Friday, March 27, 2009

Bad Breaks (Part 2)

Regular readers of this blog know that I broke my right femur in a fall from my Seavo tandem a little over one year ago. My stoker, Liz, was uninjured. She also saved my life by dragging me off of the metro railroad tracks, moments before a metro train came around the corner. I have recovered fully.

In an incredible coincidence, Liz fell down a hill and onto some concrete three weeks ago and broke her right femur. Now we both have broken right femurs. Her break was within an inch of the location of mine. Unfortunately, it is too high to save her hip joint so, unlike me, she's getting a total hip replacement instead of a rod and screws like me. One of the benefits of the hip replacement is that she can be full weight bearing from Day 1. I couldn't put weight on my leg for 6 weeks.

She has been anxious to get back on the tandem so we will try a short test ride this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fog Ride

Contrasted to last week's cold rain ride, we had a crowd in Fulshear this past Saturday. First of all, my friends from Austin, Phillip and Frances, brought their new Seavo down for a run with us. It's a beautiful build from Hostle Shoppe. In addition, Marty, his friend Harry, Ben, Steve, Danny, Debbie and Pat also showed up. We've had some pretty thin ranks so far this year, but as the weather improves that seems to be changing.

The fog in Fulshear on Saturday morning was as think as I've ever seen it. We decided to stay off the main roads until the sun made an appearance.

Once the fog was gone we headed up to Fulshear with a nice tailwind and then back south to the parking lot into the wind. This gave me a chance to really let the Oregon loose. Like most low racers, this bike loves a headwind. I was able to easily drop the entire group, including Harry on his DF. I love this bike!

Thanks to Deb for the pictures.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cold and Wet

Whether we would ride at all this past Saturday morning was in question. The forecast was 50% rain (I try to stay away from wet roads since I broke my femur on one last year) and temps in the low 40s. Nevertheless, it was not raining when I got up at 5 and the weather radar looked good so I met the group out in Fulshear. Jim rode with me and Debbie and Pat and Robert met us at the parking lot in Fulshear.

This was the first real road test for my new Barcroft Oregon. Bill Cook shipped the bike almost ready to ride. All I had to do was attach the handelbars and tighten up the headset and I was ready to roll. Right off the bat I found that the handlebars were too narrow for me. I wrote Bill and he shipped me a set of Volae bars that arrived a couple of days later. I've had the bike about 2 weeks now. I logged 40 miles in the park during the past week to get the seat dialed in, but this was the first real road test. I have no complaints. I thought that maybe the 451 x 1.2" wheels might make for a rough ride, but I hardly noticed the bumps. The bike is very smooth and quiet. I'm still building muscles to pedal on this particular bike, but I can see already that it's going to be really fast. Headwinds are no problem.

The skies threatened rain all morning and there were a few rain drops around mile 11, but we ignored them.

We had an extended break at the half way point because Robert had a flat. While watching him repair it Debbie remarked,"I've never had a flat since I've been riding out here." We all froze and then patiently explained to her that saying such a thing was very bad ju-ju. Naturally she had a blow out about 30 minutes later.

Fortunately, Jim and I had pulled ahead so we were blissfully unaware that everyone else had stopped to help Debbie change her tire. We called back for them at the next break point and learned of the blow out. As we were only 11 miles from the parking lot and the rain was picking up a little, Jim and decided the best thing we could do was push on to the truck in case we needed to come back and pick anyone up.
As we pulled into Fulshear, the rain looked like it might get serious so we pushed on toward the parking lot with numb hands and feet. The skies really opened up just as we got the bikes loaded back in my truck, with everyone else still 10 miles behind us out on the road. We doubled back in the truck for Robert, Debbie and Pat and, in spite of the cold rain that was now falling in earnest, no one wanted a ride to the lot. I learned later that Debbie had used the hand dryer at the Shell Station break point to warm her hands and feet. Jim and I turned on our heated seats and headed home for lunch and a nap.
Thanks to Debbie and Pat for the pictures.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Amazing Bikes of Axel Ewen (Part 1)

Several weeks ago I posted a picture of this bike and asked about the storage bag. First I got a reply from Craig and Vicky with pictures and info on their tandem trike. This weekend I received an interesting letter from Axel Ewen who actually built this Flevo back to back:

The "Flevo"B2B with the yellow bags on your page is made by me. I made the bags too. There is a zipper under a water resistant flap .There is enough space for camping gear for 2 people. If we use it for traveling, we put a daypack or, better yet, a sleeping bag on top of the yellow bag.

The steel frame parts are made by chrom moly. Some friends tried to copy my idea to configure the rear chain without pulleys, but it didn´t work, because of the a small difference in the stock Flevo rear wheel mount. (Axel is right. I never noticed it before but if you look at the original picture I posted of his Flevo you will see that the rear chain reverses without pulleys!)

I am not realy happy with this bike. There is a lot of conversation nessesary, because of the independant cadence.

The suspension can only catch the half of the bumps, so it needs 26"wheels, to give more comfort. For people like me with short legs, a frame on 20" wheels gives better ground control and feels much stiffer and safer.

Axel has sent me information on his other amazing bikes and I will be posting them here soon.