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30 Jan 2010

My new onboard camera

I've already made a lot of recumbent videos. Mostly shot with a compact photo camera. Recently I added the very cheap micro sized md-80. Ideal because I could mount it everywhere, that's why I'll keep using it. It did however, not like low light situations. What it did in the Apeldoorn Velodrome was at it's limits. The Sloten track, up for Febrary 21, is a lot darker. And I had more reasons to do some research on on-board cameras.

You may know that I'm a cheapskate, I wouldn't buy something for just one event. But I thought that, with all the filming I do, a real on-board camera was justified. So I surfed the web, visited E-bay, googled, compared, went to You-Tube, googled and compared a bit more and came up with the 'Drift Innovation X170'.

The '170' stands for the angle of view. So wide it gives a good perspective of your actual speed. 'X' is probably something that sounds cool. It has a little lcd screen, runs on (rechargeable) AA batteries, came with a remote, has enough pixels and looked very durable. Al this was mine for only €200,-.

Today I mounted it on Yavixa. Now I didn't feel like sticking Velcro on her smooth white body, so I modified on of my light brackets. That gives the camera a stable mount and is multi-functional. The camera came with a handle bar bracket, so I can clamp it around anything round.

26 Jan 2010

Mr Blue Sky, the army and a silver heron

We've had grey and dark weather for almost two weeks. Yesterday evening, after the eight o'clock news, the weather man said that the sun would be shining today. And even though the temperature would be way below zero, I'd be riding on 2 wheels. Yavixa had her share during the past months, Yivalté had just been out on the velodrome, so Lobbes the Pioneer would have the honour today. Not for a long intensive ride, just a bit over cruising, to enjoy the scenery and maybe stop for a nice photo a long the way.

And so I did. The roads weren't totally clean, so I 'd made the right decision to leave my racy Fuego at home. My initial plan was to go to the Fochteloerveen, but I changed my mind. I went for a more compact ride around the heathland. There where small patches of old snow on the roads her and there, so I had to be careful.

I did make one mistake in the beginning, I looked at my speedo and thought what Yivalté's speedo would indicate.... Well, Kevlar Big Apples and a internal geared hub give a reliable and significantly slower bike. The hub is there to stay, it's so convenient, but there's quite a chance that there soon will be a pair of Kojaks on this Nazca. Rolls  better, and lowers the total weight from 21 to 20kg. Apart from the speed issue, I really like this bike. I can optimize him, and everything else, (comfort, light, practicality, manoeuvrability) already is good.  

I gave some sheep a little extra exercise, passed the Lancaster monument and made a nice photo after I'd left the asphalt.

The ride went on, across the bicycle viaduct over the highway A28 in Hooghalen. The military proofing grounds I than visited are a special place to ride through. They're closed for all civil motorized vehicles and you can spot deer if your lucky. Ow, and there's a slight chance of seeing a large green vehicle with guns and ammo. I only saw one ore two Mercedes G class. I like it there, it'll be in another group ride I'll be organizing later this year.

Just before I rode back into the civil world, I spotted a silver heron. It was a good thing I had my camera ready to quickly make a picture, before it took of to the blue sky. I was home again after after 33km, warmed up my hands again and had a cup of thee.

If you're done reading and watching the photos, click 'play' and enjoy this great song  by ELO from 1978.

25 Jan 2010

Velodrome racing Apeldoorn, part 2

Velodrome racing, the easiest way to go very fast on a bike. There was quite a turn up this day in the beautiful facility in Apeldoorn. A wide, smooth track, with wide corners and 250 metres in length. I got there by train, together with David Hembrow and my Fuego.

Yivalté already was pretty much set-up for racing. Last thing left to do was drop the chain (one allen bolt) and lower the seat. (a quick release tensioner) I really dislike starting on a velodrome and riding in traffic with people at different speeds, so I only did a short warm-up combined with a shake down of the Fuego. Everything seemed to work and the speedometer showed satisfying numbers.

The start of the 1000m went better than I'd expected. I'd never started this close to a corner before, but I managed to pick up some speed and do a reasonable first lap. I was doing about 53km/h and didn't go to high in the corners. It felt like a fast one, without to much effort. However, the timekeeping tolled a different story. I'd made a tiny mistake when I'd adjusted the wheel size, my speed wasn't as high as I thought it was. It turned out that I was 3 whole seconds slower than my personal best of 1:15:xx, what a bugger...

Being that slow had an bright side, I'd be racing in the 'slow' criterium, or turtles as I like to call them. The guys we call 'hazen' (hares) are so fast that it almost becomes a bit scary. I'd been riding with them a couple of times before and survived. You could even say I had a great time with them. But now I had the chance to race in a slightly less stressful way.

The start was a mess. For a reason I do not know, there was a re-start. Also this start didn't go that well. Id did give me the chance to turn on my camera! Now I could see afterwards how a got stuck behind slow riders and lost contact with the fastest riders. I could also see how that it took me eight minutes to catch up with them again.

There was time to lay my head back and propelling myself around and around at 45-46km/h. A quick glance at my watch learned that my heart rate was 183. The big pump seems to do that when I'm doing something I can continue doing for quite a while. It beats slightly faster, 193 or so, when I had to accelerate. Overtaking is a energy consuming thing to do, you have to climb the corners to overtake people. Problem, well not really a problem, this is racing, is that I had to overtake a lot of people many times. Keeping that in mind, I should be able to do 46km/h for an hour straight if I had a track of my own. Maybe a little bit of extra training, tuning, and wishful thinking, but it should be possible.

We, the leading three, kept going around and around for lap after lap. A man on a M5 couldn't keep up, a woman on a different M5 could. I thought I could go faster, but why should I do that if I'm behind a seriously fast rider? Or wasn't he? He'd probably have a fabulous finale and lap us all, several times.

He didn't, he dropped back with 5 minutes to go. He wasn't planning to go really fast today. Something with an old wound and a training schedule. Anyway, it let me leading the pack again, or what left of it. I was able to maintain the speed I was doing in the slipstream! With a little more than one minute to go, the fast lady behind me decided to go for it. And she left, the gap grew to 1.8 seconds and I couldn't catch up anymore. I finished third, she was second. A man in a Quest was first, but that's, as far as I'm concerned, a different category.

It was a fine race. The start could have been a lot better, let's try that again in 4 weeks time. I averaged 43.967km/h. Keeping in mind all the overtaking, that's pretty good. I did 44.7 last year, without overtaking a single rider. That was one of the times I raced in the fast group. So I could say that I did better than last year. And I like the sound of that. Full results can be found here.

Now, turn on your speakers and watch the video I made. It features on-boards from my Fuego from my horribly slow 1000m and the first 15 minutes of the 40 minute 'slow group' criterium. Last part shows some the the fast group's criterium.

24 Jan 2010

Velodrome racing, Apeldoorn, part 1

I had a great day full of speed and excitement. There'll be a video and a blog item about it tomorrow. Writing and editing takes time if you want to do it good. I do have a few photos online.

20 Jan 2010

More photos from December 23

December 23? The 2nd ever blog post I ever made is about what happened this day. This day was not only in a musical way a highlight of the previous year. I decided to post more photos from that event. I just had another look at them and some are quite good. You can find them here. Last Saturday I went to a concert of her in Leeuwarden.

19 Jan 2010

Nazca Cruiser ready for thousands of new kilometres

Last December we picked up my mom's new 'bent, a Gaucho 24". The Gaucho is a replacement, not an addition. So that's why I spend time on cleaning the previous Nazca, a Cruiser from 2006. Used for commuting and touring, well maintained and equipped with 3x8 Sram dual drive. You may send me an e-mail if you'd like to know more about this night blue machine.

No shipping, only in person. Shipping a bike is a specialist job.

My Northern velomobile ride

It's was around half past 9 when the first velonaut arrives. David is quickly followed by many others who where brave enough to make the journey through the snow. I'm very pleased with 13 out of 18, only 5 riders withdrew due weather or not feeling so well. Ymte had come all the way from Dronten and had done 90km when he sat down for coffee. Many others had done at least 35km to get to my place. The idea of starting the ride at 10:30 is set aside because of the snow, we leave just after 11.

As I turn right for the road past the golf course I immediately think that I'd better taken the next turn. This road has a layer of fresh snow and the 'rubber band effect' reduces me, to leader of the group, to riding 12km/h. Everybody seems to manage this part and where quickly back on to black tarmac again.

Who we think of as the 'slowest' rider gets a spot right behind me, there where the speed of the group is the lowest. Later on it turns out that he's pretty strong because he has no problem at all to keep up with me. He just needed some time to warm up. One rider was riding his first proper velomobile ride and he did struggle a bit in the end to keep up with the rest. But we're not in a hurry and he becomes my new 'anchor'. He was riding a test ride Mango, so he didn't have to chance to fully adept to a VM and vice versa.

Quest rider and experienced recumbent racer Jan Marcel does an excellent job as my wing man. He notices it when people fall back in the group and than 'rides shotgun' to tell me what's going on way behind me. In the meantime back home, my parents are doing an excellent job at preparing the 2 kinds of soup for after the ride.

As we pull in for our lunch stop another Quest rider shows up. I recognize him, it's Stefan from Enschede. He sort misjudged the snow and didn't make on time to ride with us from the beginning. Anyway, he was up to steam now after having ridden about 100km.

There a tiny bit of rain as we continue or ride. The wide concrete cycle paths are clean most of the time. We take the main road if they're not. As be approach the world famous TT circuit south of Assen the group speeds up a bit. The asphalt on the main road is so utterly smooth that some riders can't withstand it. And why not? It's legal, there's hardly any traffic on a day like this and it's great fun.

When our group of 14 is almost in the city centre I decide to stop for some group photo's in front of the museum. There are very few people on the streets and the few who are, naturally, surprised by the sight of 14 brightly coloured vehicles.

With less than 4km to go we leave the museum and I lead the group over another street covered with slushy snow. To my surprise, nobody gets stuck. Back at where we started Q rider Georg has the crazy idea of riding through a pile of snow, hard, solid, shoved snow. He fails and tips over. Nobody or nothing gets hurt and everybody has a laugh.

The soup is tasteful and everybody has some new stories to tell. We had true velomobile weather and some of us learned new things.

I didn't had time to make a video, luckily David and Wilfred did have. Alex was our photographer. He's planning to make a selection out of these 193 photo's.

18 Jan 2010

Cycling, trains and Ellen ten Damme

A strange title that sums up my Saturday. It was Sunday evening when I pushed the 'play' button on the dvd player. I wanted to listen to the marvellous voice and music of the same singer I saw performing the a day ago. The weekend was so chuck full with impressions that it made my grey cells work at full capacity.

When I rode home on Friday evening, after a day at Nazca, I realized that I had forgotten my cellphone. There wasn't time to go back and get it, there was no room in the schedule for a 15 minute detour. No problem, I can live without my V630i, I'd pick it up tomorrow. Now I was on my way home to eat and leave again after an hour or so to the swimming pool. My swimming technique was a bit old diesel style, slow but steady. 300 metres more than last week made for a total of 1150 metres.

Saturday had a slow start in many ways. The bed was a little to comfortable, the only thing missing a..., well, you know. Yavixa felt a little slow when I rode past the canal to collect my phone. Probably an engine related problem. The air was wet, the temperature just above, or below zero, the wind was against me. If there wasn't a layer of fibreglass and epoxy to protect me, I would now be in a train or at home. After 33km my nerves did withstand the empty feeling that came with a flat rear tyre. It was nothing more than an easy 10 minute quick fix, but it's just the sort of thing you prefer to do when  the sun is shining and you're nothing having a bit of a headache.

Standing by the stove in the Nazca workshop, eating a banana, a candy bar and a slice of cake brought back the energy. A cup of coffee gave a little boost to my system. I was glad the hear that a woman had just bought a Pioneer to ride to Nepal. All these little things made the 42km route home quite easy. The headache and the sleepiness where gone when I was back at base camp.

Then the evening came and with that, an event I'd been looking forward to. It started with a train ride from Assen to Leeuwarden, via Meppel. My little black Dahon is an ideal travel companion for these sort of things. I cycled from the train station to the theatre in less than 5 minutes and parked my bike at a handy, free and guarded cycle parking in front of the theatre.

Going to the theatre on your own is kind of strange. Everybody else is with at least one other person. I quickly found my way in the foyer and got myself a bottle of chocolate milk. (an excellent after sport drink it seems!) I bought a dvd from an older concert tour and would have it signed afterwards. When I found my chair in the theatre (row 6, seat 2) the sight of a sold-out theatre felt good. I like it when an artist I adore has good ticket sales.

The concert was fabulous. All the songs where nicely arranged in a logical order. Her voice utterly beautiful, beyond what I can imagine.  Her performance outstanding. The music, almost completely written be herself and performed with the help of a drummer and a guitar player, covered a broad spectrum of styles. I think 4 types of guitar where used. The drummer also played a xylophone. And there was a keyboard, and a tambourine, and don't let me forget the violin. One song was done unplugged. There was drama, humour, lyrics with meaning, about love, about live.

I'd like to let you, the reader, hear some of her. More than half of my readers probably won't understand the Dutch she's singing, but that doesn't really matter. (and there are also 3 albums in the English language) The video is a fragment from the in-store promotion I went to last December. It's made by a shop employee.

Afterwards I felt about the same as after a 45 minute velodrome criterium, except for the dizziness and the sweat. I cooled down with a drink, after I let Ellen sign my dvd. There was quite a line at the stand with cd's and alike.

Most of the music I like is made by artists so famous you'd never get to speak them, or they're dead, or dead and world famous. You never have to chance to personally tell them that you really, really like their music. But now I could. So just before riding back to the train station, just after everybody had left the stand, I went back to her again. Just to tell her what I just mentioned. That the it's great to be able to tell an artist that you sat down, pushed play, and listened to a wonderful album. 'That's just what I wanted to say' I told her, and she smiled.

Feeling all overwhelmed again I carefully rode back to the trains again. It had started to snow, and I was on slick tyres. With a lowered saddle I made it without breaking a bone or the precious signed dvd. The ride back home, this time via Groningen, took just over 2 hours. I bought a 'Snickers' in a mini supermarket at the train station in Groningen while waiting for the next train.

The clock in the kitchen told me that it was 1:15am when I stepped through the back door. Within a little more than 8 hours the first velonauts would be on my doorstep. Just enough time for 6 hours of well needed sleep.

14 Jan 2010

Nothern Velomobile ride 2010, route inspection

This is the route I will be riding next Sunday, together with about 15 other velonauts. Today I checked the entire 60km route for ride ability. It became clear that the snow wasn't going to give any real problems. I had to get out of Yavixa only once. There was to much snow on the edge of an intersection to ride through. The photo below shows the spot in the route with the most snow. Most of the our ride will be on black or grey-ish tarmac. Let's hope the temperature stays below zero C to keep the scenery white and wintery!

Few tings left to do Saterday: create parking space, make soup, (mom) arrange chairs and maybe some minor details. I'm looking forward.

13 Jan 2010

Gabrielle Cilmi confuses me

Last December I walked to the city centre to buy a light bulb. I came home with 2 Cd's. One of them was ms. Cilmi's first album 'Lessons to be learned. (I bought the bulb 3 days later)I'm a cheapskate, so I bought it when it was on sale. This album has some great tracks whit a very special sound. Most important ingredient is Gab's voice. It makes a fabulous combination with the jazzy (?) nostalgic (?) , eh, her style of music. Her band always was an important part of that music. Check out some youtube videos and you'll see and hear what I mean. What more could come from this unique singer? It was hard to believe that this voice we heard in her debut single 'Sweet about me' was only 16 years old. When I saw a photo of her, a couple of weeks after I first heard her, I decided that I'd like her because of her voice. That was a rational decision, I set aside the natural ideas I should have had. That was 2 years ago.

Then the news came that she was working on a new album!

11 Jan 2010

Technical things

Yesterday it was time to lube some parts of Yavixa's drum brakes. The point between the brake blocks and the little axle that pushes them outwards needed grease. I also applied some WD-40 and thin oil on the pivotting point at the back of the brake. The brakes do feel a liitle better again. But I still need to change the cable routing. The cable-tie on the suspension unit will be changed so that the brake cable has more room to move. Drum brakes are highly affected by the route of their cables.

up-date: I've changed the cable-tie set-up. The original cable-tie now holds 2 small cable-tie loops through which the brake cable can move. The cable now only makes long sweeping bends. The brake lever feels much better now.

Another thing I had to do was change the cassette on Yivalté's rear wheel. There's nothing really wrong with the current 26-12 cassette, but I'll be doing a velodrome race on Januray 24. The '12' on the back just isn't enough for the top speed I'll be doing. My cadance gets really high above 50km/h and it would be nice to have a gear left for the those laps of 55+. So that's why I got myself a 21-11 Sram R9 cassette of the Nazca shelfs. A 53-21 is impossibly high for a normal 1st gear, so I'll have to swap it to get a nice road machine again.

If you've seen my '2009 in a few lines' you'll know that I had a little crash in August. On of the dameged parts was my front Stelvio. It still did well for another 1000km or so, but now it's time for a new one. The damage to the side skin seems to severe to withstand a velodrome race. The idea of having a blow-out when I'm doing 50km/h whilst overtaking a group a slower riders is scary. I'll replace it after next Friday by another Stelvio.

Slower riders? Am I that fast? No, not really. My goal is to be the fastest of the 'slow' group. Based on the individual 200 metre times the 20 or so riders are divided in 2 groups. Each group does it's own criterium. In a good velodrome like the one in Apeldoorn the fast group averages 50km/h. The mayority of the slow group does something around 43,5. I'm hoping for a 46km/h average.

With my previous Fuego that would have meant that I'd need about 20 watts more. Yivalté however feels a lot faster. She has better components, an improved chain line and weighs less. But her seat angle is less reclined. That said, I've become stronger. Let's wait and see what I can do in the velodrome...

10 Jan 2010

My Ekoi urbain+ helmet. (up-dated)

I'm using an Ekoi urbain+ helmet when I ride Yavixa. It's been protecting my head now for about 2 months from cold wind and rain. The thing I like about it the most is the 'fighter pilot look' it creates when combined with the foam cover of my Mango velomobile. I use a soft cloth to wipe rain off the visor. The visor is so wide that it also shields the rest of my head from the cold. A feature I really appreciated last Friday when the wind chill really kicked in during my 84km round trip commute. The visor goes from 'clear' to 'smoked' gradually. The lower part, through which we recumbent riders look, is clear enough for night riding.

There's a flat knob on the back to easily adjust the helmet. Above that there's a button cell powered blinky light. Good enough as an emergency back up. As you can see in the photos the ventilation has a summer and winter setting. That middle part has a leather look, the rest is carbon look or black 'helmet foam'.

I always keep my head straight up. Wind would creep up behind he visor if you ride with your head tilted backwards. Once every few weeks I use an 'anti fog cloth' to rub in the inside of the visor.

Of course I did personalize my urbain+. I replaced a tiny little screw that hold the visor because it broke. The 3mm allen bolt now used makes the whole pivoting point a lot stronger.

I wrapped a piece of soft foam around the helmet straps to keep more wind away from my ears. The visor already reduces the wind noise, but I like it close to silent. (apart from the radio)

Last things I added where 2 thin lines of black reflection tape from 3M, on the top edge of the visor. Not really a safety feature, they're to small for that, just a little detail to stand out from the rest.

This is the French website where I bought the helmet. The helmet came with a soft pouch to store the helmet in. Except from the silly little screws that I could easily replace with a 3mm bolt, (drilled a 3mm hole for that) this helmet is something I'd recommend.

After 1 year of use...
I still like it. By now this helmet must have been on my head during 10,000 kilometres or so. The last 2400km with Jenease. Once every while I use 'Rain X' on the face shield. That makes it easy to wipe of raindrops. I keep an micro fibre cloth within reach on rainy days. For the incidental short shower, a wiping index finger will do. 

There are a few minor scratches on the shield, those are so tiny, that I cant see them when the helmet is on my head. All the parts that 'click' and adjust show no signs of wear. The ventilation is good enough, even during a race like Rütenbrock. Now that the weather is getting colder and wetter, the mid section is closed again with the fake leather strip.

Again the conclusion is: I recommend this product.

You can see me wearing the helmet around 1:53 in this interesting video I made in October 2009.

9 Jan 2010

A typical Friday

Friday morning, the start of the most important day of the week. It's 6:20am and I just woke up after a good night of sleep, which I really needed.

Inside the Mango the thermometer indicates minus 9 degrees celcius. It's now 7:20am and I just left home. I'm wearing:
  • normal Shimano spd-shoes
  • 2 pair of thin socks 
  • thick running pants
  • long sleeve thermo shirt
  • a belly warmer (which actually is a kidney warmer)
  • recumbent cycling shirt
  • a fleece sweater, worn vice versa
  • a summer buff, up to my ears
  • a pair of leather gloves
  • a helmet with visor
The radio is on and I'm on my way to Nazca, a 42km ride. First thing I notice is that the suspension is affected by the cold. The ride is somewhat rougher than it used to be. Thankfully the fat Moiree's tyres are a good suspension too. They are also affected by the cold, the rolling resistance is significantly higher, but it's still a pretty smooth ride. There are 2 things that really don't like the cold, my nose and the rear freewheel. My nose needs a hand to shield it from taking in cold air. A problem that fades away after half an hour. The freewheel doesn't freewheel because it's grease is to thick. It does freewheel on my way home, 10 hours later.

I smell an old fire when there's 9km on my cat-eye speedometer. It's what remains of a large fire that destroyed a garden centre 2 days ago. My big brother was high up in the tower wagon to fight the fire. A total of  5 or 6 fire trucks came to the scene to control the flames that could be seen from 8km away.

My hands are getting very warm, time to take off my gloves. For some reason there are less cars on the road than usual. The number of cyclist still seemed quite high. Some of those deserve a dive into the canal for riding without proper or no lights on there bikes. I remove the ice from my buff, just below my nose, every now and then. Strange but true, it getting warmer and warmer inside, only my legs pick up a bit of the cold. A sign by a bike shop tells me that it's -12 now. I was hoping for double digits, that ads to the story.

This is how things go for an hour and a half. I take of the fleece vest when I'm half way. Only thing that makes me stop for just a minute is when I make some yellow snow. The rest of the landscape is white, very white. Thanks to the fog all the little twigs on the trees are white as well.

At work there's always something interesting. I give the 1st sold bike of the year a check-up. It needed a front mudguard and a computer. It's about one and a half hour to make this Pioneer ready to go his new owner. She'll have to re-assemble a few things like wheels and seat because shipping to New Zealand (!) goes in relatively small crates.
Apart from this bike there's plenty of work to do. A lot of things are typical winter time tasks. Things which you don't have time for in the summer. Last job of the day is to true a 20" SON wheel.

There's a thin layer of ice on Yavixa when I head home again. It's less cold, almost warmer, than in the morning. The north-eastern head wind does slow me down. The engine appears to have lost some power over the day. I just settle down and make sure my speed doesn't drop below 25km/h. That's actually quite slow, but a lot faster than I would have been on any other bike. The chilling wind would have probably stopped me riding an open bike after half an hour.

I turn up the volume when 'Radio gaga' is on the radio. A radio can be a very efficient pedal assist system!

My dinner is combined with watching some of the Dakar rally. It's what I recorded from late Thursday evening. From dessert to desert. There is time for desert, but 15 minutes after that I'm riding Yavixa again. The swimming pool is only 4km away. Motivated by the images of the Dakar rally is ride a little faster than I'd normally do. I do swim a little less than usual, but still do about 850 meters.

The day ends with another half on hour of Dakar. They had to do 480km or so in the Atacama dessert, I did just over 90 today in winterly Drenthe.

6 Jan 2010

A very short ride

It's minus 4 degrees celcius, the wind is a cold north eastern and I need to deliver an envelope. Normal cyclist would dress up warm with a scarf, gloves, a warm cap and a winter jacket. I of course had a different method.

Wearing a very tiny thin scarf, a pear of jeans and a fleece sweater I hopped in to Yavixa and hit the icy road. The road was clean a hundred meter further down my route. But still I liked the save feeling of having 3 wheels. The destination was reached within 3 minutes, the entire task took close to ten. Three kilometer may be a bit short to drag my velomobile out the back yard and through the narrow gate, but I don't care. I like the luxery, and it's still makes me smile.

Ow, and naturally I was wearing my helmet with visor to keep my eyes from freezing.

Little bright lights

Lately I've been spending some time on making little ad-on lights for bikes and velomobiles. There's been one on my Mango velomobile for about 1.5 years now and it seems to do good. The idea behind it is to have a bright spot at reasonable height. The same height as a 'normal' bike light would be. It's also great for using at dusk or dawn. Than you don't need big headlights to see the road, you just want something to be seen. These little lights seem to do their job well and use a tiny amount of energy. My first light used 2 big LED's, but technology has improved. One LED is bright enough.

4 Jan 2010

Mom's 24" Nazca Gaucho

Here we have a system that an employer can subsidies an employees new bike. It comes with rules, has something to do with tax and is limited to €749. Not enough to buy a new 'bent, but it's a beginning.

Since my mom last used this system, 3 years had gone by. She then bought a Nazca Cruiser. As time went by, she tried other 'bents during different test ride events. A 26" Gaucho was a little to high, but then a blue 24" version came to our little city of Assen. She liked it, could ride it and even the colour was right. This would be her next bike. To be honest, it had to be a Nazca. I work there a whole day a week :-)

Just to be sure about everything, we arranged a test ride at 'Nazca headquarter' in the nearby town of Nijeveen. We did that late November 2009. I'd figured out the option she'd want and explained her why. She not technical at all, she just wants a very good bike. This is what we came up with:

-heavenly blue Nazca Gaucho 24"
-3x9 Sram dual drive (shift in stand still)
-Avid bb7 brakes (easy to maintain, reliable)
-Shimano hub dynamo with B&M 60 lux Cio head light (a commuters best friend)
-47mm Schwalbe Marathons (strong and comfy)
-Sram x7 shifting. (easy for small hands!)

We collected the new member of our steed of 'bents on the 29th of December. Sadly though, we had lots of snow since. The white is a pretty sight, but a nice surface to start riding your brand new recumbent. Not to mention the salt. She'll have to wait a little longer for the first real ride. However, she could really feel the difference on her 11km ride home. (Nazca, ride, train, ride, home)

More photo in a picasa album.

3 Jan 2010

seriously off-topic, funny

A car ad I found on the web while browsing for a design.

3 velomobiles, the snow and a rabbit

We have snow for the 2nd time this winter. It took whole Saturday to build up the 12cm layer there still is. Thanks to a lot of hard working men (and maybe a few women) the roads where good enough to try and see if the Huneliggers (local recumbent group) could do the weekly social ride.

And we did! An easy 70km ride in a snowy scenery.

1 Jan 2010

a Grave

This evening I had one of my many night rides. My new tyres, 47mm Moiree, do very well and I didn't notice it was -7 degrees Celsius.

I decided to have a look at the hunebed near Loon. A hunebed is what remains of an ancient grave, made from large rocks. They're about 5000 years old and we have about 50 of them in our lovely little province.

The road leading to the hunebed leads to a remote area, and isn't gritted or ploughed. I got there without anything happening and made a few photos.

My ride back to the main road did have a small surprise for me. When I wasn't paying attention for just a second, my rear wheel lost grip and started to overtake the front wheels. A clear case of oversteer. I braked, leaned to the left and was now facing to wrong direction. But how to do a u-turn on a road that's hardly 4 meters wide. And I also had those big fat tyres, increasing my turning radius. Don't worry, there an easy way of doing this when there's ice on the road. Speed up, turn left, suddenly pedal very hard and there you go. You just did a human power 180 degrees power slide.

Back home after 23km. I had hot chocolate and watch this great video on youtube. Just hit 'play' and enjoy.