Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun with Aero

I used to like doing little experiments with bicycle aerodynamics. When I was doing club ITTs in the early 90s, I had the wheel cover and clip on aerobars. In trying to get more aero, I invented an "aero glove" prototype. It was made from a milk carton and shaped into a fairing (I didn't know this was illegal) that would flow the air around my shoulders and head. I sewed the fuzzy half of Velcro on the knuckle of my left glove, and attached the fairing on the glove that way. I tested it by riding up a hill and coasting down watching my speedometer. I did multiple runs without and with the glove, then averaged. My conclusion was the fairing worked. I coasted faster with the glove than without. I showed up at the next ITT with it, and they wouldn't let me use it. These weren't sanctioned races, but wanted them to be fair. Before I could make the right side glove, I abandoned the idea because it was illegal. 

But before that, way back in the early 80s, I once made a fairing for the front of my Univega* (when it was my only bike) for a non-sanctioned bike race from Columbus, NM (at the border) to Deming, NM (30 miles N on I-10). This was part of the Deming Duck Races, called the Great American Bicycle and Canoe Race. They wanted participants to decorate their bike so I made the fairing out of the aluminum sheeting from the newspaper printing press. It is heavy enough to shape. I then found an aluminum rod and made a frame which I attached to the front rack. The bullet shape fairing was held together with tape since I didn't have a rivet gun. I even made a lower fairing on the struts of the rack. It was all inspired by looking at a Honda Goldwing. I painted the fairing with aluminum paint then used electric tape to make P-40 Flying Tigers shark mouth on the front. It looked cool! I used cardboard and made a boat tail rear fairing on the rear rack but it looked silly so I didn't use it.

Anyway after all that work, I show up at the starting line of this silly race and the "official" looked at my bike and said it wasn't fair. I said that they encouraged to decorate the bikes and this was my decoration. I was the only one who thought about decorating his bike. It was a hokey race, but people were serious about it. About a 2 or 3 miles after the start I flatted and actually stopped and PATCHED my tube. I still came in 3rd place. That shows you the caliber of riders that were in the race. They didn't want to give me a trophy because of the bike...basically I was DQed. Oh well!

*Note:The Univega is a touring bike with straight gauge tubing and cantilever brakes. It had front and rear racks, and probably weight at least 30 lbs. at the start line...not that it mattered.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bali Hai

I'll tell you a story...This pic is somewhat of an experiment on my camera's settings. Didn't really capture the image the way I saw it this morning. 

That is Isla Borracha (Drunk Woman Island), about 6 nautical miles NE of the mainland. It is my Bali Hai (if you know anything about old movies). It looked mysterious and beautiful the way the low angle light plays on those valleys. The first time I saw it, I wanted to go there.

One Sunday way back in early 2002, I paddled across in my kayak (Klepper Aerius II), alone, without telling anyone where I was going. It turned out to be a long open-water paddle that crossed a major shipping lane where I had to wait for a container ship to pass so I would not get run over. 

I thought there would be a place where I could buy lunch, like the other islands off the coast, but there was none; just a ramshackle fishing village, and a neat cove where people take their boats to picnic. 

Though I was bonking hard, I needed get back to the mainland, so I got back in the kayak and paddled back in choppy afternoon seas. I obvious made it back safely, but haven't tried that paddle again. 

Anyway, I still look at this island the same way every time I see it. Bali Hai!