Note: I started out writing this article about an update on the subject of crank arms shorteners, but it more less evolved into another topic so I changed the title accordingly.

It has warmed up a bit recently and all the snow has melted. Between that and rain we have had recently the rivers have risen and flooded over their banks so that some parts of our local bike trails are flooded over and closed. Boo Hoo!! Never the less I have been able to ride my tadpole trike which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the nasty wind chill factor. In order to ride my trike I removed the crank arm shorteners I had installed on my wife’s recumbent bike I am using for rehab and exercise here at home. I installed the crank arm shorteners on my trike. (I was even able to move the pedals one hole further out so that means my new knee joints are improving.) What a difference! I really like them (Yes, both the crank arm shorteners and my new knee joints.) 🙂


However, there is one thing that I noticed using them on my trike that I didn’t notice on the bike. With the crank arm shorteners installed on my trike I need to readjust my boom … lengthen it … as I am not getting the leg extension I need with the pedals relocated. I have not done that yet, but I should. It probably will require adding some more chain. That is the main reason I haven’t tried moving the boom out yet. It is winter out there folks and I am not too crazy about working out in the cold to accomplish this task.

A rear derailleur is supposed to be able to handle about 2 inches of extra chain length as far as movement of the boom.  That equates to approximately one inch of boom adjustment. However that figure is based on the boom position at the shortest length the rear derailleur handles to the position of the boom at the longest length it can handle. If the boom is already positioned out quite a ways within that range than most of that 2 inches is already used up. If this is the case then additional chain would need to be added.

One nice option is to employ a Universal Boom Adjust Chain Tensioner designed for the boom of a tadpole trike.


They are not cheap ($155), but they do make it easy to move the boom in and out and automatically maintain the proper chain tension. They are especially nice to accommodate various riders of differing sizes. The chain can be made up long enough to move the boom out for a tall rider and when the boom is shortened for a shorter rider the chain tensioner automatically takes care of the extra chain the rear derailleur would not be able to handle. Obviously there is a lot of extra chain and hardware involved and it might appear a bit unsightly to many (myself included), but they do work. You definitely would not want to run it into a curb or such as it would likely be damaged. TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) manufactures these for several different brands of trikes. They can be purchased from some trike dealers and trike manufacturers as well. Catrike sells it for $150, but it is $145 at most of the other sources I have seen including directly from TerraCycle. The Chain Gobbler fits Greenspeed trikes and sells for $149.

Here is a Utah Trikes video on the subject of these chain tensioners …

So this is a very handy and practical option available. Most definitely if you have various size riders riding the same trike this is the way to go. Adding and removing lengths of chain even if you use links which are supposedly quick and easy to remove is a real pain compared to this slick setup. So if you have $150 or so burning a hole in your pocket here is a place to unload that cash and make your life easier. It is always nicer to ride then to “wrench”. And it will even help you and others to …


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There is an old saying … “darned if I do, darned if I don’t” … and sometimes it just seems to apply. It speaks of a situation where one can’t win. The winter weather has improved some lately so I have been trying to take advantage of it and get outside for some exercise and needed therapy for my new knee joints. I went out walking Monday and ended up with my knees and lower back hurting for the rest of the day. Tuesday, despite the cold wind chill factor, I went out riding my trike which I thoroughly enjoyed, but the remainder of the day my knees were hurting. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be nicer weather than yesterday and I was looking forward to riding my trike some more. However, I decided not to venture out today so that I can give my knees a day off to recuperate. I am hopeful I will feel up to it tomorrow. After that the weather is supposed to change for the worse with snow and wind. It seems like I can’t win for losing in all of this. Oh well, I will survive. April will eventually get here and by then my knees should be in better shape. Hopefully I can get out riding and walking some more before then. Every “body” (everybody) needs exercise. I am so thankful I have my trike available to ride and I am generally very healthy. This knee joint matter will improve. I have already come a very long way in a very short time so I am thankful for that as well. So much of our local trail system is closed at this time due to river flooding and/or construction/utility work so I am limited where I can ride or walk right now as far as trails are concerned. Hopefully by April things will be much different and I can get serious out there trying to burn up the pavement. I’ll see about that. I can dream about it. I am no spring chick so I may be foolin’ myself. But hey, I may be surprised. I will let you know. Ya’ll try to …


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While viewing a Facebook page I came across some shirts being advertised for sale for recumbent trikers. They offer several different ones. One of them in particular caught my eye as I found it to be so applicable to me in my personal life. I am still going thru rehab physical therapy following my knee joint replacement surgeries. I wish I had one of these shirts to wear to the rehab therapy. I would like to see what kind of reaction I would get out of the staff there. Today is my 70th birthday and I have rehab in the morning. After today I have one more rehab session and I will be done. I will be glad when it is over as I can’t say that it is fun. I am not convinced that the rehab therapy was of all that much benefit and needed. Riding my tadpole trike is fun and I miss it. With winter upon us and arctic air making life pretty miserable trike riding isn’t happening. Did I mention that I miss riding my trike?


As I sit here in the warmth of my home it is 12 degrees F. outside with a wind chill factor of -2 degrees F. That is considerably warmer than it was when I first woke up this morning, but it is still way too cold for my liking. And it is not even winter yet … not officially anyway. Call me a wimp or whatever, but I find that the older I get the less motivated I am to go out riding in the winter time. Nowadays I much prefer to not go out riding if it is below about 35 degrees F. I used to go out riding when it was 20 degrees. The temperature is one thing … only one factor. Snow on the trail is quite another as I found that a tadpole trike won’t roll thru much snow. Unfortunately the trail I usually ride on (which is my favorite) is rarely ever plowed so riding on it is impossible.

I know some of you who read this blog don’t have to deal with ol’ man winter and can ride year around where you are at. And I know some of you live places where the winter weather is even worse than we have here in northern Indiana where I am at. And I know some of you are out riding thru the nasty winter weather. More power to you. You are a better man than me. 🙂

I reckon the goal for all of us is to do our best to …


C’mon April!

I want to go riding!

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It is Christmas Day so I thought I would try to find something to post pertaining to tadpole trikes and Christmas. There doesn’t seem to be lot available concerning this, but here is what I found … some videos. And while I am at it I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. May it be filled with and centered around the true “meaning of the season” … Jesus Christ … Who was born to carry out God’s plan of salvation for you and I. I have written previously about this. It is “aimed at your heart“. As to all the rest that the world throws in I say … “bah humbug!”.

If it is possible where you are at and you are up to it I encourage you to …


And lastly here is a much longer video by Ed Miller, a tadpole rider well known for his videos as well as the canopies he manufactures and sells.

I have written about LED lights previously.

Here is an excellent Christmas message I have selected to share with you.


The Great Exchange … our sin for Jesus’ righteousness …

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Here is a video of some tadpole trike riders out for a nice day’s ride together. 63.45 miles … not too shabby. I used to go for similar rides often times, but my knee joints brought that to an end and I did good to get 30 miles in on a good day. Now with new knee joints freshly installed I am hoping to get back to riding longer and farther again.

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was just watching a video of a couple riding their tadpole trikes on a paved bike trail. What I noticed and want to call your attention to is the many positive complimentary comments other trail users made as they passed by. Tadpole trikes do get noticed and most people say favorable things about them.

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Toe in is as pictured above in this drawing of a car. Toe in is when the front wheels point inward at the front. Toe out is when the wheels point outward at the front. Just like cars, trucks, buses, etc. must have the proper toe in setting our tadpole trikes need this as well. Determining the toe in is simply a matter of measuring the distance in width between the front of the wheels and the back of the wheels. The measurement in the front should be less than the measurement in the rear in order for there to be toe in. The amount of toe in is quite critical as it will determine how the trike handles and how safe it is to ride as well as how much effort is needed to propel it forward. Lastly it determines tire wear and economy.


I said revisited because I have written about this very important subject before. The very first time I wrote about it I entitled the article “What’s Up With Your Toe?”. Unfortunately it no longer exists in the archives. HERE is another of my articles on toe in. I myself am all to guilty of not following the advice I give out on checking the toe in periodically to ensure that it hasn’t changed. I admit that I rarely check mine. Shame on me! It really doesn’t take all that long, especially if you use what I recommend to check it which is a telescoping antenna.


Using one of these I have found to be far handier, easier and more practical than a tape measure or the cumbersome tool Catrike sells.


Don’t get me wrong. Their tool works. It is just that it is so large in comparison to the telescoping antenna that it is harder to use in my opinion. It is also quite expensive while the telescoping antenna costs a fraction. You could probably buy one at a thrift store selling donated items. An old radio/cassette player/recorder usually has such an antenna on it. I already had a couple of the antennas sitting around I had taken off of radios I discarded. Anyway, because the antenna is so small in diameter it is much easier to get it in places to take the measurements.

And the measurements … well, it is critical. Ideally a zero degree measurement is best so long as the trike handles okay at that setting. Otherwise you can have up to 1/16 inch of toe in and no more. You should never have toe out. One thing to remember is when the rider sits down on the trike the measurement is likely to change. And the heavier the rider is the more likely the measurement is to change to a greater amount. So it is best to have someone sitting in the seat of the trike who weighs the same as the person who normally rides it and set the toe in adjustment with them seated. If that is not possible then you should recheck the toe in measurement again after you are seated. That can, of course, be difficult. I know when I sit on my trike my toe in measurement changes by about 1/16 of an inch so when I set the toe in I set it at 1/16″ knowing that it will change to zero when I am seated on it.

Having and maintaining the proper toe in setting will ensure that your trike will handle properly and safely as well as give you maximum wear out of your tires. The farther off the toe in setting is the more all will suffer. When I first bought my Catrike Trail trike the dealer who set it up had the toe in setting 1 inch off … yes, you read that right … one inch off. The brand new set of Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires that came on it were worn out (the blue liner was showing thru) in only 30 miles of riding as there was so much tire scrubbing going on with the toe in off that much.

This toe in setting can change by itself. Don’t ask me how as it seems to be a mystery. Obviously the “jam nuts” can come loose so it occurs, but I have seen the toe in change when the jam nuts remained tight. It is a good idea to check the jam nuts periodically to ensure that they have remained tight. And, as I stated previously it is a good idea to occasionally recheck the toe in measurement to ensure it hasn’t changed. I really need to follow my own advice. 🙂

Keeping the toe in setting set properly will help us to …


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recently came across an article about velomobiles which I found very interesting and well written so I am sharing a link to it HERE.

Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Recumbent bikes with bodywork evoke a curious effect. They look as fast as a racing car or a jet fighter, but of course, they’re not. Nevertheless, thanks to the recumbent position, the minimal weight and the outstanding aerodynamics, pedaling a “velomobile” requires three to four times less energy than pedaling a normal bicycle.

The one thing I saw throughout the article which always bothers me when I come across it is their referring to a trike as a bike. That is like calling a truck a car … something very misleading and confusing. It is not at all “savvy”. I realize that there are velomobiles which are bikes (two wheels), but most are trikes (three wheels). Anyway, the article covers a lot of aspects of velomobiles and is informative.


Every time I see this picture it reminds me of sitting in a jet fighter looking forward thru the windshield. I bet the jet fighter cockpit is a lot more comfortable to ride inside of than a velomobile though.


Yes, once again I was having a little fun with photo editing. This is probably as close as I will ever get to looking thru the windshield of a velomobile … at least from the inside looking out. 😉

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From reader Glen Aldridge:

* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE* I am pleased to announce that *TRIKE ADVENTURES *located on Vancouver Island, BC Canada has been awarded a Trident Trikes Dealership. Our Business Model is designed to give Customers & Prospective Buyers the opportunity to spend a half or full day exploring our Central Vancouver Island area using one of Trident’s Trike Models. Using ‘On the Road’ Experience to showcase Trident’s offerings should allow new owners to find a model that best suits their needs. We are in the process of setting up our 2017 Tours & so far have the following:

From Nanaimo – The Pizza & Beer Tour From Parksville – The Wine & Cheese Tour From Parksville – The Chocolate & Ice Cream Tour From Qualicum Beach – The Rock & Roll Tour

Each Tour is 4-5 hours in duration & about 30 kms or less in length. They are designed for Beginner Trikers. Longer overnight trips are in the planning stages & will prove to be popular with more experienced Trikers.

Should you wish to be notified of tour start dates or be on our mailing list please visit:


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Yes, I am talking about the crankarm shorteners again. They arrived in the mail today and I installed them on my wife’s recumbent bike I have set up on my indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio. I tried them out and WOW … what a difference! I really like them. I can position my feet normally on the pedals and pedal quite comfortably. My new freshly installed man made knee joints  are loving them. There is only one problem. It is just too darn cold out there even inside the enclosed patio. At least I didn’t have that nasty wind to contend with. And this is jut the start of winter. C’mon April! I chose to install them on my wife’s bike instead of my trike … for now that is … as I don’t intend to try riding my trike outdoors in this miserable weather. Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick note about the crankarm shorteners. They really work great and I highly recommend them. BTW, wouldn’t you just know it? The very same place I bought my crankarm shorteners from is now selling them for over $7 less than I paid for them. The price I paid was the lowest I could find at the time. Oh well, it is truly the story of my life. 🙂

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

Here is a video which explains the need and benefit of shorter crankarms.

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For a very long time now I have wanted to try using crankarms shorteners as they are supposed to help those who have knee joint issues. And it is said that short people should use shorter crankarms. I qualify on both. At my rehab physical therapy sessions I am going thru for knee joint replacement their stationary recumbent exercise bike has the crankarms adjusted to their minimum setting and that setting works great for me. I recently ordered a set of crankarm shorteners so I can pedal normally. With my 165 mm crankarms that came on my trike I have to place the heels of my feet on the pedals in order to pedal it. I tried pedaling my wife’s recumbent bike which I have set up on an indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio at the back of the house, but I couldn’t even pedal it with my heels on the pedals. I think it has 175 mm crankarms. I just am not “there” yet in my recovery. At rehab I can pedal with my feet positioned normally on the pedals. I even cranked it up to 100 rpm cadence a couple of times. So the shorter crankarms really do make a difference. I am really looking forward to having them on my trike.

Here is a video which explains the need and benefit of shorter crankarms.

What I am not looking forward to is winter weather for the next few months. I don’t know how much I will be getting out riding thru the winter. If it gets nasty enough I will no doubt bring my trike back inside the house for the third winter in a row and set it up on the indoor trainer in the living room in front of the large screen TV which is also used as a computer monitor. With access to the internet I can find all sorts of stuff to watch on that big screen in front of me including riding on bike trails. It is almost like being there except I can’t lean in the turns. 🙂

Yep, a set of these just might be your ticket as well.


Shortens cranks by 24, 41, 59 and 76mm. I am pretty certain that I will be using the 59 mm position (next to the shortest) as that will give me about 106 mm crankarms which is close to the setting of the crankarms on the stationary recumbent exercise bike I am pedaling at rehab. The really neat thing about using these is that if and as one improves the pedals can be moved further out. I doubt if I would ever go back all the way to 165 mm though.

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

HERE is the best price I have found on them. I am quite certain that they are going to help me to …


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