Last June I posted my last column and I did not even post an update since. No contrary to what some of you may have thought, I did not fall off from the face of the earth. I did reply to a few enquiries in the comment section but maybe it should have been a post explaining that I had to take a break. I apologized to those who came to visit my blog and did not see new posts.
Since the spring of last year, I’ve been doing major home renovations that are still ongoing. Doing most of the work by ourselves has meant that I did not have much free time available for riding, participating in forums, gathering information and post this information here. In addition, last year I had major “hotfoot” problems when I rode. After riding a 300km brevet in August where the pain forced me to stop frequently to give my feet a rest, I decided that I should stop riding until the situation improved I had lost sensations in most of my feet except for tingling.
Over the winter the foot situation improved and I slowly started to get normal sensations in my feet. I was waiting for a particularly snowy and cold winter to finish in order to start riding. In March, when the winter was dragging-on and I was unable to suffer it any longer, I drove south to start my riding season. Even after many sessions on the indoor trainer, I needed to regain my riding shape and frankly enjoy riding outside.
While I was waiting for the weather to improve I made some improvements to the velomobile. First, in order to try to prevent the reoccurrence of the hotfoot problems, I decided to switch the cleat and pedal system from the standard SPD to the SPD-SL road bike pedals. The SPD-SL uses a larger pedal and cleat that hopefully will distribute the pressure more evenly on the sole of my shoes. I did not upgrade my shoes, they have a hard nylon sole and they do not appear to flex but I may upgrade to shoes with a carbon fibre sole if the problem persists.
After years of lusting over power meters, I finally took the plunge and purchased a Power2Max crank based power meter. It took a bit of time to install it but the process was straightforward and I’m very happy with the results so far.
I have more upgrades coming. Soon I will convert my front wheels to tubeless and install Schwalbe Pro-One 28-406 at the front to replace the Kojak 35 and a Schwalbe One 28-559 at the rear to replace the Continental Grand Prix 28-559. I hope this change will save me a few watt of power and propel me faster down the road.
Last year I received my wheel pants but I was unable to ride with them first because the Schwalbe One 23-406 significantly lowed the DF as they have a much smaller diameter than the 35 or 28=406. As a result, the DF was too close to the ground to ride on not so nice pavement. I did not address the issue last year for lack of time and the choice of tire was not very good. I hope that the 28-406 will fit nicely in the wheel pants. This would help save a few watt too.
In the last few weeks I also had a few mishaps. Once again I broke a brackets holding the crank in the velomobile. I spoke about these last year and Alligt produced brackets with a new design. They are somewhat similar to the old ones but instead of a square corner, they have a V grove at the top and bottom of both half that should better distribute the torque. The brackets have been available for a few months so if anyone has experienced any issues please post a comment. Even more recently, I broke the stem of the DT Swiss rear shock valve when I tried to disconnect the pump. The pump was screwed to the threaded stem just enough to ensure there were no leaks. When I tried to unscrew the pump, the stem broke off the shock. The stem made of aluminum is apparently very brittle. I cannot see how much less force I could have used to ensure proper seal. I have ordered a replacement valve/stem from ICB as well as the new DF shock made with regular springs. I will use the opportunity to compare the two shocks. In the mean time, I locked the shock and continue riding.
It will still take me a while to be on top of what is happening in the world of velomobiles. I will do my best to gather information and make it available here. I do not know if I will be able to provide weekly posts as I have done in the past but I will do my best.
Here are a few industry news items to report.
It is sad that Bluevelo has been selling the inventory and fixtures. Most recently the molds for the Quest were put for sale.
The Italian company has unveiled a new velomobile, the Carbon Snail, designed for very short riders (below 160cm). The velomobile also appears to be designed for the track with very close to the ground with very tight wheel wells. Unfortunately there is no information on the Carbon Snail available on Eretic’s website. (www.eretic.it)
Eurocircuit started selling a new version of the E-Cvelo Challenger shell for the Azub Tricon 20 trike. The fiberglass shells are built and assembled in Hungary. One important thing to know: Eurocircuit only sells to European customers.
Katanga recently posted a notice on their website site to inform users that suspension arms for WAW152 to WAW323 should be replaced and owners should get in touch with Katanga to request their new front suspension arm. The arms will be shipping at no charge do to a issue with the old ones snapping.