Monday, August 5, 2013

First Longer Ride

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.

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