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Windcheetah No.176

The Crash

What's it like? Well, the best word to describe it is probably WWWWWhhhhhaaaaahhhooooo! With occasional bouts of NNNNyyyarrgh! and of course there's the feeling of "I didn't know the wheel came off the ground like that..." that you sometimes get while cornering. Of course I would never condone irresponsible use of such a machine.

I haven't had the beast long enough to comment on things like wear and tear, either of mechanical parts or of tyres etc, but I'll update this page as I go.

Seriously, though, it's comfortable - even when it's a bit long, as mine was. I've had it shortened by AVD who offer excellent technical support for their machines and no, they're not paying me to say so. The seat supports my back well, and the ride position is generally more inviting than an upright bike. The gearing is 30-42-52 with 11-28 on the back, and provides a reasonable range for someone like me who is a user of bikes rather than an athlete, if you know what I mean. Uphill has thus far presented few problems, but until my muscle groups are used to the new pedalling action I've been avoiding the serious hills.

Steering is by joystick, although it's a twisting motion rather than the leaning motion that the word conjures up. It's something I found easy to get used to, although initially I was very wary. I seemed to feel the need to hang on too tight, with the result that the steering biopaces with the pedalling action! This is what you may call a Bad Thing, especially in traffic on a main road. It's a habit that takes a few goes to break, but worth doing for the ease of steering thereafter. Turning and signalling come very quickly, and the steering is light enough that you can steer with one hand whilst the other is performing a signalling task. Hint - hold the joystick in the crook of your hand under the thumb, and use opened out fingers to push the brake lever right / left. The steering really is that light. Well most of the time....

Broken rack Well, it's been nearly a year now since I bought Speedy, and it hasn't all been wine and roses. The rack I bought from AVD was of an older style, where the whole weight of the load was supended on only one strut. Add to this a weak point caused by one of the welds, and...thump. The rack fractured on the way home from work. Two more pictures of the fractured rack.

Not to worry, AVD were only a phone call away, and Jerry sent me a new rack, of a new design, as soon as one was available. This one uses two struts, and the suspended length is much shorter. Altogether this is much sturdier, and has so far presented no problems at all.

I recently passed the thousand-mile mark, and all systems are still ticking well. I rode to Cyclefest at the beginning of August, click here for more info.

The Crash

Alas, it can't all be good news...
It's now 2003, and having recently passed 2000 miles after 18 months of owning the trike, I finally managed to crash it. This was not a deliberate move on my part, but was assisted by a driver who failed to look before exiting a side road.
Unfortunately he pulled out across my bows and then stopped across the whole carriageway as there was traffic approaching from the opposite direction, leaving me nowhere to go. Even the astonishing braking of the Windcheetah couldn't stop me in time. By jinking the steering, I managed to spill the trike, and in doing so avoided collision with the vehicles, but received a short and brutal reminder lesson about conservation of momentum: The trike flipped onto its side and stopped dead, while I kept going...

One of the many benefits I have discovered using the Windcheetah came to light at this point: Since one is in such a low position, there isn't far to fall! Whilst I was thoroughly disoriented and shocked enough that I could not initially stand up, I came away from this crash with a torn fingertip (where my hand hit the road) and some minor bruising and stiffness. I've received more severe injury from Aikido - albeit without blood being drawn. So: Speedy is scuffed but otherwise fine, Liz likewise. Lessons? For me, it simply reinforces the idea that some people just don't look and as a cyclist one has to be twice as careful, and twice as observant to make up for them. The rights and wrongs of 'car versus cycle' are not an argument I'm going to get into. If you feel the need to rant, feel free to send your comments to /dev/null. :)