Monday, April 26, 2010

Flats Flats Flats FLATS!!!!!

So I posted yesterday about the Monster Cookie ride in Salem, OR. I had several flats that day - 4 on the ride and another by the time I got home - the tire was flat again. Only one was a "real" flat. The first one was clearly a puncture of the tire and tube. OK, I can live with that - fix and off I go. 

The rest of the flats though were "mystery" flats that I could just not figure out. Flats at 20 miles, 40 miles, 55 miles, at the finish, and then at home. As I had my sunglasses on and I was out on a ride, I did not dive deep into the diagnosis, I just threw tubes at the thing and rode on. When I ran out of tubes by the third flat I patched and replaced...until I got home and the tire was flat yet again.


I decided to start with what I have changed - I recently (as in just a few days before the ride installed velopulgs on my two front trike wheels - the ones that flatted all day. I already had them on the back wheel for almost a year, and I have them on three other bikes that run velocity rims and on a spare set of velocity wheels for the F5 high racer. 

I had noticed on the ride on all flats after the first one that the hole I found was on the inside of the tube - where the tube hits the wheel - as opposed to the tire. The first few times I figured in my changing I must have accidentally let a tiny rock get into the tire before I mounted it... but there never was one.

Turns out the rims were causing the flats. I have run Veloplugs on the back tire since I got the trike. Turns out both my front rims (all three are Velocity Aeroheats) have a thin ridge that runs down the center of the rim. I had not paid much attention to this, but it looks like that little rim is enough to act like a ton of 'lil exacto blades to slowly cut the tube to ribbons. I submit the following for evidence:

The first pic is my rear tire, which did not flat and never has. I took it off to compare the rim surfaces. You can see from the pic that it is pretty smooth.

The second pic is one of the front wheels. You can see a thin "ridge" that runs around the surface of the wheel right between the Veloplugs around the circumference of the wheel. It is raised just a bit, and is not particularly sharp or anything. When I installed the Veloplugs I really did not even pay any attention to it.

I aired up all of my tubes I burned through to super large size and they all had the same thing - the dark lines you can see in the middle there are thin cuts running all the way around the inside from those ridges. Needless to say all the tubes are shot and not fixable - a few are almost cut like oddly spaced perforated lines all the way around the tube.

Needless to say it looks like I will have to go back to the 'ol tape on these rims.

I suppose this is an "easy fix" you might think - just put in some rim tape and be done with the 'plugs. Well I like the plugs - they make installing tires a lot easier and they are nice and clean. The minimal instructions indicate "plug and go" simplicity which they should be. BUT - if this is a faulty wheel situation, or worse, something that could happen on wheels without baby butt smooth insides - real trouble could ensue from flats caused my the wheel itself and not an external source.

I flatted on the trike - no biggie I just shrugged and pulled over to a stop. One of my flats was very rapid and I was hitting close to 30MPH at the time. NOW, had I been on my F5 doing 30MPH and had a rapid front flat - that could cause a wreck.

I have contacted the folks at Velocity USA to get their take. I deflated and took a look at all of my other Velocity rims - all are smooth with no pronounced ridge.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ride Report - Monster Cookie

Rode today on my 3rd Monster Cookie in Salem Oregon. I love this ride - it is a great "season opener" for an organized ride. It is pretty flat/rolling with only a few "climbs" so to speak. The ride was great as always with lots of very nice volunteers and friendly riders all having a fun time.

I decided to venture on this ride with the QNT trike. I am still trying to make up my mind if it will be my ride of choice for the Cycle Oregon week ride. I have done this same ride the other times on my F5 high racer so I know how I can do on that bike. I am proud to say that the trike performed AWESOME. Way above expectation - save for a total of 5 flats (4 on the ride and one at home upon my return) that tried to derail me. I'll have a post soon on my diagnosis of the flats - it was not the tires or inherant to the trike platform, but I have never flatted as many in years of cycling as I did today. Still, the ride on the trike was so fun that not even repeated flat changing and tube patching would take away from the perfect weather, great roads, and good times.

I wound up with a ride time of 3H and 20M for the roughly 65 miles and an average speed of 17.4 MPH. This really surprised me and I believe I have decided - the trike kicks ass and will be a blast on Cycle Oregon. It is comfy, stable, fast, easy on the road, comfy, and no worries about balance on the steep climbs (none really on this ride) as they are so COMFY! And lounging on the trike during lunch while eating a sandwich and copious amounts of cookies versus sitting in wet grass has its advantages.

Enjoy some of the pictures I took of the ride below. It was is a great one!

Line was long but moved fast - the turnout was huge!

Now THIS is what I call a family truckster!

While enjoying the view from my recumbent,
 I like to think about how much I love Jelly Beans...

Rest stops are well stocked and volunteers were wonderful!

Nice open roads with little traffic and perfect weather!

Lunch in Champoeg State Park

Flats R Lame

Can high cruising speeds be maintained on a trike over the long haul? 

At the finish! Took this picture and then noticed: 
DOH! ANOTHER flat?? 
I only went to grab a cookie!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Careful Of That Diamond Frame Seat Color

LMAO - from the infamous FAIL blog:

Be careful what color your diamond frame seat is - just might look at bit "odd" to some...

Most Fun Steed In The Stable?


I am almost bewildered to post this, but today I discovered what bike is hands down the absolute most fun in our 4 recumbent-bike stable, and the most fun of all recumbents I have ever ridden.

My daughters Bike E

I took a brief "shakedown ride" today on it after doing a near complete tear down and clean, new sticky MTB pedals, computer, tires, brakes, etc, etc... I bought this bike last year but never actually rode it myself before the little one was off and riding it after my initial "all clear" safety check...

The Village Hut in Multnomah Village Portland, OR

Anyway, all I can say is this thing is a blast! It reminded me of my Burley Django - but even cooler (in a "DORK ALERT!" sort of way) and more fun. To my surprise the thing climbed very well - not really much slower than my F5 highracer over the same short distance but easily more comfortable, FUN, and more stable on the climbs. With a mega-range cassette and a 3x hub in the back there were gears to spare the hills. Sitting all upright - while likely a real pain in the tush over a long distance - was a real treat for me - being so used to laying waaaay back on the QNT and the F5. Wow.

I pondered this over lunch and it still amazes me. With how simple it is to adjust the Bike E to different size riders I will be riding this bike locally more often. You can sometimes find these things for a few hundred bucks on Craigslist too - what an ideal second bike or local lunch-go-getter!

Village Hut Food = Kick Ass Good

So out of all 4 recumbents in our stable - my new favorite for the local basher is the Bike E. I just plopped down on it and took off - no bags for the wallet,keys,phone, etc, etc - they won't fall out of the "normal" shorts I wore anyway like my other rides that really are not "regular clothing friendly". What a joy that was.

I have not had as much fun - probably looking like a massive dork on the road - since I started riding 'bents!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Cyclist Breaking Point

Everyone has a breaking point. For me as a cyclist - every driver that gets just a bit too close when they don't have to pushes that internal meter just a bit. The article here is an example of one cyclist who was pushed just far enough to finally take action into his own hands.

I can't condone the cyclists behavior, but I cannot be surprised at it either. As such I am not sure how to feel. While his actions were supposedly "in the wrong" I guess, its a bit refreshing to see someone stand up and not just cower over the white line and let yet another motorist feel like they "win" the car vs. bike battle of the day. Sorry but IMHO there just are some folks who deserve to be threatened with a rock to the face as it's the only thing they can respond to so that they "get it."

In a way I think it is a bigger lesson to drivers: : "Don't f@#k with that cyclist - he just might be a retired Marine ready to smash your skull with a rock!" The real thing to remember is he/she may likely be capable of actually using said rock.
Ten bucks says this motorist leaves cyclists alone the next time.

Everyone has a breaking point and his was clearly reached that day. I would bet that the driver won't mess with cyclists ever again. While he can relish in the fact that the judge found the cyclist "guilty" of the charge, the next retired Marine who wields a rock at his face might be the one to actually hit him with it - wether it is wrong to do so or not. I bet that diver soiled himself though. I would have loved to see that.

I love the picture too - the ex-Marine giving the driver a real good lesson in why being a mid-life-crisis asshat in a Convertible is just not "cool" to anyone.

And I disagree with the "lawyer" who said they could have called the police. We all know that would have resulted in nothing and it is a FOOLS ERRAND to "follow the law" in that type of situation. Now, if threats to CYCLISTS by drivers were actually taken seriously by authorities, I imagine one would not feel the need to crush someone's skull when the opportunity presents itself.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

'Bent Ladies

One thing that has fascinated me about riding recumbents is the odd reaction that comes from roadies at times. Sometimes when passing (or being passed) the comments are underhanded jabs at the type of bike I ride. Other times they are serious questions about the pros/cons of a recumbent. On occasion its hard to tell if the comments are serious of just another lame attack on a guys masculinity for no other reason than riding something apart from the Type-A crowd.

Either way, when my wife got a recumbent and switched from her road bike I noticed some interesting things.

First, in the past when I was riding with my wife, she was on her road bike and I was on my recumbent. Almost without fail the lycra clad crowd would roll up to us, and immediately strike up conversation with her ignoring my very existence. Sometimes even interrupting our own conversation. When I would speak up, inevitably a scoffed look would be shot my way. Sorry wannabelance - she's taken and don't interrupt our conversation and ride by slowing up and trying to throw down your lame Type-A game.

Now, when my wife started riding a recumbent is when the real confusion for the roadies starts. You see, recumbents are "supposed to be" (per some) the sole world of aerobelly bearded old dudes, the infirm, the slow, the whatever group - but NOT for good looking younger women.

I remember fondly riding similar routes and rides with my wife just after the "post-convert" stage. With both of us on recumbents what would be the reaction of the testosterone-laden to a women on a 'bent? Sometimes the results were funny and enough to almost send a few roadies into the ditch in disbelief.

The basic reaction has often times been thus: rider slowly passing me, I say "hi!" to which I might get no response. Sometimes I get a bewildered look and a speed up the cadence. Same rider then passes women on 'bent. Does double take. Realizes he just passed a woman. On a recumbent. Slows down to commence long talk with woman on recumbent asking inquisitive questions about the benefits, etc etc etc.


Well, maybe not so crazy. They are just filling their role trying anything possible to capture a piece I guess, even if it is talking nice to a rider about a bike platform they would otherwise ridicule in front of their own friends.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Enjoy the (Recumbent) View!

Well, it has been a bit too long since my last post - been busy with things and moving, etc... just hectic. Now that the weather is getting better and the days are getting clearer for riding, its time to relax and just ride and enjoy the view.

The view. That is not a topic that you hear discussed much by the hardcore road bike group."I sure enjoyed the view on my ride today..." Not much. Sometimes I think the reason is that the "view" really refers to the front tire or the front 10 feet of roadway directly in front of the cyclist. To get a "better view" requires a craning upward of the neck. That can be a pain after a while, so the natural view of the front tire just comes easily given the riding position on a road bike.

On a 'bent the view is everything right in front of you - like when you go to the movies and nab that perfect seat before the crowds show up. Bam. And by everything in front I mean the horizon line, the ground, the sky overhead, ahhh.... you will not ride along on a road bike and take pause while in mid pedal to look skyward and gawk at the clouds this much is true.

Maybe this is why so many roadies are riding so fast all the time: just nothing good to look at so might as well get it over with. Not sure myself - while the rest are craning their necks to see the view I'll keep on keeping on the recumbent riding along enjoying the BEST view on the road with no neck straining required (or at least no neck straining unless the view I have starts to strain it):

:) Ride on!