Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reader of the Year.

At Wheelworks, customers came and customers go. Some stand out as special folk and the reason the bicycle business keeps me interested. They are the reason that keep me really enjoying my job.
Last August a women by the name of Kate came into the store. She needed a little help finding me, Mr Recumbent, but never any help with pulling the trigger on owning her new Recumbent.
Although she wasn't able to get a full 360 degrees of pedaling to move the bike forward, she was willing to learn and adapt to her new machine. Special straps would let her legs stay in line and a new brace for hew was discussed and planned to be ordered for the time of the bike delivery.
She made plans to pick up her new recumbent in a week and discussed having her crutches near by so she could walk after arriving at her destination with her new bicycle.
I have dealt with customers in the past that had problems moving. I have been the employee at will at all the bike shops I have worked to help people with special needs. Never before have I meet a gal with so much inner strength allowing herself to move along without allowing her physical disability to get in the way. You can hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes. Not ashamed of what she looks like but proud of who she is. Truly a very special person!
It was so refreshing to meet Kate. She sets the barrier as to what a real problem is and know they can be overcome with strength.
Hey Kate! Thanks for being you. I'm sure you touch many peoples hearts with your guts and how you insist that you can do it, no matter what.

Happy New Year Kate and Congratulations on becoming this years, "BOSRUG reader of the year!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Eighteen inch's of snow with 45 mile per hour winds are forecasted for here today. Wet, not fluffy.
When it snows that much here, things come to a stop. People stay in and things get quiet.
Wet snow causes trees to bend and sometimes break. Breaking limbs sometimes cause power outages and if you have a fireplace and if you have candles, its an adventure. A moment without electricity and without computers and television is different and a well needed change.
One can only hope to be snowed in here in New England. Its what is missed by friends that have moved to warmer climates. The all mention it and wish they were back to experience a "Blizzard."
Check back later for photos and stories of what just may turn out to be "The Blizzard of 2010!" One can only hope!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Looking Up!

Recumbent riding is looking up. Not just getting better all the time, but with the "Heads up" style of riding, things seen,
otherwise missed on any other style of bike, can be enjoined while under way.
Never before had I noticed as much as riding a Recumbent Bicycle.
Like a constant show and reminder of why I ride. The adventure brings me back and with new things to see all the time its like finding treasure.
The camera saves the images, but the eye, the ears, the nose and the brain captures everything otherwise lost.

Look up! You never know what you will find!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Consider This,

Consider the fact that modern bicycle design is based around the very first bicycles.
Resembling a horse, the first cyclist's could straddle the bicycle and with their feet push the machine as though running. Coasting for long sections could be enjoyed on down hills and sections of flat road with a good strong tail wind.

Two wheels of the same size was the style of choice and because of horse back riding being the normal position of the times and the length of a man's legs, Bone shakers or Hobby Horse cycling was excepted as the best way to achieve the job of cycling.
As time went on, drive trains of various designs including motors were employed to power the cycle at speeds greater then running. Although gear changing mechanisms and component materials have changed, the "Horse like" position for bicycles as well as motorcycles, has not.
Even though we would never design any other mode of transportation with the same sitting position. we still to this day as a whole favor the same riding style as first used back in the early 1800's with the Draisienne and other less famous home made bikes.
Sitting is usually done in a matter for comfort first. Our armchairs do not have a narrow seat as well as our cars.
Cycling requires the legs to move freely to pedal without any restriction. Wider seats cause resistance and loss of power and because of it, narrow seats are chosen for the position of having your pedals below you. By placing the pedals in front of you and the weight more on your lower back and up, allows full freedom of leg movement with less frontal area for the wind to see and cause wind resistance.
The question asked is: "If bicycles were fist designed as modern High Racer style recumbents, Would they ever go to the horse like riding at a later date?" Most likely not.
About a year ago I was escorting a customer outside the store for a recumbent test ride. Two young racer types at the door started laughing at the bicycle and my customer. I said to my customer, "Hold on." I asked the young cyclists, "After nearly 200 years of bicycle design, how come you guys are still riding bicycles that resemble a horse?

They stopped laughing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Only seen by Recumbent

Some of the nicest spots I have ever seen were first noticed while riding a Recumbent. Never before had I experienced such a heads up style of riding and when I did, I felt as if I had arrived in a whole new world.
For years I rode many different style bicycles. Starting with the common kids bike in the 50's, a bicycle back then was not a BMX or mini Mountain Bike. Bikes were like a mini cruiser of sorts with 20" balloon tires and steel fenders. Training wheels in my family were removed as soon as the young rider could operate a wrench, because they were only for baby's. We dreamt of being in cars and jumping on wooden ramps like stunt drivers.
As years progressed, the style of bike were still mostly one speed up right and hand me down.
It wasn't until the early 60's that I first received my "New" bike. Christmas, under the tree. "Santa" That year brought me a white wall tired, candy apple red and white single speed with a rack and dual headlights built into the tank. It was mine and had never been ridden, until me.
Time passed and with every new year came a new modification to my bike. Banana seat, High rise handle bars, Mini chrome fenders, all resembling the motorcycle of my dreams that when I grew up, I would certainly be riding.
My next new bike was a Blue 10 speed that also arrived on Christmas morning this time from Mom and Dad. I was amazed how it shifted and how the chain would jump around as if falling off but stick to the selected gear and actually allow you to pedal the bike. It was like magic and how they did it I really wasn't sure.
At that time I was head down, in the drops and moving faster then I had ever traveled by myself. On a fast bike for the first time, I focused on going places and breaking records. No longer dreaming of a motorcycle as I rode, I felt as if I was on something totally different then what I had ever ridden before.
Besides my older brother, I was the only kid I knew on a 10 speed and when it came time to ride with friends, they just could not keep up. I remember really wanting a Sting Ray that year. All the kids had one and when I wanted to go into the woods, I would walk.
In the early 70's I started riding century's with the new cycling club, "The Charles River Wheelmen" 10 Speeds made long rides fun, but all heads down. Just about that time I discovered off road riding with trash picked English 3 speeds.
It was a time of life that the French 10 Speed was becoming popular and 3 speeds were being thrown out. Local dumps would sometimes have what looked like brand new, never ridden 3 speeds being tossed to make way for something new in the garage, My friend Chris thinks that they just found a better place to lean the rake and hang the garden hose so they got rid of the bike. It didn't hurt living in one of the most affluent towns in Metro West Boston.
Heads up riding of sorts was a much better way to read the trails. but for the most part, we rode heads down for speed and concentration.
BMX came into fashion and a whole new style of heavy duty bikes became available. Twenty six inch and 24" wheeled cruisers were the bicycle of choice for our off road machines and with our experience of working on 3 speed hubs, it wasn't long after that my "Two-Four", or 24" wheeled one speed became a 3 speed. Later a 5 speed.
In the late 70's Mountain bikes became the new thing and now 10 speeds racing bikes were being thrown out . I will never forget the evening in Harvard Square as I was locking up my off road specialty bike that a passing student asked, "Is that a Mountain Bike?" I said, well a suppose you could ride it in the mountains as I have, so I guess it is.
I didn't know what he was really talking about, but over the next 20years would figure it out.
Thanks to a few Californians and mostly the Japanese, The sport of Mountain Bicycling rose to heights I never expected. I never thought that riders wouldn't want to hurt so much and bleed so much to ride, especially Women, How wrong I was!
Recumbents started popping up here and there around Cambridge with the help of a few designers and Dr David Gordon Wilson. We would see "project" bikes come into the Bi Ex where I worked, from MIT. The Bi Ex was the only show in town for specialty bike and bike parts and when it came to needing something, that's where they would go. It was always like a show where people would come in with their pride and joy to show it off. There were some incredible bikes that would be brought into the Bicycle Exchange back then and with no "Internet" to buy parts, the shop was the source.
The moment I saw a Recumbent I wanted one. It wasn't until years later, that I finally bought a production model that I could finally afford.
It took a little while to get comfortable on my new style of bike. Riding something so different was the biggest hurdle and the looks from passer bys was more then from going from the "dropped handle bar" style of riding to up right Mountain Bike. The lawn chair on wheels is hard even today for people to look at.
After a short while different things caused me to realize that recumbent riding could be accomplished safely and one could accomplish riding without dieing.
Never before had I experienced more of a heads up ride. Starting off and stretching out in the seat was like settling down in front of the TV to watch a great movie. I remember realizing the feeling of total happiness with my new purchase. The heck with everyone else, this bike was great and it was like Danni says, "I Loved My Bike!"
I couldn't wait to be on it again and see "the next show."
After about 3 weeks of riding, I started to realize that there were things on my rides that I had never noticed before. Places where I had ridden hundreds of times, Eves of buildings, street signs, details that took artists hours to accomplish on building that I had never really seen.
The bike for the first time became a rolling tool to experience New England at it finest and not just a machine to go fast and get a good work out. Did I tell you that I loved my Bike? Yes Danni.
Things never seen before by me were new and a pleasant surprise to a New England that I thought I knew. Finding new things never gets old and will have me riding in the recumbent position for years to come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Super Cold, Time to Ride?

Sometimes as cyclists we have no choice. Suiting up for the ride for a super cold day take a little more consideration then if its only 30.
Its nine degrees here in Dover this morning and although the sun has not come up enough to see it, It most likely wont get above the mid twenty's at the highest point today.
Total skin coverage will be important on today's ride. Places on the face exposed can be covered with a thin coat of Vaseline and prevent wind burn and frost bite.
I love the moment of first going outside realizing that there is no turning back. Oh My Its Cold! Clipping in and heading off here in Dover is usually at least 5 degrees colder then the temperature in Boston and what they report on the weather. You learn at a early age that its so.
The first mile of my ride is down hill to the lowest place in town. Trout Brook drops very little to the Charles River one and a half miles away. The temp drops 2 more degrees by the time you get to Chris Yoder's Field and with the wind, tearing of the eyes makes it hard to see. Ski goggles make it hard to look over your shoulder and see cars catching up to pass. A rear view mirror works well to solve that problem and with a recumbent, there is one already installed.
Things have changed as to the way it was when I first started riding in the winter. The wide eyed looks from drivers wondering what exactly was I trying to prove, has tamed and its now not uncommon to come across another rider with a look of surprise that their not the only fool on a bicycle.
The days of "Destination Rides" return. Find a place with a warm seat to enjoy the warmth and get the blood flowing again.
Arriving home is all the better after a bitter cold ride. Food tastes better and is well deserved after battling the elements and having done a simple adventure.
Or just throw another log on the fire and remember warmer days from the past and plan for warmer days in the future!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cold Days, Warm Hearts

Cold days can bring out the best in people. You see it everywhere.
Something in common causes conversation. A connect of sorts to strangers that you might never otherwise talk to.
Everyone has a different way of dealing with the cold. Some simply avoid it and others embrace it with open arms.
One thing is for sure, a 19 degree day makes a 35 degree day feel warm and people come outdoors as if the it was the first day of spring. Fifty degrees and watch out! lets go to the beach!
Yesterday, after two days of bitter cold, the weather warmed to a balmy 45 degrees. I saw people riding in shorts. At least 3 riders as if it was 70!
Shorter days make for early evenings. Fires to gather around and warm the body and soul. Get out, even if for a while. Enjoy the difference. Late Fall is like Winter and longer days began in less then 10 days. Yes!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Scott!!!

posted by Danni

It's funny how things work out in life sometimes. I mean who knew that back when I was buying my recumbent that I was also meeting somebody who would grow to be a very dear friend? A friend who accepts his friends just as they are - flaws and all (about those he'll just say, "That's just human nature!") A friend who sticks by you no matter what!

I KNOW you've all heard me say time and again how much I love my recumbent. Today I would also like to say how much I love the guy who sold me my recumbent. He's that special sort of person that makes this world a much better place in which to live. I'm glad to have him in my life.

I’m guessing that there are many of you reading this that feel the same. Join me in wishing our dear friend, Scott Chamberlain, a VERY happy birthday!

Happy Birthday, my friend!!!
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