Posts in Category: Correx corriboard corflute fairing

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.

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.

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.


Friday, May 22, 2009 11:34:58 PM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing

Windscreen added. Fairing finished. Commentary unnecessary. But rain and howling winds predicted for the next few days so methinks it won't get tried for a day or two.
I'd better look at my own foam fairing, lying desolate and forsaken with its broken struts, before next weekend, lest Bob come to the view that he isn't in the hands of a Master of Aerodynamicks. It would never do to divulge the depths of my incompetence.


Friday, May 22, 2009 10:04:16 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
We are close to being up-to-speed now. That is to say, I have very nearly updated this account so it actually matches the dates of the various adventures, and Mr K has very nearly completed the fairing, but I suspect not very much more is going to happen in the next few days on account of Rain. New Zealand has quite a lot of Rain, though it doesn't usually fall on Mr Knight who lives in the driest part of the country. The wettest part gets six metres a year, I'm told by a fairly unreliable source, but what source would be reliable in conditions like that? But it's raining in Rangiora where the brave chap lives and I shan't gloat by mentioning that it isn't raining 250 miles north of there which is where I have the good sense to live.


So here we are, and I assure everyone that he correctly spelt 'armholes'.


I cut the armholes tonight and started the template for the windscreen. It's all a bit snug now.
We're having some weather at the moment, the old Waimakariri bridge is shut again due to the scouring around the piles. Apparently 'they' are going to repile it and put a clip-on (cycle lane attached to side of bridge) at the same time. Allegedly. I read it in the newspaper tonight so it must be true, this may or may not be in my lifetime. - Bob
I gave the man some Lexan that I happened to have about my person, to be used for the actual windscreen which is close to the face a la Paul Davies fairings, so no jocund remarks about the transparency of cardboard if you please.

'nother trial run 

Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:02:21 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
In view of the fact that Blogs are supposed to be daily up-to-date records and whatnot this is a bit useless and rubbishy because I'm not entirely sure when this email appeared but I think it was a few days later. This proves I am stupid, which proof was not required by the BHPC since it has had ample evidence already. You have to be stupid to manage to lose the dates of your emails. (I should claim it as a triumph, along with installing a new printer without beating my computer to death with a 2 lbs claw hammer.)

Today went well with a few caveats.

The final three planks on the bottom of the fairing took me longer than I had anticipated and the temporary crappy nose took no time at all. However it was 11 o'clock before I was able to load the bike into the car where it fitted very well with only a wheel digging me in the ribs. I drove to Loburn School where I parked and unpacked everything and then repacked and drove home because I had forgotten my shoes. The fairing has been designed around these shoes with minimal clearance so only those would do. Anyway, back to the start again and unfortunately by this time the Nor' Wester had been switched on. Using Sir Beaufort's wonderful scale, I estimated the wind speed to be 5 gusting to 6. Within 200 m of the car I knew that it wasn't going to be a quick ride. I also knew immediately that I had got all the clearances spot on. No feet or knee strikes anywhere, all that effort early on has paid off. The gusts around the shelter belts and gateways etc. were truly 'orrible. Going out was mostly a block headwind with little chance to really put the hammer down to test the speed. I'd already decided where to turn because the road surface becomes really bad and gives me the eyeball jiggles which is most unpleasant. I slowed, pulled onto the verge and got blown over by the wind. Superficial damage only except the chain came off, not normally an issue when you can get at it. 10 minutes of swearing when you can't. Coming back was even more horrid, I was unable to pedal at all hard and just soft pedalled, coasted and even braked due to the gusting. Average for the ride was 38.9kph for 28km which is misleading given the condition. Plenty of exciting "Abbey Park" type flashbacks. Got home and realized that I'd not had a ride per se. I wasn't tired, so immediately got out another bike and did 50km in the wind which was a lot harder, 30.1 kph av. when really trying which says quite a lot. - Bob

The photo shows the temporary cone and, lest you imagine that Mr Knight has grown a head of hair and turned into a very youthful-looking transvestite, Miss Claudia Knight.

Trial run 

Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:35:51 AM Categories: Bob Knight's fairing Correx corriboard corflute fairing
From Mr Knight:

Took the ratracer around Ashley Gorge today. It's a 75 km loop from my house and features lots of long flat straights at either end and some fairly steep hills at the middle gorgey bit. 64/25 is just too high for hills like this. However I still averaged 37.6kph with a new max of 71kph which feels quite fast enough thank you with my arse mere inches from the tarmacadam. Which incidently varied from OK to utter, utter rough shite (with tree roots as well). Still worried about the handling on the track though. The natural speed on the flat appears to be 43-45 kph. The wind of course changed from a headwind out to a headwind back. I got a bit more planking done the afternoon, but I fear I will need to tape the seams as well as glue them since glueing thin correx is quite hard to do before the glue cools too much. - Bob

I am unclear as to whether he took the fairing with him or not but that's because my Inbox is a confused mess and you don't need to tell me I ought to tidy it, I already know that. Anyway the planking is very pretty but then I knew it would be because I have the gift of prophesy. Here, since I happen to have it to hand, is a picture of a shady pictureskew garden somewhere in New Zealand.

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