Friday, August 31, 2012

Modifying Eagle Wheel for Irish Roads

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Here is my Eagle. It is upside down on the second floor of Brian Cawley's cutting edge Castlebar Cycle Store here in Ireland. We are trying to get the 72-hole modern day 50" rim to synch up with the 1891 36-hole hub (why hairpin spokes, pictured below are needed). Jim Spillane, now in Vermont, has worked out the trigonometry, and he feels confident that a 6-spread spoke pattern will work instead of the 14 spokes the hairpin V used to cross. 

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Jim also wants me to anneal the spoke elbows so we can work harden the area. This will make it possible for the spokes to make up for the changed load they will experience. For this task, my MAPP gas torch will be hard at work 

Then we lace the wheel! If all goes a cording to plan, the next challenge will be getting it to run true. 

I am willing to try Rocky Mtn Hiwheel's steel aluminium rim because, until I can get the Eagle back on US roads, I have got to make some adjustments so  I can train on the harsh Irish asphalt. 

           THX 4 all of U!! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Irish 21st Century Windmills - Electricity for the Island

Pretty much anywhere I go in Ireland, off in the distance I see wind turbines. Yesterday, I found a road that, I am told, will take me to the ones closest to me. I'll keep you advised.......

According to the Irish Wind Energy Assn:

- There are 176 such wind farms operating in 27 of the 32 counties in Ireland.

- Capable of supplying enough electricity for over 1.3 million home , as of July 2012, 14.8% of Irish electricity is being generated from renewable sources, up from 5% in 1990, with wind being the main source of such production.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Roads Like This Really Exist! Everywhere in Ireland....

In America, we always see bicycling romanticized with tree shaded roads and green exploding all along the periphery everywhere to be found. And yet in the all the hundreds of thousands of miles I have ridden back home, I cannot seem to recall even one passage-way with nature pressing in from both sides as well as erupting from the middle of it  anywhere near like in the photo above.

Here in Ireland, this is a common sight!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

International Collaboration to Keep Eagle on Irish Roads

Even tho my broken elbow is healed  I'm  still NOT training on the Eagle over here in Ireland!  As its broken wheel is not coming together as quickly as we had hoped, all I can think Is that it is giving the  shoulder I also severely strained,  more time to heal. I choose to take solace in that rationalization. as opposed to thinking the Eagle cannot survive the  roads over here. Or as Brian Cawley the highly regarded wbeelbuilder  and owner of Castlebar Cycle who is helping me keeps teasing, 'carbon fiber is the only material that can match up with  the punishment the Irish roads offer'.

In not entertaining Brian's jest, I've yet to remind him that the Eagle was built at a time when most roads were dirt and the smooth asphalt we take for granted in America was rare if it existed at all. And that the poor condition of the riding turf was why the HiWheel was so popular in the late 1800's. The further one's anatomy is away from the ground on a pedal machine, the less he or she feels the surface beneath them-self.

Understandably then I am committed to getting the Eagle back on the road over here as soon as possible. However, getting the rim replaced has presented a myriad of complications. While I have managed to miraculously locate a beautiful new rim and then spokes in America and managed to get them sent over here to  the Emerald Isle, building all this on to an 1891 hub is now requiring that I get some of the best talent on both sides of the Atlantic working together. As the national treasure that he is for those of us trying to keep antique bikes on the road, Jim Spillane, now in Vermont, is once again helping me speak to the complexity I have come up against.
Not only did he send me 20 hairpin spokes that become 40 (two spokes that travel through one hole in the hub, like a wishbone, it is what Brian and I are holding and that sit at my feet in the  picture directly below) for my 72 spoke wheel, 

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but now he's even come up with the engineering math that will make it possible for a modern day rim to work with 1891 spec. Seems the Rocky Mtn HiWheel rim I received is exactly 50 inches unlike in the 19th century where a variance of one half an inch or more was possible for it to be called 50 inches  Combine that with different size channels for the tire itself to sit in and much number crunching is required for a solution to the problem.

With all of this in mind, Jim thinks we can get a wheel out of this combination if we  change the number of spokes between each hairpin. He wants us to tell him how tight the spokes are as we reach certain benchmarks during the build.

How to insert them and how many spokes must stand between each placement both in the hub and at the rim is an exercise in trigonometry. The answers for which Jim tells me he will supply as we go along. And if Jim deems it acceptable to proceed, we will be doing so according to a formula wheel builders used at the end of the 19th Century.

Until then, I will keep enjoying the storybook  Irish back roads (off the charts when there is sun)  on my recumbent.  Because it  is also a steel frame, it too is getting beat up pretty badly by Ireland's back country riding terrain. Mostly used to service free range, grass fed livestock, unlike America, where factory farms are the norm, weather compromised farm roads  make up most of the island. And I've only been able to experience them from a comfortable seat  because Brian Cawley and  Tomas Vamos (pictured below) are two of the best cycle mechanics I have ever come across.  Blacksmith and award winning metal artist, Pawel Guba, who you've seen me talk about in here before, has also added his genius touch to keep my 'bent in roll mode. 

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Fingers crossed (very hard)....

     THX 4 all of U!! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Irish Farm Roads vs US Farm Roads

The farm roads of Ireland are just too delicious. Unlike the dry, boring sameness of scenery found in our American bread basket states (Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, etc), the beauty, the lakes and the Car Free one lane roads here are non stop......

Can you see the wind turbines that line the ridges off in the distance?

Friday, August 10, 2012

70 Degree Irish Bicycle Heaven

Beautiful day here in Ireland, with an average temperature of 70 degrees!! Would have been an epic day for the Eagle, but being part of it on the bent made for a ride that will also be hard to forget.

The sheep you see here was taking a snooze at this lake. I awakened him when I stopped to take this photo.

Since few of the roads are signed over here, I had to guess at this fork in the road.
A few miles later, another guess.
Soon,  a whole new world opened up  for me  full of one lane roads and tree 
canopied asphalt like like you see above. All within the space of 25 miles...

This picnic table was at another lake near the end of of this paradise..

When the sun endeavors to shine in Ireland, 
which is a small percentage of the time, 
it looks down upon some of the best biking turf 
anywhere to be found in the world!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Traveller Horse Racing in Ireland

Every few months here in Ireland I come across carts like you see in the video above. Made with bicycle wheels they are towed by horses. On several occasions I found it fun to see what kind of speed the guys sitting on them were doing. I got up to almost 30 mph before I found out! This was until I learned that this kind of activity (called sulky racing) was looked down upon by the Irish citizenry. I think the video above from this story will show you why...

btw: Traveller is the politically correct name for the gypsy community