Last weekend I had the chance to go for a longer ride on the much flatter Vancouver Island. A friend was visiting and I rode down to Courtenay with him.
The day before, I had spent some time trying to improve the alignment of the front wheels. I did a bunch of roll down tests using my Garmin to measure the speed. I picked a hill with a flat run out which then goes slightly uphill. The other criteria for the test was that I could turn around without getting out. Top speed before slowing down was around 32 kph. The results were quite variable for two reasons. A bike computer would most likely do a better job of measuring max speed. The road surface was quite rough with a couple of dips/bumps which changed my speed. While I got close to the same results on trials at the same toe in, they weren't good enough to convince me it was reliable. I ended up setting just a tiny bit more toe in than before. I will need to come up with a better site to do the tests. Maybe I'll just try a roll out test measuring how far you roll out before stopping. This is in keeping with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle .
Back to the ride. Dave, riding the bamboo bike he built, was a bit faster than I was uphill. He was also towing a BOB trailer. I suspect he is in much better riding shape than I. I haven't ridden much lately but plan on changing that. Once or twice, on very slight up grades or the flats I was quicker. Downhill was marvelous. I will now have a new rule: once over 40 kph just coast and enjoy the ride. This is unless you are trying to catch someone or drop them. The first interesting thing that happened is I got passed moving to the main traffic lane from the shoulder. This is the second time this has happened in the same place. There is a down hill where I pull into the main traffic lane from the shoulder once I am at speed of traffic. There is normally debris on the shoulder at the bottom of the hill. The hill has a left turn lane on it so it is at least three lanes wide. This is the second time I have been passed here and both times I was 5 kph over the speed limit. It seems cars just need to get by if you are travelling at or close to their speed. I have noticed this before. From now on I will be more careful when travelling at about traffic speed. After the hill I just coasted to a stop until Dave caught up. It seemed that it just coasted forever as I must have gone at least a km before coming to a stop. I guess my small adjustment of the toe in was an improvement. Part way to Courtenay there is a Pitch and Putt Golf course that serves ice cream and milkshakes. The chocolate/raspberry ice cream makes a great shake especially with chocolate milk. A little further along I noticed a small sign for Coastal Black winery that had an even smaller sign indicating that they have a Bistro. Had I been driving a car I might have missed this. There was another sign for a winery closer to Courtenay--places to visit on future rides. Just a few km before I turned back, the road flattened out and was slightly downhill. I just seemed to fly along here just pedaling lightly. On the way back I did stop at Coastal Black Winery. Sampled some Mead and had a pizza made in their wood fired oven on the patio--worth the stop. Rode back to the ferry and then home. Total for the day: a bit over 110 km.
The next trip to the store and back was quick. Shaved a minute off without really trying. So the toe in adjustment was positive. It helps it you also inflate the tires. On the longer ride they could have had a bit of air added. It would have been an even quicker ride and I would have had longer rest times waiting for Dave to catch up. I am now more convinced than ever that a velomobile makes a ideal touring machine.