Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ROAD RAGE IN THE MOUNTAINS/ BRO DAVE RIDES AGAIN!

My brother, David, who lives in Los Angeles, has been looking for “the perfect bike”. Here is his latest report…

I'm on a quest...a search for the perfect bicycle. "Perfect" may be a bit of a misnomer, but so be it. This pursuit has led me to try a crankforward bike manufactured by Rans . Basically, a crankforward is a cross between a recumbent bicycle and a standard diamond frame bike. Imagine sitting in an upright position on any standard road bike and gradually sliding your hips forward and your feet up in the air toward a position you would assume on a recumbent bike. As you slide from upright to recumbent you kind of get stuck in between and you end up with your feet on the cranks forward of where they would be on a road bike, but not as far out in front as on many recumbents.

A little history to explain why I am at this point seems appropriate. Too many collisions on the football field in high school and college left me with a stiff neck and ultimately pushed me towards recumbent bicycles. In my search for comfort, speed and utility on two wheels, I have ridden probably eight to ten thousand miles total on almost every style of recumbent out there over the last decade. In that time, I have returned to uprights several times, buying typical diamond frame bikes and trying to get comfortable on them. I even commuted to work most of last summer on a Specialized Sequoia, only to sell it recently after what was supposed to be a nice cruise down the beach bike path in Santa Monica left me with a jammed up neck for the better part of a week. I love riding recumbents, but I have always been faster and more in control on an upright bike. And, in all honesty, I'm kind of fed up with Los Angeles traffic and its distracted drivers. The question I'm trying to answer now is, "Is there something in between the two bike formats that will work for me?"

I am fortunate to have many miles of good mountain bike trails very near my home in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles. I have often wished I could take advantage of them more, but fire roads and single-track don't mesh with recumbents for most people, me included. From following some of the recumbent blogs, I was familiar with the crankforward or CF, but I had never ridden one. In somewhat of a leap of faith, I found a Rans Dynamik Pro demo bike at Angletech Cycles in Colorado and bought it from the shop's owner Kelvin. This is a mountain bike version of the CF.

DYBike2

It has a front shock and 26" wheels. On the CF my head and shoulders end up more upright and less hunched over than they would be on a typical road bike. Also, there is less pressure on my hands and wrists due to the upright posture.

With only one 12 mile ride under my belt I am convinced the Dynamik Pro will serve the purpose of a mountain bike quite ably. I have excellent control of the bike and it climbs like a goat. I still have to fine tune out-of-the-saddle climbing, but I have a couple of ideas for that. The only question now is will it keep my neck and upper back happy and that will only be answered over time. If it does, then it will be the "perfect" bike for me....for now...

I'll keep you posted on how things develop.

In other news…

ROAD RAGE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTH CAROLINA!

In what must be one of the more bizarre “road rage” incidents of this summer, an off-duty Asheville, NC fireman is reported to have pulled over a couple riding their bicycles on Tunnel Road in Asheville. The fireman allegedly was upset over the couple having their child in a bike approved car seat and riding him in traffic. The confrontation apparently escalated to the point that the fireman pulled out a gun and shot at the cyclist. According to the Asheville Citizen’s report (07/28/2009), the bullet passed through the helmet of the cyclist, fortunately missing his head. The fireman is now being held under a $500,000.00 bond on Attempted First Degree Murder. To read the story on-line, CLICK HERE!

I think I’ll quit on that one for today…

Until later,

- Zeke

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