Bike E – “Reno”

On Sunday we had an awful day weatherwise.  Gales, driving rain and very cool.  No cycling.

Monday saw the north of the state getting better and the south getting the gales.  156kph recorded on Mt Wellington overlooking Hobart and many lower areas had wind up in the low 100 kph (Lucky Tempo!).  We had wind still though and initially I wasn’t going out!  Instead I took the front wheel out of the Bike E and checked the bearings.  Not good.  There was some grease in there but it was a rusty colour!  I whacked some more in and bolted things back together.  Then I replaced the front and rear brake blocks that were just about worn out.  A thin sliver of rubber left on each.  The Launceston “Cycology” bike shop had replacement shoes – I was surprised.  The brakes didn’t work well as in one arm of each not returning properly.  Onto the internet and found I was working specifically on “side-pull linear brakes”.  Read about plastic spring holders, springs and spring tension and didn’t understand a thing.  Took the brake arms off, looked inside and all became clear.  Cleaned and re-tensioned and things worked.  Even the little adjustment screws actually did something.

The front wheel still didn’t seem good and complains (grumbles) a bit but I wanted to try the mods out so I set off to cycle the 15 k loop along Bishopsbourne Road and Wilmore’s Lane.

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Cycling into the wind was slow going but the low gears and legs spinning like crazy had us along Bishopsbourne and into Wilmore’s surprisingly without too much effort.  The real test turned out to be descending.  For the descents the wind was coming from behind and I just let the bike roll.  It was bad.  Every bump seemed to throw the steering out and corrections turned into overcorrections and the bike did not feel so good.  I braked, slowed down and regained control over the bike.  Two more hills to descend and each had to be tackled slowly.  Any attempt to speed up resulted in a strange wobbling and lack of tracking.  Not quite as bad as downhill, one-handed, on a Brompton but getting there.

Later in the day I found a group on Facebook – the Bike E Riders Group.  The members are very active, very proud of their Bike Es and the work they have done to keep them running. One member was key in the company that made the bikes.  Seeking advice and logging what I thought was wrong I explained the downhill problem and over the next few hours received a lot of advice how to fix.

Deciding that the crappy wheel must be part of the problem, I took it in to Cycology yesterday but they cannot mend it.  A new wheel is now on order.  I had found the cup and cones are chipped and worn as are the bearings – and there was a bearing missing on one side.  Cycology found a “spare” in an old box out the back and I patched up the wheel once more so I can use it until the new on arrives.  The old wheel remains noisy and feels lumpy so, I think, light use only.

Mr Atwood, the Bike E (BE) Guru, suggested making sure the air suspension was set correctly for my weight and height.  How to do this?  Where is a chart?  K from Hobart (the BE Owner) had a copy of the original manual and sent me a PDF and there was the calculation.  I found the air shock was currently about 30psi under for me so pumped it up a bit to 130psi.  Immediately things feel better.  Now to get the new wheel and then I will try descending hills again.

Once it has brakes, handles OK and generally functions properly we will take the bike back to Huonville for K to ride.

Recumbent stories and CLC Ride #6

“The Groom of the Stool” was a male servant in the household of an English monarch who, among other duties, “preside[d] over the office of royal excretion,”.

I have been asked to look after the Bike E and so in a similar style have adopted a title :  : :  “The Custodian of the Recumbent“.

BIKE E 001

As reported previously, K of Huonville brought the Bike E to Longford as part of his recent caravan trip north in the company of the delightful D.  While K & D were staying in the neighbourhood, K took the Bike E out for a ride around the quiet, flat Longford streets but found the task hard going.  That evening I was offered the Custodianship, provided the recumbent stays in my shed at Longford.  I rather think Mrs K didn’t want it cluttering up the place in Huonville any longer!

Brief Bike E History.  The bike is an American 2-wheel recumbent which is said to be one of the easiest ‘bents to ride.  It is not radically low and the rider sits at a reasonable height for visibility.  It was built for comfort and not speed.  They were last made in 2002 for in that year the company went bust so this one is approx 16-18 years old.

I spent an hour or two adjusting the gears.  Initially the hub gear was having difficulty engaging more than gear 2 but after some work with the control cable and adjusters it now works well in gears 1, 2 and 3.  The 7 speed derailleur worked OK so there is now a set of 3 x 7 SRAM gears available.  I also changed the seat position.  I had an idea we were sitting too far away from the pedals and this proved to be the case.  It is much easier to start off and put power onto the pedals when sitting closer.

I met up with K in the local supermarket car park early on the day of their departure and he had another ride.  Although pleasantly surprised at the improvement, K reckoned the bike should remain with me.  For now.

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While most of the riding interest for the week has been with the Bike E, I have also listened to the whinging of the other two bikes complaining about being stuck in the shed and took them out for some spins around the area.  This included a return to Four Springs Lake with two friends who were interested in the ride.  We stopped at the Give Way sign with the weather station mounted on it mentioned in my last post.

Four Springs Lake 10 small

I can now report more.  It looks like there is a wind direction indicator, a wind speed calculator and a unit containing other stuff which we couldn’t properly identify mounted on the post.  Next to that is a box from which runs a cable – probably the battery.  I suspect the things we could not identify were a thermometer, hygrometer and a WiFi link to a nearby house.  After our study period we rode the dirt road to the Lake and I can report the others were not impressed at all by riding on corrugated and then rocky gravel !

And now to CLC Ride #6.

Windy Day 1

Overnight Friday we had an electrical storm with plenty of thunder and lightning plus wind and rain, or so I am told.  Fancy sleeping through a great weather event!  There was going to be little time for a ride today as the weather radar was showing plenty more water heading our way.  The winds had already arrived.

A short ride was called for.  I selected the Brom and set off, heading out to support the Newsagents and the bottle shop.  My first picture of the main street and Newsagent was hopeless as the sun washed out the screen on the phone.  Sun, yes at this point the sun was out.  The winds were north easterly and so it was a battle to the shop.  Once in the main street, the buildings provided some cover from the wind and I cycled along the footpath.  Doing this meant I could cycle slowly against the wind and look like I was a citizen concerned with the well-being of pedestrians – which, of course, I am.

Continuing on the footpaths after buying the Saturday papers, it was still a fight into the wind down to the Village Green and on to the quiet road around it.

Windy Day 2

At the bottom of the green is the row of houses pictured above.  They are the “Spinster Cottages”.  Erected by a philanthropist to house the “Spinsters of the Parish” he also set up a Trust to manage them.  Great efforts are being made to end the Trust and to sell the cottages or knock them down as we don’t have too many Spinsters these days.  On the other hand they do provide much needed low-cost housing.  I think others are eyeing off these prime position sites for non low-cost housing.

On down past the Velodrome and caravan park we come to the boat ramp area.  Here the  lack of hedges and buildings let the wind hit in full force.  It was quite strong.

Windy Day 3

You can’t see it of course but the trees were copping a bashing and Brommie had already been blown off it’s parking wheels at the previous stop.  The sky began to look menacing.

Windy Day 4

It was going to be a race against the rain.  I cycled on a little further and then turned  .. and stopped pedalling .. and was blown up a small rise – accelerating as we went!  Great.  Up the road to climb the short sharp climb over the levee bank and, with wind assist, 4th gear was used up the levee.  Turning right and down to the bottle shop – what’s this?  Too early.  Shut.  But I couldn’t wait as the rain had started.

Cycling back up the main road with the wind behind was a buzz.  I passed the cyclists cafe at full speed (34kph) in 5th gear – but they weren’t fooled, they knew it was the wind enabling this!

Got home as the rain began in earnest – heavy and wet and cold.

Windy Day 5

The evidence for today’s purchase.  The papers were dry as they had been in the front bag – which was soaked.

Total for week :  109 k            Total for year :  1,601 k 

Vivente :  51  k                          Brompton :   23 k                    Bike E : 35 k