July 2022 – upgrade to Bluey

The weather wasn’t too good for the start of July. Sometimes the days were nice – frosty to start then sunny and “warm”. There were a number of days that started frosty and foggy, sun poked out from the grey around midday before hastily hiding again. Then there were the rainy days. Not much fun.

So it was a good time to upgrade the Greenspeed Magnum, better known as Bluey.

For some time the Nuvinci (hub gear) with 14,000 kilometers under it’s big balls (CVT joke) has had issues. First of all it is refusing to change down while stationary. This is one of its selling points especially if you are riding a recumbent. Following a quick stop and you haven’t had time (or you forgot) to change to a lower gear for the subsequent start, it should be possible to change down while stationary. This it no longer does.

Second, after changing up a handful of “gears” there has been a bit of slipping then grabbing. This, coupled with what looked like a suspicious “magic fluid” leak on the shed floor, made me decide to resurrect the idea of swapping the Nuvinci for a Rohloff.

I dug through the accumulated cycling stuff in the shed and found the 20″ rim and spokes purchased some 18 months ago when last I looked at doing this upgrade (and had the right bank balance). Then I contacted Cyclingo in Hobart – a bike shop with with good wheel-building credentials who also happen to be a Rohloff dealer.

They found that Rohloff Australia had in stock one hub with the set-up needed by a touring Greenspeed (no disk, 36 spoke, OEM fitting, 15 tooth sprocket) – but only in Silver. The wait time for a Red or Black version was unknown with current supply-chain issues, so I took the Silver. Shame about the Red one, that would have looked special! But then maybe it would have drawn unwanted attention to the hub.

After Cyclingo took delivery of the hub plus the other necessary bits and pieces, we agreed a time for the work and Sue and I put aside a few days for a trip south.

We were to stay with Richard in Kingston and I knew car trailer storage would be a problem. I thought if I deconstruced the trike sufficiently it would fold and maybe fit in the boot of the hatchback – with rear seats “down”. I hoped it would!

Bluey’s Skeleton – easy access to the rear end

There were plenty of extras on the trike to stop it folding so I took them all off. This included the battery shelf and associated wiring, mudguards (fenders), seat, water bottle (Bidon) holders and other minor stuff. Once down to basic running gear the front wheels came off, we folded the thing and, YES !!, it fitted in the back along with everything else we needed to take. Step One completed.

All in the extended Boot

We then had 3 days in the south, dropped off the trike, caught up with friends, sold my wood turning tools to help finance the hub swap and finally went along to Cyclingo and collected the trike now fitted with the Rohloff hub. It turned out the spokes I supplied were 2mm too short so 36 spokes of the correct length were cut and the wheel built. It looks good. Very good.

While in Kingston I bought a secondhand Burley flat-bed trailer which was advertised on Gumtree. I have toyed with the idea of using a trailer when touring over the past year or so, when this popped up, I thought “Why Not?”

Now I need a special Burley adaptor to fit it to the trike. It’s on order.

Getting Bluey back in the boot was tricky what with the extra wheel (the Nuvinci wheel was returning home) plus the Burley (two more wheels) plus other odds and ends we seemed to pick up along the way – but we did it.

The first task at home was to put enough componentry back onto Bluey so I could take it for a test ride. This I did the next day with a 4 kilometre ride around the block. Gear shifting is done by a small knob, a similar changer to the CVT knob for the Nuvinci. I wasn’t expecting that – I thought the Rohloff changer was a half handgrip on the handlebar, a system reportedly tough to use on a recumbent. So I was glad to see the knob and find it easy to turn without impact on my arthritis. Initially the gear change was a bit rough – it felt like I was forcing the change at the higher levels and yes, I wasn’t pedalling while changing. After a couple of goes through all 14 gears this ironed itself out and became a change that sweetly notched itself into the next gear up or down – good.

Ride 2 the next day was a 10k ride around Longford. By then I had added all the stuff back on the trike. Gear changing still good, it was time to work out what sort of gears I had, were they as anticipated? Click the knob x 13 up then back down then up again. Then down again for the fun of it! Yep – really good. Probably 2-3 gears lower than the Nuvinci and , maybe 2 higher. Furthermore, the act of riding with the power switched off no longer feels like pushing through sand. A big smile day.

With this hub all the gears I need are to hand – exactly as I planned using Sheldon Brown’s Gear Calculator. 18 to 95 gear inches.

Everything back in place

Ride 3 was out to Bishopsbourne. This is a ride I know well and was hoping to judge the new performance. This was not doable due to high winds that day. Going out was riding into a blast of air striking at 12 to 2pm depending on the direction of the road. Coming back was with an air boost! On the return I had another encounter with two Wedge Tailed Eagles soaring overhead looking down wondering whether or not I was edible.

Ride 4 was also a Bishopsbourne ride but this time with Colin. Colin is having a lot of hip troubles so we went at Colin’s pace (which turned out not to be slow) and this was very comfortable with the Rohloff. I did ride quite a few ks not using power, something not nice to do with the Nuvinci.

Before all the above I did manage a couple of rides with Ernie.

Shadow Ernie late one afternoon

Early in the month I rode a few rides later in the day to avoid the frosts and fogs of early morning (sometimes until lunchtime).

The Click-Stand man in the US asked me for a picture or two of my Bike E standing using the click-stand. He has a gallery to which he wanted to add one. So I sent him these :

Looks can be deceiving. The above pictures look like its a summers day. It wasn’t. Even in the afternoon it was bloody cold. Shouldn’t expect anything else of course as is is mid-winter.

Later in the month a really good day was forecast. -3°C overnight left a very white Longford but the morning showcased a blue sky and no wind. Right in the middle of a slow moving High Pressure system.

Bluey was loaded and I set off for Carrick cycling the long way round via Whitemore.

I carried 3 cameras but took no pictures – I just enjoyed the process of cycling through this delightful day.

A nice thing happened. I was making a coffee at Carrick. Just got the Trangia heating the water and getting the Aeropress ready when a bloke approached. “Excuse me” he said, “but do you make YouTube videos?”. It turned out he had seen me cycle through Carrick, thought there wouldn’t be too many recumbent trike riders in Tassie and came to find me – to tell me how much he enjoyed the videos. That was nice.

The next week I did the above ride again but the opposite way round. I managed to get the cameras out this time. Silly me though. I took footage using the 360° camera but didn’t notice it was still on Hyperlapse, so all shots were very fast and unusable!

That’s it for July.

’til next time …………………………………..

PS : The Banana found by the roadside last month was washed, smartened up and given to Oscar. He immediately destroyed it, pulled out the stuffing in a glorious pretence of gutting a small animal.

PPS : Already completed a quarter of the “Run In” distance for the Rohloff. I had better get the oil change kit on order soon.

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. It is good!

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