LET’S RIDE!

As I watch this video my immediate thought is “let’s ride!” as it looks so inviting and beautiful nature to take in.

Here is what is found in the video description:

“Whenever we are in the Townsend, TN area to ride, we always run up Tremont Road. It has a manageable all uphill grade to the top and then a grin inducing downhill (pedaling optional) back to the start. The first two miles are very smooth pavement and the last three are packed gravel. Sometimes we just run up and down the paved part, but the gravel is where the fun really begins. You will need a trike/bike fitted with proper tires for gravel, no skinny racers for this run and suspension is a must if you value your teeth, haha.

There is no shortage of scenery along the way since this is the Smoky Mountains and the road runs along the Little River and the Middle Prong Little River. There is some light vehicle traffic on this road since there are hiking trails at the top of Tremont Road. Going down, we ride faster than traffic, so it’s never been an issue…wink wink.”

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RAILS TO TRAILS CONSERVANCY

Many of us ride our trikes on former railroad property which has been converted over from “rails to trails”. It is a good use for the land that otherwise just sits there going to waste, not being used for anything. The neat thing about rail trails is that most abandoned railroad corridors are quite long so a trail could go on for a very long distance. And for those who are not crazy about hill climbing railroads were built with limited  grades for the trains to deal with so trails that are built on the railroad corridors don’t have any steep hills. I think a 2 % grade is typical for railroad corridors.

Of course, the railroad companies don’t usually give the land away. They sell it and it can get quite expensive. Building trails is quite expensive not taking into account purchasing the land involved.

With one exception all of our local trails where I live are not rail trails. One is a rail trail however and it is a great trail. It is even named after something to do with railroads. Years ago steam locomotives ruled the rails. They were affectionately nicknamed “Pufferbellies”. Our local rail trail is called the Pufferbelly Trail. There are not any pufferbelly trains running on it anymore but it quickly became the most used trail among the several different trail offerings we have here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. It is not completed yet. It still has a few miles to be paved on the north end of it as well as a few at the south end to connect to the section already built to the south. Our local trail, the Pufferbelly Trail, is part of a much longer trail yet to be built which when finished will be approximately 90 miles long connecting the  Ouabache State Park near Bluffton, In. in the south to Pokagon State Park north of Angola, In. near the Michigan State Line. Our local trail will be about 13 miles long when completed. Right now I think about 7 miles is completed. More will be built to the north this year.

Oops, I guess I was wrong. Here comes a pufferbelly train now. Don’t worry, I don’t think it can get past the bollard …

I just had to have some photo editing fun.

In all seriousness, a group known as Rails to Trails Conservancy has a Facebook page you might enjoy checking out.

https://www.facebook.com/railstotrails/

They also have a website. Click HERE to visit it.

Here is their stated mission: “At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors.”

One rail trail which is quite intriguing is the Great American Rail Trail which when completed will span all the was across the nation … from Washington State to Washington, D.C.

On a personal note, I have ridden on a few rail trails and found that they can be great trails to ride on. However, I have also ridden on some that are lousy … worse than driving on the interstate thru Kansas … just straight with no shade trees and quite boring. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for building trails using railroad corridors. They help us to …

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SO TADPOLE TRIKES ARE SLOW … WHO CARES?

Yes, definitely tadpole trikes are slow … slower than a bicycle. Why woudn’t they be? They are heavier and have 3 wheels rather than 2. We are not comparing apples with apples. But WHO CARES? I rather doubt that most people who buy a tadpole trike are doing so to be able to outperform a bicycle in the speed department. No, other issues and concerns enter the picture. Sooner or later most of us come to our senses and realize that bicycles are rather uncomfortable to ride and they definitely are not safe for many of us to ride as we age. Some bicycle riders have already experienced wrecks which convinced us of the concerns for our safety. Many have suffered life changing injuries or medical/health/physical problems resulting in changing over from bicycles to recumbent tadpole trikes. No, speed is no longer an issue for most of us. We have nothing to prove to others or ourselves.

All that being said, are tadpole trikes really all that slow? Not necessarily. Like any other human powered vehicle the determining factor is the motor. Some riders still manage to ride pretty fast passing up most bicycle riders. The bottom line to the question of how fast is a tadpole trike is … the same for any other type of bicycle … JUST AS FAST AS YOU CAN PEDAL IT!

Most of us don’t qualify. Some of us really slow up as we age and deal with various issues which slow us up. Without the assistance of an electric motor I am pathetic as I ride along at 2 to 3 mph most of the time. I didn’t use to be slow like I am now but after having both knee joints replaced I find that I can no longer push hard on the pedals so I have to ride along in lower gears. But, hey, when I was younger like the rider in this video above I probably could have given him a run for his money. Now at age 74, I have no interest or desire to attempt it much less the ability to do so. With e-assist I no doubt could fly by him if I wanted to. And I do tend to ride fairly fast most of the time as it makes for a lot more fun that the 2 to 3 mph I mentioned under my own power. E-assist has brought much joy back into cycling for me. Riding without it is simply misery and drudgery for me. Riding in constant pain barely moving along being passed by walkers is no fun at all. My e-assist is a game changer. I went from being a slow moving turtle to a road runner out there. So if you see a flash go by you it just might be me enjoying myself while I can. Yes, I pass bicyclists all the time on my tadpole trike, but I am cheating as some point out. Shhhh! Don’t say anything. Some of the bicyclists don’t know it.

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REAR FACING RADAR

Are you concerned about vehicular traffic approaching you from behind and not knowing about it until they are passing you? Modern day technology is here to help . Check out these products …

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TERRACYCLE FLAG MOUNT

TerraCycle is well known for high quality products for us cyclists. Their flag holder (mount) is no exception. It is definitely more expensive than other flag holders I have seen ($38) but hey it is really well made and will definitely do a superb job of holding a flag pole. As you can see it is easy with this mount to adjust the angle forward to back of the flag pole (or even sideways if you have the mount positioned sideways on the trike).

It is available for both 1/4 inch and 6 mm flag poles. The mounting clamps are available in 1/2 thru 1 1/4 inch diameter or you can order it without any clamps. To order their flag pole mount click HERE

With these mounts the flag can be placed various places  … rear stays, seat frame … anywhere that will work for you. I highly recommend not having your flag pole positioned where people can get their eye poked out riding or walking into it. I see this all the time … flag poles that pose a serious threat of injury of others. Be considerate of others and think about what you are doing. Don’t be part of the problem. Wouldn’t you feel terrible if you were the cause of somebody losing their eye?

Personally I remove my two flags after each ride so I need a system which is easy and quick to do this. My Catrike flag pole holders work great for me but I had to come up with my own mounting system which wasn’t hard to do

If you have not come up with what works for you or if you want to possibly improve what you have consider these TerraCycle flag mounts.

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NEW ADJUSTABLE CRANKARMS FROM HASE

Hase is offering a great looking product … adjustable crankarms which can be set between 65 mm and 165 mm … quicklly, easily … and without the use of tools. HERE is an article about them on Recumbent News. Adjustable crankarms are never cheap but these are super expensive ($452US, 350 Eur). They are really nice though. As you can see in the picture there is a red button to push to adjust them.

Like a chain gobbler these would be really nice for dealerships which allow customers to ride their bikes and trikes trying them out. Unfortunately the bicycle industry does not  offer shorter crankarms on their cycles. Many of us could greatly benefit from using shorter crankarms.

I have written about shortened crankarms previously.

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HOW TO TROUBLESHOOT & FIX ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS ON E-BIKES

I can personally identify with this as last Saturday I started having problems with my e-motor on my trike. Power to the motor keeps cutting out so I need to go thru things in an attempt to find the cause and fix it. I am hoping it will turn out to be something simple and inexpensive but I am fearful that it may be the controller. I have a new battery ordered as my present one is old enough to start showing major concerns. It should be getting near the end of its life. Like many others, I am pretty much on my own as there are no e-bike shops anywhere near me that are experienced and know much about working on e-bike motor systems.

This video is nothing profound … just everyday common sense.

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REAR TURN SIGNALS

 

think it is safe to say that we humans are easily persuaded to buy things we would not have likely bought if we had not been exposed to advertising. I have long thought of adding turn signals to my trike and I have looked online a few different times for them. However, I never bought any until a couple of months ago when an ad I saw on Facebook caught my attention. I was hooked. I should have known better as I have learned that whatever the claim being made is, especially when it comes to “sale price” the item is usually at least twice as much as it can be found elsewhere if one bothers to look for it.  Such is the case with these turn signals. I stupidly bought them thru the FB ad only to find them for considerably less online later. The turn signal set arrived and I tried them out in the comfort of my living room before I installed them on my trike. They worked great inside of the house but out in the real world I quickly discovered that they are totally worthless in the daylight. The brightness of the sunlight makes it impossible to see the control panel. They would be fine using them in darkness as then you could see the lighted buttons. Yes, I have them installed now for a few weeks but I have not been able to use them at all. Totally worthless! The taillight and turn signals themselves are quite bright and can readily be seen. The problem is the rider simply can not tell if the lights are on or off. Totally worthless! HERE is the same taillight/turnsignal set for less than half of what I paid for it.

The control switch is wireless. As you can see there are “warning lights” in the center which definitely are attention getting. The only problem is if you dare use it you may attract the attention of the police as the idiots who designed and make these lights choice to use bright flashing red and blue LED lamps. Where I live that equates to the emergency lights on a police vehicle. I can just envision getting a ticket for impersonating a police vehicle. As much as I would like to be able to recommend this turn signal taillight combo, I can not. I can only repeat myself … TOTALLY WORTHLESS! (in the day light) … I am talking about the wireless controller used to turn the various lights on and off. There is no problem seeing the turn signals and warning lights.

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CATRIKE DISCONTINUES THEIR EOLA MODEL

BOO HOO !!! This news really bums me out. I really like the Eola model and probably would have bought one in the future for my wife when she retires.  That being said it is uncertain whether I would give it to her or keep it for myself and give her my Catrike Trail model.

Below is a news article about the decision to discontinue this model.

Catrike Eola discontinued

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A SURE SIGN OF SPRING

I saw a sure sign of Spring today. And, no, I am not talking about seeing what is pictured above. I rode my tadpole trike over to my LBS (local bike shop or store) and as I rode on thru the automatic doors to go back to the Service Area I rode past a couple of guys to my right side who greeted me. They were standing alongside of a Catrike 559 headed toward the front door. Almost immediately to my left side I saw several Catrikes on display. Thru the winter they had moved this display to the very back of the display floor. Moving it back out toward the front where they can’t be missed by customers coming it I found to be very encouraging … a sure sign of Spring coming soon. Yep, there is no other was to interpret it.

We laugh at the sign of Spring just around the corner as it is meant to be humorous. I have never seen such a “sign” before but I did see what I am reporting here and it is dead serious … not funny. It is the real thing … the genuine real McCoy. Yep, I am encouraged seeing it. I have not seen any other tadpole trikes out riding on the trails or streets yet this year***. I am out there all by myself but then I am quite used to it. Most people are a bunch of wimps and don’t venture out until it gets into the 70s. And that is still not warm enough for some. I have seen people out riding in the high 80s dressed warmer than I dress in the winter time … seriously! We have had a couple of days thus far in the 60s. It is 57 today as I compose this … still far above the normal average temperature of 41 for this time of year. Yes, I was already out riding … just a little over 30 miles. Much of our trail system is closed due to melting snow and river flooding. Most of our trails run alongside of rivers so they flood over frequently. Bummer!

I just took a look at the extended weather forecast. I won’t be writing home about it. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what I would call the arrival of an early Spring. I am in northern Indiana so I am used to winter hanging on. Some of the worst winter weather we get has occurred in March so I won’t be holding my breath waiting on those 70 plus degree temps to arrive. The forecast for the remainder of the month only shows two days in the 60s. The other days are in the 40s and 50s. At least there wasn’t any 30s for high temps. The bottom line is we will see what we will see … and we will get what we get. And we will endure whatever we get.

Doesn’t this picture below look exciting? Wouldn’t you like to be riding along that trail taking in the beauty and uniqueness? It’s unique for sure as it doesn’t exist. I created the image placing the trail in it.

Well, that is the way it is. I am thankful we have had a break in the weather and it has been nice enough out there to ride every day for quite a few days now. We have even had quite a lot of sunshine which definitely makes a big difference. I am still the only one out there … bunch of wimps, I tell ya. They can stay home if they want to but I am gonna …

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A FREE GIFT awaits you!

***When I first composed this I had not seen any other trikes out on the trails … bicycles, yes, but no trikes. However, yesterday that changed as I came upon a gal riding a Catrike Pocket and rode alongside of her for a couple of miles conversing with her and getting acquainted. She is new to trikes. She bought her trike last Fall.

EASY LOAD PRODUCTS

Easy Load has been around for several years now offering a few different products to help in the loading and transporting of trikes. Check out their products HERE. You can email the owner, Scott Reiter, at: sr.graphics@sbcglobal.net. BTW, both Scott and his wife are fellow tadpole trike riders.

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A FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

BLOWN IN THE WIND

 

Yesterday was a teaser … way above normal temperatures for late winter. Today is a few degrees below normal. Hey, that is typical Indiana weather. Today is also forecasted to be windy … gusting to 30 mph. That is also very typical Indiana weather. In fact 50 mph winds are fairly common. I can’t say that I like dealing with wind when I ride but at least I am reclined enough that the wind does not effect me very much. I can remember what it was like riding a diamond frame bicycle in the wind. What a difference!

With current river flooding occurring due to snow melting from the warmer temperatures that finally arrived we have at least two trails closed. I just looked at the website reporting the river levels. I was elated to see that the Maumee river has already crested and is slowly on its way back down. I sure hope they can and will get the trail back open soon. I welcome the wind at such a time as the wind helps dry up the water on the trail so they can sweep it off to get it reopened. I personally wish they they had never built the trails alongside of the 3 rivers here in Fort Wayne,Indiana. I am sure I am wrong but it seems like the trails are closed more than they are open. Two trails are closed due to flooding at this time. That still leaves three trails open I can ride. There is a fourth trail (Aboite Trails)  but I don’t consider it a trail. It is just some “glorified sidewalks” running alongside roads.

I am waiting awhile this morning for the temperature to go up before I head out for a ride. Again our weather is fluctuating all over the place. We have had some really warm temperatures overnight but the last couple of days it has gotten cold again. Today’s forecasted high is only 37 … quite a drop from yesterday’s 64.

DAVID HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

 

 

I find that I really like this fellow tadpole rider’s videos. They are well done and informative. And I fully agree with almost everything he says.

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