Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Monthly Image: A Tree Full of Turtles

Spotted along Robinson Lane:

Tree full of turtles
Tree full of turtles

A closer look at the same number of pixels:

Tree full of turtles - detail
Tree full of turtles – detail

The little one way over on the left is definitely having an adventure!

I’d read of goats climbing trees, but never turtles.



Mystery Knife / Chisel

I recovered a tool from an intersection during the homeward leg of a bike ride:

Mystery chisel knife - overview
Mystery chisel knife – overview

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:

Mystery chisel knife - battered back
Mystery chisel knife – battered back

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:

Mystery chisel knife - blade edge
Mystery chisel knife – blade edge

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:

Mystery chisel knife
Mystery chisel knife

I have no idea what it’s used for.

Do you?

[Update: It’s a Bell System Cable-Sheath Splitting Knife, made by Klein Tools. More details in the comments … ]


Baofeng UV-5R Squelch Settings

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:

Walkway Over The Hudson - Illinois Mountain Antennas
Walkway Over The Hudson – Illinois Mountain Antennas

A better view of the assortment on the right:

Illinois Mountain - North Antennas
Illinois Mountain – North Antennas

And on the left:

Illinois Mountain - South Antennas
Illinois Mountain – South Antennas

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:

Baofeng UV-5R - Improved Squelch Settings
Baofeng UV-5R – Improved Squelch Settings

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. ]


Pedestrian Hazard on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail

I ride slowly and ding my bell when overtaking pedestrians on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, but this group of walkers paid almost no attention as I rode toward New Paltz:

HVRT New Paltz - Canada geese - Eastbound - 2019-07-16
HVRT New Paltz – Canada geese – Eastbound – 2019-07-16

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:

HVRT New Paltz - Canada geese - Westbound - 2019-07-16
HVRT New Paltz – Canada geese – Westbound – 2019-07-16

We parted as friends, which is always pleasant.

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Arlington Fire Department Practice Session

The normal Vassar Farm exit was blocked by Arlington Fire District equipment, but the scene was calm and nobody objected when I asked to ride through:

Fire Department Practice - Hose Engine
Fire Department Practice – Hose Engine

They were practicing hose deployment and structure entry in a soon-to-be-demolished building:

Fire Department Practice - Theatrical Smoke
Fire Department Practice – Theatrical Smoke

That’s theatrical smoke, not a real fire; the folks off the right of the picture told me it’s impossible to burn down old structures for practice nowadays, what with all the environmental regulations.

The Tower Truck obviously has more reach than they’ll need for the second floor:

Fire Department Practice - Ladder Truck
Fire Department Practice – Ladder Truck

A few days later, we spotted Fairview Fire District folks scoping out the house.

We think this might be Vassar’s way of contributing back to the various emergency departments, as the College is mostly tax-exempt.


Monthly Science: Weight

Homeostasis is a thing:

Weight Chart 2019-06 - Ed
Weight Chart 2019-06 – Ed

On the other paw, the eyeballometric trend line since mid-April slopes at -1 lb/month and arrives at just over 150 lb in December, so progress continues apace.


Walkway Over The Hudson: Privileged Parking

Walkway West - Privileged Parking
Walkway West – Privileged Parking

Although different rules apply to the Park staff, so they can drive back & forth across a crowded Walkway with impunity, it’d be courteous if they didn’t block the bike rack with their vehicles. After we parked our bikes in the rack, the woman riding the third bike couldn’t get out and two other riders simply leaned their bikes against the Welcome Center.

Privilege is one thing, flaunting it seems entirely unnecessary.

I’ve yet to understand why the staff must drive over the Walkway at any time, not just park on the pedestrian plaza, as there’s a perfectly serviceable bridge designed specifically for motor vehicles barely half a mile to the south. Heck, on a clear day, you can even see it from the Walkway. [grin]

Our bikes get us from one end to the other in under ten minutes, about as fast as the Park staff can drive, so using a car doesn’t provide any speed advantage. I can carry a week’s worth of groceries in my bike trailer and rarely see the staff carrying anything bigger in the car, so a “we must haul stuff” excuse seems self-serving.

Every “unintended acceleration” mass-casualty incident involves a vehicle, a bunch of pedestrians, and a driver who never thought it could happen. Proactively eliminating vehicle traffic from the Walkway seems much easier than explaining why you didn’t.

Parking vehicles in appropriate places doesn’t require any explanation.

Thanks …

Email to Walkway Over the Hudson

I should have sent it to the sprawling NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, but I hoped the Walkway staff could forward it to the right person. Haven’t heard anything back; I should have saved the electrons.