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MASA SLINGSHOT, A BIT OF NOSTALGIA


masa-slingshot-racer

The era was the 1970s … 1975 as I understand is when the first of these were introduced here in the United States. A rather unique recumbent trike of the tadpole configuration came on the scene. Even though it originated in Japan it was the United States where they were most prevalent. They were big and heavy yet supposedly they were built for racing on oval tracks. Obviously they were not designed for touring and general riding. They were quite long compared to tadpole trikes of today. Their days were numbered and now they are more less a collectors item. Not only were they long, but they had a wide wheelbase so they are not too practical as far as fitting on trails and thru various openings. Speaking of being long … the chain on these was 13.5 feet long. That is a lot of chain in case you didn’t know it. Most modern day tadpole trikes have about 9 to about 10.5 feet depending upon how far out the boom is adjusted. Some say that these Masa trikes did not handle well and could tip over easily … that too much of the rider’s weight was on the back wheel. That being said you can also read that the trike handles well and doesn’t tip over as easily as modern day trikes. Take your pick. I give up. Well, I have already said more than I know about them. 🙂  So I won’t say anything more. I will just post a couple of videos where they are featured and talked about.

HERE are lots of pictures of two of these trikes.

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Masa Slingshot Trike, tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles

GOPRO MOUNTS TIPS & TRICKS


GoPro cameras are very popular and take high quality pictures and video. Many tadpole trike riders use them. GoPro has numerous accessories and mounts available. Here are three videos explaining it all.

 

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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

STEERING IN A SKID


grew up learning how to steer in a skid/slide … first on a bicycle, then a motorcycle and finally a car. As a kid my dad taught me how to steer a car in a skid. When I say taught I mean he showed me how to do it. At 16 years old I can remember driving my parents’ car down the city street purposely placing the car into a skid sideways between parked cars along the sides of the street and controlling the skid as I drove past them.

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

A few years later while in the navy I drove a ’63 Corvette on a particular curvy road south of San Diego, CA where there was a sheer drop off along the edge and very rough cliff like terrain below and nothing along the sides of the road to keep a vehicle from going off over the edge. I would put the Corvette into a controlled skid in the curves as I sped around them. Yes, it was foolish and dangerous as it could have very easily and quickly resulted like what is pictured above. I wouldn’t not do any of this today, but as a teenager and into my early 20s I thought nothing of it. I am saying all of this to say that learning how to control a skid or slide can save your butt should you find yourself in such a predicament.

steering-in-slide

I find in riding a tadpole trike on a slippery surface such as snow or ice the trike can all by itself sometimes seem to go into a sideways slide. Without taking proper needed action when this happens it could result in an unwanted unexpected disaster. For me it just comes natural to turn the handlebars and steer out of the skid. It is “second nature” as they say. I find it fun and challenging. Many times I have purposely put my trike into slides just to steer out of them.

steering-in-slide

As illustrated in the drawing above when the rear wheel of a trike slides sideways you should steer in the same direction you are sliding to control the skid. As the trike straightens back out you should turn the front wheels back straight. Learning how far to turn the front wheels and for how long is crucial to successfully controlling a skid. You can also over compensate and make matters worse. If you fail to straighten the wheels back around at the right time you can cause the vehicle to skid the opposite direction. It is best to practice all of this in an empty parking lot where there is plenty of room to slide around without concern of hitting anything.

This video shows the rider steering in a skid. Notice at the very end when he tips over it is the result of the trike going from the slippery surface onto dry pavement and the tire “caught” suddenly and caused the trike to tip over.

The best advice I could give anyone to learn how to steer out of a skid is as I stated previously … to practice in an empty parking lot where you have plenty of room around you. Of course, I am talking about riding on a slippery surface such as snow or ice. I would also caution you not to try this if the slippery surface is not continuous. What I mean by that is that the snow or ice needs to cover the entirety of the area where you are riding. You don’t want to be sliding sideways and then suddenly hit dry pavement (like the rider in the video above) as that could be very dangerous resulting in a bad sudden tip over … a violent one where you could easily get injured. Even if you don’t normally ride in such conditions it would be good to learn this skill so you know what to do if it ever happens to you when you do ride. You could find yourself riding on a surface where there is loose dirt or gravel or a wet spot suddenly come up where the rear wheel starts to slide sideways. Again, I caution you about the rear wheel sliding sideways and then suddenly hitting dry pavement as the trike is likely to tip over suddenly. I can’t over emphasize this.

Riding over uneven surfaces can cause a trike to go into a skid/slide … especially if you are already in a turn (going around a curve).

trike-tip-over-red-arrow-2

Even riding on some surfaces like in the image above can be hazardous. This was on dirt and probably loose dirt at that. The rider knew to steer with the slide to try to control it and recover from it. Most of the time this works, but sometimes things just go wrong and the end result is not what was expected or wanted.  This person tipped over. Fortunately they were not injured. I personally think the reason they tipped over is because the rear wheel slid into a stone or something causing the slide to end and tipping the trike over suddenly. Just going over uneven ground can cause it. It doesn’t take much sometimes to cause such a scenario. It is also noted in the video that she could not maneuver as she would have liked to because of a cactus plant sticking out in her path. That in and of itself could produce the results she experienced.

Here is the video which goes with the picture above:

The rider is most fortunate that the rollover didn’t result in serious injury. She went right onto large stones.

Sliding sideways can be fun as long as you can safely control it, but it can also be extremely dangerous when things go wrong. Be careful out there. Do your best to keep it upright and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

TADPOLE TRIKES … FUN AT ANY AGE


Yes, riding a tadpole trike is fun at any age and tends to bring out the “kid” in all of us. Ha ha! I came across this video and thought others might enjoy it as much as I did.

This family lives in Ukraine and the husband has built several various recumbent trikes, bikes and at least one quad. He has produced several VIDEOS of the family riding them. I highly recommend the videos.

Speaking of “fun at any age” HERE is an article about “baby boomers” and recumbent trikes. A local cycle business where this article comes from reports that recumbent sales are a major player in their business and the reason for the business boom they are experiencing.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS … WHICH TRIKE TO BUY


Another nasty winter day is here and so I am working on this blog trying to come up with something to post on it. I came across this video. I had watched it before quite some time ago and life went on. I didn’t realize that one of the people featured in it is someone I have come to know about since then. Upon revisiting the video I made the discovery. So without further ado here is Matt Galat checking out trikes at a dealership.

Of course, the trike he has now (the one he was riding when the wreck happened … when he got hit by a truck over in China) is none of these trikes mentioned in the video. That trike was an HP Velotecknik fx26 Scorpion.

TRIKE MINDED PEOPLE


found this video on the Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group and thought I would share it here …

I am envious. I have one other tadpole trike rider I ride with. We can’t seem to get anyone else to get together to ride. Some say they will but we never see it materialize.

COMFORIDER DELTA TRIKES


This blog is about tadpole trikes and I pretty much try to stick to that. However, every once in awhile I come across something that impresses me and gets my attention. So without further ado I present to you the reader a delta trike. It is still a recumbent trike. It is a bit unusual which you shall soon see. Meet the COMFORIDER TRIKE.

Remember all images in WordPress blogs can be clicked on to open in their own window. Oftentimes they will be
displayed much larger so you can better see them. When done just use your browser’s back button to return to this page.

Comfortrider

As you can readily see it is not a low rider. Here is what the manufacturer says about this trike on their WEBSITE:

Unlike any other existing model, this tricycle has several features that make it more versatile, more comfortable to drive, and incredibly easy to store and transport.

– Modular structure, variable configuration
– Spring suspended seat
– Leaning seat
– Car style steering
– Leg operated back pedaling brakes
– Folding for storage
– Disassembling for transportation

This trike can be set up in various configurations including a velomobile.

Comfortrider configurations

And there are various options available:

Comfortrider drawing

As stated this trike folds as well as disassembles for transporting and storage purposes. The first step is to remove the seat which is suspended on springs on the back side.

Comfortrider seat removed

Comfortrider folded

Comfortrider disassembled

The trike has a single rear driving wheel, back pedaling brakes and automotive style steering. Here are some images showing this:

drive system detail

back pedeal brake detail

back pedeal brake detail 2

steering detail

They have some videos of this trike available:

They even have a couple of motorized versions shown on their WEBSITE.

Comfortrider motorized

I assume that the engine is a 4 stroke and not 2 stroke, but they don’t specify. Here is an electric motor version:

Comfortrider electric motorized

You can check out some of their options HERE. And HERE you can check out a lot of details about the trike. Here are a couple of samples of what can be found on their detail page.

Comfortrider clamps

Comfortrider seat

The Comforider is not a tadpole trike. It is not a low rider. It is a recumbent. And it does look like it would be a comfortable ride. It may be somebody’s “cup of tea”. (For the benefit of those reading this who are not Americans and don’t understand what I just said the term “cup of tea” means “what someone likes or is interested in”.)

CATRIKE TRAIL FOLDER IS NOW AVAILABLE


For those who have been waiting for the Catrike Trail Folder model to make its appearance your wait is over. It is out!

catrike trail folder right side rear view

catrike trail folder folded & standing up

catrike trail folder 4 pics

To the best of my knowledge and understanding it is identical to the standard Trail model with the exception of the hinged frame so that it folds. This feature adds $350 to the cost. The Catrike Trail Folder incorporates a couple of neat features which I applaud. I am talking about the  fact that the seat folds and doesn’t have to be removed in order to fold the trike. The other thing I really like is that the trike has small diameter wheels built onto the frame so that when folded the trike sits on the two front wheels as well as these small diameter wheels. With this setup two things are accomplished. First the trike frame/seat is held up off of the ground. Secondly, the trike can easily be rolled around on these wheels eliminating the need to lift it and carry it.

http://www.catrike.com/#!trail/cc67

folding Catrike Trail 2

This model is listed for $2750 MSRP.

Here are some specifications from Catrike’s website:

Frame & Geometry

Folded Length

Folded Width

Folded Height

Total Length

Total Width

Total Height

US

43 in

32.5 in

22 in

73 in

32.5 in

25 in

metric

1092 mm

826 mm

559 mm

1854 mm

826 mm

635 mm

Wheel Base

39 in

991 mm

Wheel Track

29 in

737 mm

Seat Angle

45/52 deg

Weight*

37 lb

16.8 kg

Seat Height

9 in

229 mm

Seat Width

14 in

356 mm

BB Height

16 in

394 mm

Ground Clearance

3.25 in

102 mm

Total Height

25 in

635 mm

Height w/ Seat Folded

24.5 in

622 mm

Turning Circle

16.5 ft

5.25 m

Turning Radius

8.25 ft

2.6 m

Rider Weight Limit

275 lb

125 kg

Rider X-Seam Range

39/46 in

99/117 cm

*Weight with all standard components and accessories including pedals, padded seat, mirror, etc.

Standard Features

Padded seat

Ergonomic adjustable seat back

Roller wheels for rolling when folded

Padded wrist rests

Rear Fender

Flag Mount & Flag

Mirrycle Rear View Mirror

Multi Purpose Clipless Pedals

Computer Sensor Mount

Brake Lever Velcro Strap for Parking

No Brake Steer

Self Centering

Ackerman Steering Compensation

Structural Front Boom

Quick-Release Indexing Boom Clamp

Aluminium Rod Ends

Low Friction PTFE Flared Chain Tube

Brakes

Avid BB7 Disc Brakes

Brake Levers

Avid Speed Dial 7 Brake Levers

Front Derailleur

Microshift Triple

Rear Derailleur

SRAM X-7 10 Speed

Shifters

SRAM 500 TT Bar End Shifter

Crankset

FSA Gossamer Pro Triple

Bottom Bracket

FSA Road MegaExo

Chainrings

30/39/52

Chain Guard

FSA Guard

Cassette

SRAM 11/36 10 Speed

Chain

FSA 10 Speed

Idler

TerraCycle Alloy Cog ABEC 7

Headsets

FSA Zero Stack

Front Tires

406 Schwalbe Marathon Racer

Rear Tire

406 Schwalbe Marathon Racer

FOLDING TRIKES


folding vs. non folding

Folding trikes have been around for a number of years and most certainly there is a need for them as not everyone has a means of hauling a trike which doesn’t fold to a smaller size. I have to admit there are times I wish my trike folded as I would love to be able to haul it in our car instead of having to drive the pickup truck. As a weldor/fabricator I have my thoughts and concerns about folding trikes. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea … the concept, but having the frame fold creates areas where there is a chance of problems developing. When it comes to trike frame design Catrike’s “space frame” most impresses me among all the trikes out there. It is all one piece making it super strong and practical. There is nothing to move allowing inefficiency, or to make noise from movement or to come loose or to wear. It is simply the best way of designing a trike frame hands down. When you start adding in anything which takes away from this problems follow. Hinged seat backs, removable seats, seats that adjust forward and backward (or any other direction), suspension, etc. all invite various problems to develop. One thing that almost always occurs is the generation of annoying embarrassing frustrating noises. And that is just on a non folding trike. Adding hinges in the frame so that it can fold can quite possibly bring on some of these things I just mentioned. That is the way I see it.

That being said, still the concept of a trike which folds is appealing. Until fairly recently folding trikes required that the seat be removed in order to fold it. Some even involved removing wheels. I don’t claim to be an expert on folding trikes (or even on trikes for that matter), but to the best of my knowledge and understanding there are at least 3 (well almost 3) manufacturers now offering models which fold without having to remove the seat. I am for that as it is quite practical. Again, in my opinion, having to remove seats and wheels is a real pain. The 3 trikes I speak of are: Evolve, Catrike Trail, and HP Velotechnik Gekko. Catrike announced that the Trail Folder was coming out this year, but I haven’t heard (read) anything more about it since it was first made known so I don’t know what is going on. The last thing I saw was that it is coming out sometime this Spring. Well, Spring is pretty well over and Summer is almost here (5 more days)  … and still no Trail Folder has emerged. Here are images and videos of these 3 trikes:

EVOLVE

folding Evolve trike

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folding Catrike Trail 2

Catrike has finally started selling these and they sell for $2750.

sorry, no videos of the Catrike Trail Folder available at the time of the writing of this article

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HP VELOTECHNIK GEKKO

HP Gekko Folding Tadpole

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If I were looking into a folding trike to buy I don’t think I would consider any other trike but one of these … for the reason I stated … practical simplicity. We are talking about just a few seconds time to fold and unfold these trikes vs. several minutes with those where the seat has to be removed and put back on. Just removing and reinstalling the seat would be too challenging for some riders, especially if they have physical limitations making it difficult or impossible to get down and work under the trike to reinstall the seat. Some seats are not all that easy to reinstall compared to others. For anyone who is mechanically challenged this could be a serious matter. And dealing with removal and reinstalling wheels … forget it (I say). For me personally I think I would go with Catrike as their design just looks the best to me. The Evolve has its seat “on the ground” when folded and that concerns me. Both the Gekko and the Catrike Trail Folder have small wheels on the back of the seat frame so their seats don’t sit on the ground at all. Of course, the main purpose of these wheels is to allow it to be moved about without having to lift it. I like that idea … especially as I get older.

I mentioned the seat sitting on the ground being a concern. Another concern is the seat frame. Folding and unfolding a trike frame can result in messing up the physical appearance of the frame when it gets “abrasions” from the ground. I have seen it happen very quickly on a brand new folding trike. It is a shame to see this damage occur. To my way of thinking thought needs to be given to such things when the folding trike is designed and built as this should not happen. Of course, it is up to the individual person as to what measures they take or don’t take to help protect the trike during the folding and unfolding process. My point is that some designs are more difficult to deal with and prevent this from happening.

Anyway, here are some other models which fold. This may not be a complete list of such trikes but it will give you an idea of what is available. And to the best of my knowledge every one of these require that the seat be removed in order to fold it.

AZUB T-TRIS

folding Azub tadpole trike

folding Azub-Ttris

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CHALLENGE ALIZE

folding Challenge Trike Alize

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GREENSPEED GT3

folding Greenspeed GT3

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HP VELOTECHNIK SCORPION FS

aluminum folding ramps with trike

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ICE SPRINT

folding ICE Sprint

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TW MANTIS

folding Mantis

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TERRATRIKE TRAVELER

folding TerraTrike Traveler

folding TerraTrike Traveler 2

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TRIDENT STOWAWAY

folding Trident Stowaway

folding Trident trike

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Whenever complexity enters the design and construction the result will be an increase in cost. So if we want a folding trike we will pay extra for it. Of course, hauling a trike in a car that gets 40 plus mpg vs. hauling it in a truck that gets 15 plus mpg one could recoup the difference in cost rather quickly I would think … especially at today’s gas prices. Of course, if you can ride back and forth from home rather than haul your trike you can save a whole lot of money. And just think of all the extra exercise you’ll get!

Whether you fold or don’t fold,

ENJOY THE RIDE!

2 WAY TRIKE CARRIER DESIGN


As is often the case I came across something while looking for something else. Here is a rather unique design for a trike transportation system.

It looks like it would do the job alright and have minimal effort involved other than having to lift and manhandle the trikes. The only way around that is ramps or a hoist of some sort … or maybe just get the wife to do it.  🙂   Oh, I am in trouble now!

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!


Watch your language! Actually it would be more accurate to say watch your “terminology” but I thought the former would be more attention grabbing.  🙂

What I am getting at is the matter of speaking accurately and being understood correctly. I am all the time reading or sometimes hearing others refer to a tadpole trike as a bike (or bicycle). Obviously that is quite incorrect. A bike has two wheels. A tadpole trike has 3 wheels as does any trike/tricycle. Bi/by means two and Tri means 3. That hasn’t changed. I understand that there are times when it is probably easier to simply refer to a trike as a bike/bicycle. I am talking about when we are speaking to others “in passing” (quickly mentioning something about our mode of transportation and then departing them or at least moving on to another subject). Very few people know what a tadpole trike is if we were to tell them we rode or are riding one to get there. I agree that if they really aren’t interested and there isn’t time or reason to go into detail it is simpler to just say bike/bicycle and let it go at that.

There are other times, however, that it would be much better to not use bike/bicycle when referring to a tadpole trike. I have a simple solution I use. I have a picture of my trike set as wallpaper on my cell phone screen which I can quickly and easily show others so they know what I am talking about if I say tadpole trike. And usually I hear back from them when they look at the picture … “oh yeah, I have seen those before” and everything is cleared up quickly. This picture below is not very good quality but it is of the screen of my cell phone showing the picture I am speaking of:

cell phone wallpaper

So saying bike/bicycle instead of tadpole trike is one of those things many are all too guilty of. I am continually seeing trikes advertised for sale where the ad reads “trike bike” or “trike bicycle”. My question is … which is it? Is it a trike or is it a bike? It can’t be both. Again “bi” means two and “tri” means three. When I am talking about my truck I don’t say “car truck” or “truck car”. That’s ridiculous, yet people say trike bicycle all the time.

Another common error we make is saying “recumbent trike” and leaving it at that. The problem with this is that there are three kinds of recumbent trikes … tadpole, delta, and what I would classify as bordering between a delta trike and a “Florida trike”.  Here is a picture of one:

Sun EZ TriClassic SX

I guess one could classify it as a delta trike but it most definitely is not in the same class as the ones like I am most familiar with. For those who don’t know what a delta trike is here is a picture of one:

Hase Kettweisel delta trike

So when we are talking about a tadpole trike it would be most accurate to say “recumbent tadpole trike”. This may all seem trivial to you but I think it is important to communicate clearly so others know what we are talking about. Besides it just might impress them that we know what we are talking about. 🙂

THINGS I’VE LEARNED


have been riding tadpole trikes now for nearly 7 years and have ridden over 26,000 miles. During that time there are some things I have learned which I want to share here as it might be helpful to others.

1)  Ride smart … don’t leave home empty handed. Carry important things along such as tools, inner tubes, a minimum of a 6 to 8 inch section of chain (to use for making a roadside repair to your chain should something happen to it … hey, it can happen!), master links, air pump, first aid kit, wet wipes, and whatever else you might personally find handy and practical. I carry maps, mosquito repellent, sun block screen, plastic cable ties, electrical tape, a few feet of solid wire, plastic shopping bags, a shop towel, and more.

2)  Keep your tires properly inflated. It is best to run them up to their maximum pressure rating as you will get the best wear out of the tires and the least amount of rolling resistance.

3) Use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as it will mean no flats and much longer wear than any other tire. It still handles great and rolls well. By far the best price I have found on purchasing Schwalbe tires is directly from Germany where they are manufactured. HERE is a link to the website. That link is for those from the United States. To order from another country just change the information for country, money, etc. There is a shipping charge of $27.20 (currently) to the United States. Other countries can be looked up. Because of this shipping charge by far the best deal is to buy 3 tires at the same time which is the maximum number which can be ordered at one time for that shipping charge amount. The current price per tire is shown at $29.37 (they have gone up quite a bit since the last time I ordered). Three tires at $29.37 is $88.11.  With the shipping charges figured in it is $115.31.  $115.31 divided by 3 is $38.44 each. Try finding this tire elsewhere and compare prices. At the moment I can find this tire at a pretty good price ($41.62 including shipping) here in the U.S. In the past this has not been the case. So I guess one just needs to check it all out to see what is available as the situation changes. The tire lists for about $54.

4)  When crossing speedbumps and gently sloping curbs I have found that if it is safe to do so approaching at a minimal acute angle works best as it almost entirely eliminates the “bump” encountered. You might have to make sharp turns on both ends to accomplish this but it is worth it.

speedbump

5)  When dealing with small holes, bumps, debris, etc. in your immediate path and there is no time or safe way to steer completely over around it you can usually avoid it if you ride along and aim to have your pedal go right directly over it. Unless it is too wide you should be able to avoid it with all three wheels by doing this.

6)  When riding with others be careful not to cut another rider off when going around a corner or sharp turn. And watch out for others doing this. Try to give sufficient warning to others behind you if you intend to slow down or stop. Colliding together could spell real trouble. Not only can the trikes get damaged but personal injury could result. It is unwise to “hot dog” around others or to do anything messing with their trikes while riding or even sitting still together in a group. Remember the golden rule … do unto others as you would want others to do unto you … or another way of stating it is don’t do anything to someone else (including to their trike) that you wouldn’t want them doing to you or your trike.

7)  Take plenty of water with you and drink it (stay hydrated). Most of us don’t drink nearly as much water as we should. We should drink half of our body weight in ounces each day. In other words, if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink 75 ounces of water daily. Water is by far the most healthy drink there is. We should avoid most every other type of liquid drink as none are good for us and some are very bad for us (especially anything with sugar in it). If we do drink anything other than water it does not count against the quantity of water we are supposed to drink.

8)  Take rest breaks as needed … especially on hot days.

9)  Wearing a bicycle helmet and using some means of keeping your feet on the pedals so they can’t fall off and onto the ground and get swept back and ran over is a good idea. I personally do neither and have never had any problems with my feet hitting the ground. I understand the danger however so I would never advise against doing these things.

10)  Always ride with good safety flags and flashing (in the daytime) headlight(s) and taillight(s) so that other see you. Read my article about safety flags HERE. For the money, I don’t think you can beat the Planet Bike lights …minimum of 1 watt Blaze Headlight and  1/2 watt SuperFlash Tail Light. They not only work great but have excellent battery life compared to most other manufacturers’ lights. There are other lights available which may be a little brighter but their cost is a whole lot more and their battery life is a whole lot less.

Planet Bike headlight and taillight

11)  It is advisable to ride with at least one other person for safety reasons.

12)  Don’t skimp on buying a trike just to save money. Get the best quality trike you can afford. You won’t regret it. You might regret buying a lower priced lower quality trike however. The saying holds true … you usually get what you pay for. I personally recommend Catrike over any other brand out there.  They make a top quality trike and stand behind their product.  Also figure on a minimum of $150 for accessories as they are important. I am talking about lights, safety flags, horn or bell, cargo hauling items (rear rack, panniers and/or rear rack trunk bag), a cable lock device to lock up your trike when parking it to shop, eat, etc. If you don’t already have bicycle tools these will be an additional investment. Again, buy quality tools … not inexpensive ones which will probably quickly fail you upon use.

13)  Check the toe in … it could be off or change after initial setting. Toe in is critical to proper handling and tire wear.

14)  Check for chain stretch and replace the chain if it stretches more than a 1/16th of an inch between links. Sprockets should also be checked for wear and if need be changed. Usually sprockets should last thru two chains but a badly worn chain will quickly wear out brand new sprockets and badly worn sprockets will quickly wear out a brand new chain. A tadpole trike uses about 2.5 to 3 bicycle chains to reach the length of the chain run around the front and rear sprockets.

15)  Keep the chain and sprockets sufficiently oiled to prevent excessive premature wear.

16)  Be a good ambassador (representative) for cyclists as a whole and tadpole trikes specifically. Obey the law and trail rules. You might even consider volunteering on a local trail maintenance organization.

17) When going over a bumpy surface you can’t avoid and you have no suspension on your trike you can eliminate much of the jarring by simply lifting your body up off of the seat. To do this use your shoulders on the top of the seat back and your feet on the pedals to lift your body. In the drawing below the black line represents the seat. The red line represents the rider’s body. The blue line represents the pedals. The green line (arrow) shows the gap between the seat and the body when the body is raised up in the air off of the seat.

road shock

I may add more onto this list if anything more comes to mind.

HPVelotechnik Scorpion fs 26 S-Pedelec e-trike


Lately I have found myself being challenged by one of the two guys I usually ride with. He just recently purchased an HPVelotechnik Scorpion fs 26 S-Pedelec e-trike. So trying to keep up with him is not possible as there is no way to compete against an electric motor assist. He is out there ZOOMING RIGHT ALONG! The other day while out riding on a local trail a “roadie” came whizzing by doing about 20 mph passing him like he was in sitting still. He let him get quite a way ahead and then decided to give chase. It took awhile but he caught up with him. His trike is capable of doing about 28 mph with the electric motor assist. When he came up behind the roadie he said to him “I thought you roadies were supposed to be fast?” And then he went zipping around him and went way on up uphead of him. The roadie didn’t know what to think. Of course, the roadie didn’t know that the trike was motorized as unlike most electric motorized trikes it is very quiet even at speed. And my friend didn’t tell him any different. 🙂 He just let him think that a tadpole trike passed him up going considerably faster than he was riding. It was kind of funny.

This trike is mighty quiet but it certainly is not cheap. I mean we are talking $7500 to over $8500 (insane cost) depending upon what you select in the way of the battery option. It has a dual battery setup  available which doubles the speed and range the trike is capable of. The motor draws its power from a 36 Volt Li-Mn rechargeable battery with a 530 Watt Hour capacity. The recuperation function involving the motor working as a generator when braking extends the range through energy recovery. It takes 4 hours to charge the motor from a plug socket. The trike comes with a start assist function as standard, which propels the vehicle to a speed of up to about 3.75 mph at the push of a button. I am told that you can set the controls on a negative number (-1 to -3) and as you pedal it will charge the battery. I am also told that when doing this it is difficult pedaling and will wear you out if you try this for very long. On -1 pedaling is slightly more difficult and at this setting the battery is being charged the least. On -2 it is a little harder yet pedaling and the battery charging is increased. On -3 it becomes far more difficult and tiring to pedal while the battery gets maximum charging.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

HPVelotechnik Scorpion FX26 e-trike 2

aluminum folding ramps with trike

As you can see the trike folds which is a good thing because it is quite large and won’t fit as easily inside some vehicles to haul it. In order to fold it it is necessary to remove the seat which is a bummer. Reattaching the seat is a bit challenging in my opinion. I have watched my friend do this and as far as I am concerned it is a real pain in the butt to do. I really like the trike designs which fold with the seat left in place. Evolve and Catrike offer this as does the Gekko model offered by HP Velotechnik. Also when the trike is folded and unfolded it seems to have a tendency to get caught/hung up on the handlebars. The mirror is in the way and has to be moved every time the trike is folded. I am not impressed with some aspects of the design engineering I see in this trike. The trike comes with a guard over the largest front sprocket (chain ring). On my friend’s trike this won’t stay tight and is constantly rotating around either falling down or backward right into the front derailleur. I think HP needs to redesign this mounting of this guard (perhaps copy the mounting method ICE uses on theirs).

The trike is full suspension … probably about as good as a trike suspension system comes as it works quite well.  It comes with a brake/tail light combination, headlight, front LED running light and an integrated computer. I need to qualify that about the lights. My friend’s trike came with these lights. I do not know for a fact that these lights come stock or are an option. The wiring going back to the taillight has plug in connectors which seem to come apart easily and can be difficult to connect back together.  On my friend’s trike we moved this wiring slightly upward following along the rear rack and secured it in place using plastic cable ties. Since then it hasn’t given any more trouble coming apart at the connectors.

The trike has hydraulic disc brakes on all three wheels.  The front brakes operate off of the left brake lever and the rear brake operates off of the right brake lever. It also has indirect steering but, unlike most trikes with indirect steering, it turns amazingly sharp. It is a very long wheelbase so this adds to the amazement. It has a choice of seats … mesh or hard shell molded. It is 27 speeds which surprises me since nearly all of the industry has gone to 30 speeds. Weighing in at 72 pounds it isn’t something you would want to pedal around much without the motorized assistance. It is also a bit much to manually lift in and out of vehicle you haul it in, especially if you are doing it alone.

Additional technical data:
Seat height BodyLink seat 29 cm (11.42 inches)
Seat height ErgoMesh seat 32 cm (12.6  inches)
Seat angle 32–41° adjustable
Bracket height 40–45 cm (15.75 to 17.72 inches)
Track 78 cm (30.71 inches)
Width 83 cm (32.68 inches)
Frame: Aluminum 7005 T4/T6
Rider height approximately 1.62–2.00 m(5 foot 3 inches to 6 feet 6.72 inches)

One thing about this trike … it is so quiet that most people would never know it is motorized. And since it is basically pedal assist it isn’t obvious as far as watching someone ride it. For me, I think the real attraction to a trike like this is in the climbing hills department.

Regardless of what you ride …

Enjoy the Ride!

 

TRAIL RIDING VS. ROAD RIDING


Below is one of the articles I wrote and is posted on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog. Steve was kind and gracious in giving me his permission to post them here on my own blog. I have made some minor changes mostly in the way of updating information I wrote about. Here is the article:

Some of us have a preference one way or another. Some of us have a choice while others do not. Some have no trails available and only have roads. Personally I am not afraid to ride out on the streets, roads and along the highways, but I have friends who are and won’t do it. They won’t even ride in bike lanes. That being said, I much prefer riding on trails as I find them more interesting for the most part. And I don’t think there is any doubt that they are safer than riding on streets and roads. I only wish I was in a position where I could travel around the country and ride all the different trails that are available out there. Of course there are paved trails (asphalt or concrete) and what I consider non-paved trails (everything else). I don’t care to ride on any trail that isn’t paved … especially riding a trike. I have ridden off road with my trike, but it ain’t for me. I think off road riding on a trike is very impractical. Sorry, maybe you don’t agree and like doing it.

Here where I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana we have approximately 80 miles of paved trails at the current time. In actuality we only have about 38 miles of trails which are of practical use … of any appreciable length and connected together. Some “trails” are what I refer to as “glorified sidewalks” and not really trails at all … at least they are not my idea of what a trail is. They are simply extra wide sidewalk which run along the side of a street or road. If commuting someplace is what one is doing then I have no problem with riding on these rather than riding out in the road/street. Otherwise there just is no comparison between these “sidewalks” and a true trail. I just have a hard time with classifying them as trails. Now 80 miles of trails sounds like a lot, but I tell you that those of us who ride on them daily will all say that it gets old quick. And as I said, it is really only about 38 miles we ride on. Hopefully someday there will be more and they will connect. Right now all the newer sections which exist are scattered about and isolated from one another. What was originally built is all a linear trail following along our 3 rivers. This means that once we get to the end of the trail we have to turn around and come back. The trails do not loop around or connect to other trails … not yet anyway.

There is a tadpole trike rider up in Calgary, Canada who has several YouTube videos of his rides. They are good quality videos which I enjoy watching.

https://www.youtube.com/user/abohdan/videos?view=0

Out of curiosity I looked up bicycle trails in the Calgary area and discovered that they have approximately 375 miles of trails and 240 miles of bike lanes. That is a bunch! I am impressed!

Perhaps you have something to say concerning your preference and what you have available where you live. I am all ears. Well, actually my nose is bigger than my ears, but we won’t go there. 🙂

Keep On Trikin’

Trike Hood (or Canopies)


Ed Miller ridin'

Note: I have a more recent article on canopies which  offers more information, pictures, videos, and resources. HERE is a link to it.

My very first article I wrote and is posted on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog was about trike canopies. Steve Greene was kind and gracious to me in giving his permission to post my articles I wrote on his blog on my own blog and so here is the first of 4 I am posting.

Ed Miller, an avid trike pilot from Tennessee has many fine YouTube videos available of his numerous trike adventures as he rides with his various friends.  He rides an ActionBent tadpole trike.  I love watching his videos and highly recommend them to you.  I personally think they are among the very best I have viewed to date.  There is lots of beautiful countryside and wildlife in most of his videos, especially deer.  His YouTube username is LogNotching.  HERE is a link to all of his videos.

He also has come up with some ‘innovations’ including what he refers to as a Trike Hood.  It is all about providing shade from the sun and offering a little bit of protection from rain as well.  I say little because he would be the first to admit that it offers “little” protection.  His design is pretty ingenious in that it is simple, basic yet relatively inexpensive and effective.  And it is lightweight which is a concern to most of us.  He can readily release the front hook which holds it down horizontally over him so that it stands upright out of the way allowing him to mount and dismount normally.  He says it doesn’t effect handling or speed noticably as he has it tweaked in which he explains in one of his videos.

trike hood

trike hood released

If you are interested in ordering one of Ed’s canopies or just want more information you can contact him via email at …

logbuilder  at  mindspring.com       Just mention ‘canopy info’.

Ed has a few videos among his 142 (and counting) YouTube postings which show and explain various aspects of the construction which should prove quite helpful for anyone considering attempting something like this.  Here are a couple of links to these videos:

Another item he has made which might be of interest to some readers is a flat platform which serves as a rack for hauling his trike behind his motor vehicle as well as a work stand to perform maintenance, cleaning, etc. and a vertical stand for storing his trike so it takes up less room.  And it is made out of plywood so it is fairly simple to make and relatively cheap in cost.  Again, he has a video showing and explaining the construction of it.

If you get a chance, perhaps on a rainy day when you can’t be out there riding (without a canopy :<), check out Ed’s videos.  I think you’ll like them.
Check out my more recent article about canopies HERE. It has more information, pictures videos and resources than this older article.

OUT OF SHAPE


For many of us who live where we have winter to deal with we either can’t or don’t get out to get exercise. I am talking specifically about riding a tadpole trike,

Steve on new trike at Foster Park

but it is also true of nearly any type of exercise one can name other than winter sports such as ice skating, snow skiing, etc. As a result we get “out of shape”( or out of physical conditioning) … to varying degrees depending upon what we do or don’t do in the way of other forms of exercise. As for me personally I have bad knee joints due to osteoarthritis and I can’t walk much. I used to walk a lot before this happened and wish I still could could as I know it is great exercise and I have always enjoyed walking. Anyway, with this past winter being one of the worst on record the only exercise I got was inside the house other than lots of snow removal outside. When the weather conditions finally improved enough I could get outside to ride my tadpole trike I quickly learned that I was extremely out of shape … far more so than any previous year. I mentioned it to my two friends I ride with. One of them spends 6 months out of the year in southern Florida. When I emailed him and told him about being out of shape he replied back “round is a shape”. He is going to get a knuckle rub on the old noggin’ when he returns up here to the north. 🙂 

round is a shape

All kidding aside, being out of shape is not a laughing matter. I am 67 years old and I am finding that the older I get the harder it is to try to lose weight and get in shape. About the first 2/3 of this past winter I did pretty good as far as maintaining my weight. I usually gain about 15 to 20 pounds over the winter. This winter I started off doing great and experienced very little weight gain. However, by the last 1/3 “all bets were off” as I started gaining back weight and ended up about where I usually am each winter. The only difference is I fell way behind in my physical conditioning since I was not able to get out and ride thru the winter. Yesterday was my longest ride thus far this Spring … about 30 miles. The thing I am most concerned about is I have noticed over the last 2 or 3 years that I am not nearly as motivated as I used to be. Just a few years ago it was not uncommon for me to ride 40 or more miles per day. Just two years ago I managed to ride the most miles of anyone in Fort Wayne signed up for the National Bicycle Challenge.

https://nationalbikechallenge.org/

I entered this national bike challenge but for me it turned into a competition trying to outdo those who were leading. I managed to do so but it became challenging indeed and no longer fun. So I don’t do it anymore even though there are some who want me to. I am just not interested as I know it would turn into another competition thing and I don’t care to do that. In order to take and keep the lead I was riding a lot of 65 to 85 miles days. That was just too much. Now I rarely ride a 40 mile day and most days are 25-35 miles when I am in as good of shape I obtain thru the riding season (Spring, Summer & Fall).  I have found that for me I need to do what I can to keep myself as motivated as possible. Part of that is keeping my riding fun. When it becomes work and drudgery then I lose motivation. A few years ago riding 40 plus miles a day was fun. Now it usually isn’t so I don’t do it anymore. What can I say?

TADPOLE TRIKE CONSTRUCTION – THE SCIENCE OF TADPOLE TRIKE STEERING


For those who want to build a tadpole trike it is imperative that they understand the science of the steering and ensure that they “get it right”. The “center point steering”, camber and caster settings, “Ackerman steering principle” and “toe in setting” all must be correct. Otherwise there will be “trouble in River City” and it could even lead to serious endangerment for the rider. At the very least handling will be greatly effected and tire wear will be a serious problem. When I first bought my Catrike Trail the dealer had the toe in off considerably and my brand new front tires wore out in only 30 miles of riding.

HERE is a webpage with a good explanation of toe in, toe out, camber and caster … what each is and what each does.

In the first video below this man says toe in should be 1/8 inch. That is too much for most trikes. 1/16 inch is preferable and is what is recommended by most trike manufacturers. Actually zero toe in maybe the ticket for some trikes including mine as with my weight on it I end up with about 1/16 inch toe in. There in lies another matter … it is best to set the toe in with the rider seated. This usually means a second person is needed as the mechanic to do the adjusting. It is not imperative that it is done this way, but it does work best. The more the rider weighs the more the toe in will change as the rider is seated on the trike. The closer you can get to zero toe in the better as long as the handling is ok. Never have toe out however as the handling will greatly suffer as a result.

Here are a couple of videos illustrating and explaining about these things.

As to actually measuring and setting the complex angles involved when I built my tadpole trike I simply used one of these (angle finder) …

ANGLE FINDER

As long as you use it properly and read it accurately it works fine for getting things right. My homemade trike rode and handled superbly so I must have got all the steering geometry correct.

The newer higher tech digital readout types would probably be better to use though …

digital angle meter

digital angle meter 2

CATRIKES IN FLORIDA


ride a Catrike Trail recumbent tadpole trike and take a considerable interest in tadpole trikes. Here is a picture of me sitting on my trike …

new trike 1st pics 004

I just stumbled across a YouTube video which I thought I would share here. It is of a few Catrike riders out for a ride down in Florida. Tadpole trikes are a lot of fun to ride and extremely comfortable. Since they sit so low to the ground they handle great. Some compare riding one to driving a go cart or sports car. I would not go so far as to say that, but they do handle great. Catrike tadpole trikes are manufactured in Orlando, Florida.

Every year Catrike sponsors a rally for Catrike owners. I would love to go and participate in it. It is open to everyone regardless of what brand of trike or even bicycle they ride. Here are some videos of the 2014 rally. They show many trikes  up close as they are gathering to go for a group ride on one of the local trails near Orlando. They also show the many trikes and bikes riding on the trail.

And here is another video of the 2014 rally. This one is considerably longer but well made and interesting …

In addition to the organized and unorganized rides there is also a factory tour available. Being a retired weldor/fabricator taking such a tour would greatly interest me. I built my own recumbent bicycle and tadpole trike before buying factory made ones. Here are pictures of both:

my homemade recumbent with 2 steering heads retouched

I never got the bike painted as I ended up cutting it up to use some of the parts to make the tadpole trike.

my homemade tadpole trike with Luke aboard out at Kreager Park retouched

There is also an annual Catrike rally held in Austin, Texas . And there are a few other rallies held in various locations for other brands or for all brands. One is held in Oregon which is for “recumbents” … both bikes and trikes.

Tadpole trikes are also known as reverse trikes since there are two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back. This makes for a more stable design. Although they are becoming more and more popular and sales are up considerably they are still not all that common in many places so when people see them they often don’t know what they are seeing and show an interest in them. Certainly many people comment about how neat they are and that they really like them. Lots of questions are asked about them as people know and understand very little about them. A few of the most asked questions are:

“How do you steer it?”

“Is that comfortable to ride?”

“How fast will it go?”

“Does it have a motor?”

“How much do they cost?”

and the one that I am always amazed when I am asked …

“How do you balance it?”    …  Yes, I have been asked that a couple of times.

I highly recommend Catrike as I think they are one of the best made and designed tadpole trikes available and they are the only** brand name trike totally made in the U.S. Most come from China/Taiwan. Some come from England, Germany, and a couple of other European countries and from Australia.

Anyone interested in checking out these Catrikes further can view their website … http://www.catrike.com/

** There are a small number of trike manufacturers who also make their trikes here in the U.S., but their sales are quite low so I am not counting them as part of the factory produced trikes. TerraTrike manufactures one of their models here in the U.S. but most of their models come from Taiwan.

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