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Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Monthly Image: Here’s Looking at You!

A strangely equipped van-like object emerging from Vassar Farms waited entirely too long for me to ride past:

Vassar Farms - 2017-05-04

Vassar Farms – 2017-05-04

The signage on the rear quarter panel read “Apple Maps / maps.apple.com” and a search with the obvious keywords produced a much better picture from the good folks at Adafruit in NYC of what might be the very same vehicle:

Adafruit - Apple Maps Vehicle

Adafruit – Apple Maps Vehicle

The Apple Maps schedule says nothing about being in Dutchess County this month. Maybe they’re lost?

Not being an Apple kind of guy, let me know if you see me riding by …

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Tour Easy Front Fender Clip: Heatshrink

So: jouncing over the larg(er) potholes / pavement discontinuities / debris on the roads around here wobbulates the front fender enough to pull the stays out of those tidy 18 mm = 6 diameter deep sockets on the fender clip.

Perhaps a generous application of heatshrink tubing will help:

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip - heatshrink hack

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip – heatshrink hack

Waving a heat gun around a 3D printed part seems fraught with peril, even with PETG’s glass transition temperature around 80 °C = 175 °F, as ordinary polyolefin tubing shrinks at 140-ish °C. Aiming the hot air stream more-or-less away from the clip (and the tire!) carried the day. PLA would surely have gotten bendy.

The proper solution surely involves screw clamps and suchlike. I really dislike fiddly hardware: I hope this hack survives.

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Garage Door Openers: Pity the Color Blind

The small garage door opener I tote around in the Tour Easy’s underseat bag failed after many years of exposure to the elements, so I paid a few bucks more for a cheap replacement in order to get fast delivery from a (US!) eBay supplier:

Garage door opener remote controls

Garage door opener remote controls

For whatever it’s worth, before buying the replacement I tried:

  • Cleaning the battery contacts
  • Installing a new CR2032 battery
  • Programming the hitherto-unused buttons to open the door

The remote control would occasionally work, but none of the “repairs” made much difference; I suspect corrosion hidden under the components or cracked solder joints.

The eBay item description clearly, if inarticulately, specifies the compatibility requirement:

key chain remote control
compatible for purple learn button

So I trotted out to the garage and inspected the button:

Sears Garage Door Opener - purple button

Sears Garage Door Opener – purple button

Looks purple to me, but, being that type of guy, I also read the adjacent instruction sticker:

Sears Garage Door Opener - instructions

Sears Garage Door Opener – instructions

Nobody, nobody, maintains the documentation. [sigh]

I figured if they went to all the trouble of ordering a bazillion switches with purple caps, then the PCB surely holds the corresponding RF filters & firmware & whatever else that button signifies.

Seeing as how we have exactly one garage door opener and no lights or other doodads, I told the opener to obey both the 1 and 2 buttons, thereby dramatically reducing the dexterity required to open the door while pedaling up the driveway. The opener can remember an unspecified number of transmitters, so I didn’t go for all four buttons.

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Eneloop AAA Cells: First Charge

With an AAA-to-AA adapter in hand, the Eneloop AAA cells looked like this:

Eneloop AAA - as received - Ah scale - 2017-04-20

Eneloop AAA – as received – Ah scale – 2017-04-20

The glitch comes from a not-quite-seated cell, showing that a poor connection matters.

The package touts “up to 800 mA·h, 750 mA·h min”, with asterisks and superscripts leading to “Based on IEC 61951-2(7.3.2)“, access to which requires coughing up 281 bucks. So it goes.

A full charge made them happier:

Eneloop AAA - first charge - Ah scale - 2017-04-22

Eneloop AAA – first charge – Ah scale – 2017-04-22

The as-delivered 530 mA·h capacity represents 73% of the 725 mA·h after the first charge, so I suppose they’re more-or-less within the “Maintains up to 70% charge after 10 years of storage” claim. The 16-10 date code suggests they’re hot off the factory charger, so they must ship with somewhat less than a full charge.

Comparing the capacity in W·h makes more sense, because most devices (other than the Planet Bike blinky light these will go into, of course) use a boost converter to get a fixed voltage from the declining terminal voltage.

They arrived bearing just over 600 mW·h:

Eneloop AAA - as received - Wh scale - 2017-04-20

Eneloop AAA – as received – Wh scale – 2017-04-20

After charging, that went a bit over 850 mW·h :

Eneloop AAA - first charge - Wh scale - 2017-04-22

Eneloop AAA – first charge – Wh scale – 2017-04-22

Call it 71% of full capacity on arrival. Close enough.

The Planet Bike blinky will be somewhat dimmer with two NiMH cells delivering 2.3-ish V, compared with the initial 3-ish V from a pair of alkaline cells. I generally burn the alkalines down to 1.1 V apiece, so perhaps they’ll be Good Enough.

Now, if I were gutsy, I’d install a rechargeable lithium AAA cell, with a dummy pass-through adapter in the other cell socket, and run the blinky at 3.7 V. At least for a few moments, anyhow …

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Tour Easy Front Fender Clip

We rode the Feeder Canal trail during a recent bike vacation in exotic Glens Falls NY:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Branches

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Branches

The numerous downed branches along the trail and countless twigs on the trail came from a brush-clearing operation:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Brush Clearing

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Brush Clearing

As luck would have it, a twig snagged between my front tire and fender, snapping the clips holding the fender in place:

 

Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Should it not be obvious, each ferrule formerly had two parallel jaws (on the left) gripping the fender, with the tiny screw digging into the fender. I affixed the fender to the broken clips with copious amounts of duct tape and we continued the mission.

It should be obvious why those ferrules are not suitable for 3D printing.

However, with the recent rear fender clip serving as inspiration, this didn’t take long:

Tour Easy - Front Fender Clip - Slic3r

Tour Easy – Front Fender Clip – Slic3r

The front fender fits a 20 inch wheel and is somewhat wider and flatter than the rear fender (I think they bent the same plastic strip around a smaller mandrel), so I did a quick copy-and-paste hack job on the OpenSCAD source code, rather than trying to parameterize the daylights out of the previous model.

The posts around the wire stays are 6 diameters deep and reamed to fit; the stays won’t be flopping around even without fiddly mechanical hardware retaining them. The holes extend about halfway into those posts to mimic the dimensions of the original ferrules.

All of us can predict where the next break will occur, right? That’s OK: I want this to break, instead of wrecking the fender, so the only question is how much abuse those simple joints can withstand. The printing orientation wraps the perimeter threads from the posts around the clip, making it about a strong as it can be.

The ferrules should splay outward by a few degrees to match the angle from the fender to the fork eyelets, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.

The arch accommodates a strip of double-sided foam tape holding the clip in place along the fender curve, with those cute little hooks capturing the fender to keep the tape in compression:

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip - installed

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip – installed

I really must get some black foam tape …

The picture shows the fender sitting well away from the tire, due to the upper fender mount bending in response to the splash flap snagging on curbs and random debris; the wire stays didn’t seat completely into the posts.

The extender I made during the cracked fork episode remained perfectly straight, though:

Tour Easy - new fork - fender extender

Tour Easy – new fork – fender extender

So I re-bent the upper fender mount (not the extender!) to its original angle, thereby moving the bottom of the fender much closer to the tire. Now the stays seat fully, the clip holds the fender firmly in place with no rattles, and it’s all good.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

 

 

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Sharing the Road on NYS Bike Route 9: Right Hook

I’m towing a trailer of groceries southbound on Rt 376 (a.k.a. Hooker Avenue in this section), intending to turn right onto Zack’s Way for a library stop.

T=0.00 s, car @ 26.4 mph, me @ 19.8 mph

The transverse cracks through the asphalt are a convenient 60 ft apart, with the last one 20 ft from the stop line, and the frame numbers tick along at 60 frame/sec, so you can easily compute distances, times, and speeds.

I’ll be turning right at the intersection. The light is green.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 0624

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 0624

 

T= 2.07 s, car @ 26.7 mph, me @ 19.7 mph

Now I can see the car’s right turn signal, so this might not end well. I can’t jam on the brakes and avoid a collision by dumping the bike at speed; I’ll slide under the car in the middle of the turn.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 0748

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 0748

T=4.15 s, 15.2 mph

I’m 20 feet from the stop line and, suddenly, the driver also realizes this might not end well.

What he doesn’t know is that my trajectory must use the traffic lane: the shoulder around the corner is deteriorated, with several potholes, and vanishes completely where the intersection paving ends.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 0873

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 0873

T=5.05 s

The driver is turning wide, into the opposing traffic lane, but if I weren’t lining up for the turn, we’d be on a collision course. My line will take me just to the left of the seemingly tiny, but very deep, pothole just ahead.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 0927

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 0927

T=7.15 s

Leaning hard into the turn, but our paths won’t cross.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 1053

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 1053

T=7.37 s

I’m back upright in the middle of the lane, with the shoulder ending in a pothole to my right.

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 1066

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 1066

T=8.31 s

Remember, I’m wearing a fluorescent (“safety”) orange shirt, running a blinky light (which is also the rear camera), and towing a trailer with a fluttering flag: I am not inconspicuous!

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - 1123

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – 1123

In case there’s any question:

Zacks Way - Right Hook 2017-04-11 - rear

Zacks Way – Right Hook 2017-04-11 – rear

The rest of the ride proceeded without incident …

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Planet Bike SuperFlash Case: PUSH Fatigue

The blinky light on Mary’s bike became intermittent and, after a week or two, I figured out why:

Planet Bike Superflash - fatigued PUSH

Planet Bike Superflash – fatigued PUSH

The white plastic case has a thin section labeled PUSH over the switch. After five years of exposure to the sun (it faces upward on her bike) and upwards of 2000 pushes (5 years x 200 rides/year x 2 pushes/ride), the edges of that little plate cracked, it slipped inward, and jammed the switch button.

I swapped it for the one on my bike, which mounts with the switch downward and has seen much less use since I began running the Fly 6 rear camera + blinky light, and it was all good.

The fractured plate slid snugly back in place, a few drops of IPS 3 solvent-bonded the broken edges, and a snippet of good 3M electrical tape inside the case should provide a bit of reinforcement:

Planet Bike Superflash - reinforced cover

Planet Bike Superflash – reinforced cover

It’s now on my bike, just in case it’s needed.

That was easy …

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