British
Human
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Suspension losses 

Suspension losses

I have formed the habit of cycling to Rocky River on one side of the Motueka river, crossing at the Bluffs bridge, & returning past the aerodrome on t'other side. It is a pretty route, punctuated at various points and on various occasions by wild pigs rooting at the side of the road, by Bill the farmer using profane language and a hammer to maintain the power take-off on his David Brown, and by Watsons omitting to sweep the thorns up after mowing the hedge on High Street. Here's last year's offerings. I pick them up to hand in to the police station where I happen to know half of the officers are keen roadies.


Found on the cycle path on State Highway 60, this time last year

In the last week or so I found myself in perfect health, thank you very much for asking, and yet with no headwind, no brakes rubbing, and tyres pumped hard, the trip had started taking a mysteriously lethargic 70 minutes. Yesterday the bike was bouncing up and down in a soft, comfortable, gentle manner and, after a few miles' thought, it occurred to me to stop and check the suspension, which is composed of inner-tube strips wrapped in tension. And on so doing I found half of them broken, and groping in the saddlebag for spares and re-wrapping the rubber, the machine stopped bouncing and my speed improved and the trip time returned to its rather sweaty 56 minutes. A salutary lesson on the costs of comfortable suspension.


A rubbish picture of the rubber lashing which is my bike's suspension unit

Today it was belting rain upon the Earth, and peeping out of the kitchen window it was pretty hard to differentiate between the waters which were above the firmament and the waters which were below the firmament, at least in Motueka. Peeping out of the kitchen window I couldn't see Mount Campbell at all. Peeping out of the kitchen window all I could see was dense grey rain. Peeping out of the kitchen window it looked like time to start making an ark of gopher wood three hundred cubits long and rounding up fowls of their kind and cattle of their kind and every creeping thing of the earth. (Two of each sort, obv..)

Accordingly Mr Schroder and Mr McLeod who had been idly toying with a ride over here chickened out, the pathetic wimps, which was just as well because I wasn't bloody well going out for a ride in this weather. But Mr Schroder piled his machine into the back of his ute and poled up for a wag of the jaw and a mug of the tea, no doubt with half an eye on the gopher wood situation in the Moutere Hills.

Mr Schroder's new machine - Schroder 3 - is very tightly built. There is not much clearance anywhere. Mr Schroder suffers from short stumpy legs which only just reach the ground and on some occasions, such as when he flies gaily through the air before head-butting the local geology, don't reach the ground at all. These short stumpy legs are huge things, the hugeness entirely composed of muscle. I have ridden with him before: his cadence is about thirty while mine is about ninety and he's a good deal faster than me. He opts for short cranks, a massive chainring, and the use of vast force to go Stinking Fast. But short legs raise the problem of tight clearances, and on front wheel drive low racers, those clearances become Very Tight Indeed. There is exactly 5.5 millimetres between the front tyre and the frame.


Schroder's cat. There's another one exactly like it inside the back of the car.

There is no room at all for the rear mech cable: it has to be threaded through the fork leg. (He threaded the inner cable first, and then the cable housing afterwards, a sneaky trick which I shall steal and cunningly claim as original sometime.) Handlebars have been ditched altogether and he relies on a tiller, with gear changers to fiddle with and go dackadackadacka at the traffic like in the Battle of Britain film. - Did you know Susannah York just died? - Well she did, and she was 72. Hard to believe anyone as pretty as Susannah York could ever be 72. - His frontal area - we are referring to Mr Schroder again - we have put the alluring discussion of Susannah York to one side - is 21 inches square, plus head, plus helmet, and here is a picture.


He'd made a very useful pair of T-stands that clamped to the main tube & allowed for stationary pedalling. He offered me a go but I declined partly cos of the wet road (spray in hair & up legs & on unpainted steel frame) and partly because he is a chain-oiler and I am a wax-snob. Besides, Mr McLeod has had a mishap with his chain on his FWD low racer and I am in no hurry to emulate it:

Tested the new lowracer sans idler chain guide/shield. For all the FWD advantages it is also highly efficient at pulling hair and skin thru the drivetrain without much effort -
James

 

He even sent me a photo of it, little thinking it would end up on the Internet. - You can just never be too careful. -

So all of the above are my feeble excuses for failing to Get On With John's high racer. But I will, I will, because Mr Knight presses on with his rubbishy old Geared Facile and I have just read that fully 48% of New Zealanders were wholly indifferent to the opening of the rugby world cup, so there must be an eager 2,080,000 people out there prepared to get all excited about how we're both doing instead.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:15:00 AM Categories: front wheel drive James McLeod Nigel Schroder

Schroder Idler 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Schroder Idler

The following adventures have taken place this week.

First, my wife & son went skiing. She opines that standing on top of a mountain covered with snow, with planks strapped to her boots calculated to minimise her attachment to Mother Earth, and thereafter surrendering herself to the laws of physics, is done in the certainty that the entertainment will outweigh the broken legs.

I did not ski but rather loaded my recumbent into the van and, the following morning, set out to ride home. It had occurred to me to annoy Mr Knight by telling him of the expedition, because he likes long rides and I knew he'd be mad.

Now then, m'boy, I graciously grant you permission anxiously to check the weather every two minutes tomorrow between St Arnaud and Motueka, because Mrs My Wife is going skiing and I am lugging a recumbent in the back of the van and am going to jolly ride it home tomorrow, with this much training behind me: zero. I am fearful and full of fear because I do not do rides longer than 20 miles. I am going to hypermile. My brother told me about hypermiling: he did it in the Shell Mileage Marathon back in the early 80s. They had to power a person (tiny girl, surprise surprise) at a minimum of 15mph round a figure-of-eight track. The other day I hypermiled in the van, and found the most economical way was to accelerate hard to 70kph, which took 5 seconds, and knock it out of gear, and let it coast down to 50kph which took 15 seconds. Ignoring calculus, I was therefore using fuel for .25 of the distance and since the van does about 38mpg driven normally and probably a lot less when accelerating hard, there is the possibility I was getting lots more than 38 mpg. So tomorrow I shall roll down every single hill and pedal languorously the rest of the time and see if I can get home without my legs turning into jelly. Yes I know you'd do it in three hours - kindly *uck off and die - I think I'm Jolly Brave and need prayers to help me, like the Governor of Oklahoma has got the population to pray for rain, the utter moron. (Google it if you don't believe me. Amazing but true.)

R

Mr Knight, thus apprised, instantly emailed me. (I knew he would.):

I've just checked this route on www..mapmyride.com and it's mostly downhill with two notable uphill bits at 13 and 37 miles assuming that you are going from the centre of St. Arnaud via Tophouse road. I've ridden all of it except for the bit from Tophouse to the junction near that firing range. I know the second hill just outside Tapawera at 37 miles and it's quite hard but mercifully short, I know nothing about the first hill at 13 miles which looks worserer. Tophouse is the high point at 2450 feet (!) and your house is the low point. I've attached a picture of the elevation over the route to help ease your troubled brow.

Take lots of food and drink with you and drink before you're thirsty and eat before you're hungry. I usually eat something every 30 minutes on a long ride, sometimes it's hard to do.

I'm very jealous and would love to do it instead of sitting here pretending to program but typing to you instead. We have a fablious day here and I'd much rather be riding.

If it goes badly and you die, can I have your hand shaper?

Bob

It did not go badly. I did not die. He can't have my hand shaper.

I set off at 8.44 am and the snow was a foot deep at the side of the road and I wore 2 pairs of long cycling trousers and 2 pairs of gloves and 3 cycling jerseys and a teeshirt and I wore earwarmers and I was *ucking Cold. There was an icy headwind all the way to the Tophouse turning and there were patches of black ice all over the St Arnaud roads and there was a mass of fog, but luckily this blew away and I was only in fog for very brief periods. I cranked my way gingerly out of St Arnaud to Tophouse at about 7mph and wondered if I was in fact a Stupid Person. There were black ice patches all the way along the Tophouse road to the Kikiwa junction, and indeed all along the Kikiwa road to Korere. I got very frightened several times when approaching black ice at over 30mph on narrow hard tyres, and did quite a lot less hypermiling and quite a lot more pre-emptive braking than I'd anticipated. Once a car came towards me at about seventy miles (miles) an hour with black ice just round the corner where the driver couldn't see it though she'd obviously passed over some beforehand because I encountered it later. Much better driver than me, obviously, because I would have either driven more cautiously or skidded off and been killed. - I did pass a couple of women placing flowers on a roadside white cross. They were in a car which later passed me with several inches to spare on an open clear road. -

I didn't do the Kerr Hill route past the gun club because I've done that before and it almost killed me. It's a lot steeper and more persistent than it looks on the map, is Kerr Hill. It is in fact *ucking horrible.

There was lots of fog on SH6 to Kohatu and indeed from Kohatu to Tapawera and I once got run off the road by a petrol tanker who very obviously wasn't going to slow down or pull out for me. I stopped at Nutbrown's farm because I saw him fiddling outside his barn and he let me lie down on his kitchen floor with my feet against the wood-burner, and then my feet stopped being as cold as very cold feet. Nutbrown isn't his real name but - well, anyway, - he's a tramper, and I think, doesn't spend excessively on sunblock. - He nearly jumped out of his overalls when I rode up behind him and called his name. (I didn't say "Hi Nutbrown.")

That hill outside Tapawera has a name and I was reminded what it was and I forgot it the moment I was on the bike again. But it's 0.6 miles to the top at 4mph, and a rather terrifying 40mph on the descent before I started squeezing the brakes. At Ngatimoti I ate half a cheese sandwich and drank a litre of water, at which point my average speed was 16.1 mph, but at 50 miles I was tired, and ended up with an average of 15.9mph, having bravely pedalled hard at the end to stop it nudging down to 15.8 which is what the computer was threatening to do.

Arrived home at 1.42. The forecast was for light rain, but I didn't get any at all. The sun was a pallid harrier behind the clouds and I didn't have to wear sunglasses once. A possum ran away from me on the West Bank Road, which surprised me very much because it was half-past one in the afternoon and possums don't do daytime. It wasn't a rabbit because it had a long tail and it wasn't a pig because nobody was shooting it or stabbing it to death.

Trip 67.21 miles

Average 15.9 mph

Max 41.0 mph

Calories 2190.7 (yeah, right)

Time 4hrs 13 mins 23 sec

Odo 7012.6

Then my wife telephoned. Somebody found her on the ski-field and took her to see John who had inexplicably put one of his skis through his trouser-leg and gouged his knee open. It needed stitching but she had no stitches in St Arnaud so she came home. This meant I had to clean the bathroom instead of checking my emails, or I'd have found out that

a) Mr Knight had been in touch to say

We don't get black ice here, we get very cold mornings but no rain ever (except this morning) so very, very seldom any ice, which means that when we do get ice, nobody has a clue how to drive on it. We did have freezing fog last week and when I got to work I resembled a snow man, only colder. And no carrots. Or coal.

and

b) Mr Schroder has one of those idlers on his new FWD too, so he and Young McLeod of McLeod have obviously been collaborating more than I know. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4g--38Pcn0

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:33:00 AM Categories: front wheel drive James McLeod Nigel Schroder

Mr McLeod's idler hanger 

26 June 2011

It's cold. It's very cold. It's so cold that I'm as cold as a person in the shade in the middle of winter and not as hot as a person is in the sun in the middle of summer. English viewers of this blog must needs recall when winter is in the southern hemisphere.

Yesterday I went to Richmond to collect my wife from her hockey game. She was cold. She has been inveigled to play goalkeeper, and these days the goalkeeper in hockey dresses up in a series of mattresses and stands about idly as a sort of human obstacle, but even when attired in clothing several feet thick, she tells me you get cold standing around for thirty-five minutes each half in the middle of winter with nothing to do. (Her team are currently top in the region. She is Dead Proud. But at least three of the team are, or have been, in the national squad so it doesn't count.)

Watching hockey involves standing about and since you do this without mattresses on and since Mr McLeod lives next to the Saxton playing fields, I popped in on him for five minutes and he revealed his new machine.

I hate Mr McLeod intensely. I hate him because a) his machines are masterpieces of design b) his machines are masterpieces of craftsmanship c) he thinks up completely new ideas d) and they *loody well work, too.

The thing about this new one is this. It's a front wheel drive and of course that limits and restricts things that you can do with the front wheel, such as steer. This tends to dismay many designers, incl. me, but Mr McLeod, who doesn't know you can't get a FWD machine to steer, has cunningly put the idler wheel on a universal joint. It's the sneakiest thing I've seen in ages. Dead simple, like all really clever things. It holds the idler wheel, and hence the chain, in tension, but allows enough movement for the wheel to be turned virtually to full lock. I was amazed. Clearances, as ever, are remarkably tight with barely a millimetre anywhere between chain and front brake, but it all seems to work.

Unf. the poor chap has slipped a lumbar disc, so testing has yet to commence, but he has already planned a series of modifications - disc brake etc. - to while away any idle hours that come his way.

Mrs McLeod mentioned that this is his last machine but she caught my eye as she said it and there was a wicked twinkle in her eye. I did not say anything. Master McLeod is four, and a Big Boy Now (he told me so himself) and I have a feeling he will come to express firm views on whether Mr McLeod should forever more desist from building recumbents.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:39:00 AM Categories: James McLeod Nigel Schroder

Penny giraffe 

I have been busy. Mr Schroder's cranks are 110mm long, and my pocket calculator tells me that if I use one of the 29er tyres which my wife doesn't know I retained from her perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle when fitting it with tubeless tyres, then these tiddly short cranks will give me the same pedal speed as a 44 inch gear. It's going to have a 406 back wheel so we're not going to call it a penny farthing. We're going to call it a one-and-six. - D'you remember pre-decimal coins? I have the last letter from the chap who designed the thruppenny bit. He signed it. The coin. - Though he signed the letter too, obv.. - He signed the twenty pence coin too. You'll need a magnifying glass but they all say WG on them. He designed all the Falkland Island coins too but I've never been there so I can't say if they have WG on them. He was called William Gardner and he died on almost the last day of the century and wrote to me a fortnight before. I shall not say why he was writing specifically to me though it happens to be true and there happens to be a reason. I like to intersperse my blog with a bit of mystery. -

The front wheel has a Campagnolo Lambda Strada aero rim and the thirty-six stainless spokes that came with it, nine of them slightly munted from an escaped chain, but now unmunted with a pair of pliers. - I said I was Mr Mean-Pants. - This is because

a) it was given to me
b) aero rims are stiff
c) the air flow will be better and I will be able to go at 8 mph instead of 7
d) the edge of the rim is gouged but this machine won't need rim brakes
e) it will annoy Mr Knight.

 

Mr Knight, in passing, likes all things Campagnolo and would eat his dinner off their plates if Campagnolo made plates. He owns a complete Campagnolo tool set. It is better than this tool set for making bikes but not as good for making pianos. I digress.

The back wheel has 48 spokes for no good reason other than that I found it somewhere. Can't remember where.




The penny trike had split bearing housings but when I clamped them up tight they turned the bearings into very slight ovals, so this machine has bits of tube welded to plates which screw onto welded extensions of the forks. These extensions were welded in after the wheel was built and mounted, lest the wheel ended up at a curious and vexing angle. Vexing angles often happen, I find, when I'm the welder.


Finally, the frame welded itself into existence, an exercise principally in using up odd bits of sawn-up bike frames that otherwise belitter the workshop. And then it got left outside the kitchen door where it was found, on his return from school, by someone who promptly took to riding it round and round the house, somewhat inexplicably singing there'd be blue skies over, the white cliffs of Dover.

Saturday, September 24, 2011 9:25:00 AM Categories: Nigel Schroder penny farthing

Rain Bike 

We return to our topick of front-driver cycles this week, though I don't know why I trouble myself to say "this week" since my blog entries are stunningly irregular and undisciplined, rather like their author.

I had to go to Richmond recently to a citizenship ceremony to watch some people pledge allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second (sic.) of New Zealand. I have been unable to find out who Queen Elizabeth the First of New Zealand was. 'A high standard of dress' was required. National costume of country of origin was encouraged. All the participants turned out to be English chavs and dressed accordingly, with a high standard of gelled spiked hair. They looked like they'd all escaped from the Shelthorpe Road housing estate in Loughborough where bus drivers are shot at with airguns.

However my wife then went off to the shops and I called on Jim Matthews at Village cycles and he let me have a go on his 36er penny farthing.

It was brill.

 

It has 36 very thick spokes, a cheap chromed steel hub and steel rim, poxy welding, a thin backbone (guess: 38mm OD) and longish cranks, perhaps 165s. The fork was a bit feeble, methought, but obviously adequate for a plaything. Plain straight chromed steel cheap handlebar. It has a partic'ly narsty sprung foam-cushioned plastic saddle and a back brake on a 12 inch wheel. The front tyre is industrial strength and looks like it'll never, ever need replacing. Think Honda 90 robustness.

 

While I was there I bought John a unicycle for his birthday. I thought in due course he can convert it. It too has 36 spokes. (As a matter of fact he's forever riding up and down the drive on it. It took him 2 days to learn, we having rigged a horizontal pole at waist height to hang onto. I decline to state whether I can ride it or not.)

 

Which brings us back to our topick of front-driver cycles because we've been having a lot of weather in April but then so has everybody, what with wildfires in the parish of Scotland and tornadoes in the parish of Auckland. In Motueka's case it meant a month of solid rain, if you can have solid rain. In fact it's all been a bit exciting. I used to keep a climate scientist (Cambridge, PhD, did sums in his office for me all day) at the Met Office and when grilled annually, he gen'rally reported that their best prediction as the planet warmed was of random wild weather events. So it's all most pleasing that the predictions are now coming true. Unfortunately, though, it means we're forced to think about bicycles that you can ride with impunity in the wet. My wife has been nicking the Official Rain Bike which is a Dutch roadster with enclosed chaincase 3 gears and hub brakes and reminds me of Heinz Stueke, so I have been devoting thought to No Chains or Brakes, which rust after a rainstorm. Unf. to make a 36er penny farthing I should need spokes and a rim and a tyre and an inner-tube, which would cost $305, and I am Mr Mean-Pants when it comes to $305.

So I had recourse to Mr Schroder's short cranks that he kindly drilled & tapped for me, and Mr English's 5/8 bearings that he kindly brought from the parish of America for me, and I was dismayed to find the bearings would not slip over a knackered old BB axle that I hauled out of a tin where I had been keeping it along with a lot of other junk. Now BB axles are case-hardened, and my lathe doesn't like case-hardening, so I took it to the bench grinder and with frequent checks with a Vernier, allowed it to spin against the grinding wheel and to my vast delight brought it to a tolerable sliding fit. And thence to a sawn-up hub for the flanges, and behold! with the help of a couple of spacers because the cones on t'axle weren't quite big enough to fit inside the flanges, and a little weldery, a penny farthing hub.

 

Meanwhile my attention has been drawn to this though it's probably best reserved for one of those chaps who insists on stopping for a small snack of something nutritious every five miles. Don't be silly, of course you've met one. There's one in every group. They ride with the contents of a hamper somehow distributed about their person and every twenty minutes they stop and erect a small roadside laboratory, test their blood sugar to keep it within a percentage point of the desired level, and consume a small and delicately formed sandwich and drink from an unexpected flask of coffee. Very methodical. You have to be careful talking to them or they launch into mortgage protection insurance discussions and the ride disintegrates as everyone keels over and actually dies of actual boredom. - That's why I'm still alive. I never do group rides. -

Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:39:00 AM Categories: Nigel Schroder penny farthing Rob English

29er 


Owing to circumstances beyond my control - birthdays and that sort of thing - it was required, as the textbooks have it, to provide my wife with a brand new perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle, and natch I took her old one, wot she'd mistakenly thought I'd bought for her and wot, therefore, I'd been unable thus far to ride, up to the shop to see what would fit. Her views being irrelevant the purchase was effected, but nevertheless she was dead pleased to find herself the owner of a 29er. A rear rack and boxy thing got fitted, to the great mirth of all the young athletes who eschew such ungainly protuberances and who themselves spray bananas and energy bars and spare inner tubes out of their jersey pockets whenever the bumps are too exuberant.

If one is of a meddlesome disposition, then this sort of adventure is just an excuse for experiments, and since we were in new territory I thought I'd extend the experiment. The only person I know who does tubeless is Mr English of our colony of America. Actually he made his own 29er weighing a feeble 8.4 kg, the scamp, and here it is:


As you see, single speed and belt drive, which he tells me is silent, and which as far as I can tell is fitted to the frame by magic. - Anyway, I emailed the man:

Now then, Rob,
Mrs My Wife has got herself a Specialized somethingorother 29er mountain bike wherewith she's much pleased. It was very cheap. About a thousand dollars. New Zealand ones .The bike shop boys were babbling about tubeless tyres and how their rolling resistance would be vastly superior and whatnot, so I want an informed opinion. Easy to fit? Rubber rim liner better than plastic? Tube sealer works sealing punctures? Lower pressure equivalent to higher pressure for rolling resistance on-road? Any other issues?
Ta,
R

And the man emailed me:

I have used tubeless mtb tyres quite a lot. Sometimes I can get them to seat with very rapid use of a track pump, but sometimes it requires a compressor. But once seated with sealant in, they work very well. Unless you don't ride the bike much in which case the sealant dries up into a big puddle of latex in the bottom of the tyre. I wouldn't consider racing without them (no pinch punctures, nice low pressure (20lbs), other punctures seal up), but I don't mountain bike enough these days to bother the rest of the time. I haven't yet tried road tubeless, but reports are good so far, and in theory they should offer superior rolling resistance, but I haven't actually seen any data yet. For sealing the rims on the mtbs I just use NoTubes yellow tape - very light and does the job. Their rubber rim strips work nicely too, though a bit heavy and I also seem to eventually rip the valve stems out of them.
We did a 10 mile ride on the new tandem t'other day and it felt better and better as we went along. Drivetrain is very nice and quiet and smooth. A little bit of wag in the back, so I am going to increase the lower connector tube to 1.5" before I paint it. The titanium tubes there do really take the edge off of the bumps though.
Cheers,
Rob.

The tandem concerned is this one:


I keep meaning to build a recumbent tandem myself but unf. I'd recently secreted two cranks in the car of Mr Schroder of our colony of Stoke-or-Richmond-or- Nelson-or-somewhere, and the other day he couriered them back to me rather neatly drilled and tapped at 110mm and now I can't think of an excuse not to build a front-wheel-drive 29er of some sort, which, with these cranks, will be sort of like a 45 inch gear fixie. If I've got the sums right. Which isn't usually the case.
Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:23:00 AM Categories: mountain bike Nigel Schroder Rob English tandem

Cardboard Box 

Labour Weekend, so my wife thought a good plan would be an expedition with some Danes to the top of Mount Arthur in the snow and promptly set off for the hut. Therefore I made a cardboard box and Mr McLeod, who isn't Danish, wasn't consulted and had organised a recumbent ride instead, made a tailfairing and Mr Schroder made a fork jig. To each of us our accomplishments: some climb mountains, some make tailfairings, some make fork jigs. And I make a cardboard box. - As a matter of fact I've been meaning to make the box for a while because the old one was getting worn out - it's on the back of the shopping trike and needed to be a whisker bigger because of the statutory size of New Zealand juice bottles, which prevent crisps and milk and grapes being bought at the same time. So I pinched a bike box from the shop because they're double-thickness corrugated cardboard, and set to with knife and PVA and little reinforcing sticks of willow and when it was all done, I carefully covered it inside and out with cut-up cotton shirts ostensibly to reinforce it but actually cos I fancied the idea and wanted to see if it would work.

 
Messrs McLeod and Schroder appeared and we went for a ride, Mr McLeod with his new tail fairing which was thin and flimsy and lightweight and insubstantial and rubbish all of which compelled me to assure him it wouldn't work, but in the event I was wrong. It worked exceedingly well. A roll-down at Ngatimoti said 38.8 kph without the fairing and 40.6 with, and whenever I followed him I found that I wasn't picking up a tow but was riding into immense turbulence which entirely validated his roll-down data. The tailbox was a single fold of corriboard, neatly sealed at the front with foam, and held in place with tiny light-weight rubberised cotton bands weighing nothing. Admittedly his drive chain was creating a series of hiccups, but nobody's interested in drive trains. They're only the means of testing the aerodynamics of single folds of corriboard. (And on the topic of hiccups the children who have decided I am to be knighted, presumably for services as yet unrendered, observed that the worst time to get hiccups is when the Queen is about to knight you. It is a prospect that doesn't fill me with alarm because I'm neither a rugby player nor a film producer and Her Majesty is not yet in the habit of knighting cardboard box makers.)


Mr Schroder had his fork jig with him which I shall probably have to nick sometime, and he tried to persuade me to ride from Rotoiti to Renwick with him but I declined because I'm pathetic and a wimp and it's a long way and he's too fast. Mr McLeod will have to go instead.
 
 
In the morning I nipped up Mount Arthur to see how they were all getting on and was much cheered to find that Dr Dane-Mollerup is another person who shaves his own head, doubtless to save having to discuss whatever in Denmark constitutes Leicester City with whoever in Denmark cuts hair. - By way of instigating stimulating conversation the barber in Barrow used to ask of each client:
'Y'suppor' Leicester City, er wha?'
Naturally I did not support Leicester City nor indeed any other team but I did not disclose this to the man because he had sharp implements and my throat to hand. Instead I bought a BaByliss and proceeded to shave my head with a Number 4, deeming that however ragged a mess I made in the mirror it would be preferable to a bimonthly discourse on association football. If you see a man with hair exactly half an inch long you'll know he has a BaByliss, and if there's a diagonal intrusive pathway mown out of the back of his neck only an eighth of an inch long, you'll know his wife declines to shave the last few bits for him with a Number 1.

Up the mountain was a Troll. He had appeared long after dark outside the hut, hopping about with a torch on his forehead and waking everyone up shuffling through his pack, and in the morning he set about advising people what not to do. Not to wear cotton shirts, not to wear cotton jeans, to choose different boots from the ones they had and to go on routes other than those they proposed. In short, to do what he was doing. Everyone ignored the Troll so he had to accompany them all day to give further advice, suddenly rushing ahead with his mountain sticks, randomly announcing which of the range is named Gordon's Pyramid and which Billy's Knob, and surprising people who hadn't ever seen him in their lives before by gratuitously pointing out the route to Salisbury Hut. He was most odd. He was covered in tattoos, very probably inflicted by mountaineers who had tired of his advice. I have a feeling he lives on the mountain, so when I next go up there I'm taking my cardboard box and I'm going to spend quality time advising him how to make one using inappropriate materials like cotton and we'll see who can be the most annoying and I bet it'll be me.





Schroder's Hat 

The bin man calls here of a Monday morning, and from this statement I divine a Great Insight: that I am the vainest person in the world. Paris Hilton thinks America wants to spend its broadband connection examining her limbs and all that pertain thereto; Alan Jones believes Australia wants to listen to his radio show encouraging motorists to run cyclists off the roads; but only I am vain enough to think that the entire Internet wants to know when the dustman empties our bin.
 
Waste disposal in New Zealand is a private affair: you have to pay for it. Accordingly most people gather their domestic rubbish and lob it out of the car window. (Next time there's a world shortage of used empty paper tubs for Kentucky Fried Chicken, I'll make a fortune just cycling along the Motueka Valley Highway and stopping every ten yards.) The bin man empties an old oil drum for $10.30 - the price occasionally increases to randomly inconvenient sums that aren't to be found in a wallet of a Monday morning - and to get our money's worth there's always a scurrying around at the dawn of the week for stuff to chuck out. Yesterday I remembered a pair of forks which came my way. (Build just one recumbent - one - and people will start to give you old bike bits. I guarantee it.) And I now offer this piece of Wisdom to the World: Unless you are completely stupid, little is to be gained by welding this onto a pair of front forks:
 

Had I possessed a munted helmet that too could have gone in the bin. Scrolling to the bottom of this discussion
http://www.kiwihpv.org.nz/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36&start=20
I see there's a photo demonstrating the force of impact of Nigel Schroder's skull on those boulders the other day. (One's concern is, of course, for the rocks. Schroder's a solid beefy sort of lad and if he hadn't had the hat on, I dread to think what might have happened to those boulders.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 3:59:59 AM Categories: bike crash injury Nigel Schroder Roll-down tests

Schroder's Cat 

 
Here, for no very good reason that I can think of, is a picture of the Maruia Falls. I had to steal this from harlequin.co.nz because the one I took got lost somewhere in the dusty innards of my computer. The Maruia Falls are très pretty but that isn't why we send all our visitors there. It's because in 1928 they weren't. In 1928 they were just a plain common-or-garden scenic river. Still Glides the Stream and Shall Forever Glide (1), until the 17th June 1929 that is, when, after a few days of the locals hearing what they thought were aberrant deer stalkers in the hills, there was a mighty cataclysm and the Mairua River suddenly broke in half and dropped  nine feet ten-and-a-ninth inches. (That would be three metres, Mr Hague, though frankly I feel your espousal of these narsty - ew - French measurements borders on the philistine.) This is an altogether more satisfying earthquake than the ones where a picture goes slightly askew in a housing estate on the outskirts of Peterborough, even if a clutch of people have to get buried in landslides for it to happen. We haven't had an earthquake for a while and therefore I suppose we ought to expect one. Pleasingly the estate agents have all bought houses for themselves on the Richmond Hills which command a view over Nelson bay, not thinking about the fact that the Richmond Hills only exist because occasionally they shoot upwards three metres at a time.
 
Below the Richmond Hills are the Saxton Playing Fields crammed of a Saturday morning with all the Nelson schools' sports clubs, and it falling to my duty to endure a van-load of the truly mindless conversation of my daughter's hockey team, I thought I would skip spectating for an hour and drop in unannounced on James or Nigel or Sam, who all live conveniently nearby waiting, no doubt, for a hearty terrestrial shaking to land a selection of startled estate agents in their midst.
 
To James McLeod's. James's neighbour was washing his car and had mistakenly thought the entire neighbourhood wanted to hear his choice of what purports to be Music but in fact James, unable to bear the din, had gone out. James is of Scottish descent and, I hope, about to take up the bagpipes by way of retribution.
 
To Sam McEachern's. There stood his blue recumbent on the verandah with its new seat upholstery but there was no sign of Sam nor indeed of any of his neighbours, so perhaps he had spent the morning giving James some preparatory bagpipe lessons.
 
To Nigel Schroder's. No neighbour, no Music, but no Nigel either. And there stood Nigel's new low racer, gleaming in his shed, so obv. they weren't all off secretly riding up the Richmond Hills together.
 
Nigel's new machine is a front wheel drive with a swinging bottom bracket. I knew he'd finished it because he sent me film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG5okNSvpTY of him riding it and he seems to be more in control of it that I ever was of the one I made, which after it whacked me in the side of the head got punished with a hacksaw.
 
However in the evening I had a doleful email:
 
Well the roll down - at Marsden Valley, the same place we did the last test - didn't quite go as well as planned. The old bike had topped out at 55kph and on the first run the new bike was faster at 58kph but I had to use the brakes a little to regain control as it started to wobble .
On the second run things went a little wrong. I crashed at about 50-55kph.
Fell from the bike and slid down the road a little then into a creek hitting some very large rocks on the way. My helmet was completely destroyed. James drove me home, then we went to the hospital where I spent the next 7 hours being checked. X-rays and a CT scan. Luckily nothing was broken. Feeling very sorry for myself today. As for the bike it's ok but it's the last time I'll ride it as a moving bottom bracket, so I think it'll get a rebuild and I'll go back to having a boom and a twist chain FWD. The moving bottom bracket was just too unpredictable. The speedo had a 55kph max after the crash and I hadn't got to the fastest section of the run.
Nigel
 
My daughter Susan gaily said 'If he keeps the broken bits he can call it Schroder's Cat, cos it can be a crashed and an uncrashed bike at the same time,' which stunningly obscure joke can only be understood by quantum physicists one of whom I am not.
 
Anyway as - surprisingly - there was no gravel rash we can't twin him with Bob Knight, and as there were no broken bones we can't twin him with Geoff Bird. But there were bruises everywhere and he's very sore so we can twin him with oh, just about everybody else in the recumbent-building fraternity, I should imagine.
 
1. Wordsworth who is famous, or Arthur Streeton who ought to be famouser.
Monday, July 26, 2010 9:27:17 AM Categories: injury Moving Bottom Bracket bikes New Zealand Nigel Schroder Roll-down tests
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