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29 Mar 2011

National pride, sort of.

When Jenease stood on her wheels for the 1st time, the idea came to put a big Maple Leaf on the sides. I went to the sign company, next door, and they had an idea. Then, nothing happened, they'd lost my phone number. But recently, Sinner let me know that the sign company still had something for me. I hadn't had much time during winter, but now I had, some. So I made an appointment, cleaned the body, rode to Groningen, and had it done. Twenty minutes was all it took. It looks fabulous. Just an outline, in red on white and in white on red, brilliant.

I took her out for a fast ride last Sunday. The evening ride I did last Wednesday was only 28km. This would be a longer one. On my way North, I helped out a father and his son. A flat, no pump and no 'glue'. Naturally, a had it all. They where each riding one of them up-right bikes, with a saddle and so. Didn't look very developed. But we're here, on our little earth, to help each other. And I was in a good mood, and the weather was helping too. Just 10 minutes and everybody was on his way again.

This 'delay' had created time for my dad to overtake me. He also was out for a ride, in his Alleweder. We had a different plan and I'm somewhat faster, but we rode together for a couple of minutes. We then both went our own way again. I continued heading North, with quite some speed. For some reason, me legs and Jenease felt excellent. The speedo showed a figure around 40 for most of the time. Also on my way back, after a visiting a recumbent friend. Long straights, legs spinning at 95 or so, effortless acceleration, enjoying the close gear ratio of a 10 speed cassette, the TC idler, the comfort and aerodynamics of my Mango. (in no particular order) This day I cycled 90km.

Friday also was a 90km day. The usual commute to Nazca, this time on Yivalté, mi Fuego. A happy German customer came to collect his Gaucho 26. I, once again, tried my best at doing my job as good as possible. Thriving for the best adjustments finishing and fittings possible.

On Friday evening, on my way back from the pool, I chased a fire truck to see where something was happening. Turned out, nothing really happened. But I sure had a good time racing through a suburb on Lobbes the Pioneer. This big 'bent is so good at doing this. Going fast under urban circumstances, never afraid of some rough roads. Almost capable of the same corner angles as Yivalté.

And, let's also mention Yoska, my 1999 Cruiser, that I didn't sell. I cleaned the rear rack and made a list of what has to be done to get her back in an original condition. Not much that is. A new rear fender is on the list, as well as black paint for the rack and tiller.

Tuesday evening, the bright sky called for a ride. I took out my Q451 and cycled past and through several small villages around hometown Assen. 36km with a stop to have a wee and to look at the twinkling stars. It has a dynamo and a 2x8 Dynolight to lite up the dark roads I prefer to ride on. The same set up as on the Oké-ja. That was used quite a lot on Thursday to deliver all the post. My dad was away for a few days with mom, so I had to do it all myself. Pedalling through Assen on a little 'bent, while earning some money and listening to the radio.

Yup, last week was a good one. I also listened to 3 records. A chair, a cup of coffee and some chocolate completed the scenery. Let's not forget Sunday morning. Watching the 1st race of the F1 season is fun too. And I made banana pancakes for breakfast, supreme!

More photos, from the whole stable of 'bents can be found on my Picasa page. Videos are online on my YouTube channel. Next Sunday: the 3th and final race of this years Dutch Recumbent Competition.

22 Mar 2011

My Cruzbike Quest 451, special.

Regular readers knew something was coming. And last week, the last part arrived. Usually, all parts arrive at once. I had bad luck, an important part wasn't in the box. After some e-mails going back and forward between here and The States, Fedex delivered the missing telescopic front tube. I had used the time that took to work on the details and finishing of my little orange 'bent.

Assembling it was quite easy for me. Swapping the short 451 chainstay for the longer 559 chainstay however, took a lot of effort. The fitting of the pivot points near the front axle is very tight. But it resulted in a higher bottom bracket, and that is worth the effort for me. I did more to make it 'special'. Aerobars/open cockpit style handlebars, different reflectors, pump, toolkit bag, presta valves, no granny gear, clipless pedals, Nordlicht bottle dynamo, 2x8 Dynolight, seat post rack, wireless computer, bottle cages, Drop-stop mini fender and neater cable routing.

I changed all that, without having ridden a metre. Last Thursday, just before dinner, I went for it. With some Flevobike experience in the legs, this should be easy as pie. The first round the block required the full width of the street. Later that evening I started with 'roll, steer, pedal and relax'. That lead to a 6km ride through a quiet and dark neighbourhood.

On Saturday morning my stability, manoeuvrability and speed grew during a 12km ride. After that, I felt confident enough the install the Wellgo clip-less pedals  I'd bought on E-bay. 256 gram a pair and cheap. With the clip-less pedals, the quality of my ride greatly improved. A nice cadence of 95 or so and, again, more straight line stability. After lunch I rode 33km. I adjusted the front brake halfway the ride. You go faster when the disc don't rub the pads... 

Sunday was the day of the first long ride, 87km with my fellow Huneliggers. I started to notice and appreciate the different sort of work out I was getting on this type of 'bent. By now I could cruise at 28kph or so and sprint to  a max of almost 50. I'm happy to conclude that the Q451 is a good addition to my stable of 'bents. Every bike has it's place. The Quest makes me engage more muscles, a bit like on an upright when you pull the handlebars, I guess. Anyway, I like it, it feels good. Thanks to Nanda and the people from Cruzbike.

Numbers, as on photos:
  • weight: just below 16kg
  • wheelbase: 108cm
  • seat height: 53cm
  • bb height: 56cm
  • gears: 52/42 - 30-11, 2x9
  • crank length: 155mm
In my previous post, I said I'd sell my Cruiser. Things have changed. I'm keeping the young classic. It's one of the first, likely build by the founder of the company, came with all documents, from the 1st owner and I have room enough. Plan is to get her back to how she once left the factory. So with the rack, fenders and front derailleur. A bright yellow blast from the recumbent past.

14 Mar 2011

Fuego time, finally

A little while ago, a Pioneer rider visited the Nazca shop in Nijeveen. That happens more often. The funny thing was that this man knew me, sort of. He reads my blog, and my writings, videos and photos where part of the reason he got himself a 2nd hand Pioneer. More important where the many Nazca's used to travel the world. If the bike could handle Australia, it'll work here too. Not his exact words, but you get the idea.

That day, I took my Fuego Yivalté to ride to the little int. hq. And yes, she is my favourite. Nothing feels, handles and goes like this 'bent. The ergonomics are perfect for me. The narrow handlebars, the custom brake handle position, the low seat angle, the neck rest, the shifter, the seat, the bracket height. This feeling of near perfection is what I aim for in every bike I ride. Of course, I know that every bike has its/hers/his own strong points and intended use.

Anyway, the weather was good last weekend and I used it good. I rode the Biddinghuizen on Saturday the review the facilities for Cycle Vision. A 100km ride with Yivalté. Recumbent grin form ear to ear... I spent over 3 hours riding, looking and discussing the place with fellow 'bent rider Gerold. He offered me a ride to Woerden, where I would attend the annual  meeting of the NVHPV. I took the offer the be on time for dinner. The Audi he drives was a pleasant addition to this day.

I quickly found the train station and, from that, the meeting location was found back by memory. Theo and Erik had prepared dinner and more riders where there to do other things. Mainly it was an evening of telling stories and sharing experiences. On the photo you see 'camp Peter'. I dragged my Fuego and stuff up 2 stairs to where I wanted to sleep. High, cool (for the inner 10yo), under a smoke detector and next to a fire escape.

The next morning, there was good breakfast. No waffles, but with plenty of other things to make it a proper start of the day. Later on, more people came in to attend the meeting. The meeting was interesting. It's good to be where decisions are made. And I spoke with Guus, that's something I wanted to mention here. I had my worries about his health, but he's doing fine now. He ain't fast, but he's riding.

Afterwards, around half past 4, I started my journey home. I wasn't sure how exactly, so I just started riding towards Utrecht. Maarten pointed me the right direction and of I went. My GPS lead me through parts of Utrecht, Soest and forest. After 45km I decided to head for Amersfoort. A city with a train station. I never intended to ride back to whole 180km. The bendy cycle paths near Amersfoort are fantastic. Left and right, up and down, past the field, through the woods.

As usual, the train ride back to Assen went without any difficulties. I grabbed a snack before boarding, a 'bamischijf'. This weekend added 180km to the odometer of Yivalté. Needless to say, it was a good one.

During the meeting, I made eye contact with a man I hadn't seen for a year. Now that happens more often. You say hello to someone you haven't seen for a while and than continue with what you where doing. But this was something different. A year ago he was very enthusiastic about a special bike he would pick up three days later. Insiders and my fellow 'bent riders know the rest of the story. I spoke with him during the tea time break. That was one of those conversations I won't forget.

Take care out there.