Can’t wait

Here’s my new bike, in Glasgow where Ben Cooper of Kinetics has just finished re-assembling it and setting it up after it was repainted in yellow.

Grasshopper Yellow 1

The factory had a long delay on special colours so Ben arranged for the yellow paint locally in Glasgow and did the strip down and rebuild himself and all for the same price. What a star!

It will be in Sheffield on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to some happy days getting my recumbent muscles to work and thinking about setting the bike up for touring 5 days with guitar and luggage.

I’ve really indulged myself with this bike, it has Rohloff gears for never having to worry about which gear you are in (select any gear any time stopped or moving), mechanical disc brakes because a recumbent can get up a very high speed downhill, and a super adjustable seat with breathing foam behind your sweaty back. I didn’t choose hydraulic brakes because they are more trouble to maintain, especially out on a tour, I’ve converted our tandem to mechanical brakes.

I was uncertain at first about the low steering but it looks a lot better than a stick up tiller and when I tried it on Ben’s demo bike it felt fine, a really nice relaxed position, and I was able to control the bike on slow uphills. The lack of conventional handlebars means I have to think a bit about where to mount my navigation aids and lights so I’ve obtained and hunted out various clips and brackets. I guess if I am using a paper map I can strap it to my leg like old time pilots did :o) and I’ve bought a waterproof bum bag for phone, cash etc.

Case top 1024My travel guitar, in its hard case, will fit in a large Ortleib pannier that I have and I’ll fit another large rear pannier for my clothes etc.

One pannier should be fine, on our tandem we have done pretty well with one 20 litre pannier each for B&B tours. You do need some space for tools etc but I have some 28 litre panniers with side pockets that should do the job.

It could be chilly at the end of September. On a recumbent, conventional padded cycle tights are not needed so I have a couple of pairs of stretchy lycra tights sold for rowers, plus I have some super lightweight Montane waterproof overtrousers in case it rains heavily. I still remember my ‘Due North’ trip at Easter many years ago where I had to deal with heavy rain and even a snowstorm in very inadequate clothing. On a recumbent you are more exposed to the weather than on an upright bike.

For navigation I’ll be using my Garmin eTrex GPS unit, which has served me well for several tours, it’s loaded with Open Cycle Map mapping and I use Ride With GPS to create route tracks that can be loaded on to the Garmin. I have a chunky motorcycle bracket for the Garmin that I use on the odd-shaped handlebars of our tandem and it will work well on the frame of the recumbent. I’ll probably fit a conventional wired cycle computer as well just to keep track of average speed and distance.

But this is all just feverish rambling because I can’t actually get on the bike and ride till Wednesday.

2 Responses to “Can’t wait”

  1. Nigel Healy Says:

    Have you tried wearing the Montane minimus pants? Tight in the belly and loose around the ankle. Not really a cyclist’s waterproof pant? I still prefer the OMM Kamleika pants for cycling, the Montane for walking.

    So how you getting a low gear, the simple method of the smaller wheels, big cog, small chainring?

    Enjoy West Yorkshire. If you want a cuppa and sandwich at my mum’s (you’re passing 1 minute from here door) let me know.

    Sent from drought no-waterproofs-required California.

  2. chrisrust Says:

    The Montane are fine for me Nigel, I ordered a big size and the bottoms of the legs have velcro straps that are ideal for cycling. I mainly bought them because I trust Montane to make good technical kit. I’ve asked Ben to set up the lowest reasonable gear he can do, he’s been through his Rohloff sprocket collection, then I’ll probably fit a smaller chainring :o)

    I was wondering if one could make a set of spring loaded stabiliser wheels that could be activated at stops and at very low speeds. Recumbent trikes can go very slowly indeed on hills and it would be nice to get some of that stability. The limit to hill climbing on a recumbent for me isn’t strength but losing stability at 2.5mph. Some sort of over-centre spring mechanism might work, you could de-activate them by leaning hard enough to push the spring over centre but you would need a lever to activate them. Could be a fun project if I ever get my workshop organised.

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