Tag Archives: bike fit

Happy Star Wars Day on a Wreck-Free Sunday

For those who don’t understand today is May 4 (May the Fourth be with you) AKA Star Wars Day. So to all my Jedi friends and readers, happy Star Wars Day!

I’m currently doped to the gills with allergy meds that other people use as sleep aids. And still sneezing in fits that last up to ten minutes at a time. Trees, I love you but my sinuses are not an appropriate place to have sex. My eyes are all gooped up again, and the back of my nose is all itchy. Something that seems to help is the kind of beer I have on hand, drinking it makes the back of the nose itch less which reduces the sneezing and other misery. Unfortunately I don’t have anything for my eyes so I’m wandering around in a blurred world because of the goop in my eyes.

This is the Talladega spring weekend for NASCAR, and the Sprint Cup race is on the tube. So far they have been racing very clean with all 41 drivers still on the lead lap. There were 2 cars that dropped out after a minor wreck and everybody left is on the lead lap. Just as I typed that everybody started making green-flag pit stops which divides the field up pretty thoroughly. They are getting close to half way through the race and still running very clean. I had to take a medication-induced nap but woke up in time to see the next to last wreck when Carl Edwards had a tire go down in the middle of the pack and took out a few more cars, then I saw Denny Hamlin win the race. As I drifted in and out I saw a bunch more wrecks but couldn’t see who wrecked whom because of the goop obscuring my vision.

Also added to my physical woes is getting the fit right on Francis/es. I still have a very sore butt after each and every ride on the bike as I keep adjusting things until I get that extended stem built. I have all the pieces now, I just need to have a whole day where I can cut and weld metal without interruption so I can get the piece ready for oxide treatment to make it black and all the same color.If my measurements are correct I need to make a 10″ extended stem to get the handlebars high enough to keep my knees out of them and let me sit up and put the solid parts of my backside against the seat. I have been riding with just my fingertips against the back of the grips as much as I can which lets me rotate my pelvis back to get the sitz bones against the seat which is much more comfortable than what is against the seat when I have my palms against the grips. The other situation I’m facing with Francis/es is aerodynamics. I think a brick has lower aero drag than Francis/es, and that will only get worse when I get the comfort issues squared away as I will be nearly bolt upright behind the handlebars. So, the brick will be flying broadest face into the airflow when I get the seating problems hammered out.

Now I’m watching the Tudor United Sports Cars race from Laguna Seca, which is fun. I like the natural road courses, but then I like pretty much all kinds of racing except illegal street racing. Natural road courses, street courses, rovals, they’re all different kinds of challenges. And there are different horses for different courses. The opening rounds favored the old DP class from the Grand-Am series, which I felt had been given too much additional brakes and downforce compared to the P2 ALMS series cars. Leaving the older steel brake rotors on the DP cars with the additional downforce, or the new carbon/carbon brakes without the additional downforce would have let them keep the additional HP over the P2 cars. Getting both the new brakes and the downforce made the DP cars too strong compared to the P2 cars that have their rules controlled by a different sanctioning body. The problem is at this point you can’t take the brakes or downforce away because the both required structural changes to the DP cars to implement, so there’s no going back on either one, but the brakes could be taken back easier than the aero changes. The teams would just have to go back to the previous year’s suspension uprights if the tooling still exists. And the race just ended as a P2 car won the race with DP and P2 cars pretty much alternating on the standings list as much as having a few P2 cars with more than a dozen DP cars can “alternate”.

And those are pretty much all the words I have wanting out now, so I think I’ll quit typing.

PSA, Opus

My neck and butt hurt on a Wreck-Free (almost) Sunday

I finally finished making the modifications to my safety gear to bring it up to my needs and hopped on one of the BSO in the garage to go to the first Sunday morning service at my church in a very long time. Suffice it to say I have new imperative to create the crank-forward bike I was supposed to be creating. First time I stopped I fell over because I couldn’t reach the ground until I had leaned so far over I couldn’t catch myself. My reactions were all wrong after spending 6 years riding crank-forward bikes and 7 years riding recumbents before that. As I’m sure most of you know when a “normal” bicycle stops the rider has to get out of the seat to remain upright. Well for the past 13 years I haven’t been doing that to stop, all I had to do was take a foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. And as my right leg has been dominant I tended to lean to the left so I could start on my dominant leg. My first stop I did what I have been doing for 13 years, leaning to the left and putting out my left foot. First problem I wasn’t close enough to the ground for that to even touch, second problem is the left hip was the one that got broken and a whole bunch of muscles got damaged in the fixing and then removing the hardware after the broken bits healed up so it would not go as far out as the right leg would. So I was kinda waving the foot in mid-air trying to find something solid as I slowly keeled over and impacted the pavement when I stopped halfway through an intersection to let traffic going the other direction clear so I could continue.

A couple intersections further down I discovered another problem. Because the handlebars were so low I had a hard time craning my neck back hard enough to see past my helmet visor. Part of the problem is the handlebars are seriously too low for anyone but a X/C MTB racer, I think about an inch below the seat where I usually ride with handlebars anywhere from 4 to 5 inches above the seat. Basically my torso was nearly horizontal where I normally ride nearly vertical to slightly laid back (on in the case of the show bike from 2004 completely laid back). So I was moving my neck in the complete opposite way I have been riding for many, many years. Long story short I have a very sore neck that won’t stop complaining now that I’m bent over the keyboard (another position it doesn’t like to hold for more than a few minutes).

And another effect of the too-low handlebars is it rotated my pelvis forward on the seat. Instead of sitting on the broad soft cushions of the cruiser seat I bought just for this bike I’m sitting on the completely un-padded nose of the saddle, or even less cushioning than the seat I took off the bike. I got off the bike more than 2 hours ago and my backside is still complaining about the treatment I gave it this afternoon and morning. Add in the fact I rode in regular pants and underwear instead of bike shorts and not only were things compressed that don’t like getting compressed, but things got abraded that do not like being abraded.

Now you may ask why I don’t just adjust the handlebars up until all this nonsense stops? Well… Remember when I referred to this as a BSO back in the first paragraph? This BSO does not have standard hardware in many places, one in particular is the stem bolt. I tried 6mm and 5mm, one too big and the other too small, then tried the 7/32 SAE size that falls between the 2 and nothing fits where I can apply torque to the stem bolt to adjust the stem height. I might have to weld or epoxy a cheap SAE hex key into the bolt head so that I can apply torque to break the stem bolt loose from the rust and corrosion that is holding it in place. Or it could just be really tight, you know, and because I can’t find a hex key that fits the head I haven’t been able to move it. I’m thinking I have a torch and braze and solder, I might just flow some molten metal between the cheap SAE hex key I bought and the bolt head and apply torque that way, with the heat from the torch also loosening the bolt up a bit. I’ll have to pull the plastic light and reflector brackets off the bars and cover the brake and shifter cables with wet rags, but that would let me apply torque to the bolt.

Now about the (almost) in that headline. I was watching the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona yesterday after I got back from my trips to the nail spa and to Harbor Freight, and they had just thrown a red flag to clean up a serious wreck. And I mean SERIOUS WRECK. Well, watch for yourself Gidley & Malucelli Medical Update Yep, Gidley hit the back of that Ferrari at nearly 135 MPH closing speed, well over the 50 MPH barrier test the prototypes have to go through to get certified to run. The driver of the Ferrari (Malucelli) is shaken up but basically unhurt, Gidley has broken bones in his left side (either the arm or the leg, both are injured and they aren’t saying which one is broken as of the time I read the article), and broken vertebrae in his back, I’m assuming this was from the harness restraining his torso applying compressive forces as it tried to keep his face out of the instrument panel and steering wheel. This is not a design defect it is a geometric requirement of the way the harness has to go over the shoulders and meet at the lap belt. The restraining forces go from horizontal to stop the forward motion of the body to vertical after going over the shoulders to meet at the junction of the shoulder straps and lap belt. This is a requirement to apply the forces to a part of the body that has strong bones (shoulder girdle and pelvis) and still allow for the arms to move the steering wheel. They did cadaver tests back in the ’40s and ’50s but the rib cage just didn’t have the compression strength to resist the forces applied in a wreck. Sternum straps do move some of the forces off the shoulders and into the torso, but not very much, and certainly not enough to prevent back injury in a wreck like the one in the video. Because of the HANS device every driver in the series is required to wear before getting into the car on the race track neither driver had any kind of neck injury.

This is the first “big league” car race of the year in North America, of course I’m going to be watching it, but this year it ended while I was at church so I have no idea about who won, either overall or any of the classes.

So, that’s about all I have to say today.

Well, almost I just checked to see what was causing me pain “down there” and found blood-stained underwear. So, that’s another thing that having the handlebars down too low causes, abrasion injuries to the crotch when riding in regular clothing. If you want to ride in regular clothes the bike has to fit for that style of riding.

PSA, Opus