FROM ORIGINAL TADPOLERIDER
I was just looking thru some old email and discovered several emails of my past articles I posted on my original TADPOLERIDER BLOG.I have copied and pasted them on this page further below. Of course, they included images and videos embedded in them which are missing. Obviously with these missing it takes a lot away from the article. Never the less the text is there and of some value. I may in time try to redo all of this if I have the time and inclination. Obviously it would be very labor intensive to accomplish and I am not even sure if I could find all of these images and videos again.
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.
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. It is important to keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure. You will get better wear and milage 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’
BETTER WATCH OUT …
Better watch out, better not cry, better not pout, I’m tellin’ you why … And it ain’t got nottin’ to do with some jolly fat man. No, I am talking about something which has become a major concern … PEOPLE RUNNING RED LIGHTS!
On my way home from church today (June 30) I was sitting at a traffic light waiting for it to change to green so I could proceed. The light changed to green for my direction and it was clearly red the other direction when 4 more vehicles ran thru the red light. I see it every single day and the problem just keeps getting worse and worse. Whether we are walking, riding or driving it is very dangerous to just take off when the light changes to green as there are all too many of these red light runners who could very easily ruin our day if not end our lives. 3000 plus pounds of steel, plastic, etc. hurts when struck by it travelling at a pretty good clip. Some people object to the cameras taking pictures of motorists running red lights, but I am all for it. I think they ought to be at every intersection as this running red lights needs to come to a screeching halt.
These people are very dangerous! They are going to kill somebody. They should not be allowed to drive. They are as bad as someone on drugs or drunk. There is no excuse for this. This isn’t just my opinion … it is a fact! So when you are out there … BETTER WATCH OUT or you’ll be crying … or your loved ones will if you don’t survive or are crippled up for life by these careless irresponsible people . I am sure we all want to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
Now I ask ya … Do you hear what I hear?
do you 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’
BYE BYE … SEE YA ON THE NEXT HILL
Most of us have heard it said that white men can’t jump. And many of us have heard that recumbents can’t climb hills. I am not here to argue either point. I find it somewhat amusing though that between roadies and recumbents it is always a game of leapfrog. Going downhill recumbents excel and fly past the roadies leaving them far behind, but when a hill comes up it is the other way around and I do mean quickly. The roadies catch back up and fly by the recumbents. So we play “Out of my way, varmint” with each other. Here is a video showing exactly what I mean. (The sound track is quite noisy.)
One of the two guys I usually ride with rides a diamond frame road bike … lightweight and fast. It weighs so little that hill climbing should be a breeze. Going downhill the two of us on tadpole trikes coast and just keep accellerating away from him while he is pedaling hard and can’t keep up.
Like everything else, there are good and bad aspects … pros and cons, if you will. It is true that I slow down considerably on hills while he moves way out ahead of me. I may be riding slow, but I am riding in comfort. I don’t have to be concerned about balancing going slow. And if I get tired I can stop on the hill and rest comfortably in my seat until I am ready to resume. I don’t have to get off and walk my bike up the hill. I just pedal along in “granny gear” and easily make my way to the summit. Like I like to say … the hardest part of riding a tadpole trike is staying awake. But going downhill is thrilling enough to keep me wide awake and it is so much fun to zoom past those roadies. Out of my way, varmint! Bless their hearts! Let’s …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
“MAN, I WISH I WAS YOU!”
man, I wish I was you
Those of us who are old enough might recognize this picture as well as remember the words spoken by the driver of the station wagon to the motorcyclist. … “MAN, I WISH I WAS YOU!” This was from the TV series “Then Came Bronson”.
The series only aired for one year (Sept. 1969-Sept. 1970). The listing and description of episodes can be found here:
I watched it faithfully and always enjoyed it. I was an avid motorcyclist starting from my childhood as were all of my family so I had a keen interest in this program. Why am I talking about motorcycles here on a blog about tadpole trikes you ask? Well, I am not … not really. I am just leading into to my subject which is quite similar to this picture and those words. Rarely is there a day go by when I am out riding on my tadpole trike that at least one person and sometimes several will give me a thumbs up and/or say something about how much they like my trike and would like to have one and be out riding it like I am. I am sure most of you have experienced this same thing. I hear words like: that is really neat … that is cool, man … I love it … where do/can I get one … and on and on the comments go. I have been riding my tadpole trikes long enough and all over a wide area that I am known on sight by many folks all over. They see me and say “I just saw you way over on the other side of town a little earlier today”. They even know my dog and ask where he is at if they don’t see him with me. Being retired my riding has become my daily job I go out and do. I am not travelling all over the U.S. like Bronson did, but hey, I have drivers pull up alongside of me and moreless say those same words … “MAN, I WISH I WAS YOU!” And it’s cool, man, cool! Well, I have riding to do so I am out of here. Hope you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
TRIKE WORK STANDS
It’s inevitable! Sooner or later our trikes need to be worked on. Some of us do at least some of the work ourselves while others are totally dependant on the local bike mechanic to make any necessary repairs or adjustments. If you happen to be one who works on your trike it is so handy to have a work stand to place the trike on. You can buy a work stand if you are rich enough (they aren’t cheap) or you can make your own. They aren’t all that hard nor expensive to make. I have made a couple of them out of PVC pipe. Depending on what trike you have and it’s design the work stand may vary in design. Of course, the really nice work stand is one which is adjustable enough to accomodate pretty much any and all brands and models. This type of stand is more complex and expensive to build, but they are really nice. One aspect of such a stand is that you will have a stand that will work with other trikes should you ever buy one different than what you have now. Another aspect is that you could accomodate someone else’s trike to work on it for them. If I did enough of this sort of thing I would fabricate one out of metal as I am a weldor /fabricatior by profession. I have never done so though as I am getting old and am just not motivated to get into it. Again, depending on the brand, model and design of the trike building a specific stand for that trike may or may not be challenging. If the frame has angles to it where the stand needs to make contact to hold it there most definitely is a bit of a challenge without having an adjustable type stand. My Catrike Trail is such a trike. All three contact areas are on an angle. Something like a TerraTrike Rover with it’s straight flat frame would be much simpler to make a work stand for. One thing to keep in mind in the design of a work stand is that it must not be in the way of any place on the trike which you would be working on. For instance it would be best if possible to avoid dealing with the chain side of the frame. There is usually nothing on the other side so to my way of thinking it would make far more sense to come in from that side. In one of the pictures I have below they have the work stand coming in from the chain side which I think would really complicate working on the chain run. (I am talking about the picture with the red Catrike up on the stand. The work stand is holding both sides of the frame on the chainstays instead of using just one holder on the main frame just forward of where they are holding it. I am sure it is more stable doing this, but again I think the work stand would be in the way.) Another thing is the work height you need. It is nice to be able to get under the trike sufficiently to perform all the work needed to be accomplished on it. However, keep in mind that you have to lift the trike up onto the stand and get it back down again. That, in itself, can be quite challenging and frustrating, especially when one is alone and doing this by themselves. And if you are short in stature like I am it is even more challenging and frustrating. One problem I have to deal with is the chain getting caught and hung up on the trike stand. Anyway, once I get the trike up on the stand I like to sit on a roll around mechanic’s chair to work on the trike which makes it considerably easier and more comfortable. If you are the only person who will ever be using the work stand than you probably can get away with having a fixed height instead of adjustable. Depending upon what work you are going to perform on the trike you may not need to place the trike way up high. You may only need to raise the front end or back end high enough off of the floor/ground for the wheels to clear so you can turn them. I have small shorter stands made to handle both ends of the trike and I use them far more than my larger taller work stand. And they are so much easier to use. The older I get the harder it is for me to use the full size work stand anyway. A full size work stand may be able to be made in two sections so that the trike can be picked up off of the floor or a table top just a little bit using the top section or all the way up using both sections. Here are some pictures of various work stands.
adjustable aluminum stand
aluminum trike rack on wheels
same thing but made of PVC pipe
PVC pipe work stand
(similar to what I made)
Note: Where I have drawn red lines on the vertical down tubes they can be cut and couplings placed in them so that the frame can be used at this height or much shorter.
square tubing with length and height adjustment
square tubing trike work stand
square tubing with length and height adjustment
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
folding (hinged) wooden stand
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
PVC pipe added to existing bike work stand
work stand for tadpole trike
I think you would need about 3 people to accomplish getting this up and down from this work stand.
If I had the money and resources to do it I would love to have an overhead hoist to lift the trike up and place it on the stand and back down again.
Here are some work stands which are small and only lift a short distance off of the floor/pavement.
portable fold up you can take with you
small portable stand
another PVC concept
small trike stand
small wooden stand for front and one for back
small wooden work stands for front and back
That about covers this topic. Maybe you have come up with some idea for a trike work stand you would like to share with others. If so please send a description and picture(s) via email so they can be added to these. stevenewbauer at yahoo dot com
With proper maintenance we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
ORGANIZED RALLIES, RIDES and EVENTS
One of the two guys I usually ride with is away for a week right now. Every year he goes up into Michigan to participate in the PALM ride. PALM stands for Pedal Across Lower Michigan. It is an organized ride which starts at some selected point on the west side of Michigan on or near Lake Michigan and ends at a selected point on the east side of Michigan on or near Lake Erie. It lasts all week long. The route is different every year and alternates between a northern route and a southern route. Mind you when I say northern route I am still talking about lower Michigan as the ride’s name implies. This is a family oriented ride and very well organized.
There are several other various rallies, rides and events held each year around the nation. Catrike offers an annual rally including rides and a tour of their factory in Orlando, Florida. It is held in March so it is already over with for this year.
There is another rally held in Austin, Texas each year. It is called the Heart of Texas Catrike Rally. I think this year it was held at the same time as the one in Orlando was going on.
By the way, even though these are Catrike rallies other brands of tadpole trikes, delta trikes, “Florida tricycles”, 2 wheel recumbent bikes and diamond frame bikes are welcome. There are always other pedal powered cycles in attendance from what I have seen in videos and still pictures and from what I have read about the rallies.
Hostel Shoppe is hosting its 20th Midwest Recumbent Rally this August:
Bent Rider OnLine has a message board concerning events readers post:
Here is a website concerning meeting up with other trikers and organizing rides together. I think you have to sign up to use this website. If there are none in your area you can start one here.
There may be bicycle organizations in your area already, but they usually are hard core diamond frame road riders (“roadies”) who go out pedalling around 23 +/- mph average … in short, a different breed which I think most would agree that tadpole trikes don’t fit in too well.
One thing I want to mention is that most organized events require helmets to be worn on rides (including test riding trikes).
I am sure there are numerous events I have not covered as I certainly don’t know about all that many. Hopefully those of you who have an interest in this can do some digging and find out. Usually local bike shops have information on rides and events concerning cycling. And hopefully this will be helpful or at least encouraging for all of us to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
TAIN’T LIKE IT USED TO BE
Yeppur! It just isn’t like it used to be! Of course, that is both good and bad. I am talking about the bad side of it here. One of my pet peeves is contending with so many trail users that don’t obey the rules. This includes bicyclists that don’t give warning that they are overtaking others, people who take up the whole trail instead of staying over to the right hand side, dog owners that don’t have their dogs on a short leash (or even a long leash), dog owners who allow their dogs to poop right on the trail and then walk off and leave it there, trail users who throw/leave their trash along the trail instead of properly disposing of it, and the list goes on. To the best of my recollection no one ever taught me that it is wrong to litter. I can remember as a young child carrying a pop can (or other item to be discarded) for miles (yes … miles) until I came to a trash can to properly dispose of it. No one had to teach me to look before I turned around as I knew and understood that there might be someone coming along and I could cause a collision. No one had to teach me to stay to the right. Mind you I am not saying that I had never heard it said that we should do these things. What I am saying is that it is all common sense and the right thing to do. I am sure most all of us have witnessed that we live in a “tuned out society”. People walk, run, ride, drive, etc. with ear phones in their ears. In doing so many of them don’t hear anything other than what is coming thru the ear phones. As I come up behind trail users so many of them never hear me even though I say very loudly that I am coming up behind them and passing them. Of course, oftentimes I don’t know how to pass them as they or right in the middle of the trail or wandering all over the trail like they are the only one out there. People are something else! I have a very loud horn which I only use when they don’t seem to be paying any attention. Sometimes they don’t even hear it. It is amazing! And then there are groups of walkers and runners who take up the entire width of the trail and never pay any attention to others on the trail. Sometimes they seem to be reluctant to get over so others can also use the trail.
I mentioned dog owners and leashes. The rules of the trails requre dog owners to use a short leash. Long leashes have become very popular but they have no place when out on a trail. They create a real problem for bicyclists as the dogs are often a long way away from their owners and the leash is stretched out across the trail. Many many times I have had to come to a complete stop waiting for the dog owner to get their dog untder control and the trail clear so I can proceed. Even so I would rather deal with this scenerio than with dogs and their owners who refuse to use a leash as required by law. And if you dare say something to them most of them get real nasty and huffy in a heartbeat. They obviously have an attitude problem. Most of them think it is perfectly ok to disregard the leash law and allow their Fido to have free run out on the trails. I don’t know how many times I have been attacked by loose dogs or had them run or walk right over in front of my front tire. Most of the time I have managed to get stopped but not always. I have ran over dogs, I have crashed a few times upon hitting them. A couple of years ago one of my friends had a loose dog run right in front of his bike and it caused him to crash to the ground getting seriously hurt. The dog was quite ok but he paid a very high price for this dog owner’s irrepsonsibility. The owner of the dog didn’t seem to care that she caused this. He suffered in pain greatly for several months and was not able to ride his bike anymore for a long time. These people who allow their dogs to be off of a leash don’t seem to get it … just how dangerous and irresponsible it is on their part. I am a dog owner and I take my dog out on the trails. I keep him on a very short leash on my right hand side. I don’t suppose anything is going to change. Our society is what it is. And it is all part of the signs of the times as we are the Last Generation of the End Times. Nope, it just isn’t like it used to be. And as the saying goes, we are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Let’s all be responsible citizens as we …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Currently a friend of mine who has two tadpole trikes has one of them loaned to a mutual friend so that this person can ride it and know what it is like. I talked to this mutual friend this evening and they reported the exact thing we had expected to hear … that they have now a different perspective … they know what it is like to ride a tadpole trike. They are an avid diamond frame bike rider which, of course, means that they didn’t have a clue what it is like riding a tadpole trike until now. One thing that I heard is that they didn’t feel nearly as comfortable as far as being around motor vehicles. They said that being so low they can’t see nearly as well as they can from a regular bike. They are used to making “eye contact” with drivers, but can’t from a trike. I don’t understand that as I make eye contact all the time as long as the driver is looking. Another comment I heard was when riding between a narrow pathway with a concrete wall of a bridge on one side and a metal railing on the other side it was quite uncomfortable and unnerving for them. They said that all they could see is concrete on one side and metal railing on the other side … rushing by them. Here is a picture of the exact place they were talking about. If you click on the picture it will open up into a much larger image so you can better see what I am talking about. Use your BACK button <– to get back to this page.
west jefferson blvd. bridge over st. marys river
Again, this is something I can’t identify with. Of course, I have been riding a tadpole trike for over 5 1/2 years now and have some 22,000 miles of experience riding them. But I don’t ever remember going thru what this person described to me. I guess we are all different. Anyway, most definitely we will experience differences between riding a diamond frame bike and a tadpole trike. Yes, we sit much lower which is good as we don’t have nearly as far to fall. 🙂 Another thing that was mentioned was that it was so easy to reach down and pick up a small tree branch or such off of the surface of the trail while rdiding a tadpole trike. Most definitely I agree with that. I do it daily and a lot of it. This isn’t something that a diamond frame biker can do. I am sure that some folks just don’t care to ride anything other than a diamond frame bike and that’s that. That’s fine by me as if everyone made the move to a tadpole trike then they would no longer be unique. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like riding something which is unique. I would love to see several more tadpole trikes out there, but I do hope they don’t become all too common. Now if you really want to try riding something which is truly unique build one of these:
And if you get it mastered let me know as I would like to come see you ride it. No, second thought just video it and put it on YouTube. I guarantee you would really have a different perspective riding this.
So whether you ride right side up or upside down … do your best to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
HOMEMADE TRIKES … again
Awhile back one of my postings was on building your own tadpole trike. Here is a link to that posting:
Recently I came across a YouTube video which shows the construction of a homemade trike. Here is that video:
Designed and manufactured in 4 months by students of the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece to participate in an Erasmus program held in Antwerp, Belgium 2013.
Tadpole trike electrically assisted by BLDC motor.
Find out more about Recumbus on our facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/46928
It is a nice looking trike. It appears to be made out of mild steel square tubing and so, I rather imagine it is a bit on the heavy side. It looks like it is well built and would be quite strong. There are two things I would comment about which I think are important to take into consideration when designing and building a trike. One is to have a good chain line to eliminate as much as possible multiple idler pulleys. Ideally just one idler pulley should be the goal. When I say one I am not talking about only using one idler pulley, but rather just one location. You may need two idler pulleys but at the same location … one on the tension side of the chain (top run) and one of the slack side (bottom run).
Here are a two examples of where only one idler pulley is employed and just a plastic guide tube to control the slack run of the chain.
one idler pulley with tubing
Note: In this picture above I would put a plastic guide tube on the front side of the tension chain run so it doesn’t hit or rub on the bottom of the seat and if need be extend it far enough forward so the chain can contact the crossmember.
one idler pulley with tubing 2
Note: Using just a plastic guide tube to control the bottom slack side run works, but it will probably result in a little more chain noise as well as wearing out the plastic tubing since it has to take all the action instead of an idler pulley.
And here is a picture of using two idler pulleys at just one location:
Chain Line on ActionBent
I personally think this is superior to using only a plastic guide tube on the bottom slack side run.
The other suggestion is to try to keep the idler pulley(s) tucked up high enough that you won’t have it/them striking on anything below if you go over something sticking up. Riding down over a curb, bollard pipe ring or tree stump with an idler pulley sticking down too far can be bad news.
By the way, common sense dictates that cables also be kept tucked up high enough so they don’t snag on anything. I have seen several trikes with cables hanging way down low just waiting to snag on something. They can usually be tied up using a plastic cable tie. Just be cafeful that you don’t tie them up too tight as it could interfere with the way the cable functions.
There is not much you can do about a rear derailleur sticking down way low so you just have to watch out for hazards to it.
Indeed if one has the skill, knowledge, money and resources a great trike can be produced. Building your own trike may provide you with a great trike, but one thing which you will have as a result is very little value to it if and when you go to sell it. It is kind of sad as oftentimes something which is custom made is better quality than something factory made.
A friend built a full suspension trike of chrome moly steel. It had drum brakes and a beautiful powder coated paint job. This picture doesn’t do it justice.
left side view
Later on he tried to sell it and after some time attempting to do so he found that he couldn’t get much at all out of it so he ended up just parting it out which resulted in a little bit more money. I had the same experience when I tried to sell mine. It took a long time and when I finally did sell it I couldn’t get more than about half of what I paid for the materials involved to make it.
When I built my trike I had little money or resources so I used cannibalized parts off of diamond frame bikes (known as donor bikes). It was not the finished product I would have liked to have produced, but it was quite functional. I used caliper brakes which didn’t work very well compared to disk or drum brakes, but again, it was all I could afford.
Of course, most of us buy our trikes from a manufacturer. Whether you make your trike or buy it from a manufacturer hopefully it will serve you well and you will be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
OBSTRUCTIONS WE MUST DEAL WITH
Obstructions in the pathways just seem to be a necessary evil when it comes to cycling. Here is the United States all I have ever had to deal with thus far are fairly easy to negotiate. We mostly have “bollards” and some staggered gates or half gates … just enough to keep out a larger vehicle. Some of the bollards are spaced fairly far apart, but some are much closer together. They can be challenging so paying close attention to them is of the upmost importance.
bollards on bike trail
Try very hard not to hit any of these as they don’t budge. To be direct, they aren’t at all user friendly. People have hit them and lived to tell about it, but it really isn’t worth the risk. They are controversial indeed. Just ask Ian Redmond …
Ian Redmond bollard crash victim
There are several stories about injuries sustained from running into these bollards.
bollard wreck re-enactment
By the way, they also have some which are removable or are hinged and fold down so maintenance vehicles can get past them. These are even more dangerous as they can really get you since they may not be as obvious.
bollard laid down
We have some like this around here. I think they are very hazardous. I have seen bicyclists run over the pipe ring sticking up above ground when the pipe bollard is removed.
I have taken white spray paint and marked the surface of the trail like this to make these types of hazards more noticible:
removable bollard painted
It definitely helps immensely.
So again I caution you concerning bollards. They can mess up your day!
Tadpole trike rider Nigel Pond hales from England. In one of his YouTube videos I saw for the first time what is known as “kissing gates”. I had never seen or heard of them before. We may have them here in the U.S. but not around where I live. Anyway, they are a real pain in the butt to deal with. Here is a video I made up of excerpts of his video showing what they go thru to ride where these gates are at:
There are also a couple of other “obstructions” shown which cyclists must deal with. The very last one shown makes me think that the place of business is trying to discourage business from cyclists coming off of the trail.
Here is another type of obstruction (staggarded fixed railings) we find on trails:
fixed meta railings 2
And here is another one of Nigel’s videos showing him dealing with yet a different obstruction:
(Note: I removed the original sound tracks from
Nigel’s videos and replaced them with music)
Like I said, these obstructions are a necessary evil although I question some of them as they appear to be more than would be needed to accomplish the task. Certainly we don’t want cars and motorized 4 wheelers getting onto the trails. Be careful out there and in doing so you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
P.S. – Here is a handy tip which if you haven’t ever noticed or given thought to it may come in very handy. When you find yourself riding along and about to ride over something of concern on the surface of the ground and there is no time to steer way over to avoid it as long as it isn’t too wide just steer so that you are directly over it with one of your pedals and all three wheels should miss it. As long as it isn’t too high to where your frame or something else protruding down low strikes it you should be in good shape.
MEETING UP WITH OTHER TRIKERS
Riding a tadpole trike is a whole lot of fun and, of course, great exercise. For me personally I really enjoy it when I can ride with other tadpole trikes. Normally I only have one other tadpole trike rider that I ride with as we just can’t seem to get any others interested in getting together to ride. It is always a bit exciting to meet up with others on tadpole trikes. Most definitely more and more cyclists are buying them. I read about it and I am seeing it. The problem is after seeing them initially I seldom see them out there actually riding them. It is my understanding that this is not an unusual problem as others report the same thing … even in a big metropolitan area. I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. As I am riding along and I see another tadpole rider I have never met I try to stop hoping they will do the same so that we can meet each other. I reckon I need to be thankful for the one tadpole rider I have I ride with most days. We also have a mutual friend who rides with us on a diamond frame road bike. We keep hoping he will get a tadpole trike, but so far no luck.
Anyway, I will ride by myself and often do … especially thru cooler weather when my friends won’t go out. But most definitely it is more fun to ride together with others.
When riding together … close together … we need to exercise extreme caution and be extra careful so that we don’t cause a wreck among ourselves. I think one of the biggest concerns is “paying attention” and being ready to do whatever is needed to avoid accidents. We need to watch out for each other in various ways. Whenever I ride with others if I see a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, bicyclist, pedestrian (walking, running, skating, etc.) I shout out to tell my friends in case they haven’t spotted them. We use simple common terms such as “car left”, “walker up” or “bike back”. I am a firm believer in obeying the rules of the trails and giving others on the trails the required notification that I am coming up behind them and will be passing them. Sadly there are all too many cyclists on the trails who fail to do this and give other trail users a bad image of cyclists. It is a matter of common decency, common courtesy, and common sense. Some folks lack in all of these. By the way, this should not just be something done riding on trails, but rather it should be done anywhere that we are riding and dealing with others. If you are not already doing this, I plead with you to start doing so.
Yes, meeting up with other cyclists, especially tadpole trike riders is something I get excited about and welcome. But there is one trike rider I don’t want to meet up with …
grim readper triker
So I suggest to all of us that we do all we can to avoid seeing this guy out there. In doing so we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
LEARNING TO RIDE A TADPOLE TRIKE
Steve on new trike at Foster Park
So easy it is like falling off of a bicycle. Well, maybe that is a bad metaphor to use here. Earlier today I stumbled across another website with an article about learning to ride a recumbent trike.
It is pretty well written and funny. I think you will enjoy it. I won’t bother repeating what was covered in this article.
One thing that was not mentioned (which I will) is concerning the matter of doing the “stoppie” which was described and illustrated. If your trike tilts far enough forward you can literally dig your front sprocket down into the surface of the ground you are riding on. In doing so it is possible to damage it.
Another thing which is not mentioned is the fact that for anyone new at riding a recumbent bike or trike they will find that different muscles are used in the legs and belly than those used riding a conventional diamond frame bike. It may take a week or two for these muscles to get used to this new riding position and meanwhile the rider may experience a little soreness.
For anyone who does not know/understand the physics involved or has not found out for themselves it is most dangerous to lean over toward the outside of a curve when cornering at too high of a speed. It most always results in a wreck. Always lean to the inside of the curve. In doing so watch out for anything along the side your face might smack into. To simplify matters when cornering at a rate of speed too fast to negotiate the curve safely by sitting upright (normal seated position) … when turning left lean to the left and when turning right lean to the right. It is not rocket science, but hey, there are people who do just the opposite. Hopefully they all live to tell about it. Tadpole trikes are a blast to ride, but in riding one we need to be careful we don’t “blast off”.
I would definitely advice anyone new at riding a tadpole trike to go easy and don’t try anything on it which could prove disasterous until you are well familiar with riding it and what both it and you are capable of. Both tadpole trikes and their riders share something in common. Both have their limitations.
For sure we all want to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
If you are fortunate enough to have bicycle trails near you that you can ride on I hope you appreciate it and realize that it takes a lot of money and effort to build and maintain them. Money is always in the forefront and even moreso in recent years with the bad economy being forced upon us by our national governmental leaders and international bankers. Without money available the building of new trails and upkeep of current existing trails is hurting.
new haven rivergreenway trail
A key part of the upkeep is accomplished thru volunteers. Most trail systems have some sort of organized volunteers to serve in various capacities. Here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live we have the “Greenway Ranger” program as well as the adopt a section of thr trail program. I am one of about 90 greenway rangers. On our trail system each of us is responsible for a half mile section of the trail. A few have one mile sections. Our job is to help the management of the trails by informing them of anything that needs attention. We pick up litter keeping the trails in good shape. Broken glass is one of the biggest problems out there on the trails. We live in a day and age where there are people who seem to get their kicks out of breaking glass on the trails, streets and sidewalks where they know bicyclists ride over it. I clean up most of it myself which I come across, but occasionally I call it in instead. We help other trails users providing them with helpful information about the trails and provide assistance if they are experiencing mechanical problems and need help. Some of us pick up tree branches off of the trails and even trim various types of vegetation growing along the trails. There are a few of us who ride the entire trail system and cover much of it on a daily basis. We help with the entirety of the trails not just our assigned section which is a very big help to the management folks. I was already doing most of this before I officially joined the volunteer program. I am sure most people who use the trails don’t have a clue what all goes on to keep the trails in condition to use. I am telling you this because there is a great need for volunteers and it is something many more need to get involved in. In doing so you help make it possible for everyone to use the trails. You many not get a lot of expression of gratitude from others as like I said, I don’t think most trail users have a clue what all is involved to keep the trails open and in good condition for their use. I got a chuckle out of a bicyclist passing by on the trail earlier today when myself and my two friends I ride with stopped to trim back some bushes which were growing out over the trail. When he saw us there he apparently thought something was wrong and asked this as he rode by. I thought it was pretty obvious what we were doing, but that is exactly what I am talking about … others not having a clue. I bet if you were to listen carefully you would hear your local trail system hollering out … “HELP!!!! I need help!” Please consider volunteering. With enough of us doing our part we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
BEING HELD CAPTIVE
You might be asking yourself … “now what in the world is this guy talking about?” Well, I will tell ya. (I don’t want you to be in suspense.) Recently I watched a YouTube video and in doing so it provided this subject matter for today’s posting. Here is the video posted by Nigel Pond in England (his wife had an accident running off of the side of the road while clipped into the pedals on her two wheel diamond frame bike)(I am glad she didn’t get hurt):
(Nigel- ya gotta get her on a tadpole trike and away from that diamond frame:)
Yes, I am talking about shoes which clip into pedals.
clip in shoes comparison
Some people love them and won’t ride without them. Others like myself have mixed opinions concerning them. As for me when we are talking about riding on just two wheels there is no way I would ever use them. I think one is just asking for this very thing to happen. It is dangerous! Let common sense prevail!
I know there are those who want to use the clips to enable them to pull the pedal back as they push on the pedal on the other side thus increasing their efficiency, power and speed. I won’t get into this here as I just don’t ‘get into it’ myself.
When it comes to using clip in shoes with a trike it obviously is safer that it is with only two wheels. And another factor of concern while riding a trike is the matter of one’s foot coming off the pedal onto the ground and having the foot and leg end up under the trike where serious injury could result. I am always aware of this while riding. In nearly 22,000 miles of riding my trikes I have never had this happen, but I know it could. I have tried the clip in shoes on my trike. I think there are pros and cons using them on a trike. My biggest concern is not being able to release my shoes (feet) if something goes terribly wrong such as tipping over or upside down. Even worse yet is being involved in an accident where serious injury occurs and having the shoes clipped into the pedals. It would be unlikely that the rider would be able to get the shoes released which would add greatly to the situation at hand. And unless a passerby/first responder knows and understands clip in shoes they would not know how to release them. Releasing them while seriously injured would quite possibly add further pain and suffering (maybe even further injury) to the rider. If you have never experienced tipping over on your trike then you probably can’t identify with the concerns I speak of here.
By the way, unless things have changed since I bought my clip in shoes they are quite expensive and are only made in fairly narrow (regular) widths for that price. If you have a wide foot (I do) they are astronomically expensive to the point that I can’t afford them.
There are other options …
homemade foot straps 004
There are straps such as these homemade ones or they can also be purchased. Personally I would choose this concept over clip in shoes. This does the job sufficiently as far as keeping your feet from slipping off the pedal and going down onto the ground. And it does so without the element of one’s feet being trapped held captive and not being able to get free. I don’t know about you, but this just makes a whole lot more sense to me.
Here are a couple which can be purchased:
Here are some other ones:
My concern here is not being able to release the straps should something bad happen. And these would be harder to fasten one’s feet in that the shoes that clip into pedals.
And there is always the old toe clip type I used as a kid:
and a newer type …
They would help, but obviously they would not be as safe as the one which holds the heel of the shoe.
As with so many things it is a personal choice. We all should do as we feel we should. Just be aware that things could go terribly wrong with either choice. I think the bottom line is to ride defensively and always exercise caution. “Hot dogging” can be fun, but it can also be very dangerous and not worth the risk.
In closing, I have had a couple of people say that I am very opinionated. All I can say to that is yes, I am … and so is everybody else. We just have varying opinions. And some folks don’t like hearing the opinions of others … especially if they don’t happen to line up with their own opinion.
So whether you choose to use some sort of device to help keep your feet on the pedals or you ride without any … here is hoping we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
NOW YOU STAY!!!
There is a joke about a woman who drives her car into the parking lot at a shopping center to do a bit of shopping. A man nearby sees her exit her vehicle and then turn toward the car pointing her finger saying “Now you stay!” Thinking she is talking to her car he says to her … “Lady, why don’t you just put it in ‘park’?” What he couldn’t see from his vantage point is the small dog seated inside the car which the lady was talking to.
Now that has absolutely nothing to do with tadpole trikes, but I thought it was appropriate to lead into what I want to discuss here … some means of getting our trikes to ‘stay’ when we dismount and leave them unattended. If you have an ICE trike the manufacturer took care of the matter for you by providing a parking brake. (At least all of them I have seen have them.) The rest of us … not so good. We have to come up with some means of keeping our trikes where we leave them. Catrike provides a velcro strap which I used for quite some time. They work good, but are a pain in the neck to use in my opinion.
parking brake velcro strap
I have also used a heavy duty rubber band of sorts to wrap around the twist grip and hook both ends around the brake lever. This worked pretty good, but again it was a bit of a pain to use.
There are locking parking brake levers which also work, but again in my opinion, are a bit of a pain to use.
locking brake lever kicked out
They require two hands to engage the lock. Even so I would probably use one of these if I could, but I have a problem which prevents me from going this route. I need brake levers with long levers and all the brake levers I see now days are too short. Because of my physical size I have to have my handlebars adjusted out as far as I can place them. In doing so the brake levers get quite close to the fenders/tires making the brake levers difficult to use if they are too short. I had to replace my brake levers that came on my Catrike with some longer lever ones I had on hand.
I finally came up with something which works great for me. It isn’t the most attractive thing, but it is highly functional and I can operate it using just one hand.
new parking brake off
above: parking brake off
below: parking brake on
new parking brake on
I simply use a plastic cable tie to hook over the end of my brake lever. I have to use additional cable ties to hold my main one in place so it is always in postition to be used to apply the brake for parking. When I pull the brake lever the cable tie moves upwards far enough to clear the brake lever and release it. It also stays up out of the way so there is no danger of it coming back down onto the lever locking the brake when not wanted. One thing I will say is that it is important to keep an eye on the condition of the plastic cable tie as you wouldn’t want it to fail while you were away from your trike. I have replaced mine a couple of times since I first started using this means. (By the way, pardon how nasty my fender, fender mount bracket and tire look in these pictures. I had been riding thru some mud and it all needed to be washed off.)
Regardless of what means you use to keep your trike from departing the scene without you aboard I hope you can always …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
SO WHO IS THE REAL BENT RIDER?
“They” call those of us who ride a recumbent bike or trike a “bent rider”. Of course, the “bent” comes from the last syllable of the word recumBENT. Never the less, just take a look at this picture and tell me who is the rider who is bent?
EWWWW!!! … it hurts just looking at this riding position. Now that is a real bent rider! I can remember those days and many many thousands of miles leaning forward like that. I don’t miss it at all. I call this a torture machine!
Then there are bikes which allow the rider to sit a little more upright …
Comfort Bicycles 2
They are called “comfort bicycles”. Somewhat better but certainly not my idea of comfort. I went this route modifying my handlebars so I could sit more upright. It helped but certainly wasn’t the answer. I finally moved into recumbent bikes (2 wheels) where I discovered comfort on a bike.
This is much much better …
recumbent bike rider 2
But there just isn’t any comparison to this …
Glenn Frank on his TerraTrike
Ah, yes, now this is comfort! The hardest part about riding this machine is staying awake. 🙂 And they are just so much fun to ride. There is no way I would go back to riding my 2 wheel recumbent bike. I don’t miss it at all.
By the way … This is a picture of Glenn Frank who hails from Orange County, CA. Hi Glenn! If you have never done so I invite you to check out Glenn’s great videos on his YouTube channel …
When it comes to the matter of comfort on a scale of 1 to 10 I rate a road bike at 2 and a tadpole trike at 9. I know that there are die hard diamond frame cyclists out there who swear by their road bikes, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, etc. That’s ok. If everybody wanted to ride a tadpole trike it would get a whole lot more crowded out there. I have to admit though, I don’t think I would miss hearing all the complaining about how much their bodies hurt as a result of riding their torture machines. That is what you have when you are a real “bent rider”. As for me I plan to just …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
(in extreme comfort)
PICK UP STICKS!!!
… FIVE, SIX, PICK UP STICKS!!!
Pick Up Sticks
Those are words to a childrens’ song. I never played the game of pick up sticks, but I have heard of it. Children have fun playing games, but for us adults it can be an altogether different experience. But I am not talking about the game of ‘pick up sticks’, but rather I am talking about picking up sticks. And the sticks I am talking about are those laying down on the ground we ride over. If you have not experienced the joy of running over a stick and having it flip up into your spokes and/or rear derailleur you just haven’t lived. About 2 or 3 years ago I had the bad fortune of running over a stick which went into my rear wheel taking out a few spokes and pretty much trashing my rear derailleur and hanger where it attaches. I normally try to watch pretty carefully the surface I am riding on, but on this occasion I was riding on a sidewalk and looking out into the street at the traffic situation as I needed to cross the street. Consequently I didn’t see the stick and upon my trike making contact with it it flipped up into my rear wheel and right over into my rear derailleur. I was not a happy camper needless to say. I managed to straighten it out well enough to shift fairly well so I could ride it home, but I could never get it tweaked in enough to shift precisely so I ended up having to buy all new parts … some $90 or so. Fortunately I am able to do my own mechanical work. Otherwise this would have resulted in a whole lot more expense. What I am trying to say it … WATCH OUT FOR THOSE STICKS!!! THEY CAN GET YA! Even if they don’t go into your wheels/derailleur they can quite literally smack you a good one or even flip up into your face. Getting hit in the eye could be disasterous. (Remember what happenedd to Steve Irwin … it was no stick that took his life, but hey, who knows what a stick could do to us?) I have been hit by sticks flipped up and it can hurt. I always pick them up and throw them off of the pavement so bicyclists (including myself) don’t have to deal with them.
broken branches on ground
Do you best to avoid them and hopefully you will be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
BUILDING A TADPOLE TRIKE
For those who have or are considering making their own tadpole trike I offer this posting. I speak from experience as I made my very first tadpole trike back in November of 2007. Here is a picture of it:
Luke 3 months old
A lot of research went into doing so as these critters are more complex than many probably realize. The steering geometry is critical (with various compound angles between the kingpins and axles) as is the rider’s weight distribution ratio between the front and rear axles. If you get any of this off you will have problems and they could be serious problems … resulting in a bad crash where the rider could get injured or killed. So if you are going to build a tadpole trike be sure you know what you are doing and get it right. The trike I made rode and handled flawlessly at all speeds so I did something right. That being said, if I had it to do over again I would most definitely make some changes. Oh, I wouldn’t change any of these things I am talking about as being critical. The changes I would make would be in the design of the frame. It is a minor thing but important to me. I never made any more trikes so I never got into making any changes that came to mind after making this first one. I had thought about trying to modify this frame, but decided against it and just used it as is. I rode it over 2000 miles before I bought my 2009 Catrike Trail. And, in case you are wondering, I had approximately $600 in material costs. I used various parts off of about 3 “donor bikes” otherwise I would have had more cost than this involved.
I am not here to talk about my homemade trike. Instead I just want to provide some resources to make it easier to accomplish such a project. I have found that many of the links on the webpage(s) I have saved in My Favorites no longer work so be aware of this. There are some that still do however. This seems to be all too common on the ever changing world wide web. And this was, afterall, from 2007.
“Build Your Own Recumbent Trike”
Written By Rickey M. Horwitz
(mostly dead links, but some work)
Thorough Look at the Design of Trikes
Some Trikes Others Have Built
There are plans you can buy to build from or, if you are like me, you may want to create your own from scratch. Of course, the choice of materials come into play … anything from mild steel to chrome moly to aluminum to carbon fiber. Obviously mild steel is the most common material and cheapest and easiest to work with. It is also the heaviest and that is undesirable. Even so if one goes about it carefully even mild steel can be used to create a trike that does well and doesn’t weigh all that much. 40 pounds is certainly within the scope of things if one works at it. Many factory made trikes weigh in the upper 30s and I am talking chrome moly or aluminum. One thing I would most defintely advice against is attempting to bolt or rivet the pieces together. Everything that can be should be welded. If you can’t weld then I would encourage you to hire someone who can to do it for you. Using bolts is never a good way to go as they come loose or break and therefore allow movement which is very undesirable. You might start off tight, but I assure you that any bolted/riveted joint will loosen as time goes by and you will regret going this route. So if you have a hankerin’ to build your own I encourage you to go for it. I hope this posting helps you in doing so. Whether you ride a homemade trike or a factory made one let’s all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
MOTORIZED TADPOLE TRIKES
I sort of got myself in trouble awhile back writing about this subject when I was posting on the Trike Asylum blog. I expressed my opinion and there were some folks who didn’t like it. So I won’t repeat myself here as I am not out to upset and anger people. In this posting I simply want to share what some folks are doing with their tadpole trikes in this realm of motorizing. I think we all know that electric motors can develop significant torque which means they can make a trike quite fast. Here are some examples.
Zero to 44 mph Real Quick
High Powered Electric Trike Attacks Twisties
KMX E-trike on the dyno – 88.5 mph
Pretty impressive, huh? I don’t know about you, but 44 mph would be plenty fast on a tadpole trike. Even that could be frightening … especially if something went wrong (and it doesn’t take much)! I am sure it is thrilling, but it most definitely adds a degree of danger to it all. It looks like it would be all too easy to wrap yourself around a telephone pole or tree, etc. I think I will stick with pedaling … thank you just the same. And then maybe I can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
LET’S GO SHOPPING
Let’s go shopping? Yes, let’s go shopping and running errands using our tadpole trikes. I do it all the time and save on gas not driving a car or truck to where I am going. I am sure some of you do as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if more and more people would do this? We not only would save money, but in the process we would accomplish much more … get exercise, less pollution, save wear and tear on our cars/trucks, take money away from the Middle Eastern terrorists they in turn use to attack and destroy us, etc. (I just had to throw that last one in there. It is true you know!?) Here in the United States we don’t have nearly as many human powered vehicles being used for such transportation and commonplace errands. Although I have not been there I have seen pictures of places where bicycles are used in great numbers to get around. Here is a picture of one such place.
one busy bike parking lot
I count two or three at least … but not a single tadpole trike … Oh well, it’s their loss!
I use a quick detachable basket which sits atop of my rear rack to place items into.
my headrest reduced
It has a bail type handle so that the basket can be carried into the store and used as a shopping basket to place items into. I have never removed my basket to take it into any store to use it like this, but the option is there. I also sometimes use a cargo net to help hold items in securely. With this setup I can readily remove the basket and just use my rear rack if I want to which lightens the weight of the trike obviously. However, I have found the basket so handy that I hardly ever remove it. Sometimes when I have removed it I then regretted not having it when I wanted to haul something. I also use the basket to haul my dog around in it. That was what I originally bought it for. I placed a thin piece of wood in the bottom with a piece of carpet on top of it for the dog to sit/stand on making it much more comfortable and safer for him.
little miami trail apr 9, 2011 steve & luke cropped
There are lots of differnent options available to haul stuff in/on. There are larger and deeper baskets than what I use. There are panniers and other bags of various sizes and shapes.
If you have not used your trike to go shopping I encourage you to do so if you can safely accomplish such a mission. I am sure there are those who don’t feel safe trying to ride from home to stores in your area. Whatever the case may be …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!!!
I think I will just take one at a time starting with Lights. I am a firm believer in good lights front and rear as well as highly visible safety flags which will help people see a tadpole trike. I seldom ride after dark so my concern is being seen by motorists in the daytime. Like so many other items one could mention there are lots of different lights available to purchase for both front and rear. Some aren’t worth a plug nickel while others work great. I think three things need to be considered when it comes to which light is purchased. First and most important is how bright is it? Second is does it offer a strobe/flash mode? Third is battery life (and how many batteries and what size)? I have seen lights that are bright initially, but eat up batteries and go dim long before they should. And they use twice as many batteries as the lites I use. I personally use a 1 watt Planet Bike Blaze headlite and two 1/2 watt Planet Bike SuperFlash taillites. I also have two other flashing taillites I can turn on if needed so I am really lit up with all four flashing. Normally I only have the two Planet Bike taillites in use though. Here is a picture of the back of my trike. It is sitting up in the bed of my pick up truck.
Pardon My Dust
(it is silt from the rivers flooding over the trails I ride on)
planet bike 1 watt headlight
One Watt Blaze Headlite
planet bike .5 watt super flash taillight
1/2 Watt SuperFlash Taillite
I am not going to say that they are the best you can buy because I know they are not. However, for the money I think they are hard to beat. Planet Bike offers these same lights in double the power. Of course, they cost more. And personally in my opinion they are not all that much brighter when comparing them side by side. I use all of these on strobe/flash mode and I am always hearing people tell me they saw my lights from far away. Since the headlite is to help motorists see you I suggest when riding in the day time that you have the headlite pointed slightly upwards so the light is pointing at their eye level and not down toward the ground like you would have it at night to illuminate your path. I suggest shopping around for these lights online as I have seen quite a price variation. I have found them really cheap at times. Full price expect to pay about $50 for the headlite and $25 for the taillite. If you don’t have a headlite and taillite(s) I encourage you to invest in them. If not these from Planet Bike then buy some other brand. They could very well save your life. With their help you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG?
As we take off on our triking adventures do we give thought to what we are taking along with us? I do, but I see others all the time that go pretty much empty handed. What if? Yes, what if they have a flat tire and are miles away from anywhere? What if they have an accident or come across someone else who has had one and need some medical attention? What if something breaks on their trike or again on someone else’s ‘ride’ that they may come across? Carrying things along like tubes, tools, plastic cable ties, bungee cords, roll of electrical tape, first aid kit, etc. can be the difference between being stranded or bleeding or just not being equipped to help someone else in dire need. I have saved the day for others a few times by having such things with me. Yes, it adds extra weight to carry around, but there is great wisdom in doing so. I carry along much more than these things. I carry a folding saw, pruning shears, chain oil, extra batteries, extra chain links, master links, umbrella, rain poncho, small hand broom and dustpan, maps, a sticky note writing pad, pen, plastic tableware, plastic shopping bags, and more. And I use it all from time to time. As a Greenway Ranger I cut tree limbs which have come down onto or sticking out over the trails. I clean up broken glass. That’s why I carry some of these extra things I listed. For anyone embarking on a long ride (a trike journey) carrying at least one extra tire along would be prudent. One of the folding tires would be better than nothing. Maybe a roll of duct tape would be a good idea as well. I was never a boy scout, but I believe in being prepared. I certainly am not suggesting that everyone take along all these items I mentioned which I have with me. However, the first group of things I mentioned (in italics) I think would be a given. Yes, there is great wisdom in doing so. And in doing so you will be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Pretty Neat Stuff
We live in a day and age where we have some pretty neat stuff available to us. In God’s Word (the holy scriptures, the bible) the prophet Daniel in writing about the End Times tells us that knowledge will increase and life will be a fast and furious pace (Daniel 12:4). We certainly see it. Here is an informative video on the fulfillment of this prophecy.
If you want to watch part 2 click on this link:
I am going somewhere with this so please bear with me. As I have stated upfront this blog is about tadpole trikes so I try to keep that in mind in my postings. Some things actually are all new and improved while others may be new but not necessarily improved. I can think of various examples of the latter. However, when it comes to tadpole trikes I would readily admit that they come under the former … all new and improved. Here is picture proof:
1st tadpole trike
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to tadpole trikes I will take the new anyday over the old … at least as far as riding goes. I suppose the old is worth more monetarily.
I was laying in bed sleeping away when I woke up and this subject matter was on my mind. I hadn’t come up with anything yet to post today and had prayed about it. What first came to mind I haven’t got to yet. I have stated before in earlier postings that I ride mostly on paved trails. Oftentimes I have taken advantage of today’s technology and checked out trails while sitting at home behind my computer. I not only look them up and read about them, but I have looked at their location on maps. Even neater than this is looking at them on satellite images. And even neater than looking at them from afar I can actually zoom in and get right down almost onto them and follow along them like I was riding on them. Using Google Earth I have ridden several trails like this ahead of time before I actually physically rode them. And there are several I have ridden like this that I have never been to and probably never will. I think that is neat. I have checked out other stuff nearby. For instance, I have looked up locations of restaurants so that when I along with a friend or two go there I know where to go to eat while we are out riding the trails.
Another example that comes to mind is tires. In the old days I found myself dealing with flats all the time. That is past history, I haven’t had to deal with flats for a year and a half now. I finally wised up and started using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and just ride … no more flats. I don’t miss not having flats. It is just another example of all new and improved. With this technology I can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
(and you can too)
But right now it is 4 AM and I am going back to bed!
GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR DERAILLEURS
Derailleurs are a complex mystery and intimidating to many. I would like to try to change that. May I introduce you to your derailleurs (those of you who have them)? Yes, let’s demystify them and I think you will agree that they are not as intimidating as many of us think.
An incorrectly adjusted rear derailleur can cause mis-shifts, grinding gear changes, chain skips (automatic shifting), and can lead to premature wear of the your drivetrain.
(My Note: Make sure your chain is in good shape … not worn out, no bad/tight links, properly lubricated, etc. as this will cause havoc with your derailleurs and shifting. The same is true of the sprockets. The chain and sprockets all wear out and need to be replaced from time to time. Also it is always possible that the derailleurs or hanger are bent/twisted and this will likewise mess up the shifting.)
There are already many many videos and articles available on the subject of how derailleurs work and how to adjust them. Here is a link to YouTube videos about this: http://goo.gl/l1QDb
I personally take issue with all of these instructional videos as I don’t agree that these work with tadpole trikes. I am only speaking for myself mind you, but I have spent good money at bicycle shops where ‘professional mechanics’ adjusted my shifting. Never once did their work last very long … sometimes not even testing it out in their parking lot. Every single time I have had to redo it and every single time that I did redo it it worked right afterwards. (I have witnesses.) I have tried to talk to mechanics about this subject, but none of them listened to me. Afterall, they are the ‘professionals’ and I am only a ‘backyard mechanic’ who couldn’t possibly know more than they do. I don’t argue with them, but I don’t spend my money having them do this only to have to redo it myself shortly afterwards. There is a procedure to go thru which works every time for me. Following is an article I discovered a few years ago and I swear by it … it works! I have added a few of my own notes to it.
Adjusting Your Derailleurs
“One of the main problems that I find on every single bike that comes through my shop is that the derailleurs are out of adjustement. The derailleur is that thing in the front and back of the chain drive that “derails” the chain into it’s proper place. Now, don’t bother fidling with the thing as it is, let’s start fresh.
(My Note: AMEN TO THAT! This is where the professional mechanics blow it in my opinion and why their work never works. Maybe what they do will get them by on a mountain or road bike, but on a tadpole trike it just doesn’t. At least that has been my experience.)
FIRST: Unscrew the cables from their attachement on the derailleurs. Bring the shifters back to their dead position, that’s when there is no pull on the cable and make sure that all the cable housing adjustment screws on the shifters and/or derailleurs are screwed back in to their original position(more on that later).
(My Note: Without any cable hooked up or involved the derailleur is aligned under the smallest sprocket (front and rear). It has a spring in it which holds it in this postition. With a cable hooked up a derailleur moves the chain from the smaller sprocket onto the larger sprocket when the cable is pulled.)
SECOND: Now with everything deconnected, turn the pedals and the chain should come to rest in the last position gear on the outside of the wheel and at the first one closest to the frame on the chain ring. That’s because the system works by pulling on the devices with the cable. If you are not at the last gear on the wheel and the first one at the chain ring, you have already found a problem. You have two screws on every derailleur, one to adjust the last gear (My Note: smallest sprocket):”H” and one to adjust the first gear (My Note: largest sprocket):”L”. This is the same on every derailleur, adjust that screw by going clockwise to move the derailleur in and counterclockwise to move it out. Careful, in the rear one you could end up with the chain in between the wheel and the frame (My Note: which could result in damaging the spokes), go slowly.
THIRD: Now that your derailleurs are adjusted properly at their last position gear, reinstall the cable. Make sure there is no slack in the cable. (My Note: make sure the cables are seated into the ferrules/adjusting screws all the way. Also make sure the cable run is as straight a shot as possible onto the screw which clamps the cable in place. Don’t have the cable going down under where the cable would be on an angle.) Now turn the pedals and click in the first position for the rear derailleur, it should go into the next available gear. Not doing that? Don’t worry, remember that adjustement screw on the cable housing? Now start to unscrew it slowly while turning the pedals. This will stretch the cable a little bit at a time. Unscrew it until the chain goes into the next available gear,”click” that’s it, you’re done. Now shift until you have pulled the cable all the way to first gear. If it goes there, you’re good. If not,one of two things have happened. Booboo one is that the chain won’t go into first, simply unscrew “L” slowly until it does while keeping tension on the cable with the shifter. Booboo two, the chain is now between the gear and the spokes of the wheel. Carefully remove the chain and set it on the first gear and screw “L” to block the derailleur from going forward.”
The late Sheldon Brown wrote a lot of good articles on bike maintenance and repair. Here is one on rear derailleur adjustment:
In it he covers the Angle adjustment (“B-tension”) of the derailleur which is something most of these videos and articles fail to mention. It is important so I want to be sure to include it. Here is an excerpt from that article on this:
Angle adjustment (“B-tension”)
“Modern derailers have two spring-loaded pivots. The lower pivot, sometimes called the “a pivot” winds the cage up to take up slack as you go to smaller sprockets. The upper “b pivot” adds additional slack take-up ability by pushing the derailer’s parallelogram backwards.
The tension of the two springs needs to be balanced for best shifting.
Most derailers have an angle adjustment screw (Shimano calls it “B-tension adjustment”). This adjusts the tension of the upper (“b”) spring of the parallelogram, and thus the height of the jockey pulley. The looser this screw is, the closer the jockey pulley will be to the cluster.
The angle adjustment will need to be set according to the size of the largest rear sprocket. If you change to a cluster with a larger or smaller low-gear sprocket, you will need to re-adjust this setting. You will also need to adjust this if you change the length of your chain.
If the angle adjuster is set too loose, the jockey pulley will bump into the largest sprocket when the bicycle is in the lowest gear (large rear, small front). This is the gear you should check the adjustment in. A larger low-gear sprocket may require a different rear derailer, for enough angle adjustment to clear the sprocket. In extreme cases, such as with a Shimano 36-tooth sprocket, a longer angle-adjustment screw may be needed — some people even install the screw backwards.
Since a derailer shift is caused by forcing the chain to run at an angle, the greater the angle, the sooner it will shift. The closer the jockey pulley is to the cluster, the sharper the angle will be for a given amount of sideways motion of the derailer. Thus, the looser the angle adjuster screw is, the better the shifting will be.”
And here is Parktool’s article on it:
B-Screw (Angle) Adjustment
“After setting the L-screw, check the “B-screw” for an adequate setting. The B-screw controls the derailleur body angle, hence the name, B-screw. Shift to the innermost rear cog, which is the largest cog. View the upper pulley relative to the largest cog. If the pulley is rubbing against this cog, tighten the B-screw to increase upper pivot spring tension, which pulls the pulley back and away from the cog. If there is a large gap between the upper pulley and cog, loosen the screw. To find a good setting, loosen the B-screw until the upper pulley begins to rub, then tighten the screw to get clearance.
Sram designates a 6mm space between the largest rear cog and the upper pulley. Use a 6mm hex wrench to help estimate this gap. (My Note: They are talking about setting this gap at 6mm without the chain on the idler sprocket. If the chain is already installed you will just have to estimate it.) Check for rubbing of largest sprocket and upper pulley.”
B screw adjustment rear derailleur
B screw adjustment rear derailleur 2
To those of you who do or at least try to do your own mechanical work I hope this helps. To those who depend on your local bike shop to do this for you … well, good luck:) Hey, maybe you won’t have the problems I have had (and I hope you don’t). With proper adjustment and functioning of our derailleurs we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
TRANSPORTING A TRIKE
Transporting your trike(s) using a car, truck, van, etc. is commonplace and most of us already have at least one solution. Personally I use a mini pickup truck which is just barely big enough to get one trike in the bed and close the tailgate and the cap’s rear window. The trike has to be diagonal (corner to opposite corner) in order to fit in the bed. A full size pickup bed will accomodate two trikes loaded straight in side by side. Added accessories such as a basket can add inches onto the dimensions of a trike and complicate the matter if space restrictions are involved. There are various options out there and I will show you some of them. There are various kinds of trike hauling racks offered. Some people just use a common bicycle rack and sit their trike up on the rear window, trunk and the bike rack. I don’t think much of this approach as it most certainly has to be hard on the car. It might be ok if it is an old junker but I would be quite concerned if it were a nice car I cared about. Another factor for consideration using this method is the height involved in lifting the trike to get it up there. Trailer hitch racks are a better way to go although certainly more costly. There are racks which hold just one trike. There are racks which hold two trikes. There are racks which hold the trike(s) horizontally and there are racks which hold the trike(s) vertically. There are folks who transport their trikes on top of their roofs. And, if you happen to have a folding trike it may fit inside your trunk of elsewhere in the vehicle. Here are some pictures of these various options.
rear windown trunkTrike Rack
tadpole-trike vertical haul hitch
roof top hauler
two trikes stacked horizontally
Two Trike vertical hauler
folding trike in trunk
And if you are creative and skilled you can make your own like Ed Miller did:
homemade horizontal rack
I am fortunate in that I can simply ride from home most of the time and don’t have to haul my trike to get somewhere to ride it. If you find that is not an option and don’t yet have a solution hopefully this posting will help give you an idea of the various ways one can haul a trike(s). Be safe and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
DOGS ARE PEOPLE TOO
Yep, if you didn’t know it already I am here to tell ya that dogs are people too. At least it seems that way sometimes. They sure can be “part of the family” and our best friends. My wife and I have a Bishon Frise dog. At 7 weeks old I introduced him to tadpole trikes and he has been out riding with me numerous times. He doesn’t just ride however, as I have him out walking and running alongside of me on a leash so he gets exercise. I know other trikers take their dogs along although most of them just ride as far as I know. As tadpole riders I think one thing we all enjoy is the breeze in our faces. And most certainly dogs do too. Here are some pictures and videos of these pooches.
Luke 3 months old
This is our dog, Luke, at 3 months old sitting in a
basket on my homemade tadpole trike I used to have.
Marshall sitting in basket side view
I am always amazed at this one as he reminds me of our dog Luke.
This is Marshall and he lives up in the Calgary, Canada area.
Snickers in basket 3
This is Snickers and she lives in the Los Angeles area. His
owner, Glenn Frank, is well known in the triker community.
Dexter in basket
This is Dexter.
Noah runs alongside
This is Noah. He is not riding, but running alongside.
catrike road with pooch sitting in rear basket
I don’t have any information on this one. It is a picture I
came across a few years ago and it caught my eye.
Yep, Dogs Are People Too! I don’t know which thinks this is the most true … them or us? 🙂 Here is hoping that we can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
OFF ROAD RIDING
I am an off road rider since early childhood. Of course, I am talking about 2 wheels. I have ridden both bicycles and motorcycles and had a blast. I really loved off road riding on a motorcycle and I was pretty good at it (even if I do say so myself:) This blog is about tadpole trikes and so I am here to address riding tadpole trikes off road. It is not the same! I have tried it several times. It can be very hard going, challenging, and dangerous. Of course, it depends upon where you are riding and what all is there to contend with. I guess you could say that … YA GOTTA KNOW THE TERRITORY! Venturing into an off road area you are not familiar with can get you into a world of trouble. I have found myself in predicaments with no easy way out. Sometimes it has led to tipping over which is never desirable and if you have never had the experience let me tell you that it is something you should try to avoid if possible. Yes, you can get hurt even at a very low speed. In case you haven’t made the discovery, tadpole trikes can tip over fairly easily. They are stable up to a point but can readily flip over given the right circumstances. Here is a video demonstrating how quickly it can happen:
and here is another tip over of a ’email friend’ of mine in England:
Fortunately neither of these riders got injured in these tip overs. Both of these videos illustrate how quickly and easily a trike can tip over … and without warning. I have watched videos of people riding a tadpole trike off road. They were doing so successfully. But, again, the reason they were able to do so is because where they were riding a tadpole trike could go without any problem. I could ride where they were riding without any problem. I would like to see them try riding some of the places I have been. I think the outcome would be entirely different. Some of these places would be difficult and challenging enough on two wheels, but at least it could be ridden on two wheels. I found it impossible to navigate on a trike. Personally I don’t even like riding on a bicycle trail that isn’t paved with asphalt or concrete. Crushed stone, cinders, wood chips, packed dirt, grass, etc. are used on some trails. I don’t care to ride on them. I like good ol’ asphalt the best. One of our local trails used to be crushed gravel. I rode on it once and that was enough for me. Later they paved it with asphalt and now it is a joy to ride on. I realize I am getting into personal preferences and my opinion. And I realize I can get myself into trouble expressing myself as I am. Hopefully that won’t happen. I want to say upfront … if you want to ride your tadpole trike off road by all means go for it. Just be cautious and exercise wisdom and good judgement so you don’t get hurt and you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Most definitely water is so very precious. We are blessed in this nation with plentiful clean safe drinking water as well as sufficient water to use for just about anything we want to use it for. Cycling is an activity that requires the rider to stay well hydrated. I carry about 68 ounces of water with me and refill probably 20 to 44 ounces of that each day I go out riding. Although we have a lot of water available here in the U.S. that does not mean we always have a source nearby as we ride. Here on our local trail system where I ride there are certain portions of it where there is absolutely no water available for many miles. There are cyclists riding all the time that don’t have water with them. That is foolish and dangerous.
For what it is worth I have tried various water bottles including those they call “insulated”. Those insulated water bottles are a joke! They won’t last more than an hour or 1.5 hours on a hot day. A few years ago I discovered stainless steel Thermos brand bottles which I now use exclusively and swear by. They work great! They will hold ice for many many hours … even days if it isn’t too hot. They are tough as they are just stainless steel (no glass inside). They consist of inner and outer walls of stainless steel with air in between. They will dent if dropped but won’t break like the glass lined thermos did when I was much younger. Here is a picture of what I am talking about:
thermos ss water bottle
There are other brands available and even Thermos has other models, but this is the only one I would recommend to others as I have found it to be far superior. You can expect to pay about $25 for one … well worth the money when compared to what else is out there. These hold 24 ounces. I like cold water and I don’t like drinking out of plastic … especially when it is out in the sun like is the case when it is on a bike/trike.
So, take advantage of the wonderful gift of water God has blessed us with … the healthiest drink there is. Drink plenty of it. Your body will thank you in so many many ways. Take a good supply along with you when you ride and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
WIND NOISE REDUCTION FILTER
Those who video tape their rides and use video cameras with internal microphones have no doubt dealt with the problem of wind noise. It can be so bad that it is impossible to use the sound track of the video. If the video camera has provision for an external microphone that is the better way to go. Wind noise reduction filters are available for external microphones. However, many video cameras lack this and so the internal microphone is all that is available. I know of two companies offering a stick on filter for cameras with an internal microphone. I don’t know anything about the filters as far as whether or not they work very well. I know they are a one time stick on … if you remove it it won’t restick again. All of the cameras I have seen with an internal microphone have a small hole in the camera casing where the sound enters. I looked at this stick on filter but decided not to buy one. Instead I started experimenting making my own. I tried several different things and finally came up with something which seems to work pretty well. Here is what I did. First of all, I researched it some. I discovered that the most successful wind noise filters use the same principle as the hair in a cat’s ear. In fact, this type of filter is known as a dead cat.
cat’s ear hairs
Here are some examples of these filters:
camera with external microphone dead cat
cameras with internal microphones stickon dead cat
internal filters (stick on)
Here is a picture of my camera model with a yellow arrow pointing to the hole where the sound enters.
samsung bl103 digital camera arrow to microphone
The very first thing I tried worked great. The only problem was it was way too vulnerable to damage. I just had a piece of cotton taped over the hole in the front of my camera. This was just to try something to see how it did. Obviously it was not intended to be my solution. From there I tried siliconing a small ring around the hole and stuffing it with cotton. I will spare you the details of all the various things and materials I tried and just get to what I ended up with. Some things I tried worked better than others
my wind noise filter 001
I took a small plastic eye drop bottle and cut it as shown in this picture below.
ocupress bottle marked
I siliconed this section to the front of my camera with the small end down over the hole.
Here is another filtering material I tried. This picture shows the inverted bottle siliconed onto the front of the camera casing.
camera homemade wind filter top view
I put the white colored stuffing out of a small stuffed animal (a sample is shown in front of the camera in the picture above with the white tassel) and then I put of the material from the seat belt comforter (the material which wraps around an automotive seat belt where the seat belt is in contact with the upper shoulder area)(the black material in this picture above). Next I siliconed the tassel of the hat from the same stuffed animal (a Santa Claus). This setup not only does a pretty good job filtering out wind noise, but it helps amplify the sound coming into the camera. I guess this is because of the the funnel effect of the inverted plastic bottle section. This probably doesn’t look as professional as some of the products you can purchase, but I don’t have much money invested in it.
On my camera the location of the hole is at a rather bad place as far as putting any kind of a filter on it. It is very close to the raised area and the radius up to it. Also the lens telescopes in and out so there must be room available not to interfere with this.
Anyway, my homemade wind noise reduction filter works pretty good. Now if I can just learn how to make good videos. Meanwhile I am going to keep on trying and if you have or do come up with something that works good for you please share it with others (including me). And may we all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Now I ask ya … Is your bike dealer/mechanic honest? Those of you who have been following this blog know that I just got a more less new trike … as a result of a cracked weld on the frame of my 2009 Catrike Trail. Catrike under warranty replaced the frame. In the process of swapping the frames I found out that my old trike never had the correct rear derailleur on it. It was suppose to have a long cage derailleur, but it came with a medium cage even though Catrike says they have always used long cage and every trike they have ever sent out to their dealers came with a long cage. So that means that the dealer where my trike came from put a medium cage derailleur on my trike instead of the long cage Catrike sent them. And that means the dealer is a crook cheating customers. The medium cage is less expensive so they were making money in what they were doing. They kept the long cage and sold them making an extra profit in doing so. I am asking you the reader if anyone else has had this happen? The dealer I got my trike from is up in Michigan. If you got a Catrike from a dealer in Michigan (I won’t name them or their location) perhaps you should check on this. I am sure Catrike would like to know about it. They have already received quite a few complaints about this particular dealer. The medium cage derailleur worked pretty good on my old trike, but it won’t work on this new one. The bottom line here is that now I have to buy another derailleur to get my “new trike” to shift properly as the brand new medium cage I just bought and installed won’t work. I am not a happy camper. I got cheated by a dishonest bike dealer. Who would have known? They got away with it for nearly 4 years in my case and if it hadn’t been for this frame swap who knows how much longer, if ever, before this would have been discovered. Hopefully your bike dealer/mechanic is honest and is not cheating you. I am sure most are not. Most of them can be counted on to help us …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah