Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Rans Rockst (Retro rocket) Rans Enduro Sport (Retro racket) Catrike 559, Merin Bear Valley (beater bike).
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Tameing the Screaming Yellow Zonker III
Mrs. Grouch and I have just returned from Death's Door.
Death's Door is the name for a straight of water that separates Washington Island from the Wisconsin mainland. I think that Door County, Wisconsin may be the most pleasant place I've ever been on a bicycle. Unfortunately, Mrs. Grouch and I didn't do as much bicycling as we had planned.
First of all, if you've ever heard somebody advise not to make any equipment changes to your bike immediately prior to a significant ride, they're right. I changed my handlebar position and recabled the Zonker prior to going to Wisconsin but Mrs. Grouch wasn't available for a test ride. Let it suffice to say that our first attempted launch, in front of all the other riders, didn't go well. We avoided Club Tombay land but that's about all that I can say for it. A couple of additional handlebar adjustments and the bike rode fine. Another couple of tweaks and I got the wireless computer to operate again. Finally, after backing off the timing chain tension a skosh, the Zonker feels almost right. I still have to work on the captain's drinking system but I think I've got that figured out.
That leaves the riders. I felt slightly undertrained for daily 40 or 50 mile rides. Mrs. Grouch, with maybe only four 20 miles under her belt, was seriously undertrained. Also, all of our previous rides were on the Katy Trail which is flat and has no auto traffic. Our shaky starts, and dealing with traffic for the first time were anxiety provoking. Our first attempt to climb a (small) hill just about did us in. We stuck with it, however. We talked with the tour director. We devised our own routes, rode by outselves mostly and used our car to drastically reduce the mileages. By Friday we completed a 28 mile ride rolling terrain ride, including a portion of highway shoulder, confidently and with high spirits. We both felt we could have ridden farther but what's the point? We're not very fast, but we're getting better.
I'm not ready to pronounce the Zonker as being completely trained, but we're definitely getting there. Hills are the final challenge we've yet to meet. There's a pretty significant hill leading up to our condo from the katy Trail. When we conquer that, I'll think we've mastered the recumbent tandem. For now, I'm thinking we'll stick to relatively flat rides until we develope our recumbent riding muscles a bit more before challenging Jungs Station hill.