IMG_0703.JPGThe Jones frameset arrived… and was as quickly as possible unpacked and assembled. Jenni came over to help, bring gifts from her recent trip to Portland to do a fitting and talk with Natalie Ramsland.

Noah was naturally underfoot as he loves helping, building, tools and pretty much anything of mine, so a shiny new bike is premo. Jenni rapidly included “hammer prevention” to her list of tasks, as Noah believes that the hammer is the tool of choice for virtually any situation. We tried to get him to only hammer the rubber tires, but a few spokes and frame bits got tapped. Fortunately he’s already learned not to hammer with all his strength when he’s not sure he’s allowed to be hammering at all… he comes by all this honestly as I grew up seeing the results of my hammering the dining room table (tiny little half moon divots in one corner) and sawing through the wicker arm of the living room chair. Apparently, I had tools that were more “real” than Noah’s plastic hammer, or little wood puzzle piece hammer. There are some things you can’t outrun.


The outcome of all this fun and assembly can be seen here, on top of my car. The picture is post facto as it was fairly dark when I set out. We had our own little “cranksgiving” festival as we said goodbye to Gerry, one of our favorite ride partners who’s headed south for a few months (to where he rides more miles than I do all year) while he participated in the Turkey Trot, a five mile race around the lake. We stood around talking, joking and generally goofing around, and still managed to mix 11 miles of riding in there. We even rode amongst the racers (race is relative term here), where we both realized some personal progress as riding up this one little steep behind walkers showed some strength and bike control. It wasn’t even hard… a few years ago I’m sure I couldn’t have done it at all.


As for the bike? It’s a great ride. Riding on the road it quietly minds its own business. The ride is refined and gentle. No doubt in part because of the Schwalbe Big Apples Jeff recommended for this purpose. Those are some serious balloon tires, but the frame supports the concept as well. The balance and geometry of the bike come alive when you have the slightest bit of “trail”. Hop a curb, absorb a pothole, do anything that asks anything of the frame it responds. It has that “cry of delight” that best bikes all seem to have. They all scream “Let’s go!” as you begin to ask something of them. I’ve never hopped curbs, swooped up and down little rises or ridden such a responsive bike in those circumstances. It’s effortless. I can’t wait to put some knobbies on and hit a real trail…


Jenni was on her road bike… and after negotiating the road apples left by the Clydsdales the mounted Sheriffs left behind (nothing like fresh, steaming, horse poop to remind one that the addition of cars to cities was driven by more than just advancing technology.) So we’re winding our way through the back of the race, and decide that this was one of our less ingenious ideas… and we bail through a back parking lot. The lots in this state park do not get a ton of care and so are very broken up. And while Jenni gingerly picked a line through the broken pavement I rolled with one hand on the bar, talking with her (all right, taunting would be more accurate) since the Jones, equipped as it with the fat tires, and Jeff’s build of the brakes with a combination of Nokon and stainless steel tube housing made for one finger/one hand control of the hill we were on.

Picture 1.png

But it was really before and after the ride that I learned the most about what this might be capable of… even in my hands. I parked in a lot that has a short rise just as you leave the north corner. I was impressed by how easily the bike climbed it on the way out, considering the tires are essentially slicks and the icy morning dew, but on the way back I let the bike have the drop and it was smooth and controlled and in that effortless manner it displays. Sure, I rode a rigid mountain bike for a long, long time. On the road and off. So there is a certain amount of “home coming” riding this bike. But there is a controlled, facile, manner that was exactly missing from the dually I built 2 years ago. It’s early days, and I have lot of learning to do, but I’m impressed with Jeff’s design, and am looking forward to it becoming an old friend. Jenni asked me what the “point” of this bike is for me. My answer is “adventure bike”. The adventure has begun.


In this picture we are already frozen, as we waited to take a picture of Gerry running by… the wind was blowing, there was no sun. Bah. Thus, my lame attempt at a smile.

How to Use DataMapper From Rails, Including Migrations and Tests

How to Use DataMapper From Rails, Including Migrations and Tests:

I was bored this evening and wanted to do something at least semi interesting. I settled on integrating DataMapper with Rails. Seemed like a nice enough thing to do. Searching for datamapper on rails on Google gave me a link to DataMapper 0.9 avec Rails (Google translation). Nicolas’ article was very interesting, but it’s focus is just on the basics. I decided to tackle migrations and testing.

Source: A Single Programmer’s Blog

Fat tire festival in the family room

ck_hubs.jpg This morning became a fat tire festival as I put the Schwalbe Big Apples on the Gordo rims (that’s a 2.35 tire on a 35mm rim… yow!) It feels almost like snow bike territory.

I’ve been looking forward to trying out these low pressure boys for a while, and it looks like maybe by the weekend I’ll be able to make that happen.

On another set set of wheels (with smaller Mavic rims) went the Ritchey ExcaVaders… a nice 35c tire with, in my experience, a fairly aggressive tread (from a road riding perspective). I don’t expect to run these on the road, I have smoother rolling tires to do that with, but I’m thinking it going to be muddy and wet and that the trails might be fun with these again, so I’m breaking them out. We’ll see.

There’s an awful lot of conversation about tires width and design, rim width and design, but I’ve decided to go wide this year. I’m evan changing the width of the road rims I’ll be riding in the spring to a 23mm rim. I’m feeling like the shorter sidewall, flatter contact patch is working for me. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been using tires as pneumatic suspension on my commuting bike, and I’ve grown fond of it. But it’s a different kind of riding. I’m curious to see what fat and tall Big Apples are like in more aggressive road riding. Will they feel slow? Will they take two blocks to crank up to speed but once there float and flow? Dunno. Yet. I’ll be trying them on a couple of bikes including the premier of the weapon of choice::winter division.

I feel like the weather is going to turn this week… and the road bike will go away for the winter, and the disc brakes and fat tires will rule until spring. Winter is not far away…ritchey_excavaderson_ck_hubs.jpg

Practical Improvements

Practical Improvements: The result? A non-leaking, non-dribbling, non-spilling way to drink that Susan can easily find even in the dark. She doesn’t have to lift a bottle or cup, and can just let the bite valve fall out of her mouth when she’s done.

I believe this may be the best use of Camelbak technology, ever. I’m surprised that they don’t have setups like these in hospitals; they’re much easier for a sick patient to get to than a traditional cup.

[Many years ago (way more than 5, which puts its in the misty, hazy, time before my reckoning) my mother had shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff due to a fall. The confluence of “her side of the bed” and the shoulder surgery made it extremely painful to pick up a glass to have something to drink. So I grabbed my Camelbak, hung it over the post of her bed, and left the tube on the other side where she could reach it pain free. Not only is it easier to handle, but you can adjust the height easily. While Eldon was ingenious, he was not breaking new ground, as I doubt I was, even back then.]
Source: Fat Cyclist

Stirling engine car

Stirling engine car: Installed in the car’s trunk compartment is a Stirling engine invented at DEKA, Kamen’s technology company in the Manchester Millyard. It powers the features that would normally drain huge power from the battery, notably the defroster and heater.

That leaves the battery primarily for propulsion. “You’re running a pure electric, which is enormously cheaper to operate and enormously more environmentally friendly,” Kamen explained. [I’ve always enjoyed the small Stirling engine models you buy for your desk… and always wondered why something seemingly so useful, has always been labeled as not useful. Maybe not…]
Source: MAKE Magazine

Merb 1.0 Released So Here’s 44 Links and Resources To Get You Going

Merb 1.0 Released So Here’s 44 Links and Resources To Get You Going:

merb.pngMerb – a much heralded, highly flexible Ruby-based Web application framework – has reached version 1.0 after two years of development. Congratulations to Merb’s creator, Ezra Zygmuntowicz, and to the large group of associated developers (such as Yehuda Katz and Matt Aimonetti) who’ve kept adding features and pushed Merb forward to be a significant alternative to Rails.

Ruby Inside has been some surveys for the past couple of months, and they still show that only 25% of Ruby Inside’s visitors have ever developed a Merb application. With the stability that the 1.0 release offers (older versions of Merb had a reputation – fair or not – for a constantly shifting API), it’s now a great time to give Merb a try. It’s also a great time to get into writing tutorials and documentation!

Quick Start

Install Merb from Rubyforge: gem install merb

If you’d rather go from Merb’s “edge” repository: gem install merb –source

NOTE: Make sure that you are running RubyGems 1.3.0 or higher (run gem -v to check). If not, you need to upgrade (I found this page very useful for doing that.

Then follow a tutorial such as Life On The Edge with Merb, DataMapper & RSpec, Slapp: A Simple Chat Wall Merb Tutorial or Move Over Rails. Here Comes Merb.

Once you’re ready to roll, bookmark this page for safe keeping and read on for our Merb resources! We’ve divided them up into sections to make it easier. Some will also be left in the comments by other readers!

Merb News and Community Sites


Merbunity – A community news site that focuses entirely on Merb. So far it’s not been updated particularly often, but this is likely to change, and what they do have is great.

Merbivore – The official Merb homepage. It provides links to all of the major things you’d need – docs, a wiki, downloads, and information on how to help the Merb project.


Merb Overheard – A “planet” / aggregation blog for Merb related content. It also features some of the latest Merb related Twitter messages. A good looking site and well worth following if you want to stay up to date on Merb news.

Planet Merb – A “planet” site for Merb-related blogs. Currently only has the blogs of several Merb developers and the official Merb blog, but it’s bound to grow over time.

The Merbist – A Ruby Inside-esque blog for the Merb world. It’s run by Matt Aimonetti, a Merb core team member. Well worth subscribing to if you want a look at high level news related to Merb.

Merb Google Group – A Google Groups hosted mailing list for Merb developers. It has over 800 members and is pretty busy!

#merb on – Not a Web link, but an IRC channel. If you want to chat live about Merb but aren’t familiar with IRC, learn more here.

Ezra Zygmuntowicz’s – The personal blog of Merb creator, Ezra Zugmuntowicz. A lot of it is Merb related in some way or another.

Katz Got Your Tongue? – The personal blog of Yehuda Katz, a key Merb developer and evangelist. A lot of Merb related posts.

Merb Tutorials and Documentation

Note that some tutorials may be slightly out of date or use features that have changed in Merb 1.0. Use these tutorials as a guide, not as canon (for that, you’ll want a book, see next section).

The Merb Book: Life On The Edge With Merb, Datamapper & RSpec – An online book started by the guys of London development team, New Bamboo, but now contributed to by many Merb developers. It’s very indepth and changing over time. There’s definitely no lack of detail here.

Merborial: Getting Started with Merb and DataMapper – A simple and straightforward tutorial by Chris Kaukis.

Move Over Rails. Here Comes Merb. – A tutorial by Mark Watson that demonstrates how to create a “planet” type Ruby blog aggregator using Merb. Very complete – doesn’t include Ruby Inside though? Heresy!

Relax with Merb and CouchDB – A very clean and to the point guide by Paul Carey on developing a Merb application that uses CouchDB for the DB backend (using RelaxDB).

7 Merb Questions Answered – Justin Pease answers some Merb related questions. How to access environment variables, partial rendering, how to use HAML, how to start in production mode, how to log data, and how to get the current URL in a view.

Slapp: A Simple Chat Wall Merb Tutorial – SocialFace presents a great tutorial on how to use Merb to develop a basic “chat wall” application. If you’d rather just look at the resulting code, check out the Slapp Git repository.

Merb + Shoes = Interesting Web / GUI App Crossovers – Gregory Brown and Brad Ediger wrote a six page tutorial on how to develop a cross-platform GUI app using Shoes and Merb on the backend.

Multi Environment Merb+DM Deployment with Vlad+Git – Corey Donohoe (a.k.a. atmos) demonstrates how to use Vlad and Git to deploy your Merb apps.

MerbCamp Videos – Videos of all of the main sessions from MerbCamp. Lots of awesome stuff to watch here on how to write Merb plugins, how to deploy a Merb app, Merb primers, DataMapper tutorial sessions, how to migrate from Rails to Merb, and more!

MerbAuth – The Basics – An excellent overview of the MerbAuth authentication framework and how to use it to perform authentication in your Merb app.

Merb Books


Merb in Action – A general Merb book being written by Michael Ivey, Yehuda Katz, and Ezra Zygmuntowicz. It’s not due out in print till May 2009, but so far three chapters are available in PDF form via an “Early Access Edition” right now. With the soldier on the cover, I guarantee this will end up being called the “MIA” or “Soldier” book :)

The Merb Way – Following in the mold of the awesome The Ruby Way and The Rails Way books will come The Merb Way by Foy Savas. Publishing date is still uncertain, but likely to be next year. Given the history of Addison Wesley’s * Way series, I expect this will be a gigantic reference book spilling out all of the guts of Merb for us to see and enjoy.

Beginning Merb – Apress continue their Beginning * series with a Merb entry. Due out in February 2009, it’ll be about 500 pages in length.

Merb Sample Apps

Feather – An “uber lightweight” Merb blogging engine / system. A blog is always a great app to take inspiration from :)

Panda: Open source video platform – An open source video transcoding and streaming platform built mostly around a Merb app.

PmpknPi – A RESTful Blog API written in Merb.

Slapp – A “chat wall” Web app.

Merb-OpenID-Example – An example OpenID consumer application written in Merb using merb-auth’s OpenID functionality.

merb_mart – An open source e-commerce engine built on Merb.

merb-dm-couchdb-sample – A quick sample application showing how to use CouchDB with a Merb / DataMapper app.

Merb Events


MerbCamp – MerbCamp was the first official gathering for the Merb community, but it’s likely to happen again next year, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it. Also be sure to watch the videos of the MerbCamp presentations.

Merb Outpost – A London based “outpost” of MerbCamp where 29 Merbists watched MerbCamp on a live webfeed. I’d be surprised if they didn’t try to revive this for the next MerbCamp. If you’re in London and want to be in contact with other local Merbists, however, get on there and check them out.

Merb Miscellaneous

FiveRuns TuneUp for Merb – FiveRuns is a leading provider of monitoring and development products for Ruby on Rails and other popular open source and commercial systems. They’ve got a version of their performance tuning and debugging tool, TuneUp, available for Merb developers.

Google Tech Talk: Merb, Rubinius and the Engine Yard Stack – Ezra Zygmuntowicz gave a tech talk to Googlers on Merb and Rubinius. This is very new and well worth watching for its full 47 minutes.

A Quick Jaunt Through Merb’s Framework Code – Ezra Zygmuntowicz presents a tutorial for those who want to see how a request travels through the Merb framework in its quest to get a proper response. Some nice indepth stuff here.

Merbcamp – notes from the edge – Some excellent notes taken based on what happened at Merbcamp.

Authlogic – A framework agnostic authentication system that works well with Merb. Get awesome authentication on your Merb app – fast.

Merb on RubyForge – All of the Merb libraries and gems directly from RubyForge.

Merb on Github – All of the Merb libraries collectively within a Git repository on Github.

DataMapper – While Merb forces no specific ORM on you, DataMapper has become the de facto standard when developing Merb applications. Learn more about it here.

Merb TextMate bundle – A Merb bundle for TextMate by Dr Nic Williams.

Merb_global – Localization and internationalization support for Merb. Experimental.

merb_cucumber – A library offering Cucumber (a BDD testing tool) integration with Merb.

21 Merb Links, Tutorials and Other Resources – A set of Merb resources on Ruby Inside from February! Might still be some stuff worth checking out in there. It’s a real bran tub of Merb delights.

Why Engine Yard, Rubinius and Merb Matter – Antonio Cangiano looks at some of the motivation behind Engine Yard’s progress on Merb and Rubinius.

Got any more Merb resources? Please leave a comment!

[This was too good not to repeat…]
Source: Ruby Inside

It can be geared, or single speed…

jones_ebb.jpg BTW, All these pictures are from the designer/builder, who is taking the time to bring the frame into the light, snap a few pictures, and email to them me… which I greatly appreciate. Thanks Jeff! So much frame, so little patience left at this point! Below, a bit of the fork, and a bit of the carbon fiber steerer tube…bit_of_truss_cf_steerer.jpg