Saturday, September 3, 2011
Mr Knight has taken to blogging his Geared Facile and this country is deeply unhappy unless there is some kind of competition going on. Two thirds of New Zealanders don't really give a toss about rugby, we have just learnt, but they still like their competition and are prepared to do almost anything to enhance it. Rural Herculeses (sic) hold sheep-shearing and wood-chopping competitions. Urban damsels hold World of Wearable Art competitions. (No, they really do. Google it.) Even the voters don't like their politicians getting complacent and I have just surprised myself reading that
46% of National voters would consider voting Labour
33% of National voters would consider voting ACT (the far right party)
26% of National voters would consider voting Green (the 'streme left)
62% of Labour voters would consider voting Green
37% of Labour voters would consider voting National
15% of Labour voters would consider voting ACT
(National = the Conservative party. Labour = the Labour party. ACT isn't really the far right party but nobody really knows what it is. It used to be led by a bonkers loony called - um - I forget his name but he actively disbelieved in global warming, but anyway he isn't the leader any more because he tried to get the former leader of the National Party, one Don Brash, a man chiefly noted for his imitation of teeth, to join him, and Don Brash surprised him by accepting on the condition that he, Don Brash, replaced him, the one whose name I've clean forgotten, as Leader, and now he, Don Brash, has sacked all their MPs. - Well, actually I suppose that's a fair definition of a far right party.)
Anyway back to the topick in hand: Mr Knight is blogging his Geared F., and I'm feeling all Left Out, and John now wants a recumbent because he only has a racing bike and a mountain bike and a funny 29er penny farthing and a unicycle and a few other things we've welded up over the last few years, poor deprived fellow.
John before he outgrew everything (Photo: Mike Toohey)
So I'm going to build him one and I shall now blog it and Mr Knight shall lag behind because he is a Perfectionist and uses air-gauged tubing and polishes each molecule of paint wherewith he eventually adorns each of his machines, whereas I wade in with a welder and a hammer and Just Get On With It. The score stands like this:
Me: approx several recumbents.
Mr Knight: approx 0 Geared Faciles.
We ignore for the purposes of this competition sundry 1904 Royal Enfields & Red Racing Bicycles & tricycles & Weird Garden Toys & horse-manure trailers & hand wagons & other useless junk wherewith we have each cluttered our sheds.
So I am the Def. Favourite, and will def. win, & Mr Knight will have to eat humble pie and grovel before me when I have finished and he still hasn't burnished the 54th spoke nipple to his exacting satisfaction.
Mrs Knight's 1904 Royal Enfield after she had indulged in some over-vigorous pedalling
Mrs Knight's 1904 Royal Enfield after Mr Knight attended to Routine Maintenance
Right, here's the brief. He (John, that is) wants it as simple as possible, so it has to be short wheelbase and handlebars over the knees. He dislikes being run over & killed so he wants it to be reasonably high. He wants to be fast so the BB has to be about 5 or 6 inches above the Seat Angle. He wants low rolling resistance so we'll go for dual 700c wheels. - Tyres, in the Colonies, can be a bit of a problem unless you go for what's commonly available. - He can manage a high seat because he's now substantially taller than me. (Yes you can say 'taller than me' because 'taller than I' is pedantick and cumbersome.)
In addition he shall be given rear suspension because I don't want him beating his brain to death with a million road bumps, and carrier racks because a recumbent that can only carry a-person-and-his-Lycra isn't a vehicle, it's a racing machine and only a racing machine and nothing but a r. machine. - Here speaks the wisdom of the years. It's the compensation for grey hair and baldness. -
Okay, where do we start? - Wheelbase of 45 inches because I know it's stable, trail of 1.75 inches ditto, frame of 2 inch 18g mild steel tubing because it's not as expensive as chromoly, fork with 1.75 inches of rake (they generally do) and 15 inches from axle to base of head tube. Pivot of rear swing arm in the middle of the putative chain run so it doesn't interfere. The seat will as ever be the biggest problem because we'll need to fiddle with it to get the lumbar and neck support right but we'll start with the base pointing at the middle of BB because I know that works, and we'll give him 37.5 inches from the seat angle to the BB because his legs are 3 inches longer than mine, and we'll allow some adjustment for growth because he's only sixteen. Coo! What would it be to be sixteen again. You'd have sex to look forward to, instead of only remember.