Wednesday, June 22, 2016

N+1

I have been in the market for a good folding bike that I can take when traveling. It was important to have a good and solid build. Too many hinges weaken and flex over time. I also wanted one that had descent components, non proprietary parts and did not break the bank. It didn't have to fold quick or tiny as I was not using it for commuting on trains or buses. It just had to breakdown small enough to carry in my car or motor home. My research led me to the Xootr Swift. One of my concerns was it's reported stiff ride. After all comfort is the reason I ride a recumbent. I was also not pleased with the low end Sram x4 rear derailuer and 8 speed 11/28 cassette with 52t front chainring especially given the $800 price tag. Fortunately, I found a dealer outside of Philly who had one in stock I could try. The ride was better than expected and the shifter worked well enough but I new it would be a matter of time before I would upgrade. There was a customer there who praised the bike and said he did many self-contained tours and was very happy with the bike. I later went home still pondering whether to buy. I later did a wide search on Craigslist and found an almost new one at half the price. It had upgraded 9 speed 11/32 cassette with Shimano 105 rear deraileur and a Paul Thumby shifter. After another 1 1/2  hr drive to Pa it was mine. My first ride was 26 miles and It was faster than my Fuji. Yesterday after adding kickstand, bag, water bottle cage and phone holder I managed a very enjoyable 41 miles at a respectable average for me. The stock seat is as comfortable as it's going to get on a traditional bike. Gearing was adequate for the hills in my area but I see upgrading to an 11/34 when this wears out. What makes this bike stand out is it rides like a full size bike and only weights 25 lbs stock, 5 lbs less than my Fuji. The small 20x1.5 tires make for a harsher ride but the chromoly fork helps dampen things. So far I am very pleased and should work fine for it's intended use.


Needs kickstand



Some pictures from the website in various folded states




Friday, June 3, 2016

May The Force Be With You

May started off slow with only 4 rides in the first 2 weeks mostly due to weather. The second half things picked up and I finished with a total 20 days and 725 miles. I even pedaled the last 10 days straight. Those last 2 weeks were quite warm and my pace slowed measurably. In order to keep things interesting I had 6 days and 165 miles on my Fuji beater bike. I enjoy the change and am good up to 25 miles before my butt starts complaining. I have a new seat coming so will see if that helps. I also have tires coming for both trike and bike. My right front tire wall started separating and was lucky to make it back intact. In all fairness the tires have over 7k mi and were due for replacement. Although I very much enjoyed my Tryker tires I have opted for the more durable Marathon per reviews. They are also less expensive. I also had a rear flat on my Fuji and noticed some wear. The bike does not have many miles but the tires are original and are 7 years old so I ordered some inexpensive touring tires on sale from Performance bike.
I'm not sure what's in store for June as we have a trip planned and I don't ride many miles as my wife does not share my passion for cycling.
That's it for now and I am really enjoying the warm weather and retirement.

Tour De Elizabeth with son and grandson Jesse

Side wall separating

Perfect day and rode 41 miles

Butterflies at lake

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tour De Elizabeth

I rode this event today with my son, his girlfriend and my 8 year old grandson Jesse. The event is a 15 mile ride around the city of Elizabeth sponsored by Groundwork Elizabeth.

What is Groundwork Elizabeth?
Founded in England in 1979, the Groundwork program engages the public sector, the private sector and the community in addressing challenges in urban communities.

This event was like a mini 5 Boro Tour, extremely well supported by the city's Police, Fire, Ems, and many other volunteers. Streets were blocked from cars and pedestrians and there was always a cheering crowd. Kudos to all that made it possible. I highly recommend this ride if you are in the area and will be on my annual ride list.
For the record we rode 3 miles to and from the event for a total of 22.2 miles.
I am very proud of my grandson Jesse for a supper ride and longest to date.
6:30 am ride to my son's house.


Nice T-shirt they gave out.




Jesse


Ride complete but still have 3 mile home

Waiting to see if we won any raffles, nope!

Walking to the diner to refuel after event.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Take The Long Way Home

Today was to be one of those 10 best days so I opted for an early start. 5 miles into the ride and I lost the sun. Temps remained mild and there was little wind so I planned for a 40 miler and maybe more. My 18 mile mark is where I have to decide if I want to take the long scenic ride with no short cuts home. That's a minimum of 50 miles with no if's and's or but's. I was feeling good in spite of no sun so it was a no brainer, onwards and upwards. The last month and a half have had their fair share of rain and I lost many cycling days compared to March so I was excited to make this ride last. It was one of those days I had no place I had to be. Even what little wind was at my back for the last 15 miles and yes the sun finally followed me home.
What a great ride!






Wednesday, April 6, 2016

March Madness


Overall March was a great month with 20 days and 733 miles. April on the other hand has gotten off to a slow start with cold, wind and rain. It was so cold yesterday I didn't even go outside. Temps did not get above freezing until well after noon. Come on, I know it's Spring, my lawn service has started. Today promised warmer temps, less wind and plenty of sunshine. It was just above freezing when I left and I had to wear all my Winter clothes. Fortunately, things warmed up quickly and I was able to remove 1 jacket and exchange Winter gloves for lighter ones. It wasn't warm but the sun felt good with light winds from the south. I managed 41 miles and then ran some errands by bike. My body is a bit sore from not riding for 5 days. Forecast not looking good with rain tomorrow and cold continuing into next week. Being fully retired has taken the burden of jamming miles in when I can but it's time already for Spring.
Winter clothes with wool cap and flaps down

Jacket off flaps up.

Friday, March 11, 2016

440 revised to 540

It looks like I'm back to full-timing on the trike. We have had some spectacular weather with temps flirting with 80, bright sunshine and mild winds. I was even able to ride a few days in my favorite outfit, shorts, t-shirt and sandals. It doesn't get much better than this. I just finished 4 in a row of 40+ days and I feel great. I have to say the trike is much more comfortable and makes longer days easier. Looks like 1 more nice day. It won't be a t-shirt day but hoping for shorts, sandals and little wind.
Knickers

My favorite outfit

Lost my light and found it next day at mile 9

Found this on my ride.
How cool is that.
Well I managed to get another 41 miler. Temps 15 degrees cooler but bright sunshine and little wind. Next few days look nasty. Nice to see some color and another Garden snake.
Finally Spring color

Another Garden snake.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Back On The Horse

I finally got to replace my Microshift bar-end shifters and got out for a 35 mile test ride on my trike. It was a beautiful mid 40's day with lots of sunshine and little wind. A welcome reprieve from the harsh Winter cold, rain, wind and snow. It all started back around Christmas when I decided it was time to change my cassette and chain with an overall good cleaning. It was a simple job I had done many times over the years but when I reassemble everything it would not shift properly. Thinking I had done something to the derailuer when cleaning, I decided to swap it out. After many hours of frustration and still having shifting problems I brought the trike into my LBS. It took a while but my mechanic finally found the culprit which was a bad cable housing. Unfortunately, until that was diagnosed we had played and screwed up too many things. I took the bike home and all was not well. The next day after much frustration I brought the trike back and said keep it as long as you have to until you fix the issue. It was unseasonably warm and the only bike at my disposal was my Fuji beater bike. That was the beginning of my new found relationship. A few days later my mechanic felt all was good. Well it wasn't, and I took matters back in my own hands. It wasn't long before I bent the derailuer hanger beyond repair. The trike sat for a week waiting on a new hanger. Hoping that would solve my problems I took it out for a test ride and still had shifting issues. In the meantime I was quietly enjoying the simplicity of my Fuji and the short 20-25 mile Winter rides. To my surprise I managed my 64 mile birthday ride. Anyway, there was nothing left to change but the shifter which I suspected from the beginning. I was going through cables every 4-5k miles which seemed too often. In addition it seemed to have lost it's snap. So I decided to bite the bullet and ordered new shifters. In the 32k miles on my trike I have gone through 2 Shimano shifters and 1 Microshit. I believe riding a recumbent requires more frequent shifting hence quicker wear. I installed the shifters and was able to get a good test ride the next day. The new shifters are a slight upgrade and have a crisp clean snap and precise shifting.
I am happy to report after 2 long months all is good again.