Rochester Hills PCT Bicycle Club

November 24, 2006
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Friday November 24, 2006 was the day after Thanksgiving and both Pete I had the day off from work again as part of the long holiday weekend.  I had recently changed jobs within my company TRW.  I had only been working at my new location in the new position for about a week and a half before this holiday break. 

I changed jobs because of fear in the long term stability of the previous group.  I know this is going to be a major change due to a change not only in my job function but also a change in the type of product.  Fifteen years ago I work in the seat belt group for about three years, so I am somewhat familiar with the product, which will make the transition a little easier.  I will miss working with the friends I made in the linkage and suspension group over the past 15 years.  Due to cutbacks and the closing of the Sterling manufacturing plant where I was previously located, a lot of the people are gone.  The few people from Sterling that survived will be moving to the Washington location, in the other building across the parking lot, so I will still be able to stay in contact with a few of my old work friends. 

Seat belts are an important safety item of all motor vehicles.  It is kind of cool to think the heart and soul of the operating system of making the locking feature of a seat belt work is actually a pinball.  I know you think I am making this up, but it is true, a small metal spherical ball exactly like a pinball is used in a seat belt retractor to cause the locking mechanism to engage during high acceleration or more importantly during a high de-acceleration event like braking.  To prove this fact of a pinball used in a seat belt retractor I have taken a few pictures of a partially assembled seat belt retractor showing the components.  See the bottom of this page for the pictures.  Iíll bet you never even dreamed of how important pinballs are in our every day lives. 

Sorry I got off track there for a minute.  Sometimes it is hard not to write about other things that come to mind.  Back to the story of this bike ride. 

Peteís son and fellow club member Paul must have had the day off from college because he joined Pete and me on this ride.  It is always nice to have Paul along.  He brings youthful energy and different view point in our conversations during the ride.  Paul is also a very pleasant person, he is friendly to everyone and has a relatively quite demeanor.  Sometimes I wonder how Paul turned out so differently from Pete.  Pete could be one of the loudest personalities I have ever met.  Iím not saying this is bad, it is just the way he is.  Pete is generally a relatively loud person.  Pete is also what I would term an aggressive personality and I think this comes from his strong competitive nature.  Pete hates to lose, and this applies to everything.  Sometimes you donít even realize that you lost to Pete until after he tells you he just beat you at something you didnít even know you were competing.  

For a change Pete and Paul rode over and met me at my house to start out this ride.  We rode around with no particular destination in mind.  We ended up on Rochester Road near Avon.  Pete didnít eat breakfast before the ride so he wanted to stop at the Burger King in the shopping center just south of Avon.  Pete got his favorite breakfast burrito and after a few large bites surrounded by a few chews and a swallow or two, Pete was done and we were back to riding again. 

Pete made plans with our friend and fellow pinball collector Rick to meet him over at a long term storage facility where Rick rents some space.  Pete used his ďgoof toothĒ system to call Rick and let him know we were heading over to the storage facility.  Rick pulled up in his van about the same time we arrived.  Rick had an old beat up non-functioning pinball machine he was willing to sell to Pete for a very reasonable price.  These are our favorite type of machines, non-functioning.  It makes the price low because there arenít too many people around with the skills Pete and I have in repairing games in this condition.  The game was a 1972 Williams Jubilee.  The play field was in very rough shape with quite a few spots missing paint and the back glass was in decent shape with a few bad spots.  Pete and I took a quick look at this game and based on our success in the cosmetic restoration on the Old Chicago we had recently completed for Tony we were confident we could make this game not only play like new but also look very good again.  We are never afraid of any mechanical or electrical issues, we know we can handle those.  The only fear I ever had was if the game was so bad cosmetically it would always look bad.  Pete and I have reached a new level in our confidence related to pinball restoration.  This Jubilee game will be a good test to see if we are as good as we think when it comes to restoring the playfield and backglass.  We made the deal with Rick and we loaded the game into his van with plans to ride over to his house to help him fix a couple of his games giving him some trouble. 

The three of us rode over to Rickís house.  Paul played some of Rickís games, spending most of his time on the ball bowler.  Paul had been over there before so he knew what games he wanted to play.  Pate and I fixed a couple items, and we would have to come back over later with the proper schematic to fix the last issue.  After visiting with Rick we kicked around a bunch of ideas of how to get the Jubilee over to my house.  We finally decided Paul would take off on his bike and ride home.  Pete and I would put our bikes in Rickís van and ride over to my house to unload the game.  This cut our ride time down, but it was the most practical way to get the game delivered.  It would be fun to have another project game to work on with Pete. 

Following are the statistics from this ride, 13.8 miles total, 20.0 max, and 1 hour and 10 minutes of ride time with an average speed of 9.9 mph.
David Lindquist 

Seat belt parts showing where a pinball is used

Close up of the pinball inside the housing and lever mechanism
pete03.jpg (1043 bytes) Please don't forget to visit Pete's Excellent Home Page -
Pinball & Paris Information