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19 Apr 2011

Special customers

Every customer is unique, especially in the world of 'bents.  Every bike brought in gets full attention, some a bit more. Things get interesting when friends bring in their bike. The situation than get's perfect for everything to go wrong. Last Friday however, it all went well.

A 2002 Pioneer and a 2006 Fuego. I did the work on the Pioneer. This one was made a month or so after mine was made. Several things needed replacing. I already knew that. This was the same Pioneer whose handlebars where replaced with the help of a manual I'd written. Quite an achievement for the writer and the reader!

I'd seen this 'bent before on the Easter and Autumn meeting. The owner watched the whole operation, she was good at doing that. You see, often customers want to see how their bikes get repaired. Some get in the way than, talk to much, and so on. I did my wrenching, explaining and talking about this and that, and nothing really went wrong. I might be getting better at it actually. Most important thing I did was change the headset. A vital part to make the handling of the bike easy. This one had been badly adjusted and worn out as a result of that. Replacing it requires force, special tools, knowledge and experience. If something didn't turn out the way it should have, I'll hear that Friday evening at the campsite of the Easter meeting. There will be some small tools in my luggage anyway. There's always something to repair or adjust at the 'bent Easter meeting.

The ride home from work went a little slower than expected. The bike, Yivalté, was fine. It was the engine having problems. The past days I had some small problems breathing. It took me a few days to figure out what the problem was. I remembered that I'm asthmatic. Now most of the time, that's not really a problem. Just take the medication once a day and stay away from: perfume, paint smell, deodorant spray, 2 stroke engines, crowded rooms (I don't like crowded places anyway), dust, cigarette smoke (outdoors too) and badly ventilated buildings. (which means almost every new building) No big deal... But sometimes, it get's a little worse, like your lungs suddenly are half their original size. No worries needed, it's normal again after a week or so.

So, after 18km at 38kph I did feel like slowing down. My speed dropped to just below 30. Not for long though, a quarter of an hour later I was cruising again at 33. Taking it easy with this set of lungs meant an average of 32kph.

Sunday, more wrenching. Now for a Huneligger's bike. But surely not before I'd watched the F1 Grand Prix of China. What an utterly fantastic race that was! After lunch then, a  full check-up, another headset and some tidying up. I don't do this often, fixing someone else's Nazca, in private time. But some just have privileges most others don't have. This Paseo now was ready for many trouble free rides. Special bikes need a specialist's eye.

14 Apr 2011

Ligfietsopstapdag Assen 2011

The easiest and most efficient way of promoting recumbents most possibly is an 'opstapdag'. I don't really know how to translate that, but the idea is simple. Manufacturers hire a location, do some local promotion with posters and bring demo-'bents. That's all. In Assen we have a good location. A 400 metre oval/ice/skeeler rink.

Good weather and about 30 'bents. The whole mix was good enough to attract a few hundred people. Among those, people like me, but also complete newbies. For the more experienced rider it's an event to meet each other and talk 'bents and so for an afternoon. Some make it part of a Sunday group ride. The newbie has everything  he/she (yes, she too) could wish for. Experts to talk with and nothing to be ashamed of. Your surrounded with people just like you and with those who are able to help.

The results of a day like this? Lot's of people had a good time and manufacturers sell more bikes.You can't buy anything on a day like this, but it sure triggers people to visit a dealer for a longer test ride.

I was busy telling folks about the different Nazca's half the time. The rest of the time was about having fun.

More of my photos.
Guldan's 141 photos.

Questions? Don't be shy to use the comment box below.

6 Apr 2011

Racing: Sloten velodrome

Last Sunday I had the 3th and final race of this years indoor competition. After some thinking I decided to go with my own Fuego and not with the demo Gaucho 28. Yivalté is my favourite, slightly faster and would give me more confidence on the tight 200 metre track.

Getting there this time was different that the usual train ride. By car and with a female chauffeur. Someone to talk to and perfectly on time. Most Huneliggers tend to be behind schedule most of the time ;-) Now I had time to look around and to eat when I arrived at the velodrome.

I quickly got used to the track and did a little warm-up. The 200 metre flying went awfully slow. I'd forgotten how to corner at high speeds and averaged a miserable 50.7kph. In 2009, same track, I did more than 55!

The Keirin went a lot better. I managed to corner at 55kph, without going high up the banking, I felt comfortable. The Yivalté-Pjotr320 combination made it to the semi finale. In the end good for an 8th place, based on the average speed I reached.

Than it was time for the criterium over 45 minutes+ 1 lap. I started from the back, but leaped to the front of the field within a few laps. Good thing was that I was able to keep doing these short sprints throughout the whole race. My main competitor was new to me. I kept watching him, making sure he wouldn't get away. That was a smart thing to do. I thought I had one lap on him. It turned it was less than half a second. The video shows the rest of the story.

Most helpful thing was that some people shouted advises at me. To go faster, chase someone, or to take it easy. During the 'easy' parts of the race my heartbeat dropped to just below 170. Left hand and hips did the steering and the occasional braking, right hand offered the drinking hose (?)  and my head relaxed against the neck rest. Zen cycling on the track :-) (Thank you Hankie) I finished beside Thomas, the other Nazca rider on the track. He was riding his Gaucho 28, and finished in 5th position.

I got a ride home with the van Dijken family, again. There 2 sons (5 and 7) are amazingly smart. They also took part in the 200m flying. You can read those results, and all the others on

I'll try to keep the fast legs. More fast riding over longer distances is needed. With the improving weather, that should be no problem. Today started with a fast 60km ride with Mango Jenease.