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Archive for April, 2011

Cranks

April 25th, 2011 Comments off

My part of the world is quite hilly, and recumbents are famous for not being able to climb hills. A recent test ride on the Seymour Valley Trailway reinforced this in no uncertain terms.

picture by cvarles

I found the longer climbs quite challenging: it’s very hard to balance when you’re going so slowly. It’s possible that my general level of fitness may increase and that I may lose a few pounds but lets not count on either of those. A better hope might be to increase cadence, i.e. drop to a lower gear and spin the pedals faster.

On my regular bike I can maintain 80-90 rpm on the flat. It’s easier to spin if you reduce the circumference of the circle your feet turn, so for my recumbent I’ll shorten the cranks.

It was trivial to drill them out, and the best bike shop on the North Shore John Henry Bikes tapped the holes for me. All I have to do is trim and round off the ends and I should be back in business.

Progress Note: The second idler and the cable guides are all attached. Once the bike is assembled again I’ll be spinning back up that hill.

Trials

April 18th, 2011 Comments off

After some test rides I modified the steering linkage to make it more sensitive. Now I can comfortably do a U-turn in my street with room to spare. I think that’s decent for a bike with a wheelbase of nearly 8′, and though not exactly nimble, it’s sufficient to make it practical for street riding.

I fitted that front derailleur and have been zipping around getting a better feel for handling at speed. Sitting low down makes it feel like you’re steeply banking the turns, but I suspect that’s an illusion. Riding one-handed is easy – I haven’t quite summoned up the nerve for full hands-off. Looking back over your shoulder is practically impossible, so add a mirror to the shopping list.

The second idler is ready to weld in place to help manage the long chain. I cut all the cable guides and stops off my donor bikes, so I’ll be able to replace the temporary zip ties and miles of housing with long straight runs of naked cable. It’ll be much cleaner looking, and the reduced ¬†friction will make my shifters and brakes more responsive.