Confessions of recumbent virgin or ....first ride on my Iowa Linear

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
On my Linear there's only one thing that bugs me and that's the rear dropouts open to the rear, making it difficult to remove the rear wheel without undoing the mudguard stays.
Or having the rear mudguard set with a BIG gap at the back, which don't look right to me.

I was advised to use 'copperslip' on the folding joints to prevent rattles/creaks.
The main thing that rattles are the grenade pins & split rings on mine which I cured with some 'Heatshrink'.

It does feel strange when you first start riding one and the best advice I was given was to relax back in the seat with a light 'grip' on the steering.
Have fun.
For the rear mudguards get a pair of secur clips, from SJS cycles

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/mudguards/sks-secu-clip-30mm-each/
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

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Re the mudguard thing, the bike came with a non matching pair, the front a narrow black plastic one with a big mudflap, and the rear a rather battered aluminium thing which was a little short at the back, and actually didn't cover the open end of the rear frame! I had a spare rear chromoplastic one lying around in the garage, and pressed this into service. There were more cobwebs and insect debris than mud or anything road related in the rear frame, fortunately. The mudguard is a wide one which gives nearly 180 degrees of coverage around the wheel.

I had not thought about rear wheel removal until I actually came to do it, and with a bit of forethought would have made the mudguard shorter at the back with more coverage below the frame at the front of the wheel. The original tyre, a rather perished old Kenda which I thought was a 700 X 42 was actually a 44 though when measured on the bike when inflated was only 38mm at the widest part. Plenty of scope for confusion here if the next tyre was actually the size stated on it, as it would be a tight fit. I got hold of a Vittoria Randonneur at a good price which was nominally a 42. I replaced the original tube, to use as a spare, with one from my bits box.

What a performance to get the wheel in and out! I hung the frame from a strap attached to my bike stand, deflated the tyre and it just cleared the rear drop outs with a bit to spare, without having to loosen the mudguard . You would have to let the tyre down anyway, to get it past the brake pads, as there is no brake cable quick release. I have been spoilt with the discs on my steel tourer!

The real struggle was with the chain and rear changer as on a conventional dropout the wheel naturally drops down and forward making it easy to lift the chain and jockey wheel over the end of the spindle. With the Linear set up it has first to come back, then down from behind the rear changer. To protect the toggle chain I left the hollow nut on the RH side in place, but still the drive chain wanted to do battle with it. These Sachs toggle chains apparently are like hens' teeth to get hold of so naturally I wanted to protect it as much as possible. Once the wheel was off and the old tyre removed, the new one slipped on with thumb pressure. Then the wrestling match began again where you need to sprout an extra pair of arms to put everything back together. This is definitely not something that I would want to fix by the roadside!

With the wheel back in and things tightened up, I sat back in a glow of satisfaction. I experimentally spun the back wheel. Rasp! Rrurasp! Rasp! Rrurasp! Rasp! What in the name of the fifteen flying fudpuckers was this! The tyre was not seating properly, and rubbing on the mudguard. I inflated it to an eardrum threatening, buttock clenching pressure, hoping the bead would pop into place before the tyre exploded but no joy. I deflated it and massaged it with a rubber hammer, still no change. It was slightly uneven in the valve area. I pushed the valve in as far as I could and pushed the tyre around manually. Still no change. I tied a bunch of cable ties round the tyre and rim, in the offending area, and inflated and deflated it. Several thoughts were crossing my mind, some of them bordering on the murderous, but mostly that the wheel was going to have to come off again for a closer look. I idly looked at the box that my spare tube had come in. Hmm 42mm valve stem. The stem of the valve that I had just fitted didn't look that long. I peered at my tourer. That had a long stem. I dug out another box . 42mm. Inside the box, a long stem valve.
A lightbulb moment! A case of Wrongboxitis! The Linear has a Mavic rim with a deep section. The standard 32mm that I'd fitted was projecting enough to get a pump on it but was it stopping the tyre seating? I went off to get a drink and have a ponder.

OK! If I was on the road and had a puncture I might be able to fix it without taking the wheel off. So my mission, should I choose to accept it, would be to prove that I could do it in the discomfort of my own garage and to take it one stage further, to replace the existing tube with one with a long stem valve without completely removing the wheel. This message will self destruct in 30 seconds. (Not really, I'm just getting carried away).
If that didn't work, the name of a lot more flying fudpuckers than fifteen might be taken in vain.

I needed a tyre lever to start the tyre off the non drive side of the rim, did the rest with fingers, pushed the valve out and got the complete tube out. Gratifyingly, the other side remained on the rim. The tricky bit was after loosening the wheel nuts, sliding the wheel back through the brakes just far enough not to fall out of the dropouts, springing the rear fork slightly to push out the non drive side spindle and j u s t carefully squeeze the tube through the gap, and then do the same with the incoming tube without pinching it. A bit of air in the new tube, slip it easily inside the tyre, a little tricky lining up the valve due to the depth of the rim, slowly pushing the tyre on to the rim, turning it bit by bit to keep the area being worked on at the rear lower quarter of the wheel, a bit nadgery getting the tyre to turn through the brake blocks and finally just the last bit of tyre helped to go on the rim with a satisfying "pop" with a tyre lever. Check for seating all round, inflate, tighten everything up and then spin.

Successfully seated! Inflate and deflate a couple of times, check the clearances and it's fine. I can reveal that this tyre is just 38mm at the widest part.
Just goes to show that a fluid ounce of preparation (eg check what you're putting on) saves a gallon of perspiration.

Just to finish off, here is a picture of an unusual linear (bearing in mind that any Linear is unusual, or any recumbent).
536757

It is described as a Linear Mach III. Rear wheel is 20 X 1.50, front could be 16". Writing on rear tyre looks upside down. Underslung rear brake, due to small rear wheel. Both brakes look like caliper type. A double chainring, no derailleur on the front, but a 3 speed hub on the rear. Welded non folding frame, including welded bottom bracket. Mirror on the left, probably denoting photo taken in the US.
 
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Judging by the rear mech position, it's probably a 20" wheel and a 406 at that. I'll guess at the front wheel being a 349 - 16".

Taking off the back wheel of a recumbent bike is a pain at the best of times, I'm afraid, trikes are much easier!
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Well-Known Member
Some more ride experiences. Apart from the odd ride up and down the road behind my house to test things out I have not managed to ride much due to other commitments, and the weather.

17/7/20
Raining earlier, but managed to go out later on.
Test ride today, 20:15. A lot of apprehension before launching, waiting for traffic to disappear. Mirror on front bar is not far enough out to see as much as I would like behind, which sapped my confidence. The hub gear cable was a little tight, after replacing the wheel after changing the tube yesterday. Nevertheless, managed to do 2 circuits of local lanes. Steering and balancing is better. Not too happy with non indexed hub gear shifter, decided to go for a SA trigger shifter which I ordered this evening together with a cable. The positive stops should be kinder to the hub gear, and give one less thing to worry about. I REALLY need to sort out rear vision for peace of mind. May need to consider moving mirror back to the end of the handlebar. There was a small mirror on a long stem in the bits box but may have thrown it out. Have moved the mirror bracket further out, have adjusted the gear cable.
Computer seems to read fast though it could be that the bike is faster than it feels. It is set for MPH not KPH.
Will try again tomorrow. Did about 4 miles.

18/2/20
Raining all day.
Later, when the rain had stopped I went out for another trial run at 20:15. The mirror is better but still not a wide enough coverage to give confidence. Gear adjustment still not quite there, which also made me feel uneasy. Initial launch went OK. I soon caught up and passed a teenager on a MTB who then passed me several times, slowed down so I could pass him and then passed again. I think he was just curious, but it made me even more aware of how limited my rear vision was. Even after he bunny hopped on to the pavement and disappeared I thought that he might be lurking in my blind spot for quite a while afterwards. Gradual uphill to a T junction, anxiety was building, but no traffic so turned left and continued smoothly along the main road. A dog walker smiled and said, “that looks comfortable” and I replied, “It is”. As I rolled along towards a side road where I was going to turn left, there was a pub on the right. Saturday night, I realised. The noise level in the beer garden seemed to increase as I went past. Coincidence? I hoped so. I managed to turn left without incident and after a short time stopped outside my back gate. I re adjusted the hub gear cable and continued. All OK now. I fine tuned the mirror and it seemed better. Feeling more motivated, I did another circuit. I am impressed as to how quiet this bike is. My tourer is similarly quiet, the only sound is from the tyres, and even the Shimano freewheel is quiet. The only sound from the Linear is the faint tic tic tic from the hub gear. In fact it is so quiet that when I experimentally sounded the brake/bell a cat that was on the pavement, which unusually didn’t hear me coming, jumped and ran off under a hedge. Again little traffic, and no need to stop at junctions.

As I passed the pub again, signalled, and turned left, the driver of an oncoming black Audi with a rasping exhaust decided there was plenty of room and turned right at the same time into the same side street. It was unlikely that he didn’t see me. In the short time that I have had this Linear, the one thing I can say is that EVERYBODY notices it. In any case, he didn’t cross into my lane, and continued on the wrong side of the road for some way. Arse. I just carried on to my back gate . Only 4 miles, but everything seemed good.

19/7/20
Today I thought I might chuck some stuff in a bag and try to do part of one of my regular loops, but something came up. I just went out mid afternoon to do a local circuit when it was quiet. Somehow things just didn’t gel. The mirror didn’t seem to cover enough despite several attempts to adjust it, and yesterday’s confidence had disappeared. The gears felt all over the place, so I just left the derailleur in the middle position and used the hub gears. I turned round in the road at one point and then took 7 or 8 minutes (it felt longer) to get up the nerve to launch again. Two steps forward, one step back, it seems. Not a "Linear" progression in gaining skills and confidence. I got home and moved the mirror to the handlebar end. It still didn’t seem to cover enough behind. I had some Mirrycle bits in my bottomless bits box and managed to assemble enough semi matching bits to make a mirror for the opposite bar end. The coverage is better but now seems incredibly wide! Maybe I can move them to each side of the accessory bar to narrow it down a bit. I need to try it out first. Not such a good ride this evening.
Just a couple of miles today, but tomorrow is another day.

I am hoping to do a long enough trip soon to be able to put it in the "Your Ride Today" thread. This may help me deal with the main issues ie take off (particularly at junctions with traffic) and practice at turning in tighter spaces. Rear view and awareness of following vehicles remains a concern, as does having to make sudden unplanned manoevres. If I am going to bite the dust it is more likely to happen at low speed, and I have avoided that embarrassment so far.The rear brake needs some use to bed it in, before I can decide if better ("more expensive") blocks might be needed. Watch this space.
 

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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Well-Known Member
If you’ve got a Sachs 3x7 hub, then I’m afraid to say your SA three speed trigger has the wrong cable pull. You need a SRAM T3 shifter like one of these...

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/gear-shifters/3-speed-trigger-shifter-for-sram-spectro-t3-torpedo-hubs/

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SRAM-SPECTRO-T3-twist-grip-shifter-cable-3-speed-hub-twistgrip-/202155728117

and if it’s the SA combo hub any MTB style triple shifter will work, not the AW trigger.
That's interesting to know. I had a good look at the usual places to see if I could get hold of a Sachs trigger shifter but failed. I had read that the SA one would do the job, failing availability of a Sachs one. The currently fitted Suntour friction shifter does work, but there is a little uncertainty in selecting second, as there is no indexing. I tried a Shimano left hand indexed thumb shifter from the bits box but the cable pull is incompatible. Are there any other potential problems with compatibility if I were to order the Sachs/SRAM trigger shifter from SJS? A unique cable end or fittings for example?
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Well-Known Member
If you’ve got a Sachs 3x7 hub, then I’m afraid to say your SA three speed trigger has the wrong cable pull. You need a SRAM T3 shifter like one of these...

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/gear-shifters/3-speed-trigger-shifter-for-sram-spectro-t3-torpedo-hubs/

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SRAM-SPECTRO-T3-twist-grip-shifter-cable-3-speed-hub-twistgrip-/202155728117

and if it’s the SA combo hub any MTB style triple shifter will work, not the AW trigger.
Well, I took the plunge and ordered the Sachs/SRAM trigger shifter from SJS and will see how it goes.

One drawback to having a mirror on each side of the bars is that on mounting, there is a lot less space for getting your foot over the frame without knocking them askew, and in catching your foot, risking a faceplant as the frame falls over taking you with it. With my miniature legs this is a real concern. The rear view is very good with them in that position, (though you have to look obliquely downwards to each side to use them) but it stops you just getting on smoothly and riding away. Another issue is that they catch on everything when you are just wheeling the bike about. Further thought required. With two mirrors, fitting them both on the front accessory bar might be the least worst option. I do have a helmet mirror (as on my avatar) for an extra viewpoint but I stopped using it as a) it was an extra bit of faff to fiddle with before just getting on my bike and riding and b) it meant that I had to wear a helmet, and adjust the mirror each time I put it on, and during the ride.

I had thought about finding a way to clamp a curved bar at the top of the seat frame and fitting a mirror to that but there are drawbacks to that too. No doubt I will work something out eventually.

Meanwhile, during my short rides I have days where nothing seems to go smoothly, I am full of premonitions of impending doom and fear of falling off, and other days when everything works and it's like a flying machine. Still waiting for the right day to just hop on and go for a longer ride. Meanwhile it's keep on practicing..
 
One of my many regrets. Many years ago I went to a recumbent demo at Duns in Berwickshire and tried out various bikes and a trike. The D type trike terrified me as I nearly couped it but I liked the MWB Linear and had no problems starting off and found it no problem. At that time it cost new about £800 which was a bit expensive for me so I let the opportunity to buy pass. The importers went bust soon after and I have regretted that decision ever since.
 
Having followed the same path, earning my recumbent ‘wings’ on a Linear some years ago, I can report that even for an experienced cyclist it can take some time to fully transition. I rode a Linear without issues first time on a sheltered cycle path, but when I got my own I would say it took me about six weeks of regular riding to get reasonably confident.

A good habit to develop is regularly checking your state of relaxation - deliberately relaxing back into the seat and reducing grip on handlebars.

After developing basic confidence, I would say it took me another six months to get to the point of one-handed steering with fingertips, and weaving with debonair confidence through tight corners and ‘bollard gardens’.

So I would say relax and give yourself some credit. This really is a bit like learning to ride all over again, even for someone with a lifetime experience of upright bikes.

Rear view is, I agree, an issue on USS bents -there’s is often nowhere really ideal to put the mirror. My solution was two-pronged:

1. As you develop confidence, the relatively upright position of the Linear makes it easier to look to the side, and even to the rear. As with an upright bike, it’s worth spending time somewhere quiet practicing how to do shoulder checks without wobbling or swerving.

2. I supplemented a Mirrcycle mounted on an ‘old skool’ MTB bar-end with a glasses mounted mirror. The US made ‘Take-a-Look’ seems to be the best, but make sure you get the one with the clip for right hand mounting.
 
One of my many regrets. Many years ago I went to a recumbent demo at Duns in Berwickshire and tried out various bikes and a trike. The D type trike terrified me as I nearly couped it but I liked the MWB Linear and had no problems starting off and found it no problem. At that time it cost new about £800 which was a bit expensive for me so I let the opportunity to buy pass. The importers went bust soon after and I have regretted that decision ever since.
I hear you! My first ride on a Linear was on holiday many years ago from a hIre shop. I loved it. When I got back to the shop at the end of the day, the staff looked really worried. “When you didn’t come back after ten minutes saying you couldn’t ride it, we were convinced you must have had a terrible crash and be in A&E! nobody else has been able to ride it! Do you want to buy it for 800 quid?”

Alas, I had a very nice upright tourer and a young family, so I couldnt really justify it to myself. Like you, regretted it, for about 15 years, before finally managing to find a wrecked one cheap, which I then lovingly nursed back to health.
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

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Mine came with a Mirrycle mirror - which worked perfectly.View attachment 537524
I am a fan of the Mirrycle in its various forms. I first came across them in about 1980 and have had one on various bikes since then. The Original drop bar mirror which had the brake cable passing through the hollow stem, the Shimano type which fits brifters (though slightly and disappointingly vibration prone in my experience), and the Mountain Mirrycle which I have had on MTBs, on my folder and now on the Linear.

Previously I have found they work well attached to traditional straight bar ends which puts them more in the line of sight on flat barred bikes. A bit different on USS bars. I note yours was fitted direct to the handlebar end, while I have been fitting them to additional bar ends. I have to look obliquely downwards to see the one attached to a bar-end, but I wonder if the slight difference in putting it directly on the end of the handlebar might improve visibility? I have neck problems which limits mobility when looking behind, which makes good mirrors doubly important.
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

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Having followed the same path, earning my recumbent ‘wings’ on a Linear some years ago, I can report that even for an experienced cyclist it can take some time to fully transition. I rode a Linear without issues first time on a sheltered cycle path, but when I got my own I would say it took me about six weeks of regular riding to get reasonably confident.

A good habit to develop is regularly checking your state of relaxation - deliberately relaxing back into the seat and reducing grip on handlebars.

After developing basic confidence, I would say it took me another six months to get to the point of one-handed steering with fingertips, and weaving with debonair confidence through tight corners and ‘bollard gardens’.

So I would say relax and give yourself some credit. This really is a bit like learning to ride all over again, even for someone with a lifetime experience of upright bikes.

Rear view is, I agree, an issue on USS bents -there’s is often nowhere really ideal to put the mirror. My solution was two-pronged:

1. As you develop confidence, the relatively upright position of the Linear makes it easier to look to the side, and even to the rear. As with an upright bike, it’s worth spending time somewhere quiet practicing how to do shoulder checks without wobbling or swerving.

2. I supplemented a Mirrcycle mounted on an ‘old skool’ MTB bar-end with a glasses mounted mirror. The US made ‘Take-a-Look’ seems to be the best, but make sure you get the one with the clip for right hand mounting.
I have been mounting the Mirrycle on a straight bar end. The helmet mirror was the "Take-a-Look"variety which on an upright did not add a lot to what I could see with the Mirrycle, but did involve adjusting it every time I rode. Probably I should revisit using it with or without the helmet while riding the Linear, as that has its own peculiarities. I have found it noticeable that when riding a drop bar bike I definitely have problems looking behind, while on my folder, which has quite high flat bars, it's not such a problem, stiff neck or not. Over the years the handlebars have gradually got higher.

I have been consciously making myself push back into the seat and keep a light grip on the bars but when a sharp change of speed or direction is needed it is hard not to automatically tense up, at present. I tend to sit forward and grip the bars, which definitely doesn't make for smooth movements.
I hear you! My first ride on a Linear was on holiday many years ago from a hIre shop. I loved it. When I got back to the shop at the end of the day, the staff looked really worried. “When you didn’t come back after ten minutes saying you couldn’t ride it, we were convinced you must have had a terrible crash and be in A&E! nobody else has been able to ride it! Do you want to buy it for 800 quid?”

Alas, I had a very nice upright tourer and a young family, so I couldnt really justify it to myself. Like you, regretted it, for about 15 years, before finally managing to find a wrecked one cheap, which I then lovingly nursed back to health.
I had been tempted from time to time by the idea of a recumbent bike for many years but they were generally so unaffordable! Let alone the ability to have a test ride without having to travel to the far end of the country. Hence buying the Linear at a good price, as it had been unused for many years and dry stored.

Coincidentally, due to Coronavirus mania, I had just sold a decent but well specc'ed fairly budget MTB which I'd bought on a whim early last year and sold for over three times what I paid for it. It was unbelievable how much interest there was in it. I am still amazed just thinking about it now. A combination of lockdown, fine weather and a shortage of entry level bikes. The buyer even paid for a courier to collect it, from the London area. So this financed my foray into recumbency. Ironically, I sold the MTB to make more space! Though I have to say that being so low, the Linear needs less space than the MTB did.

Even Mrs Twiddler has shown more interest in it than she ever has in any of my other bikes. She even video'd me riding it to send to the kids though she rather spoilt it by not turning off the sound, and recorded herself laughing as I rode past.
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

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Some impressions of my first decent ride on the Linear on 26/7/20. A dry day, cloudy and a bit breezy.

OK. Today’s the day for the 1st proper ride. Spare tubes, tyre levers, multi tool, multi spanner plus some odd ones to fit the American standards on the frame. Snack. Drink. Tyres OK, everything else tight where it should be and loose where it should be. Wheeled the Linear into the garden facing the back gate. Sat on a bench for a few minutes psyching myself up, then took it out and closed the gate. Sat on it at the kerbside waiting for all the traffic, which miraculously appears as soon as you want to do anything, to clear. I had replaced the MTB friction type shifter for the hub gear with a Sachs trigger, and after a lot of faffing about with cable tension had got it to work perfectly on the stand. I hoped that would be one less thing to distract me from the serious issue of Not Falling Off.

Middle gear on the 3 speed hub, a middling gear on the derailleur, right pedal to 12 o’clock, right foot in position and…..

Five minutes later I was still in the same position. Too much thinking about it had turned lift off into a mammoth obstacle. This is no good! Not just chicken legs then. I stared at the clouds, took numerous deep breaths then told myself to Just Do It. So easy to start off. Just got to do it without pondering about it. Once rolling and having got into an appropriate gear I felt myself relaxing. I turned off into the countryside and then braced myself for the next challenge.

A short steep dip to an old bridge with traffic lights. Then a longer less steep climb out at the other side. The traffic lights from my direction were right at the bottom of the dip. You generally have to stop just before them before they will turn green if there is nothing coming the other way. Low gear on the hub gear, 3rd or 4th cog on the derailleur, s-l-o-w-ly approaching the light. Didn’t have to put my feet down, spinning furiously across the bridge and onto the uphill. Gear a was little high, but couldn’t ease off to change down, but keeping going even at the unexpectedly low speed and staying upright was much easier than I expected. The first time I have had to use the low gears in earnest, and it was fine.

Flushed with success, I changed up as the slope levelled out, and found myself faced with quite a stiff headwind. I had difficulty keeping my cap on. Should have worn my helmet, at least the straps stop it blowing off. Nevertheless, the bike computer was showing 10mph. I passed several cyclists coming the other way, and also a woman in a sporty wheelchair accompanied by another cyclist, possibly training? I turned right towards Oulton Park and still had the headwind. I carried on, looking for a good place to stop as my left bike clip was biting into my ankle and I needed to tighten my cap. Having stopped, stuck the bike clip in my pocket and tightened the adjuster on my cap, I set off again. I realised I’d left my camera at home. B*gger.

Rolling along, not finding progress difficult apart from the headwind, the experience was good. Into the lanes that led to Oulton Park. At the crossroads that leads on to Oulton Mill Lane a large family cycling group was waiting for the smallest one to get up the hill to join them. The woman in the group commented that she had wondered how I was going to stop at the junction so I indicated the handlebars under the seat. I turned right down the hill and almost immediately had to slow as a white van came up the hill, turned right into a side turning then reversed out to do a 3 point turn. I trickled down the hill with my feet up while this was going on. Then a few yards further down the road the van stopped in the middle of the road, someone got out of the passenger door and then the van drove forward and parked with its left side hard up against the hedge. Some road works going on, apparently. By this time I was stopped with feet down. I was a bit irritated as I had lost the chance to get a run up the bit of the hill before the entrance to Oulton Park.

Still, I got up it without much difficulty, then had a good run to the junction with Park Road leading to the A54. There is a sharp narrow downhill on this stretch then an uphill. A following car hung well back until I had cleared the narrow bit. I had expected it to be a lot harder to climb hills on this bike but it has proved to be not bad at all. Certainly the relatively short climbs on my route have not been a problem. It is more a case of being able to predict what gear to use on a particular slope in order to maintain momentum. As for longer climbs, that remains to be seen.

Full of hubris after climbing the last two hillocks I approached the A54 in too high a gear and had to push back into the verge and wave following vehicles on, until I had got it into a more appropriate gear for diving across into Clay Lane. Another steep narrow descent, with a sweeping right hand curve at the bottom which ought to have given me a run up to the climb ahead. Unfortunately, on this occasion, a party of casually dressed cyclists was stopped at the apex of the curve looking as if they were about to cross over into a lane opposite. I ding-donged and went past at a more cautious speed. They turned and stared as I went past, which seems to be the normal response I am coming to expect. I then changed down and twirled up to the apex of the lane, which is the bridge over the Whitegate Way. I turned right into the car park and headed for the southern exit. There were a few cyclists about, some loading bikes on to cars. One commented that the Linear looked “very comfortable” and so far, it is. As I was nearing the exit 2 girls asked me for directions. I referred them to the map and tourist information board at the station. Nobody talks to me when I’m on my upright bike! Maybe I just look more approachable and non threatening being so low down.

I managed to ride through the narrow pedestrian/cycle entry to the old railway path with no issues and was able to practice slow riding. Just keeping power on with a bit of rear brake seems to work wonders at least for slow straight lining. On a gradual downhill I was able to freewheel, pushing the boundaries (for me, so far) of slow riding which was very gratifying. Feet up all the way to the bottom of the steep, eroded and gravelly downhill access slope to the place where a now demolished railway bridge crossed the lane, feet down at last to stop at the entry barrier on to Grange lane. I was tempted to climb up the other side back on to the railway path and follow it to the end but time was getting on, so I turned up Grange Lane, through the sports complex playing fields and then to an A -frame barrier on a steep lane that leads into a housing estate. I had to stop and push the bike through. The mirror on the handlebar was the limiting factor. By pushing from behind and wriggling the bars, the bike went through. The top of the seat frame clears the inward slope at the upper part of the frame. Without the mirror, it could be possible to ride through while sticking your elbows out. The barrier is on a steep slope, and this would probably be the only way to keep up enough speed to actually ride up the hill on a recumbent two wheeler. As it was, I had to push it up the hill until there was a level enough space to ride off. Fortunately the hill was short. I wonder if there is much variation between these frame dimensions or is it some kind of standard design? More motivation to design some kind of seat top bar to fit a car type mirror?

Anyway, I got going without more ado or incident. Shortly before arriving home I passed a rather sour faced woman who was walking her tiny dog on the pavement. She quietly but audibly said to herself "what kind of bl**dy bike is that?". Well, you can't make everybody smile.

Got home after 14 miles having learned a lot. Average speed until I got on to the off road section 9.7mph. Including the off road section 9mph. Max speed a modest 24mph.
Bars need to go slightly back for comfort. Gearing and climbing ability seem to be OK for my purposes. Rear brake has slightly improved. Hope it will be better when fully bedded in. One point of annoyance -the SRAM trigger shifter latching mechanism does seem very sensitive to changes in cable tension or vibration. After freewheeling over bumps I noticed that when I started pedalling it had changed from middle to high gear, also this happened once or twice after turning the bars to manouevre. The tension at the rear hub is right. The hub itself is fine, when riding in any gear it does not slip even under hard pedalling. I will have to look at cable routing. If it is actually faulty, I do have a SA trigger shifter. According to Sheldon Brown, “Older Sachs 3-speeds and the 3 x 7 used a trigger shifter like Sturmey-Archer's, which could be fastened to any handlebar. A Sturmey-Archer trigger also will work with these hubs. A Sachs trigger will not work with a Sturmey-Archer hub, which needs a longer cable pull between the top and middle gear. “ I knew I had seen that reference somewhere before.

So, a generally positive ride experience. Anticipating the next outing, hopefully a longer one next time.
 
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a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Well-Known Member
29/7/20. Another day, another run. Out with my son today, would have gone on the tourer but he was keen to see the Linear in action. In the meantime I had replaced the SRAM trigger shifter with the spare Sturmey Archer one, as the SRAM one just wasn't reliable latching in gear. The Sturmey Archer one felt more positive. A pity, as the SRAM one had a handily long lever. I needed to fine tune it on a test run, and it looked like this was going to be the test run. Similar route to last time, an evening run, cloudy but dry with a little wind.

As we climbed up out of a dip we came across another recumbent bike rider going down, just coming to a stop at some traffic lights. He shouted "Hey! another one!" and I said "Yes!" and nodded. I did wonder if he might catch us to talk to us but he carried on. He was the first other recumbenteer that I had come across since I have had the Linear, and only the second one this year. The other one was a trike, towing a trailer, who passed me going uphill while I was going down, several months ago.

We pedalled uneventfully on. Stopped to fine tune the hub gear at one point and it has been fine since. Feeling a bit more confident at starting and stopping in less straightforward situations now, but still not 100% about the rear view situation, particularly as Twiddler the Younger persisted in lurking in my blind spot! It's disconcerting to hear tyre noises, even if you know where they are coming from, if you can't see the source. I have mislaid my helmet mirror which was with my helmet in the garage but has gone AWOL. I will order another which will then ensure that the original miraculously reappears. Perhaps once I am reconciled to wearing a mirror toting helmet on the Linear I can dispense with mirrors on the bike and have a go at riding through my Nemesis uphill "A" frame barrier without stopping, due to the reduced width.

Only 14 miles today due to time constraints but on reflection another good ride. We both enjoyed it. Perhaps I will be able to stretch it out a bit more next time.
 
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