Where Eagles dare to fly!

It’s pretty darned near impossible to get the timing right with these “atmospheric rivers” that have been invading us these past couple of months; the best you can do is to prepare to get really wet and, who knows, you just might not get wet at all!

Today was supposed to be one of those “really wet” days but the scheduled deluge we’d been watching for a couple days began to fall apart as our Sunday morning ride approached.

It was supposed to be heaviest from 7-9am, and then again several hours later. Kevin and I left the house with a very light drizzle about 10:30am, which turned into a very light rain heading up Old LaHonda. We didn’t put on our light rain jackets until exiting West Old LaHonda onto 84, and ended up removing them in LaHonda.

The plan… well, we were pretty flexible today, willing to modify the ride as conditions merited. Things were beginning to look kinda bleak out towards the coast so instead of Peascadero we headed up West Alpine, at a decidedly leisurely pace. It was pretty nice, for once, not killing ourselves on that climb, and having the time to look around and admire the carnage of fallen trees.

The unexpected came on the higher part of the climb, when we came around a corner and a Golden Eagle swooped in and landed on the ground, just 10 feet from us. This was one of those times I wished I had something better than a video camera set to relatively-low resolution with me! He hung out on the ground for 10 or 15 seconds after we came to a stop, before casually flying off. Pretty amazing.

Shortly after that we noticed someone coming up behind us, and funny thing about that, we suddenly started riding faster. Fast enough that the poor guy, who must have been closing the gap pretty rapidly before that, couldn’t catch up. Truthfully, since we’d been taking it so easy, we had a lot of reserves; otherwise, the guy probably would have passed up pretty easily.

We thought about heading north on Skyline, but visibility looked really bad (we were quite literally in the clouds) and getting hit by some pretty heavy winds. Time to head back down, Page Mill in this case. Nice to have really awesome brakes on our rain bikes! One more plug for disc brakes in the wet. Just can’t be beat.

We headed back via Sand Hill, stopping by Sharon Park Shopping Center to check out the relocated Woodside Bakery which, we found out, is closed Sundays!!! So back on the bikes, winding our way through Woodside and discovering that we weren’t quite going to get to the 50 mile mark, and 48 miles doesn’t seem anywhere near as legit as 50. That’s why you’ll see a rather convoluted path on our way home, instead of heading straight over Jefferson. Even then we looked like we might come up .1 mile short, so we did a zig-zag near home and voila, 50.2 miles. Nice ride.

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Lucas Electric- the Prince of Darkness

Growing up (yikes, did I really say that? Makes me sound so OLD!!!) I spent some time on motorcycles. Reliable, boring, Hondas. I had friends with classic British motorcycles; you had to avoid using their parking spaces because the oil leaking from their gaskets softened the asphalt causing your kickstand to sink into the ground, so your motorcycle would fall to the ground. The worst of them had lighting systems that didn’t come close to what a modern tiny bicycle light, like the Bontrager Ion 700, can provide. These motorcycles typically had electrical systems by Lucas, a company so notorious for lack of reliability that the phrase “Lucas Electric- Prince of Darkness” became popular.

I don’t recall what I was searching for but somehow, on the ‘net, came a link to this piece about Lucas Electric. You have to be a bit of a mechanical or electrical geek to fully appreciate it.

Positive ground depends on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as “smoke”.
Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing.
For example, if one places a copper bar across the terminals of a battery, prodigious quantities of smoke are liberated and the battery shortly ceases to function. In addition, if one observes smoke escaping from an electrical component such as a Lucas voltage regulator, it will also be observed that the component no longer functions. The logic is elementary and inescapable!

The function of the wiring harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another. When the wiring springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterward.

Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British motorcycles for some time largely because they consumed large quantities of smoke, requiring very unsightly large wires.

It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brake systems leak fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national defense secrets. Therefore, it follows that British electrical systems must leak smoke. Once again, the logic is clear and inescapable. In conclusion, the basic concept of transmission of electrical energy in the form of smoke provides a logical explanation of the mysteries of electrical components especially British units manufactured by Joseph Lucas, Ltd.

And remember: “A gentleman does not motor about after dark!”

Joseph Lucas: The Prince of Darkness”  1842-1903

A few Lucas quips:
The Lucas motto: “Get home before dark”
Lucas is the patent holder for the short circuit.
Lucas – Inventor of the first intermittent wiper.
Lucas – Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.
The three-position Lucas switch–DIM, FLICKER and OFF. The other three switch settings–SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.
The Original Anti-Theft Device – Lucas Electrics.
If Lucas made guns, wars would not start
Q: Why do the British drink warm beer?
A: Because Lucas makes their refrigerators.


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