Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Turtle Tragedy: Raymond Avenue

Verily, ’tis the season for turtles on the move. This one clunked over the curb on Raymond Avenue at Vassar Lake, couldn’t find an escape route, and got smashed:

Smashed turtle - Raymond Ave at Vassar Lake - 2014-07-06

Smashed turtle – Raymond Ave at Vassar Lake – 2014-07-06

Turtle armor works pretty well against their usual predators, but can’t handle automobile tire impacts.

That’s a tight crop from the helmet camera, with terrible compression artifacts smearing the spalled concrete sidewalk.

For whatever reason, NYSDOT can’t do concrete sidewalks; the entire length of Raymond Avenue has lousy concrete. The fact that Vassar College B&G uses the sidewalks as their private golf-cart highway may have something to do with it, but that’s not the primary problem, because the concrete on DOT’s showcase Rt 55 between Burnett Blvd and Titusville Rd looks the same way.

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Monthly Science: Bicycling

Faired Tour Easy on crowned road

Faired Tour Easy on crowned road

Mary signed up for the National Bike Challenge and is currently ranked 4201 out of 32 k riders, by simply getting on the damn bike and riding. About 3/4 of her miles count as “transport”: grocery / gardening / shopping / suchlike. We’re no longer biking to work, but when we did, riding ten miles a day, every day, added up pretty quickly; we chose houses in locations that made bicycle commuting possible.

Her father, at age 84, also signed up and ranked neck-and-neck with her until cataract surgery cut into his riding schedule; their standings flip-flopped depending on who updated most recently. He’s our role model for getting old without slowing down.

I’m not participating, being far more quantified than anyone really should be.

Makes you wonder what the bottom 28 k (*) riders are doing, doesn’t it? I mean, sheesh, my esteemed wife spots most participants an entire lifetime or two; her father spots them three or four. They’re not star athletes, that’s for sure, but they’re doing just fine.

I commend to your attention:

Less Exercise, Not More Calories, Responsible for Expanding Waistlines

Takeway: half of adult Americans report no physical activity at all.

May I suggest a health(y) plan?

(*) The Challenge had over 40 k riders at one point. We think they’ve tossed folks who haven’t done any riding at all, which might serve to improve the overall averages.

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Shimano SPD Pedals: Creaking Resolved

Both Shimano SPD pedals on my Tour Easy have been creaking while climbing hills and I’ve gradually eliminated all the usual mechanical suspects: loose bottom bracket bearings (it’s a cartridge), loose cranks (they’re the old-school tapered squares), loose pedal spindles, and so forth. Of course, it’s impossible to produce the creak with the bike clamped in the work stand, which make debugging particularly frustrating.

After all that, I noticed the shoe soles were wearing the pedal frames just outside the cleat clamps:

Shimano SPD pedal - shoe sole abrasion

Shimano SPD pedal – shoe sole abrasion

So I went so far as to carve away a bit of the sole:

Shimano SPD cleat - trimmed shoe sole

Shimano SPD cleat – trimmed shoe sole

Turns out none of that solved the problem.

What did solve the problem: a drop of oil on the rear of the cleat. You can see a smear of oil on the sole; it doesn’t take quite so much.

As nearly as I can tell, the rear of the cleat drags on the slightly irregular surface of the clamp and, both surfaces being hardened steel, they stick-and-slip just slightly.

A dab of grease may provide longer-lasting relief …


Bike Helmet Boom Mic: Housing

The last time around, this involved silver soldering the boom wire directly to the mic housing. This time, I filed a fishmouth in the smaller tube and epoxied it to the tube that’ll hold the mic capsule:

Bike Helmet Mic Boom - housing

Bike Helmet Mic Boom – housing

The smaller tube is a loose slip fit for #10 copper wire, but that’s really too heavy for the boom. I’ll probably nestle #12 wire inside another tube and epoxy that whole affair in place.

The mic capsule tube needs a rounded notch filed in one end to accommodate the wire.

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Sony HDR-AS30V Camera: Protecting The Lens

The 170° fisheye lens on the HDR-AS30V action camera protrudes from the front of the case, the better to view the passing scenery:

Sony HDR-AS30V Action Camera

Sony HDR-AS30V Action Camera

Unfortunately, that means there’s nothing to protect it when the scenery gets a bit too close.

Mounting it upside-down in the skeleton frame provides a bit of protection, by putting it inside the straight line connecting the helmet brim with the top of the frame:

Sony HDR-AS30V camera on bike helmet - inverted

Sony HDR-AS30V camera on bike helmet – inverted

That won’t protect it from severe impacts, but perhaps a casual drop won’t scar the lens. You can tell from the scuffs that the helmet does get dropped every now and then.

Most of the camera mounts on Thingiverse don’t take that into account, alas.

When you remove the skeleton mount from the helmet, grip the camera between finger and thumb while releasing the latch with your other hand. The mount will dangle from your fingers and the camera won’t slide out; if you don’t have both hands free, don’t mess with the camera.

Even though it doesn’t look at all like a GoPro Hero, everybody recognizes the “camera on helmet” meme and, in general, behaves a bit more circumspectly. I didn’t see that coming, not at all.


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Monthly Image: Hudson River Boating

Much of the boat traffic on the Hudson consists of barges shuttling bulk commodities between the Atlantic and the Port of Albany. I think this is a crude oil barge, based on the Christmas Tree plumbing that was more visible when it passed under the Mid Hudson Bridge:

Walkway and Barge - from Mid Hudson Bridge

Walkway and Barge – from Mid Hudson Bridge

We crossed the Walkway Over the Hudson westbound, where a work crew was tending a crane. That’s how they do repair and inspection:

Walkway Inspection Crane - from Mid Hudson Bridge

Walkway Inspection Crane – from Mid Hudson Bridge

The Hudson River has far fewer power boats than in years gone by, probably due to their gallon-per-minute fuel consumption:

Power boat on Hudson River - from Mid Hudson Bridge

Power boat on Hudson River – from Mid Hudson Bridge

It was a fine day for a ride:

KE4ZNU - APRS track 2014-06-30

KE4ZNU – APRS track 2014-06-30


You Know It’s Time to Change the Bike Tire When …

…. the armor layer under the tread starts peeking through:

Eroded Schwalbe Marathon tire

Eroded Schwalbe Marathon tire

Actually, it started peeking through early this year, but why rush things?

I swapped in a Michelin Pilot City 700x32C tire with their Protek Max armor and reflective sidewalls; we’ll see how well all that works.

No tire liner inside, so I’m depending on the armor and the fact that it’s a rather chunky tire.