Just had a nasty encounter with vicious dog teeth (on my calf) and a nasty owner when I rode my 20’’; but here is what I really want to ask:
I took my first (attempted) ride on a 160cm giraffe today. Mounted the beast from a wall and tried to support myself by holding on to a garage roof. The best I could do was ride 4-5 feet, because I was quite uncomfortable, mostly for 3 reasons:
(1) my feet kept sliding off the plastic pedals (I was concerned to install my usual grippy BMX pedals, because I was not sure how well I did with the dismounts)
(2) my butt was sliding forward (Viscount seat, I can change that to my c/f base airseat if needed)
(3) I was not used to feeling backlash from the chain (this is a new giraffe and the tension should be perfectly adjusted)
Dismounts (giraffe f/w) worked O.K.; freemounting will be on my agenda when I am comfortable riding the animal. Idling seemed easier than on my 20’’ or 24’’.
Here are my questions:
(1) Do you recommend grippy pedals (with pins) for giraffes?
(2) Does the seat angle usually feel so different on a giraffe?
(3) How do I tell the optimal chain tension?
Any other advise for a giraffe rookie (I know about the practice, practice, practice, practice, etc. part)?
Thanks, Bruce. I will try changing the seat hight (although it is exactly what I use on my 20’’ - measured from the top of the pedal in its lowest position to the center of the saddle).
I did watch the videos on your site many times (and made a copy of Ben’s freemount on my disk).
>(1) my feet kept sliding off the plastic pedals (I was concerned to
>install my usual grippy BMX pedals, because I was not sure how well I
>did with the dismounts)
>(2) my butt was sliding forward (Viscount seat, I can change that to my
>c/f base airseat if needed)
>(3) I was not used to feeling backlash from the chain (this is a new
>giraffe and the tension should be perfectly adjusted)
>Dismounts (giraffe f/w) worked O.K.; freemounting will be on my agenda
>when I am comfortable riding the animal. Idling seemed easier than on my
>20’’ or 24’’.
>Here are my questions:
>(1) Do you recommend grippy pedals (with pins) for giraffes?
>(2) Does the seat angle usually feel so different on a giraffe?
>(3) How do I tell the optimal chain tension?
Usually if the seat is slipping behind you, you’re standing on the pedals.
It can also be the angle – make sure it’s a bit higher in front. Avoid
pins – not necessary, and could be nasty. Chains can (should?) be loose a
bit – otherwise I think there could be other problems (like snapping!). I
really don’t know, but mine has always had some play.
Co-founder, Unatics of NY
1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday
@ Central Park Bandshell
1:30 start time after 11/1/01
Hey, Fred. I originally had some pedals with pins on my giraffe, but I have found that riding the giraffe well is mostly about confidence. The pedals definately destracted from that and now I put on the crappy plastic pedals that don’t scare me at all, and I saw an improvement. I agree with the diagnosis of the others on the seat slippage. As for chain tension. I was previously worried about that so I had it set up with a little backlash. I have since removed all the backlash, but the chain isn’t quite tight. It is a bit of a balance between the two, but it is much easier to ride with it tighter rather than looser.
A good way to learn is to find a place where you can mount easily. Once I found that I got comfortable with riding, jumping off and falling off. Before I had a good place to get on, I was always trerrified to fall because I knew I would then be terrified to mount. This really stunted my progress. Good luck!
The proper chain tension is probably what we use on BMX bikes, which almost invariably have a tight spot due to gear asymmetry: tension the chain so that the tight spot is snug, but not binding. The rest of the positions are looser to a degree that depends on the degree of non-circularity. With a giraffe with different teeth numbers so that the gears rotate with respect to one another, the tight spot may be a while in coming, and there may be other less binding tight spots. I can check this on the giraffe we have borrowed; this is an educated guess as to the behavior you might expect.
On my Matthews 6-footer it initially felt like it was trying to yank the
seat out from behind me. Very strong continuous pull rearward. I concluded
that the seat was positioned too far forward. The large amount of leverage
– due to the distance to the ground – makes the position of the seat much
more critical on a giraffe.
The original seat was on a rail so I slid it back as far as possible and
tipped up the front. This cured the yanking feeling.
Phase 2: The original seat was pretty uncomfortable so I borrowed a Miyata
seat from another uni and put it on the giraffe. Back to the same problem –
it felt like it was yanking it out from under me all the time.
The Miyata is not adjustable. A rail adapter is needed.
Not having a rail adapter, I decided to bend the seatpost backward. This
repositioned the seat and also tipped the front upward. Now it feels right.
I’m waiting for the new Velo seats, hoping to use one of those with a rail
I am mildly proud of my method of bending the seatpost: I jacked up the
front of my van and laid out the seatpost under a tire, with blocks of wood
arranged under it. Then I lowered the van onto the seatpost until it was
bent to my satisfaction. I’m sure this has weakened the seatpost – I don’t
think I should try any running jump mounts.
the van squishing method sounds like a good way to put cotterless cranks on properly.
with a bit of wood either side,
maybe you could get a set of montys to last more than a week.
as for girrafe pedals, i use the old fashioned flat rubber pedals, i’ve tried various kinds and setled on them because i don’t want so much grip on a girrafe because i tend to put more weight on the pedals , so if i need to adjust my foot placement, pins can be a pain in the neck, i even avoid the regular plastic pedals because their too grippy.