Dec 24

Dec 24, 2004

The Rocket's inaugural cross country was short but successful!

Ben kindly offered to drive the chase vehicle, so we took off at about 9:30 this morning. The temperature was relatively warm - about 5 degrees C, but the wind was howling from 25 to 30 kph from the west. I was heading directly west.

It was a real challenge trying to keep the trike pointed straight in some pretty heavy wind gusts. The new steering works absolutely great! I would have easily been blown into the ditch many times with any of my old steering set-ups. Because there is so much leverage on this new system, the amount of effort to counter a wind blast was minimal - but it sure kept me on my toes!!

My speed was very slow - averaged 20 kph for exactly 1 hour into the 25-30 kph head wind. My average watts was 110, and we stopped at the top of the highest elevation in on the Trans Canada highway - Scott Lake Hill, elevation 4620 feet (we started at 3900 feet for a average grade of 1.1%).

Between the gravel and numerous ice chunks on the road, the rumble strips and strong gusting wind, I decided that I didn't need to go down Scotts hill, so figured that would be enough for today.

Under these rough conditions I was extremely happy with how the Rocket performed. The steering, as I said before was awesome. The bumpy ride caused by the gravel and ice on the road was UNNERVING! I have a small video clip that I will post later with sound from the 2 way radio in the car and you can hear what it's like in the Rocket when I accidentally hit the rumble strips - you can imagine what it feels like. It was a challenge to stay in the narrow strip of road between the edge and the rumble strips with the wind gusting like it was. That is DEFINITELY going to be an issue on a cross-Canada journey. Especially on narrow shoulder roads with that rumble strip feature.

The vent hose worked very well. I peaked out at 345 watts going up Scotts hill and I was 'COOKING' in that thing. The entire bubble steamed up, but even at the very slow hill climbing speed, there was still a fairly large clear area directly above the vent. Aside from the hill climbing effort, I was generally too warm. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, arm warmers, a vest, long pants and cycling shorts with shoe heaters and I was very warm. I unzipped my jacket and rolled down the arm warmers, but I was still quite toasty.

I was surprised to find that the low speed gearing is adequate. I thought that peddling 70 pounds of fiberglass and steel up a mountain would require some easier gears, but it wasn't bad at all. My cadence climbing Scotts hill never went below 70. I have no idea about high speed gearing because I was unable to get the speed up due to the wind - when you start going fast, the effects of the wind gusts are magnified.

I got passed by numerous semi trailers and never really felt any kind of wind pressure coming from them - at least it wasn't like it has been in the past with the old steering.

BEING VISIBLE - I still have some issues here. It turns out that the expensive scuba strobe advertised as the brightest portable strobe light available is less visible that my EternaLight LED lights. Look at this image below, imagine that you are the driver and have just pulled into the shoulder.

Can you spot the streamliner?

I did some color experiments with some photos and Photoshop, and believe it or not, black is the most visible against pavement. The problem with black is the heat it will absorb in the summer.

This is kind of strange - I noticed that the left wheel in this photo taken from the rear looks like it's cambered...

What's with that???? I'm not sure it that just the way it looks because of the angle, or if it's really canted that much.

Peace and love and human power.


TCR Do LIST:

1. Strut slot sliders - Simplify to a folding cover
2. Canopy Bubble - make a sliding convertible top
3. Front wheel well - Make glass version
4. Wingnuts for fairing mounts
5. Electrical - rechargable battery with a panel with switches for rear strobe and front headlight
6 Add a second front caliper brake
7. Make a portable wind trainer using the (mini-rollers)
8. Look into painting the fairing
9. Find a helmet that fits in the bubble
10. Add second brake

TOTAL distance on TCR1
866 km


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