10 Jan 2015

9th January 2015 Never sit when you can recline.

Friday 9th 41F, 5C, overcast, gales with showers. The trees are already rocking. It is supposed to keep this up for 12 hours from 9am-9pm today. Gusting to 50mph all day with continuous rain forecast. A repeat is promised for tomorrow with even higher wind speeds! Not a happy trikey at all. In fact it has cleared up and darkened over again repeatedly all morning. The wind is as variable as the cloud cover, sunshine and inclemency. I may yet get in a short ride to check if I need a shorter stem to reach the aero bars comfortably. Moving the saddle forwards may improve my aero position as well as reduce the reach to the hoods. My seat tube is 76 degrees so is half way to a triathlon machine in itself.

I tried a ride around the block during a moment of brightness madness. The wind was fierce with even nastier gusts! I kept trying to hide under the crossbar but it got in the way!

Four important things I discovered immediately: I had fitted the elbow rests too close together for comfort. I had chosen the middle position of three available. The mirror has to be re-adjusted for each handlebar/aero position. Don't ride on aero bars immediately after consuming any food and drink. <burp>  Bare metal is cold to the touch even through GripGrab Polar gloves. These bars definitely need tape, or preferably sponge in winter, on the grips for insulation. A bit of padding [tubular foam] would make them even more comfortable. The forward, aero extensions are not of very large diameter. Offering no chance to fit bar-end levers.

I returned safely home after a 26mph freewheel down a gentle slope ending in a brief steering shimmy! Back at the workshop it took only seconds to re-position the elbow pads on the outer fixing holes. This felt instantly more comfortable while just sitting on the trike. Though it didn't feel quite so obviously "quick" as having my elbows much closer together. Fortunately I can still hold the tops comfortably outboard of the arm rests without them getting in the way. An important consideration.

I found that I was perfectly comfortable even with my nose depressed between the aero bars. My back was easily able to cope with the very low position without the least strain. All thanks to the firmly padded arm rests. Other owners have complained that the pads become sweaty in warm weather. I suppose they could be improved with a perforating drill or alternative [breathable] pad material. The sponge is rather firm, black and closed cell. It is not unlike compact camping mattress sponge. Even the arm rests themselves could be replaced with alternatives. They are held by a central bolt through a notched spacer.

I seem not to have the individual aero bars perfectly adjusted for height at the very tips. That, or they were each made to different lengths [or bends] by the manufacturers. I shall have to have another fiddle with the clamping bolts. All seems very firm without the least slop or slippage at the clamps. I shan't torque the bolts to manufacturer's specs until I am happy with the fit.

I still need a shop window reflection to get a proper idea of what my back is doing when on the aero bars. Even though it feels very low that doesn't mean by back is flat, nor remotely horizontal. I need to see myself sideways on to get a better idea of how aero I am really getting. I have been fooled too often by my previous riding positions to believe I look even remotely like a "proper" time trialists. Nor a <cough> triathlon athlete. Riding on the drops has always felt as if my bum was higher than my head. It wasn't by a full foot and a half! Nearly 3, wind-buffeted miles, by trike. No swimming stage necessary despite the huge puddles!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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