Sunday, May 31, 2009


L to R - Nigel Farrell's left leg; an exceptionally handsome gifted intelligent wonderful kindly warm generous noble human whom modesty forbids me to name, and three quarters of Aarn Tate. - Oh, and Nigel's (bomb doors open) and Bob's corriboard faired machines, frontal view, prior to battle.

Okay, here as promised are the Results.

Bob Knight: 50.7272 kilometres. New NZ Hour Record.

Unf. at the exact moment (literally) Bob had established this new Record, Nigel had broken it. Much rejoicing in the NZ camp; chiz in the Brit camp.

Nigel Farrell: 52.6643 kilometres. Newer NZ Hour Record

We were able to determine the distance to the fourth decimal point because we had a team of scientists armed with Vernier callipers and synchronised stopwatches lying about the track and we were able to confirm it divinely because we had a cell-phone call from Thou who knowest their downsitting and uprising and spiest out all their ways. (Ps 139. From memory, needless to add and not a very good memory, even more needless to add.) And if you disbelieve me, you horrid sceptics, it's on the Internet so it has to be true.


So what actually happened was this. Annalisa and I sat down in a small and cold huddle on some foam I had the Great Presence of Mind to Bring With Me (so nur to you Dr Lowing) and discussed how hard our respective hearts were beating. And, honi soit qui mal y pense, this was not some kind of illicit amorous tryst; this is just what happens when you've spent months discussing and worrying with someone about an attempt like this and you know 'zackly how much work, how many hours, how much tension, how much pressure, has gone into it. And I'm not even married to Nigel Farrell. (The attentive reader will already have presumed this but there is a certain school of thought in the BHPC that I am Bonkers in the Nut and I just wish to scotch any further imaginative allegations before they are made, Mr Larrington.) Moreover John, a son of mine who was timekeeping too, told me afterwards that his heart was pounding. I think everyone's was. That Nigel's and Bob's were goes without saying though I see I have rather pointlessly just said it.

Away they both went, the threatened icy weather holding off and the air reasonably still. Annalisa, who we have established is a pretty serious competitive cyclist and knows what she's talking about, voiced worries about Nigel going too fast too early; I voiced worries about Bob crashing an untested machine in which he had had precisely 54 minutes' riding experience. (That was Saturday.) But it was looking well even though he was taking a wide line, and I knew without his confirming it to me afterwards that this wide line was largely to do with not knowing what the bally thing was likely to do at any point. (In fact his computer told us afterwards it had done an additional 1.5 km which indicates how far outside the line he was riding. Which distance of course cannot count in a record, because all machines waver outside the line.)

For the first fiteen minutes there was a very, very slow creep as Bob closed the gap. There was very little in it, maybe an eighth of a lap, but at one point Bob could just see Nigel coming off the straight ahead of him.

We now need a Technical Digression, because I had privily asked Geoff Bird for any comments he might have about the fairing and he had replied that the only thing he could see was the prospect of Bob's windscreen misting up, it being very close to his face. Now this is an evil for which I regret I must take responsibility, because I had recommended that the closer the screen was to the eyes the better, for visibility's sake. Both Bob and I are motorcyclists (what a dreadful admission. But it's true) and we weren't too worried about this: applications of neat washing up liquid on the inside usually prevent misting of a motorcycle helmet's visor. What we hadn't banked on was the fact that when you ride a motorbike you aren't pedalling hard. (Shall we take Humorous Moped comments as read?) So during Saturday's trials when it became apparent that misting up was a very big problem, Nigel offered his cordless drill and together we all cut a slit at the base of the windscreen and this reduced the misting to the point where Bob thought he could probably see okay.

However - reverting to the Record Attempt - the misting gradually started to increase, and with the already dodgy handling of the Ratracer's tiller steering and the slightly dodgy corners of the track, being able to see exactly where he was going was becoming more and more of an issue. And at this point Nigel, with the confidence of years of riding his machine and even riding it on open roads in time trial events with some slightly-more-tolerant-club-members-than-the-UCI-might-like, started to increase his own pace. Moreover Nigel had no screen, and with an obviously better handling machine was able to close in hard on the innermost racing line. So from about half-way through the hour, the gap opened up again and Nigel started to close in on Bob. Exactly when he lapped (actually, half-lapped him; they started on opposite sides of course) him I didn't note, but it was quite late on in the piece.

And then in the 85th lap disaster, of a thankfully mild sort, struck. We felt it in the stands: a sudden blast of cold wind. You could see Bob's racing line start to waver: he was fighting to keep it on the track, and those of us who saw what happened to him at Leicester will have no difficulty knowing what was going on in his mind. - Afterwards he was to tell me it was the most terrifying experience of his entire life. - He felt he had no idea at all whether the thing was going to fall, whether he could hold it upright, whether he would crash, and almost worst of all to an HPV combatant, whether he would get in the way of his deadly (1) foe's attempt. There were about ten minutes to go, and for the whole of that time you could see Bob's machine slowing in every corner, and see him trying to accelerate to pick up the lost speed in the all-too-short straights. And - since we're all physicists and know that F=MA - you know how this acceleration takes it out of you. And from then on, Nigel started lapping him regularly - well, four times of course - and had, unfortunately, to do so on the outside of the track because Bob was sticking as close to the middle as he dared so that if the now badly gusting wind took him out, he would go onto grass and not into the hard wall around the outside of the track. You could see the worry in Annalisa's face. She wasn't worried for her husband - he seemed in complete control of his bike despite the wind - she was watching, with cheeks drawn and teeth clamped anxiously together, to see if Bob's Ratracer was going to fall. And at one point when it looked as if he might actually stop and withdraw, both Annalisa and I were on our feet yelling at him to keep going, because we could see he was within grasp of breaking the existing Record. I had never thought I could be so agitated as a spectator. It was horrible.

But, in the end, it was over. And, most important of all, he hadn't crashed, hadn't lost any more than a bit of skin from his knees - the fairing was too tight - and by truly miraculous courage had actually broken the existing NZ Hour Record. I trotted alongside to catch him, we lifted the cover, he flopped out and performed a creditable possum impression while Patrick the amiable Nelson Mail reporter took indiscreet photographs of a recumbent recumbeteer.

Comparing notes with Nigel afterwards, Nigel too had lost a bit of skin off a knee: he'd slipped down in his seat at one point and was unable to wriggle back up while pedalling at full power, so the fairing rubbed a nasty little sore with every pedal-thrust. He was also having neck cramps towards the end, trying to flex his head backwards and forwards to ease the pain. But his familiarity with his bike was such that he was able to relax and let it move with the wind, and it is a very great credit to the fact that his machine had sound handling right from the start and even more of a credit when it is known that it was the first recumbent Nigel had built. (If I may digress again briefly, a certain friend of mine had some pertinent first-hand remarks to make about the necessity of absolutely sound handling on record machines after a certain incident which, in the event, may now be viewed by anyone:

Therefore, at the moment, there is considerable jubilation in the NZ HPV community because two chaps in home-built corriboard streamliners managed to break a record that had been set fifteen years before by a rider younger then that either of them now in the world-record-breaking Kincycle Bean. (Which you can see in a series of PDF photos by our Pete Cox at

which has as a bonus on p 44 a picture of my wonderful self standing, deja vu, beside Bob Knight not very minutes before he lost half his skin at Abbey Park)

However this delight is tempered by the galling knowledge that Claire King holds the UK women's hour record at 52.343 km. Therefore it is not hard to predict that further machines are going to get themselves built in due course, and that decent racetracks are going to find themselves surveyed, and that there is the distinct possibility of frightening the Manager of Invercargill which I am told has a temptingly wooden velodrome.

Nigel Farrell warming up

1) In the HPV world, Deadly Foes email and phone one another to offer help which I happen to know Nigel and Bob were doing well before the attempt, and they lend each other cordless drills and stuff on the day too. We are gentle people.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Winter's Tale

As Mr Kingsbury used to say, The Boy Done Good . (I'm no good at Suspense.)

Also Urghhh is what I wanted to say, who invented alarm clocks? Up before dawn trying to think of everything that hadn't been packed the night before, and off in convoy to Nelson. Lots of people - three - already milling around, and a frantic unpack until Bob and Nigel agreed with each other not to be so silly, they'd start at eight. This was to prove a Mistake as shall be revealed.

Lots of warm-up laps and so to business, I holding Bob up on the line and Mrs Farrell holding Mr Farrell up on the far side of the track. Mr Farrell - I wasn't close enough to see - may have received a good luck kiss; Mr Knight did not. The countdown and they were off, I running along holding the sides of the machine to prevent ignominious horizontality, my attempts to cheat by giving him a vigorous push being pre-empted by the fact that he pedalled out of my hands. And then they were on their own, and Mrs Farrell (it's Annalisa by the way and I didn't have to ask. I googled) sat down beside me and we settled to the ticking off of laps. All looked hunky-dory at first with each exactly matching the other's speed, and though Mr Knight was taking a slightly higher line on the track they were crossing their respective Start lines at exactly the same moment.

After an hour both of them had broken the NZ record but I'm kanckered (anag.) and about to go to bed because although all you rosy-cheeked yokels of Greet Maaaarsin'm Naarf'lk (for the NZ reader: Great Massingham; a noble city of several houses wherein the improbably named Niels Christian Arveschoug, famous Norfolk folk musician and an old mate of mine once lived) are up and planting turnips and so forth, we Colonials are frozen to our earthquakes and the sky is starry and frosty and the moon glimmers like a glimmery thing and actually I don't happen to have the exact figures to hand. I know one of 'em did 101 laps and a bit and t'other did 97 and a bit, but we want exactitude and I forgot to write it down and can't get the Results emailed to me until the morning. Besides the photographer has gone to bed.

Okay so that was a bit of a let-down, and here's another: it got so windy that for the subsequent race I tried my wonderful, beautiful, exquisite (get on with it. - Ed.) foam fairing for one trial lap and promptly took it off because the wind was steering the bike, not me. My fairing has a number of deficiencies, conspicuous among which being that it's useless.

I shall tell you all about these adventures tomorrow. Promise. (Maybe.) But there's a Clue in the preceeding paragraph.

Dress Rehearsal

To Nelson for 9 am. Collect key (thanks James - R)(thanks Andrew - J) and there, breezy from a 4 am start and a 250 mile mountain drive of which we won't calculate the carbon footprint, was Mr R G Knight where he'd been sitting outside Trafalgar Park in his car practising his Anglo-Saxon since 10 to 9 waiting for me to arrive.

Onto the track, and a few nervous laps without the top, and then on with the top and lo! success. The boy was able to ride it. The oval track is 521 metres long if you use a commercial lap measurer, 519 metres long if you use my 48 inch penny farthing, and 520 metres long if you go by the Council's survey; and it's a bit narrower on the far side where the rugby football authorities felt empowered to snip a bit of width off for their new stand (1). This means that the far corner is a bit squirrelly, a sort of evil combination of a sharpened curve and a wrong camber. So it took a good number of laps before he looked comfortable and was riding roughly in the middle of the track rather than round the outskirts. Lap times were hovering around the 37 second mark.

Then along poled Nigel and Annaliese. Annaliese is a pretty serious UCI cyclist - sort of the NZ criterium champion - and she doesn't spell her name that way but I can't remember how she does spell it and neither can anyone else. I spell it that way because I have a particularly angelic niece who does. And lacking any other photographic decoration from the day, I now somewhat irrelevantly attach the niece.
(The niece sits on a daughter - mine - who Members may recall as an eight-year-old recumbent cyclist from, oh, about eleven years ago.)

Annaliese (the cyclist) lacks a recumbent so we shall have to lend her one. Can't be missing out on opportunities to get serious cyclists onto serious cycles. Nigel is Nigel Farrell who designed and built a very elegant FWD SWB which is in one of the BHPC Newsletters, I forget which one, because I put it there. (I didn't forget which one because I put it there. It's there because - oh never mind.) Nigel has been riding this machine corriboard-faired for the last 3 years at around the speed that the NZ Hour Record stands, and is still riding this machine because the new one he's building isn't finished yet. Aarn Tate is somehow involved in this build: I didn't quite get how because I wasn't paying attention.

So pretty soon we had the both of them quietly trundling round at about 30 mph, and Annaliese took some photos with Bob's camera, and I can't show you them right now cos my computer doesn't have the right sized USB port. It's a very old computer. It's 5.

Then we had to stop because the Rugby Footballers were due, they occupying the redundant grass bit that you often find in the middle of a valuable cycle track, and we all went home to fettle.

Come the evening we returned and everyone - there were lots of us by now - swept 520 metres of tarmac and we all tried to work out how to time everything accurately and everyone's relying on a chap called Paul Dunlop who is the only member of the NZ HPV club with organisational abilities and who is therefore its Hon. Sec. The NZ club is called KiwiHPV and I daresay you could google it if your USB ports are the right size.

So tomorrow at dawn the ride will start and we will see if
1. Bob's chainring can withstand the excitement and
2. he falls off and
3. I can find a piece of paper to write down how to spell Annaliese Farrell.

1.Which, in the event, is permanently unoccupied. (We do not comment on Rugby Football. We wish to live on unmolested.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

foam nosecone 2

I have two Black and Decker angle grinders. - I feel the Membership should know these things. - One is ancient and has now had the lead replaced because the wobbly plastick rubbishy bit that plugs into the back because Health-and-Safety can't countenance a person using a tool without there being fourteen levels of plug-in-ness to ensure maximum frustration (soldered, now, with lead-based solder which I gather can no longer be bought in Health-and-Safetyland) and minimum chance of electrocution because you can't cut through a live wire if the damned thing won't work. This has a wire brush on it because I am quite remarkably stupid and put the locking nut for discs down somewhere safe and cannot now find it.

The new one is a KG85 and I have just discovered this: that the front locking button bit thingy has been moved to the top of the instrument by some Stylemeister in the Marketing Dept. and you now need three hands to change a disc. Congratulations, Mr Black and Mr Decker. You may now step up onto the Rostrum next to me as Stupid Person Medal Winner.

(And while we're about it, why the *uck have you taken to calling your handtools 'Fire Storm'? Are the Buying Public that infantile? They're *ucking electric drills, for *uck'ssake. If you're into weapons manufacture for the American armed services then I can assure you that hopping about Afghanistan 3.7 metres from the nearest plug-in mains supply with a rotating 8mm drill bit is not going to have the Taliban heading for their caves, however sensuously you've created the bright orange plastic bodyshell. Which, for the record, is a considerable unimprovement because there are now no flat surfaces you can grip in a vice, you stupid, stupid dolt-heads.)

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. I am in receipt of further photos and it now appears Mr Knight has modified his concept of a foam bumper bar.

Gladwrap, if you spot the tell-tale yellow box under the new nose, is the Australasian equivalent of Cling-film. The final nose is of papier-mache, and I shall actually be seeing it tomorrow because Mr Knight is rather bravely going to set off before dawn and get here, we hope, in time to try it out on the track before the Rugby Football players take over Trafalgar Park for their afternoon's game. I shall then try to find out whether the Gladwrap is still in situ, and whether some waterproofing of the papier mache has taken place because if it hasn't we may be back to the bath sponge, since there is 'light rain' forecast for tomorrow in Nelson.

Members who know Mr Knight will be concerned to see that the Ratracer has displaced the two penny farthings he normally keeps in his living room along with a pair of 28 inch wood-rimmed wheels. I have been in said living room and can assure you that the penny farthings are in the opposite corner. What this says about the saintliness of Mrs Bob Knight I leave to conjecture.

Foam nosecone

Bless my soul. Whatever possessed him to add a bath sponge to the front of his machine? When I suggested 'foam' to him I absolutely assure you I did not have this in mind. I mean I know he came to grief in Leicester but I'm at a loss to see how it can be prevented by this makeshift. This, Mr Knight tells me, is to replace the 'crappy papier mache' temporary nosecone he'd made. I think we may have to enquire further. It may be that he really has taken leave of his senses.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Foam fairing

Right, here it is, freshly repaired. John Tetz, eat your heart out, because this is pure foam beauty. Well okay there are one or two slight blemishes but what in real life is perfect? The nose - well - truthfully if I were given the choice of spending half an hour looking at the nose and half an hour looking at Allaneesha McHastings's - um - at certain body parts of Allaneesha McHastings (1) not normally on show, then it would be a close-run thing. Allaneesha McHastings since you ask is a forward young damsel from the girls' high school. As a matter of fact she came in to the local chirurgery the other day after a particularly energetic weekend's activities with a young man she'd met only two days before, and a person who we will not now name did spend half an hour looking at the aforenotmentioned body parts, and I divine that Allaneesha McHastings would have been a little more circumspect with her recreational enthusiasm had she known what she now knows about the young gentleman in question.

However we are not here to discuss Allaneesha McHastings's hobbies: we are here to exhibit this superb example of a foam faired recumbent, and I'm sure I'll all agree with myself that it is very elegant indeed. When I run out of things to say about Mr Knight's fairing I may shed light on how it was made. I'm sure everyone's keen to know.

1. Allaneesha McHastings is not Amanda FitzHerbert's real name.

Uses for Foam

We are now days away from the Nelson race, so I have to make haste and repair my fairing. Since foam is so wondrous versatile and I am easily distracted, here is a picture of my workshop shoes. Engerlish Readers, of whom admittedly there is little evidence, must needs note that May is November in New Zealand and feet chill easily in a workshop. The shoes were once Holey Soleys and are so amazingly comfortable that I had no difficulty in persuading myself to pick up flip-flops wherever I find them - and flip-flops are all about the roadsides hereabouts after the holidaymakers have made holidays - and glue them on the soleys of my holeys. But the holeys admit of limited insulation whereas foam is truly fantastick as an insulator. And so these foam-faired Holey Soleys are now (as Mr Larrington would have it) this thing: Warm. They are also tremendously stylish and when the children, who are all teenagers at the moment, have friends round, they greatly appreciate their father being seen with large blue foam pouffes on his feet.

Monday, May 25, 2009

driver error 2

Are removals men all stupid? When I say men, I mean boys. The oldest was about twenty, a cocky smartarse who told me I'd 'have had to dismount on that thing all the time anyway'. They had disobligingly parked right in the middle of the cycle lane.
I said 'If you could move a foot to the right there'd be enough room.'
Smartarse said 'I'm parked as close to the edge as I feel comfortable with for safety. A mountain bike came by earlier and rode round alright.'
I said 'So in thirty minutes when school finishes it will be safe for the children to ride onto the State Highway against the flow of traffic, and car drivers will be more likely to see them than they would be to see a huge removals van parked slightly in the road?'
'I'm not moving.'

The Police phoned me after they'd been out to the spot, and told me they'd blown the removals van up with a reasonably large charge of TNT and had shot all the removals men, whose bodies now formed a more unusual obstruction on the cycle path.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Not a good day. The rain arrived and outstayed its welcome. But there was a brief dry period. And you know what happens when you've freshly minted a fairing and *need* to try it out. So out he went, and the Christchurch municipal authorities having failed in their statutory duty to provide proper fully-faired recumbent bicycle testing tracks, found a quiet road.

It has rained all weekend and caused me much nervousness about never having ridden it with the lid on. At about 3 pm there came a slight window in the weather. I loaded everything up and drove to a very quiet road to practice riding all sealed up. Well it was a debacle. I attempted two starts and failed on both times to be able to get going. I fell over hard on my right side both times and have lost skin off my right arm and bruised the elbow. The quiet road was also busy and of course there were cars coming as I'm lying in the middle of the wet road, unable to get out of the thing. - Bob

I shall not say whether I have edited that post of some of its emphasis, but it's all a bit dismaying, since it looks worryingly like he's going to arrive up here and have to ride it, for the first time ever, during the timed event. I have moved my Concern Level from Amber, to Slightly Darker Amber.

Friday, May 22, 2009


We are close to being up-to-speed now. That is to say, I have very nearly updated this account so it actually matches the dates of the various adventures, and Mr K has very nearly completed the fairing, but I suspect not very much more is going to happen in the next few days on account of Rain. New Zealand has quite a lot of Rain, though it doesn't usually fall on Mr Knight who lives in the driest part of the country. The wettest part gets six metres a year, I'm told by a fairly unreliable source, but what source would be reliable in conditions like this?

So here we are, and I assure everyone that he correctly spelt 'armholes'.

I cut the armholes tonight and started the template for the windscreen. It's all a bit snug now.
We're having some weather at the moment, the old Waimakariri bridge is shut again due to the scouring around the piles, apparently 'they' are going to repile it and put a clip on at the same time. Allegedly. I read it in the newspaper tonight so it must be true, this may or may not be in my lifetime. - Bob

I gave the man some Lexan that I happened to have about my person, to be used for the actual windscreen which is close to the face a la Paul Davies fairings, so no jocund remarks about the transparency of cardboard if you please.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

'Nother trial run

In view of the fact that Blogs are supposed to be daily up-to-date records and whatnot this is a bit useless and rubbishy because I'm not entirely sure when this email appeared but I think it was a few days later. This proves I am stupid, which proof was not required by the BHPC since it has had ample evidence already. You have to be stupid to manage to lose the dates of your emails. (I should claim it as a triumph, along with installing a new printer without beating my computer to death with a 2 lbs claw hammer.)

Today went well with a few caveats.

The final three planks on the bottom of the fairing took me longer than I had anticipated and the temporary crappy nose took no time at all. However it was 11 o'clock before I was able to load the bike into the car where it fitted very well with only a wheel digging me in the ribs. I drove to Loburn School where I parked and unpacked everything and then repacked and drove home because I had forgotten my shoes. The fairing has been designed around these shoes with minimal clearance so only those would do. Anyway, back to the start again and unfortunately by this time the Nor' Wester had been switched on. Using Sir Beaufort's wonderful scale, I estimated the wind speed to be 5 gusting to 6. Within 200 m of the car I knew that it wasn't going to be a quick ride. I also knew immediately that I had got all the clearances spot on. No feet or knee strikes anywhere, all that effort early on has paid off. The gusts around the shelter belts and gateways etc. were truly 'orrible. Going out was mostly a block headwind with little chance to really put the hammer down to test the speed. I'd already decided where to turn because the road surface becomes really bad and gives me the eyeball jiggles which is most unpleasant. I slowed, pulled onto the verge and got blown over by the wind. Superficial damage only except the chain came off, not normally an issue when you can get at it. 10 minutes of swearing when you can't. Coming back was even more horrid, I was unable to pedal at all hard and just soft pedalled, coasted and even braked due to the gusting. Average for the ride was 38.9kph for 28km which is misleading given the condition. Plenty of exciting "Abbey Park" type flashbacks. Got home and realized that I'd not had a ride per se. I wasn't tired, so immediately got out another bike and did 50km in the wind which was a lot harder, 30.1 kph av. when really trying which says quite a lot. - Bob

The photo shows the temporary cone and, lest you imagine that Mr Knight has grown a head of hair and turned into a very youthful-looking transvestite, Miss Claudia Knight.

Trial run

From Mr Knight:

Took the ratracer around Ashley Gorge today. It's a 75 km loop from my house and features lots of long flat straights at either end and some fairly steep hills at the middle gorgey bit. 64/25 is just too high for hills like this. However I still averaged 37.6kph with a new max of 71kph which feels quite fast enough thank you with my arse mere inches from the tarmacadam. Which incidently varied from OK to utter, utter rough shite (with tree roots as well). Still worried about the handling on the track though. The natural speed on the flat appears to be 43-45 kph. The wind of course changed from a headwind out to a headwind back. I got a bit more planking done the afternoon, but I fear I will need to tape the seams as well as glue them since glueing thin correx is quite hard to do before the glue cools too much. - Bob

I am unclear as to whether he took the fairing with him or not but that's because my Inbox is a confused mess and you don't need to tell me I ought to tidy it, I already know that. Anyway the planking is very pretty but then I knew it would be because I have the gift of prophesy. Here, since I happen to have it to hand, is a picture of a garden somewhere in New Zealand.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Young Robert hath been busy. He hath been a-planking. (You may plank, in New Zealand: it is a verb. It is probably a verb in Engerland too, whereas Farewell is only a verb in New Zealand. 'Parliament farewelled Helen Clark' said the radio when she went off to be somethingorother in the UN.)

Ingress is effected by his having pre-thought of the problem, and allowing two adjacent bulkheads, I think the plan was. I have to admit to admiring anyone who can pre-think of problems. Anyway, he then made an incision and lifted a lid out for the doorway, and I presume he has some Cunning Sch. up his sleeve to put it back on when he's inside. I am not yet privy to this scheme but you may depend the spies are out.
I have very nearly finished planking the thing with just about three planks left to do. I gave up for the night however because a) it is cold in my garage in the evenings now b) I've had enough for one night c) I need to remind myself what my family looks like again. I'll be glad to get it finished because it really has proved to be a tedious operation; each plank consumes 30 minutes and there are lots of planks, I haven't counted them yet but I will tomorrow. I've needed to do a big push this week so that I can ride it with the fairing on tomorrow. I figure I will need at least two weekends inside the thing to gain some practice. I intend to use the road to Ashley Gorge (north bank) since it is long, flat(ish) only has a mildly shite surface, and most importantly is very quiet. I'll probably not have the cut out for the neck and arms done so I'll ride it topless tomorrow. I'll make a quick crappy nosecone prior to the ride. It will also be a good check that I can get it in the car. It's 2.6 metres and if I remove seats and things it should fit. Unfortunately we're meant to get the Nor' Wester tomorrow which is a bit of a bugger. I may need to get out early before it starts. Hefting it around in my garage, I've been surprised by the weight, it's a bit lardy now. Still, not too many hills at Trafalgar Park. - Bob

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Foam roll-downs

Anxious to Compare and Contrast, I took the newly built, but not yet photographed (a mistake as will be seen) fairing to a certain hill I know and love, and did roll-down tests before the forecast rain that didn't happen. (The above is of the tailbox only, which information I include for those who imagine I pedal backwards. My tailboxes have been huge ever since a conversation with John Lafford, who (I'm summarising) said 'Make your tailboxes huge'.)

Tailbox only:
25.2 mph

Blue front fairing plus tailbox:

Blue front fairing only:
then I got my cleat stuck while stationary and fell over and snapped most of the wooden slats inside the fairing and cut the top off my little finger on an errant bit of sharp road

No fairings whatever:
25.3 with my RH on the handlebar extension but my LH over my chest
26.0 with my RH on the inner part of the handlebar and my RH over my chest

all of which took exactly one hour.

Then a strange man came wandering over from the adjacent field, stubbly (the man, not the field) and dribbling a little, with an elderly shotgun lodged in the crook of his arm. Whereupon I felt I ought to speak to him to explain what was going on.

I said 'I'm just testing different fairings on a recumbent bike because when each is changed, the hill gives me clear results' and the stubbly man said 'Clear results, that's right' dribbling a bit from the corner of his mouth. I said 'I roll down the hill to see how fast I get up to on my computer.' The man said 'My computer, that's right, mm,' and I thought this is strange, he is unable to compose and speak a sentence; all he can do is repeat the last two words I've said. And then I started to think that this is going to be either the most interesting or the most uninteresting conversation I've ever had in my whole life so just to see which, I continued: 'First I put the tail fairing on and roll with that, and then I add the front fairing, and then I see what difference it makes.' 'Difference it makes,' said Stubbly, dribble dribble. At this point I wanted to hug him for having survived for so long despite being completely and wholly stupid but then I began to think of those horror movies that used to come on Channel 4 on a Thursday night where a Perfectly Innocent American Person goes into the woods and meets a Strange American Person Who Already Lives There and all sorts of unpleasantnesses that I'd rather not remember ensue. So I hurriedly set off in a southerly direction and was swiftly followed by a volley of shots.

(Okay. Maybe some of this is untrue. Maybe I just wanted to add a bit of colour to an otherwise bland account. )

So we can conclude that my fairings are rubbish, if we are to be honest and objective. And I wonder if this is partly because of the large hole - well, the non-floor - which creates colossal drag. Neglecting the hideous knobbly shape. Pictures will have to follow when - if - it ever gets repaired. Anyway this provoked the following angst-ridden exchange:

Uh? It seems that the tail fairing on its own makes no difference, indeed possibly a minor decrease in speed. The front fairing does make an improvement. The front fairing + tailbox is even better. Do you concur? I'm impressed that you can take a hand off whilst riding. There is no way I can do that on the ratracer. It is *pissing* down here at the moment and I am sat sitting here on my stool in a medium sized puddle having got thoroughly drenched on the way to work 'smorning. I've just read the paper and it gleefully reports a big depression that will cause a lot of weather later this week and at the weekend. At least I'll be able to get some planking done on the fairing. Incidentally I threw a sheet over the frame last night to get an idea of the shape and I was surprised how large it is. It is 20" wide at the widest point and this looks enormous. - Bob

Whenever I've made fairings, front and rear, 's orlways been the same. The tail adds *at best* half a mile an hour, the front adds about a mile an hour, and both together add a further half mph. But my level-ground racing speed is too slow for the tailbox to collect separated flow and reattach it. My brother tells me that his recumbent motorbike tailbox is very significant. Mind he does have a very good front fairing too. Implication of Hucho (p311) is you need a big rear section and a fairly high Reynolds number before air re-attaches once it's separated. I forget what my Reynolds number is - I worked it out once - but it was significantly less than the lorries Hucho was describing.
The present tailbox in earlier roll-down tests gave me an extra 0.36 mph at 23/24 mph. This is a whisker less than I had expected, but even so I was surprised by the result showing a reduction in speed with the tailbox. To be statistically valid, I need a *lot* more trials but they take a huge amount of time to do, and as the morning wears on the wind gets up so you have to stop. One problem is that I notice myself tensing, even during a roll-down, and when I relax I go faster. This *might* be because I flop lower down in the seat when relaxed, but there may be other reasons that I haven't figured out yet. I do know the gain is small, and it's also highly variable between runs.
In Engerland, fair Engerland, there was a hill outside Barrow on Soar which after a gentle slope getting me to 20 mph and holding it there for a good steady 200 yards where I could read off my (realistic) road speed, then dropped away to a valley floor where I hit 30mph before slowing up on the other side of the valley. The impact of tail fairings was much bigger at the higher speed.
Example: Paudy crossroads to Walton, 13.12.97.
MWB touring machine with large foam tailbox: 21.5 mph, max at bottom of hill 30 mph
Same with tailbox removed: 21 mph, max at bottom of hill 28.5 mph. - R

Monday, May 18, 2009


Much erudite safety discussion between Senior Chief Scientifick Advisor (me, obv.) and Office Junior (Mr R G Knight Esq.):

Numero un. I'm sort of nearly finishing my foam affair, and want to reiterate that it feels really weird riding a machine where you can't see your feet. So if the NACA duct is still in the planning stages I want to say a word in support of making it big enough to peep through and satisfy your curiosity from time to time as to the number of teeth on your chainring. - R

1) yes I agree. I'll see what I can arrange with the duct when I come to do it. Possibly make the base of the duct from clear to give a line of sight down inside the fairing, ha, to see a computer as well. - Bob

Numero deux. Much worried by your spinning out at 64kph. That's 40mph. It is possible that you'll be able to hold higher speeds on the boring oval of Trafalgar park than on the open roads. What d'you think the possibility is of riding over 40 miles in this hour attempt? -R

2) not much I can do about that now. to be honest the thought of cornering at 64kph scares the willies out of me. I have nowhere to practise controlled cornering around here. I have tried to measure the radius of Trafalgar Park on google and compare with known corners around here but the corners on the roads here are not as tight. - Bob

Numero three because I can't remember the French. Hang on, Trois. When (sic.) you fall off at 40 mph, what will happen to the corriboard skin? Will it melt in short order and add excruciating pain to the scraped flesh? I know that foam has a very good protective effect when falling off at 25 mph because I very kindly performed this experiment some years ago. (Wet leaves. Sharp corner. Exuberant riding.) Rob English told me the Kevlar protected him when he went down at Battle Mountain. I can't imagine you'll want to be wearing sharkskins inside the fairing. - R

3) Corriboard is meant to be OK in a crash, but the skin will only be 3mm and possibly not even that where my arms are. Crashing also scares the willies out of me. Having crashed once before at 35mph I have no wish to do it again. I watched the Battle mountain crash on you tube and the kids and Steph saw it. We were a bit quite for a while. - Bob

Numero four. Quatre I mean. There is a great big long thing in front of the front wheel pivot. Andreas Fuchs
warns us of flat sides wh. are esp. vulnerable to sidewinds. Great lengths of bodywork forward of the front wheel are also likely to make the thing sensitive to sidewinds. Ergo, is there somewhere/somewhen you can practise where there isn't any wind? Traf Park should be okay in the early morning for the run; I'm concerned about pre-race practice. - R

4) If I find the thing a handful, I'll just stop. Simple as that, I'm not risking my neck when I can do it again another day. - Bob

Numero five. (Bother. Cinq.) Foam for the arm-hole slits? - R

5) yes , I can envisage exactly that, I think it could work quite well. The pressure and lack of time on this is causing me much anquish. I do not like to operate under these condition. - Bob

Anyway, I was glad to see the duct appear, as it did, when the top planking started to get done.

Driver Error

Driver stupidity is a factor that we prefer to ignore but shouldn't. Rob Hague, I vaguely recall, was once arrested and interrogated for assaulting a woman in a Range Rover from the safety of his Greenspeed Trike. - Don't try this at home, because if you attack a Range Rover while seated in a Greenspeed Trike the Range Rover might win. Rob Hague, of course, is sixteen feet tall and weighs eight hundred pounds and has the Speaker's Mace, in iron and twice as big, attached to his wrist so when he assaults a Range Rover the woman in the Range Rover comes off worst and has to go crying to the Police about the matter. (Actually it is possible I have made a mistake: it is possible that the Range Rover Assaulted Rob Hague, but swift reporting by the woman driving the senselessly oversized vehicle seemed to have prejudiced the Police's views on the matter. And maybe Rob Hague isn't as big and threatening as I've made him out to be.)

Anyway, John got knocked off his bike going to school today. Stationary in the middle of the road about to turn right; woman coming onto the road from the left didn't see him through the pillar of her windscreen. She was horrified and brought him home uninjured, with slight munting to the bike, but the derailleur hanger's bent and the derailleur may be and his saddle's thoroughly scraped and so's the rear rack and the pannier was all scrunched up and busted inside and his rucksac (inside the pannier) has a busted strap clip. I now have to persuade the Police to take no action against her, because I can't see that it would do any good. She was very contrite and volunteered to make good all damage, and I think she was just mighty relieved he wasn't hurt.

As I say, driver error is something we need to allow for, at least until I am given authority to control motor vehicle driver licensing with a .303.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

First Ride

Virtually all of this post is from Bob. In fact all of it. No virtuals at all. I have just done some strategic editing so that passing clergymen and social workers are not unduly disturbed by the use of certain concise terms.
As you can see much progress over the last week or so although not too much this weekend as I have just got swine flu or something, probably. I've been feeling very average this weekend.

I've been able to ride it up and down the garden in this state, although a worrying thing emerged. In order to fit into the fairing as it is, my arms and partickly my elbows have to be held very close to my body. This renders the machine unrideable. It seems you need that little bit of give to cushion the natural movement as you ride. If you are rigid it all goes very wrong quite quickly. It makes sense but it still surprised me. I think I will have to cut arm holes in the sides of the fairing so that I can still steer it. This will unfortunately make it less aerodynamic but will make it rideable at least and as a bonus it means I will probably be able to self start (maybe). Possibly I could cover the arm holes with lycra with a slit in or something.

I took it for another ride on Saturday. I did the full White Rock road again but this time I rode from my house since I'm more confident with the steering now. So another 50km of practise including the (deleted adjective) Ashley Bridge which is very scary on a normal bike let alone a low racer with dodgy handling. I also have to stop at right hand junctions and get off, wheel it over and restart when no cars are coming. I managed to average 39.1kph including the town and the restarts. Lots of very fast straight bits of road and on one stretch I spun out at 64kph. The handling is becoming more natural but I still worry about fast corners. On the way back into Rangiora I usually skirt around the town and come down West Belt (50kph limit) to avoid riding through the town. So I'm riding down West Belt at 50kph (it's slightly down hill) and a (deleted descriptive term for a person of whom the writer disapproves) in a car comes out of a side road from my left and slams on the brakes at the last minute. It's pretty scary when cars do that. He then overtakes me very slowly and indicates left and moves left whilst only just in front of me; remember I'm doing 50 at this point. He realises his error at the last moment and slams his brakes on whilst just in front of me. Now, I always thought drum brakes were quite good, partickly on smaller wheels, however I can reliably inform you that they do not stop you as fast as you sometimes need to. I stopped in time by mere inches. He then puts the car into reverse because he can't see me anymore and he's missed his driveway. Until I shout loud enough to get his neighbours out. His excuse? I was going too fast. (Another deleted term giving Mr Knight's views on the driver concerned.) Of course I'm now in a Very High Gear with a small audience, not fun. I'm believe I probably informed him exactly how scary the experience was from a cyclist's point of view.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Foam Rival

Now because Mr Knight is but a youth, a stripling, he has strength and vigour on his side. Accordingly my fairing has to be far better than his, and this is easily accomplished by dint of my exquisite craftsmanship. (I am not so foolish as to attempt the NZ Hour Record, however.)

My notebook claims this handsome khaki fairing sits on my fourteenth bike but I wouldn't be deceived by that because several of the marques were complete rebuilds of existing machines and some were but frames which got handed to distant cousins for completion. Anyway I think this was taken in 1997 and it shows the foam fairing made out of Pte Cruikshanks's ex-army foam carrymat which I bought for the sum of four pounds fifty pence from Anchor Surplus of Nottingham and since Pte Cruikshanks's was only of ordinary size, several other soldiers' sleeping mats as well but they didn't write their names as boldly or even at all so I don't know who they were.

This foam is 10mm thick and it glues readily with Evostick or whatever other contact adhesive you happen to patronise. My favourite was Thixofix. Sixothix. Fixothix. I never knew what it was called and only enjoyed it because my father-in-law spent his last years trying to pronounce it without any success whatever. (He was Hungarian.) You can obtain it for free by walking round the back of the Derby Road Gate of Wollaton Park in Nottingham and mugging one of the glue sniffers. Spherical curves are obtained by snipping bits of foam out and tugging the edges together and the contact adhesive sticks the bits to your fingers, mostly, and you have to do a whole bout of washing up to soak it off.

I imagine someone has Youtubed this technique but the children use up all our Internet access on pirated episodes of the Vicar of Dibley so I can't check. This particular fairing - I said it was handsomer than Paul Lowing's - was free-standing with the most minimal framework and though it allowed free tearing during a race (the pic was taken immediately after Curborough one year, and the square flappy bit is where I hadn't *quite* allowed for heel clearance), it was quite difficult to build without a mould.

Anyone with half a brain will consult John Tetz but fancying I could manage with framework rather than a mould, I consulted Bryce Day (that's his name) who made our kitchen and whose parents made all the coffins for Motueka and who had the Funeral Business and gave us and likely everyone else a fridge sticker with 'Have A Nice Day' on it. They really did.

Bryce erroneously thinks I'm a loony so he hurriedly gave me access to all the cedar offcuts in his skip to get rid of me, and as they're 2.2mm thick and 26mm wide, they bend very easily and all you need is a scrap of double-thickness corrugated card, such as is obtained from a bike box, as your gluing template. Bend and periodically introduce a spacer and bind the glued joint with a strip of rubber inner tube and you have extravagantly light-weight curved frames.

When all is done, glue them together and sit inside and pedal and see if there's toe clearance. It requires no plans at all, and is fun to do, provided you're addicted to glue, which may well be the case if you live near Wollaton Park.

Engineering tribulations

Today le chausseure est sur l'autre foot, as a Frenchman would very probably say if he knew what it meant and also couldn't remember how to say pied, because I am very reluctantly forced to seek Mr Knight's engineering opinion. Mr Knight's father was an engineer as was mine, but Mr Knight Snr has the advantage over Mr Middleton Snr in that he's alive. (Axshually I generally contact my brother who's yet another engineer and who gave me 'zackly the same information only quicker, but this blog is currently dedicated to the Daring Exploits of Mr Knight.)(Persons wishing to see what my brother gets up to in his spare moments have to Google 'Arthur Middleton FF' where they will be dismayed to find that he uses large engines in his recumbents.)


Immediately tell me how to fix my micrometer which I am disconcerted to see is whicked (1). It's a Starrett, and as far as I know was always fine. It measures 0 at the 0 setting, but 9.99 on a 10mm Guering drill shank, and 3.97 on a 4mm drill shank. This mis-measurement seems consistent on all the drills I put through it including brand new ones. - R

That's because drills are not accurate. My father chided me for doing exactly that, measuring drill shanks - even really expensive ones aren't. I suspect that your micrometer is fine, but to properly test it you need to get hold of some test pieces to compare. Some micrometers have them included; most don't however. Alternatively measure some silver steel which is ground to fairly precise tolerances. Lots of progress on the fairing this weekend, pictures later after I had me tea. - Bob

We assume 'e 'ad 'is tea because later in t'evening came the following:

I tested the hot glue on the corriboard and if I leave the glue gun for a full 5 minutes, I'm then unable to break the glued joint. It is very strong. - Bob

There followed some gluing, resulting in an encouraging development and if I could be bothered to go and consult my book on aeroplane fuselage construction I would use the Correct Term. As it is the photo will have to do:

Next young Mr Knight learns something about seats, which I being just Wonderful had already told him but he being Stupid had dismissed as irrelevant:

I extended the top temporary fairing to cover my knees and discovered that I needed an extra 5 mm for comfort. So that was handy. I also discoverd that I will need to put in a lumbar and a neck support to maintain the correct position, since slipping just a little makes a difference to the clearances. - Bob

In fact it was a Foreigner who told me about the neck support and I wish I could remember his name but it was at least ten years ago and my Brane is week and feeble with age. Anyway what this is is this. If you support your head then your brains get jiggled and eventually fall to pieces inside your skull. If you can somehow support the base of your neck to keep it upright, then the head balances nicely on top of the neck and less brain jiggling takes place.

However more tribulations were on the way:

Whatever possessed my wife to light a fire in Maud without putting a four-inch piece of industrial hacksaw blade in it? So now just before bed I have had to sacrifice a large handful of twigs in order to get it red hot and allow it to cool overnight. Sometimes I really wonder if she has a brain at all. - R

OK, I'll bite. So why do you need an annealed 4" peice of high carbon steel? What zackly are you making?- Had a fuck up last night, I cracked one of Gavin's welds on the Ratracer steering. I'll put a frankenbolt through for now and get him to reweld before the race. Other than that, just panicking that I don't have enough time left to finish the thing. - Bob

I never did tell him why I wanted a piece of annealed high carbon steel, and I don't propose to tell you either, mostly because it adds an air of mystery to the proceedings. I'm not going to tell you what Maud might be either for the same reason. (Axshually Maud is the name of one of our sheds. We have sheds, in New Zealand, and a good deal of scenery, and an awful lot of weather, and quite a few earthquakes - there was a little one last night - but not many people.)

1. Whicked. A New Zealand spelling. The Wh is pronounced F, as in Whakarewa Street (pr. Fucker-reewer Street. - No, that's true, and it's where the children's High School is). The i is pronounced u, as (famously) in Fush and Chups.

Another useful New Zealand word is 'munted.' I very much doubt if I will be able to complete this account without using it.

fairing mount

Ye Olde Nexte Steppe is to work out how to mount the fairing. Mine get mounted on rubber exhaust bobbins from Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis's Mini, which annoyingly have 5/16UNF thread or something, so when you grope about on the workshop floor for an 8mm metric nut it doesn't fit. Anyway the rubber bobbins allow things to wobble about and generally are an organic sort of thing and I recommend them, which recommendation I naturally assume everyone in the Entire World will now defer to, according me appropriate honours.

Mr Knight is troubled by the business of fixing something to an irreplaceable Burrows Ratracer which lacks natural mounting points and is made of a slippery bit of round stuff that you can't weld to. (To which you can't weld. Shut up, pedant.)

I've now got the top mounts completed and the actual spine complete. (The spine is 8mm corriboard which he reports is very stiff.) The mounts are bolted to the corriboard and then the whole assembly zip tied to the frame; there is a layer of the apple crate foam twixt frame and mount, they seem secure although a bottom mount down near the seat will be a must as you suggested. (See? See? at every stage the boy comes grovelling to me on bended kn. for advice admonishment suggestions sagacity and experience. )

And a side view:

Now starting to work on the ribs which should progress reasonably quickly. I'll make them all in cardboard first before I cut any more of the 8mm corriboard which is expensive.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fairing begins

It has now been established

1. that I know Everything and

2. that Bob Knight knows Absolutely Nothing Whatsoever and so he has to consult me, always, to find out what to do next.

Accordingly I guided him smoothly onto the next stage by sending him a Fantastick Pickchure of how I'm building my own fairing, which of course will be much better than his. My fairings are always of foam, because foam is stretchy and bendable and silent and protective in a fall and cheap (the stuff blows out of apple crates and litters the roadside in 4x8 sheets) and they are always incredibly beautiful. Well, more beautiful than Paul Lowing's tailboxes.

My technique this time is to use a cruddy old mount and jam a sheet of cardboard (bike box) on it and then glue thin strips of cedar to blocks of willow and thereby make a 3D mount which weighs nothing.

Mr Knight is entranced and impressed by this technique, which he has only ever used a great many times when a schoolboy to make model aeroplanes. Accordingly:

Attached photo is of tonight's work As you can see the big effort at the moment is to get the dimensions correct around the feet. I'm going to extend the top bit to include my knees and trim a bit off so I can ride it down the street and check clearance; so far so good. I think effort spent on this now will be tres beneficial since it will prevent rework later. I can *just* start off in the lowest gear with the 'normous chainring. I will need to do this a few times I think. - Bob

Possum Bars

Mr Knight who is a toe-rag and scumbag and Foolish Person asked what to bring to New Zealand and instantly I replied 'a lathe' and being a t-r., s. and F.P. he ignored me and on arrival discovered how vastly clever I am because having grown up with one he really wanted a Myford Super Seven but such as appeared for sale were what engineers call Knackered. New Zealand has a low population of lathes.
Yet being a guardian angel I magicked a Super Seven out of the ether in gloriously perfect condition. (In passing, Norm Milne of Stoke, the gentle old man who had cared for this lathe - old lathes never die - had preserved it in lanolin for fifty years from the salty Nelson air. Norm was a star of Nelson Model Engineering Club.) For the record it cost $NZ 1600, which since that's only about six or seven hundred quid is the finest bargain ever known among lathe owners. As I say, Norm Milne was a gentleman.
The following e-exchanges now took place. (We can record them accurately. Mr Knight lives six hours away. All discourse is by e.)

It now occurs to me that I will need a higher range of gears. I *think* my current setup is 53/12 on the rear 559 MTB rim. In all races so far this gear has proved sufficiently high and always gets used. Ideas? - Bob

Biggest one I've got is an unused 58 from a downhill bike. - R

Ha, so what BCD is the 58 chainring? 4 or 5 arm?I suspect that it is either 110mm, standard MTB or 130, shitmano road. The spitfire fund needs to know. - Bob

Il y a five holes sur il. Each hole est 65mm from le next hole. Stamped sur one side it says 'DH 58T BCD 110'. In other matters, my mother-in-law is a horrible old witch. But she's going on Friday. Either we shall be very, very sad to see her go or we shan't, and I'm not going to tell you which. I am going swimming now and will be bitterly disappointed if I tread on a stingray and get killed before she goes. R

Bugger fuck, because my crankset is a shitmano road at 130 BCD. I'll have to buy one and I didn't think 58 was big enough anyway and I bought a 55W glue gun and *lots* of glue sticks today for purposes of sticking corriboardcorrexcoreflutekoretake. Axshully that last one doesn't belong there, it's the Maori word for slacker, I have no comment on that. I made some little jigs last night to try to discover the bounds of whirring feet, but feet whirr differently backwards to forwards and I will need to make some adjustable do dads and go for a short ride to establish this. I also need to make the ratracer tiller steering since the widest point at the moment is the handlebars on full lock (which isn't much). This is turning into an ordeal already. I've just looked at Simon Sandersons pictures of his new streamliner. *Anything* we make is shite in comparison:
Warning: much time wasting could be spent looking at that link. - Bob

Therefore Mr K set up said lathe and promptly made some possum bars and a 64-tooth chainwheel.

The bars were to be welded up by Gavin Keats who is an aircraft engineer and who has built his own aluminium velomobile. This resulted in:

Now then young man, I feel I have been remiss in replying these past few days but I am busier than Talley's PR dept (1). I will try and recap.
1) Gavin Keats is going to weld up the bits for the tiller next Wednesday, that means I can install it very soon and see how bad the handling is, if bad I will ditch it and return to the original bars. In programming terms this is known as a ternary statement and in this case would be written like this:
_handlebars = ((_tiller == ridable ? _tiller : _original);
you didn't need to know that but I'm at work and that's where my head is right now.
2) I have started to make a 64 tooth chainring, this prompted by the shocking price of 'real' chainrings on t'internet. Cheapest I saw was 300 NZ lira dollars. No way. Going ok so far, I *love* my dividing head. I'm slightly concerned that the grade of aluminiumiunmium I have used is too soft, but then it only has to last an hour.
3) I have ordered my Coreflute Correx Corriboard Fluteboard from a plastic shop here in town and will pick it up at lunchtime, I've got 2 sheets of 3mm for skinning the thing and 1 sheet of 8mm + another of 5mm for the structure, think model aeroplane. That's how I did the tailfairing on the Windcheetah. I will experiment with hot glue later and see if I need to use dental floss and tape again. In programming terms this is also a ternary statement, an alternative way of expressing the statement is:
if (_hotGlue + Corriboard == strong){ _construction = _hotglue;}else{ _construction = _dentalFloss + _tape;}
but you didn't need to know that either.
That is all. - Bob

1. Talley's are a local firm who made the national news when it was revealed that people were perturbed to open packets of Talley's Frozen Peas and find then half-full of Black Nightshade berries.

Later, I had the following:

Possum[1] bars are *quite* hard to get used to at first. I rode on the lawn at first and crashed a lot, then began to get the hang of it a little, so this morning I took the Ratracer over the ghastly Ashley bridge and up to Carrs road which more or less goes straight for 19km right into the wop wops. It does wiggle a little and also goes up and down rather a lot as roads do, but because it goes nowhere it is very quiet. Anyway because I was new to the bars and occupying more of the lane than I really should I was taking it relatively easy at first. I averaged 38.2 kph for the 40km with a max of 62kph ( that's ~23.8mph and 38.7mph resp. in old money). The bars are decidedly twitchy and I'm having to learn to ride all over again it seems; however by the end I was able to pedal reasonably hard around gentle bends, but tighter bends had my sphincter all puckered up in an unseemly manner. This will probably ease. The 64T chainring was a great success and I was able to use top gear for extended periods over 50kph with no trouble as long as the road was straightish. I also seem to have a death grip on the bars at the moment; the handling improved when I forced myself to relax when I became aware of it.


[1] not hamster bars, possum bars. Relatively recently introduced and hard to control.

Detailed Plans

I am in receipt of the following email from Mr Knight:

I've been busy tonight. The detailed design doc is to scale and will be exactly what the finished thing will look like. Probably.

Members may recall Mr Knight dandling his two-year-old at Leicester, in the brief hour before he was unable to dandle two-year-olds. That toddler is now an inquisitive eight-year-old and, I am told, needs labels attaching to Mr Knight's lathe to stop him fiddling with the cross-slide settings. Members will further guess, correctly, that Master Knight is named Louis.

NZ Hour Record

Mrs My Wife was on call last night. At 4.30 came a call for a chap who had his arm stuck in a conveyor. The Colonial is congenitally unable to resist fiddling with machinery, to his morphological detriment. If you see a man in the Dominions with both arms and both legs and all of his fingers, then he's probably a new immigrant. It follows that Bob Knight - or such of him as isn't still smeared on Abbey Park Leicester - feels relatively at home here.

Accordingly I have deemed it vital - well, int'resting - well, a way to justify my otherwise pathetic existence - to document Mr Knight's attempt at the NZ Hour Record, which is currently held by Robb Simpson inside Miles's Bean:

Flying 200m 9.758 seconds - or 73.79 kph - or 45.85 mph Teretonga Raceway, Southland
1st May 1993
Hour 49.987 km Denton Velodrome, Hornby, Christchurch

15th June 1994
It was with the very same Bean that Pat Kinch had set the hour record of 75.575 km back in 1989. Robb essentially went at the same pace for 200m, as Pat did for one whole hour.
(Pinched, without troubling myself to ask his permission, from Paul Dunlop, KiwiHPV Hon. Sec.)

I shall endeavour to update these notes regularly and it remains to be seen which of us gets bored first.

The ensuing frantic rash of information is because Mr Knight has already been a-building in his shed, egged on and closely advised by The Heroic Moi as Chief Advisor and Senior Important Person. (Those of you who know Mr Knight will recall that he is unmotivated, of low IQ, has lamentable standards of craftsmanship, a very poor and feeble grasp of bicycle mechanics, and only really exists as a set of muscles. I very kindly make up for all these deficiencies by urging him on.)