Sept 18

September 18, 2005

340 km ride, a PETG window and a side periscope.

I woke up at 5:20 am, woofed down a few waffles, gulped a cup of coffee and was on the road by 6:10 am. Boy, was it DARK! And COLD! It was probably about 4 degrees C, and the full moon was setting in the east. I had strapped a couple of my LED flashing light units to the front and rear of the M5. I set the front light to white and slowly flashing and it was barely enough to just make out the edge of the road. Luckily there isn't much (if any) traffic at 6:00 am on Springbank road, so I just rode down the middle of the road.

It was a VERY cool experience! I was travelling east on upper Springbank and as I made my way down the big hill, the setting full moon directly in front of me illuminated the valleys that were covered with thin strips of fog. Very surreal. I was so friggin cold though!!! I had to really move fast in order to get my heart rate going to warm up. By the time I rolled into Cochrane it was 7:15, the sun was up, and I realized I had missed the group.

I had planned to meet a group of guys from the Alberta Randonneurs in Cochrane for their 7:00 am annual Highwood loop Brevet start. Since I was 15 minutes late, I started to haul ass to try to catch up. In two hours I finally caught up to them and also to my new friend Don Yep who was doing the 310 km ride for his first time.

Don is a recumbent rider from the area who I met the other day when I was out training. He rides a Barcroft Oregon. During a conversation, I mentioned to him that I was doing the Highwood loop again, but this time with the Alberta Randoneurs and asked him if he would be willing to join us. After informing me that his longest ride ever was only 130 km, he said that he would love to join me. Wow! That takes guts - to go from a long ride of 130 km to 310 km !!!

By FAR, most people would have laughed at me at even the thought of suggesting they should do a 300 km + ride on a base of only 130 km! This just goes to show that you DO NOT know what you are capable of if you never try!!!!!! Most people NEVER push themselves because they are afraid to fail. In a way, you must be ready to embrace failure in order to explore what you are really capable of doing, and Don is a perfect example of that attitude. He finished in just under 14 hours and had an experience he will never forget.

After I caught up to Don, I rode with him for a few hours until the start of the climb. It was great to spend the first few hours of this long day absorbed in conversation - time just sort of flew by. What a spectacular day this was! It was sunny, but cool and the top of the 7200 ft pass was covered with snow - absolutely beautiful. The rest of the ride went well. I tried to limit my stops as much as possible this time and finished feeling fairly strong.

I rolled up my driveway at 7:25 pm as the sun was starting to set - a total time of 13 hours, 15 minutes for my 'extended' 340 km route.


After thinking about my problem of how to see properly out of CP1, I decided that perhaps I could vacuum form a clear plastic PETG nose cone and bond it into the fiberglass fairing.

The clear nose cone looks OK in the photo, but it's a slightly different shape than the fiber glass airfoil that was designed for it by Ben Eadie, so I wasn't all that happy with it.

One of my objectives was NOT to mess with the airfoil shape - especially at the nose. Not only is this shape not true to the original design, but I would have a vertical seam where the PETG window joins the fairing. This was not something I wanted to do.

After climbing into the vehicle, I realized that the clear nose was pointless anyhow, because I couldn't see anything out of it!! Here is a photo of my view from the cockpit:

To see anything worthwhile, the entire side would have to be clear - again, something that I do NOT want to do.

So, I took another look at the periscope idea - but this time I tried the periscope on the SIDE, not the top (a great idea suggested by Klaas). This seemed to work fairly well, as I gave me a much better view of the left hand side of the fairing. Since this bike was designed to turn LEFT only (counter clockwise around a closed oval track), all I really need to see is the edge of the left hand side of the road, and a small area in front of the nose.

This is sort of a poor picture of the view out the mirror - my outside mirror is too high, but you get the general idea. I'll get a chance to test it out once I finished the retractable landing gear, and fairing hinge.

Here are some additional photos of the vacuum forming nose cone process:

1. I fastened a sheet of 1/16" thick PETG to the mold using vacuum bag tape, turned the heat lamps on, and pulled a vacuum from a 1/4" hole drilled through the nose of the mold. I didn't want the vacuum to pull the plastic down to the surface of the mold because it would mark the plastic and made it cloudy and bumpy.

I was able to stop the process to within about a quarter of an inch of the mold surface.

2. This photo shows the differences between the PETG form and the actual fairing shape.


To do now:

1. Build retractable landing gear
2. Build a window for the nose
3. Fit and securely fasten fairing into place, then cut a removable door for self-entry/exit. I'm thinking a simple hinge at the top would work
4. Make THIRD fiberglass plug for body work
5. Finish the rear wheel fairing attachments

To do eventually:

6. Build a new fairing mold from the new plug
7. Pull carbon fairing shells from the new mold
8. Will periscope work instead of the nose window?
9. Build proper SEAT!
10. Mid-drive lightening holes (James Kenny)
10. New carbon fork?
11. Add a thin coat of epoxy to the left hand wheel disc because it is not air tight
12. Carbon wheel disc for front wheel


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