Monday, July 28, 2008

High Tech to Low Tech

High Tech Cycling
by Edund R. Burke PhD. (U of Colorado)

I just finished this up. This book is incredible. Basically, he has combed over a billion technical papers on things such as aerodynamics, geometry, biomechanics, suspension design, nutrition, altitude training etc and compiled it all into one data filled read that nerds like me eat up.

For example, here's what he has to say about DFL_Nick's brifter setup:
"Its fine to position one brake lever slightly different from the other. Remember, the bike should look like you."


.. and if you don't listen to Zinn, have a read for yourself in the google preview. (beware the serious chart pron)

Low Tech.
Spin Cycle's Sea Cavalcade Open Class Hill Climb, Gibsons BC

So.. I had taken off to the sunshine coast this weekend, and had planned on spending my Saturday morning riding from our quiet spot in Garden Bay to Egemont... However, at the last minute the wifey mentioned that there was a 'free' race in Gibsons that day.

I looked at the course, it was a 2.3km long hillclimb, with the majority of elevation gain (>100m)in the first kilometre. This pretty much meant I had to do it. I wanted to see how the Sunshine coast roadies rolled.

I decided to leave my bike in the 42/15 'fast' gear, thinking that the hill was short enough I could just muscle it up to the flatter area at the top.

When I arrived at Spin Cycles that morning, everyone was really friendly. Most were confused about my bike setup, so I had to explain a few things to them.. The mood was pretty fun all around.

Yes its fixed.
32H wheels, double eyeletted.
Its a BMX chain.
These bars are for leverage.
about 1000km per rear tire.

We lined up behind the Spin Cycle's pace car, and took off down the parade route. Families lined the street and were clapping and cheering as we paced along. The plan was to stay behind the Spin Cycles Smart car until we got to the intersection at lower Gibsons, then it was free for all. I think I might have psyched some of them out while leisurely drifting my bike down the hill. We weren't exactly pacelining, but my bike seemed to clear a pretty big gap in the peloton.

At the bottom, we hit it. A plume of diesel smoke from the Smart Car and I tried to get in its microscopic draft zone. They would have none of that, and took off faster. I continued to hammer up the hill at my usual pace, not looking back.

I knew there was someone on my wheel, but I wouldn't let it phase me.
Soon we were at the corner where previously (during the SHOW US YR BOBZ tour) I had to start switchbacking. I saw my wifey,and she cheered me on. I kept the pace up even though my legs and hips were near exploding... but then it happened.

The 120lb. 16y/o roadie (yellow jersey, blue bike) layed it down. He accelerated away like some kind of silent mag lev train riding a carbon road bike. There was no chance of me turning the cranks any faster at that point, so I held my RPMs.

Towards the top it was flattening out. I could feel the MTBer (camo shorts, yellow bike) behind me, right on my wheel. He attacked and dropped to a smaller cog.. I spun faster. He dropped another cog, I spun faster. Entire families stood and cheered. We flew through the intersections along the Gibsons strip, not even looking for truck traffic.. and finally, I was spun out.. I crossed the line in 3rd place, well ahead of the other 5 racers.

Everyone was pretty excited for me, having just put myself through that on such a low tech machine. After the prizes (Giant swag) were handed out, myself and 3 of the local roadies headed North on the Highway. They then made it a point to drop me on the downhills.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Traffic Chi Pig Measure

After a short walk to the store for some antihistamines, I came up with what seems to me like a brilliant idea for traffic control.

The traffic calming circles all over Vancouver's bike routes are great in some regards, and TERRIBLE in others. I know many cyclists that actually worry about circles due to driver behavior around them.

Of course, the most common problem is drivers going the wrong direction to make a left turn. Other problems include drivers stopping once entered, or just behaving erratically (Yugo syndrome).

Some streets have had bollards put in place beside the circle to restrict any East/West traffic, and the damage to the bollards proves that even steel posts won't stop people from thwarting traffic calming measures.

I has solution.

Let me introduce you to the PMG Manufacturing RB-36 Directional Traffic Controller.

Shit yeah!

If we just lay a few of these down in an X pattern of a roundabout, extending from the curb towards the centre, traffic will be as docile as a cow undergoing milking.

They don't even have to go all the way to the centre either. This way cyclists will still be able to pass through without fear of hooking a 700x21 tubular on the jagged teeth.

..and this just proves my theory that SNFU were way ahead of their time:

Slash my face with a rusty rake
It will be something that I deserve
It's not like I live on the street
It's not like I live in a war zone