Category Archives: rider comfort

CLIPPING IN … YOUR CHOICE

 

Most of us are familiar with “leg suck” where the rider of a tadpole trike  can experience their foot dropping down off of the pedal and onto the pavement where it is then drug underneath of the crossmember of the frame resulting in serious painful injury.

One of the main ways of preventing this from happening is the use of special shoes/sandals and pedals known as SPD. Although this system is quite popular it is not the only means of preventing leg suck from occurring. I have written about all of this before and I am not hear to do so again. I am writing this article because something keeps happening over and over again which ruffles my feathers. There are many people who insist that others use these SPD shoes and pedal. They try to force their will onto others. On trike forums this happens all the time. There are various reasons why some of us don’t like SPD shoes and pedals and don’t care to use them.

I have used them and I am one of those who don’t like them. My reasons don’t really matter but I will share it anyway. First of all even if I didn’t have any issues with my feet (which I do have) I don’t like to “clip in” because I want to be able to remove my feet from the pedals quickly and easily. If I were to tip over I don’t want my feet clipped to the pedals. If I were to be involved in a wreck I don’t want my feet clipped to the pedals. I could get seriously injured or be unconscious and my feet would still be clipped in. That concerns me. Even if someone were to come along and happen to know how to release the clips it might be painful and even cause more injuries. And if first responders have no idea how to release the clips that would also pose a problem.

Another reason I don’t like using SPD is because I have neuropathy in my feet. That is nerve damage for those who don’t know what neuropathy is. As a result of the nerve damage my feet hurt all the time and are quite sensitive. Being clipped in is rather uncomfortable for me.

Many people object to being clipped in because of foot discomfort. Like me they need to be able to move their feet around a bit on the pedals. Also many people find the SPD shoes/sandals uncomfortable to wear and need to wear comfortable shoes/sandals while riding.

I would never consul anyone to not use some sort of protection against leg suck even though there are those who don’t have a problem with their feet gong down onto the pavement if their feel get bounced off of the pedals. Some tadpole trike riders do not use any means of protection and do just fine without it. I am one of those people. I have spent money on various protective systems and used them. However, I stopped using them and just ride with BMX platform pedals wearing whatever footwear I want to and do just fine.

In closing I just want to appeal to others to stop trying to force your personal preference and opinion of the matter onto others. Leave them alone and let them choose whatever they want to use in this matter. There is nothing wrong with educating a “newbie” about the danger of leg suck and perhaps the various options available to help prevent it from happening. Please stop at that. It is their choice, not yours. And may we all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW FAST WILL THAT THING GO?

How fast will that thing go? I don’t know how many times I have been asked that. I usually simply answer “as fast as the person riding it can pedal it”. That is a totally accurate and honest answer but, of course, it is not the answer most people want. BTW, I am only talking about riding on a flat level surface … not downhill.

Certainly any trike operating under human power has limitations regardless of the ability of the person riding it. One can only pedal so fast and “spin out” occurs. Although it is true than spin out for one person may be different from another there is a limit for us as humans. I know my fastest pedaling cadence has been about 120 rpm. I think the fastest cadence recorded is 254 rpm. Most fast riders are far lower … 140 to 165 tops. Keep in mind that we humans can not keep up a fast cadence very long. So regardless of the cadence the gearing of the trike is a limiting factor. Change the gearing to a higher ratio and that same rider can go faster before they reach spin out again. However, if the gearing gets too high then the rider can not over power the resistance encountered. That means that there has to be a “happy medium” if you will. Again it comes down to a limitation factor.

Another limiting factor is weight. The more weight the trike is carrying the slower it will go unless one is going downhill. The weight factor involves the weight of the rider, the weight of the trike as it is equipped (any extras added) and any extra cargo being hauled around. Obviously the less total weight involved contributes significantly to being able to achieve faster speed.

This rider doesn’t weigh much at all. Of course, he doesn’t look very muscular.

This Spandex is pretty much fully expanded.

The model of the trike involved comes into play. I already mentioned gearing and weight. Some trikes have higher gearing than others and some trikes weigh much less than others. Aerodynamics makes a difference as well. Air resistance is indeed a factor so a trike with a seat back angle reclined far more than others means that the rider is not experiencing nearly as much air resistance. So trikes such as the Catrike 700, the ICE VTX and the Greenspeed Aero will by design be faster than trikes which weigh more, have lower gearing and more upright seating. I know that there are those who prefer more upright seating and some say they need more upright seating because of physical problems. There are tradeoffs when one goes with upright seating. Safety suffers because handling suffers. The more reclined the seatback is the better the trike will handle. And the better it handles the more speed it can safely handle.

So how fast will that thing go? I DUNNO! And that’s the truth. Perhaps it would be better to ask … how fast have you ridden on that? Now that I can answer.  Speed is a relative thing. What is fast for some is rather slow for others. The fastest I have ever been able to get my trike up to is 30 mph and that is downhill. Others speak of speeds in the 40s and 50s when going downhill. Of course, they have greater downhills to ride than what I have available around where I live. On a flat level surface I spin out at around 23 mph. There are riders who claim they have pedaled in the low 30s.

Maybe the most accurate and honest way to answer the question as asked is to say … “I don’t know. I have never had it to it’s limit so I really can’t say.”

Well, whatever speed you ride at …

ENJOY THE RIDE

and

BE SAFE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BAR END MITTS … NOW THAT I HAVE USED THEM FOR AWHILE

Shortly after purchasing and installing bar end mitts last winter I wrote an article about my first impressions. I continued to use them all of last winter and removed them come Spring. I put them back on a few weeks ago assuming I would continue to use them this winter but about a week ago I took them back off as I decided to try something different. What I am trying to say is I no longer have the same impression of them as I had when I first wrote about them.

They do block the wind which is appreciated. However, they are just too small and there is not enough room inside of them. My hands are not only right up against them which means the cold is transferred thru whatever gloves or mittens I wear and causes my handwear not to work as well as it would and can without this scenario. And because they are too small inside I am limited as to what handwear I can use. In addition to these problems it is nearly impossible for me to twist my twist shifters to shift gears. Working the brake levers is even challenging.

So I made the decision to remove them and just wear my Hotfingers Rip N Go mittens which do a good job of blocking the wind and air from passing thru them. Mittens are a bit cumbersome but I can shift and work my brake levers with them.

If needed I can also wear my hand knit wool mittens inside of the Hotfinger mittens which is warmer yet.

And I can use chemical hand warmers inside of either pair of mittens if needed. It has been working quite well for me … much better than using the bar end mitts.

As an update … I have discovered the best combination for me thus far. I have removed the wool mittens from inside of the Hotfinger mittens and am using the chemical hand warmers inside of the Hotfinger mittens. My thumbs were getting cold so by doing this there is room enough inside of the thumbs of the Hotfinger mittens to place chemical hand warmers and keep my thumbs warm. Of course, I am using twice as many of the hand warmers by doing this but at least my entire hands are staying warm.

I know that there are bar end mitts made for ATVs , snowmobiles and motorcycles which are larger and might be okay. I will keep this in the back of my head in case I need to go that route. I have to admit I am skeptical as to whether or not they would be large enough to eliminate the issues I have with these I already bought. Meanwhile I will continue on with what I am doing now and hope I am done with bar end mitts. They are ugly looking when installed anyway. I think I am going to be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE 

and

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

using my mittens. Now if I could just find a mitten for my nose.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CATRIKE DUMONT FULL SUSPENSION FOLDING TRIKE

The Catrike Dumont model has been around now for a few years. It is the top of the line for Catrike and is quite popular. Here is a video chucked full of information about this model …

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ARE YOU READY FOR WINTER?

Many of us live where we deal with winter weather. And some of us try to keep riding our tadpole trikes thru the winter. So I ask ya … are you ready for winter? It is upon us whether we like it or not … and whether we are ready or not. And there is nothing we can do about shy of leaving for warmer weather elsewhere … which, of course, some do. But for many of us that is just not an option. We are stuck here in cold weather that comes upon us. The only other choice is to hibernate indoors thru the winter. Spending 5 months or so inside is not something I care to do. I would be climbing the walls if I tried that. For about three consecutive years I brought my trike inside the house and had it set up on a trainer thru the winter months. The “novelty wore off real quick”.  I have never liked stationary exercise. I need to be outdoors and moving. Many many years ago I went inside mall walking in the early morning thru the winter. I could not stand walking inside so I went outside and walked around out in the cold.

So for those of us stuck where we are planted we just have to deal with it. I am among those who try to keep riding as much as I can. If it gets too cold I am done for. If we get too much snow … especially a wet heavy snow … I am done for. If the snow we get is too deep and isn’t being plowed off I am done for even if the weather is decent otherwise. Of course, my daily mileage is less than it is in nice riding weather. And depending upon the weather it may be less some days than others.

Keeping warm can be challenging. I have tried numerous approaches over the years and most of them have been rather unsuccessful. My hands and my feet are what I have the most problem with keeping warm enough. After many years of trying various things I think I have finally got something going for myself that is promising. I have received lots of suggestions from others over the years and have tried several of them. I am here to tell you that what works for one person may not work for another. That being said I am about to tell you what seems to be working for me. As I indicated it might not work for you.

In order to make this quick and easy for me I am simply going to copy and paste what I posted on Facebook:

“Cold winter weather is just around the corner according to the forecast. I can’t say that I am looking forward to it. I am sitting here at home now waiting for it to warm up before I go out riding. It was 18 degrees F. when I got up this morning. I try to ride thru the winter but not in the bitter cold. I can handle the 30s although I have to admit that the older I get the harder it is to do so. I much prefer the 50s but that is not typical winter temperatures for northern Indiana. I have experimented with various clothing and handwear trying to find something that works keeping me warm. Last winter I used “bar end mitts” on my handlebars. I liked them at first as they kept the cold air and wind off of my hands, however, they are just too small inside and my hands are right against them which transfers cold thru them onto my hands. Also it is nearly impossible to work the twist shifters to shift gears and it is even difficult to work the brake levers. I reinstalled them several weeks ago but I removed them about 3 weeks ago. I have found that I do better without them. I am wearing two pair of mittens … a hand knit wool pair which do a pretty good job of keeping my hands warm although air passes thru them … so I wear a second pair of mittens … Hotfingers Rip N Go which are fairly warm by themselves but they do an excellent job of stopping any air from passing thru. It is a bit bulky but they are doing a good job. And, if needed, I can also use chemical hand warmers inside of them. So my hands are staying warm now with this combination. Shifting is still a bit challenging but better than when using the bar end mitts. I have always had a problem keeping my feet warm but I think I have that resolved as well. I am wearing one pair of thick wool socks and leather shoes over them. So far that is doing the job but if needed I can always try using a plastic bag over my foot to block air from getting thru. For my legs I am using a pair of 32Heat “tights” and a pair of sweat pants over them. For my upper body I am wearing layers of a long sleeve undershirt, a regular long sleeve shirt with a pocket, a duck down filled coat and a hooded sweatshirt. This combination keeps me very warm. For my head I wear a ball cap or visor to help block the sun from my eyes and a stocking cap with built in earmuffs over the ball cap/visor. Lastly I use the sweatshirt hood over both to add warmth plus help hold the hat on my head when the wind is blowing. My head stays plenty warm as well with this combination. I also wear a pair of wrap around bubble type safety glasses which do a good job of keeping the air out of my eyes so basically only my nose, mouth, cheeks and chin are exposed to the air. I have not yet needed anything over my face but I do have a couple of various things I can use if I need to. I have to admit that rather then bundling up like this I would much prefer riding in shorts and a short sleeve shirt in 70 degree weather.”

I am in there somewhere!

Please feel free to leave a comment telling others what works for you keeping you warm while out riding in the cold. Notice I said out riding in the cold. We can do without the comments about riding in Florida, Arizona, Southern California, etc. or riding inside on a trainer where it is toasty warm. I am not addressing wimps here but real he men and women who are tough.

As they say, all others need not apply!

So bundle up …

And don’t forget to put on those long johns …

Do whatever it takes for you to keep warm enough and to …

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ACCOMMODATING SHORT RIDERS by SHORTENING the BOOM

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

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

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

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

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TADPOLE TRIKE RIDING … EXERCISE FOR EVERYONE

As more and more people discover tadpole trikes and all they have to offer (comfort, safety, fun and, of course, exercise) they sell themselves. This video and my next posting following clearly illustrate a typical scenario … taking a ride on a tadpole trike and getting “hooked” like a fish … followed by the process of finding the right trike and buying it. Let’s go along on this fishing expedition to witness this process …

Stay tuned for video number two as this couple go shopping and comparing brands and models. If you can’t wait click HERE.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

VELTOP CANOPIES

VelTop offers canopies for recumbent bikes and trikes. Here are a some videos showing their offerings:

Canopies most definitely offer some added comfort and even safety to our ride and we all want to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

E-ASSIST … SOME DON’T GET IT

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

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

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

GOING HEAVY DUTY IN THE WHEEL DEPT.

bought new front wheels from Catrike in 2018 to replace my original 2009 wheels that had gone the course. They were in bad shape. I was so thrilled to have new wheels on my trike but the thrill was short lived as the new wheels were in worse shape than my old ones in only about a month’s time. In fact, I have been using one of my old wheels for months now as it is in better condition than the newer one. The local streets and trails are in such bad shape that the bumps and holes are destroying my rims. My rear rim that came with my electric hub motor was also destroyed and had to be replaced. I bought a much heavier duty BMX rim to replace the rear rim. I am pleased to report that it has been holding up quite well. So now I am buying two more BMX rims and having my Catrike hubs laced into them. They are the Sun Ringle Envy (rear) rims and are black in color not white as pictured below.

 

They are considerably wider than the Catrike rims which gives them considerably more strength. Truthfully they probably are not what I would have selected as I like the extra structural pieces available in some other rims I have looked at. The picture below illustrates what I am talking about.

My local bike shop suggested these Envy rims to me and I trusted in their expertise. They assure me that they will be quite strong. Still I would be more comfortable with rims like the one I pictured above as I know they would be stronger.

I am also installing Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires in place of my beloved Marathon Plus tires.

I am going with heavy duty inner tubes in the Big Ben Plus tires hoping that they will help in preventing flats … externally caused as well as internally caused. They are 5 times thicker than a standard inner tube. I used them once before but they are just too big and difficult to install in smaller sized tires, especially Marathon Plus which are more difficult to install than other tires.

I am still using baby powder inside of my tires and on my inner tubes. The Big Ben Plus do offer some flat protection but they are 40 % less effective than the Marathon Plus tires … meaning that I am concerned about getting flats. I am hoping all goes well and these balloon tires provide enough cushioning to ensure the new rims hold up okay.

I know I will miss certain factors about the Marathon Plus tires. Probably the biggest factor is the incredible mileage I get out of them. I know that these Big Ben Plus tires will wear out much quicker. That means that they will be more expensive to use. I understand that they are suppose to provide fairly decent rolling resistance performance so that is good. Of course, having e-assist helps eliminate some of the concern over this. I may only use them until they wear out and go back to Marathon Plus. I will just have to wait and see. Meanwhile I plan on …

ENJOYING THE RIDE.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

UPDATE 10-19-2019 … I installed the new wheels with the Big Ben Plus tires today and went for a long ride. I am quite impressed with the tires thus far. They ride nice, roll very good and handle extremely well. Time will tell as to their flat protection and mileage.

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!

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.

Since I first posted this I have redone the top mount of the pvc tubing on the top of the seat back frame. I did away with the plastic pieces replacing them with the same kind of clamps I used on the seat back frame … only a smaller diameter clamp.

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.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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. 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!