Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
My first back to back was the Flevo. It was fast and comfortable. It's speed probably derived from the recline angle of the seats. On the other hand, it was very long, very heavy and fairly unwieldy. It's 26" wheels made for a pretty high ride and this could be unsettling when riding backwards. It wasn't a technically advanced bike. The bar on which the bottom brackets travelled, for instance, was composed of solid metal stock. The bike came apart in the middle by backing out two large screws. I trailered the bike so disassembly wasn't necessary. The connection joint did allow for a bit of flex between the two halves. Even allowing for it's plywood frame covered with aluminum, the bike still tipped the scale at over 70 pounds. Still, the bike was an eye catching beast. I sold it this year after my stoker broke her hip and declared she just didn't want to be that high off the ground anymore and risk a fall.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Then I discovered John Morciglio and his line of Thundervolt CF bikes, hand made in Waterford, MI. The bike is available from John as a frame kit for $3700. This includes fork, carbon/aluminum tiller, front and rear brakes, headset and front wheel. That's an amazing price for a bike that gives Nocom performance and a responsive, available builder right here in the USA.
When I contacted John he was already working on a team order for 5 of these beauties so I would have a 6 week wait for mine. John sensed my eagerness and offered to sell me his personal M1 which was set up and basically ready to go. He threw in his gorgeous, custom CF wheel covers and a rear wheel. All this for a smoking hot price, not much over what the frame set would have cost me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The route on Galveston Island was the same as last year, but this time we got our own lane, cordoned off with red cones, all the way to Moody gardens. Nice.
Friday, October 2, 2009
This morning I met Jim and David for the maiden run of my new Mocon low racer. I spent last night with the final details of getting it set up and practising getting on and off. This another example of the benefits of my weight loss. Frankly, I doubt I would have been able to mount and dismount this bike, much less ride it.
We found a quiet country road for this test. I didn't want to have to worry about traffic as well as trying to ride this beautiful bike. My first challenge was starting the bike. The machine gun handle bars make for poor handling at low speeds so it's fairly important to get up some speed right off the bat. While puzzling how I was going to get both feet up on the pedals as I pushed off, I realized that I could put both feet on the pedals with the bike standing still. All I had to do was steady the bike with my hand on the pavement (yes, the bike is that low). After 5 or 6 tries I did get the bike started. It accelerates quickly and handling improves with speed. Nevertheless, it took 15-20 miles before I could take turns with confidence. I easily moved up to 20 mph with a couple of gears left unused. I decided, though, to save a speed run for another day when I had a little more experience on the bike.
By the end of today's 30 mile ride I felt at home on the bike. I have a little tinkering to do before the next time I ride it. I couldn't get my computer to work properly. It's new and suspect it may be batteries. I might get a new seat pad and perhaps trim the chain stays a bit to fit my shoulders. I'd also like to mount a red light on the back of the bike since it's ultra-low and easy for drivers to miss.
Fortunately, I am exactly the same height as John, who made the bike for himself, so no BB adjustment was needed. The bike is very comfortable and after 30 miles I had no recumbent butt or foot numbness. I can't wait for the next ride.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Aimee and Jim and I headed north last week for the 2009 Hotter N' Hell Hundred. It was just a month since my gastric surgery so we opted for the 50 mile route, even though the weather promised to be mild.
The first few years I did this ride we stayed in Duncan, Oklahoma. It's just 60 miles from the ride and hotel rooms are plentiful and cheap. Of course It does require getting up an hour earlier and driving back to Wichita Falls in the dark. Last year we had a chance to stay in WF and loved the convenience so I don't think we'll being staying in Duncan in the future.In previous years we've either ridden singles or the Rans Seavo on this ride. This year Aimee chose the Barcroft California back to back for the ride. I had some misgivings about bringing the California to the HHH, primarily because we transport the bike on a trailer. That means everywhere we park in crowded Wichita Falls we would need two spaces. It all worked out though. We found a good spot at the hotel and arrived early at the ride on Friday morning to find a perfect spot on the street. The bike even fit in our hotel room.
This bike is alot of fun, of course, everywhere we ride it and the HHH was no exception. We were chased by several photographers at the start line who wanted info on the bike. Almost everyone who passed us asked us the usual questions:
"Did you build that?
"Don't you get car sick?"
"Does it go both ways?"
At every rest stop we would get water and refreshment and return to find our bike surrounded by admirers. This bike is a good will ambassador!
The last 5 or 6 times I've done this ride, it's been on a recumbent and usually a tandem. We were always started in the front at the start line. This year tandems and recumbents were started with their mileage groups. I didn't like this much when I heard about it since the California is a little twitchy at low speeds. It turned out to be an improvement. We started at the back of the 100k pack. Since we were in back we were not surrounded by bikes and were able to maneauver freely. We crossed the start line by 7:20 or so.The first ten miles of the ride, although flat, are my least favorite. The road surface is chip seal. It's rough and slows the bike down. This road makes regular asphalt seem like glass.
The California affords the stoker an excellent platform for photography.
Turnout this year was 14,205 riders according to the HHH websire. It showed at the erst stops where, for the first time, I saw long lines for food and water.