Category Archives: safety

ARE YOU BLIND?


I am not blind, but I have been experiencing various vision problems over the last several years. I have glaucoma. My mom had glaucoma as did her mom. My grandmother went blind the last few years of her life and my mom nearly did. I am “legally blind” in my left eye. My eye doctor has been trying to save my eyesight I have left. Blindness is not something any sane person would choose and yet many of us who ride tadpole trikes do choose it. We don’t have eyes in the back of our heads and we can only see so far off to the sides. We are not owls with the ability to turn our heads clear around backwards. In short, we need mirrors to see behind us. That is reality and no sane person would argue it. Certainly our laws require left and right outside rear view mirrors as well as an inside rear view mirror. As far as I am concerned they ought to be a legal requirement on all forms of cycles and misc. vehicles.

Susan in Chuck's mirror what's behind no mirror

See what you are missing without a mirror? There is another trike following behind, but without a mirror you wouldn’t know that. Of course, these pictures don’t really illustrate what I am talking about as far as a blind spot. Many tadpole trike riders choose to only use one mirror. I don’t understand it. We are greatly limited in our sight and it is very unsafe for ourselves as well as others. I am sure most all of us have heard of “blind spots”. They are real and they are very dangerous. A blind spot is the area that doesn’t show up in the one mirror some riders have. Obviously that area is closer up to us than what is shown in these pictures.

Here are the blind spots using 2 mirrors. The grey areas are the bling spots. The white areas are where we can see using the mirror(s) as well as with our eyes looking ahead of us. (Ignore the small grey area in front of the rider. I didn’t bother to remove it when I did the photo editing.)

And here are the blind spots areas with only 1 mirror. As you can observe there is a tremendous difference.

Yes, when we choose to only have one mirror we are choosing to be blind on the side we have no mirror. We don’t do it when we operate our cars, trucks, etc. so why would anyone choose to only use one mirror?

I ride with other tadpole trike riders and they only have one mirror. I have to be very careful around them as they don’t see me if I am on the side where they have no mirror … not unless I am quite a distance back behind them. Just recently one of my friends turned sharply to the right and forced me to brake hard to avoid a collision. He had no idea I was there as he is blind on that side and to make matters worse he usually doesn’t turn his head and try to look.  And this situation happens everyday several times a day. I always see them, but they don’t see me. I have talked to them about this, but they stubbornly refuse to install a second mirror. They choose to ride blindly and be a hazard … an accident waiting to happen.

Matt's trike with two mirrors

Matt Galat (JaYoe) … well known for his world travel adventure and videos …

is wise enough to use two mirrors.

When I built my first trike I put two mirrors on it. I have always had two mirrors on my trikes. I can’t imagine not having a mirror on both sides. I don’t choose to be blind … not when it comes to my eyesight nor when riding my trike. What about you? Are you blind? It is a very dangerous thing to ride around blind on one side. It is a very foolish thing as well. And it is a very unnecessary thing as they sell mirrors every day. We need to be safe ourselves and do our part to ensure others are safe from us. In short, we need to be responsible. That means having two mirrors is a must. We all want to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

FLINTSTONE BRAKES & YOU


Hanna-Barbera produced the popular Flintstone cartoon tv series where Fred was known to use his feet as the brakes for his prehistoric car.

We laugh at that and perhaps we have even done it ourselves at times in the past on some types of vehicles. We might have even gotten away with it, but I caution you not to attempt it on a tadpole trike as you may very well regret it. The results could get quite ugly, most serious and painful. LEG SUCK is not something anyone would want to  have happen to them. Leg suck is where the rider of a tadpole trike literally runs over their leg as the leg folds back under the crossmember (cruciform) of the trike frame. I saw it happen once to a friend of mine. It was hard to watch. He was fortunate. He only experienced considerable pain which took several days to get over … nothing got broken. I have myself had this happen a couple of times and experienced the pain of it. Fortunately my pain and suffering was over much quicker. The bottom line is … it is not worth it … keep your feet on the pedals. Certainly it is best to use some sort of means to keep your feet on the pedals so they can’t fall off and come down onto the ground. Tadpole trikes are a lot of fun to ride, but we need always to use common sense and good judgement. Be safe, enjoy the ride and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

STICK CATCHING … NOT A NICE GAME TO PLAY


For those who have quick release wheel axles there is a matter which should be taken into consideration if you never have before. When tightened down the lever should not be pointed forward as many people often do. When they are pointed forward they can easily and readily do catch sticks, weeds, etc. A lot of people just tighten them up in whatever position that they happen to be in. I have seen the result of having these levers positioned facing forward. They are very good at snagging twigs, etc. as we ride along. So I highly suggest positioning them to face backwards if possible or “tucked away” somehow to avoid this problem. Here is one pointing up which is okay.

And here is one sort of tucked in where it would be hard for a stick to get snagged by it.

This applies to both the front and back axles.

This one on a front axle is positioned ideally.

This may sound like nit picking and silly, but from personal experience it can help avoid problems as we ride along. Just be sure that in changing the position of the lever the entire axle skewer assembly is sufficiently tight. You sure don’t want a wheel falling out of it’s proper position like in this picture of a mountain biker. Actually I photo edited this as I couldn’t find a picture online to demonstrate it. Hopefully we won’t be flying thru the air like some bikes do.

Snagging sticks is not a game to be played while out riding. It is much better to just …

ENJOY THE RIDE & KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

FUN & THRILLING, BUT FOOLISH AND DANGEROUS


 

Here are some fun and thrilling rides, but certainly foolish and dangerous … not to mention harmful and damaging to the trikes. There is a lot I could say about all of this … tempting fate, endangering life and limb and treating brand new expensive trikes like this … but I will refrain and let you think whatever you want about the matter.

SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON HEADLIGHTS


After about 8 years or more of dependable service my 1 watt Planet Bike headlight has started shutting off all by itself. So I am now looking for a replacement.

I came across this webpage which is somewhat unique. I shows many different headlights as they shine forward on the road at nighttime. It has a split screen where you can compare one light with another. You can adjust the split screen however you want it.

HERE is another website where you can compare the lighting from various headlights at nighttime.

HERE is another side by side comparison.

HERE is an explanation of LED lighting with helpful information.

HERE is an article on lumens and brightness.

As you can see, not all lights are equal. In the image above are two lights both rated at 300 lumens. Obviously the one on the left is much much brighter than the one on the right. I also selected some other 300 lumen lights to compare and the result was identical to what you see in this picture. Good optics make all the difference in lights.

In the image below are beamshots of a 350, 700 and 1000 lumen headlights. As you can see the 350 holds its own pretty good against these much more powerful lights. Again, good optics make all the difference in lights.

I bought the 350 lumen headlight shown in the image above. It is a Light & Motion Urban 350 which sells for about $50. I like it fine for nighttime riding … which I seldom do … but I am very disappointed in its pulse mode for daytime riding … which is what I almost always do. As far as I am concerned its pulse mode is nearly worthless in the daytime. There is no comparison between it and my Planet Bike headlight. So I more less wasted $50 on a light I really have little need or use of. I looked at some others which were about twice the price and their pulse mode was very attention getting. I don’t understand why this light I bought fails so miserably in this one area. It’s pulse mode would be fine at nighttime, but in the daytime … like I said … it is about worthless.

Here is a video of my Planet Bike headlight flashing inside my home.

Fortunately my Planet Bike headlight is working again so I am continuing to use it for daytime riding. It turned out that the problem of it shutting off by itself was simply a matter of the battery contacts needing to be cleaned. Its flashing mode is very attention getting. BTW, Planet Bike lights have very good optics.

Here is a still shot of my current headlights at nighttime. I have changed the mounting positions since this picture was taken.

One thing I have noticed about many of the new headlights being sold now is that they have rubber straps to mount them instead of much more solid and secure clamps. I hate these rubber straps as they are a cheap way of making what are otherwise good lights. The rubber straps won’t tighten up and hold the light in position and they make it extremely simple, fast and easy to steal the light. I am constantly having to reach down and reposition my two new headlights as they just keep moving out of position as I ride along. I would never buy another headlight that uses a rubber strap to mount it. They are a joke … only I am not laughing.

Well, I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the subject of headlights. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

 

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HEADKAYSE ONE – REINEVENTS HELMETS


Headkayse One is a game changer for cycling safety because of Enkayse.

Conventional helmets are made from polystyrene. In a large impact polystyrene deforms to provide what’s known as “sacrificial protection”. This is why you have to be careful not to drop your polystyrene helmet in everyday use, and it’s why manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet after a knock.

Headkayse … pronounced “head case” … hmmm, interesting … is indeed unique. It is scary to think that a brand new conventional helmet can be so easily damaged and rendered considerably less effective in protecting our noggins. It is not only scary, but downright sad and maddening. Who wants to keep buying new helmets quite frequently for fear that our current helmet might not be up to the task of protecting us (even though it might be nearly new itself)?

Enkayse is designed to work differently. It manages the energy of impacts, so it can retain its integrity after more than one impact, large or small. It flexes to the shape of your head for better comfort and security.

Because Enkayse dissipates energy rather than deforming on impact, it also cushions small bumps. Polystyrene can’t do this, since forces which are too weak to deform it are transmitted through. Enkayse provides comfort in protecting from small bumps. This may also have long-term benefits as researchers believe the cumulative effect of small knocks contributes to brain disease over time. Because Enkayse shrugs off little bumps, it means that Headkayse One is durable against the knocks and scrapes that come with everyday use. You can be sure that Headkayse One will stand up to the daily grind. You can view the entire article about this new material HERE.

This is an interesting video (below) demonstrating how conventional helmets are effected by bumps and impacts.

Their website reports that they are 167 % funded in their startup campaign. These helmets don’t come cheap, however, they should greatly outlast a conventional bike helmet which helps offset the price involved.

So if you are a helmet wearer you might consider looking into a “head case” for your noggin. They say they think they will be in production soon (mid 2017). You can pre-order HERE and it should be cheaper than when they start selling them online.  They show about $112 plus shipping charges if pre-ordered.

They will be available in 8 different colors. One size fits all. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

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BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


They got the title right …

I came across this video and immediately had to agree with the title … Blinded By The Light. There is definitely a whole bunch of lights there. I assume they own a battery manufacturing company. That top light must be to warn low flying aircraft. 🙂 If I were a car or truck driver coming up behind this I wouldn’t know what to do … probably need to find another route. 🙂 I believe in good lighting, but this is definitely an overkill to the point I would think it would upset others who have to deal with it. I don’t know what their purpose is in having all these lights, but hopefully they don’t ride this around other people at night with these lights turned on .

I won’t even use my bright flashing taillight at nighttime around other people as it would be blinding and offensive to those behind me. Defensive is the goal … not offensive. This next video is of my trike after dark where there is total darkness and no one else around. I have 4 taillights flashing, but one of them is so much brighter than the other three. The other three are plenty bright to be seen quite well at night. The extremely bright one is just too much. As bright as the other 3 taillights are this super bright one prevents the other three from being seen. It is great in the day time, but at night time I would never use it around other people. I would use 2 or 3 of the others and probably only have one taillight flashing and the other(s) turned on steady (no blinking).

Our headlights can also be “too much” Here is my trike with  maximum lumens in use. I would not think of riding around like this in the daytime much less at night. I would only use it when by myself and in need of good lighting to see where I am going (at night time, of course.) Too bright of a headlight can quite literally blind those in front of you so that they can’t see some of what is in front of them. This could easily result in an accident and even someone’s death.

And that is only 350 lumen. There are people out there with several thousand lumen lighting. Let’s all be safe but respectful of others. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

REAR WHEEL STEERING = HIGH SPEED INSTABILITY


Now I am not out to attack rear wheel steering per se, but I am reporting what I have read about it as well as my opinion about the design. I am in full agreement with what I have read about rear wheel steering. And what I read about it is exactly what I think it would be like. At slow speed it works okay. At super slow speed it could be a lot of fun and helpful. But I am not interested in always going slow so if there is a handling and safety problem with rear wheel steering it is not for me. This issue comes up because I just recently made the discovery that the tadpole trike maker, Sidewinder, is still in business. I thought they went out of business due to a lot of complaints and concerns about their trikes being unsafe above a certain speed due to stability issues. One thing for sure, there aren’t many Sidewinder trikes around. I have never seen one nor talked to anyone who has. It is reported that some of the most sophisticated fighter jets made can’t be flown without the aid of computerization. They will crash without it. That is about my take on rear wheel steering and riding above certain speeds. Something beyond human input and control is needed in order for it to be safe. There are lots of stuff online to be read about this subject. Here are a few of them:
http://wannee.nl/hpv/abt/e-abd.htm
http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=62395
http://forum.atomiczombie.com/archive/index.php/t-7684.html
http://www.bicycleman.com/recumbents/trikes/sidewinder/sidewinder-recumbent-trikes.htm
Look at it this way … if rear wheel steering were safe and practical car, truck, bus, motorcycle, etc. manufacturers would employ it. They don’t. I rest my case. We all want to be safe and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

DOES THIS GET YOUR ATTENTION?


planet-bike-1-watt-headlight  pb-blaze-1-watt-headlight-on-full-power

have used a 1 watt Planet Bike headlight for many years now. I almost always use it on flash mode as I almost always ride in the daytime and rarely at nighttime. At only 1 watt it is amazingly bright. This is due to the excellent optics employed. It is not a great light for nighttime use, but for for daytime with the flash mode it is superb. It operates on two AA batteries and they last an amazingly long time … like around 20 hours or more. I usually use rechargeable batteries in it which are super economical to use. I recently had a problem with my light as it would shut itself off almost immediately after turning it on flash mode. I just assumed it’s time had come after giving me many years of faithful service. I ordered another headlight to replace it. Meanwhile I removed this one from my trike and brought it inside the house. I started messing around with it and determined that the problem was a simple one and one I could fix. The battery contacts just needed cleaning. Now it is working great again. Here is a video of it I just took inside the house. It shows it on flash mode. Now I ask ya … would this get your attention?

It has always worked fine for me and many people have commented that they saw my headlight flashing from a long distance. It is also quite visible from the side also which is an added plus as many lights are not very visible from off to the side.

Here is my current headlight and taillight setup on flash mode. This obviously is in daylight which is mostly when I ride.

I like the idea of others seeing me while I am out there and am a firm believer of the importance of good lighting front and back as well as highly visible safety flags.

I have also experimented around with taillights and although I really liked what is shown in this next video I opted not to keep it because white light showing on the back of a vehicle is illegal.

As can be seen in the next video I now have a very bright red taillight which is so bright I would not dare use it at night time as it would be blinding to others. It is so much brighter than my other taillights that it makes them look dim when, in fact, they are also plenty bright, especially at night.

Here is my most recent taillight configuration/ Again, I would not use the 150 lumen taillight in full brightness mode at night time if I were out riding around other people. It is way too bright to use around others.

The concept of being able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

appeals to me. How about you?

STEERING IN A SKID


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.

car-slides-off-road-in-curve-reduced

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.

steering-in-slide

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.

steering-in-slide

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).

trike-tip-over-red-arrow-2

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!

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?


trike-tip-over

Now I ask ‘ya … what could possibly go wrong when we are out riding? I mean we are on 3 wheels and low to the ground so we are safe, right? Whoa! Slow up there! You better think again. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong. I feel relatively safe while riding my trike, but I also know that there are elements of danger and concern. Tipping over is just one of those things. I have been fortunate in that I have never been seriously injured in any tip over I have been involved in. I know others who can’t say that. They received painful injuries which took awhile to recover from.

leaning-in-turn-reduced

Leaning into a turn can help immensely to avoid tipping over. Otherwise we need to slow down more as tadpole trikes can and do tip over. And if you ride a trike with a high seat (such as TerraTrike Rover & Rambler, ICE Adventure, Trident Spike & Titan, etc.) they can tip over more readily than trikes with lower seats. Also if you are carrying weight up high on a trike (such as on a rear rack) that raises the center of gravity and the trike can tip over easier. BTW, all TerraTrike models have high seats so none of them are as stable as trikes that have lower seats. Just looking at various makes and models of trikes I have noticed that the trend seems to be higher seats on most models nowadays. I am used to sitting 9 inches or so off of the ground. Very few models nowadays still offer that seat height. That’s all the more reason to stick with what I have as higher seats just don’t appeal to me … at least not as long as I am capable of getting in and out of a lower seat. And I figure it helps keep me young. 🙂 I like having a good handling trike. I have a friend I ride with who has a TT Rambler. He has to slow way up to corner for fear of tipping over. That’s not for me. That would take a lot of fun out of riding a tadpole trike.

drooping-cables

Drooping cables and such hanging down low under a trike can be quite hazardous resulting in messing up one’s day. They can easily catch on something and not only destroy the cable or wire (or more), but it could cause the trike to wreck.

edgewater-ave-embankment-along-trail-2

Having a wheel drop off the edge of the pavement can be very dangerous and can result in a nasty wreck. This is especially true if there is an embankment alongside the area. Riding on snow or leaves can hide the edge of the pavement and make it even more dangerous resulting in going over the edge and likely tipping over. Uneven edges of the pavement can be hazardous.

pavement-dropoff-along-edge

foot-clearance-off-of-ground

With the rider’s feet just a short distance off of the ground and out in front it is all too easy for the feet to slip off of the pedals and hit the ground resulting in leg suck … when the foot and leg get ran over by the trike and bent back under the crucifix … resulting in painful injury. That is why it is so highly recommended to employ some means of keeping your feet secured to the pedals.

pit-bull-damage

Dogs allowed to run loose and not under control can really mess up your day. This person was a victim of a dog chomping down on his leg. So much for being man’s best friend.

seen-this-post_

Various obstacles in our paths can mess up our day if we fail to see and avoid them. Whether it is a bollard, a handrail or something else running into it can be bad news.

maumee-pathway-river-bank-erosion-problem-1

And coming onto damaged pavement like pictured above could readily mess up your day. One of the great attributes of our trike riding is being able to take in the scenery better than we could when we rode bicycles. However, we still need to be careful and watch where we are going.

move-to-side-of-the-road

Some places are just more hazardous to ride than others so we need to really watch out for ourselves.

We need to expect the unexpected at all times. Accidents most often happen by accident. We should not do those things which could be used to say we gave them a lot of help. 🙂

prescription-to-ride

Lastly, failure to follow sound advice can have negative results. Be safe out there & …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

HELMETS … MY HEAD, MY CHOICE?


watermelon-smashed

This could be our head as it smashes onto the ground.

was just reading thru a posting and the comments on Facebook about helmet use while riding a recumbent trike. I have written about helmets before**(see links below) so I reckon this is a revisit of the subject. The last several years of my working career were spent employed in a local hospital where my job was being with patients who needed someone with them constantly. That included a whole lot of head injury patients. Some eventually make full recoveries, but some have some serious issues the remainder of their lives. I saw first hand what they went thru and what they put others thru (including myself). (I could tell you some stories.) It was the exposure to all of this which sold me on how important it is to wear a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle.

hitting-head-on-pavement

So it was only over the last 13 years or so that I personally have been using a helmet. If I ride a bicycle or motorcycle of any kind I always wear a helmet. Of course, I am of the age where helmets didn’t exist when I grew up. I rode many 10s of 1000s of miles on bicycles without a helmet. I only had a few wrecks in all those miles and fortunately I never received a head injury of any kind. I personally rarely wear a helmet while riding on my tadpole trike.  I am not trying to say that it is safe not to wear a helmet while riding a tadpole trike and I certainly am not advocating it. I am well aware that things could go horribly wrong. For me it is a personal choice and I feel relatively safe not wearing one. But if I were to get back on a bicycle I definitely would have my helmet on.

i-wont-wear-a-helmet-2

There is one thing missing in this picture. The person is

not drooling. (I have seen a lot of that.)

Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t wear a helmet while riding. Some say it makes them look stupid or uncool. Some say that helmets are uncomfortable. Some say that helmets are hot.

helmet-ruins-my-hair-2

Some say (especially females) that it messes up their hair. Some would say that helmets are not needed on a trike. Some say that any combination of the above excuses apply.

injured-cyclist-down-on-pavement

What is my excuse(s) you ask? To be honest I find them uncomfortable and hot. I can’t even stand a hat on my head unless it is bitter cold outside.

white-visor-hat-3

Even a visor type hat that is totally open on the top is hot to me, but I wear one when I am riding to shade the sun from my eyes. If I remove it I immediately feel relief as far as the matter of heat. I am really miserable with a helmet on.

enlarg-recumbent-bike-rest2
neckrest-and-helmet-2

Some say that a helmet interferes with their headrest. As to the matter of a helmet interfering with a head rest, first of all they are not headrests … they are neckrests. A neckrest should be positioned low enough that a helmet is above it. Also the type of helmet one wears makes a difference. Many helmets are impractical to wear when a neckrest is involved as they protrude too far back and some even protrude down a little more than others. A helmet which doesn’t protrude back works much better.

  new-headrest-cover-reduced

I have a large size neckrest which I made (pictured above) and my helmet clears it ok. My helmet (a Bell Citi) is fairly flat where the back of the headband is so even if it rests against my super soft neckrest it doesn’t present any problem. Here are examples of helmets that work well with neckrests … a Giro Air Attack (left) and a Bell Citi (right):

comparison-giro-air-attack-and-bell-citi-2

Tadpole trikes can tip over and the rider can get injured in a tipover.

trike-tip-over

I have tipped over a few times, but never hit my head on anything. Only once did I get any injury and it was just some abrasion on my arm. For those who ride tadpole trikes which have high seats they can tip over even easier so extra caution is needed while riding on such a trike.

leaning-in-turn-reduced

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Leaning into a turn can help considerably to prevent a tip over (roll over). Of course, this only applies if you are going fast enough for this to be a concern.

Here is something I learned as a young child:

how-to-take-a-curve

 

This can be very helpful. Just be sure no one is coming from the other direction.

paramedics-treating-downed-cyclist

Paramedics treating downed cyclist.

I guess what bothers me the most about this subject is the stupid comments some people make. I am talking about comments against the use of helmets and the justification some folks make. They are simply ridiculous. I would be the first to agree that a bicycle helmet does not offer the protection that a motorcycle helmet does. Never the less, they do offer considerable protection. No one should ever try to persuade others not to wear a helmet. Yes, it is our head and our choice … unless you happen to be somewhere that has a helmet law requiring the cyclist wear helmets. If you are a rider of a tadpole trike who normally does not wear a helmet and you travel into other states and jurisdictions you might want to check whether or not helmets are legally required. Most of the time organized rides require the use of helmets by all participants.

Nope, far be it from me to try to talk anyone out of wearing a helmet. They could be key to helping us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

** links to previous articles on helmets:

helmets

helmet laws

how bike helmets are made

 

 

NITERIDER SABER 35 BIKE TAILLIGHT vs. PLANET BIKE SUPERFLASH TAILLIGHT


niterider-saber-35-taillight

The Niterider Saber 35 taillight is among the available offerings nowadays. I can’t say much for the mounting strap they use, but the price is right … $16.99 with free shipping on EBAY. And it is BRIGHT! The 35 stands for 35 lumens. With a built in lithium battery it requires recharging using a USB cable plugged into a standard 5 volt USB outlet whether it be a computer or a power adapter (transformer).

niterider-saber-35-taillight-2

LED lights are everywhere these days and that’s good as they are a superior light, economical, bright and long lasting. That being said, not all lights are created equal when it comes to the power usage and battery life. This video tells what to expect as far as how long the battery charge lasts in each of its modes.

I have written articles about taillights before. There are lots of taillights available nowadays … far more than there were when I bought my taillights. At the time I bought one of the very best taillights available … the .5 (half) watt Planet Bike SuperFlash. I paid about $25 each for them at a local bike shop several years ago. The best price I can find on them at this time is $23.75 with free shipping at ModernBike.com. They are not as bright as this Niterrider light, but still I do highly recommend the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they are sufficiently bright and very economical to operate. (I tried to find the lumen rating of the SuperFlash taillight, but didn’t have any success. If you happen to know what it is please comment and let me as well as others know.) The triple AAA batteries last a long time in them. I use rechargeable batteries in mine most of the time. Just carry extra batteries along with you and you don’t have to worry about being left in the dark. With the Niterider taillight it has a built in lithium battery which requires recharging from a 5 volt USB outlet. That is not very practical when you are out riding. And the Niterider taillight doesn’t last nearly as long per charge as the Planet Bike light. On the most economical mode it only lasts 12 hours whereas the Planet Bike lights I have last about 40 plus hours on its most economical flash mode. (BTW, the newer version of the Planet Bike SuperFlash lights supposedly last more than 100 hours on flash mode and is visible up to one mile. I have the older version.) So on flash mode the Niterider light would last long enough for one or two long daily rides, but you would have to recharge it each day or two if you used it long each day. That doesn’t appeal to me.

If you park your trike somewhere near a 120 volt electrical outlet you could use a power adapter outlet to plug a USB cable into to charge the light on the trike. Of course, the light is easy enough to remove from its mount to take to a place to charge it. Anyway, I like the brightness and the price. I just don’t like the mounting strap nor the short battery power.

120-ac-usb-power-adapter

Here is a look at the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight. It has a far superior mounting system than the Niterider taillight.

planet-bike-5-watt-super-flash-taillight-2

One factor with all taillights and headlights to consider is the built in lenses as they can make a big difference in how well the light performs and can be seen. The pattern of the light as far as spreading out and being visible from the side vs. straight behind. The Planet Bike taillights have superior lenses which really make the “measely” .5 watts perform as well as lights which are far more powerful. That appeals to me since the battery life is so great with these lights. Planet Bike also offers a 1 watt version of this light. They are slightly brighter, but they also require more battery power and therefore don’t last as long as the .5 watt model does. Personally I don’t think there is enough noticeable difference in brightness between the two to justify the sacrifice in battery life. Also the one watt model has a “white-clear” plastic cover instead of red which I personally don’t care for. I don’t think it is nearly as noticeable as the red plastic. Actually much to my amazement I just found the one watt model available thru Ebay for less than the .5 watt model. It is only $19.94 with free shipping.

1-watt-planet-bike-turboflash-tail-light

I just read that Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of the .5 watt SuperFlash taillight. It also stated the brightness of the newer USB rechargeable is not as good as the older original lights like I have. The newer light only produces 3 lumens which is extremely poor. Fortunately they do still offer the model which is powered by two AAA batteries.

Here is an interesting video showing how well the Planet Bike Superflash work even when up against a far more powerful light being used for comparison. Remember, we are only talking about .5 watts here.

Another factor is whether or not the taillight offers much side visibility. Some lights offer very little or none at all. The Planet Bike SuperFlash  is superb in side visibility. There is a video by a customer review on Amazon which demonstrates how good the side visibility is.

I will say this … if you are after high visibility in daylight there are taillights which are superior to either of these. I have written articles about taillights previously.

Of course, I also highly recommend the use of  effective highly visible safety flags in addition to the lights. I have written articles about this subject before. Many times I have had people comment to me that they saw my flags before they saw my flashing lights … from any direction. And, of course, side visibility is going to be very limited if you only have lights. Good safety flags can be seen from the sides and can make a huge difference in whether others see you or not.

Right along with safety flags of high visibility is wearing high visibility clothing.

I started out writing this article with the intent of it being just about the NiteRider Saber 35 taillight, but I ended up drifting over into writing about the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights. I guess it is because I have been so pleased with mine. I love the long battery life which is somewhat rare with bike lights. I have seen other brands which have very poor battery life. Their brightness only lasts for a very short while in comparison.

I just found what looks to be identical to the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight on EBAY for only $10.87. It doesn’t have Planet Bike shown on it however, so my guess is that it is an illegal copy  (knockoff) probably made in China. If that is what it is I would caution you that it may look like the real McCoy, but may be lacking in quality … especially the lenses I spoke of. If that is the case, then it would not be as bright nor as visible. Also the battery life may be lesser. Then again, it may be very good quality. I would be leery of it myself.

planet-bike-5-watt-super-flash-taillight-chinese-knockoff

Lastly here is another video of the Niterider Saber 35 taillight.

In all honesty, if I were in the market for taillights today I am pretty certain that neither of these choices would be my pick. There are just so many lights available nowadays and several are extremely bright. Riding at nighttime in darkness I would be quite content with what I have now. Riding in the daytime which is what I do I would prefer one of the brighter taillights that are available. But for now I will continue on using my Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they still work fine and have served me well.

LEGAL HELP, ADVICE & INFORMATION FOR CYCLISTS


came across a website recently that got my attention and thought it might be good to share it here. Accidents happen whether our fault or the fault of someone else including faulty products. BicycleLaw.com is the website of bicycle accident attorney, Bob Mionske, who was himself actively involved in cycling as a a former Olympic and professional cyclist until retirement from it in 1994. He practices law in all 50 States and has some free information, advice and articles on his website which one might find useful. Hopefully you will never need his services, but if you do his law practice that is exclusively focused on representing cyclists who have been injured by motorists, unsafe road conditions, or defective cycling products. He offers free consultation.

LED LIGHT SAFETY POLES (or whatever they are called)


safety led light poles 2

We may not have actually seen any in person, but many of us have seen them in pictures and videos online. I am talking about LED light poles or whips as I have heard them called. There is no denying that after dark these things are highly visible and can be rather beautiful as well. Some are fiber optic with the light showing thru out the pole. Some are a bit more traditional with individual lights up and down the pole. Some have blinking/flashing light in various patterns.

whip lights by Arizona

I haven’t found them to be the easiest item to locate online. All too often when searching for them for bicycles the search results show those that are for motor vehicles with 12 volt systems. I read where one person used a 9 volt battery to power his. Here is a picture of it:

arizona whip led light pole

Many people make their own buying the various components online.

As I said, I have had a difficult time finding much of anything as far as sources to buy these LED pole lights. Here are a few although the Arizona Whips are pretty much designed for 12 volt vehicle use as are many of them I found. They can be adapted to a bike/trike, but one still needs a battery (power source) sufficient to operate them. LEDs are a pretty low current draw so I don’t know how long the 9 volt battery would last. Also the Arizona Whips are not cheap … $150 according to what I read.

made in China fiber optic (would be my choice) $28.50 each with a minimum purchase of two

Arizona Whips

Australian source

 

CHAINRING GUARDS


Hopefully you have never had the experience of encountering the big bad teeth of your largest chainring. I am here to tell you that our skin is no match for such an encounter. More than once over the many years of my life I have come out on the losing end. Not only was it painful and sore for some time, but it sometimes got infected and I had to take antibiotics to combat it. If we are fortunate we only get the infamous chainring tattoo.

chainring tattoo cropped

But if we are not so fortunate we might experience the wrath of those teeth.

chainring-teeth

Can you say OUCH?

chainring wounds

It happens all too easily and without protection we are readily its victim. Even if it doesn’t result in penetrating our skin it can really mess up clothing with a nasty oily dirty stain that is hard to remove. Of course, in warm/hot weather most of us are wearing shorts so there is no clothing covering our legs to help protect us. Even when we do have such clothing on unless it is some very tough material like blue jeans it is no match for those big teeth. Even with blue jeans those teeth can get our attention and cause pain and suffering. And we only have ourselves to sue! Oh my! 🙂

CHAINRING GUARDS TO THE RESCUE!

Catrike Chain Guard

ICE chainring guard

As far as I am concerned they are one of the very best investments we can make for our trikes. I bought one several years ago and it has quite literally saved my hide several times since. On rare occasion I still manage to get a little bit of a tattoo although even those are much lesser than they were without a chainring guard.

My advice to you is don’t wait until you experience those nasty teeth in your flesh. Invest in a chainring guard soon. Don’t procrastinate. It is no fun getting bit by those big teeth. It will help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

without concern of this calamity. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

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

SLOW MOTION CRASHES


slow motion capture of car hitting bicycle slow motion capture of car hitting bicycle 2

Here is a video from the Institute of Traffic Accidents Investigators slow motion video from crash day 2016 at Bruntingthorpe Airfield and Proving Ground in Leicestershire England. iX Cameras was pleased to supply the cameras and videographers to capture each impact.

Filmed at 2000 frames per second on an i-SPEED 716

I don’t know what it would look like with a tadpole trike involved. Here are some trikes that were involved in wrecks with cars/trucks:

This first one is Matt Galat‘s trike.

Matt's trike after wreck 4

ICE trike smashed up

As you can readily see the cyclist is no match for the car. It is quite terrifying to watch this as the slow motion really makes it clear what is happening. Hopefully we can avoid this scenario and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Be cautious and ride as if your life depends upon it.

because we ride

TRAIL RULES DON’T APPLY


Trail Rules sign

Did you know that trail rules don’t apply? That sure seems to be the attitude and position many take. I find this especially true among bicyclists. I would estimate that about 75 % of bicyclists do not obey the trail rules such as giving a warning they are passing other trail users. They obviously don’t believe the trail rules apply to them. Then there are those on foot who pay no attention to the instruction to stay to the right  except when passing. Many meander all over the place making it impossible for other trail users to get by them without them getting over out of the way. Other trail users walk abreast of each other and take up the whole width of the trail. Many trail users have earbuds in their ears and can’t hear anything other than what they are listening to. The trail rules don’t apply to them either. Then there are dog owners … oh … they are something else. The trail rules (not to mention the state law where I live) require them to keep their dogs on a short leash under their control. But ol’ Fido gets to run free and just do whatever he wants including attacking cyclists and walking or running right out in front of them causing them to wreck. Definitely there are a whole lot of dog owners who don’t think the trail rules apply to them. One of my really big pet peeves is when they allow their dogs to poop right on the trail and then just walk away and leave it there. Now I don’t blame the dog, but I sure do blame them. What kind of a person would do such a thing? I would like to take a hold of them and shove their face right down in that pile of poop. Yeah, that is what I would like to do.

I find some folks have some very interesting attitudes and thinking about trail rules. Recently one person stated that the rules are “archaic” and senseless. That would be laughable if they weren’t serious. I believe most people would disagree with such a notion regarding trail rules … saying just the opposite. Rules are very much needed. People being rebellious by nature and “unrestrained” will self destruct and do major damage in society. So I say to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them and are stupid or senseless you are guilty of “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” and are seriously in need of an attitude adjustment.

Trail Rules sign 2

There is nothing archaic or senseless about trail rules. They exist for very good reason. And none of us are exempt from them. God has commanded us to obey those in authority over us as long as man’s laws don’t violate His laws and commandments to us.

don't tune out

Just as I started writing this article I received an email from our local trails authority which included a list of the trail rules. Here is a portion of the email …

“Below are some fundamental rules that will help keep everyone safe:

+Walk and Roll on the Right. Pass on the Left.
+Use Bell or Voice When Passing. Slow down, allow the trail user to react and then pass the person on the left.
+Don’t Tune Out. Music is a great way to pass the miles but make sure you can still hear. Leave an ear bud out or keep your music low enough to hear other trail users.
+Use Caution on Blind Corners. When encountering a blind corner, slow down, stay right and use your bell or voice to say that you are proceeding. +Never pass on a blind corner or hill.
+Doggone it, Mind Your Pets. Keep your pet leashed and be sure to clean up after it. Dispose of the waste in a receptacle. Never, ever litter.”

They all make perfect sense to me … nothing archaic about them. The only thing I will say is concerning the “on your left”  announcement I think needs some improvement as it can be confusing to some people. I usually say “coming up behind you and will be passing on your left side”. Of course, many trail users have earbuds in their ears and don’t hear anything I say even though I say it loudly. Some people are on the left side of the trail so it isn’t possible to pass them on the left. If people would just obey the rules it would make everything so much better. We need to read and heed. One way or the other let’s all just try to get along out on the trails and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I will admit that every once in a while I come across signs that get my attention 🙂

stupid signs 1

danger thin ice 2

no parking beyond this sign

uphill-both-ways1

BETTER WATCH IF YOU DON’T WANNA CRY


have covered this subject previously so it might seem like old hat to some of you who read this blog. Recently while out riding I went downtown in the city where I live and was riding down the sidewalk to get to the trail thru a park. While riding along I saw something ahead of me which caught my eye and reminded me of something that happened to me about 3 years ago I reckon. During the summer months there are a lot of various activities which go on downtown and particularly in the park. Under a pavilion something was going on and while I was riding along I was looking up toward the pavilion taking my eyes off of the pathway ahead of me. I turned my head back straight just in time to see this as I ran into it.

handrailing in face cropped

Now I knew they were there as I had ridden thru here numerous times before. My attention was elsewhere and I paid a price. Fortunately I didn’t get hurt nor did my trike. It was just embarrassing going along and riding into something like this. If I remember correctly it was just my left front tire that made contact with it. I braked hard so I was nearly stopped when I struck it. Otherwise it might have turned out far more serious. Here is a picture of the pavilion I had been looking up at and the handrail I ran into.

Headwaters Park pavillion and handrails 2

The bottom line here is … there are times it is relatively safe to look around some as we ride, but there are other times it is unwise to do so. Things could have turned out a lot worse for me that day if I hadn’t turned my eyes back straight ahead when I did.

It can happen to any of us and it can happen ever so quickly  When I say that you (and I) better watch out if we don’t want to cry I am not making reference to some jolly old fat man dressed in a red suit who is coming to town. This is reality and I am telling no lie. Danger is lurking. Be safe out there. We need to pay attention if we want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’