Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ebike Safety Tips

I have been meaning to get a photo of me on my ebike, but haven't gotten around to conscripting a photographer/family member to do it.  So I am going to go ahead with the post without the photo.  Here are some random ebike tips that I have learned that I want to pass along.
Veloteq eBikes
First things first!  Go to your local Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuer and pick up a handbook they have available for those wishing to test for their motorcycle licence.  For Saskatchewan, the motorcycle driver handbooks are online here.  Study this book and be prepared to follow the rules.
The following tips are really common sense and are included in the handbook, but these in particular have been items where I have noticed drivers around me have reacted to a slow moving ebike in a manner that reduces my safety and other drivers and pedestrians.
Here goes in no particular order:

- Fill the road if necessary.  When there is a parking lane that is currently empty, in courtesy to others who can drive a little faster I will lane change and drive in the parking lane.  Only if there are no parked cars.  My little rule is for at least 3/4 of a city block, which is time for traffic to pass me, without me having to slow, and come to a complete stop behind the parked car.  Once traffic has cleared, shoulder check, mirror check, signal, and move back into the main street lane.  Do NOT drive in the little space between the moving traffic lane, and parked cars.  You will get hurt.

If you are driving on the one and only moving traffic lane, there is no parking lane to move into, then you have 2 choices.  One, pull over and stop and wait for traffic to clear.  Always shoulder check, mirror check, signal and move.  Or secondly, you must own the width of the lane, sit tall and make sure that people know that you are watching traffic.  Sometimes you have to make a few cars slow down for a block until you find a safe place to lane change out of traffic.  Do NOT pull over a bit to make room for people to pass you!  You will eventually get cut off or driven over.

And other drivers out there... I know you aren't reading this because you are on the site for hot rods, or super suv's or something... but please DO NOT pull into oncoming traffic to pass bike riders who are moving slowly.  Just be patient, maybe the rider is trying to turn left.  I had a driver pull up to me, yelling that I should only drive against the right sidewalk.  Hard to turn left safely from there.


- To be sure, use hand signals.  My ebike is equipped with fully functioning front and rear signal lights, but in rush hour traffic I have a feeling the other drivers are not paying enough attention to me.  A firm use of the hand signals with your hand held flat

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I watched the online feed from my Hubby's church this morning, and the strangest thing happened.  Part way through the sermon, they broke for a commercial.  I was so stunned I can't even remember what the product was, but it was a 30 second video advertising some product.  You couldn't click though it, you just had to put up with it.  It started me thinking about how church is considered the last bastion of purity where you would not dare to use commercial advertising.  The raising of money is done with good old-fashioned guilt tripping, and use of the phrase "tithes & offerings".  Well I guess, with the exception of TV church where anything goes, all the time.

I am a decided outsider in the Church community.  You wouldn't think so.  I look the part, female, heterosexual, married for 20+ years, 2 children, husband who volunteers and is a nice guy.  I look like the perfect church pew filler, but I am not.  Here's the low down on why I don't fit in.

First of all, I am an extreme introvert.  I don't like idle chit chat.  I can't stand pop psychology sermons and fluff "improve yourself by being nice" topics.  I am a meat and potatoes theologian.  It's got to be something I can use to make a difference in my neighborhood, my block, my yard, today.  The theoretical stuff I will debate for a little while, but if it starts to waste our real time.  I have a big problem with insincerity.  You know when people are nice to your face and then stab you in the back.  Or when you council people with serious needs using platitudes, or even worse, you choose to pray for them with trite and saccharin words.  I can't imagine that God is really happy with that.  Treating his people that way, rep-resenting Him that way.

There's another way I don't fit in.  I don't think that God is just male.  If we as human beings are created as a representation, an image of God, and we are created male and female, then God must be more than just one sex as well.  Maybe God is all sexes.  Maybe he (as a pronoun not indication of gender) is the only one who can truly understand all of us as we were created in our own individual gender, and sexuality?  Maybe homosexuality is not a sinful act of the will, but a biological evolution of the gender structure of the brain.  Uh oh, that one is gonna get me kicked out of middle aged women having coffee and gossiping while doing something charitable club (you know,  the MAWHC&GWDSC Club)

Yet another square peg for the round hole of tradition round hole of Christianity.  I am a Christian Evolutionist.  I don't believe that God created the universe in 6 days, not because She can't, but because She is a complex being, who delights in the development of secrets, and unfolding of mysteries.  Why the rush?  Was there a press deadline for the printing of Genesis?  Had the gold edged paper been purchased, was in transit and had no place to be stored, so the show must proceed as planned. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Well Hello Dolly!

Yesterday, I took my Mother-in-law on a road trip to the infamous town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where Al Capone is rumoured to have hid from the US Marshals, and, incidentally, my home town. My Mum-in-law is a doll fashionista which is to say she enjoys creating clothing, specifically for 18" grown lady dolls.  She doesn't just play with them, she really seriously dresses them.  Some of her dolls have full wardrobes that Jackie Onassis would appreciate.  As well as a series of replica costumes from a production of Anne of Green Gables, and on the upcoming list, costumes from the Nutcracker Ballet.

We heard that someone in Moose Jaw had amassed a collection of 1800+ collectible, antique toys and dolls and that they were going on auction beginning today, Canada Day.  The previewing was yesterday.  Mum decided it was much better to just look than buy as she lives in a small seniors apartment and must exercise her extensive hobby mostly in her imagination, rather than in reality.  So we made the hour drive and bought tickets to go to the viewing.

I have 3 topics in regard to this show:

1.) The oldest dolls are the best. 
This is an Eaton's Catalogue Doll, probably 100ish years old.  Porcelain head, hands, and feet (at least) and maybe even real hair.  The hair was thin, you could see where the strands were poked into little holes in the porcelain.  But she is painted so beautifully!  Such delicate features and so lifelike it was a little eerie.  I think her eyes were like glass marbles.  I wish I knew more about these dolls.  This one would be a candidate for the Antiques Roadshow!
We didn't touch her hair to see if it was real because there were signs everywhere, EVERYWHERE, saying not to touch.  My Mum inadvertently touched a couple of things while trying to look at the item tags and she was immediately barked at by the "red hat" biddies who were guarding the event.  Seriously, people need to learn the words customer service and what they mean.  All they would have had to do is to have the old biddies wearing gloves (such as plastic, vinyl, or even purple velvet) and have them offer to pick up the item for you.  "May I help you with that.  It's helpful to be able to see the detail on some of these amazing items, so that you can make notes on your bidding sheets."  I was proud of Mum though, at one point she turned to one of the biddies and said, "are you going to follow me around the whole show?"  You do not want to go toe to toe with her!  I have had to pull her off shopkeepers before.  Not pretty.