Monthly Archives: June 2016
While out riding today I felt something down on my leg and instinctively I reached down to swat it off without looking first to see what it was. I am used to having various stuff go up my pant leg of my shorts as I ride along. Usually it is inanimate … a piece of vegetative stuff off of a tree or such which is apparently kicked up off of the trail as I ride along. Just as I was reaching down to swat at whatever was on me I glanced down just in time to see that it was a bee … a sweat bee I think … that had apparently gone down inside my pant leg just a short distance and was climbing back out when I felt it moving on my leg. I had already started to swat it off of me so I could not have stopped that action if I wanted to. My concern once I noticed that it was a bee was that I might get stung. Fortunately it all worked out well. The bee lived another day and I didn’t get stung.
I have got stung before down inside my shorts on my legs, on my neck, on my face and on my hands, especially in between my fingers. That can somewhat mess up an otherwise good ride. There is not much a person can do to keep insects from making contact with us. Oh we can wear shorts that are closed off on the bottoms so that no insects or anything else can get in. Of course, one has to be independently wealthy to afford such clothing. And some of us probably should not wear them as Spandex only expands so far …
and most certainly it is not exactly what one could classify as modest clothing. It leaves little to the imagination as they say.
Anyway, this time … both the bee and myself came out in fine shape. Yes, blessed be the bee and me. The bee lived another day as it took off in flight and I was able to …
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According to Wikipedia OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. It was created by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004.
OSM is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.
OpenStreetMap powers map data on thousands of web sites, mobile apps, and hardware devices. OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge. Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date.
HERE is a website to help people learn how to use OSM. There is lots of stuff available concerning OSM in this high tech world we live in. Just search online and you can find it.
It is not something I personally have any interest in or use for, but I am sure there are many out there this would appeal to and be of use. Hey, if it helps people to …
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I reckon it is okay.
One of my cycling friends I ride with coined the phrase “dry rain”. Myself and another friend kid him about this since it sounds so silly. What he is talking about is when it is precipitating light enough that we can feel it coming down on us but we don’t get wet. It evaporates off of us rather than accumulating and getting us wet. We have ridden in such conditions numerous times. However, the problem is that his dry rain all too often turns into regular ol’ wet rain and we get wet. It is all his fault. We didn’t want to go out knowing that it was threatening rain. But he insisted that it is a dry rain and we will be safe. That happened yesterday. I only got a 3 mile ride in and the last 2 miles of it I was experiencing wet rain. Fortunately it remained light while I was out so I didn’t get thoroughly soaked.
Today the skies are emptying themselves with barrels of wet rain coming down. I am not venturing out today. So here I sit thinking about rain. Looking at the forecast and the weather radar it appears that today will not be a day where any riding is in the picture. We need the rain though so it is good that it is falling. Actually we have been having a lot of excellent riding weather this spring.
The bad thing about riding at this time of year where I am at is all the ‘snow ‘ falling down and laying on the ground. I am referring to cottonwood seeds … that white stuff that is all over the place and so messy. I can’t help but wonder if cottonwood trees are part of the curse man brought upon earth when he along with Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Those cottonwood seeds are always stuck all over my trike as I ride along the trails. I sometimes swallow one as it is falling thru the air and that is always a horrible experience to deal with as they lodge in my throat making me cough like crazy. Then there are the mulberries laying all over the trails to ride thru and further mess things up. I am hoping that the hard rain coming down today will help wash off both of these and knock most of the remaining cottonwood seeds off of the trees.
Into each life a little rain must fall. I have to admit … while out riding I prefer it to be “dry rain”. I prefer to take my showers at home. Besides, as much “stuff” as I carry on my trike soap is not part of it. Looking at the ten day weather forecast there appears to be mostly good riding days ahead. I hope it is the same where you are at and we can all enjoy it and …
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If you ride a tadpole trike (or any other type of human powered vehicle using a chain) sooner or later you are likely to encounter at least one incident of chain failure. If you are one of the few who manage to elude such a fate then you should indeed count your blessings. For the rest of us all I have to say is … “you better be prepared!”. Having a chain failure while out riding can leave you stranded. You won’t be going anywhere without the chain functioning intact. Even if you can call for help to have someone come get you and your trike you may have to deal with getting your trike on down a trail some distance before you get somewhere that someone can get to by car or truck to meet you. If you have never had the experience of pushing or pulling your trike along let me tell you that it is not a fun task. It will wear you out. They are far more awkward and difficult to deal with than a standard diamond frame bicycle when it comes to “walking” them.
So a discussion on chain repair is in order. If you have a chain failure you should immediately stop pedaling and come to a stop as soon as possible to help prevent further damage and hopefully keep the chain from coming off. Having to restring a chain around sprockets, derailleurs and thru chain tubes is a lot of work and can be challenging, especially for someone with knowledge or experience with it. Repairing a broken chain may sound intimidating to some, especially if they have never tried it. I want to state upfront that in my opinion the very best thing anyone can do is to get an old chain to use to practice with … learning how to take it apart and put it back together using a chain tool and also using repair/connecting links. It is the old adage … practice, practice, practice … practice makes perfect. Nowadays nearly everybody uses quick links (most often referred to as “missing links”) which are easy to use and faster than conventional repair links of yesteryear like many of us grew up with. Never the less, a pin or two may have to be removed in order to prepare the chain so the missing link can be used. Be careful not to shorten the chain removing a link(s) as then the derailleur may encounter a problem and get damaged. Here is what a missing link looks like and how it is used.
Missing Links are made by KMC for KMC chain. If you have a different brand of chain then you should get the connecting links designed for the brand you have. SRAM makes the Power Link.
Another important note … be sure to buy and use only the connecting links made for your chain as far as the width. By that I mean what speed the trike’s chain is … 9, 10 or 11 speed for example. You can see in the picture of the SRAM PowerLink above it shows 9 speed on it.
As to chain tools one can buy an inexpensive one and they work sufficiently. I have had several of them. However, a few years ago I finally bought a more professional higher dollar chain tool and will readily recommend doing so as they work so much better than the common inexpensive type. My only regret is I didn’t do it 55 years or so earlier. That being said, I only keep my pro tool home in my toolbox. On my trike I still carry one of the common inexpensive type.
Here is the pro tool I bought. It is a Pedro chain tool.
Here is a different brand of pro tool being used to push a pin thru a chain link.
Below is one of the common inexpensive chain tools sold in many bike stores and is the type I carry on my trike.
I need to insert here something I just recently learned myself. It is inadvisable to reuse a chain link by pushing the pin out and then back in. It is not something which is supposed to be done. A connecting link should always be used instead. The following paragraph explains how to reuse a chain link, but since they should not be reused the pin should be pushed out sufficiently to get the needed link(s) apart so that a connecting link can be used.
Pushing the pins (some people refer to them as rivets) thru the links using a chain tool is something one needs to learn as it is all too easy to push the pin too far and completely thru the far outside plate of the chain link. Once that happens you really have problems as they are extremely difficult to get back into the hole in the side plate. This is where it pays to learn this thru lots of practice using an old chain. They do make special pins which are for the purpose of more easily getting the pin started back into the hole. As you can see in the picture below it is tapered on the one end so that it can more easily be started back into the hole. Actually the longer end of it is slightly smaller diameter so that it can be pushed thru the link side plates easily and then the chain tool is used to push it the rest of the way thru. Once it is pushed all the way into position the long part sticking out is “snapped off” as the short part is the actual pin used in the link.
Another tool I highly recommend is called a third or helping hand tool. It is used to hold the two ends of the chain together while the connecting link is placed in the chain. It makes the job so much easier. You can buy these or make them. I have a couple of them I bought as well as a couple I have made.
Even though the missing links are supposed to be fairly easy to get apart (once they have been put together in a chain) just using one’s hands many find them extremely difficult to get apart. I think they are very difficult to get back apart just using one’s hands so I bought a special tool for this and highly recommend this to others. It makes the job so much easier and faster. I am sure there will be some who would argue this and say that they can get the missing links back apart quickly and easily just using their hands. More power to them. I have had very little success in doing it with my hands and found it to be time consuming, hard on my hands, frustrating and aggravating. The special pliers work so easy.
Here is a short video which does a pretty good job showing and explaining how to use a chain tool to push the pin, take the chain apart and put it back together. It explains how to deal with a tight link which often happens when working on a link like this.
Others can do what they want, but I always carry tools, missing links and several inches of spare chain to use in case I need links to replace bad ones on a chain. More than once I have had to use all of these items to make a repair which would have left me stranded if I was not prepared. If your chain has a side plate which has got bent to the side it is highly advisable to replace that link rather than trying to straighten and salvage it. Making a proper repair initially is a whole lot better than making a repair that doesn’t last and has to be redone.
Here is another video which shows how to connect chain links together using a missing link as well as a replacement pin. It also shows how to use the special pliers to take a missing link back apart. It also shows how to route the chain thru a rear derailleur. I had a hard time understanding him (I think he was speaking English), but I could follow the video okay.
Here is one man’s temporary emergency repair …
Obviously this is quite uncommon and for a good reason … well, more than one reason applies.
One thing to watch out for if you have to feed the chain back thru around sprockets and the derailleur is that you don’t twist the chain 180 degrees and connect the two ends back together with it like that. It is fairly easy for this to happen, especially if you have chain tubes you feed the chain into. It can turn over upside down while going thru the chain tube.
Being able to deal with a broken chain will help you to …
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I wasn’t going to include this last video, but decided to go ahead placing it here:
I recently came across some images of a custom made trike and upon taking a closer look at it discovered it was made by a man who calls his trike fabricating business “Trikewars”. His name is Warren and he is located in the Philippines just north of the capital city of Manila.
I am not going to try to post much here as he has a Facebook page you can visit with lots of photos of the trikes showing all thru the construction process. You might find that, in and of itself, interesting. I certainly did.
As a weldor/fabricator myself I can appreciate what is involved to produce something like this, especially when he has a very limited shop setup as far as tools, machinery and equipment. Even the work area is quite small. That in itself makes the job challenging.
From what I understand factory manufactured trikes are fairly rare in the Philippines and very expensive to buy … about twice the cost of what they are here in the United States. That being the case, it is good to know that there exists at least one person in the nation who is custom building tadpole trikes which are much more affordable. That being said, understand that the Philippines is a country where most of it’s citizenry is quite poor so even at a greatly reduced cost over factory manufactured trikes these custom made trikes are still quite expensive for most Filipinos and most would never be able to afford one. I have heard that the economy has been improving and for several of the peoples in the Philippines life has improved and some of the people have had more disposable income. I am glad to see that these trikes are being offered and I wish him well. Hopefully more and more tadpole trikes will “make the scene” there in the Philippines. And may they all …
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Here is Warren’s contact information and maps showing his location:
Trikewars custom made trike & bike
369 Cadena de amor st. brgy. Saluysoy
1329 Meycauayan, Bulacan
+63 915 279 7130
You can find this map on his Facebook “About”page.
If you live in the United States you may want to know the ranking of your home state as to “bicycle friendliness”. HERE is a webpage where you can find the information. See whether or not you agree with what you find.
In the United States we have 50 states (58 according to the sitting President, but that is another subject matter I will stay away from). Each individual state has it’s own laws and bicycling is no exception. If you want to check out the bicycling laws in your state or if you travel around to other states bicycling there is a source of this information online. HERE is a webpage where you can check out the bike laws for each state.
With this information we can go forward and …
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Yet one more tadpole trike is coming on the scene. Avenue Trikes if offering a fairly low cost trike similar to the TT Rover and Rambler, Catrike Villager and ICE Adventure as far as seat height.
This first model, the 1st Ave has a rugged chro-molly frame, 24 speeds and is made in Taiwan. The introductory price is $1495. Other Taiwanese models are planned, as is a more upscale US made line.
Here is what their website says:
Avenue trikes – designed so you can enjoy riding again!
At Avenue Trikes we design rugged trikes then price them for casual riders. We include the features you will want when you become a more serious rider. Start with a rugged CroMoly frame, add a breathable, padded mesh seat, give it 24 speeds and dual disk brakes to get up and down hills and top it off with dual parking brakes and you have an unbeatable package for under $1500.
Standard Features on the Avenue Trikes “First Ave”
14” High seat and easy reach handlebars so you can easily get on and off
24 speed derailleurs and convenient twist shifters
Chromoly frame designed for handling and pedaling efficiency
The adjustable mesh seat is breathable and padded for maximum comfort and easily removable without tools making it easier to transport
Disc brakes and dual parking brake function
The seat (including recline) and frame both adjust to fit riders from ~5’2” to ~6’6”
All this for $1495 and our trikes are fully assembled, adjusted and test ridden before being sent to a customer.
I have not read anything more about this company and the availability of these trikes. They make mention of a recent earthquake in Taiwan which has effected production and availability of tadpole trikes from that country. Their website says available in Spring 2016. In two weeks it will officially be summer so if they are going to start selling them in Spring they don’t have much time left. It will be interesting to see what other models they come out with and how they catch on.
UPDATE: The trike is supposed to be available in February 2017. They will be a deep blue color. If you would like updates as their arrival gets closer and the day more definite you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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It is that time of year when temperatures climb into the uncomfortable zone in many places in the world. Of course, some locations are miserably hot all the time. Some people handle the heat and humidity better than others. Some of us have a very difficult time with the heat and humidity and we need all the help we can get.
I imagine most of us have seen playgrounds with various sorts of water sprays, etc. for people to play in/under. Among them are what are known as “misters” as they spray a fine mist.
They are also used for watering vegetation in some places. We have this setup in a downtown city park. I remember the first time I ever rode thru the park when this watering system was turned on. It really felt good.
In my area we have one mister installed at another city park in a neighboring community at the east end of the Maumee Pathway (which is my favorite local trail). Someone donated it to the city municipality. In the picture above the mister is on, but it is very difficult to see the fine spray in this image. Here is a close up view of it where you can see the fine mist a bit better:
It really feels good to stand in the midst of the mist as it cools ‘ya down without getting soaked. Of course, the longer one stands in the mist the wetter they get. In time a person could get soaked. So when I am hot while out riding there is a mister that can help me out. If you are fortunate to have one or more available where you ride you might enjoy it too. Just try yelling out “hey mister” and see what happens. 🙂 Hey, apparently it worked for this guy …
This subject is almost unbelievable and most definitely scary.
Evil hearted people are stringing barbed wire (and other wire) across trails and roads where cyclists come upon them and usually don’t see them at all or don’t see them in time to avoid injuries. In the image below (which I created to illustrate this as I don’t have any actual pictures of a paved bicycle trail where this has been found) I have circled the wire in yellow.
Nobody likes meeting up with barbed wire …
Here is a real picture of barbed wire across a trail in the U.K.
The cyclist spotted it just in time to get stopped. He reports that if he had been going the other direction which is downhill he never would have seen it in order to avoid it. Anyway, this sort of thing is happening in various places all over the world. I think it is mostly on off road riding areas, but some have been reported on bike trails and roads.
Not all of these wires are face high. Sometimes they are lower so that the front tire catches it and the bike gets flipped over. At least that is what the intent is. At our height we might get our faces or necks right into it.
Hopefully this won’t “catch on” and escalate. I have not heard of it happening anywhere near me.
SOOOO fellow tadpole riders do your best to be alert. No one wants to be a victim of such evil practices. We all want to safely …
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I enjoy watching videos and recently I came across one I found interesting I thought I would share here. I enjoy riding out in rural areas far more than I do in and near the metropolitan area where there is lots of activity and people … in short, congestion. Yes, my favorite trails to ride on are away from all of that. I enjoy to serenity, the sights and the sounds out in nature. This video is all about that. So if you find yourself unable to get out there and ride experiencing this first hand you just might enjoy participating thru the aid of this video.
Hopefully we can all …
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