Bass on Bass

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


          Who in the world would choose to have to pour fuel into a piece of yard equipment or repeatedly pull-start it's gas engine at -2 degrees C or colder if they had a workable alternative? For most homeowners, what's the alternative for moving snow with power equipment in the sometimes frozen, snow covered northern half of the good old USA?  Electric power is now the answer. 
        More than ever before, electric snow throwers in various sizes and designs have come onto the market in recent years from makers  of gas powered yard equipment and of assorted electric homeowner tools .

           Sadly, electric snow-throwers in the small manageable 14"- 20" swath range are currently limited to CORDED electric design. This is the size range most of us homeowners need. They're  big enough to quickly clear the snow from our walks and driveways and give us real direction of throw control, yet are small enough to handle with relative ease. 
         Hopefully, makers will soon realize that user removable BATTERY electric design is the 21st century way to go for all power yard equipment in this size range. Many of those same makers have already  released various cordless electric rotary lawn mowers in the size range (14" to 21") most of us need.
        Let's get back to what we have to choose from right now to move snow . 
        What factors make real differences in usability?  
         1) First on my list today is the bane of this type of electric power equipment, the ubiquitous extension cord. Unless the space you have to clear is seriously atypical,  the cord WILL often present you with more work than the moving of the snow! In the cold of winter, it will stiffen up. It will get in the way of the path you need to take to accommodate the wind, the space you're clearing and where you can throw the snow. 
           So what can you do about that? You can pick a snow-thrower that operates on 13 amps or less. Any higher current demand requires a 12 gauge power cord to safely operate at the 100' length most of us will need . Trust me, you don't want to have to deal with constant need to swing that much stiff, heavy cord out of your way every few seconds. At 100' long a 12 gauge cord won't fit on any power cord reel I'm aware of and weighs about as much as the Toro 1800 18" model snow-thrower I bought last year. I love the Toro's  snow moving capacity but HATE the 12 gauge cord it's 15 amp draw requires.

         2) Second on my list is the way the machine ejects the snow. Two options are available. One is a simple set of parallel vanes that tilts as a group to the left or right in a very limited range. The other, as in the machines shown above, is an actual chute that can rotate the entire output to the left or right close to 180 degrees topped with an  output vertical control that can be tilted up or down. Who wouldn't want the vastly better control over where the snow gets thrown that the chute affords? I hate to think of how many times a shift in the wind caused the wide spray of my old, chuteless Toro Powershovel to turn me into a walking snowman.

        Most of the rest of the variations in details are merely a matter of personal preference and value judgement as is immediate  availability of each. 
         Now, get ready to go out there and move some serious snow!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Old Cyclist's Fantasy?

An old cyclist's dream: take a 10 day to 2 week bicycle camping trip across Illinois and Iowa to Omaha. I expect I might get a few stares etc, a 64-65 year  old grey- beard from La Grange Park Illinois riding up to the Olympia Cycle store at 40th and Hamilton in Omaha or anywhere along the way for that matter, with one of these  trailers in-tow. 
      The seed of this rapidly growing idea came from clicking on an ad for these trailers on the right side of my facebook page.  

Following the link to another YouTube video I found this set of ideas on how to make it an exercise in frugality. This guy has what seem to be some really great tips on how not to spend a ton of money on sustenance for bicycle camping trips.

       I wonder just how possible this might actually be. Is it merely a fantasy of an aging would be cycle camper or a goal that's really possible for me to achieve?