It has been all local cycling around the Norfolk Plains since our tour. That’s OK, I have now achieved 1,000 kilometres in 2021.
That means, as we move into Autumn, I am on target for the annual goal of 5,000 kilometres. All good so far and I but I need to arrive at the necessary 1,25o k by the end of this month.
Now, I haven’t taken many pictures since returning from Beauty Point so this post will be illustrated by images from my rail trail cycle of 2017.
Back to 2021 and another e-bike experiment.
In May I will be leading the NW Cycling Group on two rides in the Deloraine area. This means I need to ride a bit faster in order to actually lead! I generally ride using the power economically – looking to go further not faster. Unfortunately these further and faster are not compatible in the e-bike world. You can either go slower and further or faster but for a shorter distance. Like many things, it’s all a compromise.
In order to go faster I have removed the 46 tooth front chainring and installed the more manly 52 tooth job. Next I have to get used to using higher power levels and riding in a more aggressive manner. For a long time I have ridden using levels 2-3 along the flats and level 4 (of 9) to climb hills. Now I have begun using level 4 for the normal cruising while boosting to 5 and 6 to get up hills. That’s brought up my average speed for the Bishopsbourne run from 12-14 kph to 18-19 kph. The ability to easily cruise in the low 20s and pedal up to 30 kph for short periods should help me ride with the group.
The Bafang motor likes to spin when climbing or it can overheat (so I understand from the ‘net). Using the higher power levels up the hills does enable me to keep the cadence up with the higher bottom gear the 52 tooth creates. It certainly chews through the battery though! The 30k ride to Bishopsbourne taken in this manner means I arrive home with enough power to have continued for another 10k I would say. 40k out of a battery that goes for 100k when ridden economically. That’s quite a difference. Fortunately I have 2 batteries!
One last point.
Ken of Huonville recently told me he has been riding using higher power levels and found it made his legs tired. This is not what he was expecting. From my recent rides I can confirm this does seem to happen. The fact is your riding style changes. You are no longer cruising gently along watching the passing scenery and bird life while thinking pleasant thoughts. Instead you are “speeding” along, focussing on the road surface in order to avoid obstacles while putting much more effort into hill climbing. It seems the brain doesn’t want you to slow down once you have got a decent pace up! It’s odd. Instead of gently rolling up inclines of 3-4%, I am finding the bike stays in top gear, the power level goes up and the legs pedal harder. All without me controlling it!
I am looking forward to end May when I can put the small chainring back on!!
2021 – The Canopy
As we move into Autumn the winds have begun to blow again and I can say that the canopy definitely drags in the wind. After a ride when I could feel every head-on gust slow the trike down, the next day there was a repeat wind coming from the same quarter. So I removed the canopy and did the previous day’s ride again. This time the drag had gone. I could feel some impact from the wind but not the sudden drag when a gust blew through. It’s really what you would expect.
As the UV levels are falling, I will leave the top off for now. It was a good experiment, the canopy did provide a level of shade and (once I had tied it down tightly enough) it didn’t mis-behave in the winds. (Apart from being a drag) For the concept to work better a wider top would be nice, as would some sort of drop down sides that could be flipped down when side-on sun was present. The Big Leaf canopy from the States does just that but that would be a significant investment. We shall see.
One really big advantage of wearing a canopy is that the big orange top makes the trike so much more visible on the road. I suspect drivers spot it and think “what the hell is that!!!”.
Ah yes. A trip to remember. Colin and I planned to ride the trail in March 2020 but covid came along with all it’s lockdowns, sickness and death. I am beginning to think “March 2022?”.
That’s all for now. The next episode should include some riding in the Huon Valley and/or Hobart as we are heading down there next week.