Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Sony 64 GB MicroSDXC Card: Speed Failure Redux

After about 1 TB of data spread over three months and maybe 100 bike rides, the second Sony SR-64UY 64 GB MicroSDXC card I bought last summer has failed… barely two weeks inside the one year warranty.

As with the first card, this one works fine except for the speed: it cannot record at 1920x1080p @ 60 fps. The only indication comes from aiming another camera at the display to capture the failure as it happens.

Just before the failure:

HDR-AS30V - MicroSDXC failure - 1

HDR-AS30V – MicroSDXC failure – 1

It’s taking stock of the situation:

HDR-AS30V - MicroSDXC failure - 2

HDR-AS30V – MicroSDXC failure – 2

Presumably, it’s patching up the abruptly terminated file:

HDR-AS30V - MicroSDXC failure - 3

HDR-AS30V – MicroSDXC failure – 3

Another box is on its way to Sony Media Services…

Over the last year, the price of an almost certainly genuine Sony SR-64UY Class 10 UHS-1 MicroSDXC card has dropped by 2.2 dB: $40 to $24. Now, however, the SR-64UY is the “old model”, so you can pay $30 (-1.3 dB) for an SR-64UY2 rated at 70 MB/s transfer speed (up from 40 MB/s), albeit with no change in the card’s speed class.


Both cards failed after writing 1 TB of data (give or take maybe 20%) in 4 GB chunks over the course of 100 recording sessions. The cards still work, in the sense that they can store and accurately retrieve data, just not at the Class 4 (not Class 10) speed rating required by the HDR-AS30V at 1920x1080p @ 60 fps.

The table in the Wikipedia Secure Digital article says Class 4 = 4 MB/s, which is slightly faster than the camera produces 4 GB files in 22:43 min:sec = 3 MB/s. A Class 10 card should write at a sustained 10 MB/s, so the SR-64UY write speed has dropped by at least a factor of 3 from the spec. I’d expect the root problem to be the error correction / block remapping / spare pool handling time has grown as the number of failed blocks eats into the card’s overcapacity, but I have no inside information.

When the replacements slow down, I’ll see how they work as Raspberry Pi memory…


Sharing The Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 2

A few days after I didn’t get sideswiped at the Vassar Main Entrance Rotary, we were returning from errands. Traffic is light, but Raymond Avenue doesn’t provide much clearance. This orange car is about as far away as one can expect:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 0

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 0

Two seconds later, however, there’s a door opening ahead of Mary (clicky for more dots):

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 1

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 1

I’m shouting “DOOR! DOOR! DOOR!” in the hopes that the driver won’t step directly in front of Mary, but most likely the orange car whooshing by three feet away made more difference:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 2

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 2

Fortunately, there wasn’t any overtaking traffic and, during the four seconds after the orange car passed us, we could move to the left:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 3

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 3

The driver’s body language suggested that, until we passed her, she remained oblivious to the outside world and, in fact, she was probably annoyed that two cyclists came that close to her.

“Sharing the road” requires two parties. Raymond Avenue’s design doesn’t encourage motorists to share the road and certainly doesn’t provide a fair playing field for the most unprotected party in the transaction.

Broken by design, I’d call Raymond Avenue, and that’s pretty much what NYSDOT’s original planning documents admit.



Sharing The Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 1

The “Share the Road” sign tells you how NYSDOT intended that Raymond Avenue should work:


Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 - Vassar Main Entrance - 0

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 – Vassar Main Entrance – 0

I’m just about to enter the traffic circle /rotary / roundabout in front of the Vassar College main entrance:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 - Vassar Main Entrance - 1a

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 – Vassar Main Entrance – 1a

The catch basin recess just in front of the car is 150 feet from the pedestrian zebra stripe at the rotary entrance. I’m pedaling at about 18 mph = 25 ft/s, my usual speed on that section, so the rotary is six seconds away.

Despite the cobbled strip adjacent to the parked car, I’m riding well within the door strike zone, which is pretty much where cyclists must ride on Raymond in order to not impede traffic flow. I was about to signal before taking the lane into the rotary, but a glance in the mirror (copied by the Fly6 aft camera) shows I’m too late:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 - Vassar Main Entrance - 1b

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 – Vassar Main Entrance – 1b

As always, motorists plan on squeezing past me and getting through the rotary before I arrive, presumably figuring that I can share the road with them both into and through the rotary. That doesn’t take into account the fact that vehicles must speed up to pass me at more than 18 mph, slow down before the rotary entrance, then veer right around the central island. Given, say, 300 feet, that’s 12 seconds, which isn’t really all that long.

Under ordinary circumstances, I can pass through the rotary by backing off on the pedaling and coasting, without slowing very much at all, occupying the entire lane. If there’s oncoming traffic, then I plan to stop at the Yield sign, an event which often takes motorists by surprise.

Three seconds later, with the entrance barely two car lengths ahead, we’re both braking hard:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 - Vassar Main Entrance - 2

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 – Vassar Main Entrance – 2

The rotary entrance lane squeeze just ahead slows motor vehicles and channels them in the proper direction around the central island, a bike-unsafe design that mashes cyclists right up against the side of improperly passing vehicles.

After another four seconds, we’re both almost stopped, which is a Very Good Thing for me, because I can’t tell if they’re going straight or, hey, about to turn right into the Vassar Main Gate without the formality of signaling:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 - Vassar Main Entrance - 3

Raymond Ave 2015-06-27 – Vassar Main Entrance – 3


You can’t hear me shouting “GO! GO! GO!” to encourage them to get the hell out of the rotary. For sure, I am not going to pass them on the right.

As it turned out, the driver continued straight through the rotary, then parked close to the Juliet, along with the car following them, which was a few feet behind me in the last picture. I decided that stopping by the driver’s window and asking if he / she / it understood what just happened would not be a productive use of anyone’s time.

Speaking of time, if seven seconds sounds ample for evasive maneuvering, bring your bike over and let’s do some riding.

There’s nothing like a shot of adrenaline to perk up one’s pedaling…


Making the Asterisk Visible

Spotted a new sign at the Van Wyck Road entrance to the Dutchess Rail Trail:

DCRT at Van Wyck Rd - ATV Patrol sign

DCRT at Van Wyck Rd – ATV Patrol sign

The tiny print on the top sign still reads No Motorized Vehicles, but the bottom sign makes it explicit that that particular prohibition applies only to ordinary citizens.

Which matches up with the Sheriff’s ATVs I spotted a weeks earlier:

DCRT - Sheriff ATV Patrol - Page Park

DCRT – Sheriff ATV Patrol – Page Park

As of late May, the No All Terrain Vehicles signs were still up. Maybe they still are.

According to the New York Times style guide and other reasonably erudite sources, the plural of ATV should be ATVS (or, if you have the luxury of mixed case, ATVs), not ATV’S.



Road Conditions: Spackenkill Rd – Eastbound Shoulder – Croft to Hagan

According to the map on page 116 of the “Walk Bike Dutchess” Planning Document, Spackenkill Road has a “Paved Shoulder Width” that’s “Greater than four feet”, but with an asterisk: “Paved width based on available data. May not reflect usable width.” Here’s what “usable width” looks like in actual practice.

I’m riding eastbound on Spackenkill Road, just past the signal at Croft Road. The shoulder has actually been at least 4 ft wide up to this point, but after Flower Hill Rd the paved surface narrows dramatically:

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 1

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 1

The right half of the shoulder is a drainage swale that wasn’t repaved along with the rest of the surface; the drain grates just add to the hazard.

This grate features a “bike safe” hex grid. What you can’t see is how far it’s recessed into the asphalt.

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 2

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 2

Did you notice the manhole cover dead ahead, extending from the fog line across the entire paved part? I did, which is why I’m moving into the travel lane: it’s recessed a few inches into the pavement.

The swale deepens and becomes a patch palimpsest closer to the signal at Wilbur Blvd:

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 3

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 3

Another manhole cover, recessed on the left and protruding on the right, with a rubble-filled swale requiring riders to move into the traffic lane:

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 4

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 4

The residual paint on the cover suggests the fog line moved a foot leftward, so the shoulder is slightly wider than it was before the repaving. At this point, the shoulder is a bit over a foot wide, if you ignore the manhole cover and don’t mind riding right up to the edge of the dropoff into the swale.

Just as an aside, why is it when motorists blow a red light, it’s perfectly normal, but when bicyclists do the same thing, they’re maniacs deserving instant death?

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 5

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 5

That’s why I stop at traffic signals and wait a few seconds before starting.

The shoulder gets wider toward Van Duzier, again if you ignore a recessed grate that’s so deep vehicles scratch the far side as they bottom out:

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 6

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 6

In Dutchess County, you get used to bicycling on whatever pavement you get. I can reliably ride a ledge half a foot wide, but we don’t expect drivers to navigate tiny slices of pavement.

Closing in on Hagan Drive, there’s a slightly concave wheel-trapping grate turned at a jaunty angle, smack in the middle of what surely counts as “more than four feet” of shoulder:

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - 7

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – 7

That one’s easy, although if you didn’t like riding close to traffic, you’d be in that gravel patch.

Back in the day, I commuted by bike to IBM along Spackenkill Road. It was in much worse condition with terrible shoulders, so the recent repaving isn’t all that bad. Oddly, back then it was an Official Bike Route with Official Signs; now that it’s improved, it’s no longer marked. Perhaps when NYSDOT gained control of the road, they decided it didn’t meet contemporary bike route standards?

On the whole, Spackenkill is much better than the usual Dutchess County fare.

Should you think that shoulder width isn’t a problem, then you should also have no problem with this deal: send me your paychecks and I will write you checks for anywhere from -25% to +150% of the nominal amount, randomly weighted by the sampled deviation of the shoulder width from four feet along both sides of Spackenkill Road. What say?

It’s not as though a cop will ask you about your average speed when you’re pulled over for speeding: it’s your maximum speed that matters. For bicyclists, it’s the minimum shoulder width and minimum paving standard.

A map with the route (clicky for more dots):

Spackenkill Rd EB - Croft to Hagan - map

Spackenkill Rd EB – Croft to Hagan – map

There’s a movie showing the complete ride from IBM Road to Red Oaks Mill.


Cycliq Fly6: Rain-shedding Performance

Cycliq says “Using the latest nanotechnology, Fly6 is safeguarded against any wet weather nature can throw at you.” That’s not quite the same as saying it’s waterproof, but the plastic lens cover sheds water surprisingly well.

We were caught in a brief downpour on a recent ride and, not unexpectedly, water covered the rear-facing lens:

Fly6 - Rain 1

Fly6 – Rain 1

A larger drop ran down the left side, merged with the previous drop, and blurred two thirds of the image:

Fly6 - Rain 2

Fly6 – Rain 2

Three seconds and a few major jolts later, the lens was mostly clear:

Fly6 - Rain 3

Fly6 – Rain 3

Half a minute later, it’s looking even better:

Fly6 - Rain 4

Fly6 – Rain 4

The jolts come from the deteriorated paving and poor patches along Rt 376, but at least they shake the water off the lens:

Fly6 - Rain 5

Fly6 – Rain 5

Ten minutes after the first image, both the lens and the sky were almost completely clear:

Fly6 - Rain 6

Fly6 – Rain 6

A pleasant surprise!

That transverse crack just behind me? Charlie Brown’s First Principle of Puddles applies: you cannot tell how deep a puddle is from the top. That sucker goes down through at least three layers of paving:

Crack - Red Oaks Mill

Crack – Red Oaks Mill

I forgot to put the Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera in its waterproof housing before we left, so I put it in the (not exactly waterproof, either) underseat pack when the first drops fell. Sony makes no pretense that the bare camera can survive a rainstorm, but the packs are good for our simple needs.

Ed’s First Principle of Rain Riding: After the first five minutes, you don’t get any wetter.


Bicycle vs. Flying Objects

A few minutes after we started riding, an insect collided with my helmet. About 3/60 second before impact:

HDR-AS30V 1280x720-60 - Insect - crop

HDR-AS30V 1280×720-60 – Insect – crop

We paused in a park at the far end of the ride, rolled out, and another insect buzzed past:

HDR-AS30V 1280x720-60 - Insect 2 - crop

HDR-AS30V 1280×720-60 – Insect 2 – crop

Both of those flew within a few inches of the lens, far inside the camera’s fixed-focus near point, and it’s a wonder they look as good as they do. Looking at successive frames reveals wingbeats, although they’re surely flapping much faster than frame rate and therefore heavily aliased.

Fortunately, a Gas Hawk didn’t come that close:

Rt 376 - Dutchess Airport - landing

Rt 376 – Dutchess Airport – landing

All from the Sony HDR-AS30V in 1280×720 at 60 frame/s. The bug images were ruthlessly cropped to show the full-size dot-for-dot camera image, then stored with minimal compression.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been buzzed on the bike, but it’s a record for one ride.

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