Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"80 and Still Cycling"

"Portrait of my grandfather : 80 and still cycling" by Florent Piovesan on Vimeo.

This very cool video by Florent Piovesan was sent to me through the Prospect Park Peleton list.  It's not about recumbents.  It's about bicycling.  And that's what it's all about.

Have fun and stay 20,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recumbent Cycle Convention: brief notes

The most important note first:

Creating safe roads for cyclists is as important as building and selling bikes.

The town of St. Charles and the surrounding area -- where the show was held -- has wonderful bike trails and paths and I was able to enjoy them with the Cruzbike team on the morning of the second day of the show.

But I didn't see any bicycle advocacy organizations represented at the show.  It is vital that each of us, as cyclists and industry workers, are involved in advocacy.  We each play an important role in expanding opportunities to bicycle safely in the USA.  We can't simply be bike lane users.  We must also be bike lane builders.

Here's something you can do, starting today.  It's fun and you'll meet people who may become lifelong friends.  Dedicate just 4 hours per month -- 48 hours in the year -- volunteering for your local bicycle advocacy organization or otherwise engaged in bicycle advocacy.  That small amount of time will help save lives -- not to mention the planet.  It will help save the life of somebody with a name, and a mom and dad.  That "somebody" might be you or someone close to you.  Toss this aside and you're tossing aside someone's life.

If you don't have a local bicycle advocacy organization, then join Bikes Belong, a.k.a., PeopleForBikes and give them the equivalent of 48 hours/year of your income.  Want to do more?  Run for your local community board or city council.

Thank you to Charles Coyne, Coyne Publishing and the RCC Team for producing this show.
Visit them here http://www.rtrmag.com/
Charles Coyne and his crew do an amazing job of producing RCC.  It's is incredible that they are able to do so much.  All the workers were friendly and professional.  The show was well-organized and well-attended.  He had nearly all the top manufacturers there.  Also, on the above note of advocacy, Charles and his group are a great example of people working hard to promote bicycling with no eye -- as far as I can tell -- to personal gain.  If anything, it seems to me he's putting himself at significant financial risk to put on this show.  Thank you, Charles and team.

The new Silvio and Vendettas are very impressive on many fronts - performance, adjustability, weight, features, capacity to work with wide range of drivetrains.   Both bikes share many of the same qualities.   I rode both and put in about 20 mi. on the Vendetta during the Cruzbike morning ride.  Both models are better than ever and they've shaved 16 oz. off both frames, in part by making the new seat in full carbon fiber.  I initially wondered if I'd like the new front boom and drive-triangle, shared by the V and S, but it's excellent: stiff, highly adjustable, light, clean appearance.  The new Vendetta's paint is a metallic red.  The white Silvio looks good too.  All in all, the new designs are winners.

There's a very interesting spec effecting drivetrain options, but it's not published so I don't want to spill the beans in case something changes.  In short, it's great news and it looks like there'll be more versatility than in the past.

The Cruzbike booth was popular and, often, nearly all the bikes were out on the test track.  I've already sold several Silvios so I anticipate the current run to sell out, maybe by end of winter.  Go and get yours now.

HP Velotechnik
Nothing but top marks for HP Velotechnik.  New Gekko fx 26 is perfect.  The new Scorpion "Plus," perfect.  The new "adaptive" pedals and accessories are easy to use and well-made.  The new seats, fine.

I'm at a loss for words when writing about the brand and the models, because there's nothing more to say.  They are the gold standard.  There are no surprises.  They simply continue to prove they are probably the most professional and reliable recumbent manufacturer in the market.

HP Velot. was one of the most popular booths at the show.  No surprise there either.

They're continuing their tradition of being one of the foremost manufacturers of adaptive cycles.  They are clearly entirely dedicated to producing the highest quality machines.  Again, I don't know what to say: they're great.  They too had one of the most popular booths at the show.

Patterson Transmission (from FSA)
Superb new internal gear system to replace front chain rings and rear wheel 3-speed hub gears.  Inexpensive, quiet, works well.  Only time will tell how durable it is over thousands of miles, but I liked what I saw and may well install one on one of my own bikes over the winter to use and abuse it.

Bent Rider On-line
Also one of the most popular booths at the show.  Bryan Ball seemed to be in high spirits and told me they sold out of their merchandise by the afternoon of the first "public" day of the show.

Go build a bike lane,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recumbent Cycle Convention: Day 1, morning

Brief notes:

Arrived yesterday, Thursday, in St. Charles, IL (W of Chicago).

Had dinner with Cruzbike team.  Met new teammates Robert Holler and Lucia Parker and Jonathan (last name?) from Coventry Cycle Works.  Nice, smart people.  Talked about new current bikes, new fantasy bikes, discontinued models.  I'm going to keep mum on that point and leave it to CB to announce these.  (If they were to go with one of my ideas for a fantasy bike though, fans of CB would flip out.  I'll say no more.  We'll just have to see what happens.)

OK, about that new Red Vendetta that suddenly appeared on the CB website the day before yesterday.  I'm told that Tolhurst believes the new model has a stiffer front end than the previous V and is a POUND LIGHTER than the old model.  The front end is definitely more adjustable.  Personally, I liked the old Vendetta and the fact that the rider had a customized fit.  This is appropriate for a race bike.  But a more adjustable front end means riders can experiment more with their riding position as they get used to the bike.  Also, in truth, it makes the bike more sellable, both for me as a dealer, but also for the "used" market.  It's an interesting move.  I think it will be a hot item.

The new Silvio.  The seat angle remains 27 degrees.  The "S30" means seat=30 degrees, but it's really 27 deg.  I predict great things from this model.  I've already sold a significant number, so I anticipate this run will sell out very quickly.

This morning, Friday, we had the traditional Cruzbike Death March.  I don't know why, but it seems the term "death" really turns people off from showing up in the hotel lobby at 5:30am for a 3-mi. jog to the pool, an hour swim, a soak in the hot tub or sauna, and then breakfast.

Still, 4 of us were there.  Plans for tomorrow's Death March are forming, but we'd like to do a ride.  We're still honing in on the route, but, this year, I brought pedals and bike shoes in case we go far and fast.   By the way, in person Maria is very nice, quick to laugh, serious, energetic.  There must be something about a race that brings out her competitive side.  Or else, she's just competing at a whole different level than most of us.  It reminds me of when I've worked with other world class athletes like at the NYC Marathon, or pro open water swim competitions, or the English Channel-league swimmers (through CIBBOWS); there's an easy-goingness that they carry in their ordinary life that disappears -- surely it must disappear -- entirely in a competion.

I'll try and post more news later today or tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Packing an HP Velotechnik Street Machine in a bike box

Street Machine Gte ready for re-assembly. Photo: M. Hopkins
Matthew Hopkins is in the midst of a 30,000 cycling odyssey on the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina.  He dropped through New York City last week.  I asked him if he'd mind taking a couple photos and sending me his notes about how he packed his HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte for travel on Amtrak.

I was particularly interested in his methods because, besides being an expedition rider, he also has 20 years' experience as a shop mechanic.  I was curious to see how extensively he took apart his bike, since I figured he'd be comfortable with a greater extent of assembly/disassembly compared to non-mechanic riders.  Interestingly, he chose not to take apart the bike very much.  I think many riders could pack a SMGte like this without any trouble.

HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte ready for Amtrak. Photo: M. Hopkins
Matthew writes:

The bike was packed in two boxes I salvaged from a bike shop. How you pack it depends on the boxes you receive. The larger and wider the better. Mountain bike boxes would be better but I managed to find two city bike boxes. [RM note: these are basically the boxes for packing an ordinary, cheap hybrid.]
  • remove the front boom, lights, computer mount, 
  • unhook the chain
  • remove the front wheel
  • remove the bars
  • deflate the air shock [RM note: if it's a spring shock, unbolt it.]
  • remove the seat
The bike will then lie more or less flat on its side and the other pieces can be laid in the spaces in between.  I have the ergomesh seat which is the most awkward thing to pack up as it is not exactly a compact design.  I had to tape half a box extra to one end to cover the end of the boom and accommodate the seat.  The sealed box was not the prettiest but protects the bike.

The Streetmachine is not an easy bike to transport. It is heavy, awkwardly shaped and I'm surprised HPV have not released a folding version.  But with the right box it can be made a little more travel friendly.

This is definitely a machine that prefers to be out of the box and on the road.

Sorry the pics are not the greatest, but the staff were hassling me to get out.

Have fun and go an unpack that bike,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson