My bike is (fairly) stable

An interlude. PNNL guest house provides its guest with low cost rented bicycles. I had a "free" day today (though I did some thinking) and cycled about 5+5miles through Richland to Bateman Island. But first, here is my bike:

Perceptive cyclists will notice that it has no brakes on the handlebars – in fact it has a backpedal brake. I haven't ridden one of these before and didn't find it very easy – if you backpedal then you stop, but if you put your foot down you keep going. I'm not sure what you do on steep hills. I think these bikes are popular in NL which doesn't have many hills. I couldn't go very fast, partly because the bike had only one gear, partly because it's quite heavy and partly because of the air intake.

Zooming in we see:

All the bikes are named after elements. I got Technetium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium ). The trouble is that all technetium isotopes are unstable/radioactive. The one I know (and is used in medicine) is technetium-99m with a half life of 6 hours. This means that after 6 hours half my bike would have disintegrated (actually it depends whether the bike represents a single atom – if so, then there was an evens chance that after 6 hours I would have no bike). I was even more worried about Tc-98 because this probably only lasts for milliseconds.

I needn't have worried. The thoughtful PNNL bike people had chosen the isotope with a half-life of 4.2 million years. I had more chance of a car crash than spontaneous disintegration.

A beautiful day and Bateman island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bateman_Island )was great (and isn't Openstreetmap fantastic – it shows the cycleways unlike most other maps)– lots of birds on the river (which is quite wide here). I saw white pelicans, various grebes, ducks etc. which I'll try to look up from memory:

And the causeway to the island

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5 Responses to My bike is (fairly) stable

  1. Noel says:

    Backpedal bicycles are illegal in the UK, so don't get too attached!

  2. Karol says:

    It's true, many of the cheaper bikes here in NL have backpedal brakes, but I wouldn't say they are very popular. I had to use one for a few days once, and I hated it, a real pain in the zitvlak.

    BTW, I really enjoy reading your blog, please keep motivating everyone, raising awareness and spreading the openness. I think many people care, and need to find their own way of contributing and swaying the system in a better direction.

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