Week #22 2018. A bit sick but 100k ridden

Well, sort of “friendly-fire sick” – I had a bad reaction to the flu and pneumonia vaccinations which were poked into different sites on the same day.  Vacs. Tuesday lunch time and Tony off the bike until Friday!  Feverish, no sleep, aching .. lots of aching, no desire to do much at all.  Proper Man-Flu syndrome.  I would be awful with whatever to is that Emily has!!

By Friday I was inhabiting the body once more and thinking about the measly 30k ridden so far for the week.  I decided to get out and about on all three machine (in turn, silly) and see which was the most comfortable.  Basically none met the specification re comfort to aching arm and aching hands – so I rode Vivente gently along to Woolmer’s Bridge for a picture followed by a slow Anura ride around Longford (probably the most comfortable of the three bikes).  At the end of the day I realised it was now the 1st of June and the bike/bridge 365cycle monthly challenge for May was over.  Never mind, here are the pictures:

Bridge #3

A little bridge across Back Creek, Longford leading to the “pick your own” berry farm.  Basically the small creek doubles as a drainage “ditch” for the farmland it flows though.  I have seen people fishing off the bridge and understand there are trout in here.  Not sure I would eat any trout caught though as who knows what farming run-off would be involved.

With the winter light contrast is strong and the phone camera has trouble dealing with it.  This can be seen in the following picture.

Bridge #2

Woolmer’s bridge in the process of being replaced.  The old wooden bridge in over to the right and the new structure is being built to this side of it.  Quite a large construction job is going on with driven piles and concrete; the sound of lots of banging, scraping and shouting and diesel engines fills the air.  Down by the river in the car park / boat ramp area are a number of worker facility huts.  If we have a rain event they will sail off downriver nicely but I am sure the project plan has an Appendix that details how to speedily get them on trucks and to higher ground before polluting the Macquarie River.

Saturday and Sunday I tooled around Longford on the Brompton getting shopping, (weekend beer, milk for lattes, newspapers to see what Trump is doing etc) and then packed the Greenspeed into the car (both days) and went for a ride along the cycle trail Perth to Breadalbane.

On both trips I met several cyclists most of whom smiled, said Hello and generally were civil.  One guy must have thought I looked hilarious as both times I met him he roared with laughter.  I am pleased to have brighten up his day but sad he couldn’t even say “Hello”.  Several “oldies” (i.e. retired like me) had electric bikes.  One bloke stopped for a chat and in the conversation let it slip his was a 1,000 watt motor.  The legal limit in Tassie is 250 watts.  Anything over that and the bike has to be registered and you have to have insurance just like a “real” vehicle.  He was not worried – “only cycle on paths like this, Mate.”  Oh, Good.

Along the way on Saturday I stopped for a picture for the June 365cycle challenge.

June Tree #1

The June challenge is to take a picture of your bike by a tree of interest.  I thought I would start with a small but well formed gum tree.  Bill commented, when setting the challenge, that sometimes it is difficult to get the whole tree in.  This was the case here.  I walked back until against the road embankment walking over a damp, newly seeded sticky underfoot area that will become a nice verge by this time next year.  Just couldn’t get far enough back and as a phone camera’s wide angle to zoom is worked by the operator actually moving closer or further away from the subject I didn’t get the top of the tree in.  I can do better – we have the whole of June to go yet.

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Riding the trike is proving interesting.  Now I have fitted the pedals for cleats and am clipping onto the pedals it’s quite an improvement.  With the old “rat-trap” pedals I could not use the toe clips they came with as my shoes would not go far enough forward to be comfortable.  Plastic toe clips are not “bendable” or “openoutable” as the old metal ones from yesteryear were, so I could not make them fit.  I took the toe clips off but then it was impossible to try any sort of way to remove the weight from the none-pushing pedal.  When I tried the pedal moved as I released pressure and either the foot then returned to pedal in the wrong place or the foot fell off the pedal all together.  Neither was good.

With cleats I am now able to work out how to pull back one leg while pushing with the other.  Why bother?  Well, when pedalling uphill looking at the birds, the clouds and enjoying the recumbent lifestyle (i.e. without thinking about the cycling process) speed drops right off.  Yes, it’s possible to drop yet another gear and keep going comfortably but, when you focus and spin the pedals more effectively, the gear change is not necessary and speed goes up 2-3 kph rather than down the same!  I can spin using the pull-push method for a little while at the moment but then the muscles complain.  I haven’t yet completed the 500 – 1,000 miles I am told it takes to get those recumbent muscles built up.

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Other news.  I phoned the Auto-electrician about the caravan only to find he is on holiday this week!  We leave in 4 weeks so I hope he is re-energised by the holiday and gets started on replacing the rear lights soon.

 

Total for week :   114 k            Total for year :  2,313 k                

Vivente :   41 k                     Brompton :    21 k                  Anura : 52 k

Week #21 2018 – My Challenge, well, not so good.

Once more I seem to spend more time working on bikes than riding them.

Monday.  With the weather being cold and wet early on I concentrated on the Anura.  The difficulties with the gear change may be because I pushed the boom out without adding links to the chain.  It may also be because the chain is worn.  To deal with both possibilities, I decided to replace the chain with new and, to do that, I needed to know what chain was on there now.  An initial look showed me there was already a short chain extension added using power links.  I couldn’t get the power links undone with what I had – so took a trip into Launceston for a pair of powerlink pliers.  Using them I easily undid the two links and removed the extension piece only to find the added chain was probably really too narrow – it was for a 9 speed cassette.  Perhaps that was the issue?  I broke a bit off the main chain and looked up the numbers on the chain on the ‘Net.  Crikey – bicycle chain is a complex issue!!  Millions of internet pages devoted to it (where do they all fit!!!?  How many servers hold the information??  OK, let’s ignore the sidetrack).  Eventually I worked out the current chain is a 7mm wide jobbie for an 8 speed Shimano hyperglide freewheel (not cassette).  Probably.

The next day, back to the LBS to see if they had any chain of this type.  They did and I bought 3 (plus 7mm power links) to make sure I had enough.  Also slipped into the bag were a pair of SPD pedals.  By Tuesday afternoon I had linked up and installed the new chain which seems to hang correctly at the derailleur – but not exactly like the Greenspeed doco picture.

By then a box had arrived from Greenspeed containing new tyres and mudguards.  At the LBS I had also purchased 3 new inner tubes so they could be installed.  Once the chain was in place (a simple statement hiding a lot of swearing) I started work on the tyres.  It was about 2°C at the start and the old tyres were hard to get off and the new tyres just didn’t want to be installed – even with the tyre jack.  I put the new tyres in the sun to (hopefully) expand a bit, left them and went to work some more on the chain – adding a few links.  When the day had warmed up I returned to the tyres and got the new units installed.  Just as the light faded.  Tuesday over and no riding so far.

Wheel Jack 2

Wheel Jack 1

The is the “Tyre Jack”.  Thanks to this device I can change tyres and mend punctures!

Wednesday began with a tyre check.  All had remained inflated overnight ..  so far so good.  This morning was disc brake adjustment day so, back to the ‘Net, how do Avid BB5s work?  I adjusted the front brake which had been rubbing, added the new pedals and then took the trike for a ride up Wilmore’s Lane.

Anura Ride 1 small

On Bishopsbourne Road about to turn into Wilmore’s Lane.  The Ortleib pannier fits well on the back.

Uphill the Anura/Tony combo was quite slow but not too much effort was needed to keep the pedals spinning.  Coming back it was also slower down the hills than Vivente and this surprised me with all the hype about trikes being fast downhill.  The very bumpy chip seal felt quite bouncy but there was no back jarring thanks to the seat.  Hey, how about that – there was a ride today!

Wednesday evening was spent getting the Bike E into the back of the car c/w all the clobber we need for 2 nights away with Oscar.  A bit of a challenge.

Thursday we set off early for Huonville and by early afternoon the Bike E had been handed over to Ken.

Friday was a short ride around Huonville to check out the Bike E making sure it had survived it’s trip south and then for Ken to ride it while I followed on his Dahon.  He was happy with the way it rides now.  Phew.   No further cycling on Friday as we went to a commemorative event for a friend who passed away last week.

Saturday was also a “no ride day” as we spent it getting back home and visiting friends at Swansea on the way.  A really tasty soup and bread lunch was supplied by Sally – well worth a mention in these pages!

On Sunday I adjusted the Anura gears and added a couple more links in the chain – still trying to get it right.  There has been a noisy crunch when changing down from 5th to 4th and when hopping onto the largest cog at gear 1.

Anura Ride 3 small

The sunny look belies the 6°C – note new tyres (with reflective sides) and mudguards!!

Then I headed out to the Perth / Breadalbane cycle track once more to give it a run.  3 laps had me getting tired and finding how the gears are now working.  There is still an issue with the down change now and again and I have no idea what the cause is at the moment, but it is easily managed with a little care.

I think I have done all I can Anurawise for now.  Next week I should be able to concentrate on getting a few ks in on all bikes and getting the total for the year up a bit more.

Till next time …..

Total for week :   52 k            Total for year :  2,199 k           

Vivente :   0 k                     Brompton :    0 k                    Bike E : 5 k          Anura : 47 k

2018 Week #20. Back to the 100.

Another Sunday job – cleaning the coffee roaster!  Will I have time for a ride?  Well, I did and my challenge to self has picked up with 100+ kilometres cycled this week.

Before serious cycling of the Anura could begin I had to sort out this puncture thing and how to get the tyre back on the rim (see previous post).  On Monday I sat down with the internet and studied a number of YouTube vids of people explaining how to get a difficult tyre on a bicycle wheel.  Not much different to what I was doing (except the first go when I naughtily and destructively used tyre levers to heave the tyre onto the rim) but spending more time going around the tyre working the bead into the centre well of the wheel – not just doing it once.  One guy used toe straps to hold the tyre in place as he gained ground in the battle.  So I tried again with the bead technique and straps and, pop, on it went at some cost of pain to thumbs.  BUT when pumped up the inner tube deflated!  This time the patch I had installed lifted.  On the bright side, no inner tube was pinched this time!!  So I bought a couple more inner tubes and a few more tyre levers of the plastic type (‘cos I had broken one getting the tyre off again!).  Repeated the process ending up with even sorer thumbs and, another pop, tyre on.  Pump up to 40 psi – all OK.  Could hardly believe it.  I can go for a ride.

Continue reading “2018 Week #20. Back to the 100.”

2018 Week #19 – Variable Challenge Results

Challenge 1.  The challenge of 100k a week will need a bit of a push to maintain.  This is the second week in a row the challenge has not been met.  I can blame this and that and weather (which is true) but next week there must be a focus on cycling the 100k or it risks going the same way as New Year Resolutions – into the bin.

At the beginning of the week I took the Bike E for a diagnosis run.  Most things are working OK but there was a ‘clunk’ happening in time with pedalling and it sounded like it is coming from the back of the bike.  So I rode and fiddled with the gears, rode some more and fiddled some more and decided that the gears were all working OK.  I checked the chain for some sort of malwear – no, it was OK.  Maybe the sound was coming from the front and being dispersed by the hollow aluminium frame.  Checked the chainwheel.  Pulled out quite a bit of gunk but still the noise was there.  Gave up and rode on.  Then one more check;  wheeled the bike slowly and moved the pedals through their circuit and – aha – the left pedal was hitting the metal tube that guides the brake cable into the brake arm – ‘Clunk’!   A bit of tape around the tube and the clunk went away.

Click Maker

Challenge 2.  The Challenge within a Challenge was to get to 2,000 kilometers cycled in the year – and by Sunday this wasn’t looking too good either – but the weather was fine, the Bike E was working and off we went for a local loop to get over that hurdle.

Why not a ride on the Greenspeed I hear you ask? Well, that is a reasonable question and a bit of disappointment there.  During the stormy 11th May I had set the boom length to my leg length and made a few other minor alterations ready for a test ride.  On the 12th I started on the first Greenspeed Anura test ride in Longford and 3 kilometers in had a puncture.  Anura was walked back home (by lifting the front and pulling) and after a restorative cup of tea I set to mending the puncture.  Difficulties arose around the tight fitting tyre, a 16″ wheel and older, arthritic hands.  It was hard to get the tyre off and almost impossible to get back on and in the process I scratched the nice black finish on the wheel.  A total piss-off.  Worse, if I can’t mend a puncture then any sort of decent touring on the machine will be in doubt.  The repaired inner tube was finally fitted and pumped up and immediately deflated!  So, I have to return to the Sisyphean task and see what happens next.  I understand the tyres on Old Yella are the original (8-10 years old?) and reckon it’s about time to put a set of Marathons on it.  These will ride slower than the Soarers made for Greenspeed but they just don’t puncture (in my experience).

Punctured Anura Small

I am looking for a silver lining here – being a silver lining sort of bloke.  Yes, there it is – bloody good thing the puncture happened close to home rather than at Black Rocks by Port Phillip Bay when I had to get to the Ferry or miss my ride home.  OK, feeling better now!

So, with a few ks on the Brompton, none on the Vivente, 38 on the Yella and 12 on the Bike E for the week, it was time for a Sunday morning ride to make sure the 2,000 k was hit.  The Bike E was selected and checked.  Tyres OK but the suspension had deflated a bit and had to be pumped back up to 130 psi.  Then a loop around the local countryside added 15k and the 2,000 was reached!

Bike E through gap

Sneaking through the gap onto the quiet Tannery Road thus avoiding the busy main road.

The Bike E performed well and once again coasted down the hills at up to 40kph without the scares of the first ride.  It is now ready to return to Ken.

2,000 k.  Done.  A Kilometre Progress Indicator or KPI success to report at my next major project task review.

Total for week :  80 k            Total for year :  2,025 k  (happy about that!)           

Vivente :  0 k      (!)              Brompton :   14 k                    Bike E : 28 k          Old Yella : 38

That was an interesting day

Thursday May 10.  Arose early and Mrs C drove me to the airport.  Trying Jetstar for the first time I put my carry on bag into the X-ray and it was rejected ‘cos it was full of bicycle tools, locks, pumps etc.  Nothing sharp but it had to go in the hold.  I hadn’t bought any hold space when organising the ticket so a charge was raised – $60.  A good start.

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After taking off through rainclouds the sun appeared and crossing Bass Strait the grey clouds changed to cotton balls.

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That’s where I am going – Melbourne.  Currently sunny but scheduled to have wind, rain, thunderstorms and hail in a bit.

Jetstar is a budget airline so it’s a step ladder off the plane and a walk across the tarmac for us.  Then a hike for ages to get from the (cheaper?) suburbs of the airport into the main building and the baggage collection.  By the time I arrived there I could see my bag about to disappear into the turntable exit but managed to grab it before needing to wait to see if it would reappear.  An express bus into the city and a Miki card for the tram down to Luna Park and all was going well.  Still no rain.

Why was I there?  What has this to do with cycling?  I was buying the Greenspeed Anura Trike seen advertised on Gumtree and mentioned in my last post.

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I met with Georgie at the entrance to Luna Park, tried out the Anura a bit – just to make sure everything worked and then we went to a more secluded spot to do the deal.  It felt a bit like a drug deal ‘cos we were making sure nobody saw the cash changing hands – as Georgie said “This IS St Kilda, remember”.

My yellow and black Ortlieb pannier fitting nicely on a bar on the back seat and complimented the colour scheme.  I had read on the ‘net that it would fit OK and it did.  Luckily. or I would have had to carry the bag of tools some other way.  We parted company and I cycled down to the bayside cycling track and took off towards Black Rock.  There was 5-6 hours to fill in before the ferry started to load.  On the horizon can been seen a white and red shape (just), this is the ferry to Tassie.

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Riding the trike is a different experience.  The turning circle can be very tight so care has to be taken not to lift a rear wheel.  Steering is easy compared to the Bike E as, with the 3 wheels, you don’t have to steer to keep balance.  The brakes felt odd but then either they began working as they should or I got used to them.  The leg length definitely wasn’t right – too short.  I tried to adjust the boom at the front to move the pedals further away but after loosening the boom and the steering arm it just would not move.  Something to be checked at home but today I would just have to pedal gently to save the knees.

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The cycle path was made up of concrete sections.  The 16″ wheels made a bit of a business over each joint.  All OK but a bit bumpy.  The trike has no suspension and relies on a flexing frame and squishy tyres and a suspended seat.  When a road cut across the cycle path the associated gutters and speed humps could be worrying – but I suspect soon they will just be ridden over without too much thought.

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By the time I reached Black Rock I had the gears sort of sorted out.  Although the cranks say they are a Schlumpf Speed Drive, the owner David had changed this to a Mountain Drive 18 months ago.  This was to help him get up hills and I think this is a good change for Tasmanian conditions.  What the combination of 8 derailleur gears and the two speed mountain drive gives is a set of very low gears and a set of mid-range gears and the best way to manage the mountain drive change point I still have to work out.  It’s easy to end up needing to change through the entire range on the derailleur on changing MD.

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I cycled off the path and down to a Kiosk for lunch and a coffee.  The sign (which can’t be read) says something about being careful in the sun – which was funny given the storm clouds and rain and me in full wet weather gear.   OK,  you had to be there.

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Lunch time.  A coffee and an Alabama (something or other) burger.  It was tasty and I was ready for a refuel.  One thing I noticed on the way to the turn around point – recumbents are noticed.  Lots of smiles, hellos, “that looks comfortable” and so on.  The cars hooting may not be so friendly but I will assume they were.

Getting back up the quite steep hill from the Kiosk was another thing.  I didn’t quite get down into bottom gear before hitting the steep bit.  I did cycle up it but at the point where neither foot was actually powering things along I think the wheels actually stopped turning!

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Along the way about a kilometre of the path was officially a “cyclists, walk your bikes” area.  Bugger that – too hard.  I cycled but kept coming across these pinch points.  Most I could sneak through with the trike’s narrow wheelbase but with some I had to lift the back, hope the front wheel kept pointing ahead and carry it through.  Still better than getting on the road.

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On the way back I cycled Middle Pier.  At the end the next squall could be seen heading our way.  The wet weather gear worked a treat but I was glad to come across a toilet block with a tall and wide roof that I could shelter under.  Now – a bonus.  When waiting like that with the trike you have a comfortable seat to sit in and watch the rain.  Doing this with toilet close by was doubly good with all the dripping water !!

From there it was up and onto Station Pier where I arrived just as boarding started at 17.00 hours.  The round trip cycled was 22 miles (‘cos the on board computer is set to miles – which explained my seemingly slow speed being used to working in kilometers).  Boarding was a bit of a busy time so no pictures.  The ferry left a few mins early, the reclining seats were a bit more comfortable than I remembered and we docked and were released into Devonport by 6.30am.

The trike fitted in the back of the X-Trail which was really good as it was raining and I had expected to need to take the seat off and maybe the front wheel.  A wet and windy drive home and the Anura is now in the previously spacious shed – now filled with 4 bikes.  My birthday present to self on my 72nd birthday!!

Yesterday and today there have been storms in Tassie with some part of Hobart flooded.  Ken the Bike E owner in Huonville has his back yard and shed area under water.  Autumn has stopped being an Indian Summer.  There will not be much riding this weekend.  There has not been much riding this week,