Category Archives: rants

Segways, why??

Recently a customer commented to me that he works downtown where he frequently has to dodge Segway tours that seem intent on running him over. He identified with sentiments I expressed in a letter to the Statesman a couple of years ago where I described the Segway device as brilliant technology serving little or no purpose. I should have known the Statesman would edit out my disclaimer regarding those with certain specific disabilities for whom it could possibly be a godsend. Such cases are probably uncommon because if you can’t walk you probably can’t stand for a long time and likely have balance problems, but is my understanding they do exist. So I received indignant e-mails accusing me of insensitivity towards disabled people. Well, nobody can edit this rant but me, so here we go….. My disdain for Segway tour members is strictly for those able-bodied individuals, and teenagers of most of all, who choose this mode of transportation over walking or bicycling. What in the hell can you see piloting a Segway that you can’t see walking? In this era of rampant obesity and type 2 diabetes — 10% heredity and 90% lifestyle induced — choosing not to walk when it is so obviously appropriate is downright pathetic.

Come on, warm up out there! (9:18 AM)

Despite still being in final recovery from a cursed winter cold and sore throat, I am anxiously waiting for warm weather later today to ride the new custom bicycle I just finished. It has a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub which is difficult to obtain in the US — marketed primarily in Europe and Great Britain. Shifts like a dream, and can be shifted while motionless! Joe Riley did some KICK ASS pin-striping work on it.

Get with it, Click & Clack!

I am not a great fan of these guys because I find it annoying how much they laugh at their own “jokes.” But, apart from that, as much as they are rolling in the $$$, why can’t they hire someone to check their facts? In a recent column they discussed a car with a broken timing belt. On many engines, if a timing belt breaks the pistons and valves crash because they are trying to occupy common space with things out of sync. This bends valves at great expense.

Click & Clack stated that bent valves can only be verified by teardown or by replacing the belt and seeing what happens. By merely removing the valve cover, we at Don’s Automotive have many, many times verified bent valves. It is easy to see if any valves are stuck down. This requires minimal time and NO purchase of parts. If this is what they mean by “taking it apart” they should have discussed this option.

Click & Clack stated that if valves are bent a new engine is required!! That’s news to us here at Don’s Automotive — and many other shops I am sure — who have removed the cylinder head from many a “crashed” engine, sent it to a good machine job to be repaired as needed, and reinstalled it with absolutely NO repercussions down the road.

Click & Clack alluded to a slim chance of extreme good fortune where the belt breaks with the camshaft in a position such that all the valves are half-way open. No such position exists! At any position of the camshaft(s) some valves are closed, some are open and some are in between.

If you enjoy hearing people laugh at their own jokes, listen to Car-Talk. If you want accurate information about matters automotive, look elsewhere.