Recumbent trike for sale – HP Velotechnik Scorpion 20fs

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I am now sold on riding on two wheels, so am offering the following excellent recumbent trike – specified for commuting or touring for sale.

HP Velotechnik Scorpion 20fs recumbent trike – £2900 ovno

  • Grey-blue paintwork – excellent condition, but not quite perfect
  • Suspension front and rear (100 kg rated rear spring)
  • 20” wheels all round
  • 27 speed – Dual Drive Hub paired with 9 speed Shimano cassette (min. 19 Gear Inches)
  • Shimano ‘Dura Ace’ bar end shifters
  • HPV Parking brake built into both front brake handles.
  • HPV Mesh seat (std size)
  • SKS Mudguards
  • Original HPV rear rack
  • Schwalbe Triker tyres
  • Two mirrors
  • Adapted Cateye Cycle Computer and ‘Paul’ Headset Mount
  • Cable oilers fitted to both gear cables (to avoid freezing in wet winters)

 Purchased new in September 2012, 2300 miles ridden since then. Serviced every six months in line with HPV’s instructions.  More pictures here.  All enquiries via this blog or PM me via the Bentrider forum as weston.front.

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The Spine of England Cycle Tour – or ‘bent over the Pennines!

Day 1 – Haltwhistle to Appleby-in-Westmorland – 57 miles

 When pondering what to do for our next holiday, Mrs W came up with an interesting and very generous idea. ‘Why don’t you find a route you want to ride, and Junior and I will drive along in the [camper] van as your support vehicle, meeting you for lunch and each evening.’ So I found a topographical map of the UK with all the long distance Sustrans trails overlaid on it – Route 68, or the ‘Pennine Cycleway’ jumped out as being an ideal length and also, given the terrain, a good route to ride supported rather when hauling panniers.  Ideal for the Metabike.

A long stretch of the Northern end of route 68 is on ‘non road’ cycle routes. A helpful blog account of someone else’s experience of the ride told me this would be far from ideal on my very rigid recumbent, so I started on the Northumbria border at Haltwhilstle.

The start of the ride

The start of the ride

The initial cycle-route was tarmac paved and a pleasure to ride along. However after a few miles the surface changed to cinder track – OK – and then to crude hogging and then ran mostly in tree lined cuttings. The surface required a a good deal of concentration meaning I could not look at the view, and then in the cuttings there was nothing to see but trees anyway. Luckily my GPS Map told me I was about to come alongside the A689 which also went to my next waypoint of Alston. Normally I’d avoid A roads, but it seemed a better option so I hopped off onto it. In fact it was quiet, and for anyone wishing to ride this route who wants to see the gorgeous Northern Pennines rather than tree lined cuttings I would recommend it. It runs all the way from Haltwhistle to Alston.

 The route then continued on the road and took me towards the infamous Hartside. I had memories of climbing over this 1900’ hill from two years previously as it also features on the C2C route. Last time we had approached it from the West and into a headwind blowing at a bracing Force 7 (I did see one lad blown over backwards – akin to a wheelie going to far – by the wind last time…). Ironically I found myself facing a headwind again despite now approaching from the East! However, not only was it only very modest, I experienced the benefit of riding recumbent and it had very little impact on me at all. Hartside, I’ve now come to learn, is an easier prospect from the East. It is a longer, more gentle and more consistent gradient.   Nevertheless getting to the top felt good.

Hartside Summit

Hartside Summit

The route then took me on flatter ground with the hills to my right. Lovely views tracked me all the way to Dufton. This was were I was ‘due’ to stop for the day. But it was only 1430, I felt good and the campsite looked less than inviting so after a call to the support crew we decided to meet up for the night in a campsite just outside Appleby. The final sweep into Appleby was glorious, with a slight downward slope following a very pretty stream into the outskirts of the town. Ideal ‘bent terrain which I enjoyed to its best employing the ‘big cog’ and getting up a good speed until reaching the town itself. A close look at the map suggested that it would be possible to bypass the town and cut a couple of miles off of my ‘extended’ day by taking advantage of a footbridge across the River Eden. After then a total of 57 miles I met up with the family and the van for the night.

Coming soon – ‘bent over the Pennines Day 2 : Appleby to Castle Bolton via Tan Hill…

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On yer bike again..and a rant

westonfront:

A good list from James which all car drivers should read. If every one road a bike for a while then we’d all be better drivers (not just a flippant comment, but a statistically proven fact)

Originally posted on Bike Around Britain:

It’s been great getting back on my bike again over the last few weeks, after a significant pause due to travelling for work and being otherwise busy. I turned 39 over the weekend and have resolved to try and manage my work-life balance a bit better, and to get healthier both in body and spirit. Being totally focused on the job just isn’t good for oneself, and actually makes you less productive at work; starting to write my blog again will no doubt keep me motivated.

The last major cycling I did was back in March when I took a holiday in Tenerife with my brother, sister-in-law and their kids. It was a great break, and Tenerife is brilliant for cycling; many a professional team have training camps out there. I hired a bike for a few days and cycled up Mount Teide, Tenerife’s volcano and one of the longest…

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The best (technical) question I think I’ve ever been asked…

Over the thirteen years I’ve been employed as ‘Technical Support’ on various chemical plants and processes I’ve had a good number of unusual requests : What would be the relative stability of iridium verses ruthenium acetate when mixed with soil? Why does the calcium level in our product seem to trend with the extent of local rainfall? What are these cheap carbon monoxide sensor actually made of? Can I tell someone if the black solid coming out of their new plumbing is coming from their old lead piping? The cork is stuck in this wine bottle, do I know clever way to get it out (I did – I used the differential expansion rates of glass (fast) and cork (slow) and heated the neck of the bottle under hot running water).

 But last week I believe I had a question to top them all. “My white horse has poo staining on the skin of his buttocks – what would I suggest to get it off? I’ve already tried bleach, Napisan and oven cleaner.” First let me say I would not advise the application of any of these products to the skin or any animal or any human for that matter. I once worked with a chap you used bleach to remove silver oxide stains from his skin at the end of a shift – it is true that it removed the silver, but it also removed a significant amount of skin (so don’t try this one at home.)

 I wondered if the question came to me because Mrs W is a vet or whether as the senior chemist on site this was a question I would be expected to answer? I like to think the latter, but I guess when my applied biochemistry lectures covered the removal of stains from horses rear quarters I must have dosed off and missed that section.

 In fact advice on the removal of metal / metal salt residues from reactor walls was a relatively common question in my last but one job. However generally this was related to ruthenium or palladium and not poo! However a question is a problem, and a problem can always be broken down and then a solution can be devised by finding the key part of the deconstructed problem. It was fortunate that I had been of enquiring mind when changing the nappy of our son a few weeks ago and was reminded that poo comes in many colours. So my wife being a vet (and thus an expert in all things excreted) I asked, because she was on hand and I’d never pondered the question before in the last 40 years, what is it that makes poo brown? The answer? Old discarded blood cells. So of course the reason behind the colour of blood is the iron in the hemoglobin . So my question was really – how can you solubilise an iron salt impregnated into skin to be able to wash it out? It is clear that the use of bleach (hypochlorite) or nappy cleaner (peroxide) was never going to help.

 So I asked myself – how would I remove iron salts from a reactor? Nitric or hydrochloride acids would both be good choices, but in my case this would be rather bad news for the horse. Then I thought again, what could I use to complex the iron and render it soluble? Well that is something of a schoolboy question when you think like that – EDTA would surely be a great choice. I recall my Ph.D supervisor demonstrating some iron chemistry in a champagne bottle in a lecture and getting his reagent levels a little wrong a coating the first two rows of the lecture theatre in iron oxide – and then a number of us in the lab having a lot of buckets of clothes to clean on his behalf, we used EDTA solutions. To bring this ever lengthening story to a close – it worked. The horse is fit to go to a show in the summer and the groom made me a proposal of marriage she was so surprised that I had suggested something that worked. Of course I politely declined, but figure this was the most effective problem solving I’ve done on site this month and the most obscure question I’ve get been asked in my role as Technical Support. Do keep them coming though…

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The next tour – “Cycling the Spine of England”

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Dreaming

Dreaming

Thinking of swapping the trike for one of these. Need to test ride first though.

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Hebrides – June 2014

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First set with my Cajon

If you follow this blog regularly you could be forgiven for thinking that my one and only passion is cycling, and the uber-niche of recumbent cycle touring at that. My recumbent high racer is fairly new and thus something for which a beginners enthusiasm might be expected to abound. But I’m not just a cyclist – I’m also a Christian and a drummer. These two loves come together when I provide percussion to one of the bands which plays at our church.

I first took up playing drums around 15 years ago, in an attempt to be ‘part of the solution’ to a church stuck in the 1850’s in my home town of the time in Hertfordshire. I’m unsure where I picked up the following principle, but it is one that shapes me, that being ‘You only have the right to complain if you are prepared to help do something about the problem.’ Life moves on and as resident or guest drummer I’ve played with at least six different worship bands since then.

What have I learnt over this time you might ask? (i) That it is better to play with a nice group of people, than a great group of musicians (and if you can combine the two then that’s really good). (ii) It takes 45 minutes to set up and ca. 30 min to break down and pack a rock kit. (iii) One accessory that any drummer needs is either an estate car or a van!   But as of today, whilst (i) remains true, it may be that (ii) & (iii) are not necessarily true any more.

And so when get to the subject of this post – my first set with my Cajon. Firstly here is a picture.

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If you are not familiar with the Cajon as an instrument read this. If you want to know more about the instrument in the picture then look here as well. Whilst you may think as I used to – what can be so great about a plywood box? – let me enlighten you. My DG Bravo is a bass, snare, toms and rim shot all in one, 4 kg box. The tonal variety of a Cajon is simply amazing. Traditionally they would not have been strung as mine is, but this gives me a sharp ‘rock kit’ snare sound and well as an authoritative bass. It really is so much fun to play. I play traditional ‘rock kit’ 4/4 and 8/4 patterns on it, and it really lends itself to this. Interestingly it is also excellent for double bass pedal beats too. My current band is rather different to those I’ve played with before – as well as guitar, keys and harmonizing singers, we also have a violin and recorder. This give a rounded sound with the option of the solo voices of the violin and recorder to add zest to a song. Also, they are a great crowd and forgiving of a self taught drummer who cannot read music.

So how was my first outing with the Cajon? From the number of positive comments from the band and from the congregation I’d say it was a pronounced success. I too loved the whole experience. It is amazing to think that my small plywood box could fill a 300 seater church, but this it did. One thing that led me to the DG Bravo was the fact that the tone was as good when played lightly as when played hard and loud. This is key in a church worship music setting where the tone of our music needs to be anything from reflective to driven, punchy and powerful.

Turn up, unbag the Cajon, sit down it and just play – how refreshing is that, swapping a 45 minute set up time to 10 seconds and swapping a car full to a simple shoulder bag. The Cajon, short on hassle, big on sound – it really rocks!

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A Grand Ride-Out

Today the forecast was for sunshine (an improvement on what was predicted on Friday) so what to do?  Gloss paint our front door or go for a ride? Now much as a love seeing a DIY job complete, there was really no contest.

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Our route out was by the direct easterly path shown above, which had us in Settle by 1030.  Time for tea – and for the lactose intolerant, something in place of cake – a bacon and black pudding butty :-)  A fresh nappy for Weston Junior and it was time to hit the road again.  Since the first 17 miles had gone well we added a loop onto our return journey.  What a good move that was.  Whilst the climb took us to around 900 feet at Tosside, the gradient was always kind to us – good news when you are towing Junior in his trailer.  This proved a good spot for lunch.  Just a hamlet but with both benches and a loo.

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The views from Tosside and from the road linking this to Holden were simply stunning. The Forest of Bowland is a truly lovely place, but this exceeded the norm.

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In total the route was 37 miles, with just 1300 feet of height gain – finding a route as flat as this around here is an achievement in itself, but the gentle gradient up to 900 feet was icing on the cake given the views it afforded.  A great day…

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The Dales Cycleway – a first for the Metabike / a first for Family Weston

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We are now back from the long anticipated first family cycle tour – the first for Weston Junior at 7 months old. Also the first pukka tour on the Metabike.

The Route

For three of the four days we followed the Dales Cycleway, a 130 mile circular route taking in most of the Dales and many of the fells between them too. Since we wanted a four day route I added a 35 mile extension into South Eastern Cumbria which abuts Dentdale to the north.

 The Kit

The Metabike, of which much has already been said on this site, was my steed. To add to the challenge, Weston Junior was in a Chariot Trailer behind me. Add to this the clothing and waterproofs for all three of us and I had a good load to haul.

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The Weather

Mixed – from poor to dreadful!  We were blessed with long periods of heavy rain – with only two significant dry periods during the four days – Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon.

The Conclusions

We have ridden the Cycleway before, in 2011, and it was again lovely in the views it offered and the quiet, yet well surfaced nature of the minor roads it covers. My extension into Cumbria was at least as good as the formal route, and would have been truly spectacular had it not been for the rain. That day started with a good view of the Northern fells of the Dales, and then climbed gently to the top of Tan Hill. As the climb started, so did the rain…  For those not ‘in the know’ Tan Hill is the site of the highest pub in the UK. By the time we reached there at around 1:30pm both adults were soaked and all three of us starving hungry. Luckily the welcome, the open fire and the food were all hot and generously proportioned.

Highlights of the four days were riding across Kengarthdale Moor and then down into Swaledale, and then riding through Coverdale, over Cam Head and down into Kettlewell. The wet weather on the other sections did dampen our spirits however.  Weston Junior was fine in his Chariot, with this keeping out all of the foul weather we received which was, believe me, impressive.

The other new member of the team was my Metabike, and this proved to be the ideal touring bike that I hoped it would be. Supremely comfortable and putting me in a position where I was by default looking up at the view, rather than down at the road. My rubber seat dampeners continued to work well, and with panniers on board I found the rider smoother still.

What it did teach us however, was that despite training, a great bike and packing light, carrying all our gear in addition to towing a trailer was too much for me when faced with long and significant gradients – a major feature of much of the route on all but day three. Mrs W has a weak knee so I have always played the role of ‘pack horse’ on our trips as it allows me to feel well worked and her to ride without pain – a plus point on both accounts. However 20 kg of trailer (Junior included) plus around 10 kg of gear was just too much even for just 35 miles in hilly country. If it were flat it would be OK, but then there would be no views to enjoy – and there’s no fun in that! So in June we plan a series of day rides radiating from one or two base camps. The camping (vs. B&B’s on this trip) will also allow us to make our plans last minute and choose a time of better weather too. So our trials were a cloud, but one with a silver lining – and we all know that a silver lined cloud is a cirrostratus and thus not one to yield rain.

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