Pedals of Honor

Nano (L) and Antonio (R) are two of New York’s most recognizable athletes. They lead an 8am Saturday morning hand-cycle training ride in Central Park. In upper left hand corner, left to right, Robert Matson, Joe Traum and Sze Wing Kwok speak with an athlete about hand cycles and an upcoming race.
Lining up to ride the Central Park loop.

Today I assisted with the recumbent trikes at the Pedals of Honor program from the VA Veterans Integrated Service Network 3 Adaptive Sports Program.  Neile Weissman, New York Cycle Club’s ‘bent-riding ride leader extraordinaire, helped.  The HP Velotechnik Gekko fx seemed to be the favorite trike foot-cycle.

Nice shirt.  Photo of me (Robert) taken later that day. During
the event I was too busy to ask for a photo, as usual. I need
to start asking people for photos, while the action is…in action.

What is “Pedals of Honor”?

From the press release…

Pedals of Honor makes cycling a reality for Veterans with limb loss

A new program from the VA Veterans Integrated Service Network 3 (VISN 3) Adaptive Sports Program and Achilles International invite Veterans with limb loss to participate in a bike riding experience, Cycling in Central Park, on Wednesday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event, sponsored by DAV Transportation Network, the Long Beach VFW Post 1384, Hicksville VFW Post 3211, VVNW Nassau County Chapter 82 and DAV Amputation Chapter 76, serves as the kick off for what will be a weekly cycling program in Central Park for Veterans.

“Adaptive sports are an amazing way to facilitate overall health and wellness while providing an opportunity for our New York and New Jersey Veterans to explore the city in ways they haven’t before,” said Leif Nelson, Prosthetics Clinical Coordinator at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, which houses the VISN 3 Prosthetics Program.

Achilles International has partnered with the VA VISN 3 Adaptive Sports Program to provide top level instruction for Veterans wanting to participate in cycling. The program uses top of the line cycles that will accommodate Veterans with a wide range of disabilities including Spinal Cord Injury, Limb Loss and Visual Impairments.

Eligible Veterans can participate in group rides and instruction and the program is open to all experience levels from beginners to experts. Equipment can accommodate any and all disabilities.

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

HP Velotechnik Gekko: Attaching the seat cover

A customer who recently bought an HP Velotechnik Gekko was mystified as to how to attach the nylon seat cover.

He wrote me:

“Does HPV make a rain cover that actually fits the mesh seat?  That one I bought from you is unusable.”


I replied:

Hi J___,
Thanks for checking in.
Attaching the seat cover…
The top of the seat cover attaches to the inside of the seat back pocket.
You’ll see the velcro.
The bottom of the cover attaches at the front of the seat, to plastic hooks on the bottom of the seat.
Sorry for forgetting to show you how to do it.

This may have solved three mysteries at once for this rider: Why is there velcro in the seat back pocket?! What the heck are those plastic hooks for?! And, yes, how in the world do you put on the seat cover?!?

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

HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 26 / Review

Photo credit: Bentrider Online, 2013

Here is a review of HP Velotechnik’s Scorpion fs 26 by Bryan Ball, from Bentrider Online.

HPVelotechnik Scorpion fs 26
By BRYAN J. BALL, Managing Editor
Posted on April 30, 2013 by Bryan Ball

HPVelotechnik has an unqualified hit on their hands with their Scorpion fs full-suspension tadpole. Dealers are moving them quickly and owners adore them. However, it’s not in HPVelotechnik’s nature to ever leave well enough alone. Therefore, it was inevitable that there would be a new version eventually. So came to be that the new Scorpion fs 26 that was unveiled with much fanfare at last year’s Eurobike show….”

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

Q & A: What tires for trikes?

On Tue, May 15, 2012 12:28 pm, M___ L____ wrote:
> Hello,
> I have a recumbent trike and need new tires (Catrike Villager). Can you
> recommend tire?  And also need them
> to change tires on now. I am in Marine Park Area.


> Thank you,
> M__ L__

Hey M___,

Good to hear from you again.  I’m partial to Schwalbe tires due to the quality of manufacturing.  The Catrike Villager has 20″ wheels, front and rear, so I’d suggest Schwalbe Marathon Racers or Schwalbe Trykers if you’re riding on maintained roads, either paved or dirt.  For unmaintained roads, double-track trails, and rough off-road terrain I like Schwalbe Mow Joe knobby tires.  They were created for BMX racing so they are very grippy, responsive and fast.

All best,
Robert

# # #

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

From sleet to the heat and riding the Gekko fx.

Suddenly the heat is upon us.  It’s supposed to reach 72 deg. F today (22 deg C).  Already.  A week ago I was still riding and hiking with wool tights.  If I ever create a universe, it will progress slowly through spring, delaying the onset of heat and humidity, which, when it’s inevitable, will be limited to just a few hours in the middle of the nights in July and Aug.  Otherwise, it’ll be 50s and 60s and sunny with flowers blooming.  In fact, in my universe there’ll be essentially no summer, just spring, fall and winter.  The heat is more limiting than the cold, in my humble universe-creating opinion.

This weekend I’m giving a presentation about Green Getaways in my role as a bike leader with the Appalachian Mountain Club.  This has been a good chance to set down my thoughts and experiences as a cyclist in a single, tight format.  I’ve forgotten how much work is required when you (I) write.

Recumbent bikes…  At times (today) I really feel they are a different animal from standard frame bikes.  At least they are for me.  At least that’s how I feel today.  My beater bent (Rans Rocket) aside, which I might ride anywhere to keep my legs in shape and because that seat is so comfortable, there’s nothing like taking out the Grasshopper for a long ride.  For me, it’s the long ride where bents come into their own.  In the city, the standard frame is simply so easy and practical (and cheap and easy to lock): there are times when you simply need to do a track stand, or turn at nearly right angles, when you just want to lock it up and not think about whether some young thug will slice up the seat, when you’re feeling introverted (who me?) and don’t want everyone saying “cool bike” when you go by, when you simply want to stand on the pedals and hammer.

But there are also times when you simply want to sit back and ride for hours and hours.  And that’s the bent’s job.  I actually feel cramped when I take it out for a short training ride in the park as opposed to the day-long trip.  Wrong tool for the job.

Also, kind of amusingly, I’ve been riding the trikes more than usual.  Mostly this is because of the new Gekko fx from HP Velotechnik; I’ve wanted to spend time getting to know it, and it’s simply so much fun to ride.  I say “amusingly” because I don’t see myself as a trike rider, per se.  I think of myself more as a two-wheeled guy, but I have to say, I really love the stability of the tadpole format and the way it rides like a go-cart.  When I was a pre-teen I very much wanted a go-cart.  Now I have one, or a few, that I can borrow from NYCRS.  It makes me want to put together a trike race here in NYC.  (Come on, I know you’re out there; I promise to let you have the lead for the first lap.)

I think what I’ve enjoyed most about the trikes is using them as mountain bikes.  They’re simply so incredibly stable.  You slip and slide around but you never feel like you’re going to go head over heels or have the wheels slide out from under you.  The only downside has been on steep stuff where you can’t shift your weight to manage how the wheels dig into the dirt.  Well…the other downside is you can’t really do single track in an environmentally sensitive way; either you don’t fit or you broaden the trail.

I’m finding the trike format easy to get attached to, though.  I can see why they’re popular with the rail-trail, bike path and country road riders.  Oh, and yes there’re the G-forces that you feel on the trike.  Nothin’ quite like G-forces.

Have a great day, riders.  Looks like summer is here.

Best,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

Trikes

Trikes are more popular in non-urban regions of the country than they seem to be in New York/DC/Boston/Philly, but they certainly do have their following.  It’s been cool to see more trike customers visiting, in addition to the 2-wheel crowd.

I have a HP Velotechnik Gekko fx demo model in stock.  I received and built it several weeks ago, but only got to ride it myself for the first time last weekend.  OK…OK…once again, HP Velotechnik blows off the lid.  It’s a great machine.  Every time I receive a new HP Velo, I just want to retire and spend all my time touring on whatever they just sent me.  While the Gekko fx lacks the exceptionally fine handling of the Scorpion fs, it’s no slouch, with a tight turning radius, a high seating position — seat height is 13″ — so you don’t feel invisible on the roads, and the usual HP Velo stability.  And of course it goes as fast as you want to peddle.  To make up for the lack of full suspension, we built this one up with Schwalbe Marathon Big Apple tires and they really give a great ride — both that air cushioning and the amazing grip.  SRAM/Avid have improved their disc brakes as well, so the BB5’s aren’t bad.  Don’t overlook them.

A second Gekko fx will arrive at the end of April.  Otherwise, new German-built machines are taking about 8 weeks to arrive in New York due to demand and manufacturing backlog.  As for the Scorpion line-up, they are being built much more quickly, with delivery in as little as three weeks (though that can change).  The USA Gekko fx’s, with the slightly lower spec, are slated to be offered in June, but no exact date has been set.

All this to say, if you want your trike sooner rather than later, consider buying a Scorpion.  They aren’t that much more expensive than the Gekkos and, like all HP Velotechniks, they’re worth every penny.  Better yet, for day-riders, tourers and commuters, they use the traditional HPV rack designs.  However, if you need the tight, fast fold (and what city-dweller does not), the Gekko fx remains your machine; you’ll simply need to wait for it.

Best,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

Recumbent Bike Winter Sale (but first this news)

News:

|| Hilarious article about New York City recumbent riding ||
|| in Recumbent Journal. ||
Recumbent Journal, Sunday January 9, 2011
“Big Apple Traffic, Cobbles Hobble Bentrification” by Chris Malloy
http://www.recumbentjournal.com/views/columns/item/287-big-apple-traffic-cobbles-hobble-bentrification.html

** Studded Winter Tires **
I’m trying to keep studded tires in stock through February.  That said, every Schwalbe dealer in the country is backordered.  I still have 26″ studdeds and 700c studdeds.  Get them while it’s cold.

__The_Third_Saturday_Grant’s_Tomb__bent rides are now joint rides with the Metro Area Recumbent Society and the Appalachian Mountain Club.  Cool, eh?  New York Cycle Club members will also soon be (officially) joining in.  I’m rather pleased about this because it broadens participation in the ride and welcomes the “bent curious” as well as the “simply bent.” 🙂  If you haven’t been out for the ride in a while, I hope to see you soon.  It’s a wonderfully pleasant training ride that is right outside our doors.

^^ Tours ^^
I plan to lead a week-long tour upstate this summer.  The route is beautiful with magnificent views (that’s bent rider speak for “expect hills”).  I’ll have more details in the spring, but I tell you now so, if you’re interested, you can start training…now.  Days will be 60 – 80 hilly miles.  I’d be interested in hearing from prospective participants as to whether they’d prefer to rough it with a fully-loaded tour or stay at hotels or B&Bs along the way.  Advantages to both.

(For indoor training, I recommend the 1-Up trainer:
http://www.1upusa.com/bike_trainer.html)

## Trikes ##
I still don’t know what to make of them for urban riding, but I’ll tell you, that new fast-folding Gecko from HP Velotechnik is really something else and it’s priced to move (but is still made in Germany).  If most your riding is on greenways or country roads, do not overlook them.

HP Velotechnik trike designs continue to be somewhat unique for many reasons, not least of which is that their trikes have a surprisingly high seat height compared to other brands.  The Scorpion fs, for example, is the same head height as a Corvette.

Everyone loves trikes on greenways and bike paths.  Do we have enough bike lanes in NYC now for trikes to feel safe on the roads?  Maybe soon.  At any rate, they outsell two-wheeled bents everywhere else in the country so I’ll be bringing them in as fast as people want them.

— Help Stop the Backlash against Cycling —
NYC’s boom in cycling has lead to some backlash from a very vocal minority.  Some of their complaints are justified (about cyclists violating road rules).  But some are dangerously wrong-headed and involve fabrications of fact (there’s a group saying the Prospect Park West (Brooklyn) bike lane makes the street more dangerous and they want it removed.  Truth: the accident and speed data shows it’s made the street dramatically safer).

Last week, the NYC Dept. of Transportation announced at the NY Cycle Club meeting that it is taking the politically necessary route of working with the police to enforce road rules for cyclists at the same time that they remain fully committed to building out hundreds of miles of bike lanes.

Please: Ride according to the road rules.  Join Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org).  And follow TA’s lead in taking action to preserve and improve the cycling boom in the city.  This is important for improving the quality of life for all city residents.

That’s all folks.  Have a great winter!

All best,
Robert

———-
Robert Matson

Tel: (646) 233-1219
Hours: M-F, 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun. by appointment.

copyright 2011 Robert Matson