23 Mar 2015

23rd March 2015 More musings.

Monday 23rd 34-41F, 1-5C, bright, breezy. A thin layer of ice remaining on a few puddles in the shade.

A busier week than normal at 221 miles which included trying to use an uncomfortable saddle. I mused on the strangeness of cycling as I walked my usual circular route up to the woods and back another way.

Cycling speed can be thought of as increased range and/or reduced time required to complete a particular distance. Most cyclists can trash the speed and/or range of a fit walker. A fit cyclist can easily trash the speed and/or range of even a fit runner. Only once have I ever encountered a runner who came remotely close to my average cruising speed. Skinny, sinewy, muscled and incredibly long of stride, it took me over half a mile to catch her from first sighting. This was a very rare occurrence indeed and I have no idea how long she could run at that speed as she was soon lost behind me to bends in the lane.

Recumbent cycles can usually outpace an upright on descents and into the wind. They have a reputation for slower climbing. Though climbing is always rider dependent. Many recumbents are not specifically designed for speed in that they do not attempt to reduce the rider's frontal area to a minimum. These usually offer relaxed comfort where normal saddles hurt the most. Despite an 80+ year history, weight reduction in recumbents has not had quite the same development period as the upright.

I am instinctively terrified of such low machines as that on the right. I regularly imitate 3rd from the right since fitting the aero/tri-bars and can vouch for its effectiveness into a headwind. Or to instantly increase my speed. 2nd from the left could be further improved [aerodynamically] by leaning the rider's head more backwards. This design has the advantage of not leaving the rider's legs hanging down in the self-made headwind. With care in the design the recumbent rider's legs can be largely lost in the torso's frontal area. Though admittedly such a high bottom bracket [and matching high seat] does look very odd from the side.

Unfortunately, only the first from the right would really suit a recumbent trike. Anything taller is just asking to tip over on the first sharp corner. The rider cannot lean inwards on corners as they can so easily on an upright. Raising the rider's legs in line with their torso makes their centre of gravity even further from the road than an upright. The upright rider's thighs are usually where their centre of gravity is located when in the aero position. The same remains true with the raised legs design of a tall recumbent trike!  Only a considerably widened track would offer enough stability for a tall trike. This might still not be enough stability for a really fast and daring rider. Braking in mid turn is very likely to add to overturning forces! A tadpole may help matters here but it lacks the ability to carry large loads between the rear wheels of the delta.

I only mention any of this because it might have been amusing to build a recumbent trike using my Longstaff conversion axle. I built a long wheelbase recumbent bike in my [relative] youth which was amazingly fast on the flat and downhill. Climbing the steep hills of Bath was quite another matter altogether. I almost destroyed the sheet alloy seat while pressing myself backwards to climb my way back home after riding it to work. The seat was pushed back so far that I could no longer reach the pedals!  Silly me! 

I rode a triangle today. First leg straight into the wind. Second leg cruising with it. Third leg fighting a cold, head-crosswind. I'm still wrapped up for winter! The Vetta saddle was fine and did not exaggerate the damage done by the San Marco "Inquisition" on yesterday's 50 mile ride. The odd thing is that I seem to get a deep ache in the thighs when I'm riding any "modern" saddle. This simply does not occur with the Brooks. Which leads me to wonder if a modern saddle is compressing nerves not affected by the kinder Brooks? I can still remember the same deep thigh pain when I rode the Unica Nitor 'Road' as a teenager. Perhaps there's more to Brooks comfort than meets the [er-um-er] eye. 21 miles.

Tuesday 24th 40-43F, 5-6C, overcast, raining, light winds. Light rain forecast all morning. It was cool and misty with only silhouettes beyond a couple of hundred yards/metres. Early fine drizzle petered out by half way to the woods.There was weak sunshine as I rode north but it soon turned overcast again. I cut back across hilly country to reach another village to make it 20 miles by the time I reached home again. I still have the Vetta saddle fitted and it seems to be fine on such short rides.

Keep on trikin'

Wednesday 25th 38-43F, 3-6C, sunny and clear. Expected to gust to 30mph later. I went without a walk so I could leave early on the trike. Headed east into the increasingly cold wind in weak sunshine. Returned with a tailwind but overcast. I was able to cruise at 20-22 on the tri-bars at intervals. Turned off to take the scenic hilly route at half way back to avoid the main road traffic. The Vetta saddle was fine with the best bibs. The thin GripGrab gloves were wet inside and cold. Today's tactic of wearing more, but thinner layers, worked quite well. The forecast suggested it would be much warmer than it was. Due to the lack of storage space in the Carradice Junior saddlebag I dressed to be able to take off easily compressible layers. It proved unnecessary. 70 miles.

Thursday 26th 39F, 4C, grey overcast, breezy, overnight rain drying up. The stench of pig-shit on opening the front door nearly blew my head off!

I was bemused to see a discussion in the Danish news media about the Danish exodus from the land to the city. Tens of thousands of homes wont sell despite repeated price reductions and years of being on the market.

The first commentator to the piece summed it up perfectly: Heavily subsidised, factory farmers waging biological warfare on the remaining, defenceless rural inhabitants. Using weapons grade pig-shit mixed with industrial strength perfume. The nauseating stench can be smelt indoors and out for months on end. The roads are covered in deep mud as vast tankers plough their way up and down the rural roads. Huge, converted shipping containers sit beside rural lanes with huge, roaring diesel engines churning the slurry. Constantly being refilled from dedicated tankers to save a journey back to the vast circular slurry ponds found literally everywhere in the Danish landscape.

When they are not spreading stinking pig-shit they are endlessly spraying their monoculture crops. Or cutting down trees and hedges to make ever larger prairies further devoid of wildlife. To be worked by imported, dirt-cheap labour using massive machinery which often dwarfs the entire road width. So that the tyres are literally running along both verges simultaneously. The usually young, Eastern European drivers control these huge vehicles with one hand as they constantly abuse their hand-held mobile phones in direct contradiction of the law. No doubt their illegally low, slave wages do not allow for a hands-free system.

Meanwhile the farmers run around in immaculate, late model SUVs and holding regular shooting parties of overfed, intensively-reared pheasants. No remaining hedge or copse is complete without a feeder. The bright blue grain drums can be seen everywhere. Meanwhile the doublethink politic-ooze lie constantly about how much the farmers are doing for the environment to earn their tax-payers trillions.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment