So long, GTT!

We bought the GTT for good reasons. Most of which had to do with it being really cool.

As we rode it, though, we realized that it wasn’t the perfect machine for us. Its bulk and weight made it difficult to keep up with other riders in a group. The lumbar supports in the seats were comfy for Mandy and Bryan, but my herniated disc made it very difficult for me to ride comfortably for any distance. Mandy was continually irritated by people saying ‘you need to pedal back there, ha-ha.’ And even though it was still super cool, it was also still a super big pain to transport. In the past few months, we’ve found ourselves less and less likely to haul it out of the garage to go on a ride.

So we decided to sell it. Bryan listed it on several websites and message boards frequented by recumbent cyclists, and after a few inquiries fizzled, we answered an email from Paul and Kathy from Indianapolis.

Rather than having them drive to Benton for a short and boring test ride in our little neighborhood of cul-de-sacs, we met Paul and Kathy at the River Trail in Little Rock. It was the best test ride ever. After introductions all around, they got on the GTT and took off, with us following on our touring bikes. We had a nice long ride together, with Bryan and I hanging back sometimes so that they could talk, then catching up to them sometimes to answer questions or make adjustments to the GTT.

And it paid off. We shook hands in the parking lot and the GTT was theirs. We hope it has lots of adventures with its new friends. The photo up top is from Paul and Kathy, showing us their new trike ready for an adventure with its spiffy new trailer and flags.

Date Night for Bike Nerds

We heard at the last minute that Ian Sims, the founder and CEO of the Australian recumbent trike company Greenspeed, would be visiting Little Rock late this afternoon. It was very cool to meet him (and Greenspeed’s US marketing person, Deanna) and ride the X5 trike they brought with them. (BOO CHAINWHEEL BIKE SHOP STAFF, for your total lack of marketing and general pigheaded ignorance about this event.)

After a nice supper, since we had our Greenspeed GTT in town with us, we went out to Two Rivers Park for an early evening ride. The weather was perfect and the park was uncrowded. I wonder how much more traffic those paved trails will get after the new bridge is completed?

Then we headed to MacArthur Park, near the Arkansas Arts Center, to watch the Little Rock Bike Polo club play. They use an old tennis/roller hockey court that’s only half-lit, so they bring their own lighting for the other half and run extension cords across the grass. And what they do looks like a ton of fun.

It would be easy to say “we don’t have time to play” or “it looks dangerous.” It would be easy to say “what a silly idea.”

But when I’m all used up and it’s time for me to die, I want to say things like “remember the summer we played bike polo? Remember how the weeds grew up the sides of the court, and how we drank cheap beer in the dark, and how we laughed?”

Let’s go for a ride

We’ve been riding more lately. Because of back issues, I’ve been riding the Voyageur while Bryan pilots the big recumbent. We’ve enjoyed the springtime weather and the time together. This ride took us under the big pecan trees along Highway 161 between England and Scott.

Sometimes you just need to camp

It’s been a long, icky sort of week, so we decided this weekend to camp at Lake Ouachita State Park. We planned to stay in the campground and go for a couple of bike rides from there. Mandy’s had a bad cold, though, so the 25-mile route Bryan had planned for Saturday was scrapped in favor of just exploring the state park.

Since the park’s mostly oriented toward fishing and watersports, it’s very quiet in the wintertime. It was nearly deserted on Super Bowl weekend. We took the outermost walk in tent site, on a little peninsula, and had the whole place to ourselves. The water was glass-smooth and the woods were completely silent. It was almost like backpacking, but with a lot less work, and a warm bathhouse.

We call this ‘Still Life with Camp Shoes and Kleenex.’

Mandy spent a pleasant, chilly evening sniffling and poking at her campfire. We had grilled brats and chips and beer and cream soda, which felt like a special treat compared to our usual fare of freeze dried backpacking dinners.

The low overnight was around freezing, and the morning didn’t warm up as expected. This, combined with Mandy’s persistent cold, meant that we cancelled our Sunday ride and rested after breakfast instead.

It wasn’t a weekend of high adventure, but we enjoyed the quiet lake and the winter woods.

Attack on Mt Magazine

A few days earlier, I had received an email from the Arkansas Bicycle Club with some of their upcoming rides listed and one of them was a ride from Danville, AR to Havana and then up Mt. Magazine.

When I first read this idea I joked to Aly that we should do that. We laughed and time marched on but later in the week I found myself thinking “ya know… I think we actually could do that.”

Route map for todays ride

When the day arrived, Aly didn’t feel good so she stayed home to try and fight whatever bug she had off while Mandy and I packed up our tandem recumbent trike and headed to Danville.

In addition to riding up the tallest mountain in Arkansas, we would have a ham radio and GPS unit on the bike which would sent our position reports every two minutes. This was our first time trying that out and Aly would be at home monitoring our progress off and on throughout the day.

In the photo above, you can see the GPS unit and radio. If you click on the photo you’ll be able to see notes explaining each of the parts.

So… recumbents aren’t known to be good climbers and trikes even worse so… and we had a tandem recumbent trike! This would be the tallest and longest climb for either of us, over 2500 feet of climbing and ~21 miles from the bottom to the top. That 21 miles includes the 10-12 miles of “warmup” ride to get to the start of the climbing as well as the rolling hills in the last 3-4 miles on top.

Here’s an elevation profile for todays ride…

Elevation profile for todays ride

The group waited for us at the gas station in Havana which is about 9 miles from the starting point. With the warm-up over, we turned off Highway 10 and headed for the top of Mt. Magazine.

Regrouping at Havana

I’m extremely proud to say that Mandy and I grunted and groaned though the next several hours and climbed that bitch at an average of 3 mph. We never did dip below 2.0 mph according to the GPS but we did get pretty close! It got to the point that if we were able to go over 4 mph then we were pretty darned happy (c:

As I mentioned, this was an ABC ride but everyone else was on their two-wheeled-skinny-tire-go-fast bikes so we didn’t see them once the climbing started. They made sure we got to the top (about two hours after they did) but then they all headed down and back home.

So this “group” ride was more of a solo outing for Mandy and I with a few people in the vicinity that we knew.

Once at the top (about five hours after we left our vehicle), we stood in line for the lunch buffet at the Lodge and my legs were so week I had to keep sitting in nearby chairs!

After about 30 minutes in line, we were finally seated and lunch could actually begin. We took our time, enjoying the cold water and comfortable seats. After eating we found a sunny spot and a couch to sit on and rested while our bodies processed the food.

While waiting we watched a wedding take place outside, hang-gliders floating above the Lodge and we flipped through a photography book about Oklahoma.

As we were leaving, we had a nice lady take our photo and we answered her questions about our ride up. She was familiar with recumbent trikes because, get this, many people in her retirement community have them!

The ride down was a blast, we wore our rain jackets to cut the wind and kept the speed under 41 mph! The bike was super smooth and stable at that speed and we arrived at the bottom only 40 minutes after leaving the Lodge!

What had taken nearly four hours to climb up, took only 40 minutes to ride down. I’ve ridden my bike down the other side of Mt Magazine but this ride was so much sweeter since we actually earned it (instead of driving to the top).

The GPS data for this ride can be downloaded from here.

50+ Miles…

Aly and I rode our tandem recumbent trike on what is my longest ride ever today… 51.4 miles. Even though the tandem is rather comfortable, after that long in the chair stuff still hurts if you aren’t used to it.

We’re glad to be home… that post-ride shower and Quizno’s were just what the doctor ordered. Time to take some Vitamin-I now and go to bed.

Benton-Haskell-Poyen-Tull Loop

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A quick ride before dinner

Today, Mandy and I took the GTT out for a ten mile ride around town. This ride pushed me over 100 miles for March 🙂 We’ve been trying to ride every day and we’re hit and miss. We’ll get the whole weather + cooking + chores + homework + riding thing down though.

Our new clipless shoes work really well… I didn’t realize how much effort it took to keep your feet on the pedals without them.

Ho dam! I gots to get me one of dem!

Well… we did it

A few days ago we noticed a Greenspeed GTT for sale on ‘BentRider Online and we decided to go test ride it because, ya know, we’d never get a chance to do so again and it looks like a really fun bike.

So we went and tried it out. And that was our biggest mistake since we REALLY liked the bike. We asked more questions, did additional research online and decided we wanted it. We haggled a bit and got the seller to show us how to adjust a few parts and pieces and then paid for the bike and loaded it into our truck and headed home.

And we’ve been grinning ever since.

Below you’ll find a few of the photos of the bike that the seller had posted online. The last photo shows the handlebar, brakes and shifters and how they relate to the seat.