Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Dutchess Rail Trail: Maloney Rd Trailhead Ruts

It seems the DCW&WA SUV makes regular trips through the “No Motor Vehicles” bike access:

Maloney Rd Trailhead - 2018-11-07

Maloney Rd Trailhead – 2018-11-07

If it’s not them, then it’s somebody following their example.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should … but, of course, the ordinary rules apply only to little people, not public servants.

Someone in the bike advocacy apparat once told me I’m the most cynical, bitter person they’d ever met, at least on the subject of getting along with public servants. As I see it, I came by my attitude honestly.



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Badger Propel Air Fittings: DIY Rubber Washers

Unlike ordinary bike tubes, Michelin ProTek tubes have a square-ish cross section:

Michelin Protek Max Tube - carton

Michelin Protek Max Tube – carton

So, having a defunct Michelin ProTek tube in hand, I cut, cleaned, and dissected a few inches, then punched out a set of (flat!) washers for the Badger Propel air fittings:

Badger 260 Propel fitting seals - inner-tube version

Badger 260 Propel fitting seals – inner-tube version

As with the cork version, they fit fine:

Badger Propel fitting - DIY rubber seal

Badger Propel fitting – DIY rubber seal

The picture is slightly fuzzy, because zooming a Pixel photo doesn’t magically create any new mmmm pixels.

I tested the washer with 45 psi air (the recommended maximum) and it holds the pressure fine. Better than a fouled ProTek valve, anyway.

Flushed with success, I preemptively replaced both OEM cork washers, an action which will surely come back to haunt me.




Michelin ProTek Max Tube: Autopsy

The Michelin ProTek Max tube I installed two years ago developed a slow leak this year, which I eventually ascribed to the valve stem, because the sealant should plug any other leak.

Cutting it open reveals the perfectly good greenish-yellow sealant:

Michelin ProTek tube - sealant

Michelin ProTek tube – sealant

The sealant also carries black rubbery grit / shavings / dust, perhaps intended to jam inside larger gashes while the sealant coagulates and binds it together.

There’s a lot of rubber floating around in there:

Michelin ProTek tube - rubber fragments

Michelin ProTek tube – rubber fragments

Dismantling the Presta valve stem show the rubbery crud on and around the valve seal and seat:

Michelin ProTek tube - fouled valve seal

Michelin ProTek tube – fouled valve seal

Whenever I pumped up the tires, I finger-tightened the nut to ensure a good seal, as you do with all Presta valves. Obviously, finger-tight can’t handle that much crud between the sealing surfaces.

I’m sorry to say I was right about the leaky valve stem, because I think all the ProTek tubes will fail in exactly the same way.

The valve has small wrench flats making it easy to remove, so I can at least attempt to de-gunk them when they develop slow leaks.

Color me unimpressed.



SRAM X.9 Grip Shift Guts

The guts of the failed SRAM X.9 rear shifter from my Tour Easy:

SRAM X.9 grip shifter - innards

SRAM X.9 grip shifter – innards

The identical rear shifter on Mary’s bike also seems to be wearing out, as it glides between two of her favorite click stops a bit too easily. You can see the spring peeking out to the right, beyond the white tube, and the notches forming the clicks.

AFAICT, the raised section between the notches is wearing down; there’s no repair for that sort of thing. I took this one apart to see what’s inside: now we know!

We’ve agreed to not replace the shifter until the situation gets worse. An X.0 shifter should arrive shortly; it appears identical except for deeper scallops around the grip.


Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue: Squeeze Play

We’re riding home with groceries along Raymond Avenue, approaching the Vassar Main Gate roundabout, and, as is my custom, I’ve been pointing to the middle of the lane for maybe five seconds as I move leftward to take the lane:

Raymond Passing - Approach - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Approach – 2018-10-04

The driver of HCX-1297 is having none of it:

Raymond Passing - Near Miss - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Near Miss – 2018-10-04

The mirror passed maybe a foot away from my shoulder; I’d reeled my arm in as the front fender passed by.

All three traffic circles / roundabouts on Raymond neck the lane down and angle it rightward into the circle, which is supposed to “calm” traffic:

Raymond Passing - Roundabout - 2018-10-04

Raymond Passing – Roundabout – 2018-10-04

The design doesn’t allow much flinch room for cyclists and certainly isn’t calming for us.

The NYS engineer who designed the Raymond roundabouts said the whole thing was “standards compliant”, refused to go on a check ride with me to experience what it was like, and told me to detour through the Vassar campus if I felt endangered while sharing the road.

Obviously, NYS DOT personnel do not dogfood their “share the road” bicycle standards by riding bicycles.



Driving While Inattentive

When you come upon a scene like this, you know someone’s having a Bad Day:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - approach - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – approach – 2018-09-21

I rode slowly past a line of stopped cars, became a pedestrian, walked through the lawns on the left, then turned back into a bicyclist.

It appeared to be a three-car collision, with two vehicles aligned almost perfectly nose-to-nose in the northbound lane:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - overview - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – overview – 2018-09-21

The red 2015-ish Forester apparently snagged a rear wheel on the far side of another contestant:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - Forester - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – Forester – 2018-09-21

Talk about heart-stopping: Mary had driven off to a meeting some hours before. Even though the wrecked Forester differed in enough details to make me absolutely certain it wasn’t ours , Mary got a firmer-than-usual hug when she got home.

A picture not shown: two expressionless officers supervising a guy having great difficulty walking the fog line.

I’ll never know the rest of the story, but the overall outline seems clear.

Other than that, it was a fine day for a ride


Driving While Shouting

We generally don’t get hassled during our bike rides, perhaps because we ride like narrow vehicles and don’t pull stupid bicyclist tricks. The few folks who do hassle us seem to be twenty-something males, an endangered species of its own.

A shout of “Assholes!”

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Unusually, there was no nearby traffic, so it’s not a case of mistaken identity.

Protip: Don’t do something in your employer’s vehicle that your employer may regret.

A shout of “Fuck you!”

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Protip: Your car has a license plate. JCX-1393, matching my high-res version against the audio track; I shout the license plate and identifying information while I can see it.

Yes, I was young once … and stupid.

One hopes they outgrow it, too.