Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ring, damnit. Ring!

I’ve been fine tuning my Egyptian spoke bell for a while. The positioning is kind of finicky. It’s got to be just the right distance from the spokes. And the pull’s got to be right so you don’t have don’t worry about doing it wrong. And truth be told, I don’t really need a bell here in Astoria.

But then I biked to Flushing. Coming from a side street to Main St., a sold mass of people, all in my way, all crossing against the light. I had the green. They didn’t. And I knew things weren’t going to get any better if I waiting for the light to change.

And ring I did. I just brinnnnnnnnnnnged and kept going. Not too fast mind you. I don’t actually want to hit anybody or knock over an old person, even if they are in the wrong.

But I don’t mind making you jump out of the way when I have the green: “This is for all those sharp elbows in the Chinatown produce stand!” I didn’t actually say that. I didn’t need to. The crowd parted like the Red Sea. Alas, my wife, behind me, refused to tail me through the crosswalk. So then I had to wait for her for the whole damn light cycle anyway. But it was still a turning point in the glorious history of Sino-Astoria relations.

Yesterday, I had things to carry to I rode this bike into Manhattan. was testing the bell on the bridge, and it didn’t work. When you go to fast... and not that fast, the clapper doesn’t have time to hit the bell before the next spoke pushes it again. So instead of brinnnnnnnng, you get Clickclickclickclickthwackclick. The problem is that the bell is designed for people who bike slowly, with bread on their heads (even though our Egyptian friends on Steinway swear the bell is the bell of the milkman).

I adjusted and readjusted. I thought and thought. I though about moving the bell further out and attaching zip ties to every 4th spoke. I think I have the answer: I decided to drill a new hole and move the bell closer the clapper. We’ll see if it works, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

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