Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Removing rear rack from Street Machine Gte

Recently, a fellow posted a question to the HP Velotechnik message board on Yahoo.

- Removing rear rack from Street Machine Gte
- Tue Oct 8, 2013 4:29 am (PDT) . Posted by: "L C____"
- I would like to remove the rear rack from my recently acquired Street
- Machine and I notice that 2 of the mounting bolts appear to go right into
- the pivot point of the rear suspension.
- Is there a special trick to doing this?
- TIA.
- L___

You can just remove the bolts, then remove the rack, and then replace the bolts.  However, when done properly, the long bolts that originally held the rack are replaced with a pair of 20mm button head bolts.

Getting the new bolts back in involves a fair amount of fiddling.  I'd try finding replacement bolts at your hardware store.  Be sure to grease the new bolts before replacing them to prevent them from seizing and becoming impossible to remove in the future.  The torque for the swing arm bolts is 17-19 nm when using HP Velotechnik's bolts.

If you want to ride with only an underseat rack, and no rear rack, you'll need to use the long bolts to hold the rack with spacers to take up the space otherwise used by the mounts for the rear rack.  The spacers go on the bolt, between the swing arm hinge and the mounting point on the rack.  HPV provides spacers, for the official solution, or you can find something on your own that is strong.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Energy Pellets, no cook

Here is this Fall's recipe for Energy Pellets (no cook)

1/2 C(up) almond butter
1 C peanut butter, salted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 C corn syrup
1/2 C ground flaxseeds
1 T(ablespoon) chia seeds
1 C Grape Nuts (or similar coarse multi grain ready to eat cereal)
1/2 C rolled oats (5-min. quick oats)
Fleur de sel (sea salt) to taste
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chocolate M and Ms or their likeness (I use Sunspire brand.)

Use a highly conductive non-stick sauce pan, for best results.

Thoroughly combine nut butters, cinnamon and corn syrup in sauce pan over medium-low flame.

Stir these evenly into the goop mixture, a bit at a time:
Flax and chia seeds
Grape Nuts
Rolled oats

Let mixture cool a bit so the M and Ms don't melt when you add them.

Sprinkle M and Ms around the mixture and then stir them in as best you can.

Mold mixture into balls with freshly washed hands (I'm just saying).
Sprinkle fleur de sel over balls to taste.

Put into resealable plastic containers and then into fridge for 8 hrs.

Store in fridge.

To take them on a ride, I put them into plastic zipper-closure bags.

Food is love, share it,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A customer writes from southeast Asia...

Hi Robert,

Just wanted to drop you a line to say hello. I hope all is well with you and your 2013 season for recumbents ended well.

B--- and I are currently traveling through SE Asia on motorcycles. We are in central Laos right now heading south towards Cambodia. We're expecting to be back in NYC at the end of the year as B--- has teaching obligations for the first few months of 2014.

I'm thinking of continuing to take time off in early 2014 and have been considering a solo ride of the ACA Southern Tier route east to west in Feb/Mar 2014. Know anyone who has ridden the Southern Tier E to W? If I do this I'll sure be glad I kept the grasshopper fx!


# # #

Again, I think I have the world's coolest customers.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Important! Help me raise $250,000 to increase access to recumbent bikes in New York Metro

Vote here. It's fast and free.
Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.

I need your help, guys.  And I need it now.  Please.  Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.  I still need more votes.

I realize recumbent bike riders in the NY Metro area wish we had a larger dealership here.  I feel the same way.  And I'd like you to know I keep hammering away at it.

Some of you know the business and you know how incredibly hard it is.  That's especially true in a high-cost region like NY Metro where we pay 3x what others pay for real estate and 2x more for utilities.  Those of you who know me personally know how I knock myself out to grow the business, every day.

At last weekend's Recumbent Cycle Convention, dealers and manufacturers from all over the country, pretty much to a man, expressed overwhelming support for what I'm doing, including offers to help if they can, etc.  The level of kindness was really touching.  And it appears I'm on pretty much a similar path to everyone else, doing similar things.  (It also turns out that a few manufacturers consider me their "best" dealer; that felt good.)

None of you will be shocked to hear the main obstacle to growing New York City Recumbent Supply is money.  So, I've applied for a huge competitive grant from Chase Bank.  If I get it -- if we get it -- it'll be massive and will dramatically increase access to recumbent bikes in our region.

All I need is your vote.  It's fast and free.
To be considered for the first round of this competitive grant process, I need your support: your vote, in fact.  And the votes of your friends.

The link is below.  When you go to the site, Chase is going to ask for Facebook stuff.  They say they don't use or retain the info.  I assume it helps prevent voter fraud.  But I don't know.  I don't control it.  Unfortunately, some people have found this off-putting.  Please don't be put off.

Vote here:

Thanks to each of you for helping grow the bent-riding community in Greater NY.

All best,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Recumbent Cycle Convention [Conventional? Not.]

I just returned to New York from the Recumbent Cycle Con (RCC) in Los Angeles. A superb experience and a fun trip. Loved the light, ocean, and mountains. Too bad about all the driving, highways, and traffic. I've heard people wonder how New Yorkers get by without cars. But how do Angelenos get by with them? I felt I couldn't easily get anywhere!

Out with the Cruzbike family on our semi-daily daybreak Death March and chat, complete with great views and glorious sunshine. Robert on left. Tom in yellow. Abram with hat. Maria in green. Jeff in blue. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

But RCC was a blast. I continue to believe that the best things about bikes (and trikes) are the people you meet as a result of being a cyclist, and the experiences you have with those people, whether it's shooting the breeze with a fellow cyclist at a traffic light, or going on a group trip, or racing, or advocating for cyclists' rights, or helping a fellow cyclist you find sidelined along the road, or attending a bike show, or any of those other experiences that result from being an engaged member of the world's cycling community.

Robert demonstrates a brief track stand on a Mirage Nomad, a shaft-drive 'bent.
Glad to have had the chance to ride it. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

As for the machines themselves, bikes are cool, some more than others, but they're just bikes; they're a means to an end, not the end-all and be-all. They're a lever, a tool for amplifying what your mind and body want to do and could perhaps do anyway. Without the machine, you could have similar life experiences, you simply wouldn't go as fast, or as far, or, maybe, get into as much trouble. So, the potentially coolest thing about a bike show, for me, is the people; next, it's the experience I might have with them; thirdly, it's seeing what people are thinking about and the problems they're trying to solve with human powered equipment -- the bikes/trikes/drivetrains/chains/headsets, etc. Maybe it's because I'm less a gear-head and more a traveler, but what excites me about a great machine is not the engineering; it's the experiences a machine could open up for me and, then, whether that machine will get me safely to the other side. I feel similarly when it comes to dealing bikes. First and foremost it's about people and the experiences a 2- or 3-wheeled human powered tool make available to them, whether during the sales process, or years after when they're pedaling through Arthur's Pass (South Island, New Zealand).

At RCC, I met many people who, till now, I knew only by name, e-ml, phone or photo. People turned out to be pretty much as I anticipated: people I thought would be super, turned out to be super. I had wonderful conversations with the people from Cruzbike and HP Velotechnik and I'm going to continue what I'm doing with them. In their own segments they are the leaders for good reasons. Had good conversations with several others, too many to name. I met Catherine and Hubert van Ham of Radical Design, the recumbent pannier manufacturers, who didn't have a booth but attended the show as visitors; really nice people. Azub, Greenspeed, Ice, and Hase remain impressive. I was also pleased to meet the other dealers in my "neighborhood."

Trisled Rotovelo, brought in by Nanda Holz of SpinCyclz. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

Several discoveries in terms of bikes and trikes. Yes, lots of trikes were shown as manufacturers try and respond to the demand for T's. The average number of wheels per bike over the entire show was, I don't know, 2.9 or so; less cleverly, more clearly said: trike showings dominated though maybe not in terms of speed. A few manf's. had prototypes of clever trikes, folding and otherwise, and it'll be interesting to see what they present as production models. A few new bikes, some of which I may bring in. I won't be too specific right now so as not to disappoint people. Also, again, when it comes to recommending machines to customers, I'm highly concerned about reliability and quality and, with new machines that lack a track record, can we be sure to get that?

Cruzbike Morning Death March, group photo. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

Cruzbikes won the "slow-riding" as well as the "turning radius" contests.  No surprise.  But also the jockey Abram (photo of Abram) was, I heard, a gymnast in the past, so it might have been more than just "about the bike."

I realize readers of this blog might like to hear my analysis of what I saw and liked or otherwise, but since I'll be making business decisions based on my ideas, I'll keep them to myself.  Meanwhile, event organizer extraordinaire Charles (Chuck) Coyne of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine was there, along with Chris Malloy and Travis Prebble of Recumbent Journal, and Bryan Ball of BentRider On-line, and I'm sure we can depend on them to write round-ups.

Recumbent Journal has kindly posted photos on Flickr, here:

Here are a few notes that I'll share:

- Nanda Holz of Spin Cyclz (CA) imported a couple dozen of the Trisled Rotovelo and had one at the show.  Good ride and nice idea for an inexpensive velomobile.  Good enough in every way with one aspect I thought was non-ideal: the pedals rotate rather close to the pavement so I personally needed to adjust foot position to avoid heel strike.  I don't believe I personally, could ride it with clipless pedals or toe clips; someone with small feet might be fine.  I pedaled near my instep with platform pedals, which is okay, but not my normal pedaling position.  I'd recommend using heel straps with it.  Lots of storage capacity inside.  Call me if you want one.

- HP Velotechnik was, as expected, extremely polished and professional and was possibly the busiest booth.  They had their usual top of the line bikes/trikes and the new dirt trike.  They showed their new electric/pedelec system which is, in several important ways, an improvement over the Bionix solution.  Call me if you want more info., etc.  (Robert: T: 646-233-1219.)

- Cruzbike was possibly the darling of the show and Maria Parker gave one of the best speeches I've ever heard at the industry dinner.  Entitled "Doing something hard," it was ostensibly about her experience during RAAM, but was equally a TED-type talk about how something incredibly hard.  For the bikes themselves, only a very few people seemed to have trouble "getting" the Cruzbikes.  I think we (the dealers) have gotten better at teaching people how to ride them.  For a limited time, there is a slight discount on the 20" folding model.  Call me if you want more info., etc.  (Robert: T: 646-233-1219.)

- Prototypes of several new folding trikes and bikes were shown in addition to the usual suspects who have production models.  There's a long way between prototype and production model, but it was exciting to see people working away at this challenge.  I'll keep folding machines on hand and will increase what I carry if and when the new ones pass the various quality tests and go into production.

- The Mirage Nomad shaft drive prototype was there.  Nice idea and the ride quality is as good as similar designs.

- TerraCycle has a full length fabric fairing/sock.  They are again making their tailsocks but now they are also offering a full length sock that attaches with velcro to their front fairings.  So, if your bent can accept TC's LARGE/FULL front fairing, and has the mounting points for the TC tail sock, you can inexpensively make a fully faired ride.  Head opening at the top and totally open on the bottom.  I'm a Terracycle dealer if you want more info., etc.

- Lightfoot showed several of their HUGE fat wheel bikes and their ATV-like Quad.  They use Surly Large Marge rims/tires.  Fun to ride.

Next Recumbent Cycle Con. slated for Sept. 27-28, 2014, in Chicago!

I arrived in Los Angeles and went straight to Manhattan Beach for a swim.
While there, I took a photo of this guy who looks a lot like me. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson