Toscana Trials

Recumbents and all feet forward machines

Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:47 am

Don't think I'll be riding down today Dave 8)

More pictures. This time in my driveway.

Image

Image

Image

Note the computer down at the base of the steering head? I can juuusssttt see it down there. Up on the bars, it's not only too close to my face to read comfortably, but it's twice the minimum distance from the speed sensor ("hey Mummy, why does that man on the silly bike keep staring at his crutch?")

Yes, I know the front wheel is in back to front, I've addressed that.

Three photos, three different colours, in fact, the colour varies within some of the photos :?

That drink bottle will probably migrate down to the left hand seat stay - no easier to get to but I have a bag that goes over the top of the seat :wink:

I was dubious about the side-stand (this is Oz, we don't have no stinkin' 'kick stands') at first, but with a bike this length and weirdness, it's making a lot of sense at the moment.

Richard
Last edited by europa on Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:09 pm

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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:09 pm

First Ride

The sky cleared ... well, bits of it did.
The road dried ... most of it.

So I pulled on some shorts, strapped on my HRM, took two brave pills and headed out.

Crowds lined the street.
Small children wept with terror.
Beautiful women offered me their favours if I'd resist the urge to threaten my life this way.

Gee, those pills are strong 8)

Graeme, being the good bloke he is, offered some advice on getting started in this thread. Being sensible (and nervous), I read them carefully and put them into practice.

My street is a short cul de sac, but rather than a hammer head at the end, there is a cross street that is about 100m long and has a rather nice slope to it. So I pushed her up to that steet.

Turned the bike around at the top.

Aimed it down the hill and tried to push off.

:shock:

How do you balance these rotten things?

So, on the basis of rolling down the hill, pushing back up the hill, deep breath and do it again, I was soon able to coast with my feet off the ground (had to, I was wearing out my cleats :roll: )

The first km passed with me just coasting, feet in various positions off the ground.

How do you balance and steer these rotten things?

Graeme reckons you have to 'relax'. Pah. Actually, I soon found out that you can't completely relax your torso until you've got a foot on a pedal.

Foot on a pedal? I kept looking at them thinking 'they're a long way up'. I was wrong, they're FURTHER UP than they look, talk about reaching for the stars.

After about the first km, I felt confident enough to start reaching for them pedals ... well, one of them. Having one foot on a pedal (leg straight) certainly made it easier. For starters, I could do that mythical 'relax' thing and that immediately smoothed out the ride. There were still instances of 'you can steer or balance, not both' :shock:

A couple of runs like that and I started lifting the other foot - man is that pedal close to you when it's fully back, you really do need to turn the cranks with the other foot before trying to fit the 'close' foot onto its pedal.

Eventually though, I was able to get both feet on a pedal while rolling.

At which point, the dark cloud that had rolled over demonstrated it was indeed a rain cloud, so I made a dash for home.

In the short run to home, I had both feet on the pedals, actually pedalled the thing (need to put it in a higher gear), negotiated a 90 degree bend in the road ... sort of ... almost - hey, a series of straights joined by panic stricken swerves counts!

Made it home and ran up the driveway as the rain began to tumble down.

Sheesh. I'm not a bent rider yet but at least the only things that were bent were supposed to be.

First ride: 1.7km
Average HR: 110 with a 130 max (yes, I was nervous, dem little fluttery thingies were working in the tummy).

The rain shower was short, but I'll give things a rest for a bit before heading out again - dry roads, showers passed, all that sort of guff.

Hey, this could be fun.

Richard
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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:28 pm

europa wrote:And if you want to buy a bent, give Craig at Just Bents a bell :D

Richard


You trying to get some of us divorced? :shock:

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Postby s-s-a » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:32 pm

Coooooooool! I was reading your ride report sitting on the edge of my seat hoping against hope that you'd got back home without putting that awful sickening first scratch in the new duco...

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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:36 pm

Looking at those chainrings, I can see a few Ipeds getting sawn in half :twisted: Looks about waist height to me.

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Postby Dave A » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:40 pm

Europa wrote:Don't think I'll be riding down today Dave

Dont blame ya, the weathers been terrible the last couple of days.
The father in-law must have bought the rain with him from Belgium !
He's keen for lots of rides on the black Repco but so far we've only managed the one 16km ride to the pub and back.

Keep practicing that bent, sounds like quite an experience :shock:
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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:43 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Looking at those chainrings, I can see a few Ipeds getting sawn in half :twisted: Looks about waist height to me.

Shaun


Actually, they're about a hand's breadth below waist height :shock:
(I just checked)

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Postby s-s-a » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:46 pm

Re attaching a towing system for your daughter - yes I too would be loath to put anything on that "seatpost". Not necessarily because of its size etc but because that whole seatstay arrangement is a bolt-on not welded into the frame. If there was a contiguous rear triangle then I would be more confident. I might shoot a pic off to my recumbent builder mate and see what he thinks.

Are there any kiddy towing attachments that make use of the rear axle (as per Bob trailers)?

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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:48 pm

europa wrote:Actually, they're about a hand's breadth below waist height :shock:
(I just checked)

Richard


That'll make 'em squeak :twisted:

BTW, stand back a bit when you pop back and forth for a perve, drool will rust the frame :wink:

Oh yeah... how do you adjust for leg length?

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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:24 pm

s-s-a wrote:Re attaching a towing system for your daughter - yes I too would be loath to put anything on that "seatpost". Not necessarily because of its size etc but because that whole seatstay arrangement is a bolt-on not welded into the frame. If there was a contiguous rear triangle then I would be more confident. I might shoot a pic off to my recumbent builder mate and see what he thinks.

Are there any kiddy towing attachments that make use of the rear axle (as per Bob trailers)?

Steph


Thanks Steph.

I tend to agree with you. Apart from all the clutter, it's not the strongest.

There is a recumbent tag-along that bolts to the axle and looks really schmick. I can just imagine the price though :shock:

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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:25 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Oh yeah... how do you adjust for leg length?

Shaun


The boom, about half way between the steering head and the cranks, is in too pieces - the front bit slides into the main frame. Clamped by two bolts. Rather simple really.

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Police Advisory Announcement

Postby Kalgrm » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:27 pm

Police have issued the following advice to community members in the Adelaide suburbs:

Please stay indoors until further notice. A drug-crazed, middle-aged gentleman has been seen riding a buzz-saw in your neighbourhood. Residents are warned not to approach this person: he is considered to be highly agitated, colour blind and dangerously unstable.

Intelligence gathered suggests he has consumed the notorious party drug "Brave Pills". Symptoms of use include delusions of mechanical aptitude, hallucinations in which the user thinks he's a "bent rider" and low-level flying. Users can be found coasting down hills feet first with a ridiculous combination of a wide grin and a grimace of terror on their faces.

This particular suspect is also known to authorities as "Europa". His past crimes include "fixing" a bike and riding bikes known to be wrongly sized.

If you see this person, do not approach him. He is likely to make you squeak. Contact your nearest scrap metal merchant and ask for an urgent collection to be made.

Please help us rid the community of this dangerous terrorist. A control order is being sought.

:twisted:
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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:39 pm

Just knocked up another 2.5km.

I started by doing a couple of coasts down the hill, feet on pedals. Then graduated by starting off with one foot on the pedal and pushing off ... and stopping 2m later because the bike veered strongly left :shock:

Finally got the hang of starting and riding, just down the slope and pushing back up to the top.

Then I got game. Started at the top of the cul de sac, turned right into my street, rode down the straight then around the bend (rememeber the film clip of the road train? That bend) and down to the bottom of my street. The slope's fairly reasonable there, so I pushed back to the top and did it again.

Then tried a hill start ... and came the closest I have to falling off.
That was fun ... the attempting to fall off bit, so I kept experimenting with that for the rest of the session. I can't be much of a rider though because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fall off.

I even had a shoe clip in accidentally a couple of times, and got it out again when needed, but stopping is still very much a panicked grab of the brakes and both feet down quick smart. Not very elegant, hardly efficient but good entertainment for that big, black, fluffy cat who watched the whole session from under bush with increasingly round eyes.

Spent the rest of the session riding up and down the road. Changing gears. Discovering I've got the bottom limit on the rear dr adjusted wrong. Realising I don't have a clue which direction to turn the twist shifters. Alternating between riding in a dead straight line (because I can't steer) or weaving all over the road (because I can't steer).

Still can't pluck up the courage to turn around in the cul-de-sac turnaround so it's up and back. I need to find a large, flat area (can't use the the traditional Kmart anymore because it's littered with cars :shock: ). I reckon I'll refit the roof rack (can't carry this on tow bar rack) and drive down to the driver education centre.

Max speed was even slower than last time :D, probably because I was riding it this time rather than just letting it coast.

Cadence? Vot is this cadence thing? Max cadence of about 70 and that was frightening enough.

I called it quits after 20 minutes - I was starting to feel a tad funny. Even now, I keep wanting to fall out of the chair - my balance has gone a bit wonky, so I'll give it all a good rest.

I did ride back to home and turned into my driveway ... before doing the panicked grab for brakes and both feet slammed to the ground bit (I need to practice my stopping).

Seriously, this recumbent game is learning to ride all over again, it's so completely different to anything I've done before. Strangely enough, the closest thing it feels to is riding a motorbike, but maybe that's because I've ridden Harleys and other lean back type motorbikes.

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Postby Mulger bill » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:09 pm

europa wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:Oh yeah... how do you adjust for leg length?

Shaun


The boom, about half way between the steering head and the cranks, is in too pieces - the front bit slides into the main frame. Clamped by two bolts. Rather simple really.

Richard


Thanks Richard, I couldn't see it even after a relook at the pics, must be bloody well engineered.

Kalgrm wrote:Police have issued the following advice to community members in the Adelaide suburbs:
BIG SNIP
A control order is being sought.


BWAHAHAHAHAAAgasp splutter HAHAHAAAA :lol:

GOLD

I've got the Justbents site open now, that black lowracer looks nice, don't you think dear?...*SLAP* OW!

Shaun
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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:52 pm

Hmmph. Police reports. Dangerous. Drug crazed. Sheesh, here I am behaving like the unbalanced psychotic I am and people get all rude about it 8)

Silly bastard. :D

8)

Well, just go back from yet ANOTHER ride.

Loaded her onto the roof racks and took her down to the Driver Training Centre at Oaklands Park. There are two motorcycle training ranges there, plus a series of 'streets' used to teach car drivers how to bump into each other. It's not that large but it's fun and has a small hill.

Practiced stopping and starting, figure eights, tight turns.
Sometimes you could even tell what I was trying to do :shock:

Man I need to practice my starting.

Stopping though can usually be accomplished with a minimum of terror and without the aid of something large to bump into - I keep pedalling and ride the brake to the stop, the combination of power and braking helping to keep the thing under control.

Taking off is an issue, especially in the very, very strong side winds I had to deal with. There's very little trail on this bike (lookit them forks), the steering is more like using a boat tiller than anything else and once she starts to veer, fear takes over and you go wide. I am NOT riding in traffic for awhile.

I reckon I'll take the clipless pedals off for a bit. I'm using the M324 with the non-clip side and trying where possible, to ride that side. For what I'm doing, I'm not having any problems not being clipped in and it's just something else to worry about, especially with the number of times it's 'get the foot down NOW'. So, platform pedals for the next trip or two, just until I start to feel in control of the brute, then the clipless go back on.

This trip, I was able to ride large figure eights, managed a rather tight U turn. It was interesting watching me fall back on my m/c tuition days - doing the same exercises we used to teach the learners, using the same basic techniques (look to where you want to go, slow look lean and roll ie, apply power, this time with the pedals rather than rolling on the throttle). I even started to get the hang of that daft gear change though I still reckon it's arse about.

First fall :oops: Taking off with too little available movement on the pedal - basically a roll forward and stall. Bang. Down on one rump - I can see how people break hips on these things. No marks on the bike, sore back for me.

Did you know those chain rings do a GREAT job of gouging paintwork? You ought to see the scar on the door of the Falcon :oops:

Had me first run in with a driver too (gotta cram in them experiences).
Driving instructor - that's right, from a professional driving school. I was doing me 8s and stops and starts on one of the m/c ranges. This clown brings his student onto my range and starts to drive around on it - the OTHER RANGE WAS FREE at the time. It wasn't free a few minutes later because I moved over to it. dear friend. If that's the attitude that's being taught to our learner drivers, it's no wonder it's not safe to ride on the roads. I didn't note the school's name at first because I didn't realise the fool was taking over the range. Once I'd realised he had, I was well settled on the other range and he shot through before I finished what I was doing - just goes to show who has the greater interest in improving their skills. [/rant]

Climbing the 'hill' was fun - somehow, I don't feel up to doing the Expressway just yet. Going down the hill was NOT fun as I developed quite a swooping S curve. I'm a long way from really being in control of this thing. I hit a massive 27km/hr :shock: - oh the speed, the speed.

Another half hour under the wheels. Another 5km to the list. Back again to do it tomorrow :D

Richard 8)
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Postby Deanj » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:02 pm

All good reading! :D Do you get any noise from the tube that the chain runs through?
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Postby europa » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:15 pm

needsapush wrote:All good reading! :D Do you get any noise from the tube that the chain runs through?


There is noise, but it's not noticeable, whereas the freehub is as noisy as a Campy unit (it's not Campy) and is annoying at best. I guess I'll learn not to hear it, but I do love silent running.

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Postby europa » Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:46 pm

Another 11km, again around the Driver Training Centre. Figure 8's (some tight enough to give problems with heel strike). Starting and stopping ... and I can do it a straight line most of the time. Weaving - the m/c training ranges have cat's eyes every 2m for weaving drills. Learning to weave was hard enough, but judging it so I didn't run the back wheel over the lump was fun. You tend to think of the front of the bike as where your feet are, which is true, but the front wheel is well behind that and it messes with your perceptions. Hill climbing - they've got a couple of hills in the centre so I took the opportunity for some practice there. Max speed of 27 with an impressive high speed weave, in fact I can't go over about 20 without that weave setting in.

Much to learn.

Man it felt funny sitting in the car to drive home after sitting for an hour with my feet above my belly button.

But it's all coming together. I'm probably confident enough to go out on the streets ... but probably not smooth enough to do so 8)

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Postby sogood » Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:57 pm

europa wrote:Three photos, three different colours, in fact, the colour varies within some of the photos :?

Oh I get it. It's PINK! Tuco revenge time... :D
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Postby Deanj » Sun Dec 23, 2007 4:52 pm

Sounds like you've come on heaps since yesterday, its all coming together :D
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Postby Kalgrm » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:14 pm

europa wrote: I can't go over about 20 without that weave setting in.

{snip}

But it's all coming together. I'm probably confident enough to go out on the streets ... but probably not smooth enough to do so 8)

Richard

I'm glad to hear you're getting the confidence up. It won't be long until you get out on the roads for a longer ride, and that's how to get that confidence (Catch 22). I didn't have the luxury of a training ground anywhere nearby so my first trips were all on the road. :shock: Pucker factor ......

The good thing about riding on the road (wobbly or not) is that drivers give you a LOT of room when you're on a 'bent. So as soon as you feel up to it, ride down to your bike path, take it for a long spin and then ride home again.

That 20km/h weave is most likely due to being too tense in your upper body.

Cheers,
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Postby europa » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:30 pm

Kalgrm wrote:That 20km/h weave is most likely due to being too tense in your upper body.


That's what I'm thinking though trying to relax didn't help any. Mind you, it's not easy to relax cresting a hill and knowing that the rotten machine is going to try to buck you off as you descend (okay, it's not that bad, but it's a lane width weave on a very rough surface - a death grip on the bars might make it worse but it's not an irrational response).

I'm guessing you went faster than that on your test ride (it's not as though it's astronomical speeds). It does it on the flat too - I tried. There's stuff all trail on this bikes so it's going to be responsive to anything the rider does. Man she's going to be a blast when I finally learn to ride her.

I'm putting it down to one of those things you have to expect if you learn on a high racer as opposed to a LWB cruiser. If it doesn't improve, I'll string line it, but I'm betting it's just various parts of the body tensing and throwing what is a very responsive bike off a bit.

It all felt a lot smoother today though :D

I had standard platform pedals on today, because I'd found myself worrying about the clips on previous rides, even though I'd been using pedals with clips on one side and platforms on the other. That worked for the first 5km. By then I was getting confident and probably relaxing the legs a bit because I started to notice my feet 'floating' on the pedals. The clips go back on from now on.

I reckon the tip for beginners is to use platform pedals (as you suggested) but platforms on BOTH sides, not the single sided jobs I had, changing to clips as soon as you feel the need (like I do now).

Interestingly, I started to notice that tingling in the fingers today. Again, tension will play a part, but we may find the bent isn't the solution. Whether it does or not, I'll be off to the physio in the new year some time - the bloke doing my lad's shoulder had a quick squizz at me and seemed to think he could help.

The name? This will haunt you forever Graeme. She won't be the begging hampster, but she will be the Flying Hampster :D

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Postby Kalgrm » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:54 pm

I suppose it's better than Dick's bent 'bent. Good thing I didn't suggest that, eh? ;)

If I recall correctly, I was very unstable when I first rode my bike. The damn thing didn't want to track in a straight line. It must have been me, because I can't remember when it stopped wandering of its own accord. I also don't remember a moment where I said to myself "Aha! So that's what you do!". It just worked itself out, but it must have been soon after I developed the confidence to simply relax.

I would suggest finding a grip position which lets you hold the grips without using your full-strength grip. For me, it's resting my palm on top of the grip with my index finger running along the top of the grip, much as you use a computer mouse. With yours, maybe try hooking your fingers over the grips and resting your thumbs on the same side of the grips as your palm is (ie no opposing thumbs).

A long ride on a bike path (say 20km) would help you get accustomed to the handling. Every hour in the seat gains you familiarity, and a bike path lets you get along without needing to stop, start, watch for traffic, etc. So you get to know how your movements affect the handling. Just wait till you start dreaming that you're cruising along in your bed ..... :twisted:

Regarding the minimal trail: in addition to that "feature", you've also got more weight on the front wheel AND your centre of gravity is lower (meaning the steering corrections bite harder and you lean over more quickly when you do make a steering correction compared to an upright bike.)

The tingling is a worry. It could be related to the bend in the elbow and it just feels the same as the other problem. Probably not though. :(

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby europa » Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:09 pm

As you say, whatever the problem, time in the saddle will do more to cure it than anything else.

The bars are very close to me and, of course, altering the angle at which they sit just pushes them higher - methinks a shorter steering tube is in my future, but we'll worry about that later. The beauty of the Toscana is that it also comes as an USS model so going that route may be a worthy option one day (one looooonnnnnggggg day in the future).

I'd like to take a long run tomorrow, trouble is, where. I have to do some food shopping and pick up the lad tomorrow which restricts movements a bit. My favourite ride in these situations is the Torrens Linear Park, but that's up hill and down dale and twisty and populated by these funny bipedal carbon based life forums and their four legged masters. Leaving from home has me tackling roundabouts and some narrow roads not to mention hills etc. The obvious choice is the McLaren Vale to Willunga run - straightish, a bit up and down, very rough in places but not too bad ... and it's half an hour in the opposite direction to where I have to go to get the lad.

Arrggh, I'll think of something ... then sleep in tomorrow and won't have time after I've done the shoppig.

Then I've got my daughter for three weeks **howl**
I love the little miss but having her around basically restricts me to the Sow's Ear :(

Still, it's home now :D

Richard
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Postby X-wing » Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:39 pm

Hi Richard,
I like the name - glad you didn't go for 'Tosca' though... she had a very unhappy ending, jumped off the castle wall... not a good omen!

cheers,
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