Friday, March 27, 2015

Catrike 700 Sweet Spot

In my post from February 15th "New Setup on Red" I was trying to soften the ride without scarifying to much speed. The changes felt sluggish and made me want to be back on "Black" for long rides. It tired me out faster. Well "Red" is back to it's original setup as an all around beast of burden.

Through trail and error I've discovered the sweet spot. A balance between speed, handling and comfort.

I tried a new rear wheelset on "Black" with  a lower pressure and larger Schwalbe Kojak 35/622 combined with a DT Swiss rim and hub and left everything else untouched. The Ultremo 23/406s still grace the front. What I ended up with is a fast and comfortable ride without any compromise in handling. Acceleration is still very good and loss of speed is barely noticeable. Downhills are still just as fast. If not for the lower pitch of the new rear hub when coasting I could easily forget that "Black" sports a more robust rear wheelset.

Combining the existing Ultremo 23/406s on the front with the new wheelset on the rear is the ticket to maintaining a fast nimble ride with a little cush over the rough spots. The outboard front wheels take the rough road with more of a rocking motion that doesn't translate the bumps to the rider with as much force as the rear wheel. I can keep the skinny and hard Ultremos on the front. When the rear wheel hits a bump all the force that the tire doesn't absorb goes right to the rider. So far all my rides with  the new setup have been with full tire pressure. On truly nasty roads I can play with the pressure to soften the ride up even more.

I'm really happy with this combination of wheels. Of course I could buy a trike with suspension but I'm not ready to slow down that much yet. Here's the new rear wheelset:

The 35/622 Schwalbe Kojak is paired with a DT Swiss XR 331, 32 spoke Rim and a DT Swiss 350 rear Hub. The wheelset with a 11/36 cassette weighs in at 1850 grams (4.05 lbs). 

 The new more robust wheelset also gives me more peace of mind on rough roads and longer rides.

The original wheelset with a 11/36 cassette weighs in at 1590 grams (3.5 lbs) and will be used on short fast rides (a short ride for me is generally around 20 miles) on roads that I know are in good condition.

Bottom line...I'm spoiled. I have two Catrike 700s and now I have two unique wheelsets for "Black" that can easily be traded out depending on my riding mood. Above all my Catrike 700 "Black"is still a kick in the ass to ride regardless of which wheelset is used.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

If Sailing Can Do It So Can Cycling.

In my younger days I sailed and raced sailboats. As much as I loved to race, watching a race was a tedious affair. As a spectator sport sail boat racing could be quite boring. But recently the use of advanced sailing technology has been allowed in sailboat racing. These wind machines are fast (sometimes even faster then the wind) and fly on the surface of the water. It is becoming one of the most exciting sports to watch. The 2013 America's Cup Race in San Fransisco is proof of the audience that can be attracted when combining racing with the latest technology.

Hello UCI...are you paying attention. Let cycling come into the 21st Century.

A UCI sanctioned bicycle. Not much has changed since the 1930's. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1st "Sunny" Ride of Spring

Actually today's ride was the 2nd ride of Spring but the 1st ride of Spring was cloudy. Today I meandered as evidenced by my slower average speed of 11.3mph. The total ride today was a sunny 23 miles with 1,300 feet of gain. My meanders are slower paced rides that often leave the main route. I take side trips on neighborhood roads, through parks and today rode a short trail. Generally it involves a little more climbing but I take longer breaks on my meanders and enjoy a little quiet time away from the busy roads.

My 700 parked at a local park

And a selfie of yours truly parked at a park

Sunday, March 22, 2015

24 Hour Record and the UCI

24 hour distance record

There are cycling records sanctioned by the UCI (International Cycling Union)... 556 miles by Christoph Strasser on a traditional diamond frame road bike approved by the UCI, March 2015

Then there are Human Powered Vehicle records...757 miles by Christian von Aschenbeg, in a Milan Velomobile, August 2010.  (Christian von Aschenberg passed away suddenly during a ride in March 2013)

Without taking away a major achievement by Christoph Strasser the question needs to be asked, isn't it time for the UCI to let technology have a hand in determining how far and how fast humans can self propel themselves? It's time for the UCI too stop protecting the bicycle industry and let athletes up their game. The UCI has limited advancements in cycling by sticking to rules it developed in the 1930's as to what defines a "real" bicycle.

Don't set limits on what human power can achieve.

A little cycling history here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - My First 700

I purchased my first Catrike 700 back in June 2010. It was about one year after buying my Catrike Expedition.

At Bent Up Cycles with Dana and Kate. 

In Febraury of 2013 I changed over to the new Catrike 700 with 20" front wheels.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bike MS Santa Monica to Santa Barbara

A 2 day ride along the Pacific Coast.

At this year's Tour de Palm Springs I met David Mimms and the bike MS recruiting crew and signed  up to ride the Bike MS Coastal Challenge - Santa Monica to Santa Barbara October 10th and 11th. 

I never ride up the coast through Santa Monica and Malibu. It's a nasty and congested highway with crazy drivers. There has been many bad car crashes along this part of the coast so it's best to avoid it when possible. That being said I'll take advantage of safety in numbers when bike MS goes through  the coastal towns on an autumn Saturday when traffic is light to begin with.

Then on Sunday comes another section that takes the ride from Ventura to Santa Barbara. Until recently this was a section I avoided because of a short section where riders are forced onto a super busy highway with cars and trucks traveling at 70mph. But now the La Conchita trail bypasses this dangerous stretch of highway making for a great ride to Santa Barbara.

David at the bike MS tent at the Tour de Palm Springs

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Just Ride" Grant Petersen

In the latest issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine (you need a membership to sign in. And why not have a membership?)  Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works responds to some criticism of his ideas that he espouses upon in his book Just Ride. I don't necessarily agree with every point Grant makes in his book but I do strongly agree with his thoughts in his letter to the editor. What recumbent rider couldn't agree with his letter to the editor? We choose to ride what we like and not what we're suppose to like.

BTW if I were to own a DF bicycle it would be one of Grant's creations. His bikes are works of art.

From Adventure Cyclist  March 2015.

Racing attitudes, bikes, clothing, and diets have become the norm and normal, and are so pervasive that many adult cyclists, maybe even some you know, accept the racing standards as the only legitimate way to be a serious adult cyclist. What I tried to do in the book Just Ride — and what we do here at Rivendell Bicycle Works — is offer an alternative, a model to other adult cyclists that there is another way. This letter is not an ad for either. I’m simply saying where I come from and what I do.
We are the mice trying to squeak above the roar at the base of the waterfall. It is no time to be wishy- washy, but I try hard to not offend. Inevitably, a declarative position on any matter is bound to raise a few hackles with those who have a different position, but it still hurts to be judged by a stranger who would probably like me, and whom I’d surely like, in person.
A good number of our customers are middle-aged and older folks trying to fit in some activity as they age. They often have the means, and they’re influenced by what they read and see that promotes racers as a good model — and that’s something I don’t agree with.
They shop as innocents and come out of it dressed like racers and riding bikes that are not only inappropriate
for the kind of riding they do, but are, on top of that and more egregiously, not comfortable. We undo that. You may see ego or evil behind it, but I don’t
feel either of those. I see racing and racers as fringe and am simply trying
to legitimize an alternative point of view, one that I feel strongly about. I’m trying — certainly not singlehandedly — to make people feel good about riding without dressing in pro-team gear and copying so many other affectations of the racer, and that is what Unracing and
Just Ride and Rivendell Bicycle Works is all about. We’re nobody’s enemy. Some of my best friends pedal cliplessly and in spandex. It’s cool.
Grant Petersen Walnut Creek, California 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday

One of my rides with Carrie from September 2009. Carrie is on her Catrike Trail making fun of the cartoon car we pulled up next to. My old Catrike Expedition is behind her. Today Carrie's Trail has less 100 miles on it. She doesn't ride much but many of my rides still include her as we usually meet up at the end of a ride.