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Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Monthly Image: Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron caught a bright orange goldfish in the Vassar Farm Pond just before I rode past, spotted the scene, and fumbled my camera out of the underseat bag.

The heron hurked the fish down, with the abrupt right-angle bend in its neck marking the fish’s current location:

Great Blue Heron - swallowing

Great Blue Heron – swallowing

A bit of wiggling & jiggling put the meal in the right place and the bird relaxed:

Great Blue Heron - ruminating

Great Blue Heron – ruminating

A postprandial flight around the pond apparently settled the fish:

Great Blue Heron - takeoff

Great Blue Heron – takeoff

It landed on a snag a few dozen feet from where it started, then proceeded to look regal:

Great Blue Heron - idling

Great Blue Heron – idling

Those things really do look like pterodactyls in flight!

 

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Disaster Tourism

Riding around the block after a nasty storm showed far more than the usual number of leaves on the Dutchess Rail Trail:

Wappinger Tornado - Rail Trail near Titusville Rd - 2017-06-01

Wappinger Tornado – Rail Trail near Titusville Rd – 2017-06-01

I spotted several trees down on both sides of the trail approaching Maloney Road, with another large branch across that access ramp:

Wappinger Tornado - Maloney Rd Rail Trail ramp - 2017-06-01

Wappinger Tornado – Maloney Rd Rail Trail ramp – 2017-06-01

You might be able to see the large tree down across the trail on the far side of the road, up the slope.

Maloney Rd had many downed trees:

Wappinger Tornado - Maloney Rd 1 - 2017-06-01

Wappinger Tornado – Maloney Rd 1 – 2017-06-01

With chainsaw chips and flare ash piles everywhere:

Wappinger Tornado - Maloney Rd 2 - 2017-06-01

Wappinger Tornado – Maloney Rd 2 – 2017-06-01

From the National Weather Service:

The National Weather Service in coordination with Dutchess County Emergency Management officials, have confirmed a brief touchdown of a tornado on May 31. The tornado path began near the intersection of Maloney Road and Route 376. The tornado traveled due east along and just north of Maloney Road for approximately 1.25 miles before dissipating. Damage included numerous snapped hardwood and softwood trees and the roof lifted off a shed.

Both of Mary’s gardens suffered beatdowns, with the Vassar Farm plot pretty thoroughly pulverized by marble-size hail; she’s not in a good mood right now.

The DPW crews had plenty on their to-do list, but that branch was gone a day later.

Update: The top of the barely visible tree in the second picture just kissed the trail fence, but a much larger tree smashed both fences on its way across the trail:

Wappinger Tornado - Rail Trail S of Maloney - 2017-06-04

Wappinger Tornado – Rail Trail S of Maloney – 2017-06-04

If you need some firewood, maybe you can make a deal …

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Monthly Science: Significant Figures vs. Accuracy vs. Precision, Marathon Edition

The rail trail recently sprouted white mile markers:

Rail Trail - Marathon 13 mile marker

Rail Trail – Marathon 13 mile marker

This one stood out:

Rail Trail - Marathon 13.10938 mile marker

Rail Trail – Marathon 13.10938 mile marker

Not being a marathoner, I had the vague notion a marathon should be an even number of kilometers, because it’s not an even number of miles, but nooooo it’s just an arbitrary distance everybody agreed would be about right for a good long run.

During the rest of the ride, I worked out that 1 micro mile = 5+ milli foot = 60+ milli inch, so the rightmost significant figure in that marker represents increments of, oh, a smidge under ¾ inch. Middle of the hash line marks the spot, perhaps?

I’ve seen similar markers along other courses, with varying numbers of ahem significant figures, and will not say how long it took me to recognize what it represented.

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Road Conditions: Rt 376 Brush North of Maloney

NYS DOT ground the asphalt surface and repaved Rt 376, dramatically improving the southern route to the rail trail along Maloney Drive.

Alas, the Japanese Knotweed continues to flourish:

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I sent a note to their email contact and got the usual autoresponder message, but may have a side channel through the Dutchess County Planning Department to their Bicycle Coordinator. We shall see.

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Beware the Hissing Goose!

Rolling into Vassar Farms, we encountered a Canadian Canada Goose (*) family:

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21

The gander pulled straight up and hissed as we rolled by at what we thought was a respectful distance:

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21 - detail

Geese at Vassar Farm Pond 2017-05-21 – detail

Their little fuzzballs retreated in good order under the fence toward the pond; they don’t need much survival training.

Word has it a goose family (perhaps this one) built their nest near a path around the ponds and defend their turf with sufficient resolve to deter even singletrack bikers.

I occasionally see snakes along the way, but none that hiss:

Black Snake on Rail Trail - 2017-04-28

Black Snake on Rail Trail – 2017-04-28

We approach rail-trail curves with a bit more caution than some folks; I’m at about the spot where that rider began losing control and didn’t quite wipe us out.

Update: They’re “Canada Geese“, with (AFAICT) a legal distinction between Canadian tourists and resident Yanks during the hunting season. Thanks to David for the reminder!

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Sharing the Lane on Burnett Blvd. at Rt 55

When we get to the end of Overocker Road, we occupy the entire left-and-straight lane, because we’re turning left onto Burnett Blvd and there’s no room for another vehicle beside us:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 1

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 1

I’m towing a trailer of groceries.

On Burnett Blvd, we take the left side of the right lane (marked for left-and-right turns), because we’re turning left onto Rt 55, don’t want to get right-hooked by right-on-red traffic, and will be on the right side of the right lane of Rt 55 when we’re through the turn.

Without turn signals, it’s not clear whether the car following us from Overocker will turn left or right, but the driver is snuggling up next to Mary:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 2

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 2

The driver’s window is sliding downward. Fortunately, we started moving before any comments were made. Perhaps he was going tell us we’re riding cool bikes?

Ah-ha! The driver is turning left and intending to pass me on the right while we’re in the intersection:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 3

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 3

Helmet mirror FTW!

I’m moving rightward across the turning lane to end up on the right side of the Rt 55 lane, while not riding across the steel manhole cover at the car’s front wheel:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 4

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 4

Mary doesn’t accelerate nearly as hard as I do; those pictures are one second apart.

I’m un-leaning from the turn into Rt 55, with the trailer still on my left and the driver accelerating toward me:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 5

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 5

A close pass, but not too bad:

Burnett at Rt 55 - Right pass - 2017-05-23 - 6

Burnett at Rt 55 – Right pass – 2017-05-23 – 6

Most of the time, our rides aren’t this interesting, but I have plenty of examples showing how NYS DOT’s road designs ignore cyclists. The Burnett intersection signals still give us four seconds to clear the intersection.

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Copying Video Files From Action Cameras to a NAS Drive

For unknown reasons, a recent VLC update caused it to ignore uppercase file extensions: MP4 and AVI files no longer appear in its directory listings, while mp4 and avi files do. The least-awful solution involved renaming the files after copying them:

find /mnt/video -name \*AVI -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/AVI/avi/'
find /mnt/video -name \*MP4 -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/MP4/mp4/'
find /mnt/video -name \*THM -print0 | xargs -0 rename -v -f 's/THM/thm/'

Yup, that scans the whole drive every time, which takes care of stray files, manual tweaks, and suchlike. The THM files are useless thumbnails; I should just delete them.

While I had the hood up, I listed the remaining space on the NAS drive and cleaned up a few misfeatures. I manually delete old video files / directories as needed, usually immediately after the script crashes for lack of room.

The Sony HDR-AS30V can act as a USB memory device, but it dependably segfaults the ExFAT driver; I now transfer its MicroSD card to an adapter and jam it into the media slot on the monitor, where it works fine.

Protip: always turn the AS30V on to verify the MicroSD card has seated correctly in its socket. Unfortunately, the socket can also hold Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick Micro cards (32 GB maximum capacity = roadkill), but the dual-use / dual-direction socket isn’t a snug fit around MicroSD cards. You (well, I) can insert a card so it looks fine, while sitting slightly canted and not making proper contact. The camera will kvetch about that and it’s easier to fix with the camera in hand.

I’ve disabled USB device automounting, as I vastly prefer to handle them manually, so the script asks for permission in order to mount the drives. The transfer requires about an hour, so I’ve extended the time the sudo password remains active.

The script lets both cards transfer data simultaneously; the Fly6 generally finishes first because it produces less data. That produces a jumbled progress display and the script waits for both drives to finish before continuing.

The Bash source code as a GitHub Gist:

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