blog header

blog header

Search This Blog

30 Apr 2010

Little Spezi video

Here it is, my first little Spezi video. Not only does it show the test track, it also includes bits of train travelling through nice landscapes.

Something completely different is that today is the day that I'll order the material to build the frame of the racer.

More Spezi photos and blog posts.

29 Apr 2010

The Glyde, my thoughts about the one at Spezi

Important: also read the comments to learn more!

There it was, after months of anticipation, bright and yellow, young and beautifull, the Greenspeed Glyde velomobile. I really was astonished by the looks of it. Yellow is far from my favourite colour,but that didn't matter. This machine looks so much better than the competition. Low, wide, with styling in stead of a shape and with nice details.

Everything that follows is my personal opinion, I've not ridden it, it's based up-on my experiences and knowledge about velomobiles. Personally want the Glyde to be very good.

It has a headlight unit mounting place, just like a Flevobike Alleweder. That gives it a face. There is striping too and there a pretty light unit at the back. The end of the fairing wraps nicely around the rear wheel and the windscreen could come straight from a single seater race car. The 16" wheels don't look to small like on other vm's that have that size up front. Of course, 20" rolls better and offers a wider range in possible tyres. The suspension looks high tech, although I do think it asks for more maintenance than the simple suspension struts on most other vm's do. Disc brakes are powerfull, but I love the reliability of drums. Offering that as a possibility would be a smart move.

I've been told that it handles very well and I can imagine why. Good suspension, 'panzer lenkung' and a low centre of gravity. Cornering could be great fun with this thing. Another thing I like is the frame which is made from Chromoly steel, just like Nazcas. The frame is nicely made. My idea is that, since there's a subframe supporting the whole Glyde, the fibreglass could be kept thin and light. Sadly though, it isn't. The shell is very thick and probably contributes to the weight of 38kg. But this is one of the first ones they've made, so it should be possible to get the weight down to a more acceptable sub 33kg. It's just a faring, there's no need to make it that strong. Some places need to be strong, but the majority should be made a lot lighter. 38kg is in the same range as the Quest, Strada, Versatile and probably some other vm's as well.

The Australian velomobile could use more material in on very specific area, around the chain. The chain is shielded from the outside world, but not from the rear wheel. And the problem is that an unprotected chain is horrible during Winter time, or when it rains, or when the road is dusty. With that I mean a real winter, with dirty roads and snow. Luckily, the things I mentioned can be improved. The German velomobile Milan for instance uses no special components to achieve a fully enclosed chain, just like the Velayo and Go-one Evo 3. Quest and Mango do use special components to wrap their chain, but those come with single side mounted wheels too. The Leibas, Leitras, Alleweders, Cab Bikes, Sunrider and WAW's also have their chain exposed.

Also the fit and finishing of the shell leaves room for improvement. The wiring wasn't all figured out too. The wiring for the rear indicators was blocking the opening to the rear luggage area. But, I mention it again, this was one of the first!

A fabric or foam thing to reduce to size of the opening would be very handy in case it rains. Right now, I guess you'll have to use a Flevo-roof. Getting into the Glyde is car-ish, via a swinging hatch, which is good, as long as it's doesn't rattle on rough roads. But, since I didn't ride it, that questions remains unanswered. I'm sure I'll like the air intake. Getting fresh air when cycling is very important, especially when you're a bit asthmatic like me. Another comfort aspect is the seat. It comes with a mesh seat and that looks like a good combination with a velomobile.

The drive train had a Dual Drive hub, I think. I'd prefer a big 65 tooth chain ring up front in combination with a 52 and a 44 or so. Hubs are less efficient than dérailleurs, and velomobiles need to be efficient. Shifting wouldn't be very smooth with that combination, but the efficiency should be worth it. This sort of steering set-up is perfect for using bar-end shifters. Is this a fast machine? That's hard to tell without a test ride. I guess it's in the Mango range, that means fast enough. Lowering the weight should ad to the fun.

A good final question is: 'Would I want one?' With less weight, drum brakes, a little foam cover, better finished shell and, most important, a well protected chain and more money on my bank account, Yes. Because I like the special details, the looks and the steering. In white with red striping and set of lights from Busch und Muller please.

28 Apr 2010

My first Spezi

After a lot of travelling, on foot and woodie kickboard and by train, I arrive at the Spezi in Germersheim just after half past six. My colleagues have already done a lot of work on the booth, number 20a in hall 2. It's filled with ten bikes. Four will stay there all weekend and six will have to withstand 2 days at the test track. It's already very clear that this is German territory, and I like it. Everything is well organized. There appears to be a system and things are tidy.

Another thing I like about my big neighbour on the east is the price of food in a restaurant. You can have a very good meal for under €20. That's including a dessert and two drinks. Saturday evening was the highlight of this weekend when I'm talking about food. I had a delicious oven dish with a lot of veggies. I shared the table with people from different companies. Amongst them was a woman with the most charming French accent I've ever heard.

My hotel room was the latest of the latest the hotel had to offer. But it had a bed, a tv and a shower down the hall. It was clean and cheap, so you won't hear me complain. Not even the fact that it was nearly a hundred metre away from the actual hotel itself, could ruin my happiness that I had a proper place to sleep, for so little money.

Saturday came a little earlier than wanted, but a good breakfast solved the problem of feeling a little sleepy. I spend most of my day at the test track. Helping out people getting started and giving information about the Nazca recumbents. It was very sunny and I made the mistake not to bring suncream. Thanks to on of my colleagues I did had suncream on the next day. But it felt like I did something very useful. Seeing people running towards one of your bikes bring a smile to your face. And although my German isn't as good as it used to be, I was able to answer most questions and have a conversation with potential customers.

After all that work it was time to look around at the rest of the Spezi. Not before I had a jummy pancake with strawberry jam. On top of my 'must see list' was the Greenspeed Glyde velomobile. I saw it and have so much to say about it that I'll make a seperate post about it tomorrow. Not only are there many bikes to see, there's also quite a display of special accessories. I bought myself a pair of special socks. They proved to be so comfortable on Sunday, that I bought another pair that day. Not everything is fantastic. I also saw things that I just didn't understand. Some didn't seem to make any sense, or where unnecessary complicated. But than again, it's always nice to see different things.

A lot of modern velomobiles still lack a proper protected chain like in a Quest or Mango. Maybe it's because those designers like to clean chains? The Milan and Evo 3 do have that essential feature, but their rear swing arms could possible smash your precious luggage. I also saw un-tubed chains that offered the possibly to shave your legs and lube your skin whilst riding. Apart from the fact that it's huge (but that was the original idea) the Velayo could be a good one. Well made, reasonably light, protected chain and practical.

I won't describe anything I saw. I did make photos of things that had my attention. Feel free to browse through my picasa album and ask questions I could possibly answer.

Sunday was quite similar to Saturday, but it had a short bike ride at the end. And there's nothing better than a recumbent ride after a long and warm day of standing and walking. I had ice cream with whipped cream on top for dessert and more whipped cream on my chocolate milk later in the evening. Apple juice was another favourite of mine this weekend. Without cream, but in a total volume of about 2.5 litre.

Monday, time to go home after a busy, successful and fun weekend. My three wheeled toy proofed itself again this day. It is easy to carry on board the trains and is a welcome addition to the otherwise boring walks to and from train stations. 

More post will follow about: a short video about Spezi, the Glyde, travelling with the ICE train, and maybe something about whipped cream.

22 Apr 2010

New Pioneer movie

This evening it finally all fell into place. I completed the puzzle and solved the mystery. I edited, tried, experimented for hours and am pleased with the result. With pride I present my newest movie: Cruising and exploring with my Pioneer. Listen with a good set of speakers or headphones and take about four minutes to watch my latest creation.

A ride through different landscapes. Dessert, city, rural and forest. I've paid extra attention on the audio part of this video. You can hear the birds singing at some parts, and the bike also has his own sound. 

cameras: Casio ex-fc100 and Drift X170 
music: From Reid Jamieson's great album 'The unavoidable truth', the song 'Paperback fantasy'


Here's my YouTube channel.

One day to go: Spezi 2010

A busy week so far, and that won't change for the days to come. I've been working on a new Pioneer movie and all that left to do is ad the music. Since could take a couple of hours to synchronize, the movie won't be ready before Wednesday. How about the weekend then? Well, a normal weekend would offer time for editing, but this weekend is different.

I'll take the train to Germersheim tomorrow morning to attend the "Spezialradmesse". This is something I'd been wanting to do for quite some time. I'm lucky that I can combine my visit with my work for Nazca. Five hours per day will be work, the other three are up to me. So after I'd spent just over half the day helping out at the test track, Pjotr320 is going to do some recumbent journalism. There are several things I want to see. The Glyde, the Nuvinci hub, (and ride with it!) and just anything that different form the Dutch recumbent world.

Of course I'll bring my camera and a pile of available gigabytes to store scenes and photos. And because I'm not really a globetrotter, my travelling and stay is also a thing I'd want to capture. Once I figured out how the German train system works, it'll be great to ride with the 300km/h ICE train. For now it's a new and unknown world to the 10yo inside me.

To cut down on walking I've came up with something clever. You cant carry a bike, not even a folding one, on-board the fast train. So thats why I've made a little wooden three wheeled kick bike. The 'steering pole' is dis-mountable to allow for easy storage and travelling.

14 Apr 2010

Drift X170 on

If you came here via the Recumbentblog (thanks Rob) you'd probably be interested in the following links.

Or watch this one right here on my blog. More about this race in this post.

13 Apr 2010

A bee and an ant

This morning I was working on my white Fuego, Yivalté. Just some little details that could be improved. I re-adjusted the rear brake and moved the return chain tube 2 centimetre forward. There always was a black spot of oil just above the front idler, so I added a small plate of aluminum to my home made idler support system. She's not an average Fuego indeed, and she's become even more special since yesterday. I'll show you the big new part on Saturday, then I'll have the final details worked out.

While working on the Fuego, I spotted a bee crawling near the rear tyre. The bee was obviously tired. The little insect hardly moved when I gave it a careful push. The flying honey machine did start walking, slowly, so I let it walk onto a cloth. My idea was that it needed some warmth and sunshine. It still was quite chilly in the shade, especially when you're an insect. I was right. As soon as a planted the insect on the leaf of a flower on a sunny spot in the garden, live fully returned to the 6 legged furry animal. All system warmed up again! Moments later, it took of to the blue sky.

Later today I saw a ant dragging something huge and fungi-us. Determined as ants can be, it kept going dragging this thing. A fellow ant gave assistance when it reached the little ant house between the tiles. What did surprise me was the straight line the ant walked. Most of the time they travel with a lot, from my point of view, unnecessary corners and de-tours. Could it be that they just like doing that and that this load was so heavy that it took the direct route?

10 Apr 2010

Garmin Dakota 20 GPS

Wednesday I bought a hand held GPS device. I'd been thinking about buying such a gadget for quite a while. I had some good reasons for wanting one.
  • Getting lost is not unknown to me.
  • I'd like to do more long distance rides.
  • Go to places I haven't ridden before.
  • Ride long distances at night.
  • Find new trails.
  • Find interesting things.
Like you've probably did read in my previous blog item, I made the decision during the campfire of the Easter meeting. Maarten also gave me the advice to go to a store called 'Notter'/'Waypiont'. It turned out that they have a brand new store close to my home, only 30km away in Leek. The man from 'Waypoint' gave good advice and the store had a great combination pack in offer. A Garmin Dakota GPS, a 'Onroute' bike map and a handlebar mount for a reasonable price. Only thing extra I needed was Mapsource.

I've got everything up and running now, but it will take a little while to get used to my new gadget. It's al new to me and there's a lot to learn. Luckily, the Dakota is easy to operate. There was a technical challenge I had to solve. I had one bike mount, but I've three bikes one which I could use the Garmin. So I made special brackets to mount to my already special handlebars. Yivalté and Yavixa now have a GPS bracket, Lobbes will get one to next week.

8 Apr 2010

Easter meeting 2010

Friday started with the usual 42km ride to the little international headquarter. This part of the journey was just like the 60km from work to Apeldoorn, slow and windy. The Pioneer handled fine, but the headwind, the distance and the extra weight seriously slowed me down. No problem. I settled down and went into touristic mode. Relaxing, looking around and enjoying the scenery. My speed was just below 20km/h for most of the ride, luckily, it was a comfortable ride. The homemade bags worked fine.

I put on my windbreaker vest from E-koi just after I passed the 100km. It kept me warm on the last and most fun part of this ride. This is the part the video starts with. Once I was at the campsite, I pitched my tent by the light of the extra little battery powered head light I mounted on Lobbes. I took a shower and went to the recreational room. The night was a little frisk, but I slept well.

First job in the next morning was to go shopping. Bread, chocolate, drinks and dinner. My two evening meals where simple, yet tasteful and nutritious. Rice with canned beans, carrots and spiced tofu, or the same, but with stir backed Italian mix instead of the canned veggies. Dinner isn't complete without a dessert, so I also bought two vanilla puddings with cream. I relaxed and loitered around a bit for the rest of the Saturday. Talking, taking photos and giving some technical advice. A pleasant way to spent a day.

Sunday was a rainy day till 4pm, but the group ride was kinda fun. I rode along with my colleague for a while and did some filming. The rain wasn't to bad and my pants dried quickly. The hot chocolate with whipped cream on top was delicious. I think live needs more whipped cream. And as I'm typing this, I'd like some of it now. During my vacation to Canada, I'd often visit Star bucks. That's where I started loving the question: 'would you like whipped cream on top?' 'Yes please' would be my answer, with a big smile on my face.

On Sunday evening we had a campfire. I'd showered before and I kept that warm and fuzzy feeling by sitting by the fire till 12. It was just before midnight when I spoke to a fellow Fuego rider, Maarten. I then decided to buy a Garmin Gps. The Dakota 20 is now ready to ride on the hamster bar of Yivalté. Tomorrow I'll do the first long test ride on my way to work. More about that later on. It's around a campfire that you have and hear the most interesting conversations. Politics, statistics, gearing, tyres, travels rides and races. The world needs more campfires.

Monday morning, the morning of saying goodbye and heading home. I only had a few shorts stops on my way back. The ride took six hours, total riding time was about five and a half hour. Two hours after I returned home, 3 of my fellow 'Huneliggers' (local 'bent club') dropped by for a cup of tea. They had taken a different route from the Easter meeting than I'd done. Slower, more touristic, and with more stops. One of them stayed for the night. She still had another 60km to go, and that would have been a little too much.

  • Home to meeting: 134 kilometre 
  • Groupride: 42 kilometre
  • total distance Easter weekend: 315 kilometres.

You'll find a nice set of 45 photos about dogs, bikes, forest and people here.

My video, shot from my helmet mounted Drift X170 and shot free-hand with the Casio Exilim.

1 Apr 2010

Tomorrow, Eastermeeting

The weather is expected to be not so bad. Lobbes, the big red Pioneer is ready to go, carrying everything. Tent, self inflating mattress, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, clothing, handy things, camera's, its all packed. I kept the weight down to approximately 13.5kg.

And of course the toiletry bag I made, because the old one was to bulky. I'll have photos and hopefully a nice video when I return on Monday.

Here's the previous post about the Eastermeeting.