Monday, November 30, 2009

ROAD FIND!!!

I think I have been luckier then most when it comes to finding things on the road. Tools and Money mostly. I am constantly looking for glass so scanning the surface is a normal part of my ride. I remember being with my good friend Barb on the tandem at night with a light on my helmet. She told me, "You look at everything, don't you? The constant moving beam of light gave me away.
All of the finds, big or small are great. I once found a 12" adjustable wrench and the only way to carry home was in the back of my Wool Jersey Pocket. How funny that must have looked!
Once I found a whole, what we call, "Yard Sale" of Snap-on sockets and ratchet handles spread over the street, all metric! There were at least 50 pieces.

The funniest I can remember was a Snap-on ratchet screw driver with a capped handle with extra bits inside. I had to kick it up out of the ice to get it. It looked as if it had been there for about a month. When I got to work I proudly passed it around saying, "Road Find!". One of the fellows looked at it and said, "That's Mine!, But, I gave it back to the Snap-on driver and he gave me a new one.".
"Ya Right!" I said
He said, "No really, Check this out, I can tell you whats in the handle for extra bits!" And he did. I told him, "Well then you will have to give it back to the driver again for another new one!"

One day on the way to work I could see they hadn't fixed a really dangerous wheel biting sized pot hole that had been in the road for over 2 months. I was grumpy that day and thought it being overlooked was really bad and some lazy person not doing there job, until I looked inside and found a twenty dollar bill! I stopped, picked it up, with people on the side walk watching, yelled, "That's what these pot holes are for!"

Scissors are what I find mostly. I must have found 15 pair in the past two years, Two pair in the last month alone. Fisker type of all sizes. I don't remember ever buying a pair.

It's like that with electricians black vinyl tape too. I cant remember ever buying a roll, but have at least 3 rolls here at the house at all times.

The stories go on. Tools falling off and from the underside of cars seem to my suppler of good luck and of course, someones bad.
My friend Jon and I laughed about the person who lost the wood clamp I found, wondering where the heck did I leave it? Not knowing that it had fallen off the truck.

Ending a ride with a great find is always special. Adding another found tool to the ever growing collection is something I will always love and don't expect to ever stop. Just as long as people keep driving and I keep Cycling!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ride Announcement. Wednesday December 2nd

Come join us for another fantastic New England Recumbent Cycling Adventure!
Wednesdays ride will start at 10:30, at 5 Main St, Dover. We will be heading West with a stops at the "Trestle" and the Wayside Inn in Sudbury for "Tea" We will be returning back to the house around 2:30 and get you back home before rush hour. RSVP at 508-333-4056. Hope to see you there.The weather looks great!



One of the many paintings at the "Trestle"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My,Things Have Changed!



Young Grandpa Chamberlain out for a "toot" on his "Velo Couch" circa 1893, Look Rich! Straight arms!



and my Dad on the family's home computer enjoying Internet radio, way back in 04,,,, (Huge Zappa Fan!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Another Thanksgiving day has passed. Everything went better then planned as usual.
I started the Turkey in the Turkey Roaster in the style of Breast down and got ready to head out.
The advertised ride was attended by a good friend Jeff Wylie. After we talked for a bit we decided that the best plan of attack with Jeff's window of opportunity would be to take bikes better suited for the woods and head right in.
We entered the woods at the Medfield, Dover line at 2 huge fields and went to a spot in the woods known as "Indian Rock"
Indian Rock is not on any map I have seen, but has the name from Boy Scouts and local campers. Storys of King Philip and his men camped at this grove. Truley a beautiful spot and a favorite of our's for years. You don't usually see people because it has no parking lot near by.
The Charles River narrows to about 30' across and is called 'Rocky Narrows" I have read in more then one book that "The Narrows" is the most Beautiful part of the Charles. For a good part of the Narrows the cliffs are sixty feet tall and Hemlock trees. Indian Rock is Granite and its top is about 30' above the surface of the water. A great overlook for viewing the river. We sat and talked for about an hour.
As we were leaving we walked the bicycles to a landing downstream for one last look. Down below a huge "Great Blue Heron" took to flight. Its wing span was around 4 feet. Standing in amazement in the magical spot I looked down and found a white quartz arrowhead. Like a Thanksgiving Gift for always remembering the true origin of today's holiday.
On the way back to the house we came across a lone Horseback Rider coming back from the Hunt. We chatted for a while and wished each other Happy Thanksgiving.
We arrived back to the house in time for a beer and to find the Turkey well on its way to perfection. The house smelt great!
The last step in my Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe was to move the "Bird" and roaster by Bob Trailer two miles across town to the Family's House where my Mom, Sister and Daughter were waiting.

Dinner was wonderful. We remembered people and places that have touched our lives and happy to be together again!
A Thanksgiving to Remember!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mr Turkey's Last Ride

About ten years ago today I was faced with the job of shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. I was planning on 6 people so moving the goods was going to be best done with a trailer.
My Bicycle of choice was my workhorse Vision R40 Recumbent. The R40 is a short wheel based, Under Seat Steering all steel framed bicycle. Your feet and pedals are out in front and above the 20" front wheel. Your hands are along side of you below the surface of the seat cushion. The bicycle is super comfortable and really fun to ride. Heavy and solid. I could spend hours on it steering with one hand only. The bicycle was fitted with a rack and fenders.
My trailer of choice was a single wheeled trailer called a B.O.B. I was told by the designer years ago that to be "PC" they advertised that BOB meant "Beast of Burden", but what it really stood for was "Beer on Board". (we got along well!)
The trailer cleverly clips on to two little spools at the end of a special rear wheel skewer and can be attached to the bike in about 5 seconds. Easy enough to be done in the dark.
To move what needed to be bought, I also brought panniers and bungy cords.
For those of you who know my town, Dover,Ma. know that grocery shopping is best done in one of the surrounding towns because of the better selection and prices. The town of choice for the days shopping adventure was Needham.
Needham Center is about 6 miles from my home and a really nice ride. You pass a really beautiful horse farm and large lots of woodlands. Crossing the Charles River is the town line.

I bought everything and then some. I also picked up a large bag of bird seed to fill my feeders for the Holidays as well as a box of fire starters for the fireplace.
With the panniers filled and the trailer bag over stuffed the grocery's alone weighed in at about 80 Pounds. To lift the rear wheel of the recumbent was difficult.

Starting off with a heavy load with a BOB trailer is only an issue for the first 25 feet. After that its easy going, or so I thought.
The ride back to Dover from Needham starts with a small hill climb and then a high speed decent to the Charles. The road for the most part on both sides of the bridge is smooth, but for some reason, the bridge has not been repaved for a while. I'm not sure if its a question of who is responsible or they just don't want to fix something that's not broken, yet.

Descending with the holiday load had me traveling at about 28 MPH, well under control. The traffic was light so I could have most of the road to myself.
When I reached the bridge, I hit a bump. In total control, I looked ahead and saw my pedals almost hitting the ground.

When I hit the bump my rear wheel came off the ground about twenty inchs. I rode the front wheel of the Recumbent with one hand for about what seemed to be twenty feet.
Somehow, I took my left hand out of my pocket, grabbed the other handle grip and got the bicycles rear wheel back on the ground. To this day I have no idea how I saved the bike, trailer and the Turkey Dinner.

It took me about a week to figure what exactly happened that allowed the wheel of this super heavy loaded bike with a trailer to come off the ground.
The only thing I can figure is that when I hit the bump, the rear wheel because of the pressurized tire came off the ground about an inch and slowed the bike down just a small amount, but at the same time the trailer kept coming forward at a slightly faster speed. The difference of the two caused the trailer and bicycle to "Jack Knife"

I still to this day have no Idea how I got the wheel to come back down and not crash.
I made it home safely but shaken.

We had a great Thanksgiving that year. We laughed for an hour at least about the story of Mr Turkey's Last Ride.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home!

It may come as a surprise to you, but my ride home last night in the rain was really quite nice. I was dressed perfectly and all my lights were working great.
Southern New England in November in the rain at night is never where I would want to be if I had the choice, but living by bicycle has me riding sometimes in less then favorable conditions. Having the right gear makes all the difference in the world!
Last night when I left Wheelworks it was raining and 42 degrees. Starting out I was a little chilly, but soon warmed up and was comfortable for the last hour of the ride.
The traffic for the most part on my commute from Belmont Wheelworks to home is not bad at 8:15pm. You meet the occasional "bully" driver, mostly young men, but with the right lighting and staying to the right of the white line on the side of the street, drivers respect me. I'm sure many are repeat passers going home as well.
When I come to stop lights, I like to look in the rear view mirror and see how many cars are waiting with me. Mostly now, I wave all the cars on when the light changes and hop onto the bumper of the last so the don't have to pass me at the bottle neck on the other side of the intersection, If there going to pass me, better while I'm stopped then when when were all moving at a tight squeeze.
The smell in the air last night was that of Fall, I passed 3 places that had piles of fresh cut Christmas Trees waiting to be sold. Hard not to smile with the smell of the Holidays on the way!
Crossing the Charles river for the last time of the day and climbing the hill out of the valley came quicker last night then most nights I remember. My frame of mind helped I'm sure. The final hill to the house and the sight of the the Barn was wonderful!

Home Sweet Home!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ride Announcement: December 6th


And Now For Something Completely Different!

This is a fantastic ride, run by Good Friend and Recumbent Cyclist, Doug Harris. Anybody that has dabbled with "Bents" for more then 10 years, knows Doug. He always brings extra charm and smiles to any ride.
Another one of our loves in Cycling is tooting around on Old British Cycling Iron. This is something we have been doing here in New England now for over 30 years. If you have never enjoyed a day tour on a 3 Speed bicycle, I highly recommend it.
Here is your invitation to Doug's ride:

3 SPEEDS, 3 PUBS

"I say ol' chap nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than lie around and watch infomercials while breakfasting on powdered donuts and Sanka?"

Well, get off yer duff and come join us for a pub tour of Essex County! We'll travel the quaint and historic back roads of yesteryear, stopping along the way to quench our thirst with a pint or two of the best bitters and ales this side of the Atlantic. The ride should run about 25-30 miles and finish up back in Salem around half four. We'll visit Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton, Essex, and Manchester. Scenic rides along the sea and through the horse country....we might even catch "The Hunt" in action, jolly good!

Three speed bikes and traditional dress are appreciated but all are welcome!

Where? Salem Common Gazebo Salem, MA
When? Sunday December 6th @11am
Who? Anyone who can pedal a bike
Why? 'Cause I said so!

I hope you can take a break from Bentdom for a day and join us for this lovely ride!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Todays Ride


Todays ride was a really beautiful. 28 degrees to start, and 55 degrees to finish. It was hard not to overdress. The rider list was short. Geoff Adams and myself. Geoff thought the ride should have been called "One if by land, Two if by Bike, Three if by Trike" because we rode from Paul Revere's house to his landing on the morning of April 18th 1776 in Charlestown, me by Bike, Geoff by Trike and not boat.
We met in Waltham at 9:00 and followed the river trail to the North End where we stopped at Mikes for pastry and coffee. By that time it had warmed up nicely. We rounded North Square and crossed the river to Charlestown.
The best comment We heard today was right when I was reaching the top of Bunker Hill while riding one handed and snapping photos with the other. I was asked, "Is that thing hard to pedal?" My answer was, "Well, at the moment!"
This November has been the best I can remember for riding. The weather here in Southern New England continues to Stay warm enough to enjoy being outdoors. Lets hope it doesn't stop!

Here are today's photos starting with the satellite image of us and where we cycled when we got to Boston and Charlestown:

















Geoff added:







PS: I got back to the house this evening with a front flat.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Best Thing About a Bacchetta


Bacchetta is a small recumbent company based in St Petersberg, Florida.
Over the past 6 years they have produced high quality recumbents and recumbent accessories to fill the needs of Recumbent Cyclists.

Bacchetta sells many styles of Recumbents all having three major designs differences that have changed the sport. First the one design that stands out is the arms forward, above Seat Steering style of riding. In this position, your hand shadows your arm. Simply put, the wind sees less of you.
The second design difference is the short "Boom".
The boom is the section of the bike from the Head Tube, (Steering,} to the bottom bracket, (Pedals). Shorter booms make for more efficient bicycling due to better transmission of power and no loss due to twist. Bicycles with longer booms twist from left to right as you push on the pedals. Some frames have broken because of this design flaw. Not a Bacchetta.
The third is that the whole bicycle line is clean and simple. Bacchetta uses few specialty parts making it easy to have your bicycle serviced at any shop with fewer special orders.
Over the past 6 years, Bacchetta has improved there bicycles in ways that most riders and customers would never notice. Things like packaging to the dealer, location of cable stops, cable routing, paint, and selection of components come to mind. Never to cheapen the bicycle, but to make it better without increasing the price.
A Bacchetta not only looks great, but it also rides great. It is truly the best climbing, cornering and comfortable Recumbent I have ever ridden.

With all the Great things about the Bacchetta Recumbent Line the best thing about the Bacchetta isnt just the bikes. Its the "Boys Behind The Bikes"

http://bacchettabikes.com/company/roster.htm

Nine years ago when ATP Vision went out of Business I went looking for a new line for Wheelworks. I wanted to sell high racers having ridden and owned Vision's R65's and thought that it was surly the way the sport was going.
I knew Rich Pinto from my early Recumbent events. He was building and selling a High Racer called an Aerocycle. I asked him if he would be interested in selling to Wheelworks and if so how many bicycles he could supply.
I never heard back from Rich, but when I was talking to Recumbent builder Dick Ryan I was told, "Richie has signed with Xeyed. He may not be able to sell to you now."
I had no idea what he was talking about. I had seen adds with a "Mid Ship" under the frame pannier rack made by Xeyed, but couldn't figure out what Rich would be doing with an accesory company, and from Kansas of all places.
When I called Rich to find out his changes in plan, I was told to call Mike Wilkerson at Bacchetta and find out if I could buy his Bicycles. ( I have to say that if wasn't for Rich Pinto and the person he is I might have never called.)

On the other end of the line I heard, "Bacchetta Bikes, This is Mike!" I was told by Mike that they would have a bicycle called a Strada for sale soon and for Wheelworks to become a dealer, I would need to buy 3 and fill out the usual stack of forms.
With Mike, I got a sense of someone that knew what he was doing and that he loved the sport. (By the way, Mike answers the phone differntly now when he sees its me calling.)
Over the years our friendship has grown to a level of like being brothers We check in at times of no business to chat and see how each other is fairing with this and that.
Dealing with the Boys behind Bacchetta I have developed a feeling of being home. I cant remember a call when one of us hasn't laughed hard about our difference in style and candor. We love to pick on each other and play jokes to mess each other up and break up the doldrums of selling bicycles.
Dealing with the whole staff is fun, but at the same time, I cant remember a order placed by me that didn't go out that day. Theres nothing that Bacchetta won't do for Wheelworks.
What this all come down to is Happy Wheelworks Customers. Never have I had to wait for bicycles or replacement parts. I can call, and get it, and have the customer back on the road in less then a day. Because I know the part is coming, I can take it from one of my bikes in stock and replace it when it arrives.

Reperesenting a Recumbent Line that truly stands behind the Sport as well as Product, sells the bike. Not Me.

The Best thing about a Bacchetta, is Bacchetta

Lets Ride

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ride Announcement, Sunday, November 22nd


Sunday November 22nd.
Waltham Watch Company parking lot. Crescent St. Waltham,Ma.
9:00am-12:00pm. Bicycle path to Boston and back. RSVP in "Comment" section below.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Art of Riding a Recumbent


For me, Recumbents are not an easy bicycle to ride.
Reasons like balance while laying down, not being to lift your wheels and not being able to see them come to mind.
I'm sure there have been many a recumbent purchased that because of the reasons of being easy on the body and less work with the wind, that it would be an easyer bicycle to ride.
Getting use to the bicycle took me a couple of weeks and even now rides are full of surprises. The old style of "Look Mom, no Hands!" and the "Track Stand" is never seen.
I was once on a all night ride with "The Back Bay Peddler's" around Boston and saw a fellow jump a curb in front of the Cyclorama building. He lifted his front wheel and when it came to the rear, did the same. Very impressive! Something I will never forget, although I have seen it done with up-rights thousands of times.
Dismount and remount takes a little more of an effort because the height of the back of the seat. We probaby won't be seeing Recumbent Cyclocross any time soon, although it would be fun to watch!
For me the difficulty of riding a Recumbent makes riding fun. I love the increased concentration and bicycle placement on the road. Dealing with cars for the most part feels to me like a video game of sorts, constantly checking for cars coming up from the rear in the mirror and watching for pot holes that can be like land mines when you accidentally hit one. (I would love to have a handle bar mounted score keeper!)
Any Ideas Doug?

The excitement of Recumbent riding always enlightens me and the thought of doing it gets me planning my next adventure.

Im sure many a recumbent wait parked while enthusiasts sit at there computers and read or write there opinions about the sport. Like this.

There are two reasons for this Blog. Food for thought and to get us all to ride. Riding Recumbents for me because it's harder makes it fun. The challenge of defying death one more time after riding will have me getting back on my Recumbent for a very long time.

Lets Ride!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recumbents are Freedom


The older I get the more I have realized the importance in the word Freedom and the ideals our forefathers fought for. All my life the word has come up. You hear it, expect it and usually take it for granted.
Freedom of choice is mostly what comes to mind whenever I hear the word. The Freedom to do what you want and when you want to do it.

In the case of bicycles, the freedom to choose has me riding a Recumbent. All by choice and not by influence. Its nice to be clear headed enough to see the recumbent for what it is and to not look at it and see something its not. Most of all, to not worry what people might think about me riding one.

In my job at Wheelworks, it's nice to have found a niche and support the sport of Recumbent Cycling. Over time by my Freedom of choice, I have become the "Resident Recumbent Expert".
Not without ridicule from some at the staff. Most folks at the store respect me for the many bicycles I own and ride. In a distant way they feel that our shop is more complete by selling recumbents.
When ever the word Recumbent is heard, customers get turned over to me. If Im not at the store, they are sometimes told to come back when I am. I love my job and always enjoying meeting new Recumbent Cyclists, or whats better, Customers wanting to start the sport.
Not all new customers buy, but all are treated the same way. I ask them what kind of bicycle there riding now and how do they see themselves riding a recumbent. What do the expect for miles and where do they ride. This usually pin points the type of recumbent that will fit them best. After that, we go outside so I can teach them how to ride.
My approach is never forced, allowing their Freedom to say yes or no when it comes to closing. Because allowing there freedom of choice, over the years, I have sold more recumbents than anyone in the Boston area. Mostly all customers become friends and know that any time they need help,or want to ride, I'm there.

Freedom has allowed me to be who I am. It has let me to do what I want to do and how I want to do it. We have many to thank for our Freedom. Freedom is something we need to exercise, protect,appreciate and never forget. Recumbents are Freedom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One More

Rich Pinto taking the Lead.

Todays Ride

Lets let the photographs speak for themselfs.




In order, front to back, srcbikes, Rich Pinto, John Totman and Atom Bomb. Thanks for a ride that I will never forget !

Look Both Ways Before You Cross the Street

More and more intersections here in Southern New England are turning into crossings with traffic lights. Three new crossings near Dover have changed over the past year.
To help cars pass at times of no cross traffic, the new systems installed have whats know as "Smart Lights"
A smart light is a traffic light engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle. Most systems use a pad under the pavement that sense metal or a heavy object and trips the switch.
Cyclists that wait on the side of the road have to wait for a car to come or sit in the middle of the street. This can be a problem for drivers that feel that bicycles should not be on the street let alone in the middle.
For the most part, Smart Lights are an improvement for traffic control. Cars waiting to cross an intersection when there is no reason to stop burn more fuel. Waisted oil is something that effects us all. By allowing the car to cross safely there will be less back up and large groups of cars moving as a mass. I call that "Freight Train Traffic" Big groups driving together make it hard to see a lone cyclist ahead.
New systems are being introduced that use cameras to sense traffic at crossings but are expensive.
We can only hope with more commuters choosing to "Drive" there bicycles to work, town planers take bicycle commuting seriously and "Look Both Ways" when they choose there systems to safely cross Motorists and Cyclists alike.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good Weather for New England


The weather forested for the next 5 days looks good. 50's and dry. Great for riding hard and Perfect for getting out on the bikes we love.

The daytime lighting because of the lack of leaf cover makes riding different. The canopy in the summer months that makes our streets here in New England like riding in a tunnel has come down. Big Sky is the effect. Views as riding our wonderful "heads up" style of bicycle are amplified. Its always a surprise at this time of year to me that I can see places from hills that I never noticed during the days of total tree cover. Its as if recumbents were designed with the great view in mind first and everything else fell into place.

Coming home last night in the dark was quite beautiful. What a great finish to a very wet weekend. It was warm enough to ride without a jacket and the finish was in the fog. Traffic for the most part was low due to it being Sunday evening many folks I'm shure were home watching the Football game.

For me riding in the fog is always fun. (If I know where I'm going.) Thick fog and a big headlight makes riding difficult. I have learned over time to point the headlight straight up in the air and light the road with the fog. This works great and can be seen by on coming cars from a long way off.

The smells last night of wet fallen leafs mixed with smell of home fireplace fires and Sunday dinners reminded me of Falls past. Crossing the Charles River at speed, put a huge smile on my face and reminded me that we are so lucky to live in this beautiful place called "New England"
 
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