Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cyclist Crashes with Elk!

I've been enjoying the weather lately! Many, many days and nights of sunshine, and the 'magical' +25°C has been broken almost each day for the last two weeks. It's not so long it was below freezing and snowed some (in June! :-) so I guess the below average temperatures must me balanced with the current heat.

Earlier it was so cold that I couldn't get my fingers to type, and now it's too hot to do anything exhausting (like typing) so this will be short too. I've taken occasional photos at the new underpass they're trying to build, but I'm not ready to post them yet. Neither are my "snow in June" pics available yet unless I can figure out how to transfer them to my computer. Too smart electronics or not smart enough user?

A funny headline in the news caught my eye today: a cyclist was riding downhill, failed to see the elk crossing the road and crashed. Cyclist vs elk crashes are very rare. Maybe this was the first one? The cyclist suffered a few broken bones and the elk got a scare. And the comments section was very entertaining.  


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Got some snow flakes

It's been a colder week and we got even some snow flakes from the sky. I think it flaked on three days. But as the temperature is above freezing (maybe a few degrees minus Celsius at night on a night or two), the few flakes disappeared immediately.

And there's a new interesting construction going on near one of my regular routes. They're building a new underpass. It's about 350 meters east of another underpass and maybe 200 meters west of a traffic light controlled intersection. It's the brown splot crossing the yellow road in the middle of the map.
It seems like a good place to build an underpass, as it is on a top of a hill. This underpass gives new routes that will not have as much uphill. Or at least not as steep uphill.

Makes me wonder if there will be more changes to the bikeway network in the future. Are they going to try and move the bike traffic away from the traffic light controlled intersection (yellow, pink and white streets intersecting north west from the last A in Alppila)?

With the underpass it would seem that most of the traffic from south would be to/from the south-west part of the map, coming from the railway underpass just a little SW from the first A of Alppila, and Alppila it self.

From the north it would seem that most users will be from Koskela and Niittyaro. Most of the trough traffic coming from Isko will continue south trough the traffic lights and the pink street.

One possible improvement could be to continue the bikeway north from the new underpass trough the letter Y in Niittyaro to the ski/jogging path (green lines on the map) and connect to the underpass going under the big green road. That would create a direct route towards the university and the supermarkets to the north.

In other news, apparently there was some winter cycling campaign going on. The participants commuted by bike a few days a week trough the winter, rode about 35000 km instead of using car/bus, and nine out of ten are going to try it again next winter.

And there's planning going on for the city centre. With the Big Dig finished, some streets will be closed for cars. Now the designers are asking cyclists to upload their gps tracks from the rides in the centre, so they could better design the routes around and trough the downtown area. And they want to know where you park your bike.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Worn out

I was doing some bike maintenance the other day and snapped some pics of the tyres I was taking out/replacing.

Do you think this is worn enough to be replaced? The studded winter tyre, with nice little "grin" on the side. Not quite big enough for the inner tube to burst out, but not a lot longer and I'd get balloons. Well, that's for the next winter to worry about.
I'm not even 100% sure if this is the same tyre or the other one, but I think it is. Isn't the inside supposed to be smooth? Sidewall damage suggests I could poke my finger trough. The threads are visible and out all around the bottom.
The threads are even wearing marks on the inner tube. This photo shows the marks on the "contact patch" part of the tube, that is, the part which is flat against the ground. I had some other inner tubes which had similar marks on the sidewall part of the tube, as a result of sidewall damage on the outer tube, too low pressure I guess.
Well, now I got newly patched tyres and the ride is smooth again. I'll have to report later how my "saran wrap around the inner tube" experiment does.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The March report.

I've been meaning to write about the weird winter, but in the end I decided to save myself some work and not write. Excellent decision, for now I can wrap up March in one blog post. Here's the video version of the report:


Well, here goes: snow, melting, snow, melting, snow, melting. Early March it snowed about weekly, and it was white for a day, then the snow melted away. Now there's almost no snow left, except in the shadows of buildings and trees. And the bikeways are almost ice free, with the same exceptions as above. It feels like it should be later in April, but there hasn't been any snow for weeks. I often go cross country skiing on Easter, not a chance of that now. Unless we get a Putin-esque cold spell and new snow.

There's  a lot of brown grass visible, but it will take a while it could turn green. I did see some grass with a greenish tint on it, on a particularly sunny and warm spot, but as the nightly temperatures are below freezing (-11°C for tonight) and just a few degrees above during the night, the soil is still pretty frozen. Plants evaporating water but unable to suck in moisture from a frozen ground will get thirsty.

Anyway, the spring is here. I've even spotted some bikeways that were un-gritted, the sand had been swept away. Lots of sunshine, people on bikes and birds singing. And the monstrous woodpecker:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warm February


A picture like this shouldn't happen in February. Puddles, grass, ice free streets. Even bikeways are partially ice free. In February. Well, they said it's the second warmest February in the last 100 years. Some plants are preparing the leaves, and migratory birds have been spotted. They're a month early. But we've had wind from the south so they had easy time flying here. If the wind turns north, they'll have hard time flying back. :-/


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunny Day Feels Like February

Now that we got -20°C I can say it feels like winter. But as I was riding about I somehow got the feeling that it was like in February. I guess it is the increase in sunlight and the cold temperatures that makes me feel so. But just look at these pictures: there's hardly any snow and it's late January. Weird.



When I was taking these pictures in the park I got the idea to take a picture of the long shadows. Well the shadows cast by the trees and such were too tall for my purposes, so I had to find a twig and stick it in the snow. Then I realized the twig wasn't very visible (no leaves :-) so I stuck a piece of paper on it. Hmm, white paper and white snow...? Look for the footsteps in the middle and you might notice it.
A few minutes with Gimp to add some lines to show the plot. Gimp has a measuring tool which gives the angle as 5 degrees. Sun was  5 degrees above horizon at after 1pm. Copying files around lost the timestamp so the time is inaccurate at the moment. But maybe someone can calculate the time if he knows sun was 5 degrees high, Oulu lies 65 degrees north. :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sunshine coming up!

The weather has been nasty for almost the whole of 2014 so far. Temperatures around freezing or even above it, cloudy, raining water and sleet. Although there was some days with snow coming down, there wasn't much snow left anywhere. About the only wintery thing left was the ice everywhere, and even that was melting. (The climate change: it melts glaciers! :-)

So instead of pretty white snow everywhere, we had slosh and ice until they melted. On some areas the ground had frozen already, meaning it was impermeable for the water. Puddles in the city, new mini lakes in the fields, flooding rivers in the coastal plains. The flood damage is minimal, but there will be some damage from the ice on the fields. (The ice will freeze the grass and block the oxygen getting through, choking the plants. Fluffy snow works as an insulation, solid ice does not.)

Now the low pressure zones have shifted and the wind is coming from the north east. Nice cold air from the north. The forecast says -10C to -20C for the next few days. I think even the Russian tourists who came to Finland for New Year Holiday would be satisfied. 
Anyway, here's a picture to match the topic, taken yesterday. Even though the sun is up for about four and a half hours (half an hour more from the solstice already), it certainly wasn't up yesteday, at 11pm.  There was an inch of fresh snow and I was one of the few people about, so I thought I would snap a few pictures of fresh tracks on the bikeway.
Ok, so taking a pic with the flash on didn't work. I tried other settings, too, and here's a better shot.
All white now, and the bikeways underneath were not very slippery either. Snow on smooth ice can be slippery, but either there wasn't much ice, or there was plenty of gritting sand, too. I think it's even possible the sand was frozen into the ice, creating a sandpaper like surface.

I'm not sure if they used sharp-edged gritting sand or maybe I rode on somewhere I shouldn't have, (the gritters are supposed to use tyre friendly sand on bikeways) but I've got some patching to do today. There's a leak in the tyre... sigh.