Category Archives: tadpolerider blog
I rather imagine some of the readers of this blog are wondering what all is going on as far as my not posting much on it anymore. I had mentioned previously that I just feel more less drained and in need of getting away from it. That is quite true, but there is another factor which weighs in and all by itself has put the brakes on. My vision has become quite poor and so it is quite difficult for me to do much work at the computer. I had a stroke occur in my only good eye and it has really dealt me a blow. Previously many years ago I had a stroke occur in my left eye which left me legally blind in the left eye. There was no medical treatment for this at that time. A few years later there was so when it happened to my right eye I have been getting treatment since. That being said, things have not been going well and slowly it has worsened. Spending much time at a computer is hard on good eyes, but it is even harder on bad eyes.
As many of you know I also had a Facebook Group called Tadpole Rider Group. I was more less consumed by it spending most of my life involved with it. It was totally out of control and was really taking its toll on me. I had to make the hard choice to close it. Unfortunately something went very wrong and it didn’t totally get deleted. I spent many hours painstakingly going thru all that Facebook required to close it only to have some fluke take place and leave it up to be seen (what there is left of it). I can’t do anything about it as I don’t have access to any of it any more. It is just in limbo … stuck right where it is at appearing just as it does. I have attempted to get Facebook to delete it, but that is a near impossibility … trying to contact Facebook that is. Everything I have tried has been in vain. In short, Facebook is really one screwed up entity.
I still have the desire from time to time to post something more here on this blog, but I find it just too challenging most of the time to even attempt it. I don’t know what the future holds as far as my eyesight. I don’t know if it will get better, stay the same or get worse. There is a posting I want to do right now, but I don’t know if I will be able to. Time will tell. Again, I want to thank all the loyal readers of this blog. I am sorry things have come to this. It has been a drastic life change for me and is something I struggle with to accept and deal with.
At least for now I am still able to ride my trike. Spring arrived yesterday on the calendar anyway. I am hoping the weather shapes up soon and indicates it is aware of it.
Here is a rather poor quality image of my trike with the eZee hub motor conversion kit installed.
I am really enjoying it although I am a bit disappointed with the amount of torque it has. It is a geared type motor which is suppose to be more torquie than direct drive gearless motors. However, it doesn’t seem to have as much torque as the direct drive motors I have had. Never the less I am liking it quite well thus far and have no regrets about buying it as of yet. It is rated at 1000 watts while the BionX motors I had were reated at 350 watts. The first BionX motor I had definitely had more hill climbing ability than this eZee motor has. It would shoot me up a hill just by itself while this motor only assists my pedaling and would do rather poorly on a steep hill or a long incline.
Well, that is my story and I seem to be stuck with it … at least fo rnow.
I need to spend far less time at the computer so I have made the decision to stop contributing to this blog. This will be my final posting … at least for now. I am not saying I will never add anything further, but for now this is it.
I will leave the blog online so it will remain available. I truly appreciate the many loyal readers of this blog. I am sorry to have to be sharing this with you.
BTW, for those who are wondering I also closed down my tadpole rider group on Facebook. I apologize for the abruptness of this, but I knew better than to announce it as it would only lead to some nasty ugly confrontations from some folks. I wanted to avoid that.
I have noticed that as I am getting older I am slowing up some. I don’t ride as fast as I used to … nor as far as I used to … nor as long as I used to. In short, I just seem to be slowing down in my old age. Several others I have talked to have told me the same thing is happening to them. These bodies just seem to slowing down and no longer able to perform as they did years ago. I reckon that is just part of life. Speaking of slowing down …
Just a heads up … I have made the decision to make a change on this blog. I am not going to commit to posting new articles twice weekly like I have been doing. Instead I am simply going to post new articles “whenever I feel like it”. I am sorry to disappoint some of you, but it is either this or quit altogether. I almost did that as I just feel “burnt out” and wanting to quit. For now though I am going to continue on. I just am not going to put myself under pressure to produce new postings on a regular basis. I thank those who have been faithful readers of this blog. I appreciate you. Who knows, I may be back stronger than ever. I just don’t know the future at this point in time. I do not plan on deleting the blog like I did once before. It will remain up and available. I have made some changes. I no longer am advertising used trikes for sale for people. I have removed the ads which were posted. Sorry about that if one of them was yours. I just decided that I no longer want to be involved in it.
As most of you know I am undergoing total knee joint replacement and recovering from that. My right knee is completed and my left knee will be done soon. By the time this posts I will be about 8 days post surgery for the left one. It is not pleasant to go thru and makes it even harder to remain actively involved on this blog.
Some of you may have noticed that I have not been active on any of the Facebook recumbent trike groups for a few weeks now. That is because I withdrew my membership from all of them … quit “cold turkey”. And I don’t miss them at all. I am glad I finally made that decision and did it.
I am finding it harder and harder to come up with stuff to write about. Of course, I would guess that lack of motivation is as big of a factor as anything. That may or may not change as time goes along. I would rather be upfront and totally transparent with you that try to continue on without saying anything. Thanks for understanding.
I am just letting readers of this blog know that I have decided to try to post new articles twice a week … on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am not promising anything, but rather will see how it goes. Thanks again for your support, understanding and patience in all of this. There have just been times I haven’t felt like doing this … just quitting altogether, but then there are times I do feel like continuing it on. At the very least I have often felt like I just need to step back for awhile and coast. I am just trying to work thru it. I have two new postings prepared and scheduled at this time and as stated they will appear Tuesday and Friday. If I find that this is more than I care to do I may reduce the new article postings down to only one per week.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I have talked about stopping my ongoing involvement in coming up with new postings. Some would say it was unwise to do so. However, I believe in being upfront, open and honest with people. When I first started this blog I didn’t know what to expect. And after writing on it for about 9 months (I think) I found myself somewhat depressed and feeling beaten up and so I made the decision to discontinue it. I also made the decision to totally delete the blog thereby losing all my hard work in creating what I had up to that point. I did have some saved text files of pages I had created, but much of what I had written previously was gone forever. A very few weeks past by before I realized that I had blown it when I deleted the blog. I also made the decision to start it back up even though it meant starting from scratch. I have been back at it now for quite some time and have seen the number of visitors increase to where people in about 174 countries (out of a total of 196) have visited it. And number of visits each day has steadily increased as well. I never would have dreamed that this would happen. And yet I am sure that these numbers pale when compared to many other blogs which are far more popular and read than this one.
I have enjoyed writing and producing this blog, but I keep coming to the place where I feel tired of writing and trying to continue it. I am not saying to you that I will never write anything more in this blog as I think I have learned to never say never again. I have made the decision though to stop writing and posting new material temporarily. I will leave the blog up this time. This may be my last posting for awhile and so I have pondered over what should I write about. This blog is about tadpole trikes and I have tried to discipline myself and not write about much of anything else.
… I HAVE GOT GOOD NEWS TO SHARE …
It is possible that this may be my last opportunity to communicate with you and so I want to be sure I say something meaningful and important. I want to share with you what is on my heart. If we never interact again I want to be sure that I have faithfully conveyed the good news to you. What is the good news, you ask? The good news is simply that “God loves you!”. I am talking about the one and only true God Who is the God of the Holy Scriptures … not Allah, Buddha, Confucius, or any other false god of which there are 1000s.
His Word tells us …
For God so loved the world (you and I) that He gave His only unique Son (Jesus Christ) to be a propitiation for our sin. For those who don’t know the meaning of the word propitiation here is the definition: “the turning away of God’s wrath by an offering that satisfies and appeases Him. God loves us, but He hates sin. Because He is holy and pure He can’t allow sin in His presence. We are all sinners. We are born with a sin nature, that is, it is our nature to sin. We can’t help it. One of my favorite gospel tracts is entitled “One Way”. It is mostly pictures and does an excellent job illustrating the sin problem and why we need salvation that God offers us thru Jesus Christ. You can read (see) the tract HERE. Or you can simply watch this video. As you can see it tells the story of man from the beginning in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve dwelled. They disobeyed God and in doing sin came into the picture for them, their children and on down thruout mankind as the world’s population grew.
HERE is another version of this tract on YouTube which has a song playing. It is a good song, but I didn’t want to post it here as I think it is distracting to watching the video.
Yes, if this were to be my last posting on this blog I want to be sure that I have communicated to you that Jesus loves you. He left heaven to come to earth to carry out the plan of salvation. I explain it all in great detail in my personal testimony you can read HERE. I very much invite you to read my testimony as it explains why we need to be saved and how God planned from the beginning to provide salvation for us.
Whether people want to believe and accept it or not we are living in the End Times and are quickly approaching the very end of this age. Denying it, rejecting it, believing something different doesn’t change anything. Truth is truth. God has spoken and He is faithful to His Word. He has said what will happen and we are seeing it happen before our eyes. The problem is too many of us go thru life like a horse wearing blinders on their eyes. The proof/evidence is all around us and we are without excuse.
God is very angry over sin and He will judge it. Again, in His Word He tells us that He is coming back to earth in His righteous anger to pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His gift of salvation thru Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). Right now today He is offering His gift free to us. We can’t buy it. We can’t earn it. All we can do is accept it. I emphasize the word today because we have no promise of tomorrow. God says that if we die in our sins we will face the consequences He has warned us of.
If I were holding out a gift to you you would not actually possess it until you reached out and took it from me. The same is true of the gift of salvation that Jesus offers. We must “receive Him” into our hearts and lives.
There are lots of resources available for further reading on my other blog I call “Truth to Ponder“.
I know that there will be those who read this post and get upset, even furious over it. Believe it or not, I used to be such a person myself. I am reminded of a story about a family being sound asleep in their home all comfortable snugly in their beds. It is the wee hours of the morning when a motorist is passing by. The motorist sees flames shooting out of the house so he drives up near the house and gets out running up to the front door banging on the door and yelling “Fire! Fire! Wake up and get out there while you can!”. He then runs around to windows banging on them … continuing to yell … all in an effort to alert the people inside so they can safely get out and be spared a horrible fate. Now those people inside could do two things. They could awaken and get out of the house while they can and be ever so appreciative of the passerby for stopping, awakening and warning them of the peril they face … or they could get angry for disturbing their good night’s sleep … after all they were so comfortable lying there undisturbed sound asleep.
Every single human being who has or ever will live (has been conceived) has eternal life. We will all spend eternity somewhere. The grave is not the end as some foolishly believe. That “somewhere” comes down to two choices … heaven with God or … in eternal anguish in the Lake of Fire apart from God. God will judge sin. Each and every one of us will stand before the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ and give account for our lives. Those who die “in their sins” will not partake of the great things God has prepared for those who have obeyed the gospel and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. Yes, God loves us. He proved His great love for us when He died a horrific death on a wooden cross while we were still sinning before Him. So I ask you, if you have not already received God’s free gift of salvation, “what will you do with Jesus Christ?” You can’t be neutral. Jesus said that we are either for Him or against Him. It is my prayer that those who read this last posting on this blog will seriously and sincerely take a look at this matter of salvation and eternity. There is no more important thing I could be sharing with you.
I end with these words recorded in John 3:18 …
“He who **believes** in Him (Jesus) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten(unique) Son of God.” – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
**believes** as used here is not simply a matter of belief in one’s head, but rather it is a matter of fully embracing Jesus in one’s heart, trusting in Him and giving one’s self totally to Him in full commitment and devotion.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? SOMEDAY YOUR HEART WILL BE ASKING, WHAT WILL HE DO WITH ME? The above verse of scripture provides the answer to that question. We can go thru our entire lives ignoring, denying, rejecting the TRUTH and justifying ourselves, but in the end we will bow our knees along with everyone else and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD and fully agree with what He has said to us in His Word.
Jesus Christ can be your Savior and best friend … or He can be (will be) your worst and deadliest enemy. We must all stand before Him in judgement. Yet it is not Jesus Who will be our judge. Rather it is the written Word of God which will be used by Him to judge us. The bible is no ordinary book. Man could not have written it (on his own) if he wanted to … and he would not have written it if he could have.
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3
It is a ·terrible [dreadful; terrifying] thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
This may or may not be my last posting on this blog. For now I am taking a break from it. Whether or not I continue on with it is unknown to me at this time. At this point in time what I am thinking about doing is reducing the number of scheduled new postings to one per week instead of three per week. I don’t know if it will be posted on a certain day of the week. I will just have to figure it out. Thank you for bearing with me. For now I think I can say along with Arnold … “I’ll be back”. ……….. In fact, look for a new posting next Wed. July 13th and hopefully on each Wed. from then until I decide to do something different.
I just want to call your attention to a new page I have added to this blog. It is “TRIKE DEALERS” and on it you will find various trike dealers listed and what brand of trikes they sell. You will find a button for it among the others in the header of this blog. I have started it off listing a few dealers in northern Indiana where I live. I am not about to take the time and go to all the hard work of looking up dealers all over the nation to list here. However if you are a trike dealer or if you want to list a trike dealer on this page just email me (tadpolerider at outlook dot com) with all the information and I will gladly list it. Please include all pertinent information such as name of business, complete address, phone number, email address, website, Facebook page, business hours, and what brand(s) are sold.
The Pedal Inn
Over the last few years I have seen pictures of quite a few bicycle campers people have built. This is the most recent one I have come across. It is unique in that it is low cost and highly insulated … so much so he reports that his body heat alone will raise the temperature inside by 30 degrees when the temperature is 20 to 30 degrees outside. Using an alcohol heater set on it’s lowest setting he says it will raise the temperature to 70 degrees in only 10 minutes. There is one problem he reports that he needs to work on … condensation … he needs some additional ventilation.
HERE is a link to his blog where you can read about this camper. (I purposely chose this url in case anyone is interested in reading what he has written beyond this camper and about his recumbent bike and trike writings.)
Black Gorilla tape holds the 1 inch thick insulation boards together. Here is a closeup look at the insulation board.
He says it is amazingly strong and light weight. He guesses it weighs somewhere between 20 – 30 pounds total. That is very light considering its dimensions.
14 square feet ain’t much, but when you are pulling this rig with a bike or trike ya’ gotta’ keep it to a minimum. The over all length is 7′. The first 4′ it is 2′ wide, 38″ at the highest and 33″at the lowest. The last 3′ is 22″ wide by 26″ high. The two windows are each 8″x15″ and are scavenged plexiglass.
There are 2 shelves for storage of clothes, canned goods, toiletries and a folding chair, among other things. All in a space that he wouldn’t be using anyway, as it’s too small for any other part of him other than his legs.
He has a fold down shelf for a cookstove.
The door is simply hinged using Gorilla tape and the latch is made out of a metal clothes hanger.
Sleeping inside of a sleeping bag I am sure he is toasty warm protected from the external elements in his motorless camper. And come summertime the insulation should help keep it somewhat comfortable since it will reflect the sun’s rays as well as insulate. All he needs to do is make some screened windows so air can flow thru it (which he mentions on his blog).
I have previously written an article about nomad living and the various trailers folks have come up with. Unfortunately that was back on my first endeavor with this blog which I decided to close and delete so it is gone forever dreadful sorry Clementine. I can’t say WordPress didn’t warn me. It was just a bad decision on my part which I will probably always regret. Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures here of some other camper trailers. Most of them are homebuilt, but one or two are factory made. Please remember that when viewing images on WordPress blogs you can place your cursor on the images and left click your mouse to have the images open up in their own window and usually appear larger. To return to this page just use your browser’s BACK BUTTON.
For those who are interested in a “micro camper nomad life” check out this video by Paul Elkins:
And here is another one of his videos about another micro camper he made:
He sells plans for some of the stuff he has come up with. Visit his website for the plans HERE.
And HERE is his main website.
Here is a video he made showing some of the various things he has made.
Paul has made other micro campers which he features in videos. Check out his YouTube channel.
Recently a reader made the suggestion that I “revisit” the subject of safety … outfitting a trike with effective lights, flags, etc. I have already written several articles previously so I really don’t think I need to write more at this time. I think it would be better if I gave a bit of instruction to readers in case they don’t know how to use the features available to locate postings about certain subjects. On the far right hand side you will see a column which has various things shown. The very first one is a “SEARCH” box where you can type in what you are searching for on this blog and then use your keyboard’s ENTER key to submit the search request. If you are looking for a certain posting this is probably the most practical means of locating it (providing you know what to search for). Here is what the search box looks like you should see:
Another way to locate past postings might be more practical if your search is for something which can be “categorized”. Much further down is a listing of CATEGORIES. Just scroll down until you see it. As an example this reader was interested articles on safety. So just scroll down until you see the category “safety” and click on it. All postings I have written on safety will be shown.
Between these two methods it should be fairly easy to locate what you are looking for. You will see a search results page with the various articles shown. To read the past posting just click on it’s title and it will open up in it’s own window. I hope this helps.
I have added another page on this blog with links to various websites pertaining to ORGANIZED BICYCLE RIDES, RECOMMENDED RIDES and ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS. You can always access it by clicking on the “INFO RESOURCES” tab.
I just want to let readers know that I will be undergoing glaucoma eye surgery Dec. 2nd so I don’t know what that means as far as my posting new articles on this blog. I underwent this same surgery on my other eye back in August so I have somewhat of an idea what to expect. I am trying to get a few articles written ahead so that hopefully I will have something here when readers visit the blog. If all goes as planned there will be no interruption.
By the way, if you haven’t already done so, I invite you to join the Tadpole Riders Group on Facebook. I consider it sort of a complimentary offering to this blog where members can post comments and interact with one another. I try to post quite a lot of material on it and most certainly members are invited to do the same. You don’t have to join to read what is posted. You just have to have a Facebook account. If you want to post comments or contribute your own postings you will have to become a member.
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I just discovered a new blog about tadpole trike riding … the personal blog of a tadpole trike rider named Chris who lives in Tuscon, Arizona … hence the blog title …
This blogger rides a Sun T3 CX tadpole trike. He is new to tadpole trike riding. He says he plans on buying another tadpole trike for himself and then give this trike he now rides to his wife so she can ride with him.
This 10.5 minute video will give you an idea of what it is like riding out on a desert trail:
Chris states that there are lots of trails to ride in and around the Tuscon area with more being built.
I invite you to check out his blog.
“Recumbent trike riding in the Arizona desert”
I was just going thru some old email and discovered several of my original tadpolerider blog articles among them. So I decided to do what I could to “repost” them here on this blog. They had images and videos embedded in them which I had no way of copying and pasting so unfortunately they are missing which means the articles are lacking much from what they originally were. Never the less, the text and links are available. Perhaps someday if I have the time and ambition I will try to do what I can to add images and videos … although I might not be able to find all of them again. Anyway, HERE is a link to the page I have reposted them on. This is not all of the articles from my original tadpolerider blog, but it is all that I found I still had emails concerning.
Folding trikes have been around for a number of years and most certainly there is a need for them as not everyone has a means of hauling a trike which doesn’t fold to a smaller size. I have to admit there are times I wish my trike folded as I would love to be able to haul it in our car instead of having to drive the pickup truck. As a weldor/fabricator I have my thoughts and concerns about folding trikes. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea … the concept, but having the frame fold creates areas where there is a chance of problems developing. When it comes to trike frame design Catrike’s “space frame” most impresses me among all the trikes out there. It is all one piece making it super strong and practical. There is nothing to move allowing inefficiency, or to make noise from movement or to come loose or to wear. It is simply the best way of designing a trike frame hands down. When you start adding in anything which takes away from this problems follow. Hinged seat backs, removable seats, seats that adjust forward and backward (or any other direction), suspension, etc. all invite various problems to develop. One thing that almost always occurs is the generation of annoying embarrassing frustrating noises. And that is just on a non folding trike. Adding hinges in the frame so that it can fold can quite possibly bring on some of these things I just mentioned. That is the way I see it.
That being said, still the concept of a trike which folds is appealing. Until fairly recently folding trikes required that the seat be removed in order to fold it. Some even involved removing wheels. I don’t claim to be an expert on folding trikes (or even on trikes for that matter), but to the best of my knowledge and understanding there are at least 3 (well almost 3) manufacturers now offering models which fold without having to remove the seat. I am for that as it is quite practical. Again, in my opinion, having to remove seats and wheels is a real pain. The 3 trikes I speak of are: Evolve, Catrike Trail, and HP Velotechnik Gekko. Catrike announced that the Trail Folder was coming out this year, but I haven’t heard (read) anything more about it since it was first made known so I don’t know what is going on. The last thing I saw was that it is coming out sometime this Spring. Well, Spring is pretty well over and Summer is almost here (5 more days) … and still no Trail Folder has emerged. Here are images and videos of these 3 trikes:
Catrike has finally started selling these and they sell for $2750.
sorry, no videos of the Catrike Trail Folder available at the time of the writing of this article
HP VELOTECHNIK GEKKO
If I were looking into a folding trike to buy I don’t think I would consider any other trike but one of these … for the reason I stated … practical simplicity. We are talking about just a few seconds time to fold and unfold these trikes vs. several minutes with those where the seat has to be removed and put back on. Just removing and reinstalling the seat would be too challenging for some riders, especially if they have physical limitations making it difficult or impossible to get down and work under the trike to reinstall the seat. Some seats are not all that easy to reinstall compared to others. For anyone who is mechanically challenged this could be a serious matter. And dealing with removal and reinstalling wheels … forget it (I say). For me personally I think I would go with Catrike as their design just looks the best to me. The Evolve has its seat “on the ground” when folded and that concerns me. Both the Gekko and the Catrike Trail Folder have small wheels on the back of the seat frame so their seats don’t sit on the ground at all. Of course, the main purpose of these wheels is to allow it to be moved about without having to lift it. I like that idea … especially as I get older.
I mentioned the seat sitting on the ground being a concern. Another concern is the seat frame. Folding and unfolding a trike frame can result in messing up the physical appearance of the frame when it gets “abrasions” from the ground. I have seen it happen very quickly on a brand new folding trike. It is a shame to see this damage occur. To my way of thinking thought needs to be given to such things when the folding trike is designed and built as this should not happen. Of course, it is up to the individual person as to what measures they take or don’t take to help protect the trike during the folding and unfolding process. My point is that some designs are more difficult to deal with and prevent this from happening.
Anyway, here are some other models which fold. This may not be a complete list of such trikes but it will give you an idea of what is available. And to the best of my knowledge every one of these require that the seat be removed in order to fold it.
HP VELOTECHNIK SCORPION FS
Whenever complexity enters the design and construction the result will be an increase in cost. So if we want a folding trike we will pay extra for it. Of course, hauling a trike in a car that gets 40 plus mpg vs. hauling it in a truck that gets 15 plus mpg one could recoup the difference in cost rather quickly I would think … especially at today’s gas prices. Of course, if you can ride back and forth from home rather than haul your trike you can save a whole lot of money. And just think of all the extra exercise you’ll get!
Whether you fold or don’t fold,
ENJOY THE RIDE!
Just a quick note here …
I just arrived back home from a trike ride trying to get a ride in before rain starts. I succeeded. Upon arriving home I checked my email and found one from Steve Greene’s TrikeAsylum blog. The email message was about my starting up my TadpoleRider blog again. I always appreciate Steve’s free plugs (Thanks Steve) as they do help. I not only want to go on public record thanking Steve but I want to thank all those who visit my blog and follow it. I truly do appreciate you. And I hope I can earn your loyalty and be of help to you in the articles I post. It is a lot of work to blog, especially if one is writing often and trying to come up with material to write about. Steve Greene has been writing his TA blog long enough now and has developed a large following which has resulted in getting quite a bit of help from readers sending him things to write about. I don’t have that going for me at this time. Anyway, regardless where the material comes from Steve does a fine job on his TA blog. As he stated, I have followed it for several years as I am sure many of you have as well. He is a very gifted writer and I always enjoy reading his articles. I don’t expect to ever be the writer he is but I do hope I can do well enough for this blog to continue to grow. It was just taking off pretty good when I pulled the plug on it a few months ago. I sure wish I would not have deleted what I had already worked so hard to create but I can’t change that. All I can ask is that you the reader bear with me thru this as I strive to reestablish this TadpoleRider blog. It will take time. Again my heart felt thanks to all of you. STEVE
A tadpole trike is a very safe vehicle to ride … far more so than an “upwrong” (upright) bike. Motorists tend to show much more respect and courtesy to tadpole trikes than they do a regular bicycle. However, motorists must “see” them first in order for the rest to follow. Since a tadpole trike is low to the ground and relatively small motorists need help seeing the trike. It is imperative that we do what we can to help be seen.
Safety flags are essential on a tadpole trike in my opinion. And when it comes to safety flags I am fully convinced that they should be flags that do the job. Otherwise why bother? All too many I see are next to worthless as they can’t be seen for one reason or another. Thru the years I have had several different flags on my trikes. Some were better than others but I always made sure what I was using were highly visible. I finally ended up making my own flags (actually I had them made by a friend who sews). I really like what I have now as they are highly visible and very effective. Here is a video showing them.
As I state in the video safety flags should be about safety … our safety … and not about advertising for the trike manufacturer. I don’t know of a single safety flag provided by a trike manufacturer that is worth having. They are usually too small to be seen, not bright enough to be seen, wrong ineffective dimensions to move about attracting attention, too stiff to move about to attract attention, and so on.
Some flags I have tried were very effective as far as being seen but they didn’t hold up to daily use. There are factory made flags one can purchase which are far superior to to the flags which come with trikes from the manufacturer. I have had some of them. Again, safety flags are supposed to be about our safety so I want something that will do the job. These flags I fly are large enough to be seen, bright enough to catch one’s attention, and soft enough to flap around quite well and get noticed. Also the black border around my safety orange flag really helps it stand out and be seen. The safety yellow/green flag has a reflective border around it that shines brilliantly when light hits it.
The human eye sees the color green the best followed by yellow and then orange. Red and blue are not good colors as far as what we see. Obviously the popular fluorescent colors, otherwise known as safety green yellow and orange, show up the best. I personally like a combination of these colors as I think they show up better than just one of these colors by itself. As you can see in the image below blues and purples are bad but dark red is the worst.
SoundWinds makes some pretty good flags. Here are some examples of some I like:
I like spinner flags, at least some of them anyway, but one needs to be aware that they can be problematic if you are riding with others and ride close together the person behind you will be eating it from time to time. I mean … talk about “in your face”! 🙂 Also they can catch on things as you ride along. I have had them ripped off when they caught on something. I also lost one when it got pulled out of the holder and I didn’t notice it for awhile. I back tracked to find it but someone apparently beat me to it and got a free spinner flag out of the deal. My spinner flag had streamers on it which really help it be seen. However, those streamers make it bad as far as catching on things. Here is a picture of my spinner flag. It had highly glistening foil in addition to the colored material. It spun around like crazy. The ribbons were constantly getting tangled and tied into knots as well as fraying. Fortunately they were cheap … $1 apiece at a nearby Dollar General store.
Speaking of streamers … last year a cycling friend of mine bought a very colorful streamer made of glistening foil like material. I wish I could find a photo of one like it but I have searched online and found nothing. Anyway while riding out in bright sunlight it really catches your eye. Here is a photo of similar material and form but his has multi colors in it.
Wearing clothing of the safety green, yellow or orange color is very helpful as well. When I see cyclists out there wearing this sort of clothing they can readily be seen way off in the distance. Those safety colors just catch the eye.
In addition to using good safety flags I think having good flashing headlight(s) and taillight(s) are essential. I am talking about daytime riding here so please don’t write comments about using a flashing light and blinding motorists. When riding in the daytime I have my headlight pointed up slightly so that the light is aimed about eye level for motorists and pedestrians. This helps immensely in their seeing the lights.
I have frequently asked people what caught their eye first … my flags or my lights. Most say the lights, especially the flashing headlight. Of course, it depends upon whether they are ahead of me coming toward me or to my side. Obviously if they are off to my side the lights are not going to do the job. So the flags are important as they see them. Even if they are in front of me or behind me and they see the lights first they also tell me that they saw the flags right afterwards. Both are very important!
Riding tadpole trikes is a lot of fun, but be safe out there!
For many of us who live where we have winter to deal with we either can’t or don’t get out to get exercise. I am talking specifically about riding a tadpole trike,
but it is also true of nearly any type of exercise one can name other than winter sports such as ice skating, snow skiing, etc. As a result we get “out of shape”( or out of physical conditioning) … to varying degrees depending upon what we do or don’t do in the way of other forms of exercise. As for me personally I have bad knee joints due to osteoarthritis and I can’t walk much. I used to walk a lot before this happened and wish I still could could as I know it is great exercise and I have always enjoyed walking. Anyway, with this past winter being one of the worst on record the only exercise I got was inside the house other than lots of snow removal outside. When the weather conditions finally improved enough I could get outside to ride my tadpole trike I quickly learned that I was extremely out of shape … far more so than any previous year. I mentioned it to my two friends I ride with. One of them spends 6 months out of the year in southern Florida. When I emailed him and told him about being out of shape he replied back “round is a shape”. He is going to get a knuckle rub on the old noggin’ when he returns up here to the north. 🙂
All kidding aside, being out of shape is not a laughing matter. I am 67 years old and I am finding that the older I get the harder it is to try to lose weight and get in shape. About the first 2/3 of this past winter I did pretty good as far as maintaining my weight. I usually gain about 15 to 20 pounds over the winter. This winter I started off doing great and experienced very little weight gain. However, by the last 1/3 “all bets were off” as I started gaining back weight and ended up about where I usually am each winter. The only difference is I fell way behind in my physical conditioning since I was not able to get out and ride thru the winter. Yesterday was my longest ride thus far this Spring … about 30 miles. The thing I am most concerned about is I have noticed over the last 2 or 3 years that I am not nearly as motivated as I used to be. Just a few years ago it was not uncommon for me to ride 40 or more miles per day. Just two years ago I managed to ride the most miles of anyone in Fort Wayne signed up for the National Bicycle Challenge.
I entered this national bike challenge but for me it turned into a competition trying to outdo those who were leading. I managed to do so but it became challenging indeed and no longer fun. So I don’t do it anymore even though there are some who want me to. I am just not interested as I know it would turn into another competition thing and I don’t care to do that. In order to take and keep the lead I was riding a lot of 65 to 85 miles days. That was just too much. Now I rarely ride a 40 mile day and most days are 25-35 miles when I am in as good of shape I obtain thru the riding season (Spring, Summer & Fall). I have found that for me I need to do what I can to keep myself as motivated as possible. Part of that is keeping my riding fun. When it becomes work and drudgery then I lose motivation. A few years ago riding 40 plus miles a day was fun. Now it usually isn’t so I don’t do it anymore. What can I say?
For those who want to build a tadpole trike it is imperative that they understand the science of the steering and ensure that they “get it right”. The “center point steering”, camber and caster settings, “Ackerman steering principle” and “toe in setting” all must be correct. Otherwise there will be “trouble in River City” and it could even lead to serious endangerment for the rider. At the very least handling will be greatly effected and tire wear will be a serious problem. When I first bought my Catrike Trail the dealer had the toe in off considerably and my brand new front tires wore out in only 30 miles of riding.
HERE is a webpage with a good explanation of toe in, toe out, camber and caster … what each is and what each does.
In the first video below this man says toe in should be 1/8 inch. That is too much for most trikes. 1/16 inch is preferable and is what is recommended by most trike manufacturers. Actually zero toe in maybe the ticket for some trikes including mine as with my weight on it I end up with about 1/16 inch toe in. There in lies another matter … it is best to set the toe in with the rider seated. This usually means a second person is needed as the mechanic to do the adjusting. It is not imperative that it is done this way, but it does work best. The more the rider weighs the more the toe in will change as the rider is seated on the trike. The closer you can get to zero toe in the better as long as the handling is ok. Never have toe out however as the handling will greatly suffer as a result.
Here are a couple of videos illustrating and explaining about these things.
As to actually measuring and setting the complex angles involved when I built my tadpole trike I simply used one of these (angle finder) …
As long as you use it properly and read it accurately it works fine for getting things right. My homemade trike rode and handled superbly so I must have got all the steering geometry correct.
The newer higher tech digital readout types would probably be better to use though …
I came across this video and thought it might be of interest to others. As a retired weldor/fabricator who has made my own tadpole trike it interests me. Here is a picture of the trike I made. (A friend was riding it when I took this picture so to protect his identity I have hidden his face.)
HOME BUILT RECUMBENT TRIKE, DETAILED PLANS AND CONSTRUCTION STEPS
HERE is a website about construction of a tadpole trike. It has several links to other resources.
HERE is a website about construction of an electric motor powered pedal assist tadpole trike. (lots of good information here about trike construction)
HERE is a video about how to make the direct steering handlebars.
And HERE is a listing of all the videos available by the man from the video above.