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!