Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Dutchess County Rail Trail Ride

The DCRT folks held a “soft opening” last week at the bridge over Rt 55 completing the rail trail from Hopewell Junction to the Walkway Over the Hudson; the Hudson Valley Rail Trail continues westward to Lloyd. I hadn’t actually planned to ride the whole thing, but Monday was a lovely day and, hey, why not?

So here’s what a pleasant, mostly off-road 36 mile ride looks like:

KE4ZNU Rail Trail Ride - 2013-10-14

KE4ZNU Rail Trail Ride – 2013-10-14

Hadn’t realized it was Columbus Day until well into the ride, which accounted for a Hudson River crossing at 3 mph embedded in a solid 1.5 mile scrum. Being no fool, I returned over the Poughkeepsie (a.k.a. Mid Hudson) Bridge.

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Tour Easy: Handlebar Wrap

img_3619 - Silicone tape on Tour Easy handlebarAfter more than a few years, the handlebar grips on my Tour Easy are rather worn, so I recently wrapped them with cheerful red and yellow silicone tape.

Back in the day, you wrapped with cork tape and had to worry about the direction on each side. Silicone tape fuses into a solid mass and the orientation shouldn’t matter; that’s a Good Thing, because I’m not sure what direction would be correct in this situation.

The yellow section covers the SRAM twist grip, which means it has a moving joint at each end. I suspect the tape will pull back from the larger part of the grip and form an unsightly lump just behind it.

It’s certainly much grippier than I expected…

(The small pushbutton switch is the PTT for the amateur radio HT that does voice and APRS/GPS.)


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Monster in the Mist

We biked to Saugerties for the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival and spotted this monster looming in the morning mist during the ride home:

Excavator on CSX gondola car - side

Excavator on CSX gondola car – side

The end view shows it’s not an optical illusion:

Excavator on CSX gondola car - end

Excavator on CSX gondola car – end

Some Google Maps fiddling reveals the plant, with the excavator atop the first car on the siding, down in the lower-left corner of the image:

Google Maps - Kings Highway at Tissal Rd

Google Maps – Kings Highway at Tissal Rd

A zoomed view, rotated a quarter-turn CCW so it’s not quite so vertiginous:

Google Maps - Kings Highway at Tissal Rd - detail

Google Maps – Kings Highway at Tissal Rd – detail

My search-fu isn’t strong enough to uncover the plant’s name. They’ve obviously been doing something involving gravel and either asphalt or concrete for many years, so it’s not a prank…


Getting More Clearance While Bicycling: Fluids Division

Based on recent experience, this “Baby, Think It Over” rig works even better than a propane tank:

Tour Easy BOB Yak - Gasoline can

Tour Easy BOB Yak – Gasoline can

I was going to take a picture with it posed next to the gas pump, but the whole affair isn’t all that stable: it’s tough to look cool when your fancy faired Tour Easy ‘bent flops over like dead possum…


BOB Yak Trailer Flag Ferrule Reaming

The BOB Yak trailer I tote behind the ‘bent has a flag with a two-part pole which generally stays together; I pull the entire affair out of the frame socket when I hang the trailer up after a trip. The ferrule between the two pole sections recently worked loose and I took it to the Basement Workshop for repair.

The assembled nickel-plated brass (?) ferrule came off both pole sections all too easily, which was a Bad Sign: those little punch marks originally clamped the tubes to the pole. You can’t overestimate the Bad Effects of prolonged vibration on bike parts.

Separating the two ferrule sections required running several pin punches down the bore and tapping gently, all accompanied by considerable muttering; the joint was no longer a slip fit. Eventually I produced this tableau:

BOB Yak trailer flag ferrule

BOB Yak trailer flag ferrule

The small hole gauge to the far left showed that the inside of the larger section (on the bottom) had entirely enough clearance for the smaller section, but the rolled ring at its end had somehow shrunk to a tight interference fit.

I’d actually chucked up a piece of rod in the lathe, with the intent of making a mandrel to expand the ring, when I came to my senses. The smaller part was 0.253 inch diameter, so I deployed the letter drills:

  • an E drill (0.250 inch) just kissed the inside of the ring
  • an F drill (0.257 inch) opened the ring to a nice sliding fit and still fit easily inside the tube

A few whacks with a center punch reclamped the dimples firmly in place on the dents in the poles.

That was easy…


Overgrowth on Rt 376

This shrubbery grows just south of the Dutchess County Airport on Rt 376:

Rt 376 Overgrowth - south of DC Airport intersection

Rt 376 Overgrowth – south of DC Airport intersection

I’ve called it in, so maybe it’ll get trimmed back in a while… meanwhile, we’ll take the lane and hope for the best.


Baofeng UV-5RE: BL-5 Battery Overview

After I mentioned I was thinking of repurposing the nearly unused lithium-ion batteries from the Wouxun KG-UV3D radios for a blinky light, Dragorn of Kismet introduced me to his Baofeng UV-5 radio. The radio itself seems to be the worst amateur radio you’d be willing to use, but when seen as a standardized battery and drop-in charger with a free radio and antenna tossed into the deal, it’s not all that bad:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - overview

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – overview

The Wouxun and Baofeng 7.4 V batteries allegedly have similar capacities: 1700 vs 1800 mA·h. The Baofeng also has a 3800 (or 3600) mA·h pack that extends well below the base of the radio (not all large packs seem to be compatible with the UV-5RE radios I got); that would be roughly equivalent to the larger packs that power the Wouxun / APRS / voice gadgetry on the bike.

The Baofeng battery pack is smaller and has features that seem less likely to misbehave on a bike.

It has a latching tab with a ramp and a positive notch, with ridges around the edge that engage the radio shell:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery latch tab

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery latch tab

The radio body (which is what I must duplicate) has a movable latch tab above the battery contact pins, so the latch holds the battery into the compartment. The spring-loaded pin pairs are wired in parallel, presumably for redundant contact with each battery terminal:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery compartment latch and contacts

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery compartment latch and contacts

The battery terminal pads are reasonably well protected by the tab:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery contact pads

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery contact pads

The battery slides into the radio compartment and latches with a snap. Two holes on the battery base engage a pair of pegs on the radio case:

Baofeng UV-5RE radio - battery base detail

Baofeng UV-5RE radio – battery base detail

The holes are rounded rectangles and the pegs have one corner sliced off. The pegs seem entirely too fragile and not well suited for 3D printing, so some metalwork may be in order. The pegs must resist only pulling forces perpendicular to the case back, not sliding forces, and the case constrains side-to-side motion.

The two square posts (with two others not shown) form the “feet” that support the radio when it’s standing on the desk or in the charger.

Now, to doodle up the dimensions and measure the actual capacity.

Speaking of capacity, BL-5 batteries on eBay range from $23 for “genuine Baofeng” that may or may not actually have that name on the label, all the way down to $8 for the usual no-name equivalent.

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