May 5

May 5, 2005


It works! I can ride it - no problems at all!

The problem was the head tube angle of the remote steering bar - For some reason it wasn't jiving with the way my brain had been programmed. You'll note in the photo above where the old head tube used to be by the space in the wood frame missing. The new angle is similar to a standard steering bar, but with the head tube above, rather than below.

In order to trouble shoot this control problem, the first thing I did was try to eliminate the front wheel fork geometry as the problem. I simply plugged in a riser-type handle bar, and wedged a road bike set on top of the plywood frame.

I was easily able to ride this around the block - all though I made sure nobody was looking first!! That test clearly ruled out the front fork as the problem.

The second thing I tried was to get back into the recumbent position and steer with a tiller connected directly to the front wheel:

This was surprisingly very easy to ride - aside from my knees crashing into the temporary tiller rig, it handled quite well.

Then I changed the angle of the remote steering head tube and stiffened up the push rod. It worked AWESOME! I had no problems balancing while starting off at a slow speed, and no issues when it got up to speed. It handled VERY similar to the M5 in fact.

Here is what the fairing will look like:

The fairing shape was designed by Ben Eadie using his CFD software system. Ben has invested about a hundred hours amassing a library of 'known' three dimensional shapes and re-creating existing streamliner fairings and then testing and re-calibrating the CFD software. What has resulted is a fairly accurate predictive model - for both simple shapes and more complex streamliner fairings. As a final test of his system, we await the real-world aerodynamic testing of this fairing.

Ben has also produced this slick finite element analysis on the sandwich board frame. The areas in red take the most stress and should be reinforced. In fact, the my plywood prototype busted in half before I added the steel tubing, it broke EXACTLY in the middle of the red area in front of the front wheel:

Ben is a free-lance designer and has developed quite an expertise in recumbent design and aerodynamics. His web site is

The training is going quite well so far - starting to put in some pretty serious miles. I am recovering from a 185 km ride yesterday in which I listened to the entire book "Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy". A super nifty trick I just discovered - you can buy audio books from in MP3 format. I purchased the Hitchhickers trilogy and loaded them onto my Ipod Shuffle along with about 200 songs and it's only half full!! Each book in the trilogy is about 6 hours long!! Perfect for a century ride.

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