some boots," and went back in the house to retrieve them.

My boots are Frank Thomas and I have mixed feelings about them. I hope he likes his Alpine Stars better.
PeeWee's boots and helmet
Then PeeWee told me that since he had a helmet like mine and boots, now he was thinking of buying a camera and going around meeting people and taking their pictures. I think he was teasing me don't you?

Of course, he also told me he was thinking of painting his other bike pink.

"Pink?" I said.

"Yeah., pink"

"Why pink?"

"Just cause it would  be something different. Kind of stir things up"

He went on to tell me that he had lots of ideas.  Like when he was buying his new helmet and goggles he saw a set of " Full Race Leathers". He wanted them bad, but they were too expensive. He thought it would be really cool to get a pocket bike and dress in full leathers. Actually, he thought it would be even cooler to get a few riders together with pocket rockets in full race leathers and start screaming toward the Arch like Shriners gone wild. Why? Like painting the bike pink, it would be different and outrageous and fun.

Tonight he was out putting the panels back on his now once again red bike. I stopped to get a progress picture.

The panels still need to cure. In a couple of weeks he'll wet sand it and smooth it out.
It is still a work in progress.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

One Still Falling Down And Another Showing Progress And . . .

Awhile back I posted about a building that had been slowly falling down. I'd been watching its demise on my daily commute.

First it looked like this.

Then more of it fell on its own.

And, finally the unit was torn down, but what was left looked none too sturdy.

This Spring has brought some very strong winds and now I am watching the further demise of the remaining portion of the building.
Look familiar?
There is still a family living in the building next to this one. I'm curious what will happen next.

On a happier building note, there is a row of buildings that have been being rehabbed. When last I posted about them they looked like this:
The dumpster had disappeared but it came back
There have been workers on the site all winter, but all the work has been inside. Just in the last two weeks has the progress began to be show on the outside.
Windows . . .

And doors.
The workers are gone by the time I get out in the evening. On a morning when I am either off during the week or can arrange to go into work late, I'm hoping to stop by and see if I can get some information on what the plans are for these buildings. And, if I'm really lucky maybe I will find out some of the history of these buildings.

Now there is another building on my daily commute that is being worked on. I can't tell if it is still being used or not. I had noticed the building before mostly because it had no windows.
The signage said, "Cavalier Products" and you can see the detail of a cavalier above the doors. I hadn't even thought about the building having a false front until it started to come off.
Now, I could see the details of the building from once upon a time.

I wonder what is going to happen to this building next? Is it getting a new facelift or what?

There is so much going on in my little eight and a half mile commute, and that doesn't even include the traffic. Speaking of traffic, it has actually lightened up on some of my route. There has been a speed reduction on Arsenal Street next to Tower Grove Park.
Since the reduction has gone into effect there has been a reduction in traffic. I'd not expected the speed reduction to make much of a difference, but St. Louis' Finest are actually enforcing this change. When the speed limit was ten mph higher people were adding another ten. With all the three-way stops on this route, it was hurry up and wait. Now, traffic is flowing nicely at about 30mph, which seems a good speed for this section of street. And, with less traffic it has cut time off my commute. Plus the incidents of folks passing illegally on my right, apparently in a hurry to get to the next stop sign to wait their turn behind five or six cars, has dropped as well. Don't you just  love it when a plan comes together. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

That Was A Very Good Answer

They drove up just as I was beginning my walk up the ramp to the employee entrance of the Courthouse. They are both investigators for the Circuit Attorneys Office and I see them often. We speak in passing, but I can't say I remember ever actually interacting with them.

They came up the steps and I made it to the door just before them. I opened the door and motioned for them to go ahead. He acting the gentleman let her enter first. As she entered she said to me, "Why thank you, sir."

I said nothing, but as he passed me I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I guess she thinks I was holding the door for her."

We all laughed. "Nope," she said, "I figured you were holding it for him. He's much nicer than I am."

I had to take off my helmet and have my messenger bag scanned, but still caught up to them at the elevators.

As the doors to one of the elevators opened she hurried to be first and then pretending to hold the door said, "Here let me return the favor and hold the doors for you." She bowed and added, "After you gentlemen."

As I entered the elevator I playfully pointed out to her that the doors had opened by themselves and that wasn't much of a payback. We were all laughing and she said, "Okay, if you're going to be that way, let me do something else for you." Then  she added, "I know, let me hold your helmet for you."

I looked at her and with a straight face said, "I'm not sure I can handle a woman holding my helmet this early in the morning."

She stopped laughing, looked at me, and shook her index finger at me. I'm thinking this is not good. Then she spoke, "That was a very good answer," and laughed. Then she added, "Now that we are all wide awake, I think it is time we start our work day ."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Am Pleased.

Billie, my Symba, has a four-speed transmission with an automatic clutch. The shift lever looks like a heel-toe shifter, but when I first got Billie I couldn't make it work as such. I'd read on a Symba forum that it helped to move the shifter a couple of notches to raise the heel. I tried that, but it was of only minimal help. I ended up thinking it was basically a toe-toe shifter, or in my case a heel-heel shifter -- push down of the front pedal with the heel to shift down and push down with the heel on the back pedal to shift up. This worked but was unacceptable to me. So, still  being a Norte-woods redneck at heart, I got out the duct tape and other assorted things I could find and started cobbling up a way to raise the front pedal.

Amazing what one can do with duct tape and a couple, three door stops.
My plan was once I had found the correct height for the shifter to actually work as a heel-toe shifter, I would find someone who could cut the lever and re-weld it in the proper position.

When Mike first looked over my bike I noticed his eyes hovering over "my mess" on the front-end of the shift lever. I explained to him what had been my plan. He said, "When I get my welder moved in, I can do that." Well, he has had his welder moved in for quite awhile, but there always something else that was a bigger priority or we were crunched for time or something. Finally, this Saturday was the day.

Here's the debris we removed from the front-end of the shift lever.
Mike said it really wouldn't take him very long to do this and I was surprised at how quick it went. This was even with having to drill out and re-tap the bolt that holds the lever on.

And here is the final product. He really did nice work.
I rode with it for a while yesterday and for a longer ride today and it works great!

Another thing I've wanted to get taken care of was the lights in the rear paniers. When I got the paniers put on, the rear turn signals needed to be moved, but the technicians that were working at Maplewood Scooter Company at the time, said they couldn't do that. I thought the lights in the paniers could work as turn signals, but they assured me they wouldn't. I picked up some LED turn signals at Cyclegear and suggested they run wires from the old turn signals to these and mount them low on the real fender. They said they could do that. And, they charged me a pretty penny to do so. Sadly, at the time I thought I was getting a deal. Oh well.

Notice the little LED Turn signal next to the license plate. Before these were added only folks directly behind me could see my turn signal. Not a good thing. But, with these little guys installed folks could see me from other lanes. This was a good thing.
Not long after Mike came to Maplewood Scooter Company, he asked me why I hadn't hooked up the lights in the paniers. I told him about my previous conversations. He just shrugged his shoulders and said he could do it and that it wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. I told him I might just do that one day. Well, last Saturday was the day for that, too. Good thing, because since I last checked my turn signals one of the added lights no longer worked.

I'm really grateful that Mike is willing to let me watch him work so that I can know what he does and how he does it. I'm not a mechanical dummy, I just can't figure out how to begin anymore. That said, I'm still pretty good at knowing when someone is doing what needs doing. I can see the method in the way Mike works. It reminds me of watching my Grandpa Cole work on a project. I could see Mike checking and double checking everything. It was truly a beautiful thing to behold.

Originally the plan was to just hook up the panier lights as brake lights, but with the demise of my "high priced" turn signals we moved to plan "B". I think it turned out pretty well. Jeff the Sales Manager took this video with his iphone:

I am pleased.