Monthly Archives: July 2017

ORGANIZED RALLIES, RIDES and EVENTS


There are several various rallies, rides and events held each year around the nation. And, of course, there are similar events in other countries of the world, but I am only covering some which are here in the United States. By the way, to the best of my knowledge and understanding all brands of tadpole trikes, delta trikes, “Florida tricycles”, 2 wheel recumbent bikes and diamond frame bikes are welcome to participate regardless of the event being a specific brand name trike. There are always other pedal powered cycles in attendance from what I have seen in videos and still pictures and from what I have read about the rallies.

Rallies: (Some of the biggies/best known)

Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally  (HOT … a Catrike rally held in Austin, TX)

Wisconsin’s Hostel Shoppe hosts their Midwest Recumbent Rally in August. They also sponsor an annual FALL COLOR TOUR up in Wisconsin.

Fort Stevens (Oregon) Recumbent Rally

 

Here are some more individual listings of rallies:

West Michigan Recumbent Rally

RBR Recumbent Bike and Trike Rally (Pennsylvania)

Smoky Mountain Recumbent Rally  (Maryville, TN)

Tator TOT Recumbent Rally    (Idaho)

Great Western Bicycle Rally (central California)

PALM ride (Pedal Across Lower Michigan)

TerraTrike RiderFest (Michigan)

Michigan HPV rallies

For 11 years Catrike offered an annual rally including rides and a tour of their factory in Orlando, Florida. However they no longer sponsor the ride which I find very sad.

Rides:

RAGBRAI is an annual seven-day cycling ride across the state of Iowa, the oldest,
largest and longest cycling touring event in the world. The route averages 468 miles,
with an average of 67 miles per day. It begins along Iowa’s western border on the
Missouri River and ends along the eastern border on the Mississippi River.

BAK (Biking Across Kansas) is a recreational and social rally for cyclists, an annual,
eight-day tour across the state of Kansas. BAK promotes wellness through cycling,
while experiencing the history and beauty of the Kansas landscape, and the warm
hospitality of the Kansas towns and people.

GOBA (The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) is an annual one-week cycling-camping
tour in June. Each year the GOBA route features a different part of Ohio, meandering
through the quiet countryside and stopping at tourist destinations. The ride includes
5 days of cycling from town to town, and 2 days of optional loops.

You can read about some other rides and events HEREHERE  and HERE

Bent Rider OnLine  has a MESSAGE BOARD concerning events, rides and rallies readers post.

Recumbent Events:

Recumbent Cycle-Con

Races:

http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/calendar.asp

Rider Meetups:

TrikeGroups is probably the best of the websites for connecting with other riders. HERE is another website concerning meeting up with other trikers and organizing rides together. I think you have to sign up to use this website. If there are none in your area you can start one here. HERE is a website where you can look up groups listed by State.

Sadly, these websites have been around for a few years, but there just doesn’t seem to be much interest in it. With only a few exceptions what few group listings there are only have 1 to 3 members and don’t ever seem to grow. I am not surprised at this however as it is exactly what I have found to be the way most riders are … no interest in riding together.

I just created a group on TrikeGroups for Fort Wayne. As much as I would love to see other tadpole trike riders here in Fort Wayne join the group (named Fort Wayne Tadpole Riders) (Just zoom in on the map page to find the group. You will see Fort Wayne. Click on the red symbol.) I doubt very much if anyone does … maybe 2 or 3. I also created a Facebook Group by that name and I doubt if more than a small handful will join it. (Please don’t ask to join if you are not from the Fort Wayne area and ride here.) If you do a search by States you will find this listing:

http://www.trikegroups.com/browsegroups.php?s=2&c=IN

I guess most of us who ride tadpole trikes don’t buy into the words of the song … “Let’s get together … yeah, yeah, yeah … It could be so much fun”. OK, I admit … I added my own words on the end. But it is true ya’ know. I don’t mind riding by myself, but I definitely think it is more enjoyable to ride together with other tadpole trikes.

There may be bicycle organizations in your area already, but most usually are hard core diamond frame road riders (“roadies”) who go out pedaling around 23 +/- mph average … in short, a different breed which I think most would agree that tadpole trikes don’t fit in too well.

One thing I want to mention is that most organized rides and test rides at events require helmets to be worn on rides.

I am sure there are numerous events I have not covered as I certainly don’t know about all that many. Hopefully those of you who have an interest in this can do some digging and find out. Usually local bike shops have information on rides and events concerning cycling. And hopefully this will be helpful or at least encouraging for all of us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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HP VELOTECHNIK, A TRIKE TO BE RECKONED WITH


HP Velotechnik is a well known and respected German manufacturer of tadpole trikes. Their two main models … the Scorpion and Gekko continue to grow in popularity. Recently while visiting a trike dealer in Kokomo, Indiana they were assembling a brand new Gekko for a customer. It is a nice looking trike.

I am sure some would say that the Scorpion fs26 is the ultimate in comfort among trikes. The fs stands for full suspension. It is also available with a 500 watt pedal assist electric motor. One would have to be independently wealthy or on good terms with a banker to buy one of them as they are pretty much at the top of list cost wise … like around $8000. That is a lot of money for a tadpole trike. They are a large trike and are heavier than most all other trikes so this may be a challenge for some folks if lifting it is involved.

Here is an interesting video showing a Scorpion on a bob sled track. I am sure that ride is exhilarating.

HP Velotechnik has some good reading available on their website.  Sometimes it is more interesting than other times.

Here is a good video. However it is in German so you may not understand anything being said.

Yes, HP is a trike to be reckoned with. Most would compare them, especially their top of the line model, the Scorpion, with a Caddilac, or a Mercedes, or a Rolls Royce among tadpole trikes. In other words … TOP DOG! But hey, whether you are riding a top dog or a Rover … ENJOY THE RIDE and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SO YOU WANT TO BUILD YOUR OWN TRIKE, HUH?


 There is lots of information about building a tadpole trike available online besides what I have written myself. I am not really adding anything new here. Rather I am simply posting this one article with links to all that I have written about the subject before making it a bit easier to find it.

Here is one of them: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/gotta-do-your-homework/
Here is another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/tadpole-trike-construction-the-science-of-tadpole-trike-steering/
Here another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/home-built-recumbent-trike-detailed-plans-and-construction-steps/
And here are a bunch more postings on my blog about custom built trikes: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/category/homemade-tadpole-trikes/

IF YOU’VE GOT ‘EM, USE ‘EM (GEARS THAT IS)


I have never been a smoker but certainly I have been forced against my will to be around a lot of smoking. When I was going thru boot camp (recruit training) in the Navy I remember the company commander saying the words “If you’ve got em, smoke em”. This was how a smoking break was announced. Obviously, if someone lacks something they can’t very well use them.

Some folks buy trikes which lack sufficient gearing for hill climbing. What can I say? But for those who purchased trikes with low gearing available what I am talking about here applies … if you have low enough gearing, use it. I am amazed at the number I riders I come across that don’t use their gears much at all. Hey, that is what they are there for. Some are quite intimidated by them. They don’t understand them and don’t know how to shift them. I am amazed by that as it is so simple. And it is also so practical, sensible and very much needed.

We can encounter some horrendous hills and having and using “granny gear” is a must if we are going to climb them. I have written quite a bit about this before: HERE, HEREHERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, With all that already written I won’t go on here much more. I just want to emphasize that we need to use the gears and not be afraid of them. If you have a derailleur system the main thing to remember is don’t try to shift when stopped or while pushing hard on the pedals. Shifting, especially downshifting, must be done ahead of time before one gets themselves into trouble not being in the right gear. One can do serious and expensive damage to the rear derailleur when attempting to shift if under heavy load or while stopped. You can literally turn it into the shape of a pretzel leaving you stranded and having to buy a new derailleur.

So I say again … if you’ve got ’em, use ’em. It will make your ride much more enjoyable and help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

HELP! I CAN’T GET UP


The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be. To be blunt, some of need help for one reason or another. Getting into  the seat of a tadpole trike can be challenging enough for some of us, but getting back up out of the seat can be even more challenging. I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? 🙂             Let’s just go with the bad news and get it out of the way.

“SKY HOOKS” don’t really exist. It is too bad as they would be extremely popular. My first introduction to the imaginary sky hooks was when I was in the Navy. Along with the “mail buoy watch”,  “relative bearing grease”, “batteries for the sound-powered phones”, “shore line stretcher“, “a long weight” and several other pranks the sky hooks were a fun thing to play on gullible newbies. Anyway, a sky hook is a device which has a hook on both ends or at least the top end and a closed strap on the bottom end. One end hooks up to someplace up in the sky and the other end is used to hoist or hold something up. If we had two sky hooks it would be the cat’s meow in helping us get up out of our trike seats.

All joking aside let’s get to the good news. There really are devices available to help us get in and out of our seats. Various trike manufacturers offer them for their trikes. Here are some examples:

my favorite is the one pictured below

HERE is what Utah Trikes sells.
HERE is what PowerOnCycling sells for Catrike. (I like these & they are lower cost than most others.)
HERE is TerraTrike’s VersaBars.
HERE is HP Velotechnik’s StandUpAid.
HERE is another product for Catrike:
And HERE is the same product for Catrike from another source.

In order to use these Catrike Stand Up Assist bars as illustrated the vertical handlebars would have to be moved much further forward than I would want them. I like my vertical handlebars out near the ends of the horizontal bars coming off of the steering heads. Moving them forward greatly changes the leverage and control feel.

My experience in attempting to pull back and down when trying to get up is that the trike wants to roll/move (slide) backwards and this makes for a serious problem in trying to use any of these sort of devices. Others have said that these work and they don’t have this problem, but I can’t see how it is possible based on my own personal experience.

My thinking of an ideal means of help in getting up out of the seat is to have the assist bars way up high above one’s head and forward a ways so you pull yourself up rather than having a bar down low where you push yourself up. Also pulling down from above would work much better as far as the trike staying in place and not rolling backwards. Such an overhead bar could be made to telescope in and out so that it isn’t always high in the air. It could telescope out and lock once extended upwards. Of course, it would have to be made pretty strong to be used like this. Hmm, maybe I’m still thinking about those sky hooks. I really think someone needs to get serious and invent the sky hook as it would make all this so simple and work so much better than any of these aids. 🙂 

So if you need help getting in and out of your seat you might want to look into one of these aids. They are all we have available for now. I wonder if there is any money in inventing a sky hook. Hey, Enjoy the Ride … and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

ARE YOU BLIND?


I am not blind, but I have been experiencing various vision problems over the last several years. I have glaucoma. My mom had glaucoma as did her mom. My grandmother went blind the last few years of her life and my mom nearly did. I am “legally blind” in my left eye. My eye doctor has been trying to save my eyesight I have left. Blindness is not something any sane person would choose and yet many of us who ride tadpole trikes do choose it. We don’t have eyes in the back of our heads and we can only see so far off to the sides. We are not owls with the ability to turn our heads clear around backwards. In short, we need mirrors to see behind us. That is reality and no sane person would argue it. Certainly our laws require left and right outside rear view mirrors as well as an inside rear view mirror. As far as I am concerned they ought to be a legal requirement on all forms of cycles and misc. vehicles.

Susan in Chuck's mirror what's behind no mirror

See what you are missing without a mirror? There is another trike following behind, but without a mirror you wouldn’t know that. Of course, these pictures don’t really illustrate what I am talking about as far as a blind spot. Many tadpole trike riders choose to only use one mirror. I don’t understand it. We are greatly limited in our sight and it is very unsafe for ourselves as well as others. I am sure most all of us have heard of “blind spots”. They are real and they are very dangerous. A blind spot is the area that doesn’t show up in the one mirror some riders have. Obviously that area is closer up to us than what is shown in these pictures.

Here are the blind spots using 2 mirrors. The grey areas are the bling spots. The white areas are where we can see using the mirror(s) as well as with our eyes looking ahead of us. (Ignore the small grey area in front of the rider. I didn’t bother to remove it when I did the photo editing.)

And here are the blind spots areas with only 1 mirror. As you can observe there is a tremendous difference.

Yes, when we choose to only have one mirror we are choosing to be blind on the side we have no mirror. We don’t do it when we operate our cars, trucks, etc. so why would anyone choose to only use one mirror?

I ride with other tadpole trike riders and they only have one mirror. I have to be very careful around them as they don’t see me if I am on the side where they have no mirror … not unless I am quite a distance back behind them. Just recently one of my friends turned sharply to the right and forced me to brake hard to avoid a collision. He had no idea I was there as he is blind on that side and to make matters worse he usually doesn’t turn his head and try to look.  And this situation happens everyday several times a day. I always see them, but they don’t see me. I have talked to them about this, but they stubbornly refuse to install a second mirror. They choose to ride blindly and be a hazard … an accident waiting to happen.

Matt's trike with two mirrors

Matt Galat (JaYoe) … well known for his world travel adventure and videos …

is wise enough to use two mirrors.

When I built my first trike I put two mirrors on it. I have always had two mirrors on my trikes. I can’t imagine not having a mirror on both sides. I don’t choose to be blind … not when it comes to my eyesight nor when riding my trike. What about you? Are you blind? It is a very dangerous thing to ride around blind on one side. It is a very foolish thing as well. And it is a very unnecessary thing as they sell mirrors every day. We need to be safe ourselves and do our part to ensure others are safe from us. In short, we need to be responsible. That means having two mirrors is a must. We all want to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

WHEEL (RIM) REPAIRS


It can happen all too easily and quickly … slam, bam … and I ain’t talking about heading off for the moon. I am talking about damage occurring to our wheels by hitting a bad bump or hole. It happened to me this Spring riding along on city/county streets and roads. Pot holes are everywhere and hard to avoid, especially when riding a trike with three wheels all tracking their own separate path. With traffic alongside and sometimes parked cars on the other one doesn’t have the luxury of steering out and over to the side to avoid hitting such bad pavement. I have two front wheels with pronounced flat spots on them. What’s a guy to do? New wheels are not cheap and it is something that can happen more than once.  To continually replace damaged wheels would be a rich man’s game. There is hope as long as the damage isn’t too severe.

Like so many things we can do an online search for help and information. First if we have the money we can have a LBS (Local Bike Shop) make the repair for us if they offer that servoce. There are special tools to use to make such repairs. I try to do as much of my own repair and maintenance work on my trike as I can. I rarely need to take my trike to a shop as I can do most everything myself.

How do you fix a flat spot on a wheel you ask? It is not as difficult as one might think. Probably the most helpful information I have come across is the website of the late Sheldon Brown. He is well known and respected as a gold mine of information about bicycle repair and maintenance. HERE is his article on this subject. Most of the way down the page you will find his instruction on how to remove flat spots on wheels.

The tools needed are simple enough … a spoke wrench, a strong fence post (or something such), and some sort of a strong strap. After removing the flat spot as much as you can the wheel will need to be trued. HERE is Sheldon’t article on truing wheels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are other ways to go about this. Another of them is to simply stand on the flat spot and physically pull the rim back out removing the flat spot. One needs to be careful however as other damage can happen to the wheel. Above a person is using a hydraulic bottle jack to push the flat spot out. Notice he has in place a block of wood on the base of the jack  and a curved piece of metal on the top … both to help prevent damage to the wheel components.

Here is a helpful video covering this subject and more …

http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/features/How-To-Wheel-Truing-with-Arts-Cyclery,25038/sspomer,2

Like many subjects there are a “blue million” videos available about wheel truing.

Here are some articles I have written:

Wheel Truing

Catrike Front Wheel Bearings

Wheel Building

Rear Wheel Cartridge Bearing

Wheel Alignment & Spoke Tension/Breakage

Of course, the best advise is to try to avoid riding places where this damage can occur. It is no fun riding on rims with flat spots and it is no fun trying to fix them either. But hey, like something else we all know about … IT happens! And when it does we have to deal with it if we want to ENJOY THE RIDE and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FLINTSTONE BRAKES & YOU


Hanna-Barbera produced the popular Flintstone cartoon tv series where Fred was known to use his feet as the brakes for his prehistoric car.

We laugh at that and perhaps we have even done it ourselves at times in the past on some types of vehicles. We might have even gotten away with it, but I caution you not to attempt it on a tadpole trike as you may very well regret it. The results could get quite ugly, most serious and painful. LEG SUCK is not something anyone would want to  have happen to them. Leg suck is where the rider of a tadpole trike literally runs over their leg as the leg folds back under the crossmember (cruciform) of the trike frame. I saw it happen once to a friend of mine. It was hard to watch. He was fortunate. He only experienced considerable pain which took several days to get over … nothing got broken. I have myself had this happen a couple of times and experienced the pain of it. Fortunately my pain and suffering was over much quicker. The bottom line is … it is not worth it … keep your feet on the pedals. Certainly it is best to use some sort of means to keep your feet on the pedals so they can’t fall off and come down onto the ground. Tadpole trikes are a lot of fun to ride, but we need always to use common sense and good judgement. Be safe, enjoy the ride and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’