Category Archives: accessories

PEDAL POWERED USB CHARGER


I am sure most of us who are old as dirt like me remember the generator dynamo light sets we had on our bicycles. They worked, but the amount of light varied according to the speed we rode. They could be very dim or we could ride so fast that we could burn out the bulbs (which I did many times). In short, they lacked good technology to better regulate the power being produced. Yet they did work. We have certainly come a long way when it comes to bicycle lighting. I only mention these old generator dynamo light sets because what I am writing about here is something which looks very much like the generator dynamo of old.

This new generator dynamo very much incorporates modern day technology, but its purpose is not to produce power for lighting. Nope, this unit provides 5 volts of D.C. current for a USB outlet so we can power up all sorts of modern day electronic gadgets to charge them as we ride. I don’t know much about it, but I find it intriguing.

The cost is reduced to about $33. However, the website shows it is “currently out of stock”.

Specifications
PBDNC10
Pedal Power Waterproof Bicycle Wheel-Powered USB Charger Energy Generator Dynamo
Pedal Your Bike, Generate Power & Charge Your Device
Generates Electricity and Charges from Spinning Bike Wheel
Charge Your Phone or Other Device While Riding
(If it has a USB Cable you can charge it!)
Attaches to Almost Any Style Bike Old or New
Connect Your Device Directly into the USB Port
Built-in Lithium Battery Recharges While You Pedal
Lightweight, Durable, Shockproof and Made to Last
Waterproof Marine Grade Construction
Easily Mounts and Un-Mounts from Bike frame
Dynamo Quickly Disengages from Tire
USB Output: 5V/1A
Battery Capacity: 3.7V/700mAh (Li-Ion)
Works with Smartphones, MP3 Players, GPS, Tablets, etc.
Dimensions: 5.0″ × 5.0″ × 2.4″
Pyle is helping you save the environment with every pedal of your bicycle. The Pedal
Power Wheel-Powered Energy Generator allows you to ‘Go Green’ and charge your
device while riding! Simply mount the dynamo to your wheel and the built-in
rechargeable battery creates and stores power with every rotation.
The system fits virtually any size and style bike and quickly attaches and detaches. If
you have the USB cable, you can charge it.
(Works with all your favorite devices: Smartphones, MP3 Players, GPS, Tablets, etc.)
Reduce, reuse and rethink about the environment with the Pyle Pedal Power!
www.PyleAudio

Keep in mind that this product is designed to use on a standard bicycle so using it on a tadpole trike might involve some ingenuity mounting it so it would line up properly and work on a trike wheel. Some trike frames might be more challenging than others. Of course, it could be operated on any one of the three wheels of a trike. I assume that sooner or later it will be back in stock. The website does provide an email service to notify when it is back in stock. I really like the idea of being able to recharge a cell phone or other devices … and doing so while we are riding. It all helps us …

ENJOY THE RIDE

BTW … there are other products out there besides this one:

Chain Charger

Ebay $25 free shipping

Wind Powered

Ebay $28.49 free shipping

and there are several others

Advertisements

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

TERRACYCLE – EXQUISITE RECUMBENT PARTS & ACCESSORIES


TerraCycle, not to be confused with TerraTrike,  is a gold mine for recumbent folks. They have much to offer and if you have never heard of them you really need to get acquainted. Here are their own words:

“TerraCycle has a simple mission: to make parts for recumbent cycles that considerably improve the riding experience. Every day, the TerraCycle Team shows up and uses their hands, hearts and minds to create those parts. We know we’re doing well when Tom Caldwell writes us and says: “Great work, great product, great company—I love doing business with professionals!” When a customer comes back to the shop just to see what new add-ons we’ve created for our accessory mounts, when a team of college kids asks for our idlers on their human powered vehicle, or when a couple comes by to show off the new ways they’ve figured out to use their cockpit mounts, then we know we’re doing it right.

With our website, we hope to create a library of information on recumbent cycling and the technologies that empower those who ride. Over the years, we’ve demonstrated our dedication to making the perfect part, which requires knowing just about all there is to know about recumbent cycling. If you haven’t had the chance to try us out, we recommend it. Otherwise, let this site be a place for you to come to learn about that wheeled craft you’ve been riding around. Who knows, you might realize you need something after all.”

Here is a list of their offerings:

“Accessory Mounting
Assist Arms
Battery Mounts
Cargo Monster Load Carrier
Chain in Bulk
Easy Reacher Underseat Racks
FastBack Hydration & Packs
Fenders
Gift Certificates
Handlebars, Stems & Steering
Idlers & Chain Management
Purple Sky Flags
SeatSide Mount System
Stainless Bolt Kits
TailSoks
Tires & Tubes
Velogenesis Seat Clamps
Windwrap Fairings
Xtras, Blems & Discounts”

They also have a FAQ page which you may find very helpful. Here is a sampling:

“FAQ Directory
Here at TerraCycle, we strive to be the world leader in recumbent cycling knowledge. Below are some topics that have caused more head scratching than brand new helmets, and our best attempts to alleviate the discomfort!

Bearings
Cargo Monster
Handlebar Fitting
Idlers
Diagnosing Drivetrain Noises
Steering Systems
Tire Sizing
Underseat Racks
Windwrap Fairings”

They even speak (or at least write) Latin. You’ll have to look thru their website to know what I am referring to here as I am not going to tell you.

TerraCycle also has some videos available on YouTube.

Please note that there is another company called TerraCycle which deals with recycling waste so don’t get confused with them. Because of the shared name our TerraCycle has to use a different name in their website …” t-cycle”.

For those who have followed my personal triking life you know that I recently had my trike motorized with a pedal assist setup. A TerraCycle mini-cockpit T bar was used to mount the display console on. Here is a picture of it. It is the bar furthest forward with the   green area and the white 0 (zero) displayed on the screen of the dispaly console. The TerraCycle part is only the section shown where their company icon is seen. It is where the display console is mounted. The bottom part is made by a different company (it is the Catrike mirror and accessory mount). The two parts look like they are made as one unit.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that.  I have ordered a couple of items from them in years past and they always provided excellent and quick service. Their parts seem to be very well made … top quality. With their help we can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON HEADLIGHTS


After about 8 years or more of dependable service my 1 watt Planet Bike headlight has started shutting off all by itself. So I am now looking for a replacement.

I came across this webpage which is somewhat unique. I shows many different headlights as they shine forward on the road at nighttime. It has a split screen where you can compare one light with another. You can adjust the split screen however you want it.

HERE is another website where you can compare the lighting from various headlights at nighttime.

HERE is another side by side comparison.

HERE is an explanation of LED lighting with helpful information.

HERE is an article on lumens and brightness.

As you can see, not all lights are equal. In the image above are two lights both rated at 300 lumens. Obviously the one on the left is much much brighter than the one on the right. I also selected some other 300 lumen lights to compare and the result was identical to what you see in this picture. Good optics make all the difference in lights.

In the image below are beamshots of a 350, 700 and 1000 lumen headlights. As you can see the 350 holds its own pretty good against these much more powerful lights. Again, good optics make all the difference in lights.

I bought the 350 lumen headlight shown in the image above. It is a Light & Motion Urban 350 which sells for about $50. I like it fine for nighttime riding … which I seldom do … but I am very disappointed in its pulse mode for daytime riding … which is what I almost always do. As far as I am concerned its pulse mode is nearly worthless in the daytime. There is no comparison between it and my Planet Bike headlight. So I more less wasted $50 on a light I really have little need or use of. I looked at some others which were about twice the price and their pulse mode was very attention getting. I don’t understand why this light I bought fails so miserably in this one area. It’s pulse mode would be fine at nighttime, but in the daytime … like I said … it is about worthless.

Here is a video of my Planet Bike headlight flashing inside my home.

Fortunately my Planet Bike headlight is working again so I am continuing to use it for daytime riding. It turned out that the problem of it shutting off by itself was simply a matter of the battery contacts needing to be cleaned. Its flashing mode is very attention getting. BTW, Planet Bike lights have very good optics.

Here is a still shot of my current headlights at nighttime. I have changed the mounting positions since this picture was taken.

One thing I have noticed about many of the new headlights being sold now is that they have rubber straps to mount them instead of much more solid and secure clamps. I hate these rubber straps as they are a cheap way of making what are otherwise good lights. The rubber straps won’t tighten up and hold the light in position and they make it extremely simple, fast and easy to steal the light. I am constantly having to reach down and reposition my two new headlights as they just keep moving out of position as I ride along. I would never buy another headlight that uses a rubber strap to mount it. They are a joke … only I am not laughing.

Well, I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the subject of headlights. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

 

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

 

HEADKAYSE ONE – REINEVENTS HELMETS


Headkayse One is a game changer for cycling safety because of Enkayse.

Conventional helmets are made from polystyrene. In a large impact polystyrene deforms to provide what’s known as “sacrificial protection”. This is why you have to be careful not to drop your polystyrene helmet in everyday use, and it’s why manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet after a knock.

Headkayse … pronounced “head case” … hmmm, interesting … is indeed unique. It is scary to think that a brand new conventional helmet can be so easily damaged and rendered considerably less effective in protecting our noggins. It is not only scary, but downright sad and maddening. Who wants to keep buying new helmets quite frequently for fear that our current helmet might not be up to the task of protecting us (even though it might be nearly new itself)?

Enkayse is designed to work differently. It manages the energy of impacts, so it can retain its integrity after more than one impact, large or small. It flexes to the shape of your head for better comfort and security.

Because Enkayse dissipates energy rather than deforming on impact, it also cushions small bumps. Polystyrene can’t do this, since forces which are too weak to deform it are transmitted through. Enkayse provides comfort in protecting from small bumps. This may also have long-term benefits as researchers believe the cumulative effect of small knocks contributes to brain disease over time. Because Enkayse shrugs off little bumps, it means that Headkayse One is durable against the knocks and scrapes that come with everyday use. You can be sure that Headkayse One will stand up to the daily grind. You can view the entire article about this new material HERE.

This is an interesting video (below) demonstrating how conventional helmets are effected by bumps and impacts.

Their website reports that they are 167 % funded in their startup campaign. These helmets don’t come cheap, however, they should greatly outlast a conventional bike helmet which helps offset the price involved.

So if you are a helmet wearer you might consider looking into a “head case” for your noggin. They say they think they will be in production soon (mid 2017). You can pre-order HERE and it should be cheaper than when they start selling them online.  They show about $112 plus shipping charges if pre-ordered.

They will be available in 8 different colors. One size fits all. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


They got the title right …

I came across this video and immediately had to agree with the title … Blinded By The Light. There is definitely a whole bunch of lights there. I assume they own a battery manufacturing company. That top light must be to warn low flying aircraft. 🙂 If I were a car or truck driver coming up behind this I wouldn’t know what to do … probably need to find another route. 🙂 I believe in good lighting, but this is definitely an overkill to the point I would think it would upset others who have to deal with it. I don’t know what their purpose is in having all these lights, but hopefully they don’t ride this around other people at night with these lights turned on .

I won’t even use my bright flashing taillight at nighttime around other people as it would be blinding and offensive to those behind me. Defensive is the goal … not offensive. This next video is of my trike after dark where there is total darkness and no one else around. I have 4 taillights flashing, but one of them is so much brighter than the other three. The other three are plenty bright to be seen quite well at night. The extremely bright one is just too much. As bright as the other 3 taillights are this super bright one prevents the other three from being seen. It is great in the day time, but at night time I would never use it around other people. I would use 2 or 3 of the others and probably only have one taillight flashing and the other(s) turned on steady (no blinking).

Our headlights can also be “too much” Here is my trike with  maximum lumens in use. I would not think of riding around like this in the daytime much less at night. I would only use it when by myself and in need of good lighting to see where I am going (at night time, of course.) Too bright of a headlight can quite literally blind those in front of you so that they can’t see some of what is in front of them. This could easily result in an accident and even someone’s death.

And that is only 350 lumen. There are people out there with several thousand lumen lighting. Let’s all be safe but respectful of others. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

NEW HEAD REST TO SAVE MY NECK


Recently I had a Bionx hub motor conversion kit installed on my Catrike Trail. In doing so I had to give up my super comfortable head rest which I made. I have neck issues so I need to use a neck/head rest when I ride. The reason I could not continue using my head rest is because it was in the way of plugging the cable into the front of the battery. So I purchased an ICE neck rest which mounts out of the way. Now ICE boasts that their newly designed neck rest is the most comfortable neck rest on the market. As far as I am concerned it is just like all the rest of the factory manufactured neck rests I have tried … very lacking and not very comfortable.  So I went to work to redesign it.  What I came up with was far more comfortable than theirs yet it still looked pretty like it did originally. Still it was not to my satisfaction nor my needs. So I went to work to totally remake it. It didn’t take me more than 20 minutes and now I have a very comfortable head rest again. It is not quite as comfortable as what I had previously but only because it is a bit smaller in size. And the good news is I didn’t do anything to change what ICE made. In 5 minutes I could put the neckrest back to the way it came from ICE (not that I would want to). I just don’t understand why the trike industry doesn’t offer comfortable neck rests. It is not that hard to make one that is comfortable. Like I said it took me about 20 minutes. I replaced ICE’s strap with elastic and put a piece of foam sandwiched in between it. Then I put a large piece of foam on the front side of the elastic. The large piece of foam has the front side of it cut concave to sort of cradle the head and neck. Here is what I came up with. I just used the cover off of my old head rest even though it is too big.

For  those who are interested here are some pictures showing the construction of my new head rest. (I am calling it a head rest rather than a neck rest because I have raised it up higher to where the back of my head rests on it. It is far more comfortable now against my head than it was against my neck.)

In the next picture I have duct tape temporarily holding the foam in place while the Gorilla Glue sets up. The foam is glued to the elastic.

In the next picture  which is a top view looking down you can see the concave curvature I cut into the foam to cradle my head and make the head rest more comfortable to use.

And here is what the original ICE neck rest looks like. I really don’t like the metal rods on the sides as they are located right where the head makes contact with them. And that is not very comfortable as I quickly found out when I tried riding using it. It is really dumb … more of their infamous “inspired cycle engineering”.

 

 

Now with this new head rest I should be able to ride in comfort meaning I can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

SO YOU THINK YOUR BIKE LOCK IS SECURE


You might want to take a look at this video if you think your bike lock is secure. And then there is the cordless battery powered right angle grinders with a cutting disk on it which can cut thru most metal easily and quickly.

 

ARE WHITE LIGHTS LEGAL ON THE REAR OF A TRIKE?


white-taillight-on-trike

Are whilte lights legal on the rear of a trike? I will make this short and to the point …

NO !!!

Yet we see trikers using them all the time. I guess many just like to spurn the law. And I am amazed that most of them seem to get away with it. I have not yet seen the police pay any attention to it around where I live. That surprises me and, I have to admit, disappoints me. I believe the law should be enforced.  I tried a white light on the rear of my trike awhile back. It had plenty of red lights as well as you can see in the video below. It really stood out, but I didn’t leave it on my trike as I didn’t want to be in violation of the law.

The reason it is against the law is simple enough. It is confusing to others. In short, they don’t know whether you are coming or going and that is because white lights belong on the front of a vehicle. Most people who see a white light on a vehicle just assume, and rightfully so, that they are looking at the front of the vehicle. After all, that is where the law requires white lights to be. So if you are one of those who insist on having white lights on the rear of your trike you better hope you don’t get involved in a bad accident. Someone might come along and try to twist your head around 180 degrees thinking it is facing the wrong direction. LOL     Seriously, I know having a white light on the rear of a trike can be eye catching, but it really is illegal … to the best of my knowledge in all 50 states in the U.S.  I would recommend a high intensity red light. They are extremely visible and they are legal. I am talking about daytime use. Riding at night one should not use these extremely bright lights as they are too much and can cause problems for others as they are simply blinding. In the daytime though they work great.

BE SEEN, BE SAFE!!!

FOLDYLOCK


bike-locks-galore

There are many bike locks already available and, of course, some are far better than others. In trying to secure our trikes we could do as the person did with this bicycle shown above or we could use just one lock … a FoldyLock. Yep, a rather unique product has come along called the FoldyLock. As many products have started out it used KickStarter which was successful for them and now their product is on the market and available. It is not cheap, but it does seem to be quite secure.

foldylock-on-bicycle

Website  KickStarter  Facebook

What is Foldylock?

Foldylock is a premium folding Bike lock that easily unfolds to a 90 cm (Approx. 35.5 inches) sturdy lock. When folded it is easily carried in its designated case, mounted on your bike frame , or in rider’s back pack. The case can be mounted to a bike frame using the bottle holder fixing screws or with two specially designed straps. The case has a rattle free mechanism to prevent your lock from shaking while riding.
Foldylock will retail at 95 USD.

foldylock-unfolded

foldylock-folded-up-in-its-holder

The plastic storage case comes in red, green or creme.

Certainly there are several other very good bicycle locks on the market and I am not trying to promote this one over any other. I am simply reporting this one to to you as I came across it recently and thought it worthwhile to share with you.

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.

Here is my current headlight and taillight setup on flash mode. This obviously is in daylight which is mostly when I ride.

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.

Here is my most recent taillight configuration/ Again, I would not use the 150 lumen taillight in full brightness mode at night time if I were out riding around other people. It is way too bright to use around others.

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


NOTE: I purchased one of these in Jun 2017. Don’t waste your money as it is a piece of junk! They advertise it as being loud, but I can barely hear it sitting right next to it.  And it comes apart all too easily and readily. One good bump and what few parts there are would be all over the road. I got it for half price. They are no doubt selling them for half price trying to unload them on those who don’t know any better.

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. 🙂