Monthly Archives: August 2015

IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT THE “ENGINE”


Here is proof that it really is all about the engine more so than it is the trike. Here a rider on a Catrike Trail races others including other trikes known to be “fast trikes”. He doesn’t win, but he places second beating all but one of those “fast trikes”. He loses to a Catrike 700, but he beat an ICE VTX (or Vortex ?) and a Catrike Speed. I am impressed watching this video.

PICAR – A RECUMBENT PEDAL CAR


Picar, a recumbent pedal car

Now here is something you don’t see everyday although the people behind it no doubt would like to see this change. Right now this is in the Kickstarter program in an attempt to launch it into full production. For those who are into “classic cars” this is indeed a novelty.

I have no idea if there will be a maket for something like this. I guess only time will tell. One thing for sure, it looks too wide to be ridden on bicycle trails.

Picar dashboard 2

It is available with various options … wooden, aluminum or stainless steel dashboard, exterior paint colors , upholstery, and  electric assist motor are among the options.

Picar front view

The Picar is obviously designed to look “classic”. As you can see, it has a fake engine in the front. The starting price appears to the $4999 according to their website.

Picar shifter

At 130 pounds it is not light so it would be challenging to pedal around and uphill would be a real workout. To make matters worse it only has 3 speeds. Uhhh! This tank is strictly for flat lands. It definitely needs better gearing … say a 14 speed internal hub and at least a two speed crank such as a Patterson. Even with all that the rider would get a workout climbing a hill. 130 pounds … that’s 3 times heavier than most tadpole trikes.

Picar left front side view

Specifications

Dimensions: Length – 8.2′ wheelbase – 3.9′
Weight: 130lbs / 154lbs with electric motor.
Finish: panel – wood, veneer, edge trim – leather.
Extras: LED lights, reflectors, mp3 system with speakers, USB port to charge your phone or tablet, and a micro SD card slot.
Seat: automotive synthetic leather. Adjust the seat to from 51″ to 72″.
Load: weight up to 250lbs
Housing: Composite.
Drive chain, three-speed planetary hub Shimano Nexus; In addition, there is an electric assist option: Electric motor: 750Watt
Brakes – Disc brakes on all 3 wheels for production versions.
Battery: 7AH for electrical system. Electric motor version includes a 48v, 18AH LifePo4 battery.

Who knows. perhaps one of these days we might be seeing these listed among the “classics”.  They might even be among those we see “out there” which are trying to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

TIRE SCRUBBING


tire scrub hole

scrubbing we will go … or … scrub a dub dub … just thoughts which popped into my feeble mind as I pondered writing about this subject. Tire scrub is when the tires are undergoing extreme lateral (sideways) forces … the tires are trying to slide sideways … and in doing so rubber is being removed from the surface of the tire where it is making contact with the pavement. Tire scrub happens on a tadpole trike if you corner fast and hard. Unlike a two wheeled vehicle (bicycle or motorcycle) the tire and wheel do not lean when cornering. When a tire is leaning while cornering very little tire scrub is occurring. On a high speed motorcycle like one which is racing the speed element still causes tire scrub, but at lower speeds not so much. When a tire remains upright like it does on a tadpole trike “scrubbing” occurs … it has to … there is no way for it not to happen. If you do a lot of this kind of riding you can wear out a set of tires on the front pretty quick … at least on regular tires. (More about this later in this article.)

You can actually hear the scrubbing taking place when cornering hard. I kind of envision $ $ $ just coming off when I hear it. 🙂

If your toe in setting is off you can wear out a set of tires really quick. I know about that from personal experience. When I first bought my Catrike Trail the dealer had set the toe in and got it way off … an inch off. As I rode it something didn’t seem right. It didn’t handle as good as it should and it seemed harder to pedal it than it should. In just 30 miles the brand new tires were junk … with holes worn in them much like the picture above. That was a case of extreme tire scrub. You can read more about this important matter of proper toe in setting HERE.

So if you like to “hot dog” be prepared to shell out some money for tires quicker than you would if you rode your trike easy. BTW, since I switched to Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I don’t have nearly as much tire scrubbing occurring as I did with all the other Schwalbe tires I used. They are an amazing tire. I still corner hard and fast, but the tires just last and last. I can’t recommend them enough. I truly don’t understand why everyone doesn’t use them. Not only do they give excellent wear, but they handle well, ride well, and are nearly flat free. You get a lot more tire for the money and they will enable you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

KICKING THE TIRES (buying a used trike)


am sure many of us who are old enough remember when it was somewhat common when looking at a used car to kick the tires. You can read about it HERE. I am not writing about buying a used car but rather a used trike. And kicking the tires certainly is not part of the process. I use the term only to imply that there are certain things one should look at and look for to ensure the trike is a good and safe purchase worthy of your money.

Some things are obvious while others are not. Many people may not even think to check out things which are quite important. Depending upon the age of the trike and the use it has had there are some tings one would and should expect to find. The condition of the tires is one such thing. Tires can be replaced easily enough, but if the tires are worn out the price of the trike should reflect that as the new owner will have to invest money for tires. The same is true of several other things and that is why it is important to take a close look. If a used trike needs a lot of maintenance and parts the asking price should reflect this and allow for it. So here is a list of some of the things to look for/at:

TIRES – Speaking of tires in addition to observing how much tread is left on them one should check for cuts, bulges,  and the condition of the rubber as far as weather checking/dry rotting.

WHEELS – The wheels should be in good condition running true as they are spun around. The spokes should be fairly snug and evenly adjusted. They should all the there (none missing) without any sign of bends in them. Look for damage to the rims such as flat spots where the wheel was ran into curbs, etc. and was damaged as a result.

BRAKES – Most trikes have disc brakes. Check to be sure they work properly and are adjusted so that they grip well and don’t allow the trike to roll when applied. Look down into the caliper to see how much wear is on the brake pads. If they are badly worn then this will be more expense the new owner will incur. You can figure about $40 for replacing them on  both wheels. The brake caliper is rather expensive if it has to be replaced. The Avid BB7 caliper can be found online from about $60 to over $100 each.

CHAIN – A trike requires about 11 feet +/- of chain. That is about 2.5  to 3 times as much as a bicycle. The chain wears out so one should check for wear. The chain should be checked on how it “fits” on the sprockets. It should be tight and not wallow around or able to be lifted up off of the sprockets much when pulling on the chain away from the sprocket. The chain should be clean and lubricated … not dry and rusty. All the links should be free (move without binding) as the chain revolves around the sprockets. If the chain shows neglect and has these problems then I would say that the current owner has not taken care of the trike and it might be best to look for another one. Of course, depending upon what else is going on the trike might still be ok and worthwhile just so long as the price is right.

SPROCKETS – The sprockets should be in good condition without noticeable wear. If they are worn replacing them along with the chain will be costly, especially if you have to pay labor in addition to parts for a mechanic to do it.

CABLES – The cables should all look good and work well. Braking and shifting should be smooth and move readily and freely. There should not be any freezing or sluggishness. There should not be any sign of fraying going on. Of course, a part of this is the SHIFTERS.

FENDERS – If the trike has fenders they should be in good shape and solidly mounted. If not, replacing fenders can be expensive, especially if you buy those provided by the manufacturer of the trike.

BOOM – Sometimes the boom is shortened to accommodate shorter riders. If it has been shortened and you are a tall person this is something to be aware of as a shortened boom may no longer be long enough to extend out properly to accommodate you. If this is the case a new boom will be required.

HEADSETS – The headsets can be out of adjustment or parts worn and in need of replacement. Again, this can be a bit expensive, especially if it is necessary to pay labor charges for a mechanic to do it.

STEERING LINKAGE – The steering linkage should be in good shape with no sign of wear and looseness. The toe in should be checked, especially if you buy the trike. Improper toe in settings will effect handling and tire wear.

AXLES – The axles should be in good shape without wear and sloppiness.

FRAME – The frame just may be the most important part of the trike and it is very important to check it over thoroughly including the bottom side. Look for any signs of cracks or broken welds. Sometimes the broken welds can be difficult to spot if they are in their early stage. You have to know what you are looking for to spot problems. Here is a picture of a broken weld in it’s early stage.

cracked frame (weld) 001

Most used trikes being sold are in pretty good shape and have many more miles of service left to offer a new owner. I would just caution everyone by reminding them of the saying … “buyer beware”. We must look out for our own interests. If a used trike needs money invested in it for these things I write of then the seller should be reasonable and adjust the price accordingly. If they are not willing to do this then I would not deal with them. As they say, there are other fish in the sea.. Whatever you buy here is hoping that you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

HANG UP BEFORE YOU KILL SOMEBODY!!!


Many of us have talked about this subject. Unfortunately  that seems to be the problem … everybody talks about it, but nobody seems to be doing anything about it. How many more deaths and horrific injuries have to happen before those who make the laws of this land act and outlaw the use of cell phones while driving. We hear that such a law couldn’t be enforced. I question that myself, but for sure if the phones didn’t work when the engine is running that would eliminate the problem altogether. There is one factor, however, that complicates doing this. What about passengers in the vehicle? They ought to be able to talk on a cell phone.

motorist on cell phone

As a cyclist I have often times said to drivers … hang up the phone before you kill somebody. Sometimes it was me that they nearly hit. It is a good thing one of us was paying attention and avoided a serious accident.

It is a very serious problem and needs to be seriously addressed. Afterall, we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN”

TWIST SHIFTERS CAN BE AN OOEY GOOEY STICKY MESS


my hand with black goo

assume that others besides me have experienced the problem of the rubber on the twist shifters getting mushy, sticky and gooey. It seems like about every two years mine get that way and they are nasty to deal with. I don’t know what is going on. I ponder over whether the rubber breaks down due to skin oil or if it is caused by something else. I have tried to clean them with various products, but it only does so much and doesn’t seem to last as long as I would hope.

Note: Since first writing this article I read about using talcum powder to alleviate this problem. I tried it and it really works great. I don’t know how long it will last, but as long as it continues to take care of the problem I can always reapply it as talcum powder is cheat and a quick fix.

The rubber actually turns to a sort of goo that sticks to my hands and blackens them. It comes off of the grips in messy bits … much like a tube of black silicone would be if it is squeezed out onto one’s hands. My rubber grips are like this now. I have not found replacement rubber pieces so I have always bought new twist shifters. That seems so wasteful and expensive when there is nothing wrong with the shifter itself. I said that I haven’t found them, but according to what I read online they are available. (The bike shop people told me they aren’t. Do you suppose they wanted to sell me new twist shifters?) Anyway, here are a couple of videos showing how to go about replacing the rubber grips. They show two different kinds of twist shifters. Unfortunately neither are Sram shifters which are the one found on most tadpole trikes equipped with twist shifters.

SRAM Rubber Grip Shift 2

Buying new replacement grips I still find a bit challenging. I see the outer rubber grips, but not the twist shifter grips. The entire twist shifter with new rubber is fairly reasonably priced, but still it is a waste to replace perfectly good shifters. So far I have only found one U.S. source for the rubber grips and their price is considerably more than a new shifter costs. As they say … “go figure”. It is all a mystery to me and I don’t understand why they are so hard to find. Has anyone had success in finding them and at a reasonable price? If so, please share with us on this blog via a comment or if you prefer send me a personal email (stevenewbauer at outlook.com).

Jan. 2016 – Here are some sources I just found for replacement grips … http://www.bikebling.com/…/sram08-xo-grip-assembly.htm
and: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/…/rp-prod20565
and: http://www.treefortbikes.com/…/SRAM-XO-Left-Grip

I really like my trike and I plan on sticking with it for some time yet, but I don’t like being stuck to it. It is time to get something done about this gooey sticky mess. Hopefully things will work out as I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

(Just so you know … the picture of the hand is not real as far as the black gooey stuff on it. I simply created the image on the computer. I was not about to get my hand looking like that just to take a picture.)

CONNECTIVITY … YOU JUST CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE


was just looking at a website listing trails in Georgia. My wife and I lived down in the Atlanta area for 10 years so I still have an interest in that area and was wondering about trail development down there. My thinking was … “What if we still lived down there. Would we have trails to ride on?” What I discovered seems to be a universal problem most places I know of. I am talking about connectivity. There are various trails, but most of them don’t connect together so they are not very practical to ride on at this point in time … especially the shorter ones. It is not hardly worth it to load up your trike and haul it many miles to get to a trail that is only 2 to 4 miles long. Of course, there are trails around which are much longer … more distance than most people would want to attempt in one day’s ride.

Yes, connectivity is a problem. Some of our trails around here where I live don’t connect together at this time so I don’t usually ride on them. I pretty much stick to the trails that do connect together. Right now all of our local trails are linear. We can ride to the end of it and then have to turn around and come back the same way we had just come. Again, someday this is suppose to change. They are planning some more trails which will make a loop we can ride. That would be nice.

Lots of future trails are planned. There is just one problem … money. Trails are very expensive to build and maintain. It is my understanding that our trails around here cost about $125 a foot and that is just the part that is asphalt. Boardwalks cost about $500 a foot. With a struggling economy which is getting worse and not likely to turn around (I think it is going to totally collapse as that is the plan of those running things) these future trails will not likely materialize.

So I reckon we will just have to do the best we can and be thankful for what we have. And it helps immensely if we the trail users help maintain them. It helps us all to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CANOPIES


wrote about trike canopies once before quite some time ago, but think it is time to do so again as they are becoming more popular and there are two people who have both become well known for their canopies. Those two people are Ed Miller and Andy Vardzik.

This is Andy’s personal trike.

Andy's new canopy

And here is another one of Andy’s canopies.

white canopy

Andy has several pictures posted of his canopies on Pinterest.

Here is one of Ed’s canopies.

Ed's canopy cropped

And here is one of his recent projects … tinted visors.

Ed's canopy with tinted visors

Ed has several videos about his canopies. Several changes have evolved since he started making canopies. The same is true of Andy’s canopies.

Making these canopies out of a high visibility color contributes greatly to the safety of the trike rider as the canopy really stands out and gets attention.

I personally find the idea of carrying your own shade around with you quite appealing. Mind you these mainly provide shade for your upper most body (your head). As far as rain protection they offer limited protection. As to the matter of how they do in wind or at high speed Ed says his do quite well up to normal speeds most riders would obtain. I can’t address how Andy’s canopies do, but I assume they do fairly well.

Both Ed and Andy do high quality work and I don’t think you could go wrong regardless of which one you went with.

Ed’s Email: logbuilder  at  mindspring.com       Just mention ‘canopy info’.

Andy’s Email: andrewvardzik  at  yahoo.com

I have no further information about prices or offerings so please contact them rather than me. A canopy will not only add a unique look to your trike, but additional comfort from the shade they provide would be wonderful in my opinion. Even what rain protection they offer would be most welcome. It all helps us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

P.S. – There is also VelTop which offers canopies for recumbent bikes and trikes. Here are a some videos showing their offerings:

SHORTENED BOOM … SOMETHING TO BE AWARE OF


When buying a used trike it is very possible that someone has shortened the boom … cut the end off so that it can go down into the outer tubing further. This is more common than you might think or expect. My own boom has been shortened as it would not go in far enough to adjust to my X-seam. Recently on Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group this picture was posted.

Trident frame crack on boom

Upon taking a close look at it I figured out what happened to cause this. Can you spot it?

No doubt when the boom was extended out it was not noticed that it no longer was inserted back all the way inside the outer tubing … past where the slot is. This greatly reduced the strength of that area of the frame as both the inner and outer tubing need to be together to provide their combined strength. Without the smaller diameter inner tubing the larger diameter outer tubing lacked the strength needed to withstand the stress load placed on it. That is what led to the crack happening. And, of course, the weakest point is right where the crack occurred … at the end of the slot. Indeed, many people would not notice this if they didn’t know about it. That is why I am posting this article about this to help others to know about this and prevent it from happening to them. It is imperative that the boom goes back into the outer tubing far enough to provide this strength needed.

The good news is that Trident is covering this for the owner under warranty. If it would not be covered by the warranty this is a steel frame which can be repair welded rather than have to replace the entire frame. The boom, of course, will either need to be replaced or lengthened by a qualified weldor. It would do no good to repair weld the crack and reassemble it using the same boom as this would only happen again.

Others report that Trident trikes are known for using poor quality steel and having cracking problems. If this is true then it is sad as one should not have to deal with such a thing. Buying any product you should expect it be made of quality material. I assumed that these were chrome moly frames which would be stronger than mild steel, but apparently they are mild steel and therefore not as strong. That is mighty thin tubing to be using if it is indeed only made of mild steel.

I don’t know if this boom had been shortened. This particular trike was sold by a dealer and not purchased used by it’s current owner. It was a “demo” model. If the boom had not been shortened then there is a problem in that it is too short to reach where it needs to back into the outer tubing. Like I said, I don’t know the story on this particular boom. BTW, Trident offers a longer boom for riders with longer X-seam than what the standard boom handles.

Trident reports: “Standard Boom length on all Spikes gives you an X- Seam range of 36 1/4” – 43 3/8”.  Long Booms are available at no charge (exchange for your standard boom) which will give you an X Seam Range of 36 1/4 – 47 1/4 “ In addition your standard boom can be cut down to accommodate X Seams as low as 32 ½” with the use of 152mm Crankarms.”

I do know this … shortened booms happen. Be on the lookout and don’t be a victim. This is not something you want to go thru. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SOMETIMES A GUY JUST HAS TO HAVE FUN


Most of us are familiar with riding the rails … rail trail, that is … abandoned railroad tracks which have been converted over into trails. Well, the writing is on the wall and it was just a matter of time before someone was foolish enough to attempt riding the wall. I have never made up a bucket list, but occasionally I get some wild idea I want to try. I mean in the past …

I have ridden on the moon

Steve on moon with lunar rover tire tracks

I made an exhilarating jump

trike-jumping-2 reduced

I once rode along a narrow ledge of a mountain where one slip would mean certain death, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the photo to prove it.

I rode thru a huge pileup of leaves on the trail

riding thru deep pile of leaves

I have been chased by a bear

motivation for pedaling 2

On one occasion I let the cat out of the bag

cat 559 out of the bag

cat's out of the bag

I created the first headless tadpole trike rider (better hope you don’t see him out there)

unnerving

I provided proof setting peoples’ minds at ease that this bicyclist was okay after his little mishap

down under 2

I put a drag chute on a tadpole trike to help slow it down

drag chute on trike

I made a way to get up to those high bottom brackets on some trikes

high bb

But I needed to accomplish more and got to thinking about what else I could do. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks … I will ‘ride the wall’. So I dood it! Here is proof.

riding the wall reduced

Riding on the Great Wall of China

me riding on Via Dolorosa

Riding on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

snow thrower Steve's Catrike

blowing snow

V-plow on my Catrike

plowin’ snow

I assume most of you know that I am just kidding around with all of these and am simply having fun with some photo editing. I will no doubt never get to do any of these things and some of them I would not attempt as I would like to think that my parents didn’t raise a fool.

All that being said, there are some who have ridden a bicycle on the Great Wall of China. Here is proof …

Of course, as you can see there is a lot of hill climbing involved as well as steps to contend with. And some of it doesn’t look like it would accommodate a tadpole trike. Then there is the matter of timing and the particular location as it looks like it could get mighty crowded out there.

great wall a bit crowded

I would call this a “ribbon of humanity” … as far as the eye can see.

I rather doubt if a tadpole trike has ever been ridden on this infamous wall. I rather doubt if one ever will be ridden there, but hey, I suppose anything is possible. I have already got as close to it as I ever will. At least I have proof that I have … “been there, done that”. 🙂

Lastly, but most significant of all my rides was when I rode along the very same route Jesus Christ walked carrying the cruel wooden cross He later died on to purchase the salvation for you and I by shedding His innocent blood that we might be forgiven if we only repent and turn to Him seeking His forgiveness and then live our lives in obedience to Him putting Him first in all things at all times.

 

Regardless where we find ourselves hopefully we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SPEED VS. DISTANCE VS. TIME


Some riders are all about speed and riding lot of miles. Others could care less about one or the other or both. I have noticed that the older I get the less I care about the speed or distance I ride. For me I am more concerned about how long I am out riding than I am about how fast I am riding or how far I ride.Knowing I am out riding pretty steadily for 4 +/- hours is more important to me. I know I got X number of minutes of exercise that day. A few years ago I rode more miles in a day than I usually do now. I didn’t necessarily ride faster but I think I usually rode longer. Obviously riding faster over the same time frame will result in more distance. I see some bicyclists flying by me and get the same mileage in I get but in a fraction of the time. They quit upon riding a certain distance  I am still out there riding long after they are done. They might be getting healthier exercise, but I really don’t care. I am just out to enjoy riding. For me to try to ride faster or further than I do would turn it into something I would not enjoy nearly as much as I do now.

VELOMOBILE RACING … WILD AND CRAZY


Recently this YouTube video was posted on Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group. It features a velomobile race shot from the cockpit of one of the velomobiles in the race.  My description of it would be wild and crazy. I don’t understand why the slower traffic is allowed to be just anywhere and everywhere on the track making a real mess for those who are going faster. I would think slower traffic would be required to be over to the side out of the way. I find it amazing that there are not a lot of wrecks happening because of this mess they cause.

For more of the Trump Racing videos go HERE.  For other YouTube videos of velomobile racing go HERE.

I was just watching another video of a world championship 100 km human powered vehicle race which featured all sorts of different recumbent bikes and trikes. Some were fully enclosed while others were wide open. One bike which was fully enclosed went down 3 times during the race. I saw one tandem bike where the two rider were seated back to back and both had handlebars they pulled and pushed to propel the trike.

push-pull handlebar tandem bike 2

As for me, I think I will just continue to enjoy my slower paced open air trike and not concern myself with such madness. I am concerned that just watching this video will disrupt my sleep tonite. That velomobile racing is wild and crazy, I tell ya.    🙂