The First Newsletter of the First Brand New Website
NEWSLETTER #1 - JANUARY 2006
Welcome to the first TerraCycle Newsletter and the new TerraCycleWebsite/Store. Our goal is to create an information resource that lets our customers know about things that we are discovering or products that we are creating to improve the quality of their riding experience and to increase their knowledge on recumbent specific issues in general. There is a tremendous amount of HPV (human powered vehicle) activity in Portland, Oregon and we may tell you about some of that especially as it relates to safety, speed, efficiency and utilitarian improvements for your bike. Each online edition of the Newsletter will feature some cool topic like Fairing/Tailsok coast down tests or nighttime riding visibility tests. We will also tell you about products we are working on or feature more information on products that we already make. We may also tell you about products that we don’t necessarily make but have found to be extremely useful and where to find them. This will kind of be the TerraCycle blog so to speak. We are really fortunate to be living in such a hot bed of recumbency here in Portland and we have a cadre of visitors and friends who stop by the shop and show us their bikes and talk about what is happening with their riding/touring out in the "real world". The TerraCycle staff has been involved in recumbent racing so we can tell you about that also.
The one item that we created as a result of so many requests from customers all over has been the Easy Racers Idler. After about the 30th phone call we figured it was time to make this item a reality. I ride a Gold Rush, my son rides a Tour Easy, so we were looking for an improvement for our bikes also. This specific idler wins hands down as the product that has created the most positive response in such a short time. There are now well over a hundred of these out there being used and folks are calling and writing us daily saying how happy they are to finally have a quiet drive train that feels smoother and to some feels like they are going faster with the same effort. While we can't quantify that, perception is what it is for these individuals. When Gardner Martin developed the Easy Racers long wheelbase configuration there were no long cage mountain bike style derailleurs available. This made the mid-idler take up style necessary to manage the long length of chain. With the advent of long cage derailleurs this function is less necessary even to the point that some more weight and performance sensitive riders were known to have removed the mid-tensioner idlers entirely. This created it own unique problems in that the chain now had a tendency to make large oscillations side to side and in some cases especially in the middle to small rings in front the long length of unsupported return chain could actually find its way under the tire as you shifted down to smaller cogs in the back. As you can imagine this becomes an almost instant take down of the bike and rider, and could be quite serious. We created the Easy Racers replacement kit to alleviate this safety concern yet still offer a floating idler system that was light, quiet and effectively gave you the same feel as riding with no idler, but managed the return chain at the same time. Personally my bike has never been quieter and to some extent I feel like I am riding an entirely new machine. I hope your experience will be the same should you decide to purchase one of these idlers.
Tailsoks are hot right now and for very good reasons. There are actually two distinct attributes, the most important being safety, the second being performance. The safety aspects of tailsocks are undeniable. If someone bought a tailsok for no other reason than to be more visible to motorists, pedestrians etc. then we would be content that we were creating a valuable product. My son and I toured in Yellowstone this past summer and we both used bright colored tailsoks on our bike, even stretching them over the bulging panniers. The road shoulders in Yellowstone are either narrow or non-existent. The traffic in Yellowstone is pretty intense especially between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM as folks rush from one scenic stop to another. As we would pull into the viewing areas many drivers asked us what those bright colored things were on the back of our bikes and they told us when they had seen us back down the road they weren't quite sure what was going on or what we were so they gave us a wider margin when passing. That’s the kind of comments I like to hear from drivers and the kind of visibility I like to present on the road. I notice when riding in my neighborhood where there are numerous four- way intersections with no stop signs that I am being seen more readily and it feels like there are fewer close calls than I usually experience, especially as I approach from a side street and the cars are travelling crosswise. We have found the Neon Yellow and Neon Orange to be the most visible colors and are the ones we recommend. The firefly light option lights up the interior of the neon colors extremely well and adds immensely to nighttime visibility especially on dark roads.
In our next newsletter we will share with you the performance data that we collected at one of our recent OHPV gatherings where we fitted a variety of bikes with tailsocks and fairings to see the actual speed changes during a coast down test. We want to do more of these to create a larger data base, but what we will tell you now is that almost straight across the board all the bikes went faster with a tailsok. We will also share with you some of the experiences of the local OHPV team that won the grueling Race Across Oregon and how we are preparing for the 2006 race. We will talk about bike preparation and improvements we are making to garnish the best performance out of each rider and their bike.
Thanks for visiting our new website, we hope that you find the look is improved and that you have an easier time finding the products that you are interested in. We hope that you will come back often to check in on what is new and interesting in our monthly newsletters.