Category Archives: accessories

WHO NEEDS FENDERS ANYWAY?


fender-set

Who needs fenders? We all do unless we like getting all kinds of ucckkkyyy stuff on us. Even if you ride only when it is dry it is quite likely that you will occasionally get “something” rather unpleasant flung up onto you. If you are going straight most stuff just goes on your arms, but when you are turning it gets flung up on your chest, lap, and legs. Sometimes even when going straight stuff gets flung elsewhere on you. I am always amazed with those who ride without fenders and don’t think they need them. They either live a charmed life or they are not being honest about this matter.

Now if you are riding off road and at a very slow speed  or even on pavement at a very slow speed fenders may not be needed, but most of us ride on pavement and fast enough that crud is flying off of our tires. BTW, to my knowledge most FAT tire trikes don’t have fenders available for them at this time.

ice-and-catrike-fender-mounting

When it comes to fenders all too often the quality and design is not all that great. Some are downright poor in design while a few are much much better. I personally don’t like the ones that have braces on them. I much prefer the ones which have a strong mounting bracket such as newer Catrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik and ICE offer. I have the older type Catrike fenders and mounting hardware (pictured below) which I don’t care for at all. I paid a lot of money for them and they are junk. They are a problem in more ways than one.  The steel rods easily get bent and cause further damage to the fender. Plastic fenders are fairly strong and durable, but they have their limits.

front-fender-braces-2

planet-bike-fender-braces

The braces like pictured above which employ the plastic mounts shown are not desirable in my book. A few times I have had the fenders get chunks broken out of them where the braces attach. When that happens I have had to relocate the braces to get to a place where I can reattach them. I have learned something about attaching these braces which helps. The small screw which is used in the plastic part that attaches to the fender should not be allowed to go “thru” the plastic fender as if it does it weakens that area of the fender considerably and is the main cause of those areas breaking out. So now I just tighten the screw until the tip of the screw slightly penetrates the plastic fender enough to hold it. I have not had anymore chunks breaking out since I started doing this.

Most fenders are plastic, but some folks use wooden, steel or carbon fiber fenders.

DOES THIS GET YOUR ATTENTION?


planet-bike-1-watt-headlight  pb-blaze-1-watt-headlight-on-full-power

have used a 1 watt Planet Bike headlight for many years now. I almost always use it on flash mode as I almost always ride in the daytime and rarely at nighttime. At only 1 watt it is amazingly bright. This is due to the excellent optics employed. It is not a great light for nighttime use, but for for daytime with the flash mode it is superb. It operates on two AA batteries and they last an amazingly long time … like around 20 hours or more. I usually use rechargeable batteries in it which are super economical to use. I recently had a problem with my light as it would shut itself off almost immediately after turning it on flash mode. I just assumed it’s time had come after giving me many years of faithful service. I ordered another headlight to replace it. Meanwhile I removed this one from my trike and brought it inside the house. I started messing around with it and determined that the problem was a simple one and one I could fix. The battery contacts just needed cleaning. Now it is working great again. Here is a video of it I just took inside the house. It shows it on flash mode. Now I ask ya … would this get your attention?

It has always worked fine for me and many people have commented that they saw my headlight flashing from a long distance. It is also quite visible from the side also which is an added plus as many lights are not very visible from off to the side. I like the idea of others seeing me while I am out there and am a firm believer of the importance of good lighting front and back as well as highly visible safety flags.

I have also experimented around with taillights and although I really liked what is shown in this next video I opted not to keep it because white light showing on the back of a vehicle is illegal.

As can be seen in the next video I now have a very bright red taillight which is so bright I would not dare use it at night time as it would be blinding to others. It is so much brighter than my other taillights that it makes them look dim when, in fact, they are also plenty bright, especially at night.

The concept of being able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

appeals to me. How about you?

BOOM CHAIN TENSIONERS (CRANK ARM SHORTENERS UPDATE)


Note: I started out writing this article about an update on the subject of crank arms shorteners, but it more less evolved into another topic so I changed the title accordingly.

It has warmed up a bit recently and all the snow has melted. Between that and rain we have had recently the rivers have risen and flooded over their banks so that some parts of our local bike trails are flooded over and closed. Boo Hoo!! Never the less I have been able to ride my tadpole trike which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the nasty wind chill factor. In order to ride my trike I removed the crank arm shorteners I had installed on my wife’s recumbent bike I am using for rehab and exercise here at home. I installed the crank arm shorteners on my trike. (I was even able to move the pedals one hole further out so that means my new knee joints are improving.) What a difference! I really like them (Yes, both the crank arm shorteners and my new knee joints.) 🙂

crank-arm-shortener-on-my-tadpole-trike-3

However, there is one thing that I noticed using them on my trike that I didn’t notice on the bike. With the crank arm shorteners installed on my trike I need to readjust my boom … lengthen it … as I am not getting the leg extension I need with the pedals relocated. I have not done that yet, but I should. It probably will require adding some more chain. That is the main reason I haven’t tried moving the boom out yet. It is winter out there folks and I am not too crazy about working out in the cold to accomplish this task.

A rear derailleur is supposed to be able to handle about 2 inches of extra chain length as far as movement of the boom.  That equates to approximately one inch of boom adjustment. However that figure is based on the boom position at the shortest length the rear derailleur handles to the position of the boom at the longest length it can handle. If the boom is already positioned out quite a ways within that range than most of that 2 inches is already used up. If this is the case then additional chain would need to be added.

One nice option is to employ a Universal Boom Adjust Chain Tensioner designed for the boom of a tadpole trike.

crank-arm-shortener-on-tadpole-trike

They are not cheap ($155), but they do make it easy to move the boom in and out and automatically maintain the proper chain tension. They are especially nice to accommodate various riders of differing sizes. The chain can be made up long enough to move the boom out for a tall rider and when the boom is shortened for a shorter rider the chain tensioner automatically takes care of the extra chain the rear derailleur would not be able to handle. Obviously there is a lot of extra chain and hardware involved and it might appear a bit unsightly to many (myself included), but they do work. You definitely would not want to run it into a curb or such as it would likely be damaged. TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) manufactures these for several different brands of trikes. They can be purchased from some trike dealers and trike manufacturers as well. Catrike sells it for $150, but it is $145 at most of the other sources I have seen including directly from TerraCycle. The Chain Gobbler fits Greenspeed trikes and sells for $149.

Here is a Utah Trikes video on the subject of these chain tensioners …

So this is a very handy and practical option available. Most definitely if you have various size riders riding the same trike this is the way to go. Adding and removing lengths of chain even if you use links which are supposedly quick and easy to remove is a real pain compared to this slick setup. So if you have $150 or so burning a hole in your pocket here is a place to unload that cash and make your life easier. It is always nicer to ride then to “wrench”. And it will even help you and others to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CRANKARM SHORTENERS REVISITED


crank-shorteners

For a very long time now I have wanted to try using crankarms shorteners as they are supposed to help those who have knee joint issues. And it is said that short people should use shorter crankarms. I qualify on both. At my rehab physical therapy sessions I am going thru for knee joint replacement their stationary recumbent exercise bike has the crankarms adjusted to their minimum setting and that setting works great for me. I recently ordered a set of crankarm shorteners so I can pedal normally. With my 165 mm crankarms that came on my trike I have to place the heels of my feet on the pedals in order to pedal it. I tried pedaling my wife’s recumbent bike which I have set up on an indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio at the back of the house, but I couldn’t even pedal it with my heels on the pedals. I think it has 175 mm crankarms. I just am not “there” yet in my recovery. At rehab I can pedal with my feet positioned normally on the pedals. I even cranked it up to 100 rpm cadence a couple of times. So the shorter crankarms really do make a difference. I am really looking forward to having them on my trike.

Here is a video which explains the need and benefit of shorter crankarms.

What I am not looking forward to is winter weather for the next few months. I don’t know how much I will be getting out riding thru the winter. If it gets nasty enough I will no doubt bring my trike back inside the house for the third winter in a row and set it up on the indoor trainer in the living room in front of the large screen TV which is also used as a computer monitor. With access to the internet I can find all sorts of stuff to watch on that big screen in front of me including riding on bike trails. It is almost like being there except I can’t lean in the turns. 🙂

Yep, a set of these just might be your ticket as well.

short-crankarms-2

Shortens cranks by 24, 41, 59 and 76mm. I am pretty certain that I will be using the 59 mm position (next to the shortest) as that will give me about 106 mm crankarms which is close to the setting of the crankarms on the stationary recumbent exercise bike I am pedaling at rehab. The really neat thing about using these is that if and as one improves the pedals can be moved further out. I doubt if I would ever go back all the way to 165 mm though.

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

HERE is the best price I have found on them. I am quite certain that they are going to help me to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

NITERIDER SABER 35 BIKE TAILLIGHT vs. PLANET BIKE SUPERFLASH TAILLIGHT


niterider-saber-35-taillight

The Niterider Saber 35 taillight is among the available offerings nowadays. I can’t say much for the mounting strap they use, but the price is right … $16.99 with free shipping on EBAY. And it is BRIGHT! The 35 stands for 35 lumens. With a built in lithium battery it requires recharging using a USB cable plugged into a standard 5 volt USB outlet whether it be a computer or a power adapter (transformer).

niterider-saber-35-taillight-2

LED lights are everywhere these days and that’s good as they are a superior light, economical, bright and long lasting. That being said, not all lights are created equal when it comes to the power usage and battery life. This video tells what to expect as far as how long the battery charge lasts in each of its modes.

I have written articles about taillights before. There are lots of taillights available nowadays … far more than there were when I bought my taillights. At the time I bought one of the very best taillights available … the .5 (half) watt Planet Bike SuperFlash. I paid about $25 each for them at a local bike shop several years ago. The best price I can find on them at this time is $23.75 with free shipping at ModernBike.com. They are not as bright as this Niterrider light, but still I do highly recommend the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they are sufficiently bright and very economical to operate. (I tried to find the lumen rating of the SuperFlash taillight, but didn’t have any success. If you happen to know what it is please comment and let me as well as others know.) The triple AAA batteries last a long time in them. I use rechargeable batteries in mine most of the time. Just carry extra batteries along with you and you don’t have to worry about being left in the dark. With the Niterider taillight it has a built in lithium battery which requires recharging from a 5 volt USB outlet. That is not very practical when you are out riding. And the Niterider taillight doesn’t last nearly as long per charge as the Planet Bike light. On the most economical mode it only lasts 12 hours whereas the Planet Bike lights I have last about 40 plus hours on its most economical flash mode. (BTW, the newer version of the Planet Bike SuperFlash lights supposedly last more than 100 hours on flash mode and is visible up to one mile. I have the older version.) So on flash mode the Niterider light would last long enough for one or two long daily rides, but you would have to recharge it each day or two if you used it long each day. That doesn’t appeal to me.

If you park your trike somewhere near a 120 volt electrical outlet you could use a power adapter outlet to plug a USB cable into to charge the light on the trike. Of course, the light is easy enough to remove from its mount to take to a place to charge it. Anyway, I like the brightness and the price. I just don’t like the mounting strap nor the short battery power.

120-ac-usb-power-adapter

Here is a look at the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight. It has a far superior mounting system than the Niterider taillight.

planet-bike-5-watt-super-flash-taillight-2

One factor with all taillights and headlights to consider is the built in lenses as they can make a big difference in how well the light performs and can be seen. The pattern of the light as far as spreading out and being visible from the side vs. straight behind. The Planet Bike taillights have superior lenses which really make the “measely” .5 watts perform as well as lights which are far more powerful. That appeals to me since the battery life is so great with these lights. Planet Bike also offers a 1 watt version of this light. They are slightly brighter, but they also require more battery power and therefore don’t last as long as the .5 watt model does. Personally I don’t think there is enough noticeable difference in brightness between the two to justify the sacrifice in battery life. Also the one watt model has a “white-clear” plastic cover instead of red which I personally don’t care for. I don’t think it is nearly as noticeable as the red plastic. Actually much to my amazement I just found the one watt model available thru Ebay for less than the .5 watt model. It is only $19.94 with free shipping.

1-watt-planet-bike-turboflash-tail-light

I just read that Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of the .5 watt SuperFlash taillight. It also stated the brightness of the newer USB rechargeable is not as good as the older original lights like I have. The newer light only produces 3 lumens which is extremely poor. Fortunately they do still offer the model which is powered by two AAA batteries.

Here is an interesting video showing how well the Planet Bike Superflash work even when up against a far more powerful light being used for comparison. Remember, we are only talking about .5 watts here.

Another factor is whether or not the taillight offers much side visibility. Some lights offer very little or none at all. The Planet Bike SuperFlash  is superb in side visibility. There is a video by a customer review on Amazon which demonstrates how good the side visibility is.

I will say this … if you are after high visibility in daylight there are taillights which are superior to either of these. I have written articles about taillights previously.

Of course, I also highly recommend the use of  effective highly visible safety flags in addition to the lights. I have written articles about this subject before. Many times I have had people comment to me that they saw my flags before they saw my flashing lights … from any direction. And, of course, side visibility is going to be very limited if you only have lights. Good safety flags can be seen from the sides and can make a huge difference in whether others see you or not.

Right along with safety flags of high visibility is wearing high visibility clothing.

I started out writing this article with the intent of it being just about the NiteRider Saber 35 taillight, but I ended up drifting over into writing about the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights. I guess it is because I have been so pleased with mine. I love the long battery life which is somewhat rare with bike lights. I have seen other brands which have very poor battery life. Their brightness only lasts for a very short while in comparison.

I just found what looks to be identical to the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight on EBAY for only $10.87. It doesn’t have Planet Bike shown on it however, so my guess is that it is an illegal copy  (knockoff) probably made in China. If that is what it is I would caution you that it may look like the real McCoy, but may be lacking in quality … especially the lenses I spoke of. If that is the case, then it would not be as bright nor as visible. Also the battery life may be lesser. Then again, it may be very good quality. I would be leery of it myself.

planet-bike-5-watt-super-flash-taillight-chinese-knockoff

Lastly here is another video of the Niterider Saber 35 taillight.

In all honesty, if I were in the market for taillights today I am pretty certain that neither of these choices would be my pick. There are just so many lights available nowadays and several are extremely bright. Riding at nighttime in darkness I would be quite content with what I have now. Riding in the daytime which is what I do I would prefer one of the brighter taillights that are available. But for now I will continue on using my Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they still work fine and have served me well.

Oi – THE BELL THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A BELL


What do you call a bicycle bell that doesn’t look like a bell? That’s probably a loaded question, but let’s go with “Oi” since that is what I am writing about. I looked up the word Oi to see what, if any, is the meaning … “interjection. used to express surprise, pain, grief, worry, etc.” Well, I guess ringing a bicycle bell is expressing surprise. 🙂

oi-bells

I like these! They definitely don’t look like a traditional bicycle bell, yet they do sound much like one.

Here is a more technical video about this new product:

Yep, the Knog Oi Bell … It gets my vote. I just hope they don’t ring when hitting bumps like the conventional bike bells do. That’s why I have removed mine and gave up on them. I don’t like “dinging” as I ride along … not unless I instigate it. 🙂

As to the use of bike bells I have noticed that most of them are barely audible as bicyclists come up behind me. Hmmm, I wonder how this one will do. I hope I am surprised.

PEDALING WITH KNEE PAIN


As many of you know I am in the slow painful process of recovering from total knee joint replacement. I am 4 weeks post surgery as I type this. All in all I am doing very good. I was walking without a walker in just 2 weeks time. I was driving motor vehicles in 3 weeks time. One thing I have been aware of and have even written about before is the use of shorter crankarms. One of the options to this is crankarm shorteners which bolt onto your existing crankarms. They make really good sense to me as they offer various length settings. With this you can change from one setting to another as needed and as your range of motion improves. And if you ever get back to where you no longer need them you simply uninstall them and go back to your original crankarms.

I am currently going thru rehab therapy and sometimes ride a stationary recumbent exercise bike. The rehab facility has two of these bikes, but I can only ride one of them. I looked at both of them and noticed that the difference is the length of the crankarms. The one I can ride has adjustable crankarms and it is setup with shortest available length. I pedaled it yesterday at 100 rpm for a short time. It felt really good to pedal it. Interestingly the physical therapists told me that very rarely can any knee joint replacement patient ride the other bike.

So anyway I plan on buying a set of crankarm shorteners to help me pedal. Hey, if you have knee joint issues and limited range of motion using shorter crankarms might be “just what the doctor ordered” for you. They are not cheap however. I was surprised and disappointed when I looked them up online. The best price I was able to find was about $115 with shipping thru Amazon. They are a different brand than the ones in this video. (I have noticed that the prices seem to change almost daily. The best deals I have found are usually on Ebay.) I had not yet come across these Ortho Pedals which sell for $89 each or $149 per set. Most of the ones I found were far more expensive … $130 and up. Ortho Pedal’s FAQ. Ortho Pedal’s warranty.

BTW, my second knee joint replacement is scheduled for Nov. 10th … just two weeks away. Oh boy! I am hoping to be burning up the asphalt come next spring.  Don’t get in my way! 🙂

LED LIGHT SAFETY POLES (or whatever they are called)


safety led light poles 2

We may not have actually seen any in person, but many of us have seen them in pictures and videos online. I am talking about LED light poles or whips as I have heard them called. There is no denying that after dark these things are highly visible and can be rather beautiful as well. Some are fiber optic with the light showing thru out the pole. Some are a bit more traditional with individual lights up and down the pole. Some have blinking/flashing light in various patterns.

whip lights by Arizona

I haven’t found them to be the easiest item to locate online. All too often when searching for them for bicycles the search results show those that are for motor vehicles with 12 volt systems. I read where one person used a 9 volt battery to power his. Here is a picture of it:

arizona whip led light pole

Many people make their own buying the various components online.

As I said, I have had a difficult time finding much of anything as far as sources to buy these LED pole lights. Here are a few although the Arizona Whips are pretty much designed for 12 volt vehicle use as are many of them I found. They can be adapted to a bike/trike, but one still needs a battery (power source) sufficient to operate them. LEDs are a pretty low current draw so I don’t know how long the 9 volt battery would last. Also the Arizona Whips are not cheap … $150 according to what I read.

made in China fiber optic (would be my choice) $28.50 each with a minimum purchase of two

Arizona Whips

Australian source

 

SHOKA BELL … ONE HIGH TECH GADGET


Shoka bell

think we are all very aware that we live in a day of very high technology compared to yesteryear. All kinds of products continue to appear on the scene and some of them are for cyclists. One such product is the Shoka bell. It is far more than just a bell for a bike. It is actually pretty amazing. For what it is worth they call it a bell, but I wouldn’t. It has electronic sounds. It does not sound like a traditional bell … well, maybe it does a little … about like an electronic musical keyboard sounds like various musical instruments. But that’s okay. It has some really neat sounds.

Shoka bell 2

Shoka bell 6

Shoka bell 5

As to the light it is only for others to see you … not for you to see where you are going as it is not that bright nor that kind of light.

Shoka bell 4

One of its features is a an alarm that will alert you if your cycle is messed with. It has a range of 250 meters or 820 feet.

It certainly seems to have impressed a lot of people as the kickstarter campaign is going great … way beyond what they were looking for.

It comes in six different colors.

Shoka bell 3

HERE is their Facebook page. HERE is their Twitter page.

So if you are a high tech electronic junkie and independently wealthy you might want to look into this gadget. I am only joking about the money end of things. I have no idea what the cost is, but I am pretty sure it is a lot more than my traditional bicycle bells I have bought in the past. 🙂

CHAINRING GUARDS


Hopefully you have never had the experience of encountering the big bad teeth of your largest chainring. I am here to tell you that our skin is no match for such an encounter. More than once over the many years of my life I have come out on the losing end. Not only was it painful and sore for some time, but it sometimes got infected and I had to take antibiotics to combat it. If we are fortunate we only get the infamous chainring tattoo.

chainring tattoo cropped

But if we are not so fortunate we might experience the wrath of those teeth.

chainring-teeth

Can you say OUCH?

chainring wounds

It happens all too easily and without protection we are readily its victim. Even if it doesn’t result in penetrating our skin it can really mess up clothing with a nasty oily dirty stain that is hard to remove. Of course, in warm/hot weather most of us are wearing shorts so there is no clothing covering our legs to help protect us. Even when we do have such clothing on unless it is some very tough material like blue jeans it is no match for those big teeth. Even with blue jeans those teeth can get our attention and cause pain and suffering. And we only have ourselves to sue! Oh my! 🙂

CHAINRING GUARDS TO THE RESCUE!

Catrike Chain Guard

ICE chainring guard

As far as I am concerned they are one of the very best investments we can make for our trikes. I bought one several years ago and it has quite literally saved my hide several times since. On rare occasion I still manage to get a little bit of a tattoo although even those are much lesser than they were without a chainring guard.

My advice to you is don’t wait until you experience those nasty teeth in your flesh. Invest in a chainring guard soon. Don’t procrastinate. It is no fun getting bit by those big teeth. It will help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

without concern of this calamity. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

WATER BOTTLE HOLDERS


H2O

Water … don’t leave home without it!!! We can live without food for a fair length of time, but water is a different story. I don’t know how long a person can survive without water and the answer doesn’t seem to be easily found in an online search. It seems to be controversial. Some say 3 days and others say as long as 12 days. I am sure it depends upon the individual person and the circumstances and environment. Any thinking responsible person will carry water along with them when they go out for a trike ride. Most use some type of water bottle while a smaller number use some sort of “bladder”. I personally have always used water bottles although several years ago I stopped using the plastic type and went with stainless steel Thermos brand water bottles which I love.

plastic water bottles

Regardless of what type of water bottle we use we need some sort of a holder for them to carry them on our trikes. Over the years I have bought and tried several different water bottle holders. Most of them have been made of metal, usually aluminum. And most of them have eventually broken as the metal just doesn’t hold up. I finally tried some plastic ones and love them. They have lasted for years already and have shown no sign of failing. And so I can and do only recommend the plastic type like I have. The ones pictured below are the type I have. There are other plastic types, but of the ones I have seen and tried (in the store by placing my water bottle in them) I can’t recommend them. I think these are the best of all I have seen.

plastic water bottle holders 3

I have seen other plastic and carbon fiber holders, but I can’t comment on any of them. All I can say is I am well satisfied with the ones I have. I took a water bottle into the store with me to see how the various water bottle holders fit and held my stainless steel Thermos water bottle. These plastic ones I got fit and worked the best. The carbon fiber ones are, of course, extremely expensive and as far as I am concerned there isn’t that much difference in their weight vs. these plastic ones.

Here are pictures of the two I have …

my water bottle plastic holder my water bottle plastic holder 2

There are water bottle holders which are adjustable so that they will snugly hold various size (diameter) bottles. Personally I don’t think I would put much faith in them holding up. I would be very suspicious of the adjustment mechanism lasting as I think it would be a weak point and likely break or fail.

adjustable water bottle holder

Speaking of failing … one trike rider recently reported that he rides thru the winter in bitter cold temperatures. He said that the plastic holders will shatter in the sub zero weather so he has to use metal holders. For me, I think I would be more concerned about myself shattering going out in that kind of weather. 🙂

There are also holders which strap the bottle in securely. They work okay, but it is not likely that you could readily and easily get a bottle out of it while riding along.

strapped in water bottle holder

I use an elastic wristband around my stainless steel bottle  to hold it securely in the vertical mounted holder on my seat back so it can’t “pop out” hitting a bump. It is still easy to remove from the holder if I want to do so while riding. Of course, I use the water bottle located on top of the boom as my main source until I empty it. I might add that it rides okay in that holder. So far it has never popped out of it hitting a bump.

wristband on water bottle water-bottle-in-holder-with-elastic-band

I mentioned the stainless steel water bottles I use made by Thermos. You can see one of them in the picture above. I have written about all this before. Again, not all stainless steel water bottles are created equal, especially if you like having ice cold water with you. I have used other stainless and aluminum water bottles and they did not do well at all keeping ice from melting quickly. The Thermos brand bottles will do so for 2 to 3 days although I think they lose their ability to keep ice that long as they age. Mine will only keep ice now for 1 to 2 days. That is still quite good when compared to most other water bottles. The insulated plastic water bottles are a joke as far as their ability to keep ice from melting. I had 3 of them. They barely performed any better than the plain ol’ plastic water bottles. They did good to last 2 to 3 hours before the ice was melted.

I also have a pile of broken aluminum water bottle holders. Don’t ask me why I am holding onto them. Hmmmm, what is scrap aluminum selling for nowadays? Many years ago I would have repair welded them, but alas, I no longer have the welding equipment to do it.

If you are looking for good quality water bottle holders I highly recommend the ones I use. Most LBS stock them and you can, of course, order them online. They come in various colors (white, black, blue, red, and yellow). Sometimes you can even find them in a color which matches your trike. I didn’t find any green so I opted for the white. Besides, white doesn’t absorb heat like darker colors. Every little bit helps when it comes to helping the water to remain cold.

plastic water bottle holders

Stay well hydrated so you can  …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SIDE MOUNT KITS


Side_Mount_Expedition reduced

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 …

Villager_w-CURVE_and_sidemount

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

side mount bar without bag on it

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.

Side_Mount_yellow trike

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.

FAIRINGS FOR TADPOLE TRIKES


Windwrap WGX one point fairing

Different strokes for different folks as they say. Me, I like the wind in my face (and elsewhere) while I am out riding as it feels so good to me. I would be most miserable without it. However, some don’t like it so they opt for fairings. I readily admit that riding in nasty weather a fairing might indeed feel good.

I only know of three manufacturers for these … Windwrap, ZZipper, and HP Velotechnik.

Zipper DragonFlyer

Some are made so that they can be temporary moved forward somewhat out of the way helping the rider to get in and out of their trike. If you have physical limitations these fairings would be a big problem. I could not use one as I get on and off of my trike  walking forward and backward straddling the boom. I can not safely step over the boom as is required when using a fairing. Anyone with balance issues or unsteadiness would probably have problems.

HP Velotechnik Streamer fairing

HP Velotechnik (shown above) states that their fairings will also fit several other brands of trikes.

Graham Williams of England has a video about two of his trikes outfitted with fairings. He is obviously sold on fairings and truly enjoys them on his trikes.

Graham also has this video showing a little detail of how the fairing is mounted.

Here is another video showing the installation of a HP Velotechnik Streamer fairing. The audio in this video is all messed up.

As mentioned in the video the location of lights might very well be another problem. Also oncoming lights may as well. Mind you, I have never ridden a trike with a fairing so I have no experience with one. I am merely stating what comes to mind about potential concerns.

Another concern I would have in using a fairing is visibility. Brand new a fairing would be clear, but in time I would think they would get messed up and greatly reduce visibility. Even in rain and snow looking thru a fairing could be quite challenging and unsafe in my opinion. And depending upon where one rides the fairing could get in bad shape rather quickly. I guess I am glad I have no desire for one as I would be quite upset to spend all that money only to see it get ruined before my eyes (quite literally).

Lastly, I would be extremely concerned about damaging a fairing as they would be very easy to damage since they stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. And again, that would really upset me spending all that money on one.

Utah Trikes has several fairings shown on their webpage along with the prices of each.

BICYCLE COMPUTER WHEEL SIZE SETTINGS


bike computer wheel size setting

Do you use a bicycle computer? If so, is it accurate (or akwert as one of my teachers used to pronounce the word)? Getting a computer set accurately can be a bit challenging unless you know what you are doing. Some people settle for their computers to be inaccurate often times not realizing how far off they are and how many extra miles they are showing than they really rode or miles they are failing to show that were ridden.

There are different ways to go about setting a bike computer so it will be accurate. I will confess that I personally have only used one of them. I am happy to report that my computer is about as close as is humanly possible in getting it set accurately.

So let’s get into this. Each bicycle computer should come with instructions which have a ‘chart’ showing the numbers used for various wheel sizes. That often will only get you in the ball park however, and “fine tuning” is required from there. Our local trail system has accurate mile markers (actually every 1/4 of a mile) so I use those to set my bike computer. The tires used will effect things as well. A lower profile (outside diameter) tire will be different than a higher profile tire. Tire inflation will also make a difference so it is best to have the tires inflated to whatever pressure you normally use when making any computer setting adjustment. Even rider weight effects the setting. Depending upon how far off the current setting is the amount of change in the number setting may only be “1” or if it is off quite a bit it may be considerably more. If your mileage shown is under you need to increase the number used in the setting. If your mileage shown is over you need to decrease the number used in the setting.

It is best to check your accuracy over a longer distance … like 5 miles rather than only 1 mile. And once you find that magical number write it down for safe keeping. And if you switch to other tires and the number is different write that tire and number down. It sure makes it a lot easier when you switch between tires.

          **********

Here are some instructions on how to set your computer using the measured mile method:

1.0 (the measured mile)
Cyclometer Reading x Old Setting = New Setting
For example: If you set your 26×2.1 wheel size to: 2091 and rode the measured mile and came up short, maybe your computer read .95 miles, then you’d do:

1.0 (the measured mile)
0.95 (what your computer read) x 2091 (old setting) = 2201 (new setting)
If you computer read too long, maybe 1.05, you’d still do the same formula and your setting would be:

1.0 (the measured mile)
1.05 (what your computer read) x 2091 (old setting) = 1991 (new setting)
To help you out, enter your numbers here:

Your Initial Wheel Size Setting:
2091
Actual Distance Ridden:
1.0
Reading on Bike Computer:
1.05
Okay, change your bike computer setting to this:
1991

**********

HERE is a very handy calculator to determine the number you need to enter if you have the computer reading for a measured mile. The calculator is located at the very bottom of this webpage.

As I stated early on there are various methods of determining the number needed to set up a bike computer wheel size so it records accurately.

HERE is Sheldon Brown’s charts on this subject of computer setting for wheel size. And here is a video showing how this is done.

 And HERE is another online chart.

HERE is an online calculator for determining the wheel size setting.

Here is a video showing how to use a tape measure to determine the outside circumference of a bike tire and use that number to set the computer wheel size. This is sometimes referred to as the Roll Out method.

Lastly HERE is the Google search results for this subject. There is lots of helpful information online about this.

And hopefully the following will make things very easy, quick and handy for those of you who use any of these 20 inch tires. These are the magical numbers I have recorded for myself when I have ran various Schwalbe tires.

Kojak 1496
Marathon (1.5 width) 1425
Marathon Plus (1.75 width) 1561
Tryker 1537

I have ran a couple of others, but don’t have the number recorded for them. I can’t guarantee that these numbers will work for you but I think they would be close. Like I said, there are various factors which determine what number is needed for each of us … our weight, tire pressure and weight hauling/loading on the trike … may mean your number will be different from mine. It is really not Mission Impossible so hopefully you can get your computer set accurately and from then on just …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Before leaving this subject of bike computers I want to touch on the magnets that attach to the spokes. My bike computer came with the type on the left in the image below …

bike computer spoke magnets

which works, of course, but a friend of mine was throwing out one of his as he replaces his bike computer from time to time (the more expensive ones like he buys don’t seem to last). Anyway, I took it to use in place of my magnet and have found it to be better as it doesn’t get bumper around nearly as easily and seems to be less sensitive as far as it’s position. I rarely have had any issues with it, but I did with the original one that came with my computer.

CATRIKE MAINTENANCE & REPAIR TIPS


While looking up something else I came across a webpage which I thought I would share here. It is entitled “Index to Catrike Maintenance Posts” and has numerous links to articles about various subjects concerning performing maintenance and repair on Catrikes. Here are the various topics listed:

Basic Setup and Maintenance

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2004 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2005 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2006 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2007 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2009 Manual
Catrike Performance Trike Official 2010 Manual

removing the master link on the chain, and replacing it (page 18 of the above manual).
checklist of initial setup items
removing a front wheel
replacing front wheel bearings
replacing rear wheel bearings
adjusting rear derailer (link to Sheldon Brown’s instructions)
adjusting disk brakes (link to Park Tool page)
replacing disk brake pads (link to Park page)
Bruce’s advice on adjusting Avid BB7 brakes on Catrikes
installing front fenders
fixing a flat tire in front, rear wheels
installing teflon bushings in front headsets

Catrike headset adjustment, servicing bearings

cleaning a chain, and lubrication

Troubleshooting section:

rear wheel squeak: lube rubber weather seal
Bottom bracket not horizontal when trike is on flat surface: loosen boom clamp, reorients boom, or file guide tooth
after removing a front wheel, my brake pad rubs: adjust brakes, per this link:
shimmy in steering: purchase teflon bushings from catrike, install
chain routing
brake cable routing
shifter cable routing
setting toe on front wheels of a trike

Upgrades:

Facing the bottom bracket edges

Discussion of After market items and FAQs:

Jerry’s flags
Locking brake levers. These are great!
What is Schlump and other drives?
what would Schlump or Roloff give me over the stock gearing?
Terracyle idlers discussion
Super bright (240 lumens) flashlight for use as headlight, tail light
what size bearings does my (year) (model) Catrike use in the front, rear wheel?where does one get replacement steel or ceramic bearings (link, or part number)
ceramic bearing installations in front hubs
options for mounting both a light and a speedometer
list of all tools needed
chain guards, bash guards: Purely Custom, with Catrike Logo available, and many colors, Trice (Utah Trikes) Chain Guard Ring
– Cables: how to order replacements, how to cut to length, how to install end pieces on housing and cable, what tools are needed
– Chains: how to order (how many chains needed/length), brand, types
– Articles on component upgrades (brakes, shifters, derailleurs, etc)
– Common accessories: what has worked well (lights, racks, bags, pedals, mirrors, etc)

– Arizona Whip lighted flagpole

– Tactical Flashlights for lighting system

*********************

As you can see there is quite a lot there. So check it out. You just might find something useful in performing maintenance and repair on your Catrike. And if you have some other brand of tadpole trike you still might find something helpful and equally applicable for the trike you have. With proper maintenance and repairs we can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

RECUMBENT TRIKE WINDOW DECALS


recumbent trike vinyl window sticker

am sure many of you have been seeing these window decals. I am sure many are interested in getting one or more. So I thought I would make things easier by providing some information about these and how to obtain them.

Fellow tadpole rider Sam Burton makes these. They currently are available on Ebay and cost varies according to the size ordered. They are available in small 4″x6″($7), medium 5″x8″($9), large 6.5″x10″($13) and extra extra large 8″x13″($20). There is a $2.75 shipping charge. The selections available are: white, black, yellow, green, red, grey and matte white. To try to eliminate confusion here Sam told me that he no longer offers the small size (3 x 4.5) shown on Ebay and so the medium has become the small and right on up the line which is what I have shown here in this article. I don’t know if this listing shown on Ebay will be changed to reflect that or not. Just understand that the original small size no longer exists.

recumbent trike vinyl window sticker 2

recumbent trike vinyl window sticker 3

recumbent trike vinyl window sticker 4

recumbent trike vinyl window sticker 6

recumbent trike vinyl window sticker 5

Sam also offers this Trike On decal for $6 plus $2.75 shipping. It only comes in one size, but 4 different colors (white, grey, red & black). http://goo.gl/CyDsQ5

Trike On window decal

And this Lay Down and Ride decal is available at $6 plus $2.75 shipping in one size and 4 colors (white, grey, red & black). http://goo.gl/Zn7DZV

lay down and ride decal

RECUMBENT TRIKE CANOPY – A NEW FACEBOOK GROUP


Ed Miller, who many know makes canopies for recumbent trikes, has just started a new Facebook Group for those interested in trike canopies. Ed writes of this new group …

 “I believe it will provide a place of those interested in recumbent trike canopies to enjoy a focused format to learn & share.”

Recumbent Trike Canopy FB group header

Ed has posted this as part of the group description:

“”Form meets function”- The Recumbent Trike Canopy. Let this site serve as a place for lively chats involving positive equipment design growth where people share their interest and passion relating to recumbent trike canopy equipment.
Open to all who maintain a respect for others and their viewpoint and can exhibit a personal refrain from subjective expression, whether written or in pictures, regarding political, religious or other controversial belief.”

To visit the Facebook page and request to join the group click HERE. It is currently an Open Group meaning that anyone with a FB membership who is logged in can read thru the postings. However, in order to comment or post anything you have to be a member of the group.

TRIKE TECH – A RECUMBENT TRIKE INFORMATION WEBSITE


I recently became aware of a new website I thought I would share here. It is called TrikeTech.com and it is packed full of useful information including adding electric power assist to a trike.

Here is what the author of the website says about the website:

“While its true that the internet offers just about every piece of knowledge, the trouble is finding it.

That’s why we created Triketech. Triketech is resource providing technical information about Recumbent Trikes that reaches out to all levels of technical understanding. Whether you’re new or a veteran to riding Recumbent Trikes we hope you’ll find this site helpful.”

At the time of the writing of this article I noticed that the creator of this website does not yet have everything fully functional. None of the links in the left hand column work. I assume in time he will have this remedied. It appears to be a “work in progress” so bear with him.

Referring to itself as Recumbent Trike Information it covers both tadpole and delta trikes.

So if you are finding that you have a few weeks of your time available by all means check it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. There is a lot there. BTW- I am only kidding about the few weeks of your time, but you could probably spend that much time there if you wanted to. Like I said, there is a lot there. And it is there for one reason … to help us all to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

CANOPY INSTALLATION


Ed Miller ridin' 3

Recently well known tadpole trike rider, Ed Miller has shared a couple of new videos showing the installation of his canopies he is known for. His workmanship always looks impressive.

I have posted articles about TRIKE CANOPIES before in which I featured Ed’s canopies among the choices. And HERE is another article I wrote on canopies.

Lastly here is another video in which you can see considerable detail of the construction of the canopies and the various options Ed has made availalble.

Interested in one of Ed’s canopies? Contact him via email: logbuilder at mindspring.com    Just mention ‘canopy info’ in subject line.

Ed Miller

Ed also has many fine VIDEOS available to watch which I highly recommend as they are always well done and interesting.

WHEEZY ELECTRIC MOTOR ASSIST


wheezy electric wheel 5

Onboard electric drives are not the only means available to assist riders in their pedaling. The Ridekick has been around for awhile and the Brouhaha trailer attempted to make it to market, but was unsuccessful in their Kickstarter campaign. Now this new comer, Wheezy, is trying to make it to market. The key word there is “trying” as this has also been in the Kickstarter campaign. According to their Kickstarter page it has been cancelled as of Oct. 24th. I am not sure what that means as far as whether or not the product will ever make it to market.

Here is some of what they have to say about this product designed in the UK:

“Wheezy turns any bike into an e-bike in a click. No special adjustments necessary simply connect Wheezy to your existing wheel and you’re good to go!

The 1.5 amp battery charger is built into Wheezy’s frame so you can charge the 166 Wh battery pack easily in the office, at home or anywhere you like. . Pull its cord out to plug it into the wall for charging. Fold it back into the frame when the charge is complete.  A full charge can take anywhere from 2.4 to 4 hours, depending on the battery capacity. You can travel 12-31 miles (20-50 km) per charge with Wheezy, depending on the rider’s weight, the air pressure of the bicycle tires, riding conditions and the model’s battery capacity (Wh). Three models are being offered:

Wheezy 3 models 2

Originally the company hoped to start shipping this product by the middle of next May. I don’t know where things stand now since the Kickstarter campaign did not go well. They offered lower prices ($400, $490 & $740) on the product to backers, but didn’t get much response. All I can say is … if those are lower prices I would hate to see what their normal price will be. I think those prices are plenty high.

wheezy electric wheel 4

Wheezy is an electric auxiliary all-terrain wheel. It operates on a brushless wheel hub motor that is entirely enclosed, protected from erosion. This means high efficiency, reliability, no noise, no maintenance and a long lifetime.

Wheezy runs on a small lightweight NiMH battery pack used for hybrid vehicles. NiMH is much safer and lasts longer than the lithium (Li-ion) batteries used for standard e-bikes.

It comes with a smart microcontroller, creating for smooth operation and utmost battery efficiency.

Wheezy is encased in a lightweight steel chassis, a frame and running gear, making it much stronger and durable than its aluminum counterparts. Its zinc coating even prevents rusting.”

Setup is fast and easy …  Generally, you need to do 3 simple things;

1) Replace the left rear wheel nut. 2) Add install Pedal Assist Systems (PAS) or Hand Throttles. 3) Connect Wheezy.

Wheezy axle attachment

Here are various items available for use with this product:

Wheezy parts

Wheezy videos on YouTube.

The Wheezy unit weighs about 26 pounds (12 kg). It can be wheeled easily using the tongue to hold onto so that it doesn’t have to be carried. A key-based power switch and battery lock system adds security. The unit can be operated as a pedal assist system or manually with a thumb throttle.

Wheezy pedal assist system

Obviously this is designed for a bicycle. However, with some adaptive ingenuity I would rather imagine that it could be made to work on a tadpole trike. Of course, first it would have to come to market. We’ll see what happens.