whales, dolphin and porpoise, oh my

This morning I got this note from Patricia Sener, Executive Director of CIBBOWS.  She’s not biking, she’s swimming. But that counts.


I quote….

Did you know there are humpback whales very close to where you swim?  The NY Bight, our backyard ocean, has the largest density of marine mammals and sea turtles in the US–twenty-one species of whales, dolphin and porpoise that come into these waters, frolicking just over yonder.

On July 22nd, I will be swimming 17 miles across the Western NY Bight to bring attention to the Clean Ocean Zone Initiative, which seeks to create the first-ever federally protectedClean Ocean Zone, or COZ. This COZ would be the nation’s first-ever pollution-free ocean area where pollution sources such as raw sewage and oil/gas industries would be prohibited.

CIBBOWS is partnering with Clean Ocean Action, the creator of this initiative, in order to bring attention to the importance of keeping our local ocean clean and wild. Funds raised through CIBBOWS will go to two charities—Clean Ocean Action and Gotham Whale, a non-profit that tracks the local humpback whale population. 

This swim will start in Sandy Hook, NJ–the headquarters of COA–then into the wild blue open ocean, no land in sight–and finish around Atlantic Beach, LI, near the site of a proposed liquified natural gas storage facility that threatens to bring pollution to our waterways. 

I’m swimming where no person has swum before to raise awareness of the importance of keeping our backyard clean and swim-able for all.

Please join CIBBOWS and myself in supporting our local charities and consider making a donation for this event to help keep our backyard ocean wild, clean and swimmable.
Follow along on my adventures on Facebook this Wednesday for live updates. 

See you at the beach!
-Patricia SenerExecutive DirectorConey Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers
www.cibbows.org

Eat, sleep, bike, swim,
Rob
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Cruzbikes climb steep hills.

Cruzbikes climb steep hills.

Frequently, people ask me about the limit, in terms of grade of incline, that a Cruzbike recumbent bike can climb up a steep hill.  I personally have ridden a CB Silvio up short 25% grade sections and recently, during a New York Cycle Club ride, I climbed a fairly long, steep hill with grades ranging between 20-25%.  Skill and finesse are required to prevent the front drive-wheel from slipping, but the technique* can be mastered by most Cruzbike riders.  (*Consistent, slow, steady pressure on the pedals while leaning forward over the handlebars.)

Here in New York City, since few of us carry clinometers, it is useful to refer to a specific hill and incline that many cyclists know in order to explain how steep a Cruzbike can climb.  My hill of choice is the incline on the West Side Hudson River Bikepath, north of the George Washington Bridge, at that place where the path S-curves inland, up and away from the river and begins following right next to the highway.  It’s an ugly stretch.  While the hill isn’t long, three things make it hard: it’s crazily steep, it’s very narrow, it curves tightly at the steepest section, and — four things — there’s a traffic barrier in the middle of the narrow bike path that you have to squeeze past.  Cyclists tend to think it’s barely climbable on any bike, let alone on a recumbent bike.

I’ve climbed this hill on a Cruzbike Quest 20 when the asphalt was slick due to a drizzling rain.  And I did not put down a foot.  So, I can say with total confidence that this hill is climbable on a Cruzbike.  In addition, I point to this example as one of the reasons I like Cruzbikes for extended long rides where you don’t have the privilege of choosing your route to avoid the hills.

Several months ago, I was having a conversation with a customer about how the Cruzbike climbs.  This guy now owns a Cruzbike Silvio in addition to a Volae Team rear-wheel-drive recumbent bike he bought from me several years ago.  We were talking about this hill so we’d have a common reference point.  He went out later and measured the hill with a clinometer app that he has on his smart phone.  Here is his note.

L___b

10/22/14

Robert,

Recall that you told me that on your Cruzbike you were able to climb that steep climb on the bike trail by George Washington bridge. I’ve never been able to climb it on my Volae.

Last weekend I measured that hill with my phone clinometer.

The bottom 20 feet or so are at an 18% grade.
The next 20 feet or so are at a 20% grade.
The next 20 feet or so are at a 12% grade.
The top 10 feet or so are at a 21% grade, going around a sharp left hand turn to the flat crest of the hill, and I measured on the outside of the turn where the bike would be.

Now you know exactly what you climbed.

Even though I ran the App calibration sequence, which is a 2-step process turning the phone 180 degrees to cancel out the phone being thicker at the camera end, I found that the app still measured 2 degrees different on the hill depending on which end of the phone was uphill. I measured both ways and averaged to get the numbers above.

This App from plaincode is the only free clinometer App I have found that has an option (still free) to measure in percent grade (after one-time setup in the configuration dialog to switch from degrees to percent) the way cycling people like to do. Plaincode makes their money on paid upgrades for advanced features.

This app is available on Apple, Android, and Windows phones and tablets. Website with links to each of the three App stores: http://www.plaincode.com/products/clinometer/

My ride was a 90-mile round trip from Yorktown Heights to Stinky Cheese on 20th street and back. Their Caveman Blue is beyond way out there. Just enough daylight for it at my all-day, 11 mph rate.

Regards,
J__ L____

(By the way, this same customer set up his Cruzbike Silvio with a Rohloff Speedhub.  I’ll post a note about that sometime in the near future.)

Have fun, stay healthy, and go enjoy yourself on some steep hills,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Extended customer review of a Cruzbike Quest

———- Original Message ———-

Subject: on-line review
From: “O__ G___
To: “Robert Matson”
——————————————

[Ed. note: this customer wrote an extended review of his experience testing, buying and learning to ride a Cruzbike Quest. I’ve reprinted only an excerpt here, but it’s a useful review for those who want to weed out the real-life experiences of Cruzbike riders from the hype.]

“….I made an appointment with Robert (NYC Recumbent Supply, link below) for a lesson. He starts me out on a Cruzbike Quest, one of those MBB bikes. Mind you, I was prepared for a challenge. I’d read about the learning curve, and was ready for some difficulty. An hour and a half later, white knuckled, the beginnings of blisters on my hands from a death grip on the handlebars, and buzzing on adrenaline from 90 minutes of “OMG doesn’t riding a bike since you were six years old count for anything?” and I’m still riding on the edge between control and wipeout. I felt like a beginner. But you can’t really fall on a recumbent. When you lose your balance the leg on the side your falling towards instinctively goes out to catch yourself. I lost my balance many times, only at low speed, never crashed. During the lesson Robert also let me try a conventional rear wheel drive bent….”

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Working with the New York Veterans Affairs Hospital’s “Pedals of Honor”

For the past four years I’ve had the privilege of working with the New York Veterans Affairs hospitals, helping to put wounded vets on recumbent trikes.  For the past three years, in May, New York City Recumbent Supply has volunteered at the “Pedals of Honor” event, which the VA hosts in conjunction with Achilles International.  As an event volunteer, I help set up bikes and trikes, provide maintenance and repairs, fit participants onto trikes and bikes, and support the massive group ride around the park.  It’s a thrill to work with these guys and I look forward to it every year.  Neile Weissman, president of the New York Cycle Club, also helps.

I’m consistently impressed by the staff from the VA, who seem to truly love their work.  This year, I was additionally pleased to meet Dick Traum, the founder of the Achilles Track Club, now known as Achilles International.  I admire what Mr. Traum has done for disabled athletes.  CNN produced a video about Mr. Traum that you can watch here.

Have fun, stay healthy, and look for someone you can help,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Happening this evening!

David Kroodsma wrote me this afternoon about his slideshow and talk.  It sounds worthwhile.  I realize this is kind of last minute, but here’s the info.

The Bicycle Diaries — Slideshow and Book Talk


Manhattan: Monday, March 30th, 7pm — NYC Velo Hell’s Kitchen:
http://www.nycvelo.com/slideshow-and-book-reading-david-kroodsma/ [1]

Brooklyn: Tuesday, March 31st, 7pm — Red Lantern Bicycles:
http://www.redlanternbicycles.com/weekly-events/2015/3/31/a-slide-show-presentation-with-mark-kroodsma
[2]

Former Stanford climate change researcher David Kroodsma has bicycled from
California to the southern tip of South America, from Turkey to Myanmar, and
across the U.S. twice. Along the way he has talked to hundreds of
people—both laypeople and experts—about climate change, gathering
personal stories about its impacts across three continents.

Join David for a slideshow of his best photos and videos. In addition to
stories of adventure—ranging from fending off a jaguar in Belize to hiding
from police in Tibet—David will share how people across the globe are
currently experiencing climate change, drawing on interviews with people in
28 different countries.

Copies of his recent book, The Bicycle Diaries, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book
of 2014, will be available for purchase.

Visit http://rideforclimate.com/ [3] for more information.

[1] http://www.nycvelo.com/slideshow-and-book-reading-david-kroodsma/
[2] http://www.redlanternbicycles.com/weekly-events/2015/3/31/a-slide-show-presentation-with-mark-kroodsma
[3] http://rideforclimate.com/

Check it out,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Hardly winter doldrums…

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but it’s hardly winter doldrums at NYCRS.  There are a lot of exciting developments in the bicycle world.  And, this is the time of year that I get to take some of my own trips!  And build a new website.  Also, it seems that winter is a good time for cyclists to do research.  I have had more long phone conversations during the winter than I have time for during the bike season.

Meanwhile, I’ve been traveling a lot but, aside from the usual city bike-commuting runs, doing a lot more running, hiking and skiing than bicycling.  And in a couple days I leave for a NOLS field class for winter outdoor educators.  I imagine I’ll come back with some new ideas related to winter cycling.

Look for a new NYCRS website soon.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Hopkins rides an HP Velotechnik on his Pan American Odyssey

Matthew Hopkins with his cool custom blue-green Street Machine Gte. Photo credit: from Matthew’s blog

Matthew Hopkins dropped by New York City Recumbent Supply the other day.  He is riding the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina, a 30,000 mile odyssey, on a custom green HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte (with Rohloff).  He originally contacted me because he needed a new chain tube.  I didn’t have a spare in stock, but invited Matthew for lunch as a consolation and to see if I couldn’t help him brainstorm a temporary solution.

Here’s Matthew’s blog: http://theroadoflittlemiracles.ghost.io

When he arrived, I was wrapping up an appointment with another HP Velotechnik convert (Adam), so we all went to my favorite local source for Caribbean take-out and picked up several containers of ox tail, stewed chicken and jerk chicken.  We had a good time, enjoying the sunshine in my vegetable garden and talked about tents, wasps, water filters, friendly people and the other joys of long distance riding.  And of course we talked about recumbent bikes — this brand, that brand, different considerations, etc.

Matthew has 20 years experience as a bike mechanic, so he knows bikes.  It turns out he owns three HP Velotechniks: the Street Machine Gte he’s riding, a Grasshopper fx, and a Scorpion fx (with Rohloff).  He seems to believe the best option for a machine that will be reliable for 30,000 miles is an HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte.  And if it were me, I’d make the exact same choice.

Have fun, ride far,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Important! Help me raise $250,000 to increase access to recumbent bikes in New York Metro

Vote here. It’s fast and free.
https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/60386

Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.

I need your help, guys.  And I need it now.  Please.  Voting ends Nov. 15 at midnight.  I still need more votes.

I realize recumbent bike riders in the NY Metro area wish we had a larger dealership here.  I feel the same way.  And I’d like you to know I keep hammering away at it.

Some of you know the business and you know how incredibly hard it is.  That’s especially true in a high-cost region like NY Metro where we pay 3x what others pay for real estate and 2x more for utilities.  Those of you who know me personally know how I knock myself out to grow the business, every day.

At last weekend’s Recumbent Cycle Convention, dealers and manufacturers from all over the country, pretty much to a man, expressed overwhelming support for what I’m doing, including offers to help if they can, etc.  The level of kindness was really touching.  And it appears I’m on pretty much a similar path to everyone else, doing similar things.  (It also turns out that a few manufacturers consider me their “best” dealer; that felt good.)

None of you will be shocked to hear the main obstacle to growing New York City Recumbent Supply is money.  So, I’ve applied for a huge competitive grant from Chase Bank.  If I get it — if we get it — it’ll be massive and will dramatically increase access to recumbent bikes in our region.

All I need is your vote.  It’s fast and free.
To be considered for the first round of this competitive grant process, I need your support: your vote, in fact.  And the votes of your friends.

The link is below.  When you go to the site, Chase is going to ask for Facebook stuff.  They say they don’t use or retain the info.  I assume it helps prevent voter fraud.  But I don’t know.  I don’t control it.  Unfortunately, some people have found this off-putting.  Please don’t be put off.

Vote here:
https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/60386

Thanks to each of you for helping grow the bent-riding community in Greater NY.

All best,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Street Machines hobnob on Bear Mountain on a perfect fall day.

Another beautiful day on Bear Mountain in New York. Two Street Machines, and two street machines, and a lot of long hills. Photo copyr. 2013 R Matson

Last weekend, a friend and I went for a two-day ride around Harriman State Park on our Street Machine Gtes.  The weather was spectacular, if cold and breezy, and the fall foliage was on the early side of peak.  One of us went off into the weeds while trying unsuccessfully to make a tight high speed turn, the other fell into a lake.  In both cases, don’t ask why.  Or how.  But one thing is clear: we had fun.

Go enjoy a view,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Where NY mayoral candidates stand regarding bicycling

This just in from Noah Budnick, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives.  I’m just going to cut and paste it because I can add no value other than to re-publish it.

Wait.  Before I get there, this blog endorses di Blasio for mayor, as the candidate who speaks the most pleasing words in favor of bicycling in New York City.

Dear [me/you],

Loud and clear, your message hit candidates’ ears: You bike.  You walk.  You vote.

And boy did those candidates respond.

You and 4,000 New Yorkers demanded an on-the-record response from New York City’s candidates for mayor and City Council.  Check out the candidates’ responses before tomorrow’s Primary Election with
Transporation Alternatives’ Voter FAQ. On this page, you’ll also find everything you need to know to be ready to vote.

http://my.transalt.org/site/R?i=AQ7reYsvKLCVblYhORjSvQ

Tomorrow is your chance to vote in New York City’s most important election in more than a decade — it’s even more important than the General Election.

After tomorrow, most City Council elections are practically over. There are 51 New York City Council seats up for election. In two-thirds of the races, only Democrats are running. The remaining third of contests are expected to see clear winners after the Primary Election tomorrow, dictating the General Election outcome as well. Do you know everything you need to vote tomorrow?

http://my.transalt.org/site/R?i=N8PRO8CP412bdu-Oii1PBg

Check out how the candidates for mayor and City Council responded to questions about bicycling and walking.  Learn if you’re registered to vote.  Find your polling place.  And find out how to register to vote. Everything you need is right here.

http://my.transalt.org/site/R?i=b6gxE5zupMKvRKp9LmORxw

See you at the polls tomorrow!

Sincerely,

Noah Budnick
Deputy Director
Transportation Alternatives
Your advocate for Biking, Walking and Public Transit
www.transalt.org

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson