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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Typhoons and Bike Rides

Well, Kong-Rey which threatened Guam has pretty much done what was predicted. It swung northeasterly and has dissipated to a Tropical Storm rather than its Typhoon level. It only reached Category 2 level for a short time then began decreasing in strength. Northeasterly is good from PI perspective cuz that's away from where I am.

And speaking of 'direction and bike rides', it looks like I'm heading southeasterly tomorrow with neighbor Mark for a two day ride proportedly toward Paete on the other side of Laguna de Bay. If I make it back I'll report how it went. It's a new thing for me and I feel that I'm up to it. Mark, is a Brent 5th grade teacher. His wife, Trudy, is Dea's co-worker in the third grade. Anyway Mark has been letting me ride his bike, which I made advantageous for him since I fixed it up so it is a bit more comfortable (new seat) and doesn't break down as much (new chain) and shifts more smoothly (cleaned sprockets and adjusted Derailer).


What's a 'Derailer' you ask? Or if you know what it is, 'Why did you mispell it'? A month ago I had no clue myself either what it was or how to spell it. So to quote a source of much of my information about bikes...

Quote from "Derailer, Not Derailleur!" at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html
Traditionally, in U.S. usage, the gear-change mechanism we all know and love has been called a "derailleur." This is actually a French word, but it is commonly pronounced in an anglicized manner, as "de-RAIL-er" or "de-RAIL-yur." The actual French pronunciation is more like "day-RYE-EUH" but nobody says that when speaking English. The proper French spelling is "dérailleur," not "derailleur."
The French
Ministry of Culture has been on a campaign to purge the French language of the "impurity" caused by the introduction of foreign, (especially English) words into French speech and writing. In an attempt to combat "cultural imperialism", or "franglais" the Ministry has been attempting to banish such terms as "le week-end", "Walkman" (which they mistakenly think is English), "FAX", "Computer", etc. and replace them with special made-up French words. ("fin-de-semaine", "baladeur", "telecopieur", "ordinateur"...)
When you consider how many French words are already in the English language, as the result of real imperialism (
William the Conqueror, 1066!) I think it is time to defend the "purity" of the English tongue; you have to draw the line somewhere, and I have drawn it at "dérailleur."
I am on a one-man campaign to replace the foreign spelling "dérailleur" with the English spelling and pronunciation "derailer." I have been using this spelling in all of my writing for some time, and urge others to do the same.The word "derailer" (or "dérailleur") is actually a metaphor, relating the gear change to what happens when a railroad train goes off the tracks. In English, we call this a "derailment," not a "déraillement."
In fact, in the railroad industry, there is an obscure device designed to deliberately derail a runaway rail car. This device has always been called a "derailer" in English, and a "déraileur" in French.


Excuse the digression into technicalities but I just had to throw that in. I could have just said it's the "gear-change mechanism".

So earlier this week Mark proposed that we take an over nighter and that started it. School is out for a 10 day Holy Week Break which Dea is enjoying very much. Our plan is to take the National Highway, which mostly (I think) follows around the big lake. If we make it all the way to Paete which is about 45 miles one way (see my post titled "Some of this ain't wood carvings..." down a bit in this blog) and that remains to be seen, it will be a milestone for me, as my rides up til now have been only daily jaunts of about 10 miles. Mark is not going to be walking however in case you wondered. Since I'm using Mark's bike for the ride, Mark is borrowing Jim's bike. Jim is an Upper School teacher at Brent. Seems complicated doesn't it? But Mark wins again getting the better bike of the two and Jim wins as well cuz while he and his family are off to Boracay, I serviced his bike a bit (most people here don't properly care for their bikes - they leave 'em dirty and rusty). And since I'm the bike maintenance guy around here I thought I'd better work his over before taking to the road and risking a break down. Stay tuned on that as well.

So what started all this 'biking' stuff anyway? Actually it started early last month (see my post titled Food and Bikes) when I got the Manila grandkid's bikes down here to work over. Since then one thing led to another and I'm even thinking of building my own bike. Yup! You heard right! (Or actually 'read' it right). BUILD. But I'm a ways from that point now - just in the learning/research phase.

Back to the bike trip - I intend to capture it with camera and GPS so a future blog post will likely tell you more than you really wanted to know about it. This morning it's raining a bit here so maybe I need to get a raincoat - Oh Yeah! and a bike-trailer to carry everything I should take with. We're planning on a 8AM start.




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