Monthly Archives: November 2010

Velomobile + Hill = Speed

I’ve not spent a lot of time seeing how fast I can ride downhill with my Leitra, but it sure is fun. I’ve exceeded 50 MPH on a previous trike I owned on a hill outside of Americus, IN.
This blog entry talks about one of the benefits of velomobiles, speed. It’s all about aerodynamics and efficiency. Here in Indiana, I notice this most on windy days. The Leitra makes head winds up to about 10 MPH hardly noticeable in terms of changes in speed or effort, although you do notice the extra air blowing through the air vents. At higher wind speeds, you can notice an increase in effort and a bit of extra down force on the front of the trike due to the wind pressure on the nose of the fairing.
It sure would be a fun to have a hill like the one in the video below to roll down. The Mango with the camera on it reaches about 63 MPH according to the blog entry I noted above which is the source of the video.

Recumbent TV

I just found out about an all recumbent bicycle video site, recumbent TV. There are numerous videos of rides on recumbents and video reviews of specific bikes. Very nice. If you are thinking about moving to a recumbent or a velomobile or just want to see what they look like in motion it’s worth a visit. I particularly like this video of a Leitra. My Leitra is very similar to the one in the video.

BeBop Breakdown

Surprise! Something for bike geeks for a change…

About two years ago, I switched clip-less pedal systems from Shimano SPDs to VPone BeBops. I did this based on the extra “float” or amount of free twisting the shoe has on the pedal before encountering resistance or releasing the shoe from the pedal. The BeBops have about 20 degrees of float as compared to the 5 degrees of float offered by the SPDs. I occasionally suffer from knee pain and more float was supposed to help. I was also in need of new shoes at the time so I decided to switch.
Shoes and tools
The BeBop pedals did indeed help with the knee pain, are very comfortable, move smoothly when engaged and clip in and out easily. But they have not been as durable as I would like. I’ve broken two right pedals, possibly due to insufficiently clearing the plastic away from the crank side of the shoe near the cleat (see the picture below). And over the past few rides, the left cleat has started to come loose from the pedal without my turning it to release it. I noticed this on the Leitra and thought it might have been due to wear on the pedal given my earlier failures, but today I rode my V-Rex and had the same thing happen. Time to swap in new cleats. One of the old cleats is shown below on the top of the picture and a new cleat on the bottom.
Shoes with cleats
I had extra cleats from the pedal failures and expected this to be a 10 minute repair, but unfortunately, the two hole plate in the shoe that one screws the cleat into broke on my right shoe (see the pictures below). So I had to take the shoe apart and replace the plate turning this into a 45 minute repair. Ugh. At least I have two shiny new cleats now and I’m all set for the ride to work tomorrow.
Cleat and broken plate
Shoe plate

Random Act of Culture

I’m a big fan of Improv Everywhere and their random events, especially their musicals. Here’s a whole different spin on this.
Macy’s in Philadelphia is in the Wanamaker Building which is the only department store I know of that has its own pipe organ. This is the store the movie Mannequin was filmed in. It’s huge with a huge multi-story atrium. It’s a real neat place to visit if you are ever in Philadelphia.
Recently, 600 choristers from a number of local choirs mingled with the crowds and broke into the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. They are the folks with the buttons on in the video below. Enjoy!