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  1. #1
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    Dual suspension recumbent bike for touring?

    Hello all. I like the idea of bicycle touring and I want to ride as far as practical in a given day. To that extent, the way to do that is to maximize saddle time. Since comfort would be key for that, I'm thinking a recumbent would be best.

    I also plan to ride at 30 mph continuously. While that may seem extreme, I think it should possible with a recumbent using something like a cruz-kit to convert a dual-suspension MTB to a recumbent.

    The amount of gear I have to load is about... oh, I'd say 50 pounds. With a seat-post rack, I think I could mount around 20 pounds there, and I'm thinking another 30 pounds could go in the trailer and I'm thinking about a single wheel trailer like a BOB trailer. The question I wonder is a bob trailer capable of safely traveling at 30 mph?

    Also curious if anybody has any critiques on the plan or suggestions?

    For those curious, the bike doesn't have eye-lets on the back frame for the old-man mount bike racks (Bike racks meant for dual suspensions), but I suppose I could affix something to the frame to emulate that? If I could do that, then I think I could possibly do without the trailer. I think that'd probably be a lot better. I already have panniers that I really like sitting on another bicycle.

    Also, for comfort, does anybody have recommendations other than the recumbent style? The bike absolutely has to be dual suspension to travel at 30 mph continuously.

  2. #2
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    Are you just trolling or are you serious?

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Hello all. I like the idea of bicycle touring and I want to ride as far as practical in a given day. To that extent, the way to do that is to maximize saddle time. Since comfort would be key for that, I'm thinking a recumbent would be best.
    Not a bad start. Some people also find a bike with more relaxed geometry, such as a Surly Long Haul Trucker, together with a comfortable saddle such as a Brooks B17 to be comfortable enough to ride for a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I also plan to ride at 30 mph continuously. While that may seem extreme, I think it should possible with a recumbent using something like a cruz-kit to convert a dual-suspension MTB to a recumbent.
    What gas motor are you also going to attach to achieve this. The top professional riders can't ride at 30mph continously, even on a very light road bike.
    The Cruzbike kit needs to be fitted to a bike with a low top-tube Y frame. Most of the MTB's with such a frame are lower end models and as such are heavy. The kit will also add some weight to the bike. The Cruzbike kit on a MTB is not the most aerodynamic recumbent and so won't be as fast as a speed-orientated recumbent.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    The amount of gear I have to load is about... oh, I'd say 50 pounds. With a seat-post rack, I think I could mount around 20 pounds there, and I'm thinking another 30 pounds could go in the trailer and I'm thinking about a single wheel trailer like a BOB trailer. The question I wonder is a bob trailer capable of safely traveling at 30 mph?

    Also curious if anybody has any critiques on the plan or suggestions?

    For those curious, the bike doesn't have eye-lets on the back frame for the old-man mount bike racks (Bike racks meant for dual suspensions), but I suppose I could affix something to the frame to emulate that? If I could do that, then I think I could possibly do without the trailer. I think that'd probably be a lot better. I already have panniers that I really like sitting on another bicycle.
    I'm not sure how a Bob handles at higher speeds since my cheap twin-wheeled trailer is only used around town. I would also check to see whether you would exceed the weight limit on the Seat post rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Also, for comfort, does anybody have recommendations other than the recumbent style? The bike absolutely has to be dual suspension to travel at 30 mph continuously.
    To travel at 30mph continuously you need to be a rider of the caliber of Fabian Cancellara and ride a light and aerodynamic road bike or racing recumbent.
    Touring is more about enjoying the scenery and you are highly unlikely to maintain a very high average speed on a heavily loaded bike.
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    Ok, so I my original expectations may have been unreal. I was expecting to add a frontal fairing and back-sock to improve the aerodynamics to make going faster on the flats easier. But, if 30 mph is not attainable, I think 25 mph should be fine. However, I guess what I really need to do is plan for the peak "continuous" speed and I'd imagine I'd see that on down-hills. I'm guessing I could hit 30 mph pretty easily on a 2-5% grade and there are some looooong downhills out there.

    As good as the bob sounds, I don't really like the idea of a trailer for stability and all that. So I was looking at old man bicycle racks, and it appears it mounts to the "eyelets" near the drop-outs (I have those) and then it mounts to V-boss mount or it mounts to the rear triangle using straps.

    I noticed that they emphasized "low weight" which made me a little wary. Looking at http://www.mtbr.com/cat/accessories/...60_117crx.aspx , it appears that it's kind of flimsy. While I'm sure the bottom reviewer had a fine time traveling at 12 mph continuously in an Asian tour, the forces involved at 30 mph are appreciably higher. So, I need something STRONG and it looks like the rear-triangle attachment points of most rear racks can be adapted, like it was with the old man mountain racks, and those attachment points don't seem to take most of the weight. Does anyone have rear rack recommendations? I'm just looking for the strongest possible, and it doesn't have to be designed for "dual suspension" bikes.

    I found the tubus cargo, but I don't how "short" it is. A cheaper rack is always nice, but I can't compromise strength and durability.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I also plan to ride at 30 mph continuously.
    The current hour speed record for bicycles is 30.882mi. If you're not a world-class athlete, I assume you'll need some sort of assistance to maintain this speed. Maybe the RadioShack cycling team will paceline for you? Or perhaps you're planning to tour on a time-trial bike or fully-faired bike? Pulling a trailer probably kills your aerodynamics, unfortunately. And I'm not sure you can find a TT bike with dual suspension, either...

  5. #5
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I also plan to ride at 30 mph continuously.
    and then:

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Ok, so I my original expectations may have been unreal.
    That's an understatement.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    The bike absolutely has to be dual suspension to travel at 30 mph continuously.
    Why? A full suspension bike will be slower than a rigid bike. Plus recumbents are slower at climbing hills than regular bikes so their speed advantage on downhills and flats is kind of null in a hilly terrain. You'll be lucky if your daily average is between 10-15 mph.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I want to ride as far as practical in a given day. To that extent, the way to do that is to maximize saddle time.
    Why? That's not what touring is really about. What about stopping to check things out, take pictures, enjoy the nature? Plus, you don't want to wear yourself out.

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I'm guessing I could hit 30 mph pretty easily on a 2-5% grade and there are some looooong downhills out there.
    You can hit 30mph on a MTB with 40psi knobby tires. Why the obsession with speed? Are you really interested in touring or some kind of racing?

    Quote Originally Posted by gnome View Post
    Are you just trolling or are you serious?
    Seriously, do some research before asking questions. Read this forum, read CGOAB. Get an idea what other people are doing and then re-think your questions. Because right now they seem a bit silly and yeah, your original post seemed trollish. I'm new to touring too but I spent weeks reading before I started asking questions.

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    You can hit 30mph on a MTB with 40psi knobby tires. Why the obsession with speed? Are you really interested in touring or some kind of racing?
    I'm interested in touring, but I'm looking at touring certain places and attractions and there's a lot of monotonous distance in between. Do I really want to spend a week looking at corn fields? No. Thus, higher speed makes the boredom more tolerable in shorter doses. Plus, why not save time when I can?

    Of course, then someone is going to say "take a car" or something but that just doesn't have the same open-ness and adventureness. And, I'm not going to spend $3000+ for a touring motorcycle I'll use maybe once or twice nor do motorcycle touring rentals seem to even exist.

  7. #7
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    OK, a few tips, partly echoing others here....

    Touring is not necessarily about gunning across the country at top speed. It can be about that, and while it is not my preference I don't see a problem with it.

    However, I would say that if your reason to tour is to see a handful of specific attractions that are huge distances apart (e.g. "I want to see the Grand Canyon and Nashville on the same trip,") a bicycle probably isn't really the way to go. Cycle touring is about the challenge and/or the ability to really soak up the countryside, rather than "getting somewhere fast."

    Also, you should realize that a solo tour is a very challenging endeavor, and if you haven't done it before and aim to ride at a high speed from the get-go, you could very easily burn out in the first week or two. Happens all the time, in fact.

    Ergo, I highly recommend you ease into it and learn your limits before mentally committing to a huge tour. E.g. figure out a possible gear setup, and go on tour for a long weekend or a full week. Start with a mellower pace and see how you feel after 2-3 days of riding and camping. From there, you can get a much more realistic idea of a likely touring pace, as well as make adjustments to your setup.

    If you still want to do the super-fast touring, your best bet is something like PacTOUR, which is run by a couple that were top RAAM competitors. They do a variety of tours; as an example, they do a van-supported Northern transcontinental tour, 30 days, 3500 miles, average of 116 miles a day. The riders are generally in a paceline on diamond-frame bikes and ride at 16-20mph. They do shorter tours as well, at similar speeds and distances. All are pretty much guaranteed to kick your ass.

    As a contrast, Adventure Cycling does its unsupported southern tier route of 3100 miles in 60 days, including 9 rest days.

    As to recumbent vs diamond frame, IMO it's pretty much a personal preference. Plenty of people use diamond-frame bikes and go around the world at a pace they like.

    I'd say you should reconsider whether your goals are truly best suited by a bicycle tour, and figure it out from there.

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    ridiculous

  9. #9
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I'm planning on doing the Southern Tier later this year. There's a lot of monotonous country along that route. And while I think I can go pretty fast and pretty long, I'll be kicking ass if I can maintain an average of 16 mph. And that's with a much lighter load than you have planned. I'm curious: can you ride 25 miles in an hour with whatever bike you have right now?

    From what I've read, fully faired velomobiles do have a huge aerodynamic advantage that would bring a 30-mph average within shooting distance of reality. I have no personal experience with them, but if you want to go fast and are prepared to shell out big big bucks, I'd look into that.

    As to full-suspension recumbents, the Challenge Mistral looks like an option. I'd be wary of converting an upright to recumbent for a self-supported tour.

  10. #10
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I'm interested in touring, but I'm looking at touring certain places and attractions and there's a lot of monotonous distance in between. Do I really want to spend a week looking at corn fields? No. Thus, higher speed makes the boredom more tolerable in shorter doses. Plus, why not save time when I can?

    Of course, then someone is going to say "take a car" or something but that just doesn't have the same open-ness and adventureness. And, I'm not going to spend $3000+ for a touring motorcycle I'll use maybe once or twice nor do motorcycle touring rentals seem to even exist.
    But that's one of, one may say, drawbacks of bicycle touring: you're slow and you need to mentally prepare for some monotony. Although, that can be a good thing, depending on how you approach this. Monotony with some patience applied to it can be relaxing. I realized that touring required a specific mindset and philosophy. And one of the main rules is: don't rush it, you're not in a hurry. If you're impatient and want to move fast then maybe bike touring isn't for ya. Unless you're in top physical shape you can't rush or you'll burn out in a few days and you may need a couple of days to recover and THAT can be boring. You can't seriously expect more than 15mph average for the day and that is optimistic. That usually means around 60 miles per day, 80 if it's flat. I've read about people doing up to 100 miles per day or more but these were long-time tourers in great shape with tons of experience.

    Have you ever done a century ride? Try that on a loaded bike for many days, day after day.

    Consider a different route? Consider hopping on a train from time to time, or renting a car one-way to skip the most boring parts? But don't think you can zip at 30mph for days even in a flat country. You need to work on your expectations and do some research, see how other people handled similar tours.

    So called credit card touring can be an option: you carry minimal cargo, no shelter, no food, you stay at motels and buy meals along the way. I remember seing a journal on CGOAB: father and son did a cross America ride this way on light race bikes with only a single large rack pack, less than 10lbs probably. But they spent a lot of money on hotels and food. You can also mail-drop supplies for yourself so you don't have to carry a lot. You may be able to do extra 20 miles per day doing this.

    Quote Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
    From what I've read, fully faired velomobiles do have a huge aerodynamic advantage that would bring a 30-mph average within shooting distance of reality. I have no personal experience with them, but if you want to go fast and are prepared to shell out big big bucks, I'd look into that.
    They're expensive, not meant to carry much cargo and the riding position can be tiring for daylong rides.
    Last edited by AdamDZ; 06-13-10 at 02:02 PM.

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    Thanks for the advice so far, but it's clear I'm not going to get anywhere past the "that's too fast" mantra. I will carry electric assist and it's going to be powered by the sun. I've so far tested the solar cells and electric assist and it's capable of doing 30 mph on flat land and 25 mph up 7% grades with a 300 pound load along with pedaling. The pedaling provides the first 15 mph and the electric assist provides the other half, the next 15 mph over that. So, there you go.

    Now I need to know what I need to know past that. At 30 mph, impact forces are a bit more and things get a little more dicey than at 15 mph. A dual suspension pretty much is a must. I'd like to retain a regular upright bike design, but my butt tends to be sore after a 50 mile voyage (I've already done it, in little over one and half hours.) with my current setup, which admittedly isn't "much". So, I was wondering what people might recommend for comfort for 10 hour days. If it really is impossible for some reason, then I'll look into recumbent posturing.

    (On a cloudy day, I only get an extra 10 mph, but I'm fine with 25 mph on cloudy days.)

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    assuming you actually know what the he!! youre talking about RE electric assist, you're basically on your own here...

    Im not saying you're full of it, but I for one would really like to see the design that allows you to use a solar array to gain an additional 15mph all day, every day. how big is your PV array? what size is the motor? Seems like you should be looking into revolutionizing the entire midrange transportaiion infrastructure of the world, instead of asking questions on an internet forum...

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I think you need to take this to the recumbent subforum. People there will have deeper knowledge of the bent side of things, which is what you need.

    I have to say, though, that if your plan is use an electric assist full-time, you really might as well travel via motorized transport.

  14. #14
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    The solar cells basically are coated on a lightweight roof that I've attached to a test bicycle. With them alone, it only goes 15 mph, so it's not going to "revolutionize" transport. Plus, it's pretty expensive, like $1200. To get enough to go 30 on a moped would require something like $3000 worth of cells and a pretty dang big roof - in other words, it's just not happening. In a car? Yeah, forget it.

    When you say motorized transport, what do you mean? Do you mean something petrol based (Like a car, bus, train, airplane, etc.)? The reason why I'm doing this is because my transportation is independent from oil, and this is a declaration that I need not a drop of some oil-derivative (diesel, gasoline, propane, etc.) to get across the United States.

  15. #15
    Day trip lover mr geeker's Avatar
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    you could try one of those "human powerd car" things. from my understanding, some of them are pretty zippy.
    Last edited by mr geeker; 06-13-10 at 04:26 PM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    I've so far tested the solar cells and electric assist and it's capable of doing 30 mph on flat land and 25 mph up 7% grades with a 300 pound load along with pedaling.
    300lbs @ 25mph up a 7% grade? For how far? Sounds like bullsh*t to me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    300lbs @ 25mph up a 7% grade? For how far? Sounds like bullsh*t to me...
    Yeah, it does. Truth is, solar power needs a battery to "smooth out" the power and my battery will have enough capacity to ride at that speed and weight at 25 mph for about 10-15 miles. If I don't reach "the top" by then, I just have to stop and recharge for about 2 to 3 hours, or I could go into pure solar and pedal mode at 7 mph. I think I'd rather just wait.

    My battery is also good for quick burst of high power, so I could get upto 40 mph if I needed to for some reason. I don't think I'll need to, though. Well, except perhaps in city traffic.

  18. #18
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have bicycled over 300,000 miles, am 77 years old and still ride 100 miles a week. Have toured on single bikes and on tandems.

    Let us know when your finish your 30mph average tour with a 50-lbs load . . . even with a solar assist motor!
    You are a day-dreamer . . .

  19. #19
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far, but it's clear I'm not going to get anywhere past the "that's too fast" mantra. I will carry electric assist and it's going to be powered by the sun. I've so far tested the solar cells and electric assist and it's capable of doing 30 mph on flat land and 25 mph up 7% grades with a 300 pound load along with pedaling. The pedaling provides the first 15 mph and the electric assist provides the other half, the next 15 mph over that. So, there you go.

    Now I need to know what I need to know past that. At 30 mph, impact forces are a bit more and things get a little more dicey than at 15 mph. A dual suspension pretty much is a must. I'd like to retain a regular upright bike design, but my butt tends to be sore after a 50 mile voyage (I've already done it, in little over one and half hours.) with my current setup, which admittedly isn't "much". So, I was wondering what people might recommend for comfort for 10 hour days. If it really is impossible for some reason, then I'll look into recumbent posturing.

    (On a cloudy day, I only get an extra 10 mph, but I'm fine with 25 mph on cloudy days.)
    I'm sorry, but it seems to me that you are making things up. You have mentioned no electric assist so far. Now you're talking about some super duper solar power 30mph with 300lbs load (my bull**** meter just melted...) electric assist that, apparently, you have been testing already. Why haven't you mentioned that at the beginning? You've just wasted our time so far.

    Although I don't believe your claims, without pictures and description of the motor and panels used, they're meaningless. The panels would have to be huge to provide that power and cost a small fortune.

    And at this point I really don't know what it is that you want to know...

    A.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Yeah, it does. Truth is, solar power needs a battery to "smooth out" the power and my battery will have enough capacity to ride at that speed and weight at 25 mph for about 10-15 miles. If I don't reach "the top" by then, I just have to stop and recharge for about 2 to 3 hours, or I could go into pure solar and pedal mode at 7 mph. I think I'd rather just wait.

    My battery is also good for quick burst of high power, so I could get upto 40 mph if I needed to for some reason. I don't think I'll need to, though. Well, except perhaps in city traffic.
    You are talking about averaging 30 MPH over ten hours. That's 300 miles per day. I can't see any current battery tech that would allow you to have that kind of range unless it weighed several hundred pounds. Also, charging the battery would take a fair amount of power, substantially more than you can gain from a solar charger (even a fairly large one).

    Furthermore, suspension is not needed at 30+ MPH. I've done those speeds and more on a loaded touring bike (Surly LHT) and a recumbent (Bacchetta Agio). I used the power of gravity to attain the speed though. I could certainly never average 30 MPH on any ride, unless it were downhill the whole way.

    I have spent 10 hours a day on both bikes, but I can only get about 100 miles out of that. Someday, I hope to get 120 miles out of ten hours.

    Good luck.
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  21. #21
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    Yeah, it does. Truth is, solar power needs a battery to "smooth out" the power and my battery will have enough capacity to ride at that speed and weight at 25 mph for about 10-15 miles. If I don't reach "the top" by then, I just have to stop and recharge for about 2 to 3 hours, or I could go into pure solar and pedal mode at 7 mph. I think I'd rather just wait.

    My battery is also good for quick burst of high power, so I could get upto 40 mph if I needed to for some reason. I don't think I'll need to, though. Well, except perhaps in city traffic.
    A battery to smooth out??? You mean your solar panel can't power the bike after all so it needs a battery? Like the bikes Chinese delivery guys use in in NYC? So your bike is now a battery powered bike, not solar powered any more? So now you need to stop and recharge the battery for 2-3 hours. How often will you need to stop? How big and heavy is the battery and how big and heavy are the solar panels? So um.... how far will that get you on a single day if you have to stop and recharge for few hours? You're making less and less sense with each new post.

    I'm out of this thread. Good luck with your project.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    You are talking about averaging 30 MPH over ten hours. That's 300 miles per day. I can't see any current battery tech that would allow you to have that kind of range unless it weighed several hundred pounds. Also, charging the battery would take a fair amount of power, substantially more than you can gain from a solar charger (even a fairly large one).

    Furthermore, suspension is not needed at 30+ MPH. I've done those speeds and more on a loaded touring bike (Surly LHT) and a recumbent (Bacchetta Agio). I used the power of gravity to attain the speed though. I could certainly never average 30 MPH on any ride, unless it were downhill the whole way.

    I have spent 10 hours a day on both bikes, but I can only get about 100 miles out of that. Someday, I hope to get 120 miles out of ten hours.

    Good luck.
    He's trolling or he's clueless.

    A.

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    Okay, I never stated I wasn't using assist - I just didn't mention it at first because I know a great majority of people here are biased and I didn't want that bias to affect the suggestions people had. Once it became apparent that the "there's no way you're going to go above 15 mph" was clogging future thinking, then it seemed there was nothing more to lose due to potential bias. But, I still do think I could achieve 30 mph on flat land with a full fairing and recumbent styling all my little lonesome. I can hit 25 mph peaks on an upright bike, so it seems like 30 mph on something with half the aerodynamic profile should be easy.

    Anyways, the battery itself IS NOT powering the thing over great distances. The point of the solar is to provide power over long distances. The battery itself is only good for 30 mph 30 miles distances on flat land, and 10-15 mile distances up 7% hills. It is also not heavy; it only weighs 13 pounds. btw, the amount of power the solar puts out to charge the battery is low. This doesn't make it impossible to recharge; it only means that'll it take 2-3 hours to recharge. The battery really is only good to be used for hills and "cloudy" parts of the day, when a cloud passes over and the solar isn't putting out as much power. This is what I meant by "smoothing out the power".
    Last edited by swbluto; 06-13-10 at 05:16 PM.

  23. #23
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    The question I wonder is a bob trailer capable of safely traveling at 30 mph?

    Also curious if anybody has any critiques on the plan or suggestions?

    For those curious, the bike doesn't have eye-lets on the back frame for the old-man mount bike racks (Bike racks meant for dual suspensions), but I suppose I could affix something to the frame to emulate that? If I could do that, then I think I could possibly do without the trailer. I think that'd probably be a lot better. I already have panniers that I really like sitting on another bicycle.

    Also, for comfort, does anybody have recommendations other than the recumbent style? The bike absolutely has to be dual suspension to travel at 30 mph continuously.
    My questions are the ones in the first post. I've bolded them for everyone's convenience. The relevance of the fist question about the bob trailer seems antiquated, but any experiences with that could still be helpful. It may well turn out that panniers may not be enough.

  24. #24
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Pictures or you are a troll.

  25. #25
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    "The question I wonder is a bob trailer capable of safely traveling at 30 mph?"

    Oh, totally, but you need the mag-lev hover kit accessory...

    Also curious if anybody has any critiques on the plan or suggestions?

    well, If it were me, I would probably build some cold-fusion powered directional thrusters to reign in the sometimes crazy effects of forbidden transitions on wheel orbital dynamics. I found they really smooth out the wobbles...

    Also, for comfort, does anybody have recommendations other than the recumbent style?

    well, really, for the long haul, you'll want to invest in a unicorn-hide body harness with some clouds-of-titan pneumatic padding. I really dont think 300 miles a day is doable otherwise.

    I know the unicorn hide is pretty expensive outside of the flea-markets of Arrhakis, but skimp now at your own risk my friend.


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