Tikit Commute

31 12 2008

Originally posted to my Tikit blog May 2008.

Riding the light transit with the Tikit

Riding the light transit with the Tikit

I’m working at home quite a lot these days, but I do need to visit our office outside of town occasionally. Yesterday I had a meeting in the next town over and was then headed for our office located on a rural property outside of Calgary. I grabbed the Tikit on my way out the door and rode 2kms to the train station – folded my bike and traveled 25kms by train to the southern edge of Calgary. With my new Blackberry I was able to deal with a few emails on the train which was nice. Once at the last station I unfolded the Tikit and rode the 25kms to Okotoks where I had a meeting. After the meeting I threw the folded Tikit in a colleague’s car and went for lunch on the way back to our office. At the end of the day she gave me a lift to the train which I took back into downtown. Jumping on the Tikit I rode to meet a friend for coffee/dinner and an evening bike ride before finally heading home. I’ve had the Tikit long enough that I’m taking it a bit for granted, but when I think about it I’m quite amazed how versatile this bike is and how it just seems to fit into my life so well.

A few things I observed today:

  • The Greenspeed Scorchers are amazing on rough pavement and even rumble strips. Riding this same route with my road bike or recumbent involves some tooth rattling moments. Given my Tikit has really small wheels I was amazed that riding across the rumble strips was almost a non-event. I didn’t feel the usual buzz from rough pavement at all. I pumped the rear Scorcher up to ~55psi and the front to ~50psi which seemed to work well.
  • My time for the 25km high way ride was 55mins for an average speed of ~27kph. My average speed along the same route [over many trips] on my Cannondale road bike was ~30kph so that is not bad at all. There was no wind on my ride and I suspect the upright position I am in on my Tikit would suffer quite badly against a headwind. Although I could fit drops to the Tikit if I wanted.
  • I’ve largely given up on bike shorts and bike specific clothing for a lot of my riding. Wearing synthetic performance fabrics I was able to ride reasonably far & hard while arriving cool and dry at my meeting.
  • I was happy that the 8 speed gearing on my Tikit was more than adequate for this route which entails a decent amount of climbing.




Rob English’s Speeding Tikit

30 12 2008
Bike Friday

Photo: Bike Friday

Click here to read more about Rob English’s 18lbs race ready Tikit. I have to say he’s got me thinking about the possibility of putting together a High Speed Tikit of my own. It would be quite funny to see the faces on other road cyclists as I bomb past them at light speed on my “little bike”….=-)

Given my Seasons Tikit frame is a bit small for me with flat bars some drops might be just the Tikit!





Nikki & Anna’s SE Asia Adventure

29 12 2008
A touring cyclist's best friend - food!

A touring cyclist

Nikki & Anna finished their SE Asian bike tour and keept a nice journal on crazyguyonabike. India and SE Asia are definitely on my radar for places to tour inthe not too distant future.  Until I get there I’ll just have to live vicariously through other people’s journals…=-)





Mike Curiak’s Moots Snow Bike

28 12 2008
A custome Moots snow bike with custom trailer

A custom Moots snow bike with custom trailer

Wow…found this photo on the Fatbike Alaska Blog. It makes my Big Dummy look puny – yikes!

This is one of Mike Curiak’s snow bikes.  He has a website with a chronology of the evolution of his snow bikes. This bike/trailer dates from a design he was testing in 2007. Mike’s trips/races look quite ridiculously amazing.





Liberate your mind…

28 12 2008

Great track by a bike powered band – the Ginger Ninjas!





Tzuo made it home!

27 12 2008

Tzuo riding his trusty LHT nearly at home

Tzuo riding his trusty LHT nearly at home

After a little over 230 days since setting out from the West Coast of the US Tzuo Hann made it home to Malaysia. His crazyguyonabike tour journal is equal parts entertainment and inspiration. Starting with zero touring experience, a new Surly LHT and a modest budget he pedaled his way across the US, Europe and Asia on a long journey home. Congrats Tzuo!…nicely done…=-)





Wildfire Designs

27 12 2008

Wildfire FatBike

Wildfire FatBike

Since the Surly Pugsley is distributed by QBP and is priced relatively low it may seem like the only fat tire snow bike option, but there are other players in this game.  One of them is Wildfire Designs who sell their FatBikes.  These FatBikes are handmade by DeSalvo Custom Cycles in Ashland, OR and can be had as production frames or full custom rigs. They can be steel or Ti.  Wildfire’s bikes use a 100mm fork and so will take a normal front hub.

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Randy the Recumbulator

26 12 2008




Flatboarder’s New Look

26 12 2008

Flatboarder's Surly Big Dummy

Flatboarder's Surly Big Dummy

Flatboarder has been putting his Surly Big Dummy through its paces this year in the mountains of Austria. His blog has a new look [all the cool kids are switching to WordPress...lol..=-)].  Even if you are not a Big Dummy fan you should check out his posts as he tries out gear that’s interesting and useful to many practical cyclists – plus his tour photos are a lot of fun.

Flatboarder has been punishing a Shimano Alfine IGH on his Big Dummy while touring and MTBing in the mountains this season.  His success with this IGH gave me the confidence to fit one on my Pugsley.





Merry Christmas!

25 12 2008
Getty Images

photo: Getty Images

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

[naturally Santa rides a cargo bike!...=-)]





Getting the right Rohloff for your Big Dummy

24 12 2008
Rohloff - fine German engineering for bikes!

Rohloff - fine German engineering for bikes!

One problem with buying a Rohloff hub is that there are a TON of options to navigate if you want to get the right hub. In this post I’ll run through the options to let you know what works and what I chose.

Colour:

  • available in red, black and silver
  • the anodized cases [black and red] should withstand salt and other elements a bit better than the polished aluminum case
  • cases are now laser engraved. If you see one with a sticker on the hub it is older stock.
  • I chose black for the stealth Big Dummy look
Axle:
Internal or External Gear Mechanism:
  • the external gear mechanism is a box that attaches to your hub and your cables terminate there
  • this means you can easily detach it for removing the rear wheel
  • cables are run fully covered to the external gear mechanism so they are immune to the elements
  • it is easier to field service the external gear mechanism
  • the trade off is the shifting is slightly less smooth
  • you cannot use disc brakes with the internal gear mechanism
  • I went with the external gear mechanism for the ease of maintenance and so I could use disc brakes.
Disc Brakes:
  • you will need to use the external gear mechanism
  • you will need to specify disc brake use when ordering your hub
  • you will need a Rohloff specific disc rotor
  • you can use a Rohloff disc hub on a rim brake bike as long as you use a rim with a braking surface
  • I went this route as I wanted to use Avid BB7 disc brakes on my Big Dummy
Torque Support:
  • without any torque support the hub will want to spin and will not drive the bike forward
  • you can get a Rohloff with the following torque support options:
  • you need to be sure you get the OEM2 axle plate
Accessories you’ll need:
  • chain tensioner – you’ll need this as the Big Dummy has vertical drop outs. Keep in mind there is a standard and DH version. You want the standard version.
  • Tandem length cables – due to the length of the Big Dummy you’ll need the longer tandem length cables.
  • Rohloff specific disc rotor – you cannot use the rotor supplied with your brakes as it will have the wrong bolt pattern.
Accessories you may want:
  • chain guide – keeps your chain on the front ring
  • oil change kit – you’ll need one of these every 5,000kms so it migt be easiest to buy one or two when you get your hub.
  • Sprockets -all hubs come with a 16T sprocket. You can also get 13T, 15T & 17T sprockets.
Non-Rohloff specific parts you’ll need:
  • 38T or larger front chain ring that will fit on the outside of your cranks – same position as big chain ring on a MTB triple. You want a ~54mmm chain line. This chain ring does not need to be pinned and ramped. You’ll be able to flip it around and use the other side when it wears out.
  • 2 chains – you’ll only use 1 and a bit, but you can save the extra portion and use it dnotw h road. You’ll also be able to flip your chain and rear cog around when things start to wear out and get more miles out of your drive train. I bought two 8 speed SRAM chains as they were cheap.
Rohloff Part Numbers

To make your life easier here are the part numbers you can use to ensure you are getting exactly what you need when you order your Rohloff hub:

  • Silver disc brake CC External Gear Mech OEM hub [specify OEM2] – #8025
  • Red disc brake CC External Gear Mech OEM hub [specify OEM2] – #8026
  • Black disc brake CC External Gear Mech OEM hub [specify OEM2] – #8027
  • Axle plate OEM2 [if you forgot to ask for it like I did and got an OEM hub] – #8227
  • Tandem Length cables – #8267
  • Chain Guide – #8290
  • Avid/Shimano 160mm disc rotor – #8281S
  • Hayes 160mm disc rotor – #8281H
  • Magura 160mm disc rotor – #8280
  • Oil Change Kit – #8410
  • 13T Sprocket – #8219
  • 15T Sprocket – #8220
  • 16T Sprocket – #8221
  • 17T Sprocket – #8222




Fahrner Family Camping Trip

24 12 2008

Originally Posted on my Big Dummy Blog – August 2008

Todd Fahrner

Photo: Todd Fahrner

Todd Fahrner [Clever Cycles] recently completed a ~200mile camping trip in the mtns with his family using two Stoke Monkey equipped longtail bikes. He has a write up here and photos here. He used the two electric assist systems to help get these big bikes up some very steep mountains. This allowed a family tow tackle a challenging ride that would not have been possible if they had to pedal the entire way. For folks that have partners who aren’t hardcore cyclists this might be just the solution to get your other half out on the road with you.





Baja [the darkside!]

23 12 2008
desert biking

desert biking

My first long trip to Baja was aboard a KLR650 dual sport bike.  I rode mosty offroad the 1000miles from San Diego to Cab San Lucas for the Y2K NYE.

wide open spaces and solitude interupted only by an internal combustion engine

wide open spaces and solitude interupted only by an internal combustion engine

I fell in love hard and have been back 5 times now to sea kayak or bicycle.  A motorcycle gives you the ability to explore and cover a lot more ground than a bicycle, but I prefer the quiteness and human speed of a pedal bike.

where are we?

where are we?

However, I have to be thankful to my motorcycle as it was a great way to introduce myself to the wonders of the Baja.





Why I love Baja…

22 12 2008
Another tough morning of kayak fishing

Another tough morning of kayak fishing

Reason #1

Reason #2

The start of another kickass day of Baja bike touring

The start of another kickass day of Baja bike touring





Big Dummy Review

22 12 2008

bdnivI’ve posted a Big Dummy review over on my Bow Cycle blog for anyone who wants more dumb content…=-)





You know it’s windy when…

21 12 2008
vik-windy-trees

Fighting the wind on my LHT





Bicycle Quarterly Tire Test

20 12 2008

I posted this originally in November 2006. Since then I’ve resubscribed and found BQ to be an amazing resource. This is one of the few sources for scientific test data on bicycle performance you’ll find.  I suppose that makes sense as unlike with other glossy bike magazines BQ gets most of it’s revenue from reader subscriptions not from advertising so it can afford to actually point out what works and what doesn’t.  The tire test in the issue below is one of the most useful articles I’ve ever read and something I refer to on a regular basis.

Jan Heine deserves kudos for putting out a very special publication.  If you have never read BQ I encourage you to order up this one back issue just for the tire test.  You will likely find yourself subscribing and looking forward to each issue.

BQ - my favourite bike magazineI received my first issue of Bicycle Quarterly Magazine yesterday published by Jan Heine. I have heard about this publication for a while, but was hesitant to subscribe. It was formerly titled Vintage Bicycle Quarterly and I was not sure how much of the content would be of interest to me.

There was a lot of commotion on the ‘net about a recent article in BQ about the rolling resistance of bicycle tires. I decided it was time to get a subscription to find out what the hubhub was about and worst case I would be supporting a small business in the cycling world.

Wow – what a great magazine. The tire article alone was worth the cost of the entire subscription. An objective repeatable test was performed that shatters a lot of long held beliefs about tires. I think most cyclists would agree that narrow high pressure tires are inherently faster. It’s too bad that notion is wrong. Interesting Jan found over 20% difference in speed between some of the tires he tested. Think about that 24kph instead of 20kph just by swapping out tires. Now add to that the fact the fast tires might be wider lower pressure ones that are much more comfortable. Pretty amazing stuff.

BQ also running a series of articles about how to be a better randonneur. This issue discusses how to make a randonneur bike faster.





LLamas & Empanadas

20 12 2008
Great cycle touring book - click on photo to buy.

Great cycle touring book - click on photo to buy.

My friend Eleanor wrote a book about her 5000km solo bike tour in South America. It’s funny and inspirig – well worth a read if you like travel stories.

Salar de Uyni - Bolivia

Salar de Uyni - Bolivia

She has posted photos from her tour on her Flickr site.  These are two of my favourites.

...endless road in Patagonia

...endless road in Patagonia





Lucinda’s Trans-AM Trike Tour

18 12 2008
Lucinda & her hot pink Catrike

Lucinda & her hot pink Catrike

If you haven’t read Lucinda’s Trans-Am tour journal on Crazyguyonabike you should.  Lucinda’ story demonstrates that you don’t have to be a young super strong cyclist to take on a long bike journey.  All you need is to make sure you have a comfortable/reliable bike [or Catrike in this case] and start out your door with a sense of adventure.

Fully loaded crossing the desert.

Fully loaded crossing the desert.





iBlog-autobot

18 12 2008
iBlog - the future of blogimation?

iBlog - the future of blogimation?

Don’t be fooled by the fact you see posts appearing on this blog.  I’m not here.  I’m headed to Baja to paddle & ride between taco & beer sessions.  I don’t plan on going online at all until I get back around the middle of January.  If you email me or comment on this blog I won’t get your feedback until I get back so be patient – I’m not ignoring you.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and you spend some quality time with those you love.  Adios amgios – see you in 2009!





Everything I know about bicycles I learned from Sheldon Brown!

17 12 2008

scb_eaglejpegPerhaps that’s overstating the situation….I’ll qualify that with “…everything useful I know about bicycles…”…=-)

Just as an example I was having issues with my chain being too slack on my Pusgley.  Seeing as it’s my first bike with horizontal dropouts I lacked the skill set to get the tension right. I tried 6 or 7 times, but by the time I got the wheel pulled back, straightened and the hub tightened the chain ended up too loose.  I started to think this is a 2 man job, but that didn’t make any sense as people had to ride these bikes alone and deal with removing/installing a wheel.  There had to be an easier way.

I was about to post a question on a bike forum about this when I thought to myself I can’t be the first person to have issues getting their rear wheel adjusted correctly in horizontal dropouts.  So I checked Sheldon Brown’s pages and sure enough he has a page about chain tension on fixed gear bikes.  I read.  I learn.

Then I go back to my Pugsley, lube up the axle nuts and start walking the wheel back as Sheldon describes.  Presto tight chain and straight wheel!  Sweet.  Thanks Sheldon…=-)





Tikit 2 Pannier Front Rack First Impressions

17 12 2008

Originally posted on my Tikit Blog – April 2008

Tikit gone shopping

Tikit gone shopping

Installation of the prototype front rack was easy. It attaches to the brake posts and to a braze-on on the bottom of each fork leg. The whole process took less than 3 mins. The rack itself is nicely welded and blends into the rest of the bike when not being used.

My first test of the 2 pannier Tikit front rack was a mission of necessity. I was all out of food and needed to resupply. I put some Ortlieb front panniers on my trusty stead and headed to the grocery store. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to restock my supply of canned goods. I’m not sure how much weight I had in each pannier, but it was in the 12-15lbs range. Riding home the Tikit’s handling was predictably slower than normal. For a touring bike that’s a good thing and it changed the feel of the Tikit considerably. A couple time I was going into a corner and had to readjust my line at the last minute when the Tikit didn’t dive into the turn as quickly as usual. It didn’t take long to get used to the new more sedate Tikit and I think I’ll really appreciate the slower more stable handling on tour. I’ll be interested to see how the bike handles with some weight in back to balance things out. The rack proved stiff enough that I could wiggle the bars without inducing any pannier sway.

The ability to carry two panniers up front when needed and still fold the Tikit [note - you can leave the right side pannier on when folding the bike] without having to remove the rack is really useful. I’m glad I went through the trouble of getting this rack made and really appreciate Bike Friday taking the project on. I’ll keep putting the rack through its paces and report back during the summer.

I should note that Bike Friday built this rack for me as a custom order and it isn’t a production item at this point. Bike Friday wants to make sure they’ve got the design dialed before deciding to add it to their line up of Tikit accessories. All my comments refer to the rack mounted on a large size frame. The smaller frames have less clearance between the front and rear wheels when folded so there may be some issues that I am unaware of.





Canon S500 – back from the dead!

16 12 2008
Canon S500 - my favourite camera!

Canon S500 - my favourite camera!

I’ve used this Canon S500 for many years of faithful service.  It’s been all over the world with me and has taken thousands of great photos. I’ve upgraded to a newer Canon SD870IS, but I prefer my older S500.  It just takes amazing photos – especially on the bike.  The ergonomics mean one handed operation while pedaling is relatively easy so I get nice action shots.  Modern cameras are quite sophisticated and I find that often the extra bells and whistles can actually make it harder to get the shot you want.

I was sad, but not overly surprised when my old camera started to malfunction.  It had seen a lot of action and didn’t owe me anything at all.  I put it away thinking I might repair it, but a new generation Canon point and shoot was only $250 and repairs might easily exceed this amount.  I let the S500 sit in a corner of my office for months while I pondered what to do.  I used my SD870IS in the meantime and it takes good pictures, but I have to try much harder to get the shot I want and I throw away a significantly greater number of photos than my older Canon.

When the screen on my newer Canon started to get a large number of bad pixels I took it in for warranty service.  I brought along my SD500 figuring they could at least give me a quote on repairs.  As expected they accepted my newer camera for repair under warranty.  I was pretty shocked when they let me know that they could repair my older Canon and would do so for free since there had been a service bulletin issued for the SD500 identifying the problem I had as a defect in the sensor.  Keep in mind my S500 is at least 5 years old and well out of warranty coverage.

Not only did they repair both my cameras for free, but they shipped them directly back to me within 14 days at no cost so I didn’t have to trek across town to the repair centre.  The paperwork that came with both cameras identified the cause of my camera issues as moisture damage.  If this is correct I suspect the problem is I often ride with a camera inside the pocket of a rain jacket.  When I’m working hard the inside can get sweaty so perhaps that high humidity environment was what happened?

I can’t describe how stoked I am to get my S500 back.  It’s like in the movies when you think the hero died in the plane crash just over the horizon, but then a while later they stroll into the scene all smoky and beat up to save the day.  Welcome back little buddy and thanks Canon!…=-)

PS – I owe Canon a little plug after this excellent service.  Pretty much every picture of mine you see on this blog and on my Flickr photostream was taken with a Canon.





What I learned at -39 deg C…

16 12 2008

Pugs own the night.

Pugs own the night

I was visiting some friends this weekend for a festive celebration and decided to ride my Pugsley over to their house.  Although I’ve survived over 30 Canadian winters I seem to learn the same lessons each year.  In the middle of July -15 and -30 deg C both sound cold and I don’t really differentiate them much.  Come winter -15 and -30 are two different beasts. Crank it down to nearly -40 dec C and you’ve got a special kind of suffer-fest on on your hands.

I headed out at 5pm on Saturday lights ablaze and spirits high.  The snow crunched under my tires like styrofoam and my breathe froze my neck warmer solid instantly.  I was starting to remember what -30 deg was like.  As I cranked along the two thin layers on my legs [running tights under bike tights] proved insufficient.  Of course I have warmer layers, but in the cobwebs of my mind I couldn’t recall the last time two layers like this weren’t enough.  I wasn’t painfully cold, but I really hoped I didn’t suffer a mechanical – stopping for an extended period of time was not an option.  Luckily I was at their place in under 45mins with no drama.  The Pugsley was surefooted and didn’t let me down.

After much eating and drinking I couldn’t face an even colder ride home with my minimal leg layers so I slept over figuring riding home in the AM would be more pleasant.  Of course it was even colder in the AM, -39 deg C with windchill, but the roads were empty and I was treated to a beautiful sunrise as I crossed a bridge over the Bow River.

Sunrise over the Bow River

Sunrise over the Bow River

Lessons learned:

  • There is chilly, cold, colder and crazy cold – they are all quite different.
  • I must dress appropriately for the weather.  I’m no hero so better over dress and be able to shed a layer than be riding across town in the dark shivering.
  • I like the sound of fat tries rolling over crunchy styrofoam snow…=-)
  • A Planet Bike Superflash stops working at -39 deg C.
  • A Shimano Alfine IGH keeps shifting smoothly at -39 deg C – at least for the first 45mins.
  • A Surly Pugsley can conquer deep snow…
  • ….as long as there isn’t a curb hidden underneath it…
  • …hitting a curb under the snow at a 45 deg angle can result in the rider being thrown sideways into a parking sign post…
  • …that isn’t a lot of fun!
Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary





Kipchoge on the Surly Big Dummy

16 12 2008

Check out The Pleasant Revolution.





Hauling a Chariot Child’s Trailer/Jogger

16 12 2008




Lockdown

15 12 2008
Taking no chances

Taking no chances





What happened to my recumbents?

15 12 2008

Challenge Fujin SL in the Canadian Rockies

Challenge Fujin SL in the Canadian Rockies

Chris wrote:

“Can you tell me the real reason you got back to DFs? My reason? almost got killed by a truck on my GRR in August, sorta crushed the left ankle. I am 58 and played competitive handball on a national level, and that may be shot for good now. But I road an old MB2 for the last 3 mos (80s Bridgestone MB modified for commuting), and realized how much more situational awareness I have on a DF. I also have a Volae Exp Pro that has even less sit awareness than the GRR. have an old Kestrel and a nice Merlin Ti and rode them until the snow flew down here (St Paul). But I have enjoyed your writing and noticed that you and Alan Barnard left the Bent culture behind for DFs again. I will likely ride the Volae more (great bike) and did order a CRush, so we’ll see.”

The real reason I moved back to DFs?…hmmm….sure….here are some random thoughts on the subject:

  • I agree with your comment on situational awareness.  I’d much rather ride a DF in traffic than a bent.  On the highway cranking out long miles on the bent with mirrors that was not a problem, but in the city [I live downtown] a DF is better for riding in traffic.
  • My DFs are more maneuverable than my bents were.  I jump curbs, deal with 180 deg turns on the bike path, go cross country, etc… better on a DF.  Again out on the highway riding 200K the bent is ideal because you are pretty much just going straight and there are few obstacles to overcome.
  • There is no bent equivalent to my Bike Friday Tikit, Surly Big Dummy or Surly Pugsley.  I’ve been riding the Tikit a ton this year as it’s so practical for getting around downtown.  The Big Dummy rolls when I’m going to haul something or take a passenger for a ride.  The Pugsley is the new kid in the mix, but it will see lots of snow biking action this winter, beach/desert riding in Baja and general mucking about come spring.  Even with the wide variety of bents I’ve owned none of them filled these niches.  I’m keen on mtn biking in 2009 and that’s also not a bent friendly part of the cycling world.
  • The riding position on my bents is indeed very comfortable, but almost too much so. I feel really passive on a bent since the position is so static.  This is one of the reasons I tour on a DF.  If I’m going to be on a bike 8-10hrs a day for days on end it better be fun!  Fun and comfort are related, but not the same thing. I’m probably 10 out 10 comfortable on a bent, but only 7 out of ten on the fun scale.  On my DF I’m 8.5 out of ten comfortable and 10 out of 10 on the fun scale.
  • When I first started out in bents I was not particularly comfortable on a DF so it seemed they were the only option if I wanted to ride longer distances on a bicycle.  Over the last few years I’ve resolved most of my DF comfort issues so that I can ride day in and day out distances of 80-150kms which as a bike tourist is all I need.
  • Although I am able to climb pretty well on my Fujin SL I’ve never climbed as proficiently on a bent as I have on a DF.  Not only am I faster uphill on a DF I enjoy the process more.  On my Fujin I don’t look forward to climbing even when it’s relatively fast.  When I’m touring on my DFs I actually enjoy climbing mtn passes.
  • The bent I like the most [the only one I kept] is my Challenge Fujin SL.  It’s a fast nimble mile eating machine – perfect for fast road rides and brevets.  There was a time when I really enjoyed going out and riding by myself.  I used to take my road bike and hit the highway on a Saturday for a 100km+ ride and just tune out my day to day worries/thoughts.  I did that on my Fujin when I got it – in particular to train for brevets.  I’ve been less and less interested in long solo rides these days.  I still do some, but it isn’t my priority – it’s more of a last resort. I’d much rather go riding with my friends and have some social time than spend 5-6hrs alone on the highway.  Since none of my friends own or have any interest in bents that means I end up riding my Tikit or Big Dummy a lot and my Fujin SL much less.
  • Even during the actual brevets I’ve ridden the Fujin SL is a solo machine. When I’m fast DFs are slow and vice versa.  This means a group ride becomes a solo effort.  As I noted above I’m not highly motivated to train alone just so I can then enter an event and ride it alone.  One of the factors that got me interested in randoneering was reading the brevet reports of the SIR website and various PBP reports.  A key element of both sources of information was a strong social component to the events that were reported.  That sounded like a lot of fun, but because of the fact I ride a bent and my local rando club is so small brevets are not particularly social for me.  I’ve actually thought about trying a brevet on a DF [gasp!....=-)] just so I would be on a machine with similar performance to the other riders and hopefully spend more time with the group.
  • So am I done with bents entirely?  No.  I think they are fascinating machines with lots of potential.  The feeling of screaming along on a lowracer is awesome and very unique in the bicycle world.  I should note that although I mentioned above I had more fun on a DF my fun factor on a bent increases dramatically if I have someone to ride with that has a similar machine and similar fitness level.  Unfortunately this rarely occurs.  If I had a friend in Calgary with a Fujin SL you’d be seeing lots more bent content on this blog.  I’m intrigued by trikes, but I hesitate to invest in one without a regular trike buddy to ride with.  Even casual social rides on a bent are fun.  We had a local bent group that met once or twice for rides and it was a blast, but it just seems like getting people together to ride is a real challenge.  You can only suggest a  group ride and be met with resounding apathy so many times before you don’t bother anymore.

I want to close this post by saying I’m not pro-DF and anti-bent. I’m a cyclist and I’m going to ride whatever makes me happy.  At the moment DFs make a lot of sense for my lifestyle and personality, but I’m open to spending more time on my Challenge Fujin SL.  I just need to find someone cool that wants to get their lowracer on!…=-)

PS – I should give a shout out to Cornell in Cochrane.  He is a cool bent rider and I’m sure I’ll get out and visit him for a ride once or twice this summer [hopefully TOT2009 - the Canadian Edition!].  The thing is he lives 50kms+ away in another city and rides a trike.  A Fujin SL and a trike are not the ideal bent mix.  Do I get a trike just so I can do a handful of rides with another bent rider???  Hopefully you can see my dilemma.

My Fujin ready to start a 200K brevet

My Fujin ready to start a 200K brevet





Chloe

14 12 2008
RANS Fusion from Spincyclz

RANS Fusion from Spincyclz

Nanda Holz from Spincyclz sent me some photos of this RANS Fusion crankforward bike he has been working on that he affectionately named Chloe.

Chloe in action

Chloe in action

With comfortable ergonomics, Big Apples and disc brakes she is just a set of fenders and rear rack away from being a sweet commuter/city bike.

chloe-3I’ve enjoyed riding a more upright RANS Street crankforward and I’m keen on trying out one of the more laidback RANS bikes like Chloe.





Efficiency of a Rohloff

14 12 2008

Originally posted on my Big Dummy Blog – November 2008

Rohloff

Image: Rohloff

Update: link fixed!….=-)

This article by Rohloff talks about the efficiency of their hub, some issues involved when measuring efficiency and provides some test data that might be of interest to Rohloff owners or potential customers.

Some things to consider:

  • This article was written by Rohloff and could be biased, but keep in mind the test results of the independent researchers that Rohloff quotes at the start of the article only vary by 1-2% from a derailleur system. So the differences are small and the discussion on how to setup efficiency tests seems worth considering.
  • The Rohloff hub used in the previous tests referenced was new and not broken in whereas Rohloff used a hub that had seen some use for their tests.
  • I thought the point about efficiency of the human body was interesting. So that having an optimal gear available was an important and unmeasured variable.
  • Both the Rohloff and derailleur drive train tested were clean.