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Monday, April 22, 2013

Unintentional outcome of being knocked off my bike

23rd July 2013 was a beautiful sunny Monday morning and after spending the day with my family in the park for my daughters first birthday I was in a good mood to say the least. BLLLAMAMMMMM –car pulls out of a side road and it all changes.

After picking myself up off the road and giving my bike the once over it has become clear that underneath the cover of adrenaline something is not quite right.

Swapping details (this then becomes an issue for ambulance chasers) and I get back to going to work for an important meeting I have now missed in some discomfort - Turns out later at the hospital I have done my neck in in the tumble.

Looks like the road bike is out for a while and I try each of my mountain bikes but no joy, I just can’t support my body weight for any length of time.

Up steps Steve with an introduction to a friend of his Miles that has a recumbent I can borrow for a while until I recover, turns out its one of the ones he used to make under the name Kingcycle.

Kingcycle Recumbent
Picking it up I get the tour of the bat cave and see all the kit to make bespoke streamline racers for the BHPC races. I'm like a kid in a sweatshop, and spend about two hours talking geeky bike stuff.

Okay so for those of you that haven’t ridden a recumbent before they are very different and it took me about 15mins before I could ride in a straight line and start and stop with cornering coming after a little while longer.

This Yellow Peril became my daily commuter with the box on the back holding a laptop and kit nicely.

I started to get on with it and although had a few wobbles was enjoying the ride and the attention from all and sundry that have never seen anything so odd flying through Maidenhead.

Then Sam calls – he has just picked up another Kingcycle and suggested we go along to the last round of the race series at Hillingdon. Okay let’s go.

Racing was hilarious and all sorts of odd machinery were on track – Sam and I watched the fast race and was shocked at the pace out on track. 40mph through the 1st corner was on the cards for the top Streamliners and over 30mph for the rest.

Fast race: video

We then followed out in the slow race wobbling around somewhat slower than the previous race, but I did laugh a lot and had some fun racing with a couple of other riders for a few laps. I eventually came in 1st which would have placed me in about 15th overall including the fast race. I was then told I would have to ace in the fast race in future GULP.

Riders eye view: video

My shoulder got better slowly and I reverted back to my road bike and handed back the Yellow Peril, but was offered if I wanted to race again to be in touch… Oh yes please.

So onto 2013 and the first round again at Hillingdon, Miles was kind enough
to lend me his Quattro Velomobile; hand built 4 wheel streamlined pedal car

My Racer with the roof

View from the start line

The winning Streamliner with its roof off

Oh my god – that’s a bit quicker as I did my first few practice laps. Cornering was now a flat out affair still cranking hard on the pedals and just pulling hard on the steering levers. A bike this was not, more a sports car with a sweaty engine.

View from inside: video

So out for the first race was a one lap time trial from a standing start, not great when your “bike” alone weighs in at about 70lbs.  Once up to speed I didn’t disgrace myself and was near the top of the field. It was then time to get in a couple more practice laps, sit back and watch the slow race and wait to go out again.

Lining up on the start I positioned myself near the back of the field to not hold anyone up, big mistake, and off the line was swamped by the smaller lighter two wheelers before I could get up some steam and start overtaking but I was still back in about 10th and losing ground to the front runners squeezing through the traffic on what seemed now a very narrow track.
Onto the back straight and time to open up the throttle, racing another Streamliner at over 30mph into the start line corners was awesome fun and took a lap or two to finally squeeze out a gap and slot into fourth place overall, but third was well gone but I think I was catching up slowly. 
13 laps in and I zigged when I should have zagged and locked up a wheel avoiding a slower rider I was lapping and that was it, lightweight race tyres do not like emergency braking at speed and pop went my one of my tyres.

Riders eye view: video

Fun over for the day but happy with my laps with average 27mph for about 30mins of racing and top speed of 34mph looking at the finishing times I would have caught third place and had a ding dong for that position. Maybe next time – oh yes so much fun I am going back…

Next time is at a bigger race circuit – Castle Coombe – 9th June and I will be blagging another racer from Miles for that so come along and have a look and bring a bike and you can join in. 


Gary Colet said...

23rd July 2013? Is this a premonition? I'd stay off the road when that day comes if I were you!
Kid in a sweatshop? I thought that was made illegal in Dickensian times. I would have preferred somewhere that sold Walnut Whips.

atthesummit said...

Ahh yes - that day too...

Its travelling at 88mph that caused all the issues with dates..

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