Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Betzi - Time to Walk

The ride today was our usual 17 miles and 1,463 foot elevation gain. Cycling feels great on the hip but walking long distances is still a pain. "Bent up" is the way to go!!

We've come to our first hill and I just took Betzi out of her trailer. She's ready to walk.

Betzi is taking a water break after walking up the second hill. I'll put her back in the trailer for a nice downhill run. I only let her walk the hills in residential areas. On the busy streets she stays in the trailer and that's when I get my exercise as I grind up the hills on these main streets while pulling Betzi. It's all good.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Thoughts on Recumbent Cycling

In two and a half years I've had shoulder surgery, lower and upper back surgery and now hip surgery. The thought of having to ride a traditional bicycle who's technology is over 100 years old causes me pain just to ponder the idea. 

Recumbent cycling isn't just about old farts like me who are falling apart and refuse to give up an active lifestyle. It's first and foremost about state of the art cycling that is not limited by the archaic rules of the UCI which governs bicycle racing today. 

On April 1st, 1934 recumbents were banned from racing in UCI sanctioned races. They had an unfair advantage due to their aerodynamic shape. They were simply to fast. As is human nature change is not easily accepted and rules were established that strictly defined the dimensions of a racing bicycle and thus the recumbent was destined to suffer many years in obscurity.

Photo above: Francis Faure breaking the world hour record in 1933. Photo from "Human Power" vol 11 no 3

All human powered speed, time and distance records are held by recumbent cycles. Here are just a few:

Sam Whittingham world speed record set at 81 mph.

Barbara Buatois women's world speed record set at 75 mph.

Christian von Ascheberg 24 hour distance record in a Velomobile trike, 766 miles averaging 31 mph.

Maria Parker womens 100 mile time record with a time of 4 hours and 27 minutes averaging 22.5 mph. 
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On another note my local bike shop owner Dana and his Bent Up Cycles team placed third out of 11 teams in the under 50 - 4 man team in the Race Across America (RAAM).

Even though I ride for reasons other then being competitive and setting records (like not wanting a bicycle saddle suck up my butt and shoulders, back and neck getting sore) I ride with good company in the world of recumbent cycling. Thanks to people like Dana at Bent Up Cycles and many more, recumbent cycling will never again pass into obscurity. 

One could only imagine what the Tour de France would be like if the racers could choose the bicycle technology that is best suited for each race segment. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Short, Fast and Sweet Ride

I had a small window of time to take a ride this morning before having to move onto other activities for the day, so I took a short 10 mile ride on the 700. The old hip is recovering nicely. Even after having to stop at four red lights on the downhill I averaged 15 mph over 770 feet of elevation gain. 
I had hip surgery April 7th and started riding on the road again May 11th. This is my 4th ride since Dr. T repaired my hip. After every ride I pay for it with a bit of increased hip pain that lasts for awhile. In the long haul it will pay off.

Riding without pulling Betzi in her trailer behind my Expedition feels like flying.

Sorry girl, I'll take you next week. Tomorrow it's just me and the 700 again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On the Road Again

Today’s ride didn’t suffer the calamities of Wednesday’s ride, the first ride since I had hip surgery (First Ride with Repaired Hip).  I rode a modest 12 miles with a little over 900 feet of elevation gain. It was enough for me to determine that after five weeks of not riding, my aging infrastructure hasn’t deteriorated as much I though. Spinning in the garage probably helped.
I woke up to rain and I submitted to the thought of not being able to ride today. I went back to sleep only to awake later to discover that the rain had moved on. Sure enough by 8:30 I was on the road with Betzi with scattered clouds dotting the clear blue sky and a cool breeze. The day turned out to be the nicest day of the year.

Short MUP through the park

As I came closer to the end of my ride I found myself going slower. I wasn't tired I just didn't want the ride to end. The weather was perfect and there was very little traffic. I even encountered some friendly drivers. Not wanting to push my recovery from surgery I inched my way home enjoying the last few moments on the road.

I refused to let the perfect day go to waste so after my ride the kids, Carrie and I spent most of the day hanging in our back yard playing with Betzi. I spent the last hours of the day with Carrie sharing a jug of beer from a local micro brewery while listening to Byron make Leili laugh somewhere inside the house.

Friday, May 13, 2011

First Ride With Repaired Hip

It was a bad start to my first ride since my hip betrayed me on March 22nd. It’s been five weeks since arthroscopic hip surgery and it was time to stop spinning in the garage and hit the pavement.
Ready to go with Betzi in her trailer...hold on not so fast!!

Before heading down the hill from home I took a quick ride up my street to make sure the trike was shifting properly after changing out the 24t granny with a 26t gear and installing a new chain. Long story short…I spent 20 minutes adjusting the front derailleur while all the time Leili was taking pictures and a video. The video I won’t post because I was using some colorful language.

I thought all was well and I headed down the hill. After focusing on the adjustment between the middle chainring and the low one I neglected to test the adjustment between the middle and high chainwheel. The derailleur was hitting on the chainring guard so I decided that I could do without the large chainring for this ride and kept going.

During the ride I had about a 50/50 chance of the chain shifting down to the granny gear without falling off. I can live with those odds. I didn’t want to give up on my ride so I kept going, knowing that I could fix the problems later when I return home. At home I will be able to take the time to adjust everything right.

All things considered I was having a good ride until about two miles away from home the new chain I installed broke. With a couple of well chosen words I got off my chariot and looked at the damage. Luckily there was no damage to the front or rear derailleur. I parked the trike and took Betzi out of her trailer and proceeded to fix the chain. Fixing the chain is easy the challenge comes trying to thread what seams like 100 feet of chain through both derailleurs, tubes, idler and over sprockets and chainring without it getting it kinked and dirty. At home I can stretch out the entire width of chain on a clean garage floor and just pull it through without kinks. I wasn’t about ready to clean the public sidewalk so it took a little longer then usual to get the job done.

When I got home I took care of all the problems and now I'm good to go again. Regardless of the events of the day it was good to get out. I did a slow 10.6 miles with 782 feet elevation gain.

Leili -  my official photographer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

26t Granny Gear

Even though I said that I was going to stick with the 24t granny gear (Review of Grandpa's Granny Gear) I went ahead and put on the 26t granny gear.  I'm just getting plain ole bored waiting for my hip to get to the point where I can stop spinning in the garage and get out on the road. I also put a new chain on to accommodate the outward boom adjustment that should put less pressure on my old and battered hips.

As soon as I get back on the road I'll decide if the 26t gear makes shifting a little smoother without sacrificing the ability to climb steep kills with a heavy load...like when towing Betzi.