Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mango Sport on the Road

I had taken the Mango Sport off the road for a while. She got hurt by some bollards and it took a while to repair her and I got a bit out of shape in the meantime. I allowed this to bench my mango. In April I was considering selling her but decided against it. Instead I have cleaned her up, got all the electronics working, horn, turn signals, lights, taillight, etc. I took her our for a short ride today, I am still out of shape and moving the Velomobile is harder work than my Raptobike. But I put 5 or so miles in about half of it up hill. The mango is such a great bike and I am happy it is on the road again. Once I get into commuting shape I will be riding her 3-7 days a week. I am super excited.

One of the nice things about the mango is how everyone smiles and waves at you. The energy is very positive and I could use more of that.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Out for a ride

So I tuned up the Raptobike and took her out on a couple of rides. I did about 15 miles on Friday and 18 on Saturday. Of all of my bikes I am most adjusted to the raptobike and so it was a breeze. No discomfort or real stress even though I haven't been riding at all. I am very pleased and am looking forward to the riding season this year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cruzbike Silvio

So I am making some changes in my life and want to get back in shape. This means getting a bike I will ride. I won't ride a diamond-frame or any non-recumbent. I gave it a whirl and it is just too hard on my body. The Raptobike aka White Rabbit is a great bike but it has some failings of my own design. I switched to disk brakes and a drum brake rear making it too hard to change any tire. It still has a 20" front wheel which has been difficult during road construction or any obstruction of my cycling route. I am also more fearful since a few people have been killed on my commute route. It also won't fit in any of the cars we own at the Watson house and I like having that backup if something goes wrong on a ride.

The Mango is difficult to work on and repair. I love the bike but unless I learn to be a better bike mechanic I will be selling it to buy a Cruzbike Silvio V30 or possibly a Vendetta V20 (both are approximate seat angles by the way, not versions). The bent online community is conspiring to have me choose the Vendetta and I do prefer a stiff frame but I get ahead of myself. The two Cruzbike models mentioned are both high end bikes that perform well in the road riding world. They have both been involved in record setting mostly by Maria Parker, who is an amazing athlete. They are Front-Wheel Drive Moving Bottom Bracket bikes, aka FWD-MBB. This means that the pedals up front turn with the front end. It apparently takes some getting used to though it has advantages in climbing. Various types of theorists may fight over that claim but anecdotal evidence supports the climbing benefits. I don't think I will have too much of a learning curve and if I just ride the darn thing then I will adjust. The level of comfort I have even now on the Raptobike is very high and I have had some interesting spills on it.

Given that the Vendetta has a lower seat height and other advantages, if I can get it into a Ford Focus Hatchback than I will likely make that my choice. At this point in time. I could change my mind. I also hope to buy a few new accessories with the mango money, lights, camera, gps, bike bags and a hard-shelled bike box for air transit. But that is more long term. At the moment I am cleaning up my bikes, doing the basic maintenance and riding. Lets see how it goes...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cool car with 2 wheels - the C-1 by Lit Motors

Lit Motors has is coming out with an enclosed motorcycle with all the amenities of a car and an electric power train. It stays stable with built-in gyroscopes and control software that Lit Motors has been working on for 8 years. It does have a "kickstand" for parking. For anyone who has read this blog before it looks very much like some of the recumbent streamliners or velomobiles shown here before. In fact it looks very much like a sketch of 2 wheel velomobile that I have been drawing except that the wheels are unfaired.

The stats are impressive:

  • Range: approximately 200 Miles
  • Battery pack: 8KWh to 10KWh still working it out
  • Top Speed: 120 mph
  • 0 to 60: roughly 6 seconds
  • Cost: roughly $24,000
  • Motors: 40 kW Hub motors in each wheel, that's right an AWD motorcycle

The vehicle shown is a concept bike so there are unfinished details such as headlights, windshield wipers, etc. But production is supposed to start in 2013 with its launch price of $24k and a target price of $16k once it is mass produced. It gets roughly three times the range of the Nissan Leaf with roughly one third the batteries. Depending on how Lit Motors engineers the charge port this means that the range per hour of charge can be very high, up to 100 miles of range per hour of charging with a standard Level 2 charger. If they use the cheaper design it would be 50 miles of range per hour of charging. Either one exceeds the Leaf's charge times of 10 miles of range per hour. I don't believe they have any desire to support Level 3 fast charging at this time.

Space wise it fits driver + 1 where the one is relatively cramped. That same spot is for cargo, and could easily fit groceries, dry cleaning, a hiking backpack, my two small dogs (Casey and Lucy), etc. It is designed for commuting and light errands which most people do alone. It is also designed for safety. It will have airbags and the gyroscopic system is designed to detect impact and maintain stability. This means that if it is T-Boned it will skid to the side and remain upright. There are 1300 ft-lbs of torque available in the flywheels. The C-1 also drives like a car, albeit a car that leans into turns. They produced this nice video which has some interesting imagery as well showing the driver's point of view as she goes through San Francisco.

For me this is a great vehicle for a new college graduate living in an apartment. I assume that charging is something that apartment owners are going to have to deal with. Putting in L2 chargers underneath car ports seems a no-brainer to me. But putting that aside, this would have been great for me when I graduated. I could go to and from work, pick up my groceries, pick up a date, go on hikes, take a trip to Portland, drive out to Vancouver, BC. Heck you could pick up a TV or computer easily enough. Anyone single could use this as their main vehicle without much trouble. It is all weather and the range is great. The standard couple in the US has two cars nowadays. Replacing one car with a c-1 seems to make sense. It can do all the light errands, commuting and even be a date night vehicle.

Personally my wife and I had been considering an EV this year, either the Ford Focus EV or the Nissan Leaf looked like a good second car. But for my usage patterns the C-1 is better. The extra range opens up some solo excursions such as hiking in North Bend and trips to the Human Powered Challenge@PIR (Portland, OR). I could visit friends in Wenatchee and bring a folding bicycle as well. It is over $10,000 cheaper than the Leaf and Focus as well as having lower operating costs. I am strongly considering putting down a reservation at Lit Motors.

Here is a slideshow of pictures I collected of the C-1. Edited to correct specs based on emails from Lit Motors.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What D&D Character am I?

This was fun. Somone posted this and I checked it out. I had some fun with the generator. When I have more time I might try to game it and see what results I can get.

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Wizard (6th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sandy Earl's new 12/24hr Record

Sandy Earl 12_24hr Record Attempt 287

Sandy Earl recently attempted and pending ratification by UMCA broke the 12hr and 24hr cycling records in the female recumbent class. She broke the UMCA upright record as well but I believe it is spared by the category. I was an official and took a number of pictures of the event. Sandy is an amazing rider who has the endurance and determination to put the rest of us to shame. She is also very nice and a joy to work with.

The Officials were lead by David Bradley
Sandy Earl 12_24hr Record Attempt 318
As you can see he is a towering figure who made sure we did everything right. I had a great time and was honored to witness such an incredible achievement.

Sandy put together this great video of the event

I would love to work with any of the crew and Sandy again, I had a great time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Politics are depressing nowadays.

STP 2009
I haven't posted much in the political realm recently. Mostly because I am depressed. The lack of any focus on jobs and recovery coupled with the deficit mania is infuriating. I also have a strong interest in environmental causes. I would love to see an investment in green technology and a carbon tax. Yet most of the news on these fronts is quite bad. I know that there was some progress on health care but I don't understand why I should be happy about moderate republican policies from the '70s instead of progressive policies geared to our current challenges.

I also have no confidence in our leaders to fight against the Republican suicide squad in office and in our media. I fear that riots and anarchy will end up coming to the US if we don't make some changes now.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crashes and how it is always the cyclists fault

(Photo: Wash. Co. Sheriff)
A crash occurred in Washington County, OR. I used to live in that county. A pickup plowed into three cyclists from the rear on NW West Union Road about 1/2 mile east of the intersection with Jackson Quarry Road. Immediately the blame patrol works to blame the victims. Even with the picture to the right where one of the mountainbikes was embedded in the grill of the truck.

So we have a rear end collision. If it were a motor vehicle crash, the guy hitting from the rear is automatically at fault, but with bicycles it is all about how to blame the victim. Even though the pickup was going too fast for his headlights and driving too fast for conditions (by definition, he hit three cyclists). Everyone is already upset that the cyclists didn't have lights. Now sure, they probably should have, but they aren't required to and there is evidence that it wouldn't have made a difference. Because the driver hit THREE cyclists, one hard enough to embed the bike into the grill of his vehicle.

I understand why cyclists would want to review the situation to address what they could do better. But in no way should that have impact on who is at fault. The law is clear, cyclists are required to have rear reflectors. The bikes had those reflectors and studies have shown that reflectors are often better than lights in the cases where auto lights are very bright and wash out rear lights of the bike. With many cars running super bright LEDs now, it is important to have some reflectors facing backward. Reflectors are brighter under bright lights.

In the end the motorist outran his headlights or was not paying attention. Given the impact evident in the picture I suspect he wasn't paying attention. I am infuriated that the cyclists are in critical condition and paying the price for the motorists error. Additionally I can't abide how everyone wants to blame the cyclists who are the victims and give the motorist the benefit of the doubt. Our legal system posits innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean that our outrage and frustration are required to wait for proof as well.

(source: bikeportland)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tired but some thoughts on bikes

I am tired today, I have been slammed at work and kept chained to my desk by trying to support remote people via IM. My Mango is currently down while I deal with repairs and so I have been thinking about secondary bikes and fair weather bikes.

When I hurt my Mango (still a painful thought) I cleaned up and got both my Corsa and Raptobike road worthy again. The Raptobike process was basically filling the tires and adjusting the seat pad. The Corsa had been loaned to Doncl for testing and so I had to adjust the seat, change both tires and tubes. Then I had to get lights, seat bag, and all the accoutrements necessary for riding (water, snacks, keys, tools, pump) all set up.

The raptobike is still my favorite bike ever. It is just an amazing machine and now that I have the mango I am considering modifying my setup to be less commuter/tourer and more light and fast. I was thinking of changing the gearing from Rohloff to 65t big ring, and 9 speed cassette with 11-28. That is 42-108 gear inches, a bit high end but doable for a fast bike. Switch everything back to v-brakes and go as light and strong as I can with the wheels. I would put dacron wheel covers (home made) on the rear wheel too. I would strip off all accessories except the fastback bags. I would leave my tail lights on too (two on rear fork, one on headrest). I could remove the lights for racing. I could use this for sunny organized rides and group rides in the puget sound once I get my fitness back.

I am also considering the raptobike midracer.
RaptoBike Mid Racer

Big wheels, fast bike, and it is a travel bike. Wow hard to resist.

Then Arnold at Raptobike also shows us his new prototype, the Raptotrike:

It blows me away that a tiny manufacturer based in the Netherlands has such a variety of amazing products. The raptobike lowracer is awesome and a great price point. I don't even see competition for the raptobike midracer, which is pretty amazing, and then the raptotrike tilting delta, wow. And Arnold wants to do a streamliner kit for the trike too.

Very impressive and I am a very happy customer of Raptobike.