Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hack bike

My wife's mother has died.

Every silver lining has a cloud, and she went to England for five weeks. My wife, not her mother. Her mother was already there; all tidied up inside an urn.

She has now returned (wife, not urn), and immediately prior to her return my son and I indulged in some serious kitchen maintenance, including vigorous floor scrubbing. Accordingly I have developed tennis elbow, which is a lot more painful than it sounds. I wander about in agony, unable to hold a pencil, unable to use a hacksaw, scarcely able to roll into a comfortable position in bed. I am typing this with my left index finger.

 My son observed me being a cripple for a while, and then said:

 "Able was I, ere I sore elbow."

 I haven't been riding a recumbent for a while because winter requires a shorter chain, which = less of a nuisance after a rainstorm, and a hack had got itself built some months ago.

Initially it was my wife's friend's racing bike from university thirty years ago, but even replacing his 27 x 1 ΒΌ wheels with 700c did not give me enough room for mudguards. - In passing, 700x32 Specialized All Condition tyres are luxurious to ride on, but much more comfy at 70 psi than at 100, and not much slower either.

It was not a very well cared-for student bike, and my estimate was that it was worth maybe $20 with cables like this.

But it had the merit of being free. Until I broke my $70 Ofmega spanner on the crankset.

I said "Oh bother" or words to that effect.

 In the end I used one of the zillions of old frames that people see fit to give you when they notice that you already have zillions of them cluttering the rafters of your shed.

Lacking an elbow I was not in a mood to ride drop handlebars for my daily exercise quotient. The Duplo bike has been upside down for several months while I fail to work out a neat method of converting the front wheel to a drum brake, which is required because the Vee brake cable interferes with the mudguard. (The mudguard was supposed to be for the winter.)

So I got out one of the trikes, and not having ridden in the recumbent position for months, I can now report that it is perfectly true, you do use different muscles. The big bulgy-out muscle on an upright leg, the one at the side that makes you wear jodhpurs, is no use at all on a recumbent. You need a big bulgy one that goes from your outside hip to your inside knee, a sort of diagonally-muscle-bulgy-thingy, if you see what I mean. - A useful addition to the world's knowledge, esp. if you chance to be an anatomist.

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