Nazca Gaucho HiRacer 28

I visited SPEZI in 2018 and enjoyed the spectacle of the place.

I am still looking for a simple, lightweight machine that will easily pack into a suitcase for travelling.

The Zox caught my eye and I was impressed by a short ride around the test track. They are not the most elegant of designs, being made from rectangular tubing which gives them a rather agrucultural look.
Next day I returned for another ride and realised that the seat is more upright than I am used to and is not easily adjustable.

Then I noticed the Nazca stand had their Highracer 28 available for a test ride. I was encouraged to take it for a long ride to get a feel for it.
The seat is noticeably higher than my Rosetta and the 700c wheels could fit only 28-700 tyres with no room for mudguards so I was prepared to dismiss it from my wishlist.

However the frame looked as though it could be fairly easily dismantled and fitted into a smallish box.

I had been walking around most of the day and the prospect of a ride was appealing so off I went.

I immediately felt at home on the bike and started thinking about the possibility of perhaps fitting smaller wheels to lower the seat a bit. The Gaucho is made for rim brakes only so it would need longer brake arms for smaller rims.

My suggestion of using disk brakes was dismissed as detracting from the design philosophy and degrading its performance.

After mulling it over for some weeks and emailing Nazca about what I wanted I placed an order for a frameset with disk brake mount on the rear end.  They did not want to make a disk brake fork but I had carbon fork in my shed that I decided to use.

It took some months for the frame to arrive and was a bit fiddly to assemble some parts.

I have been riding FWD bikes for many years and was really not sure I would be smitten with this one but it has grown on me.

It is a very relaxing bike to ride and I am enjoying the lack of wheel slip on the very steep climb up to our house.

Why Not a Recumbent?

I have been reading a book by Robert Penn called “It’s All About the Bike” which a friend gave me last week. Penn has been a life-long cyclist and rode around the world in his late twenties.

The book is the story of his love affair with cycling and the journey to build his dream bike.
He goes into great detail about the invention and development of the bicycle but never once mentions anything beyond the traditional diamond frame design.
It would appear that he had never heard of recumbents, which first seem to have appeared in the 1890s, soon after the pneumatic-tired safety bicycle.

Interestingly, he describes one of the factors that lead me to recumbents:

“I’ve suffered from numb hands over the years. It’s a common cyclists’ complaint, often dubbed ‘cyclists’ palsy’.”

and, describing a particular long descent he says:

“First my hands went numb – something I was used to – but the alarm bells really started ringing when I realized I couldn’t feel anything beneath my elbows, nor could I pull the brake to stop the bike.”

Coincidentally I read a thread on the [Randon] email list today about handlebars wherein Jake says:

“I should say I’m still looking for the magic bullet for hand and shoulder pain which has only gotten worse in my ~12 years  of long rides.
I’d like to not switch to a recumbent. (I’m not making a dig at recumbent riders. You guys rock!)”

Another commenter says:

“I have nerve damage and carpal tunnel.”

One of my memories of the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200km randonnee is from after the event when a number of us were reliving our ride in St Quentin.
The discussion revolved around saddle sores, neck and shoulder pain, numb fingers and other ailments.

I could not think of anything to complain about, having not suffered any of those problems since switching to a recumbent.
The only issue I occasionally suffer from is “hot-foot” – a burning feeling on the soles of my feet on long hot rides which happens on uprights as well.

I wonder what it is that stops people from trying something different, even when it is recognised as potentially solving a problem they are having?

Paris-Brest-Paris Bulge Chart

Jo Wood’s fascinating dynamic bulge chart shows progress of the 6000 riders of the 2015 Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle randonnée.

The animation shows where and when riders were bunched up on the road and at controls.
Abandons (DNFs) can also be seen accumulating at various controls along the route.
Circles used to indicate bunches at controls of more than 200 riders, coloured by the most common group of riders:

Loudeac is always very busy and it is easy to spend far too long there.

Data based on provisional results from Audax Club Parisien (thanks to Axel Koenig for help with assembling the data). There are currently some errors in the original data, especially for the later DNFs and at the Loudeac control.

Wine vs. Workouts: Effects of alcohol

Ten years ago (2008) DC Rainmaker posted an article about the effects alcohol had on his performance.
I expect it holds true today for most of us.

What he discovered by measuring his performance:

“Well, at least for me that drinking just a little bit the night before has a fairly significant effect on my performance – in particular in cycling.”

Read the full article here

PBP tips from an Ancien

What do you want to know about PBP?

Eric (the campyonlyguy) has helpfully created a series of videos based on his experiences.

  1. Is it worth it?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Time
  4. Picking a start time
  5. Fix it now!
  6. Weather
  7. Making a plan
  8. Hands and arms
  9. Lodging for you and your bike
  10. Relax!
  11. Food
  12. Getting Yourself and Your Bike to France
  13. Rest Stop Management
  14. Roads in France
  15. It’s NOT all about the bike
  16. [Diamond frame] Bike Choice, Part 1
  17. Drop Bags
  18. Talking About Rain
  19. Memories of PBP 2007
  20. Surprising Things About PBP

Continue reading “PBP tips from an Ancien”