Learning Stick Shift

Here are my own thoughts about learning stick shift. Kelsey learned from me, though there’s no true teacher aside from experience. I think there are two essential tricks to learning a stick shift:

1. Practice Makes Perfect.

It’s muscle and reflex training, not head training. It takes time to get the feel of the clutch, especially from a dead stop. Take advantage of opportunities to practice stop-and-go with the clutch. Be sure to do it on hills, too.

2. Listen To The Engine

The tachometer and speedometer tell you interesting things, but the sound of the engine really tells you when to shift gears. If it’s high-pitched, you need to shift. For improved gas mileage, you want to shift sooner rather than later.

[This has been revised since first posted 7/31/10]

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New Arch-style Bridge for Hastings

MNDOT has finally announced the design for the replacement bridge over the Mississippi in Hastings. It’s an arch-style bridge, repeating the past two river bridge designs.

New Hastings High Bridge

The design cost came out about $100 MILLION lower than the MNDOT estimate. I suspect this is because the arch isn’t quite as huge as we might have expected. I think the proposed appearance looks fine.