Saturday, March 3, 2012

Inline skate wheels work -- but two wheels do not...

When at a stop, the two inline skate wheels work well in that I can easily rest on one or the other of them.  Also, I can easily ride on either one when attempting to get up to speed.  Unfortunately though, when I do get up to speed (5mph let's say), I cannot move my center of gravity enough to get off the inline skate wheel.  The center of balance of the bike is just too low as compared to the inline skate wheels.  If my center of gravity were a few feet higher like on a regular bike, I could probably just shift the position of my head or shoulders a couple of inches and that would suffice.

As was learned a few weeks ago (, flying insects can more easily hover if their center of gravity is higher rather than lower relative to total height.  Well, my center of gravity is so low that it takes huge movements to shift my weight over enough to move off the inline skate wheel.  The funny thing is, in 2006, a designer of recumbent bikes recognized the same problem.  I am too slow in doing so.

What are my options:
(1) Lower the back of the bike so that the inline skate wheels are closer to the ground and therefore require less lateral angle of rotation of the handcycle in order for the inline skate wheels to touch the ground. Thus, I would not need to shift as much weight to move off the inline skate wheel.

(2) Go to larger inline skate wheels (requiring a rebuild of the housing) in order to do the same as (1).

(3) Cut off the back of the bike, cut a couples of holes in the carbon fiber below the headrest, add an axle, and throw 2 wheels on the back.

(4) Go back to the design board...

(5) Pull out the bottle of single-malt scotch and a good cigar and at least enjoy those.

I think I will opt for (5) tonight...

Relative to (1), I am a little hesitant to lower my center of gravity even more.  It is very low now.

The steering stops worked quite well. Albeit, I need to allow a smaller turning radius for low speed.

My wife thought she took a picture of my test... instead, she turned off the phone.  But hell, she now knows that when pushing a mouse "up" on a mouse pad, the cursor on the screen goes up vertically as well.  She believed the cursor should have gone down on the screen.  Go figure. Now, she understands far better the interface of man and computer, so I cannot bitch too loudly. Man and smart phone -- that is another step in evolution...   So, no pictures.


  1. Some 2-wheeled recumbent bikes that have a long wheel base (LWB) and are low to the ground (often called low-riders), have a similar problem to what I encountered -- a difficulty in steadying the bike at low speeds. Matter of fact, some riders of the low-riders suggest that below 10 mph, there is difficulty in maintaining balance. I am trying a couple of changes (lowering the bike a little and increasing the angle of turn before the stops hit). I will then take the handbike out for another test. Some low-riders will steer in the direction of the lean (steer right when the bike is leaning right) in order to shift the center of gravity to the opposite side and right the ship. I need to try this.

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