Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Handlebar Mod

Well, I survived a day at the Recumbent Retreat. My buddy Mike and I went. He's the one who got me interested in recumbents and velomobiles in the first place. We picked up a flyer at the Human Power Vehicle Challenge at PIR in May, and I knew we had to go, and I'm so glad we did. We rode 46 miles by the time the day was finished. That's 2.5 times farther than I have ever ridden before. It's pretty paltry in comparison with seasoned cyclists, and downright anemic for most recumbent riders, but pretty darn good for me. The bike held up great, and I have to admit I was proud of the looks it got.

I'd been thinking about narrowing my handlebars for a log time. When I ride the I-5 bridge this summer (across the Columbia River) it was tense. My knuckles were only a couple inches from whacking the beams on one side, or the railing in the other. It made for a very slow commute, and after connecting with an electrical box sticking out, I decided I would never ride that path again.

The more I ride the bike, the faster my top speed gets. The faster I go, the more I crave it. So far, my top is 43mph down a very long steep hill. So, whether the decision to chop the handlebars is driven by scraped knuckles or adreneline, I did the dirty deed today. They measured 30" wide before, now they are 27". I removed the bars, then screwed wood blocks to my work table to make a jig. After cutting the tubes on each side, I overlapped them slightly and welded them in place. Following paint and reinstallation I did a quick test ride and I'm very happy with the result. The grips are at the same height as before, just inboard 1.5" on each side. The top pic shows before, middle shows after, bottom shows where I chopped the bars and fillet welded them back together.

Oh, by the way - I've discovered that I weld much better if I wear my reading glasses inside my hood. Duh - old age.



At 7:55 AM PDT, Anonymous mi7d1 said...

Glad you were able to make the Retreat. I'm the owner of the Yellow velomobile that was there.

I got a laugh out of reading you putting on your reading glasses under the welding hood. I too learned that trick last winter and weld much better doing so.



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