Monthly Archives: February 2016
from single speed to 11 speed external rear hubs … we’ve come a long way
When I was growing up most of my bicycles were single speed as that was most common in those days. In my teen years I finally got a Schwinn 3 speed Sturmey Archer internal hub which I bought with my own money. I remember going to the Gambles Hardware Store where the local Schwinn dealer was located at that time and ordering my bike. It was white in color with chrome fenders and I thought it was so beautiful. This is the only picture I have of it and as you can see it is a poor quality picture. I have had some nice bicycles thru the years starting as a child, but I don’t have any pictures of any of them other than this one.
Anyway, don’t quote me on any of this as I haven’t researched the development of power trains of bicycles. I am going strickly from what I remember as I grew up. I first saw the 3 speed internal hubs and then the derailleur system made its appearance. I think the first one was 5 speed and thru the years we have seen that numbers increase dramatically in both external and internal hubs. Rohloff makes a 14 speed internal hub. Just a few short years ago 10 speed cassettes became the industry standard and now it is 11 speeds. For those who don’t understand what I am talking about I will explain. The word “speeds” refers to the number of cogs (sprockets) on the cassette. The cassette is the name of the group of cogs on the rear wheel. Here is a picture of an eleven speed cassette.
As is often the case there have been conversations, controversy and concerns about going to yet one more sprocket back there. Some say that it will result in wearing out faster as everything is thinner and therefore weaker. I would have to admit that such an argument makes sense. But is it reality? I guess only time will provide the answer to that. Meanwhile there are those who are taking a look at it and reporting what they have experienced thus far. HERE is an article on the subject.
I am not aware of any trike manufacturers offering 11 speed cassettes on their trikes yet. My 2009 Catrike Trail came with 9 speed cassette. Later Catrike came out with 10 speed cassettes on their trikes.
It is my understanding that in order to go to an 11 speed cassette a new wheel is required as those used for 10 speed cassettes won’t work. Mind you I don’t know much at all about any of this. I am just going by what I have read about it … and that is very limited.
Yes, I know I have not mentioned the modern day internal hubs which are available options … and I am not going to … not here, not now anyway. I have written other articles about gearing and sprockets. There are still other articles you can discover by simply searching for words like: internal hubs, gearing, sprockets, derailleurs, cassettes, chains, etc. Just type the word into the search box and click on GO.
For sure it is nice to have multiple gears to choose from. They are especially appreciated come hill climbing time. I miss my Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub and would like very much to have one in my Catrike Trail’s drive train. 81 speeds would be great … especially when I need to downshift and can’t with my derailleur system … cause I am already stopped or nearly stopped and didn’t get downshifted as I should have. Being able to downshift while sitting still would be great. Of course, SRAM also makes one I would gladly settle for one of those in place of the Sturmey Archer.
I don’t know if one of these internal hubs is available along with an 11 speed cassette, but if is that would be 93 gears. I could handle that. It would help me to be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Schwalbe has become the best selling bicycle tire in Europe and for good reason. Like Tony the Tiger says … “They’re Great!!”. Most trike manufacturers install them on their trikes in the factory. Recumbent wheels are not as commonplace as conventional diamond frame bike wheels so we don’t have as many tires available to choose from as they do. However, we do have quite a few and as people are individuals we don’t all like or want the same thing. Some people want a tire they consider “fast” and agile while others want a tire they consider comfortable riding. Others like myself want the best tire I can buy … one that offers great performance, wears incredibly long, rides comfortably, handles great, and is practically flatless. Of course, those with FAT trikes only use FAT tires. I have not yet seen a set of Kojaks installed on a FAT trike. Although this video below is produced by ICE trikes it is about the choices of Schwalbe tires.
HERE are the Schwalbe recumbent tires available to choose from. They include their best seller Marathon Plus as well as Marathon, Marathon Supreme, Marathon Racer, 3 different Big Apple tires (Raceguard, K-guard and Big Apple Plus), Kojak, Durano, Durano Plus, Tryker, and two studded winter tires one of which is known as Marathon Winter and the other is a lower cost tire they simply call Winter. If there are any other recumbent tires Schwalbe offers I am unaware of them.
I thought that since I am writing about Schwable tires I would once again mention and provide a LINK to to German source where I get my tires at incredible savings over those prices found elsewhere. Make sure you use the selections near the top of the webpage to select your language, shipping destination and currency. I have always received great service from this company. This link is to their 1.75 x 20 inch 406 Marathon Plus tire.
With good tires … no, make that GREAT TIRES we can …
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ICE (Inspired Cycle Engineering) of Great Britain manufactures tadpole trikes offering 4 models (Sprint, Adventure, VTX and FULLFAT).
They also have several videos they have produced which are available on their YouTube Channel. Here is one of those videos which is a compilation of short clips from several of their videos. It is what I would call a “promotional video” as it features all of their models and is interesting to watch. It is a matter of “Recumbent Trikes in Action” …
Regardless of what brand of trike you ride be safe and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
The following is a reposting of an article I wrote quite some time back when I first started this blog and then deleted it … losing all my postings other than a few text files I saved which can be found HERE.
If you are fortunate enough to have bicycle trails near you that you can ride on I hope you appreciate it and realize that it takes a lot of money and effort to build and maintain them. Money is always in the forefront and even moreso in recent years with the bad economy being forced upon us by our national governmental leaders and international bankers. Without money available the building of new trails and upkeep of current existing trails is hurting.
Many places a key part of the upkeep is accomplished thru volunteers. Most trail systems have some sort of organized volunteers to serve in various capacities. Here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live we have the “Greenway Ranger” program as well as the adopt a section of thr trail program. I am one of about 81 current greenway rangers for our trails. The number has gone down as there was about 10 or so more last year. We have over 90 miles of trails now so that equates to a need of over 180 greenway rangers. We are only about 100 shy. See what I mean about the need being there? Here is my official I.D. card with a little of my photo editing fun (I added the part about badges) and the official city seal removed as I don’t want to get in trouble here.
Here is a picture of some of us at a ranger meeting.
On our trail system each of us is responsible for a half mile section of the trail. A few have one mile sections. Our job is to help the management of the trails by informing them of anything that needs attention. We pick up litter keeping the trails in good shape. We are expected to clean up litter up to 10 foot off of each side of the trail. Broken glass is one of the biggest problems out there on the trails. We live in a day and age where there are people who seem to get their kicks out of breaking glass on the trails, streets and sidewalks where they know bicyclists ride over it. I clean up most of it myself which I come across, but occasionally I call it in instead. We help other trails users providing them with helpful information about the trails and provide assistance if they are experiencing mechanical problems and need help. Some of us pick up tree branches off of the trails and even trim various types of vegetation growing along the trails. There are a few of us who ride the entire trail system and cover much of it on a daily basis. We help with the entirety of the trails not just our assigned section which is a very big help to the management folks. I was already doing most of this before I officially joined the volunteer program. HERE is a webpage concerning volunteer opportunities with out local trail system in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There is a good chance similar volunteer opportunities and needs exist near you if you live near trails.
In addition to the Greenway Ranger volunteers our local trail system also have an Adopt a Greenway program where a group of volunteers are assigned a 2 mile section of trail to help care for. They go out a minimum of two times a year to do a more thorough cleanup of their section of trail. By more thorough I mean they go further off of the trail into the nearby areas off to the sides.
I am sure most people who use the trails don’t have a clue what all goes on to keep the trails in condition to use. I am telling you this because there is a great need for volunteers and it is something many more need to get involved in. In doing so you help make it possible for everyone to use the trails. You may not get a lot of expression of gratitude from others as like I said, I don’t think most trail users have a clue what all is involved to keep the trails open and in good condition for their use. I got a chuckle out of a bicyclist passing by on the trail earlier today when myself and my two friends I ride with stopped to trim back some bushes which were growing out over the trail. When he saw us there he apparently thought something was wrong and asked this as he rode by. I thought it was pretty obvious what we were doing, but that is exactly what I am talking about … others not having a clue.
I bet if you were to listen carefully you would hear your local trail system hollering out … “HELP!!!! I need help!” And if you listen close enough you might even hear your name being called. Please consider volunteering. With enough of us doing our part we can all …
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“MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK”
Most of us who are familiar with velomobiles know of the popularity of them in various European countries and the fact that most of them are manufactured in certain European countries, particularly the Netherlands and Germany. HERE is a listing of velomobile manufacturers in the world. Several velomobiles have been made by various people/companies, but many of them have not made it into production.
A new velomobile called Marvelo has appeared on the scene and it is a product of Canada.
Here is what they say about their product:
“Inspired by the classic Dutch and German velomobile thoroughbreds,
the SKR was designed to strike a good balance between all out speed as well as rider comfort and convenience.
The cockpit is large enough to accommodate most pilots comfortably.
The Vacuum Infusion Process (VIP) was chosen to manufacture the structural shell (Monocoque) because this method allows a complete structure to be produced with out the need for secondary bonding or glued joints. This has a great advantage when it comes to manufacturing consistency, quality control and structural integrity over the long haul.”
Base price for the carbon SKR is $9,300 CAD (That’s about 6606 US dollars) and as you can see in the pictures the only thing it seems to have is mirrors … no lighting, no enclosure for the rider’s head, etc. If you want any of those items it cost extra. To its credit it does offer full suspension.
Overall Length 109.5″ (2781 mm)
Maximum Body Width 25.75″ (654 mm)
Ground Clearance 3.75-4.75″ (95-121 mm) *Adjustable*
Overall Height 35-36″ (889-914 mm)
Wheelbase 51″ (1295 mm)
Track Width 26″ (660 mm)
Weight 58.4 Lbs. (26.5 Kg)
LIST OF STANDARD EQUIPMENT:
Body Shell – Vacuum Infused Carbon Fibre Structural Monocoque
*available with optional aramid (Kevlar) lined cockpit *
Front and Rear Quick Release Access Hatches
Clear Polycarbonate Open Cockpit Wind Shield
Front Suspension – Velomobiel.nl Struts
Rear Suspension – Single Pivot Swing-arm with adjustable Air/Oil Damper
Front Brakes – Sturmey Archer 90mm Drums
Front Wheels/Tires – 20″x1.75″ Schwalbe Shredda (40-406)
Rear Wheel/Tire – 26″ (559)/Choice of Various Schwalbe up to 2.4″ wide
Front Wheel Covers – Carbon
Steering – Central Tiller
Seat – Carbon Hard Shell
Drivetrain – (Front) Triple Ring Crank 152mm (24/36/50)
– (Rear) 3×9 Sturmey Archer CS-RF3 (3 speed hub) with 11-32 Cassette
Gear Inch Range – 14.9-160
Shifters – Thumb type and 3 speed twist grip
Cables – Jagwire
Idlers – Dual TerraCycle Elite Power 23 Tooth
Mirrors – Dual (Left & Right)
The gear inch range (14.9-160) is impressive thanks to the 3 speed Sturmey Archer rear hub.
I can’t see anyplace in the pictures where they have any places already intended to accept lighting and they don’t offer any pictures(other than the one below) showing lighting installed. I am wondering if installing it requires drilling holes thru the body.
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT & ACCESSORIES:
*Aramid (Kevlar) Lined Cockpit
*Electrical System & Full Lighting Package
*Cockpit Canopy/Hood in carbon with wrap around wind shield
*Shorty Cockpit Hatch for more open air riding
*Electric Assist (Through the Crank Type)
They offer a kit for those who want to make their existing trike into a velomobile. The cost is $7400 CAN ($5256 US).
It ought to be interesting to see if velomobiles “catch on” here in the United States like they have in Europe. So far I have never seen one anywhere around where I live other than those which came thru town back in the 2011 ROAM velomobile ride from Oregon to Washington, D.C. Plain ol’ tadpole trikes haven’t even caught on here yet although I am starting to see a few more of them. Whether you are completely covered as you ride or ride “naked” hopefully we will all safely enjoy the ride and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Speaking of technology … turning air into drinking water as we ride … producing 1/2 quart per hour. It’s Australian inventor says the bottle works best between 86 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit and between 80 and 90% humidity. He also says that it isn’t perfected yet as far as filtration and it is something he is working on. He plans in the near future to set up a crowdfunding campaign to get the Fontus to market. He is anticipating pricing of under $100. Although this is a useful new tool for cyclists, it is a potentially life-saving design for underdeveloped countries.
Note: you can click on any picture in a WordPress blog and have it open up in it’s own window where it will often appear larger size. To return to the previous page you were viewing just use your browser’s back button.
The one question I have about this product is … what happens if the bottle gets full? Does the water generating system shut off? If not, what happens to the water that is still be produced?
Athough this is a delta style recumbent trike in this video I am sharing it here just because of it’s uniqueness. That is not to say that others have not made similar trikes and even bikes. I have written about one before. Here is a picture of it. As you can see it is propelled by rowing and not by pedaling.
Unfortunately it was back during my first tadpole rider blog and has been deleted and gone forever so I can’t link to it here. Of course, there have been many human powered watercraft of various sorts made over the years, but they are strictly for use in the water and not able to travel on land. I am only looking at trikes that can be ridden in the water as well as on land and also are classified as “recumbent”. Here is the video of this delta trike …
And here is another one I find even more impressive …
And then there is this one which mystifies me. With two large openings in the bottom where his feet step thru down onto the ground how can this shell float? There has to be more to this shell than meets the eye.
It is called a walking bike in this YouTube video, but actually it is a walking recumbent quadricycle. It certainly is not a tadpole trike, but I thought you might enjoy seeing it since it is quite unique.
Some people leapfrog from place to place while others tadpole. This couple are tadpoling thru Europe. Chuck and Susan Atkinson are travelling by tadpole trikes on a European adventure. Visit their Facebook page to read about it and see their many pictures. We may never be able to do what they are doing, but we can do so vicariously thru them. Here are a few pictures of their adventure starting with a picture of the two of them.
Here is Susan posing with a bike mechanic.
Chuck passing roadside mowing crew hard at work.
Notice the flags of the various countries they are visiting.
These are just a handful of the many pictures available to see. Many are of beautiful scenery as they traveled along. We can enjoy what they have provided. I wish them well and safe as they continue on their adventure. May they be able to …
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Yet another solar-electric velocar is trying to make its appearance on the market. This one is called Evovelo. It is a Spanish born piece of machinery. At first glance I would have to say it wouldn’t win any beauty contest, but I think the designer has more in mind function than beauty. And besides, I think the looks of it do kind of grow on you after awhile. It incorporates a regenerative braking feature that can help recharge the battery while on the move. According to Evovelo, there is “No need to charge the battery with moderate use” (10-25 km per day)(6-15 miles per day), thanks to the solar panels and regenerative braking feature. Cost is expected to be about $4900 (4500 Euros). To my way of thinking that is a pretty decent price, especially when you stop to think that there are trike manufacturers charging that much for just a basic human powered machine.
If you are like me you may not understand a word that is said in this next video, but you can enjoy the images.
The empty weight is reported to be 187 pounds and the vehicle measurements are 55″ x 79″ x 51″ which is 4 foot 7 inches wide, 6 foot 7 inches long and 4 foot 3 inches high. Headlights have both low and high beam and if I understand correctly they also have a flashing mode available. It comes with turn signals and brake lights. A horn is provided. Either drum or disc brakes are available on all 3 wheels. The doors and trunk lock. It sounds like this vehicle has been pretty well thought out and might indeed be very practical for those looking for inexpensive transportation close to home while protected from the elements.
The wheels are supplied directly with power from an electric motor. As to the motor there are a number of options, ranging from 250W to 1500W, determined by the existing laws governing what is allowed where the buyer will use the vehicle. I read something about a 6/7-speed transmission, but I don’t know anything more about that. Battery charging comes from either the 100W solar panels on the roof or by an onboard charging port. If desired the battery can also be removed for charging.
Here is what the company’s website says about their vehicle:
A fully enclosed structure , like a conventional car, which provides greater security to their occupants and allows use in any season, regardless of weather conditions.
It can carry two people sitting in parallel (social), a variable amount of load and / or 1 or 2 chairs for children .
It has a low , almost zero environmental impact because of their efficiency and the use of sustainable materials in their manufacture.
Their cost of acquisition and maintenance are also greatly reduced .
Its technical features allow both cost savings as taxes or insurance and no special permission is required to drive.
Its small size (2m long / 1.4m width / height 1.3m) and low weight (~ 85 kg) facilitates parking and gives great maneuverability.
Autonomy in electric mode: ~ 50 kms.
Removable battery : in case of need can be charged simply by plugging the battery from the vehicle or removing it for charging at home, in the office, in the garage, etc.
No need to recharge the battery in moderate use.
Allows exercise for use thanks to pedal assistance favoring our health .
As you can see in this picture above the rear tire is considerably wider than the front tires which should be very practical and helpful when dealing with snow, etc. They advertise anti-puncture wheels. I assume they mean tires as I don’t know why anyone would be concerned about the wheels getting punctured.
I can’t help but wonder about the future of such vehicles. They seem quite practical to me. I am not “into” the “green thing”, but I have nothing against practicality. Who knows, maybe someday soon we will see lots of vehicles like this running around. I would much rather see them than SUVs getting 14 mpg with many of their drivers with their ‘get out of my way’ attitudes.
Woe is me … me is woe … well, anyway winter is upon us and many of us don’t or can’t ride outdoors when winter comes. I used to try to ride thru the winter, but I gave it up as I found that all too often I could not succeed at it. Either my trike would not go thru the snow or the trails were closed due to weather caused problems. So this is the third winter I have moved my trike inside the house and set it up in the living room on an indoor trainer right in front of the big screen TV set which is hooked up to a computer with internet service. That means I can pedal away watching most anything I care to which helps immensely breaking up the otherwise extreme boredom of stationary exercise … something I can’t stand. As you can see here in this picture I am riding along a paved bicycle trail compliments of YouTube.
Indoor trainers come in various types. Nearly all of those available are made for bicycles and not for trikes. That is not to say that they won’t work on a trike. They may or may not work correctly. I had to make modifications to mine to get it to work on a 20 inch wheel. No doubt the best one available for trikes is made specifically for trikes by Sportscrafters. They make two models which in appearance look much the same. The difference is how they work. One is just a resistance roller which sells for $199. The other is designed to mimic actual riding conditions and give the “rider” more of a work out. It sells for $249.
I would love to have one, but I already have the “other type” which I am probably stuck with. Here is a picture I just took of my setup.
This type of indoor trainer is far more common. However, it is not made to accommodate 20 inch wheels. As I already stated, I had to do some modification on it in order to get it to work and it just barely works as things barely make proper needed contact. It does work though. Anyway, there are lots of different manufacturers of this type of indoor trainer. Actually I bought mine slightly used, but still in like new condition from a friend. I bought it not to use as an indoor trainer, but rather to use as a work stand to hold the rear wheel up off the ground so I could perform maintenance/repair work on the back end of the trike. In fact, I had even removed all the extra parts on it which had to do with using it as an indoor trainer since I didn’t use it for that for the first few years I had it.
Keep in mind that we live in a bicycle oriented world and most products which exist were designed for bicycles and not for tadpole trikes. Perhaps this will change as time goes along. Right now Sportscrafters is the only indoor trainer I know of designed specifically for trikes.
Some folks are making their own set of rollers to use. Some have used industrial (commercial) conveyor type rollers.
Some have purchased rollers and made their own.
Some have used other things to make their trainers.
People have used PVC piping with roller bearings inserted.
Others have used Teflon coated or stainless steel food rolling pins.
Some have made their own wooden rollers turning them in a lathe.
I have not had any success finding a video about a DIY roller indoor trainer for trikes. Everything seems to be for bicycles. Here is one of the better ones I have found …
I have thought about making one myself, but truthfully I probably never will.
BTW, if you lift the back end of a trike up onto some sort of an indoor trainer it is a good idea to also lift the front end up the same distance so that the trike remains level and you sit and pedal normally. They make lifting devices (riser blocks) you can buy or you can just use whatever you have available. I have used books, bed risers, and now I use a 2 inch thick concrete block broken in half… one under each front tire.
HERE are some examples of what is available to buy:
The Kinetic one has 3 different heights to select from. There are other brands like this as well. I don’t know about these various products and what tire widths they will accommodate.
Keep in mind that our trikes are designed so that our feet just barely miss the ground as we pedal so if you raise the back end of the trike up there is a good chance that your feet will be hitting the ground as you pedal.
I would really much rather be able to ride outdoors. Woe is me! I am trying to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
(even if I have to do it indoors … as much as I hate it.)
All of these people and many thousands more have one thing in common. They are all showing the “recumbent smile” which just comes naturally when you ride a recumbent bike or trike. You can even Google “recumbent smile” and get quite a few search results. All you gotta’ do is search for images of tadpole trikes and most of those you see with people seated on them will be displaying the infamous recumbent smile. You can even search on YouTube for recumbent smile and get some results. Here is one them …
Here is a mother’s first ride on a recumbent bike:
And here is my wife’s first ride on my Catrike Trail trike:
Doesn’t she look like she is thoroughly enjoying herself?
I apologize for the poor video quality. It has been recopied a few times due to various reasons and with each copy the quality deteriorates.
Those of us who ride recumbent bikes and trikes have good reason to smile. We are super comfortable and having great fun. That is a winning combination. And more and more people are discovering this and joining in. They too are experiencing the infamous recumbent smile.
Here is a picture of a couple of friends I let ride my trikes for the first time:
As you can see they too are all smiles. They had a blast riding them.
Lastly my grand niece who recently arrived with her family from the Philippines to live here in the United States rode my Catrike Trail. You can see her joy written all over her face.
There is just no denying it … there really is something to this phenomena known as recumbent smiles. So if you are holding back making the plunge into recumbents this ought to entice you further. I mean, who doesn’t want to wear a big smile as a result of having reason to? Buck and Roy were “pickin’ and grinin'” … which is fine, but nowadays we are “ridin’ and smilin'”. It helps us immensely to …
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I have written about motivation to ride previously. Apparently it was back when I first had this blog and decided to end it and deleted it as I can’t find the article I wrote previously. So here I am writing about this subject again. I am doing so because I find myself struggling with motivation thru the winter months in particular. Here in northern Indiana where I live winter gets bad enough that I don’t try to ride outdoors. Even if I were to attempt it the trail where I ride is usually closed due to the results of flooding with mud and all sorts of debris on the trail including large trees. Then there is snow on the trail which I can’t ride thru anyway. It is a lost cause.
Consequently, each winter I make the decision to bring my trike inside the house and set it up on an indoor trainer so I can pedal away indoors out of the weather and the concern of these things I speak of. That is fine and dandy, but there is one problem … motivation, or should I say the lack of it. I have to force myself to do it and it is all too easy to talk myself out of it, make excuses as to why I don’t, etc. I am sure others struggle with motivation as well. I have never liked indoor exercise of any sort so I am just not motivated to do it.
I got to thinking about the subject of motivation and what it takes to motivate people. The thought came to me about the donkey with the carrot hanging on a stick in front of him. The carrot in front of him motivates him to try moving forward in an attempt to get the carrot. And the scenario got me to thinking about what different things motivate people … what else might hang on that string out in front of us to motivate us onward trying to reach it. That got me to messing around some more with playing with photo editing.
What motivates one person might not motivate another person and visa versa. And then there all too often is the reality that nothing motivates us to do certain things. Yeah, I know, getting needed exercise and helping keep ourselves in better physical shape should be enough to motivate us. Hmmm, something about the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
The bottom line to all of this is that I would be far better off just going to my trike and sitting down on it to start pedaling rather than spend time fooling around with this nonsense. And I do plan on doing some of it in just a few minutes even though I am not motivated any whatsoever.
C’mon Spring! I want to get back out there and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
At least riding outdoors sometimes I find myself a bit more motivated …
(like seeing this in my mirror)