One thing I can say for the tricycle recumbent. Once you get somewhere, you already have a seat. I went to the local university’s homecoming parade, and the tricycle recumbent not only took me there, but also functioned as a seat while I was there. Once the parade was over, I took advantage of the still closed streets to head back to the trail. This all worked out well until I caught up with the end of the parade!
The recumbent also works a whole different set of muscles than does the bicycle. It feels a bit like a session on the stair master. And it is always a lesson in applied awkwardness getting out of the thing. While the machine itself is heavier, I think you use less muscular effort keeping the cycle upright, so it seems about the same amount of effort throughout the ride. The steering, especially at speed, is quite twitchy.
I had a perfect day for the ride. Cool temperatures, but a warm sun made things pretty comfortable. As always, the recumbent was the star of the show, and I had a lot of questions about it. I always try to present the pros and cons, as a recumbent cycle like this is a big investment. I am a big proponent of “try before you buy” when it comes to these machines. Fit has to be perfect, and so does balance. But there are some great benefits as well.
I only had a short ride today, as rain was threatening,and occurring, as I rode. After I got home, a line of storms and a downpour came along. Even cooler weather is in the offing. I stopped by the overburdened apple tree to get a few apples when I returned. These are not great looking apples, they are small and none too attractive, but they taste good and would probably be fine for a lot of uses.
These apples just get some problems due to rot and blight and the like that occur when the trees are not maintained as they would be in a yard or orchard. Mostly, I wanted these apples for the production of ripe tomatoes. At the end of the year, sometimes a number of tomatoes do not ripen. A little ethylene gas, like that produced by the remains of turning apples, can sometimes do that little job nicely
Apples are a lot like bicycles. Without maintenance and care, they produce less than stellar results. Sometimes they have uses other than what they were designed for. Good storage provides for longevity. A little wax makes them look better. I am very hopeful that fall provides for some good riding, and maybe some adventures as well. Winter may provide some good days as well.
The Panasonic, up to it’s old brake troubles, prompted a return to service for the Raleigh Sojourn as the errand bicycle. It was warm this weekend, and I took the Raleigh on a run for prescriptions. I have taken the rear top rack bag from the Panasonic and am now using it on the Raleigh. Soon, the Raleigh will be getting wider tires for autumn. It seems like a touring bike should have some wider tires anyway, considering the weight I expect it to carry.
Weather will soon turn even cooler, and those tires will work a bit better when leaves start falling and autumn gets messy. I had quite a time exiting the trail when I had to, due to a steep slope and loose gravel, but for an unofficial entry or exit to the trail, it serves it’s purpose. I rejoined the trail by another way, because I wanted easier access where I would not have to climb the hill, instead of stumbling down it.
Autumn light, falling at a lower angle, makes everything in the woods look a bit more dramatic. I suppose things are getting a bit more dramatic for the wildlife in the natural realm as well. Winter is a life-and-death struggle for animals, and forage can be hard to find at times. The leaves are turning color and are just starting to put on their show. And the corn is ready to be gathered in. Things are all getting busy in preparation.
I’ve been back on the Panasonic for the last couple of trips, just as a change of pace from the Raleigh Sojourn. The Sojourn is going to be getting a bit of an overhaul, as it has been the main bicycle this summer. But now the disc brakes are getting a bit squeaky and the bearings may need a lube, as does the BB. All part of the equation. When a bicycle gets used a lot, it needs more maintenance. The Panasonic needed a good dusting off, but it got that when a cloudburst opened up during my ride.
The Panasonic has a lot of good traits for an upright bicycle, although I think the bars may need changing yet again. The wheelbase is too long for a mountain bike, and drop bars are not a likely solution, although I may try different bars of that sort. It seems the wheelbase is a bit long, and the top tube a bit short, for the best sort of geometry for this bicycle, so drop bars may be the best bet here.
The Panasonic is a good cargo hauler and short distance bike, great for the city and commuting. 26″ wheels make it pretty rugged and adaptable under such conditions. A few changes will make it great. I have the gearing correct, and the ride is quite good for a mid-range bicycle. The Schwinn Sierra is a better mountain bike, shorter, lighter, and nimbler by a good long ways.
It is very early yet in the autumn, yet I have seen some very pretty colors come out just at this time of year, some flowers(and weeds) that have not previously bloomed, and some berries coming along just before the trees change color and leaves fall in ever greater numbers. I am planning a mountain bike ride or two for the middle of October, when peak color should be here as well. Good weather for leaf color (Good amount of precipitation and wide temperature swings between overnight low and daytime high temperatures) may make for some great color in the woods this year.
I rode the trail into town Saturday, as I had business there and the university was having Parent’s Weekend. This leads to some epic traffic at times along the rather narrow and angled streets uptown. There was no festival set up this weekend, but next weekend, the tents and vendors will return, along with the street closures. On my return, I saw some berries that had a quiet contrast among the green foliage. I believe it to be bush honeysuckle.
There is also plenty of goldenrod to go around, and when it initially appears it is quite yellow and bright, fading as the bloom ages. Chicory is also quite prolific here in autumn, and lends a blue hue to road edges and park lands. I have only seen ironweed near the interstate highway, in areas where teasel is often found as well . It has a rather showy purple flower in clumps along its stalk.
Humidity has returned, although the heat has passed here. It may soon be time for a few fall overhauls, and storage of the steel bicycles, as well as some finishing and polishing of the old Raleigh, and some work on the Huffy. I am glad to have some cooler weather for riding, as well as the promise of some good fall color.
I had someone new to our town remark about the number of trees lining our trail. I thought it was just ordinary to have the whole trail darkened by trees, but it seems to be less the case in other places. I find our trail to be less breezy, yet cooler, than the surrounding neighborhoods. I admit, trail decor is a great deal less than in other places, but I see the overall theme of the trail to be a return to nature.
I think this green space may also help to lower temperature locally. It is always nice to have a forested belt running through a city. This breaks up the “heat island” that a city generates just by having all these endless masses of concrete and roadway and buildings being warmed by the sun all day. More trees help with cooling, and provide cooler areas not being baked by the sun. Trees also help hold rain when it falls, delaying the runoff from storms.
Railroads, before they left these rights-of-way, had maintained the edges of the tracks by cutting down weeds and trees. But when the trails came along,and in this town it was more than 35 years ago, trees were allowed to grow again, and new ones were planted. This has created a linear park that has added miles of trail and trees over the years. This has been helpful to wildlife and to trail users. I think it has also aided the public at large.
Yes, you heard me right. Upgrading a Huffy. Not exactly the first thing I thought I would be spending time on this autumn, but I rather like the Huffy Rome I picked up earlier in the year. It is a crank-forward, or semi recumbent bicycle with rear suspension and not too much weight. I think it must have been made by a higher end builder with some excess inventory. It seems to have a nice frame. The components could use improvement, but get the job done.
The bicycle has been comfortable and easy to ride, more so than the Bike-E I had a few years back. The bicycle needs a longer seat post so the seat post can go through the frame member all the way. I have been testing it with just the top collar, as the seat post is not long enough to provide me with adequate height and go through both collars. Perhaps also some new brake arms, as I have little faith in the pressed steel ones supplied.
I may also replace the bottom bracket and crank arms. If it needs and deserves it, perhaps the rear derailleur as well. We can see how that works out down the road. Perhaps accommodation can be made for a front derailleur as well. The bicycle has a built in rack for the rear, the front would have to be one of those that mount to the cantilever brake mounts and fork junction. It may be worth the trouble, after all.
I got out this morning, and enjoyed weather I can but characterize as “crisp”. Wearing a heavy shirt, I was still a bit cool . This weather is a bit of an overreaction to last week’s heat. The temperatures are now about ten degrees below average, instead of being about ten degrees above, as they have been the past week. Temperatures will stabilize a bit this weekend.
I had a downburst accompany the weather front the other morning. The dog woke me to witness the event. It was like a hurricane around here for a few minutes. Probably why a fellow should seek an appropriate camping area when cycle touring, and always keep an eye on the weather. These events seem to be occurring with greater frequency of late.
Yet today’s ride was great. A cloud bank has been covering about half the sky for most of the day. It has also been windy, but that is to be expected. Most of the corn is ready, and combines and gravel trucks have been all over the roads for the last few days. More oil and gravel are being added to the roads, at the same time the farmers are harvesting corn. Fantastic weather, and a fantastic ride to nowhere in particular.
I am now planning a smaller workbench, along the same lines as previously, but the original workbench was held up by a lack of plywood for the tops at a good price. I then found that it made a good bicycle holder, with an upper and lower levels. It stores a lot of bicycles in a rather small footprint of four by eight feet, and about the same height.
I think a smaller version, just the size I need to work on bicycle parts, will do just fine. I can use the Aldi Bikemate repair stand for assembly from there. Not being very mobile off the bicycle requires me to work in smaller areas. I also have too much stuff in my garage, also restricting the size of the project. I plan it to have some adaptability, so I can mount various tools to it, perhaps via interchangeable tops. That seems like a better plan.
Sometimes things come along that force a change in plans. Sometimes those changes work out for the best, and make for a better all around solution. The Panasonic did not work well as a MTB, but did work well as a tourer, and even better as an upright tourer. The Raleigh was a real challenge to bend back to a true frame, but once it was done it was, and is, a great touring bicycle.
So I guess the idea of this post is to present the idea that so many things about bicycling are about adaptability to changes of situation and the overcoming of unforeseen circumstances. Seems like some really good things for a pastime or sport to teach us . Cycling is about so much more than the cycle itself. Any bicycle can get you where you need to go, so long as it is in good condition and you are as well.
Now that harvest time is nearing, I thought I might get out on the roads before all the agricultural equipment and big trucks did. Then I found out one of the main roads I often cross was being resurfaced. By trucks from the road surfacing site near the trail. So I gave up on that idea, and did my grocery shopping by bicycle.
The changes to the trail were just for a short section, so short that they are just to make room for yet another apartment house to be added to the building site. The trail leading to Constitution Trail Center is still in pretty rough shape. Areas need raising and resurfacing, and the vegetation needs to be trimmed. Parts of this trail get submerged by rains, and adding more apartments to the development is not going to help matters any.
The Raleigh Sojourn went along for the grocery shopping, and also carried a few apples home from the berm around my subdivision. There is a tree out there laden with apples, thanks to all the rains we have had this year. The apples are not quite ripe yet, but soon will be. Apple projects will soon be made ready, as these little apples are good for drying and the like. Dried apples are great as a snack when cycle-touring.
The Raleigh Competition has had all the sandpaper for the wet-sanding process and the restoration of the components, as well as the final polish, purchased and made ready for cooler weather. This should be the last step before finalizing decals and adding a couple of clear coats. Then we can get it all together. Still favoring Suntour derailleurs over the Campagnolo. This will all soak up a good deal of polish, getting back to new.
In the end, though, the Raleigh Competition will be transformed back into the bicycle it was meant to be. Lots of paint and a gardenful of dirt have been removed from it, and soon all the painted surfaces will be smooth and shiny, and the components like they were meant to look. This will provide a unique riding experience, because they just do not make bicycles like this anymore.
Vintage and veteran bicycles of quality and how to preserve them for future generations, with a particular interest in the French 'constructeurs'. Please note all images are my copyright unless otherwise stated, and may only be used with my express permission.