Thursday, February 11, 2021

 

Brompton Accessories #25 - EZ Hinge Clamp Spring

 You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Bikes & Accessories / Brompton Accessories #25 - EZ Hinge Clamp Spring
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BROMPTON ACCESSORIES #25 -
EZ Hinge Clamp Spring

Many don't realize it, but for the Brompton bicycle the hinge clamps is one of the most important part of the bicycle. It's that part that screws in and clamps the hinged part of the bicycle together - one at the main horizontal post and the other at the handle bar vertical post. Without these two clamps to lock the hinged parts together, it is impossible to ride the bike. I once had a nasty fall just because I failed to to tighten one of the clamps adequately!
Some, having lost their clamps, had tried to lash the hinged parts together - but often these are futile efforts that may last only for a short while. The thing about these clamps is that when loosened they tend to run out from their required vertical or horizontal positions, and also have a tendency to rotate while tightening, thus slows down the screwing process.

Some third-party suppliers have come out with ingenious accessories that solves this problems and keep the clamps always at the required position. One such accessory is the Titanium Hinge Clamps from Brompfication. It's a beautiful piece of engineering with spring loaded screws, and clamps that has one side shorter - the spring maintain the clamp at the required parallel alignment with the hinge, with the long side lock into position to keep it vertical, while the shorter clamp is just away from the bike stem to allow folding. and keeps the clamp at just the right position so that minimum screwing in is required (about 5 to 7 turns) to tighten the clamp. For more details see this blog.
The thing about these titanium clamps is that they need some effort to bolt them in at the correct position using a nut on the inner side of the tube. I often keep my spare tube in the main horizontal post and this bolt interferes with inserting and withdrawing of the tube. Also I often travel by air with my Brompton, and before packing the Brompton for air travel,it is always wiser to dismantle the hinge clamps so that they are not damaged by poor baggage handling. And the effort and time to dismantle and re-assemble these titanium clamps in place correctly is often frustrating, especially if some friends are waiting to set off. With my frequent air travel, it came to a point that, I just forgot about using them and went back to the Brompton stock clamps!

So I had resolved myself to happily (in ignorance bliss, that is) fiddling with, and adjusting the clamps as I screwed them in and out at a speed that will not win any records for sure!
Then of late, these little gizmos kept on being posted on the net. These tiny things, having the profile shape like the Green Lantern's lantern, are 3-D printed polyurethane widgets that will help maintain the clamp in the correct position. It's a light (1 gram) widget, with two thick stub ends connected by two arms. Made with thermoplastic polyurethane (PU), it's durable and surprisingly can take hard knocks (as can be seen in the videos from the supplier at the bottom of this blog).
It's such a simple and very affordable item, one would have thought why it had not been made much earlier. These PU hinge clamp spring were designed and made by Steve Woods, who goes by the name of Gyrobot. As he puts it, he is "a full time Design Engineer, with many years of design experience in the following industries, Automotive, Aerospace, Nuclear Fusion and is now currently designing Bionic Arms for Open Bionics. By night, he is a maker, breaker, fixer and tinkerer of all things going by the alias Gyrobot. I am passionate about Engineering. I am the director of Gyrobot Ltd."
He is a generous chap, allowing people to 3D print this for themselves, or for others for free (non-commercial). And have designed and gifted this CAD model freely for this purpose only. It will be good to support him by getting it direct from him at his Buy Page; after all each of this clamp only cost £3.95, way much cheaper that many other designs in the market.

These EZ Hinge Clamp Springs comes in three colors - black white and red - and are super-easy to install and take out: just what I need for my air-travel with my bike. I got the red-colour ones as they are conspicuous to notice when taken out and won't get misplaced easily.

They are so easy to install when compared to other designs, just slot them in over the clamp screws before screwing back the clamps. Simple isn't it, even a techno-nerd (like the missus) won't get it wrong 😅. As can be seen above, the two stubs (with one at the hinge side and the other at the a clamp plate channel) keep the clamp in the required position. The two legs, which can take a fair amount of torsion keeps the two stubs parallel.

After that, just screw the clamps in until they are just in a "ready position" for folding and unfolding of the hinges. Photo above shows top view.

An isometric view of the same "ready position" shows the legs of the hinge spring in a semi-compressed state. From this position, it just takes another 5-7 turns to lock the hinge plates together.

Another photo shows the hinge spring in a fully compressed state, with the clamp fully screwed in.
Note: the above photos which only shows one hinge plate is for illustration purpose.

This photo shows the hinge plate clamped together, the PU hinge spring is inside and is not noticeable and does not hamper the clamping process.

Another photo of the EZ spring in the "Ready" position. These PU springs are surprisingly strong, super resilient and takes torsion well as can be seen in the following videos further below.

Another view of the fully compressed PU EZ clamp spring.
For more details & to purchase click on the following link: https://ezclamp.co.uk

 
Video showing the flexibility of the PU clamp spring and how well it takes torsion.


Video showing the strength of the PU clamp spring and how well it can take "hard knocks" even when whacked with a hammer!

Video showing the compressiblity of the PU clamp spring and how fast it elastically reverts back into its original shape.
Even if over time, the widget does get twisted/compressed out of shape, the can be "refreshed" by just dunking them into boiling water!
All these tests are good; but how will the PU plastic withstand degradation under the hot tropical weather here. We will see and I will get back on this after using it, several months down the road.
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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Bikes & Accessories / Brompton Accessories #25 - EZ Hinge Clamp Spring
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Saturday, January 2, 2021

Putrajaya: Cycling Putrajaya Wetlands & Lakeside 2020

 You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Putrajaya / Putrajaya Wetlands & Lakeside Ride 2020
                          AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                       
Putrajaya: Cycling Putrajaya Wetlands & Lakeside 2020
Putrajaya Wetlands & Lakeside - 13th & 27th December 
2020
Cycling Distance Covered : 29.91 km.     |     Level: Medium
Time : 8:00 am to 11:30 am
Time Taken : 3 hrs. 30 mins. (including stops at parks and to visit China-Malaysia Friendship Garden, for photos & re-grouping).

Route Recommendations :
1. Ride Conditions
    - Except for some sections, most of the route goes along cycling/walking paths and is rather scenic at the 
Putrajaya Wetlands & the Putrajaya Lakeside.
    - The route is fairly flat with hardly any climbs.
    - The paths along the wetlands & lakeside is quite shady, however along the main roads certain sections do not have much shade, so do cover up or apply sun-block lotion.
2. Places of Interest:
    The route is very scenic with several places of interests within Putrajaya, do look out for the following (click on the GPS coordinates for Google Map & Directions to the respective places):
    - Boardwalk Pathway (GPS: 2.93838, 101.68796).
    - Bamboo Grove (GPS: 2.9495, 101.68753) near Seri Perdana.
    - Swan Lake (GPS: 2.95778, 101.69725).
    - Multi-arch Bridge at Persiaran Persekutuan (GPS: 2.95833, 101.69775).
    - The modern office towers at Dataran Gemilang (GPS: 2.90374, 101.68039).
    
- Taman Wawasan (GPS: 2.93261, 101.69158).
    - Seri Wawasan Bridge (GPS: 2.92802, 101.68418).

PRELUDE

Putrajaya, the federal administrative capital of Malaysia, is a lovely place to cycle in. It offers many interesting and beautiful places to ride in, with nature bonding at its Wetlands, picturesque scenes along it's Lakeside and all mostly along dedicated cycling/walking paths.
One of my earliest ride was a 2013 Putrajaya Lakeside group ride (see above photo) where the safe dedicated paths were impressive, and the beautiful scenery enraptured us.

We even had a ride to admire the beautiful bridges of the city and a picnic ride in 2016. Many public cycling events were held there including one in 2012 ride that culminated with spectacular fireworks to usher in the new year!
This time round we will not be just riding at its lovely Lakeside, but will also cycle along its Wetlands. It's a place I have heard of many times but have not been to before, so it will be any eye-opener for me!

THE RIDE

This is an interesting route that goes through the scenic Wetlands and Lakeside of Putrajaya. It's a relatively flat route that explore nature, also goes along the scenic Lakeside, and pass several beautiful bridges and buildings.
Cycling Distance Covered : 31.91 km.     |     Level: Medium

A good place to kick-off the ride is at Ayer@8; here there are several good eateries for breakfast before the ride, and perhaps also for lunch afterwards.
From here, we took a short path down to the Putrajaya Lakeside cycling/walking lanes that will lead us to the Wetlands. But before we proceed below are maps of the Wetlands to give a clearer picture and a better understanding of the place the we will be heading too.

Above is the overall plan of the Putrajaya Wetlands.
Putrajaya, the new administrative capital of Malaysia (established in 1999), is a well planned city that brings the country into the 21st Century, Covering 49 km2 (19 sq mi). Planned as a garden city and intelligent city, 38% (18.62 km2) of the area is reserved for green spaces in which the natural landscape is enhanced. This incorporated a network of open spaces and wide boulevards. And one of the best green and largest areas here is the Putrajaya Wetlands (MalayTaman Wetlandwhich includes a Wetland Park (138 hectares) and the wetland areas (1977 hectares) totaling 2155 hectares.
With many species of fauna and flora, the place looks very green and natural, but the odd thing is IT IS not natural and relatively new!
In the early 1990s, when the designers of Putrajaya decided that they wanted to build the city around a man-made network of lakes, they realized that they would need an efficient filtering system to prevent the lakes from becoming polluted and stagnant. Rather than opt for an artificial filter they instead created a freshwater wetlands, said to be the largest one in the tropics. With this, Putrajaya Wetlands are considered Putrajaya's kidneys that play an important role in ensuring the ecosystems in Putrajaya are balanced through natural water filtration of two major rivers flowing into Putrajaya, the Sungai Chua and Sungai Bisa along with three other rivers. The Wetlands is now also a wildlife sanctuary which attracts a huge variety of animals to the combined terrestrial-aquatic wetland environment and have become a popular eco-tourism destination.

Here's an enlarged section of the map showing the area that are opened and easily accessible to the public:
1. Entrance, 2. Info Center, 3. Look Out Tower, 4. Flamingo Pond, 5. Outdoor Activity Center
6. Semarak Field, 7. Putrajaya Central Nursery, 8. Camping Ground, 9. Nature Interpretive Center,
10. Viewing Deck, 11. Water Recreational Centre, 12. Swan Lake, 13 BBQ Area, 14. Merbuk Field,
15. Bambusetum, 16. Tunnel & 17. Exit.

After a short distance along the Lakeside, we were soon riding on timber boardwalks running along the lake. The timber slats here are nailed down, but it's best to avoid cycling along the center where the will be a row of embedded nails..... just in case any does stick out over time. Here, it's like cycling along a green corridor as there are buffer zones to the lake on one side and another buffer to the houses on the other side.

The board-walk led us onwards to concrete-paved pathways, along the way we rode below the Seri Wawasan Bridge with the rising sun in the background, it is aptly named as "wawasan" is Bahasa Malaysia for "vision". This is a beautiful bridge, emulating a Kris pointing skyward, leading the nation ahead. No worries, we will later ride on the bridge itself during our return loop.

Here too was a good view of the Putrajaya Mosque looking like it's floating on the lake!

The lake-side path led us pass the Putrajaya Lake Club and then through the nice residential area of Precint 10.
About 1-1/2 km. ahead, near Seri Perdana (the Prime Minister's Residence), the lakeside path ends as it does not go around the residence, and we had to head out to the main roads to loop back to the lakeside further ahead. But it's a blessing in disguise, for the path leading out is lined with bamboo groves and are shady. This is a lovely place for nice photos, and here we met another group of friends; quickly took a group photo before each going our own way (see top-most photo too).

It's onto the main roads, going along Persiaran Seri Perdana (on parallel cycling paths) and going towards Precint 11 to head for the Wetlands. At Jalan P11 A 6/1, there's a pathway (entry location is at GPS: 2.95926, 101.68952) that leads down to the Wetlands, presently it's blocked with concrete blocks (probably to prevent motorcyclists from entering), so some lifting of bicycles is required.
Wonder what lies ahead?

Ahead was a narrow paved-pathway that slope downwards.
With nice lamp-posts, this must have been a properly planned access, too bad access is not easy because of the barricade.

Below were paths that led us through the first part of the Wetlands; some were sandy tracks others were tarred, but all went through very green landscaped surroundings. There are even sandy tracks that goes along the bunds that cross the wetland lakes.

The place is so serene, and the wetlands have done their natural filtration well; the water is clear and reflects the sky beautifully.

The surrounding varies from lush tropical secondary forest to bamboo groves and palm clumps ...... 

..... to marshes with swaying reed grass.
Resting shades are strategically positioned to take advantage of the scenic environment.

Crossing one of those sandy bunds and taking a left, led us to this awesome sight. This unnamed bridge with multi-arches is a favorite with photographers as the calm water of the lake reflected it beautifully. On top is Persiaran Persekutuan, one of the main roads linking Putrajaya to the SKVE (South Klang Valley Expressway). Many driving above on this road link are oblivious to this beauty below.

At the left-bottom corner of this bridge was one of the best part of the Wetlands: it's the Swan Lake, it has nothing to do with the ballet of similar title, but its beauty is very admirable all the same. A swan could be seen sitting serenely at one corner.

This place is a must stop, other than the white swans, there were also white geese, egrets, colorful eider ducks .....
..... and the rare black swan!
These black swans stood out conspicuously and reminded me of the iconic Black Swans of Perth that we saw while cycling around Lake Monger in Perth.

Not all the arches of the bridge is over water, the left-most arch has a wide trail that led us to the other side, and going through it gave us a peek of more wet greenery ahead.

Swinging right we went across a sandy bund; on one side was seen these Yellow-billed Storks wading in the waters and while others patiently roosted on some railing.

Crossing that sandy bund takes us out of the Wetlands and onto Precincts 1 and 2, the Core Island lake district of Putrajaya.
We cycled by the Putrajaya Lake Recreational Centre (Pusat Rekreasi Air Putrajaya), there visitors can rent bicyclesrent canoes/kayaks, or even book a PUtrajaya lake cruise. Further along was the Lakeside Rest Place, a nice and scenic place to stop for views and photos of the Putrajaya Lakeside.

No more sandy trails here, it's onto tarred and concrete pathways, starting with a ride on rough broom-swept paths slightly away from the Lakeside. Although we were out from the Wetlands, it was still very green here, with shady trees and much other flora around.

We swung inland to go partly through the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens (Taman Botani Putrajaya). This botanical gardens is worth a longer visit on another day, within its grounds are sections planted with different flora such as the Canna Walk, Fern Garden, Floral Steps, African Collection, Tropical America Collection, Hibiscus Walk, Bougainvillea Tunnel, Pandanus Walk, Orchid Path, Palm Hill, Vine Garden, and Heliconia Trail, etc.

 Just outside the botanical gardens was the Taman DiRaja Pahang (Pahang State Garden), with different sections dedicated to respective towns of Pahang, the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia.
 Not to be missed too is the nearby Moroccan Pavilion - its Moorish architecture reminded us of the Alhambra which we visited during a 2019 Cycling Tour of Portugal & Spain. Unfortunately, it was closed for upgrading, so no photos to show here.

From the gardens we rode onto the the Core Island built-up areas of Putrajaya, starting at Dataran Putra with a landward view of the Putrajaya MosqueDataran Putra is the northern end of the Central Boulevard of the Core Island; at the southern end is the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) and linking them is Persiaran Perdana.

A quick stop at the nearby "Open Hand Sculpture", this is an International Anti-Corruption Excellence award presented by His Excellency Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar.

With giant letters spelling out "PUTRAJAYA", Dataran Putra is a memorable place for photos, taken either with the Putrajaya Mosque in the background. Alternatively, like us, take a group photo with the Perdana Putra, the Malaysian Prime Minister's Office, in the background.

Continuing onto the wide Central Boulevard  of the Core Island, we admired the  many impressive office and government buildings here, such as:
1. The Suasana PjH Putrajaya; a new business and retail hub.
2. Ministry of Finance Complex; a distinct curve building housing housing the Malaysian Ministry of Finance,

We reached the far end where the Seri Gemilang Bridgean impressive ceremonial bridge which was designed to have a stately look, even the lamp-post bases have crafted motifs
From here, we decided not cross the bridge to climb up to the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) .....

..... but instead looped back at Dataran Gemilang, where there were tall 
attractive office blocks housing more government departments.

Looping back from there along the lake-side, in one of the photos above, the PICC can be seen across the lake, to the left,

Enroute back, another stop - the China-Malaysia Friendship Garden;.This garden is a joint effort between the Dongguan People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (DGPAFFC), Perbadanan Putrjaya (PPJ) and Malaysia-China Friendship Association (PPMC).
To reflect the building's Chinese architecture, almost all the building finishing material were brought in from China, tiles, roof tiles, etc. Even the elaborate roof timber structure were brought in in dismantled pieces.

Over a couple of weekends, we rode at this area on more or less the same route. For our first time, the return leg was via the Taman Wawasan Putrajaya with slight detour to the Seri Bistari Bridge (see map above).
The second time's return leg was a shorter one that took us pass the Millennium Monument (seen in above photo). "This is a 68m high column which from a distance it looks like a giant pencil standing on end but it was designed to be in the shape of the hibiscus flower when viewed from above. A ramp leads upwards along which are a series of engraved glass panels which trace important milestones in Malaysia's history.  There is also a time capsule concealed in the base of the monument containing a message from former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad which was supposed to be be unearthed in the year 2020." But probably because of the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic, this has not happened.

And we are back at the 
Seri Wawasan Bridge, this time riding on the cycling/walking lanes on its deck. Up close, and in the noon sunlight, it looked even more grand - with it's modern looking bright silver mast standing out contrastingly against the blue sky.
Across the bridge and with two left turns, we were back at 
Ayer@8. ending with a good lunch at Restoran Tommyum Kung. They have pretty good desserts including bubur cha cha and pengat pisang.
This was a nice route that brought us close to nature, with later views of grand building; I would highly recommend it as it's an easy, picturesque one.

(For more photos of the ride Click Here), and here for those from another ride 2 weeks later)
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 You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Putrajaya / Putrajaya Wetlands & Lakeside Ride 2020
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)