Monthly Archives: February 2015

PEDAL EXTENDERS MIGHT BE THE TICKET


Recently I went to a local bike shop and purchased some pedal extenders. They had 3 different lengths (20, 25 & 30 mm) and I didn’t know which one to get.

pedal extenders

I opted for the 25 mm. They told me I can bring them back to exchange for one of the others if I determined I need a different length. I got home and installed them. Wow, what a difference they made. My knee joints definitely feel better. However, I think I only need the shortest length ones so I will be taking them back to exchange them. Ironically when I went there the shortest length ones are what I had in mind to get as I thought the 20mm (just over 3/4 inch) was the only size available. Just to help those of us unfamiliar with the metric system the 25 mm is just under 1 inch and the 30 mm is just under 1 1/8 inches.

Anyway, I am looking forward to getting the shorter ones and riding with them.I am quite hopeful that they will be quite helpful in making a difference as I ride. Right now in the midst of another nasty winter my outdoor riding isn’t happening. Instead I have my trike indoors set up on a trainer. It is not the same as riding outdoors.

As I have aged and my knee joints have changed (bone on bone) my legs have become somewhat bow legged, especially my right one. Having my feet further apart on the pedals feels better on my knee joints. So, if your knee joints bother you as you pedal along you might benefit from using these pedal extenders. They might be just the ticket to help some of us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Post Script: I just took my 25 mm pedal extenders back to the LBS (local bike shop) to exchange them for the 20 mm size. While there I talked to the technician who told me that just adding a washer (or two or three) to a pedal makes a big difference … that our bodies are that sensitive. He said that sometimes only one side needs to be spaced out … and sometimes one side needs to be spaced out farther than the other side.

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FAT TAD – HOW QUAINT!


I love that name … FAT TAD … how quaint! The word quaint has various meanings. One of them is: “strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way”. And that is the meaning here.

ICE trikes has their fat tad they have come out with recently, but Utah Trikes has been custom making various versions of them for several years now. Of course, they are probably best known for their quads. These go anywhere trikes are in demand so they now offer their “FAT TAD CRAWLER”.

When I first saw a picture of it I wondered what brand of trike it is. Since much of it doesn’t look like a trike I readily recognized I asked them. Here is what they said … they use the Sun EZ tadpole trike frame and they use their own seat, handlebars, rear end and wheels.

FAT TAD CRAWLER

fat tad right side 2

With 26 inch tires 4 inches wide and “a pressure range of 8 psi to 20 psi you can choose a super soft ride with LOTS of traction, or fill ’em up for fast road speeds. Don’t let the knobby-looking tread fool you, this trike is fast on the roads as well as out in the dirt” (their description in quotes).

http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11619373.html

Detailed Specifications

Frame Material Cromo Steel / Aluminum Boom
Total Length 77 Inches
Total Width 34 Inches
Total Assembled Height 36 Inches
Ground Clearance 9 Inches
Seat Height 22 Inches
Country of Origin USA with imported components

This trike comes stock with a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub. Optional for additional charge are NuVinci 360 CVP hub ($95) or Rohloff 14 speed internal hub ($1405). My choice would be the NuVinci 360. It comes stock with a 32 tooth sprocket up front, but there are two options available shown. There are lots of other custom options available you can order. It is my understanding that Utah Trikes does not charge anything extra for installation of these purchased options as long as you order them when they are building the trike they will be shipping to you. Right now they are offering this base $3000 trike for $2599.

fat tad front side

fat tad left side

fat tad rear

fat tad rear view 2

Shimano Alfine 8 speed rear hub on fat tad

Here is the $270 Metropolis Patterson crankset with 165 mm cranks option:

Metropolis front crank on fat tad

There is also the Schlumpf 27T/68 high speed drive available for $769 extra.

Here is the stock 32 tooth sprocket up front:

fat tad 32 tooth sprocket

One thing I have noticed is none of these fat trikes have fenders nor are they being made available at this point in time. If I had one I would most definitely want fenders on it. I don’t care to ride any kind of a cycle without fenders as I don’t like getting all slopped up with who knows what flying off of the tires.

Other manufacturers (TerraTrike, Azub, and Sun Seekers) have come out with a prototype of a Fat Trike which look interesting, but thus far they are not in production and available for purchase at the time of this writing.

Steve Greene has a great article posted on his Trike Asylum blog about Fat Trikes.

Having ridden my stock Catrike Trail off road several times I can tell you that a standard tadpole trike doesn’t do very well off road. I have never ridden a Fat Trike, but watching the videos of them they obviously do much much better and look like they would be a lot of fun. I used to do a lot of off road motorcycling and always loved doing so. I think I would really enjoy riding a Fat Trike off road. But alas, it is quite doubtful that it will ever happen.

One thing I learned in life is ya gotta work with what you have … at least unless and until something else comes along. I consider myself very blessed to have my Catrike Trail tadpole trike which I am content to ride on pavement with … especially at my advancing age and physical limitations. Off road riding at this point in my life would not be too practical. Oh to be young again. Well, my intention and desire is to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

P.S. –  I don’t normally do this, but I thought I would throw in this … Utah Trikes also make the FAT CAT QUAD. FAT CAT is derived from the fact that they start out with a Catrike and modify it. Check it out …

http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11619311.html

UT Fat Cat Quad

RAHT RACER – WOULD YOU BELIEVE?


RAHTMOBILE

recently discovered this human powered vehicle thru a posting on Facebook. It looks quite interesting. It is pretty hard to imagine pedaling along at 100 mph. It is not in production or available to purchase at this point in time. Right now they are involved in a Kickstarter startup program trying to raise $75,000 in hopes they can go into production and sales. RAHT is an abbreviation for “recumbent automotive human transport.” Seat belts, air bag, roll bar, GPS terrain sensing … it’s got it all. There is room enough inside to haul bunches of stuff and much more safely than trying to transport it on a bicycle.

Raht racer hybrid bike car left side

“The RAHT RACER is a power biking vehicle that uses state of the art pedal-electric hybrid technology to amplify pedal power, enabling the rider’s legs to propel the vehicle up to highway speeds, giving the rider the feeling of super strength. The result is a breathtaking new, Iron Man-like, power-sport experience. Safer than a motorcycle, or bicycle on a busy street, the Raht has an integrated roll cage, reinforced carbon fiber body and automotive safety features like headlights, tail lights, seat belts & air bag.”

It has a 20-kWh electric motor located in the rear wheel hub and a 9.2-kWh li-ion battery pack which can be charged from a standard 110 volt wall outlet when not being ridden.

This machine has HIGH SPEED PEDAL AMPLIFICATION … the system senses the pedal torque of the rider and boosts/amplifies it. The vehicle responds with sports-car acceleration and speed. If I understand this correctly it is saying that the harder you pedal the faster you will accelerate.

“On board computer runs workout programs while driving and displays driver performance information including the power generated, range extension, calories burned, etc.”

Raht Racer exercise workout

One thing I haven’t read about is whether or not it has a heater and defogger/defroster. I don’t see any windshield wiper either.

Raht Racer front

Raht racer left side

Raht Racer high output pedal generator

Raht racer pedal area

Raht Racer specs

It has a range of about 50 miles if used on throttle only mode (no pedaling to charge battery pack). Even that is impressive compared to most electric motorized trikes.

“Raht racer is versatile – You never have to pedal if you don’t want to. Throttle can be used instead of pedaling.” They say that “Full-out, throttle mode will take the vehicle to a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h).”  WOW as in WOW!!!  Well, moving right along (and that surely is) …

They have a Facebook page.  On their FB page they call it “RAHT Mobile”. 🙂 Do you suppose we might spot Eric VonZipper sitting inside one of these? After all he he the leader of the Rats, ya know.

Here is the GIZMAG ariticle on the Raht Racer.

And HERE is another article found online.

It has been said that life on planet earth has become a “rat race” for many of it’s inhabitants. Perhaps sitting inside one of these RAHT Racers pedaling away would help cope with life as we know it. Hey, if you are going to be caught up in a rat race you might as well be in a raht mobile.

THIN MAYBE IN, BUT FAT’S WHERE IT’S AT


Many of you have probably heard that saying before. Of course, it is in reference to being fat versus being thin as far as our bodies are concerned. And I would imagine an overweight person made it up. And, no, it wasn’t me. But I am not talking about human bodies. I am talking about tires on our trikes. We have a choice, ya know. Some people really go for the skinny ones and some really go for the fat ones.

phantom catrike expedition

 fat tad 3

As to which tire we prefer it is, of course, a personal choice and should be based on the kind of riding we do and where we ride. Somebody who rides on pavement and wants to go fast certainly should not choose a fat low pressure tire.  Someone who frequently rides off road certainly should not choose a thin high pressure tire. Fat or thin, they both have their purposes and proper applications. A fat tire is superb for off road riding or riding on snow. A thin tire would be horrible for these uses. But if you take a fat tire out onto pavement … well, don’t expect to win any races. And I would rather imagine you would find you would greatly reduce the longevity of the tire doing mostly paved road/trail riding as they just are not designed for that. This is all just common sense stuff.

Fat tires are quite expensive compared to most any other tire for our trikes. Of course, they require special wheels which are large enough in width to accept them. The wheels are also quite expensive. The bottom line is … if you have the money you do have a choice. 🙂 Boys with their toys cost money … lots of it.

Steve Greene has a great article posted on his Trike Asylum blog about Fat Trikes.

I reckon I will stick with the approximate size tires that came on my trike and just …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

TO BE SEEN OR NOT TO BE SEEN


As I sit here typing this it is snowing again outside. Being stuck indoors thru another nasty winter unable to go riding outdoors I am envious of those who can ride at this time of year. So sometimes I watch others ride on videos posted online. Here is one I came across which I think looks very inviting.

One of things I noticed as I watched this is safety flags. This is a subject I approach with passion. I have WRITTEN ABOUT IT before and even made up a VIDEO of my own about it. I know not everybody agrees with me on this as it is obvious by the flags they choose to fly and by the position they have them at. Safety flags can be quite effective and eye catching or they can be quite ineffective. In this video embedded below I captured a screenshot of two trikes in the front of the camera. Both are flying safety flags. One is barely flapping while the other is flapping vigorously. One is farther away than the other. The one which is most visible and eye catching is not the one which is flapping the most or closest. It is the one flapping the least and furthest away. How can this be? Color! The yellow flag stands out far better than the multi-color (blue, white, red and yellow) one. Look for this fairly early on in the video. Normally the flags that flap around a lot are more eye catching, but if the colors are not all that noticeable than the flapping doesn’t accomplish all that much good. You can see this in the video.

2 safety flags from behind 2

Nope, I just don’t get it. Why bother? Why spend the money to fly a flag that doesn’t show up? I mean the whole idea of a safety flag is to help others see you. If is for your safety … hence, it is called a safety flag. Flags might be pretty to look at, but if they are not eye catching … well, what can I say? It’s your funeral as they say. I know there will be many who spurn what I am saying. They might even get upset with me. I know many will go on ignoring what I am saying. But if just a few trike riders wake up to this and do something to help others see them it will be worthwhile getting others upset with me.

While I am at it I see some trikers fly their flags down real low. I assume they do so trying to keep wind resistance down. I guess they have it in their minds that this is going to slow them down a half a mile an hour and they can’t have that. Again, I don’t get it. Why bother at all? If your flag isn’t going be placed where it is noticed then you might as well not even have one.

Well, anyway the video of this trail ride is neat and it makes me all the more desirous to ride. Come on Spring! I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FAST PAST FIFTY


No, I am not talking about 50 mph … not speed of travel, although ummmm, could be! Rather I am talking about age and the ability to still go fast as we age … 50 and well beyond. I am quite sure that the majority of us would readily admit that we have slowed down as we have aged. We can no longer do what we could when we were younger. Still there are a small number of us cycling who “still have it”. At least they say they do. I am in no position to argue the point. I will take their word for it. All I know is I am not among them. I am thankful I am still able to ride at whatever speed I can travel.

This subject matter came up thru a posting on a Facebook group I am a member of. HERE is a link to the webpage concerning this. In these pictures below I have no idea of the ages of these guys racing, but I show them simply to convey that people do race and go fast competing on tadpole trikes. Sometimes they even do pretty good against bicycles which is quite an accomplishment considering the extreme weight difference.

3 racers  ICE racer

TT Edge race

And many of us know who David Bruce is. Among other things he is the designer and builder of front wheel drive tadpole trikes.

David Bruce

I wrote an article on this blog about him and his trikes some time back. He raced bicycles for years and now he races tadpole trikes and does pretty good yet for his age. Take a look …

Many of us know who Steve Greene is. I don’t think he will mind my talking about him … especially in a positive light. Steve is just a few years younger than I am. Just under a year ago he purchased a Catrike 700 and has written extensively about it on his Trike Asylum blog.

Steve works hard to live healthy and keep in good physical condition. I applaud him for this. I tried to go the vegetarian route, but it wasn’t for me. I missed eating meats and certain other foods and got quite tired of eating vegetables, fruits and nuts only. Anyway, Steve says he has been able to get his 700 going at a pretty good clip. I am sure he would be the first to say that he isn’t the fastest rider around, but never the less compared to me and many others he flies.

If I were a single man with no responsibilities or concerns in life I would probably venture off on my trike touring the country burning a bunch of calories most days and hopefully ending up far more physically fit than I am now. For me I think that is what it would take to get me in better physical shape … a whole lot more exercise … all day long nearly everyday. And hopefully I too would (be able to) consider myself fast at 50 plus. Right now it is just a dream and fading away more and more as I continue to age. And right now as I sit here typing this it is continuing to snow outside and I am stuck here in the house. Oh to be somewhere that has decent weather and I could be out riding instead. Another dream which seems not to have much hope. Fast past 50? Well, I can dream anyway. And just as soon as some decent weather returns I plan on getting out there and do my best to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

HOMEMADE TADPOLE TRIKE FOR KIDS


stumbled across this website and thought it would be good to share here on this blog. What kid wouldn’t enjoy riding this? …

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids

It is an Atomic Zombie home build project they describe thusly:

“This easy to build mini tadpole trike is a nice weekend project that does not require any machined parts or wheel building, just a pair of kid’s bikes and a few extra bits and pieces from your scrap pile. The Kid’s Tadpole Trike has two front wheels, but uses the standard front forks and head tubes so you do not have to worry about axle strength or custom brake parts. You can build this little trike using any size wheels you like, although I am not sure it would be well suited for an adult, so wheels of 20 inches in diameter or less would be most appropriate.”

Hey, this might make a nice father-son project working together to create their masterpiece. Please be aware that there is some welding involved. You will need two identical bicycles and a third bike which can be different.

bikes needed for kids tadpole trike project

Atomic Zombie has laid it all out for those who would want to tackle this project. HERE is a link to their webpage for this.

Although I intend to include quite a few photos here from their website anyone who wants to build one of these trikes most definitely should go to their website as I can’t possibly duplicate it here nor would I want to. I am simply posting these pictures as a means of illustrating how one of these Atomic Zombie DIY trikes can be accomplished. In other words the pictures will help one to see the process … what is involved … to “get ‘ur done”. So without further ado here are a bunch of pictures.

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 2

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 3

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 4

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 5

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 6

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 7

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 8

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 9

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 10

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 11

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 12

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 13

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 14

AZ homemade tadpole trike for kids 15

TADAA!!

Now you have seen several of the steps in how this trike is built. If you have the ability and the tools and equipment to accomplish it I would say … GO FOR IT! You will make one very happy child. Of course, if you have more than one young child you better count on making one for each or there will probably be “trouble in River City”. Hey, it would be easier than refereeing constantly. And you can’t blame the kids. I mean, who wouldn’t engage in an all out war over who gets to ride this? 🙂

Hey, with the whole family set up with a trike you can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CATRIKE SEAT BACK EXTENSIONS BY UTAH TRIKES


am continually impressed with Utah Trikes as far as their offerings. Their trike modifications are first class workmanship. And now this …

UT Catrike seat extenders comparison

At this point in my life I have no need or desire to sit more upright on my trike than I do now. If anything, I would much prefer to be able to adjust the seat back down to a more inclined angle. That being said, I know there are people who want or even need to sit more upright. Well, with this $59 option you can … at least if you have a Catrike with an adjustable seat back. These extenders should work on any and all of the Catrike models that have adjustable seat backs. That includes the Villager, Trail and Trail Folder, Road and the new 559. You can order these from Utah Trikes website.

UT Catrike seat extenders seat folded forward

Another feature of these is that you can readily release them and fold the seat down to allow for easier stowage, etc.

UT Catrike seat extenders sideview

original bracket most upright  UT Catrike seat extenders most upright position

Quite a difference, huh?

bracket comparison

With companies like Utah Trikes around the future of tadpole trikes looks quite promising. I am looking forward to whatever they come up with next. Meanwhile I am just going to try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

How ’bout you?

THE GRANDE DAME OF BIKING … AND NOW TRIKING


When I saw this posting on Facebook a few minutes ago I said to myself, “Self, you just have to post this on the blog”.

Phyllis Harmon riding her Catrike at age 94

Phyllis Harmon: The grande dame of biking is still riding at age 94. In the linked article, she is riding a Catrike..!!

http://www.activetrans.org/…/grande-dame-of-american-cycling

WOW! I am impressed. May she continue on riding her tadpole trike for several more years. I am almost surprised she isn’t riding a 700. 🙂

HOW DO I LOVE THEE?


As I look at my tadpole trike I can’t help but think of the famous words … “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. Like most tadpole trike riders I have a lifetime of riding bicycles … road bikes and mountain bikes and finally for only a relatively short time recumbent bikes before I took to tadpole trikes. When I think about road bikes and mountain bikes the first thing that comes to mind now is the extreme discomfort and misery of riding them. And when I think of riding a recumbent bike or trike (even more so a trike) I think of just the opposite … extreme comfort and enjoyment. So to start off with probably the most obvious thing is the seats of each.

no brainer

My, doesn’t he look comfortable?

road rider

And I say again, doesn’t he look comfortable (and happy)?

jerry on my homemade tadpole trike

Definitely he does not look like he is in any kind of misery.

I equate this bicycle seat yellow with this brick

And I equate this recumbent seat with this recliner chair

As I was saying … some things are simply a “no brainer”. Just don’t fall asleep enjoying all that comfort. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

ICE REAR SUSPENSION INFO


Here is a video about the ICE tadpole trike rear elastomer suspension system used on their Adventure and Sprint models. It explains the 3 different elastomers and how to adjust the suspension.

ICE rear suspension elastomer

Help in determining which elastomer to use can be accomplished by use of this chart:

elastomer chart

And from ICE’s website here are their written instructions:

Rear suspension elastomer adjustment

The front and rear suspension can both be fine-tuned to work well for you. The rear suspension can be adjusted by a combination of selecting one of three different hardness and five different fitting positions for the elastomer. The front suspension can be adjusted by selecting one of three different hardness elastomers. All trikes come with medium elastomers fitted to both front and rear suspensions. Other elastomers are available for purchase from ICE.

Rear suspension

The adjustment is accomplished by the selection of elastomers and mounting positions. The elastomers are available in three hardnesses: Yellow/Soft, Red/Medium, Green/Hard. There are five mounting positions; the lowest/closest to the main pivot (numbered 1 here) will make the suspension feel softer. The highest/furthest from the main pivot position (5) will make the suspension feel harder. To setup the suspension you will need to select an elastomer and position it by using the table below.

Elastomer positions

Unclip the rear suspension by pulling the stainless steel clip on the left hand side over its pin. The purpose of this clip is to keep the rear swing arm from dangling when the trike is picked up; it is only unclipped when changing the elastomer.

elastomer positioning
The elastomer is removed by pulling and twisting it off the shock pin. With the back end hinged open, screw the shock pin into the required hole in the shock plate. Firmly push the elastomer back onto the pin and close the swing arm back onto the stainless steel clip.

The position you have selected using the table above will give you a good starting point. Your trike should perform properly like this; however, it is worthwhile spending a little time experimenting with settings to find one that suits you best.

The elastomers have different compression characteristics, and you may find other combinations of elastomer hardness and pin position which suit the roads you ride on and your riding style better; it is just a matter of trying different combinations. The elastomer system is simple and small enough that you can carry a couple of elastomers in your bag and change them when you are out on a ride if you like.

If you ride on rough terrain or ride aggressively, you may benefit from a harder elastomer. If you are a leisurely rider, who rides predominantly on smooth tarmac, you may be able to use a softer elastomer. If the setup is too soft the trike may not reach its optimised comfort setting.

If it is too hard comfort will be compromised.

You should generally get a better result with the hardest elastomer recommended for your weight, for example if your weight is 90kg use the green elastomer in position 2 rather than red in position 4.

If you are a light rider and have your suspension setup soft it is advisable to adjust it to a firmer setting; change for a harder elastomer if necessary before allowing a significantly heavier rider to sit on your trike, otherwise permanent damage to the elastomer may occur.

With rear or full suspension, tyres can be run at higher pressure while maintaining good comfort.

Contrary to popular belief, elastomers do not significantly change stiffness with lower or higher temperatures.

VELOMO, A GERMAN TADPOLE TRIKE


4 trike models

Recently on Tadpole Riders Group on Facebook a new member who just joined posted a picture of his trike. I had never seen one like it before so I took a closer look. It is a Velomo and is made in Berlin, Germany. HERE is a link to their nice Facebook page.

reflective rear tire

As you can see they offer various models including tiller type steering, indirect steering, both hard and mesh seats, both high and low seat height and rear suspension .

florescent green

rear suspension

rear suspension closeup

01HT Pi-orange

capraholz6

jc70 gelb

Trike-X2.0_schlankelinie

Now you know as much about Velomo trikes as I do.

AUTUMN RIDE ON TRAIL


was watching some videos on YouTube of our local trails here in Fort Wayne, Indiana when I came across this one which sort of caught my eye … probably because of the fact it was in Autumn with the leaves on the trees changing colors which is always so pretty. The colors certainly are not breathtaking as they are some years, but they are still pleasing to see. Anyway, I thought I would share it so others could enjoy it as well. Fort Wayne’s original trail system known as the Rivergreenway are trails built which follow along the three rivers here in Fort Wayne. This video features the St. Marys Pathway which follows along the St. Marys River.

Here is a map of our current trail system. It is not quite up to date as there have been a few short sections added since this map was created. The trails are represented by the red lines. We presently have just over 80 miles of trails completed. Approximately 100 miles are planned. The St. Marys Pathway is the north-south trail in the middle of the map toward the bottom.

ft wayne trails map