Provence Tour: Technical Glitches but Proof of Concept

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Artemisia, May 15, 2008.

  1. Artemisia

    Artemisia Guest

    Back since Friday from touring Provence on my recumbent trike, Widdershins.
    Here's a non-exhaustive performance account.

    I was able to prove that Widdershins, folded, bound and wrapped up in a
    slipcover, can travel perfectly happily on French TGV lines and is
    within regulations. Despite the fact that I was occupying a prodigious
    amount of space, no one even commented. Many kind people offered to help
    me with the luggage, and even the staff seemed perfectly at ease with
    this cargo. The only recommendation is that Widders must always travel
    First Class, where there is much more space. Luckily I had taken that
    into account.

    Widdershins also surprised me with his outstanding performances in
    traffic, both on large roads (against my wishes, I ended up on the
    Nationale 7 between Caumont and Avignon), and within towns. I bought him
    as a touring bike, I return with a suspicion that he aspires to be a
    city-bike. These are areas where Flyzipper fails me altogether. Widders
    is impeccably polite at traffic lights, stopping and restarting on
    command. He waits his turn to enter roundabouts, permits me to signal,
    and then gets quickly out of the way of faster traffic. He can even inch
    his way at 20 metres per hour through pedestrian quarters, respectful
    and patient behind old ladies with their walking cages, who do not even
    notice there's a metallic orange monster arachnid just behind them.

    However, I'm not really finding him comfortable over distances, and here
    we have some glitches to work out. The worst was the excruciatng pain
    caused by the SPD pedals and clip-in shoes. This was torture after the
    first few kilometers. A long discussion in the cycling newsgroups helped
    somewhat, as I was able to adjust the position of the clip to hurt less,
    but these still are not comfort shoes by a long way. The SPD shoes also
    meant that I couldn't really walk anywhere.

    I feel the road much more than on an upright bike. I especially hate the
    configuration of a cambered road, cycling lane on one side, and ditch
    just next to the lane. All my effort goes into keeping out of the ditch,
    and however flat, such roads are always uphill.

    The wireless bike computer (Sigma BC2006 - piece of shite) also conked
    out after the first 6km. It was new, an essential navigation tool, and
    this was infuriating. On the upside, I discovered what it would have
    helped to know from the beginning - no need for a wireless, it is
    perfectly possible to position a wired model on the mudguard mount. So
    Widders now has a bog standard Sigma 1600, just like my other bikes,
    courtesy of a very nice bike shop in Vaison la Romaine.

    Travelling with Widdershins is a bitch. I have to allow about an hour
    and a half for the dismantling or reassembly - a VERY far cry from the
    90 seconds folding time advertized on the Web site! "Quick release
    levers" is a joke. The central lever, that permits the bike to fold or
    holds it rigid, works or not, entirely on its own terms, and in its own
    time. You might get lucky and compact the bike in half an hour - or you
    could be there, struggling in a pool of sweat, until the train has left.
    The wheels too, are very tricky to remove and replace, and every time
    they have been out of the bike they get "voilées" - I don't know the
    English expression - it means that they stick in the brakes and do not
    turn fluidly. On the way into Vaison, the left wheel was so stuck that
    the trike was drawing to a halt on downhill runs! When he delivered the
    trike, my Darth told me that this is because the brakes must absolutely
    not be touched, or the levers activated, when the wheels are not in
    their axels. All very well, but it is pertty much impossible to edge
    them in or out without touching the brakes, and you have no control over
    what happens to the levers when the covered bike is being squeezed into
    a train compartment or a taxi. The manual says that the brakes should be
    blocked with the clips used in delivery - but I was given no such clips.
    I tried bits of cardboard on the way back but they didn't stay in. This
    is a big glitch to sort out because I cannot go to the Darth to get the
    brakes readjusted every single time the bike has been folded.

    Trike apart, the trip had its ups and downs. The base hotel in Avignon
    was so far out of town that once you were there, you were its prisoner.
    It had a restaurant, but this was pretentious and exorbitantly priced,
    with portions so small as to be insulting. On the day of arrival I
    hadn't eaten all day. The entrée was four little steamed asparagus tips
    and four prawns with a dollop of pesto in the middle; the main course
    arrived with an enormous papillote which proved, on unwrapping, to
    contain about 3 tablespoons of overcooked fish. Plus despite
    systematically starting at 7:30 they never could get me served in time
    for the weather report at 8:45. Never has so little food taken so long
    to serve. In compensation, this hotel had a lovely pool. But no sooner
    in, than I destroyed my beloved Timex Ironman watch, which was supposed
    to be waterproof and wasn't at all. So first day in Avignon was all
    about getting a replacement watch and a real lunch. After a day of
    trekking papal cobblestones in 30° heat, I still had the 6km walk back
    (not confident enough yet to use Widders), and very sore feet. It
    forced the realization that the most precious things in life are cool
    water and shade.

    Another big annoyance was that the maps and routes provided by the tour
    company were impossible to follow. As usual, 50% of my time on the road
    was spent being lost. The first day, I made a concerted effort to follow
    the instuctions, which took on little paths through fields. There was an
    ambiguous or outright wrong turning every km or so. This was so in the
    middle of nowhere, that I could have disappeared from the earth and
    they'd only find the body three years later. The worst was a gravel path
    that was completely blocked with enormous puddles, about 15 inches deep.
    Widders, all 25 kg of him, had to be _carried_ through the brush, and
    this for over a kilometer. Moreover, although I had a GPS, it was
    useless because the stupid thing (TomTom, not recommended) only knows
    about routes for cars. After that, I stuck to Départementales - they may
    not be so pretty but at least there is some hope of _signposting_, and
    the dangers from passing traffic ultimately seemed to me much less than
    those of facing uncharted wilderness alone and without instruments. In
    retrospect I think this kind of route is only practicable on guided
    tours. I suggested to the company that they provide customers with the
    option to rent a GPS system for trekking - there is one made by the
    company IGN which also makes trekking and ordinance maps. The wench
    actually _laughed_ at this suggestion, because she "couldn't imagine"
    people on _bikes_ using a GPS system. Shows you where they're at!

    I never even saw the town of Orange apart from the hotel and a pizzeria
    in the central plaza - the drama of that day was finding a shop to sell
    me a new bike computer. Nothing open in Orange, since this was Monday
    and any excuse to be closed is good in France. I headed off to Vaison
    and had another foodless day. The only restaurant I passed refused to
    serve me because it was _already_ 2pm.

    Vaison la Romaine was my favorite stop of the trip. The hotel was right
    in the central plaza and there was a cornucopia spread of eateries. Also
    the town had an excellent, OPEN bike shop, beautiful Roman ruins, and on
    Tuesday, a famous market. I visited a statue, a rather unflattering,
    scowling one, of the Emperor Hadrian, one of my tutelary deities (not
    having a nose never did much for anyone). And that day, I decided that I
    would not even attempt the 65 km distance to the next stop, Isle sur
    Sorgue, because my tortured feet could never bear it and because the
    taxi that was transferring my luggage could transfer me as well. That
    was great - a day of peace. And the hotel at Isle was extremely
    luxurious. Same thing about being prisoner because it was too far out of
    town, but at least this overpriced restaurant was reasonably good, and
    had portions of normal size.

    A 21 km stint around the Luberon the following day, up to Fontaine la
    Vaucluse and back, was cool and pleasant. Finally, the trip back to
    Avignon. Here I was faced with a decent Départementale as far as a town
    called Caumont. Then, there were three choices: try to follow the
    far-out-of-the-way route through tundra provided by the company (and
    again risk getting lost or dying of heat exhaustion), try an
    alternative, shorter route that visibly cut through some rather menacing
    elevation lines, or do as the nice man in the news shop advised: just
    follow the nice signs and take the nice straight road, marked in orange
    on the map, straight to Avignon.

    So that's how I ended up on the Nationale 7 on a trike!

    Hey, it wasn't nearly so bad as you might think. The cars were very
    courteous and there was plenty of room; indeed, most of the time there
    was a navigable shoulder. I was able to cruise Widders at around 23 kph
    for most of the trip - he even hit a high of 35 kph. The roundabouts
    were orderly and the signs clear. The only part I didn't like was the
    entry to Avignon where the traffic became much more congested and the
    hideous industrial wasteland around seemed to go on forever. But I found
    a delicious restaurant in the town center and had a nice rest before
    proceding out into my wilderness hotel once more.

    Now I'm back doing laundry. At Antony market this morning I bought
    lovely fresh things with a Provençal slant - artichokes, tomatoes, lots
    of herbs, some beef fillet for carpaccio, whiting fillets, asparagus and
    gorgeous goat cheese. Gotta go cook!

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
    Tags:


  2. On May 15, 12:52 pm, Artemisia <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Back since Friday from touring Provence on my recumbent trike, Widdershins.
    > Here's a non-exhaustive performance account.


    Thanks for the briefing.

    I suspect some of the temperamental behavior of your bike was due in
    part to your referring to it by the wrong gender, such mechanical
    contraptions, like ships, are generally considered to be feminine are
    they not?

    Anyway, the bit about the cycle computer... I would recommend a GPS
    instead. These are not without their drawbacks; they suck down
    batteries like there's no tomorrow, they won't work on a trainer, once
    you get one you'll waste countless hours superimposing your
    breadcrumbs over topo maps and so forth. The initial purchase is more
    than even a wireless cyclo-computer and the cost of regular batteries
    (if you use disposables) will out pace the watch batteries that the
    computer uses very quickly(okay it will probably still cost more even
    if you use rechargeables). But even the wired cyclo-computers only
    seem to last about a year before I need a new wiring harness and the
    GPSes that I use are all more than 5 years old w/ no failures. Well,
    other than the aforementioned inability to work in a tunnel. And if
    you get a fancy model you can download street maps of the places
    you'll go to help when you are lost. I mean a map is good, but a map
    with a blinking dot that shows you where you are on it F.N. rules!
     
  3. mark

    mark Guest

    Artemisia wrote:
    The worst was the excruciatng pain
    > caused by the SPD pedals and clip-in shoes. This was torture after the
    > first few kilometers. A long discussion in the cycling newsgroups helped
    > somewhat, as I was able to adjust the position of the clip to hurt less,
    > but these still are not comfort shoes by a long way. The SPD shoes also
    > meant that I couldn't really walk anywhere.


    Cleated (clipless) road bike shoes are difficult and/or unsafe to walk
    in. Cleated/clipless mountain bike shoes have recessed cleats, designed
    specifically for walking. I only tour and commute on mountain bike shoes
    & pedals for this reason, although my road bike shoes have regular
    cleats. You'll need to switch pedals, shoes and cleats to make this
    change. While you're getting new shoes, spend a little extra for MTB
    shoes with a good, stiff sole so the pedals don't dig into your feet.

    > Travelling with Widdershins is a bitch. I have to allow about an hour
    > and a half for the dismantling or reassembly - a VERY far cry from the
    > 90 seconds folding time advertized on the Web site! "Quick release
    > levers" is a joke. The central lever, that permits the bike to fold or
    > holds it rigid, works or not, entirely on its own terms, and in its own
    > time. You might get lucky and compact the bike in half an hour - or you
    > could be there, struggling in a pool of sweat, until the train has left.
    > The wheels too, are very tricky to remove and replace, and every time
    > they have been out of the bike they get "voilées" - I don't know the
    > English expression - it means that they stick in the brakes and do not
    > turn fluidly. On the way into Vaison, the left wheel was so stuck that
    > the trike was drawing to a halt on downhill runs! When he delivered the
    > trike, my Darth told me that this is because the brakes must absolutely
    > not be touched, or the levers activated, when the wheels are not in
    > their axels. All very well, but it is pertty much impossible to edge
    > them in or out without touching the brakes, and you have no control over
    > what happens to the levers when the covered bike is being squeezed into
    > a train compartment or a taxi. The manual says that the brakes should be
    > blocked with the clips used in delivery - but I was given no such clips.
    > I tried bits of cardboard on the way back but they didn't stay in. This
    > is a big glitch to sort out because I cannot go to the Darth to get the
    > brakes readjusted every single time the bike has been folded.


    What kind of brakes are these? Caliper brakes? V-brakes? Cantilevers?
    With a better description of the brakes someone might have some idea of
    how to resolve this issue.
    >
    > Trike apart, the trip had its ups and downs. The base hotel in Avignon
    > was so far out of town that once you were there, you were its prisoner.
    > It had a restaurant, but this was pretentious and exorbitantly priced,
    > with portions so small as to be insulting. On the day of arrival I
    > hadn't eaten all day. The entrée was four little steamed asparagus tips
    > and four prawns with a dollop of pesto in the middle; the main course
    > arrived with an enormous papillote which proved, on unwrapping, to
    > contain about 3 tablespoons of overcooked fish. Plus despite
    > systematically starting at 7:30 they never could get me served in time
    > for the weather report at 8:45. Never has so little food taken so long
    > to serve. In compensation, this hotel had a lovely pool. But no sooner
    > in, than I destroyed my beloved Timex Ironman watch, which was supposed
    > to be waterproof and wasn't at all. So first day in Avignon was all
    > about getting a replacement watch and a real lunch. After a day of
    > trekking papal cobblestones in 30° heat, I still had the 6km walk back
    > (not confident enough yet to use Widders), and very sore feet. It
    > forced the realization that the most precious things in life are cool
    > water and shade.
    >
    > Another big annoyance was that the maps and routes provided by the tour
    > company were impossible to follow. As usual, 50% of my time on the road
    > was spent being lost. The first day, I made a concerted effort to follow
    > the instuctions, which took on little paths through fields. There was an
    > ambiguous or outright wrong turning every km or so. This was so in the
    > middle of nowhere, that I could have disappeared from the earth and
    > they'd only find the body three years later. The worst was a gravel path
    > that was completely blocked with enormous puddles, about 15 inches deep.
    > Widders, all 25 kg of him, had to be _carried_ through the brush, and
    > this for over a kilometer. Moreover, although I had a GPS, it was
    > useless because the stupid thing (TomTom, not recommended) only knows
    > about routes for cars. After that, I stuck to Départementales - they may
    > not be so pretty but at least there is some hope of _signposting_, and
    > the dangers from passing traffic ultimately seemed to me much less than
    > those of facing uncharted wilderness alone and without instruments. In
    > retrospect I think this kind of route is only practicable on guided
    > tours. I suggested to the company that they provide customers with the
    > option to rent a GPS system for trekking - there is one made by the
    > company IGN which also makes trekking and ordinance maps. The wench
    > actually _laughed_ at this suggestion, because she "couldn't imagine"
    > people on _bikes_ using a GPS system. Shows you where they're at!


    Get some IGN maps, a Rough Guide to France (and/or the travel guide of
    your choice) and plan your own itinerary. It doesn't sound like you'll
    do any worse a job than the tour company, and you'll have a far more
    satisfying tour. Google Earth and the various online mapping websites
    are handy for figuring out just how far a prospective hotel is from
    civilization. Get some lights and reflective tape for Widdershins and
    you can cycle to and from a nice restaurant in town if you don't like
    the hotel restaurant.

    HTH,

    mark
     
  4. Clive George

    Clive George Guest

    "mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >> Travelling with Widdershins is a bitch. I have to allow about an hour
    >> and a half for the dismantling or reassembly - a VERY far cry from the
    >> 90 seconds folding time advertized on the Web site! "Quick release
    >> levers" is a joke. The central lever, that permits the bike to fold or
    >> holds it rigid, works or not, entirely on its own terms, and in its own
    >> time. You might get lucky and compact the bike in half an hour - or you
    >> could be there, struggling in a pool of sweat, until the train has left.
    >> The wheels too, are very tricky to remove and replace, and every time
    >> they have been out of the bike they get "voilées" - I don't know the
    >> English expression - it means that they stick in the brakes and do not
    >> turn fluidly. On the way into Vaison, the left wheel was so stuck that
    >> the trike was drawing to a halt on downhill runs! When he delivered the
    >> trike, my Darth told me that this is because the brakes must absolutely
    >> not be touched, or the levers activated, when the wheels are not in their
    >> axels. All very well, but it is pertty much impossible to edge them in or
    >> out without touching the brakes, and you have no control over what
    >> happens to the levers when the covered bike is being squeezed into a
    >> train compartment or a taxi. The manual says that the brakes should be
    >> blocked with the clips used in delivery - but I was given no such clips.
    >> I tried bits of cardboard on the way back but they didn't stay in. This
    >> is a big glitch to sort out because I cannot go to the Darth to get the
    >> brakes readjusted every single time the bike has been folded.

    >
    > What kind of brakes are these? Caliper brakes? V-brakes? Cantilevers? With
    > a better description of the brakes someone might have some idea of how to
    > resolve this issue.


    It's a trike, so they're going to be disc brakes. (hub brakes wouldn't have
    the problems described).

    cheers,
    clive
     
  5. | Another big annoyance was that the maps and routes provided by the tour
    | company were impossible to follow. As usual, 50% of my time on the road
    | was spent being lost. The first day, I made a concerted effort to follow
    | the instuctions, which took on little paths through fields. There was an
    | ambiguous or outright wrong turning every km or so. This was so in the
    | middle of nowhere, that I could have disappeared from the earth and
    | they'd only find the body three years later. The worst was a gravel path
    | that was completely blocked with enormous puddles, about 15 inches deep.
    | Widders, all 25 kg of him, had to be _carried_ through the brush, and
    | this for over a kilometer. Moreover, although I had a GPS, it was
    | useless because the stupid thing (TomTom, not recommended) only knows
    | about routes for cars.

    Best bet is to get the departmental Michelin maps. The print is tiny, but if
    you've got a digital camera, here's a trick that can help you out. Put it
    into "macro" mode (for close ups) and take a photo of the relevant part of
    the map. Then view it on the screen, zooming it in to see the details. Works
    incredibly well.

    | I was able to prove that Widdershins, folded, bound and wrapped up in a
    | slipcover, can travel perfectly happily on French TGV lines and is
    | within regulations. Despite the fact that I was occupying a prodigious
    | amount of space, no one even commented. Many kind people offered to help
    | me with the luggage, and even the staff seemed perfectly at ease with
    | this cargo. The only recommendation is that Widders must always travel
    | First Class, where there is much more space. Luckily I had taken that
    | into account.

    I never considered that there might be more space available in the
    vestibules of the 1st class cars. That could be a compelling reason to
    travel 1st class with a bike; the price differential isn't all that much.

    | Vaison la Romaine was my favorite stop of the trip. The hotel was right
    | in the central plaza and there was a cornucopia spread of eateries. Also
    | the town had an excellent, OPEN bike shop, beautiful Roman ruins, and on
    | Tuesday, a famous market. I visited a statue, a rather unflattering,
    | scowling one, of the Emperor Hadrian, one of my tutelary deities (not
    | having a nose never did much for anyone). And that day, I decided that I
    | would not even attempt the 65 km distance to the next stop, Isle sur
    | Sorgue, because my tortured feet could never bear it and because the
    | taxi that was transferring my luggage could transfer me as well. That
    | was great - a day of peace. And the hotel at Isle was extremely
    | luxurious. Same thing about being prisoner because it was too far out of
    | town, but at least this overpriced restaurant was reasonably good, and
    | had portions of normal size.

    I've ridden the same areas, and it is, indeed, a beautiful place to visit.
    The old ruins are impressive.

    | Now I'm back doing laundry. At Antony market this morning I bought
    | lovely fresh things with a Provençal slant - artichokes, tomatoes, lots
    | of herbs, some beef fillet for carpaccio, whiting fillets, asparagus and
    | gorgeous goat cheese. Gotta go cook!

    Sounds great! One practical question: Do you do laundry in the hotel sink,
    or look for a local laudromat?

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReactionBicycles.com




    "Artemisia" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    | Back since Friday from touring Provence on my recumbent trike,
    Widdershins.
    | Here's a non-exhaustive performance account.
    |
    | I was able to prove that Widdershins, folded, bound and wrapped up in a
    | slipcover, can travel perfectly happily on French TGV lines and is
    | within regulations. Despite the fact that I was occupying a prodigious
    | amount of space, no one even commented. Many kind people offered to help
    | me with the luggage, and even the staff seemed perfectly at ease with
    | this cargo. The only recommendation is that Widders must always travel
    | First Class, where there is much more space. Luckily I had taken that
    | into account.
    |
    | Widdershins also surprised me with his outstanding performances in
    | traffic, both on large roads (against my wishes, I ended up on the
    | Nationale 7 between Caumont and Avignon), and within towns. I bought him
    | as a touring bike, I return with a suspicion that he aspires to be a
    | city-bike. These are areas where Flyzipper fails me altogether. Widders
    | is impeccably polite at traffic lights, stopping and restarting on
    | command. He waits his turn to enter roundabouts, permits me to signal,
    | and then gets quickly out of the way of faster traffic. He can even inch
    | his way at 20 metres per hour through pedestrian quarters, respectful
    | and patient behind old ladies with their walking cages, who do not even
    | notice there's a metallic orange monster arachnid just behind them.
    |
    | However, I'm not really finding him comfortable over distances, and here
    | we have some glitches to work out. The worst was the excruciatng pain
    | caused by the SPD pedals and clip-in shoes. This was torture after the
    | first few kilometers. A long discussion in the cycling newsgroups helped
    | somewhat, as I was able to adjust the position of the clip to hurt less,
    | but these still are not comfort shoes by a long way. The SPD shoes also
    | meant that I couldn't really walk anywhere.
    |
    | I feel the road much more than on an upright bike. I especially hate the
    | configuration of a cambered road, cycling lane on one side, and ditch
    | just next to the lane. All my effort goes into keeping out of the ditch,
    | and however flat, such roads are always uphill.
    |
    | The wireless bike computer (Sigma BC2006 - piece of shite) also conked
    | out after the first 6km. It was new, an essential navigation tool, and
    | this was infuriating. On the upside, I discovered what it would have
    | helped to know from the beginning - no need for a wireless, it is
    | perfectly possible to position a wired model on the mudguard mount. So
    | Widders now has a bog standard Sigma 1600, just like my other bikes,
    | courtesy of a very nice bike shop in Vaison la Romaine.
    |
    | Travelling with Widdershins is a bitch. I have to allow about an hour
    | and a half for the dismantling or reassembly - a VERY far cry from the
    | 90 seconds folding time advertized on the Web site! "Quick release
    | levers" is a joke. The central lever, that permits the bike to fold or
    | holds it rigid, works or not, entirely on its own terms, and in its own
    | time. You might get lucky and compact the bike in half an hour - or you
    | could be there, struggling in a pool of sweat, until the train has left.
    | The wheels too, are very tricky to remove and replace, and every time
    | they have been out of the bike they get "voilées" - I don't know the
    | English expression - it means that they stick in the brakes and do not
    | turn fluidly. On the way into Vaison, the left wheel was so stuck that
    | the trike was drawing to a halt on downhill runs! When he delivered the
    | trike, my Darth told me that this is because the brakes must absolutely
    | not be touched, or the levers activated, when the wheels are not in
    | their axels. All very well, but it is pertty much impossible to edge
    | them in or out without touching the brakes, and you have no control over
    | what happens to the levers when the covered bike is being squeezed into
    | a train compartment or a taxi. The manual says that the brakes should be
    | blocked with the clips used in delivery - but I was given no such clips.
    | I tried bits of cardboard on the way back but they didn't stay in. This
    | is a big glitch to sort out because I cannot go to the Darth to get the
    | brakes readjusted every single time the bike has been folded.
    |
    | Trike apart, the trip had its ups and downs. The base hotel in Avignon
    | was so far out of town that once you were there, you were its prisoner.
    | It had a restaurant, but this was pretentious and exorbitantly priced,
    | with portions so small as to be insulting. On the day of arrival I
    | hadn't eaten all day. The entrée was four little steamed asparagus tips
    | and four prawns with a dollop of pesto in the middle; the main course
    | arrived with an enormous papillote which proved, on unwrapping, to
    | contain about 3 tablespoons of overcooked fish. Plus despite
    | systematically starting at 7:30 they never could get me served in time
    | for the weather report at 8:45. Never has so little food taken so long
    | to serve. In compensation, this hotel had a lovely pool. But no sooner
    | in, than I destroyed my beloved Timex Ironman watch, which was supposed
    | to be waterproof and wasn't at all. So first day in Avignon was all
    | about getting a replacement watch and a real lunch. After a day of
    | trekking papal cobblestones in 30° heat, I still had the 6km walk back
    | (not confident enough yet to use Widders), and very sore feet. It
    | forced the realization that the most precious things in life are cool
    | water and shade.
    |
    | Another big annoyance was that the maps and routes provided by the tour
    | company were impossible to follow. As usual, 50% of my time on the road
    | was spent being lost. The first day, I made a concerted effort to follow
    | the instuctions, which took on little paths through fields. There was an
    | ambiguous or outright wrong turning every km or so. This was so in the
    | middle of nowhere, that I could have disappeared from the earth and
    | they'd only find the body three years later. The worst was a gravel path
    | that was completely blocked with enormous puddles, about 15 inches deep.
    | Widders, all 25 kg of him, had to be _carried_ through the brush, and
    | this for over a kilometer. Moreover, although I had a GPS, it was
    | useless because the stupid thing (TomTom, not recommended) only knows
    | about routes for cars. After that, I stuck to Départementales - they may
    | not be so pretty but at least there is some hope of _signposting_, and
    | the dangers from passing traffic ultimately seemed to me much less than
    | those of facing uncharted wilderness alone and without instruments. In
    | retrospect I think this kind of route is only practicable on guided
    | tours. I suggested to the company that they provide customers with the
    | option to rent a GPS system for trekking - there is one made by the
    | company IGN which also makes trekking and ordinance maps. The wench
    | actually _laughed_ at this suggestion, because she "couldn't imagine"
    | people on _bikes_ using a GPS system. Shows you where they're at!
    |
    | I never even saw the town of Orange apart from the hotel and a pizzeria
    | in the central plaza - the drama of that day was finding a shop to sell
    | me a new bike computer. Nothing open in Orange, since this was Monday
    | and any excuse to be closed is good in France. I headed off to Vaison
    | and had another foodless day. The only restaurant I passed refused to
    | serve me because it was _already_ 2pm.
    |
    | Vaison la Romaine was my favorite stop of the trip. The hotel was right
    | in the central plaza and there was a cornucopia spread of eateries. Also
    | the town had an excellent, OPEN bike shop, beautiful Roman ruins, and on
    | Tuesday, a famous market. I visited a statue, a rather unflattering,
    | scowling one, of the Emperor Hadrian, one of my tutelary deities (not
    | having a nose never did much for anyone). And that day, I decided that I
    | would not even attempt the 65 km distance to the next stop, Isle sur
    | Sorgue, because my tortured feet could never bear it and because the
    | taxi that was transferring my luggage could transfer me as well. That
    | was great - a day of peace. And the hotel at Isle was extremely
    | luxurious. Same thing about being prisoner because it was too far out of
    | town, but at least this overpriced restaurant was reasonably good, and
    | had portions of normal size.
    |
    | A 21 km stint around the Luberon the following day, up to Fontaine la
    | Vaucluse and back, was cool and pleasant. Finally, the trip back to
    | Avignon. Here I was faced with a decent Départementale as far as a town
    | called Caumont. Then, there were three choices: try to follow the
    | far-out-of-the-way route through tundra provided by the company (and
    | again risk getting lost or dying of heat exhaustion), try an
    | alternative, shorter route that visibly cut through some rather menacing
    | elevation lines, or do as the nice man in the news shop advised: just
    | follow the nice signs and take the nice straight road, marked in orange
    | on the map, straight to Avignon.
    |
    | So that's how I ended up on the Nationale 7 on a trike!
    |
    | Hey, it wasn't nearly so bad as you might think. The cars were very
    | courteous and there was plenty of room; indeed, most of the time there
    | was a navigable shoulder. I was able to cruise Widders at around 23 kph
    | for most of the trip - he even hit a high of 35 kph. The roundabouts
    | were orderly and the signs clear. The only part I didn't like was the
    | entry to Avignon where the traffic became much more congested and the
    | hideous industrial wasteland around seemed to go on forever. But I found
    | a delicious restaurant in the town center and had a nice rest before
    | proceding out into my wilderness hotel once more.
    |
    | Now I'm back doing laundry. At Antony market this morning I bought
    | lovely fresh things with a Provençal slant - artichokes, tomatoes, lots
    | of herbs, some beef fillet for carpaccio, whiting fillets, asparagus and
    | gorgeous goat cheese. Gotta go cook!
    |
    | EFR
    | Ile de France
     
  6. vernon

    vernon Guest

    "Clive George" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > "mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]


    >> What kind of brakes are these? Caliper brakes? V-brakes? Cantilevers?
    >> With a better description of the brakes someone might have some idea of
    >> how to resolve this issue.

    >
    > It's a trike, so they're going to be disc brakes. (hub brakes wouldn't
    > have the problems described).
    >

    Probably hydraulic disc brakes at that. The problem is that once the disc
    is not between the pads and the brake lever is squeezed for any reason, the
    gap closes between the pads and it's a sod to push the pads apart to
    re-estabnlish the gap. The original poster's attempt to use card is
    destined to fail be cause card is compressuible and something a bit more
    incompressible like plastic spacers should do the trick. It should be
    possible to bodge something together from any scraps of flat plastic and
    glue in Blue Peter style.....
     
  7. Artemisia

    Artemisia Guest

    vernon wrote:

    > Probably hydraulic disc brakes at that.


    Yes, they are Magura Big hydraulic disk brakes.


    > It should be
    > possible to bodge something together from any scraps of flat plastic and
    > glue in Blue Peter style.....


    I contacted the Darth and he says to bring the bike in to have the
    brakes readjusted, and that he can provide the clips which were not in
    my support pack when I brought home the trike.

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  8. Ekul Namsob

    Ekul Namsob Guest

    DennisTheBald <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On May 15, 12:52 pm, Artemisia <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > Back since Friday from touring Provence on my recumbent trike, Widdershins.
    > > Here's a non-exhaustive performance account.

    >
    > Thanks for the briefing.
    >
    > I suspect some of the temperamental behavior of your bike was due in
    > part to your referring to it by the wrong gender, such mechanical
    > contraptions, like ships, are generally considered to be feminine are
    > they not?
    >
    > Anyway, the bit about the cycle computer... I would recommend a GPS
    > instead. These are not without their drawbacks; they suck down
    > batteries like there's no tomorrow, they won't work on a trainer,


    If you buy the Speed / Cadence sensor, the Garmin Edge series works
    nicely on a trainer. I believe that maps from OpenStreetMap can now be
    used on the newest models.

    Cheers,
    Luke


    --
    Red Rose Ramblings, the diary of an Essex boy in
    exile in Lancashire <http://www.shrimper.org.uk>
     
  9. vernon wrote:

    > Probably hydraulic disc brakes at that. The problem is that once the disc
    > is not between the pads and the brake lever is squeezed for any reason, the
    > gap closes between the pads and it's a sod to push the pads apart to
    > re-estabnlish the gap. The original poster's attempt to use card is
    > destined to fail be cause card is compressuible and something a bit more
    > incompressible like plastic spacers should do the trick. It should be
    > possible to bodge something together from any scraps of flat plastic and
    > glue in Blue Peter style.....


    I find a CD bent in half works quite well for the discs on my mountain
    bike. Because its a bit springy it stays in place (though sometimes CDs
    just snap when you bend them).
    And everyone has a few old worthless CDs lying around, right?
     
  10. Artemisia

    Artemisia Guest

    Ekul Namsob wrote:

    > If you buy the Speed / Cadence sensor, the Garmin Edge series works
    > nicely on a trainer. I believe that maps from OpenStreetMap can now be
    > used on the newest models.


    It might work on a trainer, but has anyone ever tried it successfully on
    a bent? The distance between pedal crank and receiver is going to be
    much greater than on a normal bike or, indeed, a trainer (and my trainer
    has a built-in cadence sensor anyway - but I find very little
    correlation between conditions on the trainer and what actually happens
    on a road in traffic...)

    Besides which, is the Edge series the one to go for? I like the fact
    that it can double as a bike computer and HRM - but will it be as
    effective as a purely navigational GPS like the 60Csx, a dedicated wired
    computer and an HRM? Plus I hate the idea of the non-removable battery
    that only lasts 6 hours. I'd far sooner carry around rechargeable AAs,
    of which I already have a solid collection.

    Cheers,
    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  11. Artemisia

    Artemisia Guest

    Ekul Namsob wrote:

    > If you buy the Speed / Cadence sensor, the Garmin Edge series works
    > nicely on a trainer. I believe that maps from OpenStreetMap can now be
    > used on the newest models.


    It might work on a trainer, but has anyone ever tried it successfully on
    a bent? The distance between pedal crank and receiver is going to be
    much greater than on a normal bike or, indeed, a trainer (and my trainer
    has a built-in cadence sensor anyway - but I find very little
    correlation between conditions on the trainer and what actually happens
    on a road in traffic...)

    Besides which, is the Edge series the one to go for? I like the fact
    that it can double as a bike computer and HRM - but will it be as
    effective as a purely navigational GPS like the 60Csx, a dedicated wired
    computer and an HRM? Plus I hate the idea of the non-removable battery
    that only lasts 6 hours. I'd far sooner carry around rechargeable AAs,
    of which I already have a solid collection.

    Cheers,
    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  12. On Thu, 15 May 2008 19:52:05 +0200 in rec.bicycles.misc,
    Artemisia <[email protected]> wrote:

    > A long discussion in the cycling newsgroups helped
    > somewhat, as I was able to adjust the position of the clip to hurt less,
    > but these still are not comfort shoes by a long way. The SPD shoes also
    > meant that I couldn't really walk anywhere.


    Once again, YOU HAVE THE WRONG SHOES. They are probably too
    narrow. You don't need tight shoes with clipless pedals!
     
  13. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Dennis P. Harris) writes:
    > On Thu, 15 May 2008 19:52:05 +0200 in rec.bicycles.misc,
    > Artemisia <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> A long discussion in the cycling newsgroups helped
    >> somewhat, as I was able to adjust the position of the clip to hurt less,
    >> but these still are not comfort shoes by a long way. The SPD shoes also
    >> meant that I couldn't really walk anywhere.

    >
    > Once again, YOU HAVE THE WRONG SHOES. They are probably too
    > narrow. You don't need tight shoes with clipless pedals!


    "Shoen."

    The plural of "shoe" is "shoen."
    Phonetically pronounced: "shoon." More or less.

    Anyways, too-tight shoen are a misery.
    Especially when the uppers restrict
    wider feet. Best to go with the appropriate
    overall size, but with extra width.

    Carnacs have always been good to me.

    Go ahead and say "shoes." Everybody else does,
    even me. Nobody knows what the h*** yer talkin'
    about when you say: "shoen."


    cheers, & it's not just about how long it is;
    it's also about how wide it is,
    Tom

    --
    Nothing is safe from me.
    I'm really at:
    tkeats curlicue vcn dot bc dot ca
     
  14. none

    none Guest

    Ekul Namsob wrote:
    > DennisTheBald <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> On May 15, 12:52 pm, Artemisia <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>> Back since Friday from touring Provence on my recumbent trike, Widdershins.
    >>> Here's a non-exhaustive performance account.

    >> Thanks for the briefing.
    >>
    >> I suspect some of the temperamental behavior of your bike was due in
    >> part to your referring to it by the wrong gender, such mechanical
    >> contraptions, like ships, are generally considered to be feminine are
    >> they not?
    >>
    >> Anyway, the bit about the cycle computer... I would recommend a GPS
    >> instead. These are not without their drawbacks; they suck down
    >> batteries like there's no tomorrow, they won't work on a trainer,

    >
    > If you buy the Speed / Cadence sensor, the Garmin Edge series works
    > nicely on a trainer. I believe that maps from OpenStreetMap can now be
    > used on the newest models.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Luke
    >
    >

    Although the speed/cadence sensor is of only limited use on teh majority
    of recumbents as it is a combined unit for fixing to a chain stay. Most
    recumbent chain rings / cranks do not pass their chain stays :(
     
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