E-BIKE BATTERIES AND WATER … A DEFINITE NO-NO

The other day I foolishly rode thru some flood water thinking that it would not be deep enough to be a concern. Boy, was I wrong! I just ordered a new battery as I ruined the one that got wet. I made it thru the flood water okay but just a few feet beyond the electrical power went off. I switched to my second battery and continued on my way. Later that day after I arrived back home I took my wet battery into the house and took it apart. I dried it out and tested it to see if there was power at the terminals when I turned the key switch. All seemed to be okay so I put the charger on it and it seemed to be charging okay. But apparently it wasn’t. The green light came on indicating it was fully charged so I put it back on my trike assuming all was fine. While out on a ride the next day I ran my backup battery all the way down so I switched over to this battery that had got wet. I turned the key switch to power it up but nothing happened. So I had to ride all the way back home under human power only which was quite challenging. I was about 6 miles away from home. I made it but my legs were shouting for relief.

This same battery has gotten wet a few times before but I never experienced any problem with it until now. I may look into seeing if I can raise the battery mount up a little higher as I have it pretty low. My backup battery is up high in a rear rack so there is no concern with it getting submerged in water. I wonder if the power from the battery had been off when it got wet if it would have prevented damaging from happening. Anyway, a new battery is on order. It was an expensive error on my part. I am just glad it was the oldest of my two batteries as it had less natural life left in it than the newest one.

The battery I just ordered is a bit more sophisticated than my first two and yet it is about $100 cheaper. They were just plain batteries but the new one has a LED taillight and a USB outlet built into it. I just hope the taillight can be shut off. I have plenty of taillights so I don’t need to run the e-bike battery down powering a taillight I don’t need on. I like the idea of having it if I want to use it. The USB port could be very handy. This battery comes with a rear rack and a charger. I can use a new rear rack as the one that came with my first battery is broken and needs welding. I stopped using it some time ago and bought another one which is just a plain rack. I fabricated a battery mount to use under it. I will be glad to get back to using this new rack however as it looks nicer than the conglomeration I have now.

I will probably be wondering just how much longer my first battery would have lasted if I had not done a number on it. They say that typically these batteries have 800 to 1000 charging cycles in them. I probably have near 600 or so on this first battery. It is nearly 2.5 years old.

So sports fans … the moral of this story is “don’t be stupid”. Water and electricity still don’t mix. I could have kept on going and enjoyed the ride … avoiding all this expense. If you were nearby I would bend over and let you kick me. 🙂

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

HOW TO ADD SOLAR PANELS TO A TRIKE

Here is a video about adding solar panels to an e-trike to charge the battery. Tadpole rider, Alex Hofvander, shares about his system.

HERE are other videos of Alex.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TAKING THE LANE

Growing up I never heard of “taking the lane”.  As a child and up thru my teen years I chose to ride on the left (wrong) side of the road against traffic. My thinking and reasoning was that I was able to see the traffic ahead of me coming at me and, if need be, I could take evasive action to keep from getting hit. I never had a policeman stop me for doing this. Later as I grew into adulthood I started riding on the right (correct) side of the road but I stayed over to the right as far as possible trying to stay out of the way of all traffic. BTW, now I try to avoid riding on the left (wrong) side of the road as I came to realize that doing this does present problems for motorists. It can confuse them and shake them up.

In recent years I started hearing about riding out in the lane of traffic “taking the lane”.

When I first heard it I thought it was nuts … asking for disaster. I started experimenting with riding out in the traffic lane and found that there was no problem in doing so. I got more and more comfortable with it and came to the realization that it is safer and better than riding over on the right hand side. So now I take the lane almost all the time. The exception to that is if I am riding somewhere that has a very wide lane where there is plenty of room for motor vehicles to safely pass by me . I am also leery of taking the lane of a road where there are hills and curves which would make it impossible for a motor vehicle coming up behind me to see me in time to avoid colliding with me. It is best just to stay off of roads like that as they are just too dangerous. I want to be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BTW, I haven’t mentioned designated bike lanes. The concept sounds good but I find them objectionable to use as they are just dangerous. Motor vehicles drive in them, park in them, cut cyclists off not paying any attention to them. Then there is the fact that a cyclist is trapped in a narrow lane between moving motor vehicles and parked motor vehicles. The parked motor vehicles pose a real threat as doors are opened just as the cyclist is riding by. Also the parked vehicles start pulling out often not paying any attention if cyclists are riding along coming up to them. I have also noticed that the surface of bike lanes is usually the worst part of the street as far as the surface. There are lots of manhole covers, pot holes, debris, etc. to contend with. It is difficult and dangerous trying to move about to avoid it.

I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS

Recently I saw a custom safety flag which had “I do all my own stunts” on it. That got me to thinking and so here I am writing this article. I can identify with that. I wish I had some of the things that have happened to me recorded on video. Of course, most of it would be on the embarrassing side. I am talking about tip overs, running into things, running over things, etc. Some of those times I was “hot dogging” a bit. Most of the times they were just accidents. And most of the times I was either sitting still or moving slowly.

I learned how easily a tadpole trike can tip over when on uneven ground or when backing up while turning going too fast. I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any really serious injuries.

One time I was picking up trash alongside of a trail. I was doing so while seated on my trike. I had gone over near the edge of an embankment near a river to pick up some trash just over the edge of the embankment. I tried to reach it but couldn’t so I leaned out just a little bit further. That is all it took to cause the trike to tip over and dump me over the embankment with my trike on top of me. I had a time getting out of that mess. Nobody was around to help me so I had to struggle thru it. I didn’t get hurt but it was sure embarrassing.

Another time right in a curve on the trail my two fiends I was riding with suddenly stopped right in front of me without any warning. I had to brake hard to keep from running into the trike in front of me. Braking hard in a turn is not a good thing to do. Over I went and ended up with some road rash on my arm.

Another time I was downtown riding on the sidewalk. I was watching a motor vehicle out in the street concerned that he was turning into the driveway I was approaching. Ahead of me the pavement narrowed and a curb suddenly appeared. I didn’t see it as I was watching the motor vehicle. I hit that curb and it violently tipped me over and slammed me to the ground. I just missed hitting a concrete column which could have resulted in extremely serious injury. I was laying over and trapped in my trike. I struggled to get out of it. I got some cuts and abrasions and bled a lot. It was quite embarrassing.

One time I had unloaded my trike from the back of my pickup truck and was getting ready to go for a ride. I had parked over alongside the road and a river was quite nearby over an embankment. I sat down in my trike ready to ride when I made the bad decision to back up and turn around. As I backed up I didn’t realize my trike was quickly approaching the edge of the embankment. I got stopped okay but I could not go forward. If I dared to release my brakes in an attempt to go forward I only went further back and was slowly going over the edge of the embankment. I was in a real predicament and there was no one around to help me. All I could do is sit there with my brakes locked. After awhile a jogger ran by me. I hollered out to him asking for help but he just ran on ignoring me. A couple of more people passed by as I sat there and the same thing happened. Finally a guy I knew was going by me and I hollered at him by name. I explained to him what the problem was and asked him to take my hand and pull me as I released the other brake and tried to pedal forward. It worked. I got out of that mess. It would not have taken much more backwards movement before I would have gone over the embankment and possibly into the river.

Hot dogging can be bad. I have been fortunate as I never been injured as a result. A friend of mine has had serious injuries as a result of hot dogging. I hit a bollard once trying to turn off of a road onto the trail. I was going too fast. I was able to get almost stopped so when I hit the bollard I wasn’t going fast enough for any damage to happen. In the picture below the trail runs right along side of a street for a little ways. My friend was riding on the trail (blue line) and I was out in the street (red line). I wanted to get ahead of him so I was going faster. I didn’t slow up enough to make the turn. I hit the center bollard attempting to turn onto the trail.

Not looking where you are going can, of course, result in things going wrong. Once I was looking off to my side at a pavilion downtown. I was riding on the wide sidewalk in front of it. There were handrails protruding out over the sidewalk. They were part of the railing that went up steps toward the pavilion. They were just the right height to modify my face if I were to hit them. Again, fortunately I turned back looking forward just in time to swerve and miss them.

Years ago I created this picture of a trike jumping thru the air. Much to my surprise it has fooled several people as they thought it was real. Anyway, the air time might be fun but I sure would not want any part of the landing.

Yep, I have always done my own stunts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That is mainly because I wouldn’t want to see anybody get injured in my place. I am quite hopeful that my stunts are pretty much over with cause at 73 I am getting a bit too old to do my own stunt work. May we all be safe and .simply …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TRIKE TRACKS – BEING MADE by MARTIN SCHMIDT

Martin Schmidt is a fellow tadpole trike rider who hails from Germany. He rides a HP Velotechnik FS26 Scorpion trike and has been making lots of journeys on it capturing much of it on video. His website and his videos are in German so those who don’t savvy the language are out of luck so to speak. Although I took a course of German in high school I don’t remember a word of it. So I can only enjoy seeing the German countryside shown in his videos.

YouTube videos

website

contact form on his website

Here is a sampling of one of his many videos …

**********

FREE GIFT awaits you!

READIN’, RIDIN’ n ‘RITHMETIC

At 73 years old I no longer have much interest in the “Three R’s” I,  like everybody else, was dealing with as I was growing up. Oh, I still read some and most definitely I write (as should be obvious). Arithmetic … only when I have to. Over the last many years the writing part is mostly centered around the “riding” part of my life.

As some of you know I am a retired weldor and metal fabricator. That means I have a lifetime of working with mathematics. And as some of you know I built my first recumbent bicycle and then I built my first recumbent tadpole trike. Most definitely mathematics was involved in all that, especially getting the front end geometry correct so that the trike handled properly and safely. I do very little metal fabrication anymore so my onboard calculator may be getting a bit “rusty”. I don’t know that to be factual but I don’t have any intention of doing anymore fabrication so I will probably never know concerning this. I do, however, work at whatever is needed to keep my trike going. I have already fabricated most things for my trike I have need of so unless something happens to them I most likely won’t be making anything more from here on.

I have never liked to read so I don’t do a lot of it … never have. Subjects like reading, writing, English, literature, etc. were among my least favorite subjects in school. Most definitely my very favorite subject was Industrial Arts (metal shop and mechanical drafting). I also liked science and math … at least until it got into advanced math such as trigonometry, calculus, etc. I did great in math until I got to advanced algebra and advanced geometry. I had always been a straight A student. I had planned on going on to trig and calculus but with the struggle I had in advanced algebra and geometry I made the decision to drop the higher math from my junior and senior years of high school. Of course, I am glad I did as there is no doubt in my mind that I would have failed in those classes. That is my personal story and I am stuck with it. But, hey, I had no need of such math in my life so it was no big thing.

I retired from my welding profession quite a few years ago and truly riding my tadpole trike has become my full time job in retirement. I am usually riding 5 to 7 hours a day most days weather permitting. I do miss the welding but I knew sooner or later it would end. I look forward to riding my trike each day and bad weather bums me out. Of course, none of us know the future as far as what tomorrow may bring into our lives. We don’t even know what will happen the next second from now. No, we have no assurance of our next breath or heartbeat. And because we don’t it is so very important that we have the assurance Jesus Christ offers each of us … the assurance of being ushered into His presence upon death rather than having the demons of hell usher us into Hades. I won’t go on about it as I know many of you are already upset that I dare to mention this. For anyone who is interested you can read more about the subject by clicking on any of the links below.

Yep, I still am engaged in the 3 R’s … readin’, RIDIN’ n rithmetic, but mostly RIDING.

And may we all …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

AIMED AT YOUR HEART

THE PRAYER OF AN ATHEIST

THE ONLY REASON

DON’T CLICK THIS

GOD DAMN IT

MY LAST POST

IS IT SAFE TO BUY/USE A USED HELMET?

Now I ask ya … is it safe to buy /use a used helmet? What is the answer? Is it okay to go to a thrift store and get a used helmet saving big bucks? Is it alright to wear a helmet someone gave you? The answer is … maybe but maybe not. Most definitely it is risky.

Two different things come into play. First the protection that a helmet offers lessens as the helmet ages. That is because the materials the helmet is made of deteriorates over time and lose some of their protective qualities and abilities.

Secondly if the helmet has been dropped it can result in a crack in it that can’t be seen with our eyes. Again, such a crack can diminish the protection the helmet offers. The helmet might look like it is brand new but one or both of these factors may come into play. I know it is frustrating to possess a helmet that still looks like new and in looking at it one naturally thinks that it is perfectly fine and that there is certainly no reason to throw it away and replace it with a brand new one. No one in their right mind likes to throw money away. It is hard to convince ourselves that we should replace our helmets every few years even when it still looks like brand new. However, that is what we are told we should do. I doubt if many of us do this. I have to admit that I don’t. My helmet still looks like new and I am not one to spend money unless I really need to.

Here is what the industry says:

“It’s often recommended that a helmet worn frequently should be replaced every 3 years or so. The reason is that the foam degrades due to sun, heat, salty sweat and other environmental factors, added to the usual knocks of regular cycling activity.”

I have never dropped my helmet and I know that even though it may not offer as much protection as it did when it was brand new it still offers some. I don’t plan on buying a new one anytime soon. But I bought it new so I know its history.

Personally I would never buy a used helmet nor would I consider a used one someone wants to give to me. We just don’t know the history of the helmet.

BTW, I have written other articles about bicycle helmets before.

BE SAFE OUT THERE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TOTAL KNEE JOINT REPLACEMENT – BEFORE & AFTER

As I was out riding today I got to thinking about the subject of knee joint pain and riding. I was never overweight as a child growing up. I weighed 140 pounds when I graduated high school. That being said most of my family is overweight, particularly on my mother’s side. By the time I reached 22 years of age things started to change for me and I started gaining weight. It has been a battleground for me since. I have lost all my excess weight twice but both times put it right back on and even more. I have always been healthy but obesity has been and is my middle name. To add to the abuse to my body I have been a weldor most of my life and have worked down on my hands and knees a whole lot. My dad warned me that I would pay a price for it. Of course, he also included the obesity. And he was right. By the time I reached my mid 40s I was experiencing discomfort in my knee joints. As time passed it got worse and quite painful as my knee joints were “bone on bone” … the cartilage was pretty much gone. Standing and walking became very difficult and painful. I was advised to hold off as long as I could before getting knee joint replacements. Fortunately I could ride my tadpole trike with my knee joint problem as this was not “weight bearing”. That being said as time passed I found that I was only good for about 20 to 25 miles before my knee joints started talking to me. So finally I took the plunge and signed the paperwork to undergo the surgery.

Certainly it is no fun to recover from the surgery but I did very well and soon I was back riding. During the rehab I pedaled the recumbent bike at 120 rpm cadence. They stopped me as they didn’t want me doing that. I probably have pedaled anywhere near that fast since I was a teenager. My knee joints are pretty much pain free although I can’t stand very long nor walk very far before they cry out for relief. They don’t hurt as before when I was bone on bone but now it is a different hurt. Again, it is weight bearing that is the problem. I would imagine that if I weighed what I should it would make all the difference. I probably would not have any problem. But alas the battle of the bulge continues and I haven’t taken back any ground. I can ride my tadpole trike for hours and a long distance without any problem with my knee joints.

However, there is a problem. I am not able to pedal very long or very far under “human power” as ever since I had the surgery I just don’t seem to have the strength in my knee joint area I used to have. Riding became drudgery and I slowed down to such a slow pace that it was no longer enjoyable.  Climbing hills was extremely difficult. Because of all this I made the plunge and bought e-assist for my trike. It has been a “god-send”. My riding experience has been turned around, rejuvenated … and now I am lovin’ riding again just like I did when I first started. In fact, I would have to say I am enjoying riding even more so as I can ride like I did when I was in my 20s. I am 73 now and truly enjoying myself buzzing along out there. Well, that is my story and I am sticking with it. Besides I seem to be stuck with it. Here is hoping we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ALL LIT UP

Anybody who has followed my blog for any length of time should know that I am a firm believer in “being seen”. I use and highly recommend bright flashing headlights and taillights as well as highly visible and attention getting safety flags. Thru the years I have employed several different lights and flags. I have made several changes and always tried to improve what I have. I am well pleased with all the lighting and flags I now have. This particular posting is concerning my taillights. Believe it or not, I have 8 of them on my trike. Seven of them can be seen in this video. The 8th one is in between the seat back and the trunk bag and points downward toward the pavement. It is only for riding at night which I rarely do. Normally I only have one taillight on as I ride and it is the middle top one. I only use the others when I am riding somewhere that I am concerned about extra visibility such as busy/dangerous streets and roads. When I turn 5 to 7 of them on you can bet traffic sees me. I look like an emergency vehicle all lit up with bright flashing lights. If I were to come upon a situation along a trail where I stopped to do maintenance work or help someone who had an accident and was injured I would use the extra lighting to be sure other trail users are aware and exercise caution as they approach. Thus far I am talking about daytime use. At nighttime I would only use the lights on flash mode where again I want to be sure others exercise caution approaching the area. I would never use my headlights or taillights on flash mode at night time otherwise as it is offensive and distracting to motorists as well as confusing to them as well. My point is concerning the multiple taillights … I have them if I need them and they can and do come in very handy.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

NEWBIE’S TRIKE TESTIMONY

A new tadpole rider posted this awesome testimony which I want to share here for others who are considering getting a recumbent trike.

“I’m new to triking, just got mine in March and I’ve only got 39 miles on it. I wanted to share some thoughts for any other newbies or people considering getting a trike.

I was worried about hills before I got my trike. I’d heard that it was harder, slower, etc. to go uphill on a trike. I can say that my first time out, I was able to get up one hill in particular that I could never get up on my regular bike. I always had to stop, get off and walk, but not on the trike. I went slower and used the low gears, but I was able to make it up without any real problems. So pleased by that. I haven’t walked up any hills!

I was also able to stop on a hill, not tip over, and get going again. Impossible for me on a regular bike.

Nothing hurt. Not my bum, hands, wrists, shoulders, etc. I can tell Im out of shape, but no pain from sitting on the trike. It’s wonderful!

I was also worried about being too slow overall, since hubby still rides a bike. Thought it wouldn’t be fun for him to ride together. But even being out of practice for a couple of years, I’m only about 2 mph slower, on average, than what I used to ride on a bike. Not a big difference.

Finally, I never realized how tense I was on a regular bike, especially riding along the road, until I was able to relax on my recumbent trike today. Bumps and rocks, dirt, sticks, traffic passing me, going downhill too fast, they all used to cause me tension when riding on two wheels. No worries at all on three! I could look around and really enjoy the scenery instead of staring at the road and watching for trouble. (Yes, I watched for traffic and made sure to be over to the side, but it wasn’t stressful.)

I’m really happy I bought a trike. It’s made cycling fun again, actually more fun now that I’m not so anxious or in pain. Sorry for the rambling post – I must be in the honeymoon phase with my trike 😊 looking forward to the summer!”

**********

I could not agree more. I can readily identify with everything they said. As for me …13 plus years later …. I am still on my honeymoon.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

529 GARAGE … A SERVICE FOR THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT THEFT

A few weeks ago a comment was left on my article entitled “Our Trikes are Missing” posted on April Fools Day. I took a look at it and thought it would be good to post an article on this blog about this service. Here is what they say …

“In 2013, we set out to create a sustainable program that helps reduce bike theft, promote cycling, and make cities and campuses more bike friendly. The result is the 529 Garage.”

“Our strategy is simple – galvanize riders, shops, police, schools and cities with a common set of tools that allow communities to become better organized than the criminals. Cities that we have joined forces with have seen meaningful, double-digit results in the first two years.”

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

TREK THE TRAILS

Here where I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana we have what is called Trek the Trails. It is an organized bicycle ride led by various people. It is usually about  8 miles long and features a different trail or section of a trail each time. It is held on Tuesday evenings starting in April and ending in October each year. The purpose of this ride is to help people learn the trail system. Here is a video of an interview with the manager of the trail system talking about Trek the Trails. This interview took place in April 2019.

And here is the assistant trail manager in a more recent interview.

And here is another organized ride held in the wintertime …

The Towpath Trail …

The St. Marys Pathway …

Lastly here is a video showing various trails here in Fort Wayne …

When I first started riding on our trail system we had about 21 miles of trails which is what is called the Rivergreenway consisting of trails along the three rivers here in Fort Wayne. Today as I compose this article we have approximately 120 miles of trails. Even so my favorite riding is still on those original 21 miles. I also like the Towpath Trail and Pufferbelly Trail. The Pufferbelly Trail has a long way to go before completion but once it is done it will really be nice as it will connect to other trails making it possible to ride about 90 miles one way between near Bluffton, IN to the south of Fort Wayne to north of Angola, IN near the Michigan State Line.

This year due to the Covid 19 PLANdemic the Trek the Trails program won’t start off until June 2nd.

FREE GIFT awaits you!