Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling
After nigh onto 18 years, the pipe straps holding the Zzipper fairing struts to the handlebars of our Tour Easy recumbents finally shrugged off their plastic wraps:
Although they still worked, riding over broken pavement produced distinct rattles; alas, the roads around here feature plenty of broken pavement.
The solution is a rugged plastic block capped with aluminum plates to spread the clamping load:
The solid model is straightforward:
A slight bit of tinkering made the stack exactly the right height for 45 mm screws secured with nyloc nuts. No washers on either end, although that’s definitely in the nature of fine tuning.
The three sections print without support:
I reamed the smaller hole with a 3/8 inch drill to match the fairing strut rod. The as-printed larger hole fit the handlebar perfectly, although the first picture shows the tubing isn’t exactly round on the near side of the block, where it starts the outward bend toward the grips.
The cap plates cried out for CNC, but I simply traced two outlines of the block on 1/8 inch aluminum sheet, bandsawed near the line, introduced them to Mr Disk Sander for finishing & corner rounding, transfer-punched the holes from the plastic blocks, and drilled to suit:
Making two pairs of plates by hand counts as Quality Shop Time around here.
The first few rides confirm the fix: no rattles!
The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:
After a few days of topping off the rear tire on Mary’s bike, with no gashes or debris in the tire, I finally replaced the Michelin Protek tube and autopsied it:
While it’s possible to extract the valve and perhaps even clean / replace it, I think that’s just delaying the inevitable. The rubber shreds may be necessary to fill large punctures, but they seem to wreck the valve seal.
Her bike now has an ordinary (pronounced “cheap”) tube inside the Schwalbe Marathon Plus armored tire. We’ll see how long this lasts.
Returning from a long ride, we spotted an unusual sign at the Vassar Farm entrance (clicky for more dots):
I hadn’t noticed an uptick of the insurgency around here, but I suppose it could happen.
It looks like a Cougar HE 6×6 MRAP on loan from the DLA 1033 Program to the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department. The flat top suggests they dismounted the CROWS gun, which seems a definite step down in no-knock capability.
The M106 is an impressive hunk of tracked armor, although it seems unsuited for urban warfare and would certainly scuff up the streets pretty badly. I don’t know if they scrapped the M106 in favor of the MRAP.
I’m hoping they don’t collaborate with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department to patrol the Rail Trail, even within the City limits.
Spotted along Robinson Lane:
A closer look at the same number of pixels:
The little one way over on the left is definitely having an adventure!
I recovered a tool from an intersection during the homeward leg of a bike ride:
The scabbard is a bit the worse for having been run over by traffic, but the knife is still in good shape.
The back of the blade has been well and truly mushroomed:
The blade edge doesn’t have nearly as much damage as you’d (well, I’d) expect from all the hammering on the back and sides:
The molded handle suggests it’s a commercial product, but it has no branding, no maker’s mark, no identification of any kind.
Google Image Search returns useless views of tail lights and rifles. Here, try it for yourself:
I have no idea what it’s used for.
[Update: It’s a Bell System Cable-Sheath Splitting Knife, made by Klein Tools. More details in the comments … ]
The Baofeng UV-5R radios on our bikes seem absurdly sensitive to intermodulation interference, particularly on rides across the Walkway Over the Hudson, which has a glorious view of the repeaters and paging transmitters atop Illinois Mountain:
A better view of the assortment on the right:
And on the left:
Not shown: the Sheriff’s Office transmitter behind us on the left and the Vassar Brothers Hospital / MidHudson pagers on either side at eye level. There’s plenty of RFI boresighted on the Walkway.
Anyhow, none of the Baofeng squelch settings had any effect, which turned out to be a known problem. The default range VHF covered a whopping 6 dB and the UHF wasn’t much better at 18 dB, both at very low RF power levels.
We use the radios in simplex mode, generally within line of sight, so I changed the Service Settings to get really aggressive squelch:
I have no way to calibrate the new signal levels, but I’d previously cranked the squelch up to 9 (it doesn’t go any higher) and, left unchanged, the new level makes all the previous interference Go Away™. Another ride over the Walkway with the squelch set to 4 also passed in blissful silence.
If the BF-F9 levels mean anything on a UV-5R, that’s about -100 dBm, 20 dB over the previous -120 dBm at squelch = 9.
The new squelch levels may be too tight for any other use, which doesn’t matter for these radios. As of now, our rides are quiet.
[Update: Setting the squelch to 5 may be necessary for the Walkway, as we both heard a few squawks and bleeps while riding eastbound on a Monday afternoon. ]
I contented myself by practicing my slow-riding skills while they ambled along and, eventually, moved far to the left.
A few hours later, they seemed to be having a picnic in the grass:
We parted as friends, which is always pleasant.