Monthly Archives: July 2016
Here is a video from the Institute of Traffic Accidents Investigators slow motion video from crash day 2016 at Bruntingthorpe Airfield and Proving Ground in Leicestershire England. iX Cameras was pleased to supply the cameras and videographers to capture each impact.
Filmed at 2000 frames per second on an i-SPEED 716
I don’t know what it would look like with a tadpole trike involved. Here are some trikes that were involved in wrecks with cars/trucks:
This first one is Matt Galat‘s trike.
As you can readily see the cyclist is no match for the car. It is quite terrifying to watch this as the slow motion really makes it clear what is happening. Hopefully we can avoid this scenario and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Be cautious and ride as if your life depends upon it.
Convenience … that is what this is all about. Having some of the things we use most often right at our side within easy reach. Well, you can have it thanks to Steve Sussman at FinerRecliner. He offers them for Catrike trikes at this time. Here is one on a Villager …
Here is what Steve says about this product he sells:
This is a great way to keep snacks, camera, phone, gloves and other bring-alongs right at your fingertips, accessible while you ride…you don’t even need to get up!
The side mount kit accepts just about any brand handlebar bag. And it’s adjustable so you can set the bag height, fore-to-aft location and distance from the seat to suit you.
The kit’s “L” tube is also a great place to mount a beverage bottle.
We include the Topeak bottle bracket mount with each kit. And then
you can choose the cage that will work best for you.
The kit includes a 130mm mtb stem, “L” tube of 6061 thin wall
aluminum, end caps and the Topeak bottle cage mount.
Side Mount Kit for Catrikes – “L” tube, mtb stem, Topeak bottle cage mount………………………………………$53.00
For those with a Catrike who are interested in this note that the bag is very exposed to all kinds of crud coming off of the front tire as it is in a direct path of whatever is being thrown off of the tire. Even with fenders I think it would get crud on it. Never the less, I am sure this would be very handy for many riders. I just wanted to point this out so that others would be aware of it.
There you have it. So if you have a hankerin’ for one or two of these (one on each side) they are available. Now you know. 🙂
Hey, if it will help you to … KEEP ON TRIKIN’ … I am all for it.
I have posted a little about Matt Galat’s trike adventures previously, but haven’t been doing much more in the way of updates, etc. on him. You can read and see videos about him on this blog. Here is a listing of my previous postings from most recent to oldest:
Steve Greene’s TrikeAsylum blog has been doing a good job covering all that is going on so I figure there is not much sense of my doing so also. I myself usually do all my “keeping up” thru his blog. Those who have been following Matt’s story know that he has already started out twice on his world tour via tadpole trike which will take him thru about 100 countries from China to the United States. Both times thus far he has had to interrupt his trike journey. The first attempt ended when he was hit from behind by a big truck. He received a broken collar bone out of that mishap. After surgery, recuperation and reoutfitting he started off on his second attempt, but it ended when he developed knee problems. Some more time has passed and he has been recuperating in anticipation of round three. Meanwhile another adventure he had planned during his world trike tour was to climb Mt. Everest. No, not on his trike, but on foot. He did attempt it, but that too ended prematurely as he had some problems develop and had to turn back. Never the less, my hat is off to him for even attempting it. Not many of us would be up to doing something like that. But Matt is no ordinary person as you can see by just looking at the “selfie” he took I have shown below.
Matt is a great photographer and videographer. The picture above attests to that. 🙂 (Can you ever forgive me, Matt?) Seriously Matt creates some great videos which are always well done and interesting. You can check them out HERE.
Here is one video which pretty much covers his story up until now …
If you are interested in his attempt at climbing Mt. Everest you can watch his video HERE. And HERE is the Google Maps Street View of the route thru the small village where the climbers walk to and from the base camp of Mt. Everest.
I am sure that we all wish him well and that he will be able to continue on with his epic journey safely and successfully completing it. And may we all just …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Matt just announced July 25th, 2016 that his current plan
is to restart his world tour trike journey in April 2017.
Bike (multi-use) trails are great and have become very popular. They are ever increasing as community leaders and planners recognize their value. Many additional trails are planned for the future, but it is a slow process building them. There are various reasons why it is such a slow process. First of all and most prominent among the reasons is that they are very expensive to build. The cost of a five-foot bicycle lane can range from approximately $5,000 to $535,000 per mile, with an average cost around $130,000. And that is only 5 feet wide. Most trails being built here in the U.S. are anywhere from 8 to 12 feet wide. Our local trails where I live average about $142 per linear foot. That is nearly $750,000 per mile. I have seen various figures … $150,000 per mile for a 10 foot wide trail. Cost per mile differs based on many factors, including right-of-way acquisition, engineering, and other environmental factors. I just asked the person in charge of our local trails what the cost is. Here is her answer:
On the cost per mile, it really varies. If it’s a locally-funded project, then it’s generally $400,000 – $500,000 per mile. If it’s federally-funded, then it can be $800,000 – $1,000,000 per mile. When you have boardwalks, bridges and/or retaining walls, that really increases the cost. I would say use $500,000 per mile as an estimate, but that is ONLY construction. You need to add in engineering and right of way. I’d add $125,000 for engineering and $150,000 for right of way. This brings the total to $775,000 per mile. So, you are looking at about $147 or $150 per lineal foot.
So I was very close in what I stated above. I just took a look at the current trail planning for our area and I added up all of what is listed. It totals over 32 miles. We currently have nearly 90 miles of trails I think.
It is no secret that we are living in uncertain and troubled economic times. This greatly effects trail building as the money just isn’t there as much as it used to be. Quite frankly I am amazed that new trails are being built with all the economic woes that beset us. One of the things which is helping is the fact that some of the trail building is part of a road widening and/or improvement project the state or federal govt. is doing so they are covering the expense involved so that the local government doesn’t have to.
There are factors which add considerable expense and challenge to trail building. Crossing a busy road may require a bridge like pictured here. We have a local trail project which will require something like this, but larger so it will be very challenging. It is also in a much busier area and far more developed than the area in this picture.
And dealing with a marshy wetland area or such may require extensive boardwalks.
Crossing rivers and creeks may require a bridge … again, something that is not inexpensive to build.
Of course, sometimes there are already existing bridges such as abandoned railroad bridges which can be used and save considerable expense.
Sometimes a road bridge can be altered and a bike trail included in it. Here is a trail project which involved incorporating the trail into the bridge when it was rebuilt recently. The red line shows the trail. The yellow line is a wide sidewalk which runs along the road for a distance.
In addition to building the trails it costs a lot of money to maintain them. Most trails need to be mowed and the weeds kept under control. Up north snow must be plowed off of them if they are to remain open and usable. Repair to the surface including repaving is required periodically. Trees which fall onto the trails must be removed and any damage caused must be repaired.
Some trails flood over making a huge muddy mess of them which has to be cleaned off of them. Here is a section of one of our local trails trail which floods frequently and has about 7 foot of water over it (higher than I can reach).
Sometimes some pretty serious problems develop involving trails and pose big problems and expense. Trails which run alongside of rivers can experience bank erosion threatening the trail and the safety of trail users. If it can not be stopped and corrected and the trail surface repaired the trail may have to be closed or rerouted if that is possible. Even if it is possible it is not always something there are funds available to accomplish. Here is my trike posing to show the opening in the trail caused by river bank erosion. It is all repaired now and repaved.
It doesn’t help any when so many trail users litter throwing their trash all over the place instead of carrying it with them until they get to some place where they can properly dispose of it. Somebody has to clean that up. I pick it up nearly everyday while I am out riding. It is quite disgusting. Some trails have volunteers who do this, but some have paid employees that taxpayers fund to clean up the litter. People are something else. I constantly see litter thrown down on the ground within a few feet of a trash can provided along the trail.
Broken glass is a huge problem, especially for cyclists.
And then there is the problem of vandalism and theft which also requires a good sum of money to fix and replace. Again it is usually taxpayers who foot the bill. Here is a fence along a trail that somebody destroyed.
Getting back to trail planning … oftentimes there is a “master plan” … what I would call “the big plan” or “big picture”. What I am talking about is the trail network connecting together so that a trail user can navigate and travel about mostly if not all on trails and not have to use streets and roads. Of course, all that trail network is a long way off and who knows if it will ever materialize. It is nice to know that it is being planned. Here is a map showing trails planned for Indiana where I live. (sorry for the blurriness)
Here is another map of it although it isn’t much better quality.
Here is an interesting statistic … as of July 2013, 97.9 percent of all Indiana residents live within 7.5 miles of a trail and 93.2 percent live within five miles of a trail. That is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it. I mean … who would have thought this could be the case?
Hey, with all these trails popping up there is no excuse to not …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’ 🙂 🙂
Did you know that trail rules don’t apply? That sure seems to be the attitude and position many take. I find this especially true among bicyclists. I would estimate that about 75 % of bicyclists do not obey the trail rules such as giving a warning they are passing other trail users. They obviously don’t believe the trail rules apply to them. Then there are those on foot who pay no attention to the instruction to stay to the right except when passing. Many meander all over the place making it impossible for other trail users to get by them without them getting over out of the way. Other trail users walk abreast of each other and take up the whole width of the trail. Many trail users have earbuds in their ears and can’t hear anything other than what they are listening to. The trail rules don’t apply to them either. Then there are dog owners … oh … they are something else. The trail rules (not to mention the state law where I live) require them to keep their dogs on a short leash under their control. But ol’ Fido gets to run free and just do whatever he wants including attacking cyclists and walking or running right out in front of them causing them to wreck. Definitely there are a whole lot of dog owners who don’t think the trail rules apply to them. One of my really big pet peeves is when they allow their dogs to poop right on the trail and then just walk away and leave it there. Now I don’t blame the dog, but I sure do blame them. What kind of a person would do such a thing? I would like to take a hold of them and shove their face right down in that pile of poop. Yeah, that is what I would like to do.
I find some folks have some very interesting attitudes and thinking about trail rules. Recently one person stated that the rules are “archaic” and senseless. That would be laughable if they weren’t serious. I believe most people would disagree with such a notion regarding trail rules … saying just the opposite. Rules are very much needed. People being rebellious by nature and “unrestrained” will self destruct and do major damage in society. So I say to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them and are stupid or senseless you are guilty of “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” and are seriously in need of an attitude adjustment.
There is nothing archaic or senseless about trail rules. They exist for very good reason. And none of us are exempt from them. God has commanded us to obey those in authority over us as long as man’s laws don’t violate His laws and commandments to us.
Just as I started writing this article I received an email from our local trails authority which included a list of the trail rules. Here is a portion of the email …
“Below are some fundamental rules that will help keep everyone safe:
+Walk and Roll on the Right. Pass on the Left.
+Use Bell or Voice When Passing. Slow down, allow the trail user to react and then pass the person on the left.
+Don’t Tune Out. Music is a great way to pass the miles but make sure you can still hear. Leave an ear bud out or keep your music low enough to hear other trail users.
+Use Caution on Blind Corners. When encountering a blind corner, slow down, stay right and use your bell or voice to say that you are proceeding. +Never pass on a blind corner or hill.
+Doggone it, Mind Your Pets. Keep your pet leashed and be sure to clean up after it. Dispose of the waste in a receptacle. Never, ever litter.”
They all make perfect sense to me … nothing archaic about them. The only thing I will say is concerning the “on your left” announcement I think needs some improvement as it can be confusing to some people. I usually say “coming up behind you and will be passing on your left side”. Of course, many trail users have earbuds in their ears and don’t hear anything I say even though I say it loudly. Some people are on the left side of the trail so it isn’t possible to pass them on the left. If people would just obey the rules it would make everything so much better. We need to read and heed. One way or the other let’s all just try to get along out on the trails and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I will admit that every once in a while I come across signs that get my attention 🙂 …
There are more and more recumbent rallies and events starting up all the time and most are an annual thing. A few are very popular, organized and well attended. Some of them have become annual and are well known and attended.
Here are two online sources I have found that list recumbent rallies and events:
And you can always find them by doing a Google search.
Among the “biggies” is the Heart of Texas (HOT) rally …
The Midwest Recumbent Rally is another large and popular rally …
And sometimes there is even educational gatherings of various sorts (1 of 4 videos) …
And there is help with mechanical information on maintenance and repair …
Good tips, instructions and information are always appreciated.
There are even recumbent tandem rallies …
Yes, with the great increase in popularity of tadpole trikes and other recumbents more and more planned organized activities are taking place. So, do keep your eyes and ears open and just maybe some of us will meetup at one or more of the meetups. And may we all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I saw those words printed on shirts you can buy and thought they were pretty “catchy”. I think most riders would agree that it is a lot more fun and enjoyable going down a hill than it is climbing it. Many have reported reaching some pretty fast speeds on their descent. I am talking 40 to 50 plus mph. Velomobile riders have reported reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph. Going down the longest steepest hill I know of around here where I live the highest speed I have ever obtained is only about 28 mph. Here below is a picture of the hill I speak of. Looking at the hill one would think that it would yield higher speeds than that. I have only ridden my trike on it once as it is a distance away and not someplace I normally ride.
It is said and is quite true that we must climb the hill enduring the challenge and difficulty in order to enjoy the fun and thrill of going down it. Climbing a steep hill only using our human power can indeed be challenging. And certainly our ability to do so depends upon our physical condition and the gearing we have available. Low gearing is a must for hill climbing.
This is a 3 speed internal hub with a 10 cog rear cassette … totaling 90 speeds. I would love to have something like this on my trike.
I would settle for 81 speeds. The option to shift the internal hub instantly changing the available gear down lower would be a ‘godsend’ as they say.
My tadpole trike came with 27 ‘speeds’ (3 chainrings in the front and 9 cogs in the rear cassette). The newer ones are 30 speeds as they have a rear cassette of 10 cogs. They come with a 34 tooth cog as the largest diameter sprocket on the rear cassette. My trike originally had a 32 tooth sprocket as the largest cog on the rear cassette. I later changed it to 34 tooth which definitely helped a little bit with hill climbing. Still I could really use a smaller chain ring on the front. The hills I normally climb here where I live are not anything like the one in the picture above. I would definitely need lowing gearing to tackle something like that. Either that or I would have to make numerous stops to rest. That is one thing good about riding a tadpole trike. Stopping to rest doesn’t involve having to “dismount” and then struggle to get started again like a bicyclist does. And we don’t have to concern ourselves with balancing while going slow. We can climb a hill just as slow as we can manage the pedaling involved … perhaps at 1.5 mph … maybe even slower for some of us. Try that on a bicycle.
In the picture above you are looking at a 50 tooth cog . I have seen 42 and 44 tooth sprockets for the rear cassette and just now I found this 50 tooth. Given enough traction and strength in the trike build I would think that a person could just about “pull stumps” out of the ground with that low gearing. 🙂 Of course, one must keep in mind that when talking about a derailleur system the rear derailleur can only handle so much gear range. Going with such a large sprocket on the rear means that the largest front chain ring would have to be smaller in order for the rear derailleur to handle things. (I have an article on rear derailleur capacity.) So what you would gain in low gearing you would lose in high gearing (fastest speed obtainable). If we live/ride somewhere that has lots of hills to climb and yet we also like to go as fast as we possibly can we have a bit of a problem. Solutions are available, but they are not cheap. There are two and three speed internal hubs for the crankset as well as various internal hubs for the rear wheel. Some fabulous gearing combinations can be had for a price … more than what some trikes cost.
Many of us have one or more hills to contend with … GET OVER ‘EM! … and KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I am just letting readers of this blog know that I have decided to try to post new articles twice a week … on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am not promising anything, but rather will see how it goes. Thanks again for your support, understanding and patience in all of this. There have just been times I haven’t felt like doing this … just quitting altogether, but then there are times I do feel like continuing it on. At the very least I have often felt like I just need to step back for awhile and coast. I am just trying to work thru it. I have two new postings prepared and scheduled at this time and as stated they will appear Tuesday and Friday. If I find that this is more than I care to do I may reduce the new article postings down to only one per week.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I have talked about stopping my ongoing involvement in coming up with new postings. Some would say it was unwise to do so. However, I believe in being upfront, open and honest with people. When I first started this blog I didn’t know what to expect. And after writing on it for about 9 months (I think) I found myself somewhat depressed and feeling beaten up and so I made the decision to discontinue it. I also made the decision to totally delete the blog thereby losing all my hard work in creating what I had up to that point. I did have some saved text files of pages I had created, but much of what I had written previously was gone forever. A very few weeks past by before I realized that I had blown it when I deleted the blog. I also made the decision to start it back up even though it meant starting from scratch. I have been back at it now for quite some time and have seen the number of visitors increase to where people in about 174 countries (out of a total of 196) have visited it. And number of visits each day has steadily increased as well. I never would have dreamed that this would happen. And yet I am sure that these numbers pale when compared to many other blogs which are far more popular and read than this one.
I have enjoyed writing and producing this blog, but I keep coming to the place where I feel tired of writing and trying to continue it. I am not saying to you that I will never write anything more in this blog as I think I have learned to never say never again. I have made the decision though to stop writing and posting new material temporarily. I will leave the blog up this time. This may be my last posting for awhile and so I have pondered over what should I write about. This blog is about tadpole trikes and I have tried to discipline myself and not write about much of anything else.
… I HAVE GOT GOOD NEWS TO SHARE …
It is possible that this may be my last opportunity to communicate with you and so I want to be sure I say something meaningful and important. I want to share with you what is on my heart. If we never interact again I want to be sure that I have faithfully conveyed the good news to you. What is the good news, you ask? The good news is simply that “God loves you!”. I am talking about the one and only true God Who is the God of the Holy Scriptures … not Allah, Buddha, Confucius, or any other false god of which there are 1000s.
His Word tells us …
For God so loved the world (you and I) that He gave His only unique Son (Jesus Christ) to be a propitiation for our sin. For those who don’t know the meaning of the word propitiation here is the definition: “the turning away of God’s wrath by an offering that satisfies and appeases Him. God loves us, but He hates sin. Because He is holy and pure He can’t allow sin in His presence. We are all sinners. We are born with a sin nature, that is, it is our nature to sin. We can’t help it. One of my favorite gospel tracts is entitled “One Way”. It is mostly pictures and does an excellent job illustrating the sin problem and why we need salvation that God offers us thru Jesus Christ. You can read (see) the tract HERE. Or you can simply watch this video. As you can see it tells the story of man from the beginning in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve dwelled. They disobeyed God and in doing sin came into the picture for them, their children and on down thruout mankind as the world’s population grew.
HERE is another version of this tract on YouTube which has a song playing. It is a good song, but I didn’t want to post it here as I think it is distracting to watching the video.
Yes, if this were to be my last posting on this blog I want to be sure that I have communicated to you that Jesus loves you. He left heaven to come to earth to carry out the plan of salvation. I explain it all in great detail in my personal testimony you can read HERE. I very much invite you to read my testimony as it explains why we need to be saved and how God planned from the beginning to provide salvation for us.
Whether people want to believe and accept it or not we are living in the End Times and are quickly approaching the very end of this age. Denying it, rejecting it, believing something different doesn’t change anything. Truth is truth. God has spoken and He is faithful to His Word. He has said what will happen and we are seeing it happen before our eyes. The problem is too many of us go thru life like a horse wearing blinders on their eyes. The proof/evidence is all around us and we are without excuse.
God is very angry over sin and He will judge it. Again, in His Word He tells us that He is coming back to earth in His righteous anger to pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His gift of salvation thru Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). Right now today He is offering His gift free to us. We can’t buy it. We can’t earn it. All we can do is accept it. I emphasize the word today because we have no promise of tomorrow. God says that if we die in our sins we will face the consequences He has warned us of.
If I were holding out a gift to you you would not actually possess it until you reached out and took it from me. The same is true of the gift of salvation that Jesus offers. We must “receive Him” into our hearts and lives.
There are lots of resources available for further reading on my other blog I call “Truth to Ponder“.
I know that there will be those who read this post and get upset, even furious over it. Believe it or not, I used to be such a person myself. I am reminded of a story about a family being sound asleep in their home all comfortable snugly in their beds. It is the wee hours of the morning when a motorist is passing by. The motorist sees flames shooting out of the house so he drives up near the house and gets out running up to the front door banging on the door and yelling “Fire! Fire! Wake up and get out there while you can!”. He then runs around to windows banging on them … continuing to yell … all in an effort to alert the people inside so they can safely get out and be spared a horrible fate. Now those people inside could do two things. They could awaken and get out of the house while they can and be ever so appreciative of the passerby for stopping, awakening and warning them of the peril they face … or they could get angry for disturbing their good night’s sleep … after all they were so comfortable lying there undisturbed sound asleep.
Every single human being who has or ever will live (has been conceived) has eternal life. We will all spend eternity somewhere. The grave is not the end as some foolishly believe. That “somewhere” comes down to two choices … heaven with God or … in eternal anguish in the Lake of Fire apart from God. God will judge sin. Each and every one of us will stand before the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ and give account for our lives. Those who die “in their sins” will not partake of the great things God has prepared for those who have obeyed the gospel and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. Yes, God loves us. He proved His great love for us when He died a horrific death on a wooden cross while we were still sinning before Him. So I ask you, if you have not already received God’s free gift of salvation, “what will you do with Jesus Christ?” You can’t be neutral. Jesus said that we are either for Him or against Him. It is my prayer that those who read this last posting on this blog will seriously and sincerely take a look at this matter of salvation and eternity. There is no more important thing I could be sharing with you.
I end with these words recorded in John 3:18 …
“He who **believes** in Him (Jesus) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten(unique) Son of God.” – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
**believes** as used here is not simply a matter of belief in one’s head, but rather it is a matter of fully embracing Jesus in one’s heart, trusting in Him and giving one’s self totally to Him in full commitment and devotion.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? SOMEDAY YOUR HEART WILL BE ASKING, WHAT WILL HE DO WITH ME? The above verse of scripture provides the answer to that question. We can go thru our entire lives ignoring, denying, rejecting the TRUTH and justifying ourselves, but in the end we will bow our knees along with everyone else and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD and fully agree with what He has said to us in His Word.
Jesus Christ can be your Savior and best friend … or He can be (will be) your worst and deadliest enemy. We must all stand before Him in judgement. Yet it is not Jesus Who will be our judge. Rather it is the written Word of God which will be used by Him to judge us. The bible is no ordinary book. Man could not have written it (on his own) if he wanted to … and he would not have written it if he could have.
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3
It is a ·terrible [dreadful; terrifying] thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
This may or may not be my last posting on this blog. For now I am taking a break from it. Whether or not I continue on with it is unknown to me at this time. At this point in time what I am thinking about doing is reducing the number of scheduled new postings to one per week instead of three per week. I don’t know if it will be posted on a certain day of the week. I will just have to figure it out. Thank you for bearing with me. For now I think I can say along with Arnold … “I’ll be back”. ……….. In fact, look for a new posting next Wed. July 13th and hopefully on each Wed. from then until I decide to do something different.
Is life flashing past you? Maybe you need to slow up and enjoy life at the speed of a tadpole trike. I find it most rewarding and rejuvenating. God has said in His written word (the Holy Scriptures, the bible) that our life is like a vapor … here today, gone tomorrow. That certainly is true and the older we get the more we seem to notice it and agree with it. We eventually get to a point where we say to ourselves (and perhaps to others) … “where did our lives go? It seems like it was only a few years ago I was young and vibrant … able to do things I can no longer do … and remembering lots of differnet things in our past. There is nothing wrong with being busy just so we aren’t too busy. Being busy is better than being lazy and unproductive. Still though balance is needed in all things.
One of the great benefits of riding a tadpole trike over a bicycle is the ability to somewhat safely “take in” more of our surroundings from our perch on the seat. Of course, like anything else there is a time we can do so and a time we need to pay full attention to our riding … for safety’s sake … ours as well as others.
Many of us know who this guy is. He refers to himself as “trike hobo”. That is somewhat fitting as one of the meanings of hobo is a carefree wanderer. I am sure he would readily testify as to the enjoyment he has experienced while riding his trikes.
If you are a person who tends to speed along as fast as you can go maybe you need to hook up to something to slow you down like this triker did. (No, he isn’t really hooked up to the railroad car.)
So whether you are an international triker, a national triker, a regional triker or a local area triker like me by all means take advantage of the time spent in the saddle and enjoy all that you can each and every time you are out. Yes, enjoy life at the speed of a tadpole trike. And do all that you can to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I am sure many of us have been asked that question by others. I sometimes reply “with the handlebars” and usually show them where the handlebars are at since they don’t seem to be able to figure it out for themselves. That is the short and simple answer to the question, but wait … there is more to it that that. I mean … SELF STEER, WE STEER, PEDAL STEER, BRAKE STEER, BODY STEER — THEY ALL STEER. Did you follow all of that? I am sure some of you did, but for the rest I will explain further. Let’s look at them one at a time.
I already mentioned the WE STEER and don’t think it needs any further explanation. We simply turn the handlebars and thus we steer the trike. The only thing I think I will add here is that if we hold onto the handlebars too tightly and are pedaling hard we can effect the steering thru the handlebars by simply moving them back and forth. We often won’t even realize we are doing this. Of course, direct steering vs. indirect steering will also make a difference. Usually direct steering is more sensitive to slight movement, especially at speed.
SELF STEER (self centering) – is simply the way the trike is designed. If designed and built correctly the front wheels should more less center themselves and go straight ahead on a flat smooth level surface. This is desirable.
PEDAL STEER – is when the trike tends to turn one way and then the other as we pedal along. This is the result of the boom flexing and effecting the forward line (path) of the trike as it moves along. This is something undesirable, but unfortunately it happens. Some trikes are far worse than others. That is because some trikes have a whole lot more flexing going on than others. Again, a well designed and built trike will have very little pedal steer. Pushing hard on the pedals results in a worse case of pedal steer. Shifting into a higher gear will decrease pedal steer. It is important not to grip the handlebars tightly as when pedaling we tend to input slight movement into the handlebars. Using just the fingertips can help us lesson our grip. Shorter crankarms will help reduce pedal steer. The more upright a person is sitting the more likely it is to experience pedal steer. Riding sitting as stationary in the seat as possible while pedaling and not swaying your upper body side to side in the seat will help reduce pedal steer. Just leaning to one side or the other will cause the trike to steer in the opposite direction. Again, depending upon the trike design some trikes are more sensitive to this input and will move about accordingly. So pedaling from the hips and not involving the upper body will eliminate most pedal steer. The further out the boom is extended (accommodating a tall person) the more likely it is to have an increase in pedal steer. “Mashing” (hard pushing) the pedals usually results in increasing pedal steer. It is far better to “spin” than to mash. The straighter we can push on the pedals the better. This may mean pulling our knees together inward somewhat and adjusting the position of our feet on the pedals as well. Pedal steer can be pretty much eliminated if we work on it.
Here is what Catrike says in the owners manual about some of this …
<> Riding tips: If you don’t have experience with recumbent tricycles, you may find that for the first few rides you experience noticeable pedal steer (pushing hard on the pedals makes the trike swerve) and brake steer (grabbing one brake harder than the other causes the trike to swerve). These two phenomena become much less noticeable as you gain experience. Pedal steer is minimized or eliminated by pedaling smoothly at a fairly high cadence, rather than mashing hard. Brake steer is minimized by braking smoothly and evenly…if the trike lurches under braking you’re overdoing it (it’s like driving your car…you don’t stand on the brakes every time you slow the car; rather, you learn to modulate the pressure so that the car does not lurch). The smoothest, most enjoyable ride comes when you learn not to over control the trike. The steering is very responsive, and does not require much input at all to make the trike change direction. The less you try to steer, the smoother the ride will be.
BRAKE STEER – occurs when only one brake is applied and the trike steers in the direction of the applied brake. This can be helpful when done properly by someone experienced and skillful. However, it can be quite dangerous as well, especially when it is done by someone not so experienced and skillful. It can be quite scary and lead to tragedy.
Here is what Catrike says in the owners manual about some of this …
<> Brake Steering: Our frames are designed for a diminished brake steer effect. However keep in mind that the trike is not a heavy vehicle such as a car. It does not have hydraulic, electronics or self correcting mechanisms either. It is instead, a very light recreational vehicle with a mechanical steering linkage that carries a rider sometimes over 8 times its weight. Therefore the weight & dynamics of the driver can exert total control over the capabilities of the vehicle. It does demand that the rider develops proper riding skills, such as smooth pedaling, smooth steering and smooth breaking and that it is always conscious when riding. The Catrike has front brakes only, since in a breaking situation 90% of the weight is transferred to the front of the trike. The front brakes are also independent, meaning that you can break the right wheel only, or the left wheel only. Therefore, especially in high speed or down hill situations, it is mandatory that you pull both brakes at the same time and with the same intensity. If you elect however, to brake only with one brake, this could cause the trike to steer out of your path and cause serious injury or death.
The bottom line here is we need to be careful in applying the brakes, especially at higher speeds.
BODY STEER – which seems to have varying effect depending upon the particular trike and how it is designed and built and perhaps setup. Body steer is simply a matter of leaning to one side or the other while seated and riding along. Leaning to the right should result in the trike steering to the left. Leaning to the left should result in the trike steering to the right. Oftentimes I would have to say it doesn’t have much effect.
(I purposely left out lean steer trikes since they are not very common.)
So when someone asks you how you steer that thing you can share with them all of this I have discussed here. Of course, they will probably be sorry they asked. 😉 It probably would be better to just tell them that you steer it with the handlebars and then you can just …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Lastly, HERE is a poem of sorts someone made up about pedal steer. I would give them credit for it if I knew who wrote it, but alas I don’t so all I can do is share the website where it is posted. It is rather lengthy, but interesting:
As the internet has flourished,
It’s the place where brains are nourished –
Questions answered, good advice, and all for free.
But at times we find confusion,
Petty spats with no conclusion;
On some issues, people simply disagree.
Pedal steer’s one red hot topic,
Where the biased and myopic
State their strong opinions – kooky to sublime.
Teams of tadpole testers wrote us,
“It’s a problem you will notice..”
Others tell us, “You’ll forget it; give it time.”
Some folks try to understand it,
And why builders haven’t banned it,
Simply making good decisions in design.
Are some tadpoles worse than others?
Men might ostracize their brothers,
Disagreeing… So what is the bottom line?
One authority is certain:
“CASTER! That’s the culprit.” (Flirtin’
With a partial loss of credibility)
Other pundits shun that war word;
Sure the rider’s too far forward,
They insist the key is fore-to-aft CG.
One guy says, “That boom’s too flexy.
Sure, light weight is super sexy;
Still a tadpole works much better if it’s stiff.
Folding frame or soft composite –
That’s the sort of stuff to cause it.
Solid alloy steel would fix that in a jif!”
Some posts tell us, “Make tracks wider.”
Others claim that all a rider
Needs to do is just relax his stonelike grip.
Scores of would-be trike designers,
Second guessers, geeks and whiners
Offer their beliefs or freely share a tip.
Though I rarely speak in bellows,
I – like all these other fellows –
Can’t (or should I say I won’t?) resist the urge
To assist in education
Of the unwashed population,
Helping logic, truth and reason to emerge.
No, you know of course I’m poking
Fun at technogeeks; I’m joking.
Still there is some truth in what I have to say.
I’ve spent years in engineering,
Analyzing, probing, peering
Into why contraptions act some quirky way.
When I started out three-wheeling,
I encountered that odd feeling
As the trike began to waggle – gee then haw.
But did I, appalled or frightened,
Shout, “This wrongness must be rightened!”
In a single word, the simple answer’s ‘NAW’.
I feel sure – at least I’m hopin’ –
That if you’ll keep your mind open,
Though you doubt at first, you’ll have a change of heart.
Gather ’round, all those who’ll listen;
I’ll share points some may be missin’,
Going back to basic biking as a start.
Hey… remember starting biking?
It was not much to your liking
When the danged thing rocked from side to side – then CRASH!
Still all cyclists gained reflexes –
Smart and dumb folks, both the sexes –
So that they weren’t dumped each day they dared to dash.
You have seen one-wheeled abortions,
Watched their riders do contortions,
Smiling, though they jerked around to stay upright.
Unicyclists, pedals pumping,
Pirouetting, even jumping,
Balance as they ride, aloft, eight feet in height.
BOTTOM LINE (IMHO time):
Folks, it’s not exactly SHOWTIME
When someone can ride a tadpole straight and true.
Even if, when you first try it,
You may think, “Bull. I don’t buy it,”
Settle down and give it one more chance (or two).
Tadpoles yaw when someone meddles,
Blithely stomping on their pedals,
But it’s not at all essential (as on bikes)
That new riders learn rare talents,
Skills or even basic balance
To prevent unplanned rollovers on their trikes.
With their stable three-point footing,
Tadpoles yaw, but they’re not putting
Even handicapped (or clumsy) folks at risk.
Riding tadpoles is so easy,
Thoughts of skill can be… well, breezy –
Or at least until one’s cornering gets brisk.
Some folks find some trikes instinctive;
Others get a strong (distinctive)
Feeling when they pedal other trikes, they swerve –
Back and forth, like some cheap floozy,
Strutting through some joint, so boozy
As she waddles by, her path’s an ess-shaped curve.
But so what? Folks, pedal steering
Isn’t something to be fearing.
In most cases the sensation’s pretty small.
Subtle shifts you make in spinning,
From the first as you’re beginning,
Well may mean that you won’t notice it at all.
At its worst, it’s one reminder
Trikes – compared to bikes – are kinder.
Hey, at least you won’t keep falling while you learn
How to make those small corrections
That will counter odd deflections
As your pedals, cranks and wheels begin to turn.
Pedal steering is SUBJECTIVE.
Any rational detective
Should catch on and tell the victim he’s to blame…
Well, at least in part, I’m thinking,
Though I’m grinning now and winking,
And although of course all tadpoles aren’t the same.
I believe most tadpole riders,
Once they’ve stroked their three-wheeled gliders
Long enough and far enough to earn their stripes,
Learn the simple compensations
For whatever deviations
Pedal steering makes in tadpoles of all types.
Tadpoles don’t demand much training.
Just go riding; stop complaining.
Very soon you’ll note your style has reached its peak.
Is it automatic? Brainless?
If it’s mental, folks, it’s painless
To develop what’s required for good technique.
So… I’ve stated MY opinion,
Which some TROLL (and faithful minion)
Will insist and swear is wrong as wrong can be.
Hey, if TROLLS begin agreeing,
I’ll be very swiftly fleeing
To another point of view… Is that just me?
A scene from the 1957 movie, “The Incredible Shrinking Man”
During a recent doctor appointment I was asked by the nurse what my height is. My answer was “Well, I used to be 5’6″, but the last time I was checked I was down to about 5’4 3/4″ I think.”. She told me to step up to the place where they measure patients and low and behold she told me I now measured 5’4″. In all fairness, I don’t think she measured me carefully and accurately. I just measured myself and I got 5’4 1/2″. I noticed a few weeks ago that I seemed to have too much leg extension while pedaling even though the boom had been adjusted correctly and was fine for a long time. Today I shortened the boom just a bit. I seem to be the victim of a cruel hoax … another ‘incredible shrinking man’, if you will. I sure don’t seem to be having any problem in my vertical measurement lessening, but the horizontal measurement is another story. At the rate I am going it won’t be long before my horizontal measurement is more than my vertical measurement.
I only am sharing this because this same scenario could be happening to others and they too may need to readjust their boom. In doing so remember that it may also me necessary to shorten the chain if your derailleur can’t handle the adjustment to the boom. Typically a rear derailleur can handle about two inches of “extra” chain length (which is about one inch of boom movement), but that is only when talking about from the one extreme to the other extreme … when both the chain and rear derailleur were set up correctly initially. If you are already near the one extreme when you move the boom the chain may need to be shortened. Having too much chain for the derailleur to handle will result in the derailleur not being able to move back far enough to take all the slack out of the chain and having the chain rub against itself while pedaling like in the picture below.
So if you find yourself experiencing what seems to be too much leg extension even though you had the correct boom setting in the past you too could be another incredible shrinking man or woman. No matter how short we get hopefully we can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I noticed that in the first video below the first part and the last part of the movie are missing.