Why do we still use yds on road signs??

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  • Why do we still use yds on road signs??
  • There was a cracking bit on NASA TV a few years back.

    They were trying to install something on the ISS and the American instructions gave measurements in foot/pounds. The only torque wrench they could find was Russian which was calibrated in Newtons/metre. So the astronauts had to wait while somebody on the ground went away and did the conversion calculations for them.

    One of the astronauts can be heard to say “I cannot believe we are having this conversation in the 21st century”.

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    I’ve got no idea how far a kilometre is. If I see a distance in KM, my brain swiftly converts it to miles so it know if it’s a long way or not, and roughly how long it’s going to take to get there.

    Also, my motorbike apparently does 3.3l/100km

    Is that good or bad? Who knows….?

    But if I tell you that’s 85mpg, then everyone on this thread knows instantly that’s very good indeed. πŸ™‚

    bencooper
    Member

    I think it’s great – you automatically think “well, a yard is about a metre”, but it makes everything a little bit closer than you thought it was.

    In Maine, helping my uncle repair his old BMW, I went into a small town hardware store and asked for a M6 tap. The old man behind the counter really said “You’re not from ’round here, are you?” πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    You can’t get rid of Scotland yard.

    Not even from the 19th of September?

    I think it becomes New Scotland Yard after that.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    American pint is smaller than UK pint so drinks are smaller

    It would be if drinks were ever served in pints, which they aren’t IME (aside from in “English bars” for novelty value). Common is ounces, which of course is different again from our Imperial fluid ounces, or just “small / large”. One of the first times I went to a bar in the US I tried to order a pint, and after a bit of confused discussion the bartender went, “oh, you mean a schooner!”

    Americans barely use metric for anything,

    “Cups.” Argh!

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    The bizarre thing is, if I’m doing some DIY, I’ll use whatever measurement seems easiest. So if I need to measure the size of the back yard to work out how many slabs I need, and it’s closer to 4x5m than 4×5 yards, I’ll use the meters. If I’m putting up a shelf and it looks right 12 inches from the ceiling, I’ll use inches. But then I might find the brackets are 500mm apart, and attach them to the wall with 2in screws, with a hole drilled by an 8mm drill!
    I might need a new tyre on the motorbike, and I’ll remove the wheel by undoing a 16mm bolt to enable the fitting of a 17in tyre…… (Does ANYONE use metric wheel sizes on cars and motorbikes? Do they even exist?)

    bencooper
    Member

    Wheel sizes are a whole can of worms – on bikes:

    There are two 16″, almost 2″ different.
    Same with 20″, two sizes almost 2″ different.
    17″ is bigger than 18″
    29″ is the same as 28″
    Both are smaller than 27″
    Etc…

    olddog
    Member

    The French have started calling larger beer measures “pints” in some bars – but they are 500ml!! not only that but they cost about Β£7 a go

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    same reason the put clearances in feet.

    not sure what that is though.

    what I don’t understand is why some road gradients are given in fractions and others in percentages.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    I’m amazed that on a cycling forum you’re complaining about metric/imperial.
    Have you never had to buy a spare part for your bike? Seatposts in 0.2mm increments, gear measurements in imperial (72″ fixed anyone?), road frame sizes in cm, MTB sizes in inches, suspension in inches out the back and mm in front (that’s gradually changing to be mm all round actually), bar width in mm but the headset in inches.

    Wheel size in inches or a bizarre number that no-one really understands like 700c or 650b. Road tyres in mm, MTB ones in inches…

    A roadsign should be easy by comparison! Driving in France once, a mate said he preferred km cos they went by quicker so the journey felt faster. πŸ™‚

    bencooper
    Member

    gear measurements in imperial (72″ fixed anyone?)

    Worse than that, it’s not even measuring the distance you travel for one pedal rotation, as our Continental cousins do – it’s measuring the equivalent Penny Farthing wheel diameter πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    The bizarre thing is, if I’m doing some DIY, I’ll use whatever measurement seems easiest. So if I need to measure the size of the back yard to work out how many slabs I need, and it’s closer to 4x5m than 4×5 yards, I’ll use the meters. If I’m putting up a shelf and it looks right 12 inches from the ceiling, I’ll use inches. But then I might find the brackets are 500mm apart, and attach them to the wall with 2in screws, with a hole drilled by an 8mm drill!

    I do exactly that – I expect we’re the same age or similar? – only, I’ll occasionally mix them in the same measurement. “16 inches and 5mm” isn’t an unusual measurement in my head, and easier to remember (and visualise) for me than 414mm.

    andermt
    Member

    (Does ANYONE use metric wheel sizes on cars and motorbikes? Do they even exist?)

    It did happen briefly. The Metro had metric wheel sizes when launched originally (315mm). BMW and Ferrari also used them.
    They didn’t last.
    Everyone now uses imperial sizes again.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Worse than that, it’s not even measuring the distance you travel for one pedal rotation, as our Continental cousins do – it’s measuring the equivalent Penny Farthing wheel diameter

    that arguments been had on here before, I think it was decided that it’s not actualy confusing at all as any measurment in inches is a wheel size, meters is the development, no one gives development in inches or wheel size in meters.

    Does ANYONE use metric wheel sizes on cars and motorbikes? Do they even exist?

    I think they did briefly, which is why the width and aspect ratio are in metric. On that subject, why is it aspect ratio, why not just list the height of the tyre, why is it 205/55/16, that’s no easier to deal with than 205/110/16, and at least I’d know that 195/110/16 or 215/110/16 would probably also fit rather than trying to guess if 195/60/16 was the same diameter as 215/50/16! And for added confusion, wheel width is imperial, wheel offset is metric! Will 14×6 with 30mm offset fit in my wheelarches designed for 13×5.5 with 20mm offset, I’ve not **** clue!

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    Does ANYONE use metric wheel sizes on cars and motorbikes? Do they even exist?

    It sort of wouldn’t matter if you did or didn’t. From any viewpoint other that the design stage of the wheel/tyre you only need to know the size for the purpose of identification, so you could call it 205/55/16, you could have metric equivalents of all those numbers or you could just call it a ‘Size F’ as the information is just used to confirm that two items are the same size and that one item will fit another. Nobody is going to have to measure, alter, increase or reduce the size of the tyre, and aside from a few geeks nobody is going to a replace a tyre with anything other than one the same size, so what increments its described in isn’t of much relevance.

    thomthumb
    Member

    Does ANYONE use metric wheel sizes on cars and motorbikes?

    ferrari, jag and maybe bmw did in the 80s – dunno about anymore.

    The French have started calling larger beer measures “pints” in some bars – but they are 500m

    i was offered a pint in some tourist trap spanish airport. what came out was a behemoth of a drink – which must have been a litre!

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    France, and presumably other countries have their own pre-metric measurement systems as well as old fashioned currency systems, much like the British ones. They just got rid of them a lot earlier. So stuff like livre and pouce still have meaning, and umm, sou I think the word is.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
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    Also, my motorbike apparently does 3.3l/100km

    Is that good or bad? Who knows….?

    But if I tell you that’s 85mpg, then everyone on this thread knows instantly that’s very good indeed.

    Yep 85mpg is a useful measure, but not so useful when I ask you how far that would get you on a tenners worth of fuel at 135.2p a litre. πŸ˜€

    bencooper
    Member

    that arguments been had on here before, I think it was decided that it’s not actualy confusing at all as any measurment in inches is a wheel size, meters is the development, no one gives development in inches or wheel size in meters.

    Oh yes, you can’t confuse the two – but I often have conversations with people about gearing for their bike, and I always start with “do you know about gear inches?”

    If they say yes, then it’s simple – if it’s no, then I have to explain that “it’s a measurement of gearing that dates from the days of Penny Farthings – don’t worry about what the numbers mean, just use them to compare one system to another”.

    nealglover
    Member

    And for added confusion, wheel width is imperial, wheel offset is metric! Will 14×6 with 30mm offset fit in my wheelarches designed for 13×5.5 with 20mm offset, I’ve not **** clue!

    Compared to the 13×5.5, the 14×6 will have an inner rim which is 16.4mm closer to the suspension strut. The outer rim will poke out 3.7mm less than before.

    If you changed from 175/65/13 tyres to 195/50/14 you could get the speedo error down to +1.29%

    Personally, I would use 15mm hubcentric spacers which would only add 1.3mm to the inner rim but give you a nice 11.4mm of poke on the outer. And with 165/65/14 tyres a bit of stretch to tuck them in under the arches if needed. And a speedo error of -2.18 from standard.

    πŸ˜‰

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    Yep 85mpg is a useful measure, but not so useful when I ask you how far that would get you on a tenners worth of fuel at 135.2p a litre.

    Well. I’m a fuel geek and pretty good at mental arithmetic.
    Fuel is around Β£1.30/l here which I happen to know is about Β£6/gallon (I just do OK!)
    So that’s a gallon and two thirds or round about 150 miles.

    That’s off the top of my head, I’ll go away and do the sums properly now πŸ™‚

    **plays hold music**

    EDIT

    143.8 miles at Β£1.299. Not far off! πŸ˜€

    b r
    Member

    We could do what the Irish did and introduce it gradually. Cycle touring in the tail end of the 20th Century was puzzling, heading for Skibereen say, you’d pass a sign saying ‘Skibereen 17’, a while later you’d pass another one saying ‘Skibereen 18’, leading to a frantic map check before realising that one sign was in miles the other in km!!

    AFAIK It was because if they put up an imperial sign they paid, whereas if it was metric the EU paid.

    tbh I use which system is best for what I’m trying to do, whether it is volume, weight or length/height – although one thing I’ve learnt is that most folk seem unable to work in either…

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Your geek is strong Peter πŸ˜€
    But to me it makes a lot of sense to express fuel consumption using the same units fuel is sold in: litres.

    In fact I think if we took it a step further and everyone’s car just gave them a taxi-style display showing Β£s/mile and a trip total then we’d radically reduce pointless car journeys overnight.

    Though somehow I doubt the car manufacturers will be queueing up to implement that one. πŸ˜†

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    Your geek is strong Peter

    Why thank you…., πŸ™‚

    In fact I think if we took it a step further and everyone’s car just gave them a taxi-style display showing Β£s/mile and a trip total then we’d radically reduce pointless car journeys overnight.

    Agreed.
    I run Road Trip app on my phone which does exact that.


    image by PeterPoddy, on Flickr

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Your geek is stronger than I could have possibly imagined. πŸ˜†

    I like the look of that, downloaded, cheers.

    hilldodger
    Member

    I think everyone I’ve ever had to ask “how far is….” while out and about has always answered in miles

    IanMunro
    Member

    I normally give directions in metres for the under 40’s and yards for the OAPs
    The numbers I use are completely bogus, along with the general directions, but the level of precision gives an air of authority which I think comforts people.

    American pint is smaller than UK pint so drinks are smaller – and gallons of gas too.

    And also when you buy a pint of Stans it’s an American pint 16fl ozs not 20fl ozs . I’m surprised that doesn’t contravine some law .

    Other than that metric is a much better system and will be used eventually I’m sure . I’m old enough to remember when we went decimal for our currency , anybody fancy going back to 12 pence = 1 shilling , 20 shillings = 1 pound 240 pence to the pound half a crown = 2 and sixpence . What a ridiculous system .

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