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31 Dec 2010

2010 in a list

You can use the search function on the top of this page to find more about the things mentioned in this post.
  • Best race: 6 hour race with Jivalté, Cycle Vision
  • Worst race: Tilburg, I was sick.
  • Top speed with tail wind: 68.5kph in Jenease, 62 without tail wind.
  • Best rational buy: Flevobike Oké-ja
  • Also bought: Jenease and Yoska
  • One week of flu meant no holiday for me this year.
  • I assembled and checked many Nazca's. I plan to do many more in 2011.
  • Financially seen, December was the best month. A new job and a tax refund.
  • I'm still working on the carbon racer.
  • 3 Nazca's, 1 Sinner, a Flevobike and a home-made 'bent.
  • 1 vote for the green party during the July elections.
  • Great and longest ride: my 306km night ride.
  • I sleep on an Auping bed base since a few weeks.
  • No friends/family died, one came close.
  • This blog had about 13.500 visits and 22.000 page views, average visit time: 1:34
  • I sold 6 lights.
  • I had my hair cut from, approximately,  30 to 7 centimetre.
  • The Northern Velomobile ride was organized by me.
  • 150 or so of this years kilometres where ridden on a 28" Gaucho.
  • My first Spezi 
  • I went to an Ellen ten Damme concert.
  • I bought 2 Beatles albums: Magnificent (edit: Magical) Mystery Tour and Rubber Soul.
  • I wrote a manual to replace the handlebars of an uss Nazca.
  • I don't know who made the photo below, but it's made after the most exhausting race of the year. It was the semi final of the velodrome racing at Cycle Vision. After this, I won (!) the loser final. That does mean that I didn't qualify for the grand final...

26 Dec 2010

Christmas rides, 2011 coming near

Yesterday I went out with Jenease for a 40km through a quiet and white Drenthe. There was so little traffic that I choose to ride on the road, instead of on the cyclepath. Doing so, I also was able keep a nice average. The cyclepaths on this route where good enough to ride on, but not much faster than 25kph or so. Close to 40 was no problem on these deserted rural roads. Snug warm, listening to the radio, the joy of diving into small patches of snow and to kick the tail out every now and then.

If you feel like playing with google maps, here follows an idea of the route. Assen - TT circuit - Laaghalen - Hooghalen - Amen - Ekehaar - Eldersloo - Rolde - Balloo - Loon - Assen

The great thing is that my Mango has no problem dealing with the snow and salt. The aluminum parts of the front suspension and the rims have a layer of vaseline to protect them, the body doesn't need extra care and the chain is perfectly shielded. I was so happy to ride that I didn't stop to take a picture.

Today, I did use my camera during a little ride in my city's forest. Just a 10km ride in that typical sort of silence winter brings. Easily toodling (?) around at a slow pace on my Oké-ja.



It being Christmas, boxing day in the English speaking world at the time I write this, means that the end of the year is approaching. Time to post this 'card' you see below. I shot all the photos within 2km of my house. Assen can be beautiful, you just need to now where to look. (click it for large version)

20 Dec 2010

More Oké-ja things, lights and studs

Because of the winter weather and my new little commute, the Oké-ja gets used a lot more. That made it a bike to equip with a dynamo light system. A shiny Nordlicht (just like on Yoska) from the webshop "Dutch bike bits" and a "2x8 Dynolight" out of my own little factory. I mounted the prototype, number zero. Now I finally got to see how my lights perform. To make the system complete, I made a matching tail light, with capacitor.

I'd used similar head lights before, but never actually ridden with a 2x8. There was a sense of relief when I saw that it gives a nice bundle and enough usable lux. It does what it should do. Better said, I really liked it! The bundle is about seven metres long and three metres wide. There's some light outside that too. The two I'd already sold should make their owners happy in the dark. Anyway, I still have two in stock. You can read more about them in this blog post.

The snow and ice also are a reason to see what it is like to have a studded tyre at the back. The grip it gives is like nothing you've ever ridden. The Marathon Winter is noisy on a clean road, but the stability it gives on ice and snow is wonderful. As long there's snow and alike, this is a great addition to your everyday bike. It'll probably be replaced with a fat Marathon Plus. Again, that's reliable, worry free and comfortable, perfect for a 'bent like this. That gives my the possibility to enjoy every little ride as much as possible.

18 Dec 2010

my Flevobike Oké-ja and snow

Snow is fun, but it makes riding a bike less easy. Back in the days, when I still rode up-rights, snow would greatly reduce the fun and speed of which I'd ride a bike. Still, I'd be riding. Because it's possible and I have no alternative. Cycle paths are kept clear enough to ride and keep us away from sliding cars.

When the velomobile came in to my life, snow became a highlight, and it still is. Three wheels mean stability and the chance to slip and slide as much as you want. It also protects me, and the chain, from the cold and the wet. For shorter distances however, a two wheeled bike is easier. More agile and usable for delivering mail.

When I brought my Oké-ja home from Bussem, the last 3km or  so where in a white world. It turned out that this bike handles very well when there's little grip. Now, I ride it 3 to 4 days a week to work and I use it to deliver mail. My conclusion is, is that an Oké-ja (or something similar) is the perfect 2-wheeled bike for snowy conditions.

The feet are low, the seat is very upright. Yet, is still offers enough comfort for rides up to roughly 10km. The chain is well protected and the gearing is an internally geared hub. With this bike I can ride at a reasonable pace, even when there some ice on the road. The low feet position means that I can easily reach the ground when the tyres loose grip. The seat positioning gives good balancing. No worries, no ride that requires your full 100% concentration. I just pedal and enjoy the view of my hometown Assen dressed in white.

It'll be great to ride the Pioneer again. My Fuego, Yivalté really needs a ride. But as long as I enjoy winter, the Oké-ja and Jenease will do the job.

I wrote about the Oke-ja before. There now sold be a different company. The new name is Velo Fun. I did once ride my Pioneer in the snow. That was challenging, but I did end up with a nice video.



Studded tyres seem to be a good thing too, check 'em out here.

12 Dec 2010

Terra Cycle idler for Jenease

First of all, news about me. I've got another job for three days a week. It's for a local shop/warehouse and I'm their furniture delivery assistant. More income, more work, more life, more future. We'll see what happens after three months, that's when the contract ends. For now, I'm happy with it.

Work is needed to have an income. And that income is spend on various things. A significant part of my total income is spend on 'bent related stuff. My latest buy is a TC idler for Jenease. I did hesitate, these things don't come cheap. But the experience I had with the TC idler in my previous Mango was so good, that I knew what I was missing. You can read about that idler here.

I send a question to Icletta to ask if a ten speed chain would require something special.  The answer, from Kirk, mostly written by Pat Franz, was more than complete. Dérailleur chains have the same inside width 3/32" or 2.38mm. The more gears you have, the thinner the side plates are. I should have known that.... Anyway, conclusion, a 10 speed chain will run just as good on a toothed idler as a 9 (or 7 and 8) speed chain does. So, after some more thinking, I did buy it. A 14 tooth titanium Elite idler.

The photo shows my chain line set-up. The idler has 'float' and the chain runs smooth and feels direct in all gears, like it should. The power side chain tubes are attached to the return side tube. It feels a lot better than my previous idler, a plastic flevo one. I already had a special bolt with a thread-less top section. TC can make you one if you order an idler from them.

This little special 'bent part costs almost €100,- and that's a lot of money. But even ol' cheapskate me thinks it's worth it. All your power has to pass this little idler. And it's price is only a small percentage of what a velomobile costs. It'll last extremely long too and is worry free.

Yesterday, I went to the Ligfietsgarage to install another new part in Jenease. It's something new and I'm the guy who's going to test it. I'm waiting for the final parts to come in, but it should be a great addition to my Mango. When I walked in, the first thing I noticed where 2 other Red Editions. On the photo you'll see: 3 R.E.'s, a Sport and a Classic. That's a lot of healthy fruit!.

29 Nov 2010

National Automobile Museum, The Hague

I had a 'cheap whole day train travel card'. The real cheapskate tries to use such a card as good as possible, as in, for a long ride. And naturally, that's what I did. I use my card for a train ride to The Hague. The Louwman Museum was on my to-do-list since September. The museum has a collection of 230 cars. Some ordinary road cars, some unique and worth millions.

Does this story involve a 'bent? Sure it does. I used my R604B to ride to several locations in the city. There's plenty of cycle path, but the quality is not what I'm used to. (tiles and bumps, but properly segregated)  More infrastructure related information: even a car museum has a cycle parking, and it's being used too.

Well then, back to the cars. The museum is brand new and, to be honest, could use some more decorating. The collection however, is very impressive. From an original 230 year old coach to several Bugatti's. They have to worlds oldest Toyota and 80 year old cars which have never been restored. I walked around for a little more than three hours and there was always something to amaze me. Browse through my Picasa gallery to see the cars that drew my attention the most.

After the museum I rode back to the nearby forest to eat some sandwiches I carried with me. I found a nice spot near a royal palace. From there on my legs pedalled me to the coast. It was there that, for the first time ever, I road a bike on a real beach. I did have to drag my bike to the coast line, to there where the sand is flat and compressed.

Next stop was our country's centre of democracy. I ate a delicious almond donut from a small stand behind the Ridderzaal. By now it was already 4 o'clock. There was more to today. Our national railway company brought me to Schiphol Airport. Wandering around there is as close as I can get to going on a far vacation for a while. I discovered a, for me new here, concept of 'fast food', Toko Togo. Actually, it isn't fast food. It's fast, but good food too. They sell Asian food, rice and alike. So if you happen to be hungry on Schiphol, there more to choose from than Burger King and other fries selling companies. Toko Togo is something I'd recommend. My rice with broccoli and other veggies was yummy!

Back home at half past eight or so with 25km on the cycle computer.

23 Nov 2010

Visiting record attempts

Sunday's first 74 kilometre followed a route I know well. After that, I started following a track I made on the website of the 'Fietserbond'. An easy to follow route that led me to roads and paths I'd never seen before. It has some variation is height too, something I don't have in my own region. Nothing steep, high or spectacular, but enough to use a wider range of gears than usual. And, I was overtaken by an Aston Martin Vanquish :-).

These scenic roads brought me to Koudhoorn. A small collection of houses in the woods of 'de Veluwe'.  It was there that I had my first rest after 123km. I enjoyed the silence there and ate a banana. I checked the garage of friends that live there, to come to the conclusion that they'd decided to go for a ride. That was easy to understand, the sun was shining and there was little wind. It did mean that I continued my ride without having had a cup of tea. No problemo, the idea to ride past Koudhoorn came in an impulse.

My GPS guided me to Apeldoorn. There, in the Omnisport velodrome, todays main topic was about to start. I was early and it took a while for fellow recumbent riders to arrive. Some of them would do an attempt to break or set a world record. I'd be there to watch it all happen. I talked a bit with various persons and saw things happening on the track. A chain snapped, attempts failed, high speeds where reached and 1 record was broken.

David set a new world record on the 1000 metre. He did it on his own bike, his M5 CLR. The machine I always see him racing on. The bike with which he got lost in the Nijveen time trial. He fell with it on the Trias track. In Zwolle, he had to quite because of a puncture.  And that's why I like what David did. He set a record on his own trusty ol' CLR. I've seen people try to set a record on a bike they've hardly ever ridden before. Let me just say that I don't think that doing so is a good idea...



What was a good idea, was to leave on time. I was tired and had a minor headache. That did mean that I missed Aurelien's 1 hour. It also meant that the headache went away and because of that, the ride home was good. By the time I left Omnisport it was a quarter to eight. It was dark and I had a 110km or so to go. This is the sort of situation that I really appreciate my IQ-Speed headlight. I also was really glad I was wearing long pants know. The day had started in shorts, and even that was warm at some moments. Now the wind was cold and the temperature low. But, as soon as I left Apeldoorn, the engine started running smooth again. The behaviour of tyres and suspension changes when the temperature drops. And on a day like this, the difference was clear. The ride was rougher.

It was just after midnight when I parked the Mango behind the front door. I grabbed a washcloth and quickly changed in to pyjamas. The vegi macaroni that my mom had kept in the fridge was delicious after 266km, 9:50 hours of riding.

16 Nov 2010

5 Dynamo lights

Not long ago I wrote about the pros and cons of hub and bottle dynamos. It ended with the fact that I'd bought a Nordlicht bottle dynamo from Dutch bike bits. It works fine and my lights give plenty of light. Indeed, you also need a proper head light to ride in the dark. Riding on quiet, scenic, rural roads is a thing I like doing. But like I just said, I need lots of lumen to do so.

Lights that are powerful enough for this sort of riding can be pricey. For my Mango velomobile, that doesn't matter. The IQ-speed I have with that is absolutely worth the money. But for my humble Cruiser, there's less money available. For such a case, a home build light often is a solution. And that's what I did. I combined two 3 watt Leds with a narrow lens and some other parts to make a cheap light. Where the IQ has a beautifully and well engineered reflector to give a efficient beam, these ones use more low tech, much cheaper, solutions. 

They're not near as good as the B&M lights. Those give enough light to ride 40kph in pitch darkness, with a velomobile. During my evening rides with the Cruiser my speed isn't much higher than 30kph. At that speed, my home build does the job very well. Because of your point of view, you need more light on a velomobile than on a 'normal' bike.

Now I like building lights and I also like to do some business. So, after hours of thinking, I found a way to make affordable lights in a for me profitable way. The headlight produces about 160 lumen and and weights very little. They're small enough to be shipped in an envelope. (again, that keeps the price low) I've made 5 and you can have one of them for €17,50. That includes European shipping.

You might notice that there is quite some glue on them. That's a way to ensure a strong and reliable headlight. You can hook 'em up to a dynamo and bolt or zip-tie them to your fork crown/handle bar/light mount. You can tell me if you want more that 30 centimetre of wire. Send me a photo of your mount and I'll make something that makes it fit.

14 Nov 2010

Mango maintenance

I get asked quite often what I do when it comes to servicing my Mango. The short answer is: not much. More precise, a tiny bit on a regular basis. I give the primary chain a few drops of oil every 500km. The secondary chain gets some when it doesn't look oily enough. Lubing it is easy. I put the rear end of the Mango on a small support stand, spin the rear wheel backwards, and than I oil the chain. The chain is easily reached when you tilt the seat forwards. Thin racing oil, Morgan Blue in this case, works fine. The whole procedure is a two minute job. I never clean the chain and expect it to last 40,000 kilometre.

Every thousands km or so the front suspensions struts get a few drops of oil. There's a hole in the top of them that makes this an easy thing to do. For this I have a thicker sort of oil. I check the tyre pressure every two weeks, or when I feel like doing that. Depending on the weather, cleaning has to be done as well. Once every few months I wax ('soft' metallic wax, that doesn't scrub!) to body to make it water repellent, just like you'd do with your sports car. Water, car soap and a sponge for the spots that have gotten really dirty. Like I said before, the drive train does not need cleaning. Clean and shiny is what I prefer.

Once a year I lube the pivoting points of the drum brakes.  Before winter really begins, the exposed aluminum parts, wheels and front suspension, get a layer of spray on Vaseline. Sometimes, I listen if  hear something I shouldn't hear. That could indicate that a bolt or nut needs tightening.

How long tyres last is hard to predict. It depends on which tyre you use, your weight, the road surface and your riding style. I corner hards, use racy tyres, but the whole combination of rider and VM weights just over 90kg.

more photo here
videos here
more about Jenease on this blog

7 Nov 2010

Not always a velonaut

Last Thursday I went to a reunion in Haren, 23km from Assen. For the last time I went back to the university building where I'd spent half a year as a trainee. I liked it there. The Biological Centre is about to move to a brand new building in Groningen. Finding a job there would be close to perfect. Anyway, I went back to meet some people I worked with in the first half of 2009.

Now autumn had arrived at his best that day, but the rain was expected to stay away when I would be on the road. The wind was strong and here and there the paths where colourfully paved with leaves. Doing this in my velomobile would be like a walk in the park on a summer day. But, I'd just spent some time improving my Pioneer and was really looking forward to ride it, in the dark. So, I rode like nearly every cyclist does, on two wheels. Yes indeed, this velonaut was ready for adventure, sort of.

Actually, it was easy, of course it was. My Lobbes has a seriously strong head light and his fenders/mud guards do a good job of making every ride, a clean ride. His Nexus 8 rear hub was just replaced with a, very efficient, "78 AW3 from Sturmey Archer. The entire set up gives more than three gears. More about that when I receive the final chain blade.

The ride was fun. My intuition tells me that the gear hub swap made the Pioneer at least 7% faster. Gently, smooth, elegant, lonely, scenic and fast. Words that describe that evening ride. Long stretches of cycle path and an engine running nicely. The ride back home was done with quite a lower average speed. The 5bft wind was enough to lean in to sideways at some points. My legs just kept going and the headlight did an excellent job at making me feel and ride safe.

I'm planning on doing more of these night rides with the Pioneer. I plan on doing a similar thing with my Mango Jenease. Yes, I have plenty to do and like the night.

At the reunion, two thing where a bit disappointing. I only met one former colleague and the project I worked one was stopped. There was good food and it was nice to hear how things had been going after I'd finished my trainee ship.

This morning, I again went out on two wheels. This time on my Nazca Cruiser Yoska. She also received a few upgrades last week. The ride was no longer than 30km but enough to release positive chemicals in my head.

1 Nov 2010

Nordlicht bottle dynamo

My Cruiser is my 'back to basic' bike. Simple and elegant, fast and fun. Eight gears is enough and ordinary components will do fine. No mudguards, no rack, no profile on the tyres. Just to ride, a ride. Worry free, no high goals. However, for a ride in the dark, or in twilight, there was a problem. I depended on batteries for my head light. And batteries need attention. I wanted something that's always there when I need it.

'Go get a hub dynamo' is what some might say. For a special utility 'bent like my Pioneer, that is a good idea (just like mudguards and a protected chain). Lot's of light, always there, for a ride from dusk till dawn. The hub is also there when I don't need it. And also, a hub generator is exactly cheap. At least €70,- or so and close to €200 when you want a shiny, slightly more efficient, SON.


So the solution for your 'go fast' and/or 'basic' 'bent, is a bottle dynamo. No drag when not in use and always there when you need it. Low in weight and elegant. It's the same story for a town bike. People used to complain about slipping dynamos, but honestly, mine never slipped. Well, maybe when it was snowing. But than it was way difficult to ride on two wheels anyway. So reliability is not an issue.

Mounting them the right way is important. People often don't do that. The axle of the dynamo wheel should, if you imagine it longer, cross the axle of the bike wheel.


The Cruiser, her name is Yoska, now has a bottle dynamo. It's a shiny one, nicely made too. It feels well made when I spin it with my fingers. (Pjotr320 likes it already.) This is not just a bottle dynamo, it's a Nordlicht. I mounted it this afternoon and did a test ride after dinner. I feel a tiny bit of drag and I can hear it humming. But it does what it should do. There's another nice feature, it runs on the rim instead of on the tyre. The side of a  Kojak is to fragile to run a dynamo on.


Concluding I can say: 'I recommend this product'. Now, if you feel like buying such a shiny little pedal powered energy device, go visit www.dutchbikebits.com That's where I got mine too. They also sell lots of other sensible bike related products.

18 Oct 2010

LEL 2010

Yesterday we had the final race of this years competition. And like each year, the season ends with Lelystad - Enkhuizen - Lelystad. A 51km race over a dyke with a u-turn after 25.5km. David had arranged the Sinner van. Harry and Marjon picked us up on a, not so early, Sunday morning. Newbie racer Serwin also rode along with us.

We arrived nicely on time. The sun was shining and lot's of 'bent riding friends had gathered at the beginning of the dike. I took it easy and made time to talk to several people. Some jumping around, eating a Mars and having a wee, all part of my preparation for the time trial. Then, finally, I rolled up to the starting line. I velcro'd the race hood in position and closed the visor. From this moment all my air would come in via my newly made air in-take. A test earlier that day told me that it works. It let's in fresh air, which I so badly need, and works from a speed as low as 20kph. At 50, there's plenty of air to feed the engine.

It started with an enthusiastic start, followed by a coast down and three challenging corners. After that, it was just a matter keeping the revs and the speed up. 44 felt fast enough for the first 14km or so. The second part went faster, with the faster part close to the aquaduct. There was a bump in the road that was really rude to my suspension. A few seconds later, I reach my top speed for today of 62kph. My u-turn went quick. I used some of the grass and just let enough room for a man with a camera.

My legs didn't feel happy after the short climb from under the aquaduct. But after a few kilometer, I was back up to speed. Now, with a tailwind my speed started to creep up to 50kph. Still, I found time fiddle with my camera and to wave to other racers. Well, 'wave' is not really the word. There's not much room under the race hood. Luckily mine doesn't fog up. That's the result of the proper ventilation and using an anti-fog cloth, the day before.

I kept going faster, my heart rate stabilized around 183. My cadence was just below 100. It wasn't easy, but it sure was fun. Than, one final sprint back up to the bridge where we started from. I did it in 1:07:19, and that's nice when you where aiming for 1:07. I finished 12th out of 37 with an average of 45.5kph. More important, I was a lot faster than two years ago and a little faster than H@rry, who also rides a Mango Sport.

I felt satisfied and happy. My brain still felt a little fuzzy from pushing so hard. The after race atmosphere was great. People like the looks of Jenease and there's always so much to talk about after a race. Good people, nice day, Peter happy.



More of my photo's. Mango54's photo's (recommended!)

16 Oct 2010

Tire testing

I'd been thinking about a new and improved rolling test for quite a while. I'd done one once before and actually, I was far from satisfied with that David had found a good location and I new what had to be improved in my way of testing. The rolling distance was enlarged from 50 or  so to 260 metres and the time between different tires was greatly reduced. Top speed during all tests was between 17 and 20kph.

The location is a quiet old viaduct with rough asphalt. To me, in a test, rough asphalt is a realistic mixture of smooth concrete and brick roads. Tires should also perform good on less than perfect roads. Call it a more realistic form of testing if you like. I can't tell you the rolling resistance coefficient of the tires. But such numbers don't represent the actual difference in speed.

I measure the time it takes to roll the distance. From that I calculate the average speed. The result of that is that I can see what the actual speed advantage, or disadvantage, of a tire is. The rear tire is my usual Racer at 5 bar. The rear carries about 30% of the total weight.

Schwalbe Kojak
My current choice with 1000km experience. Reasonably comfortable, good grip, easy to mount, puncture resistant enough (thus far, winter is coming), last long enough, fast, and tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Schwalbe Durano
My previous choice with 1000km experience. Little comfort, enough grip, easy to mount, does not wear fast, rolls good, puncture resistant enough, and tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Continental Grand Prix
A request from David. This set of tires is brand new and that usually makes a tire less fast. They give a rough ride. Mounting them went a lot easier than expected. They look really fast. Also tested with Schwalbe 6a inner tubes.

Avocet Fasgrip
A exotic tire which is out of production. They have no grip and very little puncture resistance. They are wide and very comfortable. Presumably very fast, especially with 6000km of rubbing in. Tested to see how good it'll be against narrow racers like the Durano and the GP. David's idea. I used different inner tubes for this set.


(click for larger table, V+ should be V-)
Conclusion
Hard and skinny doesn't work for me when it comes to tires. Under normal conditions the wider Kojak is faster and a lot more pleasant to ride. Front tires and 8.5bar do not sound pretty in a velomobile. The GP seems to suffer from being new. My feeling tells me that it's something like a Durano. Possibly faster, but that hard to judge without having ridden it. The Fasgrip is the fastest, but has the previously mentioned disadvantages.

In the end it was nice to see that the control run turned out good. That tells me I have done a proper test with reliable results. I know that testing like this leaves room for error. But the differences between tires are consistent. I'll keep on using Kojaks.

Next idea is to see how the Kojaks compares to something I'd like to use during the winter, the Supreme. Some say it's awfully slow. I like the idea of not getting a puncture in the cold and wet winter. We'll see how things go.

13 Oct 2010

Gingko 12t idler, sliding

I've made a small change to Jenease's chain line. The idler under my seat now is free to move a little to the right, or to the left, depending on whether I shift up or down. In short, a sliding idler. This had the great advantage that the relatively narrow ten speed chain runs better on the idler. Less noise, less friction, more efficient. Being optimistic, this could result in a speed increase of 1%. That's just me guessing, but it is well known that chains run less efficient when you deflect them sideways. This evening I did a short test ride, and it felt and sounded better.
The idler comes from Gingko, a German company. I've added a short piece of chaintube to the upper chain to guide the tube with with the return chain. Only thing left to do is change the chain keeper I've made. It's a little to close the chain now, and the edges aren't nicely round.

7 Oct 2010

Fun and warm race in Groningen

I left the autumn meeting early Sunday morning together with fellow 'bent rider Wendy. After a cup of coffee at my place we rode to the track. She by car, me with two other velonauts. Wim had parked has Quest at my place on Friday and had just arrived by train. David called and said he be going to race too. So, with a strong tailwind, two Mangos and one Quest easily averaged 33kph to arrive at the track well prepared for the race.

The asphalt in some places had seen better days, but most of the surface is smooth. You can see in the video where the trees cause instability at high speeds. Nothing serious, but a fresh layer of gravel and bituminous stuff would be a good idea. Thanks to the lovely weather the track was dry and grippy.

My Jenease already was ready to race. Other riders where swapping tyres and alike. I only had to remove unnecessary items. You don't need spare tyres, a pump and a battery whilst doing 50 on a track. And yes, I was doing 50 on the track. My fast lap had an average of 51.6kph. Reasonably fast indeed. H@rry, in his Mango Sport, (without the luxery, with a big experienced engine) did 53.7!  We where both riding with a head fairing. By far the fastest was Ymte is his unique personal Quest. His average of 60.4kph is simply astonishing. My time was good for a 5th place.

During the individual fast laps and the criterium there was time for the usual socializing. The atmosphere is relaxed and this is always the time to hear the latest news from our little close recumbent society.

My criterium started quite normal. I was the first velomobile to reach the first corner. Not long after that Ymte flew by and I overtook two 'naked' bikes. Problem was, that my mirror had come loose. It didn't show me what was going on behind me, it reflected tarmac. As I saw no other riders on the track no more, I started to get worried. Maybe something had gone wrong? Maybe the rest was still at the start? Non of that. I kept my 2nd position for almost three laps. It wasn't until then that the big guys had closed the gap I'd pulled with my lightning start :-)

When the fastest five had past me, I was on my own for most of the time. I was joined by Pieter for a few laps, but he isn't one of the strongest this season for no reason. Also Jan-Marcel tolled he'd been drafting me for a lap or so. However, our cornering is to different to cooperate. Didn't matter. I had fun in my Red Edition. Shifting, accelerating, touching the brake for the first corner. The heat made for a high, but stable, heart rate of 193. When the bell sounded for the final lap, I pushed a little more and it rose to 200. It all felt alright, strange enough. I will arrange extra ventilation for the next race on October 17.

I finished with a nice average of 46.5kph in 6th position. The day ended with a relay race. Handing over the transponder went good when did it, but it did go wrong between other team members. So even with our time being the fastest, we didn't get rewarded for that. It was a fun day, even without winning something. David and I rode at a relaxed pace of 30kph. A pleasant way of ending another fine day at the races.



My photos.
David's photos, with good shots of my Mango Jenease!
David's blog.
Race results.

6 Oct 2010

Autumn meeting.

Riding through a forest in twilight on your home mode wooden 'bent is fun. I was on my way from Hilversum to Blaricum/Huizen. One small bag hanging on the right side of the luggage rack, my sleeping bag tucked under the seat. The homemade headlight gave plenty of light, even in the economy mode. The little bike handled good enough and my GPS knew the route.

Most of my fellow 'bent riders had already arrived when I showed up at a quarter to eight. I found a bed in a cabin and went back to the canteen where everybody had gathered. Like always, I felt like eating. Luckily Eugene and Brechtje had a little to much meat for the barbecue. When I said that I'd built another woody, people became curious and I brought the bike in. It turned out it is quite a head turner and I answered loads of questions. And, as this sort of bike actually is a good idea, I decided to built a second one later in time. Someone should be crazy enough to buy it. It was way past midnight when I went to bed and slept very well.

The next morning started with breakfast followed by conversations about this and that. Just after eleven we all left to for a ride. A 50km ride with about 40 'bents. This would a good test to see how my little bike would behave. I rode along for a while with 'Grey Pioneer'. She recently replaced her under seat handlebars, with the guidance of a manual I had written. I felt sort of pride that it had turn out so well. Shifting, steering, bracking, everything was in order again. The scenery was nice and the other traffic didn't give any problems. We did have to take it easy two times to pass horses, but the amazons had good control over their animal.

We all had a rest stop half way. I enjoyed warm apple pie. The ride continued and, apart from one puncture, everything went alright. The little bike did ask attention at higher speeds on rougher roads. Easy to understand when you know about the short wheelbase, stiff frame, no suspension and corner happy steering characteristics. It felt like cycling in a very pure form.

Dinner was cooked by Gerold and Maartje. They've done this at the autumn meeting several times and know how to feed hungry cyclist. It was delicious! A fourth portion would have been nice, but the pots where empty. Actually, the pot was scraped empty to give me the final portion there was. This gastronomical piece of excellence was followed by dessert. For me: banana with whipped cream and chocolate flakes, hot chocolate with whipped cream and again, banana with whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

The evening continued and the atmosphere only became better. We'd speak about a broad spectrum of subjects, including the usual things like traffic and the joy of recumbents. This evening was shorter than the previous one. I had to get up early on Sunday to be on time for the race Groningen.

More of my photos can be found here.
Marcel's photos.

30 Sep 2010

Fire trucks and events

Just before the event at the TT circuit ended, me and my dad headed home to switch bikes. I parked my precious Mango and together we rode to the city centre. He on is upright, me on my trusty Pioneer. We had a good reason to leave the track a little early.

My oldest brother had in a part in organizing the day at the race track, my big brother is a fire fighter. And this day he'd be driving 'his' vehicle as part of the parade of fire trucks. 88 vehicles gathered at the old harbour after the parade. All this to celebrate the fact that Assen has it's own fire brigade since 1760. I arrived just in time to see most of them and film them as they left the terrain.




So that Saturday was about as good as it can be for the child in me. Next weekend will be fun too. Friday starts like usual at the little int. hq. But that's the only thing normal about this weekend. I'll go there by train and my newest creation, the R604B. (more about that later) The day at Nazca will end a little sooner the catch the train to Hilversum, From there, I'll ride to Huizen where the annual recumbent autumn meeting is held. Two nights and one day with about 40 recumbent friends. Sunday starts early as I head back to Assen by car. Me, and a fellow racer go north to attend a race in Groningen. In Assen I'll switch over to Jenease after I've prepared food and alike for the rest of the day. Groningen is only a one hour ride from home. At the end of the afternoon, after one and a half hour of racing, I'll slide back in the Mango again and ride home easily. Probably a little tired after 3 very busy and fun days.

27 Sep 2010

Our local race track

Let's start this post on Friday. Like usual, I worked at the little int. hq. Besides making bikes ready to go to costumers, I got a new thing to do, modelling. A costumer had questions about how to service an suspension unit. So I showed step by step how to dis- and re-assemble it, whilst my boss made photos of my hands handling the air shock. It's only a five minute job, but it's difficult to do it on your own. Also worth mentioning is a bike brought in for a quick inspection. The client also dropped by to talk about his latest bike trip, a 17.000km ride through Europe. Except for a small crack in the seat, everything was in order with his Rohloff equipped Gaucho. He'd visited many countries, from Sweden to the Ukraine. During my work, I made two photos. One to show a bike I'd been working on, the other because it really shows how 'green' my way of travelling is.



On Saturday me and my dad went to our local race track, the TT circuit. World famous as being one of the finest tracks, with a rich history going back to 1928 or so. We visited the 'Friends of the TT circuit foundation day'. The day started with some speeches about future plans with the track, and how to deal with the few people that don't fully appreciate the fact that they have this wonderful facility close by. Good ideas where mentioned on sound levels and the landscape. On thing was made clear, the track is here to stay :-)

At two o'clock it was time for the moment I'd been waiting for so long. The 'friend' could choose between a bus ride over the track, or to ride their bike on it. Today Jenease was wearing the race hood for the first time. The tyres where at the highest allowed pressure and the wheel arches where slightly modified. I quickly realized that in this set-up, my Mango Sport is very fast. Doin' 50kph went almost effortless. An outlap, a fast lap, and an inlap, I really like this track. My dad had a go in his FAW and he did 2 laps. With only 12 people on the track, and me doing more than twice their speed, I had the whole track for myself. Without proper warm-up and preparation I averaged 47.5kph, not bad for a first attempt on a damp track.

23 Sep 2010

Variety

Last Friday was a busy day for me at the little int. hq. Six bikes needed my attention, and that will the same tomorrow. One of the things that make the world of recumbents so fascinating is the wide variety in models. At the end of the day I made this photo. It shows a Gaucho 28" and a Fiero XS. The first one is a 'bent with a road bike touch. 'Real' wheels and high end components. The other is an agile little machine that's ideal for shorter people. 1.55 metre, or 5'2" is tall enough to ride it.

The ride home in Jenease was a good one. I had support from a side/tail wind and was quickly cruising at 40kph. A few intersections bring the average down, the short shower didn't. In fact, I kept going faster. The 10 speed gearing is so nice that even above 40kph the steps are small. My cadence was somewhere between 95 and 100. I'd  shift up when I'd pass the 100rpm, and I'd gain a few kph too when I did so. Everything went so easy, that breaking my previous record of 1:09:28 was as easy as pie. I knocked 1 minute and 7 seconds of the time I set last summer on my Fuego. Fuego Yivalté is way faster on tight twisty tracks, but my commute is more like the track of Monza. The 41.8 kilometre where done with an average of 36.7kph. Faster, as always, is possible. But than I'd have to give it a go when there's less traffic. (more about my Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition: the manufacturers website)

The next day I did something different. I had a family meeting in Giethoorn. Naturally, I went there by bike. My slowest bike, the Pioneer. But I got there comfortable, reasonably dry and on time. In fact, I was the first to arrive. The rest of the family took there cars and got, well, lost. Bridges, road works, closed roads, made them arrive an hour later than I did! They must have had a great time driving.... ;-) And no, they only had to travel 75km or so. I did 53km, with a headwind. 

Giethoorn is a, very touristic, scenic place with old houses, tiny canals and lot's of boats. My parents where there too. They'd made a three day trip out of it, staying at a B&B before and after the meeting, and rode there on there Nazca recumbents. Anyway, my uncles, aunts and so on, aren't that interesting. So no photos or stories about them. I did take some photos on this day, mostly about my usual topics. My total for this day was 104km. A day well spent in many ways.

14 Sep 2010

Back again, starting with a race, Zwolle

It's been quiet on this blog for a while. You don't have much to type when you're dealing with flu. And even when I got rid of that after a week, I still needed time to get back in to shape and to re-gain some weight. But now, everything seems alright again. Not that fit to happily do a 6 hour criterium or a 300 kilometre night ride, not yet. However, fit enough to take part in lasts Sundays race in Zwolle. I sent both my parents South too to help the organization. They had a fun day and cycled about 23km in total.

Zwolle is only 72 km from Assen. Riding there would be a bit to optimistic, so I took the train and brought my Fuego with me. It felt good to be back on my 'chromo' steel racer again. It would have been better without the constant drizzling rain. Rain is the biggest reason I have a velomobile. That same velomobile is the reason that I have very little experience on cornering in wet conditions on two wheels.

The event is one of the best organized of the year. It's a street circuit with very little traffic. The track was closed for just about everything. Only locals and bikes where allowed. There where persons in orange vests at the intersections. There was a guy on a motorbike, complete with flashing lights, who patrolled the 4.3km track. We could get good coffee and cappuccino, both freshly brewed. The apple pie, sold for charity, was of outstanding quality. There where toilets, shelters, volunteers, friends and 25 riders. To put that in contrast, the next race in Groningen has a great track, but only 1 facility, a toilet. So 'Zwolle' is like a luxury resort.  The track is challenging in it's own way. It has 3 speed bumps and a corner in which the tarmac has seen better days. High speeds are possible. I averaged 37.6kph. Not spectacular, but good in these circumstances. The fastest guy pulverized the records set during the 1st edition in 2009. He did 47.7kph, 4km faster than the winner of last year.

The first 5 laps of the race where the fastest. I was with a group of 4, that got smaller as the race unfolded.  After that, just kept pedalling at my own speed whilst keeping an eye on my heart rate watch. I lapped some riders, and got lapped a few times as well. And since I already was wet, the ongoing rain didn't bother me. My glasses did fog up. I usually know how to prevent that, but know I'd forgotten to rub the glasses in with a special cloth. Not really a problem, the roads where wide and there was little to bump in to. I did loose my superflash tail light on the back straight, a the screw had come loose. That meant an extra lap after finishing to pick it up.

The end result was satisfying. There was plenty of time to chat and socialize afterwards. My day ended with a puncture, 700 metres from home. I simply carried my Fuego home on my shoulder and fixed hat the next day. A part of Monday was spent on cleaning the bike as well. It's white, dry and shiny again.



The race results are here.

24 Aug 2010

Fast

I like recumbents for their comfort, fun, practicality and safety. And their was something else too... Speed potential. This post isn't about cruising speed, or average speed. It's about the kind of speed less used and that's actually isn't important at all. This type of speed is there for only one reason, fun. I'm talking about top speed.

In the past weeks I found out that, without significant wind and elevation, Jenease's top speed is 61.5kph, when I'm riding. Thus far that is. Two years a go I reached 72kph down a large bridge with Yavixa. Complete with race hood and strong wind gusts from the side. My all time record is 76kph, down a small hill on my previous Fuego. The fastest descent ever reported about on a Fuego is 106kph. Set by Ian Fardoe in Great Britain. The bike feels rock solid at such speeds. He did it twice to make sure the GPS was right.

Yesterday there blew a strong wind over my flat country. Good circumstances to try to break the wind assisted record. You need a good location for such an attempt. When I reached to first location, a cyclepath next to the TT-circuit, the circumstances where ideal. The wind was so strong that I could feel my helmet being pressed against my helmet. However, I didn't turn around to 'max it', I went further on to Hooghalen. The road is wider there and I thought the wind would be similar.

It wasn't. I had a strong wind gusts from the side, and at normal speeds that doesn't bother me. Now I didn't go any faster than 64.4kph. Before doing this, I'd checked my tyres, just to be sure. I felt like more was possible and I headed back to the first location. Again, the wind was strong. The concrete cycle path was clean and all mine. There was a bit of lose gravel at some point. I turned around at the far end of the straight and accelerated.

30 was reached almost instantly, 40 didn't cost much power. Reaching 50 went surprisingly easy. The gravel was crossed at 50 too. I kept shifting at the right moment, at a cadence around 110-115. 60 was known terrain for me. The wind gusts did ask my full attention. The 2.5 metre wide cycle path started to look narrow now. It was a small movement of my right had that engaged top gear, sprocket number 10 on the mid-drive, at 63kph. From now on all I had to do was keep it steady and pedal really hard. The number on the speedo kept going up. I lifted the throttle once at 65 because of a minor left bend in the cycle path. I ran out of straight at 68kph. So 70 is reachable. Freewheeling at 60kph is great fun. I lightly tipped the brakes and took a turn right on to the military practice area. That piece of road is open to cyclists. I kept doing 45 for a while and everything went back to normal. 


Grotere kaart weergeven

The map shows the problem of this straight, it's only 1.3km long. The good things are that it's tree free and that the grass is at the same level as the cycle path.

Warning: 70kph with strong wind gusts feels alright to me. I've got over 40.000 kilometre of velomobile experience. Practice at lower speeds before attempting such high speeds. Mango's have gone faster than 100kph down hill. Humans are not made to travel at almost 20 metre per second.

17 Aug 2010

Racing Rütenbrock, a weekend

I arrived at the Bentlage campsite just after eight in the evening, last Friday. This family has a key roll in the organization of the event. They also offer the great possibility of camping in their yard. I was on of the first to arrive. Later that day I was followed by, Frank in his Milan, Paulus in his Quest and Daniël in a Ford Transit. He'd brought his Go-one Evo R.
That thing is about a 'racy' as a velomobile can possibly be. Small, 18kg, a bit of suspension and an expected price of  €12.000 It couldn't be my only velomobile, my Mango is way more practical, comfortable and so on, but my god it's pretty. And ludicrously fast too.

Saturday morning started with a good breakfast. After that I just relaxed and loitered around a bit. Until the idea came to line up the four velomobiles to compare them.

At some point in time the moment came to ride to the small town of Rütenbrock, three kilometres from the campsite. With almost an hour to go, the start/finish area already was boiling with activities. I did the usual pre-race things with my Mango (transponder, number, remove pump and battery etc.) and met 3 other Mangoteers. David, H@rry and Wilfred would also give it a go at this fun track. Besides us four there where 52 other participants. I took the time to explore the track. The first lap I road slowly, looking for edges and bumps. The second lap was done at a slightly higher pace. All that data was stored in my memory and used during the fast lap.

All 56 started with an individual lap. Mine went pretty well. In fact, it went well enough for a 9th place. An average speed of 40.7kph. Fastest Mango and not far away from number eight.

After filling up the water bottle, and having lost some water, I arrived at the already packed grid. Right on time for the parade lap. During the parade lap I found a way to the front of the field. My start wasn't really good, but within a few laps things started to go fine. The corners went a lot better, or faster, than I'd expected. I gave room to the few that did overtake me. And the many I overtook gave so much room that I didn't lose much speed. One time however, it did became a little scary. In the video, around 5:00, I lift up the left wheel a lot higher than planned. The Quest that finished in front had a lot of luck around 5:50. I started to slow down after half an hour or so. The bouncing at 40kph became tiring, the corners still needed my full attention. Hitting the apexes lap after lap never gets boring. (Judy made the photo with Wilfred's camera)

I ended in 10th position, closely behind the blue and the yellow Quest. My average speed was slightly higher than 3 years ago when I raced the Fuego. I'm stronger now, so on a track like this, a 3-wheeled, (considered a disadvantage) Mango isn't much slower than my favourite  2-wheeled semi low racer.

After the racing I treated myself with fries and ice cream. The barbecue in yard of the Bentlages was, like always, a good one. I heard up a funny question. Well known rider A asked well known rider B if he races more often. Rider B being a former world record holder...

All the racing and eating had made me sleepy. I went to my tent for an hour of sleep. After that, the evening went on 'till after midnight. The next morning I had another good breakfast, and a puncture too. I didn't trust the rim tape anymore, so I added a layer of strong tape. Than it was time to say goodbye and head home.

You'll find the 22 photo's I made here. And here's the video I made:

12 Aug 2010

A Nazca Fiero XS

No, I didn't buy another bike!

Almere is one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands. Getting there is an easy 125km ride. I've done that numerous times. Last Monday I went there again. This time, for the first time ever, by car. There was a good reason for that. That day, I was the expert helping a fellow 'bent rider buy a 'new' Nazca Fiero XS. She'd found it on ligfiets.net. She was looking for a XS version because she's only 1.58 metre tall.

The right address was easily found. The bike was in good condition. It still was a bit to long for her, so I did the test ride. The owner told us that, for some reason, she couldn't get the hang of it. So this little blue Fiero had spend most of his young live in the garage collecting dust. The deal was closed and after a cup of coffee we drove to Dronten. This 'velomobile valley' also is the home of Alligt. Not only does this company produce the Alleweder, it also sells and produces 155mm crank sets. A set of those would make the short Nazca perfect for short legged people. I did some measuring and I reckon that an x-seam of  97cm could be enough to ride this bike. The photo on the right shows how much clearance there still is between the cranks and the front wheel. Tight turns won't be a problem!

Back home I gave the bike a full check up. I adjusted the boom length and mounted the short cranks. I found out how little riding was done on this Fiero when I gave the computer a new battery . With a total distance of only 294km, this bike was practicably new!  New, easy to handle, the right size and agile.

During her first ride, everything turned out to be just fine. I did shorten the boom a few centimetres. One thing was a bit peculiar, the 42t up front. That should be a 52t. Now the bike had a silly low gearing. I'll take care of that when I've been to the little int. hq. of Nazca in Nijeveen.

Some specifications:
  • 3x9 dual drive
  • bar-end shifters
  • 40-406 Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres
  • small luggage rack
  • sigma bc-1109 computer
  • kick stand
  • mudguards
It may be small, but it's a proper bike that looks good too.

10 Aug 2010

Durano vs Kojak

My Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition, or 'Jenease' to keep it short, first had Durano tyres on the front. They're fast, quite reliable and offer plenty of grip in the dry. But they are only 28mm wide and at a pressure of 8 bar, they're not as comfortable as I'd like tyres to be. So I became interested in Kojaks. They have a maximum allowed pressure of 6.5 bar and are much bigger. The nice thing is that they only weigh a bit more than Durano's. There was however, on big downside, rolling resistance.

Various test had shown that Kojaks are a lot slower than the very racy Duranos. But I liked the idea of more rubber. Fatter tyres would make riding on rough roads a better experience. The thing is that most of the roll out tests I've seen are done on perfectly smooth surfaces. And our cycle paths may be very good, they're not perfectly smooth. Some asphalt has an open structure and on small rural roads the quality can be, 'just over acceptable'.

So I wanted to do my own testing. Now, we don't have any hills followed by a nice long flat piece of road around here. That means that I have no idea how to do a roll out test. You'd need a 300 metre stretch of road for that. We do have small tunnels. My idea was to roll down and measure how many seconds it takes to cover a certain distance. I used tar lines in the road surface as a mark. Problem is that my tests weren't any longer than 25 or so seconds. But the results did say something. Especially because I tested on smooth and rough asphalt.

First tyre tested was the Durano, at the pressure I use them on, not the highest possible (9.5 bar). There's not much weight on Jenease's wheels and I prefer to have grip. And the higher the pressure, the less grip you have.

Second tyre was a set of rubbed in Marathon plus. They came of David H.'s Mango and he was curious how they'd do in a test. I'd never use such heavy and difficult to mount tyres. But since he is a fellow velonaut, I included them in the test. I used the pressure he rides them on, 6 bar.

Third tyre was my desired Kojak, at 6.5 bar.

The table below explains most of the results. Kojaks will, according to my test, make Jenease roll 0,7% slower on smooth asphalt. During the tests I didn't go much faster than 13kph or so. The total weight of Jenease and I was about 91kg.

Interesting to see is that on rough roads, the racy Durano increases it's lead over the other two tyres. In the end, I did stick with the Kojaks. Simply because they ride better. I did 90km on them last Sunday, and they do indeed feel a little bit slower.

Was this a very good test? No. It needed longer rolling. That would make the times less of an error factor. But the result, especially the difference the road surface makes, is interesting.

5 Aug 2010

Jagwire for Jenease

I'd read about this upgrade on Wim Schermer's blog. Than he wrote an article in the 'Ligfiets&' together with Wilfred Quemo Quest. Today I received my set of cables.

It's like going from plastic to metal brake levers. More stopping power, more 'bite', less flex. Jagwire brake cables, highly recommended for every drum braking velonaut. At a price of  €14,-, shipping within the Netherlands included, this a must have without downsides. I got mine from Velomobiel.nl

A normal brake cable is built up like a curling telephone wire. A shift cable is stiff, but could split open when used as a brake cable. I just was lucky when I used index cable on the brakes of my Alleweder. Jagwire combines the curly wire that doesn't split with the straight cables that don't flex. The result could be that your stopping distance at 35kph goes down from 8 to 7 metres. I don't know what my brakes performed like before the upgrade, but it sure feels a lot better now. From 36-0 costs less than 7 metres, possibly even just over 6. A fast velomobile needs stopping power too.

4 Aug 2010

22km Time trial Nijeveen

Saturday was the fourth time I participated in the time trial of Nijeveen. The recumbents are given a go at the track after the df's had their chance of setting a time. But that's not how the day started. It all begun when David H. and I left hometown Assen in our Mango's.

We didn't leave exactly on time, so we only spend a few minutes at the small meeting behind Nazca Recumbents. I did take time to adjust the cadence sensor. That had become mis-aligned after I'd moved the bottom bracket a bit closer to the seat.

Under a drizzling sky we rode to the event. It would be dry when it was our turn to race. We signed in at the canteen of the cycling club and picked up our starting numbers. There was quite a turn up. Thirty participants, accompanied by a couple of supporters. A mixed grid with ten or so velomobiles, including three Mangos.

I started without feeling warmed up. Probably because I didn't do a warm up. But I was up to temperature after five minutes. I kept a steady pace of 45kph. It took a while to find out why I was two to three kph slower on a long straight. I discovered I had some serious headwind. Main while, the cadence was a good 95-100rpm. Some corners where a bit slippery. That, combined with my little experience at velomobile racing, did affect my average. But not by much.

After the first lap I had to yell at some just finished and 'sleeping' df-ers. They where on the racing line and not paying attention to what was going on behind them. It did hurt my voice, but I got by them without slowing down. Some didn't appreciate me overtaking them on the right. All I can say to them is to 'get of the bloody racing line'.

Apart from this slightly exciting moment, the rest of the 22 kilometre went without any real drama. I was overtaken by three Quests and overtook numerous unfaired riders. You'll see most of that in my video. In the end I'd managed 43.3kph. Which is right in the middle, or just over that, of my expectation of 41-45kph average.

Afterwards there was the usual chit chat and socializing. That's when I made some photos.  David and I rode home the same way we'd gotten there, calm and steady, cruising at 36kph.

At first, it did feel odd to not race the Fuego in this event. But with this weather, and this result, everything turned out fine.  Last year, the conditions where perfect and I achieved an average of 41.3. This year, with the strong wind and the wet track, I was 5 percent faster.



And yes, my camera was mounted too low.

29 Jul 2010

Saturday, a 22 kilometre time trial

It'll be the 4th time that I take part in the time trial of Nijeveen. This small place, about 40 kilometre south-west of Assen, is the hometown  Nazca Recumbents. This time, I'm breaking with the habit of using my Fuego to do the race. I've got a brand new and very fast Mango Sport that should be good far an impressive average. By the way, there's also a chance of having a moist or even wet race!

The time trial is organized by the local df-club. The event ends with the recumbent time trial. We get to do two individual laps on the 11 kilometre track. It's all done on public roads. Intersections are kept clear of traffic when participants approach.

Last year, Ymte set a record by averaging 54.1kph in his Quest velomobile. I won't even get close to that. Actually, I have no idea how fast I'll be. Let's say between 41 and 45kph. The thing is that I don't have much experience with velomobile racing. But this one should be a fun to start with.

I hope I can keep the foam cover on. That's good for the aerodynamics, but the slightly asthmatic engine like a lot of air...

26 Jul 2010

The controls of my Mango Sport, Jenease

My Mango Sport Red Edition is sporty and light wight, but does carry quite some gear. You can spend a lot of hours inside a velomobile, so everything has to be just right.

One of my personal additions is the stainless steel cable that keeps the steering column under a certain angle. That takes work away from my arms so I consume less energy. Energy that's better used to go far and fast. Other people just let the handle bars rest on their 'earo' belly, which I haven't got ;-) That low fat percentage is the same reason there's padding on the seat.

Well then, I'll guide you through all the switches, levers and buttons.

  • On the left is a little red dash light, there's another one on the right side of the cockpit. I find red light to be pleasant to my eyes when it's dark.
  • On top of the dash is the main power switch. With that on, also the mini daytime lights go on.
  • The computer is a Sigma BC1609. My own choice. Has the optional cadence meter installed.
  • Under the Sigma is a switch that turns on all four indicators. Beside it are lights that flash along with the indicators. There's also a buzzer to make sure you don't forget to turn the indicator off again.
  • On the side of the dash is the switch for the IQ-speed head light.
  • Above the Mp3 player are three switches, USB-outlet (special option!), rear fog light and dash lights.

  • The steering column has a bar-end shifter on each side. A friction shifter controls the front dérailleur. 
  • The indexed one on the right controls the 10 speed rear dérailleur. It's all Ultegra stuff.
  • In the middle is the brake lever, with build in parking brake. Its has a sensor to activate the brake light.
  • The little red button allows me to switch between the high and low power option of the Busch und Muller  IQ-speed head light, 50 or 10 lux. Explanation is difficult, just remember that 50 lux is a lot.
  • Next to the light mode switch is the indicator switch.
  • In the middle is the mount for my Garmin Dakota GPS.
There's no electric horn or bell in my Mango.  I've mounted a pump that powers a horn. The same pump can be used for pumping up tyres.

More photos can be found here.
My velomobile was built by Sinner.

21 Jul 2010

My new Mango Sport velomobile

I'd been looking at the Sport for a while. A velomobile that would do what my normal Mango does, but than faster, lighter, prettier, better finished and with more fun to ride. In March I did a test ride. You can read about that here. At some point I decided to get my own Sport, a special one. Yes I know options add weight, but I like a bit of luxury. So I came up with a package David Hembrow called 'Red Edition'. Arjen came up with the writing on the tail, a nice detail.

  • Drum brakes, reliable
  • IQ-speed headlight, bright and efficient
  • Indicator lights, save and practical
  • Brake/tail light combination, great for grouprides
  • twin red interior light, cozy atmosphere
  • 3x10 Ultegra gearing, wide range with small steps

Now one of  interesting things of being part of the big recumbent family is getting the chance to do some work on the assembly of your own 'bent. So I spent several days at 'de ligfietsgarage' building my very own 'best Mango ever'. Carefully figuring out how I wanted things to be. Learning a lot and having a laugh with my temporary colleagues. At the end of the 2nd day, we went back to Assen with 3 Mangoteers. The Sinner velomobile factory is only 30km away from my house. Harry was riding with a camera on his light weight stripped down 26.3kg Sport. He has no build in electronics, but has drum brakes and suspensions on all wheels. A basic, yet true velomobile. The video he made can be seen here.

Back to my Mango. She, here name is Jenease, weighs 29kg when she's ready to race. And racing is where she'll be good at. The ride is so different, in a good way. It's more than just losing 5kg, it's a great combination of fine components. Faster than old Yavixa. The steering is spot on and the gearing is brilliant. I never have the feeling of being in between gears. Inside the finishing is outstanding. The dashboard is pretty and wires are hardly visible. I also had the wiring for my cadence meter installed with the other wiring. That's a bit of extra work, but all worth it. The glass fibre-epoxy body is very well made. Lovely attention to detail. No lose fibres, no rough edges.

I'll first do some more rides with her and than write a more detailed write up about several details. I'll leave you with a link to more photos.

13 Jul 2010

Hair

I'd grown tired of my hair the last weeks. it wasn't in good shape anymore and I didn't like the look of it anymore too. So yesterday evening I decided to have something done with it. This morning I got on my Pioneer (to keep it on-topic) and went to a hairdresser.

I was lucky to see an familiar person working there. A girl who followed the same education as I did back in 2001-2004 or so, retailing. Me and my classmate referred as: 'Double B'. Much later I heard her real name. My idea was to ditch about 3/4 of the length, and she had an idea about the styling. This time I could follow the entire process because I could keep my glasses on. Nice to actually see what was happening with my head.

You know how it goes. A bit of 'chit chat' and 20 minutes or so later the job was done. I like the 2010 version of my head in the mirror. Having a blond beauty in the same mirror also was a welcome addition to my reflection. In the meantime I'd learned a few necessary things about hairstyling, and I left the hairdresser with two small jars of 'Blend'. Great stuff, worked fine today.

More technical things: I bought a 40mm hose clamp to mount a new, own design, chain tensioner in my Mango.

11 Jul 2010

Better photo headrest Fuego

Yesterday's photo didn't show how neat the headrest looks. That's why  I made a new photo.

Other thing, I had a nice ride with the Huneliggers today. Just below 60 kilometre, with 6 participants, 1 newbie and 4 Nazca recumbents. I was riding that Pioneer today and I really liked that when we started riding trough a forest.

Just before I was back home I spotted a flooded parking place, caused by a clogged drain. The inner 10 year old couldn't resist and headed straight for the water, twice. A fun way to get the dust of you 'bent.

10 Jul 2010

Head support on Yivalté

Until not so long ago, I didn't see the point on having a neck or head support on a 'bent. You either used if you where old, or if you have a racer with a very reclined seat. The change began when Thomas told me about how a neck support would make you go faster. You'd be using less energy to stabilize you head, and a slightly reclined head would have fewer air resistance. So I made a minimalistic neck support that sort of worked. I made a better version just before Cycle Vision this year. It contributed to my 4th place in the un-faired category. My average during the six hour race was 38.8kph, much higher than I could have imagined.

It was also just before CV that I changed the seat angle of my Fuego to something around 20 degrees or so. That meant that, even in the medium low touring set-up, I started using my rack pack as a head support. Far from ideal as it's not that stable at all. I couldn't find that perfect comfortable position anymore.

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, was when I decided to mount a proper support on my Fuego. I had the chance to 'practice' mounting such a thing on a customers bike. So, right after working hours, I mounted a nice carbon neck support from Novosport. It works brilliantly, even on the rough roads around the little int. hq. Now I can tilt my head back in total relaxation. That's more comfortable and faster.

I proved the fast thing right after work on my way home. My previous record on this 41.7km commute was 1:12:20, set in my Mango. My new record is 1:09:28, with an average of 36.02kph. A speed that seemed unreachable a few months ago. Training, attitude, seat angle and neck support where the main ingredients. And yes, there was a little tailwind. With 31 degrees C, it wasn't cold either. A cruising speed around 38kph gave a nice cooling airflow.

Another change, made 2 months ago, was a new rear fork for Yivalté. I swapped the standard fork with mounts for disc brake and kickstand for the version you get on a Gaucho highracer. Officially, this isn't possible. But that doesn't matter when you work at a manufacturer ;-) Besides, it was my boss' idea to mount this rear swingarm. It's looks spare and elegant! (Sorry, not available for costumers. It requires quite some 'hacking' to make it fit for a Fuego. Fuego's always have two disc brakes, except mine)

Click here to visit the Novosport website