Thursday, February 25, 2016

Three Wheels and the Truth


A bit of a departure from the endless sea of BBQ related posts - I got a new trike in September of last year.

Some of you may be thinking " A trike? Isn't that something for little kids and grandmas?!" I can assure you all that nothing could be farther from the truth.

The truth is that I'm getting older. I can't deal with the pain and discomfort that comes along with riding a standard-framed bicycle. My recovery time from activity has lengthened and my ability to deal with the soreness of the standard "wrist-ass" contact points is lessening. My weight does not help this in any way. So, I looked for a solution to the problem.

I have always been fascinated with the strangeness of the recumbent. There was always something that seemed to be calling me about these oddballs of the road, something that i can't readily explain. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was always an outsider because I was interested in bicycles instead of standard sports. This is a way to be even more nonconforming. The engineering that went into a recumbent was also fascinating. Here was a machine that was made to be *different*. I like different...

So, here I am, 42 and counting, looking at something that is a cross between a lawn chair and long BMX bike. And I love it.

I spent a lot of time in the Interwebs looking at all the offerings that are available in Europe - looked at various reports on comfort and reliability, researched manufacturing and construction - specifically weight limits and durability. At the end, I came up with HP Velotechnik as the choice for me.

HP Velotechnik is a small company located in central Germany that specializes in making recumbent cycles, specifically trikes. They have a broad palette of recumbents for all types of riding - I was looking for something that was not so "sporty" and more along the line of "trekking". I came up with the Scorpion Plus 20".

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Isn't it a work of art?

Some technical details:

Seat width Ergomesh / Ergomesh XL - 38 / 43 cm
Seat angle - 46–54°
Bottom bracket height - 37–43 cm
Suspension travel - 6 cm front / 8 cm rear
Ground clearance - 15,5 cm
Wheel size - 20" (ISO 406)
Max. tire width - 5 cm / 2"
Wheel base - 110 cm
Track width - 86 cm
Width - 91 cm
Length - 168–200 cm
Turning circle - 4,75 m diameter
Weight - 18,8 kg
Folding system - HP Dual Flat Fold D.F.F.
Size folded - 81 × 91 × 83 cm
Max load - max. 150 kg
Frame - heat treated Aluminum (7005-T6u)

Good information to know....

Basically, all these elements come together to make a trike that is both comfortable and built to travel long distances. I specifically had it powder-coated in RAL 1018 Zinc Yellow. Yes, I actually paid money to have it that color. I like how the yellow pops - make it easier to see me on the road.

Some of the interesting features of this machine are:

- It folds. In half. Which is great when you want to transport the thing around without directly riding it. It doesn't pack too small but 81 × 91 × 83 cm is a much smaller package.

- There is no "critical speed" which means you can stop riding and won't fall over. Helpful on those hills...

- The seat position on the Scorpion Plus is raised up 10 cm higher than normal. I sit at about the same height as I would in a car.

The best part about the trike is the feeling you get while riding it. I no longer have to look down at the street and pay attention to where my wheels are tracking. I can look around me, taking in the scenery and enjoying nature. The position of the mesh seat is like a lawn chair and is very comfortable, leaving me to concentrate more on the ride and less on my contact points.

Overall, the trike is slower but you get used to this. It's all about the ride and not about getting there as fast as you can. If you want to do that, drive a car.

Sure, I may look foolish to you but I really don't care. This has taken my cycling to a different level, one in which my comfort, enjoyment, and safety are at the top of the list and no longer relegated to a secondary function of riding. I invite all of you to explore this alternative to a standard bicycle, even if only to experience the difference.

I bid you Peace,


Tuesday, February 09, 2016



Sometimes, you just need to have a good hunk of beef to make things right.

That's what Anna and I did on Sunday - Picanha on the rotisserie!

Some of you may be asking "What is Picanha?"

According to Uncle Wiki: "...a cut of beef popular in Brazil. In the U.S. it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap or coulotte. North American butchers generally divide it into other cuts like the rump, the round and the loin. In some places in the US it is called top sirloin cap."

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What you are seeing is 2.5 kilos of prime U.S. sirloin with the fat cap removed. I would have preferred that it was on but the cut came with it already removed. :(

We then proceeded to spear the cuts we made onto the rotisserie spit. You can see, we tried to bend them so that the fatty side would be out towards the fire: since there was no fat cap, we were unsuccessful..

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No matter!! I will not accept defeat - lets put the meat on the fire!!!

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The meat was allowed to rotate over a hot, indirect fire with the lid closed for about 10-15 minutes until the outside began to brown and caramelize. More on that later...

Since you cannot live on meat alone (not that I wouldn't be willing to give it a try!) we decided to go with a potato salad as our side dish. I really like this variant on the classic - here's the recipe:

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A Variant on Papa's Potato Salad

1kg of potatoes - the kind that stay firm while cooking
3 hard-boiled eggs
15 cornichons, diced (You can use kosher dills but it will taste different)
15ml of the juice from the cornichons (more or less...)
500g jar of Mayo (not Miracle Whip or other strange stuff)
10 pieces of crispy bacon
300g can of sweet corn
200g jar of sliced mushrooms
100g sliced jalapenos (Optional)
Salt and pepper

Boil your potatoes until tender. Peel and cut into cubes. Peel your eggs and cut them small. Same with the cornichons (well, don't peel them...) Crumble up our bacon, (you can add more bacon - in fact, I recommend it!) put this all into a large bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill in the fridge until cold.

Back to the meat!

Now, the way that this works is that you let the meat turn for 15 minutes and then you take the spit off the grill and start shaving down the meat into thin strips. The remaining meat should still be pretty underdone and you subsequently put that back on the grill for a bout 10 minutes - wash, rinse, repeat...

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Ideally, this is a great summer treat - best suited to sitting on the patio with friends, drinking heavily and eating lots of beef until the sun goes down and everyone has a great time. Unfortunately, the weather is not like that in early February in Germany - we ate inside an had to regularly go outside to cut meat.

Honestly, this a great way to grill beef without worrying too much about doneness and it looks spectacular! I suggest you try it!

Go make some smoke,