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 www.plites.com.au 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.( http://www.audax.org.au/alpine.htm) 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.


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