Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
A) My Book is Done
B) "New" bike - Eagle Training
C) First documented coast to coast ride on Eagle HiWheel
D) 2009 Mayors' Ride on Facebook
E) 2009 Ride Schedule
F) Ines Brunn in Palo Alto, CA 4/4
a) Five years in the making, I finished the last rewrite of “How America can Bike and Grow Rich, The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto” on Feb 9. During the month of March it will be in edit mode before we then run it out as a PDF that will be password protected and sold for a nominal price to build fire for the vision it contains
B) Upon completion of the above book that I will be touring with this summer, I have been away from it for a few weeks now with the next major hurdle over which I have to jump - the Eagle HiWheel bicycle that you see pictured below.
While mine is an almost exact reproduction made in 1991 of the bike (while mine is an Eagle, the photo is of a Star) you see being ridden down the steps of the US Capitol here in 1891, it is still tricky to ride. The benefits as you will see in this blog that I am running for this ride, however, are many, such as the ability to climb hills instead of walking them. As well, it is an amazing machine built like a Swiss watch by the father and son team of Jim and Jim St Spillane. Note: If you go to the first entry in this blog, you can see a video of me learning how to mount this amazing bike!
C) The coast to coast crossing I will be doing on it will be the first documented ride for a bike like this across the United States. While there may have been someone who rode a reverse HiWheel from the East Coast to the West back in the late 1800s, no one seems to know who it was or have any details. While there is no argument about the fact that it has never been done from West Coast to East....
D) I also got on Facebook a few weeks ago. And a lot of the build up I have been doing for this ride is documented there. And indeed it is a worthy place for such activity since a lot of the bike people and their activism shows up there. I had wondered where a lot of the names I had grown accustomed to seeing on web based bicycle forums had disappeared to. They're all on Facebook. Become one of my friends. Go to Facebook, search for me by my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
E) The 2009 Mayors' Ride schedule that I will be riding is at http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide2009
F) And last and yet probably one of the most important parts of this post is Ines Brunn's appearance here in America in Palo Alto on April 4 as per this page. I am posting this last because you will be seeing a lot about her upcoming show in the month ahead. And I am excited!! This woman can do magic on a bike beyond anything you can imagine. Until she comes to help me make the Summer of 2009 real, spend spend some time at her WEB!
THX 4 all of U!!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
As for today's ride, even though at 2:15 AM I told my Facebook friends I was still up working my TransAm ride because rain seemed likely today and thus no riding, I rode anyway. At 7AM the skies were clear enough for me to try to out my rebuilt brake!
You see, I was at Matt Christy's home shop until 9PM and didn't get home until 10 as he lives in San Mateo, twenty miles away. To get there. I took one of my rare rides in a car. And yet there again, I've been in Jeff Kistler's truck two times in three weeks now. Ugh... It was Jeff who took me to Sacramento to get the bike and it was Jeff again who took me to get the brake fixed. I just found out today that Dave Hershberger here locally had been sick all weekend long and that was why I had not heard back from him. Jeff, pictured below, put me on to Matt to get the weld I needed.
Not only did Matt engineer a little sleeve to join the two broken brake pieces but after we got it silver soldered back together, he then machined a bushing and new bolt and washer for where the lever affixes to the handlebar. One more reason why I had to get it out on 4 and 1/2 hours sleep. The whole assembly does not rattle any more and it operates like a Swiss watch like the rest of the bike.
We also talked about the pedal/foot connection. Matt pointed out that Adidas shoes tend to run narrower and that I should look into that. I told him that he was right as that is the kind of shoe I was now wearing. Still not affixed to the bike as tightly as I'd like, we discussed this further. Jeff pointed out that I can not just use modern pedals because their axle shafts are not long enough. Before I ask Jim Spillane if he can make me some new ones, I am going to see if I can make these Power Grips work that I have from recumbent guru, Kelvin Clark, of Angle Tech Cycles,. I will be sure to keep you posted!
Matt also marveled at how short my crank arms are. By his measurement, he came up with 150 mm! And indeed this is whoaaa when you consider that average crank length is in the 170's. While he thought more length would help me on the hills, I told him it would cause me to spin far too much on the flats.
I rode maybe 15 miles today as my late start gave me a lot of traffic that kept requiring me to stop. However having a brake now meant I could sprint for the tail end of green lights and stop if I came up short. Wow I had been missing that.
I also tried some no hands riding. I need to master that so I can stay on the bike while I do things that require both hands. For example. it warmed up enough that I took my jacket off today and tied it around my waist. And yet in order to do so, I had to stop. Bummer......
I also hit a pretty gnarly pot hole that was covered by rain water. And I got to see how the bike handled that. No problem. It did surprise me though.
Before I go off curbs however, I am going to see what my HiWheel elders are saying......
So much to learn - so little time to learn it.....
Boston here we come.....
Monday, February 23, 2009
I also got rolling into a rainbow that was in the sky ahead of me for the first half of my 12 mile loop. I even managed to get a picture of it at the bike tunnel that crosses under the rail tracks along Alma St at Homer.
I only rode 12 miles because I still do not have a brake, the roads were wet, it started to drizzle and there were cars, a lot of them, to deal with. Nor had I prepared to be out to begin with as I went to sleep in rain with more predicted.
I also biked with different shoes on. While my feet didn't seem to squish around as much on the pedals, I still do not feel as connected to the bike as I'd like. According to my Wheelmen networks, there is a guy in Czechoslovakia who makes pedals that might help me here. And as I was preparing this I went to his web site.
Seems Martin Cvrcek makes a steel pedal, mine are a comfy hard rubber, that is wider. Even if I don't go that route, I now know why I am having this problem. As Martin C states, men of 120 years ago had narrower feet. Kowabunga!!
In sum, I got some miles in. I prepared and sent this from my iPhone. And the drill for my soon ahead ride continues!!
I feel blessed that you have taken the time to look at this.
THX 4 all of U!!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Woke up to a steady drizzle that stopped and started. I got out into it when it seemed to have quit. It fooled me.
Five flat neighborhood miles later, however, were enough for me. I mean I was already pushing my luck by being out there without a brake so I packed it in having learned a couple of things.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I was on the road this morning at 6:30 AM. The 46 degrees was readily rideable because that is what I wake up to in this unheated garage, a part of the deprivation training I talk about in my on line book "How to Bike America". And the tremendous amount of energy I expend pedaling this bike keeps me warm all the way to the fingertips. This is important as I wear gloves that keep the fingers exposed so that I can work the touch screen on my iPhone for the voice recorder, time of day and the camera (when it gets lighter out).
I rode the flat streets, since I still don't have a brake, to Redwood City and back. Along the way, Dan Sellgson, of EveryTrail.com passed me on his way to a group ride in Woodside. He couldn't talk as he was running late, but as I watched him speed off, I thought about all the other winners there are here that use the bike to keep fit - on lots of levels. I thought about the man who is now running Apple. Tim Cook is a serious road cyclist who also uses the early part of the day to pedal his miles. Palo Alto is filled with other business leaders who ply its early AM roads on two wheels.
Asher Waldfoegel founded and helps to steer the operations of four different leading edge companies. He also has a serious two wheel habit. Our former Mayor, Yoriko Kishimoto, trains on a bike and her husband, Lee Collins, one of the top engineers at Apple, has commuted to there on a daily basis on a bike for years. A fair number of Google's top engineers also use their rides to work to stay keen. One of them, Steve Kanefsky, is highly esteemed for a lot of the breakthroughs he has been able to bring to Google for the mobile phone marketplace.
Coming back to my ride, I pedaled the part of a Alma I usually avoid because the surface is so bumpy. I wanted to see what it felt like on the Eagle. And guess what, I hardly felt it!! By sitting back on the seat and taking all my pressure off the bars, the front wheel lightly tapped along as the big 50" wheel hardly felt a thing. WOW!! I can't wait for more compromised macadam.
Early Saturdays are particularly quiet and the end of my ride was rewarded with even more success. A neighbor who is moving was having a garage sale. Because I helped her move a few things and she has to drastically downsize, she sold me a tool box half full of tools for 5 dollars!! I am still feeing the joy of what really was her gift to me as maybe it was her way of also honoring the ride I had just completed, Yahooo!!!!!
As I write this, I wonder what early tomorrow will bring as I hear the rain steadily pouring outside..
THX for taking in interest in this effort - THX 4 all of U!!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Got on the road a wee bit later today, at 6:30 AM, as I rode with my best friend, and NBG Board Member, Faye Saunders to her work at Apple Computer, a distance of almost 12 miles away. I've ridden with her to her job before so she was able to judge the performance difference between the two HiWheel bikes I ride. And the Eagle is a LOT faster. She observed that she no longer could dawdle along, some times ride the brakes or at other times coast. She admitted that she had to work a little bit. WoW!!
I keep forgetting to mention that when I awaken, I don't splash cold water on my face or eat anything. I do this because there will be times when water is hard to come by and I cannot let myself expect such luxury before I head off. As for food, I don't eat as a way to give myself a reward for getting as many miles in my legs as I can before the traffic and sun slow me down this soon upcoming summer.
Today I made my first cell phone call off the Eagle when Faye and I got separated from each other for a short while . I am also getting more and more comfortable drinking from the water bottle I carry at my side in my butt pak. And the photo you see that opens this post is of me coasting down a small hill with my legs crossed. In front of the tire and over the steer tube. Faye took it with the professional grade camera she is learning to use.
All I could see was progress. Until I got to Apple. As I pulled up and used the brake to help me with a pedal dismount, the top of the brake lever snapped apart. The top one inch of it shot across the cement and into the ground cover. 15 minutes later, I found it. I also realized that I had to ride home with NO BRAKES!
Because my other HiWheels do not have brakes, I knew I could stop and/or slow down easy enough by back pedaling. However on the Eagle, there is no step to jump on with a smaller real wheel I could then apply foot pressure to if an emergency stop was warranted. I really did have NO BRAKES - whoaaaaa......
But I made it home without any trouble.
THX for tuning in!!
btw: Dave Hershberger of Unwheeldy fame, sez he will weld the broken lever back together for me. Between him and Woodenbikes, Tom Kabat, the two of them have kept me on the the HiWheel road for almost six years now here in Palo Alto
Thursday, February 19, 2009
What an amazing joy it is to be actually on the bicycle road at 6AM. Everything is all so quiet and still. The few people that are out are too focused on getting to work or if they are outside, getting their work out in. Or in other words, no one bothers me, or for that matter seems too care if I am out there or tries to get my attention!
It also changes some of the way I pump the pedals. When I hit the street today , for example, I couldn’t just use some of the feeder roads that head for the hills, even though they were lightly traveled at this hour. Not wanting to bother with mounting lights, I made the decision to use quieter neighborhood streets as a warm up until there was sun.
This morning’s 20 mile loop was faster and I could feel my upper body getting more used to the work at hand. I also took my first iPhone picture. I have included it with this message. I also went up a 10% grade that slowed me to a crawl. I so wanted to use the strong muscles in my back to pull through it but I couldn’t. On the Eagle, it is all legs. Wow.
What I see from this is that since I can can climb out of the saddle on this machine, I have really got to start practicing my technique. Moving from all my many years and miles on a recumbent and then eight years on a regular HiWheel, I have got to go back in time to when I used to be a pretty strong climber. On an upright. It was then that I used to jockey the seat back and forth as I always was up the mountains of the East Bay faster than anyone I rode with.
I have also got to learn no hands and then how to lift my front wheel over curbs and other objects in the road instead of powering over them. And like an upright, I have also got to get used to the seat enough so that my genitals are not bothered.
I am also going to have to talk to my HiWheel brethren about the foot pedal connection. Unlike an upright or even a recumbent, this bike does not have clipless pedals or for that mater toe clips or any way of anchoring oneself to the pedals. I am realizing that part of the reason I did not want to come all the way out of the saddle on my 10 percenter was because my feet were sliding all over the soft rubber pedals. Hmmm…
I am learning a lot and will have a lot more to show and tell when I can get this EveryTrail program going again…..
THX 4 all of U!!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
As the blacbirds chirp here at the Los Altos Whole Foods. I am resting after 20 early AM miles. Makes my upcoming ride seem so imminent, so real. I climbed into my sleeping bag (in the garage) with my bike shorts on along with the rest of my riding wear. 5:30 am awake. See the ride. Do some light planning. And I was off! By the time i got going it was 42 degrees tho I work so hard on this bike I hardly felt it.
Couldnt see the pedal very well to start so it took me a while to get going. It felt nice to be one of the fee people on the road. It was a joy to see a sunrise instead of a computer screen. Or the bikes hanging in my garage.
I had more that I typed but WordPress seems to have lost it. This is my first post here since Blogger does not make an iPhone app. Hmmmm….
THX for your interest - THX 4 all of U!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This is so because in 1891 when some number between 100 and 200 of the of them were produced, they went out of business with all the other HiWheel bikes the next year. This was due to the pneumatic tire and improvements in the chain that gave two equal sized wheels a performance advantage they had not before enjoyed. Word has it that if you can get one of those bikes, they are usually worth well over $10,000 dollars! The **exact** reproduction that father and son Jim and Jim Jr Spillane made a hundred years later looks and performs like the crowned jewel that it truly is.
Because of all the storms we have had out here in CA of late, I have not been able to really get it out and roll the miles. I am getting better at mounting and can usually get on after a couple of failed attempts. Today I achieved a couple of firsts on the bike. I did a 6 mile ride between storms and carried about 10 pounds of groceries on my back. Why this is noteworthy is because this bike is extremely sensitive. The more weight you carry, the more you have to make up for it to keep the front wheel on the ground by leaning forward or changing where you sit on the seat. The extra weight also requires small adjustments in the way the bike is mounted.
The other first was stopping at a fence and staying on the bike. I did this at a busy intersection close to my home where I rarely get the light and am often times there when a train is on its way through. Even just stopping an Eagle this way is tricky. And then getting going again equally as tedious.....
Keeping my hands from going to sleep is another small gotcha I am learning how to move through. While two days before non stop rain arrived, I did my first hill on the Eagle. Wow, what a surprise. Almost too easy. Or at the very least, compared to my standard Ordinary. It climbs hills like a regular bike!! Still getting used to how far I can lean **over ** the bars (which is probably unlimited) and look forward to being proficient enough with my bike handling skills to release the seat clip so that I can use it for leverage.
And then there is legs over the steer tube. What an amazing sensation!! In such a way, when gravity is forcing the pedals to spin out of control, faster than what your legs can manage, you just cross them over the steering shaft in front of the wheel. And oh my God, the Spillanes did such an incredible job on this machine, it feels like your are floating above the road below.
A high performance HiWheel, I look forward to learning no hands, how to lift the front wheel over curbs and how to float the front wheel as I ride the giant unicycle that it almost really is!!
THX 4 letting me share this excitement with you!!
THX 4 all of U!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In all, I logged a little under 25 miles. Along the way, my left hand kept falling asleep. I think that I can remedy this by adding cloth tape to the bars. Also did my first hill. An underpass! It got the best of me on my first pass. However, on the way back I nailed it. It was the ease that surprised me.
I also carried liquid in my butpak for the first time (for the last few days, all I had in my waist pak was keys, credit cars and a crescent wrench). I bought a one quart bottle of water at the Whole Foods in Redwood City along with a few snacks. Not only did the extra three or four pounds change where I sat on the seat, it also threw me off when I mounted. I failed 5 times before I got it right
Like riding a giant unicycle, there are times when my front wheel is barely making contact with the ground. So much to learn. So excitng!!
Friday, February 6, 2009
There are only some number between 100 and 200 of these bikes still in existence from the three year Eagle Manufacturing Co run that ended in 1891. The bike I will be riding is an exact replica made in 1991 by the legendary father and son team of Jim and Jim Jr. Spillane.
With a ton on my plate, besides learning how to consistently mount and then ride the Eagle, I must become good enough to run the camera and gps device that EveryTrail.com will be helping me track my ride with....