Early Days with an Airnimal Rhino

By Pat Douglass

The following comments are extracted from two emails received in September from Pat Douglass, who bought a Rhino early in September 2004, and brought it to the Origami Ride from Wolverhampton on 11th September - its first outing!

Part 1
Just a quick message to say how much I enjoyed yesterday's ride, so thank you for making it possible (and Paul Evans [the organiser of the ride - Ed] too of course). I have attached a low resolution photo of the Rhino folded which I took later in the afternoon before it went back in the Morgan. As shown it then travelled in the basic Airnimal bag, although I ended up folding the seat post down too after the photo was taken. As you will note it folds just the same as the Chameleon except there is an extra quick release for the rear shock. I have since learnt that contrary to my assumptions I do not need to remove the handlebars to get it into the bag which speeds it up too.

I had a super ride back from Wolverhampton to beyond Lichfield after I left you - it is no slouch on the road and I covered another 51 km in just 1 Hr 25 mins. I have to admit that I had the wind either on my side or behind me the whole way, except once where I made a mistake east of Lichfield and had to turn round and ride back into the wind for only a few hundred meters but it made me realise I wouldn't have wanted to do that distance against the wind! After a bit more cycling at my destination the bike was put away with 102 km on the clock - not bad for its first outing. (3 of them were done by you of course) It has been out for a further 30 km with me today, but it was very wet and windy here, as it was all day yesterday too apparently.

Part 2
Since I wrote this I have done several more km on the Rhino - it now has about 330 on the clock. Riding home from work on it (47km) it is only a little bit slower than the Chameleon, but I have to admit, more comfortable as the suspension smoothes out the vibration from the rough road.

As I mentioned to you, we took it off road in the Malvern hills. I was pleased with how well it coped. The tyres are not as knobbly as they could be and I shall probably put some others on it for wetter muddier off road riding, but they were ok on the dry rocky Malvern hills. I did loose traction occasionally, but only once I stood out of the saddle. I suspect that if I had lower gears I could have sat though it for longer and kept my weight over the rear wheel better (I am running it with the 11-23 cassette which is fine most of the time). However, I think it was also to do with the terrain as each time John [Bradshaw - Ed], who was riding a full size traditional mountain bike, only got slightly further up the slope than me. Later in the day I swapped with John and realised very quickly what a comfortable ride I had been getting on the Rhino. The full size mountain bike has only front suspension. Coming down rocky slopes at speed the Rhino was both more comfortable and more controllable. The small wheels did not appear to be a disadvantage and certainly make for a nimble machine.

Overall I am still very pleased with it, and it continues to attract interest wherever it goes. I have included a couple of photos from the Malverns, one by John   and the other by me.


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Copyright (C)2004 Pat Douglass
Last updated: 29 September 2004