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Watching the rain radar

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, July 16th, 2019 - 35 comments
Categories: Environment, transport - Tags: ,

Of all of the inventions that currently make riding bikes safer and more convenient  in urban environments, I’d have to say that the rain radar would be number four on my list.

Since I shifted to working close to home, and then shifting to cycling rather than driving, I’m not affected much by the effects described this morning in the Herald “Heavy rain to hit during Auckland’s morning commute“.

Auckland commuters are set to be battered by heavy rain as another week of unsettled weather descends on New Zealand.

It will pay to have some indoor activities prepared to fall back on this week for those on school holidays.

A number of fronts are muscling their way over the nation from the Tasman Sea and bringing a week of turbulent conditions for many.

Already this morning two crashes on the Southwestern Motorway southbond have blocked lanes.

Even apart from the amusing typo of ‘southbond’, the rest of the article sounds like the usual disaster for Auckland car commuters. All it needs now is an overburdened train network to go down – again. Hanging out for the central rail link to go it. It should effectively double the available line capacity.

This is because of the legacy of a sustained immigration push by our previous National government that has increased its population by almost 20% in a decade from about 1.4 million in June 2008 to about 1.7 million in June 2018. At the same time the same lazy government didn’t help to put in most of the required infrastructure and housing required to handle that population. What has been done was largely planned and implemented by the previous Labour government or like the Central Rail Link – kicked out of them by our active council. 

But if you look at the rain radar as I do every rainy work morning  you can see what the Herald article was referring to. That was at 0613. When I looked at that, I decided that going to work early was a terrible idea and that I should have a leisurely breakfast and write a quick post while waiting for the rain to pass. 

I prefer to not get soaked on the way to work. It is a pain to change from the clothes stored in my locker and carting damp clothes back up the hill. The alternative of drying out whilst writing code does nothing good for its quality.

But just as importantly, better weather means that the drivers of cars, vans, buses and trucks are way less likely to see us and less likely to attempt to inadvertently kill or injure us.

My 3.7 kilometer commute currently takes me 10-15 minutes from the time I turn my helmet on while going down the stairs to the carpark. The time variation is in largely in the time spent at the lights crossing at pedestrian between bikeway segments. I average just under 17km per hour including the lights – probably higher than those poor sods on the motorway . 

I measure that with my new helmet, with its forward and rear LEDs, turn indicators, and inertial brake light.

An unexpected side effect is the way that it lights up every street sign to an iridescent work of art. Something to do with the light of front while LEDs.

lumos helmet

Later in the year, I’m going to have to get off the bikeways and go to work with the dangers of inattentive stressed motorists. I want to be extremely visible in all weather conditions. I’m also going to get a very loud powered horn because I see way too many motorists using those frigging cellphones while driving.

But of course what makes this all possible is the e-bike. This is what allows my solid (120kg) sixty year old  body to do the ride up Grafton gully from near sea level to the 85 metres above sea level at the ground level of my apartment. 

It means I can get a dose of daily exercise without doing something pointless in a gym and without killing myself.

The only problems with this little guy is that I’m getting a bit creaky throwing my leg over the seat in the mornings (I’d advise everyone to get a step-thru), and if you weigh what I do 120kg and usually with 8-10kgs of computer gear – find something with a bigger motor.

The exercise at the top of Grafton Gully is excellent on this bike. But if I’ve just pulled 12 hours of solid coding, it is sometimes a bit painful. I’d like to turn the grunt up a bit more.

But most of all, bikeways are just the best. Motorists are completely careless and dangerous at the best of times. This isn’t so much of a problem when you’re armoured with tonnes of metal  protecting you from the consequences of your and others stupidity. But it sure is then you’re only protected by clothes and a road code that is more measured in its non-observance than in its adherence. 

Bikeways are far more preferable. Sure they’re starting to get a little crowded at the rush hours. But at least other cyclists (and pedestrians) have a similar regard for their skin. They’re way easier to deal with than a SUV with a parent, kids and a cellphone. 


Anyway, the radar looks like this now. Time to go and code..

BTW: Neither myself or the site gets anything from any of the suppliers described in this post. Unlike some other sites and media we never have nor intend to have paid for articles or free samples. 

35 comments on “Watching the rain radar”

  1. Bruce 1

    These look pretty good.

    https://www.mondaymotorbikes.com/

    Not a stepthru thou

    • ianmac 1.1

      With a flash LED helmet it would be all go.

      • woodart 1.1.1

        use your hearing and ride proactively, not reactively. if car drivers think hiting you,OR being hit BY you, will damage there cars, they are more cautious. a wildly flailing boot from a cyclist can cause many hundreds of dollars damage.

    • William 1.2

      Under NZ rules that is certainly not an e-bike. Here an e-bike must have a motor of less than 300W.

      https://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/vehicle-types/low-powered-vehicles/

      The Gen7 on that page has two modes, Econ; motor limited to 750W, & Sport; 5.5kW.

      It would not even be classed as a moped because it's maximum speed is stated as 45mph (72km/h), so exceeds our max moped speed of 50km/h and would therefore require a motorcycle licence.

      Click to access 43-mopeds.pdf

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    Ahh the ride to work, when I was in my very early twenty's I had a little business in Hobson st (AKL) and riding my GSX1100 from either West AKL or South AKL, (depending on where I was staying) to and from work was the absolute highlight of my day, that thrill of a close call or two everyday was pretty cool.

    These days I live in Napier and was commuting to Hastings on vintage Time Trial bicycles that I restore, and that was the highlight of my day..the project was to be able to average 40 kph for the 24 km ride. Unfortunately I ran into the back of a parked bus a few months ago at about 35 kph, which was pretty stupid and completely my fault, got smashed up badly.

    Back on the bike a bit now, and commuting a couple of days a week, a bit slower (for now) and still love it!

    Can't think of a better thing for the mind and spirit than riding a bike, and especially once you get 30-40 k's into a ride, everything becomes a lot clearer, highly recommended…a must for intense guys like me!

    • veutoviper 2.1

      Now we know why you were so "cranky" there for a while! LOL.

      Seriously that sort of impact would not have been good for the body so pleased to hear that things are getting back to near normal for you.

      • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1

        Yeah thanks, 8 titanium screws holding my back in place, 7 broken ribs and punctured lung + more wasn't that great, but I can recover so I am not complaining….here is my bike..

        http://theflyingwheel.blogspot.com/2019/04/man-vs-busbus-wins.html

        BTW I'm afraid I am always a bit cranky, it's just part of my personality, people shouldn't take it to personally.

        • veutoviper 2.1.1.1

          I don't – take your crankiness too seriously or personally. Some people are just like that and once your see it for what it is, it is fine. Unfortunately there are others … but won't go there, the sun has just popped out here in Wellington. LOL.

          Sadly I was never a bike rider due to disabilities affecting my legs/feet until surgery at 21, but then not interested and now not able. I look at these new electric bikes and think if only … One of my wonderful friends/support people in my street, many years my junior, has recently bought an electric bike that has an extended frame that allows her to take her 6 year old and 4 year old on the back to and from school/kindergarten as well as coping with the shopping – and her to/from her job as a University lecturer in Public Health! LOL They all love it, except Dad who dislikes the fact he doesn't get to ride it very often.

  3. Morrissey 3

    Can't think of a better thing for the mind and spirit than riding a bike,

    Running and walking.

    • lprent 3.1

      Unfortunately I have a nearly completely useless right big toe these days. It has worn out the pad between the toe bone and the foot bone. After I walk on it for more than about a kilometre or two then I get excruciating pain.

      The reason why it wore out is just annoying. I managed to cut it when I was about 14 at a Guy Fawkes night on someones discarded broken drink glass in their backyard. It required something like 12 stitches and the foot grew faster than the left foot and wound up half a shoe size larger. That has always been annoying when getting shoes.

      But it appears that it was also not formed too well on the pad.

      I found out when I started to get pain whilst walking. So now I ride.

    • Adrian Thornton 3.2

      Running is pretty hard on the body, and walking is to slow…10 minutes on the bike and I am out in the country, and in the hills, hardly any cars or other annoying humans to bother me..dreamy.

      • francesca 3.2.1

        Swim in a South Island lake in the winter guys .Every day!

        Nothing like it

        Its magical to be out there on your own , observing how one's clever body adjusts its thermostat

        • Adrian Thornton 3.2.1.1

          I don't know if am that brave? something about it does sounds tempting though.

    • woodart 3.3

      creating things, walking on grass in your bare feet, being in the bush, listening to the birds. great music..

      • Adrian Thornton 3.3.1

        Yes I have to agree to all those things as being good at freeing the mind, I guess I just love the bike because it makes me healthy at the same time, different strokes for different folks..

  4. ianmac 4

    And LPrent are you clad in Lycra to travel on your Ebike? My wife was recently in Denmark and admired the total lack of Lycra amongst the hoards of cyclists.

    • Adrian Thornton 4.1

      Yep the introduction of lycra is the cut off point in my obsessive collecting of vintage racing bikes and memorabilia, wool all the way for me, aesthetic does matter.

      Smoking At The Tour De France

      • William 4.1.1

        Lovely photo. Does your obsessive collecting extend to the cigarettes 🙂

        • Adrian Thornton 4.1.1.1

          Gave those (along with a couple of other bad habits) up a long time ago…would still smoke if it wasn't going to kill me.

    • lprent 4.2

      Lycra? – nope. I never use the stuff.

      I usually go to work in slightly elastic (5%) jeans or shorts, teeshirt, and thin merino jersey that I got whilst helping funding the the Thin Ice documentary. I top it off with a breathable light raincoat that has the primary use as a windbreaker and fingerless gloves. Most of the time I just lose the coat and gloves and drink some chilled water before working.

      This is Auckland, a semi-tropical paradise that seldom goes below 10C during daylight hours. And it is only 3.7km. If the ride was longer (like the 50-70km days I used to do when touring west coast or east cape) or I heated up too much then I might consider it. But the longest ride I have done recently has been blatting up and down the North Eastern cycleway, which is something like 30km.

      Lyn keeps telling me about her experiences riding to school in Invercargill. The weather sounds disgusting.

      • woodart 4.2.1

        wear steel capped footware.

      • True Lyn, the weather there is inclement at times, like six inch snowfall in Gore Christmas 1965. (40 miles away.)

        I used to ride a balloon tyre bike to school in the fifties wearing a gym frock. Cold knees. Lol lol.

        Apart from a broken front fork and nose, I have good memories of cycling. Don't hear birds in a car, smell the earth and feel the breeze.

        • Adrian 4.2.2.1

          Please if anyone knows where there are a pair of those drink canisters and holder I will buy in an instant. they are the last thing I need to finish restoring my early 60s Bertin racing bike that I used to race in my teens. I've even got an original Bertin/Campagnolo wool riding jersey. I look like the complete tragic but fuck ém if they can't take a joke.

        • Adrian 4.2.2.2

          !965 was a very cold year, in Blenheim we had 92 days in a row of frost riding to school in shorts and a thin jersey, no jackets allowed, wasn't approved uniform. thank Christ for climate change.

    • Katipo 4.3

      Cycling in NZ used to be like cycling in Denmark too, where jumping on your bike used to be as painless as putting or shoes or a coat. Unfortunately with combined effects of our inane helmet law, the proliferation of car ownership and years of under investment in cycleways and over investment in roads. Going by bike is seen by many as something only eco warriors or adrenaline junkies do. Meanehile in the Netherlands…

      https://youtu.be/Boi0XEm9-4E

      • lprent 4.3.1

        Most of the time I don’t need it (apart from a place to mount extra LEDs). However in the last two years whilst getting back into riding I have managed to bang my head twice and been grateful for the helmet on both occasions.

        Once with a very awkward dismount after my foot slid on a slick curb. Once while avoiding a car door opening in front of me in tight traffic when I donged my head on the idiots car.

        In the latter case having my wits about me assisted greatly as I really needed to express myself clearly about the need to use wing mirrors and head turning. It also educated me that cars behind me could just fuck off. I now ride closer to the middle of the lane to avoid the parked cars. Besides, the speed limit on Ponsonby Road is 40, and that is usually how fast I’m going on a ebike.

        But as far as I’m concerned helmets should be mandatory. It is a way cheaper than paying for brain injuries.

  5. Timeforacupoftea 5

    The best thing thats happing down here for cycling in Dunedin is climate change.

    We can get out riding our bikes everyday without getting wet and our hands and feet not dropping off from cold. Hardly ever see ice on our road either which is a good job because if you are like me I ride the white line most of the time.

    Plus 5 degrees more please !

  6. Muttonbird 6

    I use the rain radar a lot when making decisions for work and play.

  7. gsays 7

    If you are serious about a horn, I highly recommend these: https://trademe.nz/motors/car-parts-accessories/performance/other/listing/2231034510

    I have one on my waka and they are LOUD with 10 different patterns.

    I was inspired by the horns on Vietnamese buses.

  8. McFlock 8

    If the helmet "lights up every street sign to an iridescent work of art" take care that it doesn't blind drivers. On my wee scooter I've almost clocked people because of dazzle from cyclists' LED helmet lights – fucking blinding. almost as bad as the ones with no lights whatsoever.

  9. Andre 9

    If your loud horn is just to get drivers to look up from their phones, the audio from this oughta do it.

    Not entirely sure it would help you on your bike, tho. They'd be looking for entirely the wrong thing.

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    2 days ago
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  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
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  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    3 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
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  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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    5 days ago
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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