Category Archives: How To

11 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR TRIKE FASTER

Utah Trikes has some good videos. Here is one of them …

… WARNING … FOR SPEED DEMONS ONLY …

(only kidding … there is some good info here applicable to all)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

“CAT EAR” WIND NOISE FILTERS FOR VIDEO CAMERAS

Cats are known to have excellent hearing. They are also known to be hunters of prey. When the Lord Jesus Christ created them He equipped them with ears designed to deal with wind. A cat’s ears have hair which helps break up and greatly diminish wind noise. Have you ever noticed how much wind noise there is as you ride your trike? Have you ever placed your hand up by your ear as you ride along and noticed that when you block the wind from going past your ear you can hear much better? If you have not done so give it a try.

BTW, they make devices to use on a helmet to block the wind from passing by your ears.

I made some which attach to my eye glass frame stems. They work pretty good but I don’t use them as they look goofy.

I have watched a lot of videos and one thing that absolutely ruins an otherwise good video is wind noise in the audio. Sometimes it is so bad that it blocks out whatever else was recorded. Just like with our ears wind passing by the microphone of a video camera is quite noticeable. Video cameras with built in microphones as well as external microphones need to have what I call a “cat ear filter” on them to act as a wind filter. You can buy these. Some work better than others. Here is one for a GoPro camera …

 

BTW, these filters are commonly called “dead cat filters” but I don’t like that name so I call them cat ear filters.

Years ago I decided to experiment with my video camera to see if I could come up with a good effective wind noise filter. I tried several different things. Some worked better than others.

After trying several different things I finally settled on something that has worked great. Even in strong winds it prevents most wind noise from occurring.

To start with I used a plastic eye drop medicine bottle cut to make sort of a funnel with the smaller diameter neck down over the microphone area on the camera. The bottom of the bottle is cut off to make it open. In the picture below I have drawn red lines to show where I cut the bottle. I used the section in between the red lines.

 

I used clear silicone to glue the bottle in place. Silicone works quite well and is fairly easy to remove if ever I want to. The bottle is filled with a man-made fiber material (pictured below) which is the stuffing from inside of a stuffed toy.

Over it at the cut off bottom of the bottle is a piece of black felt like material. Then the last piece is a tossle off of a hat. It and the black felt like piece are also siliconed onto the bottle to hold it all together.

As I stated earlier I experimented with various things including stopping with just using the black felt like piece. I was after near perfection and after adding the tossle I achieved it. Here is a video I made on a windy day. I am riding with a friend talking to him. You can hear a clicking sound coming from one of the chain tubes on my trike. I am telling my friend about it in the beginning of the video. Without the wind noise filter I doubt if you would even be able to hear what I am saying but as you can hear my voice comes thru quite well.

Here are some more homemade wind noise filter videos …

HERE are the Google search results for wind noise filters. And HERE is Amazon’s search results.

 

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO ADD SOLAR PANELS TO A TRIKE

Here is a video about adding solar panels to an e-trike to charge the battery. Tadpole rider, Alex Hofvander, shares about his system.

HERE are other videos of Alex.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TAKING THE LANE

Growing up I never heard of “taking the lane”. As a child and up thru my teen years I chose to ride on the left (wrong) side of the road against traffic. My thinking and reasoning was that I was able to see the traffic ahead of me coming at me and, if need be, I could take evasive action to keep from getting hit. I never had a policeman stop me for doing this. Later as I grew into adulthood I started riding on the right (correct) side of the road but I stayed over to the right as far as possible trying to stay out of the way of all traffic. BTW, now I try to avoid riding on the left (wrong) side of the road as I came to realize that doing this does present problems for motorists. It can confuse them and shake them up.

In recent years I started hearing about riding out in the lane of traffic “taking the lane”.

When I first heard it I thought it was nuts … asking for disaster. I started experimenting with riding out in the traffic lane and found that there was no problem in doing so. I got more and more comfortable with it and came to the realization that it is safer and better than riding over on the right hand side. So now I take the lane almost all the time. The exception to that is if I am riding somewhere that has a very wide lane where there is plenty of room for motor vehicles to safely pass by me . I am also leery of taking the lane of a road where there are hills and curves which would make it impossible for a motor vehicle coming up behind me to see me in time to avoid colliding with me. It is best just to stay off of roads like that as they are just too dangerous. I want to be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BTW, I haven’t mentioned designated bike lanes. The concept sounds good but I find them objectionable to use as they are just dangerous. Motor vehicles drive in them, park in them, cut cyclists off not paying any attention to them. Then there is the fact that a cyclist is trapped in a narrow lane between moving motor vehicles and parked motor vehicles. The parked motor vehicles pose a real threat as doors are opened just as the cyclist is riding by. Also the parked vehicles start pulling out often not paying any attention if cyclists are riding along coming up to them. I have also noticed that the surface of bike lanes is usually the worst part of the street as far as the surface. There are lots of manhole covers, pot holes, debris, etc. to contend with. It is difficult and dangerous trying to move about to avoid it.

529 GARAGE … A SERVICE FOR THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT THEFT

A few weeks ago a comment was left on my article entitled “Our Trikes are Missing” posted on April Fools Day. I took a look at it and thought it would be good to post an article on this blog about this service. Here is what they say …

“In 2013, we set out to create a sustainable program that helps reduce bike theft, promote cycling, and make cities and campuses more bike friendly. The result is the 529 Garage.”

“Our strategy is simple – galvanize riders, shops, police, schools and cities with a common set of tools that allow communities to become better organized than the criminals. Cities that we have joined forces with have seen meaningful, double-digit results in the first two years.”

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

HOW TO GET INTO AND OUT OF THE SEAT OF A TADPOLE TRIKE

am sure some of you have seen people trying to sit themselves down on a tadpole trike and going about it all wrong. And for anyone who has physical issues such as balance, lack of mobility, etc. it can be dangerous to attempt if not being done properly. There are basically two ways to go about sitting down on a tadpole trike. One method is to step over the boom. The other method is to back up straddling the boom. Stepping over the boom can be quite dangerous and risky for some people, myself included, as they may misstep and trip themselves causing a nasty fall. As the saying goes, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT … AND DON’T WANT A REPEAT PERFORMANCE. So I always straddle my boom and back up. This video by Laid Back Cycles illustrates all of this as well as the assist bars which can be added to a trike.

Years ago I came upon these pictures another trike dealership made up. They are funny so I am including them here.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

LAID BACK CYCLES VIDEOS

Laid Back Cycles has lots of videos available to watch and learn from. Check them out HERE.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

IMPROVING THE TURNING CIRCLE ON ICE TRIKES

As I watch this video it backs up why I don’t care much for ICE trikes. Although the name ICE stands for “inspired cycle engineering” in my opinion ICE trikes are not very well engineered … at least somethings I could name here certainly aren’t. I have ridden a couple of them and looked at others and noticed these things about them. Definitely they all suffer with the same problem … namely it takes a football field to turn one. That is a slight exaggeration but only slight. This video shows and explains further the problems in the design of the steering. When I ride a trike I want to be able to turn sharply. One can get into big trouble when the trike won’t make a turn when encountered. That could be very dangerous. Trikes that won’t (can’t) turn sharply are poorly engineered and are dangerous to ride in my opinion. TerraTrike is another manufacturer which has models with indirect steering which are terrible just like ICE. Just because a trike has indirect steering does not mean that it can’t be engineered to turn sharp. There are other brands with indirect steering which do turn sharp … very sharp. I have a friend who rides a Trident with indirect steering and it turns sharper than my Catrike. It impresses me when it comes to steering.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO BUY (and not to buy) A RECUMBENT TRIKE

Well known tadpole rider, Sylvia Halpern, (whom I have written about a few times previously) shares about how to buy as well as how not to buy a recumbent trike.

Sylvia has other online offerings you may be interested in checking out:

YouTube channel

Vimeo channel

Travels by Trike

Travels by Trike on Facebook

TravelsByTrike on Twitter

BentRiderOnLine articles

Google search results

Sylvia says that she loves seeing what is around the next corner. I like that. I do too. May we all Keep On Trikin’ and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

MATT GALAT SHARES ABOUT HIS EQUIPMENT PACKING

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3D PRINTING … A HANDY GADGET

Over the last few years I have been seeing everything from a small part to an entire bicycle which was created by 3D printing. I don’t profess to know the first thing about 3D printing but as a metal fabricator most of my life I find it interesting and intriguing that various things I have always made out of metal can be made out of plastic and function quite well. I understand that the plastic used is quite inexpensive and is lightweight.

Here are some 3D printed mounts for taillights one tadpole rider has made for his tadpole trike:

 

Below is the mount made for the camera on a telescoping selfie stick.

Below is a water bottle holder.

As you can see all sorts of stuff can be made using a 3D printer. I would have to say however that for the average person it would not be all that practical to have such equipment. First of all it is expensive to buy so unless one would use it a lot it just would not be justifiable. And most of us probably would not be savvy enough to be able to use it. Lastly, most of us probably would not find ourselves needing to make all that much stuff for our trikes. What little we might have come up we can buy for a lot less than the 3D printer and supplies would cost. But for those interested and able it is an option.

May we all manage to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

INNER TUBES … is there a difference?

Now I ask ya … are all inner tubes created equal? Is it worth it to purchase a certain brand at a higher cost? Here is what I think I know and understand about the matter. In a word … YES! … there is a difference. My answer is based on my personal experience and what I have read about it. I used to use common lower cost inner tubes and I had a lot of flats, many of which were “internal” flats … not caused by a puncture from the outside.

When I first bought my Catrike Trail it came with Presta valves. I had never heard of them prior to that. I quickly learned to hate them so I took action and drilled my rims out larger  to accept Schrader valves. Quite some time passed before I discovered that Schwalbe inner tubes with Schrader valves have a threaded metal valve stem like the Presta valve has. The threaded metal valve stem was the only thing I did like about the Presta valve. I like the idea of having a threaded metal valve stem which with the use of the nut won’t push down into the rim when the inner tube has no or little air in it. So I started buying Schwalbe inner tubes which were considerably more expensive than the inner tubes I had been using.

Some more time passed before I discovered that Specialized also offers the threaded metal Schrader valve stem inner tubes. And although they are more costly than the inner tubes I originally used they are a little bit cheaper than Schwalbe brand. And I can buy them at my local bike shop where they offer “buy three and get the fourth free”. So I have been using these Specialized brand inner tubes for several years now.

Now to get to what I have read about inner tubes. Only a few brands claim that they are made with equal thickness thruout. And yes, they are the more expensive brands such as Schwalbe and Specialized. You might ask “does that matter”? Yes, it does because an inner tube that has thin/thinner areas means that those thin/thinner areas are weaker than the areas which are thick/thicker. A weak/weaker area in an inner tube is more likely to fail in that area.

To be totally fair I have to say that the biggest factor in reducing the number and frequency of flat tires for me was when I started using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. That in and of itself totally eliminated externally caused flats for me. As far as I am concerned the Marathon Plus is the best tire money can buy. It not only offers great flat protection but the mileage wear out of them is incredible. I have consistently got 12,000 to 15,000 miles out of each of these tires. Previously other tires I used yielded 2,000 to 5,000 miles before I had to replace them. And I buy them for half of what they retail for making them a real bargain. HERE is my source in the U.K. where I buy them.

Lastly I want to touch on internal flats. A few things come to mind here. Before I started using Marathon Plus tires I had started using Mr. Tuffy tire liners in an effort to reduce flats. They did help accomplish this but in the process something else happened. My internal flats increased. Upon dealing with this I observed that the area of the inner tubes which were failing was right where the Mr. Tuffy liner overlapped itself. I read about the use of talcum or baby powder to help eliminate internal flats so I started using it. It helped immensely although I still occasionally got internal flats and still many were caused by the Mr. Tuffy tire liners. When I started using the Marathon Plus tires I continued using the Mr. Tuffy tire liners. That was a mistake which I eventually figured out. I didn’t have any external flats but I had an occasional internal flat. Coming to the realization that I didn’t need the Mr. Tuffy tire lines with the Marathon Plus tires I removed them and just kept on with the baby powder. From then on I extremely rarely ever had an internal flat. I am  sold on Marathon Plus tires and baby powder. BTW, when I apply baby powder I use it very liberally coating the inside of the tire as well as the outside of the inner tube. I rub in in to all surfaces using my hands.

Have you ever noticed when removing an inner tube from a tire that it is stuck to the inside of the tire almost like it is glued to it? That is what happens or at least can happen when there is no lubrication such as I speak of further below. Also have you ever noticed an imprint on an inner tube from something inside of the tire? That is another example of lack of lubrication. Neither of these can happen when baby powder is used. Below is a picture of the imprint of Mr. Tuffy tire liner on the inner tube. It shows the overlap of the tire liner.

You might be wondering what the baby powder does. Well, it more less acts as a lubricant to keep the inner tube from sticking to the tire and to help keep rubbing from occurring. With the lateral forces taking place in cornering the tires move about side to side on the rims and this tends to create rubbing (abrasion) between the tire and the inner tube. And this causes internal flats. So helping to eliminate this abrasive action helps reduce internal flats. One note on the use of baby powder … be sure everything is bone dry as moisture will cause the baby powder to clump together and that causes abrasion and internal flats. I learned this from experience.

And I am fully convinced that the reason on rare occasion I have an internal flat is simply because inner tubes fail. It is that simple. I have done all I know to do to eliminate this and it rarely happens anymore … but … it does still happen. (Fortunately it has been a very long time since the last time it happened.) I have talked to bike mechanics about this … all of this … and they are in full agreement with me. They don’t and won’t recommend the use of tire liners.

Another safeguard one can employ is to use heavy duty thorn resistant inner tubes in place of the standard inner tube. Of course, in order to do this there has to be sufficient room inside of the tire. They work best in a balloon type tire such as Schwalbe’s Big Apple or Big Ben as they offer lots of room inside. That thick wall makes for a lot stronger/tougher inner tube which can’t fail very easily from internally.

As far as I know the threaded metal valve stem is not available with the heavy duty thorn resistant inner tubes.

Like ol’ Forest Gump … that’s all I’ve got to say about that. I don’t know about you but I much prefer to simply …

ENJOY THE RIDE

and

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

rather than being stuck alongside of the trail or road working on a flat tire problem.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ACCOMMODATING SHORT RIDERS by SHORTENING the BOOM

We as people come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. That is why the X-seam measurement is so important. Inseam measurement won’t do.  Those who are quite short or quite tall can and often do run into problems finding things that fit them. That includes tadpole trikes. But there is help so don’t give up. NO you don’t have to undergo surgery to have your legs lengthened. Actually there are various options including adjustable seats … something I personally advise people to avoid as moving the seat back and forth on the frame changes the weight distribution and effects the handling and safety of the trike. The same is true when cushions of any kind are used to move the rider further forward in the seat. By far the best way to accommodate a short rider is to shorten the boom.

If the trike’s “boom” does not slide far enough in to allow the rider to reach the pedals properly the boom can be shortened by cutting off the end which goes into the mating part of the trike frame. This is a common practice. Trike dealers do this all the time. However, I caution anyone doing this not to cut any more off of the boom than what is necessary to reach the pedals. The boom should go into the mating frame as far as it can so that the entirety of the boom is strong. Please be aware that shortening a boom slightly devaluates a trike’s worth when one goes to sell it. Definitely this is something which should be disclosed to anyone who is considering buying the trike. If it is being purchased by someone who is tall then a new boom might need to be purchased in order for the boom to be able to extend far enough to accommodate them.

I myself am short and my boom has been shortened. Oh yes, another thing which helps short riders I highly recommend is shorter crankarms. I also use these and it has helped me tremendously.

Yes, there really is hope and help for short riders. You too can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DO YOU LUBE YOUR TIRES & TUBES?

Yes, you read right. I asked “do you lube your tires & tubes?” Now I am not talking about using oil or grease. I am talking about using talcum powder (corn starch) … ie … baby powder. I don’t know about you but I hate getting flat tires. I would much rather be riding my trike than working on it. I used to get a lot of flats. I remedied that by using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. However, that only eliminated those flats which were externally caused. I still occasionally got internally caused flats.

I don’t remember how I learned of using corn starch baby powder inside my tires and on my inner tubes but I tell ya it works … at least for me. I can’t remember the last time I had an internal flat. Well, actually I can as it was fairly recently. I learned a valuable lesson which I will write about in the next paragraph.

One thing I learned … make sure there is no moisture around inside of the tire or on the inner tube as that will cause the powder to clump together and become an abrasive which will cause an internal flat.

Yep, I always liberally apply  it inside of my tires and use my fingers to spread it all over coating all of the inside. I do the same with the inner tube. It can be a bit messy but it is well worth it.

What does the baby powder do you ask? That is a fair enough question. Have you ever taken an inner tube out of a tire and had it stick to the tire requiring extra pull to get it loose? Have you seen the imprint on an inner tube from being pressed against something inside of the tire? On a trike turning a corner involves placing lateral (sideways) force on the wheels since the trike does not lean like a bicycle does. Those lateral forces work the tire on the rim … like taking your hand and pulling and pushing the tire from side to side on the rim. With that tire movement the inner tube inside is also effected. There is friction taking place and in time it can cause a hole to form in the inner tube. The baby powder helps to eliminate all of these things I have mentioned. The rubber surfaces are lubricated by the powder.

Like I said, it works for me and I highly recommend it. It will help you …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DANGER DANGER DANGER … CROSSING ANGLED RAILROAD TRACKS

I learned as a child as I am sure many of us did that one must be careful crossing railroad tracks that intersect the road on an angle. The more of an angle the more dangerous the situation is. This is especially true for a bicycle than it is for a tadpole trike yet even a tadpole trike can be susceptible to the possibility of a wheel going down into the tracks and causing a wreck. It is always safest for a narrow width wheel vehicle to cross over railroad tracks at as close to a perpendicular (90 degree) angle as possible.

This is to prevent a wheel from getting caught in the railroad tracks and causing a wreck. Depending upon the width of the road the rider may have to ride over into the oncoming traffic lane to make this maneuver so be sure the way is clear ahead and behind.

Although the video below is about bicycles it illustrates what I am talking about including a wheel getting caught and causing a wreck. Fortunately the rider saved the situation and managed to avoid going completely down.

As a child I learned what can happen. I had the same experience as the bicyclist in the picture above did. Fortunately I didn’t get injured but it taught me how important it is to cross tracks safely. I might mention that the worse the pavement is at the train tracks the more dangerous the crossing is. Be safe out there so that you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ALL ABOUT E-BIKE BATTERY CHARGING & DIY UNDERTAKINGS

While looking for a battery charger on LunaCycle.com  I came across these articles on batteries and battery charging and read them. They are well written with useful information so I am sharing them here. They are found on the  ElectricBike.com website.

Ebike charging for long Battery life

Ebike Charging; Fast or Slow?

Ebike charging for long Battery life

How to make a lithium battery last, or…kill it, if you like.

BMS’s, what the hell do they do?

A Home-Built Ebike Battery Pack from 18650 Cells

What’s inside an 18650 cell? And why its important

Definitive Guide to Ebike Connectors

Mid Drive Kit Install Part-2, Matching Connectors from Battery to Controller

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ATOMIC ZOMBIE D.I.Y. PLANS

Atomic Zombie … tis rather a strange name, but it is a well known name for do it yourself folks. For $16.95 you can buy a set of plans to build a tadpole trike. They have a few different designs to choose from including a tandem model. You can check their complete website out HERE .

 

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO FIND INFO ON THIS WEBSITE

I am quite sure that there are many readers of this blog who don’t know that there are easy ways to find what you may be looking for or how to go about it. So I thought I would write this posting to explain it.

SEARCH FOR IT … I have tried to lay out this blog making it “user-friendly”. I purposely placed a Search Box at the very top of the right hand column and selected one with a Go button to use in case the reader doesn’t know to use the Enter Key to proceed with the search. So whatever the reader is searching for is quite easy to accomplish. Just type in whatever it is and push Go. If something exists it will show up in the search results. There may be more than one posting about it and, if so, they will all be listed. Please note that any misspelling of the words typed in will result in zero (nothing) in the search results.

SEARCH BY CATEGORY … Just a short ways further down in the right side column below the Recent Posts is “CATEGORIES”. There are many to choose from and using these is an easy way to find all sorts of postings on things the reader is interested in.

There is also a third way … searching by tags, but I don’t have a clue how to do so. Anyway, these two methods can be quite valuable. Give it a try.   And, of course, …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO TRUE A BICYCLE DISC BRAKE ROTOR

We all know  that SHIT HAPPENS. That includes disc brake rotors getting bent. If they are not bent too much they can usually be straightened and continue to be used. To do so requires the right tools and the knowledge of how to go about straightening them. Here is a tool you will need. It sells for about $18. Park Tools makes some good bicycle tools. This is a Rotor Truing Fork – DT-2C. There are a few other companies that sell their version of this tool. I personally  like Park Tool’s and recommend it.

Here is another well made tool … Foundation Brake Rotor Truing Fork Tool

Park Tools not only make good tools, but they make good instructional videos. Here is their video on how to true a bicycle disc brake rotor.

Here is another video showing a different tool being used.

And here is yet another video …

If you choose to accept this assignment I assure you that it is not mission impossible. Just be careful and follow the instructions. You can do it! And then you can …

  KEEP ON TRIKIN’ & ENJOY THE RIDE

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

MOUNTING HEADLIGHTS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES

A guy (or gal) just can’t have too many headlights. Ha Ha! One thing about it … ya gotta have some place and some way to mount them as well as computers, smartphones, GPS nagivation, mirrors, etc.  Fortunately there are options available. If you’ve got the money somebody will come to your rescue. Not all of the various means of mounting these devices is expensive, but it can get that way with some of the mounts. Some mounts are after market made by a third party and are fairly generic and fit most trikes. Some are specifically made for brand and even model. Some are a trike brand manufacturer but will work on other trike brands. All that being said if you don’t know what is available you will probably be at a loss and need some help from someone who does. I am afraid I can’t be of much help to you so don’t even ask. I am just reporting what little I know and think I understand on the matter.

There are a few different options for mounting to the front derailleur post …

Below is a Minoura Swingrip Accessory mount …

Below is a TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) Light Mount …

Greenspeed makes a neat looking mount …

Here is an ICE mount made to bolt onto the water bottle mount on the front derailleur post …

TerraTrike does offer various mounts for lights and accessories …

This is a boom mount for a TerraTrike Rover …

I used to use this item to mount lights on although mine was black …

I used to have 3 headlights … two on the mount like shown above and the third on the Catrike accessory mount built into the front derailleur post …

Since I rarely ride after dark I decided to remove two of them so I just went back to using the original built in horizontal post on the front derailleur post.

There is also a product called The Nob, but it doesn’t seem to be available and no one seems to know when it will be …

As you can see this KMX trike has sufficient mounts for computers, GPS device and mirrors …

 

There are even axle mounts …

And then there are a bit more elaborate products …

Catrike cockpit mount …

Here is an offering from TerraCycle which I personally use along with the Catrike Cockpit Mounts. It is called a “cockpit mini-Tee” …

 

 

I have my computers mounted to them.  Here is the one on the left side …

There are other similar products available.  Most of them are to aid the rider in getting up out of the seat.

Be safe out there and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!