Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

SRAM Shift Indicator: Repair FAIL

The little red shift indicator tab in the SRAM X.9 rear shifter on Mary’s bike snapped:

SRAM Shift Indicator - broken tab

SRAM Shift Indicator – broken tab

In a triumph of hope over experience, I tried gluing the pieces with a bit of fixturing and a dab of IPS #3 solvent:

SRAM Shift Indicator - gluing

SRAM Shift Indicator – gluing

Didn’t work any better than the last time, of course. Every gear shift snap must apply 1000 G to that poor little tab…

What’s new & different: one can now obtain Official Repair Kits consisting of the indicator tab, the plastic cover, and the two screws for $6.47 delivered from eBay.

Done!

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Red Tailed Hawk in Red Oaks Mill

We often see Red Tailed Hawks circling high above the area, but this one came closer than most (clicky for more dots):

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 - 0195

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 – 0195

Surely you can see it, just to the left of the speed limit sign? It took us by surprise, too!

Near the middle of the road:

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 - 0211

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 – 0211

And away:

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 - 0227

Red Tailed Hawk Red Oaks Mill 2016-06-27 – 0227

Perhaps it’s taking a break to enjoy just flying around? That’s about what we were doing; it was a fine morning for that sort of thing.

Squinting at a few more frames, it’s flying at 18 mph with 4 wingbeats per second. Not in a hurry, that’s for sure, and still traveling faster than we were.

We spotted a few Gas Hawks above the airport, too, but they stayed too far away for pictures…

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Traffic Signal Timing: Jackson Rd at New Hackensack Rd, 2016 Edition

I reported this short cycle time to the Dutchess County DPW, back in September 2015, and got this response:

Thank you for contacting Dutchess County DPW about this matter.  I will ask our Traffic Engineer to review the signal timing at CR 104/CR110 (New Hackensak/Jackson) to see if adjustments can be made.  The primary factors used to set the current signal timing are operational efficiency, safety and Level of Service for motor vehicles.  If there are signal timing adjustments which can achieve these goals and provide for safer passage of bicycles, we will explore those options.  I will also ask our Traffic Engineer to investigate altering the sensitivity of the detector system to detect bicycles.  I will share our findings with you. Thank you again for your comments.

Robert H. Balkind, P.E.
Deputy Commissioner
Dutchess County Department of Public Works

Emphasis mine, of course. Translation: “It’s not going to happen.”

I pinged him a few weeks later:

That review has not been done yet. I will advise you when our investigation is complete.

So, here’s what the signal timing looks like these days…

T = 0.000 s – Green

Jackson at New Hackensack - Signal Timing 2016-06-27 - 0218

Jackson at New Hackensack – Signal Timing 2016-06-27 – 0218

On the positive side, a pair of big long wheelbase recumbents stopped in the middle of the lane seem sufficient to trigger the traffic detector!

T = 3.150 s – Yellow

Jackson at New Hackensack - Signal Timing 2016-06-27 - 0407

Jackson at New Hackensack – Signal Timing 2016-06-27 – 0407

We’re definitely not fast enough off the block; Mary thought she had time for a sip of water. We started rolling less than two seconds after the green appeared, which is as fast as one should enter an intersection around here.

T = 8.000 s – Red

Jackson at New Hackensack - Signal Timing 2016-06-27 - 0698

Jackson at New Hackensack – Signal Timing 2016-06-27 – 0698

T = 13.000 s – Opposing Green

Jackson at New Hackensack - Signal Timing 2016-06-27 - 13 s - rear

Jackson at New Hackensack – Signal Timing 2016-06-27 – 13 s – rear

In round numbers, it takes us about 15 seconds from a cold start to reach the far side of that intersection. I can do it in a bit less, but Mary can’t, even though we’re in pretty good shape for the shape we’re in.

As with NYSDOT’s promises about the signal timing on Burnett Blvd, I’m not holding my breath about DCDPW getting in touch with me about that study; if nothing has changed after ten months, it never will.

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APRS/GPS + Voice Interface: Improved PTT Button Cap

Long ago, Mary picked out a PTT switch with a raised, square post that provided a distinct shape and positive tactile feedback:

PTT Button - bare post

PTT Button – bare post

Time passes, she dinged her thumb in the garden, and asked for a more rounded button. I have some switches with rounded caps, but replacing the existing switch looked a lot like work, sooooo:

PTT Button Cap - Slic3r preview

PTT Button Cap – Slic3r preview

As with all small objects, building them four at a time gives the plastic in each one time to cool before slapping the next layer on top:

PTT Button - on platform

PTT Button – on platform

The hole in the cap is 0.2 mm oversize, which results in a snug press fit on the small ridges barely visible around the post in the first image:

PTT Button - rounded cap

PTT Button – rounded cap

Rather than compute the chord covering the surface, I just resized a sphere to twice the desired dome height (picked as 6 threads, just for convenience) and plunked it atop a cylinder. Remember to expand the sphere diameter by 1/cos(180/sides) to make it match the cylinder and force both to have the same number of sides.

If it falls off, I have three backups.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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Protecting The Sony HDR-AS30V Lens: First Drop

After a year and a half, I finally found out whether flipping the AS-30V camera upside-down would protect its lens:

Sony HDR-AS30V - flip mode vs ground contact

Sony HDR-AS30V – flip mode vs ground contact

Yes. Yes, it does, at least from a grass-like ground cover.

I’d leaned the bike against a Blue Loo, turned my back, took four steps, and wham down it went.

The upper front rim of the skeleton case ended up firmly pressed against the ground, with the lens safe. A slight smear from the greenery wiped off easily, with dirt embedded between the fake fur and the case, exactly where the lens would stick out in its normal orientation.

Whew!

I love it when a plan works out …

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Traffic Signal Timing: Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 Detour

Word from the BPAC meeting says that NYSDOT re-timed the signals on both ends of Burnett Blvd, because of the increased traffic from the closed bridges on Degarmo Rd. Here’s what that looks like from a bicyclist’s perspective; you may want to compare this with other measurements in the recent past.

T=0.00 – I’m approaching the light and obviously won’t get through on the current cycle. However, the car in the left lane is just clearing the sensor loop, so we know the sensor has been triggered:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0073

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0073

T=4.133 – Signals turn yellow:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0321

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0321

T=8.433 – The left signal turns red (the right signal will go on 4/60 s later), with the white car accelerating hard across the stop line:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0579

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0579

As nearly as I can tell, the green-to-yellow change has decreased from about 7 s to maybe 4 s; that may be influenced by the car position / speed across the loop. NYSDOT definitely hasn’t increased the minimum delay to provide additional time for bicyclists.

The yellow-to-red transition may have decreased from 5 s to 4 s; it definitely hasn’t increased.

T=10.433 – The white car deliberately blew through the yellow and red signals:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0699

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0699

T=12.000 – The white car has almost cleared the intersection, 3.567 s after blowing through the red light, and cross traffic in Rt 55 has started to move:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0793

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0793

It’s impossible to tell from my position when the Rt 55 traffic saw their green signals, but they started moving 3.5 s from the time the signal in our direction turned red. I’d previously measured that at 1.333 s, so NYSDOT seems to have lengthen the all-red overlap.

T=14.433 – Cross traffic on Rt 55 fills the intersection:

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 - detour timing - 0939

Burnett Blvd at Rt 55 2016-04-27 – detour timing – 0939

That’s 10.3 s from the Burnett signal turning yellow, which usually happens when we’re just barely into the intersection; we need at least 15 s to reach the far side of all six lanes. Obviously, cross traffic on Rt 55 must notice that we haven’t cleared the intersection when their signals turn green and avoid running over us; that’s legally required, but it’s obvious NYSDOT (still) isn’t helping bicyclists get across the intersection.

The NYSDOT regional office behind my right shoulder has a bike rack. We’ve never seen any bikes in it, so it’s equally obvious NYSDOT doesn’t practice dogfooding. I’ve never been able to invite / persuade / shame anyone from NYSDOT to ride along with us, so they can show me why their design really does “mak[e] our highway systems safe and functional for all users“.

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Road Conditions: 2816 Rt 376 Northbound Sinkhole Patched

By my count, four NYSDOT repair crews, one sent specifically to repair this sinkhole, managed to not patch it during the last nine months:

Rt 376 2016-04-20 - Northbound milepost 1110 - sinkhole

Rt 376 2016-04-20 – Northbound milepost 1110 – sinkhole

Good news comes to those who wait:

Rt 376 2016-04-21 - Northbound milepost 1110 - sinkhole

Rt 376 2016-04-21 – Northbound milepost 1110 – sinkhole

It didn’t involve waiting: by random chance, a fifth NYSDOT road repair crew happened to be in that area when Mary rode by. She stopped directly atop the sinkhole and screamed at the flagger until he came over. She explained the problem and, wonder of wonders, this time they put asphalt in the right spot.

The patch looks hand-tamped and will pop out after a while, but it’ll be great while it lasts.

 

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