Friday, October 14, 2011

A beautiful morning and first ice

It was a sunny morning after several days of either rain or gloomy cloudiness.

The cloudless sky during the night means a cold night. The clouds trap and reflect back the heat energy from the ground. With no clouds, the heat is beamed out into the space. With a northerly wind (like today) bringing cool air from the arctic, the temperature can drop below freezing even in the summer. In October below freezing temperatures are to be expected.

I had to wipe the hoarfrost off my bike saddle. It came off easy. Someone was cleaning the windows of a car at the parking lot and grumbling. I might remember to put a plastic bag on the seat and avoid the cleaning...

The small puddles were frozen through. The big, deep ones had a cover of ice that cracked when I rode over them. I guess I'm still a kid inside, playing at puddles.
Maintenance crews had been busy at work. The fallen leaves were mostly gone! They had also gritted some parts of the bikeways, like this one. A downhill section leading to an underpass. As the sun is blocked by trees and the noise barrier, this might be a good candidate for black ice. They'd gritted maybe 200 meters of my ride of a few kilometers.

Lapland had the first snow last weekend, and some ski resorts have opened cross country ski paths for skiers. They'd stored snow from last winter, and now they've spread it over some short paths so skiing enthusiasts and athletes can get on the skis.

I'd say it'll be two or three weeks until first snow in Oulu. Late October or early November. Want to place bets on the date?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Intensive Care Cyclists

Local newspaper has an interesting article about how OYS (The Oulu University Hospital) straps unconscious patients in intensive care to bicycles!

Several commenters on the newspapers web page  have asked how they managed to interview an unconscious person for the article. They also ask if people with pneumonia or heart conditions laying on their sick beds should be forced to excercise?

Looking at the video, the patients feet are strapped into pedals while the patient is laying on the bed. If the patient is unconcious or too weak to move the legs, the machine slowly moves the legs. I don't think the patients are supposed to get sweaty excercise. It's more like keeping the limbs moving and maintaining muscle tone. (Can that be said here, or does maintaining muscle tone refer to body building?) I guess it also prevents blood clots.

Apparently they've found out that it's best to start the rehab as soon as possible. At the beginning of the year, the hospital started rehabilitation of the patients as soon as they arrive to the ICU.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two more useless videos

After working on the cycle video day videos, I finished two other clips. The first one, Riding on the road shows what the roads outside Oulu look like. Yes, I'm actually riding on a road, sharing it with the cars. Late September, in the evening. 17:30 or 18:00 or so, as the sun is still up.

The other clip shows how not following the traffic rules almost lead to a head-on collision with a car. Before the video begins I was following a car following another cyclist on a quiet street. I'm not sure what the driver was doing, but his driving was a bit erratic (sending emails on the phone, fumbling with the seatbelt, taking the coat off or something) and I was not sure what he was going to do, so I decided to not overtake him. Notice the cute positioning of the other cyclist at the beginning of the video.

At the end of the clip you'll see me dodging the oncoming car. My plan was to turn left to the bikeway, and I thought I could do that safely as I'd be in no conflict with the cars on the street ahead.

Except for cars turning into this street, of course. I didn't notice he was going to turn until almost too late. Maybe I was looking the wrong way or he didn't signal until very late, or both. Anyway, I aborted my left turn and swerved back to my lane.

Another case of smart man escaping trouble a wise man wouldn't have gotten into in the first place.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cycle video day 10.10.2011

Magnatom, a Glasgow cyclist who has lots of videos on youtube has started a cycle video day blog. (Edit: oops, it was magnatom, not gaz545 who did this. Sorry :-) The idea is for a lot of cyclists with cameres to video their ride on the same day. Which was yesterday, so if you hear about it now you're late. Unless you want to cheat a little and post a video from another day.

Yesterday it rained all morning and it looked like I'd have to cheat too. In the afternoon the rain stopped, so I was able to video my ride between 4pm and 5 pm. The sunset was at 6:15pm and it was cloudy, so any later than 5pm, it would soon have been too dark for my crappy MD80 clone. 

Here's a direct link to my Youtube video, if you prefer to watch it there. It's pretty boring. :-D

Friday, October 07, 2011

Hurricane Ophelia Hits Very Northern Florida

Hurricane Ophelia started it's journey about two or three weeks ago at the equator. First it travelled west towards the Caribbean, then turned north and now has crossed the Atlantic. Looking at some maps showing its track, looks like it did not hit Florida. It it possible that we're getting a hurricane that missed them?

The cold sea has sapped a lot of it's strength and what we get is rain and strong winds (15m/s, with gusts over 20m/s).  What makes it interesting is that the media has been telling the storm we have is the remnants of a hurricane, not a normal storm. If the media hadn't told us, I wouln't have known any different. Due to the global wind system, most storms we get come from the west, across the north Atlantic.

 On the bike bridge, the wind from the right forced the cyclists lean 10 degrees to the right to maintain balance. Of course, when I stopped to take a photo there was no cyclists in sight. Dark and gloomy, due to the heavy clouds. The photo was taken just before 6 pm, about half an hour before sunset. Yes, you read that right. Sunrise at 7:44 and sunset at 18:26.

The almost empty racks at the library: it seemed that the rain and strong winds had made people to stay indoors. Then I tried the door and noticed it was locked. All libraries were closed today due to training day.

It did strike me a little odd that there was only a few bikes on the racks, as there was quite a lot people on bikes. Still, I should have realized something was wrong...

 Gotcha! A tree is about to fall over, despite the firm hold it has on the ground. Strong roots do not help if the soil gets turned too.

A view from between two changing cubicles on the Nallikari Beach. I rode there on the way back to see if the waves were impressive. Not so, the wind direction is wrong and the islands break the waves too. This is the same beach I visited on the midnight ride. Only this time you can't see the sunset.

The water in the front is on an asphalt path. I'm not sure if it is rain water or did a storm surge reach that high? The sea level was 1.2 meters above average and flooded some boat docks. The record changes in the sea levels are -1.5m and +2m. That's all due to the winds, as the tide is only a few centimeters here.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cycling on the local newspaper this week

Cycling has been the topic of a lot of articles on the local newspaper this week.

Today the road maintenance manager tells us they're ready for the winter. They're stopping the use of crushed stone for gritting the bikeways. The crushed stone has sharp edges and sometimes causes punctures. They're going to use more rounded, filtered sand. The article has a picture from one of the warehouses where they keep the gritting sand.

Another article points out how bad the cycling conditions are in the innermost blocks of the downtown. Most of the bikeways in the downtown are MUPs on the pavement, and they're not very good. Bikeway for a block or two, then it disappears or changes sides. (In a related article they ask how should the signage be improved: paint, signs or what?) High kerbs make cycling on the pavement lanes more difficult unless you're willing and able to hop your bike. So some cyclists decide it's better to cycle on the street rather than the pavements, even though that is against the law.

The articles are good, and the comments are entertaining. I guess it's the same everywhere: in any article where bikes are mentioned, someone will comment about red light jumping, pavement cycling, scofflaw cyclists.

In a more sad news story, a cyclist in Helsinki was biking on the street and got doored. He fell and was hit by a bus and died. This case was newsworthy because of the dooring which is pretty rare here in Finland. Someone getting killed in Helsinki by more usual means (in a collision at intersection or on the roads) would not be big news.