Category Archives: rider comfort

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.

 

 

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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’

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!

 

 

 

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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!

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!

WHO NEEDS FENDERS ANYWAY?


fender-set

Who needs fenders? We all do unless we like getting all kinds of ucckkkyyy stuff on us. Even if you ride only when it is dry it is quite likely that you will occasionally get “something” rather unpleasant flung up onto you. If you are going straight most stuff just goes on your arms, but when you are turning it gets flung up on your chest, lap, and legs. Sometimes even when going straight stuff gets flung elsewhere on you. I am always amazed with those who ride without fenders and don’t think they need them. They either live a charmed life or they are not being honest about this matter.

Now if you are riding off road and at a very slow speed  or even on pavement at a very slow speed fenders may not be needed, but most of us ride on pavement and fast enough that crud is flying off of our tires. BTW, to my knowledge most FAT tire trikes don’t have fenders available for them at this time.

ice-and-catrike-fender-mounting

When it comes to fenders all too often the quality and design is not all that great. Some are downright poor in design while a few are much much better. I personally don’t like the ones that have braces on them. I much prefer the ones which have a strong mounting bracket such as newer Catrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik and ICE offer. I have the older type Catrike fenders and mounting hardware (pictured below) which I don’t care for at all. I paid a lot of money for them and they are junk. They are a problem in more ways than one.  The steel rods easily get bent and cause further damage to the fender. Plastic fenders are fairly strong and durable, but they have their limits.

front-fender-braces-2

planet-bike-fender-braces

The braces like pictured above which employ the plastic mounts shown are not desirable in my book. A few times I have had the fenders get chunks broken out of them where the braces attach. When that happens I have had to relocate the braces to get to a place where I can reattach them. I have learned something about attaching these braces which helps. The small screw which is used in the plastic part that attaches to the fender should not be allowed to go “thru” the plastic fender as if it does it weakens that area of the fender considerably and is the main cause of those areas breaking out. So now I just tighten the screw until the tip of the screw slightly penetrates the plastic fender enough to hold it. I have not had anymore chunks breaking out since I started doing this.

Most fenders are plastic, but some folks use wooden, steel or carbon fiber fenders.

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.

bike-computer-with-cadence-counter-3

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 …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

BOOM CHAIN TENSIONERS (CRANK ARM SHORTENERS UPDATE)


Note: I started out writing this article about an update on the subject of crank arms shorteners, but it more less evolved into another topic so I changed the title accordingly.

It has warmed up a bit recently and all the snow has melted. Between that and rain we have had recently the rivers have risen and flooded over their banks so that some parts of our local bike trails are flooded over and closed. Boo Hoo!! Never the less I have been able to ride my tadpole trike which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the nasty wind chill factor. In order to ride my trike I removed the crank arm shorteners I had installed on my wife’s recumbent bike I am using for rehab and exercise here at home. I installed the crank arm shorteners on my trike. (I was even able to move the pedals one hole further out so that means my new knee joints are improving.) What a difference! I really like them (Yes, both the crank arm shorteners and my new knee joints.) 🙂

crank-arm-shortener-on-my-tadpole-trike-3

However, there is one thing that I noticed using them on my trike that I didn’t notice on the bike. With the crank arm shorteners installed on my trike I need to readjust my boom … lengthen it … as I am not getting the leg extension I need with the pedals relocated. I have not done that yet, but I should. It probably will require adding some more chain. That is the main reason I haven’t tried moving the boom out yet. It is winter out there folks and I am not too crazy about working out in the cold to accomplish this task.

A rear derailleur is supposed to be able to handle about 2 inches of extra chain length as far as movement of the boom.  That equates to approximately one inch of boom adjustment. However that figure is based on the boom position at the shortest length the rear derailleur handles to the position of the boom at the longest length it can handle. If the boom is already positioned out quite a ways within that range than most of that 2 inches is already used up. If this is the case then additional chain would need to be added.

One nice option is to employ a Universal Boom Adjust Chain Tensioner designed for the boom of a tadpole trike.

crank-arm-shortener-on-tadpole-trike

They are not cheap ($155), but they do make it easy to move the boom in and out and automatically maintain the proper chain tension. They are especially nice to accommodate various riders of differing sizes. The chain can be made up long enough to move the boom out for a tall rider and when the boom is shortened for a shorter rider the chain tensioner automatically takes care of the extra chain the rear derailleur would not be able to handle. Obviously there is a lot of extra chain and hardware involved and it might appear a bit unsightly to many (myself included), but they do work. You definitely would not want to run it into a curb or such as it would likely be damaged. TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) manufactures these for several different brands of trikes. They can be purchased from some trike dealers and trike manufacturers as well. Catrike sells it for $150, but it is $145 at most of the other sources I have seen including directly from TerraCycle. The Chain Gobbler fits Greenspeed trikes and sells for $149.

Here is a Utah Trikes video on the subject of these chain tensioners …

So this is a very handy and practical option available. Most definitely if you have various size riders riding the same trike this is the way to go. Adding and removing lengths of chain even if you use links which are supposedly quick and easy to remove is a real pain compared to this slick setup. So if you have $150 or so burning a hole in your pocket here is a place to unload that cash and make your life easier. It is always nicer to ride then to “wrench”. And it will even help you and others to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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.

CRANKARM SHORTENERS REVISITED


crank-shorteners

For a very long time now I have wanted to try using crankarms shorteners as they are supposed to help those who have knee joint issues. And it is said that short people should use shorter crankarms. I qualify on both. At my rehab physical therapy sessions I am going thru for knee joint replacement their stationary recumbent exercise bike has the crankarms adjusted to their minimum setting and that setting works great for me. I recently ordered a set of crankarm shorteners so I can pedal normally. With my 165 mm crankarms that came on my trike I have to place the heels of my feet on the pedals in order to pedal it. I tried pedaling my wife’s recumbent bike which I have set up on an indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio at the back of the house, but I couldn’t even pedal it with my heels on the pedals. I think it has 175 mm crankarms. I just am not “there” yet in my recovery. At rehab I can pedal with my feet positioned normally on the pedals. I even cranked it up to 100 rpm cadence a couple of times. So the shorter crankarms really do make a difference. I am really looking forward to having them on my trike.

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

What I am not looking forward to is winter weather for the next few months. I don’t know how much I will be getting out riding thru the winter. If it gets nasty enough I will no doubt bring my trike back inside the house for the third winter in a row and set it up on the indoor trainer in the living room in front of the large screen TV which is also used as a computer monitor. With access to the internet I can find all sorts of stuff to watch on that big screen in front of me including riding on bike trails. It is almost like being there except I can’t lean in the turns. 🙂

Yep, a set of these just might be your ticket as well.

short-crankarms-2

Shortens cranks by 24, 41, 59 and 76mm. I am pretty certain that I will be using the 59 mm position (next to the shortest) as that will give me about 106 mm crankarms which is close to the setting of the crankarms on the stationary recumbent exercise bike I am pedaling at rehab. The really neat thing about using these is that if and as one improves the pedals can be moved further out. I doubt if I would ever go back all the way to 165 mm though.

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

HERE is the best price I have found on them. I am quite certain that they are going to help me to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

OH FOR SOME SHADE


high heat thermometer

Sunshine on my shoulders, in my face, on top of my head, on my arms, legs … all over me. That’s okay when it is 30 degrees F., but when it is hot and humid it makes it mighty uncomfortable out there riding as well as dangerous and even deadly. Consequently I can’t go along with the song lyrics of it making me happy.

So I ask ya … which trail would you prefer to be riding on?

sunshine vs shade

There certainly is a world of difference. That shade feels soooooooo good! Actually these pictures are of the same trail (Maumee Pathway near Fort Wayne, Indiana). Fortunately it is mostly shaded. And it is my favorite local trail to ride, especially during the summer months when it is hot. I mostly ride on it just so I can be in the shade and take advantage of the cooler temperatures found there. I would guess that about 6.5 miles of the 8 miles or so I usually ride back and forth on is well shaded and another 1/2 of a mile is somewhat shaded.  And depending upon what time of the day one is riding out there some of the remaining trail is shaded for awhile.

Now I ask ya, doesn’t that look inviting?

shaded trail

and this?

shaded trail 4

Over exposure to the heat is dangerous and deadly. So be careful while out riding when it is quite hot and humid. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid being out under direct sunlight anymore than necessary. We need the sun, but be respectful of it as it can do a number on you. Heat can make you feel miserable and even kill you. I am not a medically trained person, but I know that if we start to feel overly hot, flushed and weak we need to stop and find shade to get relief from the heat. We should do something to help cool down our bodies, especially our heads. Pouring water over us or soaking a cloth of some sort to use to wipe ourselves with will help. We should relax and allow ourselves to cool down and recuperate before trying to go on. If we are by ourselves it is most important that we discipline ourselves as we have no one to give us aid should we need it. If we are with others we need to watch out for one another as there may be signs we miss that someone else picks up on. Slowing up and not keeping up the pace may be such a sign as heat can zap our strength.

sweating on trail

The older we get the more we need to be concerned about all of this. Even so a young person can be overcome by heat exposure. A 12 year old boy died from the high heat while hiking on a trail just recently out near Phoenix, Arizona.

We all want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Oh, before ending this article I want to mention the use of canopies. They do help in comfort while riding. I certainly have nothing against them and would myself like to have one on my trike. However, I can’t for a couple of different reasons I won’t go into here. What I want to point out is that they only offer immediate shade and usually only partial shade at best as they don’t shade all of the body. And the bigger factor is since it is only local shade and not constant shade over the entire area where we are riding they don’t lower the temperature. It is still hot. I really enjoy riding along a very shaded trail as it feels so much more comfortable than out under the sun. The difference is temperature can be considerable.

handheld umbrella shade

trike rag top 2

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN


A scene from the 1957 movie, “The Incredible Shrinking Man”

the incredible shrinking man

During a recent doctor appointment I was asked by the nurse what my height is. My answer was “Well, I used to be 5’6″, but the last time I was checked I was down to about 5’4 3/4″ I think.”. She told me to step up to the place where they measure patients and low and behold she told me I now measured 5’4″. In all fairness, I don’t think she measured me carefully and accurately. I just measured myself and I got 5’4 1/2″. I noticed a few weeks ago that I seemed to have too much leg extension while pedaling even though the boom had been adjusted correctly and was fine for a long time. Today I shortened the boom just a bit. I seem to be the victim of a cruel hoax … another ‘incredible shrinking man’, if you will. I sure don’t seem to be having any problem in my vertical measurement lessening, but the horizontal measurement is another story. At the rate I am going it won’t be long before my horizontal measurement is more than my vertical measurement.

I only am sharing this because this same scenario could be happening to others and they too may need to readjust their boom. In doing so remember that it may also me necessary to shorten the chain if your derailleur can’t handle the adjustment to the boom. Typically a rear derailleur can handle about two inches of “extra” chain length (which is about one inch of boom movement), but that is only when talking about from the one extreme to the other extreme … when both the chain and rear derailleur were set up correctly initially. If you are already near the one extreme when you move the boom the chain may need to be shortened. Having too much chain for the derailleur to handle will result in the derailleur not being able to move back far enough to take all the slack out of the chain and having the chain rub against itself while pedaling like in the picture below.

chain rubbing against itself

So if you find yourself experiencing what seems to be too much leg extension even though you had the correct boom setting in the past you too could be another incredible shrinking man or woman. No matter how short we get hopefully we can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I noticed that in the first video below the first part and the last part of the movie are missing.

HEY MISTER, CAN YOU HELP A FELLA’ OUT?


For those who landed here looking for porn click HERE

mister at NH Moser Park

It is that time of year when temperatures climb into the uncomfortable zone in many places in the world. Of course, some locations are miserably hot all the  time. Some people handle the heat and humidity better than others. Some of us have a very difficult time with the heat and humidity and we need all the help we can get.

mister with child playing

I imagine most of us have seen playgrounds with various sorts of water sprays, etc. for people to play in/under. Among them are what are known as “misters” as they spray a fine mist.

mister for watering vegetation

They are also used for watering vegetation in some places. We have this setup in a downtown city park. I remember the first time I ever rode thru the park when this watering system was turned on. It really felt good.

mister at NH Moser Park

In my area we have one mister installed at another city park in a neighboring community at the east end of the Maumee Pathway (which is my favorite local trail). Someone donated it to the city municipality. In the picture above the mister is on, but it is very difficult to see the fine spray in this image. Here is a close up view of it where you can see the fine mist a bit better:

mister at NH Moser Park closeup 2

It really feels good to stand in the midst of the mist as it cools ‘ya down without getting soaked. Of course, the longer one stands in the mist the wetter they get. In time a person could get soaked. So when I am hot while out riding there is a mister that can help me out. If you are fortunate to have one or more available where you ride you might enjoy it too. Just try yelling out “hey mister” and see what happens. 🙂 Hey, apparently it worked for this guy …

mister in use by cyclist 2

FAIRINGS FOR TADPOLE TRIKES


Windwrap WGX one point fairing

Different strokes for different folks as they say. Me, I like the wind in my face (and elsewhere) while I am out riding as it feels so good to me. I would be most miserable without it. However, some don’t like it so they opt for fairings. I readily admit that riding in nasty weather a fairing might indeed feel good.

I only know of three manufacturers for these … Windwrap, ZZipper, and HP Velotechnik.

Zipper DragonFlyer

Some are made so that they can be temporary moved forward somewhat out of the way helping the rider to get in and out of their trike. If you have physical limitations these fairings would be a big problem. I could not use one as I get on and off of my trike  walking forward and backward straddling the boom. I can not safely step over the boom as is required when using a fairing. Anyone with balance issues or unsteadiness would probably have problems.

HP Velotechnik Streamer fairing

HP Velotechnik (shown above) states that their fairings will also fit several other brands of trikes.

Graham Williams of England has a video about two of his trikes outfitted with fairings. He is obviously sold on fairings and truly enjoys them on his trikes.

Graham also has this video showing a little detail of how the fairing is mounted.

Here is another video showing the installation of a HP Velotechnik Streamer fairing. The audio in this video is all messed up.

As mentioned in the video the location of lights might very well be another problem. Also oncoming lights may as well. Mind you, I have never ridden a trike with a fairing so I have no experience with one. I am merely stating what comes to mind about potential concerns.

Another concern I would have in using a fairing is visibility. Brand new a fairing would be clear, but in time I would think they would get messed up and greatly reduce visibility. Even in rain and snow looking thru a fairing could be quite challenging and unsafe in my opinion. And depending upon where one rides the fairing could get in bad shape rather quickly. I guess I am glad I have no desire for one as I would be quite upset to spend all that money only to see it get ruined before my eyes (quite literally).

Lastly, I would be extremely concerned about damaging a fairing as they would be very easy to damage since they stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. And again, that would really upset me spending all that money on one.

Utah Trikes has several fairings shown on their webpage along with the prices of each.

INVERTING TWIST GRIP SHIFTERS AND BRAKE LEVERS ON HANDLEBARS


twist grip shifter vertical reducedor twist grip shifter vertically inverted reduced

Some of us use twist grip shifters and some of us who use them complain about difficulty twisting them using the little finger and palm of our hands. Certainly on a diamond frame upright bicycle (which is what they were designed for) they are installed so that our thumb and opposing finger are positioned on the twist shifters making them much easier to twist. Trike manufacturers who installed these on their trikes have inverted them so that they are facing down instead of up. I have often wondered why they did this. Surely they know it is not how they were designed to be used and inverting like they did creates problems twisting them. But, hey, there is nothing that says we have to have them that way. We are free to invert them. The same is true of the brake levers if we want them inverted. It is likely that we will need longer cables if we invert these.

Some homemade trikes have the twist shifters and brake levers inverted. When I made my first trike I positioned my twist shifters and brake levers inverted from the “industry norm”. Here is a picture of it during construction.

inverted twist shifter and brake lever

I have to admit that I liked it this way and I have been seriously considering changing my setup around on my Catrike Trail trike.

brake cable noodles

An available option is the use of “brake cable noodles” to help make the sharp bends without binding or damage to cables trying to curve them more sharply than one might normally have them. Although they are made for brake cables I have read that they can be used on shifter cables as well. Although the image below is not of an inverted shifter it still serves to illustrate the use of a noodle on the brake lever. Notice how tight and neat the curve is keeping the cable from being stuck out into outer space so to speak.

using brake lever noodle on trike handlebar 3

BTW, the brake lever does not need to be inverted unless one desires to have it inverted. It will function fine the other way around when the twist shifter is inverted. Indeed, if your handlebars are positioned fairly close to the wheels/tires you may not want your brake levers inverted from the industry norm.

Yep, I just might invert  my twist grip shifters. How about you? They are easier to use that way. I don’t know about you, but I am very much in favor of ‘easier’, especially as I age and get a bit weaker. 🙂 I am all for most anything which will help me …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

TRIKE BUYING GUIDE – TAKEATRIKE.COM


There is a website, takeatrike.com which offers information on buying a trike. According to their own words, “Take a Trike is your recumbent trike buying guide. Learn everything you need to know about recumbent trikes and how to buy a recumbent trike. Find out everything you need before buying a recumbent trike.” Their offerings include: ABOUT TRIKES, TYPES OF TRIKES, WHY GET A TRIKE, WHAT TO KNOW and SHOP TRIKES. Their shop trikes part is very limited only showing a very few brands and models … very disappointing. Actually the entire website is quite limited as far as the quantity of information they cover, but what they have is put together on one page making it easy and quick to read thru. It is obviously designed for those who are just starting their search and education about recumbent trikes. So what I am saying is I take issue with their statement about “learning everything” as they don’t provide much on any subject they cover. Never the less, I give them credit for putting together a website which could indeed be helpful to someone starting out knowing next to nothing about recumbent trikes.

This ‘tadpole rider blog’ has far more information available to help readers find out about recumbent trikes. If you are looking for trike brands, models, prices and links to their websites you can find them HERE.

There is also another website (Recumbents.com) which offers buying guide help.

INFAMOUS RECUMBENT SMILES


recumbent smiles

All of these people and many thousands more have one thing in common. They are all showing the “recumbent smile” which just comes naturally when you ride a recumbent bike or trike. You can even Google “recumbent smile” and get quite a few search results. All you gotta’ do is search for images of tadpole trikes and most of those you see with people seated on them will be displaying the infamous recumbent smile. You can even search on YouTube for recumbent smile and get some results. Here is one them …

Here is a mother’s first ride on a recumbent bike:

And here is my wife’s first ride on my Catrike Trail trike:

Lucy's 1st ride

Doesn’t she look like she is thoroughly enjoying herself?

I apologize for the poor video quality. It has been recopied a few times due to various reasons and with each copy the quality deteriorates.

Those of us who ride recumbent bikes and trikes have good reason to smile. We are super comfortable and having great fun. That is a winning combination. And more and more people are discovering this and joining in. They too are experiencing the infamous recumbent smile.

Here is a picture of a couple of friends I let ride my trikes for the first time:

our friends first ride

As you can see they too are all smiles. They had a blast riding them.

Lastly my grand niece who recently arrived with her family from the Philippines to live here in the United States rode my Catrike Trail. You can see her joy written all over her face.

Abby riding my Catrike

There is just no denying it … there really is something to this phenomena known as recumbent smiles. So if you are holding back making the plunge into recumbents this ought to entice you further. I mean, who doesn’t want to wear a big smile as a result of having reason to? Buck and Roy were “pickin’ and grinin'” … which is fine, but nowadays we are “ridin’ and smilin'”. It helps us immensely to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU ARE SORE


body aches

Many of us remember the movie ‘Love Story’ where the famous quote “love means never to have to say you are sorry” came from. BTW, that is a lie of the devil. Just the opposite is true. Real love always means saying you are sorry if you wronged, offended and hurt someone … not just saying it, but truly meaning it. Anyway, taking that phrase and “running with it” … NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU ARE SORE comes to mind when it comes to riding a recumbent. Now I know there are some who still have issues … recumbent butt, problems with tingling feet, etc. … but for the most part most of us I think would agree that making the switch from a conventional (traditional) diamond frame bicycle to a recumbent bike or trike has eliminated pretty much all the soreness, pain and problems we experienced riding DF bikes.

When I made the switch over to recumbents I started out with a recumbent bike. Then a short while later I got a tadpole trike and found it is even more comfortable than the recumbent bike. I also found it to be more fun to ride and safer. Consequently I had no more desire to ride my 2 wheel recumbent bike so I sold it.

Various things make for the comfort to be found on a recumbent trike. There are differences in seat types, seat angles, seat sizes, lumbar support (either built in or aftermarket add on), frame and layout dimensions, tire type, size and inflation, etc. … all of which affect personal comfort.

A mesh seat has tension adjustment via the straps which make a big difference in how the seat feels when sat upon. The seat straps can be adjusted individually to different tensions or they can all be adjusted the same. Personally I like them all just as tight as I can get them.

mesh seat straps

There are also various add on things such as seat pads/cushions some use which add greater comfort. I personally use an open cell foam pad sandwiched between my mesh seat which I find helps immensely to add more comfort. Here is a picture of it. The red arrows point to it and the blue arrow indicate the width. As you can see it runs the entire length of the seat (bottom and back). It even sticks out the front where it adds comfort for my legs. The foam pad is encased in a zip up king size pillow case to keep it clean. It was modified to fit the pad.

my foam seat pad

Here is what the open cell foam pad looks like …

black foam pad with lines added

I have drawn black lines around it to help others see the shape and dimensions of it as without them it is hard to detect. It is a 2 inch thick pad and 12 inches wide by 35 inches long. It could be cut shorter, but I opted to leave it full length as I like having it stick out the front like it does. It may have looked better if it stopped at the front of the seat, but it definitely is more comfortable with it all the way out where it is.

Pads or cushions can also be placed on top of the seat rather than sandwiched in between.

There are neck rests available which can make a world of difference, especially for someone who has neck problems such as arthritis, degeneration or injury. Most of the neck rests available from trike manufacturers are not very comfortable. I personally would not have one of them. There are a couple of after market third party makers of neckrests which are far more comfortable and popular. Finer Recliner seems to be the most comfortable and popular as well as reasonably priced. Here are a couple of examples of them …

Krispy Steve's headrest

finer recliner neck rest

After trying two of Catrike’s neckrests both of which felt like a brick I sent them back for a refund. I then made my own neckrest and it is super comfortable … like leaning back on a cloud. I love it and I am a person who absolutely needs a neckrest as I have arthritis in my neck. I couldn’t ride much without it. With it I can ride for hours on end.

my headrest

There are yet other options which can add comfort to our ride. Canopies add shade from the sun and partial protection from rain and snow.

white canopy

Fairings or windscreens are available to help block the air from us and provide some protection from rain.

fairing on trike 2

Of course, for ultimate protection from the elements one can always go the route of a velomobile or velocar.

Sundrider left side view

ego velomobile 4 cropped

Ah yes, our trikes are like sitting in a recliner chair on wheels …

recliner chair tadpole trike

I am fond of saying that the hardest part of riding a tadpole trike is trying to stay awake. 🙂  No more sore butt, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, etc. like I constantly had riding a diamond frame bike. Yep, for me it really is a matter of NEVER HAVING TO SAY I AM  SORE. And it helps me to be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

LET IT SNOW … JUST SOMEWHERE ELSE!


A fellow tadpole trike rider shared his video on Facebook. It is of him riding his trike while it is snowing and has the song, Let It Snow, playing. It is kind of a neat video so I am sharing it here. I personally can’t go along with the theme though. I don’t like snow and having to deal with it. It is fine as long as it isn’t anywhere I have to walk, drive or ride. Unfortunately it doesn’t fall to earth like that. It is pretty to look at, but that is the only thing about it I like. And the older I get the less I like it. I mean, I don’t engage in snowball fights anymore. And another thing … my trike can’t roll thru much snow, especially wet snow so it really messes me up as far as winter riding. Brutal below normal temperatures and nasty wind chill factors don’t help any either. C’mon Spring!

Click HERE to view video of Let It Snow.

Let It Snow

For what it is worth I think it is great that there are some trike riders who

get out there and ride during the winter. I used to, but not any more.

EGO VELOCAR


ego velomobile 4 cropped

Yet another velocar is trying to make it to market. The man,Eliel Rojas, who came up with it refers to it as a velomobile and technically it qualifies, but I prefer to refer to it as a velocar as I think that more accurately describes it. His design is called an Ego. And I am going to resist all temptation to make comments about a person’s ego.

All images, videos and information herein credited to Ego’s inventor, Eliel Rojas.

ego velomobile 2

It is an electric motor pedal assist 3 wheel trike which can be pedaled with or without using the motor or it can run solely on the 750 watt electric motor up to about 20 mph (32 kph). (This is the legal limit for a motorized bicycle in many states in order to be considered a bicycle. Faster than that requires it to be registered and licensed as a motorcycle.) It has a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km).

ego velomobile 3

The Ego’s canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle. It has large opening in the body along the sides to allow good air circulation and help reduce the effect of strong crosswinds by allowing the air to flow thru it. There are nylon curtain closures available to eliminate much of the air flow thru these openings.

Note: Since this article published I have heard from the inventor that the sides are now enclosed.

ego velomobile 5

Eliel states that although the velo body sits high similar to a car (so it can be better seen than would be the case if it were much lower) the rider is seated in a “recumbent position”. (note: recumbent means reclined, laid back, prone) I don’t understand that as when I look at the picture of this vehicle the seat back is quite vertical. In fact, it looks like he is sitting in a small car rather than a recumbent trike. There is very little angle to the seat back … not unless it is adjustable and will go down much further than what is shown in the pictures. And, I would think that if the seat is reclined back the rider would not be able to see out the front very well. Perhaps this is another one of those cases where people are calling a cycle with the pedals out in front a recumbent when that is not the definition of recumbent at all. By that definition a cruiser is a recumbent.

ego velomobile 8

ego velomobile 9

ego velomobile 10

I don’t know what size the wheels and tires are, but they look smaller than 20 inch. I could be wrong about this as they may very well be 20 inch. They just look quite small in diameter in the pictures. Maybe it is because the body is so tall.

If you’re interested in getting one, you can monitor the project website to see when the Kickstarter campaign begins.

Note: it has begun.

Here is the Kickstarter video:

Rojas tells us that the first 20 backers can get an Ego for US$ 3,750 if everything works out, while the estimated retail price will be more around $ 5,000. He further says that although that might sound like a lot, it’s actually right in line with cost of other electric-assist velomobiles.

Gizmag article

JoyEnjoys article

World of Technology article