devpi as a pip cache

Richard Jones introduced me to devpi as a pip cache, and its pretty cool. He’s written up a guide on his blog at http://mechanicalcat.net/richard/log/Python/devpi_quick_start. The basic idea is that it caches on demand, so you can have one of these for your home network and avoid downloading things over and over. Even better, it your machines share a linux ABI (think same Ubuntu release or whatever), then you can upload wheels and avoid all those repeated compiles.

Dirty wheel rims

It turns out that it basically doesn’t rain in California in the summer (or so I am assured by the people at work), so now that the weather is nice again I have been riding to work at lot more. I am suffering from a problem I hadn’t considered though, mainly because I normally only ride on paved surfaces.

About 10% of my work commute is across a car park with dirt roads, and they are producing a lot of dust. Apart from making the bike dirty (which isn’t so bad), the wheel rims are being coated in enough dust for there to be noticeable abrasion noises when I brake after the dirt road stretch of my ride.

This must be a common problem for mountain bikes, so, what should I do about it? I imagine that at worst it’s shortening the life of my rims marginally, but I’m not massively concerned as my current rims are cheap ones anyway. Apart from wiping the rims down each evening, is there anything else I can and should be doing?

Water, wheels, tyres (tires?) and computers

Random updates on cycling…

Water: apparently water is wet. Specifically, I hadn’t realised how wet fog was until I rode to work yesterday… Visibility was down to about 150 meters, and I ended up having to take my glasses off to ride so that I could see where I was going. When I got to work there was water beading on my eyelashes. Today it rained just before I rode to work (but not during the ride thankfully), which was more the water I am used to.

Wheels and tyres: which brings me onto wheels and tyres. I have basically bald tyres on the mountain bike. I suspect that the current tyres, which came with the bike, are very soft rubber. They only lasted about 1,500 km which I suspect is a bit low. I’m thinking that it’s time to get new tyres so I can actually stop in the wet, but I need some advice… Here’s what I need in tyres:

  • Good wet weather performance on hard surfaces like concrete
  • Ok performance on sand / very fine gravel (10% of my commute is on such a surface)
  • Not too knobbly, as I am riding mainly on those hard surfaces
  • Cheapish, around the $30 USD per tyre point?

Any recommendations people? I also suspect my front wheel is slightly out of true. Is that the sort of thing I should do before getting new tyres fitted?

Computers: finally, I think I want a computer which doesn’t need adjustment every time I put my front wheel on (once a day basically) so that it lines up properly. Backlight would also be ok. I can get a “wireless” computer with backlight from Amazon for about $30 USD… Is the wirelessness of it going to suck? I assume it means a lot more batteries to change.