Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Off to ROAM

Heading off to Portland this morning to join in the first bit of the ride across America.  They are riding from Portland  to Washington DC in month.  For more info check out  It should be lots of fun to be able to ride with a whole bunch of other velomobiles.  I will also get to see some models that I haven't seen before. 

I will pick up Aaron and his Quest and expect to arrive in Portland late in the afternoon.  I haven't been riding much so I expect to be pretty slow compared to the other folks.  If I succeed in making it to Missoula with using the SAG wagon it will be the furtherest I have ridden in a day and the furthest I have ridden in two day back to back and the furtherest for five days.  My motto will be "slow but steady", making sure I ride at my pace. 

Cycling and Pedestrian Overpass

Two weeks ago on a rainy Saturday I rode over to the official opening of the Tynehead Perimeter Trail Opening, From the picture you can tell it was wet as I had the roof on the whole time.

 I almost didn't get out except there was some cake to go with the opening and a burger after.  Here's another photo of the bridge across the freeway.

This highway cuts diagionaly through the Fraser valley dividing it in two with realtively few places for cyclists to cross it.  I once rode out to Abbotsford to a kayak event and it ended up being 70 km instead of about 40 km I anticipated as I had to ride out of my way to cross this freeway.  A couple of deadends also added to the distance.

The trail around Tynehead Park is marvelious.  Five kilometers of very smooth payment and no cars to worry about.  Mind you should be carefull around pedestrians and slower cyclists.  This is one of the bigger green spaces in Surrey and will offer a nice change from riding with cars especialy when the greenways connecting it are all finished.  For more info on all this go to this  map for a map of the routes.

Cockpit Stiffener

A photo of the cockpit stiffener ribs being installed.  The stiffener is actually a "C" section part that is made in a mould, demoulded, trimmed, sanded and then bonded to the shell.  So far I have been using three layers of graphite for the rib and it is plenty stiff enough.  Just two layers may not be stiff enough as you can feel it give when you grap it to get in or out.   The addition of the stiffener has changed how I get in and out.  The procedure is now to stand on the seat use your arms to support some weight and slide into the seat.  Once sitting down just clip in and pedal off while latching the door in place.  There is plenty of room to do this with the door open and out of the way.  This is the only real practical way to get in with the central steering.  Before I would stand on the ground with my feet through the footholes and then sit down by doing a deep knee bend.  The advantage of this was that if you couldn't put weight on your arms you could still get in and out.  With the central steering  the handle bar is somewhat it the way so the new method is simpler.  I can be in and riding off in three or  four seconds if I clip in nicely.  Not quite as quick as an upright bike but lots quicker than most other velomobiles.  Another advantage of the new way is that I can now close off  one foothole and reduce the size of the other.  I can't see completely closing off both as you would lose the reverse gear.  It is sometimes still useful to be able to back up to squeeze through tight spots. 

I also checked the turning radius of the V3 the other day and can do a 180 turn in just slightly over four meters.  So a turn radius of 2 meters which is really excellent for a velomobile. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back on Two Wheels and Clipping In

I have been riding my two wheel Vison recumbent when I am up on Quadra Island.  Its a completely different experince from the Borealis.  It's taking some getting used to being on two wheels again.  I have pedals that are a platform on one side and spd on the other.  For my first ride I clipped in and road off without incident.  I rode for about 10 km and then decided to take a short cut on a trail.  When I first turned on the trail I thought about unclipping but the trail seemed pretty good so I didn't.  Well not more than 5 minutes later I am laying in the bush clipped in.  A sharp turn and some roots across the trial did me in.  This may be a gentle message to get an upright bike for this sort of thing!! You think I would learn from this but on the next ride I again ended up on the ground again.  This time it was just forgetting to unclip when I was going too slow and shifting on a hill.  I was pretty casual about it not paying particular attention and just fell over onto the payment.  I prefer the bush its softer.  This would never happen on three wheels.  I have noticed that I am more relaxed in the velomobile not having to worry about unclipping in time.  While I am just as comfortable sitting on the Vision or the Borealis all things being equal I'll take the Borealis.  I must admit that the Vision is still an nice bike in spite of being 15+ years old.

On a ride earlier this year I noticed that I was through the intersecftion(from a dead stop) before the roadies had clipped in.  By the time they caught up I was already at about 20 kph.  The hard part in the velomobile is the slower acceleration  from the low-mid twenties to cruising speed.  Its OK do do a few of these stop and starts on a ride but if you have very many it cuts into your average speed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Canada Day Ride

The BC Randonners Cycling Club, have a Populaire every July 1.  It starts in Fort Langley and heads out the Fraser valley to Vedder Crossing and is as many kilometres long as Canada in old. So this year it was 144 km. 
These couple of pictures were taken climbing Straiton Hill.  You end up climbing about 190 meters in around 3 km.  I now have a routine where I eat a sandwich on the way up.  This time it was acually a sandwich and a half.  Lots of folks passed me that I had passed earlier on. 

The route has a couple of km of flat terrain at the start of the ride and then it's uphill and some rollers but mostly up until you get down onto the Sumas flats.  From just after the uphills started I was riding with two women and we kept passing one another as the terrian favored them or a velomobile.  This must have happened a dozen times.  Once it flatten out a bit I was riding by myself until just before the last bit of the descent onto Sumas flats.  From here to just a short way up Straiton hill I passed some but they all(and more) passed me on the hill.  After the hill there was a very steep descent to the first contol station.  At the control station Aaron riding a Quest caught up with me.  We rode together for a little bit and then he took off.  I rode a steady pace and didn't get sucked into riding faster as I had on a couple of previous rides. As a result I was able to finish the ride comfortably and felt pretty good the next day.   The next section to the next control is only about 20 km and its quite flat.  This bit went by quite quickly.  The section after this ends up at the third control point at Birchwood Dairy. Needless to say I stopped for an ice cream cone.  In previous years the last 45 km seemd the toughest as I did a poor job of pacing myself.  This year this part was fun too.  It has a long straight section with some hills.  Mostly I was keeping up, being passed on the uphills, flying by on the downhills and catching up on the flats.  This continued until there was just a bit too much up and most folks I had been riding with disappeared in front of me.  The last 10 or so km were quite fun as it is mostly gently down so I could fly along without much effort.  I suspect that I would have been faster overall on my highracer but I wouldn't have had as much fun.