Life has been good since I got my Sun EZ Tadpole. ‘course, most nights have been spent working on said bike, but I have to admit I’ve been learning a lot. Spent so much time staring at the bike I had to give it a name…Pollywog would be her official name, but everyone know she’s Polly for short. Fitting for a tadpole bike, dontcha think?
Let’s start off with all the stuff I’ve done to Polly since our last update:
- Realized cleats all the way to the front isn’t the magic setting, either. Ended up adjusting them forward and backward until I got them one notch behind the ball of my foot. Seems to allow my legs to push against the hard, flat insole of my shoe, minimizes any falling asleep.
- Notice some unusual wear on the front two tires. After a bit of research, I figure out that improper toe-in is the cause. Purchase three new tires from Calhoun Cycle for mounting later in the week, after I get the toe-in adjusted.
- Bought a trunk and rear light during my first longish ride over at Erik’s, managed to figure out a way that the rack could be remounted, fender and all, which then allows me to mount my pannier, trunk and rear light.
- On my way home from the bike shop, my left tire blows out half-way home. Call my Sister to come pick me up and give me (and my bike) a ride home.
- Mount new tires on front two wheels, replacing the tubes at the same time. Do I quick measurement of the toe-in, it is almost 19mm. Suggested toe-in values fall between 0mm and 3mm. See the problem? Wonder how the previous owner managed to ride anywhere at a decent speed. Find no information online about changing the toe-in.
- Pack Polly into the CR-V, drive down to Calhoun Cycle once more. The mechanic helpfully shows me the way to adjust the toe-in, performs a gross adjustment, instructs me on how to do the fine tuning once I get home. Spend 6 hours over the next two nights adjusting the toe-in to proper values. After adjusting the toe-in, immediately found a 2mph increase in speed, easier steering, more stable descents at high speed.
- Realize the chain is too long, when on the smaller sprockets the chain ends up routing through the rear derailleur in such a way that the chain is drawn across itself, increasing wear and pedaling resistance. Remove 6 chain links in order to get the chain to a proper link. Wonder how the previous owner managed to get anywhere when not in “moderate” gears.
- Remove rack, trunk, pannier. Adjust seat to preferred angle/position/etc. There are just so many different adjustments on this bike. Just your pedal position alone, you can move in/out the boom, slide the seat forward/back or adjust the seatback angle. Each of them alters the geometry of your pedal stroke. Then you can adjust the handles - slide them in/out, up/down, rotate ‘em.
With all the work, I’ve really had a chance to “learn” this bike. I understand how to adjust almost all the systems other than the disc brakes at this point, I’m sure before the summer I’ll have a chance to look at those as well. I never had to break and/or adjust a chain before, now I know exactly how to do it using the multitool I carry around. Adjusting the toe-in wasn’t all that complicated once you figured out how to get proper measurements, either.
Most of the rides during these past few weeks have revolved around commutes to/from work or short little rides to pickup dinner, stop by the mall, etc. I would get out to ride, realize about a mile from home something else I wanted to adjust, then come back home and work on it.
Now that most of it is in shape, tho, I’ve had two great rides with Polly. Monday night I went for a ride, found my way to Staring Lake and along Purgatory Creek, for a 13 mile trip, averaging 11.3mph. Tonight I did a similar ride over to Staring Lake, but practiced hill climbing up and down a 6% grade path between the warming house and the lakefront. Averaged 9.6mph, although speed wasn’t the test tonight, climbing strategy was the goal. Total so far on Polly: 62 miles, 24 of them this week alone.
Sunday is the Ironman Bike Ride. I would have preferred a bit more training, but considering the nice day forecasted I’m thinking the 62-mile route is within my grasp. It isn’t a race, so I can go at whatever pace I need to with Polly. _(It is true what they say, you use completely different muscles on a recumbent…hopefully those muscles realize what I’m gonna put them through on Sunday!)