Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Batribike Part 4

It occurred to me as I drove the two hour journey to Lincolnshire that I was driving roughly the same number of miles that I estimate I got out of the Batribike, 208.

Today I returned the Batribike for a full refund. Two or so weeks ago I had yet another problem, just as with the first bike the pedal spindle, crank, lower bracket, whatever you crazy kids are calling it now-a-days developed 'play' in it. This resulted in an irritating clicking while pedaling and will eventually result in the bearings burning out and the whole thing seizing up.

While I'm confident that Batribike would have been able to fix this for me I'm thinking long term, what happens if every two months I'm having to drive 208 miles to get this fixed?

I spent my childhood riding a bike, right up until I was 16. I always had mountain bikes because I has a 200+ paper route for 8 years and needed the bike to be able to haul 80lbs of news papers 7 days a week. I also needed a bike that I could ride in all terrains because I did a lot of off road biking too. Throughout the years I can remember going through at least 4 bikes, one of which I broke literally in two within a matter of hours. Needless to say I developed quite a bit of know how when it comes to bike repair. I've broken every thing that's breakable on a bike including having bent the frame on two separate occasions and often had to fix them on the go. I've genuinely never managed to break a spindle, nor have I ever heard of one breaking and I'm not even riding this bike anywhere near that hard, not even off-road. Batribike are puzzled as to how I've managed to do this twice, there's not really anything breakable down there, its just two bearings around a metal rod and it's rated for 130 kg (I only weigh 85) but alas...

So, as this is likely the last installment in this review simply due to the empty space in my front hall where the bike used to be, my final conclusion is this.

I still wholeheartedly recommend Batribike, I can account first hand for their performance (battery-wise) and the customer service I received was top notch in fact as far as service goes I can't praise them enough.

As far as the actual quality of the bike is concerned I'm going with this. These bikes are designed to be driven, not ridden. By this I mean, if you're looking for a bike to ride on a casual basis, such as while you're out camping or just a little gentle non-impact exercise then look no further than Batribike. I wouldn't suggest the Granite specifically due to it's shear size and weight but certainly any of the other lighter models. In my opinion this makes the mountain bike styling of the Granite a little redundant, I went for it because of the look, not really thinking of my back.
If you're looking for a commuter bike (like me), or a work horse then Batribike are probably not up to the job...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Balloon Representations of Objects Real or Fake.

I came home from school and was immediately met with a request. Jack loves balloons, he'll do anything to get one and he plays with them probably more than anything else. He's especially thrilled with the concept of tying a helium filled balloon to his hand he didn't know you could do that.

Anyway with the request came a little background. Jack had spent the day at a wacky warehouse where he'd received a balloon sword.
It's not a very good pirate sword.

One of my party tricks is balloon animals, I've done this for the kids quite a few times, so Helen reminded Jack of this and suggested that he ask me to make something a little bit better than a pirate sword. So I dug out my balloons and pump and readied for the challenge. 

"Ok what do you want me to make?"
I want green
"Ok, I have a green balloon here. What shall I make that's green?"
A lightsaber...

A few minutes later he was thrilled to notice that it doubled as a snake... Both my specialties in one.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Blog on the run.

Here I am. I've finally run out of pre-written stuff for this blog. With school work and Jack work I've just not found much time to keep my buffer. I think the regular Sunday 9am update is going to stop for at least a few weeks.

So as a temporary measure I'm resorting to mobile blogging, basically I'm going to try posting things in a more real-time-like fashion, from whatever means I have with me at the time. There are likely to be some teething problems for a while as I won't likely have my usual access to things like spell checkers and I'm kinda doing this all un-rehearsed.

While this will certainly affect the quantity of material posted it hopefully won't affect the quality too much.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device. Like you even care.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

On your Bike.

The Batribike is still up and running, so far so good I guess. I'm going out of my way to ride it at every opportunity, this is supposed to replace my car over the next 4 years while I'm living the life of a penny-less student. So far I think it's paying off. My monthly diesel bill is down a bit this month but with the incoming winter that's likely to be short lived.

Jack loves the Batribike, though he's pretty bummed that he can't have a ride on it by himself. Every now and again he asks me to help him sit on it. I hold him up while he stretches himself from the seat to the handle bars and pretends it's a motorcycle.

Jack has a bicycle of his own, while he likes to ride it he doesn't ever like to ride it very far. We've recently got a gator-bar that we can use to attach it to Helen's bike, he really likes it but were struggling to get a stable attachment. It's still a work in progress, I've made a couple of modifications for which I have high hopes but we haven't had a chance to test it out again yet. We do, however have a trail-a-tot chariot, basically a trailer for a bicycle. This was initially intended for the dogs but they really don't like it, so I've been using it for Jack instead.

The pedal assist makes towing him a lot easier than you might think. I think the sensors on the bike detect and compensate for the extra weight so aside from the hook-up, which is a bit of a process, it's not much trouble for us to go out for a ride. He really likes the chariot, he sits strapped in while we cruise around town. We take little rides down to the park and he screams as we go down the big hills and converses with me about whatever profound subject is on his mind at that moment. I think he likes it most because there are lots of pockets inside in which he can put whatever toy he happened to bring along. It's like his own little car. I think he also likes that everyone stares and points as we sail by in out little convoy. People seem to really get a kick out of the concept and Jack just likes people to be looking at him.

The winter so far has put the damper on any real bike rides, the constantly imminent rain is quite discouraging when you have a child that detests getting wet as much as Jack does. It's a shame that the bike wasn't sorted out earlier in the year. All the same I'm looking forward to next summer when Jack and I can ride more often.

Sunday, 10 October 2010



Jack and I play a lot of games together. Mostly it's things like hide-and-seek or chasing each other. Lately he's been favoring Bakugan and other battle type games.

Video games are a fairly regular activity. Generally he prefers to sit on my lap and watch as I play his game choices on the PSP. Sometimes he'll have a go himself, he struggles with the coordination required but he's getting better.

For the last couple of days he's been asking to play bowling on the Wii. He's no stranger to the Wii games, I think he likes them because he understands how to play them, he's tried them all but prefers bowling and boxing.

So today he asked me if we had time to play bowling before he went to bed. I agreed and we fired up the Wii. Forty minutes or so later we'd played through 4 frames and Jack was averaging 160. Now I know how to play the sport, I'm relatively well practiced and I only average about 180... I said I was practiced I didn't say I was very good. Out of the four frames played Jack beat me twice, all be it only by 5 pins or so each time but a win is a win. His highest score was 170, beating my 166. As I began to realize how well he was doing I flicked on my video camera on my phone and recorded a few of his shots.

I don't know how he does it, he just flails his arm about and the ball just gravitates to the pins.

Every father dreads the day when his son surpasses him in some capacity. We're forced to accept that one day our prodigies will clobber us, they grow bigger, stronger and older, and we just get older. For most fathers it's football or basketball. In my case it's more likely to be Mario Kart, Halo or Counter-strike and I fear that it may be sooner than I'd expected.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Oh he is ssssllloow

Jack is having a sick day. He's got an upset stomach so we decided to keep him out of school in case it's something viral. It's just as well really because I need to take him to the dentist this morning any way, provided his stomach settles.

So, since I have the day off school, we spent the morning watching cartoons in our pajamas.
After one show ended Jack started behaving strangely. His antics seemed to be taking a great deal longer than usual, there was also a strange echoing ch ch noise.

Something happened to my video encoder, and I'm too lazy to figure it out, but not to lazy to type this.

This came about as the result of the Duck Dodgers episode that we had watched earlier on.
If you've never seen the new Duck Dodgers cartoons I highly recommend them, some of the humor in it is truly inspired and yes, that really is Tom Jones singing the theme.It's is a modern remake on the Looney Toons character. In this episode Dodgers was given a cybernetic suit that make him super strong and all that, the only thing with it is that whenever he did anything that could be seen as 'dramatic' it was always in slow motion.