Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Patched Another Chain HURRAH

Today's Marginally Different Tracking

I didn't get the bike on the road yesterday since I spent a couple hours in the morning replacing the broken link in the chain.  I carry bike tools - including a multi tool with a great chain breaker - So in theory I could have repaired the chain right on the side of the road Saturday but it was getting dark.  So it was just as well to bring it home and work on it yesterday.  After replacing the link, I took the liberty of cleaning the chain with one of those cheesy plastic Wal-Mart chain cleaners with the 3 rotary brushes.  It slushed quite a bit of gunk out of the chain but there was still lots of caked grease and dirt blobs when I finally stopped the process.  I wiped it down and then lubed it carefully, one link joint at a time, and then wiped it down again.
It was still so greasy it turned my pants black on that ankle closest to the chain today.  I either need to add a chain guard of some kind or come up with a gaiter leg-wrap to protect the offending leg.
The weather was absolutely beautiful, if a tad cool, today.  Days like this, in the middle of January and other winter months, are one of the many things that make New Mexico "The Land of Enchantment".
The warm temperatures, however, mean MUD with a capital THUD for our dirt and non paved roads.  I normally bypass OUR mud and muck by trailering the bike and driving down to a popular parking area near the end of the Frost Road bike path across from Sandia Knolls, but it has turned into a bog as well.  I backed the trailer into there, sank to my ankles when I stepped outside the vehicle, and decided to find somewhere else to park.  I drove about 3 miles eastward to another wide spot at another intersection but it was too muddy as well.   So I drove to the only paved parking lot in the area I know of:  The Post Office.  I normally avoid parking there since it is a long climb to get there, from most directions, and I prefer to do a hill CLIMB at the early part of a ride and not at the end.  BUT, you do what you have to do to get in a bike ride out here in the boondocks.
The road shoulders are dry now, with only occasional traces of moisture.  The road salt and grit from the last storm and road-crew efforts are beginning to blow off, leaving a fairly safe surface to ride on the shoulder.  However, when I cannot hear nor see any cars behind me, I often ride out in the nice clean smooth pavement of the roadway.
As I was whizzing east on the bike on Frost Road, I saw a cyclist approaching from the other direction, and at first I thought it was Brian K from Edgewood, who I met not far from the same spot a few days ago.  He is a skinny wreck, and so was this approaching rider.

But it turned out to be one of my favorite neighbor teenagers, Spencer, who is progressing toward his Eagle rank in his Scouting efforts.  I turned around and visited with him for a few minutes and then we resumed our journeys away from each other.
This video a la GoPro seems a bit improved- I again checked the mounting tube and realigned the holding clamp on the upper end to eliminate any possibility of the tube flopping back and forth.  Less audible ker-thunking now.....
Though it was ALMOST cool enough to be wearing a jacket, I never put the windbreaker on today, since I normally get too hot when I do.
The sun is getting higher in the sky as we progress further from the winter solstice, and the solar panel on the front is probably doing pretty well in generating battery-charging power.  I don't see much effect in the voltage readings, unfortunately.  My hope was the solar panel would exceed the demands of the electronics and actually provide a net positive charge, leaving the ending voltage higher than the starting voltage, but that hasn't happened yet.  It likely doesn't help that when I transmit on the ham radio it far exceeds the current supplied by the panel.
Ride Started: 12:24 PM    Ride Ended:  2:28 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.3   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest: 12.6
Lowest Temp  57 F      Highest Temp:  71 F (This reading must have occurred in the direct sun)
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  14:33
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.9 MPH                              9.9 MPH                    32.9 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
  2 hours 4 mins                     1 hour 26 mins            38  minutes

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Popped Another Chain BAH

Today's Cut-Short Tracking

The mile-long dirt road goat-path from our house to the pavement is MUSH and SLOP from our big 11" snow-dump Wednesday night.  Jacque's cousin departed for Scottsdale this morning safe and sound, after gunning his big conversion van up the hump intersecting the road so he could make it over the ice patch there.  The paved roads are mostly dry and even the shoulders are not terribly nasty so I shoveled the snow out of the bike/trash trailer and took Tinkerbell for a ride to the Post Office.  First I had to rework the bike rack in the trailer so it would be more stable - our nasty road always throws things around something awful.

Things seemed to bode well for a decent ride, and I thought we might be able to squeeze in enough miles to achieve our minimalist number of 10-something miles but it was not to be.
In today's thrilling video, we see the still evident snow alongside the road as well as the sunny beautiful blue sky this late in the afternoon. We also hear an occasional deep "Clunk" which has been giving me trouble the last few rides:  The chain was jumping gears intermittently and I stupidly assumed it was just the derailleur needing better adjustment and I could ignore it.

At the end of the video I show the broken link in the chain.  If you look closely about 6 or 7 links from the upper right chain, you will see why I stopped riding and turned around, coasting luckily most of the way downhill back toward the gas-burner and trailer.  Thankfully I did not keep riding without taking a closer look at the chain.  As I was previously riding, I grumbled about the jumping gears, and noticed while watching my shadow on the pavement that there was a discontinuity in the chain appearing very close to each chain jump anomaly.
Thus my stop to see what it was, and it scared me.  The link is separated completely on one side and almost done for on the other.  Why it hadn't dumped me earlier is beyond explanation.  When I allowed the chain to get this bad on our tandem recumbent trike, it utterly destroyed the idler and derailleur and bent the rear axle hanger almost beyond repair when the offending chain link got caught in the derailleur while we were strongly cranking in Grandma Gear trying to make it up a low hill.  Thankfully it didn't self destruct on this ride this time.
SO, I am grounded as to riding the recumbent 2-wheeler until I get the chain replaced or fixed.   Since it requires 3 normal bike chains linked together to make enough chain for this bike, I plan to inspect it more closely to see if other links are badly worn.  If it appears this one is just the proverbial "Weak Link", I can replace only that pair of links and hopefully put a few hundred more miles on this chain.  Without having to be offline.  Worst case:  I can always ride the recumbent Terratrike Tandem Pro by myself if Jacque's not available to inspire me to ride until I get the greasy replacement job done on this 2-wheeler.
I just dug back through a couple years' worth of previous posts:  This chain is at LEAST 3 years old.  As many miles as I put on it, I cannot complain.  Almost.

Ride Started: 3:53 PM    Ride Ended:  4:34 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.7   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest: 13.0
Lowest Temp  42 F      Highest Temp:  57 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  4:09
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.3 MPH                                  8.3 MPH                    25.0 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
  46 minutes                           29 minutes                 17  minutes

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Has Two Wheels, 10 feet, and ....?

Today's Tracking; No Surprises

Answer:  Me, providing 2 of the 10 feet, Tink and Jazzy providing the other 8 feets, riding the recumbent 2-wheeler.  Jacque was busy away from the casita so when I decided to go for a ride I had custody of the world's two greatest doggies, Tink and Jazzy.  I have left them behind a few times when going out for a ride but they get so broken-hearted I decided I better take them both today.  As usual, Tink rode in the back basket and Jazzy rode way up front in the papoose-style belly harness.  Which felt not at all uncomfortable today, since it was a bit cool.
Today was another surprisingly unseasonably nice day, so "We" tried another ride with the new GoPro video camera running.
The last such attempt resulted in frustration because of a loud annoying "Click-Clack" noise that rendered it impossible for me to stand watching it.  Into the digital trash pile it went.  After examining the PVC pipe mount, I realized since it was only secured with a small bungee cord on the bottom end, it was rattling a bit in the basket upon which it was mounted. So today I attached 2 very strong stainless steel hose clamps to keep it solidly mounted, and could not get it to flop or pop.
Still, upon activating the camera and hitting the road, there is still some bothersome clacking and thumping going on.  I may have to configure a foam shock mount of some kind to avoid coupling road and bike noises directly into the camera body.  At first I suspected the nearby antenna pole was bending over from the wind and whacking the camera but I could not replicate any such action, as they are at least a foot apart and I cannot bend the antenna pole with enough force to even come close to touching the camera bracket.  The antennas are both "rocking around" with road motion as they are only inserted into the tubing supporting them and that noise, I suspect, is what is getting coupled too annoyingly into the camera.
Here's a short clip about a third of the way through todays 9 + mile ride.  I was climbing a mild hill when a car passed me and then I clearly heard a voice out of the blue:  "Do you write the blog?"  Startled by the cyclist suddenly passing on my left (I hadn't spotted him coming up from behind in my rear view mirror), and assuming he was talking about THIS blog, I said "Yes!" and he said as he sped on by: "I read it all the time!"
Well, I didn't catch a name or any info, but if he actually reads this blog hopefully he will enjoy seeing himself (mostly from the backside):


Today was another anomaly for January weather:  Warmer than seasonal and very pleasant.  As 3:00 PM approached it got noticeably windier and cooler, prompting re-installation of the windbreaker layer, but still a great riding day.

Ride Started: 1:55 PM    Ride Ended:  3:23 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.5   Ending Voltage: 12.7  Lowest: 12.7
Lowest Temp  50 F      Highest Temp:  64 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.36
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.6 MPH                                  9.3 MPH                    28.1 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
 1 hour 25 mins                      1 hour                       24  minutes

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday FAIL: GoPro Mount Unliked

Today's Short Tracking via Ham Radio and GPS/APRS

I've worked the last couple of days on 2 things involving the bike OTHER than riding it:
-Built a mounting bar in the tow trailer to hold the bike upright when loaded so it doesn't just lie on its side and flop around bouncing down our road.
I'll post a couple of photos in the next day or so.
-Used a 3 foot piece of 1/2" PVC pipe to make a bicycle mount for the new GoPro video camera.
I took this stuff for a test ride this evening, having put off going to the Post Office all day so I could use it for an excuse to ride the bike as well as test out the new stuff.
The trailer bike bracket now works, after several additional mods, but the GoPro mount has something horribly wrong with it.
The camera works fabulously, as usual, but the pipe bracket holding it sets up some sort of rocking CLACKING sound that just drives me nuts watching and listening to the playback.  I didn't notice the racket while riding, but it's so prominent in the recorded video that I just deleted it and will publish "Film at 11" when I get it working better.  Love the camera;  amazing video.  Just struggling to set up a usable mount.

The ride to the P.O. was the usual, except for lots of gravel and salt on the road shoulder which makes for dicey riding when cars pass by and I'm forced to stay in the grit and gravel there.  The so-called bike/walker path, of course, being on the south side of the road and receiving less sun than the north, where there IS no bike path, still has all kinds of ice and snow in the shady spots and thus is difficult if not impassible for a bike.
Temperatures were not too cold:  I had to peel off the windbreaker going westward, uphill, toward the Post Office, but I put that layer back on for the mostly downhill trip back where the increased speed results in decreased temperatures.

Ride Started: 3:35 PM    Ride Ended:  4:46 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.8   Ending Voltage: 12.7  Lowest: 12.7
Lowest Temp  50 F      Highest Temp:  60 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6.60
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.7 MPH                                  8.7 MPH                    26.6 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
 1 hour 10 mins                      45 minutes                 24  minutes

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Sun Came Out So We Went Riding

Today's Tracking courtesy of Ham Radio, GPS, and APRS

Today dawned bright and sunny and I challenged Jacque to consider a trip into Albuquerque to escape the mud and snow and do another trike ride on the famed Bosque Trail.  She accepted, and we saddled up and went.
It was a bit cool much of the day but it was WONDERFUL to get out and get rolling again.  Jacque worried there might be snow even in Albuquerque but I was certain there would be none along the Bosque Trail, which follows the Rio Grande through Albuquerque and is the lowest elevation path through the city.   There turned out to be a few very small puddles on the trail, but NO SNOW.  Heh.
You often meet the nicest people on the trail, like this fellow cyclist:

This is another clip from my new GoPro camera and I'm still working on a better mount for it.  Currently it's mounted on top of my bike helmet and I must tell you that the world is not really  rocking back and forth like that:  It's my dern head wobbling as I pedal along huffing and puffing.  Working on another type of mount instead of my unreliable skull....
We did not break any records today but sure enjoyed being out and getting the blood circulating.
We detoured into Old Town about 1:30 PM or so and decided to try a the Old Town Pizza Parlor for lunch.
They were glad to customize our pizza to our liking, and it was great stuff.  They have an outdoor seating so we were able to have our doggies drool and lust after our pizza munching, heads following every move of hand to mouth.  Great pizza and great atmosphere, a new favorite place to stop!
We then  rode north a few more miles on the trail.  As it was nearing 3:00 PM and it starts getting dark and cold around 4:00 PM, we cut the journey short and turned around to get back to the vehicle.  Hopefully the snow and sludge will dry out up here in the mountains before the next storm comes through so we don't have to drive down to the lower altitudes just to get in a decent bike ride.
Ride Started: 12:32 PM    Ride Ended:  4:24 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.0   Ending Voltage: 12.8  Lowest: 12.7
Lowest Temp  50 F      Highest Temp:  67 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  12.81
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.2 MPH                                  6.6 MPH                     15.3 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
  3 hours 1 min                      1 hour 55 minutes      1 hour 5 minutes

Monday, January 12, 2015

Riding Through the Snow.... On a 2-Wheeled Not-a-Sleigh

Dateline Monday, 12 January 2015:

When we awoke this morning it was clear blue and sunny skies.  Methought, "A Perfect Day for a Bike Ride!"  Silly me.
By about 10:00 AM the skies had covered the sun with low clouds and snow clouds were creeping eastward across the mountains between us and Albuquerque.  The weather-guesser forcasters had warned about possible snow showers sometime today but I had fallen for the old "It's Beautiful Now" thing.

I was determined to get in a ride today anyway.  Yes, it was starting to snow, but it was very light specks of snow and the wind wasn't terrible and it wasn't sticking to anything so I hoped I could get in a decent ride BEFORE the weather closed in with more seriousness.
With the weather so dicey I decided to leave Tinkerbell and Jazzy, the World's Most Wonderful Dogs, home alone.  They were not impressed with being left behind, and they watched me don my cycling duds and followed me at my heels all the time I was getting ready in hopes I would not forget them.  I left them behind anyway.  I let them out to potty before I left in hopes they would not vent their frustrations by venting their bowels while I was gone.
I was planning to get in at least 10 miles today and hopefully 15 or so before the weather got too nasty.
I decided to first ride west to the Post Office and then back east for the longer section of the trek.
Here's a short clip from my new GoPro video camera, riding on the deteriorating bicycle path just before arrival at the Post Office, with a little ice to dodge.  I was disappointed the video does not show the snowflakes blowing in my face.....

As I headed east again from the Post Office, the snow seemed to get even heavier and the wind a bit colder.
I was staying fairly warm enough..... except for my face.  I was not wearing my ski mask, which would have certainly helped, and the snow particles stung a bit as they continued to lace the face.  I decided to cut the trip short at about the halfway mark, and opted for getting home and back to the warmth of the wood stove.
The snow and cold were not the biggest problem today.  My biggest problem was MUD, the sticky gooey kind.  Saturday's ride was marred with mud problems too:  The wheels on the recumbent were glommed with caked mud just from being carried up the one-mile goat-path road to our house from the pavement of Frost Road.  The wheels on the Ford Exploder threw up enough mud to make the bike impossible to ride or even roll across the yard once I got it home.  The bike is so wide the front and back wheels extend beyond the protection of the car body and the mud flying up from the wheels coats whatever is exposed.  So, today, I determined to carry the bike out to the pavement in our trash-hauler trailer, since the bike would be inside the sides of the trailer box and hopefully avoid so much mud.
It worked, partially.  Even though I largely protected the bike from mud, my BOOTS were caked with the nasty stuff even though I was treading lightly and trying to step on gravel and grass instead of the wet sticky stuff.
I actually had to use one of my vehicle's ice scrapers to scrape most of the mud off my soles so I could stand to get my icky feet up inside the cab of the vehicle.
While I was riding I noticed clumps of mud and weeds radiating out from my boots as I rolled along; a truly redneck fashion statement.
I have no data from the GPS or the Ham Radio APRS tracker today since for some reason I forgot the electronics cluster at home, and the icky muddy road was too much for me to make the trip back home just to retrieve the electronics.  No sun peeked out during the ride so the solar panel was less than superfluous.
Ride Started: 2:02 PM    Ride Ended:  3:12 PM
Temperature:  32 to 34 degrees F
Total Miles:  About 7
Total Trip time:  About an hour                      

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Starting Off the New Year Late

Today's Track via Ham Radio, GPS, and APRS

The usual excuses apply here:  Nasty cold weather, snow, ice, Christmas holiday activities, New Year's Wedding Trip to Dallas..... All contributed to lack of bicycling.
And Boy, has it shown up in my midsection.  My pot belly is increasingly noticeable and I haven't felt as energetic or energized without the regular riding.
So today I went for an irregular ride..... but maybe I can get back to several times a week now.
Weather was great, winds not bad.... but I had to get home sooner than normal since I had to make a 4:00 meeting in Albuquerque.
I filmed this ride with my new expensive toy GoPro Hero4 camera, but the file sizes are so large I haven't gotten the nerve to try to upload it yet.  Since GoPro requires Windoze 7 or newer to edit / shorten it I so far do not have the capability to edit it to a reasonably short video for uploading (Still using Linux and XP here).   Nothing happened worth viewing anyway;  it was a pretty boring ride.
But it sure feels great these several hours later to have the metabolism stirred up again....

Ride Started: 2:02 PM    Ride Ended:  3:12 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:  13.1   Ending Voltage: 12.5  Lowest: 12.5
Lowest Temp  31 F      Highest Temp:  48 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.33
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
 7.1 MPH                                  9.4 MPH                     26.8 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
 1 hour 18 mins                     59 minutes                 19 minutes