Category Archives: riding
Low & Slow … no, I am not talking about whiskey or any other alcoholic drinks nor am I am talking about Bar-B-Que (there is a restaurant where I live called Low & Slow.) Nope, I am talking about tadpole trikes … they are low & slow. At least this is true for many of us who ride tadpole trikes. That’s okay on both accounts in my book. The good thing about a tadpole trike is not that they have to go slow, but that they can go slow. And being low has its advantages.
Riding a tadpole trike is somewhat like riding a go-cart although a go-cart most definitely handles even better. And there is certainly nothing slow about most go-carts. Some really fly. I remember as a teenager riding a motorcycle. I was always impressed at how fast many motorcycles could accelerate compared to most cars. A friend of mine had a younger brother who had a go-cart. In talking it was decided that we would have a race. I assumed I could out accelerate him, but when we took off he shot out ahead of me like I was sitting still. I was quite impressed as well as embarrassed. Now that has absolutely nothing to do with what I set out to talk about here. It is just a story that came to mind I thought I would share.
Seriously, many have compared riding a tadpole trike to riding a go-cart or driving a sports car. I agree to an extent, but in all honesty both will readily out handle a tadpole trike. However, tadpole trikes are a blast to ride. I used to ride a recumbent bike. I could go faster on it than I can on my tadpole trike, but I found the trike so much more fun to ride as well as more comfortable. So I found myself riding the trike and the bike just sat around. I finally sold the bike and don’t miss it at all. The truth is my wife has a bike identical to the one I had and I can ride it anytime I want. I don’t ride it though as I have my tadpole trike to ride. I may take her bike out sometime later this year just so I can go a bit faster. 🙂 I am sure I won’t make a habit of it though. 😉
My grandniece sitting on my trike … about 9 inches off the pavement
As to the matter of being low tadpole trikes all started out being made to sit pretty low. However, in more recent years some models have been appearing with some pretty high seats which, of course, means that they are not so low. That is not for me. As long as I can get in and out of a lower seat that will be what I prefer to ride. I have tried riding a trike with a very high seat and didn’t care for it at all. The handling and feel of it suffers greatly. No, I want the seat down as low as it can go and still have sufficient ground clearance so the frame clears stuff under it. Sitting just 9 inches off of the ground is my cup of tea.
As to the speed, that is one of those things which varies by the individual rider. Like anything else the “motor” determines what the capability is. Definitely downhill on a tadpole trike is a thrill and they can blast past 2 wheeled bicycles of all sorts. Some trikes are faster than others. That is they are designed to be faster. Again, it is all dependent upon the “motor”. I am sure there are those who can ride a Catrike Villager faster than some could ride a Catrike 700 (using Catrike as an example).
Speaking of the Catrike 700, it as well as the ICE VTX and CarbonTrike models all have a 25 degree seat angle. One’s buttocks are the same height, but the torso and head is positioned lower so in that sense the rider is lower. Of course, not every cares to lean back that far and, indeed, not everybody can handle it physically.
The one thing I really love about riding a tadpole trike is having the ability to go really slow … even stopping on an incline and starting back climbing it again when you are ready to do so. And there is no concern about balancing, falling over or having to put your feet down. You sure can’t do that on a bicycle.
Sitting just inches off of the ground one doesn’t have very far to fall should something go afoul. And being down low makes it appear as though you are going faster than you actually are. That adds to the fun of riding a tadpole trike.
A tadpole trike is capable of carrying heavy loads and being pedaled at slow speeds … and in comfort. Try that on a bicycle.
Yep, low and slow … it’s okay by me. I plan on …
KEEPIN’ ON TRIKIN’
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I grew up learning how to steer in a skid/slide … first on a bicycle, then a motorcycle and finally a car. As a kid my dad taught me how to steer a car in a skid. When I say taught I mean he showed me how to do it. At 16 years old I can remember driving my parents’ car down the city street purposely placing the car into a skid sideways between parked cars along the sides of the street and controlling the skid as I drove past them.
A few years later while in the navy I drove a ’63 Corvette on a particular curvy road south of San Diego, CA where there was a sheer drop off along the edge and very rough cliff like terrain below and nothing along the sides of the road to keep a vehicle from going off over the edge. I would put the Corvette into a controlled skid in the curves as I sped around them. Yes, it was foolish and dangerous as it could have very easily and quickly resulted like what is pictured above. I wouldn’t not do any of this today, but as a teenager and into my early 20s I thought nothing of it. I am saying all of this to say that learning how to control a skid or slide can save your butt should you find yourself in such a predicament.
I find in riding a tadpole trike on a slippery surface such as snow or ice the trike can all by itself sometimes seem to go into a sideways slide. Without taking proper needed action when this happens it could result in an unwanted unexpected disaster. For me it just comes natural to turn the handlebars and steer out of the skid. It is “second nature” as they say. I find it fun and challenging. Many times I have purposely put my trike into slides just to steer out of them.
As illustrated in the drawing above when the rear wheel of a trike slides sideways you should steer in the same direction you are sliding to control the skid. As the trike straightens back out you should turn the front wheels back straight. Learning how far to turn the front wheels and for how long is crucial to successfully controlling a skid. You can also over compensate and make matters worse. If you fail to straighten the wheels back around at the right time you can cause the vehicle to skid the opposite direction. It is best to practice all of this in an empty parking lot where there is plenty of room to slide around without concern of hitting anything.
This video shows the rider steering in a skid. Notice at the very end when he tips over it is the result of the trike going from the slippery surface onto dry pavement and the tire “caught” suddenly and caused the trike to tip over.
The best advice I could give anyone to learn how to steer out of a skid is as I stated previously … to practice in an empty parking lot where you have plenty of room around you. Of course, I am talking about riding on a slippery surface such as snow or ice. I would also caution you not to try this if the slippery surface is not continuous. What I mean by that is that the snow or ice needs to cover the entirety of the area where you are riding. You don’t want to be sliding sideways and then suddenly hit dry pavement (like the rider in the video above) as that could be very dangerous resulting in a bad sudden tip over … a violent one where you could easily get injured. Even if you don’t normally ride in such conditions it would be good to learn this skill so you know what to do if it ever happens to you when you do ride. You could find yourself riding on a surface where there is loose dirt or gravel or a wet spot suddenly come up where the rear wheel starts to slide sideways. Again, I caution you about the rear wheel sliding sideways and then suddenly hitting dry pavement as the trike is likely to tip over suddenly. I can’t over emphasize this.
Riding over uneven surfaces can cause a trike to go into a skid/slide … especially if you are already in a turn (going around a curve).
Even riding on some surfaces like in the image above can be hazardous. This was on dirt and probably loose dirt at that. The rider knew to steer with the slide to try to control it and recover from it. Most of the time this works, but sometimes things just go wrong and the end result is not what was expected or wanted. This person tipped over. Fortunately they were not injured. I personally think the reason they tipped over is because the rear wheel slid into a stone or something causing the slide to end and tipping the trike over suddenly. Just going over uneven ground can cause it. It doesn’t take much sometimes to cause such a scenario. It is also noted in the video that she could not maneuver as she would have liked to because of a cactus plant sticking out in her path. That in and of itself could produce the results she experienced.
Here is the video which goes with the picture above:
The rider is most fortunate that the rollover didn’t result in serious injury. She went right onto large stones.
Sliding sideways can be fun as long as you can safely control it, but it can also be extremely dangerous when things go wrong. Be careful out there. Do your best to keep it upright and …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
It is said that people are essentially the same the world over. And this, of course, includes children. Here are some kids enjoying riding tadpole trikes.
In the Philippines
In United States
(turn the volume way down on this one)
Here is an interesting video mainly about hi wheel bikes, but it covers recumbents as well. Martin Krieg is quite a trooper. He has accomplished so much even though he has been quite physically challenged as a result of a very serious head injury in an auto accident and has had to overcome so much. Martin is very involved in trying to get the greenways of America connected together and people back to cycling.
I apologize for the video below being small in size. It must be some sort of glitch as it plays normal size on Vimeo’s website. I have no idea why it doesn’t here. You can click on the full screen option and watch it that way.
This next video features Martin at various points thruout it.
Unfortunately I have not figured out anyway to embed the next video into this blog posting so you will have to watch it on their website.
Here he is on a Lightning P38 recumbent bicycle.
I can, will and do attest to that. Riding with friends is great fun. I don’t mind riding by myself, but I readily admit I much prefer riding with others, especially close friends. Of course, when you are riding with others somebody has to take the lead. When it comes to myself and those I ride with we often take turns leading. However, one of us in particular most often leads … and it ain’t me.
Whether we are riding with others or by ourselves do try to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
Today is an American holiday … Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I thought it would be fitting to share a video I made a few years ago. It is a slow ride across the new MLK, Jr. Memorial Bridge here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live. After riding across the bridge I rode thru a portion of Headwaters Park which is adjacent to the river the bridge crosses.
Here is a map of the area. The red line shows the path I rode.
The bridge is pretty at night as it has various lighting available which they can change.
I went out for a trike ride this morning. It is January 11th and I am in northern Indiana here in the United States. The average normal high temperature at this time of year is in the low 30s F. It got up to 50 today and the forecast is for 55 tomorrow. The truth is we have been and are continuing to experience a roller coaster ride in the weather dept. December was mostly a very nasty month weatherwise with mostly below average temperatures and bad wind chills. It was brutally cold. Anyway, it sure was great being out there riding today and not having to deal with typical January weather. I am not wearing shorts yet, but hey, I am not complaining.
We had some very high winds yesterday lasting for many hours. The bike trail I rode on today was covered with tree limbs so I spent most of the time I was out tossing them off to the side of the trail. Once I got them off of the trail I could ride normally and enjoy it. I even tried out my new knee joints trying to pedal fast. It felt good. Unfortunately tonight as I type this my knee joints are letting me know I over worked them. That’s ok. They will recover. Tomorrow is another day and I hope to be back out there enjoying this unusually warm weather. Next week the forecast is more roller coaster weather as Friday normal January weather returns until Monday and then all week we have above normal temperatures again. Hey, I am for that! That helps to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
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.
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’
Here is a video where the trike rider addresses the question “why do I ride a trike?” He won’t get any argument out of me. I fully agree with everything he said.
Would you believe that early this morning I had this article all written and when I clicked on the “Publish” button instead of it publishing it totally disappeared. All my effort was lost. Now I am starting all over. I was furious. I mean … “thanks a lot WordPress”. There wasn’t even a draft saved. I have no idea what happened, but it sure didn’t make my day. And it is only the first day of the new year. Well, here goes … starting all over again. Hopefully this time all will go well and work right.
Yes, it is New Year’s Day and many cyclists make it a tradition to go for a New Year’s Day ride. For those of us who live in a location that experiences winter weather it can be challenging to go out riding on January 1st. Some cyclists go out riding by themselves. Some go out riding with one or more friends. Still others go on an “organized ride” somewhere near where they live. Here where I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana we are fortunate enough to have an annual New Year’s Day Ride which is sponsored by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Dept. and cosponsored by a local bicycle club. 2017 is the 22nd year they have had it. I have gone on it two or three times in the past. There have been several years that it is just too nasty weather-wise to venture out. It is called the Chili Challenge Bicycle Tour. I reckon that is a play on words as it most certainly can be and usually is chilly (cold), but it is also named that because at the end of the ride there is homemade chili soup and some other food and drinks (hot chocolate, coffee, hot tea, cornbread, and sweets) served to the participants. The planned ride is a choice of either 15 miles or 25 miles and is mostly on city streets although some of it incorporates some of our local trails. Part way thru the ride they go to Johnny Appleseed Park to stop and watch those who choose to participate in the annual polar bear event where they wear bathing suits and take a dip in the icy cold water of the river. Personally I don’t think their elevators go all the way to the top floor. 🙂 There is also a similar ride for motorcyclists on New Year’s Day. They too make a pit stop at this park to watch this event. It ends up very crowded and unless you arrived early you can’t really get close enough to see much of anything. I usually just continue to ride and don’t even try to watch any of it. The ride is free, but helmets are required to participate.
The picture above is used with permission compliments of Ed Miller. I don’t think it was a New Year’s Day ride … just a ride on a fresh fallen snow.
Yes, many cyclists, myself included try to get in an annual ride on New Year’s Day. We make it a “tradition”. I have to admit though that the older I get the less I do it as I just don’t care to “fool with mother nature”. Below is a picture of one of my winter day’s ride I took many years ago. If fact, it is so long ago that I was riding my homemade tadpole trike. It must have been the winter of 2008-2009. It wasn’t a New Year’s Day ride however. As you can see there was not very much snow on the ground or trail. You can see my tire tracks from when I rode the opposite direction. And as you can see there was no one else making any kind of tracks out there other than my dog which I had along with me.
I have written before about how poorly a standard tadpole trike does riding thru snow. So if there is much snow on the ground it is quite impractical to attempt to participate in this annual event or even by one’s self as the trike just won’t roll thru much snow … especially if it is a wet heavy snow. There are alternatives ya’ know. Here is an example. You could mount a V-plow and just move that nasty snow out of your way. (You know I am kidding, don’t you? I just had a little fun with photo editing.)
The Chili Challenge ride is over with by now so I won’t be going on it. I am not up to riding 15 miles yet anyway after getting my new knee joints installed. However, I do plan on going out yet today … probably as soon as I hit the “Publish” button and see this get published this time. If it doesn’t I will probably go back to bed. 🙂
Hey, let’s all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Here is a video of some tadpole trike riders out for a nice day’s ride together. 63.45 miles … not too shabby. I used to go for similar rides often times, but my knee joints brought that to an end and I did good to get 30 miles in on a good day. Now with new knee joints freshly installed I am hoping to get back to riding longer and farther again.
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.
Well, I dood it! 2 weeks and 5 days after my 2nd knee joint replacement surgery I rode my tadpole trike on the trail today. I wasn’t exactly burning up the asphalt, but it was good to be out riding. I had to pedal with my heels on the pedals as it was too painful to place my feet normally. I just hope I don’t go thru another session of several days of muscle soreness after riding today. I only rode about 2 1/2 miles and I spent most of it picking up tree limbs and tossing them off of the trail as we had rain and high wind last night which brought a lot of them down.
I wish I could ride my trike into the hospital and to the outpatient rehab room to show the staff there my therapy machine. Everybody is amazed at how well and fast I am progressing. I was walking without a walker one week after surgery. After the staples were taken out of the incision (10 days post surgery) they had me on the recumbent exercise bike and I was able to pedal it normally immediately. With the first knee joint replacement surgery on the other leg I had to take about 6 minutes of rotating the crankset back and forth before I was able to pedal it clear around in full revolution. So things seem to be going better with this 2nd surgery than the first one and everybody thought the first one went pretty well. I give thanks and acknowledgement to the fast healing power of God. I know I have a lot of people around the world who are praying for me. I thank each and every one of them.
Nope, I am not exactly burning up the pavement so I doubt if you smell anything like burning rubber. But hey, this “bionic triker” is working on …
KEEPING ON TRIKIN’
and I am hopeful that eventually I can come close
setting my tires on fire riding on that asphalt 🙂
(that might be a pipe dream for someone nearly 70 years old)
update: I did not have any soreness after riding so that is good. I sure wish I had the crankarm shorteners so I can change the pedal position. The crankarms on the stationary recumbent exercise bike in rehab has the crankarms set at their shortest setting and I can pedal it fine. I did so today and got up to 100 rpm a couple of times which BTW was about 80 watts of power being used by my body. Most of the time though I pedaled at about 50 rpm. I really enjoy riding the recumbent bike, but they won’t let me ride it very long as they want to get onto the medieval torture they get paid for. 🙂
I love riding my tadpole trike on paved bicycle trails. In the area where I live (Fort Wayne, Indiana) we have an ever increasing number of trails. It seems each quarter (3 month period) the report comes out of more miles of trails added to the growing network. And that is exactly what is planned. I am just glad to see it come to pass.
Every once in a while I find myself looking up some locality and then wonder if they have any paved trails nearby so I start looking this up. Of course, some times I find very little if anything. But then again some times I am rather amazed at what I find. Some places which are even smaller than where I live have quite a lot of trails around.
Yes, as I look around the nation I see this same thing happening in many many different localities. It is great! I am so glad to see local govt. leaders and community leaders working to make this happen. And that is what is takes … getting involved to make it happen. I think multi-purpose trails are an extremely wise investment in any community and beyond. And the proof is there … these trails are a huge asset to any area.
And it is not only happening here in the United States, but in many other nations as well. For those of you who live places where it is not happening I feel your pain. I am sure there are various reasons for this. And I would imagine the number one reason is monetary. Building trails is extremely expensive. Here locally they cost an average of about $750 dollars a linear foot for a 10 foot wide trail. It is difficult enough to come up with the money needed where there is prosperity and the will. And there are always those who fight against it. Most of the time, however, it seems that eventually the trails get built despite those who oppose it. I for one, am happy about that.
Lots of people like having the trails to use, but few are willing to pay for them or help maintain them. That is sad.
Unfortunately for various weather related reasons the trails end up closed some of the time and unavailable to use. That is sad too.
If I were in a position to do so I would love to be able to travel around some and ride on various trails around the nation and perhaps even in other countries. That is not likely to happen though. So I am so thankful that I have local trails to ride on. And as soon as my new knee joints allow it I plan on “hitting the trails” again and try to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Here is a video I filmed a couple of years ago, but didn’t publish it until just recently. It is a slow ride on some of the trails thru one of our local parks as well as a side trip out the far side of it into a subdivision where there is another trail I rode on before heading back to the park. The video was first produced using YouTube’s video editor. It was the first and only time I have used it. It did some strange things to it. You can see the trees, telephone poles, etc. bending and moving around as well as the sky and grass changing appearance. It was weird. The first musical selection on the video came from YouTube. All the rest I added later using my own video editor software. Anyway, this is a slow ride along some of the trails in Kreager Park. Just to give you some perspective, it is approximately two miles distance around the perimeter of the park. I am sure some of you have no interest in watching a video such as this. It is about 32 minutes long. I was simply riding slowly as I filmed the ride. Hopefully some of you will enjoy it and find it relaxing.
Here is a satellite image of the area:
One of our local bike trails is nearby right across the road running alongside of the river. It is the Maumee Pathway.
This video has nothing to do with tadpole trikes, but I wanted to share it here as I think it is a nice video of interest we can all enjoy. (And besides, I really like the song 🙂
If you liked this man’s video he has many others available to watch. Some have other good songs on them.
Just a quick note … I just arrived back home after my first (successful) ride on my tadpole trike after knee joint replacement surgery. I rode on a local trail. I only rode 3 miles on this initial ride, but that was enough for now. It sure felt good to be back out riding. I hope to be able to get back out a few other times to ride some more before my next surgery which is just a week away. Anyway, all went well. I didn’t have any problem pedaling. My new knee joint did fine. My old worn out one grumbled as usual as I rode along. Another week and it’s grumbling days should come to an end. 🙂
Later that day my leg muscles in both legs were hurting and as bedtime came on I was really feeling sore. So I took some pain medication and rubbed my legs with a muscle rub product. I was able to sleep pretty good and feel better the next morning. As much as I was looking forward to going back out riding the very next day I think it would be wise if I forgo it and allow the leg muscles to further recover. Anyway, it sure was great to be “back in the saddle again”. 😉