Website Update: April 2021

Once again, I am planning a short hiatus from the website.

As a senior getting ready to graduate from my university with a bachelor’s degree in just over a month, things have been hectic this semester. In addition to hectic classes and preparing to close one chapter of my life and start another, I’ve been suffering from “Senioritis” and mental health issues.

In addition to lacking motivation for my classes, I’ve also been lacking the motivation to tinker with my vintage Macs or write content.

My plan currently is to finish out this semester as strong as possible. In order to do that, I’d like to take a break from the website until I’ve graduated and have some more time to devote to content creation and doing the things I love.

I wanted to publish this post to provide an update on things… a look back at MARCHintosh, a brief update on the Sedona, as well as short and long-term goals for the website. This post, alongside the April Mac Haul, will be the only two posts I’m planning to release this month.

As always, I will continue to be active on my blog Twitter account – @gfuller_blog.

MARCHintosh 2021 in Review

In February, I created a list of six topics I wanted to cover for MARCHintosh 2021. Unfortunately, I was only able to fulfill two of the six planned topics. I was able to create additional MARCHintosh content related to the SuperSE project.

A MARCHintosh graphic I made for an incomplete post on desktop publishing.

I hope to revisit the topics I skipped over at some point in the future, whether sometime later this year or for MARCHintosh 2022. Stay tuned.

(Brief) 2016 Giant Sedona Update

Since the last Sedona update on February 26, the bicycle has received some upgrades.

First, I had the bike professionally tuned up. While the damaged crankset was able to be bent back into shape as best as possible, it is still missing a tooth and needs to be replaced in the future. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the cycling industry – making almost every part (from inner tubes to seats to, yes, cranksets) nearly unobtainable at this time.

While the bike was being tuned up, I had an aftermarket pair of fenders installed. Previously, I had jury rigged my own rear “fender” out of an old inner tube wrapped around the basket. The new fenders look much neater and cover both the rear and front wheels.

Tired of having mud and water sprayed on myself, I made a makeshift rear fender out of old inner tubes wrapped around the basket. Ugly but functional.

I also removed the basket from the bike. I finally purchased a bike rack for my car, allowing me to easily tote my bike around without having to use my father’s pickup truck. The basket not only allows for me to install the bike in the rack, but has made the bike much lighter. Since removing the basket, the bike handles far better and is much easier to carry up stairs.

Removing the rear basket made the bike much lighter, resulting in better handling and being easier to carry.

A while back I lost my Bell frame pump. I replaced it with a new “Blackburn” (Walmart has replaced the Bell trademark with the “Blackburn” and “The Bike Shop” trademarks) frame pump that is far better than the original Bell frame pump. (This one actually came with an appropriate mounting bracket.)

The last upgrade was lighting. The headlight from the Bell Lumina Hi-Lumen light set I purchased in October 2018 finally had enough. While the light itself is still functional, the rubber strap used to mount the light to the bike was torn and unusable. Furthermore, I discovered rust in the battery compartment for the headlight.

While I was planning to potentially upgrade to a more expensive, higher-quality light kit, I ended up just going to Walmart to purchase a $15 replacement light kit. This replacement light kit isn’t toolless like the previous set; it actually requires tools (a hex key) to mount to the bike. Therefore, it should (hopefully) be more sturdy and less prone to damage. Unfortunately, this replacement light kit produces less light than the last light set and uses CR-2032 batteries instead of traditional AA batteries.

The replacement Blackburn light set mounts securely on the bike (using hex key screws) but produces less light and uses CR-2032 batteries.

Now for the biggest disappointment: an update on the Conti DoubleFighter III tires I freshly mounted in the last update. Just barely over a month later, the tire is already trashed.

One night while riding, I heard a loud “psstt…” and in less than a second my rear tire was flat. Once I got into better lighting, I inspected the damage – and the news wasn’t good. There was a gash slashed right into the corner of the tire, extending from the side of the tread area down into the sidewall.

Unfortunately, the gash was too big and in a horrible spot that a patch or boot (like the jury-rigged one on my front tire) would work.

A piece of road debris left a 1″ gash in the sidewall of my new (>30 miles) Conti DoubleFighter III tire, essentially rendering it destroyed.

As a last ditch effort, I tried to do the “double-tire” trick some have used – where another tire (with the bead removed) is stuffed inside of the “outer” tire. Unfortunately, that trick was not going to work.

The issue with the DoubleFighter tire is fairly clear – in fact, I pointed it out in my previous post.

“However, I’m concerned about how well the DoubleFighter will resist punctures on our debris-ridden roads.”

-Sedona Update: February 2021

The DoubleFighter has a very thin sidewall, and a fairly thin tread area. This makes for a light tire that seems to ride much smoother, but you definitely sacrifice puncture resistance and durability. Severe damage, as I experienced, is more likely with the DoubleFighter than a more durable, thicker tire like the Schwalbe Marathon or Conti’s thicker, more expensive tires.

This couldn’t have happened at a worst time. The weather is warming up, making it more attractive to biking. However, as previously mentioned, COVID-19 has placed a hamper on acquiring bike parts quickly. The parts distributor I purchased the DoubleFighter tire from was able to provide a refund, but they were all out of 26″ tires that would fit my bike and my budget.

Since most bike parts distributors are out of 26″ tires, I went to one place that I felt would have one in stock: Walmart.

While not my preferred option, my local Walmart had a couple 26″ tires to choose from – all right at $20. The first option was a Blackburn 26×1.75″ “comfort bike” tire, while the second was a Blackburn 26×2.1″ “mountain bike” tire. Both were knobbier than I would like, but COVID-19 has taught me to avoid being too picky with part selection – especially if I want to ride my bike in the next two months.

I went with the first option… the comfort bike tire. The tire is far narrower than the 26×1.9″ DoubleFighter, and even more than the 26×2″ tire that the Conti replaced. However, it looked to have a more “comfortable” tread pattern.

While not my preferred option, the $20 Walmart tire holds air and will allow me to continue riding until things return to some sense of normalcy.

Only time will tell whether the $20 tire is worth a Jackson, but until the bicycle tire industry catches up I will be happy as long as it holds air and is rideable and not too uncomfortable.

The Sedona with the Blackburn/Walmart tire installed on the rear. The tire is more narrow than the front (26×1.75″ v. 26×2″) and has a much thinner profile when compared to the Schwalbe Marathon and Conti tire.
The tread on the Blackburn/Walmart “comfort bike” tire isn’t too knobby, but more aggressive than the Schwalbe and Conti tread patterns.

Future Site Plans

Kewanee Boiler section

As an ongoing project, I’m hoping to complete the transfer of the Kewanee Boiler site contents to the WordPress site here over the summer. This section will include some additional photos, a revamped “How it operates” section, and more.

In related news, I have heard the 1974 Kewanee Type M firebox boiler installed at the vocational technical school I attended has been officially decommissioned and likely removed. Both the technical school and high school are being renovated, and one of the projects in the technical school was to replace the outdated boiler system with roof-top heating units like at the high school.

AT&T Long Lines section

On my long list of “want to-dos” is photograph more AT&T Long Lines sites here in Missouri. I’m hoping I can do that this summer.

I hope to resume creating new content next month after things (hopefully) settle down.

Thanks for reading,

This post was written on a 1994 Macintosh PowerBook 165 using Microsoft Word 5.0.