10 Jun 2012

10th June 2012

10th 52F, 11C, frequent rain and still blowing a gale! An ideal rest day but I still have to shop today. Probably this afternoon now.

Given the forecast I have refitted the mudguards. They add about 3lbs to the trike's weight but offer a level of comfort and security, in the wet, which is not easily ignored. Leaning over on the very first corner, on wet roads, is fraught with the risk of a very wet bum! Staying out for another couple of hours, with soaking wet shorts, is absolutely no fun at all.

 I also cut off the spare tabs on the mudguard stay "bridges." I tended to catch my feet on them while swinging my leg over the trike while getting on or off. Being polished stainless steel these tabs were extremely tough. My tin snips wouldn't even touch them. So I (carefully) used an angle grinder with a very thin, diamond coated, cut-off wheel.

Fitting a trike with rear mudguards stays is much easier using oversized, stainless steel screws and nyloc nuts. A larger drill has to be run through the stay camps to open out the holes. A socket wrench makes light work of tightening the screws from below. The screws have to be fed in from the bottom of the clamps.

An undersized windmill on the drive to a farm. 
Alan, my local mill historian and fellow tricyclist tells me that many farms built these small mills when the corn grinding monopoly was broken. Many of these small mills were lost over time. So this may be the last of its kind on Fyn.

Nyloc nuts offer a very high level of security from vibrating loose. They originally gained popularity from being used on racing cars and motorbikes. Now they are much more readily available than in the past. Stainless steel nylocs are still much more difficult to find than the common, rust-prone, plated steel variety.

This time I laid a short length of inner tube on the axle casings where the Higgins clamps would fit. This helps to protect the paint from damage. It also increases the friction at the clamp as well. Well worth doing IMO. The stays now spring slightly and return to their original position. Without the rubber there was a tendency to rotate around the axle casing. Regardless of how tightly the screws were fastened.

Being a pedant I weighed my travelling tool kit. 3 lbs! Good grief! There must be some redundancy in there somewhere! 11 miles in the afternoon.

This pretty lane has a whole series of thatched cottages, watermills and farms. 
Pictures of some of them have appeared in the last two posts of my blog.

11th 55-65F,13-18C, winds light, overcast, warm. I was soon stripped down to jersey and shorts. It must be the humidity making it feel so warm. My legs are rather tired today. I saw a class of 40-50 children on their bikes riding through a busy village. One teacher leading on the front and another riding at the back of the long thin line.

It would take several years of planning, special insurance, a police escort with air support, road closures, parental signatures, months of intensive cycle training and probably lottery funding to organise so many kids on their bikes in the UK. Here, it is simply routine. Disciplined riding and behaviour with all the skills which come from accumulated years of practice. 24 miles today.

I'm not sure whether this cottage has been abandoned. 
It is only a couple of feet from quite a busy country road.

12th 66-56F, 19-13C, light winds, sunny turning to overcast. An oddly negative day. One of my new tires had gone down overnight and the tube had to be mended.  I can only think the tube picked up some debris from the shed floor as I was fitting the new tyres. Careless of me.

Later, I could smell something foul while riding through some woods. A farmer had driven in his pick-up to a clearing beside the public road to burn some rubbish! God knows what he was burning! It stank!

Yesterday the Coop ripped me off twice on an organic oil, special offer. The sell-by date was only a week away making it unusable! Then they charged me for three bottles when I had only bought two. Never refuse or discard your receipts!

As soon as I had received my refund the manageress put the same old stock back on the shelf! I rode some miles back the way I had come and bought two more dated 2013 from another branch. No stock of the advertised items I wanted in the next two supermarkets. Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers anyone?

It started spitting on the way home. Then tipped down for a couple of minutes just after I came home. 35 miles.

13th 55-60F, 13-16C, windy, sunny periods. Rather chilly to start with and highly variable wind. I explored the lanes down around Snave, Strandby and Jordløse until the shops opened. Almost no traffic but quite hilly. With glimpses of pleasant views out over the sea to Helnæs and South Jylland beyond. 30 miles.

14th 55-60F, 13-16C, windy, overcast. The offending tyre went down to 25psi again overnight. I'm going to have to change tubes and check the inside of the tyre carefully. It is so easy riding with the wind. Until one has to return into it. Unless one can arrange a roundtoit. It looked like rain but only a sprinkle before it went off again. I had to put my thin jacket back on because it was so cold on the way back into the wind. 42 miles.

Pm. I checked the inflated tube in water but there was no sign of a leak! I changed to another tube anyway and will retire the leaky one as a reserve. The GP4000 tyres lift nicely onto the bead as they are inflated over about 45psi. So don't bother fighting with any low spots. Not unless the tyre doesn't lift onto the rim by itself.

Getting a new tyre on is much more difficult than after a few miles. It is just possible with the bare fingers on the Mavic CXP22 rim when new. Though it takes a lot of patience and finger strength. The temptation is to use a tyre lever to end the struggle. Which almost guarantees local pinching of the inner tube. The tube should have enough air to keep its shape. This avoids it escaping over the edge of the rim all too easily. Once the tyre is almost on, one can slide something blunt under the edge of the tyre bead. Which is stretched tight across the braking surface of the rim. Just to ensure the tube is safely out of the way inside the tyre. I used the curve of a plastic coated bungee hook.

Brand new Continental GP4000 700x23C pretty in blue.

I am finding that 85-90psi works well on the trike. I'm not sure there is any point in pushing pressures any higher for normal triking use. If one were racing, or time trialling on smooth surfaces, then the lower rolling resistance from 110psi may be well worthwhile. 100+psi feels very hard indeed on a trike on normal, poorly maintained roads and cycle paths. The tyres feel (almost literally) rock hard at these pressures. At 90psi much less so until I hit some really rough surfaces.

I find the rear tyre on a bike is much more sensitive to inflation pressure than the twin rear tyres on a trike. The latter share the load more or less equally between them. The difference in weight between the two machines is much less than that between a light and heavy rider. I'm still hovering at around 12 stone or 75 kilos in shorts and t-shirt. (not enough beer but far too many biscuits!)

Riding position is obviously important to the balance of loads between front and back tyres. A crouched, racing position will share the load more equally between front and back tyres. A TT machine emphasising the front loading even more so than (say) riding on the hoods on a road racing machine.

An upright, touring position will unload the front tyre considerably and put it all onto the back tyre. (or tyres in the case of a trike) So a wider rear tyre, or tyres, would be much more useful for touring or commuting than riding skinny 23s.

Close up of rear Continental GP4000 after 420 very mixed, triking miles. Showing manufacturer's wear indicators. I think one can already see subtle signs of a flat surface forming in the centre of the tread. The shadowy edges of which are just outboard of the indicator dimples.

Riding on farm tracks or potholed roads will require higher pressures to avoid pinch flats. Though at the cost of greatly reduced comfort. Cobbles are a real test of rider stamina on hard, narrow, racing tyres. Particularly on a trike. Where the rear end rocks viciously from side to side on every bump as well as for and aft.

It helps to stand up on the pedals. Preferably with knees bent. This unloads one's (unsprung) body weight from the much more supportive saddle. It also allows the machine to rock laterally much more freely. Instead of being restrained by the top-heavy rider clamping the saddle to his nether regions. Or between his thighs if he stands up with his knees together.

The saddle is raised well above the rest of the machine so lateral movements are magnified compared with lower down. This is just simple geometry. The saddle acts as a long lever. Sitting like a pudding will hold the machine upright. Despite the trike wanting to rock from side to side. So each rear tyre, in turn, suffers all the loads instead of almost floating over the obstacles in their path. These lateral movements don't exist on a bike. The machine can only rock up and down.

Where the road or cycle path looks rough ahead I usually lift off the saddle and bend my elbows. This allows my legs and arms to provide some compliant suspension for my body weight. There isn't much one can do for the trike itself. It just bucks like a bronco between one's thighs without coming to much harm. (so far) The worst thing to do on the rough stuff is to lock your arms and remain firmly seated. This may easily lead to a pinch puncture as well as rattling your teeth!

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