Category Archives: Training

Riding the rickshaw

It’s been quite an exciting week having taking the rickshaw out every day over the past couple of days and just building up the needed strength, experience and familiariaty with my method of transport before the grande departure in September.

The longest journey I’ve done so far without passengers is around 13-14 Mile flat circuit in around 2 hours. This is a pretty decent result considering I am only aiming to achieve 30 miles on average per day. Most days I’ve done a 6 mile loop with a one passenger in (both against and with wind) between Eastrington-Howden and Eastrington-Gilberdyke.

I even took my mother on a postage run with parcels to the post office – 3 miles each way and she even had a go for around 3/4 of a mile on the way back. Both her an I were pleasantly suprised of its ease.

Fascination with passers-by

The response from people both in cars and pedestrians on the side of the road has been fantastic. Most people stare quite mystefied at what this rickshaw is doing in a quaint place like this – I don’t particularly blame them. It reminded me of the time on the great bathtub adventure where there was never (excluding London) a face that could be provoked to produce a smile, a laugh or a chuckle of amusement. It’s a great feeling that I’m bringing the essence of un-ordinary into some stranger’s daily routine and even if they think I’m an idiot, hope it just makes them think.

I haven’t yet picked up any passengers and experienced a spontaneous encounter, but I plan on doing this on select events, including the upcoming

  • Sky Ride Hull
  • York Races

Thoughts so far:

As many riders of pedicab rickshaws have pointed out, they are not built as bikes or indeed ride like them. Three points on the ground mean that you don’t lean to turn. Instead you only have to push on the handle bar and it instantly follows the desired course. Such stability is actually quite great that you can take your hands off the bars for a moment.

One of the greatest annoyances I am struggling to get used to is the noticeable camber of the country roads – to remove water since there are no drains. Riding with one person on that side closest to the road verge further attentuates the effect. This is not noticeable on a bicycle with its gyroscopic effect. The tilt the rickshaw produces can be felt on the hip joint and is quite uncomfortable over a long distance. In future when there are no cars, I have decided to stay central on such roads.

The up-right position is taking a lot to get used to; most suprisingly more strain on the arms which are practically horizontal. At points I’ve found I just have to slouch with my arms on the handlebars to give my arms a needed rest. I’m still not happy with the comforta the saddle provides, but I haven’t worn my full padded cycling shorts yet.

Pulling both myself and passengers is not as hard as it looks!

Pulling the rickshaw around 80kg in weight (15kg for an average bike) along with two passengers (70kg each) sounds like an impossible task. It isn’t. There is enough range in the gears to make this comfortable on the flats and even with some wind but as you can expect is more tiresome up hill. The knack of riding a rickshaw is spinning your legs fast as possible and it’s something I’m still getting used to which my knees are less forgiving about.

Wind Power

can be both the enemy or an ally. The canopy acts like a huge sail. With the wind it allows very quick journeys to be accomplished. Against is a struggle, but do-able, but its magnitude of effect diminishes having two passengers in the back.

I will admit, that my legs were aching the day after, but unlike trips in the past didn’t drop completly dead. I don’t think training in the long run is much good other than maintaining and improving fitness and endurance. Riding a rickshaw instantly magnified riding one of these beasts and riding on a normal bike today I could already see differences.

Much more practice is needed but the realisaition that reaching my daily targets is realistically possible (atleast on flats) is very encouraging – atleast till when the mountains appear!

Recent Updates

Repaired Chain = Back to Training:

It took 4 days to arrive, but I eventually got my power link (see guide) and could fit it as such  I gave my chain a ‘degunge’ and fresh oil and was ready to hit some turbo training that evening. So I did with good intentions, but after an hour in I was disappointed to find my mp3 choked and died on me half way through. I would have thought it would be the other way round machine beats man. In the end I had to give up, I lacked the mental strength to concentrate with the flurry of bangs being positioned above some open squash courts.

Fortunately the next two days I put in some excellent sessions and leading after Tuesday’s circuit training, I was pretty knackered at the end and slept a very good night despite only having 7 hours sleep.

  • Tuesday: Circuit Training
  • Thursday: Circuit Training
  • Saturday: Turbo Trainer (1hr)
  • Sunday: Turbo Trainer (1hr 1/2)
  • Monday: Turbo Trainer (2hr)
  • Tuesday: Circuit Training

I am hoping that soon I can record a video of my training efforts to really show how determined I am achieving this.

Website Improvements:

The website serves as the backbone for my adventure and  For the few dedicated followers that I have already, I managed to improve the homepage of my website so that it is much more informative in real time from many sources (Twitter, Twitpic, Blog).

Screenshot showcasing improvements to World Rickshaw Taxi Frontpage

Also shown is the modified trailer for my world rickshaw taxi, which was entered part of the Kukri Scholarship competition. Having direct control over website gives me great flexibility to tweak this as I want and how I want and will become more interactive when my adventure begins.

Twitter: To tweet or not tweet that’s good question

It does open up many avenues for engaging with people, but at the same time is time consuming. However, I am now on twitter under a new alias (@worldrickshaw) and steadily building up some dedicated followers who probably do think I am on the eccentric side.

I am currently contemplating whether I will use this on the trip to communicate updates whilst on the expedition to followers – it seems a sensible and realistic idea which I’ve done in the past. However, I currently have the problem where some countries like Iran, China it is banned. I am sure there are work around or I will consider some other ideas. .

Get Punkt:

Recently I’ve been contacted by Lydia from Luxson, who shared me their quite novel method of sharing updates using your mobile phone whilst roaming on expeditions called Punkt

Luxson Punkt - Method for sharing expeditions It seems a very practical method of sharing the adventure on the go especially with richer social media. My only hesitation is integrating this seamlessly into my website. However, that may be addressable and will need a bit of time to think this over.

The Big Training Ride:

I will be heading home on Friday , but rather than taking a train I will be cycling home. I will post more about this in a successive post sometime soon.

 

 

Playing the exhaustive waiting game

The past two weeks have been exceptionally busy: both the demands from the University work in the case of a fourth year group project in addition to trying to fit the remaining pockets of time with training. Consequently this has left me exhausted but I still keep chipping away.

Over Christmas and January I have sent of two grant/sponsorship applications and the pending result from this is both anxious time for me. Going ahead with World Rickshaw Taxi is still a possibility without these, far from it, but having not to worry about chasing sponsorship would release some worry and make life that bit easier.

It’s the waiting game, but I know this time around I have got the strength to not lose hope and take whatever comes to me.

Plan B:

Having a Plan B is essential and if things don’t fall in my part I am sure not to give up hope and look elsewhere. I have several other ideas for sponsorship and options later. It would later be interesting to consider ‘crowd funding’ just to help support some of my costs around the world.

Speaking with Cycles Maximus:

Cycles Maximus excel in engineering and producing rickshaws (modular trikes) in the UK and distribute these abroad. Having made an enquiry last November it was fantastic news to hear that they were really interested in World Rickshaw Taxi. Concurrently this year they will be re-launching and will be particularly exciting to see the launch of their new company and improved trike.

This past Monday I had a great conversation with their Marketing Director discussing this project and how it would fit together with CyclesMaximus. It was very interesting to hear how durable they have designed their trikes – especially as an engineer. I didn’t realise a lot of their components were bespoke and made by themselves. They assured me that this would further boost my confidence in having the mechanical reliability to pedal a rickshaw around the whole world. With their position, it would be great to have their support and I look forward to hearing their response next week.

Training:

It has been a hit and miss affair this past week. The weekend proved too busy, but most of the past week I kept committed and put in the training. I am pretty pleased with my efforts considering my state and successfully managed to put in the hours despite the very busy timetable. Yesterday proved exhausting and it took 40 minutes to build up any strength on the turbo trainer but managed squeeze some effort for the remainder of the session.

Last Week:

  •  Monday: 2hr Turbo Session
  • Tuesday: 2hr Turbo Session & Circuit Training
  • Wednesday: Abs workout (Rest Day)
  • Thursday: Circuits & 1 1/2 hr Turbo Session
  • Friday: Rest Day (University Work)
  • Saturday: Rest Day (University Work)
  • Sunday: 1hr outdoor bike ride + little running

Past WEEK:

  • Monday: University Work
  • Tuesday: 2hr Turbo Session & Circuit Training
  • Wednesday: 1 1/2hr Turbo Training

New Years’ Training Continues

After Warwick Sport finally opened its doors on January 2nd. I managed to finally get back to some serious training on the bike. This time around I am on my brother’s bike, which I traveled on when I went to Morocco. After replacing the rear tyre for wear, I was once again ready to sweat it out. So far it has been very successful and managed to find a space each evening. This term will be greater pressure and this training should be a way to release it.

Training done this past week:

  • Wednesday: 2hr Tubo Trainer
  • Thursday: 2hr Turbo Trainer
  • Friday: Core Exercises / Day Off
  • Saturday: 2hr Turbo Trainer
  • Sunday: Gentle Ride and 1h 1/2hr Turbo Trainer evening

General Training Plan:

Most of the training I am wanting to focus on is building up strength whilst retaining endurance. Pulling a rickshaw up a slight inclimb will be a great challenge, more so with passengers and that’s not forgetting about tyre resistance and of course the element of wind. There’s no good trying to train for speed and higher cadence because in essence it will have limited help in these situations. One of my focuses is to build high torque power but in a fully seated position which provides the most efficient form of pedaling.

So far has been going so well and using the higher gears, I am generally finding I can sustain greater period at the same cadence of 80-90 RPM much longer than I used to. All of this and after finishing at night I am generally shattered and for once falling to sleep relatively easily.

In between each two sessions, I take a rest day to help recover and just work on the abs and core for strength, doing numerous exercises in my room.

I hope this will continue and that my current determination keep strong.

 

A broken chain and dodgy derailleur (Update):

A broken chain and dodgy derailleur:

Over the past month, I have been found that my road bike that I used for training was struggling to keep up. Often the chain was slipping, falling off or simply jumping. This became especially annoying on my cycle to Gloucester a few weeks back – meaning I had to keep in a low gear on hills, otherwise I’d come to a standstill just like my episode of walking around a busy roundabout.

I eventually discovered that my chain was twisted along not helped by being encrusted in rust. Also I felt that I needed to make a replacement to the Front Dérailleur, which for the whole lifetime of this bike has been giving me grief being very stiff.

At the end of last week I fitted the new parts at a modest cost and as a result the gears shift much better, but still need some tweaks as I found out today.

Update:

After taking the bike out for a spin, I found that the chain was slipping on the large front cog. It took quite a while to realise that the cog had become too worn for the newer chain. Looking at all options trying to get a new chain ring seems difficult to find in stock (in the right colour) and expensive. Depending whether other chainrings can be substitued, it seems a hard task and is especially frustrating.

Having to deal with this during term isn’t great, therefore I have decided I will be returing back to Warwick on my brother’s bike that I gave him after travelling to Morocco.

Updates to training:

Training has stopped, pretty much following the trend during Christmas. Inadvertently substituted by further sponsorship hunting and other research duties for this project, which the later has been gaining momentum.

Next term, I will lose my place on the Desso Hall Balcony in the Sports Centre which will be used as a temporary measure for the concurrent gym refurbishment. Luckily I have been given permission to train on the balcony above the Squash courts, so my weekly training schedule will keep to plan. However, fitting this with a much busier term will be manic, and probably will result in training during the twilight hours of early morning or late at night.

Then again, it will be a good way to relieve some stress!

Updates on the Training

Training is going pretty well. I’m slowly making appreciable improvements that are becoming noticeable each week. I am finding that I am lasting much longer on high RPM sprints than I previously did.

The acquisition of a portable USB fan that plugs into a portable USB power supply is clearly helping to keep me generally cool. This fan is mounted on top of the handlebars in a ‘secure’ fashion using my key lanyard  to tie it into place. This provides a gentle refreshing breeze that does enhance comfort during the entirety of the session.

As a result, I have not been afraid to push myself harder without the suffering of becoming unbearably sweaty. This reduces the amount of water I need to drink, which as a consequence makes it less likely that I will suffer leg cramps from an imbalance of salt.

Additionally it has reduced the amount of water that collects in the salt puddle below the bike.


The wheels have arrived

Living without a bicycle is like living in the dark ages. There is simply no going back and  for the past years I have been taking such a necessity for granted.

Finally today I was able to pick up the my new two wheels for the training bike. At the time, this pair of Mavic Askium 2012 for £135 from MerlinCycles, which to be fair arrived quickly. In fact they were received yesterday but due to the postal system at Warwick I had to wait a further day.

This was quite a significant investment on a student budget – you could probably buy three second hand bikes for the equivalent price. Nevertheless, its sometimes necessary to pay for quality. Buying two wheels was also slightly more expensive, however, an equivalent single wheel works out to be less cost effective.

It’s surprising at the advancement made in the quality and technical details incorporated into the wheel compared to the originals that came with the bike. In particular the aero spokes improve aesthetics considerably and the quality of the hubs are beyond what I am used to seeing . The rolling resistance seems lower, but perhaps that’s a placebo effect. Still my comparison could be justified by my adamant view that my previous wheel hubs wear worn due to a weird creaking noise when you spun them at a slow speed.

This finally means I can push hard with a good training session tomorrow and make up for some lost days.