Monthly Archives: January 2016

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SELF SEALING TUBELESS TIRES


notubes tire

Does the idea of riding your trike using any tire you want and not having to deal with flats appeal to you? I kind of thought it would. Well, there is good news. For those who are mechanically inclined enough you can go the cheap route of DIY (do it yourself). It is not hard. You can pretty much use any tire that fits your rim to convert it into tubeless and then simply use a sealant inside of the tire to seal off any punctures that take place. Here is a video showing how to do it …

This method is commonly referred to as “ghetto tubeless”.

And here is yet another way to go tubeless …

As to how well this works check out this video …

There are gobs of videos online about this subject. Those who have a hankerin’ to go tubeless have plenty of information available to help them accomplish this. If I understand correctly it is recommended that you use an inner tube smaller in diameter than what the rim calls for. This is so it is a snug fit on the rim.

There are various sealant products on the market. Probably the best known one is Slime. I personally have never been impressed with Slime and can’t recommend it. The Stan’s NoTubes Tire Sealant is probably the one most recommended.

I wonder if going tubeless would prevent air leakage like occurs using tubes. It would be nice if the tires held air pressure and would not need to be pumped up every few weeks or whatever.

I have not gotten into this, but I am guessing that depending upon the frequency of punctures and the size of those punctures sealant inside of the tire will be lost thru the punctures. In time I am pretty sure that it would be necessary to add more sealant inside the tire. An injection device is available to add more sealant thru the valve stem.

stans sealant injector for valve stem

According to what I have read Stan’s sealant lasts 3 to 6 months once inserted inside of a tire. I would think that using a sealant like this would result in the sealant setting up inside the tire to where it needs to be removed before adding more. That would be a royal pain.

I may even give this a try myself someday. However, I doubt very much if I would change to another tire as I really love these Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. The fact that they ride nice, handle good, resist damage (including cuts) and wear so incredibly long is reason enough for me to stay with them. I like having maximum value and service for my money and the Marathon Plus tires deliver.

stans tubeless olym valve stem

I would guess though that in order to use them I would have to go the route of tubeless valve stem instead of the ghetto tubeless as I don’t think there is anyway I would be able to install the Marathon Plus tire using an inner tube sticking over the rim.

I came across this from Schwalbe which needs to be shared here …

Schwalbe Disclaimer sealant use

Yep, the concept of riding without concern of getting flats is very appealing. With no flats we can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

GOING FROM 3 WHEELS TO 2 WHEELS


Most of us went from 2 wheels to 3 wheels and are glad we did. Some folks have developed balance issues making it necessary to make the move to a trike. Then there are those who enjoy reverting back to riding on 2 wheels while seated on their trikes. They obviously don’t struggle with balance issues. See for yourself … Take a break and ride a trike!

And then there are those who sort of specialize in “stunt riding” …

I would caution anybody concerning such dare devil riding … things can go wrong and you can get hurt. As for me, I am quite satisfied to ride my trike as it was intended to be ridden … on all three wheels. That way hopefully I can ..

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A PICTURE IS WORTH A 1000 WORDS-HOW MUCH MORE A VIDEO


A new video series has made it’s appearance on YouTube. A man and his wife who are from Canada have joined the ranks of tadpole trike riders. He just bought a new Catrike 559 which is featured in this video.

This is the introduction video for their Recumbent Trike Series. They have been videoing the entire process from trike shopping, purchasing, and right through to riding and touring, They state that they will be loading more episodes shortly. This video is very well done and so I would have to say that I am looking forward to seeing more of their videos.

RECUMBENT TRIKE DOWNHILL IN THE CHINESE COUNTRYSIDE


Matt Galat recently posted a video on YouTube that I am sharing here as it is something that tends to stir me wishing I was there sharing in the experience.

LEAVES ARE FOLLOWED BY SNOW


Back in Autumn I wrote an article on leaf removal featuring a homemade outfit which is pulled behind a trike to remove leaves off of the trail as the trike is ridden along. It is just nice to have a clean trail to ride on.

leaf removal 1

Leaves are one thing to contend with, but show is quite another. At least with the leaves they don’t normally inhibit forward movement. Snow, on the other hand, can be a real problem. It might be pretty to look at, but it is a royal pain to contend with. So I got to thinking … why not make a device to remove snow off of the trails while riding along? Yeah, some sort of a plow could be either pushed or pulled using a trike. So I went to work coming up with such a device. The biggest concern was traction … would I have enough traction to move snow with a plow? Also, what kind of a plow … a straight blade which could be angled or a V-plow? I quickly decided on a V-plow as I was going to be opening up an initial path thru the snow. I went to work and came up with one. I was concerned that it wasn’t going to work at all, but much to my surprise I discovered that it worked superbly … the snow just goes flying off to the sides. Here is proof …

V-plow on my Catrike

Yeppur, now I can get that ol’ snow off of the trails and enjoy riding on pavement. Now I ask you … do you believe all this I have been telling you? You shouldn’t ’cause it is just more photo editing fun I have been up to. Here is the original picture …

V snow plow on train

But hey, a V-plow is possible as long as it is made right … including keeping the size down small … especially if power and traction are limited. It has been done before … both straight blade and V-plows.

snow plow on bike

As you can see this man’s straight blade plow works pretty good.

v plow towed by bicycle

v plow towed by bicycle 2

Look HERE. Both straight blade plows as well as V-plows have been made. But so far all I have seen is for bicycles and none have been made for trikes. I don’t see any reason why a V-plow couldn’t be pulled behind a trike so long as the snow isn’t very deep. Of course, the wider the plow the more power and traction it would require to pull it along and the depth of the snow would be  more of a problem.

v snow plow for bicycle

A straight blade on an angle is a possibility …

But I am leaning more toward the V plow concept …

Here is a pathway cleared off by a bicycle pulling a V-plow:

plowed path using v plow 2

plowed path using v plow

And here is a much wider V-plow …

I am sometimes tempted to try building a V-plow and give it a try. I know I could not pull it thru much snow and only a dry light snow at that. A wet heavy snow would be quite impossible as I can’t even ride my trike by itself thru much of that. A trike just does not have the traction and ability to roll thru snow as well as a bicycle.

Quite frankly most of the plows I have seen in these videos online are not very impressive as far as being practical and doing a good job. Certainly the best of them is this one. The man put a lot of thought and experimentation into his plows and indeed watching it go thru the snow is quite impressive.

V-plow

I really think a larger heavier more powerful machine is needed to plow with. Trying to do this with a human powered lightweight vehicle is more less a novelty. One thing about a bicycle is that it doesn’t need a very wide pathway to ride on. A trike, on the other hand, requires quite a large width cleared off. That presents a problem as I don’t think there is anyway a trike could pull a wide plow thru the snow. And a V-plow is only good for the initial pass. After that a straight blade on an angle is needed.

But then again I might just try a snow thrower …

snow thrower Steve's Catrike

Chances are I will just stick with photo editing and use my indoor trainer as probably none of this is with the exception of the snow thrower is very practical and not worth the effort and expense of trying it. And I am not about to try the snow thrower as that is a bunch of money. Besides a lot of that snow has a tendency to come right back down on the operator of the snow thrower. 🙂 And that ain’t no fun at all! :)(:

LET IT SNOW … JUST SOMEWHERE ELSE!


A fellow tadpole trike rider shared his video on Facebook. It is of him riding his trike while it is snowing and has the song, Let It Snow, playing. It is kind of a neat video so I am sharing it here. I personally can’t go along with the theme though. I don’t like snow and having to deal with it. It is fine as long as it isn’t anywhere I have to walk, drive or ride. Unfortunately it doesn’t fall to earth like that. It is pretty to look at, but that is the only thing about it I like. And the older I get the less I like it. I mean, I don’t engage in snowball fights anymore. And another thing … my trike can’t roll thru much snow, especially wet snow so it really messes me up as far as winter riding. Brutal below normal temperatures and nasty wind chill factors don’t help any either. C’mon Spring!

Click HERE to view video of Let It Snow.

Let It Snow

For what it is worth I think it is great that there are some trike riders who

get out there and ride during the winter. I used to, but not any more.

TIRE PRESSURE-DOES IT MATTER?


For as long as I can remember I have heard and read that the higher the air pressure in a bike tire the better it will roll … meaning faster because of less rolling resistance.  Along with this it was believed that narrower tires do better than wider tires when it comes to the speed they are capable of. Well, now it has been proven that this is false. Yep, now they are saying that we can run wider tires and at lower pressures without encountering a reduction in the speed we can obtain as well as the effort needed to propel ourselves along at those speeds. HERE is an article about this subject written by Jan Heine on his blog.

Personally I have a difficult time accepting this. My own experience is that the same tire at a lower pressure rolls less easily than it does at a higher pressure. I can detect a lot of difference between the pressure as it takes more effort to pedal and I can’t go as fast when the pressure gets down too low. And I am talking about staying within the minimum and maximum pressure rating. It really is difficult to argue against scientific studies, but I am not buying into this just now.

So what about you? What do you think? Your feedback is most welcome. Leave a comment.

WHAT DETERMINES SPEED CAPABILITY?


bicycle racing

3 trike race

What determines speed capability … how fast you can go? Well, certainly there are various factors to take into consideration. The most obvious factor I would think is the rider … what they are capable of physically.

Another factor is weight … both the weight of the machine one is riding as well as the rider’s weight and any extra weight one might carry along.

Yet another factor is gearing. For higher speeds one needs taller gearing as a rider can only pedal so fast.

Of course, there are other things such as air resistance (even with zero wind), head wind, and terrain (level vs. uphill, paved vs. unpaved, etc.). These are all contributing and limiting factors. But lets say that one is riding on level ground which is smoothly paved and there is no wind whatsoever … meaning that there are no factors in that last group which effect the outcome of the speed obtained.

What else effects the speed? What has been left out? What about the tires? Do they make a difference? Of course they do! They can make a considerable difference. As is the case with many things tires are a science in and of themselves. The engineering and design of tires matters a great deal if one is out to get the most speed possible. TESTING has been done to determine which tires perform best. This testing was conducted with bicycle tires such as those which are used on a diamond frame road bike. That being said, understand that when we are talking about tadpole trikes the exact same tire isn’t likely available for our recumbent trikes. Very few tires listed in the TEST RESULTS are tires we can run on our trikes. In fact, I think there is only one although I am not certain about that. That being said, much of the test results doesn’t apply. And that being said, still we can glean some useful facts and understanding about this subject. It is about “where the rubber meets the road”. 🙂 The two main things I noted in this are: 1) air resistance (mainly the rider’s body going thru the air) is the number one factor followed by 2) the rolling resistance of the tire. And they report that “narrower is not necessarily faster”.

tire selection 2

As to air resistance we have a definite edge over the “roadie” and the more “recumbent” (reclined) we are the more advantage we have as air flows over us much more so and easier than the roadie. So that leaves rolling resistance to deal with. This is something which has been discussed a fair amount in the past. Tires do vary in the realm of their rolling resistance.

Can recumbent tires compete with those tires listed for the road bikes when it comes to rolling resistance? I can’t answer that, but my guess is probably not … not when we are talking about the really high scoring tires.  Most of us on tadpole trikes are running Schwalbe tires. In this test the only Schwalbe tire listed which is available for our trikes is the Durano and it scored dead last in the test results.

I would further guess that somewhere testing has been done and the results are available for tires used on recumbent bikes and trikes. Perhaps if one could find such results they could be compared and we could know where we stand as far as the tires we have to select from for our trikes. I think it is a no brainer when it comes to which machine is faster on a level smooth surface with no wind … the road bike will easily win over a tadpole trike. And why shouldn’t it? It has nearly everything going for it … much less weight and less rolling resistance with only two wheels. A bicycle (not the rider’s body) with two wheels in line (one behind the other) has less air resistance than a trike with three wheels … none of which are in line with the other. Each wheel has it’s own rolling resistance added to the equation so 3 wheels have more rolling resistance than two.

Those who are interested in obtaining the fastest speed they can out of their trike seriously look at tire choices, ways to reduce the weight, etc. And then there are those like myself who could care less about all this. We are just out to enjoy the ride and hopefully …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

PROTECTED BIKE LANES & INTERSECTIONS


It is said that water and oil don’t mix. I am sure there are other things that don’t mix, but water and oil are well known and what immediately comes to mind. Something else that doesn’t mix …  1.5 or more tons of steel, plastic, rubber, etc. we call cars, trucks, buses, etc. and bicyclists. When they “mix it up” the bicyclists almost always comes out with the worst end of things. That being the case there are those who attempt to come up with ideas to implement to make it safer for bicyclists and motor vehicles to coexist safely. One of those ideas is referred to as “PROTECTED INTERSECTIONS”. Several different designs have been tried.

Here are some examples:

protected intersection

protected intersection cropped

protected intersections

You can read more about this subject HERE. And HERE.

And HERE (.pdf document)

Protected bike lanes are also a great concept. The Dutch people are light years ahead of most of the rest of us when it comes to cycling safety. There is hope however as various communities are looking at what can be done to improve things.

EGO VELOCAR


ego velomobile 4 cropped

Yet another velocar is trying to make it to market. The man,Eliel Rojas, who came up with it refers to it as a velomobile and technically it qualifies, but I prefer to refer to it as a velocar as I think that more accurately describes it. His design is called an Ego. And I am going to resist all temptation to make comments about a person’s ego.

All images, videos and information herein credited to Ego’s inventor, Eliel Rojas.

ego velomobile 2

It is an electric motor pedal assist 3 wheel trike which can be pedaled with or without using the motor or it can run solely on the 750 watt electric motor up to about 20 mph (32 kph). (This is the legal limit for a motorized bicycle in many states in order to be considered a bicycle. Faster than that requires it to be registered and licensed as a motorcycle.) It has a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km).

ego velomobile 3

The Ego’s canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle. It has large opening in the body along the sides to allow good air circulation and help reduce the effect of strong crosswinds by allowing the air to flow thru it. There are nylon curtain closures available to eliminate much of the air flow thru these openings.

Note: Since this article published I have heard from the inventor that the sides are now enclosed.

ego velomobile 5

Eliel states that although the velo body sits high similar to a car (so it can be better seen than would be the case if it were much lower) the rider is seated in a “recumbent position”. (note: recumbent means reclined, laid back, prone) I don’t understand that as when I look at the picture of this vehicle the seat back is quite vertical. In fact, it looks like he is sitting in a small car rather than a recumbent trike. There is very little angle to the seat back … not unless it is adjustable and will go down much further than what is shown in the pictures. And, I would think that if the seat is reclined back the rider would not be able to see out the front very well. Perhaps this is another one of those cases where people are calling a cycle with the pedals out in front a recumbent when that is not the definition of recumbent at all. By that definition a cruiser is a recumbent.

ego velomobile 8

ego velomobile 9

ego velomobile 10

I don’t know what size the wheels and tires are, but they look smaller than 20 inch. I could be wrong about this as they may very well be 20 inch. They just look quite small in diameter in the pictures. Maybe it is because the body is so tall.

If you’re interested in getting one, you can monitor the project website to see when the Kickstarter campaign begins.

Note: it has begun.

Here is the Kickstarter video:

Rojas tells us that the first 20 backers can get an Ego for US$ 3,750 if everything works out, while the estimated retail price will be more around $ 5,000. He further says that although that might sound like a lot, it’s actually right in line with cost of other electric-assist velomobiles.

Gizmag article

JoyEnjoys article

World of Technology article

GET FAT WHILE TRIKING!


just received an email from a local bike shop which had an advertisement with the words “Get FAT in ’16”. Of course, they were talking about a FAT tire bicycle and not about gaining weight. Unfortunately many of us, myself included, tend to do well at the latter. But FAT bikes and trikes are catching on and more and more of them are being sold. Most of them are a bit costly and so they are something I am not likely to ever have, especially since I consider them impractical as one’s only trike unless you ride exclusively someplace where they are needed over a regular trike.

Just some messing around I did with photo editing

get FAT

ICE Adventure vs ICE Full Fat

actual comparison of ICE FULLFAT & ICE Adventure

I have never ridden one, but I am sure they are fun to ride. Going thru snow would definitely be easier on the FAT trike. Even so, FAT trikes have their limitations too. For me, riding thru snow would be about the only use I would have for one as all my riding is on trails, streets, roads and sidewalks.

More photo editing going on here. Powerful motorcycles can’t make it up this hill much less a human powered FAT trike.

fat trike hill climb 3

Just like the “monster trucks” can do some pretty amazing things a regular truck can not possibly do so these FAT trikes can way outperform a regular trike when it comes to riding off road. They are not designed nor intended to go fast and are not nearly as safe as a regular trike if one is ridden fast. But for slow going over rough surfaces they are the cat’s meow. That is what they are made for. Yep, they are pretty amazing.

fat trike hill climb 4

You don’t believe this, do you? Me neither.

But here is some real video showing some of what these fabulous trikes can do off the road …

Yep, you could get FAT this year. I am sure many will. Just try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

PARAPLEGIC RIDES A TADPOLE TRIKE


paraplegic riding tadpole trike

Here is an interesting video of a person who is a paraplegic. Thru the aid of computer programmed nerve stimulation implants he is able to pedal a tadpole trike. Unfortunately I am unable to show the video here. In order to view it you will have to CLICK HERE and watch it on another website. The video should appear and start playing automatically.

It is neat to see what modern technology is able to accomplish. May those who are stricken with such physical problems continue to be aided so that they too can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SURE A PRETTY THING!


eon green Catrike Villager

On Facebook awhile back there was a discussion on colors … mostly white. It got me thinking about all the pretty colors I have seen trikes come in.

Yes, some tadpole trikes have some great looking paint jobs. I have noticed that some manufacturers change their offerings somewhat frequently. Catrike is among them. I can’t keep up with their color options. It seems like a certain color is here today and gone tomorrow. Then there are manufacturers which offer only a very few colors and some models only come in one or two  colors at the most.

I personally have a 2013 Catrike Trail which is “Saber Green”. I thought it was a pretty color, but Catrike no longer offers it. Now in its place they offer Eon Green which is prettier yet. (The Catrike Villager pictured above is the Eon Green.) Prior to the saber green they offered another green, but I think the saber green was prettier. So at least in one sense they seem to be improving when they make these changes.

These are the colors Catrike offered in 2013:

Catrike colors 2013

And these are the colors they offer presently:

2015 Catrike colors

One manufacturer which offers an amazing number of choices is HP Velotechnik.

HP Velotechnik color chart

I think possibly the prettiest color I have ever seen on a trike is pink but I know it is simply a personal preference. Here is an example of the color:

pink Catrike Trail

pink Catrike Expedition

I once had a picture saved on my computer of a pink Catrike which was a lovely picture. I have searched and searched for it to display it here, but alas I have not been able to find it. Yep, Catrike used to offer the pink color, but they chose to discontinue it. Here is one of their old color charts showing it. I think the purple was quite pretty as well.

Catrike older color chart

catrike road with pooch sitting in rear basket 2

I sure wish they would bring it back and keep it among the colors they offer. Yep, lots of pretty colors not too mention custom paint jobs one can also get. Utah Trikes offers quite a selection of custom colors. There are way too many to try to display here so I suggest you take a peek at their webpage where they show them.

ICE trikes offer very few color choices and a couple models only come in one color.

I am amazed to discover that some of the trike manufacturer websites have absolutely no information that I can find about color options. To be most honest I literally got frustrated and tired out trying to look up such information as I just could not find it. I would think that this would be a pretty key thing to show if they want to sell their trikes. Hey, what do I know. One of us (them or me) must be rather stupid.

Anyway, whether you have a trike that is one of these gorgeous colors or one that looks like this …

uglification

bicycle uglification 2

by all means … be safe, enjoy the ride and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

In case you are wondering about the last 2 pictures they are a bicycle frame which was purposely painted like this to “uglify it” as a deterrent to theft. Watch this video to learn more about it. It is a very controversial thing for sure. It might indeed deter theft, but who wants a cycle that looks like that? I just can’t fathom taking a gorgeous looking trike and painting it to look like that. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.

TADPOLE TRIKES GET ATTENTION


Catrike 700 S. Korea

have been watching some videos of a South Korean triker who rides a Catrike 700. In the one video I just finished watching I noticed the people he was riding by as several of them turned to look at his trike as he rode by them. Yep, tadpole trikes definitely attract attention.

heads turn heads turn 2

heads turn 3 heads turn 4

He has several videos available to view. Click HERE to see what he offers.

Another thing I noticed is that the area he is riding in has nice bike/pedestrian trails some of which must have been expensive to build and perhaps a bit challenging as well. I like his whirlygig safety flag.

I am sure most of us who ride tadpole trikes can attest to the fact that the trikes get attention and admiration quite often from many different people we encounter. Some are curious and want to ask questions about them. Whenever possible it is a good idea to take the time to answer their questions as in doing so we are being good ambassadors for our chosen means of cycling. We have the opportunity to educate others and help them to know more about these awesome machines. And just maybe they too will join us in riding in comfort and fun.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A PAST RIDE IN WARMER TIMES


With winter upon us riding has been curtailed somewhat. But I have my memories of warmer weather and getting out enjoying it. Here is one such day caught on video. I don’t know about you but it helps me at such a time as this to be able to view such a ride. I have noticed that over the last 3 years I just am not as motivated to get out to ride during the winter. I more less have to force myself. Thankfully once I get out most of the time I find it isn’t really all that bad. Of course, I am talking about riding when only the temperature is a factor and not inclement weather such as snow, ice, frozen whatever, rain, etc. There is no way I care to deal with any of that. Temperatures of 25 or above I can handle. Anyway, this video was in the summer time so there was none of that stuff to deal with.

TRIKE TECH – A RECUMBENT TRIKE INFORMATION WEBSITE


I recently became aware of a new website I thought I would share here. It is called TrikeTech.com and it is packed full of useful information including adding electric power assist to a trike.

Here is what the author of the website says about the website:

“While its true that the internet offers just about every piece of knowledge, the trouble is finding it.

That’s why we created Triketech. Triketech is resource providing technical information about Recumbent Trikes that reaches out to all levels of technical understanding. Whether you’re new or a veteran to riding Recumbent Trikes we hope you’ll find this site helpful.”

At the time of the writing of this article I noticed that the creator of this website does not yet have everything fully functional. None of the links in the left hand column work. I assume in time he will have this remedied. It appears to be a “work in progress” so bear with him.

Referring to itself as Recumbent Trike Information it covers both tadpole and delta trikes.

So if you are finding that you have a few weeks of your time available by all means check it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. There is a lot there. BTW- I am only kidding about the few weeks of your time, but you could probably spend that much time there if you wanted to. Like I said, there is a lot there. And it is there for one reason … to help us all to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’