Hangin’ In Borgarnes

Relaxin' in a wacky café
These needlepoint things always remind me of the 16-color images that I marveled at on my Apple IIgs when I was a teenager.
I dig that idea.
So much depends on a red wheelbarrow!

I like how the clouds seem to lounge on the mountain like a giant lazy cat.

The view in the morning as I'm heading out.

Oh my goodness SO FLOOFY

Bloody explorers!

“Bloody explorers.  Ponce off to mumbo-jumbo land and arrive home with a tropical disease, a suntan, and a bag of brown lumpy things, and Bob’s your uncle and everyone’s got a picture of them in the lavatory.  I mean, what about all the people who do all the work?”

Edmund Blackadder

Preconception of Iceland

This is what I believed Iceland was like, before doing ANY research on the place. It’s as a crude snapshot of what pop culture was telling me. Of course, actually going to Iceland will change this picture, I’m sure:

Iceland is a big ice-covered chunk of rock way up north, populated by a collection of pale-skinned people all crammed into one large city, close to some killer geothermal pools that are probably very relaxing to sit in. The population is so small they have to be careful who they date, but they’ve solved this problem with some very detailed bookkeeping.

Having nothing to exploit on their rock in terms of natural resources and not much of a tourism draw, but consistently bearing the best skin color, hair color, and height for social navigation, they have naturally turned to banking and finance as the means to stay at first-world levels of comfort. From a sideways perspective this isn’t too far from the plundering behavior of their ancestors, just white collar instead of blue collar.

Nobody does any crime because Iceland is too cold, but people struggle with depression a lot.  This ironically makes Icelanders a very interesting and engaging people to talk to.  This is also probably why they spawned Bjork.  Occasionally their snow-covered rock explodes a little, dumping hot ash into the air and blocking the sun, and there is some fatalistic worry over this but eventually everyone goes back to ignoring it.

Icelanders probably throw really cool parties.  And hey, don’t hate them because they’re beautiful and smart.  Do business with them instead.  You’ll live longer.

A (not very dramatic) confession!

I think it’s time to admit it:

I am a bicycling nut.

In fact, it’s time to go beyond that, and admit that my very life – in the form of my health – depends on bicycling.

For the past week I’ve been suffering, because a support strut broke on the seat of my recumbent:

It's aluminum, so it cracked all the way across instantly. Steel would have cracked and bent slowly. This increased risk is the price we pay for lighter frames.

With no immediate replacement, I’ve been forced – FORCED I tell you – to ride my “upright” bicycle again. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the upright. It’s an old Bridgestone frame customized into a good touring bike, and I’ve taken it on many rides including a brief tour of Tasmania:

… But it’s not my recumbent. It’s not that speedy, panoramic experience I’ve grown used to, where every joint is perfectly at ease. And that little difference is making me cycle a little less. And with that, I suffer. Wailing; gnashing of teeth, et cetera!

Words to live by??

My mood is more down. My work goes slower. My sleep is more restless. My appetite no longer matches my exercise level, so I’m gaining weight. It’s all going just a little bit crap, because I can’t hop on my favorite bike. That’s a pretty big deal. And it’s a state of things that I should recognize.

So, fine. I’m a bicycling nut. Even though I don’t own any lycra clothing.

Onward!!

Valoria II: Seats and fitting

I ride my recumbent a lot, and I ride it wrong.

When I’m not doing tight maneuvers, I rest my arms way up on the handlebars. That means I position the handlebars way closer than normal.

To get the same setup on my new bike, I had to get a longer steering riser tube. After much discussion with Zach, we concluded that the easiest thing to do was ask Bacchetta to send us a riser tube meant for their Bella long-wheelbase bike. That worked beautifully except it was too long. So, it was time for another crude do-it-yourself adventure:

Marking how much I need to saw off.

This is a pipe cutting tool. You stick it on a pipe and spin it around. Pretty smart design!

Bacchetta’s handlebars are now really wide, like most other recumbent designs. It’s like steering a plow. Does this mean I have to get used to them?

Nah. I can just swap handlebars.

New bike in front, old bike in back. The alignment is almost the same. Now to swap the handlebars...

New bike, old handlebars. To keep the new shifters and brakes I had to swap them between bars, which meant removing the bar grips. They are very sticky. I'm still struggling with the one on the right!

Bacchetta’s seats no longer include the eyelets for directly attaching an under-seat rack. Does this mean I have to give mine up?

Nah. I can just swap seats and keep using my old one.

New version of recurve seat on the left, old seat on the right. Note the attachment point on the old seat for an under-seat rack.

Look at that crusty old thing! But it’s so comfortable…

The bolts connecting the support struts to the seat of a Bacchetta recumbent, after 20 years of use.

Top set: 20 years old. Bottom set: brand-new.

While I’m moving parts around, I might as well replace that worn out seat clamp on the old bike with a nice new one…

20-year-old seat clamp on the left, brand new seat clamp on the right. The design has evolved!

I can’t transfer the stickers from my old frame, but I can put equivalents on the new one:

Chococat in the lead!

Doin’ a lot of work on this bike… Things are starting to get messy!

You know what? I’m putting my arms on the same bars, and putting my butt on the same seat, so I’m basically riding the same bike. This bike isn’t “Valoria II”, it’s still just “Valoria”, but fancier.

That’s cool.