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29 Nov 2011

Een goed doel

For kind English speaking readers, please use Google translate and read the comments.

Mark is mijn grote broer en Esther is zijn vrouw. Zij gaan wat bijzonders doen.

Mark en Esther gaan naar Rwanda. Wel drie maanden lang en ze vertrekken op twee januari 2012. Wat ze gaan doen kun je hier lezen. En als je wilt doneren kijk dan hier.

Dit ondernemende duo is ook lid van zwemvereniging de Watervrienden Assen, net als mijn moeder Tiny en ik. Iemand had het idee om een sponsorzwemactie te organiseren, en o.a. mij en Tiny is gevraagd baantjes te gaan zwemmen in het 25-meterbad van de Bonte Wever Assen op 16 december a.s.. We hopen op ongeveer 15 zwemmers.

Het idee is verder natuurlijk heel simpel. We zwemmen in een uur zoveel mogelijk baantjes en per baantje maken de sponsoren een x-bedrag over. Let op! Ik zwem niet zo goed als ik fiets. En al helemaal niet als het water koud is. En de laatste maanden is het water vaak koud. Bah! Je kunt ook een vast bedrag overmaken, maar ik vind dat nogal saai.

Vind je dit een goed initiatief? Zo ja, mail/twitter/comment me dan je naam, en het bedrag dat je mij of Tiny per baantje sponsort. De aantallen baantjes worden geteld door mensen van onze zwemvereniging. Op zaterdag de 17e  december maak ik hier bekend hoeveel baantjes ik en Tiny gezwommen hebben. Ik bericht je dan welk bedrag je kunt overmaken op de rekening van Mark en Esther. (zie hier) Eigenlijk ben je slim genoeg om dat zelf uit te rekenen, maar goed.

28 Nov 2011

My new Evo K (2)

So, I was on my way to Apeldoorn for my first stop to eat something. Until now I'd followed the Fietsersbond (cycling union) route. A good route, but now I was in an area that I knew. On a small road next to the A50, there was a small descent. I shifted up, until the gears started to make noise. The derailleur wasn't in order yet and I made the mistake to fiddle with the cable length. Not a clever thing to do at 55kph or so. The K rapidly shot from right to left, and then back again. Obviously a driver error. It scared me, but I realized what had happened and that, despite my clumsiness, the K remained stable and controllable.

In Apeldoorn I ate, drank, and ate some more, next to do Canada monument. It was getting dark now. I had approximately 145km behind me, and still 110km to go. I attached lights to my helmet and rolled the K back to the cycle path. That's when I noticed my 3th puncture. The tiny leak was found by licking the tube, but I the patch fell of. And yes, I'd dried the tube before using the solution. To make things worse, I'd ran out of tubes. There was a hotel on the other side of the road.... I tested my luck at the trainstation's bike shop. There remained enough air in my left tire to get there. To my surprise, they had tubes in my funny size! I bought two and enough solution and patches for months. (I hope)

The friendly guys that ran the place offered me a spot inside to fix my bike. They where somewhat surprised by what came rolling in. There I sat, warm, dry and with plenty of light to make work easy. Commuters walked by, they'd arrived by train and now collected there bikes to ride home. People respond funny when you tell them that you came from Venlo, still got 110km to go, and it's 18:30 in the evening. Quickly I was on my way again.

As I left the lights of Apeldoorn behind me, I saw the shortcoming of my helmet mounted light, it was pointing the wrong direction. I took it from my helmet and held it in my hand for the final 105km. That works pretty good, as you can aim your light. Problem is that I had no hand left to eat, so I had to stop for that every hour. But when I was riding, the K felt like wanting to go faster and faster. With over 200km in the legs, in a new to me VM, I took it easy and stopped again to eat just before Meppel.

With in my right hand a Mars and my light, I was now cruising along the Drenthse Hoofdvaart, my commute route. When I'd finished eating the candy bar, my hands could swap tasks again. Now right was steering, and left was aiming the light. Left is better at steering, and right better at aiming, but right had gotten cold from the time it took to eat the Mars.

Finally, after 260km I was home, just before 11. It had been an eventful ride. The K had proven itself. But naturally, I found things to improve. I parked the K inside the house, so I could start personalizing it the next day. My legs where not happy.

27 Nov 2011

My new Evo K (1)

Well, this must be my most anticipated blog post ever. Last Monday I received an e-mail that it was ready, and on Wednesday, around 2 in the afternoon, I walked in to the Beyss factory.

I changed clothing and had a go. The seat needed to be a bit more upright and the shifting wasn't what it should be. It quickly turned out that an expert was needed, so the help was Daniel was called in. In the following hours, the seat bracket was adjusted, the rear wheel was changed (better fit and 500gram or so lighter!), the cassette fixed, the chain shortened and I the tires where swapped for something faster.

After that we did series of coast down tests with 2 different K's, mine and Daniel's. Apart from about 7kg, there also light years apart in components. So by swapping wheels, and putting the optional head fairing on these 2 K's, we discovered interesting things. We tested on a tiny slope with smooth asphalt. We concluded that a 23-571 Vittoria rolls much better than a 35-559 Kojak. We tested that with both K's, and swapped riders too. I could see my brand new K seriously lifting a wheel in a corner, and I smiled. That didn't happen by accident ;-) Obviously, there was nothing wrong with the steering and handling of the heaviest K ever made. (25kg)

Serious again, more testing followed. To my surprise, even at a speed below 5kph, the head fairing has a noticeable, even significant advantage. Even below walking pace, you can feel an airflow coming in through the small inlet under the visor. So, if you want the fastest VM, a really racey 571 wheel is a step forward. And the K 'Kopfhaube' has an advantage at every speed. Of course, as it is with aerodynamics, the higher the speed, the bigger the differences.

Afterwards, it was past 11 in by now, we had a beer. Now the legend goes that legendary riders drink beer the night before a race and big ride. On Thursday, this legend was confirmed for me.

The next day started at 8:30. Breakfast, check out from the hotel, walk to Beyss and buy food in the Supermarket I walked by. I rolled my K outside and loaded my stuff in the luggage spaces. There's enough space, but I'm yet to learn how to use it best.

First part of the ride was easy. But strangly, as soon I crossed the border, the cyclepaths disappeared or got worse. The region around Venlo is not blessed with the usual 'Dutch cycle path' quality. To make things worse there where construction works everywhere and I had 2 punctures within 33km. The ride continued, still over 200km to go. And the more north I got, the better the roads became.

The K is agile and doesn't get stuck on drempels, but it's more at home on 'fast' roads. More a semi lowracer than a swb tourer. Steering is fantastic, stability outstanding and I got to test the higher speed stability later this day. The suspension does a fine job, though you wont fly over a cobblestone road. However, those roads are a small minority.

Through Nijmegen and Arnhem, nothing mentionable happened, except lots of 'thumbs up' from teenagers. Specifically, more from the girls than from the boys. By now I'd ridden over 100km and I'd planned to stop to eat something in Apeldoorn, still 35km to go. The ride had only just begun....

22 Nov 2011


Last weekend I stayed at Ameland. That is an island in the north of the Netherlands, one of the Wadden islands. I stayed there with family, who went there by car. Since it only was 90km to our vacation house, I cycled there. The route from the Fietsersbond website was very good. My little Q451 was my 'bent for this weekend. It did get very dirty, there was so much mud and clay on the roads. One thing is for sure, the Quest will get mudguards!

Travelling to an island includes a ferry. During the short ride from the haven to the village Hollum I spotted several bird species I hadn't seen before. My bike got a spot in the shed and I took my Radical Backbone inside to set up my 'camp Pjotr' for the two nights to come.

The next day, Saturday, the weather was surprisingly good. Very little fog and even sunshine. Right after breakfast I rode to the nearest beach to get the system going and to take advantage of the supreme photo making conditions. Half an hour later it was time for coffee with the family.

In the afternoon I went for a longer ride, circling the western half of the island. Riding through the dunes is fun! When I was back after 40km or so, I decided to remove most of the dirt from the Q451. Yes, it would get dirty again when I'd ride home, but it's was just to muddy to handle. The chain does stay pretty clean, another benefit that comes with fwd. When a splash of water hit the rear wheel, I heard bubbles. My first ever puncture with my Cruzbike was a fact. Caused by a small stone and the end of nearly 2300km of puncture free riding. I actually think that my most recent puncture, with any bike, must have been in May or so. And that's easily over 5500km ago.

In the evening we ate in a pancake restaurant and played a board game. The next day was expected to be extremely foggy. I decided to head home early in the afternoon instead of after dinner. It turned out to be a very wise decisison.

That the sight was less than 50 metres wasn't just because I was on an island. Visibility stayed very bad for the entire ride. An extra tail light helps, and the Spok on my helmets is small, but bright and high. Now as long as there was daylight, riding was easy. But when darkness comes, and the roads become more rural, the situation changes.

Most difficult section was when there was no cyclepath and the only thing I could see where the lines on the side of the road. Quickly after that, there was a cyclepath again. Being away from cars is one mayor worry less, even when you're a 'young fit adult male'. Under normal circumstances I would have continued to follow the route from the Fietsersbond. But from Roden on I used the route I know very well. Nice paths, good lights next to them.

Ten km from home, the only route was via a back road again. No lights and no lines. Also almost no other traffic. I quickly learned the best way to deal with this situation. Hold your headlight low to the ground and aim at the side of the road. I could see about 4 metres ahead, I was slow, but felt sure and save.

When I got home, at a quarter to eight, I wasn't really tired. The 90km had demanded a lot of concentration, but physically, it was no big deal. I cleaned the Q451 the next day and I took my Backbone with me to the shower. The backpack now is ready for the 23th of November, for the trip to Straelen.

More photos on Picasa.

1 Nov 2011

Record day Apeldoorn 2011

This event wasn't only nice to look around, there also was a criterium in which I took part. After having watched the Indian Grand Prix, I took the train to Apeldoorn. The tailfairing on my my Fuego Yivalte is compact enough to stay on the bike when I travel by train. Very important because I use the train about 5 times per year to take part in a race.

Omnisport is a bit of a maze. There is a shortcut to the midfield of the velodrome, but that's only opened on request. I went via 2 elevators, 2 stairs, a restaurant and past the twirl girls dressing rooms.

The atmosphere is always buzzing at an event like this. New bikes, new ideas, much to talk about. The young woman who I called a 'fast rookie'  at the beginning of this year, now proudly showed me 'her' new Tyrfing. A very special machine, nicely built by Elan. The seat angle is about 9 degrees, but thanks to the top of the seat and the neck rest, it doesn't feel that extreme.

Also present, Bram Moens with the most time trialistic 'bent I've ever seen. Daniel was there too, with his Evo K. And even though mine will be ready really soon, I could not resist to try the seat. And even without padding, it fits like a glove.

Suddenly, as I return from the toilet, the criterium is about to start. I quickly stick on the thing that opens my nostrils a bit more and smell some eucalyptus to make sure I can breath as freely as possible. Than a few laps to make sure everything works and to find out that my fairing doesn't rub.

My criterium is far from a steady race. Speeds vary every few minutes. 48, 50, 47, 44, 43, 50 and so on. Mainwhile the Evo K is going around at 57kph higher up the track, constantly overtaking. Eight 2-wheeled 'bents circle the track a few metres lower.

There is power coming from my legs when I need it though. There's only some pain right above my knees. My right ankle appears to be enjoying taking part in racing again. So, we'll work on fixing the problem with the muscle in my upper legs, and than I could be pretty fast again. (well, back to my best possible level again, and than further up)

I finish with an average of 45.1kph and ride 5 laps to cool down. Next on the track is Janneke. She rode a successful attempt to break the 1 hour record. The new record is 46.5kph.

I head home again just before 8 in the evening. Front and tail light back on the Fuego, rear shock in the high ride position again. That's all I changed to my bike. The pizza tasted good at 11 in the eveing.

photo with my Fuego, probably the world's fastest bike and the fastest velomobile

All the photos I made on Picasa.

And the video I made from Daniel's 1000 metre.