Snapping Turtle on the Move

A snapping turtle headed toward the beaver pond on the Dutchess County Rail Trail:

Snapping Turtle - DCRT - 2021-05-26
Snapping Turtle – DCRT – 2021-05-26

At this time of year and phase of the moon, she is most likely in search of a good spot for a nest and her clutch of eggs. Being an aquatic creature, she and her progeny surely benefit from Team Beaver’s engineering.

Today I Learned: snappers are the New York State Official Reptile.

Bafang Programming Adapter: More Cable Colors

In the process of installing a Bafang BBS02 mid-drive motor on a friend’s diamond-frame bike, I discovered, once again, how little anybody cares about the colors inside cables:

Bafang Display Extension Cable - internal colors
Bafang Display Extension Cable – internal colors

The cheerful rainbow on the right is the stub end of the Bafang display extension cable I built into the previous adapter.

The new cable on the left seemed like it might match the canonical colors:

Bafang BBS02 display cable pinout
Bafang BBS02 display cable pinout

It comes heartbreakingly close:

Bafang Display Cable - extension colors
Bafang Display Cable – extension colors

Brown and Orange connect as the naive user might expect, which does reduce the likelihood of incinerating the motor controller / USB adapter / laptop by connecting the 48 V battery directly to the logic-level electronics.

However, White wasn’t on the original menu, Green is now TXD, and Black has become, comfortingly, GND.

Verily, it is written: Hell hath no fury like that of an unjustified assumption.

This socket connector has a watertight shell making it extremely difficult to mate and unmate with the pin connector on the bike. Watertightness being unnecessary, a little razor-knife action seems in order:

Bafang Display Extension Cable - shroud trimming
Bafang Display Extension Cable – shroud trimming

Visually, they’re both green-ish, but sometimes the Pixel camera accentuates any differences.

Rt 376 Knotweed

Last June, NYS DOT surprised us by clearing the Japanese Knotweed along Rt 376 just north of Maloney, then applying enough defoliant to keep it knocked back this Spring:

Rt 376 Knotweed - defoliation near Maloney - 2021-05-23
Rt 376 Knotweed – defoliation near Maloney – 2021-05-23

A year earlier, they clearcut the overgrowth beyond the guide rail from Red Oaks Mill southward, but without defoliant, and the Knotweed is off to a good start:

Rt 376 Knotweed - Knotweed growth - 2021-05-23
Rt 376 Knotweed – Knotweed growth – 2021-05-23

I’ll do my part, inadequate though my pruners may be:

Rt 376 Knotweed - Knotweed trimming - 2021-05-23
Rt 376 Knotweed – Knotweed trimming – 2021-05-23

I got most of the growth in front of the guide rail extending across the shoulder, but must wait for another weekend morning to hack back the main stems.

Unfortunately, Knotweed control requires nearly continuous clearcutting and defoliation to prevent new growth.

Felco C7 Cable Cutter: Spring Repair

The back of the Pliers & Cutters drawer produced an ancient Felco C7 Cable Cutter minus its spring:

Felco C7 cutter - missing spring pin
Felco C7 cutter – missing spring pin

That’s an M4 screw serving as a size test for the hole where the other pin used to be.

Surprisingly, Felco still exists, still makes the C7 Cable Cutter, and actually sells a replacement spring as part number C7/10. Unfortunately, their online sales apparatus and cart seem broken: I put the spring in the cart, but found no way to pay for it. Worryingly, the usual Terms & Conditions link produced a modal dialog with one word: TEST.

So I got a spring (part number 5/11, available only as a pair in kit 5/91) for a Felco C3 cutter (no, the numbers do not match) from Amazon. Later I found a sketchy seller offering a sketchy C7/10 spring that might fit correctly or could be total trash.

Felco swaged the original spring pins into the handle, a manufacturing technique I certainly cannot duplicate, but an M3 screw will just barely fit inside a 4 mm stud, so I made some measurements:

Felco replacement spring pin - dimension doodle
Felco replacement spring pin – dimension doodle

Fitting action to words:

Felco C7 cutter - replacement spring pin
Felco C7 cutter – replacement spring pin

That started as a 1/4 inch rod of no particular provenance and is reasonably close to the actual dimensions.

The spigot on the screw end is threaded M3 and is just barely shorter than the thickness of the handle, so the button-head screw can pull it snug:

Felco C7 cutter - button screw
Felco C7 cutter – button screw

And then the spring just snapped into place:

Felco C7 cutter - spring installed
Felco C7 cutter – spring installed

It it obviously grossly excessively too long, but that really doesn’t matter for the number of power-on hours it’s likely to see during my administration. In truth, it feels pretty good in the hand after releasing the latch and having it expand smoothly.

If I ever run across a C7/10 spring, it’ll be an easy swap.

NYS DOT Motivation: Death

We have just started rolling from Overocker Road and the traffic signal on Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 (on the far left) has just turned green for the single car on the sensor loop:

Burnett Blvd Rt 55 - 2021-05-23 - 0 s
Burnett Blvd Rt 55 – 2021-05-23 – 0 s

Much to our surprise, 17 s later the signal is still green:

Burnett Blvd Rt 55 - 2021-05-23 - 17 s
Burnett Blvd Rt 55 – 2021-05-23 – 17 s

As usual, the unmarked sensor loop doesn’t detect bicycles and the control doesn’t take our clearing time into account, so the signal turns yellow 5 s later (after 22 s from turning green) while we’re still in the intersection:

Burnett Blvd Rt 55 - 2021-05-23 - 22 s
Burnett Blvd Rt 55 – 2021-05-23 – 22 sBurnett Blvd Rt 55 – 2021-05-23 – 22 s

After another 6 s, though, we’re through the intersection and lined up on the right side of Rt 55, just as the Rt 55 signal turns green:

Burnett Blvd Rt 55 - 2021-05-23 - 28 s
Burnett Blvd Rt 55 – 2021-05-23 – 28 s

Note that the Burnett Blvd signal remained green for 22 s, much longer than in bygone years, and the green-to-green time is now 28 s. We got through the intersection without any difficulty, although the green-to-red clearance time remains scanty.

Those of long memory may recall my writeup of the timing in early November last year. That was with many cars triggering the sensor loops, so the timings from a trip last July with a single truck-and-trailer tripping the sensor may be more relevant. Or take your pick from other timings done during the last six years; there’s plenty of data to show something’s new and different.

Mary recently discovered a reason why NYS DOT may have suddenly changed the signal timing at the Burnett intersection after all those years:

During the incident, a black Nissan Titan, driven by a 51-year-old male resident of Lagrangeville, collided with a bicycle, ridden by a 58-year-old male resident of Poughkeepsie, in the area of the crosswalk on the southeast portion of the intersection, said the Town of Poughkeepsie Police.

The bicyclist sustained serious injuries and was transported to MidHudson Regional Hospital.

The crosswalk mentioned in the article appears in the last picture.

The cyclist died of his injuries shortly after that article went live.

Mary knew him. He was one of the gardeners near her plot in the Vassar Community Garden who lived in the apartments a few hundred yards from that intersection, didn’t own a car, and, for years, rode through that intersection to the grocery store at the far end of Burnett Blvd (across another of DOT’s intersections). Everyone knew him as a nice, considerate guy.

When DOT tells you “Clearance times are determined based on speed, intersection dimensions, grade, and reaction time and cannot be adjusted” they don’t add “Because not enough people have died to get our attention.”

Death is the only thing that will convince NYS DOT’s engineers to change the signal timing at an intersection.

As far as I can tell, all of the other intersections along our usual routes still have the same inadequate clearance times. Evidently, the bicyclist death toll isn’t high enough to get their attention and evidence here doesn’t matter there, because motor vehicle traffic cannot be delayed, even for a few seconds, merely to protect the most vulnerable “users” of their facilities.

We’ve been bicycling all our adult lives and haven’t been killed yet, despite NYS DOT’s complete lack of attention. Our experiences justify my cynicism and bitterness.

I eventually figured out why no NYS DOT staffer will accompany me on bike trips along their “safe for all users” roads. If they did, they’d be unable to deny knowing how hazardous their engineering designs & maintenance practices are in real life, should the question come up in a court of law.

If you think that’s not the case, then let’s go riding together …

Road design, build quality, and attention to details matter, even though drivers and, yes, cyclists share some of the blame.