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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.


Baby it’s cold outside

Returning to the location where the tree fell across the road as I rode past last Thursday, I found that somebody had come across one of our Chain Reaction bottles by the side of the road and placed it on a stick. A bit odd, but I brought it back home to dispose of it (the cap had broken).

Not too much time to ride this morning; last Sunday prior to Christmas so the Redwood City store is open, limiting me to something short. And, of course, cold!

I thought I might miss the worst of it by waiting until the last minute (8:30am) before heading out the door, but if I did, wow, it must have been totally north pole-like earlier! I was seeing 29 degrees heading into and through Woodside, a nice warm-up to 33 heading up Old LaHonda, and between 32 & 30 degrees on Skyline from Old LaHonda all the way past Kings.

I did stop where the tree had crashed across the road near me on Thursday’s ride. Lots of evidence of flares and chainsaws, plus, oddly enough, the water bottle seen in the picture.

Cold but surprisingly comfortable. Heavy winter gloves sure (although 5-finger, not the “Lobster” style usually associated with extreme weather), winter tights, shoe covers, base layer and a Bontrager softshell jacket/jersey that really does a remarkable job keeping you warm without sweating much.

It was my first post-Peru ride where I felt almost normal. Still getting over a cold, but being off the Prednisone for a few days is a big help. Power output not quite back to normal, showing just over 200 watts weighted average, but that’s better than the 190 I struggled to accomplish on recent rides.