Monthly Archives: December 2019
I try to go out for a ride almost daily but when winter arrives it gets a bit more difficult to do so. I was planning on going out today (Dec. 18th) but looking at the current weather conditions and forecast I may not be doing so. It is 21 degrees F. and falling with snow flurries and a 12 mph wind gusting to 23 mph and the wind chill factor is 8 degrees. Sitting inside looking out the window it looks like a beautiful day outside … plenty of sunshine. Well, looks can be deceiving.
When I was much younger that would not phase me. I was tough and I could handle it. I used to ride a motorcycle in nasty winter weather. Once I even wore my ice skates to use as outriggers to keep my motorcycle upright as I rode on ice covered streets after an ice storm. As I have aged (today, the 27th, as this posts is my 73rd birthday) things have changed. And the older I get the more they seem to change. I guess this ol’ bird isn’t so tough anymore. Part of the problem is that I find it harder to keep warm, especially my hands and feet.
I have tried various articles of clothing in an attempt to keep warm. I think I have my upper body taken care of. My lower body seems to be warm enough but my legs feel like ice to the touch. I don’t really understand that. How can I feel warm but have ice cold skin that takes a long time to heat back up once I come inside from being out in the cold? My feet do ok just wearing wool socks and good quality leather shoes. I don’t think they would stay warm enough in this weather however. I can usually last for about an hour before my feet start getting cold. That is something I need to continue to work on. As much as I don’t care to do it I may try just putting plastic bags over my shoes to keep the cold air/wind from them. Somewhere on my computer I should have a picture of a guy on a tadpole trike in the winter. He was wearing either large oversized socks or leg warmers over his shoes to keep his feet warm. He looked like a giant elf with the sock/legwarmer sticking way out in front of his shoe as he pedaled along. I have searched for this picture on my computer and online in order to post it here but can’t find it.
Motivation comes into play. I can’t think of anything that will motivate me to go out riding when it is colder outside then I care to deal with. If I were a rich man, if I were single or my wife was retired like I am (she is younger than me) … just maybe we would be snowbirds and leave these northlands for a warmer climate for the winter months. I guess only time will tell concerning this. I would move away from here in a heartbeat but my wife has most of her family here and doesn’t want to leave here. Bummer! My family is all gone (deceased) so there is nothing holding me here.
How about you? Are you tough? Can you … do you go out riding in winter weather if you live somewhere that has winter weather? If you do, what do you do to keep warm? Do you struggle with motivation?
This motivates me ifin’ the weather is okay …
That is a beautiful scene and quite inviting to me.
Well, that’s my story and I am stuck with it. And winter has just begun. Oh my! Oh me! Oh no! Maybe I am just having a bad dream and I will wake up to sunshine and 75 degrees. Now I am dreamin’. But one thing is for sure. I really do want to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
Now I ask ya … are all inner tubes created equal? Is it worth it to purchase a certain brand at a higher cost? Here is what I think I know and understand about the matter. In a word … YES! … there is a difference. My answer is based on my personal experience and what I have read about it. I used to use common lower cost inner tubes and I had a lot of flats, many of which were “internal” flats … not caused by a puncture from the outside.
When I first bought my Catrike Trail it came with Presta valves. I had never heard of them prior to that. I quickly learned to hate them so I took action and drilled my rims out larger to accept Schrader valves. Quite some time passed before I discovered that Schwalbe inner tubes with Schrader valves have a threaded metal valve stem like the Presta valve has. The threaded metal valve stem was the only thing I did like about the Presta valve. I like the idea of having a threaded metal valve stem which with the use of the nut won’t push down into the rim when the inner tube has no or little air in it. So I started buying Schwalbe inner tubes which were considerably more expensive than the inner tubes I had been using.
Some more time passed before I discovered that Specialized also offers the threaded metal Schrader valve stem inner tubes. And although they are more costly than the inner tubes I originally used they are a little bit cheaper than Schwalbe brand. And I can buy them at my local bike shop where they offer “buy three and get the fourth free”. So I have been using these Specialized brand inner tubes for several years now.
Now to get to what I have read about inner tubes. Only a few brands claim that they are made with equal thickness thruout. And yes, they are the more expensive brands such as Schwalbe and Specialized. You might ask “does that matter”? Yes, it does because an inner tube that has thin/thinner areas means that those thin/thinner areas are weaker than the areas which are thick/thicker. A weak/weaker area in an inner tube is more likely to fail in that area.
To be totally fair I have to say that the biggest factor in reducing the number and frequency of flat tires for me was when I started using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. That in and of itself totally eliminated externally caused flats for me. As far as I am concerned the Marathon Plus is the best tire money can buy. It not only offers great flat protection but the mileage wear out of them is incredible. I have consistently got 12,000 to 15,000 miles out of each of these tires. Previously other tires I used yielded 2,000 to 5,000 miles before I had to replace them. And I buy them for half of what they retail for making them a real bargain. HERE is my source in the U.K. where I buy them.
Lastly I want to touch on internal flats. A few things come to mind here. Before I started using Marathon Plus tires I had started using Mr. Tuffy tire liners in an effort to reduce flats. They did help accomplish this but in the process something else happened. My internal flats increased. Upon dealing with this I observed that the area of the inner tubes which were failing was right where the Mr. Tuffy liner overlapped itself. I read about the use of talcum or baby powder to help eliminate internal flats so I started using it. It helped immensely although I still occasionally got internal flats and still many were caused by the Mr. Tuffy tire liners. When I started using the Marathon Plus tires I continued using the Mr. Tuffy tire liners. That was a mistake which I eventually figured out. I didn’t have any external flats but I had an occasional internal flat. Coming to the realization that I didn’t need the Mr. Tuffy tire lines with the Marathon Plus tires I removed them and just kept on with the baby powder. From then on I extremely rarely ever had an internal flat. I am sold on Marathon Plus tires and baby powder. BTW, when I apply baby powder I use it very liberally coating the inside of the tire as well as the outside of the inner tube. I rub in in to all surfaces using my hands.
Have you ever noticed when removing an inner tube from a tire that it is stuck to the inside of the tire almost like it is glued to it? That is what happens or at least can happen when there is no lubrication such as I speak of further below. Also have you ever noticed an imprint on an inner tube from something inside of the tire? That is another example of lack of lubrication. Neither of these can happen when baby powder is used. Below is a picture of the imprint of Mr. Tuffy tire liner on the inner tube. It shows the overlap of the tire liner.
You might be wondering what the baby powder does. Well, it more less acts as a lubricant to keep the inner tube from sticking to the tire and to help keep rubbing from occurring. With the lateral forces taking place in cornering the tires move about side to side on the rims and this tends to create rubbing (abrasion) between the tire and the inner tube. And this causes internal flats. So helping to eliminate this abrasive action helps reduce internal flats. One note on the use of baby powder … be sure everything is bone dry as moisture will cause the baby powder to clump together and that causes abrasion and internal flats. I learned this from experience.
And I am fully convinced that the reason on rare occasion I have an internal flat is simply because inner tubes fail. It is that simple. I have done all I know to do to eliminate this and it rarely happens anymore … but … it does still happen. (Fortunately it has been a very long time since the last time it happened.) I have talked to bike mechanics about this … all of this … and they are in full agreement with me. They don’t and won’t recommend the use of tire liners.
Another safeguard one can employ is to use heavy duty thorn resistant inner tubes in place of the standard inner tube. Of course, in order to do this there has to be sufficient room inside of the tire. They work best in a balloon type tire such as Schwalbe’s Big Apple or Big Ben as they offer lots of room inside. That thick wall makes for a lot stronger/tougher inner tube which can’t fail very easily from internally.
As far as I know the threaded metal valve stem is not available with the heavy duty thorn resistant inner tubes.
Like ol’ Forest Gump … that’s all I’ve got to say about that. I don’t know about you but I much prefer to simply …
ENJOY THE RIDE
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
rather than being stuck alongside of the trail or road working on a flat tire problem.
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
How fast will that thing go? I don’t know how many times I have been asked that. I usually simply answer “as fast as the person riding it can pedal it”. That is a totally accurate and honest answer but, of course, it is not the answer most people want. BTW, I am only talking about riding on a flat level surface … not downhill.
Certainly any trike operating under human power has limitations regardless of the ability of the person riding it. One can only pedal so fast and “spin out” occurs. Although it is true than spin out for one person may be different from another there is a limit for us as humans. I know my fastest pedaling cadence has been about 120 rpm. I think the fastest cadence recorded is 254 rpm. Most fast riders are far lower … 140 to 165 tops. Keep in mind that we humans can not keep up a fast cadence very long. So regardless of the cadence the gearing of the trike is a limiting factor. Change the gearing to a higher ratio and that same rider can go faster before they reach spin out again. However, if the gearing gets too high then the rider can not over power the resistance encountered. That means that there has to be a “happy medium” if you will. Again it comes down to a limitation factor.
Another limiting factor is weight. The more weight the trike is carrying the slower it will go unless one is going downhill. The weight factor involves the weight of the rider, the weight of the trike as it is equipped (any extras added) and any extra cargo being hauled around. Obviously the less total weight involved contributes significantly to being able to achieve faster speed.
This rider doesn’t weigh much at all. Of course, he doesn’t look very muscular.
This Spandex is pretty much fully expanded.
The model of the trike involved comes into play. I already mentioned gearing and weight. Some trikes have higher gearing than others and some trikes weigh much less than others. Aerodynamics makes a difference as well. Air resistance is indeed a factor so a trike with a seat back angle reclined far more than others means that the rider is not experiencing nearly as much air resistance. So trikes such as the Catrike 700, the ICE VTX and the Greenspeed Aero will by design be faster than trikes which weigh more, have lower gearing and more upright seating. I know that there are those who prefer more upright seating and some say they need more upright seating because of physical problems. There are tradeoffs when one goes with upright seating. Safety suffers because handling suffers. The more reclined the seatback is the better the trike will handle. And the better it handles the more speed it can safely handle.
So how fast will that thing go? I DUNNO! And that’s the truth. Perhaps it would be better to ask … how fast have you ridden on that? Now that I can answer. Speed is a relative thing. What is fast for some is rather slow for others. The fastest I have ever been able to get my trike up to is 30 mph and that is downhill. Others speak of speeds in the 40s and 50s when going downhill. Of course, they have greater downhills to ride than what I have available around where I live. On a flat level surface I spin out at around 23 mph. There are riders who claim they have pedaled in the low 30s.
Maybe the most accurate and honest way to answer the question as asked is to say … “I don’t know. I have never had it to it’s limit so I really can’t say.”
Well, whatever speed you ride at …
ENJOY THE RIDE
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
She may not look like Linda Carter but you are looking at a real life wonder woman. If you don’t believe me just read THIS article. Among her many accomplishments in life she was the first person to ride a Catrike tadpole trike from one coast of the United States to the other. She chose a Catrike and requested the factory to paint it pink for her. (I love the color pink.) She rode from San Diego, California to Saint Augustine, Florida in 58 days. I wrote about this many years ago on this blog (the original one) but since the entire blog was deleted it is gone forever. Years later here I am posting about this gal as it is a worthwhile story. She was truly an inspiration to others.
Loaded down for her journey she treks along …
Upon completion of her journey these pictures were captured for posterity … one holding up both arms forming a V for victory and the other lifting her pink trike up over her head in victory …
(Did I mention that I love the color pink?)
She returned home to Martha’s Vineyard following her historic ride where she could be seen riding her trike around the area and became well known for doing so.
Lucinda started a business following her ride across the U.S. She offered guided recumbent trike rides … organized planned rides for anyone who wanted to try it. It was the first of its kind as far as was known.
With winter coming on she kept riding with the help of a VeloKit on her trike. She was a trooper!
HERE is another article about her.
Sadly she is no longer with us as death came all too early for her. HERE is another article about her. It briefly mentions her death being the result of an unexpected illness.
I am impressed with her and I really do love that pink color. She really …
ENJOYED THE RIDE!
KEPT ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
Shortly after purchasing and installing bar end mitts last winter I wrote an article about my first impressions. I continued to use them all of last winter and removed them come Spring. I put them back on a few weeks ago assuming I would continue to use them this winter but about a week ago I took them back off as I decided to try something different. What I am trying to say is I no longer have the same impression of them as I had when I first wrote about them.
They do block the wind which is appreciated. However, they are just too small and there is not enough room inside of them. My hands are not only right up against them which means the cold is transferred thru whatever gloves or mittens I wear and causes my handwear not to work as well as it would and can without this scenario. And because they are too small inside I am limited as to what handwear I can use. In addition to these problems it is nearly impossible for me to twist my twist shifters to shift gears. Working the brake levers is even challenging.
So I made the decision to remove them and just wear my Hotfingers Rip N Go mittens which do a good job of blocking the wind and air from passing thru them. Mittens are a bit cumbersome but I can shift and work my brake levers with them.
If needed I can also wear my hand knit wool mittens inside of the Hotfinger mittens which is warmer yet.
And I can use chemical hand warmers inside of either pair of mittens if needed. It has been working quite well for me … much better than using the bar end mitts.
As an update … I have discovered the best combination for me thus far. I have removed the wool mittens from inside of the Hotfinger mittens and am using the chemical hand warmers inside of the Hotfinger mittens. My thumbs were getting cold so by doing this there is room enough inside of the thumbs of the Hotfinger mittens to place chemical hand warmers and keep my thumbs warm. Of course, I am using twice as many of the hand warmers by doing this but at least my entire hands are staying warm.
I know that there are bar end mitts made for ATVs , snowmobiles and motorcycles which are larger and might be okay. I will keep this in the back of my head in case I need to go that route. I have to admit I am skeptical as to whether or not they would be large enough to eliminate the issues I have with these I already bought. Meanwhile I will continue on with what I am doing now and hope I am done with bar end mitts. They are ugly looking when installed anyway. I think I am going to be able to …
ENJOY THE RIDE
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
using my mittens. Now if I could just find a mitten for my nose.
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
The Catrike Dumont model has been around now for a few years. It is the top of the line for Catrike and is quite popular. Here is a video chucked full of information about this model …
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
This video is about the Wooden Recumbent Tadpole Trike Build (2019) …
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
Many of us live where we deal with winter weather. And some of us try to keep riding our tadpole trikes thru the winter. So I ask ya … are you ready for winter? It is upon us whether we like it or not … and whether we are ready or not. And there is nothing we can do about shy of leaving for warmer weather elsewhere … which, of course, some do. But for many of us that is just not an option. We are stuck here in cold weather that comes upon us. The only other choice is to hibernate indoors thru the winter. Spending 5 months or so inside is not something I care to do. I would be climbing the walls if I tried that. For about three consecutive years I brought my trike inside the house and had it set up on a trainer thru the winter months. The “novelty wore off real quick”. I have never liked stationary exercise. I need to be outdoors and moving. Many many years ago I went inside mall walking in the early morning thru the winter. I could not stand walking inside so I went outside and walked around out in the cold.
So for those of us stuck where we are planted we just have to deal with it. I am among those who try to keep riding as much as I can. If it gets too cold I am done for. If we get too much snow … especially a wet heavy snow … I am done for. If the snow we get is too deep and isn’t being plowed off I am done for even if the weather is decent otherwise. Of course, my daily mileage is less than it is in nice riding weather. And depending upon the weather it may be less some days than others.
Keeping warm can be challenging. I have tried numerous approaches over the years and most of them have been rather unsuccessful. My hands and my feet are what I have the most problem with keeping warm enough. After many years of trying various things I think I have finally got something going for myself that is promising. I have received lots of suggestions from others over the years and have tried several of them. I am here to tell you that what works for one person may not work for another. That being said I am about to tell you what seems to be working for me. As I indicated it might not work for you.
In order to make this quick and easy for me I am simply going to copy and paste what I posted on Facebook:
“Cold winter weather is just around the corner according to the forecast. I can’t say that I am looking forward to it. I am sitting here at home now waiting for it to warm up before I go out riding. It was 18 degrees F. when I got up this morning. I try to ride thru the winter but not in the bitter cold. I can handle the 30s although I have to admit that the older I get the harder it is to do so. I much prefer the 50s but that is not typical winter temperatures for northern Indiana. I have experimented with various clothing and handwear trying to find something that works keeping me warm. Last winter I used “bar end mitts” on my handlebars. I liked them at first as they kept the cold air and wind off of my hands, however, they are just too small inside and my hands are right against them which transfers cold thru them onto my hands. Also it is nearly impossible to work the twist shifters to shift gears and it is even difficult to work the brake levers. I reinstalled them several weeks ago but I removed them about 3 weeks ago. I have found that I do better without them. I am wearing two pair of mittens … a hand knit wool pair which do a pretty good job of keeping my hands warm although air passes thru them … so I wear a second pair of mittens … Hotfingers Rip N Go which are fairly warm by themselves but they do an excellent job of stopping any air from passing thru. It is a bit bulky but they are doing a good job. And, if needed, I can also use chemical hand warmers inside of them. So my hands are staying warm now with this combination. Shifting is still a bit challenging but better than when using the bar end mitts. I have always had a problem keeping my feet warm but I think I have that resolved as well. I am wearing one pair of thick wool socks and leather shoes over them. So far that is doing the job but if needed I can always try using a plastic bag over my foot to block air from getting thru. For my legs I am using a pair of 32Heat “tights” and a pair of sweat pants over them. For my upper body I am wearing layers of a long sleeve undershirt, a regular long sleeve shirt with a pocket, a duck down filled coat and a hooded sweatshirt. This combination keeps me very warm. For my head I wear a ball cap or visor to help block the sun from my eyes and a stocking cap with built in earmuffs over the ball cap/visor. Lastly I use the sweatshirt hood over both to add warmth plus help hold the hat on my head when the wind is blowing. My head stays plenty warm as well with this combination. I also wear a pair of wrap around bubble type safety glasses which do a good job of keeping the air out of my eyes so basically only my nose, mouth, cheeks and chin are exposed to the air. I have not yet needed anything over my face but I do have a couple of various things I can use if I need to. I have to admit that rather then bundling up like this I would much prefer riding in shorts and a short sleeve shirt in 70 degree weather.”
I am in there somewhere!
Please feel free to leave a comment telling others what works for you keeping you warm while out riding in the cold. Notice I said out riding in the cold. We can do without the comments about riding in Florida, Arizona, Southern California, etc. or riding inside on a trainer where it is toasty warm. I am not addressing wimps here but real he men and women who are tough.
As they say, all others need not apply!
So bundle up …
And don’t forget to put on those long johns …
Do whatever it takes for you to keep warm enough and to …
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
We as people come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. That is why the X-seam measurement is so important. Inseam measurement won’t do. Those who are quite short or quite tall can and often do run into problems finding things that fit them. That includes tadpole trikes. But there is help so don’t give up. NO you don’t have to undergo surgery to have your legs lengthened. Actually there are various options including adjustable seats … something I personally advise people to avoid as moving the seat back and forth on the frame changes the weight distribution and effects the handling and safety of the trike. The same is true when cushions of any kind are used to move the rider further forward in the seat. By far the best way to accommodate a short rider is to shorten the boom.
If the trike’s “boom” does not slide far enough in to allow the rider to reach the pedals properly the boom can be shortened by cutting off the end which goes into the mating part of the trike frame. This is a common practice. Trike dealers do this all the time. However, I caution anyone doing this not to cut any more off of the boom than what is necessary to reach the pedals. The boom should go into the mating frame as far as it can so that the entirety of the boom is strong. Please be aware that shortening a boom slightly devaluates a trike’s worth when one goes to sell it. Definitely this is something which should be disclosed to anyone who is considering buying the trike. If it is being purchased by someone who is tall then a new boom might need to be purchased in order for the boom to be able to extend far enough to accommodate them.
I myself am short and my boom has been shortened. Oh yes, another thing which helps short riders I highly recommend is shorter crankarms. I also use these and it has helped me tremendously.
Yes, there really is hope and help for short riders. You too can …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
A FREE GIFT awaits you!