Monday, January 30, 2012

1st commute home in Velo

Wow Am I Out Of Shape!
I have not done any riding over 4 km since Thanksgiving. But this was not my worst commute by far compared to rides at this time or later from the last 2 years on my GRR. I think this the earliest Commute home too!
Well, My Cadence is way down. Avg 53 from 71, Speed only off by about 4 kph but I was running winter studded Marathons at 50 psi, on mainly clear roads with some slushy spots (most in town). I usually run Bontrager training slicks and 100 psi, so that might be why I was sloggin it.  It got to full dark the last 3rd but the standard lights and the Dinotte 200RL on the back kept the traffic aware of my presence.
My wife Alice came along from work just as I was 1/3 from home and said I was really noticeable, low but good visibility with all the lighting. I was very warm (the Garmin 500 inside said the average temp inside was 20.2 but the outside temp was 3). I had the cover on and when finished it was quite humid inside.
 (I didn't charge the Garmin, (last minute decision to ride hm) so it quit 2 km from home, 2 minutes later or so.  ARGG)
So this is my benchmark to improve on after I have my surgery on Friday and begin to seriously ride sometime in March. Until then, drop by for a few more upgrades, mortification's, and reviews'

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Relate to a Sardine

One of the questions I had before getting a Velo was "Am I too big"? Before I got my Velo I was near 300 lbs and 5'10", with 24" shoulders. I tried to get some response from other veloriders and builders but didn't get any real answers. Lately I have had several readers ask me about the sizing of my Mango, how wide, is it easy to get in, shoulders rubbing, etc..  I decided to make quick video of myself getting inand out of my Mango. Its not like we have alot of velo riders nearby to help us or to peek at or to answer some of these questions. So we have to resort to video here.
Today I am still 5'10" closer to 255 lbs  with 22" shoulders, a bad knee and about to get a hernia operation next Friday. With that in mind here are some pictures and some video about a big guy getting in a velo:

I measured the widest part of the opening with a soft measuring tape being about 22" inside and the narrowest being 19 or so. I actually fit in snug but very comfortable. Other velo riders mention rubbing could be an issue on Long 100Km rides - we will see. Plus I plan to be narrower by summer! :)
I hope thses answer a few questions. If it stirs up more, leave it in the comments section...


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Headrest - Power/Usb Mods

As I mentioned in a past post I modified the head rest to include a neck rest. Using part of a Eveready exercise mat(new) I shaped and cut out a new rest.

It was at the right thickness and readily available at the local Walmart. I used Industrial Velcro to attach it and so I can change it in warmer weather to something like a Ventist pad:
My next mod took several days to research and get some advice from other velo riders and builders on how to add a USB port to an existing 6v system. I am sad to say I got no advice from anyone. So I put my fledging efforts here to here other Noobies. Let me say I do not know anything about electrical systems, just a it of “slice and dice and if it ain’t sparkin its workin”!
Okay here goes: Try to find out what sort of battery you have or are going to use. In my case my Mango came with a Sigma Nipak Nimh Flat battery 6v rating, I am still not sure of the Mah rating (maybe someday). Plus I have several Dinotte Lith-Ion batteries of 2200 and 4400Mah. Could I use both in my Velo? Not linked of course, but yep all will run the lights, Iphone and other 6v accessories. Dinotte 140L and 200L lights, USB auto power outlet. Actually using my sons voltage meter we found that the batteries ran 7.3 to 8.4 v. So the 12v Belkin downs grades the power to a usable 5.5 or so.

I used a Belkin car adapter that has circuits to protect from overcharging, female auto power outlet, heat shrink wrap, fuse and some weather tight CCTV power ends.  After splicing the socket to the ends I tested out first an amber Dinotte and used it to test all my connections first. Didn’t want to fry anything in da Mango. So here is the end product:

You can see that the IPhone is charging. I used heat shrink to encase the cord, weather proof it and added loop velcro to wrap it and make look better and easy to place.
I must admit that I added a lot of hook velcro to the inside as attaching points. All my accessories have a loop patch. I figure If I loose a pound I won’t notice the weight and I can put stuff anywhere.
This USB power outlet will let me use any 6v battery I have, power my lights, GPS, Iphone, etc..  its functionable, fused and mostly hidden under the seat.

I have a Jambone Jam box bluetooth speaker that I can charge through the system now. Plus I place it just behind the seat. When I do that the whole Velo vibrates- Awesome. The Jambox is louder and uses less power when a audio cable is used so I got a 6” long Griffin cord, which should stand up to a lot of pluggin. So I now feel more confident to go on longer rides or my commutes in style without losing critical GPS or Iphone power, Cool.

I found that the seat would always fall back on me when up so I added a 3” strip of loop velcro on the seat to help hold it up when needed.:
Some have asked for pic of my shirts that i have here:
here is one of the quest types:

here is one of the Mango types:
If you are interested click and order some,  I need to pay for the Mangos upgrades, Lots of sizes an colors available,
Hopefully i can get out for a couple of rides in the next week as Feb 23 i go in for a hernia operation and won’t be able to ride for about 6 weeks in my Velo! During that time I can do mods and research for the blog.
Till next time:
Ta Ta For Now Please give feed back so I can get better at the stuff.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mango Maintenance & Cleaning

This another great Video From Paul W. in Brisbane Australia. This one is a great basic intro to Maintenance and Cleaning which I will be adding to our Page 2 section later.
Paul has had his Mango Sport RE for about a year and has some great videos.


If you want to see some great Velo action, check out his You Tube Channel here:

It was a busy weekend for me, no rides in my Mango, but I did get some electrical research and hacked a way to run my stuff from my Dinotte light batteries and add a USB charging cord. Pix and stuff on that later this week. In the mean time enjoy Pauls Videos.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Velos are HOT!

Here is picture of me just after a 4k test ride on Tuesday afternoon. –30c  I was only wearing regular pants, cycling shoes, turtle neck t, and a light vest. I was already starting to get a bit too warm:


But I need to get a windscreen “ ‘cause dat wind were a bit nippy!” if you click in you can see my right lens is all foggged up!

Velos so Coo…  HOT!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

ShapeLock Dinotte Rear light holder

Some people wanted to see a better pic of the Shape lock light holder I made for the rear of my Mango so here are a couple of pictures:

Shapelock can be drilled, painted and if you screw up, heat it up and try again. I am using double sided auto tape to hold it on.
I also added a strip of industrial male Velcro to my handle bar to see my Garmin 500 when I have the cover on. Works really well for these old eyes:

I also started to make a combo head/ neck rest as you can see here:  I designed a basic pattern  in Corel Draw and cut out a prototype today; tomorrow  I will try try it out and make adjustments. I am using an Eveready exercise mat as material and will Velcro it for now:

It finally snowed and got cold here in Alberta today tonight its –20 c
Not much riding going to get down for a couple of days!
Have a great Week

Velomobiles - 'BentRider Online Forums

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mod pix and updates

I spent the last week driving my wife crazy at the shop by tinkering too much on my velo and not enough time doing “my work”. So many personal touches, mods, and stuff to do; plus I found that I love to play around with Shapelock memory plastic. If at first you don't succeed, soften and try again:

the first pic is of a water bladder hook with velcro for holding up bladder.

 The second is a outside up front velcro mount for my Garmin 500.
I had mentioned that I changed the foam grips out and added black cork handle bar tape from MEC: I have had cork grips on my GRR and like the “grippiness” and it’s a bit thicker so it stays under the front panel better now. 

 To see how some vinyl graphics would look I used a couple of sheets of Avery Laser full sheets, a colour laser printer and Corel Draw X5 to make some temporary decals; they turned out great and they are easy to peel off later with a hair drier or heat gun:

 As you can also detect I mounted my Dinotte rear 140 red light too; more on that in a couple of days. But its temporally mounted with automotive 2 sided tape and a bracket made with shapelock plastic. After using a Dinotte rear for the last couple of years on my GRR, after lasts nights ride I though the supplied rear light was way, way to dim.

Speaking of last nights ride, I made a run to the local coffee bar for a Latte and velo'd up to the drive thru- what a hoot- the girls serving were amazed and the car owner ahead of me "had" to get out and take a pic (nice looking MOM with 7 yr old) - if this keeps up I may be the most photo'd guy in Leduc by years end!
Last nights ride was a lot colder and windier, but I did over 8k, avg 19 km and was quite cozy inside the velo until I got out to unstick my self from a bit of snow. I haven’t ridden much in the past 3 months and I have a injured knee, so I was pleased with my speed. Its was definitely colder  but riding in the velo it really didn't seem like it. Plus I noticed that after I got back to the shop that It was a bit humid in the velo. hmmm.
enough for now my bed is calling!
A New Mango Owner- ME! - 'BentRider Online Forums

Friday, January 6, 2012

Answers to comments

Thanks for the comments, as to the type of paint I use, its Krylon interior/ exterior.The first can was a paint /primer combo and the second was a gloss with a gold metal flake. Turned out nice and it only took an hour.

Its nice to see Velos in Alberta. We will have to try and get everyone together for a ride.

This site is a work in progress, as I get time and maintenance ideas.etc I will post them, thanks for the leads.

The Bluevelo decal was on the Mango, It was the first thing I removed, to large in my mind. I plan to add a much smaller version later. I want to support Ray as much as I can to get more velos out there. I have a small but growing bike repair biz that I want to promote and eventually sell recumbents and velos from!

Have a great day

Friday January 6
It was really warm out again today, we have had one of the mildest Dec/Jan in years here. No real snow, some ice but most roads are pretty clear. So after I replaced the tires from studded to the smoother ones that came on the bike ( I have two sets of front rims -I can switch them in 45 seconds each,straightened out the severe wobble in the one rim too, I went for a quick ride around the block. Low and behold I caught up with a good friend of mine that was on a walk; Marv and a bunch of us ride alot together, and beeped him with my horn! The look of surprise and delight on his face was a highlight of my day. He didn't know I had gotten the velo this week. So as we talked, A LOT of cars slowed down and gawked at the velo. Then another rider friend of Marv's, a local RCMP stopped and Had to take a pic.(Sigh, I guess it starts now) 

I also replaced the foam grips with Black cork handle bar tape from MEC ($10.50)

Tonight at work, I fell off a belt loader at the airport, tweeked my knee. I hope I just sprained it. I do not want to be laid up with a new velo to ride!

Pics tomorrow, I have to get used to taking pictures of what I do - A blog without pix is so drab.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some new paint

 I have always liked the interiors of the newer velos, so shiny and black. My new mango had an unfinished fiberglass grey interior, which didn't look great to me.
So I rearranged some Velcro strips and spray painted the interior, looks great now; it even has a gold metallic sparkle in it.

I also found out that with the new studded tires that I cannot turn in circles as the tires rub on the side of the wheel wells. Plus they are a lot noisier, they sort of hum.
I am on the hunt for an extra 6v battery. I would like to be able to use it also to use as a back up for my iPhone and gps. Stay tuned. I also bought a cup holder to hold my coffee and/or water bottle; I will figure out how to secure it tomorrow

Day 1

When I got it home my 19 yr old son was the first to jump in and get his perspective …Even before I had a chance, sigh.
I spent the afternoon sprucing up the Mango, changing to winter studded tires, adjusting the bottom bracket 2 inches closer, generally going over it to familiarize myself with it. At one point I had to call Rob because I could not figure out how to get the rear wheel off to change the tire. Bob laughed as he had the same problem when he got it too. Then he reminded me that you just have to loosen the tire from the rim and slide it off on the one side – ‘cause its only mounted on the one side! Ha Ha.
Before and after pix

One problem I foresee is having a good manual on how to properly and thoroughly handle maintenance and replacing parts. Some I know is basic but... other stuff is not. For you Europeans its easier to drop in at Sinner or Velo’.nl. Your infrastructure is a whole lot better than in N.A. I think there is only 4-6 velos in all of Alberta and only 1 recumbent LBS. Part of what I  want to do for the velo market in Canada is to find and consolidate vids and instructions for repairs upgrades etc. on my blog. So if you have any let me know and it will get placed there.
In the mean time- go a velo'in
Ps. if you are interested in a t-shirt or something you can check out

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Mango Owner - ME!

I sit here typing this somewhat in a daze tonight. In my garage sits a classic Mango Velomobile #134. Its there 4 months early thanks to Bob McKenzie, formerly of the Recumbent Blog. I first read and got interested in Velos reading and following his blog. Then when he got his Mango I went down to see it in person. I was smitten. For almost 16 months I read and watched a lot about velos, then the RotoVelo came out and I thought Ah Ha! maybe its for me. (cheaper and robust). A little scrimping, some extra work and I could maybe get one. So I set out to try one out to see If a big guy like me could fit in one(285lbs) So I called up Cornell in Cochrane and went down to check it out in September. Yes, I could just fit - But I knew I had to reduce the engine over the winter and strive to save for the late spring.
     Later in October I dropped in the see Rob and his Mango in Olds and to test ride a different model. I just sat in Cornells, Rob let me take it for a nice spin. YES I loved it. A Rotovelo was rolling in my head (Didn't think I could afford a European pedigree filly).  Then Rob Dropped the bomb and offered to sell me his for, well, a really awesome deal with ALL the extras. Since his wife got ill last year he just wasn't using it as it should be, and he had been considering selling it when I called for a "test ride".  I jumped at the chance but told him it wouldn't be until April that I could begin to pay it off. No Sweat. We shook hands on the deal and I went home happy and planning to begin the process.
    I got a second job, lost 30 lbs in 3 months, read even more, designed some t-shirts read the ROAM Thread,made lots of accessory and mod lists, I was on track to obtaining a Velo in the spring. I didn't talk to Rob until a couple of days after Christmas when I emailed him Holiday Greetings and mentioned the new me and extra job and that I  was still planning on obtaining the Mango from him. I got an email back within minutes asking me to call him. Oh no, now what.........
    Everything was fine he just wanted to make me an offer I couldn't refuse. So today after visiting my folks in Calgary for New Years, I stopped in at Robs in Olds and picked up Mango #134, 4 months early. I have some fitting to do, some more weight to lose, more extra job hours but Thanks to the Generousity of a good man, Today I am a Velonaut.
     Its still sort of "not real" and I am in humled and in awe.
     I want to be a good spokeman for Velos in Western Canada, so I want to chronicle about my mods, accessories, etc., here on this blog. I am hoping that this could be a good resource for others looking into velomobiles in Canada
Stay tuned Pix and more to come.
Larry in Leduc