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18 Oct 2010

LEL 2010

Yesterday we had the final race of this years competition. And like each year, the season ends with Lelystad - Enkhuizen - Lelystad. A 51km race over a dyke with a u-turn after 25.5km. David had arranged the Sinner van. Harry and Marjon picked us up on a, not so early, Sunday morning. Newbie racer Serwin also rode along with us.

We arrived nicely on time. The sun was shining and lot's of 'bent riding friends had gathered at the beginning of the dike. I took it easy and made time to talk to several people. Some jumping around, eating a Mars and having a wee, all part of my preparation for the time trial. Then, finally, I rolled up to the starting line. I velcro'd the race hood in position and closed the visor. From this moment all my air would come in via my newly made air in-take. A test earlier that day told me that it works. It let's in fresh air, which I so badly need, and works from a speed as low as 20kph. At 50, there's plenty of air to feed the engine.

It started with an enthusiastic start, followed by a coast down and three challenging corners. After that, it was just a matter keeping the revs and the speed up. 44 felt fast enough for the first 14km or so. The second part went faster, with the faster part close to the aquaduct. There was a bump in the road that was really rude to my suspension. A few seconds later, I reach my top speed for today of 62kph. My u-turn went quick. I used some of the grass and just let enough room for a man with a camera.

My legs didn't feel happy after the short climb from under the aquaduct. But after a few kilometer, I was back up to speed. Now, with a tailwind my speed started to creep up to 50kph. Still, I found time fiddle with my camera and to wave to other racers. Well, 'wave' is not really the word. There's not much room under the race hood. Luckily mine doesn't fog up. That's the result of the proper ventilation and using an anti-fog cloth, the day before.

I kept going faster, my heart rate stabilized around 183. My cadence was just below 100. It wasn't easy, but it sure was fun. Than, one final sprint back up to the bridge where we started from. I did it in 1:07:19, and that's nice when you where aiming for 1:07. I finished 12th out of 37 with an average of 45.5kph. More important, I was a lot faster than two years ago and a little faster than H@rry, who also rides a Mango Sport.

I felt satisfied and happy. My brain still felt a little fuzzy from pushing so hard. The after race atmosphere was great. People like the looks of Jenease and there's always so much to talk about after a race. Good people, nice day, Peter happy.

More of my photo's. Mango54's photo's (recommended!)

16 Oct 2010

Tire testing

I'd been thinking about a new and improved rolling test for quite a while. I'd done one once before and actually, I was far from satisfied with that David had found a good location and I new what had to be improved in my way of testing. The rolling distance was enlarged from 50 or  so to 260 metres and the time between different tires was greatly reduced. Top speed during all tests was between 17 and 20kph.

The location is a quiet old viaduct with rough asphalt. To me, in a test, rough asphalt is a realistic mixture of smooth concrete and brick roads. Tires should also perform good on less than perfect roads. Call it a more realistic form of testing if you like. I can't tell you the rolling resistance coefficient of the tires. But such numbers don't represent the actual difference in speed.

I measure the time it takes to roll the distance. From that I calculate the average speed. The result of that is that I can see what the actual speed advantage, or disadvantage, of a tire is. The rear tire is my usual Racer at 5 bar. The rear carries about 30% of the total weight.

Schwalbe Kojak
My current choice with 1000km experience. Reasonably comfortable, good grip, easy to mount, puncture resistant enough (thus far, winter is coming), last long enough, fast, and tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Schwalbe Durano
My previous choice with 1000km experience. Little comfort, enough grip, easy to mount, does not wear fast, rolls good, puncture resistant enough, and tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Continental Grand Prix
A request from David. This set of tires is brand new and that usually makes a tire less fast. They give a rough ride. Mounting them went a lot easier than expected. They look really fast. Also tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Avocet Fasgrip
A exotic tire which is out of production. They have no grip and very little puncture resistance. They are wide and very comfortable. Presumably very fast, especially with 6000km of rubbing in. Tested to see how good it'll be against narrow racers like the Durano and the GP. David's idea. I used different inner tubes for this set.

(click for larger table, V+ should be V-)
Hard and skinny doesn't work for me when it comes to tires. Under normal conditions the wider Kojak is faster and a lot more pleasant to ride. Front tires and 8.5bar do not sound pretty in a velomobile. The GP seems to suffer from being new. My feeling tells me that it's something like a Durano. Possibly faster, but that hard to judge without having ridden it. The Fasgrip is the fastest, but has the previously mentioned disadvantages.

In the end it was nice to see that the control run turned out good. That tells me I have done a proper test with reliable results. I know that testing like this leaves room for error. But the differences between tires are consistent. I'll keep on using Kojaks.

Next idea is to see how the Kojaks compares to something I'd like to use during the winter, the Supreme. Some say it's awfully slow. I like the idea of not getting a puncture in the cold and wet winter. We'll see how things go.

13 Oct 2010

Gingko 12t idler, sliding

I've made a small change to Jenease's chain line. The idler under my seat now is free to move a little to the right, or to the left, depending on whether I shift up or down. In short, a sliding idler. This had the great advantage that the relatively narrow ten speed chain runs better on the idler. Less noise, less friction, more efficient. Being optimistic, this could result in a speed increase of 1%. That's just me guessing, but it is well known that chains run less efficient when you deflect them sideways. This evening I did a short test ride, and it felt and sounded better.
The idler comes from Gingko, a German company. I've added a short piece of chaintube to the upper chain to guide the tube with with the return chain. Only thing left to do is change the chain keeper I've made. It's a little to close the chain now, and the edges aren't nicely round.

7 Oct 2010

Fun and warm race in Groningen

I left the autumn meeting early Sunday morning together with fellow 'bent rider Wendy. After a cup of coffee at my place we rode to the track. She by car, me with two other velonauts. Wim had parked has Quest at my place on Friday and had just arrived by train. David called and said he be going to race too. So, with a strong tailwind, two Mangos and one Quest easily averaged 33kph to arrive at the track well prepared for the race.

The asphalt in some places had seen better days, but most of the surface is smooth. You can see in the video where the trees cause instability at high speeds. Nothing serious, but a fresh layer of gravel and bituminous stuff would be a good idea. Thanks to the lovely weather the track was dry and grippy.

My Jenease already was ready to race. Other riders where swapping tyres and alike. I only had to remove unnecessary items. You don't need spare tyres, a pump and a battery whilst doing 50 on a track. And yes, I was doing 50 on the track. My fast lap had an average of 51.6kph. Reasonably fast indeed. H@rry, in his Mango Sport, (without the luxery, with a big experienced engine) did 53.7!  We where both riding with a head fairing. By far the fastest was Ymte is his unique personal Quest. His average of 60.4kph is simply astonishing. My time was good for a 5th place.

During the individual fast laps and the criterium there was time for the usual socializing. The atmosphere is relaxed and this is always the time to hear the latest news from our little close recumbent society.

My criterium started quite normal. I was the first velomobile to reach the first corner. Not long after that Ymte flew by and I overtook two 'naked' bikes. Problem was, that my mirror had come loose. It didn't show me what was going on behind me, it reflected tarmac. As I saw no other riders on the track no more, I started to get worried. Maybe something had gone wrong? Maybe the rest was still at the start? Non of that. I kept my 2nd position for almost three laps. It wasn't until then that the big guys had closed the gap I'd pulled with my lightning start :-)

When the fastest five had past me, I was on my own for most of the time. I was joined by Pieter for a few laps, but he isn't one of the strongest this season for no reason. Also Jan-Marcel tolled he'd been drafting me for a lap or so. However, our cornering is to different to cooperate. Didn't matter. I had fun in my Red Edition. Shifting, accelerating, touching the brake for the first corner. The heat made for a high, but stable, heart rate of 193. When the bell sounded for the final lap, I pushed a little more and it rose to 200. It all felt alright, strange enough. I will arrange extra ventilation for the next race on October 17.

I finished with a nice average of 46.5kph in 6th position. The day ended with a relay race. Handing over the transponder went good when did it, but it did go wrong between other team members. So even with our time being the fastest, we didn't get rewarded for that. It was a fun day, even without winning something. David and I rode at a relaxed pace of 30kph. A pleasant way of ending another fine day at the races.

My photos.
David's photos, with good shots of my Mango Jenease!
David's blog.
Race results.

6 Oct 2010

Autumn meeting.

Riding through a forest in twilight on your home mode wooden 'bent is fun. I was on my way from Hilversum to Blaricum/Huizen. One small bag hanging on the right side of the luggage rack, my sleeping bag tucked under the seat. The homemade headlight gave plenty of light, even in the economy mode. The little bike handled good enough and my GPS knew the route.

Most of my fellow 'bent riders had already arrived when I showed up at a quarter to eight. I found a bed in a cabin and went back to the canteen where everybody had gathered. Like always, I felt like eating. Luckily Eugene and Brechtje had a little to much meat for the barbecue. When I said that I'd built another woody, people became curious and I brought the bike in. It turned out it is quite a head turner and I answered loads of questions. And, as this sort of bike actually is a good idea, I decided to built a second one later in time. Someone should be crazy enough to buy it. It was way past midnight when I went to bed and slept very well.

The next morning started with breakfast followed by conversations about this and that. Just after eleven we all left to for a ride. A 50km ride with about 40 'bents. This would a good test to see how my little bike would behave. I rode along for a while with 'Grey Pioneer'. She recently replaced her under seat handlebars, with the guidance of a manual I had written. I felt sort of pride that it had turn out so well. Shifting, steering, bracking, everything was in order again. The scenery was nice and the other traffic didn't give any problems. We did have to take it easy two times to pass horses, but the amazons had good control over their animal.

We all had a rest stop half way. I enjoyed warm apple pie. The ride continued and, apart from one puncture, everything went alright. The little bike did ask attention at higher speeds on rougher roads. Easy to understand when you know about the short wheelbase, stiff frame, no suspension and corner happy steering characteristics. It felt like cycling in a very pure form.

Dinner was cooked by Gerold and Maartje. They've done this at the autumn meeting several times and know how to feed hungry cyclist. It was delicious! A fourth portion would have been nice, but the pots where empty. Actually, the pot was scraped empty to give me the final portion there was. This gastronomical piece of excellence was followed by dessert. For me: banana with whipped cream and chocolate flakes, hot chocolate with whipped cream and again, banana with whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

The evening continued and the atmosphere only became better. We'd speak about a broad spectrum of subjects, including the usual things like traffic and the joy of recumbents. This evening was shorter than the previous one. I had to get up early on Sunday to be on time for the race Groningen.

More of my photos can be found here.
Marcel's photos.