LOW & SLOW


Low & Slow … no, I am not talking about whiskey or any other alcoholic drinks nor am I am talking about Bar-B-Que (there is a restaurant where I live called Low & Slow.) Nope, I am talking about tadpole trikes … they are low & slow. At least this is true for many of us who ride tadpole trikes. That’s okay on both accounts in my book. The good thing about a tadpole trike is not that they have to go slow, but that they can go slow. And being low has its advantages.

Riding a tadpole trike is somewhat like riding a go-cart although a go-cart most definitely handles even better. And there is certainly nothing slow about most go-carts. Some really fly. I remember as a teenager riding a motorcycle. I was always impressed at how fast many motorcycles could accelerate compared to most cars. A friend of mine had a younger brother who had a go-cart. In talking it was decided that we would have a race. I assumed I could out accelerate him, but when we took off he shot out ahead of me like I was sitting still. I was quite impressed as well as embarrassed. Now that has absolutely nothing to do with what I set out to talk about here. It is just a story that came to mind I thought I would share.

Seriously, many have compared riding a tadpole trike to riding a go-cart or driving a sports car. I agree to an extent, but in all honesty both will readily out handle a tadpole trike. However, tadpole trikes are a blast to ride. I used to ride a recumbent bike. I could go faster on it than I can on my tadpole trike, but I found the trike so much more fun to ride as well as more comfortable. So I found myself riding the trike and the bike just sat around. I finally sold the bike and don’t miss it at all. The truth is my wife has a bike identical to the one I had and I can ride it anytime I want. I don’t ride it though as I have my tadpole trike to ride. I may take her bike out sometime later this year just so I can go a bit faster. 🙂 I am sure I won’t make a habit of it though. 😉

abby-riding-my-catrike-2-cropped

My grandniece sitting on my trike … about 9 inches off the pavement

As to the matter of being low tadpole trikes all started out being made to sit pretty low. However, in more recent years some models have been appearing with some pretty high seats which, of course, means that they are not so low. That is not for me. As long as I can get in and out of a lower seat that will be what I prefer to ride. I have tried riding a trike with a very high seat and didn’t care for it at all. The handling and feel of it suffers greatly. No, I want the seat down as low as it can go and still have sufficient ground clearance so the frame clears stuff under it. Sitting just 9 inches off of the ground is my cup of tea.

orange-catrike-700

As to the speed, that is one of those things which varies by the individual rider. Like anything else the “motor” determines what the capability is. Definitely downhill on a tadpole trike is a thrill and they can blast past 2 wheeled bicycles of all sorts. Some trikes are faster than others. That is they are designed to be faster. Again, it is all dependent upon the “motor”. I am sure there are those who can ride a Catrike Villager faster than some could ride a Catrike 700 (using Catrike as an example).

Speaking of the Catrike 700, it as well as the ICE VTX and CarbonTrike models all have a 25 degree seat angle. One’s buttocks are the same height, but the torso and head is positioned lower so in that sense the rider is lower. Of course, not every cares to lean back that far and, indeed, not everybody can handle it physically.

The one thing I really love about riding a tadpole trike is having the ability to go really slow … even stopping on an incline and starting back climbing it again when you are ready to do so. And there is no concern about balancing, falling over or having to put your feet down. You sure can’t do that on a bicycle.

Sitting just inches off of the ground one doesn’t have very far to fall should something go afoul. And being down low makes it appear as though you are going faster than you actually are. That adds to the fun of riding a tadpole trike.

A tadpole trike is capable of carrying heavy loads and being pedaled at slow speeds … and in comfort. Try that on a bicycle.

Yep, low and slow … it’s okay by me. I plan on …

KEEPIN’ ON TRIKIN’

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SPEED TRIKE


came across a blog about the design and construction of electric powered tadpole trikes. It is named tadpoletrikeman. The owner of the blog has built a homemade electric assist powered tadpole trike he calls Speed Trike. Here is a photo of it.

speed-trike-1

Although he made the frame he has used a TerraTrike seat and front wheels on it so if you don’t look carefully one may think at first glance it is a TerraTrike.

speed-trike-12

At this point in time he only has this one trike featured. Hopefully other material will be offered on the blog in the future.

speed-trike-4

As you can see in these pictures he has done a very nice job building the trike. It looks great.

speed-trike-2

speed-trike-10

speed-trike-8

As you can see he used a bolt for the front axles. That is the same thing I did when I built my tadpole trike.  It is quite common and works quite well. Just be sure it is strong enough (hardened grade 5 or 8 and 5/8 inch diameter if my memory serves me right).

speed-trike-11

Underseat indirect steering was employed.

speed-trike-5

speed-trike-9

The rear view mirror is mounted on the steering head.

I encourage you to check out this blog.  And by all means …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

STEERING IN A SKID


grew up learning how to steer in a skid/slide … first on a bicycle, then a motorcycle and finally a car. As a kid my dad taught me how to steer a car in a skid. When I say taught I mean he showed me how to do it. At 16 years old I can remember driving my parents’ car down the city street purposely placing the car into a skid sideways between parked cars along the sides of the street and controlling the skid as I drove past them.

car-slides-off-road-in-curve-reduced

A few years later while in the navy I drove a ’63 Corvette on a particular curvy road south of San Diego, CA where there was a sheer drop off along the edge and very rough cliff like terrain below and nothing along the sides of the road to keep a vehicle from going off over the edge. I would put the Corvette into a controlled skid in the curves as I sped around them. Yes, it was foolish and dangerous as it could have very easily and quickly resulted like what is pictured above. I wouldn’t not do any of this today, but as a teenager and into my early 20s I thought nothing of it. I am saying all of this to say that learning how to control a skid or slide can save your butt should you find yourself in such a predicament.

steering-in-slide

I find in riding a tadpole trike on a slippery surface such as snow or ice the trike can all by itself sometimes seem to go into a sideways slide. Without taking proper needed action when this happens it could result in an unwanted unexpected disaster. For me it just comes natural to turn the handlebars and steer out of the skid. It is “second nature” as they say. I find it fun and challenging. Many times I have purposely put my trike into slides just to steer out of them.

steering-in-slide

As illustrated in the drawing above when the rear wheel of a trike slides sideways you should steer in the same direction you are sliding to control the skid. As the trike straightens back out you should turn the front wheels back straight. Learning how far to turn the front wheels and for how long is crucial to successfully controlling a skid. You can also over compensate and make matters worse. If you fail to straighten the wheels back around at the right time you can cause the vehicle to skid the opposite direction. It is best to practice all of this in an empty parking lot where there is plenty of room to slide around without concern of hitting anything.

This video shows the rider steering in a skid. Notice at the very end when he tips over it is the result of the trike going from the slippery surface onto dry pavement and the tire “caught” suddenly and caused the trike to tip over.

The best advice I could give anyone to learn how to steer out of a skid is as I stated previously … to practice in an empty parking lot where you have plenty of room around you. Of course, I am talking about riding on a slippery surface such as snow or ice. I would also caution you not to try this if the slippery surface is not continuous. What I mean by that is that the snow or ice needs to cover the entirety of the area where you are riding. You don’t want to be sliding sideways and then suddenly hit dry pavement (like the rider in the video above) as that could be very dangerous resulting in a bad sudden tip over … a violent one where you could easily get injured. Even if you don’t normally ride in such conditions it would be good to learn this skill so you know what to do if it ever happens to you when you do ride. You could find yourself riding on a surface where there is loose dirt or gravel or a wet spot suddenly come up where the rear wheel starts to slide sideways. Again, I caution you about the rear wheel sliding sideways and then suddenly hitting dry pavement as the trike is likely to tip over suddenly. I can’t over emphasize this.

Riding over uneven surfaces can cause a trike to go into a skid/slide … especially if you are already in a turn (going around a curve).

trike-tip-over-red-arrow-2

Even riding on some surfaces like in the image above can be hazardous. This was on dirt and probably loose dirt at that. The rider knew to steer with the slide to try to control it and recover from it. Most of the time this works, but sometimes things just go wrong and the end result is not what was expected or wanted.  This person tipped over. Fortunately they were not injured. I personally think the reason they tipped over is because the rear wheel slid into a stone or something causing the slide to end and tipping the trike over suddenly. Just going over uneven ground can cause it. It doesn’t take much sometimes to cause such a scenario. It is also noted in the video that she could not maneuver as she would have liked to because of a cactus plant sticking out in her path. That in and of itself could produce the results she experienced.

Here is the video which goes with the picture above:

The rider is most fortunate that the rollover didn’t result in serious injury. She went right onto large stones.

Sliding sideways can be fun as long as you can safely control it, but it can also be extremely dangerous when things go wrong. Be careful out there. Do your best to keep it upright and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

CHAIN TUBES … WHO NEEDS THEM?


chain-tubes

Chain tubes seem to be somewhat of a controversial issue among tadpole trikers. Some people just don’t like them and remove them. They replace them with a dual idler pulley setup. Some say that using chain tubes slows them up as the chain drags thru them and the friction involved is the culprit causing the slowup. Some just don’t like the appearance of chain tubes. They say they are unattractive. Some say that chain tubes are noisy and they object to having them because of this. I personally don’t buy into most of the objections people raise. If everything is set up correctly I think chain tubes are a great component to employ on a tadpole trike. They keep the chain cleaner while keeping the rider cleaner. They “manage” the chain keeping it from flopping around unnecessarily, keeping it from rubbing on the frame and also keep it in place, especially if the trike is folded.

dual-idler-pulleys

A few years ago I decided to try eliminating the chain tubes and using a second idler pulley. I ran my trike that way for awhile, but I didn’t care much for it and went back to the original setup. In fact, I even added an additional chain tube on the back side. I personally think the argument about slowing one up is silly just as is the argument about safety flags slowing a trike up and/or making too much noise flapping around. There are always going to be people who think like this and that is ok. They can do what they want. It does bother me however when they try to talk others out of using these things. A good safety flag may very well save your life.

chain-tube-on-folded-trike

You can see in this picture of a folded Azub trike how well the chain tubes

control the chain keeping it in place and protecting the trike frame.

In managing a chain they keep it from making contact with the trike frame and rubbing the paint off of it. They keep the chain from making contact with the rider’s leg and leaving a “tattoo” on the skin or clothing. They keep the chain in place so it doesn’t get relocated somewhere it doesn’t belong and cause other problems. This also includes the fact that it helps eliminate our having to get our hands all messed up trying to get the chain back where it belongs. Keeping a lot of the chain enclosed eliminates a lot of exposure to external elements which get the chain dirty.

chain-tubes-2

The way I look at it the trike manufacturers know what they are doing and they incorporate the use of chain tubes for very good reasons. Yes, they can be eliminated, but why would you want to? In doing so you are defeating the whole purpose of why they were installed. Not every chain tube installed from the manufacturer is set up properly. I will grant you that. I redid mine so that they sort of “float” and stay in line with where the chain moves to when shifting between the various sprockets. I even heated the chain tube and put a slight bend(curve) in it so it better lines up with the chain. I also flared the ends of the chain tubes so that the chain moves thru the chain tubes better. I don’t notice any drag or noise from the chain tubes and I definitely like my leg and clothing from not making contact with the chain thanks to the chain tubing. Lastly one thing I have observed when it comes to the use of chain tubes is that they can be too long or positioned wrong or held to solidly to where they interfere with the chain moving freely allowing proper shifting onto the sprockets … front or rear. This is all common sense stuff but, hey, it happens and needs to be corrected so that everything works right. (Right along with this I have also seen idler sprocket/pulleys positioned too close to the front derailleur and sprockets which do not allow the needed movement and alignment of the chain to shift properly onto the various sprockets. This can also be the case at the rear derailleur. This is especially true with homemade trikes or trikes where someone has replaced the original chain tubes and made them longer or placed them too far forward or back in the case where they are on the rear of the trike.)

So who needs chain tubes? In my opinion we all do. But, hey, you do whatever you want. Forest Gump had it right and they say you can’t fix it! Did I really say that? Shame on me! Hey, …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’ & ENJOY THE RIDE!

KIDS ENJOYING TADPOLE TRIKES


It is said that people are essentially the same the world over. And this, of course, includes children. Here are some kids enjoying riding tadpole trikes.

In Malaysia

In Romania

In the Philippines

In United States

In England

(turn the volume way down on this one)

In Croatia

In Slovakia

In ?????

MOVING RIGHT ALONG


Various things come to mind I am tempted to say here in response to these videos, but I will stifle myself and let others think what they want. I have never been a smoker, but I remember in Navy boot camp the words “smokem’ if you’ve gottem”. That seems to apply here but it has nothing to do with cigarettes.

Most definitely at 45 mph or so this rider is moving right along.

Certainly not getting any exercise …

Continuing to move right along …

Another one with money to burn …

Keep in mind that here is the United States 750 watts is the maximum power allowed on the streets by law.

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?


trike-tip-over

Now I ask ‘ya … what could possibly go wrong when we are out riding? I mean we are on 3 wheels and low to the ground so we are safe, right? Whoa! Slow up there! You better think again. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong. I feel relatively safe while riding my trike, but I also know that there are elements of danger and concern. Tipping over is just one of those things. I have been fortunate in that I have never been seriously injured in any tip over I have been involved in. I know others who can’t say that. They received painful injuries which took awhile to recover from.

leaning-in-turn-reduced

Leaning into a turn can help immensely to avoid tipping over. Otherwise we need to slow down more as tadpole trikes can and do tip over. And if you ride a trike with a high seat (such as TerraTrike Rover & Rambler, ICE Adventure, Trident Spike & Titan, etc.) they can tip over more readily than trikes with lower seats. Also if you are carrying weight up high on a trike (such as on a rear rack) that raises the center of gravity and the trike can tip over easier. BTW, all TerraTrike models have high seats so none of them are as stable as trikes that have lower seats. Just looking at various makes and models of trikes I have noticed that the trend seems to be higher seats on most models nowadays. I am used to sitting 9 inches or so off of the ground. Very few models nowadays still offer that seat height. That’s all the more reason to stick with what I have as higher seats just don’t appeal to me … at least not as long as I am capable of getting in and out of a lower seat. And I figure it helps keep me young. 🙂 I like having a good handling trike. I have a friend I ride with who has a TT Rambler. He has to slow way up to corner for fear of tipping over. That’s not for me. That would take a lot of fun out of riding a tadpole trike.

drooping-cables

Drooping cables and such hanging down low under a trike can be quite hazardous resulting in messing up one’s day. They can easily catch on something and not only destroy the cable or wire (or more), but it could cause the trike to wreck.

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Having a wheel drop off the edge of the pavement can be very dangerous and can result in a nasty wreck. This is especially true if there is an embankment alongside the area. Riding on snow or leaves can hide the edge of the pavement and make it even more dangerous resulting in going over the edge and likely tipping over. Uneven edges of the pavement can be hazardous.

pavement-dropoff-along-edge

foot-clearance-off-of-ground

With the rider’s feet just a short distance off of the ground and out in front it is all too easy for the feet to slip off of the pedals and hit the ground resulting in leg suck … when the foot and leg get ran over by the trike and bent back under the crucifix … resulting in painful injury. That is why it is so highly recommended to employ some means of keeping your feet secured to the pedals.

pit-bull-damage

Dogs allowed to run loose and not under control can really mess up your day. This person was a victim of a dog chomping down on his leg. So much for being man’s best friend.

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Various obstacles in our paths can mess up our day if we fail to see and avoid them. Whether it is a bollard, a handrail or something else running into it can be bad news.

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And coming onto damaged pavement like pictured above could readily mess up your day. One of the great attributes of our trike riding is being able to take in the scenery better than we could when we rode bicycles. However, we still need to be careful and watch where we are going.

move-to-side-of-the-road

Some places are just more hazardous to ride than others so we need to really watch out for ourselves.

We need to expect the unexpected at all times. Accidents most often happen by accident. We should not do those things which could be used to say we gave them a lot of help. 🙂

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Lastly, failure to follow sound advice can have negative results. Be safe out there & …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

WINTER PLAYTIME or FUN ON 3 WHEELS


Having an electric motor pedal assist tadpole trike does have its good points … like playing on the snow covered roads, etc. You could not do most of this shown in these videos without a motor. Just so one avoids smashing into trees, telephone poles, parked cars, etc. 🙂

I am not sure what I am hearing on this next one. That can’t be the actual sound of this trike. It has to be added sound effects. What do you think?

It’s just not the same without an electric motor, but you can still have fun …

And I would think that 4 wheels would even be more fun than 3 … especially when FAT tires are involved.

Even with a motor I would not want to try this. It is definitely winter, but it doesn’t look like fun at all.

So whether you are motorized or a “plain Jane” always do your best to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

and be safe!

You might want to avoid riding at the north or south pole though.

TADPOLE RIDER GROUP on FACEBOOK


trfbg-cover-photo

I have started a Facebook Group with the same name as this blog, Tadpole Rider. It is more less an extension of this blog. By that I mean if you enjoy reading this blog you will likely enjoy the FB group. In fact, you may enjoy it even more as it will be sort of a “real time” deal where I and members can post, comment and interact whenever we are online and logged in. We can discuss various topics and give advice. We can attempt to answer one another’s questions and resolve issues. We can share our experiences and knowledge with one another. We can post pictures and videos. All it takes is a Facebook account to visit it and a request to join the group if you want to post and comment. I invite you to come check it out. Just click on the link provided below to go to it.

Tadpole Rider Group on Facebook

There are some specific guidelines and rules to follow. There aren’t many, but what ones I have established are crucial and must be adhered to.
1) This group is about tadpole trikes so only postings and comments pertaining to tadpole trikes and riding them are allowed. (Don’t post about bicycles here. There are other groups for those who want to post about bicycles.) Anything else will be deleted as it is in violation of this rule. If a member repeatedly violates this rule they will be privately warned (if possible) and if they continue to do so they will be removed from membership.
2) All postings and comments must be clean and wholesome as well as respectful to others. No one will be permitted to argue and ‘get ugly’ with other members. Again anyone who violates this will be warned privately (if possible) and if they continue on they will be removed from membership.

That’s it! Simple enough and I think quite reasonable. Please come join. The more the merrier and, indeed, the better the group will be.

Tadpole Rider Group on Facebook

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BRRRRR! … ONE COLD JOURNEY


As most of you know I don’t normally post articles about bicycles on this blog. I am making an exception here as I came across this video which I have found very interesting. It is the documented story of a man on a journey by bicycle. He is riding from the far north in Canada down to Argentina, South America. Actually if I understand correctly he plans to continue his journey riding around much more of the world. This video is dealing with his ride thru the brutal northernmost section during wintertime. Of course, winter is pretty much 9 months out of the year and he purposely did not choose the 3 months when the weather improves. As you can see by the time he reached British Columbia the weather had improved considerably. As to the first portion of his ride all I can say is “BRRRRR!” I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I was much younger that I would have any desire to attempt such a bicycle journey. I would not even want to do it in a car or truck with a good working heater. 🙂 Never the less, watching this man on his journey is quite interesting.

If you like these videos he has several more of them he has created as he continues his travels about the world. Click HERE to visit his YouTube videos page. And you can visit his website HERE.          Meanwhile just …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

PANNONRIDER SOLAR VELOMOBILE


pannonrider-solar-velomobile-with-canopy-open

The Pannorider Solar Velomobile is a rather interesting concept. It hails from Hungary, however it is not yet in production to my knowledge. Most solar powered “velocars” don’t look much like what we think of as far as traditional velomobiles. They are usually “boxier” and sit higher. An example is the ELF. With the exception of the rear end the Pannonrider looks more like a traditional velomobile. That means it is more aerodynamic than a velocar such as an Elf. Of course, there are good and bad points to each. I reckon it comes down to personal taste and needs. The velocar would be easier to get in and out of, but it also has a higher center of gravity. The velocar would probably be more practical to haul things in if shopping is one of your main uses for the vehicle. But if you are mainly using the vehicle to ride and like the idea of solar power then the Pannonrider might be more suited for you … if it ever comes to market.

pannonrider-solar-velomobile-front-view

There are lots more pictures of it HERE.

From the video description … “It is obviously designed to be used in cities and in the traffic so it has pretty big ground clearance, most probably very good turning circle, full cover etc. The solar panels are integrated in the roof and on the rear side which gives it a very special look. Maybe not so aerodynamic, but this velomobile is not supposed to be a racing machine, but more to be a practical vehicle for everyday use.”

pannonrider-solar-velomobile-side-view

Their website consists of these four pages:

Concept     Realization     Pannonrider 1     Pannonrider 2

pannonrider-solar-velomobile-rear-view

The basic parameters of the hybrid HPV driven by alternative energy:

Top speed: 31 mph (50 km/h)
Range: 43.5 miles (70 km)
Weight: 66 pounds (30 kg)
Capacity: 264.5 pounds (120 kg)
Gradability: 20 %
Lifetime: min. 10 years

*Zero emission from the primary energy production to final use
*Network independent alternative energy production and storage on the vehicle
*Human and other alternative energy use in the drive train
*Application of environmentally friendly, recyclable materials in each unit
*Electronic energy and drive management
*Ultra lightweight, yet secure body, which protect passengers from all external        impacts
*Ergonomic interior
*Undercarriage: in the font and at the rear, damped, adjustable suspension
*Braking: braking energy, regenerating braking
*Fits today’s environmental, security and quality demand
*Attractive design
*Low exceeding height, easy to get in for PRM

HERE is an article on this velomobile. And HERE is another article.

So if you have a hankerin’ for an electric motor pedal assist velomobile with a little help from the sun keep your eye open for news of this vehicle coming into production. Meanwhile I know I am going to just do my best to … KEEP ON PEDALIN’ so I can do my best to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

MARTIN KRIEG – A MAN OF GREAT VISION – NATIONAL BICYCLE GREENWAY


martin-krieg-3

Here is an interesting video mainly about hi wheel bikes, but it covers recumbents as well. Martin Krieg is quite a trooper. He has accomplished so much even though he has been quite physically challenged as a result of a very serious head injury in an auto accident and has had to overcome so much. Martin is very involved in trying to get the greenways of America connected together and people back to cycling.

I apologize for the video below being small in size. It must be some sort of glitch as it plays normal size on Vimeo’s website. I have no idea why it doesn’t here. You can click on the full screen option and watch it that way.

This next video features Martin at various points thruout it.

Unfortunately I have not figured out anyway to embed the next video into this blog posting so you will have to watch it on their website.

http://www.abc10.com/mb/news/local/davis/big-story-behind-the-big-wheel/346584864

Here he is on a Lightning P38 recumbent bicycle.

martin-krieg

HERE is an article about Martin which he wrote himself. HERE is another article about Martin. And HERE is another article.

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CAN TADPOLE TRIKES REALLY FLY?


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Can tadpole trikes really fly? No, I don’t mean like what you see in the picture above. I am talking about flying aboard a commercial passenger airliner. And I am talking about flying for free. The answer to that question is a definite maybe.

Note – Please keep in mind that I am no expert on this subject and most of what I am about to say is simply my thoughts and opinion. You need to check into this to find out for sure how all this works if you have in mind to take your trike with you as a mobility assistive device.

I think it is up to the airline as to whether they will accept a trike as a “MOBILITY ASSISTIVE DEVICE”. By that I mean whether or not they are convinced that a person truly needs and uses a trike for mobility out of necessity so that it qualifies. If they will then you are “in like Flint”. I Googled this subject, but didn’t find much about it. For some of us our trikes truly qualify, but for others we would be less than honest if we try to use this approach to get free transportation for our trikes. It comes down to our honesty and integrity. We will all stand before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ and give an account for everything in our lives.

Keep in mind that the airlines mostly deal with wheelchairs and power scooters. Their informative webpages and written articles are not geared for tadpole trikes so trike owners must pursue this on their own and work it all out. That being said, the following airlines have written about mobility assistive devices:

AIR CANADA  AIRLINES   ALASKA  AIRLINES

AMERICA  AIRLINES DELTA AIRLINES  HAWAIIAN AIRLINES

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES    UNITED AIRLINES

There may be more and probably are, but I didn’t readily find anything more to list here.

The following is found on Hawaiian Airlines’s website:

What’s an Assistive Device?

Assistive devices are:

Any piece of equipment that helps a passenger with a disability to cope with the effects of the disability. Assistive devices help people hear, see, communicate, maneuver, or perform other functions of daily life, and may include medical devices and medication, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, walkers, crutches, Segways, canes, braces, portable toilets, and other devices, equipment or items that help people with disabilities.

*****

I would think if Segways qualify a tadpole trike certainly ought to. 🙂

HERE is a general article on the subject. Like I said, I can’t find much available about this subject. My guess is (and it is only a guess … I could be wrong) some airlines might be more accommodating (easily persuaded) than others. That being said they are all under the same regulations and requirements. HERE is the FFA Guidance.

Stowage of Wheelchairs, Other Mobility Aids, and Other Assistive Devices

U S Dept. of Transportation – Disabilities

Definitely whether a tadpole trike is flying for free or being paid extra for the trike needs to be properly prepared for the trip to ensure it is protected and arrives unscathed and intact. Some components should be disassembled and removed and the trike should be wrapped in some sort of protective material.  Parts that stick out extra far such as the boom  and crankset, neck rest, etc. are best removed and wrapped up individually. They can be attached securely to the trike so long as they are not protruding out and vulnerable to getting damaged or snagging on something. The chain should be removed. Again, it can be attached to the trike. It should be in some sort of container to keep any oil/dirt from getting onto anything else. Lights may need to be removed as they may be vulnerable to damage.

Wet cell or Lithium-ion batteries are an additional concern and must be addressed to be in compliance with safety requirements of airlines. At the very least the airlines need to be informed of such batteries and their location. It is best to avoid taking such batteries aboard an aircraft.

Traveling with a tadpole trike will require arriving at the airport earlier than normal in order for them to process and load your trike on board the plane so it is important to communicate with the airline to know what they require concerning this.

Note – A reader of this blog commented after this article was posted that it is very easy to have the airline accept a tadpole trike as a Mobility Assistive Device as they are not allowed to question the owner about the nature of their disability. He also said that the trike is loaded onto the plane with little to no disassembly.

Note from me about the note above –  I personally would be very concerned about handing my trike over “as is” to be loaded onto an airplane. I would be concerned about mirrors being snapped off and lights being broken or broken off and missing. And I would be concerned about other damage happening if other items are in contact with the trike during the time it is in the plane.

So, yes … tadpole trikes can really fly … and it would indeed be great to have your trike with you if you are able to ride it where you are heading to. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

BIKE REGISTRATION THAT WORKS


I recently came across a website offering a free service to bicyclists (cyclists). It is called Bike Index. It sounds like a very good idea and hopefully it will catch on all around the nation. We can help accomplish this by using it ourselves and promoting it to others. The “others” include local bike shops and police depts. as it takes all of us together to make this work. This also provides a means of looking up bikes to see if they are reported stolen. This could be handy if you found a bike or are looking into buying one … making certain it is not stolen. Of course, you would need the serial number to look it up.

I know the local police here where I live come across lots of bicycles which never get reunited with their owners. They collect until they are auctioned off periodically. What a shame they don’t end up getting returned to their owners, but without the police having anyway to know who they belong to there isn’t much they can do. All they can do is store them in a room hoping the owner will come looking for it. When the room fills up with bikes they have no choice but to get rid of them. With this registration system that could change. So register that puppy!

I spotted Catrike, Challenge, Greenspeed, ICE, HP Velotecknik, Quest, Stein, Sun & TerraTrike listed to choose from on their drop down menu of cycle manufacturers. It is somewhat challenging to locate the manufacturer as the names are not all together in alphabetical order as one would expect. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they list the many names. And many of the names are not actually cycle manufacturers, but rather manufacturers of various cycle related products. All these added names make it all the harder to find a cycle manufacturer name listed among those they display. It is easy to miss names listed and so this may not be a complete list of the trike manufacturers. BTW, if your cycle manufacturer is not listed they instruct you to use OTHER.  Just type an “o” and Other will appear at the top of the list on the drop down menu. Definitely I think their drop down menu needs a lot of work to make it practical and easy to use. It makes no sense to have a cycle product manufacturer listed along with cycle manufacturers when they are asking you to select the manufacturer from their drop down list. I don’t think anybody has a WD-40 bike much less a tadpole trike, but that is one of the choices.

Once you have registered your cycle if it gets stolen you just login to this website to report it stolen so bike shops and police can look up stolen cycles reported on this website. Pretty nifty, huh?

BTW, I noticed that there were some registrations listed for Great Britain so apparently this goes beyond the United States. It may be open to any country, but I don’t know that to tell you so.

Here is what they state on their website:
The Bike Index makes stolen bikes harder to sell and easier to recover by making sure important information about your bike is there when you need it the most. The process is simple, secure, and free.

HOW IT WORKS

It’s simple: we offer an easy and efficient way to store and update important identifying information about your bike.

In the unfortunate event that your bike is stolen, you can harness the power of our network to help get it back. Registering with Bike Index ensures that law enforcement, bike shops, individuals, and everyone in between has the information they need to help reunite you with your bike.

Bike Index is the most widely used bicycle registration service in the world. We strive to be the best resource in the fight against bicycle theft.

******************

I have registered my tadpole trike including  color photos of it and the serial number on the frame. Unfortunately on older Catrikes the serial number was only on a decal which could be removed. Newer Catrikes have them engraved in the frame. I have a 2013 model which is the year Catrike started engraving the serial numbers, but my trike came with a decal and is not engraved. I think it is shameful on the part of any bicycle manufacturer to use decals instead of stamping or engraving the serial number into/onto the frame.

None of us want to experience our trikes being stolen, but if it happens we may very well be thankful that we registered our trikes while we had them and had the opportunity. It just might help us to be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

RIDING TRIKES WITH FRIENDS IS LOTS OF FUN


can, will and do attest to that. Riding with friends is great fun. I don’t mind riding by myself, but I readily admit I much prefer riding with others, especially close friends. Of course, when you are riding with others somebody has to take the lead. When it comes to myself and those I ride with we often take turns leading. However, one of us in particular most often leads … and it ain’t me.

Whether we are riding with others or by ourselves do try to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

HELMETS … MY HEAD, MY CHOICE?


watermelon-smashed

This could be our head as it smashes onto the ground.

was just reading thru a posting and the comments on Facebook about helmet use while riding a recumbent trike. I have written about helmets before**(see links below) so I reckon this is a revisit of the subject. The last several years of my working career were spent employed in a local hospital where my job was being with patients who needed someone with them constantly. That included a whole lot of head injury patients. Some eventually make full recoveries, but some have some serious issues the remainder of their lives. I saw first hand what they went thru and what they put others thru (including myself). (I could tell you some stories.) It was the exposure to all of this which sold me on how important it is to wear a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle.

hitting-head-on-pavement

So it was only over the last 13 years or so that I personally have been using a helmet. If I ride a bicycle or motorcycle of any kind I always wear a helmet. Of course, I am of the age where helmets didn’t exist when I grew up. I rode many 10s of 1000s of miles on bicycles without a helmet. I only had a few wrecks in all those miles and fortunately I never received a head injury of any kind. I personally rarely wear a helmet while riding on my tadpole trike.  I am not trying to say that it is safe not to wear a helmet while riding a tadpole trike and I certainly am not advocating it. I am well aware that things could go horribly wrong. For me it is a personal choice and I feel relatively safe not wearing one. But if I were to get back on a bicycle I definitely would have my helmet on.

i-wont-wear-a-helmet-2

There is one thing missing in this picture. The person is

not drooling. (I have seen a lot of that.)

Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t wear a helmet while riding. Some say it makes them look stupid or uncool. Some say that helmets are uncomfortable. Some say that helmets are hot.

helmet-ruins-my-hair-2

Some say (especially females) that it messes up their hair. Some would say that helmets are not needed on a trike. Some say that any combination of the above excuses apply.

injured-cyclist-down-on-pavement

What is my excuse(s) you ask? To be honest I find them uncomfortable and hot. I can’t even stand a hat on my head unless it is bitter cold outside.

white-visor-hat-3

Even a visor type hat that is totally open on the top is hot to me, but I wear one when I am riding to shade the sun from my eyes. If I remove it I immediately feel relief as far as the matter of heat. I am really miserable with a helmet on.

enlarg-recumbent-bike-rest2
neckrest-and-helmet-2

Some say that a helmet interferes with their headrest. As to the matter of a helmet interfering with a head rest, first of all they are not headrests … they are neckrests. A neckrest should be positioned low enough that a helmet is above it. Also the type of helmet one wears makes a difference. Many helmets are impractical to wear when a neckrest is involved as they protrude too far back and some even protrude down a little more than others. A helmet which doesn’t protrude back works much better.

  new-headrest-cover-reduced

I have a large size neckrest which I made (pictured above) and my helmet clears it ok. My helmet (a Bell Citi) is fairly flat where the back of the headband is so even if it rests against my super soft neckrest it doesn’t present any problem. Here are examples of helmets that work well with neckrests … a Giro Air Attack (left) and a Bell Citi (right):

comparison-giro-air-attack-and-bell-citi-2

Tadpole trikes can tip over and the rider can get injured in a tipover.

trike-tip-over

I have tipped over a few times, but never hit my head on anything. Only once did I get any injury and it was just some abrasion on my arm. For those who ride tadpole trikes which have high seats they can tip over even easier so extra caution is needed while riding on such a trike.

leaning-in-turn-reduced

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Leaning into a turn can help considerably to prevent a tip over (roll over). Of course, this only applies if you are going fast enough for this to be a concern.

Here is something I learned as a young child:

how-to-take-a-curve

 

This can be very helpful. Just be sure no one is coming from the other direction.

paramedics-treating-downed-cyclist

Paramedics treating downed cyclist.

I guess what bothers me the most about this subject is the stupid comments some people make. I am talking about comments against the use of helmets and the justification some folks make. They are simply ridiculous. I would be the first to agree that a bicycle helmet does not offer the protection that a motorcycle helmet does. Never the less, they do offer considerable protection. No one should ever try to persuade others not to wear a helmet. Yes, it is our head and our choice … unless you happen to be somewhere that has a helmet law requiring the cyclist wear helmets. If you are a rider of a tadpole trike who normally does not wear a helmet and you travel into other states and jurisdictions you might want to check whether or not helmets are legally required. Most of the time organized rides require the use of helmets by all participants.

Nope, far be it from me to try to talk anyone out of wearing a helmet. They could be key to helping us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

** links to previous articles on helmets:

helmets

helmet laws

how bike helmets are made

 

 

A RIDE OVER MLK, JR. MEMORIAL BRIDGE


Today is an American holiday … Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I thought it would be fitting to share a video I made a few years ago. It is a slow ride across the new MLK, Jr. Memorial Bridge here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live. After riding across the bridge I rode thru a portion of Headwaters Park which is adjacent to the river the bridge crosses.

Here is a map of the area. The red line shows the path I rode.

mlk-jr-bridge-headwaters-park

The bridge is pretty at night as it has various lighting available which they can change.

mlk-bridge-at-night

PRETTY AMAZING CYCLIST


don’t normally write anything about bicycles since this blog is about tadpole trikes. However, I am so impressed with this cyclist that I decided to share about him here as an “extra bonus”. This Frenchman, Robert Marchand, is 105 years old (maybe that should read “young”) and just recently set a new world record for his age group. Actually they had to make a new age group for him. He pedaled just over 14 miles in one hour attempting to beat his previous record. I couldn’t do that at half his age. All I can say is … “WOW !” Now he says he is waiting on a rival to compete against him. 🙂 Any takers? You can read about him HERE and HERE.  And here is the Wikipedia writeup.

Robert Marchand and his coach Gerard Mistler during his attempt to break his own world cycling record at the age of 105, taking part in a one-hour cycling event in the Masters + 100 category on January 4, 2017 in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France (Sipa via AP Images)

Robert Marchand during his attempt to break his own world cycling record at the age of 105, taking part in a one-hour cycling event in the Masters + 100 category on January 4, 2017 in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France (Sipa via AP Images)

He has my admiration. Now if we could just talk him into riding a tadpole trike while he is still around and able he could really have some fun and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

(IN COMFORT)

EVERYDAY PEOPLE


everyday-people

Who rides tadpole trikes? That is a fair question. I think it is safe to say that the answer is “everyday people”. Yeppur, there is nothing unusual or different about most of those who ride tadpole trikes. We are just the run of the mill common people. That is a good thing. I think what makes tadpole trikes attractive to “everyday people” is that they are just simply fun to ride. Most of us cheerfully proclaim …

i-love-recumbents

Tadpole trikes numbers are increasing at an amazing rate. They are really catching on. I am seeing more and more of them as I go out riding.

trike-riders-gathering

Well, I don’t see this many, but that’s only because I am not at the right place at the right time. One could even encounter a traffic jam at times.

tadpole-trike-traffic-jam

Yes, I know. These are pictures of trike events held in past years. But you gotta’ admit … there are a bunch of trikes gathered together and I am pretty sure if you were to take a poll you would find that those many “trike pilots” are just everyday people much like you and me. They are all out there enjoying their tadpole trikes. And what’s not to enjoy? Like I said, they are fun to ride. They are comfortable to ride. They are much safer to ride than a bicycle. They provide great exercise. They provide a great view of our surroundings as we ride along on them. They provide a practical and convenient platform for running errands and hauling items on. They are great for taking long extended rides … even 1000s of miles long. They attract a lot of attention everywhere one goes. Yeppur, lots of everyday people are truly sold on tadpole trikes. I am one of them. How about you?

ENJOY THE RIDE!

IT’S JANUARY?


went out for a trike ride this morning. It is January 11th and I am in northern Indiana here in the United States. The average normal high temperature at this time of year is in the low 30s F. It got up to 50 today and the forecast is for 55 tomorrow. The truth is we have been and are continuing to experience a roller coaster ride in the weather dept. December was mostly a very nasty month weatherwise with mostly below average temperatures and bad wind chills. It was brutally cold. Anyway, it sure was great being out there riding today and not having to deal with typical January weather. I am not wearing shorts yet, but hey, I am not complaining.

We had some very high winds yesterday lasting for many hours. The bike trail I rode on today was covered with tree limbs so I spent most of the time I was out tossing them off to the side of the trail. Once I got them off of the trail I could ride normally and enjoy it. I even tried out my new knee joints trying to pedal fast. It felt good. Unfortunately tonight as I type this my knee joints are letting me know I over worked them. That’s ok. They will recover. Tomorrow is another day and I hope to be back out there enjoying this unusually warm weather. Next week the forecast is more roller coaster weather as Friday normal January weather returns until Monday and then all week we have above normal temperatures again. Hey, I am for that! That helps to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!