The Progress Continues (Phase 2 begins)

Now that we’re finished painting, and in preparation for our book drive this Saturday (12/3 from 10 am to 1 pm), we moved on to phase two of the operation: taking books out of boxes and organizing them into groups by subject (philosophy, environment, etc…) or genre (fiction, how-to/instructional).

Two hours and 500-600 books later, we called it an evening. We’re getting there….

Buying Guide for Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets

The usual mountain bike helmets are open faced cap type helmets that offer protection for the top of the head. These helmets are great for leisure cycling and cross country mountain biking because they are lightweight and they give riders better ventilation. But for those who need more protection, full face mountain bike helmets are the way to go.

Some types of cycling are inherently more prone to serious accidents. For example, down hill, dirt jumping and speed cycling requires aggressive maneuvers that may put riders at greater risk for injuries. For these activities, the better protection that only a full face helmet can provide is preferred.

How do you evaluate full face mountain bike helmets? Here are some pointers.

The point of a full face helmet is getting the best kind of protection there is. There are several types of safety certification for helmets. Here are some of them:

    1. CPSC certification standard. CPSC stands for Consumer Products Safety Certification. This is the basic requirement for all helmets. Certified helmets will have a CPSC sticker inside it.
    2. ASTM F 1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Helmet Standard
    3. ASTM F 2032 BMX Helmet Standard
    4. DOT
    5. Snell

A well fitted helmet will offer more protection than one that fits poorly. Be sure to get a helmet size that’s appropriate for the size of your head. Some helmets have an adjustable fit system which basically allows you to adjust the fit of the helmet by rotating a dial. This is a great feature to make sure your helmet hugs your head properly.

– Buckles and Straps.

Check the straps and the buckle of your helmet and make sure they are well made. You want straps that are easy to adjust and fastens securely. You simply don’t want your helmet to fall loose during critical moments.

Many riders prefer lightweight helmets simply because they are more comfortable.

Aside from choosing a design based on the graphics and colors that you want, you may also want to consider useful design features such as:

    1. a fair number of vents to keep your head cool
    2. an adjustable visor to shield your eyes from the glare of the sun or against stray branches
    3. a good sized eye port that allows you to use your goggles with your helmet
    4. an absorbent liner that can wick sweat away from your face
    5. a liner that can be detached and washed

To further ensure your safety, always inspect your mountain bike before you take it out for a spin. Make this a regular habit to avoid serious injuries.

Easy Upgrade: Reupholster an Office Chair

Your office chair will get old and will become uncomfortable, that is an absolute fact. In addition to that, you may buy a chair that is not perfect for and you tell yourself after a while that you need to buy a new one to meet your needs. But instead of buying a new chair which seems too expensive, you can upgrade your office chair by adding or renewing some features so you can save your money and have a brand new chair again. It is so easy and here are some ideas you can do:

-Lumbar support:
I guess that is the biggest problem. If your back support is bad you will have back pain and discomfort during work especially if you are working sitting in your chair for a long time. The ideal position for the lower spine is when it is arched as our spine normally is not in the straight position. The solution of this problem is the Mackenzie super-role. It is a fascinating tool made only for back support. You put it behind your back and it will get your spine in the right position and distributes pressure in a healthy way. You can also place a pillow and it will work just fine.

-Replacing the old casters with new ones:
The old casters make sliding of the chair on the floor quite difficult in addition to getting the floor scratchy. Changing them with new ones is so easy. The old ones are mostly removed using your hands or sometimes you will just need a screwdriver and the new ones are back onto the chair the same way you removed the old ones. The new casters will make the movement with the chair easier so now you can just slide with your chair within the office smoothly.

-Repair the armrests:
after a while, the armrests get damaged. The padding gets old and torn and it makes the whole chair looks ugly. If the armrest is broken, you can replace it. But if it is only the padding, you can change that with a new fabric.
It is so easy; you will use your screwdriver to get the armrest out of the chair. Remove the old fabric and if it stabilized, use your screwdriver and pillars to remove the stables out. Then cover the armrest with the new fabric, stable it with the stable gun and make sure there are no wrinkles. Finally put your armrest back into the chair the same way you took it off.

Footrest:
Sometimes when you adjust the height of the chair so your elbows are level with your desk, your foot become elevated from the floor. That puts a lot of pressure on your legs and hips and to avoid that you can create a footrest. It can be a pillow or anything simple and it will take a lot of pressure off your body.

-Add more Cushions:
With time, the padding of the cushions get older and then the whole chair becomes uncomfortable. Changing the padding and the covering fabric is easy. Unscrew the screws and detach the seat cushion from the back cushion. Remove the old fabric using pillars. Place the cushion on foam and start marking around it then cut the marked part. Place the foam on the cushion then cover it with the new fabric. Wrap the whole cushion with fabric then stabilize it with the stable gun and make sure there are no wrinkles during stabilization of the fabric. Finally get back the seat cushion and the back cushion together into the chair.

Now with those simple methods, you can easily upgrade your chair both cosmetically and functionally.

CPCL FAQ

As word begins to spread about the library, folks have been e-mailing me with questions about how we plan to operate. So, in the interest of providing some general info about the library, here are some responses to “frequently asked questions.”  If you have additional questions that aren’t addressed here, just drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer them.

What is the College Park Community Library?
The College Park Community Library (CPCL)—an all volunteer effort—is a lending library offering books and computer access to the public.

What is a community library?
A community library is just like any other  library except that it is:
* Staffed by volunteers
* Does not receive regular funding from state or county government.

Where is the library located? 
The library can be found in the basement of College Park’s Church of the Nazarene, which is located at 9704 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740-1599.

Is the library affiliated with the church?
No. The library is a separate entity. It is located within the Church of the Nazareen because the church was very supportive of what we wanted to do and was nice enought to give us  the spaceto do it.

When will the library be open?
Our goal is to have the library open for business by the close of January 2012. Our ability to attain that goal depends on how many volunteers we have and how many hours those volunteers are willing to devote to the library.

As for the library’s hours of operation, ideally, the library will be open afternoons and evenings, five to six days a week. To keep tabs on our progress, stay tuned to this website.

Does College Park need its own library?
That’s a good question and the answer is: it depends. If you like books and like to be around other people who like books, then another library certainly can’t hurt—especially if it brings people together and gets “neighbors” talking.

We know: there are three public libraries—Beltsville, Hyattsville, and Greenbelt—within driving distance of College Park. This is great and we should consider ourselves lucky to have these resources at our disposal. But for those folks who don’t have a car (or don’t want to have to get in their car to get something to read), a library that folks can bike or walk to—even a small one like ours—is an asset to the community.

What resources will the library offer?
Initially, the library will offer books on a variety of subjects for readers of all ages. It also will offer Internet-ready computers available for public use. As time goes on and we get a better handle on what users want and what we can (realistically) provide, we may add other materials, such as periodicals, CDs, and DVDs. Beyond media and its many formats, it is our hope that the library will become a space for discussions and study groups, workhops, readings, tutoring, and so on. In short, we want a place where members of the community can meet and exchange ideas.

Who can use the library?
Everyone. Our library will be open to all.

Who will be allowed to borrow books?
Although the policies governing the borrowing of books  have yet to be decided, it is likely that those who want to borrow books will have to register with CPCL (proof of address will be required) and pay a small member fee ($5–10), which will help us pay for material that is damaged, lost, or “walks” away.

NOTE: We want to hear from CP residents on this topic. Would be willing to pay an annual membership fee of $10? Is that too high? Too low? Send us your thoughts!

Are you still accepting donations?
Yes! If you have gently used books to donate to us (all genres accepted at this time), then contact us to arrange a drop off or pick-up.

How can I get Involved?
Want to lend a hand? Great! We have a tremendous need for volunteers.

In the short-term, we need volunteers to help us catalog our inventory, organize the books, setup our computer network, and formulate the policies that will goven library operations.

In the long-term, we’ll need volunteers to help us run and maintain the library (i.e., checking books in and out in accordance with CPCL policies, returning books to their  correct place on the shelves, answering visitor’s questions, and so on).

Get  in touch! Contact the CPCL at 301-910-2433.

This is what I want to see….

Since I started this library project, more than a few people have asked me about my motivations or, to put it bluntly, why I’m doing this. It’s a good question, and not just because the digital age is threatening to make the physical book a thing of the past.

The other day, when the intersection of Rt. 1 and Cherry Hill was closed and I found myself trapped in the car for more than an hour on the way home from work, I heard a story on NPR about the writer Ann Patchett, who is opening a bookstore in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.  As expected, one of the first questions asked of her was, “Why are you opening an independent bookstore similar stores across the country are going out of business.”

Among her answers were, “This is what I want to see in Nashville, and if I want to live in a city with a bookstore, then I’m willing to pay for it.”

I completely understand where she’s coming from, for, in the end, I have a similar reason for launching the library. When you get right down to it, I want to live in a town with a library–a place people can go to be around books and to be around other people who value books.

If you feel the same way, I invite you to join us in our efforts to bring the library to life.

When It is Safe To Pull Your Baby In a Bike Trailer or Bike Seat

You may want to ask when your little baby is ready to ride in a bike trailer or sitting at the real bike seat ? Is she ready when she is able to sit up steadily or she has to wait until she is able to walk ? Read through the following article for some opinion from the experts.

Your baby — wearing a helmet — can ride in a bike trailer (those little carts with wheels that you pull behind your bicycle) starting when she’s at least 12 months old. “Before you put your baby in a bike trailer, she must be able to sit up steadily, and she needs to have a helmet that fits properly,” says Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician in Encino, California, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The League of American Bicyclists warns that a rear-mounted bicycle seat (the kind that attaches to your bicycle right behind your seat) make the bike less stable. When you get off the bicycle, the weight of the carrier and your child can cause the bike — and your baby — to topple over.

Bike trailers may be more expensive than rear-mounted bike seats, but they’re safer. They can also be used to carry groceries and other cargo when your child is not with you, and they have a higher resale value, according to the League of American Bicyclists. You can safely load your baby into a trailer by yourself, but to put her in a bike seat safely takes two people (one holding the bike, the other holding the child).

When you purchase a trailer, the League recommends that you look for one that has a ball and socket joint where the bike and trailer meet — this prevents the trailer from tipping over if the bike does. The trailer should also have three- or five-point harness seatbelts. Before every ride make sure to strap your child in securely.

When you choose a helmet for your child, look for a label that says it meets Snell, ANSI, or CPSC safety requirements. The League of American Bicyclists also suggests that you bring your child into a specialty bike shop where a salesperson can help you find a helmet that fits properly. The helmet should fit snugly, meaning it shouldn’t rock back and forth or side to side. The straps should be adjustable so that you can tighten them under your baby’s chin (never leave the helmet straps open or loose). If you can twist or pull the helmet in any direction and it comes off your baby’s head or the buckle loosens, then the helmet won’t be effective protection in an accident.

Your child might be less likely to resist wearing a helmet if you let her choose a color that she likes. Make sure she knows that your policy is “no helmet, no bike ride” — and prove the rule by following it yourself. Wearing helmets can protect you and your baby from serious injuries.

Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and donated some books to our Book drive last Saturday! Because of your generosity we now have an even wider array of books to share with our (future) patrons!

So just what will we have on our shelves?

Fiction (from classics to more contemporary fare, our fiction section will cater to readers from young adults to seniors.)
Literary Criticism (and other assorted books on books)
Essays
Cookbooks
Economics
History
Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy
Science
Environment/Ecology
Sports
How-to/Instructional (from carpentry to writing and more!)
Humor
And more!

The Ease of Zero Turn Mowers

They have revolutionized the way people mow lawns. With technology once only reserved for industrial use, they’ve enabled the homeowner with the ease and convenience of being able to turn their lawn mowers in a complete 360’ circle. The ability to turn the wheels with ease allows for greater flexibility. The mower can easily maneuver the machine in a number of different directions with speed. This means that you can get closer to edges and have greater flexibility when it comes to mowing around large objects or other obstacles that otherwise might prove difficult.

When choosing one, you’ll find that they vary greatly in price range as well as in capabilities. You can choose between residential models and those that are designed for commercial applications, such as golf courses and other large landscapes, however the homeowner will be content with residential versions. Since there is a wide range of mowers available, it is a good idea to set your budget and choose the mower that is on the higher end of your spectrum. Choosing the best mower that your budget allows is always the wisest choice.

It’s important to select those that have sturdy, durable frames. This will ensure that the mower will be able to withstand the constant action of mowing and turning. Also, you will need to ensure that the mower has a high quality motor that is in great condition. These are the most important aspects of these mowers, and by considering them in your selection process, you can ensure that your it will reward you with low maintenance over the years. You might want to consider selecting modzero turn versions. They have been constructed from low gauge steel as these mowers tend to have thicker and more durable frames.

You can find them in a wide range of prices, and once you begin to experience their capabilities, you’ll quickly see that they are well worth any cost. It’s best to set your budget ahead of time, as you might find yourself envisioned upon one of the pricier commercial models capable of leveling golf courses in lightening speed and with supreme accuracy. For residential purposes, you won’t need one of the commercial models, but you will want to spend a good amount for quality. Ensure that the motor and frame are in mint condition and you won’t need to worry about maintenance fees either. They are revolutionizing the way people mow lawns.