Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparing for Euro Tour 2014

Yohan at the Velomobile Center in Ganløse, Denmark, re-spoked, trued, and replaced the bearings on the front wheels of the Nomad. With that out of the way, I can turn my attention to the body work. On the list is a new hood, to replace the one stolen, and a lighter and bigger cargo box behind the seat. I'll remove the under-seat 'floor', as all it is really doing is collecting dirt and stones kicked up from the wheels.

All this to prepare for Euro Tour 2014 Oslo-to-Berlin. My dad has decided to join me on this tour, and with it being his first cycle tour we'll go easy and just do the Copenhagen-to-Berlin segment. When he arrives in mid-July, we will set up a Leitra for him and do some small tours around Copenhagen to get used to riding such a different kind of vehicle.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

13 km cycle/run with my poodle Max


Run with Max, my 21-month Poodle.  I was cycling on a Hase Kettwiesel recumbent trike.  He was held back to a top speed of 25.6 kph.  Once he get's past two years old (adult), I will try to let him "open up the throttle" and see how fast he can really go.  I have no doubt he can break 30 kph.  The run included a 30 minute play time with 3 other dogs at the half-way point in the south.  He trotted or fast-walked all but about a kilometer on the return trip, where he was carried (actually leaning against my chest) to give his feet a break.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social networking as a means of developing a cycle-taxi ride share system

Over the last few weeks, I've been tinkering with various APIs from Google Latitude, mobile databases (including HTML's built in dbs), Facebook, rating systems, etc.

The goal of this active research was to develop an app and web service similar to "Click-a-Taxi", where cycle taxi / rickshaw drivers would be able to tap into an area of potential customers currently enjoyed by auto-taxi drivers.

Then I ran across existing apps and services based on social ride-sharing, and thought "that's it!  that's exactly what I'm trying to do!"  A social networking service that allows passengers to search for cycle taxi drivers in their area, contact them (either via phone or within a mobile phone app itself), and even rate the drivers or their experience of the ride.  But all of these services cater to auto-based ride sharing, so I can't just 'jump in' and use them as-is.

So before I invest a lot of time and effort in creating an infrastructure and app, I'm contacting several of these services (there is even one in Denmark), to see if I can convince them to add cycle taxis to their list of vehicles.

It would save me a lot of time in development, and provide a ready resource for freelance cycle-taxi drivers.  It also gives me a chance to form them into a 'cycle taxi association' that adheres to fair pricing (many of the drivers tend to overcharge, but most don't know any better), and a social rating system helps to keep them fair and improve their behavior, like following road rules.

This all is meant to improve the stature and impression of the cycle-taxi as a needed service in a time of saving fuel and the environment, and to preserve the culture in Copenhagen before it gets crushed by poorly designed regulatory measures.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A snow-bound experience!

Greetings and Happy Holidays!

Got caught in a snowstorm last week, and plowed into a snowdrift while climbing the last bridge home:





I'm almost scared to go down into the garage and see how it looks after sitting down there in snowmelt for 4 days. I suspect I'll need a new chain, to start. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weather proofing the Nomad and preparing for EuroTour2013

After some struggles at getting the sides of the Wildcat fairing built, I turned it over to a pair of French interns at he Leitra workshop, located just outside Copenhagen.  Under the guiding hand of Carl Georg Rasmussen, the young engineering students came up with a light skeleton covered with camping isolation mat material.

Now I enjoy a fully faired warm interior which protects my arms and upper body from the wet Danish weather.  And it should help a bit with the aerodynamics, but I haven't had a chance to test that.  I'll need to get a larger front cog wheel so that I can get above the 42kph limit the current one gives me.

Also contemplating upgrading the front end of the Nomad.  As I understand it, I could swap it out with the front end of the full-suspension SteinTrike MadMax, since the rear swingarm is supposed to be the same between both models.  Will have to write SteinTrike for info on this possibility.  It would be great if that works because it would give me the full-suspension I've been missing.  The Nomad is a great trike, but as a velomobile it just jars and shakes over the smallest of bumps.  My experience with the MadMax and it's known use as the base of the Thunderstorm velomobile just makes it the right choice for the Wildcat fairing, in my opinion.  I may just have to put it to the test.

All the upgrades and improvements lead me towards the EuroTour2013 (http://eurotour2013.com/) - a three week tour through five countries by a group of velomobile riders.  Now that the Wildcat Nomad is ready (ok, I still need to  rebuild one wheel and get a bigger front cog), I've been slowly working on endurance training.  My goal is to get myself up to a level of fitness where I can hold 30 kph (18 mph) for a couple of hours, then stretch that to four hours at 25-30 kph.

After the New Year begins my plan is to start daily rides of a couple hours at a time, working my speed up each week.

Wildcat Nomad gallery
the Wildcat Nomad - old photo without side panels:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Copenhagen to Cornwall, day 4-7

day 4 - Arrived at Dunkerque, France around mid-day and crossed over to Dover with little fanfare. "Holy crap" followed a frustrated climb out of the Dover port, followed less than an hour later with a variety of swearing issued at the world in general as I pushed my trike up a 14% grade hill on a gravel road- part of 'national cycle road' network in the UK. What the frell? Up-n-down for miles along the Cliffs of Dover do not a cycle road make! Unless it's for masochistic cyclists. Spent the night in a park on the outskirts of Folkstone.

day 5 - Chain snapped in Rye when starting from a standstill on a hill due to a red light. Was in top gear on the front at the time. Thankfully just minutes away was a cycle shop. After about 10 minutes of waiting for it to open (it was 8:50AM at the time), the shop keeper was very helpful in finding me some replacement links. he also scrounged up a cheap front derailleur kit (shifter and cable), which I installed. Now I was all set with a proper forward gear changer (ran out of time to install one in Denmark, so up to this point I was manually changing the front gear up and down when needed). Got as far as Hastings after climbing for a mile on a 12% grade, knees burning. I pulled into the nearest train station and after some debate on whether to continue or turn tail and head home defeated, I rallied to an alternative: night train to Penzance, then cycle east to St Hilary where my friend Howard would host my short stay. I got on the train in Hastings, which took me back to London. Had to cross the city to get to London Paddington station, and enjoyed a mini celebrity status as many intersections. The response was highly positive when people saw the Nomad Wildcat pedal past them. Lost of photographs taken. Arrived in Paddington around 20:00, and boarded the night train to Penzance about 23:30.

day 6 - After a semi-comfy sleep in a coach seat, we arrived in Penzance about 9:00 - delayed an hour due to signal trouble on the track that forced the train to stop it's journey west. I pedaled the 10 km to St. Hilary, where my host, Howard Curnow gave me a warm welcome. I collapsed for a nap, and later that evening Howard treated me to a BBQ at a local pub, that included a Cornish singing group (of which Howard was a member, and a pretty good singer for a man in his 70's). I made some videos which i will put up after my return to Denmark.

day 7 - Did a ride out to Michael's Mount - a smaller version of France's Mont Saint Michael, inspired directly by it. Built by the same monks too, so i am told. continued on to Penzance along a coastal cycle path, stopped for lunch, then kept going until I reached Mousehole, a little cliff-side village about 12-13km away from my base at St. Hilary. Saw that the hills there were beyond my ability to climb, even with an unloaded trike (I also left the fairing back at base), so i wandered back down to Penzance, took in the High Street shops (mostly closed on Sunday), then made it home in time for a filling and delicious dinner prepared by Howard.

Howard has some paying customers coming on Wednesday and staying for a week, so initially we talked about getting me a spot between some trees to put up my hammock for the remainder of my stay. But today's weather report shows that the local weather will turn nasty on Wednesday. so the current thought is to return to London by train on Tuesday, then cycle either down to Dover, or eastward to Harwich, for the return trip to the European mainland.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Copenhagen to Cornwall, day 1-3

You might be wondering what happened to day 1 and 2. Day 1 was spent traveling by night train so if something did happen, I would have slept through it. Day 2 was spent getting lost while trying to get out of Utrecht and Rotterdam.

Day 3, however, was a little more exciting - I loudly cursed 90 of the 100km throughout the day due to bad cycle roads or bad design. Seriously people, stop using brick or cobblestones to make cycle paths! ! !

Currently about 50 km from Dunkerque, France, where I will take the ferry to Dover. UK invasion Thursday around midday I hope!