Category Archives: rider comfort

WILL A CANOPY PROTECT YOU FROM THE RAIN?

What do you think? How much protection from the rain can one expect from a canopy on a trike? I had always heard/read that canopies don’t offer much protection from the rain.

Personally I have only been out riding in the rain twice since I installed a canopy on my trike. The first time was in a light rain with very little wind. The rain was coming down relatively straight. I stayed pretty dry and was impressed and hopeful. However the next time it was raining harder and the wind was blowing quite a bit. I was hoping that at least my face would remain dry but I was drenched like a drowned rat. The canopy did absolutely no good whatsoever. So there is the answer … IT ALL DEPENDS!

Hey, even though a canopy doesn’t offer the protection from rain we would like it to it is still better than what this poor guy  is dealing with …

Of course, there are things which can help. Some people mount their canopies up quite high. I don’t understand that as the higher the canopy is the less protection it offers the rider … even from the sun. When I installed my canopy I knew it needed to be lowered so I cut 4.5 inches off of the aluminum poles used in the frame. I am talking about cutting the vertical pieces, of course. That helped but it still wasn’t enough so I cut another 3 inches off. The canopy still  is about 3 inches above the top of my head so it could have gone even lower. Every bit helps in the protection available. Certainly the physical size of the canopy comes into play. Obviously the larger the canopy the more protection it offers. The shape of the canopy also makes a difference. Some are quite flat while others are domed. Some are even concave on the top. Most are pretty much open in the back. A few are closed such as is mine pictured below. I have to admit that I really like having the canopy come down in back of me. It not only keeps the sun off of me but it definitely keeps the rain off as well..

One can add some sort of side pieces onto the canopy to offer further protection from both the sun and rain. And even a “windshield” could be placed on the front to help keep rain, bugs, and other foreign matter from coming upon the rider. I don’t think I would ever do that as I like having air hitting my face and body. I also would be concerned about the vision thru the windshield deteriorating over time.

Veltop offers considerable protection … at a price …

I can’t say I am disappointed with my canopy as I didn’t have my hopes very high in regards to rain protection. It works pretty good when it comes to sun protection and that is why I installed it. It definitely helps me to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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TIRED HURTING FEET

ARE YOUR FEET TIRED?

Many tadpole trike riders complain about their feet hurting while riding. Of course some, like myself, have ongoing problems with hurting feet 24/7 regardless of what they are doing. In my case it is neuropathy and it just keeps getting worse the older I get. Others only experience discomfort as a result of riding. There seems to be a difference of opinion as to the cause and the cure. However most say that it matters where their feet are positioned on the pedals and the shoes they are wearing. Many say that it is important that they are able to move their feet around on the pedals as they ride. Obviously using clipless pedals precludes doing this.

For those who do use and want/insist on using clipless pedals most say that having the cleats located further back in the middle of the shoe helps immensely.

Keep in mind as you watch these videos below that these people are talking about and to diamond frame bicyclists … not to recumbent tadpole trike riders. What I am saying is that some of the advise given may not be applicable to those who ride recumbent tadpole trikes … sort of an apple and orange thing.

Some riders prefer HEEL SLINGS which permit the foot to be moved around some on the pedals while still providing protection from the dreaded “leg suck” from happening.

For those like myself no other options are available as strapping the foot to the pedal is not possible as it causes considerable discomfort. I have been among the fortunate ones as I don’t have a problem with my feet going down onto the ground if and when my foot comes off of the pedal. So I ride with just platform pedals with complete freedom to move my feet around wherever I want/need to.

I know … there will be those who say I am foolish and need some form of foot retention. Believe me, I am very much aware of leg suck and what can happen. I don’t and won’t consul anyone to ride without some form of foot retention. I pretty much believe it is a personal choice and we need to leave others alone to do what they want. The important thing is that they are aware of what can happen should their foot come off the pedal and down onto the ground.

HERE is one of Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum‘s articles on the subject of foot pain.

Anyway, tired hurting feet including “hot spots” are all too common among tadpole trike riders and if you suffer or have suffered and found something which has helped you please feel free to share with us by leaving a comment. After all, we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

MY NEW CANOPY

For many years I have wanted a canopy on my trike. However I could never afford one and although I can fabricate everything I lack the sewing skills and equipment needed to make the material part of it. I mean … the frame isn’t going to do me much good without the material over it. Those small diameter poles/rods just don’t provide much shade. 😉

Recently a posting on Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group showed a kayak canopy installed on a tadpole trike. It looked pretty good and the price … well, let’s just say it is affordable … like $56 with free shipping from Amazon. With another $15 for various hardware type items I had a canopy for a total of about $71. BTW, after buying mine thru Amazon for $56 I found it for only $36 on Ebay. That is par for the course. Right now as I compose this the price on Ebay is higher than $36 as it seems to fluctuate. Even so Ebay offers it for less than Amazon.

As you can see I selected the safety orange which, of course, adds even more to safety as I ride as it really stands out.

I have seen other canopies on tadpole trikes and watched them bob around every which way. I am pleased to report that this kayak canopy is very stable. I have had it up to 28 mph in 16 mph winds and it was rock solid. I am very pleased with it. (And I have been out in even stronger winds since I first wrote this. It did great!) And it is larger than most trike canopies so it offers a little bit more protection. It measures 2 foot wide by 4 foot long and the rear vertical part comes down 7.5 inches. I didn’t know if I would like the rounded front end as all the canopies I have ever seen are rectangular.

The material is some sort of nylon (I think) and it is made like a sleeve (pillowcase) which simply slides over the frame. The frame is aluminum tubing like modern day tent poles … sections which fit together and have an elastic cord inside of them connecting them all together. Being aluminum tubing rather than fiberglass rods they don’t flex nearly as much which is what makes the canopy so stable. I shortened the height of the canopy by 7.5 inches to get it closer to my head so that it offers increased protection. I had to add the arched support piece to hold the canopy up higher in the back so it is away from my head. Once I get up to 8 mph the air moving against the material will raise it up and back and keep it off of me but I didn’t like it touching me when I slow down or stop so I added the support piece to eliminate the problem.

I added an additional support to raise the canopy up higher right above my head. That way I can have the canopy down as low as practical to provide maximum shade and protection.

There is plenty of “spring” in the aluminum tubing so that when the front is not hooked down into riding position it raises way up out of the way making it easy to get on and off of the trike.

I first mounted it using plastic cable ties just to get an idea what it would look like as well as help me figure out what I needed to do to come up with a proper mounting system. It was a fairly easy task and what I came up with works great. I used two 15 inch long pieces of 1/2 PVC pipe with caps on the bottom so the canopy tubes can’t go past the bottom end of the PVC pipe.

With this setup it is very quick and easy to install and remove the canopy from the trike. It takes about the same amount of time as it does to put my two safety flags in their holders. Again, I could not be more pleased with the way this all works.

Here is my view with the canopy in place …

As you can see I have a V tie down which I prefer over the single tie down in the center of the front. The V is more stable than a single cord in the center and it eliminates having to look thru a single tie down in front. It fastens down to the front derailleur post. I removed the plastic plug in the post and replaced it with a rubber pipe plug. I used a 5/16 eye bolt in a rubber pipe plug replacing the 5/16 inch bolt which came in the rubber plug.

And here is the front view …

And here is the rear view. As you can see I have complete protection from the sun on my backside which is really nice. Much to my surprise and delight it does not cut off the air flow any appreciable amount.

 

Here is a closeup view of the mounting area …

I already had some of the clamps used to mount the PVC pipe on the top end to the seat frame.

I bought these others shown in the picture below. I got 5/8 inch for the PVC pipe and 1 inch for the trike frame  (rear stays) at the bottom of the PVC pipe.

The bottom line is … At this point I am a happy camper with this canopy setup.

I may try tinkering with it … adding something onto the sides to help provide more shade. But for now for a fairly low cost I have a very functional canopy and my plan is to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

If you are interested I have written other articles about canopies previously.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

LOW COST CANOPIES

(in case you haven’t figured it out that is suppose to be a shade tree mounted on the trike)

As much as we may like the idea of having shade trees to ride under when it is hot and the sun is beating down on us I am pretty sure it is not likely it is going to happen. A portable shade tree is just not too practical. Many of us would like to have a canopy on our trike providing portable shade that goes with us, but we find the cost prohibitive. Some riders have made their own and have done so saving a bunch of money. Not everybody is gifted so that they could do so or for whatever reason they just don’t want to mess with it. (I haven’t because I lack the sewing skills as well as the sewing equipment. I recently ordered the $56 kayak canopy shown below. I expect it may prove to be a bit challenging to mount, but I am confident I can succeed at it.)

There are a few low cost alternatives to the DIY route. That being said be aware that there may still be some DIY work involved to get them mounted and functional. As one might expect “made in China” comes into play. I looked at two recently … both are made for recumbent tadpole trikes.

$114 above and $150 below

As I write this the $114 one is nearly out of stock (only 1 black color remains) and the $150 one is completely out of stock (sold out).

And then there is the option of a canopy made for a kayak which Amazon sells for $56 … but I found it on Ebay for only $36.

The side screens were added by the rider. They don’t come with the canopy. Here is a picture of what you get …

It is 4 foot long, 2 foot wide and the back vertical part comes 7.5 inches down.

Some riders have used baby stroller canopies …

Obviously it doesn’t extend very far forward so it only shades the head and possibly the neck and shoulders at times.

Here it is in the down position. It definitely would catch the wind.

Even kites have been used to make a canopy on a trike (…

And one can use a canopy made for a bicycle …

Lastly, an umbrella has been used as a canopy …

It is so high up it doesn’t offer near as much shade as it could if it were lower. And I am sure it would do very poorly in the wind.

I am adding this here as an idea as how to fasten the front of a canopy down. The front derailleur post can be used to anchor to by placing a rubber pipe plug with an eyebolt and adjusting lock nut into the top of it. First the plastic plug in the derailleur post needs to be removed.

 

A canopy should indeed help you to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BAR END MITTS – MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Earlier today I received a pair of bar end mitts I had ordered a couple of days ago. I installed them after getting home from my daily ride, but I wasn’t feeling like going back out to try them. However, later on I decided to try them out. It is a good day for it as it is windy today and feels pretty cold as a result. They definitely made a difference as far as greatly reducing the wind I feel on my hands. In fact, I can’t say that I felt any wind on my hands so they are doing their intended job. I only wore a pair of wool gloves inside of them hoping that the wool gloves would be sufficient to keep my hands warm. They weren’t. This disappointed me as wearing anything more will be a little problematic as there just isn’t a whole lot of room inside of the bar end mitts. Having the bar end mitts installled presents problems as the handlebars are no longer accessable like they were before. I have to use the handlebars to lift my trike up and down out of the back of my truck. And using the locking brake lever is quite difficult now with the bar end mtts installed. I don’t know how much difference there is between brands, but these I bought just don’t allow much room inside. The brake levers are right up against the front of the bar end mitts making them harder to use. Also it would be best not to have my fingers come in contact with the bar end mitts when using the brakes as in doing so coldness is transferred via conduction. I have twist shifters and with the bar end shifters they are very difficult to use to shift gears. So the verdict is out at this point in time. I just wish they was a lot more room inside of them so that these issues were non-issues. If I have to use additional gloves or mittens on my hands to keep my hands warm using the bar end mitts is going to be even more problematic. I will let you know further down the road how it all works out. Meanwhile I hope to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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FINER RECLINER HEAD/NECK RESTS

Many trikers already know about head/neck rests as many of us need them and prefer having them. Many trike manufacturers offer them among the accessories they sell. That being said many of us find them quite uncomfortable and therefore unsatisfactory. I have written about head/neck rests before. Click HERE to read it. Probably the most popular after market 3rd party solution to this is the product offered by a man who goes by “Krispy Steve”. He calls his head/neck rest company  product “The Finer Recliner”. I have absolutely no experience with them. I have never seen one in person. I have only seen pictures and videos of them. Certainly many have nothing but praise for them saying that they are quite comfortable and that Steve is a great guy to deal with. He offers custom work for those wanting/needing that. All sorts of mounting options are available. He certainly has a lot of options and models to offer to his customers and his prices are reasonable. For prices and ordering information click HERE. Steve also sells some other products at very fair prices. I suggest checking out what he has to offer.

NOTE: This business has been sold to TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) so now anyone interested needs to deal with TERRACYCLE.

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HOW TO MAKE A TADPOLE TRIKE GROW

No, you don’t plant ii in dirt, expose it to sunshine and add water. I am talking about the HP Velotechnik Gekko FXS tadpole trike … the first expandable trike designed to accommodate short people (kids and smaller adults) and grow as they grow (well the kids anyway). In the case of short adults this trike is just as happy to remain one size all of its days.

What is differnet about this trike is not only does the boom telescope in and out for adjustment like most other trikes, but the frame itself adjusts telescoping in and out up to 2.7 inches (7 cm). All of this and it folds too!

The seat is also high tech in that it has various adjustments available including adding/removing and moving around foam pieces to accommodate the rider as they grow and their bodies change.

HERE is the Operator’s Manual.

HP also offers some special features as options for those who have children with special needs. They have a harness system to help hold the child safely in the seat. They also have straps to securely hold the child’s feet onto the pedals.

In addition to the above mentioned features they have an assistance pole attached to the steering head with a brake lever in case the child is not capable of safely handling everything themselves.

Yep, this trike is designed to meet the need of your child from a youngster to adulthood … growing as they grow … and without the feed and water your child requires. And having a trike that grows as your child grows will help keep a smile on their face because they will be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKN’

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3 CHEERS FOR RECUMBENT TADPOLE TRIKES

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RECUMBENT RAG TOPS

Recumbent RagTops

Canopies are an item which can be a real blessing to have. They can help shield us from the hot sun and even offer some protection from rain. I have a friend who slips a large plastic bag over his to make it totally waterproof if he has to deal with rain while out riding. Some people make their own canopies. My friend made his and another friend made his. There are only a few manufacturers of canopies that I know of. Prices range considerably as do the design and build. I have written about CANOPIES before. One manufacturer I know of (Ed Miller) offers several options on his canopies. The other canopy manufacturer I have written about before (Andy Vardik) no longer makes them. There are a very few companies around who offer them. One of them is Recumbent RagTops. There is also VelTop which offers canopies for recumbent bikes and trikes. This posting is featuring Recumbent RagTops as I have never written about them before.

I think it is safe to say that this design would catch a lot of air especially with the rear flap down over the mesh “window” so no air can flow thru and out the back. Also it is domed quite high which makes the canopy much higher than most others I have seen. Personally I would want the canopy much lower down than this … just a few inches over the top of my head. I have no idea how it handles winds. Also I wonder about visibility of traffic lights as one approaches them

Here is a video with a review of this canopy which addresses all of this and more …

 

Speaking of homemade canopies, I came across this video which I really like so I am sharing it here …

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BLUESKY CANOPIES

Here is a rather unique canopy which may or may not appeal to you. Since I like having the air on me it has no appeal to me whatsoever. But if it “flicks you Bic” it is available. I had a very hard time finding the price on the website.  However, I finally found it in their catalog. Here is what they show:

“Our popular M4 canopy can be used for many HPV applications for a simple wind and rain fairing. The 8 lb acrylic tinted (or clear) canopy is adaptable but you must make your own attachment and support system. $400 plus $150 shipping.”

In other words all they supply is a hunk of plastic. You are on your own when it comes to mounting it. That has no appeal to me. If I buy a product for my trike I expect it to come with whatever is needed to use it on my trike. I am not at all impressed with what I see on this website. They don’t even have the canopy mounted on the trike they are using to display their product. Instead the guy sitting on the trike is holding the canopy in place with his hands. It is not even centered on the trike when you look at the front view. That seems very unprofessional to me.

There it is folks. Just selling a piece of plastic that one has to figure out how to mount. Nope, I ‘ll pass. I would expect most people would. They need to offer mounting hardware if they are going to sell this product. I wouldn’t know where to begin to come up with what would be needed nor would I want to. How about you?

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

KMX TRIKE FRONT SUSPENSION

Got a KMX tadpole trike and want front suspension? Well, here is good news. It is available and simply bolts on. The suspension will fit any recent KMX adult trikes. That’s good news, but there is bad news too as it is very expensive … over $1000. Be aware that it also adds quite a bit of extra width to the trike.

Travel : 52mm (2.05in)
Bike total width will increase by 146mm (5.75in)
Material: Alu 6061-T6 Black Anodized
Weight: 1.25 kg each.
Air shock used : http://www.kindshock.com.cn/en/produc…
No modification required on your KMX. Just remove the brakes & wheels, bolt the new suspension, reinstall the brakes and wheels.

Can be purchased from:
Ebay
or
Endless-sphere.com [Items for Sale – New]

Note: This custom item will only fit on a KMX Trike but it is not a genuine KMX product.

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

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

HP VELOTECHNIK, A TRIKE TO BE RECKONED WITH

HP Velotechnik is a well known and respected German manufacturer of tadpole trikes. Their two main models … the Scorpion and Gekko continue to grow in popularity. Recently while visiting a trike dealer in Kokomo, Indiana they were assembling a brand new Gekko for a customer. It is a nice looking trike.

I am sure some would say that the Scorpion fs26 is the ultimate in comfort among trikes. The fs stands for full suspension. It is also available with a 500 watt pedal assist electric motor. One would have to be independently wealthy or on good terms with a banker to buy one of them as they are pretty much at the top of list cost wise … like around $8000. That is a lot of money for a tadpole trike. They are a large trike and are heavier than most all other trikes so this may be a challenge for some folks if lifting it is involved.

Here is an interesting video showing a Scorpion on a bob sled track. I am sure that ride is exhilarating.

HP Velotechnik has some good reading available on their website.  Sometimes it is more interesting than other times.

Here is a good video. However it is in German so you may not understand anything being said.

Yes, HP is a trike to be reckoned with. Most would compare them, especially their top of the line model, the Scorpion, with a Caddilac, or a Mercedes, or a Rolls Royce among tadpole trikes. In other words … TOP DOG! But hey, whether you are riding a top dog or a Rover … ENJOY THE RIDE and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

TerraTrike offers a webpage concerning how to determine your X-seam. X-seam is a measurement similar to inseam which is used to determine how to adjust the boom properly to fit the rider of a tadpole trike. When seated properly on a tadpole trike the rider’s leg should be about 85 % fully extended when the pedal is rotated to its most forward position.

I have written about this subject previously. HERE is one of the articles.

HERE is another webpage on this offering a good illustration. And HERE is another.

I have noticed that the instructions given for this vary somewhat in the matter of how much distance the bottom of the board is out away from the wall. To my way of thinking the safest and best method would be to duplicate the seat back angle more so than a measurement off of the wall. Of course, one must be careful not to move the board while sitting down and going thru the process of obtaining the measurement.

A quick and easy way to adjust the boom to its proper position for the rider is simply to sit in the seat and place the “heel” of the foot (while wearing shoes) on the pedal in the furthest forward position. The boom can then be tightened down and when the balls of the rider’s feet are positioned on the pedals the legs should be about 85 % or so extended.

It is good to know our X-seam measurement as it can be of value for a mechanic to set up a trike for the rider without them being there to go thru this process. Having a trike set up properly helps us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

 

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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!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CATRIKE ROAD AR … LIKE A TRUE CAT IT DONE SNUCK UP ON US

Cats are known for stealth … sneaking up on their prey undetected. Well, it looks like Catrike is sort of following suit. They are quietly introducing a new model … another full suspension trike. It is the Road AR. There isn’t much out about it yet. Catrike does show it on their website. They just have been rather quiet … no fanfare. HERE is a webpage about it. They say that it is expected to be in stock by the end of May. They show a price of $3550. That is $400 more than the regular Road model which has rear suspension only. It is somewhat like a trimmed down Dumont. It has 20 inch wheels all around whereas the Dumont has a 26 inch on the rear. Unlike the Dumont this Road AR does not fold. They offer it in 8 different colors.

Here is what Catrike says about this model:

he road AR is a vibrant and efficient machine. A progressive linkage air shock and CNC swing arm provide a highly adjustable suspension platform paired with the new patent pending front suspension to take the edge off the road for a smooth ride. An optimized cockpit design is supportive enough for a comfortable daily ride, commute or weekend adventure without sacrificing any control or performance. Lean into the corners with confidence. The road-AR brings excitement to the journey.

Here is a closer look at what some say is the best engineered front suspension on a tadpole trike to come along to date.

So if you are looking for a quality built well engineered full suspension trike which is hundreds of dollars lower in cost than most others you might want to consider this new model. I can hear it purring. With this trike you should be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits 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.

Catrikes new “alloy” fenders and mounts are a huge improvement over what they offered previously. I took the plunge and bought them replacing my plastic fenders and poor mounting system. I love these new fenders and mounts.

Most fenders are plastic, but some folks use wooden, steel, aluminum (or aluminum alloy) or carbon fiber fenders. We can all do what we want but as for me I would not even consider riding without fenders.

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WHAT’S YOUR CADENCE?

computer-cadence-counter

Cadence … when talking about bicycling is by definition:  “the pedaling rate … the number of revolutions of the crank per minute.” I suspect that there will be those who don’t agree with what I will be saying here. That’s ok. To each his own as they say.

Typically most people pedal somewhere between 60 and 80 rpm. Does cadence matter? I say yes, it matters a lot. Ideally one should pedal as fast as they are comfortable with and can maintain without over stressing themselves. That being said I would add that it also is not good to pedal too fast even if you are capable of it. One needs to strive for a reasonable cadence. 60 to 80 rpm is ideal in my opinion. It is not good to pedal slowly while pushing hard on the pedals. It is far healthier to spin faster not exerting a lot of pressure on the pedals even if you are a brute capable of such. It is not only hard on your body, but it is hard on some of the components of your trike. In fact, you can quite literally do serious damage to your trike by pushing too hard on the pedals. We need to strive for a sensible compromise between how fast we pedal and how hard we push on the pedals. Most of our trikes come with quite a selection of gears. As one changes gears they should select the gear ratio which will keep them pedaling at the same cadence continually. Pedaling at a higher cadence provides more of a cardiovascular workout. Pedaling at a slow cadence pushing hard on the pedals can damage your knees.

I personally usually pedal at a cadence of about 60 rpm. I have found just recently that I can reach 120 rpm … something which I didn’t think I could do at my age. This was while using short crankarms. I am sure I could not do it with long crankarms like my trike came with. I would do good to pedal it at 100 rpm.

This cadence thing all gets into the matter of how your trike is setup. The length of the crankarms play a major role in what you are capable of when it comes to how fast you can pedal. Shorter people need shorter crankarms for optimal performance and doing right for one’s self. Too long of crankarms will prevent or at least hinder one’s ability to pedal at a proper cadence. Typically most bicycles and tadpole trikes come with fairly long crankarms. They are fine for taller people, but for those who are on the short side or have knee joint issues shorter crankarms are needed.

I have written previous articles about crankarm shorteners. I recently started using them and really like them. I wish I would have got them many years ago. Actually I wish manufacturers would simply install crank arms which either adjust or have multiple tapped holes in them so the buyer can position the pedals wherever they need them.

Some people are not capable of pedaling at a higher cadence. If that is true of you then all I know to say is do the best you are able to do. Most of us, however, are capable of pedaling at what is considered a proper cadence (60-80 rpm) and we should strive to do so as we will benefit from it. Learning to use the gears our trikes have so we maintain a constant cadence is essential.

Our trikes need to be set up properly with the boom adjusted to the correct length. Our leg extension needs to be about 85 % and our feet should be placed on the pedals so that the balls of the feet are making contact. We should not be using our toes or instep on the pedals.

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Some computers have cadence sensing built into them. They require a pickup magnet and sending unit quite similar to that which is used for the speed. It, of course, is mounted on the crankset in order to measure the cadence. I have never had one myself. I have a pretty good idea of how fast or slow I am pedaling without having one. Cadence counters are good though. Since I have never had one I have simply used my watch and counted my rpms various times over the years. I have gotten to know my cadence thusly.

I personally believe that one can ride longer spinning at 50 or 60 rpm than they can at a higher cadence. And I think our bodies will thank us if we keep our cadence down to 60 or 70 rpm. When we spin faster we start using considerable more oxygen which is not good for our muscles over an extended ride. Muscle fatigue can occur if we spin too fast for an extended time. Blood flow increases with higher rpm so pedaling at 60 – 80 rpm is better than 30- 40 rpm as some people do.

Well, that is my take on this subject and you can take it or leave it. Spinning vs. mashing is healthier for us and for our trikes. Use those gears and maintain a proper cadence. It will help you to …

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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.) 🙂

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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 …

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YAHOO! THE CRANKARM SHORTENERS WORK GREAT

crankarm-shortener

Yes, I am talking about the crankarm shorteners again. They arrived in the mail today and I installed them on my wife’s recumbent bike I have set up on my indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio. I tried them out and WOW … what a difference! I really like them. I can position my feet normally on the pedals and pedal quite comfortably. My new freshly installed man made knee joints  are loving them. There is only one problem. It is just too darn cold out there even inside the enclosed patio. At least I didn’t have that nasty wind to contend with. And this is jut the start of winter. C’mon April! I chose to install them on my wife’s bike instead of my trike … for now that is … as I don’t intend to try riding my trike outdoors in this miserable weather. Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick note about the crankarm shorteners. They really work great and I highly recommend them. BTW, wouldn’t you just know it? The very same place I bought my crankarm shorteners from is now selling them for over $7 less than I paid for them. The price I paid was the lowest I could find at the time. Oh well, it is truly the story of my life. 🙂

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

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

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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.

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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 …

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FREE GIFT awaits you!