Posts Tagged ‘hub’

Abandoned NoPA Wheel Serves as a Reminder: Protect Your Bicycle Hubs at All Costs

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Still can’t figure out what occurred here last month.

You say the little monsters might have cut the spokes to steal the rest of the bike, but I can’t wrap my head around that one, topographically speaking.

Makes a lot more sense if we’re talking about a simple wheel locked by itself scenario.

Anyway, this thing appears to be sticking around so let it serve as warning.

Be careful Sir, this place is full of vultures, vultures everywhere

That’s Cold! The Little Monsters of NoPA Have Taken to Snipping Spokes to Steal Bicycle Hubs

Monday, January 24th, 2011

First I’ve seen of this kind of thing.

S’pose it could be a sitch where somebody lost his/her bike lock key and had to salvage, but more likely the little monsters have taken to using wire cutters to snip, snip, snip to get sweet hubs and cassettes as booty.

But the rim and tire remain so, like Auntie Entity in Beyond Thunderdome, the owner is free to rebuild.

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Poor little feller…

QANTAS Abandons S.F. for Texas – No More Qantas Rolls-Royce Ka-Booms over the 415 – SFO’s Airbus A380 Cargo Cult

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

How long has it been since three-star-rated former Mayor Gavin Newsom left office – has it been a week or two? Well, we’ll leave that to the judges and justices ‘n stuff, but, irregardless, it’s been long enough* for Qantas Airways Limited to announce that its abandoning the San Francisco Bay Area, g’night, mate.

Why? Well it’s ’cause they’ve been losing mad dollars on non-stop flights betwixt SFO and Cindy, Australia for donkey’s years. Enough is enough they figure, so future flights from Down Under will alight in Dallas, Texas. (Some Bay area travel(l)ers are not amused, not at all.)

Now, weren’t we due for superjumbo Airbus A380 double-decker service by now for those non-stop flights to Oz? Oh yes, but instead of getting that, we’re losing the non-stop, regular-jumbo Boeing 747-400 service we have now. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking how could this be, San Francisco is a “natural amphitheater,” a “world-class” city even. Well, not anymore, or at least SFO isn’t a “world-class” airport anymore.

However, there’s a silver lining. You see, them Rolls-Royce engines, those RB211′s and those Trents 500 and up, well they blow up sometimes, ka-boom! Call it an “uncontained failure” they do. And QANTAS well, that’s pretty much all they run these days, the Rolls-Royce. (Just look at Australia’s national flag, why not, for the reason.) So, less Qantas = less less RR = less ka-boom over our heads.

For example, check out this Qantas flight out of SFO just last summer. It had passed the Farallones with almost full tanks and then, kaboom, Rolls-Royce engine #4 exploded. Oh well. Everybody made it back safe tho. Check it on the YouTube.

Flight 74 getting a little sparky high above the deep briny – not what you want to see looking out your window. Time to dump your avgas and circle back to Millbrae:

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I hear you, you’re saying that’s the old Rolls-Royce. But, you know, that Qantas A380 engine that blewed up just after leaving Singapore late last year, that’s the new RR – indeed, that was a fairly recent vintage Trent 900 engine that destroyed itself. Oh well. The Aussie A380s have been patched up and now Qantas is flying them as far as they want again, to Los Angeles among other places. But not very long after the flights started again, yet another Qantas Rolls Royce engine went kaboom - this one was a contained failure, so that’s some consolation, anyway. Check it:

“A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly. She said the latest incident involving Qantas jets and Rolls-Royce engines did not indicate any pattern of trouble. ”We certainly don’t view it that way at all,’ the spokeswoman said.”

O.K. fine. Whatever you say, lady.

Now with the SFO cargo cult. Leave us review:

“Cargo cult activity increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these in some Pacific islands observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”

See where I’m going here? Didn’t we just get done re-doing SFO so that we could handle five or six A380 superjumbos at a time? Hells yes! We saw a few test runs from aircraft with Airbus, Emirates and Qantas livery over the past few years.**

But those big metal birds didn’t come back.

No cargo for us.

So am I saying that it was a stupid idea for SFO to prepare for the Age of the Super Jumbo Jet? No, not really. I don’t know all the deets of how things costed out, and who knows, it wasn’t impossible that official San Francisco’s dream of somehow besting Los Angeles could have eventually worked out. But if you could have seen how proud SFO officials were of their A380-only, double decker jet bridges in the new International Terminal back in the day, well, you’d be thinking cargo cult too.

Who knows what the future will bring. International air travel will increase like gangbusters over the coming decade, so we’ll probably get some use out of those dusty double-decker jetways sooner or later. And maybe then Qantas will be back, with or without A380s. (The Q has abandoned us before, and we made do.) Or maybe Emirates will get a little more MPG from the non-Rolls-Royce, American-made GP7200 engines on their A380s so they’ll be able to make a non-stop superjumbo hop to the Bay Area from the Mid-East. Maybe.

(And maybe by that time SFO will be called Willie Lewis  Brown Jr. International Airport, I’m seriously, that’s what the other former Mayor of SF wants, he wants us to chuck the extremely well-known SFO moniker for WLB. Can you imagine?)

Anywho, if you want to go Sydney after May 2011, your only choice will be United Airlines. Now, that flight is on an old jet that the President of United says is “unacceptable,” but at least you don’t have to fly to Los Angeles on your way Down Under.

So long, Qantas.

*They waited a only a few days – what a joke!

**Man, what a load this was:

“Sensitive to the politically charged nature of outsourcing and offshoring, the Airbus chairman for North America, Allan McArtor, said 50 percent of the A380′s components are being made in the United States. McArtor hailed the new aircraft as quieter and more fuel efficient than wide-body jetliners of the past. Final assembly of the plane will be done in Toulouse, with the first test flights scheduled for next year.”

50% American content? Absolutely not. There’s a bit of American content in A380′s (some of them have more and some less) but it ain’t nowhere near 50% and there’s no way it could have been 50%. Airbus is run by the Euros – why would they go out of their way to employ Americans?

“G’Day Airbus!  Qantas A380 Arrives at SFO

Qantas' A380 arrives at the International Terminal“On January 14, 2009, SFO welcomed Qantas Airways’ new A380 as it arrived from Sydney – the first Airbus A380 to bring scheduled passengers to SFO. The aircraft’s arrival was celebrated with a party at its gate in the International Terminal.   Sponsored by Tourism Australia, the party featured Australian music, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a kangaroo.

The International Terminal, which opened in December 2000, was specifically designed to easily handle the arrivals and departures of large capacity airplanes such as the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

SFO’s International Terminal, with the country’s only built-in A380-ready gates, is the future for comfortable and convenient international air travel,” said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “We welcome visitors from our sister city, Sydney, and look forward to offering regularly scheduled Airbus flights and connections for all of our international visitors.”

The International Terminal features five gates that can be used by the A380 – three with double loading bridges and two with triple loading bridges. SFO was the first airport in the United States to offer triple loading bridges. The third loading bridge extends to the A380’s top deck, which allows the aircraft’s 500-plus passengers to be conveniently and directly loaded or off-loaded from the gate to the aircraft in 40 minutes – approximately the same time it takes to load a 747-400. Moreover, SFO can accommodate a rapid turnaround for the Airbus. SFO is the only airport in the United States with such a high level of built-in readiness.

Qantas currently offers daily nonstop service between SFO and Sydney on its 747-400 aircraft. The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

San Francisco’s Virgin America Airlines Gets Its Own Reality Show March 24th: Fly Girls

Friday, February 26th, 2010

San Francisco-based Virgin America Airlines has its own “docu-series” starting up on March 24th at 9:30 PM on the CW – it’s called Fly Girls (and it’s not to be confused with the In Living Color/Jennifer Lopez kind of Fly Girls from the 90′s).

Take a look. Meet Mandalay, a local “girl” who’s a Virgin America flight attendant based out of SFO in real life. Listen to her go on about the “romance of aviation” and the benefits of choosing Virgin America, the only California-based airline left by the way.

Barbie, Skipper, and the “ethnic girlfriends of Barbie” (or, more politely, a “mini- United Nations of races and ethnicities“) are coming soon to KBCW-TV channel 44 / 45 and all the CW stations across America. Oh yes, their “real” names (or “reel” names) are Tasha, Louise, Mandy (or Mandi), Nikole and Farrah:

Doesn’t this promo shot from the CW Network of former beauty queen Nikole look just like a Virgin America ad?

This show is going to be something like eight half-hour Virgin America infomercials complete with 30-second commercials for shampoo and cosmetics. Nevertheless, it’s going to be better than NBC’s high-budget San Francisco-based Trauma serial, that’s a given from the get-go. (Wonder if cheeky Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson will make an appearance or two…)

Just discovered that my aging Trinitron (that could be older than you) actually receives channel 44 so I’ll be sure to tune in to check out the debut.

Excelsior, Ever Upward.

Now, meet the Fly Girls and get more deets after the jump.

Farrah Williams

Hometown Airport: LAX
Must Have Travel Accessories: Lip balm and a camera
Travel Tips: “Be nice to fellow travelers and flight attendants. It makes for a more pleasant experience all the way around.”
Security Checkpoint Tips: “Don’t make eye contact. Strip down quick so you’re not holding up the line.”
Years with Virgin America: 2 ½

Louise Nguyen

Hometown Airport: LAX (currently SFO)
Must Have Travel Accessories: Moisturizer and lip balm
Travel Tips: “While on the plane, always wear your shoes in the restroom!”
Security Checkpoint Tips: “Get in line behind someone who has already taken their shoes off, and who is not juggling a ton of things in their hands, and then do the same.”
Years with Virgin America: 2

Mandy Roberts

Hometown Airport: PHX (currently SFO)
Must Have Travel Accessory: A big, soft pashmina that can be used as a pillow or blanket.
Travel Tips: “Drink an endless amount of water.”
Security Checkpoint Tips: “Wear slip-on shoes with socks, if possible. It’s yucky to wait in line with bare feet on the dirty floor.”
Years with Virgin America: 2

Nikole Rubyn

Hometown Airport: SMF (Sacramento)
Must Have Travel Accessory: Visine
Travel Tips: “Always wear or bring socks with you to walk through security!”
Security Checkpoint Tips: “Don’t wear all of your jewelry to the airport, keep it in small bags and put it on after you get through security.”
Years with Virgin America: 2

Tasha Dunnigan

Hometown Airport: SMF (Sacramento)
Must Have Travel Accessory: Cell phone
Travel Tips: “Don’t forget your common sense at home.”
Security Checkpoint Tips: “Have all of your things in order and pay attention.”
Years with Virgin America: 2

“Fly Girls” is from Collins Avenue Productions, with executive producers Jeff Collins (“Bridezilla 3, 4 & 5,” “The Exterminators”) and Colin Nash (“The Hills,” “The City”) and co-executive producers Larry Bond and Porter Gale.

(more…)

Best Buy Sends a Parade of Electric Bikes Down San Francisco’s Market Street

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

This is how outbound Market Street appeared in San Francisco this morning as Best Buy sent a parade of expensive $2500 A2B electric scooters (the Worst Consumer Products of 2009) and also inexpensive E-Zip bikes up the street. E-Zips went for $350 last year at some Wal-Marts (not that I could tell, having never set foot in one) and now $500 (and up) at Best Buy.

E-Zip in the background, A2B in the foreground. Were there a dozen or so riders in this mini, corporate Critical Mass? Something like that:

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What do you get for you $350? Well, you don’t get high tech batteries, that’s for sure. But that’s part of the reason why it’s cheaper than the obscenely overpriced A2B and the Trek Ride+, which is being tested out these days by some of San Francisco’s elected officials. Costco also has a few dogs in the e-bike hunt, upon occasion.

Will you say “Engine*, yes. Gas No”?

Only Time Will Tell.

*Not an actual “engine” – the marketing cookies of Best Buy mean motor, but oh well.

Trek’s New $2200 “Ride+” Electric Bike Costs About $500 Too Much, It Seems

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Well, here they are - they’re the new (to America, anyway) Ride+ electric bikes from Trek.

First off, check out the SF Streetsblog to see yesterday’s scene of San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Eric Mar test driving these rigs at City Hall in the presence of Marin County biking legend GaryBury My Heart At Pine Mountain” Fisher.

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Via Gary Fisher’s Twitter

See? It looks exactly like an electric bike, right?

EuroElectricBike2_LRG copy

So let’s talk about what this Trek E-Bike is not. It’s not a ridiculous, overweight, overpriced electric bike from Ultra Motor. Witness that yellow full-suspension rig on the left in this photo from Golden Gate Park? That’s an A2B:

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The A2B is, basically, an electric moped. That means the whole concept is kind of an insurance/regulation scam where the pedals are mostly there to show regulators how this thing is not an electric motorbike. So, the A2B is limited to 20 MPH under Da Law.

“Electric Bicycles are defined by the California Vehicle Code. In summary, electric bicycles are to be operated like conventional bicycles in California. There are several exceptions to this. A person must be at least 16 years old, and anyone riding an electric bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet. The e-bikes must have an electric motor that has a power output less than 1,000 watts, is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour, operates in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operates in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function. Driver’s licenses, registration, insurance and license plate requirements do not apply. A motorized bicycle is not a motor vehicle. A motorized bicycle shall only be operated by a person 16 years of age or older. Drinking and driving laws apply. Additional laws or ordinances may apply to the use of electric bicycles by each city or county.”

So, most people using an A2B would never really pedal. Personally, I’ve never seen an A2B in the wild, being used by somebody for something more than a test drive or a day rental. Oh well.

But the new Trek bike is different in that it requires you to pedal – it will kick in power based upon how much work you yourself are doing. So, select the switch on your handlebar-mounted dashboard to have it add 50%, 100%, 150%, or 200% more power – just like the $899 electric bikes they sell at the Costco. And yes, the Ride+ has regenerative braking.

But here’s the thing – the bike itself, a 7.3 FX, costs $600-something and the electric bits from Bionx or someplace similar go for $1200 retail, so why doesn’t this ebike cost $1700 instead of $2200?

The World Wonders.  

Is this bike 140% better than a Costco eBike? We’ll see.

In other notes, the 32 x 700c Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires will probably keep you relatively free from flats on the mean glass-strewn Streets of San Francisco but you might want to get rid of those quick-release skewers. And no front (see comments) fender and no disk brakes, Trek? For $2200, really? (And what would a new battery go for, pray tell? Well, I s’pose we’ll get all the deets soon enough.)

Let’s leave the last word for Gary Fisher:

  • The new bata bike will go on sale in only a few shops in aug for $2200. This bike hauls ass and can be Luged up stairs.5:41 PM Jul 14th from Twitterrific
  • Perhaps you could “luge” it downstairs, but certainly not up. As far as lugging is concerned, GF is correct. Unlike the heavy A2B, the new Trek is luggable.

    All’s that left to do is to see how many supes buy these things when the test drives are over.

    Stay tuned…