Thursday, August 27, 2015

No Time for Riding

Today's As-Usual Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

Jacque and I have been asked to serve as "part-time" service missionaries at the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission and for the last 2 weeks have found just how involved such a project is.  Thoroughly enjoyable, we have found we have little time to do ordinary things like repair our vehicles, take care of yard and household chores, and...... ride bikes.
This morning we had "off" until 12:30 so I thought I would just start early and get in a decent 10-miler and get home in plenty of time.  I was able to get going shortly after 9 AM but by the time Tinkerbell and I returned, it was a rush job getting out the door.
Lilly went into surgery today to have her dewclaws surgically removed, so she was already in the vet's custody by the time I took off on the ride. 
Lilly After Surgery, Safe but Unhappy

Tinkerbell, as usual, was not about to allow me out of the house and insisted, again, on riding with me.
It was a pretty great riding day, though the wind got up a bit higher than preferred.  It actually got stiff enough to slow me down on my normally 30+ MPH downhill... only made 27-something, pedaling furiously trying to go a little faster.
It was nice to see the County Road Crews out trimming the huge weed growth that has been blocking the road shoulder / "bike lane" for weeks, what with our summer of lotsa rain.


Ride Started: 9:13 AM    Ride Ended:  11:23 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.1
Lowest Temp  64 F      Highest Temp:  87 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.34
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.0 MPH                              7.1 MPH                   27.9 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 4 mins                      1 hour 28 minutes       38  minutes

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Must be Hot when You Like Headwinds

Today's Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

I again took up riding today.  I at first thought I'd leave both dogs behind again, but Tinkerbell REALLY likes to go and was quite frustrated yesterday when I left her home.  Lilly, on the other hand, has yet to develop a taste for riding, even though she slavishly tries to copy Tinkerbell's behavior in almost all things.
Today I decided to try taking both dogs but this time to carry Lilly in the belly papoose harness I used to carry dearly departed Jazzy in.  Lilly fought against the whole concept at first, since she is violently opposed to any kind of restraint.  But in spite of her protests she seemed to take a liking to riding up front, face into the wind, and only complained a couple times throughout  the ride.  During previous rides she cried and whined most of the way, but she was inside a doggie carrier in the stoker's backseat on the tandem recumbent.  We'll see if she increases any enthusiasm for riding in the future.... stay tuned.
Today was a bit warmish, believe it or not.  We also experienced a fair amount of stiff gusting wind, but in spite of slowing us down, we appreciated the whistling breeze which helped cool us off.
Another display of unrestrained horsepower as we rode peacefully along....
 Note the mandatory urge to accelerate and powershift as he passes the lowly slowly bicycle.
As usual, we seemed to attract headwinds both coming and going, but again, we appreciated their cooling effect.
When  we got home both doggies immediately collapsed and slept for several hours.  Much as they enjoy riding, they don't do doggie naps while doing so, and as a result are completely bushed when we get home - even though they haven't expended any effort at all.  Such a Dog's Life

Ride Started: 12:28 PM    Ride Ended:  2:43 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.4   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.1
Lowest Temp  84 F      Highest Temp:  98 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.61
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.8 MPH                              7.1 MPH                   25.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 13 mins                    1 hour 29 minutes       43  minutes

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday. No Dogs

Today's Spotty Tracking

I had to haul some stuff to a neighbor's house this morning.  We are down to a single automobile.  We gave away our 1998 Exploder to a friend in a nearby town and at the same time discovered Jacque's Subaru needed money poured into it for repairs.  So until the Subaru gets out of the shop, we are sharing a single Ford Exploder, and Jacque took it today to do some work with one of her buddies.  I needed to haul some electrical repair stuff, soldering iron, wire, lugs, toolbox, etc, and it was to a place I normally ride past on my usual 10-mile loop ride, so instead of putting Doggies in the cargo basket I put in the ...... Cargo.
I jury rigged a broken starter connection for a Briggs & Stratton powered lawn tractor and this little project took almost an hour.  I used some high quality epoxy to replace a broken connector bushing and insulator, and left it to cure while I rode home to make an appointment in Albuquerque. 
On the trip over, I locked up my chain again downshifting too far, causing a sudden stop to manually release and remount the chain on its sprocket.  Gotta figure out  a way to prevent this, it could easily break something.....
The weather has been cooling a bit but it was over 10 degrees warmer today than it has been the last few days.  Still, the breeze was a bit stiff in the face but it provided nice cooling as I rode over and back.
Tinkerbell was highly put out that I left her behind.  Lilly has not started enjoying bike rides yet so she didn't care a bit.......

Ride Started: 10:02 AM    Ride Ended:  12:29 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.3   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  82 F      Highest Temp:  91 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.63
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  3.9 MPH                              7.2 MPH                   26.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 43 mins                    1 hour 27 minutes       1 hour 15  minutes

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Snooties and Snakes

Today's Tracking via GPS and Ham Radio

I haven't been on the bike in like THREE days now and this morning I got up with blood glucose testing above 200.  I'm sure this has nothing to do with the ice cream and cake I forced down last night during a grandson's 17th birthday.  Even after a couple of boluses with the insulin pump it was still too high, so I skipped breakfast entirely and took off for a ride, which usually drives my BG down quite nicely.
Jacque was home, so I thought I'd sneak out and do a solo ride without any faithful doggie passengers.
Not so fast..... Tink hates to be left behind.  And she's only, what, 6 pounds or so?  So it's not like I'm really saving any time or effort trying to desert her. 
We again took the old beat-up recumbent 2-wheeler with the fantastic new right hand shifter and it did great.
We didn't forget the GoPro camera again today and got a couple of minor videos....
First we passed "One of THOSE" cyclists who cannot be bothered with mere mortal passersby on odd looking bikes.

I've encountered this unfriendly fellow several times in the past and he either ignores me or does a quick glance and then ignores.  No biggie.  Bicyclists come in all shapes and sizes and.... attitudes.
By the time we got to our ~5 mile halfway turnaround point, my blood sugar had dropped below 100, which is a wonderful thing.  We'll see how it holds out the rest of the day.
As we began the return leg for home, within 100 yards or so we encountered a victim of hit-and-run...
At least Jacque will be partially satisfied with this kind of snake..... dead, that is.  He was a fatty with a very rattlesnake-looking pattern on his back but was obviously one of our popular copycat bull-snakes that somehow manage to imitate a rattler's looks except for the head shape. And lack of rattle buttons.
On the way crawling up the last-mile of goat-path toward home, my new shifter "found" a new gear.... NOTHING.  It shifted the chain so far it popped off the inside of the cassette's largest gear, forcing a stop and a quick retrieval of the chain with the invaluable multi-tool.  Hopefully I can adjust the screw stops on the derailleur to prevent that from happening again.

Ride Started: 8:56 AM    Ride Ended:  11:08 AM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.9   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.1
Lowest Temp  75 F      Highest Temp:  84 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.57
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  5.5 MPH                              7.2 MPH                   32.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
1 hour 55 mins                      1 hour 28 minutes       28  minutes

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Gotta Love a Working Shifter....

Today's Tracking

I worked much of the morning installing another new right-hand shifter on my weather-beaten recumbent bike.  The last one I tried was a simple friction shifter only and it did not work well at all, and was impossible to install at a useful angle for thumb-action.

Two Wheel Drive in Albuquerque had the desired item in stock:  a SRAM 8-speed index shifter, new in the box.  My cassette is only 7 speeds but they didn't have any 7-speed shifters so I made do with this unit, and man, it is SWEET. Shifts like butter and installed into an almost perfect position on the handlebars.
Adjusting and setting up a new cable or shifter is no easy task, though the mounting was quite reasonable.
Every time you think you have it adjusted properly, you find it over-shifts (off the small cassette gear into the frame, locking things up frightfully) or under-shifts by at least one gear.  After multiple tries I finally got it working throughout its range, and found I now actually had ALL seven gears on the cassette available: 
For all the time I've owned this rig, the largest  cassette gear (Ultimate Granny Gear)was never available.


Once I finally got it installed, I absolutely had to take it for a ride, right?  Right.  I had both dogs with me but Lilly was sleeping puppy-soundly and Tinkerbell was the one really anxious to go for  a ride.  Although stuck in the basket behind me, with limited movement and visibility, she unfailingly wants to go anywhere anytime for a bike ride.  If I start putting on my biking shirt and gathering up gear, or mention the words "BIKE RIDE", she is ON it, and follows me around closely so I won't forget her.
On the 2-wheel recumbent, I don't have to use a trailer (Unless the road is muddy and nasty), so I can just saddle up and ride away from the house.
I barely got a few hundred feet before I realized I had not re-tightened the brake lever, which I had loosened during the shifter installation.  So we stopped near the neighbors' barking dogs so I could break out the multi-tool and tighten the clamp screw.  A few minutes later, while climbing the hill and grabbing for Grandma Gear, I heard a horrible rattle and scraping:  The previously unavailable Granny Gear now caused the chain to rub raucously against the corner of the plastic fender next to it.  So another stop and grunting and groaning with my trusty Gerber multi-tool knife, and I was able to carve out a bit of fender so the grinding noise would subside.  
Once all this hassle was out of the way, with Tinkerbell patiently tolerating the delays while perched above me in the trusty back seat doggie crate (formerly known as a cargo basket), I found my new shifter was just great.  Going our usual 10 mile route up hill and down dale, I went through most of the 21 speeds available, especially the highest and lowest gear combinations, several times with great gusto and satisfaction.
Just a short blurb of video showing off a beautiful day and GREEN countryside, very easy on the eyes:



Ride Started: 11:15 AM    Ride Ended:  1:33 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   14.2   Ending Voltage: 13.2  Lowest:  13.1
Lowest Temp  82 F      Highest Temp:  98 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  10.58
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.7 MPH                              7.5 MPH                   28.4 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 14 mins                     1 hour 24 minutes       49  minutes

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Riding in the Traffic

Today's Short-Circuit Track

Took off on the usual 10-mile loop but at a very warmish time of day: Almost 4:00 in the PM.
We had taken the RV to Horizon Auto Glass in Albuquerque to (ouch) replace both front windshields and the trip had eaten up the earlier part of the day.  I missed riding yesterday and decided, again, to ride in spite of the late hour and the heat because if I don't ride even when things aren't just right I miss TOO MANY rides.  My blood sugar drops unbelievably and I have to set my insulin pump to a slower rate during and after bike rides.  Too Cool.
About the time I got only a few miles up the road I looked at the clock  and realized I had to turn around and get back so we could get back to Albuquerque in time to pick up the finished RV.  No way did we want to leave the RV parked in the middle of Albuquerque for the night unattended.  The shop called just as I arrived at the bike-transport-Explorer and we were just able to make it to town before the facility closed.  What a beauty the new windshields are!  Not cheap but no one estimated anything cheaper.
The heat was hot for the bike ride and made the headwinds very welcome indeed.
Since the riding time was between 3 and 4 PM the going-home traffic was quite heavy.  This route has a decent riding shoulder and no one was blindly texting and wobbling across any lines so everything was copasetick .
I had the GoPro camera on the helmet today but every time I tried to turn it on it stopped within a few seconds:  The stupid battery was dead.  Go Figure.
Just as I pulled up to load the trailer with the  trike, another bicycling maniac rode up and introduced himself: E. Girdner.  He was another non-Spandex user but  heavier duty than I:  He had ridden aver 20 miles already, to Tijeras and back, and still had several miles to go. Way to ride, Ironman....

Ride Started: 3:41 PM    Ride Ended:  4:34 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  13.0
Lowest Temp  78 F      Highest Temp:  84 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  6.14
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  6.6 MPH                              7.6 MPH                  25.2 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
56 minutes                             48 minutes                 7  minutes

Monday, August 10, 2015

Just Missed the Rain

Today's Tracking via Ham Radio and GPS

Jacque left for work early this morning, leaving me and the 2 doggies to our own devices, so we went for a ride.


An oddity I'm not sure if I ever mentioned before....  Especially on this odd looking tandem recumbent Terratrike Tandem Pro, drivers almost invariably give us plenty of clearance when they pass.  Just as invariably, they inevitably "stick their feet through the floorboards", accelerating madly, after passing us.  Perhaps most slow down as they approach me, unnoticed by me, and feel the urge to resume speed and make the precious few seconds lost after passing us.  Often, though, the engine will rev and roar when passing, raising my suspicions that the driver is of the lesser-mature type and hoping to either scare or at least impress us with the display of horsepower.  I just find it a bit odd.  I guess I'm getting so old I fail to remember my own irresistible impulses to pop the clutch and hit the gas and make the pipes roar way back in the dark ages when driving was fun..... but I mostly tried to impress girls I passed.  Didn't occur to me to try to scare or impress any cyclists, which were admittedly rare back in the 1960's.

We rode my favorite 10-mile ride today, and this time stopped by a church friend's home to look at their latest project that's keeping their mechanically- minded boys occupied:  An old garden tractor with a big Briggs & Stratton engine.  Turns out the starter motor had broken its electrical cable connection, and it LOOKS like we may be able to solder a new tab into the internal brush connector and epoxy the connection so as to protect it from shorting out and replace the missing pieces of insulation fiber.  The kids all enjoyed walking and spoiling Lilly, and Tinkerbell enjoyed resting in the shade underneath the rear trike seat while we putzed around with the tractor starter.
The weather today was a bit cloudy and PLEASANT for riding.  The breeze was cool  and conditions were great.

I've been noticing my battery voltages have been sagging recently so today I used a voltmeter to check the output of my wall charger:  11.8 volts.  This charger is designed for lead-acid batteries and is probably non filtered DC output which may not make the LiFEPO4 battery protective circuits very happy.  So this afternoon I switched to a more-pure-output charger (that I've used successfully in the past) in hopes it will improve the battery voltage profile.
On the way home we noticed the clouds getting a bit thicker but it seemed non threatening.  Just as I got back to the transporter vehicle and started loading the trike into the trailer, it began to rain, and didn't stop most of the rest of the day.  Just missed it....

Ride Started: 10:48 AM    Ride Ended:  1:18 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage:   13.2   Ending Voltage: 13.0  Lowest:  12.6
Lowest Temp  71 F      Highest Temp:  82 F 
Stats from the GPS:    Total Miles:  9.44
Overall average speed            Moving Avg               Max Speed
  4.0 MPH                              7.3 MPH                  29.5 MPH
Total Trip time                       Moving Time             Stopped Time
2 hours 21 mins                     1 hour 17 mins           1 hour 3  minutes