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.