My Ride

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Meredith’s post on the Handcar Regatta reminded me that some of you might be interested in my daily ride.  This is a TourEasy recumbent bike from Easyracers and it’s how I got to work this morning.

Jakes recumbent bike

You see, I was an avid cyclists right up until the age of 16 1/2 when I got my driver’s license and set my beloved 12 speed Fuji Grand Tourer aside. 13 years and 40 pounds later I decided that I should not let my 30th birthday pass without making a change.

So I purchased a Univega touring bike, which was a decent enough bicycle, put pretty damn un-comfortable.  In contemplating the issues of comfort and cycling I recalled seeing a story on the news about David Gordon Wilson, an MIT Professor who rode an odd looking bicycle to work called a ‘Recumbent.’

I did some further research and discovered that David Gordon Wilson was the author of the canonical book on the history and technology of cycling entitled Bicycling Science.  This book covers every aspect of cycling and bicycle design and is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in unusual bicycles, utility bicycles, and the physics of cycling.

One of DGW’s most visible contributions to the modern renaissance of recumbent bicycles (oh, you thought they were a new invention? Not at all! You would be amazed by their story!) was the development of the Avatar series of bikes which culminated in a production model called the Ryan Vanguard.

About a year after buying the Univega I decide that I’d bite the bullet and purchase a Ryan Vanguard.  I located one in Connecticut and drove down to make the purchase.  The Ryan Vanguard is no longer for sale, but a direct descendant of the Vanguard and thus DGW’s Avatar is the Longbikes Slipstream pictured below.

longbikes slipstream

I liked the Vanguard very much and the recumbent design completely eliminated my wrist and neck pain but I never quite got comfortable with the under seat steering, so in 1992 I bought the TourEasy pictured at the top of the page and I’ve been riding that ever since.  Well, incarnations of it anyway.  You see, I’ve replaced the wheels 5 times, the seat twice, had several sets of handle bars and Zod knows how many dérailleurs.

Last year the frame broke and when I contacted the manufacturer about ordering a new one their response was: “Well, you’re the original owner so the lifetime warranty covers you, we’ll ship a new frame out right away.”  Wow! can you believe that? full replacement on a frame for a bike I bought in 1992!

I’ve played around with building bikes as well.  I built a short wheelbase fully suspended recumbent bike and several bike light and carrier projects – you’ll find most of those articles here.

mr16 bike headlightswb suspended recumbent

Going forward I would very much like to build something like Joe Kochanowski’s homebuilt streamliner. This man is one of my all time HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) heroes! You can see some more of his incredible creations along with some of Jim Gallant’s bicycle creations on Jim’s HPV web page.

practical streamliner

But how to Steampunk it? Aye, Now that’s the question!