Cycling

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
573
Location
Östersund, Sweden
I have a rear blinker (modded with a red power LED to be visible from at least 1/4 mile), and a fairly bright front headlight ( ~150 lumens). I have a ~1800 lumen headlight of my own design which I'll eventually be using as soon as I have time to finish it.

Blinking lights are fine in the rear. In fact, a blinking red rear light is usually associated with "bicycle" by most drivers. I notice cars giving me a pretty wide berth, which means they see me from far enough away to do so. Blinking headlights in general are a bad idea IMO because they might be associated with strobes on emergency vehicles (and hence might be technically illegal). For that reason, they're likely to confuse drivers. Also, a blinking headlight will do a poor job of lighting the road. although most I've seen are simply of the "to be seen", rather than "to see" variety.
Another thing that works great is to hang a LED light from a zipper on the jacket and/or rucksack so it swings back and forth.
As for clothing, I just wear my normal clothes, but I try to avoid black. In truth, the lights are going to make me a lot more visible than any clothing. Oh, and side marker lights of some sort (or just having sidespill from the front/rear lights) isn't a bad idea. The best safety tip for night riding (actually for any riding) is to ride as if you're invisible.
I agree on the invisible thought, many drivers won't even see you in daylight even if you wear "screaming yellow" colored clothes. Apart from that, a "real" bike jacket isn't a bad idea since it got reflexes on the arms so drivers have a better chance to see if you make a sign for turning etc. I have one of these for winter commuting for example.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
3,173
Location
Salem, Or
Car headlights are fixed and aimed specifically not to blind coming drivers and even then they have rules when you can and can not use high-beams. Can you say the same for a bicycle light?
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
This one you can. The optics are designed in such a way that the top and side edges of the beam are very hard; if you are outside the beam you see very little other than the illuminated cone on the ground. I typically aim it about 5 degrees down from horizontal. Even at 30MPH that would allow me to stop completely while keeping it below most windshields. The taillight is roughly comparable to a car, and the side marker lights are fairly dim but still useful.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
I don't know if this will help anyone here but I've been experiencing numbness of my hands and feet starting about 15 minutes into a ride when it's hot and humid for a number of years. This is partially a result of dehydration from sweating, although the hand numbness is 90% carpal tunnel syndrome. Anyway, today I was involuntarily forced to keep my cadence down and I didn't experience much numbness in my feet despite still losing a lot of moisture to sweating. My rear shifter has been having occasional issues where it might shift up or down only. Today it got stuck in the highest gear. In a 39-12 gear at the speeds I normally ride my cadence ended up averaging maybe 70 RPM. Normally I try to keep it at 90 RPM. I'm guessing this is too high for me, and it's part of the reason my feet go numb. I had thought the numbness was caused by pressing too hard on the pedals, which implies I should use a lower gear and higher cadence. It turns out the opposite is true. Evidently a lower cadence is more efficient for me. Besides not feeling numb, I ended up averaging close to 1 mph faster than usual. As for my shifter, the last time this happened I lubed it with light oil and it stayed fixed for a while. The problem might be bits of my old frayed cable stuck in the mechanism. In any case, I'm going to try to keep my cadence closer to 70 or 75, even though that feels like I'm pushing rather spinning. Even if it "feels" harder, my bike computer tells me I'm going quite a bit faster. I didn't experience much cramping in the legs, either, except when going uphill caused my cadence to drop under 60 RPM, and the pedal force to climb enormously. This is good news I guess, because my heart is barely ticking over at 120 BPM when my legs get numb or start cramping (this happens with a sustained effort above about 190-200 watts). Maybe now my legs can finally keep up with my heart/lungs.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
I adjusted the bike myself after reading a number of guides online. It's adjusted to me about as well as it can be, although I realize there's nothing like getting a new bike properly fitted to you. Anyway, I'm 100% sure cadence is making the difference here. Towards the end of the ride, I managed to unstick the shifters and drop down a few gears. As my cadence went up, I felt the familiar numbness starting to creep in. When the cadence dropped again, the numbness stopped increasing. I'll try again on tonight's ride to be certain. I did raise the seat about 1/2 inch recently, but that was just to get more leg extension.

There's some reading I did which suggests ~75 RPM is optimal for efficiency:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/general-cycling-discussion/whats-best-cadence-ride-299109-2.html

http://coachlevi.com/cycling/high-vs-low-cadence-pedaling-speed/

http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/optimizing-rpm-0

I should note that when I need to develop power for accelerating or sprinting, then I'll briefly go past 120 RPM. Low cadence seems to be be good mainly for efficient cruising at medium speeds. I still need to hold ~90 RPM for high speed (23+ mph) cruising.
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
573
Location
Östersund, Sweden
I don't know the exact numbers but I think I've used a cadence around 60-80 for the last few years, it just feels most natural for me. I used higher gears before but that made my knees hurt, now those problem are gone.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
That's what I'm thinking as well. I read too much stuff saying you should aim for 90 to 100 RPM, but that might apply mostly to pros trying to develop their maximum power for extended periods. I'll try to aim for 70 or 75 from now on, and see if the numbness subsides. I couldn't tell on last night's ride-the shifter got stuck again. At least this time I found and removed the culprit-a piece of shift cable. I'll try again tonight.
 

Howell

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
4,740
Location
Chattanooga, TN
The theory is that if you can get your RPMs up and maintain a good spin then you will be relying more on slow twitch muscles and less on fast twitch power muscles at the sacifice of heart rate. Though its a moot point if it causes your legs to fall asleep.
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
573
Location
Östersund, Sweden
Today was probably the hardest cycling day I've ever had so far, first a 26.4 km warm up ride and then heading home to grease the chain, then I took a 87 km trip with mostly climbing.

Here's a pic from the last ride. Not very good quality, but it's two elks/mooses or whatever you call them that were munching on the tree beside the road, I didn't want to stop too close to take the picture because you don't really want to upset them. But I got a really good look when I passed them. :O)

2013-07-21 21.57.41.jpg
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
The most I ever rode in one day was 70.2 miles (113.0 km). That was in two separate rides. The most I did in one ride was 60.2 miles (96.9 km). That was almost 31 years ago. It took 3 hours, 20 minutes but it didn't involve as much climbing as your 87 km ride. There was no GPS in those days but based on my average nowadays of about 100 meters every 5 miles maybe I climbed 1000 to 1200 meters total. Yeah, I was pretty spent by the end. Anyway, nice job.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
Today hasn't really been going my way. The part of that that belongs in this thread is the following:

Why-Ritchey.jpg

Their manual is not specific. Do I really need to strip my bars completely and thread them all the way through from one end? I hate wrapping bar tape...

Edit:

I'm swapping stems because my fit was wrong; I'm going from a 130mm stem to a 90mm. The stem in question is a Ritchey SuperLogic Carbon C260.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
That did it! Only had to unwrap as far as the shifter. It is amazing how different the bike feels with only a 4cm difference in reach.

Thanks again sdbardwick!
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
573
Location
Östersund, Sweden
Great geek toy (maybe?) - but personally I don't even have a bell or a bike computer on my handlebar so doubt that I would mount something on it that constantly blinks in different patterns during the rides?
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
Might this nifty gadget interest you in your cycling expeditions?
https://www.dragoninnovation.com/projects/23-hammerhead
Interesting. At the moment I just use the Strava app on my phone in my back pocket. No display in front of me at all. The one thing I would like to have is instantaneous speed; when you are in a paceline it is bad form to deviate from the agreed upon speed as you take over the front position. That seems to be the one metric this isn't showing.
 

fb

Storage is cool
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
573
Location
Östersund, Sweden
Check out Runkeeper, it can read out values for time/distance/avg pace/avg speed/ current pace/current speed/current split time/curent split speed/avg heart rate/current heart rate/avg heart rate zone/current heart rate zone based on distance or time.

I also use Strava when I ride, but it wouldn't be a problem to export the data from Runkeeper into Strava. And I usually import my rides into Runkeeper anyway to get more accurate climb data (Strava is usually more optimistic around here.)
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
Bad cycling year for me on account of my new consulting gig. I should barely make 1000 miles for the year. I'm feeling much less fit than if I had done my usual 3000 miles or so. I did finally buy a new rear cassette, chain, and small chainring as those were all getting long in the tooth after using them for the 7500 miles I've put on this bike (plus whatever the previous owner put on them). I used this as an opportunity to get the gearing more in line with something I'm used to. I had 12-23 (12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23) in back before. The new cassette is 11-25 (11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25). I changed the small chainring from 39 teeth to 42 teeth (nice Surly stainless steel chainring which should last a really long time). This gives me about the same low gear as before but 17.5% more on the highest gear. I lost the 16 and 18 tooth gears but the gear spacing is still OK. For my riding patterns this is much better. Before I tended to hit speeds where my cadence was too high in the 39-12 gear somewhat often, but I couldn't keep up those speeds due to road conditions long enough to make it worthwhile to switch to my large chainring. This tended to happen around 23-24 mph or so. Now I rarely have this issue. In theory it'll crop up at around 27 or 28 mph but I don't hit those kinds of speeds enough to care. If I'm lucky enough to have a nice tailwind where I might be going 30+ mph (a very rare occurrence) for a while, I'll just put it on the large chainring.

I got these also. About a 1 to 1.5 mph speed improvement over my last airless tires, and nearly as good as air tires.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
I got a new cassette as well, but mine is specifically designed to help when towing a 50lb trailer that has knobby tires. Went to an 11-32 and a long-cage rear derailleur. I really underestimated how much additional power towing would require. According to my Garmin Vector pedals, 15mph with the trailer is the same as 22mph without on flat ground (~175W). Some of the more serious hills in the area were inaccessible with my previous 11-26; even standing on the pedal and pulling with my arms wasn't enough to prevent the bike from going backwards.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
I believe those numbers. I notice how just wearing normal winter clothing cuts about 2 mph off my speed. In your case, it's most likely the aerodynamics which take the biggest hit when towing the trailer.

You must have some pretty steep hills by you. I'm about 200 pounds but can get up most of the stuff where I live in a 42-21 or 42-23 gear. It's rare I need to drop down to my lowest gear. The only place might be going north past Hillside Avenue. There's something called the terminal moraine which runs along most of the north side of Hillside Avenue (hence the name). It's typically 8% to 10%, depending upon where you climb it, and lasts for about 5 or 6 blocks. I'll start the climb at maybe 12 mph but I'm usually down to single digits by the end.

The Garmin Vector pedals sound cool. If the bucks keep rolling in from this consulting gig, I may consider a set next year. I'm curious how my wattage on the road compares to what I can do on a stationary bike. On the Schwinn 240 I can manage 200 watts average for an hour. That translates into 21 mph or so according to the computer. Your bike must be more slippery than average to be able to maintain 22 mph on only 175 watts. I'd be surprised if my Airborne needs less than about 200 watts to maintain 20 mph.

I'm seriously considering something like this in the longer term. At your power level you would be able to maintain close to 60 km/hr. I would probably be able to go about 65 km/hr. That's seriously useful speed for a lot of things.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
The trailer is very far from Aero; it even has an orange flag that I have up when riding in town.

I'm back up to 250lbs, and many hills in the area are quite steep. My normal route includes a 1 mile climb that has 600' of ascent, most of it in the first 1/3rd. On my old regular ride the leg from the Pebble Beach Lodge to the top of the hill was a 1000' climb in 5 miles.

I consider even a normal recumbent to be a reckless thing to ride in traffic. Not that you don't have a right to be there, just that I wouldn't consider you a blameless victim if you were killed. Like walking a bad neighborhood at night.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
The trailer is very far from Aero; it even has an orange flag that I have up when riding in town.

I'm back up to 250lbs, and many hills in the area are quite steep. My normal route includes a 1 mile climb that has 600' of ascent, most of it in the first 1/3rd. On my old regular ride the leg from the Pebble Beach Lodge to the top of the hill was a 1000' climb in 5 miles.
The first hill sounds like it's well over 15% in places. Ouch! The second one averages 2.5%. Not really steep, but long enough to be brutal.

Yeah, I feel your pain on the weight. Just not riding as much this year my weight crept up to maybe 200-205 instead of 190-195. I notice those extra pounds on the hills for sure.

I consider even a normal recumbent to be a reckless thing to ride in traffic. Not that you don't have a right to be there, just that I wouldn't consider you a blameless victim if you were killed. Like walking a bad neighborhood at night.
I'd probably be able to keep up with typical NYC traffic so it wouldn't be that dangerous here. Elsewhere might be another story, but then again once you get out of the city drivers don't notice even upright bikes anyway. At least if the speed differential between me and motor traffic is less they might have more time to see me. Truth is these things are so unusual most drivers would do a double take. I'd also have the thing loaded with lights so they couldn't miss me. I'm not planning on buying one in the near future. If this consulting gig keeps up another year or two I may consider it.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
Tried one of the steep but short climbs with a loaded trailer today. 34 ring, 32 on the cassette, 4mph, 400w, 200bpm, probably 60 rpm. That was a big world of pain.

I normally put out 400w on that climb, but it is normally over in 90 seconds. This took 6 minutes.

My eventual goal is to be able to participate in the same group rides I used but with a trailer. That means sustaining 16mph on the flats and climbing something like this at probably 8mph just to not be holding everyone up.

Aero starts to be a thing around 13mph, and weight is a factor above 3% gradients.

For sure I need to be stronger, but I'll be looking top improve the hardware as well.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,684
Location
Flushing, New York
I doubt I could put out 400 watts for 6 minutes. Maybe 2 minutes tops if I'm feeling great. According to my Schwinn 240 I peak in the 800 to 900 watt area but I can only manage that for a few seconds. Still, it comes in handy jackrabbiting up to 20 mph to get out of the way of motor traffic just starting at a green light.

I'm thinking if you hit your weight goal then you plus the trailer would be equal to you right now. That should be good as far as climbing the hill at ~8 mph instead of 4 mph. Obviously aerodynamics don't come into play at those speeds. For 16 mph on the flats, a more aero trailer with slick tires might help considerably.

The old adage though is the best thing is to improve the "motor". Nothing to do there but just put in the time riding. I notice it myself in the difference between me doing 1000 miles last year versus my normal 3000+ miles. It feels like work to average in the low 15s whereas before I could pretty much average 16+ mph at will, sometimes even 17+ mph on a good day. This is an overall average which includes slowdowns and stops. Obviously I'm cruising faster than that.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,312
Location
Monterey, CA
Yup. I've just started riding again after about 7 months off the bike. If I can loose 20lbs and gain 15% power I should be able to pull it off. Perhaps March? I've made the decision to not ride the bike without a 50lb trailer until the racing season starts again, should provide quite the mental boost
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
14,984
Location
USA
Yup. I've just started riding again after about 7 months off the bike. If I can loose 20lbs and gain 15% power I should be able to pull it off. Perhaps March? I've made the decision to not ride the bike without a 50lb trailer until the racing season starts again, should provide quite the mental boost
Try not to "loose" anything. ;)
 
Top