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Monday, January 13, 2014

A Bit of a Summary of 2013

Aluminium Bike in Cobram.  Blurry but I'm having fun.  Graham Signiorini Photo.
Wooden Bike, Early 2014

Wooden Trike near Lara, Buckley's ride 2013

Wooden bike components, from Bottom, plywood plate, hollow timber 90 x 35 pine and their assembly to make a chainstay.

 A few weeks ago, after seeing my blog entry about my trike, Trevor Gosbell and Chris Rogers from Audax asked me about writing an article for the Audax newsletter, "Checkpoint".  So I had a go, and present to you my draft version.  It makes a reasonable summary of the bike development work I did last year and makes some sort of sense of all the various blog posts.  Here we go.

"Since 1986, I have been building recumbent bikes but for a long time the activity was a sporadic, hit and miss affair.  It took challenges in the form of the Bike Vic "Round the Bay in a Day" and OzHpv races to step up my bike quality and make machines capable of longer (200k) rides.  Now, many years later, I've been active in OzHpv and done "Round the Bay in a Day" about 15 times, and the last 2 times were on wooden homebuilt recumbents.  This is the story of the wooden bike circumnavigations.

The bikes I've made for the last few years have been front wheel drive recumbents with a big wheel at the front and a small one at the back, and a large tailbox (storage box / helps make you visible / aerodynamic aid) behind the seat.  The front wheel drive setup has the bottom bracket fixed to the frame and the front wheel steers as usual.  It works!  There has been steady progress over several versions with a few sideways steps along the way. Usually I'm not ashamed to have a go at something a bit unusual, or that might not even work and its often more fun cobbling something together in the shed than planning meticulously for a highly polished result - I get to do that enough in my work as an engineer!  At the other end of the scale I don't mind spending money on good bike components either.

I've been through round tube steel frame with cast lugs, lasercut round tube steel frame, separable steel frame, rectangular aluminium frame and trike versions of my big at the front bike before arriving at the most recent timber frame bike I now have.

The aluminium frame recumbent bike which I still count as my daily ride has been very reliable for commuting, beer fetching, Audax riding and light touring since mid 2012.  It has an NC routed timber seat assembly which slides up and down the main boom of the bike to adjust for leg length.  After a while an "itch I wanted to scratch" was to make a version of this bike with a wooden frame and so in late 2012 I ordered some NC routed timber for the seat and also put "doing a 200k ride on a wooden bike" on my 2013 to do-list.

By May last year I had a wooden bike on the road and targeted in Phil Gidding's winter surf ride for the "wooden bike 200".  When the time for the ride arrived, the weather didn't look good, I was undertrained and parts of my wooden bike were falling apart, so the trip was done on my aluminium bike instead.  Just as well, the Winter Surf Ride weather was shocking with a huge storm front coming through late afternoon, making riding impossible for a while.

In mid last year another itch I had to scratch worked its way into my mind and that is a recumbent trike of the "iLean" family.  This is a clever method of making a leaning trike invented by Mr Vi Vuong from California in the US.  Who said everything the is to do with cycles has already been designed?  Most of the bits I needed were already on my falling apart wooden bike, a friend did the necessary timber routing in exchange for a bottle of wine and I unscrupulously swapped pedal axles for wheel axles on a pair of 20" wheels.  Voila, a new trike was born, and it worked quite well.

Time was running out for me to finish a wooden bike 200 in the calendar year and there didn't seem to be a flat 200 coming up so I chose a date and opted for a Buckley's (Round the Bay in a Day Equivalent) permanent to try my trike.  The day I chose was unfortunately raining and I had a headwind for 70k straight at the start.  It was a long day in the saddle but I got there in the end - a 5am start and 8pm finish. I was very glad to get home and tick one item off the bucket list.

In the middle of building the trike, I designed a refined, weight reduced version of the my timber bike, then ordered some more NC routed timber and lasercut steel lugs and handlebar bits to make it.  These bits sat in my shed for a few weeks till late in 2013 I got a chance to put all the parts together.

Chris Rogers had asked if I wanted to go in the Buckleys ride proper on January 4 2014 and I agreed.  Coincidentally, my new wooden bike was coming together  very well and I'd had a good 30k or so test ride on it on January 2.  So it was the wooden bike for the Buckley's ride.

This time the ride went very well and I was in at 5:30 pm after a 6am start.  Ian Knox and Kevin Linnett were on recumbents and I knew Rick Harker and a few others from previous rides.  Thanks to Chris Rogers for organising the Buckleys rides and Ian Knox who leant me his mobile phone and support.

Best wishes, Regards

Stephen Nurse


"iLean" trikes on
Article on "iLean" trikes with links to video etc. 
My bikes on
Start of Ilean trike Build (see also following posts)
Start of Hollow Beam Bike Build
Audax Australia

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