• 28th May 2005 - By greg

    May 28

    May 28, 2005

    The world-renowned Bizarre Bicycle Fest, some Rocket video footage and a ride report

    Quicktime video of the Rocket in action:

    Quicktime video HIGH BANDWIDTH

    Quicktime video LOW BANDWIDTH

    Helens FIRST Rocket experience

    The world famous “Calgary Bizarre Bicycle Fest”

    It was generally a fun time with some pretty cool chopper style bikes, and a hand full of recumbents.

    This is Ben’s wooden SWB – VERY¬†easy to ride, and surprisingly solid.

    This is Taxis trike – designed for maximum cruising comfort! He is slowly making his way across Canada on it, one stage at a time. The green net in the rear is a type of sail for tail winds. If the wind is blowing from the front, then the sails simply flow with the wind like a flag. When the wind blows from the rear, the sails are blown into the net and push the trike.

    There was a short (and small – possibly a dozen bikes) parade that routed around the busy Saturday afternoon Kensington traffic. Since I had to push the Rocket up the overpass, we ended up way behind the parade and sort of got lost, so we had to make our way back to the staging area by riding down the middle of busy 10th street. Me, a guy from Cycle Calgary who was on a mountain bike towing a huge trailer, a guy riding a unicycle and my kids on their mountain bikes – our own little ‘sub-parade’. Plenty of fun – everyone LOVED¬†the rocket. People who know bikes had plenty of technical questions and everyone else just shouted at me and gave me the thumbs up.

    The ride report:

    It was a fairly warm day, and heat was not a problem in the Rocket with the top off – in fact it was very comfortable. For some reason, not a lot of wind blows in through the top, so I doubt a full bubble canopy would improve drag at all.

    It’s pretty low to the ground, and the fairing bottomed out over large pot holes, and bumps in the road. It also has a super crappy turning radius. Not something for general city riding because of the tight corners. Manuevering around the bike paths and on city streets requires constant exit and entry.

    The top half of the fairing is held in place by a hinge with a long flexible rod that inserts all the way down both sides. It does a great job of keeping the fairing together tightly – and noticeably improves the noise level inside the fairing. Actually – I was very surprised at how quiet it seemed – I think the rattle had a lot to do with the two half shells constantly banging together. However, it is very difficult to remove the top shell, and then put back together. A flat tire would take hours to fix! I am going to try out Stan’s Tubeless system for all three tires which also makes them puncture proof. Check this video out. Something else that will GREATLY help the ride quality is my new Pantour suspension wheels that I orders a few months ago.

    Because I had originally sliced out a 3″ strip from the fairing (horizontally), the top doesn’t perfectly match the bottom, and now that the fairing is primed, you can really notice the join. I may look at a different paint scheme designed to minimize this unsightly seam. Something like this maybe:

    Nowhere near as sexy as the flamed version, but perhaps more in sync with the 50’s style look it seems to have grown into.

    Other work still required is the safety lighting, and of course the STEREO!! I might also look at adding an electric assist. Bionx is a Canadian company that offers an electric hub motor and battery with some regenerative capabilities.

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