Posts in Category: Bob Knight's fairing

Recumbent Invisibility 

Thursday, October 6, 2011 9:36:00 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing maintenance Rob English stupidity

Mr Knight has been nagging me.

How is John's bike coming along? come on chop chop.


I had to tell him, with some reluctance, that John's high racer sits in a few partly-welded-up pieces on the workshop floor gen'rally getting in the way and annoying me. I have lots to do on it but have made no progress on account of house painting and broken lawn mowers (under guarantee, but I'm left mowing the lawn with the hand-push-mower, which is *much* harder work after three days' heavy rain and frenetic spring growth, but at least it saved me going for my bike ride yesterday to get my hour's hot and pungent exercise) and a desperate need to completely re-organise the workshop so I can put my drawing-board somewhere that I can actually see the pencil-marks.

And then Ron popped in with a couple of bikes for me to repair for him for free. I don't mind doing it for Ron. He's a dead nice bloke is Ron, always volunteering to do stuff for everyone else for free, and he's a Green, and he's a Transition Towns Movement person, and a Community Gardens person, and he's married to Edith a Swiss lady with a fantastic head of hair, all fuzzy and standing six inches up round her head like a halo, who has given up the violin in favour of gardening but who used to practice for 6 hours a day which immediately tells me she was of professional concert standard. Blimey! I didn't know that. - I thought when Herbert said 'a violinist' she would be as bad as me. - Ron rides a Healing Commuter, a 1968 mild steel affair with 27 and a quarter inch wheels, a Shimano 3-speed hub that was out of adjustment and a chain which, on measurement, was 12.5 inches long for 24 links. He needed an entire new drive train. His front fork is bent and among all my spares I don't have one that will fit, so I'm going to have to bend it straight for him. He rides his bike everywhere and hates using his car. Herbert once told me he used to be a Catholic priest, but I don't know if that's true. He's such a nice bloke I can't imagine him molesting children. Herbert was my source of all sorts of goss, some of it even true. Herbert trained world-class cyclists and pulled everyone's leg, but checking his stories was always easier before he died.

Herbert. This is him with Karen Holliday whom he coached. It was taken 20 years ago after she had just become New Zealand's first ever cycling world champion

Last week I nearly died myself, or so I was informed by the lady who almost effected my death. I was riding home at speed and a nondescript grey BMW ("The Ultimate Driving Machine") had stopped on the wrong side of the Motueka Valley Highway and a lady stood astride the road with arms out flagging me down. We then had an Invisible Recumbent conversation.

'Do you know you are almost invisible down there? I nearly didn't see you.'

With a helmet height of 48.5 inches, I discovered that among the misfortunes of middle age is the lack of desire to be brutally rude and point out to her that I sit higher than a child cyclist, am bigger than a sheep or a labrador or a traffic cone, and that if she really has trouble seeing me then perhaps now is the time to relinquish her driving licence. But of course there was no point. She meant well. I did however discuss the matter with a member of the Diaspora living in our colony of Oregon who chanced to be online, and he replied

Yeah, the  'I can't see you cos you are too low and not glowing like a radioactive fallout victim'  does get a little irritating. Funny how drivers don't seem to have a problem seeing the lines painted on the road, at a height, of oh, about 0 inches..... Maybe we should hurry up and burn all the oil to get these people off the road?


Right, must go and mitre some tubes for the seat frame or Mr Knight will think I'm slacking.

John's High Racer 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:40:00 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing High Racer

Saturday, September 3, 2011

John's High Racer

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.

Mr Knight's Geared Facile Blog 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:38:00 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing penny farthing

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mr Knight's Geared Facile Blog

Today there was an auction of the Deceased Estate of a Mr Watson, according to the Motueka and Golden Bay News, so I went along to see what a deceased estate of a (presumably) living man might be. The Motueka and Golden Bay News is a weekly source of enjoyable solecisms, most famous among which has been the advertisement concerning the Pasta of the Church of Christ.

Mr Watson, it seemed, was a car restorer: his Deceased Estate largely comprised tools and I had the feeling there would be a large turnout of large people, there often being a correlation between car enthusiasm and girth. Just as I was arriving a 4WD swung out from a driveway opposite forcing me off the otherwise empty road - the driver hadn't spotted my fluorescent jersey - turned left and immediately parked, a journey of a good three hundred metres, and as I dismounted two vast people were struggling their way out of the seats to join the gathered throng. There were fifty-six bidders and twice that number of spectators. The bidders fully met my hopes. A taxonomist would have got all excited and written down a) skinny; b) massive; c) young; d) moribund and immediately drawn a Venn diagram.

One lot was 'an old engineers lathe' and another was 'old push bikes'. On inspection the lathe was a worn-out Chinese affair with a flimsy cross-slide and a knobbly dead centre welded to the tailstock chuck. The two push bikes were of 1970s vintage, one of them the puzzlingly ubiquitous Raleigh Twenty. Nobody has ever satisfactorily explained why so many Raleigh Twenties exist in the Colonies nor why they fetch high prices, but since every one I lay my hands on is addressed with a hacksaw I am doing my best to increase their rarity value.

I returned home to my emails and found a photograph taken of the corner of Mr Knight's drawing-room. Mr Knight like Mr Watson has a shed but there isn't quite enough space for his twenty-eight-plus bicycles, so some have strayed indoors. Should there ever be an auction of the Deceased Estate of Mr Knight it too will feature old push bikes, but I doubt if it will feature any Raleigh Twenties.

When Mr Knight is at work these bicycles double as clothes-drying racks like my astronomical refractor does when my wife's sister comes to visit. You and I of course would never do such an evil thing, for a quick glance tells us that - from the front - we are looking at

a 54" 1883 Bayliss, Thomas & Co. DEHF (Duplex Excelsior Hollow Fork); a 55" c1885/6 racing model of unknowen make; and a pair of c1920. 28 x 1 3/8 (ETRTO 37-642) wooden rimmed wheels on BSA hubs.

I did not spot Mr Knight among the bidders for Mr Watson's workshop effects, but I do know he is building himself quite a useful Geared Facile, and since not many other people are I have spoken firmly to him about recording the matter for posterity. You and I know what a Geared Facile is, of course, but everyone else will have to go to his new blog and keep track of events as they unfold.

Balanced Forces 

Monday, June 29, 2009 12:17:32 PM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing mooning
Behold, I have sinned. I have not worked all morning. My friend Susan is sitting huddled in Clapham fondly imagining I am busy working on half a book with her and in fact I am not doing half a book at all. I am busy making a cabinet. Two cabinets, actually. These cabinets are not specifically because I need cabinets; rather, they are because I am supposed to be doing Chapter 2 and in fact I suffer from a dreadful affliction which is to say whenever there is a pressing deadline (though can Chapter 2 be pressing?) I indulge in Workshop Tidying. This is an affliction specific to me. Nobody else in the world suffers from it. Faced with a difficult drawing I will spend two hours sharpening every pencil I possess and then I will hoover the room even under my glass draughting table and - mark this - behind the computer. Amazing how much fluff a computer generates. If the world abandoned computers there'd be a fluff shortage.
Faced with Chapter 2, I immediately note that the four drawers and broken cupboard that Dr Brewer didn't want and very kindly gave me have been sitting idle in the sheds for a month, so naturally now is the time to fetch out the glue and screws and saws and convert them into useful storage space for the lathe chucks which have been sitting bathed in unholy swarf these four years past on the floor where lathe chucks have no business to be, and I am not going to offer a photograph of the resultant cabinets because I happen to know for a fact that Nigel Farrell, whose exploits have been hitherto detailed here, is a cabinet maker and I don't want him laughing at me. His wife's called Annaliisa, by the way. One of us can't spell.
Anyway, my steel has arrived so I have few excuses to make cabinets and ought to be busy rebuilding Sam the Scotchman's trike frame as my chief displacement activity. (I call him a Scotchman because I happen to know for another fact that they hate being called that.)(Everyone knows that.)(Uh?)(So why did I tell you?)
Unfortunately John is studying Balanced Forces so further work on trikes/cabinets/Chapter 2 has to be postponed while we deal with this, because harrassed schoolmistresses cannot explain Balanced Forces to thirty fourteen-year-olds in forty minutes with even the remotest chances of success. Luckily his memory of Mr Knight zooming round and round at 50 kph for an hour is fresh, so we focus on
a) how much air weighs (.88 kg per cubic metre, from memory) 
b) how much of it you scoop up in your arms when you pedal through it 
c) pedalling twice as fast means you scoop up twice the mass in the same time 
d) and that you have to accelerate all that extra air not only to how fast you were going, but to how fast you are now going 
e) if you can just nudge it aside, diagonally, instead of scooping it up in your arms, then you can go faster 
f) which is what Bob's fairing was all about 
g) and that when you start off your forces aren't balanced which is why you accelerate
h) and that when your forces balance you stop accelerating
i) which is why Bob couldn't go faster than 50 KPH.

This is a lot to take in, so we move on to what forces apply when a 22 year old stands on top of a car with his trousers round his ankles and the car suddenly stops. The 22 year old has velocity, but no force. Accordingly he continues forwards at his constant 80 kph, until his face encounters a force. The force grinds his face off, and as he is not pedalling or running to perpetuate his velocity, he undergoes negative acceleration. John enjoys this greatly. Whenever the concept becomes difficult, we add lurid detail. It is a topic of considerable interest because it so happened that John and I were driving down to stay with Bob Knight on the morning this unusual incident took place, and were held up for half an hour at the Lewis Pass watching the rescue helicopter. The fireman told us 'not a pretty sight' but when we were allowed past John reported that he saw a body lying in the road but no crashed car, which mystery was only solved as the news reports came through. The 22 year old gentleman concerned is now, I gather, on my mate's mechanical engineering course, where he exhibits a Police ankle bracelet, half a face, a surprising amount of conceit at his fame, and occasional absences for further reconstructive chirurgery.

My mate (in the Australian sense, not the animal pairing sense) is the Editor of the New Zealand HPV Newsletter, and shares with Dr Lowing a misplaced enthusiasm for those front wheel drive bikes where the bottom bracket is allowed to waggle about along with the handlebars and front forks. He's just bought a lathe, and needs to know how to work it. My (Australian) mate, that is, not old Lowing. Lowing needs to get on with his dissertation on Intellectual Law. And I need to get on with Chapter 2. And the mooning young man on top of the car needs to grow a new head, this time with a brain in it.

NZ Hour Record 

Monday, June 1, 2009 10:59:13 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
L to R - Nigel Farrell's left leg; an exceptionally handsome gifted intelligent wonderful kindly warm generous noble human whom modesty forbids me to name, and three quarters of Aarn Tate. - Oh, and Nigel's (bomb doors open) and Bob's corriboard faired machines, frontal view, prior to battle.


Okay, here as promised are the Results.

Bob Knight: 50.7272 kilometres. New NZ Hour Record.
Unf. at the exact moment (literally) Bob had established this new Record, Nigel had broken it. Much rejoicing in the NZ camp; chiz in the Brit camp.

Nigel Farrell: 52.6643 kilometres. Newer NZ Hour Record

We were able to determine the distance to the fourth decimal point because we had a team of scientists armed with Vernier callipers and synchronised stopwatches lying about the track and we were able to confirm it divinely because we had a cell-phone call from Thou who knowest their downsitting and uprising and spiest out all their ways (Ps 139, from memory needless to add, and not a very good memory, even more needless to add.). And if you disbelieve me, you horrid sceptics, it's on the Internet so it has to be true even though the reporter was lying about the fibreglass.


So what actually happened was this. Annalisa Farrell and I sat down in a small and cold huddle on some foam I had the Great Presence of Mind to Bring With Me (so nur to you Dr Lowing) and discussed how hard our respective hearts were beating. And, honi soit qui mal y pense, this was not some kind of illicit amorous tryst; this is just what happens when you've spent months discussing and worrying with someone about an attempt like this and you know 'zackly how much work, how many hours, how much tension, how much pressure, has gone into it. And I'm not even married to Nigel Farrell. (The attentive reader will already have presumed this but there is a certain school of thought in the BHPC that I am Bonkers in the Nut and I just wish to scotch any further imaginative allegations before they are made, Mr Larrington.) Moreover John, a son of mine who was timekeeping too, told me afterwards that his heart was pounding. I think everyone's was. That Nigel's and Bob's were goes without saying though I see I have rather pointlessly just said it.
Away they both went, the threatened icy weather holding off and the air reasonably still. Annalisa, who we have established is a pretty serious competitive cyclist and knows what she's talking about, voiced worries about Nigel going too fast too early; I voiced worries about Bob crashing an untested machine in which he had had precisely 54 minutes' riding experience. (That was Saturday.) But it was looking well even though he was taking a wide line, and I knew without his confirming it to me afterwards that this wide line was largely to do with not knowing what the bally thing was likely to do at any point. (In fact his computer told us afterwards it had done an additional 1.5 km which indicates how far outside the line he was riding. Which distance of course cannot count in a record, because all machines waver outside the line.)

For the first fifteen minutes there was a very, very slow creep as Bob closed the gap. There was very little in it, maybe an eighth of a lap, but at one point Bob could just see Nigel coming off the straight ahead of him.

We now need a Technical Digression, because I had privily asked Geoff Bird for any comments he might have about the fairing and he had replied that the only thing he could see was the prospect of Bob's windscreen misting up, it being very close to his face. Now this is an evil for which I regret I must take responsibility, because I had recommended that the closer the screen was to the eyes the better, for visibility's sake. Both Bob and I are motorcyclists (what a dreadful admission. But it's true) and we weren't too worried about this: applications of neat washing up liquid on the inside usually prevent misting of a motorcycle helmet's visor. What we hadn't banked on was the fact that when you ride a motorbike you aren't pedalling hard. (Shall we take Humorous Moped comments as read?) So during Saturday's trials when it became apparent that misting up was a very big problem, Nigel offered his cordless drill and together we all cut a slit at the base of the windscreen and this reduced the misting to the point where Bob thought he could probably see okay.

However - reverting to the Record Attempt - the misting gradually started to increase, and with the already dodgy handling of the Ratracer's new tiller steering and the slightly dodgy corners of the track, being able to see exactly where he was going was becoming more and more of an issue. And at this point Nigel, with the confidence of years of riding his machine and even riding it on open roads in time trial events with some slightly-more-tolerant-club-members-than-the-UCI-might-like, started to increase his own pace. Moreover Nigel had no screen, and with an obviously better handling machine was able to close in harder on the innermost racing line. So from about half-way through the hour, the gap reversed and Nigel started to close in on Bob. Exactly when he lapped (actually, half-lapped him; they started on opposite sides of course) him I didn't note, but it was quite late on in the piece.

And then in the 85th lap disaster, of a thankfully mild sort, struck. We felt it in the stands: a sudden blast of cold wind. You could see Bob's racing line start to waver: he was fighting to keep it on the track, and those of us who saw what happened to him at Leicester will have no difficulty knowing what was going on in his mind. - Afterwards he was to tell me it was the most terrifying experience of his entire life. - He felt he had no idea at all whether the thing was going to fall, whether he could hold it upright, whether he would crash, and almost worst of all to an HPV combatant, whether he would get in the way of his deadly (1) foe's attempt. There were about ten minutes to go, and for the whole of that time you could see Bob's machine slowing in every corner, and see him trying to accelerate to pick up the lost speed in the all-too-short straights. And - since we're all physicists and know that F=MA - you know how this acceleration takes it out of you. And from then on, Nigel started lapping him regularly - well, four times of course - and had, unfortunately, to do so on the outside of the track because Bob was sticking as close to the middle as he dared so that if the now badly gusting wind took him out, he would go onto grass and not into the hard wall around the outside of the track and perhaps spin into Nigel's way. You could see the worry in Annalisa's face. She wasn't worried for her husband - he seemed in complete control of his bike despite the wind - she was watching, with cheeks drawn and teeth clamped anxiously together, to see if Bob's Ratracer was going to fall. And at one point when it looked as if he might actually stop and withdraw, both Annalisa and I were on our feet yelling at him to keep going, because we could see he was within grasp of breaking the existing Record. I had never thought I could be so agitated as a spectator. It was horrible.

But, in the end, it was over. And, most important of all, he hadn't crashed, hadn't lost any more than a bit of skin from his knees - the fairing was too tight - and by truly miraculous courage had actually broken the existing NZ Hour Record. I trotted alongside to catch him, we lifted the cover, he flopped out and performed a creditable possum impression while Patrick the amiable Nelson Mail reporter took indiscreet photographs of a recumbent recumbeteer.

Comparing notes with Nigel afterwards, Nigel too had lost a bit of skin off a knee: he'd slipped down in his seat at one point and was unable to wriggle back up while pedalling at full power, so the fairing rubbed a nasty little sore with every pedal-thrust. He was also having neck cramps towards the end, trying to flex his head backwards and forwards to ease the pain. But his familiarity with his bike was such that he was able to relax and let it move with the wind, and this is a very great credit to the fact that his machine had sound handling right from the start and even more of a credit when it is known that it was the first recumbent Nigel had built. (If I may digress again briefly, a certain friend of mine had some pertinent first-hand remarks to make about the necessity of absolutely sound handling on record machines after a certain incident which, in the event, may now be viewed by anyone:

Therefore, at the moment, there is considerable jubilation in the NZ HPV community because two chaps in home-built corriboard streamliners managed to break a record that had been set fifteen years before, by a rider younger then that either of them are now in the world-record-breaking Kingcycle Bean. (Which you can see in a series of PDF photos by our Pete Cox at
which has as a bonus on p 44 a picture of my wonderful self standing, deja vu, beside Bob Knight not very many minutes before he lost half his skin at Abbey Park Leicester.)

However this delight is tempered by the galling knowledge that Claire King inside Mr Bird's head-in, hard-shell streamliner holds the UK women's hour record at 52.343 km and she's only a guuurrl. Therefore it is not hard to predict that further machines are going to get themselves built in due course, and that other racetracks up and down the country are going to find themselves surveyed, and that there is the distinct possibility of frightening the Manager of Invercargill which I am told has a temptingly wooden velodrome.

Nigel Farrell warming up


1) In the HPV world, Deadly Foes email and phone one another to offer help which I happen to know Nigel and Bob were doing well before the attempt, and they lend each other cordless drills and stuff on the day too. We are a gentle people.

Hour Record Broken 

Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:12:20 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing
As Mr Kingsbury used to say, The Boy Done Good . (I'm no good at Suspense.)
Also Urghhh is what I wanted to say, who invented alarm clocks? Up before dawn trying to think of everything that hadn't been packed the night before, and off in convoy to Nelson. Lots  of people - three - already milling around, and a frantic unpack until Bob and Nigel agreed with each other not to be so silly, they'd start at eight. This was to prove a Mistake as shall be revealed.
Lots of warm-up laps and so to business, I holding Bob up on the line and Mrs Farrell holding Mr Farrell up on the far side of the track. Mr Farrell - I wasn't close enough to see - may have received a good luck kiss; Mr Knight did not. The countdown and they were off, I running along holding the sides of the machine to prevent ignominious horizontality, my attempts to cheat by giving him a vigorous push being pre-empted by the fact that he pedalled out of my hands. And then they were on their own, and Mrs Farrell (it's Annalisa by the way and I didn't have to ask. I googled) sat down beside me and we settled to the ticking off of laps. All looked hunky-dory at first with each exactly matching the other's speed, and though Mr Knight was taking a slightly higher line on the track they were crossing their respective Start lines at exactly the same moment.
After an hour both of them had broken the NZ record but I'm kanckered (anag.) and about to go to bed because although all you rosy-cheeked yokels of Greet Maaaarsin'm Naarf'lk (for the NZ reader: Great Massingham; a noble city of several houses wherein the improbably named Niels Christian Arveschoug, famous Norfolk folk musician and an old mate of mine once lived) are up and planting turnips and so forth, we Colonials are frozen to our earthquakes and the sky is starry and frosty and the moon glimmers like a glimmery thing and actually I don't happen to have the exact figures to hand. I know one of 'em did 101 laps and a bit and t'other did 97 and a bit, but we want exactitude and I forgot to write it down and can't get the Results emailed to me until the morning. Besides the photographer has gone to bed.
Okay so that was a bit of a let-down, and here's another: it got so windy that for the subsequent race I tried my wonderful, beautiful, exquisite (get on with it. - Ed.) foam fairing for one trial lap and promptly took it off because the wind was steering the bike, not me. My fairing has a number of deficiencies, conspicuous among which being that it's useless.
I shall tell you all about these adventures tomorrow. Promise. (Maybe.) But there's a Clue in the preceeding paragraph.

Dress Rehearsal 

Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:06:29 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
To Nelson for 9 am. Collect key (thanks James - R)(thanks Andrew - J) and there, breezy from a 4 am start and a 250 mile mountain drive of which we won't calculate the carbon footprint, was Mr R G Knight sitting outside Trafalgar Park in his car where he'd been practising his Anglo-Saxon since 10 to 9 waiting for me to arrive.

Onto the track, and a few nervous laps without the top, and then on with the top and lo! success. The boy was able to ride it. The oval track is 521 metres long if you use a commercial lap measurer, 519 metres long if you use my 48 inch penny farthing, and 520 metres long if you go by the Council's survey; and it's a bit narrower on the far side where the rugby football authorities felt empowered to snip a bit of width off for their new stand (1). This means that the far corner is a bit squirrelly, a sort of evil combination of a sharpened curve and a wrong camber. So it took a good number of laps before he looked comfortable and was riding roughly in the middle of the track rather than round the outskirts. Lap times were hovering around the 37 second mark.

Then along poled Nigel and Annaliese. Annaliese is a pretty serious UCI cyclist - sort of the NZ criterium champion - and she doesn't spell her name that way but I can't remember how she does spell it and neither can anyone else. I spell it that way because I have a particularly angelic niece who does. And lacking any other photographic decoration from the day, I now somewhat irrelevantly attach the niece.
(The niece sits on a daughter - mine - who Members may recall as an eight-year-old recumbent cyclist from, oh, about eleven years ago.)
Annaliese (the cyclist) lacks a recumbent so we shall have to lend her one. Can't be missing out on opportunities to get serious cyclists onto serious cycles. Nigel is Nigel Farrell who designed and built a very elegant FWD SWB which is in one of the BHPC Newsletters, I forget which one, because I put it there. (I didn't forget which one because I put it there. It's there because - oh never mind.) Nigel has been riding this machine corriboard-faired for the last 3 years at around the speed that the NZ Hour Record stands, and is still riding this machine because the new one he's building isn't finished yet. Aarn Tate is somehow involved in this build: I didn't quite get how because I wasn't paying attention.

So pretty soon we had the both of them quietly trundling round at about 30 mph, and Annaliese took some photos with Bob's camera, and I can't show you them right now cos my computer doesn't have the right sized USB port. It's a very old computer. It's 5.

Then we had to stop because the Rugby Footballers were due, they occupying the redundant grass bit that you often find in the middle of a valuable cycle track, and we all went home to fettle.

Come the evening we returned and everyone - there were lots of us by now - swept 520 metres of tarmac and we all tried to work out how to time everything accurately and everyone's relying on a chap called Paul Dunlop who is the only member of the NZ HPV club with organisational abilities and who is therefore its Hon. Sec. The NZ club is called KiwiHPV and I daresay you could google it if your USB ports are the right size.

So tomorrow at dawn the ride will start and we will see if
1. Bob's chainring can withstand the excitement and
2. he falls off and
3. I can find a piece of paper to write down how to spell Annaliese Farrell.


1.Which, in the event, is permanently unoccupied. (We do not comment on Rugby Football. We wish to live on unmolested.)

Foam nosecone 2 

I have two Black and Decker angle grinders. - I feel the Membership should know these things. - One is ancient and has now had the lead replaced because the wobbly plastick rubbishy bit that plugs into the back because Health-and-Safety can't countenance a person using a tool without there being fourteen levels of plug-in-ness to ensure maximum frustration (soldered, now, with lead-based solder which I gather can no longer be bought in Health-and-Safetyland) and minimum chance of electrocution because you can't cut through a live wire if the damned thing won't work. This has a wire brush on it because I am quite remarkably stupid and put the locking nut for discs down somewhere safe and cannot now find it.

The new one is a KG85 and I have just discovered this: that the front locking button bit thingy has been moved to the top of the instrument by some Stylemeister in the Marketing Dept. and you now need three hands to change a disc. Congratulations, Mr Black and Mr Decker. You may now step up onto the Rostrum next to me as Stupid Person Medal Winner.

(And while we're about it, why the *uck have you taken to calling your handtools 'Fire Storm'? Are the Buying Public that infantile? They're *ucking electric drills, for *uck'ssake. If you're into weapons manufacture for the American armed services then I can assure you that hopping about Afghanistan 3.7 metres from the nearest plug-in mains supply with a rotating 8mm drill bit is not going to have the Taliban heading for their caves, however sensuously you've created the bright orange plastic bodyshell. Which, for the record, is a considerable unimprovement because there are now no flat surfaces you can grip in a vice, you stupid, stupid dolt-heads.)

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. I am in receipt of further photos and it now appears Mr Knight has modified his concept of a foam bumper bar.


Gladwrap, if you spot the tell-tale yellow box under the new nose, is the Australasian equivalent of Cling-film. The final nose is of papier-mache, and I shall actually be seeing it tomorrow because Mr Knight is rather bravely going to set off before dawn and get here, we hope, in time to try it out on the track before the Rugby Football players take over Trafalgar Park for their afternoon's game. I shall then try to find out whether the Gladwrap is still in situ, and whether some waterproofing of the papier mache has taken place because if it hasn't we may be back to the bath sponge, since there is 'light rain' forecast for tomorrow in Nelson.  

Members who know Mr Knight will be concerned to see that the Ratracer has displaced the two penny farthings he normally keeps in his living room along with a pair of 28 inch wood-rimmed wheels. I have been in said living room and can assure you that the penny farthings are in the opposite corner. What this says about the saintliness of Mrs Bob Knight I leave to conjecture. 

Foam Nosecone 

Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:53:49 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing Foam fairing
Bless my soul. Whatever possessed him to add a bath sponge to the front of his machine? When I suggested 'foam' to him I absolutely assure you I did not have this in mind. I mean I know he came to grief in Leicester but I'm at a loss to see how this can be prevented by this makeshift. This, Mr Knight tells me, is to replace the 'crappy papier mache' temporary nosecone he'd made. I think we may have to enquire further. It may be that he really has taken leave of his senses.


Sunday, May 24, 2009 11:22:31 AM Categories: bike crash Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
Not a good day. The rain arrived and outstayed its welcome. But there was a brief dry period. And you know what happens when you've freshly minted a fairing and *need* to try it out. So out he went, and the Christchurch municipal authorities having failed in their statutory duty to provide proper fully-faired recumbent bicycle testing tracks, found a quiet road.

It has rained all weekend and caused me much nervousness about never having ridden it with the lid on. At about 3 pm there came a slight window in the weather. I loaded everything up and drove to a very quiet road to practice riding all sealed up. Well it was a debacle. I attempted two starts and failed on both times to be able to get going. I fell over hard on my right side both times and have lost skin off my right arm and bruised the elbow. The quiet road was also         busy and of course there were cars coming as I'm lying in the middle of the wet road, unable to get out of the        thing. - Bob

I shall not say whether I have edited that post of some of its emphasis, but it's all a bit dismaying, since it looks worryingly like he's going to arrive up here and have to ride it, for the first time ever, during the timed event. I have moved my Concern Level from Amber, to Slightly Darker Amber.
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