Category Archives: tips

ACCOMMODATING SHORT RIDERS by SHORTENING the BOOM

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

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

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

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

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DIFFERENT STROKES (trikes) FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

We are all individuals with different tastes, likes, dislikes, values, thought, etc. As they say … it is what makes the world go around. Some drive a Ford while others drive a Chevy. Some drive a Jaguar while others drive a Yugo. Speaking of Yugo … that reminds me of a joke. A guy goes into an auto parts store and walks up to the counter. The store employee asks him how he can help him. The man says “I’d like a rear view mirror for my Yugo”. The salesman pauses for several seconds as though he is thinking about it. Then he replies back … “Sounds like a fair deal to me”.

Where am I going with this you ask? Well, I will tell ya. Did you ever take a look at the list of trike manufacturers and notice that there are more than a couple? There are a whole lot of them. And most offer several models differing from one another. Tadpole trikes are not cheap to buy. We as individuals can’t all afford the “top of the line” and even if we could not all of us would want what may be considered top of the line. Some can only afford the lower cost trikes and some are happy enough with the lower cost trikes. HERE is a list of trikes by their cost.

Various factors come into play when it comes to selecting the trike which is best for us. Most certainly there is great wisdom in trying numerous brands and models before buying. Research is quite important. We should educate ourselves as much as possible.

Some trikes may appeal as far as cost but they may also not be well designed. They may not handle well. If you are only going to ride very slow and be very careful this may not be an issue for you, but if you like to ride faster and corner hard it would be a major issue.

Some trikes are equipped with high quality components while others have lower “entry level” components which may be a problem as time goes along. On my own trike I upgraded to much higher grade components and was glad I did.

Some trikes are well made and easy to work on while others are poorly engineered and a real pain to work on.

Impulsive buying is definitely not recommended as it may very well lead to buyer’s remorse. Like a car once the trike leaves the store it loses considerable value. There are dealers who won’t take back a trike for the price paid for it even if it is brought back 20 minutes later having never been unloaded much less ridden. Nobody wants to be a victim of that scenario. It is “buyer beware” so choose wisely.

We all want to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

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!

DO YOU LUBE YOUR TIRES & TUBES?

Yes, you read right. I asked “do you lube your tires & tubes?” Now I am not talking about using oil or grease. I am talking about using talcum powder (corn starch) … ie … baby powder. I don’t know about you but I hate getting flat tires. I would much rather be riding my trike than working on it. I used to get a lot of flats. I remedied that by using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. However, that only eliminated those flats which were externally caused. I still occasionally got internally caused flats.

I don’t remember how I learned of using corn starch baby powder inside my tires and on my inner tubes but I tell ya it works … at least for me. I can’t remember the last time I had an internal flat. Well, actually I can as it was fairly recently. I learned a valuable lesson which I will write about in the next paragraph.

One thing I learned … make sure there is no moisture around inside of the tire or on the inner tube as that will cause the powder to clump together and become an abrasive which will cause an internal flat.

Yep, I always liberally apply  it inside of my tires and use my fingers to spread it all over coating all of the inside. I do the same with the inner tube. It can be a bit messy but it is well worth it.

What does the baby powder do you ask? That is a fair enough question. Have you ever taken an inner tube out of a tire and had it stick to the tire requiring extra pull to get it loose? Have you seen the imprint on an inner tube from being pressed against something inside of the tire? On a trike turning a corner involves placing lateral (sideways) force on the wheels since the trike does not lean like a bicycle does. Those lateral forces work the tire on the rim … like taking your hand and pulling and pushing the tire from side to side on the rim. With that tire movement the inner tube inside is also effected. There is friction taking place and in time it can cause a hole to form in the inner tube. The baby powder helps to eliminate all of these things I have mentioned. The rubber surfaces are lubricated by the powder.

Like I said, it works for me and I highly recommend it. It will help you …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

 

Early this morning while meeting up with some friends to ride together when I first arrived at the trailhead parking lot my one friend said to me that he saw me riding across the bridge which is about 3/8 of a mile away. He saw my florescent yellow and florescent orange safety flags. I have stressed over and over thru the years about the importance of good safety flags and bright flashing lights front and rear. We need to be seen! All too many trikers ride around with flags that just don’t do the job. Some of them are difficult to see when up close much less some distance away. I put some images together to give you an idea of how far away I was from my friend when he saw me. The first picture is of the bridge I was crossing at the time. The second picture if a satellite image of the area showing where he was (red X) and where I was (red arrow). The third picture was taken from the parking lot where he was looking to the bridge where I was.

I think that is pretty incredible for him to see me from that distance. Of course, all he saw was my flags. He could not actually see me.

I have had a few people locally make the exact same flags that I have. They have done so because they have seen for themselves how effective they are. A few years ago I was riding on a local trail which is “rural” away from the city. It follows a river so it meanders around a bit. There is lots of vegetation on both sides of the trail (trees, bushes, weeds, etc.) so most of the time one can’t see very far ahead. As I was riding along I saw something up ahead of me which caught my eye. I only saw it for a second or two. It was a very long ways ahead of me. I would guess it was about 3/4ths of a mile the first time I noticed it. I assumed it was a flashing yellow light on some sort of maintenance vehicle. I kept riding closing the distance and every once in awhile caught another glimpse of this “flash” of bright light thru very small gaps in the vegetative covering. I kept going getting closer and closer until finally I was able to see the source ahead of me. I was quite surprised and even more impressed when I discovered what I was seeing was two tadpole trikes being ridden by a man and wife couple whom I knew. They were flying flags just like mine … some of the ones who liked my flags so much that they copied them. Amazing! I saw at least one of them some 3/4 of a mile away in heavy vegetative cover.

I encourage every trike rider to take this matter seriously. Your very life may very well depend on it.

You can read more about my safety flags HERE with instructions on how to make them.

Be safe out there ,  KEEP ON TRIKIN’  and ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DANGER DANGER DANGER … CROSSING ANGLED RAILROAD TRACKS

I learned as a child as I am sure many of us did that one must be careful crossing railroad tracks that intersect the road on an angle. The more of an angle the more dangerous the situation is. This is especially true for a bicycle than it is for a tadpole trike yet even a tadpole trike can be susceptible to the possibility of a wheel going down into the tracks and causing a wreck. It is always safest for a narrow width wheel vehicle to cross over railroad tracks at as close to a perpendicular (90 degree) angle as possible.

This is to prevent a wheel from getting caught in the railroad tracks and causing a wreck. Depending upon the width of the road the rider may have to ride over into the oncoming traffic lane to make this maneuver so be sure the way is clear ahead and behind.

Although the video below is about bicycles it illustrates what I am talking about including a wheel getting caught and causing a wreck. Fortunately the rider saved the situation and managed to avoid going completely down.

As a child I learned what can happen. I had the same experience as the bicyclist in the picture above did. Fortunately I didn’t get injured but it taught me how important it is to cross tracks safely. I might mention that the worse the pavement is at the train tracks the more dangerous the crossing is. Be safe out there so that you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

“SHADEMOBILE” … WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

I have written about this before but I did not have the personal experience then. It has turned hot here in northern Indiana recently. I am not a fan of hot weather. I hate it. In the past when it got hot outside I would start my rides earlier in the mornings so I could end by 11 AM or so … before the heat of the day really came on. As many of you know I installed a canopy on my trike just under 3 weeks ago. I have really been enjoying it. Today I got to try it out dealing with the summer heat. It is 87 right now (and climbing). I just got back home from a 43 mile ride where I remained out riding in the heat. Thanks to my canopy I remained fairly comfortable. Of course, I was riding 15 to 20 mph in order to create the breeze that helped keep me comfortable but the portable shade I had with me made a world of difference. There is no doubt about it. Mind you it is not the same as riding thru a well shaded area such as this …

Never the less, a canopy helps immensely to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TIRED HURTING FEET

ARE YOUR FEET TIRED?

Many tadpole trike riders complain about their feet hurting while riding. Of course some, like myself, have ongoing problems with hurting feet 24/7 regardless of what they are doing. In my case it is neuropathy and it just keeps getting worse the older I get. Others only experience discomfort as a result of riding. There seems to be a difference of opinion as to the cause and the cure. However most say that it matters where their feet are positioned on the pedals and the shoes they are wearing. Many say that it is important that they are able to move their feet around on the pedals as they ride. Obviously using clipless pedals precludes doing this.

For those who do use and want/insist on using clipless pedals most say that having the cleats located further back in the middle of the shoe helps immensely.

Keep in mind as you watch these videos below that these people are talking about and to diamond frame bicyclists … not to recumbent tadpole trike riders. What I am saying is that some of the advise given may not be applicable to those who ride recumbent tadpole trikes … sort of an apple and orange thing.

Some riders prefer HEEL SLINGS which permit the foot to be moved around some on the pedals while still providing protection from the dreaded “leg suck” from happening.

For those like myself no other options are available as strapping the foot to the pedal is not possible as it causes considerable discomfort. I have been among the fortunate ones as I don’t have a problem with my feet going down onto the ground if and when my foot comes off of the pedal. So I ride with just platform pedals with complete freedom to move my feet around wherever I want/need to.

I know … there will be those who say I am foolish and need some form of foot retention. Believe me, I am very much aware of leg suck and what can happen. I don’t and won’t consul anyone to ride without some form of foot retention. I pretty much believe it is a personal choice and we need to leave others alone to do what they want. The important thing is that they are aware of what can happen should their foot come off the pedal and down onto the ground.

HERE is one of Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum‘s articles on the subject of foot pain.

Anyway, tired hurting feet including “hot spots” are all too common among tadpole trike riders and if you suffer or have suffered and found something which has helped you please feel free to share with us by leaving a comment. After all, we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

ALL ABOUT E-BIKE BATTERY CHARGING & DIY UNDERTAKINGS

While looking for a battery charger on LunaCycle.com  I came across these articles on batteries and battery charging and read them. They are well written with useful information so I am sharing them here. They are found on the  ElectricBike.com website.

Ebike charging for long Battery life

Ebike Charging; Fast or Slow?

Ebike charging for long Battery life

How to make a lithium battery last, or…kill it, if you like.

BMS’s, what the hell do they do?

A Home-Built Ebike Battery Pack from 18650 Cells

What’s inside an 18650 cell? And why its important

Definitive Guide to Ebike Connectors

Mid Drive Kit Install Part-2, Matching Connectors from Battery to Controller

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO FIND INFO ON THIS WEBSITE

I am quite sure that there are many readers of this blog who don’t know that there are easy ways to find what you may be looking for or how to go about it. So I thought I would write this posting to explain it.

SEARCH FOR IT … I have tried to lay out this blog making it “user-friendly”. I purposely placed a Search Box at the very top of the right hand column and selected one with a Go button to use in case the reader doesn’t know to use the Enter Key to proceed with the search. So whatever the reader is searching for is quite easy to accomplish. Just type in whatever it is and push Go. If something exists it will show up in the search results. There may be more than one posting about it and, if so, they will all be listed. Please note that any misspelling of the words typed in will result in zero (nothing) in the search results.

SEARCH BY CATEGORY … Just a short ways further down in the right side column below the Recent Posts is “CATEGORIES”. There are many to choose from and using these is an easy way to find all sorts of postings on things the reader is interested in.

There is also a third way … searching by tags, but I don’t have a clue how to do so. Anyway, these two methods can be quite valuable. Give it a try.   And, of course, …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

This is a reposting of an article I wrote and posted several years ago …

Now I ask ya … Do you hear what I hear?

Sounds like a loaded question to me! And no, I am not talking about the popular Christmas song. As I ride along I hear all sorts of things. Some things are good … such as birds singing. Some things are not so good … such as mosquitoes buzzing (when I stop or slow down too much). Some things are pleasant while other things are rather unpleasant. Some things are welcome while other things are unwelcome. I mean things like … snap, crackle and pop usually are in the latter category as well as click, click, click … tick, tick … and squeal, squeal. Noises being emitted from our trikes can be and should be a concern. Right now I have a noise coming from my trike which is annoying and embarrassing. I have had a difficult time finding the cause. I was thinking it was coming from the rear cassette, but now have ruled that out. My cassette (rear sprockets) wobbles a little bit as after over 20,000 miles I have something worn inside the hub allowing this. As I pedal I hear this noise on every power stroke of the crank revolving as I push on the pedals. Just today I decided to look into the idler pulley as being suspect. I thought of it before, but more less ruled it out. A friend had another idler pulley among his “collection of parts” so I got it from him and installed it in place of my idler. That was it. Now it is as quiet as a proverbial church mouse. And yes, I am doing something about the wobble of the cassette. I have a new rear wheel ordered and am waiting on its arrival. I am not writing this to tell you about my personal problems, but rather I am using this to illustrate that we need to be listening for the various sounds out there as we pedal our way along. And we need to learn what sounds are normal and ok so that when we do hear something that isn’t we can alert to it. I suppose one could employ something like this little device to drown out such sounds, but I would not advise it.

Yes, some sounds are good sounds while others are not. Some need our attention. If ignored long enough we may find ourselves walking instead of pedaling along. There is nothing wrong with walking, but when we have our trikes along it presents a problem. And we all should do our best to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BRAKE STEER

The two front brakes on a tadpole trike are such an important component. We need them to slow us down at times and to completely stop us. That is a given. But did you know that you can help steer your trike with them? I do it all the time. It is very helpful for those who like to ride a little faster than others. Entering a curve going faster than is recommended the use of one brake applied properly can make a big difference in how the trike handles the curve.  Those who are really skilled at riding fast thru a turn may use a combination of leaning their upper body into the turn as well as braking on the inside wheel of the turn. Using a brake to help the trike turn thru a corner is something one must be careful of as if it is not done correctly it could have bad results. So my suggestion is to learn how to do it slowly … at slower speeds … discovering how it works and becoming skilled at it. Then one can start speeding up a little at a time until they reach their personal potential or the physical limitations … whichever comes first. Be aware that applying the brake too hard in a turn is dangerous and can result in a crash. Like ol’ Dirty Harry said … a man’s gotta know his limits … and the physical limits of the trike. Anyway, by slowing the inside wheel down in a turn the trike will want to turn thru it easier. Too much brake application is not good so as I said practice is needed. I would suggest practicing and honing your initial skills in an empty parking lot where you have plently of room. Then you can move onto streets, roads and trails. Just don’t “hotdog” around others.  Be a good ambassador out there when you are around others. In doing so we can all …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

THE HIGH COST OF IGNORING NEEDED MAINTENANCE

knew better and I should not have ignored the very clear signs of an impending problem. But I did and now I am dealing with the result … expensive repairs and downtime. Usually both could have been avoided if I would have only taken action sooner. As it turned out this time only the downtime could have been avoided as I have to buy two new front wheels to make the repair. No matter how hard I try I can’t ride my trike on only two wheels. I need all three. However one is out of commission due to frozen and disintegrated bearings and aluminum hub which is chewed up considerably. I did start the ball rolling on getting the needed parts on order, but I didn’t do so soon enough. I kept riding daily as I always do racking up the miles usually riding 50 plus miles each day. Meanwhile my wheel bearings were being destroyed and in only about three days from my visit to the Catrike dealer to order the parts what remained of the failing parts could not hold on. Now I am stuck here at home and hating it. I have thought about getting my wife’s recumbent bike out to ride it, but I really don’t want to. My trike has approximately 60,000 miles on it. These are the original bearings so I guess it did pretty good lasting this long.

So if you hear a strange sound or sense something going on don’t ignore it. You could possibly save yourself a lot of grief and expense by acting quickly. Use your head and don’t be dumb like me. (As I said … I knew better.) It will help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

THE ONLY REASON

Today as I post this is December 25th. It is the day when most of the world pauses to one degree or another to acknowledge the fact that God came to earth in the form of a human Baby on a mission to provide a way for man to be saved from the consequences and penalty of his sin. Man can not save himself although many try. That Baby grew into a Man and completed the mission He was on. Unlike us He lived a perfect life free from sin. This was most important as He was to be the sacrifice offering for sin … the only offering acceptable to a holy God. You can read more about all of this in great detail HERE . Sadly the world (most of mankind) has rejected this salvation God offers to us. Doing so comes at a very high price as our eternal soul is at stake. God offers us this FREE GIFT of His salvation, but for all those who reject it and ignore it they forfeit the opportunity He offers to be forgiven of our sin and we then must pay the penalty and answer to Him in judgement. God is love and He demonstrated His love for all of us by dying a cruel agonizing death in our place. His love is AIMED AT YOUR HEART. He has done all that is needed and all that He can and will for us to be saved from our sin. The choice and decision is ours. Once we breathe our last breath it is too late to choose Him and receive His gift of salvation. Our fate is sealed. So I ask you … if you have never responded to His invitation … WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? Someday your heart will be asking … WHAT WILL JESUS DO WITH ME? The answer to that question can be readily found in His written word … the holy scriptures. God is holy and can not allow sin in His presence. We as sinful people have a problem. Our eternal soul will spend all of eternity either with God (if the sin problem has been taken care of) or apart from God. Being apart from God means spending eternity suffering in anguish in hell fire. God has warned us. We are free morale agents. God created us with the ability to choose to do what we want. We have free will. We are not robots preprogrammed by God to do what He wants us to do. There would not be any expression of God’s love in that. Recognizing and responding to God’s love for us loving Him in return is the ultimate expression of love. It is not a matter of obeying God because we have to. It is all about obeying God because we want to … we want to please Him out of a motivation of our love in return. Yes, God demonstrated His great love for us while we were yet sinners … in the very act of sinning and rebelling against Him … Jesus Christ died for us. Therein is love!

I know there are those who will read this and get upset over it. There will be those who want to tell me it has no place here on a blog about tadpole trikes. But you know … none of that matters. There is not a more important message to communicate to others than this message. In obedience to God I am willing to ruffle a few feathers upsetting some. This timeless message may touch a few hearts and that is what matters. So on this Christmas Day I present the Christmas message. It is not about the many things man does at this time of year … putting up an evergreen tree and decorating it, giving gifts to one another, feasting together as family and friends or any number of the things man does during this holiday. The truth is most everything man does is based on paganism practices the Roman Catholic church brought into our culture. And no where in the holy scriptures are we commanded or instructed to observe the birth of Jesus Christ. And He wasn’t born in December anyway. With all of this being true it is important not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” so to speak. This Christmas holiday does exist in our culture so I for one intend to take advantage of it and proclaim the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The reason for the season is truly all about the fact that Jesus did come to earth to provide salvation. He came the first time as a helpless Baby. He will be returning soon … very soon … as the King of kings and Lord of lords. His word tells us that He is coming to pour out His wrath (His anger) on all of those who have rejected Him and the salvation He alone offers. Far better is it to accept and respond to His love now than to be the recipient of His anger later. We are without excuse if we fail to respond to His great love while it is being offered and is available to us. Time is short. Besides none of us know what a day may bring forth. Our last final breath could be seconds away. It is all a most serious matter. The greatest gift is not one placed under a tree. The greatest gift in the One Who was placed on a tree. His Name is Jesus. Merry Christmas to all!

HOW TO ADJUST STEERING ON THE PERFORMER TRIKES (models X, E AND F)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BICYCLE AIR PUMPS & TIRE PRESSURE

Most recumbent tires are high pressure tires … up around 100 psi. If you don’t have an air compressor at home or in your motor vehicle I strongly recommend purchasing a floor type bicycle air pump … one designed to pump high pressure … preferably 140 or 160 psi. That way when you pump up a 100 psi tire you aren’t maxxing out the pump to accomplish it … or maxxing yourself out using it. 🙂

In fact, I suggest getting one of these pumps even if you do have an air compressor available to use as they are quite handy and practical.

Most good quality pumps nowadays have a built in guage making it very handy. I suggest checking the accuracy of the guage initially and from time to time to be sure you are getting the right pressure in the tires.

Here are a couple of examples of pumps available.

Blackburn air tower 3 bike floor pump

Park Tools PFP-4 Professional Mechanic Floor Pump

They can be purchased at your local bike shop. I want to emphasize that it is best to buy a good quality pump and not settle for some inferior pump at a lower cost. I don’t think you would regret paying more for a quality pump. I would also suggest that you talk to a local bike shop mechanic to get their recommedation as to what pump to buy. You could also research them online to get customer feedback.

I am not making any recommendations as to what pump to buy. I am only showing these two as examples of what is available. There are lots of different ones out there. The first pump I have pictured above is a Blackburn Air Tower 3 Bike Floor Pump rated at 160 psi. To the best of my knowledge it is a good quality pump.

The second pump I have pictured above is a ParkTool brand which normally they make pretty good quality stuff. However, the customer reviews of this pump are not all that impressive. That is surprising.

Most pumps nowadays have a dual head on them so that either Presta or Schrader valves are accommodated.

The pump I have is a Pedros Domestique air pump. It is a good pump, but I know that there are better ones available.

In case you didn’t know it an innertube loses air on a continual basis so it is necessary to inflate them from time to time. That’s right … air leaks right thru the rubber so they are constantly losing pressure. The higher the pressure the more they leak down. It is important to keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure. You will get better wear, mileage, handling, and performance out of your tires as well as make it easier to pedal along since low air pressure equates to more rolling resistance.

It is also important that you never over inflate your tires beyond what they are designed for. Doing so can result in destroying the tire and causing a major tire failure which could be disaterous at worst and leave you stranded at best.

I once put about 10 psi more in a knobby tire I used for winter riding. About 10 miles from home I noticed something which wasn’t right in the ride … a pronounced thump of sorts. I stopped and got off to look. My rear tire was literally coming apart … separating from too much pressure in it. Fortunately I was only about a half of a mile or so from a local bike shop so I made it over there and got a new tire. The tire that had just gone bad would have lasted me for several years more if I had not over inflated it.

Yes, proper tire inflation is quite important … especially if we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

SETUP & ADJUSTMENT OF MECHANICAL DISC BRAKES

This is a subject like many others where you can find varying opinions and instructions on how to go about setting up and adjusting mechanical disc brakes. I only have and use Avid BB7 brakes. I started off with Avid BB5 brakes which I would not wish on my worst enemy as the saying goes. They are junk in my opinion. They required almost constant daily adjustment which got old quick. The BB7 is a far superior brake and well worth the additional expense over the BB5 brakes. The main difference between the two besides the brake pads is that the BB5 brake only has one adjustment knob for the brake pad … that is, only one side can be adjusted. The other side is stationary. The BB7 has adjustment knobs on both sides making it much easier to get proper adjustment initially. And once adjusted the BB7 seems to remain in proper adjustment for quite some time. If you have the BB5 brakes you are on your own as I won’t waste my time trying to instruct how to adjust them as they aren’t worth the time and effort involved. My advice is to upgrade to the BB7s. Anyway, I am not going to link to the instructions of others here, but rather I am simply going to share how I go about setting up and adjusting the brakes.

To start out it is important that the rotors run true. If they are bent or damaged they need to be repaired or replaced. There is a special tool to use to straighten a bent rotor, but if one lacks this tool an adjustable wrench can be used if the bend is only near the outer part of the disc. If it is further inward toward the center of the disc an adjustable wrench won’t do. I have a Park Tool straightener, but there are other brands available.

If the rotor is straight and true you can move onto the setup of the brake. Basically by setup I mean positioning the brake caliper and brake pads properly on the rotor. Again, not everybody goes about this the same way, but I am only sharing how I do it and it has worked great for me. Ideally it would be best to do all this with the rider of the trike seated on the trike so that the effect of the rider’s weight is taken into consideration as I am sure things would change a little just like the toe in measurement sometimes changes when the rider is seated on the trike. This is especially true if the rider is heavy. I have never done that myself as it would be difficult if one is by themself to sit in the seat and perform this procedure.

It is most important that the caliper be positioned correctly so that the rotor is centered and parallel to the brake pads. Otherwise it is likely that the brake will rub and make noise, especially when cornering. Also the brakes won’t work as well as they could and the brake pads will wear uneven.

The mounting bolts have special washers which are dished and cupped so that they fit together and “adjust” to the positioning of the caliper over the rotor.

The procedure I use to align the caliper and brake pads on the rotor is simply to leave the mounting bolts loose so that the caliper can move freely.

I then sort of wiggle the caliper around while I turn the brake pad adjustments (red plastic knobs) in so that they tighten against the rotor and center the caliper over the rotor. I initially wiggle the caliper around a bit just to ensure it is freely moving while the brake pads are being adjusted in. Turning these adjustment knobs can tighten the brake pads sufficiently to hold against the rotor aligning it properly. I then carefully tighten the mounting bolts being careful not to move the caliper in the process. An alternative way of doing this is to tighten the brake pad adjustment knobs only partially so that squeezing the brake lever will tighten the brake pads on down against the rotor. Holding the brake lever on (or using some means of holding it on) I then tighten the mounting bolts carefully. Now with the caliper and brake pads aligned the brake pads can be adjusted properly.

Here is a video about centering hydraulic disc brakes which is pretty much the same process as mechanical disc brakes with the exception of having to push the pistons back out..

When adjusting the brake pads I simply back them off just enough initially so that they don’t rub when the wheel is spun. I then pull the brake lever to see how it feels. If it is too tight I loosen one of both of the brake pads a bit more. I also look down at the brake pads to see what the gap is looking like as I want to be sure both pads are evenly spaced out from the rotor. One should try to keep the gap between the brake pad and rotor the same on both sides so that when the brake is applied both brake pads make contact at the same time and not be forcing the rotor over to one side. It should remain straight and not flex (be forced) sideways.

Keep in mind that when cornering hard there is some flex in the wheel  and often times some rubbing will occur between the brake pads and the rotor. If this is bothersome the brake pads can be further adjusted out if needed.

Keep in mind that if a wheel is removed or realigned (adjusting the spokes) or a rotor is removed and then reinstalled or a new rotor is installed the caliper and brake pads may need to be realigned. That is what happened to my trike recently. I adjusted the spokes realigning the wheels which resulted in the need to reposition the caliper and brake pads. Once I did that my brakes worked much better. Obviously having properly working brakes is most important. They will help us …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

HERE is a link to all of Park Tool’s videos.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

SO YOU THINK YOUR BIKE LOCK IS SECURE

You might want to take a look at this video if you think your bike lock is secure. And then there is the cordless battery powered right angle grinders with a cutting disk on it which can cut thru most metal easily and quickly.

FREE GIFT awaits you!