Saturday, June 21, 2014

A definite improvement

At 7:30 this morning, I took my improved ride out for a 5K test run - in spite of the already hot temperature. Without really pushing things (or even getting into the 52 tooth chainring), I hit over 20 MPH on an essentially flat course and finished in 16:12 - which is over SEVEN Minutes better then my previous PR for a 5K. The SRAM DD3 hub was major factor!

Average speed 11.4 MPH - which is getting into the area I need to Boston Qualify (13.1 MPH average).

It will take a little time to get ideal shifting, etc down pat, but for a first time try in less than ideal weather, this was a BIG improvement. Once I get onto a course where I can really use the big chainring, my top speed should take a big jump upward.

July 4th, there is the 'Walk to Liberty', which goes across the bridge between Calhoun and Liberty (wonder where they got the name) Counties. There is a nice hump in the bridge - and I should be able to max out my speed going down into Liberty County. The Speed Limit is 55 MPH - and I intend to see if I can break that limit. If I can spin up to 120 cadence, I should be doing 56 MPH - we shall see!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Getting my "Baby" back ...

I'm back from The Great Bicycle Shop -

SRAM DD3 Hub installed - check (36 spoke 3 - cross using DT Swiss Stainless Steel spokes and brass nipples!);

52T and 24T chainrings installed - check;

Move parking brake to left crank grip - check (makes it a LOT easier to double up on braking);

Mount the DD3 trigger shifter on the left crank grip - check;

Tune all the brakes, shifters, and do an "oil change and grease job" - check;

Do all that at a GREAT price - check!

Right now the 'feels like' is in triple digits, so I am NOT going out for a test ride ... yet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sturmey Archer redux

I contacted Sturmey Archer with some questions about using drum brakes on a handcycle ... and after a wait of several days, received an answer.

They have two models specifically designed for recumbent bicycles, wheelchairs and handcycles that use bolt on wheels - the X-SD and the XL-SD. The difference - size. The X model is 70mm and the XL weighs in at 90mm.

I had been unable to find a source for these, so that was one of my questions ... and the answer was - Bike Tools, etc. $125 for ONE brake - and that doesn't include the brake lever or cable. Add in spokes (needed to lace this hub into my current wheels), brake lever, cable and other needed items, and you are looking at close to $200 for EACH wheel.

I would love to have the extra security (and possible steering improvement), but $400 isn't going to happen any time soon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Neurological State of the Body

My VA Primary Care Physician has not been happy with my falls, etc ... so he set up a follow-up appointment with Neurology. I'm not happy with a FOUR hour drive to see a VA Neurologist ... and I'm not real happy with what he said.

He feels some of my problems are due to Intermittent Circulatory Claudication - so he is scheduling an appointment with Vascular Surgery for ultrasound testing;

He is concerned about some finding and is setting up Cat Scans of my Thoracic and Lumbar Spines (can't do a MRI because of the metal in the Right Ventricle of my heart);

Additionally, he is setting up a couple of gallons of blood work (maybe not that much, but a LOT), because some of my issues can be caused my some Vitamin and Mineral problems;

All this coordinated through my Primary Care Physician in Tallahassee.

Once the results are in, then more intensive testing will probably take place - oh joy!

Other than that, I'm in pretty good shape. I'm getting a prescription for an anti-nausea medication to take during my Migraine Headaches (and possibly be placed back on Fiorinal with Codeine - everyone needs barbiturates and codeine [NOT!])

Friday, June 13, 2014

Now I wait ...

I took my racing chair over to The Great Bicycle Shop yesterday - and was given a great price to have the two chainrings installed, the SRAM DD3 hub laced into the drive wheel, the shifter for the SRAM hub installed and all the shifters adjusted.

Unfortunately, after checking dimensions, they don't have the right sized spokes in stock ... so it will be "maybe Wednesday but probably Thursday" of next week before my ride is ready to pick up.

They already have the chainrings on ... but said that without the fancy Shimano ramps and pins, it was problematic to get a shift to the big 52 tooth chainring. I have some thoughts on that, but I don't see that being a real problem.

I mentioned some of my concerns about the crank arms and braking - they are going to check around to see what they can come up with for better fitting crank arms and the best choice of brakes for the rear wheels. They agreed that only having the one front caliper brake was "less than idea" - especially in the wet. Adding independent real wheel brakes would allow two things - MUCH better braking in an emergency stop situation and possibly better turning by braking just one wheel on the rear. Recumbent bikes use independent brakes on the dual front wheels to turn, and I'm hoping I can achieve a similar effect.

I've been doing some more looking into things, and decided that disc brakes on the rear would be problematic because of the lack of good mounting choices for the brake calipers. Another options I've came across - Sturmey Archer drum brakes. There are four basic choices - with or without a dynamo (powers lights, etc) and 70mm or 90mm brakes. Given the speed I can potentially reach going down steep inclines, I'm leaning toward a pair of the large brakes. They are only about $9.00 more per hub and provide a good deal of extra security. Yes, they do have the disadvantage of being a little heavy, but these brakes work in the wet, may give me better turning ... and the thoughts of the extra safety from better brakes overcomes any weight disadvantage. If I had had a pair of these on the rear on my leased handcycle, I would not have had my crash!

Another advantage to going this route - the higher flanges on the hub will make for stronger wheels on the rear.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finally ...

Both chainrings are in

24 teeth at the slow end and 52 teeth for the top end - that looks like a HUGE difference. It looks a little better with the 36 tooth middle chainring in place.

Tomorrow, I'm taking the racing chair, the SRAM DD3 hub and the two chainrings to a local bike shop to have the hub laced to the rim, the 9 speed cassette moved to the DD3 hub and the chainrings installed. Once all that's done, the racing chair gets a good tuneup on the shifters, etc.

There are still some things that I want to change ... but they will have to wait.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A little off topic

I've been keeping track of browsers and Operating Systems used by people visiting my blog - and this week is rather anomalous.

By Browser:
  1. Firefox - 36%
  2. Silk - 35%
  3. Chrome -  14%
  4. Internet Exploder - 6%
  5. Safari - 5%
  6. Opera - 1%
By Operating System:
  1.  Linux - 35%
  2. Windows - 32%
  3. Macintosh - 23%
  4. iPad - 3%
  5. Android - 2%
  6. iPhone - 1%
  7. Other Unix - 1%
What does all this mean?

Safari is the primary browser for Apple products (the way Internet Exploder is for Windows) - however, with 27% of the Operating Systems being on Apple Products and only 5% of visitors using Safari, it looks like a lot of people are avoiding Safari for some reason. That's odd, because Safari is actual a good browser.

6% still use Internet Explorer Exploder! Haven't you heard that there are MUCH better options? IE is better than it used to be - but is still a long way behind other browsers. Do yourselves a favor and check out Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera.

Silk? What's up with that? I guess the Kindle Fire is much more popular than I thought, because that's the browser Amazon makes standard on the Kindle Fire line of tablets.

Firefox (as usual) is the number one browser - wisely so, imo.

Linux is the number one Operating System - really? Maybe the Kindle Fire users explain this.

Android users outnumber the iPhone users - which is unusual. Personally I prefer Android, but the iPhone is more popular most of the time. Who knows.

Just thought I would share this - and thank my visitors from Germany, Spain, Croatia and the Ukraine. Edit: Israel joined the fun - and so has Russia.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Better and Better!

The second chainring shipped today, and should be here Monday or Tuesday (USPS Priority Mail).

I contacted several bike shops in Tallahassee to get some rough estimates for replacing the chainrings, building the wheel with the SRAM DD3 hub and tuning up all the shifters, etc. and got a really good price from one of the top rated shops.

I should be taking my ride over on Wednesday or Thursday to get things started, and have it ready for pickup on Friday or Saturday. While it's in the shop, I'm going to see if they have any suggestions about the crank arms - who knows, they may know someone that can custom make a set.

Sunday I should be taking it out for a good test run including a few small hills to check out the low end and get an idea how the top end looks - the hills aren't really long enough to get a real head of steam up, but I'll get a good idea how it will handle on a longer run.

What am I hoping for? Getting my average speed into the 12 to 15 MPH range. To Boston Qualify, I need to average 13.1 MPH for a full Marathon, so ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Things are looking up

Cheap airfares are popping up ... and I found a round trip fare from ECP (Panama City Beaches) to DCA (Ronald Reagan National) and return for under $200. It would cost more than that in gas alone to drive, so ... I'm booked on the flight and Achilles International will arrange for pickup and return to Ronald Reagan National.

I have been tweaking my handcycle extensively, and have gotten a much better fit. Still not ideal, but a good deal closer. I need to drop the bottom bracket another 1" to 1 1/2" to be the ideal height - that won't happen without different crank arms ... which is in the $400 range.

Now I just need the final chainring to come in so I can get the new gears and SRAM DD3 hub installed. Once that's done, I will start some serious training. I REALLY want to get my times down so I can try for a Boston Qualifier ... which means a Marathon in under  TWO hours!

Two hours? Can I do it? Maybe - but it's going to take a lot of training ... and maybe some better additions to the handcycle. Next up on my wish list - competition wheels from Zipp ... but they are WAY too expensive on my budget.