Entries from January 2009 ↓

Bigfoot and Joker

What’s the best purchase you have ever made?

The answer for me is a fully rigid steel Norco Bigfoot mountain bike that I bought in the early 90s for $400.  I rode it nearly every day for over eight years.  I used it for commuting, shopping (balancing grocery bags on handlebars), and transportation in general.  I used it for exercise, doing countless one to two hour rides in the UBC Endowment Lands and Stanley Park.  And yes, I used it for mountain biking in the local mountains, up in Squamish, and even for a jarring ride in the now famous Whistler bike park in its opening year.  

Cost per day:  13 cents.

Probably my second best purchase is my current mountain bike, a Joker that I bought in 2001.  It is the spiritual descendant of my Bigfoot, having served me just as well if not better for nearly eight years.

I bought the Joker from Speedgoat, a bike company that lets you pick all the parts and then builds the bike and ships it to you.  The have a gallery of bikes that they build with a short description for each that usually just lists the components.  My description starts like this:

Bill’s Aeon Joker SL is just plain awesome…

I’ve always loved that.

Here’s how the Joker looked in 2001:

As you may have guessed, I’m in mountain bike nostalgia mode because it’s time to retire the Joker and find a worthy successor.  Stay tuned.

Snowy Tuesday

And the weather roller coaster continues.  It started snowing last night and it is still snowing now.

Sunny Sunday

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Vancouver — nothing but blue sky and sunshine with crisp, clear air. The fog is finally gone. How bad was it? Up until last Friday (January 23) only 6.5 hours of “bright sunshine” were measured in January at Vancouver International Airport. The average for Vancouver in January is 60.

Longer Days

Here in Vancouver you can feel the days starting to get longer and longer.  From the winter solstice to the summer solstice the hours of daylight jump from about 8 to about 16.  That still surprises me, having grown up at much lower latitude. 

The interesting thing, as you probably know, is that it’s not a steady climb from the shortest day to the longest day.  Near the solstices all the days are about the same length.  Near the equinoxes the day lengths differ the most.  

So from now until March 20 not only is each day longer, but Nature has her foot on the gas pedal, adding more and more time to each day.  On top of that, the switch to Daylight Savings happens on March 8, so for people like me, it’s effectively an extra hour of daylight right around the time the days are getting longer the fastest.

I probably should have just started with this graph which says it all (as with all images on my blog, click on it for a larger version):

These random musings were sparked by a strange email that I got today:

Hello Bill,

Greetings and Blessings from the Aether!

I am Cron Daemon and I have awoken from my slumber in order to send you the following important information.

For Vancouver on this Friday the 23rd of January 2009 the following are true:
beginning of astronomical twilight is at 06h 03m
beginning of nautical twilight is at 06h 40m
beginning of civil twilight is at 07h 19m
sunrise is at 07h 55m
sunset is at 16h 55m
end of civil twilight is at 17h 30m
end of nautical twilight is at 18h 09m
end of astronomical twilight is at 18h 47m

Length of day is 9h0m25s (9.007 hours)



Cron Daemon

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