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zaterdag 31 december 2011

EUROLL. What kind of ride will it be?

 It seems there is enough enthusiasm to do a Tour like ROAM in Europe: a EUROLL. There is however great diversity about the way we should do it. The greatest controversy is about the daily distances. Some would like to make it more a sight-seeing tour and others think it should be more ambitious. Now we could of course simply say: the organiser decides and in the end, that is indeed the way it will have to go. The freedom we have as velomobile riders is than to either participate or not.

Another thing to consider is the number of riders. We will not be in practically velomobile void USA where this type of bicycle has yet to really take off, but in Europe. And Europe is the home of the velomobiles, the place where several small velomobile factories have produced quite a number and that has a well established culture. I'm pretty sure that the number of participants will be much higher than on ROAM, even with ambitious daily legs. We will need more room at campsites and restaurants on the route will be flooded with unexpected extra, very hungry guests. Some more room on campsites will not be such a problem, but the waiting time for riders to get a lunch should not be too long. I think that the 40 riders we had for ROAM was just about the limit to keep it fun.

How long a table do we need?


I have thought long and hard if there maybe is a better way to do this tour so that as many riders as possible can take part. At the same time I want to keep the organizational effort and the costs as low as possible. In fact, even though many showed interest in taking part in EUROLL, it took a long time before somebody volunteered to take the lead in the organization.
I also worry about the amount of support that is needed. SAG (Support And Gear) was indispensable for ROAM. The burden on these people was pretty high while the riders had all the fun. That burden could be greatly diminished when the riders would take their tents, sleeping bags and clothing with them in the velomobiles.
The ambition level is another thing to consider. When all the team mates have the same idea about how fast, how long and how scenic to ride, it will build a strong team. Sight-seeers and racers do not go together all that well.

A few days ago it hit me, we could make it a STAR route. Velomobile riders from all corners of Europe can make their own groups (by preference of route and/or by country) and converge at one place where we can spend a few days together and be on our merry way again. The organization will be split up over the groups and there is less discussion.

I suggested this to three forums and the responses are (as usual) variable. A concern is that the group experience would be lost.
Well, in my view a group of 20 riders is already plenty of group experience. On ROAM it was very evident that the riders mostly got together in "sub-groups by language" in the evening. That's not at all strange, because not everybody is equally good in a strange language.

Another suggestion that followed my proposal is to make EUROLL a round trip for everybody and to have sub-routes, meeting again at a hostel after, say, a week and then split up again. This would indeed give great freedom to the riders in respect to the harshness of the ride. On the other hand it might put off riders that need a sense of achievement. Like: it should not be too easy. All I can say about that is that the fitness level of riders varies greatly. A tour of this magnitude will be an achievement for all the participating riders.

dinsdag 30 augustus 2011

ROAM, a good format for velomobile promotion.



 Crossing the Mississippi in the Twin Cities
 (Photo made by Benji)

On the Dutch fora, there was a suggestion to copy the ROAM format to a EURO (European Rollover). Sounds like a great idea to me to promote the velomobile. What made ROAM such a succes? There are more factors of course, but I think that discipline was very important for most riders. During ROAM we had the iron discipline of a time schedule. Without this schedule and without the psychological support of other riders and the support people, I would surely have taken more rest days. The downside was that it was difficult to make daily blog posts, photo and vido uploads. Not that I think there should have been shorter trips or more days of rest! (although true days of rest instead of the "rolling stops" through Minneapolis and Chicago would have been very good for recuperation and some massage of sore muscles).
Especially regarding the video material, it would have been great to have someone with us that is good at editing the daily flow of material from all riders.  A sort of ROAM journal. I was forced to make short clips and dump the most appealing raw on YouTube, because I simply did not have time (IF the facilities had been there at the campgrounds AND if the wifi hadn't crashed continuously because of all ROAMers uploading at the same time) to make something nice out of it.
Reception at the European Embassy in Washington DC
left-to-right: American ambassador, European
ambassador and our beloved
ROAM captain: Josef Janning


Hopefully a documentary can be made with all the material. A professional has shown interest in doing this. That would be super, because the impact will last longer. 
Even raw uploads was difficult. I have not even one fourth of all material of interest uploaded until now. I think it's a shame. I can obviously work much better at home behind the powerful video editing software on my iMac, but that would be too late. Fun for the riders, but promotionally it's just old news.The rides through virtually unpopulated (natural) areas are beautiful, but you really must go through the large towns, otherwise you will not be noticed! We could have made a very nice coast-to-coast tour with only local media attention. By consciously going THROUGH cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and Washington, we have showed that it is more than doable, while also attracting much attention.
When it comes to performance, then there are many solo rides that are more legendary for the HPV incrowdBut the media attention for them was virtually nil. Why not combine fun and promotion? Let's roll over Europe too!

zondag 28 augustus 2011

ROAM Aftermath, random rambling.


So here I am at Cherry Hill Park campground, Maryland. That's close enough to Washington to get there by bus and metro quickly. The European velomobiles are crated and put in two containers, so it's walking and public transport until I fly home on Thursday September 1st. All kind of little aches are all of a sudden kicking in to body. It seems that it simply didn't have time to complaint while we were doing the Tour, HA. For instance my calves felt very hard yesterday and a twisted nerve in my hip makes walking a bit awkward. Today, after the storm we could go out and walk some and I feel much better already.

a tired but very happy H@rry, cruising through DC

Because of the bad weather (hurricane Irene gave us a huge amount of rain) we stayed indoors most of the day. Stop, I forget to mention the fact that "we" has now come down to Wilfred and me. The rest of the party has already gone home. Well, as far as possible, because trains and planes were cancelled or delayed because of Irene. So they might be sleeping in a hotel lobby or at the airport.
The staying indoors, seated in chairs is not very good for a body that is used to daily exercise, but it did give me a chance to upload many videoclips that I made during ROAM. My original plan was to make a little film every day. This is making me smile as I write it, since it has proven totally impossible to fit in the tight schedule of cycling, eating and camping. Let alone the fact that editing in iMovie and uploading hundreds of Megabytes to YouTube through sometimes non-existing or slowly functioning wifi on the campgrounds is, to put it mildly, very positive thinking. 
I have come up with a new saying for this: "ROAM comes and Internet goes". Many ROAMers  want to check e-mail, blog, Skype, upload pictures and movie clips at the same time, which caused the Internet on the campgrounds to crash constantly. You could almost hear sighs of frustration going between the tents when this happened, if it weren't for the millions of locusts in the trees that made a deafening cricket-like sound every evening.

Because I really wanted to upload clips while DOING the tour, I have shifted my "uploading schedule" to the middle of the night or early morning. This worked pretty good actually, because I had the whole band-width to myself, but in the end it was to tiring to do next to the average daily 125miles of cycling. In Minneapolis I stayed at a coffee-joint for hours, because it had such a good connection and subsequently had to rush to the campground for the "short" track of that day. I was with Benji that day. He was sort of forced to stay with me, because he didn't have a track and I did. Ben is a fun guy from Austria with a very playful and creative mind. Good company and not at all impatience because of my race for Internet access and the campground rush later.


Benji makes this sign complete with a velomobile
As we came close to the campground, I thought it would be a nice idea to compensate him with an ice-cream which surely would be to have at the rather big Icecream Truck I saw across the intersection. Of course it wasn't what it seemed to be, instead it turned out to be the transport of a wedding party. Of course bride and groom had to sit and our vehicles and lots of Photos were taken by the Wedding Photographer at hand. 
Thinking of this, the huge amount of locusts in the Mid-West immediately jump to my mind. They sure jumped all right, right into our velomobiles. They would typically come in through the footholes, jump or climb to a high spot, which usually was my shoulder and eventually jump out again. Some riders didn't like it, but I found they were harmless and funny to watch. I'll endure 6 locusts over a single wasp anytime. Why the number 6? Well, obviously there are always 6 (or none) of them inside a velomobiles at all time. It's no use trying to remove them before they are ready to jump out by themselves, because another one will immediately jump in. 
These are things you cannot plan, but sure makes the whole undertaking a lot more fun. A have many examples like these that made the whole undertaking very enjoyable. Of course the SAG-people, other riders and the people on route played a major role.

SAG was indespensible, I had a mechanical problem that could not be fixed on the road quickly enough

 I have seen the people in the USA now for real. That was one of the major reasons actually to do this. I knew that infrastructure would not be the best to do such a tour. Might as well have done this in Europe for that matter. The fact that the USA has such a huge (and often in a negative way to European eyes) influence in the world and in this era, made me want to meet the people who live there. My conclusion? Most of them are very kind. I didn't encounter hefty political or religious debate and although they usually thought our mission was a strange one, they were totally open to listen to what we had to say. Of course we also met the occasional total jerk, like the ones that produce huge amounts of exhaust fumes from their oversized trucks at the moment they pass us or like the man that called our velomobiles with dismay "Obama bikes". These were the exceptions to the rule. We have seen so many people taking pictures from us while smiling, even sitting in chairs next to the road to see our small groups pass.


you click me, I click you. attention in Washington DC

 Cars that gave us plenty of room and stayed patient when we boldly took priority on intersections (to keep the group together). Police officers that were mainly worried about our safety instead of giving us a ticket for impeding the traffic. Restaurant waitresses that never failed to supply us with ice and water for free and so on and so forth.

A good deal of the ROAM story is told by moving images. Because I have done almost no editing, I mostly uploaded short clips to YouTube and am still uploading as I write this. You can find them on My YouTube Channel

More movies from other ROAM riders can be found by searching "ROAM2011". Enjoy.

zaterdag 20 augustus 2011

Poison Ivy

Now we now what it is. I must have been lying with my knee in them. It seems that the oil gets everywhere on your body when you start to scratch. First I thought it was just the Mosquitos (which is bad enough here) but now I have regular tiny lumps on knees, hips and my hole back. The itch is really bad, but I guess I'm still lucky that I'm not allergic. Just another small inconvenience on ROAM.

What a drag

"Just a little bit of drag, that's all" I thought. I'm talking about my diskbrakes. They are very precise to control and have amazing stopping power. That's the good side. It seems that braking at the moment that I hit a pothole, warped the disk. Ever since the brake has been rubbing.... and robbing my power. I tried to adjust it to a point that it would not rub. The only real time I had for that was in the evening, in the dark at the moment that the mosquitos were most active. Working by the light of a torch, one hand for the bike and one hand for the mosquitos. Not the best conditions. This morning I again felt that the brake was rubbing a bit. I couldn't straighten the disk enough and even couldn't get it free completely. It was only morning and was already tired and sweating heavily. That was it for me. I stopped the SAG vehicle and we got the Mango on the roof.
After a good meal in Spencer and a nap in the shade, I'm coming back to life a bit. Now off to Medina and hope that the bicycle shop there is open.

Ok. I'm lying in my hammock now. I drank, ate and slept in the SAG vehicle, so I got a bit of a rest. I managed to get a new disk, set it up, reduced my gearing by 10% (22tooth chainring on the mid-drive instead of the standard 26) shortened the secondary chain accordingly, lubed the chains and took out everything unnecessary from the Mango to reduce weight and carry only 3liters of water instead of 6. Tomorrow is going to be a serious climbing day with short but steep climbs and 200km distance! At the riders meeting we heard that tomorrow has a good chance of rain. We applauded that, because we are a bit tired of the long streak of dry and hot weather.

woensdag 17 augustus 2011

Zipping between skyscrapers and cabs

I didn't know that Obama lives in Chicago. I have the feeling I was close to him yesterday. First there was a helicopter flying over me and then, as I was following the Waterfront of Michigan Lake, I was stopped by security people. There was a "security issue" and I couldn't pass. All traffic was diverted, but in the wrong direction for me. So I went back along the Waterfront and found a tunnel underneath the streets, leading me towards a very busy street. After riding one block on the sidewalk (several people wanted to know what my bike was about) I decided that this was taking to long, crossed the street and went with the flow of traffic. At first that meant mostly standing still. I heard oh and ah from the sidewalk. Then I was between the impressive skyscrapers and green lights got the cars moving. After some acceleration, I got the hang of it and changed lanes to move around cars that turned right. The street went down a bit and all of a sudden the Mango was going the same speed as the cars. Now I heard WHOOOO look at THAT :-)

Looking at the GPS, I thought it was time to make a left across three lanes and pick up the original track. The cars behind me made room when I indicated that with my arm. A cab on my right had just picked up a passenger and was in a hurry to also go left, using the gap that the other cars gave me. Gently squeezing my disk brakes and steering to the left, I could easily avoid him and then was behind him to make the turn at a stoplight. A bit later I was on the Waterfront again. My little adventure was over, HA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYVGftHf3us

Just before the cars start to move faster.

zondag 14 augustus 2011

ROAM 14-8-'11

Today I had a very hard day. I left together with Wilfred but my chain dropped. I told Wilfred to keep going because it takes me just a few minutes to get it back on. I never saw him again during the day, because not long after that, I hit a pothole in a curvy downhill. After a coffee in Hastings I noticed not being able to keep up with some other ROAMers. I checked the disk brakes and noticed one was a bit warped and therefore rubbing the brakepad. Due to my inexperience with diskbrakes, I could not get it completely free, but figured the drag would be so insignificant that I'd be able to keep up with the group that emerged at that time: Benji, Greg, Hasse and me. I didn't really notice that I still had to much drag on the brakes and it was much later that I noticed that my power output was significantly higher than normal. 20 km before camp, I adjusted the brakes again, because I simply had way to low speed. This time I was able to run the brakes completely free and I could cruise 36 km/h again.
On the last hill before the campsite, the shoulder was replaced by gravel, so I wanted to cut into the lane. The first car didn't let me, so I signaled clearly to the next car that I wanted to change lanes. I could see in my mirror that the car kept my speed although a bit close. Because of a ridge in the asphalt between the lanes I figured the safest way to cross it would be to steer sharply over the ridge. A few seconds later I heard the distinct signal of a police-car. I was being stopped by the police for the first time in my life.
The cop said I was impeding traffic because we could not keep the same speed as the cars and that my swoop into the cars lane was a dangerous action. I explained the officer that I had communicated with the driver and that the sudden steering action was needed to negotiate the bad road.
He nevertheless thought that we would not be safe on this particular road because it's the worst road in the region. I did not feel any urge to discuss further, but I feel I have plenty experience to stay safe.
To make sure that we would arrive safely at the campground, the officer drove behind us and we stayed as close to the side as we could.
Despite the strenuous day for me, I felt strong again after the nice meal that Winda had prepared for the Dutch Express. I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow, especially since I also aligned the front wheels again that had apparently gone out of true at the pothole. I gave the Mango a gentle push on the flat and it rolled along nicely, so it should be ok again.
See you on the road.

PS: on the photo it's NBTriker that is fixing the DualDrive.

zaterdag 13 augustus 2011

ROAM rest day 13-8-'11 Minneapolis

A rest day on ROAM is not your ordinary resting day where you get up late, have a nice breakfast and maybe go out for a walk later.
Todays' rest day was like this: we got up around 7 in the morning, had scraps for breakfast or a bar from our sponsor Cliff, filled water bottles from a hand operated pump on a well and got in our bikes to ride 90km to our next camping place in St. Croix. A so-called rolling stop through the twin cities on each side of the Mississippi river Minneapolis and St. Paul. The ride through town was along a nature rich trail. As it went up and down right and left, bendy and with unforeseeable encounters with oncoming strollers, joggers and cyclists, it proofed difficult to navigate for us who had never crossed these towns. It's simply not the same as when you ask our captain the route for the next day and he says: "just go east on route 12" and look out for velomobiles at the lunch stop.
Anyway, I was amongst the latest riders to leave the campground and since I was determined to upload at least 3 clips from my about 100gB of raw ROAM movie material to my YouTube account, I left the group I was in at the first coffee shop that I saw. There were just a couple of ROAMers leaving the Caribou and they could assure me they had good coffee and fast and free Wifi. Benji had come with me. He was not in a hurry, but waiting 2 hours for me to upload the clips was a bit more than he had expected. As he had no GPS, he had to stay with me or risk getting lost.
Afterwards we went to the Freeway cycling shop and restaurant where we were supposed to meet. The others had already left! Only John and David came in later, but they went on by car.
Expecting 65 km instead of 65 miles, we were a bit disappointed when we discovered that we had to cover more ground. To cheer us up, I thought I'd buy Benji and myself an Icecream at what seemed to be an Icecream van. So we came around this vehicle that turned out to be a vintage bus and found ourselves all of a sudden in the middle of a wedding party. This was of course the perfect opportunity for an improvised photo-shoot. We got a gorgeous bridesmaid and both the lovely bride and groom to sit in our Mango and Quest.
I had a smile on my face for the last kilometers to the St. Croix campground
:-))
See you on the road.

vrijdag 12 augustus 2011

ROAM rain

That's not a biggie for a velonaut, you would say, but I am sleeping in my hammock without the rainfly. Stupid me! Double stupid because I trusted the weather forecast and not the visual information I got from occasional lightning.
So I wake up with a shock because I hear or sense raindrops falling. I squirm out of my sleeping bag and out the slit in the hammock. Grasp the drying clothes from the ridgeline of the hammock. Take da Hood off the Mango (at least I HAD closed that). Turn the Mango towards the hammock and turn on the light. Pull out my backpack and get the rainfly out and drape it over the hammock. Now I'm safe for the moment. (I am SO lucky that it only rains lightly so far) I find my raincoat and now can work in a bit of comfort. Working steadily now instead of frantically, I attach the rainfly and organize my stuff a bit. Before I can get back to sleep, I must report this of course by means of my blog. The rain drop, drip, drops playfully on the rainfly and I'm cosy again. It's 1.40 PM, I bid you goodnight.

PS: the photo is shot at another campsite as I look up to one of the trees I am supported by. You can see the thin but very strong ridgeline of the hammock and the mosquito netting.

ROAM Minnesota

We're close to Minneapolis now.
The ride today was only 165km, mostly on the shoulders of a busy route 12. I took it a bit easier than yesterday when I put 155Watt on average on the road. Managed to wear out Nick and Greg that day. In the end we even hooked up with a larger group of fast riders. I had planned to creep up on them, but Nick suddenly made a sprint. This is not my forte, but I also pushed it even harder to close the gap quicker. I did overheat though, and had to use water from the trusty spray bottle abundantly to keep my head cool. Nick was toast after that sprint and even stopped for a while at a SAG vehicle

Hasse rode that whole day with da Hood and was going fast. Earlier Wilfred had a go with it and also rode in it all day. Seems that up to about 28degrees Celsius da Hood is good to ride.

Today was Gregs' turn. Unscientifically he also changed to faster tires, so there's no way to tell what contributed most to his keeping up with our powerful captain Josef. Our group with Mike and Nina did catch up with him since he had spent much time in a restaurant with excellent free Wifi. Don't know whether the food was any good ;-) Temperature was pretty high with about 29 degrees Celsius max. but like Hasse Greg had no real problem with overheating.

Tomorrow the extra Mango that Larry Varney managed to get across the Rockies before he had to give up, will have a new rider. Nick had borrowed the Go-One3 from a friend and this man will be riding it himself as from today. Being without a velomobile, Nick originally planned to return home, but since he knew the extra Mango was without a rider he approached me to ride it. I readily agreed. Much better than having it on top of a SAG vehicle :-)

woensdag 10 augustus 2011

Roam Poem

Roam, smelling the daisies
Washing salt out of my eyes
Watch the miles go by
Rolling, rolling over America
Roam, washing the sweat out of my shirt
And talking with my buddy riding next to me
Welcome to ROAM

zondag 7 augustus 2011

ROAM, Billings to Miles City Fitnessdata

Billings to Miles City

Interestingly a higher output this day, although we mostly descended.

Fitness data Lolo pass

Garmin Connect, fitness data

Just click the link and you will see temperature, power, speed, elevation, heartrate and so on of my ride across the Lolo pass. Average power output 140 Watt.

Leading the pack

Some photos and a little film about the ride of 6th of August to Miles city



shirt and seat. notice any similarities?

shirt with salt marks from sweating in the pattern of the seat

The bumper of Volker's Dodge, covered with squashed grasshoppers

Made it to Miles city

Today is our second rest day and we have access to Internet. And fast Internet too here at the KOA. History repeats itself though: everywhere we go, Internet gets slow (and crashes). The amount of Photos, blogposts and occasional tweets and Facebook uploads are probably responsible.
So here I am, hanging in my hammock and writing a post by means of a smartphone app at 6.15 PM, because almost everybody sleeps and I have all bandwidth to myself.

Yesterday was a long day with 240km and some short but steep climbing. My Garmin indicated 13% for a while and I was grinding my chainring as well as my teeth. We mostly had long stretches of rolling hills and the wind at the back, so we could cruise at 38 km/h for a long time. At some point I became the leader of a small and changing group, being the only one with a track on my GPS. Greg rode with me all day and we had good fun, making jokes and enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Yellowstone river. I had made up an easy way to remember where the rest stops were. The first was at Custer and the second at Forsythe. That's easy: general Custer and the Forsythe saga :-) when you keep your eyes on the Gps and not on the road signs it doesn't really help, but by accident I had to make a pee stop at the junction near Custer. We had started a bit late and Felix stopped with the van from Greg next to us, so we decided to use the facilities at hand to make a picknick instead of going into Custer. Greg made us a hot drink in the van and I dug up some muffins from my Mango. The pick-nick was all complete with red ants, that roamed near our vehicles. We donated them some muffin crumbs. The fauna sure was abundantly present. On the quiet frontage roads of Interstate 12, grasshoppers jumped into our rides, found a high spot (my shirt) and jumped out again. Accelerating this process proved useless, so I have come up with the theory that there are Always 6 Grasshoppers in a Velomobile. When one jumps in, another will immediately jump out. No worries. Volkers' Dodge was covered with squashed grasshoppers, claiming he had swept the roads for us, but little does he know about Harrys' law: Always 6 grasshoppers, no more!

Felix had found a stop for us in the shade, but it came it a price: the loud noises of numerous insects in the trees near Yellowstone river. Nobody knew the exact name of these insects, but they have hard shells and hatch from a hole in the ground every 17 years and then all climb up a tree and make loud cricket-like noises. Not that you would notice this long cycle, because they do not hatch at the same time.

Apart from a fall from an F40 rider on railroad tracks, several flats, two chain-drops on a hill and Benji with failing brakes having to turn the wrong way after a fast downhill ending at a T-junction, the trip (yawn) was rather uneventful. So I'm going to sleep late till 11 now and perhaps do a bit of wrenching later. Good morning, ZZZZ.

Note: I later saw Benjis' brake, it was literally smoked, the metal discoulered from the heat druing braking.

vrijdag 5 augustus 2011

Friday,  5th of August, 9th day of ROAM.

The last two days were pretty easy with mostly descending. Of course the days before were mostly climbing and they were no short rides either. Apart from the fact that there was simply no time to keep the blog, the Internet is non-existent too. No wifi on the campgrounds and 3G from T-mobile is failing at the moment. I can be called BTW on my USA SIM, when you have my number.
We are now in Billings and Internet is sometimes very good and then all of the sudden it's gone, so I'm writing off-line now and hopefully I get it online.

Anyway, the landscape is just beautiful along creeks and rivers,  mountains and farmland. The fauna is someting else here, deer and moose in the city, rabbits. I nooticed a prairiedog right along the street, looking out it's hole in the ground. I jokingly said to Jim Snyder from RideSouth: "it's Groundhog Day". He immediately understood what I meant. The scenery may change a lot, but our routine is basically the same every day: we break up camp, eat Breakfast that we bought the day before, start riding a long stretch to the coffeestop, where we eat and have our first coffee, we ride on to the lunch-stop and get a copious meal and ride on to the campground and find some restaurant to have another huge meal.  Before or after we set up camp and get a hot shower. I wash my clothes under the shower. I have only one short bikepants and it's mostly time not completely dry in the morning. It simply dries on my body while I ride. The cooling effect is welcome, even in the early morning. 
This all is not to say that I get bored. On the contrary: I feel either exstatatic or immensely tired. Either way I do not get bored, Ugh.
Just before the Kims' Marina (Helena) I was very, very weak. I have a powermeter in my Mango Tour and while I typically output 145Watts on average throughout the day, I had only 50Watts to give on the last short, but steep uphills. The ride had been long, with much climbing to do and I had had not enough electrolytes. Maybe it would not have mattered much, since ALL riders were beat.

tiredness
Very impressing is the sky of Montana. The clouds are very high and from the passes you can look very far. I'm getting dialed in with the heat. It was not extremely hot this Friday, but nevertheless I could see a huge thunderstorm above our destination (Billings KOA campground).
Big Sky Montana
I took it very easy to give the storm time to pass ;-) and that seemed to work. In fact I took it easy because I know that dealing with a thunderstorm can be exhausting when you need to improvise, find shelter and sit out the storm. Outrunning a storm never works. You just get exhausted and when you need the energy, you're out of it. Most riders made it to the campground in time before the thunderstorm to burst, but David Egglestone got caught in the middle. He was picked up by a SAG vehicle, but before they could reach him, he got pretty cold and tired. He had to deal with hail stones, just like Bram a few days earlier. Bram was brought to the campgorund by a friendly car-park owner. That's something else eh?

When the storm began at the campground I was just setting up my Hennessy hammock. I was just putting on the rainfly when the wind picked up, flapping the unfastened rainfly around, and i I felt some drops. I knew what to do, get the rainfly off , throw it in my Mango, close the Mango and run with my stuff to the nearest sheltering place, which happened to be the Barbeque spot from the campground. After studying the fierce thunder for a while, during which a huge branch was ripped from a tree, I decided to take a shower. When I got out, the sun was already shining again and I could finish setting myself up. No time lost, HA! I treasure every moment of this wonderful trip. This blog is not only for my readers, but not in the last place for myself as a sort of diary. 
Likewise, I started to talk into my camera. Vlogging, so to speak. I talk about what comes to mind, it can be about the environment, a piece of my equipment or anything else concerning ROAM. I hope to be able to upload at least a bit of these Vlogs on my YouTube account (twilwel), but that can only be done on rest days. Sunday will be a rest day and I'll do my best to keep you posted. 

dinsdag 2 augustus 2011

Dealing with the heat on ROAM

The heat and strength of the sun is our main enemy at the moment. It is every day 34degr C (93Fahrenheit) and in the valleys there is no wind to cool us. The riders each have their own strategies to deal with it. I will mention my own only, because other riders have their own blogs. What I have found so far to work best is to do no overpowering at any time, unless really necessary in an uphill climb. Then there is the cap from SinnerBikes or the one from Walz. This cap is featured in the bicycle comic "Yehuda Moon" and it really works very well. It keeps the sun out of the eyes and the wind. Important thing, it doesn't blow off, because the cap is short and downward. Just check out Yehuda Moon and you'll see.
Hydration:  No real headaches so far for me, so it seems I manage to keep hydrated. This means 7 liters of fluids during the ride and a lot to boot before and after.
 I use a spraybottle to keep my head cool. Great invention. I just spray water on my cap, neck and shirt. The water evaporates and cools me for a while. This is probably the most important thing to keep me cool. I use only half a litre a day for that, as cold as I can get it. I saw fellow rider Bram throwing water over his head and copied that. But that takes a lot of water and I already have so much to carry. That's when I thought off the spray bottle. It saves me 1,5kg. Being a bit of weight-weenie, I can appreciate the psychological factor ;-)
We sometimes can use the cooling water of the rivers on our route. We once stayed in there for some 5 minutes and then we were ready for many hot miles to come. There was no need to dry the clothes, it dried on our bodies! I only took off the socks, because I feared that wet feet was going to hurt.
 cooling down in the Clearwater river

swollen sunburnt lips

 At a stop, two caps to protect face and neck

Tomorrow I will try my modified Flevobike roof, because sunburn is a continuous threat. My lips are swollen and a bit cracked, but now I have lipstick with factor 50 to protect me. We learn as we go along and sometimes there are painful lessons.

zondag 31 juli 2011

Hot days

Yesterday was long, hard and hot. (and no wifi or 3G at the campground. We had some very long climbs and steep descends to do in 230km. In the end I arrived with Bert close to our campground. Unfortunately my Gps lost track and Bert's decided that we should cross the river in 2km which I found a bit strange. When at last my GPS found the track again I realized that we were on the wrong side of the river. Going back, we found ourselves pushed towards a cycletrack instead of the main road. There seemed no way to get back to the main road, but finally the height difference seemed small enough to carry our Velos up. I decided we would need some help from the other riders so I strolled through the bushes towards what seemed to be our campground. It wasn't. It was a boat camp.
However, I did manage to find the main road and a sign towards Hells Gate, our campground. After 15 minutes of strolling back through the bushes, I found Bert again and we set off again in the general right direction. It was hard in the complete darkness, but we found it eventually. We were totally beat, 10 AM and still having to make camp.

Today was much easier. Just as hot again, but cruising alongside the Clearwater river we had more wind than in the valleys and we could occasionally drench our overheated bodies in the cool river. After "only" 160 km we arrived at Three Rivers campsite and our soaking clothes were dry already!

vrijdag 29 juli 2011

ROAM 29-7-'11

Just a quick post. We had lots of logistical problems, 20 flats or more because of all the blown car tires on the shoulders of the freeway ( why don't they sweep them once in a while) and two accidents with quite some damage to one velomobile and many scratches on Jims' skin. Bram got away with a good scare but the marks on his velomobile are probably so superficial that they can be polished away.
Both accidents happened on the rumblestrips between shoulder and the lane to wake up sleepy or inattentive cardrivers. Normally we do not have to cross them but on four or five occasions we had to pass a car with a mechanical problem and it even happened at a bridge that the shoulder was simply to narrow (for no obvious reason) to stay on it. This became fatal for Jim. Even though he slowed down on the downhill to negotiate the rumblestrips safely, his rear wheel started to hop so violently on the strips, that it lost contact with the road and moved sideways left and right. This became uncontrollable and Jims' ride tipped completely and then slid sideways until hd came to a stop. Fortunately he was not in the path of cars and he could crawl out. He was then picked up by a SAG vehicle and his wounds were cleaned. I talked with him for a bit and he seemed to be coherent.
Of course we hope that Jim can and will continue tomorrow. His Mango is up to it, there is no real structural damage.
As for me, it was quite hot today 34degrC but Bram gave me the idea to squirt some water on my head now and then. I used two liters for that and drank at least 7 liters of fluids. That is a personal best!
Tomorrow will again be hot and long with more climbing. I think I'm up to it. Now I'd better get some sleep on my hammock.

woensdag 27 juli 2011

T minus one. ROAM takes off tomorrow!

What a great event. Now already!
At the moment that I joined the list of ROAM riders (I was so eager that I am the second person on the list, right after Josef, our captain, himself) I could not have dreamt that it would become such a fun event. The riders come from Holland, Germany, Denmark, England, North-Amerika, Canada and probably several other countries. They all have their own accents but we all speak one common language, We Love Velomobiles. We love it so much that we put up with a gaziljon questions literally every moment we stop. We often have conversations at traffic lights from people hanging out of their carwindows, pedestrians forgetting to cross the street and cyclists that almost fall of their bike, eventhough they have a foot on the ground, waiting as we are for the light to go green. We are determined to leave no question unanswered though I must admit that when the green light comes quickly, my answers are accordingly shorter.

It probably makes a big difference that we started in Portland, since this really is a very bike-minded city. You can see a lot of people clearly being alternative to such an extent that it becomes normal: this is Portland. Biking is an enormous culture here and that's a great difference with the country I come from. In the Netherlands, cycling is so accepted as a transportation tool that we think nothing of it. It is different in Portland, cyclists are clearly proud of their cycles and this is reflected in their bikeshops and pubs. For me as a Dutchman it is amazing to see that there are special pubs for cyclists. And a LOT of them. We wouldn't dream of calling a pub a bike-pub. Commuters, racers, weekend warriors, bike-messengers and utility cyclist alike come together in the evening in these pubs, put their bikes behind it and enjoy a beer and an extensive meal.

Cycling may be a bit too normal in Holland. But what is too normal? I mean, in Holland elderly people keep cycling and this is exactly what I miss in Portland. People who are a bit timid or not confident that they can join in traffic will soon stop cycling here: you need to be a bit of a warrior. The reason is quite obvious, there are almost no cyclepaths, so cyclists must find their way between the cars. Now I must say that traffic here is VERY friendly. Unfortunately cars are very big and massively overpowered here, so they look very intimidating.

We velomobilists have been finding our way through Portland these days very well. We are kind of used to using the streets, because we can sort of keep up with the flow of traffic. The enormous amount of crossings without clear priority and all the traffic lights were sometimes annoying. We had to do a lot of slowing down and accelerating again on Vancouver street. The Interstate is crowded with cars but was easier to keep going at speed. Of course Myrtle the Turtle (that's an electro-assiste bike BTW) was always there with us to show us around town. Thank you Sylvia, you made our rides a whole lot easier.

Well enough for now, better go to sleep, because tomorrow is the big DAY. Send-off at the Fountain at 12 o' clock Downtown. The start of ROAM. Keep track of us......

ROAM Preperation.

zaterdag 16 juli 2011

Met een velomobiel kap in de regen? Ja dat is fijn!

Eigenlijk vind ik dat we van het woord racekap zo langzamerhand maar eens af moeten. Als het ontwerp goed is, kun je met een velomobielkap (veel beter woord toch) namelijk in elk weertype rijden. Ik heb al eerder een video gepost van de 3-uurs wedstrijd van Cycle Vision met de bijbehorende fitnessdata waaruit bleek dat de luchttemperatuur binnenin weliswaar snel oploopt als je stilstaat in de brandende zon, maar zodra je rijwind hebt tijdens het fietsen je met een meer of minder geopend vizier heel goed de binnentemperatuur kunt reguleren. Het kan zelfs koeler zijn dan de buitentemperatuur. Ik behoorde dan ook niet tot degenen die afkoeling zocht in de vijver na de wedstrijd, ik raakte in het geheel niet oververhit. Dat komt niet alleen door de afkoelende luchtstroom, maar ook doordat er alleen indirect licht binnen komt. Het vizier van de SinnerBikes velomobielkap is groot genoeg voor prima zicht naar voren, maar niet zo groot dat veel zonlicht binnen komt en ze zit vrij ver van je af. Dat geeft ook een heerlijk ruimtelijk gevoel. Het is natuurlijk geweldig dat iets waar je al zo lang als team aan werkt (onze kunststofman Roelf komt de meeste eer toe) nog beter blijkt te werken dan je hoopte.
de plug van de SinnerBikes velomobielkap

Maar dan. Bij mooi weer is het wel leuk als je een zonne-allergie hebt of als je erg lang in de brandende zon moet fietsen is het ook zeker niet verkeerd, maar je denkt natuurlijk bij een geheel gesloten fiets allereerst aan bescherming tegen minder goed weer. De natuur kwam de laatste tijd geheel tegemoet aan mijn wens van vochtige testomstandigheden. Telkens als ik naar huis fietste na het werk regende het prompt. Het regent bijna nooit, behalve als ik naar huis moet fietsen, leek het wel. Wel dat is natuurlijk zwaar overdreven, zoals de website http://www.hetregentbijnanooit.nl/site/ aantoont, maar het valt wel op dat het 's morgens zelden regent en dat de kans op regen in de loop van de middag groter wordt.

Ik had nog wat moeite om een goede set-up van de camera voor elkaar te krijgen. De chinese sleutelhanger HD camera van 40 dollar lijkt het heel aardig te doen en deze gaf na herplaatsing naar de onderkant van mijn pet een beeld dat vrij aardig overeenkomt met wat ik zelf zie. Ik noem hem dan ook cap-cam. Een filmpje van het forens tripje van vandaag, met alweer stromende regen, staat online op YouTube. De bescherming tegen regen is vrij goed al is niet te voorkomen dat er wat water naar binnen sputtert die meegenomen wordt door de luchtstroom over de body en kap. Ik vermoed dat ik op een langere tocht in de regen wel een motorcol om de nek en schouders wil. Die gebruik ik nu ook al met de schuimkap.
Het voornaamste probleem bij regen is echter het beslaan van het vizier. Ik heb ooit met de mal van Velomobiel.nl mezelf een racekap gemaakt (deze pure racekap was overigens de basis van de SinnerBikes velomobiel kap) en toen ik die eens tijdens LEL wilde gebruiken was ik waarachtig blij dat ik al snel lek reed en terug kon rijden om mijn kap achter te laten en te herstarten met de schuimkap. Ik zag namelijk geen ene malle moer door het compleet beslagen vizier. Ik kon zwabberen wat ik wilde met mijn microfleece doekje, maar het zicht bleef net zo slecht alsof ik in mist met een zicht van 10cm reed. Tja, het vizier was vastgebout en de deflector achter het vizier was onvoldoende om ook maar een klein stukkie vrij van damp te houden.

de afwerkrand die aanvankelijk rond de rand zat was toch wat al te fors, nu zit er alleen schuim aan de onderkant van de rand, waardoor de kap superstrak aanligt en net iets onder de body


Waarom doet de SinnerBikes kap het beter? Dat zit 'm in een paar dingen. Ten eerste: het vizier wordt een klein beetje op afstand gehouden van de kap door stukjes schuim. De opstaande rand van de kap direct achter het vizier geleid de luchtstroom over de gehele breedte langs de achterkant van het vizier en daardoor wordt de lucht voortdurend ververst. Bovendien staat het vizier vrij ver af van het gezicht en is de vrije ruimte groot zodat ademlucht niet eens in de buurt komt van het vizier. Dit is ook te zien in het filmpje: ik moet bewust richting vizier ademen om deze te laten beslaan en het lost vrijwel meteen weer op. Bij stilstand is er weinig verversing en moet wanneer het regent meestal het vizier geopend worden om beslaan te voorkomen. Ik heb nu een gaatje gemaakt waar mijn wijsvinger net in past, zodat ik het vizier gemakkelijk op of neer kan bewegen. Het draadje waarmee ik voorheen het vizier dicht trok werkte wel goed, maar kietelde nogal eens mijn vingers en belemmerde soms zelfs het remmen. Dat is niet handig.
De zijruiten hoeven niet afgesloten worden. Nee, echt niet. De luchtstroom is namelijk vooral op het vizier gericht en gaat langs de zij-openingen. De regen wordt meegevoerd door de luchtstroom en gaat dus ook langs de kap. Ik voel alleen bij harde wind van opzij zo af en toe een beetje verfrissende spray.
Het mag dan logischer lijken om ruitjes te maken, maar in de praktijk zullen deze veel sneller beslaan dan het vizier waar immers de volle luchtstroom op staat. Je kunt natuurlijk ruitjes maken die je kunt openen en sluiten zoals het vizier, maar volgens mij is het veel beter om te kunnen zien met zo weinig mogelijk extra handelingen. De ruime openingen maken het mogelijk om net als bij het open rijden opzij en schuin naar achteren te kijken. Een tweede spiegel rechts is wel aan te raden, maar zelf een dode hoek spiegel knutselen is niet nodig. Voor een wedstrijd maak je de openingen natuurlijk dicht voor net dat beetje extra aerodynamische efficientie, maar in het dagelijkse verkeer zijn de openingen geniaal. Via de openingen kun je richting aangeven met de handen. Ik weet wel dat de meeste velomobilisten knipperlichten hebben, maar die luxe is nog niet doorgedrongen tot mijn nogal spartaans uitgevoerde Mango. Overigens heb ik inmiddels wel vaste verlichting. Dit om een interessante lamp van Philips met een brede lichtbundel uit te kunnen testen. Maar dat is weer een ander verhaal.
de bediening: een gaatje voor de wijsvinger in het vizier

maandag 27 juni 2011

Cycle Vison Heat

Just in time for the races at Cycle Vision, Roelf completed the last item on the racing hood: the visor of polycarbonate, heated in an oven and pressed in a mold. This visor that can be pushed up or down to regulate the airflow makes an enormous difference to the racing hood I had before, that had a fixed visor right in front of my face. There was no way I could regulate the airflow other than to throw it off.
The opening for the head of the Sinner Hood is much longer, so I can lean forwards and have a look around. This gives a feeling of being less confined. It also means that the visor is further away so it doesn't fog up as quickly from my warm and moist breath. The visor is always a bit open to allow air travel along the back of it. This also helps preventing fogging up. When I get too hot, I simply open the visor a notch. The pivot is at such a place that the top of the visor never sticks out above the hood itself. That way the aerodynamic penalty for opening it is not very big. It's certainly better than overheating, because you have much less power when you're too hot.
Now to the praktice. It was about 29degrC. at the racetrack during the Three Hour Race. Would I survive under the hood or throw it in a ditch after a few laps, because it'd get too hot. I was amazed to find that it was actually pretty cool. The airflow went right to my forehead, cooling my head. That was certainly neccessary because the track is a bit narrow for so many racers and spectacular corners. Some were tight at the end and the chicane was tricky, but I found that none of them would have to be slower than 40km/h. That chicane right after the start was very nice. After a few laps I felt confident enough to fully unload one wheel of the Mango and let it fly over the grass in the first corner and to speed up when coming out of the second corner while the unloaded wheel bumped slightly up and down on the pavement because of my hard pedalling to get up to speed again. My Garmin Edge800 was very helpful to determine the maximum approaching speed towards the corners and when it was time to start pedalling again. The Edge also has a thermometer. I didn't look at those digits during the race but in hindsight it is nice to see how warm it gets under the hood, standing still in the burning sun and how much it cools down when travelling some 44km/h on average. The temperature even got lower than the outside temperature. I think, especially because I had no sun burning on a helmet, that I was even cooler than the lowracer riders.
You can see that at the start the temperature was 34degrC. inside the Mango and under the hood but after 10 minutes into the race it went down to 26, even 25 which was about 3 degr. lower than the air temperature. Mind you, the position of the thermometer is not in the airflow but my face sure is, so the cooling effect is very good. After 1.30hours there is an increase in temperature, because I had stopped, walked back to the start line to get a tube and fix the blown out tire (I had another one at the end of the race, geez).  Temperature and other data of the race can be viewed here on Garmin Connect.
The curves in the track:
Part of the way home after the races, half of it in the dark, I also had the hood on. Now that the heat and fogging up is no longer a problem anymore, it's almost practicle for everyday use, but not quite. Vision to the rear is somewhat impaired so it should be possible to quickly dismount it when riding in city and urban area. It'd like it to be as easy as stuffing the foam cover in the nose of the Mango. This is something to work on.

zaterdag 18 juni 2011

Races with dogs

I do evening rides of 60km in my Mango velomobile to train for ROAM I mostly take the same route and encounter a dog that likes to race me! I usually take up the challenge. Electric wires, angry orders from his master, nothing can stop him. This is his joy in life. (and I like it too). I uploaded a film that shows how the dog runs along with me in a pasture next to the road. Next to the film is a map that shows where I am (my camera has a built in GPS). The speed (and elevation) is shown below the map. I know by now that I have to cruise at 42km/h to win from the dog, but today I grant him the victory in order to capture his happy face when he looks where I am. Below is a screen shot from the moment that the dog looks back in surprise why I haven't caught up yet :-)




I plan to make movies during the rest days of ROAM. The movies should include speed, heartrate, power and more. I shall not bother you here with the number of gadgets and software involved to make this possible, it's daunting when I come to think of it. I didn't get much of a chance to test how everything works together, since my ROAMango is well underway on the ocean by now. Most of the European velomobiles were gathered, packed in a container and moved by truck to the Bremer harbour for transport to Portland.



zondag 22 mei 2011

Update on Exustar pedals

Last winter I started cycling with the super light Exustar pedals that are compatible with the Shimano SPD system for MTB shoes. This despite the fact that I prefer the Speedplay Frog pedals. It's just more convenient at my work at the Ligfietsgarage Groningen to walk on shoes with an SPD system. I don't have to change shoes when I have to test ride a velomobile or a recumbent that has been serviced. There is nothing like a testride when you want to know if everything is ok with a bike.

Anyway, the pedals seemed to work just fine, but something was very wrong with my Mango. After about 30kms' of riding the velomobile started to squeek louder and louder, up to the point that I dreaded having to push the bike home. That never happened, but the noise was excruciating enough to want to fix it right away. The problem was that despite my years of experience with building Mangos', I couldn't find anything wrong. I started to exchange the Mid-Drive, which was due for a change to test a lighter one anyway. The noise didn't stop..... Every long ride the noise came back. In order not to take the bike apart completely, I started thinking what I changed to the Mango.

Since my Mango is sort of a testing bike, I make lots of changes to it, but the one thing that stuck to my mind were the new pedals. I took them out.... the noise was gone. Put them back in..... the noise was back! How could this be? The pedals were running ever so smoothly when I had them in my hands, yet started to squeek very loud after a bit of cycling.

Then I remembered that the DualDrive, which is optional in the Mango, can give similar squeeking sounds. The rubber dust caps on the bearings are the culprit. Because it's nice and dry inside the Mango, the rubber dries out and starts to squeek. So the first thing I do when I mount a DualDrive in the Mango is remove these rubber dust caps. There is no dirt coming towards the bearings, so the caps serve no purpose but create some drag and above all, very annoying squeeking noises.

With this in mind I took out the pedals one more time and removed the rubber dust caps on the bearings.

Peace at last!

dinsdag 17 mei 2011

Sweat and pain: comfort in the velomobile.

 For ROAM comfort will be very important, Daytrips of 200-300km a day for several weeks in a row is not only exhausting, it can easily cause very annoying pain in joints or a rash because of sweating so much. I'm almost completely comfortable in my Mango, even on long rides, except..... my upper left arm developes a very annoying ghost pain that comes and goes as it pleases. That's why I made elbow pads in the sides of my ROAMango (yes, I am building a special Mango for ROAM). I first tested it in my current Mango Sport and was so happy with the result that I made it in ROAMango as well.
Another comfort aspect is heat. The Mango is not so hot as one might expect, because most of your body is in the shade, there is an airflow coming through the footholes and it is easy to maintain a good speed with a relatively low effort. Still, the deserts in the Mid-West of the USA can be very hot in the daytime and it may become awkward to cycle. As it happens we have customers all over the world riding our Mangos' and they sometimes have surprising strategies to counter extreme weather conditions. One of them is an Australian doctor that rides a Mango Sport Red Editon. BTW: he's made a very nice clip, showing all the features of his favourite ride.
It can become very hot Down Under and Paul uses a Flevobike roof during the hottest hours of the day, because he is in the shade that way. What's good enough for an Aussie, is good enough for me, but.... I think that this roof is much higher than needed and the attachment to the body is not how I'd like to have it. Well there are more Mango riders who feel that way and one of them, Reinhard Fritz, has found a nice solution that he posted on the German Velomobil forum. I made my own version and the result is on the photo above. A more detailed photoserie and annotations how I made it is on Picasa. It was quite a lot of extra work, it usually is when you make something the first time, but I think it will be worth while.

donderdag 24 maart 2011

Annual Velomobile Meeting in Giessen.


I finally made time to edit the 3 hours of material that I had gathered during the trip to Giessen in september 2010.  I have made my way together with some 20 others to this annual meeting several times and each time again I enjoy the wide roads and the long, regular descents in the mountains of Sauerland. The whole thing took 6 days and about 850km. We were staying for two days in a beautiful castle that nowadays is a youth hostel where we met a lot of other velomobilists.

It seems that this coming fall will be the last time that this meeting takes place, so grab the oppurtunity to take part in this legendary gathering of long riders.

maandag 14 februari 2011

GPS underneath carbon laminate


In my preparations for Roll Over America (Yes, I decided to take the plunge and do the Coast-to-Coast ride of 4500km in 4 weeks with some 40 other velomobiles) I was wondering how much worse the GPS reception of my Garmin 60CX would be under the carbon top of my Mango Sport. Carbon has a reputation of blocking radio signals and conducting electricity. My Garmin usually sits on top of the wheelarch well underneath the top of the Mango, so in the worst case I shouldn't have any GPS reception at all. Fortunately it seemed to be not that bad at all, since I have navigated with the Garmin and my iPhone while riding without dramatic loss of GPS reception. It does get worse though, as I can see when I move the Garmin under the "hood". To give an idea how much the reception worsens, I made two photos:



 The first photo is made with the Garmin looking at the clear sky. It was cloudy and I was parked right next to houses. Not the best circumstances, but the chipset of the Garmin has no problem with it.





The photo below shows the GPS reception with the Garmin under the carbon hood.  The reception is noticably less, but still good enough to navigate accurately. There is no need for a seperate antenna that pops out of the body, so I don't have to make yet another hole ;-)






zondag 2 januari 2011

Wheel changing from a Quest.

 My girlfriends Quest had two non-standard frontwheels with a 25mm wide rim, that I put on especially to match the wider tires that give a comfy ride. Go figure that the wide tire of choice, a Vredestein Perfect Moiree 47-406, does not fit this particular rim. The tire kept on having a low spot even after putting in 7,5bar/110psi, which is 3bar/45psi more pressure than the advised maximum pressure of 4,5bar/65psi. When I measured the circumference of the rim, it turned out that it measured some 3 mm more than the standard rim and that one is already a tight fit with these tires. No wonder the tire kept bubbing up an down as it did when I gave the wheel a spin. In order not to make my girlfriend seasick, I'd better put on a boring standard 19mm rim.
On the photo the 25mm rim on the left and the 19mm on the right. I measured with two wires, simple but good enough for a quick comparison.
 First I laid the Quest on it's side on a blanket in our living room. Too cold to do this outside.
The allen key loosens the bolt that keeps the wheel on the drumbrakes' axle.
 I'm forgetting something here, because you can only get a standard allen key in the confined space of a Quests' wheelbox when you loosen the balljoints on the strut. It takes some puzzling how to loosen the balljoints, but I'm confident you find out when you really have to. You could also use a shortened allen key, but since you have to loosen the balljoints anyway etcetera, etcetera.
Okay, so we loosened several items and now with some jiggling, it's possible to lift the drum from the brake. You have to get the damned thing over the terribly long axle, which at first sight seems impossible, but it is! It's such a tight fit that even the width of the 5 mm thick brakecable has to be manouvred out of the way to push the strut competely against the inside of the wheelbox.
The wide-rimmed wheel is off and in the opposite manner, a new rim (or old when, like me, you have some parts lying around) can be placed. Don't forget to put the magnet of the speedometer on the new wheel.....