Vagabond Shark

Ideas, Bikes, Art, Design, Architecture, Politics, Tech, Software

Archive for March, 2007

Bicycle Racing at Community Colleges – or Lack Thereof

Posted by Peter W on March 29, 2007

Why is it that the USA Cycling website only lists three community colleges as having registered bicycle racing teams? There are 314 teams from traditional colleges and universities.

There is Portland Community College, Front Range Community College, and Pueblo Community College. It is interesting that both Front Range and Pueblo are in Colorado. I wonder if having the US Olympic Training Center there helps.

There are probably a number of reasons community colleges don’t have teams; here are some I can think of:

  • Age: many students may be working adults with neither time nor inclination for racing.
  • Lack of prestige: people don’t brag about going to a community college, so why would they brag about racing for one?
  • Less time for racer development (i.e., only two years instead of four).
  • Faster leadership turnover (and more importantly, less time for previous leaders to train new leaders).
  • Lack of on-campus living: because students all live off campus, getting them together for group training rides may be more difficult, especially where the campus is in a suburban setting and students live far apart.

So now that the problems are laid out (did I miss any?) the question is, how can they be addressed?


Posted in bikes, college life, racing | Leave a Comment »

Software Engineering: Rocket Software

Posted by Peter W on March 29, 2007

I’m happy to be done with winter term classes finally (only about a week after everyone else, thanks to extensions on a couple school projects). One very fun class I had was CS300: Sofware Engineering (description, course wiki). I enjoyed the term project, which for me was a bit different than what other people did… I got to write the software requirements and software system test plan for the Portland State Aerospace Society’s flight computer software, which will be responsible for collecting sensor data, detecting apogee and commanding the firing of pyrotechnic nose-ejection charge and cable cutting charge.

It’s a cool group and an awesome rocket. Check out the PSAS introduction, avionics diagram, the network and ground system diagram, and the conceptual design for the next rocket airframe.

Posted in rockets, software | Leave a Comment »

Trick of the day

Posted by Peter W on March 28, 2007

I was working on figuring out why a co-worker couldn’t use public key authentication over SSH today. While I was logged in as him, I didn’t want to mess up the rest of his SSH settings, so I used the following trick: make ~/.ssh look different for me than it does for him. Heres how:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in linux, sysadmin | Leave a Comment »

Prolog notes

Posted by Peter W on March 26, 2007

These are my notes about Prolog stuff for my discrete math class. I’m working through part of Jim Hein’s Prolog Lab Manual. Note: blockquotes are from the lab manual, and sometimes but not always the “Yes” or “No” results are left out if unimportant.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bikes using Nanotechnology

Posted by Peter W on March 10, 2007

Apparently I’m way behind the times. For a chemistry report on nanotechnology, I learned that not only is it actually being used, but it is being used for something super cool: bicycles. Floyd Landis raced in the Tour de France on a BMC bike which uses carbon nanotubes to add strength and decrease weight. Check these out for more:

Posted in bikes, technology | Leave a Comment »

One reason people don’t bike outside Portland

Posted by Peter W on March 8, 2007

I think this image does a good job showing why more people don’t ride outside Portland. The “low traffic” roads that people are most comfortable riding on are highlighted, and you can tell that Portland (on the right side of the image) beats the pants off all of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Washington County in terms of number and connectedness of low traffic roads. I didn’t include dedicated bike trails but there even fewer of those than there are low traffic roads.

A few ideas for improving the situation:

  1. Strengthen (or at least establish) the Safe Routes To Schools program in suburbia. Ideally the SR2S grassroots groups for each school would pressure the cities, county, and Metro to improve neighborhood road connectivity so kids would have low traffic roads to get to school on.
  2. Improve bike-route signing on existing low traffic roads (I believe we have none currently). We should get someone like Roger Geller working for WashCo Land Use and Transportation.
  3. Convince the cities and county to design a decent grid-based road network plan for new development (perhaps using half or full closures for volume control on neighborhood roads. The current maze-like neighborhoods that developers build without guidance are insane.

Any other ideas?

Posted in bikes, planning, transportation | Leave a Comment »

Coolest bike parking ever?

Posted by Peter W on March 8, 2007

The British are way ahead of us. This picture from an article at
shows a bike parking “tree” which was entered as an exhibit in a bike parking architecture competition. (View post for photo.)

Chun Yeug Cheng and Ka Fai Lee's steel storage 'trees'

Posted in bike parking, bikes | 1 Comment »

Googling for bike news

Posted by Peter W on March 8, 2007

I came across a cool tool today: Google Trends. Using that, I can see that Portland is the #3 city searching for bicycles. Apparently cycling is hot in Madison, WI and Littleton, CO also?

Another cool Google tool is Alerts, which emails you when there is a new website, blog, or news article about any given search term.

Posted in bikes, web | Leave a Comment »

Park Trails as Transportation

Posted by Peter W on March 7, 2007

There is a nice way to get from the Orenco area to the North Bethany area that involves taking the Rock Creek Trail, finding your way through a maze-like neighborhood, and then taking the Golf Course Trail (I might have that name wrong). Unfortunately very few people probably know about it because it seems the local Park districts focus on providing these parks as a means of recreation for neighborhoods and it doesn’t even occur to them that some people use them for transportation.

What they ought to do is:

  1. Post maps at main entrances.
  2. Post signs at forks, saying where each trail goes to.
  3. Create some kind of route markers to guide people from one trail through the neighborhood to the other trail.

TODO: talk to Mary Ordeal (name?) if she is still the Parks person for Hillsboro, and talk to someone from THPRD.

I wonder if there are other trails that need help around here?

Posted in bikes, parks, transportation | Leave a Comment »

Favorite WordPress themes

Posted by Peter W on March 6, 2007

I’m setting up this WordPress blog, so I might as well write down which themes I like best. Here they are:

  • Supposedly Clean
  • Sunburn
  • Rounded
  • Regulus
  • Hemingway
  • Girl in Green
  • Freshy

Posted in WordPress | Leave a Comment »