Friday, October 1, 2021

People For Bikes

People For Bikes

I recently noticed that People For Bikes inclusivity program neglected forms of cycling other than traditional bikes and abled cyclists. I brought this to their attention and I was pleasantly surprised that after only a couple of days from the time I sent a comment to them they responded to me. And it was not a simple boiler plate letter that I usually get when sending comments to organizations.

I will include People for Bikes on my list of organizations I support.

Here's their response;


Hi Mark - 

Thanks so much for your generous donation to PeopleForBikes and for taking the time to write to us about the need to include people who ride recumbents, trikes, handcycles or other types of cycles in our advocacy work.

Your comment was both timely and absolutely correct. Telling the stories of, advocating for, and sharing images of people who are disabled has been a gap for us. It is one we are working to fix. 

A few current or upcoming examples:

- PeopleForBikes hosts the Bicycle Leadership Conference for members of the bike industry every year. The virtual event in November will feature two keynote speakers who participated in this year's Paralympics in Tokyo;

- We are publishing two blogs in October that feature these stories. One from an adaptive rider who is documenting all the trails in his hometown for how they accommodate him and others like him, and one from a Seattle planner who is disabled and speaks to her experience and the need for more people who are differently abled in the transportation field. 

- Our imagery does not reflect the diversity of people who ride cycles and we are working to change that. In the short term, we will use more stock imagery (as available), and in 2022 we will host our own photo shoots to ensure the diversity we are looking for. 

Finally, since I manage our Community Grants program, I'll add that I am seeing more proposals for infrastructure projects that accommodate handcycles and trikes. We have helped fund a few and hope to support more.

Thanks again, Mark, for reinforcing that our path is the right one and that we need to move faster. If you have specific ideas or suggestions, please don't hesitate to share.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Di2 and Shifter Switch

After wearing out two SW-E6000 switches used for shifting my Shimano Di2 rear derailleur I decided to dump the Di2 and go back to a cable. I have barely 6,000 miles on my ICE Sprint FS E8000. There are other reasons for getting rid of the Di2 but the switch problem was the final motivating factor in making the change. The switch used for shifting gets a lot of use.

Rather than trying to figure out how to mount other types of Shimano switches I instead removed the Shimano  XT Di2 derailleur and went back to a cable actuated derailleur connected to an indexed bar end shifter.

Once again I'm enjoying the tactile experience of shifting with a cable. The Di2 is a push of a button and cluck the chain moves to another cog at a predetermined speed. The speed of the shift can be adjusted but not while riding. I like to be able to subtlety adjust the speed of a shift depending on how I'm riding. 

It's hard to avoid a loud sloppy gear change while the E8000 is in the Boost mode. The Boost mode puts a lot of pressure on the chain while climbing and you need to be really focused on pedal pressure and the timing of the gear change to avoid the awful gear crunching sound. It's difficult to truly know how much pressure you're putting on the chain while shifting in the Boost mode making it hard to "feel" the gear change using the Di2. The bar end shifter and cable allows me to adjust the timing of the shift more precisely.

Also there is peace of mind knowing that I can still shift gears if there is a complete failure of the electronics on the E8000. In addition if a cable breaks I can easily replace it while on the road. If the Di2 wire fails I'm out of luck.

It seems to me that the Di2 system works best on a bike or trike without an electric pedal assist.

SW-E6000 Switch used by ICE for the E8000 assist and for the Di2 rear derailleur.


Top switch used to adjust boost level,
lower switch used to change gears.
The before view looking into the cockpit.

Shimano Di2 XT Long Cage


Only the boost switch now.

New view into the cockpit. Boost switch on right and a MicroShift indexed bar end shifter on the left handlebar. I prefer a Sram bar end shifter but I've only seen them sold as a pair for rear and front derailleurs. But MicroShift as upped there game since the last time I used one of their indexed bar end shifters so I'm happy with it.

New Shimano XT Long Cage cable version.

Friday, September 3, 2021

What I Hide In My Pannier

I keep a carbon fiber cane in my pannier. 

Watching the Tokyo Paralympics gave me a WTF reality check. So I need a cane to stabilize my wonky legs. So what? Is that all I have to complain about? Up until now I was embarrassed to pull the cane out of my pannier and have to use it. I don't give a shit anymore. I'm just being my best and enjoying life. So I need a fucking cane so stop feeling sorry for myself. 

So what gives?

I have nerve damage to my lower legs and feet caused by either years of back problems and back surgeries but more likely from bi-lateral hip replacements. The timeline suggests the butcher job the surgeon did on my hips not only caused nerve damage but left me with scared and chronically inflamed Piriformis muscles. Also Heterotopic Ossification in my right hip (more here) and an uneven pelvis. 

Slowly over the years, after my hip replacements, my calves muscles (particularly the Gastrocnemius) have weaken to the point where I can't stand on my toes, My right leg is worse. The medial head of the  Gastrocnemius has totally atrophied. Try getting around with weak calve muscles. I feel like a drunken cow if I'm not using a cane. I would not pass a sobriety test walking a straight line. So I use a cane to stabilize my walking because my calves aren't helping much. 

When riding my trike clipping into my pedals helps to stabilize my calves but then I have to deal with lower leg numbness which starts in my feet. When I ride the more I climb and the longer I ride pressure builds on the small compromised Piriformis muscles that are adjacent to the sciatic nerve. And the lower leg numbness sets in and I have to take a short break and stretch. 

And I have some other minor nerve damage issues to my legs that are not worth complaining about. 

And to top it all off the weakness in my legs makes me prone to uncomfortable muscle tightening and occasional full blown cramps. A couple of small muscles in my right leg, the Gracilis (inner thigh) and the Tibialis (shin), are forced in some way to compensate for my wonky calves and they'll cramp if I get off the trike to fast or make sudden cycling movements after I've been riding for awhile. I just have to be aware of this and be careful. I can go for months without a cramp and then I eventually do something stupid like hurry off the trike after a long ride. 

I've kept my upper body strong so maybe time to add a handcycle to my cycling routine.

I'm done...time to look forward.


Monday, August 9, 2021

Why E-Assist?

This is why I have e-assist, averaging 70 feet of gain per mile last month with my dysfunctional legs. So far this year I’ve pushed pedals up 132,000 feet of hills while averaging 72 feet of gain per mile. Nothing but hills where I live in So Cal. No way I could do it without e-assist. I have my 250 watt Shimano E8000 on my ICE Sprint and it makes all the difference in the world in keeping me moving.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Screwing Around with Tires Updated

I added Schwalbe Marathon 40/406 front tires to my original "Screwing Around with Tires" post from January 2021.

Tire Speed and Weight

Max speed measured on Lynn Rd downhill east of Felton on ICE Sprint FS E8000 with max pressure in tires and no breeze. Fastest and slowest speed have been eliminated. 

Front tires and Back Tire

Schwalbe Marathon Racer and Schwalbe Supreme

40/406 - 340g   0.75 lbs

40/406 - 340g   0.75 lbs

42/599 - 440g   0.93 lbs

Total    1,120g  2.43lbs

Speed Average: 38.6 mph

Speeds: 40.8, 38.1, 38.5, 38.5, 38.1, 39.4


Schwalbe Marathon and Schwalbe Supreme

40/406 - 530g   1.16 lbs

40/406 - 530g   1.16 lbs

42/599 - 440g   0.93 lbs

Total    1,500g  3.25lbs

Speed Average: 38.8

Speeds: 38.9, 38.5, 40.8, 38.1, 39.9, 38.1


Continental Contact (E25) and Schwalbe Supreme

37/406 - 420g   0.93 lbs

37/406 - 420g   0.93 lbs

42/559 - 440g   0.97 lbs

Total     1,280g  2.83 lbs

Speed Average: 38.2 mph

Speeds: 36.5, 38.2, 39.4, 38.7, 37.8, 38.0


Schwalbe Plus and Schwalbe Plus

35/406 - 560g   1.23 lbs

35/406 - 560g   1.23 lbs

40/599 - 870g   1.90 lbs 

Total    1,990g  4.36 lbs

Speed Average: 36.6 mph

Speeds: 37.1, 35.8, 36.8, 36.5, 37.8


Friday, June 11, 2021

Latest Pics on My Instagram

I post on Instagram a few times a month. I feel that it may help to normalize recumbent triking. It also makes me feel more connected in a world where a traditional bike is the "accepted" form of cycling. Although Instagram is favored by a younger crowd trying to look happy and pretty, some with thousands of followers I can still make my way through the maze of Instagram users and find a fair number of like minded cyclists. I get trike and velomobile riders following me but for the most part I'm followed by other cyclists and assorted characters. The cyclists I follow, average partypace cyclists and adventure cyclists, help motivate me to get out and ride when I'm dragging. 

I'm also on Facebook and on my personal Facebook page I pretty much just automatically re-post the stuff I put on Instagram. Even though Instagram is owned by Facebook it's a lot less cluttered.  On Instagram I've learned to simply stay on topic (trikes of course) if you want people to stay interested in what you do and hopefully get cyclists and others to look at trikes as a normal cycling option.

I get a lot of interest in my trike but people have a hard time getting out of their comfort zone. The two biggest issues are 1. safety and 2. being different. Issue one is easy to talk about but issue two is a tough one. It takes a lot of convincing for people to accept not being "normal". My hope is that in time a recumbent trike will become more common. Maybe a decade or two? 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

ICE Elastomers After 5000 Miles

 Two years and 5,000 miles later I installed new rear elastomers on my ICE Sprint 26 FS E8000. I love the minimalist suspension of the ICE Sprint. Eases the ruts without any noticeable impact on performance. And the cost of maintenance couldn't be less expensive, just a couple of new elastomers. 

The old ones are a bit compressed after 5,000 miles