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Friday, April 18, 2008

Why the DayGlo Avenger look?

Here's a little bigger/closer pic of the trailer itself. You can see I didn't do a very good job on the paint; unfortunately it was already windy when I started that, so it's not very consistent, and then I ran out of primer halfway thru when the can's valve stuck shut. I still needed the dayglo paintjob for the trip, so I went ahead and did that over the primer as much as I needed to to help the visibility, since I think I'll have to redo it all anyway later on. Interestingly enough, if you look at the full pic above, you'll see I somehow managed to park it almost on top of the marks in the grass where I had done the painting before I left that day. Very strange.

As you can see, it's a LOT more visible than in it's original colors. The nighttime pic with flash, at about the same distance (just cropped differently):

And the new paintjob *at night* is still more visible than the original colors even in the daytime pic without flash

So you can see why I prefer the dayglo paintjobs on my bikes and gear. Speaking of which, I've never posted a pic of my gear, so:

All of the gear except for the vest were bought at various times at Deseret Industries thrift store; I think I paid at most $1 for any item. Some, like the elbow pads, were half that a pair. The vest I picked up for another buck at somebody's moving-all-must-go sale on the way home from work one day. The reflective strips are cracked and peeling a little, but as you can see in the camera flash, they still work fine. Keep in mind that the only light in the pic is some indirect light from another room with a 15w fluorescent tube in it, plus the camera flash. So that gear is pretty dang visible. In daylight it practically glows.

The elbow and shin/knee pads were black when I got them, and black might look spiffy but it's damned hard to see at night, and not good in the daytime since it absorbs heat/light much better and makes me hotter. The helmet was white with a bunch of black markings and decals on it, so I peeled and sanded them off for more white surface area (and because I'm not advertising a bunch of rollerblade manufacturers for free). The gloves were snowboarding gloves, I think, and came in the colors you see. They also have liners to keep hands warm, but I sure don't need those in the weather we have now. :-)

The helmet I also attached a clip-on taillight too; it has 5 flashing patterns built in, but I only use the one that flashes all 5 LEDs at about 2Hz. That uses 2 1000mAh NIMH AAA batteries for around 120 hours of service per charge. The headlight is a miners-type bike light, minus the straps, originally epoxied in place but apparently the epoxy won't stick properly to even a very-roughed-up surface on the plastic it's mount is made of (HDPE, I think). So I ended up using doublesided foam tape, and it's held on very well since then, surprisingly enough. It's got 6 white LEDs that can be turned on in 1, 3, or all 6, with a battery-munching krypton bulb in the middle that can be switched on in place of the LEDs. I never use that, because I only get about 12 *minutes* life out of the three 1000mAh NIMH AAA batteries I use in it, as opposed to over 60 hours with even all 6 LEDs on. It claims a 200 hour life for battery using the LEDs, but that only works out if you use just *one* LED, or you don't care that you can barely see the LEDs at the end of the 200 hours in an otherwise pitch-black room. :-)

Since I didn't like the black pads, I primered and painted them when I did the bike. I had actually done the elbow pads before, using some old RC aircraft paint I'd had laying around for at least a decade and a half, and it worked pretty well for such old paint under such rough conditions. But it eventually was too torn up from impacts and scrapes to cover even half of the black anymore, so I repainted them, too. Kinda wishing I hadn't, now.

The paint is unfortunately pretty crappy; I could not find Krylon (fluorescent versions) at a reasonable price at a place near enough to me to go get, in the last few months; everyone seems to only carry Rust-Oleum instead, which does not work very well on any material I've tried, regardless of how carefully I clean and prep the surfaces, and regardless of temperatures outside. Humidity is virtually nil at the moment, as regards problems it could cause with the paint (this *is* Phoenix, Arizona, after all). The primer doesn't stick all that well even before I apply the topcoat of fluorescent, but after I do that it seems to delaminate quite easily; I can scrape it off with a fingernail! Even on the freshly-sanded bare steel of the tubing used on the trailer it did not stick. It actually stuck better to certain painted surfaces than it did on the bare steel. Also, regardless of how it is applied, via layers or misting or any amount of time between coats, the topcoat will *always* crack over the primer. So that's why the gear and the bike and trailer look so worn and scratched up even after only a week or two since painting (the trailer only a few hours!).

Rust-Oleum will never again be used on anything I own; I'll go ahead and bike the extra distance (about 4 times as far, over 25 miles round trip) to get Krylon fluorescent paint, and the primer to go with it. I've used Krylon paints for more than 25 years on various things, and haven't ever had any problems like these, unless I quite simply didn't bother cleaning the surfaces at all first, and they had oils or something on them. Even dirty plastic with grime and fingerprints on it works better with Krylon than the cleanest, most prepared surface did with Rust-Oleum. :-(

So there was about 60 bucks I didn't really have to spend in the first place down the drain, and I have to spend at least that much again to buy the Krylon. It's gonna be a few months, maybe a year, before I can afford to do that. Next time I get a tax refund, perhaps. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get Home Depot to take back the unused cans of RO, and I can put that money towards the Krylon, for a paint job that will actually stay on.

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