High quality above ground pool

The Importance of A High Quality Above-Ground Pool

Minimizing the investments and keeping down the expenses is generally a good idea, regardless of what type of home improvement or renovations you have in mind. However, the problem is that sometimes people only take into account the initial investment, rather than consider the broad perspective and the overtime costs involved in repairs, maintenance and component replacement. This is also the case with the above ground swimming pool, a structure that has earned a lot of popularity over the last few years by comparison to the in-ground versions.

 Why Should You Opt For an Above-Gound Pool?

You might think that the costs of the structure constitute the exclusive reason why a homeowner would opt for the above ground pool. True, the investment required is by far considerably lower and this does not only refer to the pool kit. The labor, permits, materials and duration of an in-ground pool installation project are definitely more expensive – money and time wise.

However, there are numerous other explanations as to why a homeowner would prefer the above ground structures, such as:

Backyard space/shape limitations don’t allow the installation of an in-ground pool
It can be disassembled and assembled at any given time
The above ground structure can be taken with you when you decide to move
Minimizes landscaping requirements

High quality above ground pool

Why Do You Have to Consider Quality Before Price?

The above ground pool might not be a perennial structure like its in-ground counterpart and may not have the same extensive lifespan (at least in theory), but that does not necessarily entail that you should purchase the absolute cheapest model you can find. Even the largest and best above ground pools cost a fraction of the basic in ground pools’ price. Therefore, it is inadvisable to try minimizing the investment even further by giving up on quality. But what does quality mean in this context?

The Track of The Above-Ground Swimming Pool

First of all, you need a robust track that is able to support the weight of the pool’s walls. The minimal recommended track thickness is 32 millimeters and the optimal materials include aluminum, galvanized steel and similar corrosion proof alloys. Plastic and resin are to be avoided, because even though they are rustproof, the structural integrity of these materials fails over time. On a side note, verify whether the track is compliant with the ISE standards of quality.

The Liner of The Structure

The typical material utilized as liner for the above ground swimming pools is vinyl, but it comes in various thicknesses. In this case, the minimal recommended breadth of the liner is 0.62 millimeters. As a side note, keep in mind that irrespective of the thickness, the liner could sustain damage in the installation process and even tiny puncture can develop over of the course of time and cause leaking. Therefore, you should either hire a professional pool contractor or perform the liner installation/replacement yourself with utmost care.

The Walls of The Above-Ground Pool

In order to ensure that the walls are strong enough to provide support and also to prevent the development of corrosion, polymer coated steel alloys constitute the best solution. Most commonly, rust formations develop in the proximity of the inlets (meaning the sections that have been cut in order to make room for the pump/filters). However, the polymer coating can effectively help you avert this issue.

Quality Filters and Pumps

The pumps and filters are mandatory accessories if you want to keep the water clean and avoid the risk of harmful microorganisms from developing in the pool. Therefore, you have to ensure that the capacity and filtration capabilities are in accordance to the capacity of the structure. At the same time, verify whether or not the manufacturer supplies the accessories for your pool model because sooner or later you will have to replace them.

The Warranty of The Product

You can regard the warranty as an indicator for the lifespan expectancy of the pool. Granted, it won’t cover all the components and will be voided when you fail to respect the recommended usage guidelines, but the liner should have at least 5 years of warranty. In addition, the normal lifespan of the walls should not be less than 9 years for a quality pool. In the event that the warranty period is substantially lower, then you should not have high expectations regarding the quality of the construction/materials.

Conclusion

While it is tempting to reduce the costs of your future above ground swimming pool, there are numerous ways to do so without cutting corners in terms of quality. If you select a robust model affixed with proficient components and a solid parts/labor warranty, then you won’t have to make additional investments in repairs over the years. On the other hand, a cheap and mediocre version will most likely become unusable very quickly.

What You Need to Know about Trampoline Safety

If you own a trampoline (I have bought a best trampoline from this blog), you should be familiar with trampoline safety tips. This is especially true if there are kids using it. The device can be dangerous especially for young kids since it could sometimes lead to serious physical injuries. The device is becoming more and more popular now, yet not a lot of people are aware of the safety and precautions tips when it comes to using this kind of exercise equipment. So here are some of the safety tips that you should know when it comes to using the trampoline.

Safety Net

It is a good idea to install a safety net around the trampoline. This is one of the tips that a lot of people often miss out. The net is especially important if you have small kids who are also using the trampoline. The safety net will keep you or your kids protected in case you accidentally fall off while jumping up and down the rebounder. The safety net of My First Trampoline is applauded by lots of parents who have small kids.

Regular Check Up

Always make sure to check your trampoline on a regular basis to ensure that it is safe to use. Although you have read reviews and you are confident that the equipment you have purchased is guaranteed durable and that it is the safest trampoline in the market, there is still a possibility that it could become damaged which could put you and your kid’s life in danger. If you notice that the trampoline needs to be fixed, make sure to address it immediately or call the manufacturer to check if it can still be replaced under warranty.

Trampoline safety
Read the Safety Instructions

Sometimes, we tend to become very excited in using our newly bought trampoline that we often forego reading the trampoline safety instructions that come with it. It is important to take time to read everything that has been written on the product manual, including the safety instructions.

You must also make sure that the equipment has been set up well properly before you or your kids will start jumping on it. You can also refer to some resources online for more information about the safety instructions in using this equipment at home.

The trampoline is indeed a great equipment to have in your home. It allows us to work out while having fun at the same time. It is also a great way to bond with your kids. So do not allow such enjoyment to be ruined. Be very careful with using the trampoline and always keep these trampoline safety tips in mind, especially if you’ve got small kids.

Adult Supervision is Important

Kids must be supervised by parents or adults when using the trampoline. This trampoline safety tip is often printed on the instruction manual of most trampolines these days, yet not a lot of adults will adhere to this.

Even though the trampoline you have bought is complete with all the safety features, it is still necessary to supervise your kids when using the exercise equipment. As you know, kids are sometimes too wild that they could end up injuring themselves while jumping on the trampoline.

Cycling as a wedge issue.

From Wikipedia

A wedge issue, when introduced, is intended to bring about such things as:

  • A debate, often vitriolic, within the opposing party, giving the public a perception of disarray.
  • The defection of supporters of the opposing party’s minority faction to the other party (or independent parties) if they lose the debate.
  • The legitimising of sentiment which, while perhaps popularly held, is usually considered inappropriate or politically incorrect; criticisms from the opposition then make it appear beholden to special interests or fringe ideology.
  • In an extreme case, a wedge issue might contribute to the actual fracture of the opposing party as another party spins off, taking voters with it.

*emphasis added

When I think of wedge issues, I’m usually considering those that appeal to people’s feelings or beliefs as opposed to (and often intentionally bypassing) reason, not to mention fairness, the law, and human rights. It can be base politics at it’s most cynical. It’s another reason why I don’t pay much attention to most politics.

After many years as an Edmonton Sun columnist failed mayoral candidate Kerry Diotte, currently running for a federal nomination, knows a wedge issue when he sees it. He likes to fan the flames of hate towards cyclists because, like abortion, same sex marriage, and almost anything associated with fundamentalist religion, it’s a “wedge issue” and can get people fired up – often in the worst possible way – with righteous anger and a sense of injustice.

It’s populist politics at it’s worst – getting people riled up and convinced they are hard done by when they are really nothing of the sort. Or taking a small problem and making it bigger, while promising to do the opposite, to get people’s votes.

And it can work. See Toronto – Rob Ford (“War on cars!”). It’s the opposite of “Revenge of the Nerds”. Something like “Bullies Fight Back”. I’m bigger than you, and that’s all there is to it. Get out of my way, because I’m more important than you.

In a recent Facebook post Diotte inferred he didn’t ride a bike because cyclists look like Pee Wee Herman, insulting cyclists, and Pee Wee Herman for that matter. I guarantee if Diotte was running against Pee Wee Herman for anything he’d get slaughtered.

I think this particular wedge issue has proven to be a failed approach. I might refer to it a a sort of tyranny of the majority, but I don’t think those people are anywhere near a majority. Too many people have kids that ride their bikes, for one thing. He should have stuck with his flawed no-to-everything conservative fiscal policy, not that I’d ever consider voting for him.

One unfortunately predictable consequence is that the antipathy Diotte foments against cyclists can tend toward righteous fervour in some and can lead to a few drivers (strawman alert) massaging the chip on their shoulder with a kind of “I don’t know or care what the law says, they bug me and we need to get rid of them” attitude. “I’m right because I’m bigger than you”. They don’t want us on the roads, they don’t want paths for us, they don’t want a dollar spent on facilities.

And it can lead to conflict and confrontation on the road. Frontier justice. Those same bad drivers (who usually think the are great drivers) other motorists have to deal with can be real bad news for cyclists.

They are stuck in traffic and see a cyclist whiz by on their bike lane and they resent the few feet of space, feeling a sense of injustice. Or they see some kid on a bike doing something stupid and dangerous. I can see where some of that might come from. Some want to be able to drive as fast as they think they safely can with no distractions or delays. Despite, I don’t know, 70%+ of the city’s land mass given over to the motor vehicle, they think the answer is more roads and parking lots.

The main problem, for drivers (not cyclists), is obvious to anyone who has stood at the side of the road waiting for a bus and watched “rush” hour traffic go by – there are too many single person vehicles on the road. All going the same direction, and each carrying the equivalent of two couches, or more, and a closet, among other things.

I’m not inferring any of these people individually are the problem, or that they are bad people. They know what the problem is. They’re looking at it through their window. Too many cars on the road. It’s the cars that are in the way.

That’s why we need to provide alternatives to people, including public transit, cycling, skateboarding, running, and walking. It’s better for them, of course. But it’s also better for drivers who will never get out of their car. I know a lot of drivers who would rather take public transit, especially the LRT, but it doesn’t go where they want (yet). I already know people who ride to work, but I know a lot who’d like to as well, if the facility to do so was there.

One more person on a bike is one less car in driver’s way.

Kerry Diotte is a nice guy I’ve been told. He’s smart enough to know better. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. What I do know, for sure, is that cyclists can find themselves on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol, and worse, as a more or less direct consequence of something he’s said or done. I’m a big man – I can take it. But I shouldn’t have to. And neither should the kids, students, couples, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc, who only want to be able to safely go for a nice ride on their bikes.

Diotte doesn’t want people to calm down and be rational, because then they won’t vote for him. Seriously.  He’s still selling papers, only now he’s trying to get his name in there. He’s intentionally polarizing and wants to get people talking about him. I’m only doing it once here, and take comfort in the fact I have a small (but mighty) readership that largely consists of people wanting to sell me, and you, dear reader, weight loss products.

At times like this I like to remind myself of the many drivers out there that have been very courteous to me. They are the vast majority. They don’t yell the loudest, and they aren’t angry all the time, so they can become invisible. They are the norm, and the norm, by definition, doesn’t stand out.

When I first began commuting I was struck by how courteous and understanding the drivers were, as opposed to what I had expected. I really didn’t really know what I was doing, and did some dumb things. Never had a single problem with a driver – even in Winter. Maybe it was the fact I adorned my bike with strings of Christmas lights :-) .

I think Edmonton is a great city to ride in, and it’s gotten much better. Some of this is thanks to better facilities, but most of it has to do with Edmonton drivers. They’ve been great for me, and the bad ones are the exceptions that prove the rule.

So thanks Edmonton drivers. Sincerely. And I’m not running for anything.

Thieves! Grrrrr

IMG_0456Great. Some asshole stole my handlebars, headstock, and front suspension of my Spot. ImageStrangely, they left my wheel sitting there.

The Eternal Debate – Edmonton Bike Lanes

The notion persists that cyclists aren’t paying their way. Cyclists pay, through taxes, like everyone else. The argument can be made they pay more than their share.

Bike lanes aren’t for me. They’re for cyclists less comfortable on the road, or out for a leisurely ride, maybe with kids. Bike lanes also serve to remind drivers cyclists belong on the road.

I’m not familiar with the 76th ave route, so can’t speak to specifics. I’d sure rather a bike lane in front of my house than a dirty feeder road. I feel for those losing parking. I just think more cyclists and pedestrians, and slower traffic, make for a healthier neighbourhood – a real community with character as unique as the people who live there.

I’m not anti-driver. Just about everyone I know drives, including friends, family, and my partner. It’s expensive (payments, parking, insurance, maintenance, tickets, repairs, gas, taxes, etc,) and getting more expensive all the time. Traffic can suck, parking is a problem, bad drivers abound, road construction, poor conditions, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair.

Then there’s the sanctimonious cyclist, free as a bird, flaunting the rules, getting in the way, forcing drivers to be alert, and generally doing whatever he or she wants, smugly righteous in their “saving the world” hero personas. If traffic’s backed up, they can hop on the sidewalk, or cut across a field, or even get off their bike and walk it home. And we’re laying out the “green carpet” for them, with paths and lanes, at considerable expense. They don’t have to pay anything.

Except taxes of course, and taxes are what pay for the roads.

I see where some resentment comes from. The cycling milieu is like the wild west – there’s yer law-abidin’ bunch, and yer-outa control bunch, with all kinds between. We don’t tend to notice the good ones – cyclist, or driver, and they don’t make for interesting conversation.

There’s a much deeper resentment bordering on hatred I’m seeing all too often, in people like Rob Ford. Where Kerry Diotte may fan the populist flames, which tends to bring out the crazies, Rob Ford is one of the crazies. I don’t know where that kind of antipathy comes from, maybe being picked on or bullied, but there’s a real misguided sense of injustice that goes along with it.

In fairness I see some of the same thing on the other side of the cyclist-vs-driver debate, but where the cyclist advocates know they are a minority, the anti-cyclists I see think they’re the majority.

The most heated debate happens at the extremes, and can drown out the middle ground. We’ve a pretty good idea how many automobiles we have in Edmonton. What we don’t seem to consider is that there are likely as many bikes, or even more, and that gives me hope. Some are used, but many stay in the garage, or on the balcony, even through nice weather.

We should encourage those who have bikes to ride them. They clearly want to, having taken the first step – getting a bike. A lot of people know I’m a cyclist, and the topic of commuting often comes up in conversation. The #1 reason, by far, that people I talked to don’t try commuting is fear of the roads as they are. If there were safer alternatives I’m convinced more people would ride more often.

Elizabeth Solis

I generally avoid posting tragic bike stories. They’re usually significant enough to warrant localized media coverage, including major media. They get so much attention it can obscure the fact that cycling, by and large, is safe if we apply due care and attention, and have a safe place to ride.

Riding a bike was clearly one of Elizabeth Solis’ great pleasures. She was an experienced cyclist who rode predictably and made sure she was highly visible to drivers, wearing a reflective vest whenever she road. She took safety seriously.

Elizabeth Solis and Edmund Aunger in New Brunswick on their way to PEI

Most if not all regular riders have experienced being caught on “The Wrong Road” because there weren’t any other options. It’s unpleasant, and the kind of road Sovis consciously avoided. They made her nervous.

She and her husband Edmund Aunger were biking along a two-lane highway in Prince Edward Island this summer when she was struck from behind by habitual drunk driver Clarence Moase.

On Tuesday December 12, 2012, Moase was sentenced to six years in prison (and, I believe, a lifetime driving suspension). He had four prior impaired-driving convictions.

Aunger had mixed feelings about the sentence, saying he was afraid locking someone up wasn’t going to change the real problem, and referring to Clarence Moise as a scapegoat

“We need to create safer bike trails to ensure no one else dies the way my wife did.”

Elizabeth Clovis planned to spend her retirement helping develop safe cycling trails in Alberta – a cause Aunger is hoping to carry on.

Taking the middle of the lane

Nice blogpost from Bikeyface on taking the middle of the lane. Great illustrations. :-)

“Whenever a person first discovers I bike, they reply with a story. And it’s always the same story.

“I was driving down [insert any road name] when all of the sudden I saw a cyclist in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!” Inevitably it always ends with them saying they “just tapped on their horn” or “squeezed by” or“yelled out to the cyclist.” 

And many many times I’ve been the cyclist in one of these stories- the one sharing the road with a driver that isn’t aware of the basic road rules regarding bikes.

What’s worse is that sometimes reasonable people panic at the sight of a bicycle in the lane… and then all that reason flies out the window.”

Doesn’t always happen to me, but its happened for sure. The drivers who get upset that a cyclist takes the lane aren’t usually assholes. They’re most often regular folks like us who aren’t aware of the rules.

I believe its a natural consequence of driving (or cycling) that anything that slows us down or causes us to take an action irritates us. When I’m in a car (as a passenger) and there’s a cyclist in front of us, perhaps taking the lane, I too begin to feel irritated. I don’t know that there’s any getting around it. I do believe being aware its a natural consequence for all of us helps me temper any irritation I may feel, because I know its not really anyone else’s problem but mine.

Cycling in Calgary

Calgary is where I was born. I moved to Edmonton in my early teens, moved back to Calgary in my 30’s, and have been in Edmonton since about 1992.

I visit every once in awhile, but I’ve never cycled in Calgary. But I can’t help but notice they seem to be taking cycling seriously, with an excellent Calgary Herald section/blog called Pedal.

The last two posts have been most interesting; one about a group of kids that continue to ride to school through the winter like its no big deal, and another about the City of Calgary hiring a “cycling coordinator.”

Excellent.

Spot

I gotta say, the Spot Longboard is performing beautifully these winter days. I’m still getting used to the geometry, and the disc brakes, but it’s coming. No problems with the belt. Every once in awhile a chunk of snow (or something) goes through the belt/sprocket and there’s a disturbing clunk sound, but it keeps on working.

The Stella 200L light is, literally, a lifesaver. What a great light! It’s such a pleasant surprise to buy a product that delivers MORE than promised. I got a Stella 150L for my helmet on eBay for half price. It’s working good too, and it’s not burning out the retinas of approaching people.

I took a few days off riding when it got real cold, but I’m glad to be back in the saddle again. I’m going to get one of the MEC balaclavas, because mine covers the mouth. My concern with these things is being able to breathe through my mouth, and the MEC one has a hole. I can’t get enough air in breathing through my nose. I doubt anyone can when riding.

Tried making it up Lungbuster, but there was no way. I think the studded tires dig into the snow. I walk up most of the way. It’s still easier than taking the stairs, which I tried a few times. I’ll tell ya, they seem to go on forever. That’s a good workout.

The city’s done a great job on the paths, with the exception of the Gateway North path from 72-69 ave. It wasn’t done last year either. It’s pretty much unrideable. Same as last year. I made it a few times, but an inch or two to either side, and you get stuck in two feet of snow, and go for a tumble. Three blocks can take 15 hard minutes. It’s like doing one legged squats for 15 mins. Lots of swearing involved. I hope they get this one cleared too.

Lights for Winter

Last year during much of the winter, my TriCross was decorated with a battery powered string of Christmas LED lights I bought when in Regina. Besides being seasonal and festive, it made me highly visible, and I believe it really helped put a smile on people’s faces. So, I’ll be doing it again this winter. Unfortunately last winter was very hard on me, my bikes, and especially the lights, which didn’t make it through the entire winter. One very cold day the cord just got too brittle and just snapped.

I’m looking for another string. They need to be LED, and run by AA batteries like the ones from last year. I’m sure I’ll find some, but I haven’t seen any as nice as last year’s.

I’m also considering some of the wheel lights I’ve seen. Very cool looking, and highly visible from the sides. They’re still pretty light, which is always a consideration on the wheels, as winter riding, though often very slow, can be quite hard pedalling through deep snow, slush, and the sand/dirt combinations. Sometimes the snow gets heavy and sticky. I don’t need any extra weight, but these should be ok. I’m thinking seriously about getting some.

This year I plan to commute in winter on my single-speed (SS) belt-drive, if I ever get it dialled in. I’ve got to admit I’ve had serious second thoughts about this bike. It’s been in the shop more than I’ve ridden it, due to problems getting the belt properly aligned, etc.

If I do get it dialled in, I’m looking to put a good quality front light on it. I may be riding the ravine in winter, and both ways are dark, so it’s important to be able to see well. There are many lights meant for night mountain biking. They can get pretty expensive. The cheaper ones I used last year won’t cut it in the ravine. They are more for being seen, so I’ll still have some of them on my bike, as secondary lights, and flashers.

But I’ll get a real good front headlight. I want to be able to still film my commutes during the dark conditions. I don’t know how well it’ll work, but I’m hoping for some pretty spectacular results.

Of course I may still end up working downtown if I get the new job I’m in the running for, which is a pretty short commute for me. Part of me is really looking forward to the Roper Road commute in winter, though I know it will likely take an hour or more each way. We’ll see.

The headlight I’m looking at is the “Light & Motion Stella 200”. It’s $400 though! So. I’m really giving it some thought, and doing my research. If I get that, and the Rohloff Hub on my Spot Longboard bike, it’ll put it well over $4000. Ouch. Still, it beats buying a car. That’s about what some people pay in insurance and parking for a year. I think it is anyway. I really don’t know, because I pay $0. (Except for the bike locker I rent downtown – $21/mo)