Category Archives: safety

EVEN IF YOUR NAME IS NOT GEORGE WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!

Good eyesight is precious. Just try losing it to be convinced. I can speak from personal experience. I am blind in my left eye and struggling to maintain what eyesight I have left in my right eye,. I won’t bother explaining what all is going on. I will simply say it is something I inherited from my mother’s side of the family. As part of my eye care I have to get an injection of a very expensive medicine in my right eye once a month. Each time I go to the eye doctor my eye gets dilated which, of course, makes for blurry vision and the need for sun glasses when out in bright sunshine. Two days ago I had another eye doctor appointment. For the very first time I rode my tadpole trike to the appointment rather than go by car and having a designated driver. It worked out great although certainly my vision was considerably impaired on my return trip home. Yep, I was thoroughly enjoying myself riding along when I hit a curb I didn’t … indeed COULD NOT see and flew up into the air. It was not only embarrassing but I was quite concerned about my trike. A bad bump like that by all 3 wheels could cause serious damage. As far as I know everything is okay. Just a few blocks later I hit another curb. It reminded me of the period of time I rode around with very poor vision due to cataracts. I could identify with Mark 8:24 where it is recorded “… I see men as trees, walking.” In fact, I still deal with this quite a lot. It is not as bad as this picture but in the distance I often times can not distinguish a person from a tree as I look down the trail ahead of me. Yep, good eyesight is so precious.

Watch out for that tree!

Trees are on my list of concerns as well as curbs, etc. My name isn’t George and I am pretty sure that most of you are not named George either. My thinking right now is … this might very well be a time when it would be good to let ol’ George do it. As they say … better him then me. So if your name is George … WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE! Hey, even if your name is not George I would say the same thing to ya. I am pretty sure we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

I am reminded of this song …

Hmmm, makes a guy consider having his name changed to Fred and let George do the drivin’.  Just watch out for that tree!

TAKING THE LANE

Growing up I never heard of “taking the lane”. As a child and up thru my teen years I chose to ride on the left (wrong) side of the road against traffic. My thinking and reasoning was that I was able to see the traffic ahead of me coming at me and, if need be, I could take evasive action to keep from getting hit. I never had a policeman stop me for doing this. Later as I grew into adulthood I started riding on the right (correct) side of the road but I stayed over to the right as far as possible trying to stay out of the way of all traffic. BTW, now I try to avoid riding on the left (wrong) side of the road as I came to realize that doing this does present problems for motorists. It can confuse them and shake them up.

In recent years I started hearing about riding out in the lane of traffic “taking the lane”.

When I first heard it I thought it was nuts … asking for disaster. I started experimenting with riding out in the traffic lane and found that there was no problem in doing so. I got more and more comfortable with it and came to the realization that it is safer and better than riding over on the right hand side. So now I take the lane almost all the time. The exception to that is if I am riding somewhere that has a very wide lane where there is plenty of room for motor vehicles to safely pass by me . I am also leery of taking the lane of a road where there are hills and curves which would make it impossible for a motor vehicle coming up behind me to see me in time to avoid colliding with me. It is best just to stay off of roads like that as they are just too dangerous. I want to be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BTW, I haven’t mentioned designated bike lanes. The concept sounds good but I find them objectionable to use as they are just dangerous. Motor vehicles drive in them, park in them, cut cyclists off not paying any attention to them. Then there is the fact that a cyclist is trapped in a narrow lane between moving motor vehicles and parked motor vehicles. The parked motor vehicles pose a real threat as doors are opened just as the cyclist is riding by. Also the parked vehicles start pulling out often not paying any attention if cyclists are riding along coming up to them. I have also noticed that the surface of bike lanes is usually the worst part of the street as far as the surface. There are lots of manhole covers, pot holes, debris, etc. to contend with. It is difficult and dangerous trying to move about to avoid it.

I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS

Recently I saw a custom safety flag which had “I do all my own stunts” on it. That got me to thinking and so here I am writing this article. I can identify with that. I wish I had some of the things that have happened to me recorded on video. Of course, most of it would be on the embarrassing side. I am talking about tip overs, running into things, running over things, etc. Some of those times I was “hot dogging” a bit. Most of the times they were just accidents. And most of the times I was either sitting still or moving slowly.

I learned how easily a tadpole trike can tip over when on uneven ground or when backing up while turning going too fast. I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any really serious injuries.

One time I was picking up trash alongside of a trail. I was doing so while seated on my trike. I had gone over near the edge of an embankment near a river to pick up some trash just over the edge of the embankment. I tried to reach it but couldn’t so I leaned out just a little bit further. That is all it took to cause the trike to tip over and dump me over the embankment with my trike on top of me. I had a time getting out of that mess. Nobody was around to help me so I had to struggle thru it. I didn’t get hurt but it was sure embarrassing.

Another time right in a curve on the trail my two fiends I was riding with suddenly stopped right in front of me without any warning. I had to brake hard to keep from running into the trike in front of me. Braking hard in a turn is not a good thing to do. Over I went and ended up with some road rash on my arm.

Another time I was downtown riding on the sidewalk. I was watching a motor vehicle out in the street concerned that he was turning into the driveway I was approaching. Ahead of me the pavement narrowed and a curb suddenly appeared. I didn’t see it as I was watching the motor vehicle. I hit that curb and it violently tipped me over and slammed me to the ground. I just missed hitting a concrete column which could have resulted in extremely serious injury. I was laying over and trapped in my trike. I struggled to get out of it. I got some cuts and abrasions and bled a lot. It was quite embarrassing.

One time I had unloaded my trike from the back of my pickup truck and was getting ready to go for a ride. I had parked over alongside the road and a river was quite nearby over an embankment. I sat down in my trike ready to ride when I made the bad decision to back up and turn around. As I backed up I didn’t realize my trike was quickly approaching the edge of the embankment. I got stopped okay but I could not go forward. If I dared to release my brakes in an attempt to go forward I only went further back and was slowly going over the edge of the embankment. I was in a real predicament and there was no one around to help me. All I could do is sit there with my brakes locked. After awhile a jogger ran by me. I hollered out to him asking for help but he just ran on ignoring me. A couple of more people passed by as I sat there and the same thing happened. Finally a guy I knew was going by me and I hollered at him by name. I explained to him what the problem was and asked him to take my hand and pull me as I released the other brake and tried to pedal forward. It worked. I got out of that mess. It would not have taken much more backwards movement before I would have gone over the embankment and possibly into the river.

Hot dogging can be bad. I have been fortunate as I never been injured as a result. A friend of mine has had serious injuries as a result of hot dogging. I hit a bollard once trying to turn off of a road onto the trail. I was going too fast. I was able to get almost stopped so when I hit the bollard I wasn’t going fast enough for any damage to happen. In the picture below the trail runs right along side of a street for a little ways. My friend was riding on the trail (blue line) and I was out in the street (red line). I wanted to get ahead of him so I was going faster. I didn’t slow up enough to make the turn. I hit the center bollard attempting to turn onto the trail.

Not looking where you are going can, of course, result in things going wrong. Once I was looking off to my side at a pavilion downtown. I was riding on the wide sidewalk in front of it. There were handrails protruding out over the sidewalk. They were part of the railing that went up steps toward the pavilion. They were just the right height to modify my face if I were to hit them. Again, fortunately I turned back looking forward just in time to swerve and miss them.

Years ago I created this picture of a trike jumping thru the air. Much to my surprise it has fooled several people as they thought it was real. Anyway, the air time might be fun but I sure would not want any part of the landing.

Yep, I have always done my own stunts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That is mainly because I wouldn’t want to see anybody get injured in my place. I am quite hopeful that my stunts are pretty much over with cause at 73 I am getting a bit too old to do my own stunt work. May we all be safe and .simply …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

IS IT SAFE TO BUY/USE A USED HELMET?

Now I ask ya … is it safe to buy /use a used helmet? What is the answer? Is it okay to go to a thrift store and get a used helmet saving big bucks? Is it alright to wear a helmet someone gave you? The answer is … maybe but maybe not. Most definitely it is risky.

Two different things come into play. First the protection that a helmet offers lessens as the helmet ages. That is because the materials the helmet is made of deteriorates over time and lose some of their protective qualities and abilities.

Secondly if the helmet has been dropped it can result in a crack in it that can’t be seen with our eyes. Again, such a crack can diminish the protection the helmet offers. The helmet might look like it is brand new but one or both of these factors may come into play. I know it is frustrating to possess a helmet that still looks like new and in looking at it one naturally thinks that it is perfectly fine and that there is certainly no reason to throw it away and replace it with a brand new one. No one in their right mind likes to throw money away. It is hard to convince ourselves that we should replace our helmets every few years even when it still looks like brand new. However, that is what we are told we should do. I doubt if many of us do this. I have to admit that I don’t. My helmet still looks like new and I am not one to spend money unless I really need to.

Here is what the industry says:

“It’s often recommended that a helmet worn frequently should be replaced every 3 years or so. The reason is that the foam degrades due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors, added to the usual knocks of regular cycling activity.”

I have never dropped my helmet and I know that even though it may not offer as much protection as it did when it was brand new it still offers some. I don’t plan on buying a new one anytime soon. But I bought it new so I know its history.

Personally I would never buy a used helmet nor would I consider a used one someone wants to give to me. We just don’t know the history of the helmet.

BTW, I have written other articles about bicycle helmets before.

BE SAFE OUT THERE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ALL LIT UP

Anybody who has followed my blog for any length of time should know that I am a firm believer in “being seen”. I use and highly recommend bright flashing headlights and taillights as well as highly visible and attention getting safety flags. Thru the years I have employed several different lights and flags. I have made several changes and always tried to improve what I have. I am well pleased with all the lighting and flags I now have. This particular posting is concerning my taillights. Believe it or not, I have 8 of them on my trike. Seven of them can be seen in this video. The 8th one is in between the seat back and the trunk bag and points downward toward the pavement. It is only for riding at night which I rarely do. Normally I only have one taillight on as I ride and it is the middle top one. I only use the others when I am riding somewhere that I am concerned about extra visibility such as busy/dangerous streets and roads. When I turn 5 to 7 of them on you can bet traffic sees me. I look like an emergency vehicle all lit up with bright flashing lights. If I were to come upon a situation along a trail where I stopped to do maintenance work or help someone who had an accident and was injured I would use the extra lighting to be sure other trail users are aware and exercise caution as they approach. Thus far I am talking about daytime use. At nighttime I would only use the lights on flash mode where again I want to be sure others exercise caution approaching the area. I would never use my headlights or taillights on flash mode at night time otherwise as it is offensive and distracting to motorists as well as confusing to them as well. My point is concerning the multiple taillights … I have them if I need them and they can and do come in very handy.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO GET INTO AND OUT OF THE SEAT OF A TADPOLE TRIKE

am sure some of you have seen people trying to sit themselves down on a tadpole trike and going about it all wrong. And for anyone who has physical issues such as balance, lack of mobility, etc. it can be dangerous to attempt if not being done properly. There are basically two ways to go about sitting down on a tadpole trike. One method is to step over the boom. The other method is to back up straddling the boom. Stepping over the boom can be quite dangerous and risky for some people, myself included, as they may misstep and trip themselves causing a nasty fall. As the saying goes, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT … AND DON’T WANT A REPEAT PERFORMANCE. So I always straddle my boom and back up. This video by Laid Back Cycles illustrates all of this as well as the assist bars which can be added to a trike.

Years ago I came upon these pictures another trike dealership made up. They are funny so I am including them here.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHAT’S YOUR REASON?

Here is a video showing several tadpole riders sharing why they ride a tadpole trike. I am sure most of us can readily identify with and agree with them.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

LAID BACK CYCLES VIDEOS

Laid Back Cycles has lots of videos available to watch and learn from. Check them out HERE.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT RECUMBENTS

This video does a pretty good job covering the subject … EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT RECUMBENTS.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

RIDING DURING THE COVID 19 PLANDEMIC or 50 MILES OF HIDDEN SMILES

Are you among those who are riding during the Covid 19  PLANdemic? From what I have gathered not all states or local governments are permitting the public to go out for exercise during this time of planned evil thrust upon us. And in some places the trails are closed. Here in Indiana where I live outdoor exercise is being encouraged and there certainly are a whole lot of folks out there on the trails. Sadly all too many are not following the guidelines of staying far enough apart. And very few are wearing face masks to protect themselves and others. This man-made virus is truly dangerous and it can’t be known whether we have it or not unless we come down with symptoms. And at first we were told 6 feet is sufficient distance between people but now they are saying 20 feet. Furthermore they say that a sneeze can shoot the droplets out 27 feet so it doesn’t sound like 20 feet would be enough. To make matters worse it lingers in the air for a very long time … up to 4.5 hours I think I read. And then once it lands of surfaces it can last on that surface from several hours to several days depending upon what the material is of the surface. The bottom line is … be very very careful. Even in our homes we need to practice extra precaution than we normally do.

I know it is hard but stop picking your nose and sucking your thumb.   Did I really say that?

I have been out nearly every single day. Today (April 8th) as I compose this is no exception. With warmer weather finally arriving I have increased the length of my rides. Today (April 8th) I rode 50 miles. I stlll had that recumbent smile taking place but no one could tell it as it was hidden behind a mask.

Yesterday was 60 miles … all with a mask on. I don’t mind wearing a mask in really cold weather but once it warms up enough so that it is comfortable outdoors wearing a mask is no fun. But it is better than going around unprotected like most people are doing. That ol’ recumbent smile is certainly going to waste, but hey, that’s okay. Maybe no one else can see it but I can tell it’s there. I can tell because I am enjoying my ride the same as I did the very first time I rode a tadpole trike. Some 88,000 plus miles later I am still lovin’ it.

I hope you are able to get out and ride where you are at. Do obey the governing authorities however. Even if you have to hide that recumbent smile behind a mask hopefully you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

in the midst of this biological warfare agent purposely turned lose on mankind.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HERE is an interesting article on the source of the Covid 19 virus … we can thank Barack Obama for it. Those who voted for the scumbag should be ashamed of themselves.

I am adding this comment below from a reader. It was left on another posting but I am posting it here because it pertains to the Covid 19 virus …

” A few minutes ago I texted this to my friend… “ When I have read books & stories about Armageddon or the Rapture, I always wondered how in the world God could ever get the attention, or interest, of 7.8 billion people.

The thought just occurred to me that the whole planet is now ‘at attention.’

Do you think something from God is about to happen?”

And her immediate reply was something that her own friend had just sent to her…

“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. You want to worship athletes, I will shut down stadiums and arenas. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down every venue. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters.. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You want to worship your own bodies, I’ll close down all the gyms. You want to worship your own intellect and pat yourself on the back with a graduation, I’ll close down your schools. You want to place your trust in your friends and not in Me, I’ll make sure you can’t even meet with them physically. You don’t want to seek my face and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.” “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Maybe we don’t need a vaccine, maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters…Jesus!” “

CRANKARM SHORTENERS = PEDAL EXTENDERS

As you can see in the picture above I have crankarm shorteners installed on my trike. I am a short person and have short legs so shortening the crankarms is a god-send for me. Prior to getting the crankarm shorteners I purchased and installed some pedal extenders. I liked them but with the crankarm shorteners installed I don’t need to use the pedal extenders anymore because the crankarm shorteners do the same thing … positioning the pedals further out away from the crankarms. For me they are just the right amount so I don’t need to add pedal extenders in the mix. I know that the crankarm shorteners are not fabulous looking but they are quite functional. BTW, I have written various articles in the past about crankarm shorteners. Click HERE to read them.

And for those who take note that I am using regular BMX platform pedals with no type of foot retention … YES, I am well aware of the subject of “leg suck“. After all, I have written about it several times on this blog. I have tried SPD shoes and pedals but don’t care for them. I have also used heel slings which I like quite well. I used them for years but took them off and ride without them because truthfully I don’t need them. In over 86,000 miles of riding a tadpole trike my feet have come off of the pedals a few times but never have I had a problem with my feet going down onto the pavement. So I am not concerned about leg suck. If ever things change for me I will go back to using heel slings.

The use of crankarms shorteners is a matter of “killing two birds with one stone” and they help me greatly to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

IMPROVING THE TURNING CIRCLE ON ICE TRIKES

As I watch this video it backs up why I don’t care much for ICE trikes. Although the name ICE stands for “inspired cycle engineering” in my opinion ICE trikes are not very well engineered … at least somethings I could name here certainly aren’t. I have ridden a couple of them and looked at others and noticed these things about them. Definitely they all suffer with the same problem … namely it takes a football field to turn one. That is a slight exaggeration but only slight. This video shows and explains further the problems in the design of the steering. When I ride a trike I want to be able to turn sharply. One can get into big trouble when the trike won’t make a turn when encountered. That could be very dangerous. Trikes that won’t (can’t) turn sharply are poorly engineered and are dangerous to ride in my opinion. TerraTrike is another manufacturer which has models with indirect steering which are terrible just like ICE. Just because a trike has indirect steering does not mean that it can’t be engineered to turn sharp. There are other brands with indirect steering which do turn sharp … very sharp. I have a friend who rides a Trident with indirect steering and it turns sharper than my Catrike. It impresses me when it comes to steering.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHY RIDE A RECUMBENT TRIKE

Here is a video sharing some reasons why a person should consider riding a recumbent trike vs a conventional diamond frame (DF) bicycle. I agree with everything he says.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HEADLIGHT & TAILLIGHT COMBO

seldom recommend products to others. My reasoning is I don’t want them to be upset with me if they don’t care for their purchase. Just because I like something and have been well satisfied does not mean someone else will. Anyway, today while I was out riding I looked down at my headlight and thought to myself that I was very pleased and impressed with it. So, guess what? I decided to recommend it to others.

Anybody looking for a good USB rechargeable headlight and taillight combo? I highly recommend this one. It is a 300 lumen BV made in China (what isn’t anymore?). I have been using it for several months now and really like it.It is plenty bright for daytime use … really gets attention. The charge usually lasts me at least two full riding days. Even when the red light comes on indicating low battery the light still lasts me all day and remains bright. It is fairly small yet extremely bright for daytime use (flash mode). It can be bought at various sources including Amazon, Ebay and Walmart. The price varies from one source to another. Right now the best price I have found online is $12.99 with free shipping at IberaUSA (BikePakMart). The taillight is also quite bright but it only lasts me about one day on a full charge. I seldom use the taillights but there is certainly nothing wrong with them. https://iberausa.com/product/bv-super-bright-300-lumens-rechargeable-bike-light-set-water-resistant/ .

As lumen rating goes 300 isn’t all that much nowadays  but I tell ya … I don’t think one would want or need anything brighter than this light for daytime use. It really gets attention! They advertise the taillight as”a bonus included free” and that is the way I look at it. I was buying a headlight not a taillight. It seems oftentimes headlights are advertised as a headlight-taillight combo. As I stated, there is nothing wrong with it. It too is quite bright and attention getting. I simply seldom use these taillights as I have other taillights I prefer over them. Believe it or not, I have 8 taillights mounted on my trike. I normally only use one but when I am riding out on a busy/dangerous road/street I turn others on to make sure traffic sees me. If I turn them all on I look like an emergency vehicle.

To the naysayers who say that ya gotta have a headlight of well over 1000 lumen I say to you that you don’t know what you are talking about. Keep in mind I am talking about riding in the daytime … not after dark. I would be the first to agree that 300 lumen is quite insufficient for night time riding. 3000 lumen would be more in order. BUT IN THE DAYTIME 300 LUMEN IS QUITE SUFFICIENT.  Anything more is overkill and totally unnecessary. And brighter lights can be a menace to others. Even my 300 lumen headlight can be a problem for some people as they say it is way too bright and bothers them. It is rare for anyone to complain but it does happen. I just tell them “sorry, but I am trying to stay alive by being seen by motorists”.

So, if you are looking for a good headlight for daytime use (particularly in flash mode) I would think you would be well pleased with this light.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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!

OWNING THE NIGHT

I  have written articles about bicycle lights before. Here goes another posting about them. With the invention of LED lights and the development of various lights over the years I think it is safe to say “we’ve come a long way”. It is my understanding that a standard automotive headlight is about 1200 lumens. A lumen is a measurement of brightness a light produces. I won’t bother giving the exact definition here as it is too technical for most of us to grasp much about what they say. HERE is a pretty good explanation of the whole enchilada which is easier to understand.

There are bicycle lights available that are way over the 1200 lumens of a car headlight. The NightRider 3600 Pro is claimed (by NightRider) to be the brightest headlight available currently (at the time I am writing this). 3600 lumens! Wow! That’s more than twice as bright as an automotive headlight. With that kind of brightness one could certainly OWN THE NIGHT.

If one is riding somewhere all by their lonesome away from others out in front of them having that kind of brightness is fabulous, especially at night time in the dark. However, if others are involved out in front of that bright light … well, first of all I pity them … and secondly shame on the one who would expose them to such brightness which most definitely is blinding. To make matters worse for some reason unknown to me most manufacturers of bicycle lights sold here in the United States shine up high rather than have a built in diffuser lens to prevent the light from doing so. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I seldom ride at night but when I do I am not looking for owls up in the trees so I sure don’t need my headlight to shine up high illuminating the trees. Even in the daytime bicycle headlights can be a problem for some folks who are out in front of these bright headlights that shine up way too high.

And the brighter the headlight the more of a problem they cause others. In flash mode in the daytime they could trigger seizures in some people. I think it high time that we cyclists unify and let the bicycle light manufacturers known that they need to do something about this matter. Our lights should be like the bottom illustration above.

Below is a picture of a bicycle headlight that is definitely blinding to anyone out in front of it. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS! This person should receive a ticket from a police officer. Such a cyclist is a menace!

Here is a picture of my own trike with my lighting all turned on in the daytime. As you can see it is blinding and I don’t even have any of these powerful lights I am writing about here. My brightest headlight in this picture is only 350 lumens. And I might add that the camera doesn’t really capture this like looking at it with one’s eyes. It is truly annoying, obnoxious and offensive. I have many times come upon bicyclists who have blinding lights on and it is really hard to see the pathway ahead because of it. One can try not to look at such lights but they still cause serious problems.

I don’t have a problem with these extremely bright lights so long as they are not shining up into my face. I am all for them as long as they are being used properly. What little night riding I have done on my trike most definitely I have experienced poor lighting vs. good lighting. I will take good lighting over poor lighting every time I am out there riding at night by myself in total darkness. Crashing into trees, riding over a cliff, etc. is not my favorite activity. BTW, I have written about blinding headlights before.

As I said, I don’t have extremely bright lights on my trike as I really don’t have need of them since most all of my riding is in the daytime. Here is the lighting I used to have … with the brightest headlight being 350 lumens. I had three headlights at the time this picture was taken. They were the same three that were in the picture above.

Actually I don’t even have any of these lights on my trike anymore as I have bought new lights since this picture was taken. My brightest headlight I have is 450 lumens with a diffuser lens but I seldom use it. I usually just use a 350 lumen headlight and it doesn’t have a diffuser lens. And I usually only have one headlight mounted at a time although I have others I could quickly add if I needed them. I would do so if I were to ride at night. I like the idea of owning the night and being able to see quite well where I am going.

Here are two 450 lumen headlights on my trike. They have a built in diffuser lens which keeps the light beam from shining up high blinding others. The red arrows point to the two headlights. The fence in the background is about 112 feet away.

UPDATE … I went out riding at night to test these lights. In the picture they look pretty bright but when I rode with them I was disappointed as they didn’t do the job as I had hoped. I certainly did not own the night with these headlights. In total darkness I certainly could not safely ride very fast as they just didn’t do the job. I even added one more light to these two and it made little difference.

One of my very favorite websites for viewing and comparing various headlights is HERE. You can select from a drop down list a headlight and then select another one from the other side. They will display side by side. Just use your cursor to move the blue divider from side to side to view the other light. And HERE is a similar website.

HEADLIGHTS DATABASE

TAILLIGHT DATABASE

So by all means if you are riding at night by yourself you can OWN THE NIGHT too. But please don’t blind others … daytime or nighttime. We all want to and need to be safe out there and courteous to others. It can be done amigo. Does that sound like a spaghetti western? Oh never mind!

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

ANALOGY OF A CRASH … SOMETHING TO BE AWARE OF

 

Although this story is about a velomobile we all need to remember that a velomobile is a tadpole trike with a shell around it. That means that what happened to this velomobile can happen to a tadpole trike. I have written about trike tip over before.

These videos point that out. This was an accident and accidents do happen. I have had several accidents on my tadpole trike. Fortunately I am still here to talk about it. BTW, rumble strips are very dangerous for small lightweight vehicles including bicycles and motorcycles. At the end of this video I will relate the story of another velomobile that encountered rumble strips.

Back in the summer of 2011 a group of velomobiles (mostly from Europe) rode from Portland, Oregon to Washington, D.C. This organized ride was called ROAM (Roll Over America). There were about 50 velomobiles involved. They came thru Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live and stayed overnight at a local city park at a campground. I went there to see them and meet some of them. I wrote up an article on my Tadpole Rider blog. While talking with some of the riders I learned of one of them that had their ride cut short way back in the western U.S. when going 70 mph downhill and flipped over suddenly when it hit rumble strips. These European riders knew nothing of rumble strips as they don’t have them in Europe they said. This was a very unfriendly introduction indeed. The velomobile involved in this wreck was hauled on a trailer the rest of the way.

The good thing about this was it was only the outside of the velomobile that got “road rash”. That body protected his body. If he had been on a regular tadpole trike he likely would have had an altogether different outcome. It could have been not only road rash but he could have slid right into or under the passing truck.

Yes, sliding around sideways and suddenly have the rear tire catch regaining some traction can easily result in a violent tip over. As the saying goes … Been There, Done That … and I am not anxious to repeat it. Try to be careful out there. We all want to be safe and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHICH TYPE OF BRAKE PAD SHOULD WE USE?

Brake pads on disc brakes wear out. Hey, they are suppose to. So what do you do when it comes time to change them? It can be a bit confusing. Organic (resin/semi metallic) and sintered (metal/metallic) are the choices. But which one should we choose? It is further complicated by the backing plate … steel, aluminum … even copper. Here is help …

So to summarize what was said in these videos … organic is okay for dry conditions. They are quieter but they also wear out quicker. Sintered if one is riding in wet conditions. They are noisier but they wear longer.

Having good working brakes is most important if we want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHAT I THINK I KNOW ABOUT BATTERY CHARGING

I purposely titled this “what I THINK I know about battery charging” for good reason. I only know what I have read and experienced thus far. I am certainly no expert and I readily admit that at times I have found what I have read a bit confusing and perhaps even contradictory. I have had 4 batteries thus far … all lithium ion and all 48 volts. What has been different about them is their capacity or power rating. I started out with a 6.6 aH Bionx battery that fit in a rear rack. I found that it was way too small. I ran out of battery power long before I was done riding each day. I used to carry the charger with me to recharge the battery while I was out riding … taking valuable time stopped to do this. Below is a picture of my trike stopped in a city park recharging the Bionx battery.

Bionx was good enough to allow me to return the battery to the dealer and get their largest battery … which is only 11.6aH … still not very powerful. I had problems with my Bionx system so I ended up returning everything for a refund as they either couldn’t or wouldn’t fix the issue I was experiencing. Next I got a 20aH battery which also mounted in a rear rack. Later I bought a second one and have one available as an extra battery if I need it or want to have it along with me although I usually only have one along with me.

In charging these batteries they each take a certain length of time based on two factors: 1) How far down in their charge level they are and 2) the charger being used to recharge them. BTW, a lithium ion battery should never be used beyond 80 % of its capacity. 20 % charge should remain in the battery. Naturally the larger the battery rating the longer it takes to recharge it unless one uses a more powerful charger. Lithium Ion batteries are best charged slowly. In fact, fast charging can harm them and reduce their life span. My 20aH batteries came with a 2 amp charger. That is a pretty small charger as far as chargers go. Yet there is a reason why the company selling them supplies this size charger. In short, it is to get maximum life out of the battery. There are lithium ion batteries out there that recharge in only 1 hour. That is because they are being charged fast. At 2 amps my 20aH batteries take about 10 hours to recharge (20 divided by 2 equals 10).

I recently bought a 5 amp charger after reading about this subject. 5 amps is as large as I dare go for fear of damaging the batteries. Even at 5 amps I am a bit concerned. I started using it and immediately was alarmed at the result as I thought I had already damaged the battery. I noticed that it did not charge up quite as much as it always had when using the 2 amp charger. I also noticed that as I started riding using it it seemed to run down quicker than it always had before. I decided to use the 2 amp charger again and much to my relief everything returned to normal … I had a fuller charge and once more was able to get the same distance out of the battery charge as I was getting before. WHEW! My battery is okay … at least as far as I can tell. After using the 2 amp charger again for about 3 days I went back to the 5 amp charger.

It usually takes about 5 hours to recharge the battery using the 5 amp charger. Doing the same math … 20 divided by 5 … one would think that it would take 4 hours. Again, I am no expert on this but I think the math comes out differently because in the recharging process the circuitry has built into it a slow down toward the final part of the process. Lithium ion batteries are a bit complicated and the charging process is also complicated. It is all very high tech and the circuitry has safeguards built into it. The same is true of the motor controller. Without this damage can and would occur. And fire is also a great concern. It is important that we always use proper equipment made for our e-system. BTW, even though I am back using the 5 amp charger I do not know at this time if I am shortening the life of my battery. I know I would be best off using the 2 amp charger most all of the time and only use the 5 amp charger if I am in a hurry.

E-assist has become extremely popular and with more and more trike riders getting it we need to know about our batteries and charging them. We need to be safe. We certainly don’t want to prematurely age our battery’s life nor have our earthly possessions going up in flame. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

LIGHTS … CHEAPER & BETTER … CAN’T BEAT THAT!

have had several different headlights and taillights over the years. I have liked all of them except one. I have always had what I considered bright and effective lights as far as “being seen” … which, of course, is what it is all about. This year I have had a new friend who bought a tadpole trike and we ride together sometimes. I could not help but notice his lights as they are quite bright … brighter than mine and I always thought my headlight was pretty bright and attention getting on flash mode. When I asked him about them he told me how cheap they are. I have been using lights which take AAA batteries. They are excellent lights and I am continuing to use them as back up. These lights my friend have are USB rechargeable. The light I had which I didn’t like was USB rechargeable and the battery didn’t last nearly long enough for my daily rides so I stopped using it. It was super bright for riding at night but it had a pulse mode instead of a flash mode. The pulse mode was about worthless. I ended up throwing the light away recently as it stopped working … would no longer turn on at all. It was the most expensive headlight I have ever bought so I was not a happy camper nor was I impressed with its failure which happened all too soon. Anyway that is past history now. I bought two sets of these lights like my friend has. They are amazingly cheap … only $12.99 for the set on Amazon. They have a one year warranty which the company is quick to honor.

As you can see the taillight is rather small but don’t let that fool you. That thing is very bright. The headlight is 300 lumen which is not an extremely powerful light for night riding but in my opinion one doesn’t need anything more than this in the daytime. It has excellent lens optics so it is super bright. I have found that the lens optics in lights make all the difference. One can have more light from 300 lumens with high quality lens optics than another light with 1000 lumens has with poor quality lens optics. I wish I could demonstrate this light set to you as I am sure you would agree and be very impressed.

It is said to last about 7.5 hours on flash mode and that is what I have been experiencing. Amazon shows 12 plus hours but the manufacturer’s website has 7.5 hours. The taillights are suppose to last about 5 hours on flash mode which is what I have been experiencing. My friend says that his last about 7 hours but I am skeptical of that.

For those in need of lights I recommend these. They get the job done and one certainly can’t complain about the price. For daytime riding they are superb … like I said … they are all that is needed. I don’t ride at night normally so I can’t comment about how well the headlight is for night time riding. Certainly with only 1.5 hours battery life on full steady on power mode it isn’t going to be a very long ride. Hey, at only $12.99 get at least two sets and have twice the brightness out there for night riding.

Here is what is shown on Amazon about this light set: 

  • Micro USB rechargeable bike front light & tail light set – USB cord and a power source to recharge (computer, laptop or a cellphone Charger)
  • 300 Lumen headlight with 3 light modes: Run time steady (1.6 hrs) – 1/2 steady (3+ hrs.)- flash (12+ hrs.). compact rear taillight with 3 modes – Run time steady (1.5 hrs.) – 1/2 steady (2+ hrs.)- flash (5+ hrs.), with side visibility
  • Quick release – taillights: rubber straps attach and detach from bike easily without tools. Headlights: quick release mount allows headlight to removed from mount and used as a flashlight/ safety lights or for emergencies
  • Durable & water resistant – solid construction and water resistant IP44 rating ensures the light will stand up to the elements
  • 100% SATISFACTION : This product is covered by BV USA . We are so confident you will love this product that we offer 30 days money back with 1 year free replacement 

 

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

Note … since I wrote this article I bought another USB rechargable headlight which was suppose to 1000 lumen and also a free taillight. The price was just slightly more than these others I wrote about above. When I received it the literature which came with it said that the light was only 450 lumen and there was no taillight shipped along with it. So now I am waiting for the seller to do whatever he is going to do. So far he hasn’t done much of anything. I ordered this new light because it has a diffuser lens which helps keep the light from shining up high and blinding people. It appears to be a well made headlight. I just hope they get this all straightened out. I am happy enough with the 450 lumen but if that is what they are sending out they need to change the ad since it clearly states 1000 lumen.