Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bill's Neat Fender Solution

Bill [BGobie] posted a msg on the Bacchetta board describing the way he attached a front fender on his Corsa with a special ziptie that has an eyelet for the fender. Click on the pic above to see more pics of Bill nice ride.

What a great solution for those with carbon forks! Dale at Angle Lake Cyclery has 'em if you want 'em.

Seat Adjustment Results

I spent quite a portion of the ride yesterday being observant of my leg extension and my foot position while riding. This was my first long ride since moving the seat forward. The result was quite positive. The irritated tendon started the ride with some residual soreness, but it was not further aggravated on the ride. In fact today I have no pain or tenderness at all.

This is quite a relief. Every time I injured that tendon it seemed like I needed 2 weeks of rest to get the inflammation down - not great if you want to ride consistently! I'm still not 100% satisfied with where my seat is, but now that the major problem seems to be resolved I'll just make some very minor tweaks and see how they affect me.

Okotoks 145K

Saturday was a fine day for a bike ride. I work in Okotoks so the Okotoks 200K brevet route has been calling me ever since I first noticed it on the AB Rando website last year. I wasn't able to ride the actual brevet last weekend, but I wanted to put in some more miles and see what the ride was like.

I got off to a late start because of a late night on Friday. Who knew that one of the biggest challenges of LD riding would be getting enough sleep the night before and having enough time between social obligations! The ride leaves Shawnessy shopping centre and then heads down Hwy 22x to Pridis. I stopped in Pridis for a bathroom break and a chocolate milk. The ladies at the gas station were quite interested in my recumbent.

From there the ride shoots mostly south on Hwy 22 to Longview via Turner Valley and Black Diamond. It was a nice ride with some bizarre wind! It seemed like I'd have a tailwind one moment, a sidewind the next and then a headwind. Oh well it certainly wasn't boring. I stopped a few times to grab some food and snap a few pics. The mountains looked beautiful off to the west. I took a some pics, but as you can see from the one above the mountains are barely discernible.

From the bustling metropolis of Longview I headed northeast to Okotoks. On this leg I realized I was going to run short of time as I had to meet up with Sarah and head to a birthday party in the early evening. I decided to skip a jaunt through Okotoks and then the ride out to High River. This cut off 55kms from the route and got me back home just in time!

Overall the route was very scenic with excellent roads and light traffic. It was hillier than I remembered [from other DF rides in the area] with 1370m of climbing. The weather was not quite as warm as predicted so I kept my arm/knee warmers and vest on the whole time. I was riding around some dark storm clouds all day, but it stayed dry for me...=-) I'll definitely come back and do the whole route when I have a little more time.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Crazy Hurricane Tricks???

Click on the pic above to jump to a page of stunts done on a Challenge Hurricane.

Sam Whittingham 2002 ihpva championship

mmmmmmmm.....nice bike! Click on pic to jump to the original site.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

GPS Installed

I mounted the Garmin Vista Cx on my Volae. It took a bit of fiddling to find a spot where my knees wouldn't hit the GPS. I also removed the water bottle from the riser. I am going to skip the liquid energy food and stick with real food at the controls. The Hammer Nutrition products work, but they are sooooooo bad tasting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Selling my BikeE - sold!

Update: Cathy L from Grande Prairie will be the happy new owner of my BikeE. Congrats Cathy - I hope you get many happy miles from it.

The number of bicycles I have is bordering on the absurd and I need to reduce the fleet. If anyone wants a lightly used BikeE I have a lovely one I'd like to sell.

BikeE CT [~300kms]
- black XL frame
- fenders [new]
- BikeE underseat rack [new]
- BikeE frame bag [attached on top of frame in front of seat] - new
- Cateye Bike computer
- Why Tool-E hidden tool tray
- Bob Nutz for attaching a Bob trailer
- bell
- mirror
- upgraded to shimano Mega range cassette for lower gearing

I'd like $500CDN + shipping.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Okotoks 200K Solo

I didn't ride the Okotoks 200K this past weekend. It was snowing Saturday so the ride was moved to Sunday. I had to work in order to get a project moving prior to my surgery today and my right leg was still a bit sore from my seat setup mistake. The end result being no brevet....=-(

Looking at the rando calendar for this coming weekend it's all 300Ks and I want to hold off a little before I tackle one of those. So my plan is to ride the Okotoks 200K this weekend. It won't count as an official brevet, but I like the area and it will give me a chance to try out my new seat position as well as my GPS.

Audax UK

Want to read up on what our friends from across the pond are up to? Check out the Audax UK website and the ACF Audax forum. Don't worry if you don't understand everything they are saying - it's really a whole different language!...=-) Nice folks though.

Jester Jay's Custom Lowracer

Jester Jay from BROL had this lovely lowracer custom made by Rick Gritters. Click here to jump to his BROL post and click on the pic above to see more pics.

I'm a moron...

I've been experiencing some soreness in the tendons on the inside of my right leg after long rides [80kms+] on my Volae. Seems odd since I don't have any issues on my DF bikes at all. Last fall I thought it was because I just jumped on my new bent and ripped out two 100km rides before the snow fell. But, I had the same problem after my recent 200K and I had at least done some shorter rides in preparation.

Talking to my friend Shawn, the chiropractor, he suggest maybe it was an alignment issue. So I checked and adjusted my cleats. In the process of doing so I was riding my Thorn Sherpa DF bike and little alarm went off in my head. Pedaling that bike felt different than my Volae. What was it?

Then it dawned on me my foot was 90 deg to my leg and felt really comfortable....hmmm....I raced home and jumped on my Volae. My foot was at a much greater angle [measured from the front on my shin to the top of my foot]. I also noticed that my right leg is slightly shorter explaining why only my right leg bothered me and my left leg was fine. You can see the problem in the pic above.

I moved my seat forward and attempted to replicate the motion of pedaling on my DF bikes. Seems much better, but I'll have to take her out and validate the change on a longish ride. I just had some minor surgery so I'll wait until the weekend so the stitches have time to do their thing.

How could my Volae get setup incorrectly. Well I suspect when I first got it and did the initial setup I was sitting a lot further forward in my seat. Unlike a DF a bent seat can be "sat on" in more than one way. It was probably a reasonable seat to pedal distance when I was sitting more forward, but with some time I have establish where I prefer to sit in the seat and I didn't correct the seat position to accommodate the change. It feels comfortable where it was and the irritation doesn't show up until quite late in the ride so everything seemed okay when working on my Volae at home.

Oh well lesson learned and my deflated ego should prove more aerodynamic on my up coming rides!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lowracer Porn

I stole this pic from BROL. Click on it to read the original post. It is great to see so many lowracers in one spot. Must have been a fun ride. Thanks for posting the pic Dennis...=-)

Mr. Chicken Legs

In case you are ever wondering about my underwhelming bicycle achievements and want to know the root cause - here it is: I have scrawny chicken legs. So consider that I have to push my fairly heavy Volae, rando gear and me along with these spindly appendages. The really sad bit is after years of pretty serious cycling my legs haven't got any bigger.

It's okay. I'm not depressed or anything. I just wanted you to factor my chicken legs in when reading about my cycling tales of adventure and mediocrity.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fat Rubber is Good for Recumbents

Zach Kaplan wrote a nice blog post on the RCN site about why using wider tires on a bent makes sense. I tend to agree - running 32mm tires on my brevet bike. I'm going to keep rolling with this fat rubber and see what my experiences this year are like. I also have some 28mm Stelivios I could use and I may do some trials with these later in the year when the roads are free of gravel and sand. Click on the pic above to jump to Zach's article.

A recent Bicycle Quarterly article also reported experimental results that some wider tires were faster than some narrower high pressure tires. Also within a reasonable range tire pressure did not have a significant impact on speed. This article made a very good point and that is just because a tire is narrow and high pressure does not make it faster. The upshot is that you really need to verify the assumptions you have about your tires through your own empirical tests.

Cris's ANT Rando Bike

Cris had a custom ANT rando bike built recently. You can read all about it by clicking on the pic above. I love the special light mount that has built in protection bars in case of a crash - cool...=-)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Navigate this! - Garmin Vista Cx

One solution to my navigational woes on brevets is to use a GPS. I'm a gadget freak and I studied GPS engineering at grad school so I have a soft spot in my heart for GPS receivers. A little research on the net pointed me to the Garmin Vista Cx. It is a smallish hand held GPS unit with a barometric altimeter and electronic compass. It comes with a 64MB microSD card for storing base maps and route info. I also grabbed Garmin's Map Source City Navigator NT software. This allows me to do my route planning on a laptop and then download the waypoints and maps to my GPS. GPS Central had the best prices on these items beating the US MSRP in CDN dollars by quite a margin.

Once I got everything home it took about an hour to get the Vista Cx configured and Map Source City Nav installed. I grabbed the route info for the Strathmore 200K brevet [this weekend's local LD ride] and began punching it in. It took about an hour to get it loaded and routed properly. Now that I know the software better that time would be closer to 30mins.

Loading the route waypoints on the Vista was a snap and I put on all the maps for BC, AB and Sask [maps = 30MB] as well. One thing to note is that the GPS and the laptop generate the actual route independently from each other. So they can join up your waypoints in two different ways leading to some problems on the road. People seem to have different ways to deal with this issue, but my solution was to use sufficient waypoints between the controls to force the correct route and to ensure the routing settings in Map Source and the Vista were as similar as possible. I reviewed the route on the GPS and it seemed to be correct at first glance.

Although there is some additional upfront time req'd to prepare the route for the GPS - this time is not wasted as it really helps familiarize you with the brevet route and once programmed you'll be able to ride the route without any further effort for years to come.

I bought two Garmin handlebar mounts for the Vista, but I haven't yet tackled the job of how to mount it on my Volae.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guess what?

It is snowing in Calgary again!!! I'm looking forward to riding my bike(s) regularly and getting rid of my aerobelly. I actually managed to gain weight on my Baja bike tour. I guess even if you ride a touring bike a 100kms through the mountains you can eat enough tacos, beer & donuts to offset that effort. Who knew?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SON Dyno Hub Pressure Compensation Device

I found the following information describing the functioning of the SON pressure compensation device quite interesting:

Bicycle Quarterly article on generator hubs at

Comments by Peter White on the Randon List:

"Jan's article is excellent. But there are a couple of points I'd like to make. He refers to the "pressure compensation seals" on the newer SON hubs. But calling it a seal might be a bit misleading, and Schmidt actually calls it a "pressure compensation device". The seals in the old
hub and the new hub are identical, being built into the cartridge bearings themselves. The "PCD" just makes those seals more effective.

It's a system which allows water to enter the hub, but only in a tightly controlled way. With the original design, when the hub cools, air gets sucked through the cartridge bearing seals into the hub shell, which has a lot of air inside. So when its pressure changes, a lot of air wants to move either into or out of the hub. If the air is cooling inside, and therefor contracting, it creates a suction inside and pulls air in through the "sealed" cartridge bearings. If there's water present at the outside of the bearing seals, it will get sucked in along with the air, and of course damp air will condense on the cold metal surfaces inside the hub. This happens with all hubs, but the effect is greater in a dynohub because of the increased quantity of air, and the critical gaps between stator arms and magnets.

Once that water gets inside, it can and will cause corrosion on the steel dynamo, narrowing the tight gap between the stator arms and the magnets, and causing the dynamo to lock up.

The new version has a little hole in the axle, about a third of the way from the contacts end, and a thin plastic tube attached which is then wound around the stator inside. I don't recall how long the tube is, probably about a foot or so. When the air pressure inside the hub shell drops, air is sucked into that plastic tube, and if there's any water inside the axle, it will get sucked in as well. It's much easier for air and water to move through the axle and that plastic tube than it is to move past the bearing seals, so no water or air moves through the seals in the newer hub, it only moves through the plastic tube. And the tube is long enough, taking up almost all of the available air space inside the hub shell, that water never gets beyond the end of the tube thanks to capillary action, and never gets to the steel parts inside. Since water never gets to the steel parts, they never rust, and the hub won't lock up.

So, the pressure compensation device effectively makes the bearing seals far more effective, by making an easier path for air and water to move through. And that's why it's so important that the user not heavily grease the skewer in a SON hub. If grease clogs the hole in the axle for the PCD, water will then get sucked in through the bearings, and, well, you know the rest."

Alberta Randonneur Jersey

I rec'd my official Alberta Randonneur jersey at the Strathmore 200K last weekend. It looks sharp and I'll wear it proudly on my next brevet.

I posted a full brevet report below for the Strathmore 200K.

SON Mods

Apparently you can modify the electrical wiring of your SON headlight system to get over 12V from your hub dynamo. I am not a DIY guy, but I thought I'd link the info for anyone who might want to try this out. Click on the pic for details.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Steeker's New Ride

Congrats on the new bike! Have a great summer riding it. Click on the pic above to visit Steeker's blog and read about his test ride adventures.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Van Isle Eau de Hell Week Results and Pics

Results and pics are up for the BC Randonneurs Van Isle Eau de Hell Week. 7 people completed the whole series - congrats. That achievement just blows my mind.

Click below for:

300K Pics
400K Pics

Thanks for letting me know the results and pics were up Mike!

Richard's M5 Bents - Line of Site

I posted some pics of Richard's M5 bents on 12 April. B (from Ottawa) requested some cockpit pics to see what the line of sight looked like. Richard was kind enough to take some additional pics to satisfy this request - thanks Richard!

Hi Vik
Here are some photos of the Shockproof with me in riding position and over the handlebars to show what the view of the road looks like. Kathy and I did this with the 20 20 ECO and the Lowracer as well. It was interesting to note that the view was about the same from each bike. I could see a Coke can placed about 16 feet (the width of two parking spaces) in front of the bikes. The thumbrakes helped on the Shockproof. They got some of the cabling and the levers out of the view. I am going to do this to the Lowracer as well. Another modification I am considering is remachining the shifters so the cables come out of them and straight down the handlebar stem. They are very awkward on the narrow bars now.


M5 20/20 Eco

M5 Shockproof 451

M5 Cro-Mo Lowracer

Strathmore 200K - 14 April Full Report

I woke up on the day of my first brevet at 6am sharp. Made some scrambled eggs, bacon & tea - grabbed my gear and headed out the door by 6:30am. On my way to the start I realized I was a bit fuzzy on the geography of north Calgary. As I live downtown and never venture to the far north I got a bit concerned I was not heading to the right spot. Giving myself a full hour to get there made me less worried as I had time to take a couple wrong turns. Eventually I found the start and there were a couple friendly rando types to greet me.

My funny bike drew a few humorous comments and a fair number of riders piled into the A&W. In total 13 riders started - which was more than I expected. Ken Myhre gave a quick briefing. I realized I didn't have a route sheet which was, apparently available on the net. [I did find it after the ride when I looked very carefully at the AB Rando website] One of the other riders very generously gave me his as he had been on this route many times. We had a group start at 8:30am and were off.

I was with the lead group for the first dozen kms out of town. I dropped back to chat with another rider and looked up the road to see them taking off. I couldn't bridge the gap so I rode with my new friend to the first control at Crossfield [36km]. As I arrived I watched the lead group head down the road. I left the control alone and quickly passed a rider dealing with a flat. He was okay so I continued on. Leaving the first control I had to head south a few KMs before turning east. During this short leg I got a taste of the wind that was going to kick my butt later in the ride. I also got a bit lost due to unmarked streets, but the handy laminated route sheet saved the day and proved valuable during the whole ride.

I had a nice tailwind to the second control in Bieseker [77km]. On the way I passed another rider who had stopped for a bathroom break. I was making good time to this point with an on bike avg of 28kph. As I got to the Bieseker control I watched the lead group leave. This would be the last time I saw any of them. The rider I had just passed came in shortly after me and introduced himself as Dan [the pic above is of Dan at the finish]. We left together after a quick reload of water and a cliffbar.

The next 64kms to the Strathmore control were generally south and into a stiff headwind. Most of my riding has been distances of up to 100kms. I have done a few rides longer than that, but very few and my longest ever ride has been something like 130kms. As we passed the 100km point my body was in new territory on a recumbent and the lack of early season riding started to become apparent. I felt like my top end was gone and although, I felt fine cruising along at 15-16kph, I couldn't accelerate or hold any higher speeds. I told Dan not to wait for me, but he insisted on sticking with me even though he could have easily launched off into the distance. He had started randoneering in '87 and wasn't in a hurry this early in the season. During this leg we were passed by the only three riders still behind us. When we got to the Strathmore control. I needed a break and ate a burger & fries at the A&W. Dan wouldn't leave without me so he hung around the extra 10mins it took me to get my sh*t together and head out on the final leg.

The wind was particularly brutal along the Trans-Canada Highway heading back to the start point of the ride. I knew I was going to make it well within the time window for the final control, but I also knew it was going to be a painful slog. At this point I was in totally new ground distance-wise and my muscles were clearly alarmed that I hadn't stopped at the unusual 100km point. During these last 62kms we had one short 12km section heading north where I was averaging 35kph and hitting over 40kph easily. It really boosted my morale to see my speedo read so high. We eventually rolled into the final control with 9:44hrs on the clock. Dan could have easily been there an hour earlier, but he showed some great rando spirit in looking after the newbie.

Overall I had a lot of fun on my first brevet. The rolling prairie grassland scenery is quite lovely and the route was well chosen to avoid a lot of traffic. Everyone was friendly and besides a few jokes about my bent no one seemed to really care what I was riding. The weather cooperated nicely with overcast skies and cool to warm temps [5-10 deg C]. I had no mechanical problems or flats.

Of the 13 riders who started the brevet 12 finished. There was one DNF due to a crash and resulting broken collar bone...=-( The earliest finishers came in around 8hrs.

I had several PRs on this ride:
- PR for most consecutive days alive
- first metric century in 2007
- first imperial century ever
- first brevet ever
- longest distance ever bicycled

Things I learned on this ride:
- AB rando types seem to ride race bikes with minimal extra gear [this might change with the longer brevets]
- control stops were very brief. If I want to stay with the lead riders I have get more organized and efficient
- I don't have a great way of carrying and viewing route sheets [might go the GPS route]
- my homemade route sheet worn around my neck was very helpful, but it was a bit difficult to decipher some times
- I don't enjoy the taste of sustained energy, even when masked with koolaid
- I ended up with a sore tendon in my right leg, talking to my chiropractor friend I have to look at that cleat and see if my knee alignment is off
- I had no other ergonomic issues with my bent and could have kept going
- I need to get in more riding, especially distances of 150kms+

Anyways I am stoked to get my first 200K done. I'll plan on riding one or two more 200K brevets before I take on a 300K. I'm glad PBP Isn't on my radar so that I have no stressful deadlines to deal with and can ride brevets when it makes sense for me to.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Strathmore 200K - 14 April 2007

I gotta head out of town to Red Deer ASAP so here is the short version. I'll post a complete report Monday:

- first 100K went great 28kph on bike avg, kept close to lead pack of 10 riders.
- second 100K bad head winds and inadequate preparation ended up in a bit of a death march. On bike avg ~18.5kph.

Weather: cool to warm, over cast - no precipitation

Ride Stats:

Total Distance = 202kms
Ride Time Overall = 9:44hrs
On Bike Time = 9:04hrs
Overall Avg Speed = 20.8kph
On Bike Avg Speed = 22.3kph

Major Lessons Learned:

- must ride more
- reading brevet reports online is not good training for riding them!

Thanks for all the comments and emails - your support was appreciated especially towards the middle of the second 100k...=-)

Friday, April 13, 2007


My gear is packed. My clothes are laid out for tomorrow's 200K. Two alarms are set for 6am. I'm going to take my bike out tonight for a run around the block to make sure my shifting is dialed in and then I'll lock it in my truck. All I have to do tomorrow is get up eat some breakfast, drink some tea and drive to the start.

I went over the route in MS Streets & Trips to make sure I knew all the key turns and distances. I used my OCD superpowers and made up a laminated double sided route card that I'll wear around my neck on a lanyard. The card will be a good reminder of when and where to turn.

I'm mildly freaked out - not of anything specific, but simply because it is a completely new undertaking.

I leave my apartment tomorrow at 6:30am a cyclist and with any luck I'll return in the early evening an honest to goodness Rando-Nerd! Sweet!

To all the Randonnuers about to ride a brevet tomorrow - I salute you!...=-)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Richards' M5 Bents

Richard sent me these pics of his lovely stable of M5 bents. The Cr0-Mo low racer above looks FAST!

This Shockproof 451 is the bike he has logged the most miles on and is my favourite.

This 20/20 Eco is his newest bent and has been outfitted for commuting.

2 days and counting!

Well the forecast is for 15 deg C and sunny on Saturday. My hopes for a nice 200K are high. Even better the forecast is nice for 2 days on either side of the brevet so I think chances are good the weather liar might get it right for a change!

I have a pile of gear in my apt ready to get loaded onto my bike and I'll do a mechanical check on Friday so I don't have any nasty surprises Saturday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4 days to my first 200K...

This is what it looked like on my way to work today. Cars in the ditch, back end of the truck sliding around - feels like January. This was actually the good part of the commute - a little further on it was a complete white out and I needed both hands on the steering wheel to stay on the road. However, the weather forecast is for 12 deg C and sunny this Saturday. If that really happens it will be ideal weather for this time of year. Keep your fingers crossed.

Randonneurs of China

Have a new website and their first 200K brevet is coming up. Good work Joe Keenan!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Love the new Bacchetta Banner...

Good luck on RAAM 2007!

Mavic X717 XT Disc Wheels

Since the weather in Calgary has been crap lately I did the only logical thing - bought some parts for my bikes! I was going to harvest the disc wheels on my winter bike as a spare set for my Volae, but now that the winter bike has been reassigned to Sarah I needed a new plan. My LBS had some Mavic X717 rims pre-built with XT hubs and DT spokes for a good price. I'm torn between the value of pre-built wheels with their inherent quality issues and the high cost of custom built wheels that are going to be trouble free. As an example the MSRP for a Mavic X717 rim is $99.99 and a XT hub is about the same $100. I got the each pre-built wheel for $175. So before spokes, nipples and wheel building costs I am ahead $25. Overall I am probably saving $125+ per wheel buying them this way. I have a truing stand and tension meter so I'll make sure the machine built wheels get some love before they get used.

Some tech specs for the bike nerds out there:

Front Wheel $175cdn:

weight w/o QR/disc/tube/tire = 885g
weight w/ QR/disc/tube/tire = 1491g
Schwalbe Stelvio 26 x 1.1" [no name tube]

Rear Wheel $175cdn:

weight w/o QR/disc/tube/tire/cass = 1075g
weight w/ QR/disc/tube/tire/cass = 1985g
Schwalbe Stelvio 26 x 1.1" [no name tube]
SRAM 11-34 cassette

These aren't wheels that will keep you up at night fantasizing about them, but I like the all black stealth look and they should be very functional at a reasonable price. Also one advantage of these wheels over some of the fancier offerings by Velocity or Mavic is that they have a conventional spoke configuration which is much easier to repair in the field than a proprietary spoke setup.

Comparison between Challenge Hurricane & HPV Speedmachine

I find these kinds of comparison shots endlessly fascinating since we generally can't test ride a single exotic bent let alone test ride and compare several side by side. Click on the pic to go to the original website.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Shawn gave me this cool brass bell a year or two ago. I've tried putting it on my LHT, but the bar is way too thick so it just sat in my parts box. The Nashbar Trekking bar on Sarah's new bike is quite thin so I tried the bell and it fits perfectly! Nice.