I commuted on the Corsa today. I dinged my rim on the Raptobike when I hit a pothole hard yesterday morning. So the Raptobike is at the shop and they are trying to smooth out that ding, put on the new 13T cog and other random cleanup. Since it is spring the shop is very busy and I won't have the Raptobike back until Monday.
Additionally today is the day I need to pick up the "Bike to Work" team packet for Team M, my work team in the Group Health/Cascade Bike to Work challenge for May. I will have to visit REI tonight. I need to remember to tell Kristin as we have other plans that I need to postpone.
Go-one has a new Velomobile version that they are showing at Spezi 2009. It is called the Go-One Evolution. There is not a lot of information about it but it is an enclosed top in Velo now with an enclosed rear wheel. I find it very interesting and would love to hear more.
I was in Phoenix Friday through Sunday visiting my Dad. He is well and we got him a sun trike so he can get a bit of exercise. I returned late last night and did the long ride in with DKW today. 23 miles as we go up Juanita to Woodenville and then taking the Burke Gilman to Redmond and then up Old Redmond Way to Kirkland. Our standard loop for training.
I managed to run straight into a pothole and got quite the shock. I believe it put a ding in the front rim as hitting the brake now makes an annoying sound. I also had some issues with my light mount. So the Raptobike will go to the shop tomorrow and I will right the corsa for the rest of the week. The timing is right as the 13T cog is in for the Rohloff.
My Raptobike has become quite the commuter with over 70 miles of commuting on it now. I have gotten the seat and headrest adjusted just right so it is very comfortable. I also love the way I can accelerate on her. I hit 20 mph from a standing stop in under 1/2 a block on my way home. There is a section that I want to take the lane in which is flat but has traffic calming devices (pseudo traffic circles). Since if I am next to a car when I hit the "traffic circles" the car will kill me, I take the lane for 2 blocks. The speed limit is 25 so I ramp up the bike to 20ish and hold the lane until I make my left turn.
What I love about the Raptobike is how easy it is to do this. The acceleration off the block is fast, the shifting is seem less and she just jumps when I want to go zoom. I don't find getting to 20mph even hard, it just happens now. I love this as 20mph on my bike used to be a difficult thing. The lost weight and increased fitness has really paid off.
My Raptobike lowracer now has a VK2 Large seat on it. The new seat is lighter, narrower and doesn't have the upcurve at the bottom of the seat that goes around the frame. To keep my position far enough forward Matt at Kirkland Bike Shop did a bit of carbon surgery to cut a ellipse out of the seat so it fits around the frame and is far enough forward for me to maintain my boom length. As always I am very happy with Kirkland Bike Shop, they are very willing to work on my bike and help me customize the fit and parts to work for me.
I took the Raptobike w/VK2 seat out for a ride on Sunday in Wenatchee. I used the Zotefoam pad instead of the Ventisit pad I have. I really enjoyed the zotefoam pad and the seat is bigger. I do need to get my headrest back into play. I do get a bit of droopy neck without the headrest and my position is more reclined than it was before.
Overall I think if I had a Raptobike seat sized for me I would prefer it to the VK2 large seat, but the VK2 seat was good. I will now work on getting my headrest in place. I need to get some tiny rubber o-rings to go around the bolts so the headrest doesn't slide around.
On Sunday I drove out to Wenatchee to ride with Robin, Chris and Dale. The day was gorgeous and the scenery was amazing as you can see above. Robin and crew were wonderful hosts and we had a very nice 32 mile ride. Chris and Dale took it easy on me and didn't hammer the climbs. I did have fun pushing up the speed on the flats. The Raptobike really is a joy.
I did get Robin to test ride the Raptobike. I suspect that her VK2 will manage to keep her affections though.
Kristin, Kris and I went to a JRT Fun day in Kent, WA. They had go-to-ground, lure coursing, wiener bobbing and racing set up. Casey loves the lure coursing and had a blast. Lucy did both go-to-ground and lure coursing and did very well at both. Neither of our dogs did the racing as they don't like the muzzles but Kris's Hammy and Dot did.
Dot smoked Hammy in the races, I got a good shot of it here: (btw - I believe Kristin took this picture)
I am trying to decide what to do about the Corsa. I am considering selling her, I would need to make a few changes to the way she is set up but I could tune her up and get her in tip top shape for resale.
DKW snapped a great picture of me finishing up the climb on Old Redmond Way this morning. I really like the photo as it shows how bright my front light is. My helmet light didn't flash during the photo and so I can't compare it, but I know it is not as bright.
The ride was good this morning though wet. 23 miles and 2000 ft of climbing in the rain in under two hours. Not a bad time, DKW kept pushing me and we leapfrogged much of the Burke-Gilman. He did leave me behind on the last climb which is why he was in position for this photo (on his mobile).
I love Pandora the internet radio site. I have been a user of this site for a while and have a station that I have tuned to my tastes. Mostly women's vocals with a rock/folksy sound. Recently I added some hard rock to the station and now I get a lot of punk suggestions which is excellent since my station was a little too consistently soft for me. Now I have a more eclectic selection and it is filled with music I otherwise would never have found.
Pandora is nearly the perfect service for someone like myself who enjoys listening to music but spends no time learning about bands, or particular sounds. There is no way I would have found out about bands like "Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs" or "Giant Drag" without Pandora.
May is the month for the annual commute to work challenge run by Group Health. There are prizes for various things, like most cascade club members per team, most teams per company, most total miles, most days commuted, most new commuters, favorite team name.
The team captains get a T-shirt. My office group seems to think that since I suggested we set up a team I get drafted for captain. The competition sounds fun and we all have a chance to win some fun prizes. Plus it would be nice if the bike rack at work had more than two bikes on it. I suspect we will fill the rack and need to use the poles holding up the bike shelter. At least that is my hope.
I can already feel my muscles and body acclimating to the raptobike position. Today my average climbing speed was up 10% over my test commute yesterday. It is still 8% lower than my Corsa average climbing but I am very pleased. Once the new seat arrives I will start using the Raptobike on my longer 26 mile commute route.
I know that some of my excitement must be that new bike smell, the joy of a wonderful new ride. But I am pleased with my bike in a way that hasn't happened for me in quite a while. My last four bikes didn't get me this excited.
Today I took the raptobike on my commute route. I skipped the turn into the office so it is a wee bit shorter and I skipped one hill.
The ride was great, the raptobike climbed well though I did feel it in my legs. I need to adapt to the new position. I was able to keep it above my current gear 3, which is 21.8 gear inches. My new low will be 20.7 gear inches when the 13T cog comes in for the Rohloff hub, so I am pleased that I can handle my usual climbing with 21.8 GI.
The Raptobike accelerates well, which is nice for shorter hills, I can just power up some of the hills on my commute without much concern. The longer slogging up hills is also great as the Raptobike is very stable and handles well. The Rohloff is just amazing, any losses introduced are more than made up by the ease and availability of shifting. I am ruined for derailleurs.
With this result, I feel confident taking the raptobike out for a Lake Washington loop ride or up Juanita Dr/Finn Hill on my longer commute.
Yesterday I picked up my Raptobike. I took it on a shakedown ride today, 50 miles on the Burke Gilman and West Samamish trail. The bike is awesome, I was worried for a bit but it rides beautifully. At the shop we took 4.5 inches off the boom so it would fit my diminutive self, I also had to adjust a bit to keep my thighs from hitting the handlebars. But with some thought everything worked out very well. My view of the road is great, the light placement I have really works well and I love my taillight on the headrest mount. The raptobike corners beautifully, it just calls out for speed on swooping curves. She sticks to curves like glue with the Schwalbe Durano tires and is a pleasure to ride. I even rode no hands for 30 ft or so at around mile 35. At the moment I have a 16t cog on my Rohloff so I lack some high end gearing. Even so it was easy to get the Raptobike to 21 mph on the flats. I am already much more confident on the Raptobike vs my Corsa. Much of that is due to my shortness. My Corsa has 650c rims and is just a wee bit too tall for me. I flintstone start most times with the Corsa hi-racer. On the Raptobike I have zero issues starting off with my foot on the right pedal and just going.
The Rohloff hub shifting is wonderful. It is easy and just feels right, I am spoiled for derailleurs now. The build of my Rapto can be seen here. I had my Raptobike built up from a frame kit by Kirkland Bike Shop who did a stellar job.
The only issues are the seat, the headrest and my helmet. The seat is a little short for me, my height is all in my torso so the seat causes me some issues. This is correctable for me by getting a longer seat. I ordered without consulting Arnold and if I had given him measurements I would not have this issue.
The headrest and my helmet don't get along. I will work this out, but it the seat issue causes some shoulder discomfort after 40ish miles and the headrest/helmet interference becomes an issue then.
I pushed the handling of the raptobike quite aggressively for me on this ride. It performed very well exceeding all my expectations. I feel more comfortable with the handling on the Raptobike at 30 miles than I do on my Corsa at 800 miles.
I had one medium-high speed fall on the Raptobike, I was going at 18-19 mph through an intersection and swerved to avoid glass in the road. As I swerved back to get on the ramp up to the trail I laid the bike down at about 18mph. This was all user error, I am still not using enough body english to steer and oversteered causing the fall. I took no injury and the left edge of the seat and my pedals took all the force. My left glove has some leather damage and my riding pants have lost a bit of shimmer on my left calf. I got right back on the bike, causing some of the observers to smile and cheer. No injury but my pride. The seat edge got a bit roughed up and I just taped the edge with electrical tape.
Cornering on the Raptobike is a joy. I love it and I pushed myself to my limit on her. The ride is smoother than my Corsa, but that may be the tires and the longer wheel base.
This is a great bike, and I am pleased to have one.
(note the above picture isn't my bike) My raptobike is coming together. I spent the evening at the shop adjusting the bike. We cut the boom by about 4.5". We added an extension to the stem to raise the handlebars up a bit to clear my gut. The other issue was my thighs were hitting the end of the grips preventing me from pedaling a full circle. One thing we did was realize that the bar was not vertically symmetrical and we flipped it over. This changed the angle and gave me much more clearance. It also lowered the tiller a bit and improved my view of the road. We also adjusted the chain for the new bottom bracket position.
All of this work was great but it did screw up the cabling runs and since we increased the distances we had to cut the cables. Tomorrow they will re-cable everything and get it all running in the new adjusted positions. On Friday I will head back and we can tune the Q-ring position. The headrest is also installed, so that is great. I am very glad I picked out the aluminum headrest, it will be very easy to mount a taillight to it. And it is very comfortable.
When I say we, I mean Matt@The Kirkland Bike Shop, the man is amazing, I feel privileged to have him work on my bike. Every little adjustment or issue we run into he has a solution for.
I am anticipating picking up the Raptobike today. I visited the shop yesterday and Josh was wiring up the brakes and Rohloff hub. I can't say enough good things about the Kirkland Bike Shop, they have consulted me and advised me every step of the way. We talked about the cabling runs, about the headrest and the chain yesterday. They want to be sure to avoid compromising the strength of the carbon seat and so the headrest mounts will be lower in the seat. This works perfectly for both mounting a blinky on the headrest rails and for making sure my radical lowracer bags will fit on the Raptobike.
The constant attention to detail and making sure each concern is addressed before doing anything irreversible is excellent. I would recommend the Kirkland Bike shop to any cyclist for any reason. They do excellent work and are very willing to order components and tools that have limited application. The owner asked me to bring my bike over to his Seattle store as well, he wants to show it off to the staff there. If you are a recumbent owner in Seattle or Kirkland take a look at Montlake Bike shop or Kirkland Bike shop, you will find a very helpful staff to address any issues you might have.
Spring is sprung. Today and Yesterday's weather is (and was) glorious. The sky is clear, the Sun shines down and I can wear short sleeves and leave the jacket home. Just a few days ago I was unpacking the Raptobike wearing a winter jacket. On Saturday the group ride with Digeo, I went without my jacket. Quite risky in the PNW ;). On Sunday I rode in short sleeves and shorts, and today I left my house at 8am without a jacket and wearing a short sleeve riding jersey. Everything smells nice and there is so much activity as I ride past homes. Everyone is planting, trimming or cleaning up their yard. I saw 4 landscaping teams on my short 3 mile commute. Spring is finally here, and I am celebrating!
The Raptobike is coming together. Kirkland Bike Shop won't finish today but the missing component (tube and seat pad) will be ready on Tuesday. The picture above is just before Matt set up the seat and drilled the carbon for fitting. I picked out the grips to use as well so that will be ready on Tuesday as well.
I rode with the Digeo crowd this morning, David and I started from my house and rode to Gas Works park to make the ride start earlier and be a bit longer for us. We did pretty well, 50 miles in 3h:46m.
The raptobike will be done tomorrow. There are a few details that are waiting the 13t Rohloff cog, the seat pad, but those are items that can wait. They should arrive shortly in any case. My only loss is the high end gearing until the 13t cog is here. That is doable.
So Matt @ Kirkland Bike shop will be all set tomorrow. I am extremely happy, this means I should be able to start riding Veloci right away. I will be taking more pictures tomorrow after my morning ride. I am glad that I have a 50 miler scheduled with my STP-bound co-workers since that will keep me distracted until later in the day. Plus it is always good to go to the bike shop after riding rather than before. You don't feel like such a poser.
(disclaimer - that bike is not mine but it does have a Rohloff hub and a SON hub in it.)
Arnold from Raptobike emailed me and we talked about instructions for mounting the seat on the frame. He was very clear and I visited Kirkland Bike Shop and went over the instructions and the build with them. As always visiting the shop was a pleasure, Matt, Josh and Aaron were all eager to help and talk about the bike. Matt is starting the build today and while I was there we put the boom in place as well as the front fork and tiller/stem. The rear brakes have been mounted and the front wheel is in place. Today they should have the rear wheel on there and the build will proceed quickly from there.
There are a few small pieces still waiting, the 13t cog is still not here, and the shop doesn't have a presta 20" tube for the front wheel. All of this should be resolved soon I hope, but the tube will be in the shop by Friday April 10th. I will dig in my garage for one in any case. I ordered a seat pad for the Raptobike too and it should be here Tuesday. Bent up Cycles was happy to provide the Ventisit Seat Pad.
I will probably stop by and visit the shop today as I can't keep away. I am way too eager.
Today I rode the 23 mile route to work. David rode with me and we made good time, we took 1h:50 minutes today with an average speed of 11.9 mph. It was a chilly morning and it rained on us the entire time. When I showered at work I had a couple of rosy spots from the trauma of heating chilled Duncan.
The ride itself was pretty pleasant though I did have issues seeing clearly on the downhill section of Juanita Dr. David and I saw a number of cycle commuters and a few runners. Overall the ride was pretty though cold.
My Raptobike has arrived. The longest part of my wait is over. Impatience has been eating at me, the bike arrived on time and with all parts. I dropped the bike off at the Kirkland Bike Shop and they are working on the build. The Rohloff front wheel has been built and they are lacing up the rear wheel today. The shop has a mostly clear schedule so the labor will start immediately and I should have my bike next week.