Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Usual Loop

You know, the one you have ridden for thousands of miles, the one you tell yourself your tired of but continue to ride several times a week as if it were a religious ritual.  The San Gabriel River Trail  is that ride for me.  Time for a ride on a beautiful Sunday morning in January.

Del Amo Blvd. Entrance

Eldorado Regional Park

The SGRT is a multi use trail 15 feet above a flood control channel (San Gabriel "River")  eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean at Seal Beach. 

Happy Sunday Morning Cyclists

View From The Seal Beach Pier
 Even with all of its shortcomings in terms of cyclist worth visual and topographical experiences, the passage through Eldorado Regional Park and the terminus at Seal Beach provide sufficient reward for the effort.



After all, the large Sumutra and the cinnamon twist make it all worthwhile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bicycling With Poor Vision

Up until age 28 I thought I had "perfect" vision until I awoke to an alarm clock and was not able to read the red glow of 5:30 am.  After a visit to the eye doctor it was determined that I needed reading glasses....Well that was many years ago and my vision has become so poor that I need corrective lenses to be able to walk down the sidewalk without stepping off the curb or walking into a light pole.

I realize that I am among many cyclists who are vision challenged and I share with you what has worked and what hasn' least  as far as cycling is concerned.

Contact lenses seemed like they would work  as opposed to just wearing my regular trifocal glasses and they did with a few exceptions.  Even with cool looking "cycling" sunglasses, wind would either dry the lenses out or would blow them off.  In either case I was forced to stop and fiddle with them or resort back to my glasses.  For a short ride close to home that isn't a big deal, but on a longer ride away from home that would be unacceptable......

Cycling sunglasses with inserts was a solution suggested to me by a friend so I though I would give that a try as well.  Well, $500 u.s.d later I had a really cool pair of Addidas Climacools with an RX insert.  The insert was single strength, meaning I could only see distance.....also meaning I had to put on my glasses if I wanted to read a map or take a look at my GPS.  It also necessitated mounting the computer at least 30 inches from my face in order for me to read the numbers on the screen......  I could deal with all of the above inconveniences, but I also thought there must be a better way.

While on a visit to Maine last July -  with a nice little side trip to cycle the carriage roads in Acadia - I thought I would get some help from my cousin who is an optometrist in South Berwick, Maine.   My cousin Paul Vasapoli is the proprietor of and is a true artist in helping people see better.

At first I thought having a pair of sunglasses with my regular prescription would do the trick....and it did.  Paul put my prescription in a pair of Ray-Ban 4151s with a very dark tint to the lenses.  They were great as long as the sun was out.....after a few weeks of trying to ride with my new glasses in the early morning hours I figured out that I had overlooked a much better solution.   I gave my cousin a call and asked him to make up another pair as regular glasses with the Transitions coating.   The new lenses with the 4151 frames are a perfect combination in terms of fit and good vision.  The nicest pair of glasses I have ever had!

With trifocals it is still a challenge to focus on objects by adjusting line of sight and head position.  Even with that my ability to see comfortably on the bike is at its best so far.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Maglite Bike Mount

LED Maglites are rather impressive in terms of brightness and battery life.  Having several of these small lights sitting idle around the house I thought a project centered around adapting them to cycling might be a fun thing to do.  With access to CAD software and CNC machine tools, I set out to create a design that was simple in terms of fabrication and mounting to the bicycle.   The mount had to be small, light and capable of attachment to the eyelets and lowrider mounts of the fork.  I also thought it would be cool to mount the clamp to my Nitto M12 rack as well.

The design was worked out with VectorWorks 8, CAD software that I have been using for the last 15 years.  The CAD design allowed me to create the geometry necessary to manually program the MiniMite CNC 3 axis mill that would be used to machine the part.  Two operations were required for each part, one to mill the side profile with another to  mill the bore and counterbore to fit M5 or M6 socket head screws.

Each clamp requires 30 minutes of machining time with an additional 30 minutes to de-burr and polish.  With the tiny milling machine using a .125" end mill with a feed rate of 10 inches per minute mass production is out of the question.  "Prototypes" only at this stage.  Perhaps in time and with a willing market I can find a local CNC shop to turn out a few hundred.......let me know what you think.