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Old 05-30-10, 08:37 AM   #1
Retro Grouch 
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Tameing the Screaming Yellow Zonker (rant warning)

This isn't going well.

Went out yesterday with Mrs. Grouch. We equalled (but didn't exceed) our longest ride to date. For the most part our starts are getting less adventurious. All-in-all I think that it should have been a good ride.

My anxiety isn't going away. I still get weak knees just thinking about going out for another recumbent ride. I find myself growling at everybody I meet on the trail. The bottom line is I'm just not having any fun. I think that I expected to pick up where I left off after my accident last August and that's not happening. I feel like I'm having towork way too hard for as slowly as I'm riding. Not having any recumbent experience, I don't even know for sure how things are supposed to feel. I'm way too anxious to try climbing any kind of hill yet, and I'm absolutely terrified of falling on one of my elbows again. All the little detail things irritate me. I'm having difficulty getting water from the hydration system. I don't think that my set-up is quite right yet. I'm not used to having to take off the seats to get the bikes into the car. None of these are things are big enough to be upsetting, but just thinking about them makes me upset.

It's obvious to me that the only real problem I'm experiencing is in my own head. Fortunately, I have experience in dealing with similar things:
1. My best efforts have only been good enough to get me where I am today. I know, however, that a power greater than myself can and will help me get through this.
2. I still gotta do my part. As soon as I get off the computer I'm taking the single recumbent out for a ride. It's quite a bit easier to ride than the tandem so it should be a confidence builder.
3. I think that I should make an appointment with a shrink. I only go to doctors for 3 things - can't work, can't have sex, can't ride my bike. This is affecting my bike riding so it's definitely one of the big three.

I don't know if anybody else cares, but writing this down has sure made me feel better.
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Old 05-30-10, 08:53 AM   #2
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Keep writing........venting is good. I have another hobby in addition to bicycles and I'm having similar problems to yours. I have for decades flown RC planes and driven RC cars, winning regional events with both. Now I'm teaching myself to fly RC Helicopters and I'm having to retrain every reflex I have. The dominant flying hand has changed from the right to the left and I can't rely on my brain to use the correct hand under stress. (there will be jokes about changing hands)

I've learned to take it in small bites, practicing one thing at a time so that it stay's fun. If you get in too deep and the fun starts to go away, back up a bit till it's fun and then move forward again. Just pressing on when your not enjoying it will create a barrier in you mind that simply makes it more difficult.

Stop every now and then a go out with the wife on single bikes and just enjoy the ride. Otherwise, she will begin to feel your frustration as well as yourself.
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Old 05-30-10, 10:05 AM   #3
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It's not getting better very fast.

Never turned a crank. Went to launch and the bicycle seat came loose. There's two "L" brackets that hole the seat to the frame. All four of the machine screws that hold the "L" brackets in place came loose. I was only able to find 2 of them. I thought I might have replacements in my shop but they appear to have SAR rather than metric threads. Maybe my local hardware store will have something that will work.
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Old 05-30-10, 11:20 AM   #4
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Sorry things aren't going so well, RG. We've all had that kind of luck with one thing or another over the years so don't feel alone. Sometimes I feel like screaming and tearing out my hair...well...what's left of it, anyhow.

Here's the deal - you say you've got three things that are important to you:
Work
Sex
Cycling

Right now cycling ain't goin' so well and work is never much fun, so you're going to have to double up on the sex to make things balance out.

It's gonna be tough, but it has to be done.
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Old 05-30-10, 01:20 PM   #5
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One problem at a time is enough for most of us. You've got three: An injury, an extended layoff from cycling, and learning to ride a recumbent (or two). All three conspiring to make things more difficult than they oughta be. "It's just like riding a bike" isn't always entirely true, it would seem.

Is that a V-clamp with the loose screws? The screws on mine became loose early on and two of them bent. When I figured out what was going on, I replaced them (found slightly longer ones at Lowes - nothing special about the screws) and used loc-tite on them. Nice and tight ever since.
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Old 05-30-10, 02:13 PM   #6
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I have tried Recumbents and I know they are not for me. But I bought a dream bike in the TCR-C. First ride out and I was wondering what I had bought. That ride was not good. C.F.Frame and forks and it should have been a compliant ride- It wasn't. That bike beat me up for a good while and it took a while to get it sorted. But a year later and it was sorted and it is an addition to the type of bikes I have.

You need ride time on the thing and you have to start analysing the problems. Like you- I had invested a lot of money in the TCR and it was initially a disapointment. I nearly gave up and put it back up for sale on several occasions- but I didn't. Kept thinking about the problems- trying ways to overcome them and also learning from modifications that did not work.

I now have a bike that I enjoy riding- and so does everyone else that rides it. In fact nearly lost it to my son-in-law till he took over the "Spare" bike I had to buy to get the TCR back.

So keep swearing- keep riding and keep looking at the problems. Just like the conventional Tandem you have- it will suddenly click and you will be the "Guru" on how to set up a recumbent.

And Maddmax- I used to fly RC Gliders and settled in fairly quick- Power Planes were not for me though. My Brother in Law went into RC helicopters after flying power for many years. I can still remember helping him to pick up the bits to salvage any re-usable parts on many occasions. He did eventually become competent- but it took several years and many crashes before he was.
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Old 05-30-10, 06:19 PM   #7
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Sounds like you're a bit depressed alright. I feel bad that the transition has been so tough on you.

I want to ask you, how do you feel about your single SWB? Do you enjoy riding around on it? Do you look foreward to taking it out for rides? Are you comfortable and relaxed on it? Has it become a care free experience yet?

I ask these questions as a man who rides SWB, LWB, and DF. There are days that I just don't want to ride the SWB, but on those days either a LWB or a DF will suffice and keep me merrily rolling along. I suspect this is because the LWB and DF bikes seem closely related to me with the BB's being quite a bit lower than the seats.

If you truely enjoy your single bike, I'm sure the comfort factor will grow on the tandem since they are so alike. If you are having issues with both bikes, it could be the style is not for you.

We haven't even discussed yet how your wife feels about the tandem. You've shared with us that she enjoys cycling a lot but I don't recall hearing of her impressions on the Screamer after a few rides. I assume that as with all aspects of life, the two of you will work together solve this to both of yours satifaction.

Hang in there Mr & Mrs. Grouch. We're all pulling for you!!

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Old 05-31-10, 06:35 AM   #8
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I don't have the words to express how grateful I am for everyone who has responded. You've all been very helpful. It's kind of neat to feel such close real friendship with a group of people who I've never met in person.

Mrs. Grouch and I continue to discuss how we are going to get through this issue. I realize that it's entirely a mental issue with me and I have confidence that I can and will get through it. We discussed riding single bikes together and even taking single bikes to Door County. We decided, however, that we didn't want to do that. Whatever happens, good or bad, we are going to experience it together.
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Old 05-31-10, 07:20 AM   #9
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I'm no expert but it sounds like you've got all the support you'll need right there beside you, or behind you when you're riding. It seems like the two of you have the issue well in hand and your course is set. With Mrs. Grouch's help I'll bet it's just a matter of a little time before you've regained your confidence.

Enjoy your summer and don't fret the small stuff.
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Old 05-31-10, 11:14 AM   #10
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BREAKTHROUGH RIDE!!!!!

We did it! We rode what has become our "regular" distance, but I was able to remain calm and relaxed for pretty much the entire ride. I still get tense when we pass family groups with children, but I think that's going to be with me for awhile. Starts continue to get more confident. We rode through a couple of starts that would have heretofore been aborts. All-in-all a most satisfactory ride.
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Old 05-31-10, 03:43 PM   #11
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That was quick

Expected to read on your next post that you had cured a couple of niggles but riding was still " Work in progress"

So keep riding and learning-Guru status will come.
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Old 05-31-10, 04:14 PM   #12
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BREAKTHROUGH RIDE!!!!!
Excellent news! I knew you had it in you.
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Old 05-31-10, 05:04 PM   #13
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That's great! I think you are over the hump now. Many happy rides await you and Mrs. Grouch.
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Old 05-31-10, 05:18 PM   #14
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Keep 'er up, RG! You've got a tough row to hoe, but things will work out for the better. Starts are about the toughest thing about going 'bent; and if you're getting that down pat, things will start getting fun soon.
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Old 05-31-10, 05:31 PM   #15
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Congrats on the Breakthrough Ride! That's a big milestone for a bent rider. You're basically learning how to ride a bike all over again and doing well at it.

Plus, there's always recumbent trikes to play with too. 8-)

I'm sure others have noted this, but www.bentrideronline.com is another great source of bent riding tips and support.
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Old 05-31-10, 06:05 PM   #16
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Oh good, for a while I thought you were becoming a contemporary grouch..............
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Old 05-31-10, 06:18 PM   #17
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Sounds common for SWB bikes. I'd still have mine if I'd been advised how long it took to get comfortable with the handling. Sold that to a guy that already had a SWB, and he said it rides like a dream. The more you ride it, the more comfortable and natural it will feel.
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Old 05-31-10, 07:22 PM   #18
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Old 05-31-10, 07:25 PM   #19
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Oh good!!!

Nice job!!
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Old 06-02-10, 12:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
BREAKTHROUGH RIDE!!!!!

We did it! We rode what has become our "regular" distance, but I was able to remain calm and relaxed for pretty much the entire ride. I still get tense when we pass family groups with children, but I think that's going to be with me for awhile. Starts continue to get more confident. We rode through a couple of starts that would have heretofore been aborts. All-in-all a most satisfactory ride.
Bravo! As much as it is mostly in your head, there is much about recumbents that requires new muscle memory and development. I have limited experience with SWB high bottom bracket bents, but enough to know it is radically different from my LWB low BB, and even as a recumbent rider with 10 years worth of experience, shifting back to the SWB would not be a one ride process.
The secret is, keep riding, it will come to you.
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