Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Bike Helmet Boom Mic: Assembly

After building the mic mount, another dab of epoxy mounted the length of AWG 10 wire I said I wouldn’t use:

Bike Helmet Mic Boom - rod epoxy

Bike Helmet Mic Boom – rod epoxy

The whole point of the complex mount is to expose the two noise cancelling holes on the back of the electret element:

Bike Helmet Mic - electret element rear

Bike Helmet Mic – electret element rear

Add heatstink tubing over the entire length of the boom wire, use more black cable ties, shape another foam ball:

Bike Helmet Mic Boom - installed

Bike Helmet Mic Boom – installed

And it worked on the first try, not that there’s much to it.

Yeah, that’s the HDR-AS30V camera mount up top: dork mode in full effect.

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Left Turn on Red

Coming out of Adams, we’re ready to make a left turn onto Rt 44:

Left turn on red - 2014-07-24

Left turn on red – 2014-07-24

He was one car back in the left-turn storage lane when his light went yellow-to-red, crossed the stop line on the red, and was one car length over the stop line and accelerating when our light changed to green.

We’re ready to start rolling on green, but we’ve learned to wait a few heartbeats for just such occasions; what counts as a fender-bender for you would be a fatality for us.

Y’know how motorists get very, very angry at cyclists? I’ve always wondered why they don’t get that angry when motorists do those same stupid things, at higher speeds with much more energy.

We ride as though we’re thin cars, which is how it’s supposed to be done, and generally don’t get too much hassle.

One thing that is annoying, though: short-stroke yellow cycles that last maybe two seconds. We can cross the stop line on green, accelerating firmly through the intersection, and still get caught in the middle as the signal changes to green-to-yellow-to-red behind us and red-to-green for opposing traffic. No, we didn’t run the yellow, but that’s what it looks like.


Easy Reacher Pack: New Elastic Cord

The elastic cord behind the left-side under-seat Easy Reacher pack on my Tour Easy snapped some time ago, probably due to wear against the brace I installed to keep it from flopping around. Quite contrary to what I expected, the repair turned out to be almost trivially easy.

The cord terminates in a pair of plastic lugs, each with a ferrule that slipped off under moderate persuasion to reveal a pair of wedges that engaged the cord:

Easy Reacher pack - elastic cord clamp

Easy Reacher pack – elastic cord clamp

I expected the ferrule to have a positive lock engaging those wedges, but, nope, there’s (at most) a small ridge. Pry the wedges out and the cord slides out of the lug without a protest; the wedges don’t quite meet in the middle with the ferrule in place and there’s plenty of retention force on that flexy cord.

One of the shorter bungie cords in my collection turned out to be exactly the right diameter and length, with ends secured in its hooks using a simple crimped wire. Bending the ends of the wire at right angles freed the cord from its embrace:

Easy Reacher pack - unclamping new elastic cord

Easy Reacher pack – unclamping new elastic cord

The original stainless steel hook lies by the edge of the road along my usual bicycling route, but a slightly reshaped S hook (made, alas, of ordinary steel) fits around the cord well enough. When this one rusts away, I have plenty more.

Insert cord into lugs, push ferrules over locking wedges, remove one ferrule and lug, install reshaped S hook, reinstall lug and ferrule, install new cord on pack:

Easy Reacher pack - new elastic cord

Easy Reacher pack – new elastic cord

Install pack on bike: done!

I have no explanation for how well this worked out; I fear the Universe is saving up spit for something truly awful.


Tour Easy Kickstand Adapter Plate

The venerable Greenfield kickstand on my Tour Easy doesn’t quite match the mounting plate under the frame, with the result that it can pivot just enough to make the bike tippy with a moderate load in the rear panniers. I’ve carried a small block to compensate for sloping ground, but I finally got around to fixing the real problem.

The solution turned out to be a spacer plate that fills the gap between the back of the kickstand casting and the transverse block brazed to the mounting plate:

Tour Easy kickstand adapter plate

Tour Easy kickstand adapter plate

That little lip is 2 mm wide, so it’s not off by much.

The aluminum came from a Z-shaped post that contributed its legs to a previous project. I flycut the stub of one leg flush with the surface, then flycut a slot 2 mm from the edge:

Tour Easy kickstand adapter - flycutting recess

Tour Easy kickstand adapter – flycutting recess

For no reason whatsoever, the width of that slot turned out the be exactly right.

Bandsaw along the left edge of the slot, bandsaw the plate to length, square the sides, break the edges, mark the actual location of the mounting plate hole, drill, and it’s done!

An identical Greenfield kickstand on Mary’s identical (albeit smaller) Tour Easy (the bikes have consecutive serial numbers) fits perfectly, so I think this is a classic case of tolerance mismatch.

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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.



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 …