Sunday, September 9, 2007

Long Distance Recumbents

This site is dedicated to providing you with a listing of riders who are successfully using their recumbents for long distance rides [randoneering & ultra racing]. Each rider profile is listed alphabetically and will discuss what recumbent they are riding as well as how they have set it up.

The variety of recumbents being used highlights the fact that there is no one "right" solution to long distance riding on these types of bikes. If you are new to recumbents by reading the various profiles you'll see what is working for others and hopefully get some inspiration as to what might be a good solution to your own needs. If you are an experienced recumbent rider it is hoped this site will give you some ideas that may improve your own long distance experience. If you are a long distance bent veteran with randoneering and/or ultra racing experience and wish to contribute to this site your input is welcomed.

PBP 2007 pics from Velovelo.

How to find an entry?

By rider: the entries are alphabetized using the rider's last name.

Search: you can enter any search string into the search box at the top left of the page. It will bring up any entries that match.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

David Cambon - Easy Racers Gold Rush

Hell Week 600 Start

Hell Week organizer Ken Bonner @ Finish of 600 w/ David Cambon

David is still evaluating this bike for rando use, but has a preliminary report here.

In the meantime you might want to read David's article on PBP Recumbents.

Update - here are David's thoughts after some serious miles on his bent:

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Rando experience: 22 years of on and off randonneuring including 2 Paris-Brest-Paris.

Bent Make/Model Current: Easy Racer Gold Rush.

Why did you start riding bents? I tried a Rans Rocket at a bike shop. That bike was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I bought it and I got hooked on ‘bents.

Why did you pick this model? The conventional wisdom would dictate that a laid-back hiracer or midracer or semi-lowracer would be the appropriate bike for randonneuring, due to the comfort of a laid-back seat and the lack of requirement of a fairing to achieve an aero advantage. However, I like a fairing for cold and wet weather and for sun protection in the summer. An Easy Racer is the ideal bike for a fairing.
Other things I like about the Gold Rush:
  • It’s the best climbing ‘bent I know of. The upright hardshell seat, the direct drive-side chainline and the stiff frame all add up to good climbing. Randonneuring in British Columbia is all about climbing.
  • The long wheelbase is very comfortable and makes high-speed descents a confidence-inspiring pleasure, with no scary short-wheelbase issues that some bikes have at 100 km/hr.
  • The upright seating position offers a good view, which is especially important at night when trying to spot potholes and rocks etc.
I have another Easy Racer (a Tour Easy) that I use for commuting and touring. This Gold Rush is a new bike that that I had not done a brevet with so I picked the first big rando event of the season to try the Gold Rush just so I could write this report for Vik’s blog. So I took the Gold Rush to the Vancouver Island 2008 Eau de Hell Week in mid-April.
Hell Week is an excellent way to test a bike for randonneuring. Hell Week is held very early in the season (before adequate training and butt-hardening) and Hell Week is a whole rando series in one week, so it’s a ride that is likely to produce upright seat recumbent butt if anything is going to produce recumbent butt.
Hell Week consists of a 200 km brevet immediately followed by a 300, a 400 and a 600, one day after the other. There’s plenty of tough climbing too (11,500 feet on the 300, with 15% grades and blistering downhills). I also pulled my 90 lb trailer 200 km back and forth to the start of Hell Week (one direction in 25 cm of fresh snow) and I did some bonus miles when I became horribly lost on the 400.
The only time I got recumbent butt was during a cold 60 km relentless push into a strong headwind (and salt spray!) along exposed oceanfront during the 600. The rest of Hell Week I successfully avoided recumbent butt by stretching during the downhills, occasionally lifting my butt off the seat, riding in different positions (eg, lean-forward position) and generally squirming around as much as possible.
At no time did I get recumbent butt severe enough to slow me down. The secret is the minimal padding on the carbon Cobra seat on the Gold Rush. The other secret is that you can lift your butt off the seat by pushing into the seatback.
Don’t even think about using the mesh-back (Koolback) seat for randonneuring. The carbon Cobra hardshell seat is lighter, much faster and more comfortable for marathon cycling (I have used both seats for randonneuring).
The Gold Rush is as fast on a brevet as my normal person’s bike even though it’s heavier and I have more accoutrements on the Gold Rush. The Gold Rush was more comfortable than a normal bike at Hell Week. I don’t know what it would be like at longer events. Hell Week is only 1500 km. Perhaps Peter Noris could comment (I believe Peter has a considerable amount of rando-mileage on Easy Racers).
If you want to go fast on a Gold Rush keep it light. Use a carbon Cobra seat, a carbon fork, a light stem etc (but use durable wheels – no ultralight boutique wheels for randonneuring please). The Easy Racer carbon fairing is lighter than the Zzipper fairing that I use.

Modifications from stock: I built my own rear wheel with a Mavic CXP 33 rim because I wanted a heavier rim for durability. I also put on a 9 cm 30 degree rise stem to bring the handlebars closer because I have long legs. The Velokraft fork on the Gold Rush does not use a compression plug so I put a cork in it to keep water out. The cork is from a bottle of 2004 Château Cambon La Pelouse Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois.

Lighting: DiNotte 200L AA in front, Planet Bike Super Flashes, Busch & Müller DToplight XS Permanent AA light in back, Planet Bike helmet-mount light attached to Carbon Spider visor, two spare Planet Bike headlights all with lithium batteries or rechargeables. I can’t say enough good things about the DiNotte. The Super Flashes are not waterproof and I have them sealed with electrical tape. I only use the Super Flashes when no cyclists are behind me.

Luggage: Arkel Tail Rider, Easy Racer Gold Rush frame bag.

Navigation: No navigation equipment. I tend to get lost.

Bent specific riding techniques: I remind myself to spin low gears up the hills.

Riding with other bents & DF bikes: I will sometimes ride with DF riders to chit-chat or to pace myself off them. I don’t draft when riding ‘bents. There’s no need to draft. I can go just as fast alone on my ‘bent as I can pacelining on my upright bike. It’s great not having to draft.

Eating on a bent: I stop and stuff my face at the controls. Between controls I sometimes store a PowerBar in my jersey pocket (the outside pockets are outside the edge of the Cobra seat) and I usually have a miracle drink (like Hammer Perpetuem) in one of my handlebar bottles (I have four bottle racks on the bars so I can carry more water in hot weather). I will also stop every 25 to 50 km or so and grab something out of my tail bag/rear fairing which I’ll munch on while riding.
It’s appalling but you can do all the same things at the handlebar of an Easy Racer that you can do at the steering wheel of a car (like steering with one finger, while holding a sandwich in one hand and a bottle in the other).
My actual diet while randonneuring consists of whatever sandwiches and cookies I can find supplemented by a Halloween party of candy, junk food and chocolate milk which I’m sure does nothing for my randonneuring but sure is fun.

Hydration: I like having water bottles right in front of me on the handlebar. I find hydration bladders to be a bit fiddly to fill during brevets.

Fenders: I could not get the Easy Racer carbon fender to work with the 451 front wheel without rubbing. I finally chopped off the front part of the front fender and I put a block in the wheel-opening of the fairing to keep tire spray out of my face. A full coverage front mudguard would be better (see Bicycle Quarterly Jan Heine’s comments on mudguards).
The back Easy Racer carbon mudguard works ok but of course a Honjo mudguard would be best.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? I would get the same bike. The Gold Rush really did what I wanted it to do and let’s face it – the Gold Rush and Ti Rush are the ultimate long-wheelbase bikes. There’s nothing to improve. I will continue to experiment with different bikes for randonneuring but I have found I like being up fairly high (like on a Gold Rush) to see better in city traffic and to avoid road spray from cars and trucks, to a certain extent. If someone would come up with a 700 x 20 hiracer/midracer to suit my tastes for randonneuring, with good high-speed handling characteristics I would try that bike too.
My one quibble is that the back of my particular Gold Rush has a V-brake (for mudguard clearance). V-brakes are, of course, an evil conspiracy designed to drive cyclists insane and they make it a pain in the ass to fix flats. The Gold Rush is available with dual (front and rear) caliper brakes.
Some people don’t want to try bikes with two different sized tires. However, the reality is the front tire of an Easy Racer is very lightly loaded and tends not to attract the puncture fairy. I’ve never destroyed the front tire on an Easy Racer and I don’t carry a spare front tire. I have yet to have a flat on the front of the Gold Rush with the IRC Roadlite tire (a really nice tire, by the way).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Drew - Cobrabikes Royale, Reynolds T-Bone & Trice S

Drew rides with the DC Randonnuers and has a nice blog with brevet and tour reports.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Glenn Druery - Velokraft Nocom

Location: Sydney Australia

Rando Experience:
  • RAAM 2005
  • RAAM 2007
  • 2003 Paris Brest Paris
  • 2007 PBP
  • 200km Audax Australia Alpine Classic LOTS of times.
  • Numerous 12hr, 24hr, race events
  • HEAPS of 600km, 400km, 300km 200km and Brevets
  • LOTS of long distance touring in Australia, France, Germany, USA, Canada, Switzerland
  • Sri Chinmoy 400km cycle race in 11hrs 57mins
  • member of:
    • the UltraMarathon Cycling Association
    • Australian Time Trials Assoc
    • Audax Australia and Waratahs CC
Bent Make/Model: Velokraft No Com & Optima Baron (not used since 04 would you like to buy it?)

Why did you start riding bents? Speed and comfort

Why did you pick this model? Speed and a very cool bike!

Modifications from stock: lights for Brevets

Lighting: 2 x Cateye 530

Fenders: none

Luggage: Storage in splitter plate cavities

Navigation: follow vehicle in RAAMs & route notes for Brevets

Riding with other bents & DF bikes: No problems

Eating on a bent: All the time

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? LOVE the speed and style of the No Com but would like a High Racer for touring

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Larry Graham - Bacchetta Aero [Ti & Carbon]

Location: Westerville Ohio, USA (central part of the state)

LD Experience:
  • Super Randonneurs on Traditional frame, Tandem (traditional/ wife) and Recumbent
  • Last Chance 1200 in 2006 w/ time of 59:08.
  • Had lowest 600km time in 2006 for RUSA of 22:14.
  • Mutable time UMCA 12 & 24 hour series champion.
  • Numerous 12 & 24 hour records.
  • Ohio E-W record of 12:34 (traditional frame record E-W is 15:40)

Bent Make/Model: Bacchetta Ti Aero, Bacchetta CarbonAero

Why did you start riding bents? I started riding recumbents to go racing and to break a cycling record. I noticed that the recumbent records seemed reasonably obtainable.

Why did you pick this model? This bike picked me. I started out on a borrowed Rans V-Rex. I then worked with a local enthusiast that wanted to make recumbent frames. I helped him with some design and most of the testing. I rode one of the early prototypes to a class record at the Sebring 24 hour drafting class in 2005 of 412.5miles (overall drafting class winner). Before the race the builder and I had a falling out over direction of the project. This was going to be a one race deal. Team Bacchetta was at the Sebring race and I finished second to Jim Kern. Afterward I went up to Rich Pinto and stated “I’m Larry Graham and I’m looking to buy a bike”. Rick’s response was “Your Larry Graham! Did you really ride 425 miles on a V-Rex at the New England 24?” “Call me when you get back home”. I’ve been with them every since.

Modifications from stock? Reynolds aero fork. Teracycles idler. Bar end shifters. Zipp 404 wheels (the rear is used on hilly and wind less races) Renn rear disc. My own designed headrest. Tektro reverse mount front brake. Shimano external Bottom bracket crank with TA and FSA chain rings. Sram brake levers. Vintage Shimano front derailleur.
The Ti Aero is set up more for training and Brevets; The CarbonAero is more for races and fast ultra events.

Lighting: I use an old Nightrider Digital Headtrip with custom batteries as a helmet light. I have a Cateye LED mounted to the bike with a Teracycles light mount. Cateye tail light mounted to my headrest.

Fenders: With a solid seat I don’t use fenders, but I have set up a SKS quick mount fender just in case.

Luggage: I use a Bacchetta All in One bag if I want to use a lager water bladder or the Bacchetta Brain Box if I am using water bottles primarily.

Navigation: I use a Garmin 60csx with my own custom mount for Brevets.

Bent specific riding techniques: I’ve learned how to climb better with the right use of power, cadence, and gearing. I’ve learned what My strengths and weaknesses are. It's important to learn what your bike is capable of and what’s it not.

Riding with other bents and DFs: Learning to ride with DF’s is a challenge. It is important that the recumbent rider take a positive approach. Don’t force yourself in where you are not wanted. But then again don’t shy away from jumping into the mix. I try to find the shortest person in a rotating pace line and tell them that they will get a great draft off me and they will be able to see right over me. Just stay tight. I prove that I can ride straight and that I know that I’m doing. I take my pulls unless I’m in the way. Then I’ll just hang at the back and let riders falling back in line that is clear to do so. I try extra hard to be friendly and positive riding a recumbent. I will often do a “Demo” of how fast a recumbent can climb, sprint or pull the group. By the second or third time riding with a group, I’m generally accepted.

Eating on a bent: I have two bottle mounts on the bike with the option of a third. For ultra events and races I am on a liquid diet. For Brevets I just eat what I find along the route along with some of what I race with. Hammer Nutrition Products mostly.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? I’m lucky in that I can ride anything that I want. To do what I’m doing, the Bacchetta can’t be beat. It does everything that I could ever hope from a bicycle. Now, if I decide to tour across the country fully loaded, I have a friend that has a Ryan Vanguard that would be first on my list to take. If I ever get the chance to race in RAAM, you can be assured that it will be on a Bacchetta. I really think that the 650c wheel setup on the Bacchetta is a great compromise, I like to ride a bike that was built with 700c wheels. If for no other reason for the simplicity of tire and gearing choices.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Peter Heal - Lizard DIY Bents

Location: Canberra Australia

Rando Experience:
Been doing reasonably long rides for last 20 years. Started riding Audax Randonees seriously in 2004 and became addicted. 2004 – Rode 18,000km. Completed 2 x Super Series. Completed the Great Southern Randonee 1,200km in Victoria Australia. 2005 – Rode 16,000km and completed 1 x Super Series. 2006 – Rode 20,000km. Completed 2 x Super Series. Completed the Perth Albany Perth 1,200km event in Western Australia and a 1,000km event. 2007 – Aiming for 18,000km. Complete 1 x Super Series. Last minute decision to do PBP paid off with completion in poor conditions.

Bent Make/Model:
I generally ride my own self-built Lizard steel two wheeler quasi lowracer recumbents. Did almost 20,000km on my white Lizard. I am currently riding a dual 406 bike for most commuting and Audax rides. This bike was a project to make a lightweight steel bike and turned out fairly well at 11kg complete. I have a couple of Velokrafts in the fleet. Wouldn’t think of using the NoCom on an Audax ride. The VK2 is a nice bike and speeds are matched with the dual 406 bike. I haven’t ridden the VK2 more than 200km due to the Hamster Handlebar position resulting in sore elbows. No such pain on the U-bar position for me.
Why did you start riding bents? I have been building bike frames since around 1989 and built my first bent in 1997 or so. I had an injured disc in my back at the time which was part of the reason, but I also had experience with the technical intricacies and speed benefits of tandems. Recumbents gave me the same kick of tandems. I’m up to about 15 recumbent builds and every one has been different and hopefully an improvement over previous versions.

Why did you pick this model? The bent 1.75” main tube was the lightest that could be bent to mimic the lines of Barons and similar. Dual small wheels and tucked in rear end to minimise weight, make airline transport a bit easier and limit spare tyres etc to be carried. This was the first time with a hard shell seat for me as previously I had always used mesh. Seat was hot and uncomfortable until I discovered Ventisit pads – hallelujah!

Modifications from stock: The Orange bike has Capreo rear hub and cassette with a 9-26 spread. This enables me to use a standard size road triple up front and still get low and high enough gears for Randos and touring without extreme chainrings. Lightweight again! Bike has a Velokraft carbon seat and fork – very nice.

Lighting: Have used SON hub and E6 light but found a simpler and much lighter set up by building my own lights using Luxeon 3 watt LED’s and a simple pack of three alkaline c-cells. These run at least 18 hours and have the equivalent beam of the E6 without the weight of the hub. Two 3 watt Luxeons and battery packs weigh half the extra weight of the SON hub.

Fenders: I like these to keep stuff like “giant PBP slugs” and worms off the bike but find that it is the spray from the tyre contact point that gets you wet on a bent. A simple corflute guard zip tied to main tube in front of seat handles most wet day issues and can be removed quickly. My seat bag keep the spray from rear wheel from going down the back of my neck.

Luggage: What else? Self built seat bag and under seat bags custom fit the current bike. The seat bag is probably too big but that doesn’t matter on a bent as you can just be less critical in packing stuff. The seat bag alone would have been enough for PBP. Holds my 2 litre water bladder, pump, tubes, tools, jacket, thermals, space blanket, first aid food etc.

Navigation: Started using a mapping GPS (Garmin Etrex Vista) in 2006 and find it very good for just checking my otherwise pretty good navigation skills. I anguished over whether to buy the pricey French map-set before PBP and my French trip. I was so glad I did. On PBP having the accurate official course loaded enabled me to make sure I was on the correct route and when the normal computer magnet jumped ship it gave me distances and average speeds etc. This was very helpful when the lads turned the signs during the first night of PBP. Would like to upgrade to a colour screen version soon.

Bent specific riding techniques: Depends on the distance involved. On most local rides the number of participants is very low and I’m the only bent, so others usually say goodbye to me at the start. I generally average 22kmh elapsed including stops for rides where there are no sleeps. Spin, ride own pace, coast all downhills.

Riding with other bents & DF bikes: The disparity between different platforms usually means I’m riding by myself. I try to stay with them – honest, but DF’s are just so darn slow on the flats and downhills. Usually well ahead by the time I reach the hills, so they think I am a great climber too. It would be so nice to have a recumbent rider of similar fitness, speed and mental deficit as me to ride along with but that’s not going to happen.

Eating on a bent: Eating is good. I nibble from food in my waist bag or jersey pockets and have big meals at controls. I’m a real food man and don’t really get into liquid food and supplements. Hmmm pasta….. Carrying more food than I really need has always paid off.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? What’s the perfect recumbent for Randonees? That’s hard. I think the 406/700c rear drive setup is ideal. Visibility is important. The big rear wheel seems to add some speed at the top end. Dual 406 wheels are a compromise. The bike doesn’t need to be extremely low. The VK2 has too high a bottom bracket I feel and the hamster bars don’t suit me. A functional tailbox is very useful. Main reasons being increasing rearwards visibility and for carrying all the junk. A tailbox adds a viable speed advantage in my experience over a long distance ride. Even if it doesn’t mean you are going faster, you will be using less energy. Curved corflute tailboxes have been successful for me although purists turn up their noses at the unrefined appearance. I’ll be building a hybrid foam and fibreglass “curved and beautiful” tailbox soon that will hopefully meet all the criteria.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Joe Keenan - Bacchetta Giro 20 & RANS V-Rex

Location: Home is Portland Oregon but living in Shanghai China 10 months of the year.

Rando Experience: Started in late 2001 because I enjoy long distance cycling. Complete full SR series in 2003.

Bent Make/Model Current: '06 Bacchetta Giro 20 & '98 V-Rex customized with Bacchetta seat and handlebars along with S&S couplers for traveling. SOLD: '99 Bike Friday SAT R DAY, '03 Bacchetta Strada

Why did you start riding bents?
Bad back and hurt like crazy to pedal uphill on a DF. Fellow DF member said: "You might try a recumbent".
- why did you pick this model Bought a '98 V-Rex in the fall of 1998. Few companies then. After much internet discussion it seemed like the best bang for the buck. Glad I bought it.

Modifications from stock:
Exchanged RANS seat for Bacchetta EuroMesh seat. Changed rear cogset to an 11-34 along with small ring to a 26. Changed RANS handlebars for Bacchetta "tweener" handlebars.

Lighting: Basic lighting is a Cateye EL500 and a Cateye Power OptiCube. On Rando rides use a Petzl Duo Headlamp. Rear or standard Planet Bike tail lights. - fenders Stock Rans and Bacchetta fenders.

Luggage: Bacchetta OFA and Brain Box bags supplemented with Fastback Norback tool pack.

Navigation: Cateye Seven Wireless and a Garmin Foretrex 101.

Bent specific riding techniques:
On long rides I simply pick gears that let me know I'm working but not exerting and I don't care what speed it is.

Eating/drinking on a bent: Gatorade only. On rides less than 300K I will use only Gatorade and GU. No foods of any kind. On rides of 300K or longer, I will only consume SPIZ.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? I'm happy with my current steeds, BUT if I was go buy a bent for strictly rando or long rides, I would go test ride a LWB faired bent (i.e. Tie Rush or Gold Rush or the new Rans V3) If I stayed with a SWB, I'd look at the Titanium Aero Basso. My main objective would be which bent climbs best and that's the one I'd use for rando rides. For strictly social rides or fun rides, I'm staying with my Grio20 and modified V-Rex. If I wanted as fast as I could go rec or social rides, I'd go to a Bacchetta Corsa and would also consider that for rando rides.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dave Larrington - HP Velo Speedmachine & ICE Trice XXL

Dave's Website
Location: London, UK

Rando Experience: Started January 2005; 1st Super Randonneur series 2006 . Audax UK Recumbent Champion 2005-06 & probably 2006-07 as well.

Bent Make/Model: HP Velotechnik Speedmachine, ICE Trice XXL

Why did you start riding bents?:

Coz it's:
  • different, and
  • fun

Why did you pick these models:

Speedmachine: offered a good deal on it by Darth Stuart at Bikefix
Trice: wanted a trike with a hard-shell seat & 20" wheels all round...

Modifications from stock:

Speedmachine: built from frameset, so plenty of decidedly non-stock components
Trice: fitted Novosport / HP Velotechnik seat in place of original


Speedmachine: SON hub dynamo driving Solidlights 1203D LED front light; Cateye EL530 secondary; 2x Cateye LD600 rear
Trice: Lightspin sidewall dynamo driving B&M DLumotec Topal LED front light, 2xCateye EL530; 2x Cateye LD500 rear

Fenders: Front only on Speedmachine as tailbox keeps rear wheel detritus off me. On all three wheels on Trice

Luggage: Everything goes in the Speedmachine's tailbox; Trice uses either Carradice rack back or Creek2Peak for longer events where more Stuff is required

Navigation: Route sheet carried in A6 Ortlieb document pouch around my neck; maps (usually pages torn from road atlas) live (along with phone, money, cigarettes etc.) in A4 Ortleib pouch in The Luggage

Bent specific riding techniques: Distinctly individual gearing - if in doubt, err on the low side...=-)

Riding with other bents & DF bikes: Usually end up riding solo unless Garry Broad is around =-) Occasionally manage to cop a decent draft from a convenient tandem...

Eating on a bent: Rarely eat between controls. On the Speedmachine it requires a stop, but on the Trice I can sometimes fish a cereal bar out of the side pocket of the rack bag without riding into a tree

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get?: Something semi-low but considerably lighter than the Speedmachine. Must-haves: tailbox, disc brakes, ability to tow BoB trailer. Nice-to-haves: suspension, HP Velotechnik / Novosport seat. Considering a VK2 in time for PBP 2011 but the state of the art may will probably have moved on a fair way by then.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Malric leBorgne - Zockra Dual 26" Highracer

Location: Brittany, France (west part of France)

LD Experience:

* Bordeaux-Paris 2006
* Audax brevets: 200,300,400, 600Km.
* Paris-Brest-Paris 2007.- 1250Km in 80H3min – lot of rain.

Bent Make/Model: Home made carbon High Racer 2 x 26’- ZOCKRA (soon in production)

Why did you start riding bents? After 20 years of Windsurfing, I wanted something fun and I tried a Lowracer. The top speed was fascinating (65Km/h on the flat and 109Km/h downhill) and convinced me.

Why did you pick this model? I first bought a stock Baron which is great for most races in Europe but after the world Cup held in France, I saw a couple of High Racers with stunning results. I started investigating whether a high racer could be as fast as a low racer if I could reduce its weight. I could not afford a carbon High racer so I built it. It weighs 10.2Kg complete but has vintage parts from my father’s garage. I bought a set of CORIMA wheels which makes a very big different on the speed but the breaking distance under water is……… very long….. even with special brake pads (cork!).

Equipment? Repair Bottom bracket crank from Stronglight JP1000, Clincher Corima carbon wheels, Optima carbon seat, Custom made handle bar, old Mountainbike gear shifters, Vintage Simplex front derailleur. (1980?), rear Shimano 105 derailleur, Optima idler ( not ideal). I also have a wireless speedo and cadence meter.

Lighting: I use a 4 leds helmet light ( good for reading a map but not for riding). I have a single Cateye LED mounted to front derailleur post but this is clearly not enough on small roads. . I also have a Cateye tail light mounted my helmet and a smaller one on the back of the seat.

Fenders: don’t have any because my bike is high.

Luggage: A small bag fitted on the side of the seat holds all my food. A small bag on the back of my seat has all my tools and my camel bag. Cost: 10 euros for 2 bags. (7 dollars)

Navigation: I only use the information provided by the organization and a mobile phone if I get really lost.

Bent specific riding techniques: For long distance, I try to ride alone because I don’t want to ride at a higher speed than my body can cope with. I also try to achieve a high velocity downhill and climb the small hills with some inertia. If the hill is bigger, I spin my legs nice and easy at about 100 rev/min. I try to never push too hard up-hill.

Eating on a bent: I use OVERSTIM products: Idixir (fast sugar) + Malto ( glycogene) in my camel bag (2.5l) and Liquid food (banana flavor) in a small bottle. After a couple of hours, if my stomach wants something solid, I get a sandwich and a coke to get extra sugar.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? I would keep a similar bike because I feel safer than on a lowracer when a car arrives. I would lower the seat a little bit because if you get a stiff leg so can fall when stopping. I would also try to save as much weight as possible on the bike with a target of 8Kg complete. That would increase my speed up-hill. I was surprised during my PBP because I was fast up-hill compared to normal uprights. I noticed that the upright suffered a lot on the saddle and could not pedal down hill making the up-hill even slower.

LR Racing in France: I am in charge of the biggest French racing association so we can help you if you come to do long distance race in France.



Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Peter Marshall - Trice XL & Micro

Peter Marshall has an excellent website with reports of his Audax rides on Trice trikes. Peter notably successfully completed PBP in 1999 & 2003 as well as LEL in 1997 & 2001.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Peter Mathews - Flying Furniture PBP Special

Location: Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)

LD experience:
  • Started by riding Around the Bay 206km in Melbourne in 1996. Training for that event I discovered Audax Australia, and from then on it gets obsessive!
  • Super Randonneur 5000
  • Multiple Super Randonneur series
  • Several Fleche Oppermans
  • Three PBP starts (1999 on a custom built Cecil Walker road bike, 2003 & 2007 on my Flying Furniture two wheeled bent)
  • Basic plan is to ride a brevet a month. Distances vary!

Bents: .Flying Furniture “PBP Special”, built by Ian Humphries in late 2002. This is a dual 406 SWB recumbent wit a mesh seat, U-bars, single disk at the front, after over 30,000km much of the equipment has been “rolled over”. Most recently I have changes from Shimano bar end shifters to SRAM twist shifters. After removing some unnecessary springs from these I am completely converted. The SRAM rear X-9 derailleur seems a little noisy but give very crisp changes. In normal mode (including lights, mudguards, water bladder, speedo etc.) it weights about 15kg.

Why a bent? After PBP 1999 neck and hand problems made me realize I could not contemplate very long distances in te future on a road bike – even a carefully fitted custom one.

Why these? At the time is was the only one I could get custom made in Australia. We produce more trikes than most oter countries but not many two wheelers!

Modifications from stock: No major physical mods. Parts have canged a little over time but mainly based on whim and availability when other bits wear out or break. The original front fork is a reverse camber and I am going to change it to a more conventional and hopefully less aggressive geometry soon.

Lighting: I make my own high performance LED lights. 18 of them participated in PBP with a range of different riders. None leaked or failed. Pete Heal provided the inspiration for them by lending me a light he had made when we rode the Great Southern Randonnee in 2005. A very bright tail light is my next development. Watch out for for details.

In 2003 I was of the people who was given an evaluation Lightspin generator. I rode many kilometers with one little beauties provided an exceptionally good feeding a Lumotec round and later oval head. Sadly the tyre on the roller wore out and I have been unable to replace it.

Hydration: I have used various 3l bladders in bags I have made to sling under my seat. I hot weather (we get a lot of it in Australia) I add an insulated bag around the bladder so as to try to avoid the water getting too hot and undrinkable.

Nutrition: Lots! Small quantities of low GI chewable food is my preference. I am a type 2 (NIDM) diabetic. I only ever use gells in emergencies.

Luggage: The latest iteration is one of my trusty Timbuktu courier bags with a couple of hooks added to sling from the back of my seat. It holds more than I ned for brevets and is very durable. I’ve added a stack of reflective tape to it to help improve rearwards conspicuity.

Riding in groups: With care, mainly because people are unfamiliar with the different way a recumbent rides, I have ridden very happily amongst groups of road bikes. If I am being nice I use my brakes going down hill to stay in formation but notice that they don’t always wait for me up hill.

There are few recumbent riders in Australia but it is always a pleasure to ride with the Peters, Simon, Andrew or Ian.

Bent riding technique: My technique has grown gradually I guess. My performance is still improving! My next goal is to complete the 200km version of the Audax Alpine Classic.( which involves 4400m of climbing in our summer heat. Gears are a critical element for successful recumbent riding!

What other bent would I like to try? Simon’s Baron or one of Pete’s big Lizards. I think I’d be too chicken to ride a No-Com.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Peter Noris - RANS F5, Easy Racers TE & GRR

Location: full time RV; winter home Gainesville, Florida

LD experience:
  • Super Randonneur 5000
  • 10 Super Randonneur series, BMB
  • RM1200, PBP
  • six 1000K
  • a few extras here and there (permanents and other brevets)

Bents: Easy Racers Tour Easy and Gold Rush (both fully faired), Rans Force 5 with 700C wheels

Why a bent? Injured in car/bike dispute, after very long rehab realized I would never be able to ride a DF again.

Why these? I was fortunate to live near a 'bent shop with a wide selection; the TE was the first bike that felt like a performance bike (against, for example BikeE and a few others) that was not too expensive to put an aero kit on. The TE , a Large, was on the small side for me; the GRR was an XL and was much more comfortable and better handling since the weight distribution was better. While living in Colorado I got tired of dragging the weight of the aero kit up hill; the Force 5 was about 8 pounds lighter than the GRR.

Modifications from stock: The TE was bought as a frame, and built from boxes of parts left over from my DF days. Many of the parts were eight or nine years old (I said it was a long rehab). Shimano barcon shifters, Mavic tubular wheel on the rear, other odds and ends. The GRR I replaced it with was bought built up; I replaced the rear wheel (love those tubies), had Ultegra road brakes, barcons again, otherwise fairly stock. Since I have a relatively long torso I altered the fairing mounts to get the fairing higher.

The Rans wasn't offered with 700s when I bought it; as far as I know it was the first. I had no trouble with the extra height, and want as few non-standard parts as possible. It was also built up from a frame set - with the worst build I ever got from a bike shop. I eventually had the whole bike stripped and rebuilt.

Lighting: Except for the F5 I've used a Schmidt hub and Lumotec light. Very happy with this setup. On the F5 I switched to an LED in a BiSy light with battery power. While acceptable, I am going back to a generator system for 2008.

Hydration: 70 oz. CamelBack in rear seat bag; on the F5 I use a FastBack bag and really like it.

Nutrition: Until this year I ate regular food; this year on the F5 I mounted a bottle on the steering riser and used Hammer products; in cool weather it's possible to mix a 1500 calorie bottle that will last for a 400K. In addition, one or two flasks of gel in my rear jersey pocket.

Luggage: I got tired of bungeeing stuff to a rear rack; this year I bought a Terracycle EasyReach pannier system.

Riding in groups: I got lots of complaints with the Easy Racers; I'm not sure if it was how strange the bike looked or just the lack of draft. The F5 is aerodynamically somewhere between the GRR with a fairing and with the sock on it - no testing, just my impression. It's not really much higher than the GRR, but I get fewer complaints, possibly because it looks more normal and is shorter. The GRR didn't seem to benefit from drafting; the F5 does, but not as much as a DF. If people complain (rarely), depending on my mood I either drop them or tell them to pass.

Bent riding technique: It is difficult to ride with groups in hilly terrain; slower uphill, faster downhill. Very easy to blow out knees if you try and push a big gear from a start. With the F5, it took me a while to learn not to get the second foot clipped in until I had some speed - just get the foot on the pedal and keep going. Climbing and sprinting with the weight off the seat and pushing back into the back support gives lots of extra power.

What other bent would I like to try? Even though almost every part would not be standard, I'd like to get a hardshell low racer; I just don't know where I could buy one.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Harry Spatz - Bacchetta Corsa

Location: Lexington, MA USA

Rando Experience:
- 2006-200K, 300K
- 2007-2-200K, 2-300K, 400K

In 2007 rode as a team Audax style with 2 other recumbent riders, neither of which had ridden more than 100 miles in a day. They both finished the entire series.

Recumbents: Barcroft Dakota 2002 w/2006 frame used in 2006 brevets, Bacchetta Corsa used in 2007 brevets

Why bents?: I started riding ‘bents after my wife and I rode a Bike Virginia (5 days 300 mi. tour) on our wedgie tandem, and met a couple on a Double Vision. They were not fast, but they always finished and had so much fun that I had to try a ‘bent. I tried a couple of ‘bents at Belmont Wheelworks, Visions, I believe, then when my daughter wanted to visit schools in Washington DC I also visited with Bill Cook at Barcroft. It was an expensive trip! I bought a Barcroft Dakota and my daughter went to George Washington University. In 2006 the frame on the Dakota broke in two. That, along with not liking to carry tubes and tires for two different sizes and hearing that high racers were faster incentivised me to look again. I tried most everything available at Brian Ball’s Bentrider Rally in Hammondsport, NY and ended up with a Bacchetta Corsa

Modifications: included going to an FSA mountain crank with 22/34/44. I use a 12-28 rear cogset. I see no reason for high gears on hilly brevets. I am willing to coast at speeds over 28 mph and in return have more tightly spaced cogs than the normal 12-34 that many use. I also do not think that 20 or 24 spoke wheels are optimal for brevet use so I use 32 spoke 3 cross wheels. The front hub is a SON generator hub. My rims are CR18 Sun with flat cross section. With 32 spokes, these make a rugged soft riding wheel. The deep V style rims ride very hard, so I do not recommend them. I changed from 571 (650C) to 559 (mountain bike size) to give me an extra 6 mm in radius to use wider tires than 650C allows. I use Schwalbe Stelvio 559-28 tires.

Lights: I use a Solidlights 1203D attached to my SON hub. The 1203D gives a very wide beam from two 3-watt LEDs. It’s attached via a Cronometro NOB to the left fork. First I stretched a tube over the fork blades and onto the fork so the Cronometro can bed into the tube and not scratch the fork. The Cronometro has never slipped in 3000 miles of useage. Low on the fork is ideal because it lights up road irregularities well. I know many use the front derailleur mount. That location is far inferior because the light does not turn with the steering like it does on the fork blade. I use two Trek LEDs, one attached to each chain stay for the rear lights. They run on 2 AAA batteries. I also use the obligatory reflective anklets. Mine have an LED band built in.

No fenders: The Corsa has limited clearance although if I thought that they were really important, I would find way. I used to race and of course racers don’t use them. If you draft to the right or left of the wheel, you do not get sprayed that much.

Luggage: I use a Bacchetta Brain Box on the seat. Also use several Fastback Designs Items including a Norback with a multitool, Endurolytes, caffeine pills, and ibruprofen in it. Also I use a Flash frame pack for things I want to get at while riding. I also use a Double Century. One side uses a 70 oz. bladder and the other side I might put a jacket or spare clothing in. This bike is excessively rear heavy so stuff should go low and forward. I carry 1 bottle in a Fastback bottle holder attached to the boom way up front. It’s a spare that I cannot reach when riding. I carry another in a bottle holder attached to the left side of the seat. I can still get the bladder in and out of the double century even with the seat attached holder in place. I carry a third bottle in another Velcro attached Fastback holder under my seat on the left side. That makes 3 bottles and a 70 oz. bladder on the bike. I am 195 lb. and 5’9” and use a lot of water. That water is good for 80 mi. in hilly terrain under 75 degrees or maybe 40 miles in 95 degree heat.

Navigation: I use a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx. I program waypoints so that I can navigate without need for a cue sheet. Garmin does not make it easy to do this. It takes time and mistakes to see how to do this correctly.

Recumbent Riding Techniques: I have heard from many sources that spinning is imperative when riding a recumbent. I typically have a cadence of 75 to 90 on flats or downhills, but slow down going uphill. I have found that a cadence of 60 to 70 works on uphills, but it takes practice to do this without knee pain. The last brevet I rode, a 300K, I rarely used my low gears on the hills and improved my time without any knee pain. I tend to push hard right after cresting a hill to gain momentum quickly for the way down.

Riding with Others: I find it difficult to ride with DFs except on level ground. I can’t climb with someone of equal ability and I get way out in front on the downhills. Even with other SWB bents there is some yoyo effects. I find it hard to draft other ‘bents, harder than when on a DF. When I rode the brevets as a team we did not usually draft. There was fear of accident due to inattentiveness when tired.

Eating on the move: I do not enjoy eating on a ‘bent. If I get food on my hands, shifting the grip shifters is difficult. I eat by drinking Perpetuum or other such additions to my water.

What bent would you buy if you were start from scratch?: If I were to start again, I might well end up with the same ‘bent. If I traveled more, I might like a take-a-part model that would take 700C wheels and had clearance for wider tires. 700C gives more tire options.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Andrew Sorensen - Bacchetta Aero

Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Rando Experience: PBP 2007

Recumbent: Bacchetta Aero

Why did you start riding bents?: Ergonomics

Why did you pick this model?: Lightweight & aerodynamic

Modifications from stock: Long cage derailleur

Lighting: Cateye HL530, TL1000&600, BOTH tail-lights failed me - perhaps due to rain(?) and/or bad switches.

Fenders: Planet Bike Speedeze, 700c radius, but still work w/ 650c wheel.

Luggage: Brainbox

Navigation: none

Bent specific riding techniques:

Riding with other bents & DF bikes: limited

Eating on a bent: as much as possible!

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get? I find that an upright seat position is better for balance, particularly when sleep deprived. As I raise the seatback I need to move the seat backwards to maintain correct leg length. The Aero's seat attachment mechanism is not conducive to fore/aft movement on the road.

Other than that the Aero is a wonderful rando bike.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Michael Wolfe - Bacchetta Aero

Michael has a great blog discussing his rando & ultra riding accomplishments.

Monday, January 1, 2001

Dean Zimmer - Renyolds Z-Bone & Peterbuilt GTRS

Location: Winnipeg MB Canada

Rando Experience:

  • Full series each year 2004 to 2007 (and beyond if the creek don’t rise)
  • 1000K: 2004 & 2006 Manitoba 1000
  • 1200K: 2005 Last Chance 1200, 2006 Van Isle 1200, 2007 PBP

Bent Make/Model:

  • Bachetta Corsa 2004-2005
  • PeterBuilt GTRS dual 26 Hi Racer 2005-present
  • Reynolds Zbone dual 26 2006-present
Why did you start riding bents? Mostly because they were different, comfort was a factor.

Why did you pick this model?

Started into bents with BikeE, then Rans Vrex, then a Bachetta Corsa. The hi racer was most comfortable for me doing long rides. I think the Vrex could work with different seat however I still prefer a higher bottom bracket.

The Bachetta was good however I am 5’ 7” and it had too tall a seat height for me to be comfortable starting and stopping especially when tired, I used it for 1 and ½ seasons then switched.

The Peterbuilt is custom built by a local builder (sort of a steel version of a TBone. It uses the Bachetta Euromesh seat which I feel is the most comfortable seat available, well worth any extra weight. It has a longer wheelbase and lower seat height than the Corsa. It is extremely comfortable and durable making it an excellent Rando bike. It’s only drawback is that it is heavier than other bikes that are out there (however they use exotic materials and cost way more). I have done 2 1200’s and 2 1000’s on this bike, I will always keep this bike, it is the gold standard that I will measure everything else by.

Zbone (no longer in production) is a lightweight front wheel drive titanium, aluminum, and carbon fiber creation. In its original configuration it had rear suspension, this also allowed the rear end to come apart and essentially the frame would fold in half making a very small package for travel. The rear suspension created a lot of flex in the bike (the rear wheel was bopping around side to side) so I replaced the rear shock with a solid piece and tightened up the rear swingarm pivot point. This made it less flexy and I didn’t miss the suspension. The Astroturf seat covering was replaced with a foam pad. This bike works OK for long rides, I used it for PBP and found that I had some wheel slip on some of the uphill sections where the pavement was wet, or there was loose stones, or cobblestones. Adding weight to the front boom (water bottle) helped some with this. For flat out speed it is faster than my Peterbuilt, however not as comfortable.

Modifications from stock:

I experimented with a Mueller windwrap fairing on the Corsa. This worked well for rides early and late in the year as it kept my feet warmer, and drier. The downsides were that it interfered with my forward vision (not everyone would have this problem depending on your size and the bikes size), it was noisy as it seemed to reflect drivetrain sound back at me, and it was awkward when transporting, or just moving the bike around. I didn’t do any roll down tests to get any real measurements however I didn’t feel that it made the bike any more aerodynamic. For me the cons outweighed the pros.


SON dyno hub and an E6 light. I use a Cateye EL530 as a backup and it works as a standlight if I think it is necessary.

For light mounting I use the Minoura Besso Fork Mount Holder to mount lights on the fork, and I have used the Volae T-Bar Light Mount although I have found it interfered wuth forward vision. I use a custom made mount similar to a teracycle accessory mount that works very well.

Rear lights are 2 Cateye LD600’s (use rechargeable AAA batteries)

If I were to invest in new lighting right now I would defer as long as I could and check out LED battery operated lights rather than investing in a dyno hub. The LED area is improving so rapidly and especially the battery run times. Its is not going to be long before a run all night with lots of illumination LED light will be available for a reasonable price. I have done an entire 1200 event using only an EL500 (a user malfunction kept the E6 from working), it was manageable however I was lucky there was no rain.

Fenders: Plastic fenders on the rear only.


Love the Hostel Shoppe Euro Large Seat Bag, the mesh bottle pockets on either side are super handy for cloths, gloves, bananas, you name it.

For extra storage I have used the Radical lowracer bags although I find them too big and floppy, so I have also made a set of small bags out of backpack side pockets which I found at MEC. Mine are nearly worn out and I have not been able to find a replacement. Essentially I used them to make a mini version of the Radical lowracer bags.


Cue sheets in a waterproof holder, and a Cateye Astrale 8 bike computer. I use cadence more than anything and I have found this computer works well in all conditions and is easy to read (I have 5 of them)

Bent specific riding techniques:

Rubber side down. Bring lots of gears if there is climbing and train, train, train.

I have taught myself high cadence (90-110) and I have never had a knee problem.

Riding with other bents & DF bikes:

On a high racer you can provide a draft, and DF riders in my Rando group will draft off me, shorter riders or people using the drops get the most benefit. I don’t draft off others as I am not comfortable following close to someone when the furthest front part of my bike is a sawblade, plus not drafting makes me a stronger rider.

Eating on a bent:

I find it hard to carry food in a place where I can access it easily on the bent, still working on this. It would be nice to eat some while I am moving however I don’t count on that. I try to stop every 50-80K for some sort of snack/sandwich (usually convenience store food as that is where our controls are) and usually every 2nd one of those is a larger meal either at a fastfood place or local restaurant. Real food works best for me. On longer rides that go through the night here we can end up facing 200K with no services, so I plan an evening meal stop where I get them to make some sandwiches I can take along, and I make sure I have coins in order to use the outdoor drink machines. I tried Powerbar/Cliff bar type energy bars, I can eat them but to me they taste like sh*t, so I use Payday bars, and Nature Valley sweet and salty type granola bars, plus bananas are a great carry along food.


I use a 70oz bladder in the hostel shopper seat bag. In it I use a simple maltodextrin (purchased at a local nutrition store) and water mix to which I add a little bit of Crystal Light powder for flavor, this gives me about 300 calories per bladder. Depending on the ride length I will carry little baggies with pre-measured amounts maltodextrin/crystallight. I also carry a water bottle with plain water in it.

If you were to start again what bent/setup would you get?

As you can guess I am extremely happy with my PeterBuilt dual 26 hi-racer format bike. While riding PBP I rode with a couple of lowracers bikes and was blown away by how fast they were on descents (it had to be aerodynamics because they weighed the same or less than me) so I am going to give that style a try as well.