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Friday
Dec292006

Will the real Dave Moulton please stand up

Have you ever done a Google search for Dave Moulton and noticed how many different people with that name come up?

There is a Dave Moulton, Sound Engineer who is a Grammy-nominated recording engineer, educator, musician and acoustician.

And Dave Moulton, Wine Maker who runs a winery out of an old schoolhouse south of San Francisco; between San Jose/Los Gatos and Santa Cruz.

Yet another Dave Moulton who is a radio sportscaster in Florida, and can be found lurking on this website. (Click on the “Line-up” tab.)

Dave Moulton is the name of a Jeep enthusiast who is responsible for innovative off-road modifications.

I’m not quite sure what this Dave Moulton does, but he is pictured here with Bill Clinton.

And this Dave Moulton it appears does nothing but has a webpage just in case he may do something in the future.

It is not surprising there are so many Dave Moultons; it is a pretty common English name. English names date way back in history and often describe what a person did for a living; Smith, Baker, and Miller are fairly obvious. Names like Fletcher, (He was the guy who stuck feathers on arrows.) and Cooper. (A person who makes wooden barrels.) are less obvious.

Other English names derive from the place where a person came from. There are at least five towns and villages in England named Moulton so it is no wonder the name is so common. Translated from the old English language it means simply: “A place where mules are kept.”

There are also towns in the US named Moulton, in Alabama, Iowa, and Texas.

In addition to Moultons with the first name Dave, there are many other variations. One that immediately springs to my mind, as he and I are always being confused with each other. He is Sir Alex Moulton, inventor of the small wheel bicycle. Some people do not know that he also invented the rubber suspension system for the original Mini Cooper cars. The suspension on the bicycle was a spin off from this. His contribution to British industry won him a Knighthood from the Queen.

There is Sarah Moulton, celebrity chef.

American Record Producer, Tom Moulton.

And a knife maker named Dusty Moulton.

I’m sure there are many more I have failed to list, but just one more I should mention: Dave Moulton, ex-bicycle framebuilder. If you are searching for this particular Dave Moulton, add the word "bicycle" to the name and you will weed me out from all the others.

Monday
Dec252006

A New Christmas Song


I truly live a double life. Here on my bike bike blog I am Dave Moulton, ex-bicycle framebuilder. In my life outside this blog I am E. David Moulton, writer and songwriter.

It was in this role last Monday I took my guitar to a Songwriters’ Night held every Monday at a local watering hole called The Sunfire Grill. My right hand was still bruised and pretty sore from my recent accident. I had to put some double-sided sticky tape on my guitar pick, just so I could hang on to it.

The reason I put myself through a certain amount of discomfort was because of a Christmas Song Contest being held that night. Having gone to the trouble of writing a new Christmas song, I was not about to pass up the one and only opportunity to be a part of this event.

Some 20 to 25 songwriters regularly attend the Songwriters’ Night; of that number, nine had written a New Christmas Song. This group is a pretty talented bunch and the standard of songwriting was high; I would not have wanted to be a judge that night.

I was delighted and surprized when my song got third place, because it is a little ‘tongue in cheek’ not too serious piece that I was just having fun with. The premise of my song deals with my dismay over all the political correctness controversy that now surrounds Christmas.

I sometimes feel we should scrap all the traditional religious holidays and replace it with one universal event that would offend no one. The song story scenario imagines Jesus getting together with Elvis to create such an event. The title is “The Jesus and Elvis Birthday Bash.” Here are the lyrics:

Jesus met Elvis in December
He said “I’ve a birthday coming soon.”
Elvis said, “I’ve got one two weeks later,
How about we combine the two.”

Jesus said to Elvis, “What a grand Idea,
I could turn some water into wine.”
Elvis said, “I’ll rustle up some corndogs, an’ a cake
Invite a few folks over, have a good time.”

CHORUS

We’ll call it Jesus and Elvis combined birthday bash
A brand new holiday to sweep the nation.
Jesus and Elvis combined birthday bash
It’s a universal celebration.
You don’t have to worry if you’re politically correct
Just reach out for your fellow man and somehow you’ll connect
And we’ll create a peace on Earth, one that’s gonna last,
With the Jesus and Elvis birthday bash

Jesus said, “We’ve got a lot in common, you an’ I
In our own right we are both the King.
Together maybe we’ll unite the people
Stop all this petty bickering

People are getting uptight over Christmas
In places they are banning Christmas trees.
But no one is offended by Elvis
It’s a brand new holiday that’s sure to please.”

CHORUS

We’ll call it Jesus and Elvis combined birthday bash
A brand new holiday to sweep the nation.
Jesus and Elvis combined birthday bash
It’s a universal celebration.
You don’t have to worry if you’re politically correct
Just reach out for your fellow man and somehow you’ll connect
And we’ll create a peace on Earth, one that’s gonna last,
With the Jesus and Elvis birthday bash


So with that I’ll wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and well wishes after my recent accident. My spirits are still high as you can see from my recent posts; this is largely due to you. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling deep inside to know that so many people care.

Sunday
Dec242006

Why is my Front Brake Lever on the Right?

I have been asked that question since I started posting pictures of my bike on this blog.

It came up again when I posted a picture of my now wrecked bike last Thursday.

Why is my front brake lever on the right?

The simple answer is that I have always had my brakes set up that way since I started riding back in the 1950s, and it is what I am used to.

From the 1930s through the 1950s the most popular side-pull brake was the Swiss made Weinmann 500; the caliper arms were opposite to most current side-pulls today. The front brake caliper arms were on the left, so with the brake lever on the right the cables crossed.

You can see this in the picture of me, circa 1953.

I did not put the front brake on the right just so the cables would cross, but rather followed the style of the day and did what people with far more experience were doing.

As I remember, it had a lot to do with the fact that both front and rear derailleurs were shifted using the right hand, leaving only the left hand to operate a brake.

The front derailleur was operated by a lever whereby you reached down between your legs with your right hand. Now dubbed, suicide shifters, although I don’t recall this ever being a problem.

The picture on the right is of a Huret front derailleur that was very popular in the 1950s.

[Picture from The Racing Bicycle.com]

Campagnolo did not come out with a brake set until 1971; when they did, it was opposite to the Weinmann and most other side-pulls of that era. It had the front brake caliper arms on the right.

Campagnolo quickly became the brake of choice among racing cyclists and enthusiasts world wide, and as a result, other side-pull manufactures copied the Campagnolo style.

An observation I have made is that many people who like me started riding in England in the 1950s have their front brake lever on the right. Others who started later in the 1970s have the front brake lever on the left.

There is also a theory that the English, front brake on right set up, can be traced all the way back to the Ordinary (Penny Farthing) bicycle that had a single spoon brake on the front wheel only, operated by the right hand.

Early "Safety" bicycles had the same front brake only set up, so when rear brakes were added later, people were already used to having the front brake on the right.

Old English roadster bikes with roller brakes had the front brake on the right. The explanation for this could be as simple as the rod operating the rear brake went down the left side of the frame to keep it clear of the chain and chainwheel on the right side.

Some could argue a right and a wrong way to set up brake levers, but I only speak for myself when I say I continue to set mine up the way I always have. Simple as that.

Thursday
Dec212006

Now the Toe-overlap is a Problem


I finally got my bike back from police custody yesterday, two weeks after my accident. The front fork is bent backwards, and the top and down tubes are buckled just behind the head lugs.

The woman driver of the SUV I hit went to court yesterday, charged with ‘failure to yield.’ Her defense was, she didn’t see me; she stated “I had no idea what had hit me.” I told my side of the story and the judge dismissed the case because it was just my word against hers, and he couldn’t convict beyond a reasonable doubt. There were witnesses but they only saw the impact they did didn’t see from which direction I came from.

There seemed to be some confusion as to whether I traveled straight down Savannah Hwy. (Which I did.) or if I had just turned onto Savannah Hwy, at a light some 150 feet from the point of impact. To me this is irrelevant because either way I was traveling south and had the right of way, and she pulled in front of me. The proof is the fact that I hit her.

To say “I didn’t see him” as a defense is like saying “I didn’t see him standing there when I fired the gun in that direction.”

The judge seemed to be full of the Christmas Spirit, dismissing almost every case that came before him where the defendant pleaded not guilty, and those who pleaded guilty had their fines halved.

Anyway we move on. I have put the case in the hands of cycling attorney Gary Brustin. Those of you who have not heard of Gary, he limits his practice to cycling accidents only. He is an avid cyclist himself, and owns a Fuso and a custom ‘dave moulton.’

My recovery is slow; after 17 days my right hand is still bruised and looks like this.


I have no strength in that hand and can barely hold a cup of coffee with it. I still have double vision, so I cannot drive a car. I spoke with my daughter who lives in England and is a nurse; she told me the inside of my head is probably just a badly bruised as my hand.

She is probably right, and my recovery is just going to take a little longer than I had originally hoped. I will be getting plenty of rest over the Holidays and will not be doing anything too strenuous.

Tuesday
Dec192006

I’ve Been Tagged

I have been tagged by MN Bicycle Commuter. This means I have to write five unknown facts about myself. This seems a pretty harmless exercise, and bloggers are always looking for ideas to write about; so here goes.

1. It was 1946 in England, WWII had been over a year; I was ten years old. King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth was coming through our town on his way somewhere else. In the days leading up to this event, we made paper flags at school

Whether real flags were not available, or the school was too cheap to buy us flags, I don’t know. But we each drew and colored a British flag on both sides of a piece of paper and then glued it to a stick.

The day finally came, and we all lined up at the roadside. We waited, and we waited, freezing our little asses off, for at least an hour. Finally, here came the motorcade, passing through at about 45 mph. We all started cheering and waiving our little paper flags.

Someone shouted “There he is” and pointed. I think I saw King George VI that day.

2. In 1967 I saw Jimi Hendrix play in Nottingham, England; at the time he was still relatively unknown in America. The show was in a fairly small venue, and was the loudest concert I have ever been to. He had Marshall speakers stacked floor to ceiling. I stood at the back of the room and the sound was pushing my chest in. I don’t believe it was by chance his band was called “The Jimi Hendrix Eperience.”

3. In the mid 1980s the owner of a bike store in Denver asked me if I would make an exception for a very special customer and personally measure him for a custom frame. The customer was the manager of the Denver Broncos football team. (I don’t recall his name.) The team was coming to San Diego to play the Chargers and after the game he would drive up to see me.

The outcome was, the Chargers beat the Broncos, and the team and the manager took an early flight home. (Obviously sore losers.) I never did get to measure him, or build him a frame. Had I done so I would probably remember his name.

4. I am married for the third and last time. I say that not only because I know I got it right this time, but because I believe a person should not be allowed to marry more than three times. If you can’t get it right after three times, you should have your license revoked, or something.

5. I am not a US citizen, but a green card carrying resident alien. I could apply for citizenship as I have lived here since 1979, but it is not one of the things that is high on my to do list. I have all the same rights as a citizen; they let me pay taxes, etc. The only things I can’t do, is vote, and do jury duty; two responsibilities I can live without.

So there it is, five pieces of little known and useless information about myself. Now, according to the rules of tagging, I have to tag five other people. Keep multiplying by five and I wonder how quickly every blogger on the planet will be tagged? I can only assume once you’ve been tagged, you are exempt from future tagging.

I tag:

Howard
Kent
Tim
Jason
Heather