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Good friend Tim Potter (Sustainable transportation manager for Michigan State University Bikes) dropped by this weekend, and of course he wanted to check out some of the bike infrastructure since it had been at least four years since he and I had ridden around town.

Here is my really bad picture of Tim…

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and from his much better picture, you can see that we are checking out the Bloor bike lane. (all photos with me in it are by Tim, except where noted)

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Next stop, dropping by the bike team to see what is going on. Here Tim poses by Eta Prime.

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Bruce and Calvin were working on the plug for Arbiter.

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I’m posing beside this year’s WHPSC poster.

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Tim was riding the Brompton that day.

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Overall, it was nice to ride around with someone who was appreciative of the improvements in bike infrastructure in the downtown area.

Here we are back at home, with matching N+1 shirts. Get yours here. (photo  M Koga)

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His daughter designed this shirt, which is available on Amazon.

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Note that the shirt means different things to different people:

  • from the viewpoint of a Michigander, if you are cycling on the road, more often than not drivers will yell at you to “get on the sidewalk”.
  • from my viewpoint in Toronto, is says that we shouldn’t be cycling on the sidewalk.

And then it was time for beer, this particular example from Henderson’s Brewing.

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The next day, Tim checks out Hoopdriver Bicycles (unfortunately closed on a Sunday morning).

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Since there was snow in the forecast, and I just happened to have an excellent bike mechanic as a guest….

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Tim is impressed that the Haul a Day can stand on end.

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Tim shows me his patented method of mounting tires.

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To cap the day off, I had a chance to tag along with Tim to meet Chris Phelan, Executive director of the Ride of Silence. (Photo H Potter).

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I was honoured to fill him in on some of the things that have been happening in Toronto, particularly with regards to the collaborations with organizations like Friends and Families for Safe Streets, and the united push for VRU legislation.

 

 

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After my recent acquisition of a Brompton, I started to think that perhaps I had too many folding bikes. Here are three of them, not counting the Dahon that I have stashed in Vancouver.

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So the obvious thing was to put the Tikit up for sale (and I will still do that), but in the meantime there was some chatter on FB about someone with their apartment eliminating indoor bike parking, and so needing a folding bike……and ideally one with disc brakes.  Suddenly I had an opportunity to give my PBW a good home.

Here it is, packed up and ready to be hauled downtown. A few extra parts, like the fenders, a wheel with a spare Alfine 8 spd hub, and a 24h 406 rim to match.

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Amusingly, on the way in, I catch the tail end of the Santa Claus parade. Santa actually saw me, and said “now THAT’s a bike!”.

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On a separate trip I also took in the suitcase that I used with it, bearing stickers from some of the adventures that I had with the PBW. The Illini sticker was from a trip where I was riding in past some corn fields in Hawkins IN Urbana IL, and four kids rode by on their BMX’s and said “cool bike!”.

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I’ve had some good rides with the PBW. It was custom made for me about sixteen years ago by Hugh in Chico California. He no longer builds, and is now a recumbent dealer. The long term plan was to rebuild it with the Alfine hub, but now both the bike and the rebuild project has been passed onto the new proud owner: Victor ex-Aerovelo, ex-HPVDT and all around good guy (and mad scientist).

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I’m glad I found a good home for the bike.

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Starting on the ASME bike

The bike team has been busy trying to nail down the design of their ASME trike (Arbiter), and at the same time, they have been doing some materials testing.

Here is a preliminary rendering.

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Getting some carbon panels ready for materials testing.

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Measuring high speed rolling resistance.

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Bruce clowning around with the rear fork for Arbiter.

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The setup for impact testing.

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Inspecting a panel.

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Some nice suspension components from ICE.

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A rendering with paint job.

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The bike team had a little group ride this morning, on a planned 47 km route. They said that they would cruise at about 30 kph.  I thought I would tag along. Can’t say I wasn’t warned.

Here is the before picture.

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The ride went east from downtown, along the lakefront and the Beach, and then further out on Kingston Rd, down and up Brimley, and then back west, taking in some of the Don Valley. At least that was the plan, but I got a flat right at Corktown Commons, so I got dropped right away.

I decided then to ride up to the Danforth and run the latter part of the course in reverse until I caught the group again. A bonus feature of this plan was that I would not have to ride the Brimley Rd. segment down and up the bluffs. I finally caught the lead group on Danforth just north of St. Clair.IMG_6827

After heading west on Danforth, we turn north on Woodbine, and I get to see part of the northern section of the recently installed bike lanes, albeit at a faster pace than usual. You can see that I’m getting dropped between every set of stop lights.

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Eventually I rode the last half of the route on my own. Long story short, since I was so far behind, after descending into the Don Valley on Bayview, I decided to take a detour to check out some of the features of the recently reopened lower Don Trail. Coming up from the Bayview/Pottery Rd intersection, here are some P gates on either side of the rail crossing.

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Here is the new pedestrian/ cyclist bridge that parallels the concrete roadway bridge.

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From the pictures that I had seen, I was a bit confused about exactly where this bridge was. Here, looking north from the east end of the bridge, you seen that the Pottery Rd crossing to go further north on the trail remains the same, with two offset crossings and a lot of pavement markings.

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However, if you look south from the same point, you see the connection to the Lower Don Trail. It was at this point that I realized I had never ridden this section between Pottery Rd and the Gerrard St. bridge.

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These sculptures look like bits of stonework that had fallen off of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

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The close spacing of the way finding signs suggests that they are more for pedestrians than cyclists.

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Here is the revised Belleville underpass, compete with cyclists on mural (and regrettably some fairly fresh tags).

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The team made it back to the shop in drips and drabs and were soon back to work on their various projects.

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Here is some speed data from my phone.

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The three sections where I was going more than 30 kph correspond to:

  1. downtown before my flat
  2. riding with the fast group. The only reason I wasn’t dropped right away was all the stoplights on Danforth.
  3. descending into the valley on Bayview.

 

 

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BM2017: Epilogue

The team made it back safely this past Wednesday, with detours to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley on the way back.

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21949859_1440111772710305_7516195529680360809_o(Photos from Thomas Ulph’s FB page)

The damage to Eta Prime is relatively minor. Word from the chase vehicle was that they saw the bike go off the road and then there was a big cloud of dust.

The front wheel must have taken a significant hit to have buckled like this:

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We know the bike rolled as it lost the camera mast. It also must have taken a hit to the top of the front shell as the mid drive sprocket was bent like this:

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One of the two aeroshells that we have may not be repairable. However, we will be able to get Eta Prime running again for next year.

Consensus is also that Bluenose is done with Battle Mountain.

The team has to decide how to prioritize their time during the upcoming year, given the other projects they have on the go. First up is the new ASME bike. Since they have posted this rendering on their website, I guess it’s not a secret that we’ll be building a trike.

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There is also the submarine, AXIOS. The team will have to decide if they have additional manpower (student power?) and budget to build a new bike for next year’s WHPSC as well.

In the meantime, the new members are being introduced to the joys of riding recumbents.

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BM2017: WHPSC Wrap Up

It was a week with high expectations, but only a few of them met. The story of the race for the women’s record was compelling. Delft/Amsterdam can claim victory since their riders were the fastest two women, but they must have felt a bit frustrated by falling just short of the record. I have no doubt that if Aniek had gotten a few more legal runs, she might have done it.

The other story was the weather, with two evenings completely wiped out, another mostly cancelled, and many sessions with almost no wind legal runs. We had 53 wind legal runs this year, compared with 63 last year (and last year we lost all of Tuesday to weather). This put pressure on all of the riders.

It also affected the rankings. For example compare the fastest runs versus wind legal fastest runs for the following:

  • Ken Buckley: fastest 77.40 (would have been a British record, and would have put him in 2nd place) vs. fastest legal at 73.37
  • Shinsuke Kouzai: fastest 76.82 (would have put him in third place behind Calvin and Ken) versus 67.16 (from the 2.5 mile)
  • Iris Slappendel: fastest 71.8 mph (would have given her a 70 mph hat and a speeding ticket.) versus 69.33
  • Yasmin Tredell: fastest 71.48 (faster than Iris’ wind legal run, Her best from last year was 71.05) versus 66.66 mph. At least wind doesn’t count for traffic violations so that she and Iris got speeding tickets for their efforts on Saturday.

Here is a team by team summary, in order of their presentation at the awards banquet.

Team Super Ketta

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It was a bit surprising to see this team return since their funding last year seemed to come mainly from the production of an NHK reality TV programme. Given the fact that they did spectacularly well last year, I think they arrived with high expectations. However, it appeared that their new rider, Shinsuke Kouzai, was having problems getting used to the bike. He had a crash earlier in the week that was severe enough that he was thrown clear. He had facial cuts from sagebrush. After that incident, they were encouraged to put in a seat belt, and my understanding is that they rigged something up.  Friday and Saturday he reeled off three consecutive 70+ mph runs, but unfortunately none of them was wind legal. Otherwise he would have reached the men’s podium. Word is that they hope to be back next year with a new bike if they can get enough financial support.

Natasha Morrison

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Natasha rode with Liverpool two years ago, and was back to set a WRRA record on a Barcroft Oregon supplied by Garrie Hill. She was frustrated at going quite a bit slower than she expected from her training. Later on in the week, she rode a carbon low racer supplied by Mike Mowett and went faster, resetting a couple of WRRA records. Given her power output, if she can find a ride in a suitable streamliner, she will be very fast.

Team Varna

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Barbara was having trouble with launching the camera bike, and more surprisingly, she continued to have issues with qualifying Tempest. On the last two days, she practiced and was launched by Todd Reichert and things seemed to go more smoothly, but the new bike just didn’t seem very fast. Now that she has a rival within a hairsbreadth of her record, she’ll want to find a way to come back with a fast bike.

Team Elan

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Always great to see Hans and Ellen. Hans continues to refine Ellen’s bike, which was the fastest bike with a windshield this week.

Team Policumbent

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This team came with a beautiful new bike, built from the ground up as a camera bike, with a new shape that had substantially less drag than PulsaR. Drivetrain gremlins and other things appear to have kept Taurus and Andrea from achieving their full potential as they were slower than last year. However, if they improve the bike in the same way that the did with PulsaR, they will be very fast next year.

Adam Ince

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Great to see Adam and his crew again. His trike was substantially lighter than the one from last year, but it didn’t seem to go faster. I’m sure that this is the first time that this event has seen a trike converted to a two wheeler and then back to a narrower track trike during the single week.  He’s thinking about a new vehicle for next year.

The Mexican teams

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Both of the bikes from Mexico were based on an extremely complicated arm and leg linear drive. I didn’t follow all the details of their troubles, but they did not manage to get either bike through the traps. One hopes that if they return next year, that they come with a simpler, perhaps less original but more reliable bike.

HPT Delft Amsterdam

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As per usual, a large and well organized team with a fast looking bike. Both Aniek and Iris took a little time getting used to the bikes, but by the end of the week, Aniek was seriously in the hunt for the women’s record. She was dropped during launch for that final run, and perhaps without the resulting scratches on the shell, she would have gotten the extra 0.2 mph she would have needed to break the record. As per their website, it appears that they are planning to return again with two female riders. One hopes that both Iris and Annie will be back next year, and if they can train all year on Velox 7, that would be even better.

John Jackson and friends

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John managed to get his bike together to ride it down 305 with the bottom half on. He then rode the bike without the shell and went a little faster. He’ll need to sort out how to properly mount the shell and how to see out of it before he can run it as a streamliner. It was great to see the Lem siblings all helping him out.

Peter Borenstadt

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Nice to see Peter out again with his DF velomobile. He made some refinements from last year: he closed the nose vent and added a small windshield vent, and he put some fabric on the spoked rear wheel to decrease internal drag. He went 55.45 mph, a nice step up from last year’s 51.76 mph. We relaxed the 60 rule for evening heats, and it was interesting to see him approach the traps with the one headlight blazing.

University of Liverpool

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This team was returning with two strong riders, a new bike, and high hopes. Arion 3 had a shell pulled from the same molds as last year, but they smoothed over the body length seam and cut a smaller hatch towards the rear for the driver. They also had to make a new drivetrain that could be removed from that hatch. They had issues with the drivetrain all week (at least it sounded that way as they rode through the traps), and Ken was certainly performing below where he was last year. With some adjustments to seating position, Ken went over 70 for two runs, with the final run being a personal best. If the wind had cooperated, it would have been a new British men’s record. Word is that they will be making a serious run at the arm powered records next year.

MQ Speed

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This first time team acquitted themselves quite well, especially considering the fact that their rider Charles was switched in at the last minute. Al showed me a photo of the underside of their fairing where there was blood from Charles’ knees rubbing on every pedal stroke. I know that they learned a lot, and I hope to see them again. Several people also commented that the team was low key (in comparison to some other Australians that have shown up in past years).

Mike Mowett

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Mike was a bit of a ghostly presence this year. He arrived late, and ran Norus down the course three times, as well as supplying Natasha with his velociraptor low racer. However, he wasn’t around at the awards ceremony to pick up his award for the best landing gear.

John Mumme

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John is a Reno based hand cyclist who started interacting with this event on the FB page. He came out and set a world record for the 600/200 meter hand cycle record for men. He had to leave early, but it was a pretty good few days work. One wonders how fast he could go if he had a shell around him.

University of Toronto

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I’m proud of how our team dealt with adversity during the week and managed to place Calvin on top of the men’s podium. Bill and Isaac got new hats and Alan upgraded his by 10 mph. Thomas was a bit slower in Bluenose than he was in Vortex, but that was because the bike was a very tight fit. Bluenose was knocked out of commission after many high speed crashes, but I think everyone will agree that we build a very safe bike. Bluenose will be repaired and used from now on as a trainer. We’ll be back next year, perhaps with a faster bike.

Bluenose used as a packing container.

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Once again thanks to Al and Alice for running the event, and all of the other volunteers as well.

Special thanks to this year’s timing crew.

Danny and Marieke.

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Brad at 200m. This year he brought along two friends, Bruce and Keith, who helped out for parts of the week.

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Also Frank from SLO, who helped out on those occasions when I stepped away from the timing table.

Special thanks to Arnold who did a bang up job programming macros into the timing spreadsheet to simply record keeping.

Safe travels, everyone! Signing off from Battle Mountain until next year.

 

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WHPSC 2017: Awards Banquet

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The WHPSC always wraps up with an awards banquet. First up, group pictures of all the racing teams.

Team Super Ketta.

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Natasha Morrison. At this point, her supporting player Mike Mowett was not present.

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Team Varna, with Todd as a late addition.

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Team Elan.

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Team Policumbent.

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Team Dos to the Tres to the Dos to the Tres.

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University of Toronto.

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Paul Lyon.

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Delft/Amsterdam.

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Team Mexico. These two represented the large team.

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John Jackson and friends.

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Liverpool.

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MQ Speed.

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Next: the actual awards. Here are all the people with new hats.

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Officer Aten returns to lay down the law.

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All the speeders who exceeded the 70 mph on Route 305.

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Now adding in all the other tickets for “failure to maintain lane”, “failure to stop”. U of T is well represented.

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Dave Larrington passes on 2D Thomas to Marieke and Arnold who will be going on a one week road trip.

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The three fastest men.

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1st and 2nd place, men’s multitrack.

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The three fastest women. Uh oh, Iris seems to be up to something.

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Adding in Ellen and Barbara. The five fastest women in the world, all in one picture.

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Top three collegiate teams. 1st: Toronto, 2nd: Torino, 3rd place: Liverpool.

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Thanks to Al and Alice for running the whole event.

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