Monday, October 09, 2006

3 Kyles & a Gale

SO, whilst reading this, turn on 3 fans really near your face. Then use that wind to imagine what it was like at Casy for the 6hr challenge. WINDY! Cold, but mostly, really WINDY. SO windy, Whoops & her sister, Black Betty, were simply blown over when riding. The wind just lifted the front wheel off the ground & over they went. twice each.

That's Matt racing around, but without the back top... it was too windy to control Whoops fully setup.

And then, to make matters really bad, a rain storm passed trough. SO, before you could say Chester Kyle 10 times fast, the race was abandoned & we all went home!

But, there were 3 copies of the original Kyle Edge racing: my Whoops, Jeff in Black Betty (built by Ben at Trisled, and seen here passing the pits) & Ken in Chain reaction (seen below). Pity the conditions didn't allow us to race at our full potential.
So, hopefully we'll get onto the Holden track soon & with some fine conditions, we'll erally be able to crank these babies up.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Casey 6 hour Challenge preparations

Sunday Sept 24 will see Whoops running in a 6 hour challnge at the new Casey Fields track. We have made a few changes of late to help ride comfortably for that length of time.
1. Ben modified the fork so the crown(top) of the fork is now just above the tyre, with an extension added under the existing steerer tube so the wheel remains in the same position. This will prevent knees knocking the forks, which is very painful.

2. I've made a neoprene cover to fill the gap between the front & rear sections. This will help the airflow significantly, and keep the rider warm. That's Matt in the bike. Matt will be partnering me in the 6hour race. He's even bigger than me, at 194cm tall & 90kg! Never thought I'd need to made Whoops fit someone bigger than me! AS you can see, time for a re-spray.

3. I've installed a landing gear, which allows starting & stopping without the need for putting feet &/or hands on the ground. It works well, though on roads with a severely curved edge, there is a tendency to fall over. When riding, the wheel springs back inside the fairing. When required, I just pull a riope & the wheel pops down. All very simple. Not elegant yet, but simple.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

2 World Records Broken

Well, just to keep us honest, 2 of the 3 world records we are going to challenge have been broken:
Greg K from Canada just added 25km to the 24hr record taking it to 1046km, and 49yr old Fred Markham added 1500m to the hour record to take it to just under 86km.
A New Back

AS you can see, I've made a new back top section for Daily Whoops. It's made of polystyrene (insulation) foam & epoxy. If you look closely, you can see the strips of polystyrene, which I hot glued onto a template, and then covered the whole thing, inside & out, with a very light fibreglass cloth & epoxy resin. This part is really light (under 2kg) but really quite stiff. You can also see my foot sticking out of the new neoprene hole covers. The gap between the 2 top pieces will be filled in soon with stretched neoprene covers.

Here is the back section prior to attaching to the lower body. The template was made of 2 pieces of styrene, and then 40 strips of 12mm thick styrene glued over the top. Without the fibreglass, the structure is pretty fragile. I also made the widest point too high, so will attempt to re-shape the mid section, to bring the widest point lower & improve the airflow around my shoulders. Building this whole structure took about 10 hours all up. I've ordered paint to match the rest of Whoops... Can't have her looking drab now, can we!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Full Battle dress!
SO, I've finally managed to get some pics from the Lang Lang ride, with Whoops in full battle mode. That's Jeff over there taping me in prior to the run. The black thing in front of the windscreen is a NACA duct, which directs air into my face, with apprenetly little increase to the aerodynamic drag.

Now, the astute amongst you will notice you can't see my eyes. Which, by reverse, means I couldn't see yours, if you were hypothetically somewhere in front of me whilst riding. Yes, visibility was NOT good. All I could see was the banking up to my right. I had NO idea where the left edge of the track was. SO i wobbled around the track for 30 minutes, rarely moving into the 2nd lane, mostly staying in the 3rd & 4th lanes. BUT, it was fun cruising along at 55kmh or so.
My helmet was hard up against the bubble, and I felt EVERY bump in the road.

You may also notice the bulge in the join between the front & rear top pieces. Big Shoulders! Somehow, the tap stayed on & I was kept dry. I had tried to seal up the front wheel hole somewhat, so despite the rain, I got out of Whoops pretty dry.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Post DM

So, despite a lack of updates, lots has been happening. Much can be seen at Ben's blog:
Whoops has been ridden by Jeff during training, so I've not had time to ride or modify.
So, when she came home, I decided to make her more road ready... i cut a big hole in the floor, in front of the seat:

Then with considerable skill & patience (i.e. none at all) I cut a piece of 3mm neoprene to size & glued it over the hole. This wil allow me to put my feet down when stopping, but not dramatically reduce the aerodynamic shape of the fairing. The neoprene has actually reduced the overall hole size. If I turn the wheel too far, it'll just nudge the neoprene out of the way, without wrecking it or the tyre. A big hole would slow me down, allow too much wind into the bike, and increase any dust/debri coming in off the road.

My next job is to create a quick easy rear section of the fairing, and then make a neoprene cover to fit between the front & rear top fairing sections. Again, with the aim of allowing easy entry/exit from Whoops when being ridden on the road.

To do this, I'll be using the Burt Ratan mouldless construction method. My front template will be drawn using my back & head outline, and trying to create a smooth transition to the very narrow back end.
More as it happens.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Casey Fields Training Day

Well, so that now y'all know, our rider is Jeff Nielsen. And that's him over there on the left hurtling around a corner. Jeff spent nearly 2 hours in Whoops at Casey Fields on Sunday. Very little wind, cool conditions & little sun all enabled Jeff to have a really productive time. We practised stops & starts to ensure he is confident at those critical times.
We also practised with a camera & video monitor, but of course the sun chose that time to come out! And thus blow up another camera. Any one out there with experience in small rugged video cameras? We need help here, badly.

Have you heard of Casey Fields? A new 2.2km circuit just out of Cranbourne. Completely new surface, traffic free, long sweeping corners, small undulations. A really great training & racing environment. Check out the Bicycle Victoria press release:

Finally, check out Jeff in a long shot... Doesn't Whoops look fab in the distance? Once we get the front wheel cover & bubble affixed, she'll look really schmick.

We're expecting to pull the 2 halves of Sled Edge tomorrow. Then we'll get very stuck into building V2.0

Sleep well.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Whoops 2 - Sled Edge is born

Today Ben, Ken & I spent a day working on the 2 halves of fairing #2, which will be used as the bike for our attempt on the hour record. This fairing is a mixture of carbon, Klegecell foam & S glass. Day one saw us lay the first skin & foam ( in 2 separate processes). We hope to add the 2nd layer of cloth (the sandwich layer) tomorrow, and begin the joining process early next week. On the left you can see the back left section of the fairing with the carbon fibre laid in (at a 45 degre angle to make the curves fill easier).
As this is to be a Trisled bike, Ben has chosen to honour it's creator, Matt Weaver, and has chosen the name Sled Edge. There will be a large number of innovations in this bike. Stay tuned for pics & info soon. We are hoping for the first ride in less than 2 weeks. Here's hoping. Bye for now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A reminder of what I do.... Mostly I sweat a lot.
When I get to 80, and look back on my life, I'm going to realise I spent a disproportioinate amout of time wet: Swimming, sweat from cycling & running, showering because of the former activities. At least I've been moving!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Yesterday I fixed up the 2 biggest problems with Whoops.

  1. Calf catching the derailleur as I push forwards
  2. Knee hitting the handlebar as I recover my leg

You can make these things out on the left... There's not too much spare room in there once the cover's on! So, I made a few changes to the mid drive....

The Mid drive is a step up gear arrangement. As it was, the initial drive was geared, and the final drive was single speed. You see, there are 2 chains in there.

So, now, I modified the mid drive & the wheel.

I shifted the multiple gears down to the wheel, along with the derailleur. The mid drive is only 2 cogs now. So now I have a much straighter hip to ankle line & I can push harder.

I'll give you some numbers. Front chainring is 52 teeth, Mid drive is 15 & 32 teeth. Wheel cogs are 28 through 11. In the biggest gear, 1 turn of the pedals rotates the wheel 52/15 x 32/11 = 10.08 times. So, at a pedal speed of 100 revs per minute (fast but not extreme), we'll be sitting on 1607 m/minute, or 96.5kmh. Push up to 120 rpm, and we'll be riding at 115kmh.

I also cut the handlebars a bit narrower, which should prevent the knee banging. I will eventually install a second brake, but not sure where I'll put the lever!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

World Record Attempt
Well, the gods of speed have decided that Whoops is in need of a challenge. SO we have accepted this , and thus, Ben & I are going to have a crack at the elusive Dempsey Macready Prize: Breaking 90km in one hour under only human power!!! The attempt will be made before July 1, as that's when the prize will be awarded.
So, what does this mean to Whoops. Well, it means Whoops will be handed over to a far better rider, yet to be confirmed, as a training bike. Ben will build an all new Whoops. And we will have a most challenging 7 weeks.
Venue is resonably critical, as the rules of the DM require at least on lap to be completed, and the start & finish points need to be within 5km of each other. So, we are on the lookout for a super smooth banked track... Car manufacturers testing tracks seem the most likely. There are 3 of these in Victoria, so these will be assessed soon.
We are in need of some sponsorship, as the new bike will cost a fair bit, plus all the incidentals. Offers? Fabulous!
So news soon about venue & rider & new bike & opportunities, stay tuned.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Daily Whoops... When we first made a shell for Whoops, we made a few mistakes, and ended up with a shell that was useable but pretty rough. SO we decided to make another one. Which is what you've seen in the posts before. But, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to use the top half of the not so good first shell, cut it into 2, and create a version of Whoops I can get into & launch all by myself. Viola, Daily Whoops.
This will allow me to ride her without any additional help. It will also train me to pedal in a confined space, learn to lean steer, and generally allow me to become more familiar with the riding of such an unusual bike. Test ride will be tonight at the velodrome.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Perhaps I will fit... This is a pic of Sam Whittingham, the current world record holder in the flying 200m (81mph/130kmh) & 1 hour (84.5km) sitting in his bike, the Varna Diablo, before the lid is put on.
Also notice the very low tech seat, and the very narrow back wheel.
So, this pic inspires me to believe I may eventually fit inside Whoops.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bike builder Ben took Whoops for 5-6 laps at Chelsea after me. Now, Ben you see, is a might smaller than me. He can squish his shoulders into a 30cm span! That's pretty small. So needless to say, he fits inside the full fairing easily. And so he took whoops for her first fully faired ride. To quote his SMS: "She goes like stink". Without bubble, ben was cruising around the velodrome at 60+ kmh easily. He stoppped going quicker due to blindness caused by wind causing watering eyes!
Ben also had a few chain derailments, which is our first fixup. Other than that, the drive system is working very nicely.
Pic is of Ben holding Whoops, with 2 of his Sorcerer fairings in the background. As you can see, Ben is a legend of the streamliner scene in Australia. A perfect partner, except for his somewhat grumpy coutenance on occasions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

First Test Ride... VERY successful. Yippee! She rides superbly; stable, easy to start, stops fine. Very easy to accelerate. Handlers can let go at walking pace & the bike is easy to balance & accelerate. I hope that once I've had a bit more practise, I'll be able to accelerate from a standing start under my own steam, which will enable solo training. First gear (77") was great for starting, but pretty quickly needed changing.
There was one disappointment... I definitely don't fit under the lid... it's about 70mm from fitting. This will require a big re-working of the frame, at some point. We'll wait & see if other smaller riders fit in or not. You can see in the photo my shoulders are well outside the fairing.
This will probably require, in the short term, a top to be cut in 2 pieces. The front section will be secured permanently, and I will ride without the rear top section, and those that can, will ride beneath it!
The ride was completed at Chelsea Velodrome, which is a fab 500 outdoor track, some 30km from the city.

Monday, April 03, 2006

So, Now we have a complete bike... not exactly polished or finished or in any way complete, but at least rideable, and suitable for initial testing.
Ben & I added the head bubble last night, so now we can see out whilst riding. The view is a bit like a Ferrari... so I'm told... lots of bonnet & a long view down the road.
Here is the drive system. 2 separate chains drive the front wheel. The one from the pedals runs one of 5 gears on the frame, and another from there runs down to the wheel, single speed. The large 8 speed cog on the frame is known as a mid drive, and allows us to generate huge gears without a massive front chainwheel. In it's biggest gear, one turn of the pedals makes the wheel turn 10 times! Or, in other words, at 100rpm at the pedals, the bike will be rolling along at a lazy 94kmh!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

If you're into push bikes & going as fast as you can on or in one, this may be of interest to you.
I have imported to Australia the moulds for a bicycle fairing, which will fully enclose a rider inside. This fairing is primarily an aerodynamic aid, though it will also improve safety. That's V1.0 of the fairing on the left, with frame, wheels, gears & brakes all attached & inside. The fairing is 3m long, 90cm high, 46cm wide.
A clear head bubble will be added soon, allowing the rider to see out. The original of this bike had NO WINDSCREEN, but had a small camera feeding vision to an internal LCD monitor. We may produce a bike with such a system in the future.
This Blog will give you an overview of the bike & it's development. I hope we'll take it to Nevada, USA in October 2008 & break the world 200m land record which is currently 130kmh! Before then, we are going to attempt 2 additional world records: 24hr (currently 1021km) & 1 hour (84km).
Sponsors & elite riders who are interested should contact me.
Stay tuned as we attempt to make the worlds fastest, most efficient machine.... WHOOPS 160
PS. If you're wondering why Whoops 160... Whoops as in "Whoops, I forgot to tell my wife about this litle project" or "Whoops, where did all my money & time go" or "Whoops, where did that last 200m go!" & 160 - our goal speed in kmh.