Category Archives: pedal assist

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.

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TOTAL KNEE JOINT REPLACEMENT – BEFORE & AFTER

As I was out riding today I got to thinking about the subject of knee joint pain and riding. I was never overweight as a child growing up. I weighed 140 pounds when I graduated high school. That being said most of my family is overweight, particularly on my mother’s side. By the time I reached 22 years of age things started to change for me and I started gaining weight. It has been a battleground for me since. I have lost all my excess weight twice but both times put it right back on and even more. I have always been healthy but obesity has been and is my middle name. To add to the abuse to my body I have been a weldor most of my life and have worked down on my hands and knees a whole lot. My dad warned me that I would pay a price for it. Of course, he also included the obesity. And he was right. By the time I reached my mid 40s I was experiencing discomfort in my knee joints. As time passed it got worse and quite painful as my knee joints were “bone on bone” … the cartilage was pretty much gone. Standing and walking became very difficult and painful. I was advised to hold off as long as I could before getting knee joint replacements. Fortunately I could ride my tadpole trike with my knee joint problem as this was not “weight bearing”. That being said as time passed I found that I was only good for about 20 to 25 miles before my knee joints started talking to me. So finally I took the plunge and signed the paperwork to undergo the surgery.

Certainly it is no fun to recover from the surgery but I did very well and soon I was back riding. During the rehab I pedaled the recumbent bike at 120 rpm cadence. They stopped me as they didn’t want me doing that. I probably have pedaled anywhere near that fast since I was a teenager. My knee joints are pretty much pain free although I can’t stand very long nor walk very far before they cry out for relief. They don’t hurt as before when I was bone on bone but now it is a different hurt. Again, it is weight bearing that is the problem. I would imagine that if I weighed what I should it would make all the difference. I probably would not have any problem. But alas the battle of the bulge continues and I haven’t taken back any ground. I can ride my tadpole trike for hours and a long distance without any problem with my knee joints.

However, there is a problem. I am not able to pedal very long or very far under “human power” as ever since I had the surgery I just don’t seem to have the strength in my knee joint area I used to have. Riding became drudgery and I slowed down to such a slow pace that it was no longer enjoyable.  Climbing hills was extremely difficult. Because of all this I made the plunge and bought e-assist for my trike. It has been a “god-send”. My riding experience has been turned around, rejuvenated … and now I am lovin’ riding again just like I did when I first started. In fact, I would have to say I am enjoying riding even more so as I can ride like I did when I was in my 20s. I am 73 now and truly enjoying myself buzzing along out there. Well, that is my story and I am sticking with it. Besides I seem to be stuck with it. Here is hoping we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ICE FULL FAT E-TRIKE REVIEW & TEST RIDES

Here is a well made video sharing lots of information and covering lots of facets about riding a tadpole trike.

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YUMI, SIDE BY SIDE TANDEM QUAD

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ICE ADVENTURE FS HD BAFANG

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THE JOY OF RIDING A MOTORIZED TRIKE

Here is a video of a tadpole trike rider describing his e-trike and his riding it.

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eZEE … HAS BEEN A WINNER

It has been just over two years since I bought and installed an eZee hub motor on my trike. I am writing about it now as a sort of a review. I am pleased to say that I have been very well satisfied with this motor. It has performed flawlessly. It is a geared motor which means that the nylon gears are suppose to be changed every 8000 miles or so. I have new gears on hand to do so as I am well past the 8000 mile point as I usually average about 8000 miles  or more a year. Last summer I opened up the motor with the intention of changing the gears but I found the gears inside still looked like brand new so I closed the motor back up and just kept riding. I was impressed. Being a geared motor it is a little bit noisier than I would like. My first motor, a BionX, was gearless and ran quieter so that spoiled me. One thing I like about this motor is that is weighs so little compared to some hub motors. The second hub motor I had, a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge, was a whopping 19 pounds and was a monster to lift. This eZee hub motor weighs only 8 and a third pounds. With gears it can be made smaller diameter too which I like. Although it is rated at 1000 watts it is not the fastest or most powerful but it does a good job of moving me along. It is geared and designed to top out at 28 mph and that is what it does. I have had it up to 30 mph a few times on declines. My BionX motor was suppose to go 20 mph but it topped out at 17 mph. Oh, it would be fun to have a motor capable of propelling the trike along at 50 mph, but I would probably end up wrapping it around a tree or losing control and wrecking. So I am happy enough with what I have. At 73 years old I don’t need to live dangerously taking chances like that.

I feel that I should mention that I was not impressed with the aluminum rim that came with this e-motor kit. Of course, I have to say the same thing about the rims that came from Catrike. None of them have held up for me. I had to replace all of them with heavier duty BMX rims. They have held up great so far.

I have purposely withheld from making suggestions/recommendations to others when asked what brand of electric motor to purchase. Part of my reason for doing so is to is I simply don’t want to have someone buy a motor on my recommendation and then not be happy with it. I have not changed my position on this. However, I will readily say that I am very pleased with the eZee hub motor. It is my third brand of hub motor I have had after bad experiences with the first two. I have not missed out on any riding due to any problem with this motor. As I stated, it has been flawless. I am truly blessed and am …

ENJOYING THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

For those who are interested I have written/posted numerous articles about e-motors in the past. Click HERE to view them.

SPECBIKE TECHNICS

SPECBIKE TECHNICS is a German company which manufactures tadpole trikes in  Latvia. HERE is their Facebook page. The frames are made of steel. They offer  galvanized coating inside and outside of the frame for corrosion protection. The frame is powder coated. All models but one have full suspension. The company guarantees their prices to be the lowest. Their base model for adults starts at about $1544 but it has no suspension but it does fold. It also has three 20 inch wheels instead of a 26 inch on the rear. Before you get overly excited know that shipping to the United States costs from nearly $700 to nearly $1000 and takes about one week. Please note that import taxes may apply.

To make matters worse I just read on their Facebook page that they have increased their prices by quite a bit … they say due to demand … which makes no sense to me. If sales are good I would think they should be able to maintain or even lower their prices instead of raise them.

 

The model shown above is full suspension with a 250 watt 36 volt Shimano Steps electric crank drive motor for about $4576. It is 27 speed. The seat height is about 12 inches. The shock absorbers are adjustable and various springs are available to accommodate the weight of the rider.

They offer a 2 year warranty on the frame. The seat is adjustable for angle and has a built in adjustable headrest. A built in rear rack comes on all models. Brakes are installed on all three wheels. All models are available with folding frames as an option for additional cost of about $331. The same is true of hydraulic brakes (a $221 option). Three fenders come on all models. 20 inch wheels come on the front with Schwalbe Crazy Bob 20 x 2.10 tires. With the exception of their base model on all other models the rear wheel is 26 inch with a Schwalbe Crazy Bob tire 26 x 2.35. Shimano components are mostly used thruout the trikes.

The electric motor can be added to any model for about $1764 additional charge.

I find their website somewhat confusing. They show a model I was looking at as having a folding frame and then a little ways down the web page they show it as an option for additional cost. Another problem I found on their website that makes no sense is they show a model without the motor for 2145 Euro and with the motor for 4150 Euro. That is a difference of 2005 Euro. Yet they state that a motor can be added to any trike for 1600 Euro. That is 405 Euro more. Something is very wrong in this.

 

The company’s email address is specbiketechnics@gmail.com

They also show sales@specbiketechnics.com as a contact email address.

BTW, Specbikes Technics also offers children’s tadpole trikes which list for about $921. I assume the price has gone up on these as well but thus far the website does not show the price increases … only their Facebook page stated it.

Specbike also has a store on Amazon.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

RECUMBENT TRIKES – THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

Recumbent Trikes – The Essential Guide (2019 Edition)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

I put together this video for this occasion.  Yes, it is a repeat from 2018. I have decided to offer it every Christmas Day each year. It is a compilation of images of recumbent trikes out in the snow … riding in a winter wonderland. Merry  Christmas to each and everyone of you. May you truly know and embrace the reason for the season. 

BTW, we hear all the time that Jesus is the reason for the season. That is not really true. We are the reason for the season. Jesus did not come to earth for Himself. He came for us. We are the reason He came to dwell among us. He did all He could do … all that He needed to do … accomplishing the mission He was on. “The ball is in our court”. The video further below tells the story of the man and the birds. It is a beautiful illustration of what God did for us.

I love this story Paul Harvey is well known for telling … The Man and the Birds:

Christmas is known for gift giving. If you have not already done so please consider taking advantage of this limited time offer …

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ELECTRIC MOTOR ASSIST — THERE ARE CHOICES

Electric motor assist has become quite popular and more and more offerings are showing up. There are two basic ways to go … 1) a hub motor in the rear wheel … and 2) a crank drive motor some incorrectly call a mid drive motor. There are pros and cons to both types. I have written about this previously. Click HERE to read it. And HERE is a similar posting to this one.  In this posting I am not writing about electric motor assist. I am merely posting videos about them. If you want to read any or all of the several postings of the past about electric motor assist click HERE. The videos below will give you some idea of the various options available to motorize your trike. Some are trikes which come with motors while others are motors which can be added to an existing trike. And yes, any trike can be motorized. It is not necessary to buy a new trike.

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BTW … below is a picture of a true MID drive motor setup …

As you can see the motor is located in the middle between the pedals and the rear wheel … thus it is called mid drive. Motors that are mounted in the bottom bracket of a bicycle or tadpole trike are technically CRANK drive not mid drive.

ELECTRIC TRIKE OWNERS FACEBOOK GROUP

While looking for tadpole trike groups on Facebook I found this one … Electric Trike Owners. I requested to join and invite you to do the same if you have an electric motor on your trike.

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E-ASSIST … SOME DON’T GET IT

Frequently the subject of the use of electric motor assistance on a trike comes up on a Facebook group discussion. And sadly there are always some folks who attack and criticize and pass judgement on anyone who dares to use e-assist. In doing so they usually boast about themselves being able to ride their trikes unassisted. It gets old even though I would rather imagine those same people have heard/read others say that with the use of e-assist they are able to ride further, faster and with no or greatly reduced discomfort while getting far more exercise than they can possibly get trying to ride without the help of a motor. And they greatly enjoy riding thanks to their e-assist. I know from personal experience that all of what I am saying is true. Having e-assist has made a huge difference in my life.

Anybody who has been following me thru the years and reading what I have written about motorizing a trike knows that I am against it if one doesn’t need it. That hasn’t changed one iota.  Motorizing a trike defeats the purpose of a human powered vehicle … namely getting exercise. I rode for as long as I could pedaling along and as time passed I suffered more and more in pain and discomfort. Many others have the same testimony.

Those that pass judgement on those of us who have turned to e-assist need to be thankful that they are still able to ride “unassisted”. I just hope that if ever they come to the point where they too need to turn to e-assist they will wake up and understand just how wrong they have been in their stance against those who use e-assist. Hopefully they will REPENT. And may we all just …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CATRIKE E-CAT MAKING ITS DEBUT

Electric motor assist has become quite popular and several trike manufacturers already offer models with e-assist. I have noticed over the years that Catrike is consistently slow in coming out with models to compete with other manufacturer products. For instance, they still don’t offer a FAT tire trike which seems strange to me since FAT tire trikes are quite popular.  I have also noticed that when they do eventually come out with new products they are always superb. That is not true of all trike manufacturers. As I write this there is very little information available about the E-Cat. In fact, the only thing I can find about the E-Cat is on Facebook. Two different entities have posted on Facebook about the debut of the E-Cat. For fear of getting in trouble copying and pasting what they have to say I will simply supply a LINK to one of the articles. (They both read the same other than the time and location of their events.)

Here is what Catrike has released at this point:

“At the heart of the E-Cat line is the latest in electric assist systems. The result is a Catrike with the perfect combination of maximum efficiency, comfort and riding enjoyment. The efficient and versatile electric assist drive provides dynamic performance – guaranteeing an authentic riding sensation with minimal pedaling resistance. It delivers active and sporty acceleration even at low cadences, offering powerful assistance as soon as you step on the pedals. In addition, the system’s multi-sensor technology and fast information processing ensure optimum interaction between you and your E-Cat.

Featuring E-Cat specific graphics, the E-Cat line will be available in all eight of Catrike’s signature colors: Moon Rock Silver, Liquid Black, Eon Green, Firefly Yellow, Atomic Orange, Lava Red, Candy Purple and of course Electric Blue.”

Here is Catrike’s new graphic for the E-Cat:

The E-Cat will be shown at the Pacific TrikeFest in Portland, OR on October 5 and then at the Recumbent Cycle Con in Nashville, TN Oct. 11-13.  .

It will be interesting to see what Catrike is offering. The article states that there won’t be any new models for the E-Cat. Instead they are simply using existing models and motorizing them. We can only hope that Catrike will sell a conversion kit so that anyone with a non motorized model can upgrade to the e-assist on their current trike. I have just read that they wii starting next Spring. Here is what the Bosch crank drive motor looks like …

 

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

WHAT I THINK I KNOW ABOUT BATTERY CHARGING

I purposely titled this “what I THINK I know about battery charging” for good reason. I only know what I have read and experienced thus far. I am certainly no expert and I readily admit that at times I have found what I have read a bit confusing and perhaps even contradictory. I have had 4 batteries thus far … all lithium ion and all 48 volts. What has been different about them is their capacity or power rating. I started out with a 6.6 aH Bionx battery that fit in a rear rack. I found that it was way too small. I ran out of battery power long before I was done riding each day. I used to carry the charger with me to recharge the battery while I was out riding … taking valuable time stopped to do this. Below is a picture of my trike stopped in a city park recharging the Bionx battery.

Bionx was good enough to allow me to return the battery to the dealer and get their largest battery … which is only 11.6aH … still not very powerful. I had problems with my Bionx system so I ended up returning everything for a refund as they either couldn’t or wouldn’t fix the issue I was experiencing. Next I got a 20aH battery which also mounted in a rear rack. Later I bought a second one and have one available as an extra battery if I need it or want to have it along with me although I usually only have one along with me.

In charging these batteries they each take a certain length of time based on two factors: 1) How far down in their charge level they are and 2) the charger being used to recharge them. BTW, a lithium ion battery should never be used beyond 80 % of its capacity. 20 % charge should remain in the battery. Naturally the larger the battery rating the longer it takes to recharge it unless one uses a more powerful charger. Lithium Ion batteries are best charged slowly. In fact, fast charging can harm them and reduce their life span. My 20aH batteries came with a 2 amp charger. That is a pretty small charger as far as chargers go. Yet there is a reason why the company selling them supplies this size charger. In short, it is to get maximum life out of the battery. There are lithium ion batteries out there that recharge in only 1 hour. That is because they are being charged fast. At 2 amps my 20aH batteries take about 10 hours to recharge (20 divided by 2 equals 10).

I recently bought a 5 amp charger after reading about this subject. 5 amps is as large as I dare go for fear of damaging the batteries. Even at 5 amps I am a bit concerned. I started using it and immediately was alarmed at the result as I thought I had already damaged the battery. I noticed that it did not charge up quite as much as it always had when using the 2 amp charger. I also noticed that as I started riding using it it seemed to run down quicker than it always had before. I decided to use the 2 amp charger again and much to my relief everything returned to normal … I had a fuller charge and once more was able to get the same distance out of the battery charge as I was getting before. WHEW! My battery is okay … at least as far as I can tell. After using the 2 amp charger again for about 3 days I went back to the 5 amp charger.

It usually takes about 5 hours to recharge the battery using the 5 amp charger. Doing the same math … 20 divided by 5 … one would think that it would take 4 hours. Again, I am no expert on this but I think the math comes out differently because in the recharging process the circuitry has built into it a slow down toward the final part of the process. Lithium ion batteries are a bit complicated and the charging process is also complicated. It is all very high tech and the circuitry has safeguards built into it. The same is true of the motor controller. Without this damage can and would occur. And fire is also a great concern. It is important that we always use proper equipment made for our e-system. BTW, even though I am back using the 5 amp charger I do not know at this time if I am shortening the life of my battery. I know I would be best off using the 2 amp charger most all of the time and only use the 5 amp charger if I am in a hurry.

E-assist has become extremely popular and with more and more trike riders getting it we need to know about our batteries and charging them. We need to be safe. We certainly don’t want to prematurely age our battery’s life nor have our earthly possessions going up in flame. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ARE YOU PHONY?

Now I ask you … are you phony? I am talking about while riding your trike. I must confess, I am … at least some of the time. Not many have probably heard of the term “faux pedaling”. Faux is a French word which means “fake”. Faux pedaling has recently become part of cycling vocabulary as a result of equipping bikes (and trikes) with motors. Now riding a bike or trike which is strictly “pedal assist”  one can’t be guilty of faking it as in order for the cycle to move the rider must be pedaling supplying some degree of human power applied to the pedals. But for those who have a hand throttle they certainly can get away with faking it if they choose to. I am talking about simply pedaling without actually pushing on the pedals adding anything which helps move the cycle along. They are simply turning the crankset and it can’t be detected whether or not they are actually helping propel the cycle along. Yes, sometimes I am just turning the crankset … faking it. But for what it is worth … sometimes I am pedaling and not using the motor at all … providing 100 % of the propulsion. So please don’t be too hard on me. I am out there nearly everyday riding approximately 50 miles a day. I may be faking it or I may not be. I am not telling. I assure you that I am getting quite a lot of exercise … more with a motor than I got without one. And with the motor I am truly …

ENJOYING THE RIDE!

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

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VELOKS MK3 E-TRIKE

500 miles (800 KM) per charge … that is the claim of this product of Denmark. It’s a fully suspended  e-trike with *fat tires for $6013 US (€5,340). HERE is their website.  And HERE is their FAQ webpage.

*They call these fat tires, but they are only 2 inch wide tires … not hardly “fat”.

I would think it would be likely and tempting to take this trike off road, but that battery looks mighty vulnerable and it certainly is not a bash plate.

The battery provides power for motor, lights, mobile, and automatic gear shift system. The battery box is removable, shock and water-resistant.

Assisted range up to 500 miles (800 km). Designed for 37 mph (60 km/h), restricted to 15.5 mph (25 km/h).

It has a TIG welded 4130 Chrome Moly steel frame.

Design principles:

• Comfortable ride position
• Full suspension
• Drive anywhere
• Handle high load
• Long distance e-assist
• Resilient drive systems
• Waterproof electronics / electrics
• Adjustable e-assist configuration
• Fast charging
• Many gearing options
• Power and speed when needed
• Elegant design

Weight: 90.4 pounds (41 kg)
Max. load: 441 pounds (200 kg) (rider and/or luggage)
Seat height: 8.25 inches (21 cm)
Seat angle: 35 – 50 degrees
Max tire width: 2” (5 cm)
Suspension travel:  5.5 inches (14 cm) front, 5 inches (13 cm) rear
Track width: 30.70 inches (78 cm)
Wheel base: 43.3 inches (110 cm)
Width: 33.46 inches (85 cm)
Length:  74.8 – 82.68 inches (190 – 210 cm)
Turning circle: 13 feet (4 m)
Rider height: 59.05 – 82.68 inches (150 – 210 cm)

Gear chain: Shimano
Front Rims: Rigida Andra 40, 20″
Rear Rim: Rigida Andra 40, 26″
Spokes: 2,34 mm stainless
Front hubs: Novatec 36 spokes, 20mm axle
Rear hub: Shimano 36 spokes, quick release
Cassette: SRAM NX 11-42
Crankset: SR Suntour 44, 170 mm
Bottom Bracket: Torque Sensing BB
Rear derailleur: SRAM NX 11 speed
Gear shifter: SRAM NX twist shifter
Pedals: Shimano SPD + Normal
Brakes: Tektro Hydralic Disc brakes (160mm)
Right Brake levers: Front brakes, parking brake
Left Brake levers: e-brake (if ebrake option selected)
Rear shock: DNM Air spring 165 mm
Front shocks: DNM Steel spring 190 mm
Rear fender: SKS – Black
Motor cog: Disc mounted – 21 teeth
Battery: 60V, 1.5 kWh – 5.0 kWh
Motor: BLDC, 250w – 3000w
Controller: Sinusoidal Field oriented control
Computer: Cycle Analyst

Mounting the battery down low under the seat certainly helps to lower the center of gravity and greatly improve the trike’s handling making it more stable. I just think it ought to have a bash plate to protect it from damage. It looks like a fun trike, but I am sure I would be working at doing something about being limited to 15.5 mph. That is ridiculous. When people ride bicycles 25 mph and faster it makes no sense to limit an e-bike/trike to such a low speed. I tell ya … idiots are in charge!

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

“FAUX PEDALING” – FAKING IT HERE, BOSS

Recently I have been coming across the term faux pedaling. I had never heard of it before so I had to look it up. It isn’t the easiest term to find much of anything out about. To start off the word faux is French and means “fake”. Here is the dictionary definition of faux:

made in imitation; artificial.
“a string of faux pearls”
not genuine; fake or false.
“their faux concern for the well-being of the voters didn’t fool many”

Basically from what I have been able to gather it is pedaling without any physical effort … not putting any pressure pushing on the pedals. With e-motor assist this is possible if the rider wants to do it. There are those who say it is cheating. It is true that one doesn’t build up leg muscle or burn as many calories when faux pedaling, but the good news is the rider is still getting exercise spinning the cranks around. And if they are spun fast enough the rider can get a cardio workout even if they are not building leg muscle. That being said, usually the faux pedaling is done slower than what the cycle is traveling so it is obvious that something is going on that just doesn’t look right. One thing I have often done with and without e-motor assist is to pedal backwards while going forward. I have tried pedaling forward while going backwards, but found that it just doesn’t work.

So what is my point in bringing this subject matter up? I don’t know. I may not have one other than to mention that I am sure there will be naysayers out there who want to sound off and protest against this. Keep in mind though that there are some folks who are not physically able to push hard enough on the pedals to propel the cycle. They are doing good to be able to faux pedal. At least they are out there getting some exercise and …

ENJOYING THE RIDE!

And they are only able to do so with the aid of e-motor assist. Yes, the motor is doing most of the work, but that is a whole lot better than being a total couch potato. So just maybe others need to be kind and cut them some slack. None of us know what tomorrow holds. We could be among those who find them self saying “Faking it here, boss!”

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TOURING WITH E-ASSIST

Sylvia Halpern with Moto-Myrtle

(A 700 watt EcoSpeed mid-drive electric motor assist tadpole trike)

Myrtle the Turtle, known far and wide among the recumbent trike world. (Myrtle is actually the name of the trike.) Sylvia Halpern is the owner’s name and she is well known among the recumbent trike world. And if you don’t yet know the name now is your opportunity to meet this world traveler. Travelling by tadpole trike many thousands of miles and sharing her adventures online we have the privilege of being/getting acquainted with Sylvia. She is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and her own website and probably other social media I am not aware of.  Among her articles is one about touring with e-assist. It is well written and I recommend it to you. Click HERE to do so. She has titled it “Why not use electric assist?”.

Whether you ride with or without e-assist …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

You can get better acquainted with Sylvia via Gary Solomon’s interview with her when she was featured on the Laidback Bike Report …

FREE GIFT awaits you!