Category Archives: How To


For those who have quick release wheel axles there is a matter which should be taken into consideration if you never have before. When tightened down the lever should not be pointed forward as many people often do. When they are pointed forward they can easily and readily do catch sticks, weeds, etc. A lot of people just tighten them up in whatever position that they happen to be in. I have seen the result of having these levers positioned facing forward. They are very good at snagging twigs, etc. as we ride along. So I highly suggest positioning them to face backwards if possible or “tucked away” somehow to avoid this problem. Here is one pointing up which is okay.

And here is one sort of tucked in where it would be hard for a stick to get snagged by it.

This applies to both the front and back axles.

This one on a front axle is positioned ideally.

This may sound like nit picking and silly, but from personal experience it can help avoid problems as we ride along. Just be sure that in changing the position of the lever the entire axle skewer assembly is sufficiently tight. You sure don’t want a wheel falling out of it’s proper position like in this picture of a mountain biker. Actually I photo edited this as I couldn’t find a picture online to demonstrate it. Hopefully we won’t be flying thru the air like some bikes do.

Snagging sticks is not a game to be played while out riding. It is much better to just …


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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
Gift Certificates
Handlebars, Stems & Steering
Idlers & Chain Management
Purple Sky Flags
SeatSide Mount System
Stainless Bolt Kits
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!

Cargo Monster
Handlebar Fitting
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 …


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Here is a good instructional video produced by Park Tools. I will add some personal comments and suggestions further below.

In the video it was pointed out that the threads should have either an anti-seize product or grease applied. This is a very good idea as if you have ever encountered pedals that are extremely difficult to loosen and remove this the reason why as none was used when they were installed. If you find that you can’t loosen the pedals there some things you can try. My first recommendation is to try impact on the wrench. You can smack it with palm of your hand if you are tough enough to do so. You can use a soft hammer so as not to damage the wrench. You can also use a piece of wood to either place on the wrench handle to help protect it and use a regular steel hammer to smack the wood. You can use a board (such as a 2×4) as a hammer to smack the wrench handle. If you find the pedal threads don’t want to cooperate and turn to loosen you can try tightening it a bit more and then try loosening it. If you can’t budge the wrench to tighten it you can use impact. Just don’t try to turn it very far in tightening it. If you experience the threads being very tight and uncooperative as you try to unscrew it you may have to try using  special penetrating oil such as WD-40. Even after trying that it may be a good idea and necessary to turn the threads both directions back and forth to carefully remove the pedal without doing damage to the threads. I would advise you to continue to use the penetrating oil frequently as you turn the threads back and forth as this will aid the penetrating oil to “penetrate” and do it’s job. There is always the possibility that a threading tap should be used to clean up the threads before a new pedal is installed in a crankarm that you had a difficult time removing the pedal. Hopefully you won’t encounter this problem, but if you do I think this advise will be helpful. Let’s all try to …



Occasionally someone asks me about my homemade safety flags wanting information on how to make them. I am not a seamstress so I had a woman make them for me.

Before I get into this I want to say that there are lots of factory manufactured safety flags available to buy. I am strongly opinionated about them as some are better than others and some are not of much value as far as making a rider safer. Some are pretty much worthless. I have had several factory made flags in an attempt of making myself visible and thereby safer. I finally decided to make my own and I really like the flags I have now as I know they work great as far as being seen.

my custom flags 3

The flags themselves are about 15 inches square and the black border is a 2 inch (or more … more is better) wide black satin double sided finish ribbon trim. It is okay to make the flags larger than 15 inches, but I would not make them any smaller. They could also be rectangular rather than square although I personally prefer square. I highly recommend using this black satin finish color as trim around the outside of the flags as it really makes the flags stand out and “catches the eye”. The black trim is available at a well stocked fabric shop as is the safety yellow and safety orange (also known as florescent yellow and orange) nylon material. The black satin trim is folded over the flag material as well as folded over itself so that it is thicker and offers more strength and protection to keep the edge of the flag material and itself from fraying in the wind.

black satin finish 2 inch ribbon 2

Here are some pictures I took of a brand new flag that has never been flown. (Pardon the black spray paint seen on some of the yellow background. The flag is laying on a pull out shelf of a metal desk. I had done some spray painting on it at one time and got some over-spray on the metal shelf which I never removed.)

Just a reminder — you can left click on any image in a WordPress blog and have it open up in its own window. Oftentimes it is much larger so you can see it in much greater detail. When you are finished viewing it just use your browser’s BACK button to close it and return to this page.

new safety flag with black border on pole 1

new safety flag with black border on pole 3

new safety flag with black border on pole 4

The top end of the flag where the pole slides in must be sewn closed, of course, so that it doesn’t allow the flag to slide on down the flag pole. It is important to have sufficient sewing so that it holds in wind and flapping around.

Here is a drawing I made to show how the black satin finish ribbon is folded over and sewn onto the flag. The orange is the flag material and the green is the thread where it is sewn.

black satin finish 2 inch ribbon folded over flag

I provided a short piece of a fiberglass flag pole (20 inches or so) to the seamstress to use to “fit” the flag to so that it is a pretty snug fit. That is important as it is hard to keep the flag on a flag pole if it fits loosely. Even with a snug fit I also use plastic cable ties on the flag to help secure it in place on the pole as otherwise they will work their way up off of the pole and if you didn’t notice it in time you could lose the flag. In addition to making the flag fit snugly on the flag pole I also use 3 small size plastic cable ties (top, middle and bottom) and cut small openings thru the flag material up near the pole so I can insert the cable ties thru the flag and around the pole … tightening the cable ties around the flag pole to keep the flag from moving up the pole. When I say “cut holes” I actually used an awl and punched small holes thru the flag material.

my custom flag with plastic cable ties

If you ride after dark you may want to use a reflective border on one of the flags as it will really stand out when light shines on it. I did this for awhile, but I finally went with the black border on both flags as I rarely ride after dark and the black border shows up much better in the daytime.

new flags 002 reduced

If the flags are constructed like this they should last quite some time. The material will fade some out in the sun as time passes so I would advise changing them periodically so that they offer maximum visibility and protection.

The height of my flag poles are 65 inches from the ground to the top of the poles. In my opinion this is an ideal height. Too low or too high greatly reduces the effectiveness as far as attracting attention to the flags.

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