It is that time of year again when falling leaves cover the trails. Some trails are fortunate enough to get the leaves removed off of them. Some are not so fortunate and they can present a serious problem for cyclists trying to ride on them. As Steve Irwin was known for saying … Danger, Danger, Danger! Not being able to see the edge of the trail can lead to disaster. Having a front wheel suddenly drop off the edge of the pavement can lead to a tip over or worse.
Over the years various individuals have voluntarily undertaken the task of leaf removal on one of our local trails. I did it myself for about 3 years. A friend made a device to pull behind his trike. It worked okay but watching it and giving thought to how to improve upon it I made an angled “plow” of sorts to pull behind my trike. Being angled it “unloaded itself” as I rode along. All I had to do is pull it.. It worked great … much better than what my friend devised as his was straight and loaded up making it necessary to stop frequently to empty it and manually remove a large pile of leaves off of the trail. If he did not stop to unload it it would unload itself leaving a large pile of leaves on the trail to contend with. Here is a picture of mine as I removed wet leaves off of the trail. Being wet they did not move off to the side unloading as well as dry leaves did. Never the less it still did a pretty good job even on the wet leaves … which surprised me.
As you can see by these pictures it did a really good job.
Here in Fort Wayne, Indiana the city street dept. is supposed to do it, but they rarely do. So there have been individuals tackle it. It is a lot of hard work for them as they don’t have the equipment available to them to use that the city government has (blowers, sweepers, tractors and utility vehicles with various sorts of plows, snow blades and rotary brooms). Scrapers, brooms, rakes, shovels are their tools. And they are walking not riding as my friend and I did. It has been about 3 years since I last removed leaves off of the trail. At the end of the season my broom I incorporated into my device broke and I never replaced it as I had decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I still have it and it would not take much to get it going again, but I doubt if I ever will.
The last couple of years an elderly bicyclist has been doing it using two pusher type snow shovels he holds side by side as he walks along.
His are antiques I think. They are steel and all rusted. He only does the outsides of the trail leaving a bunch of leaves in the center of the trail. When I did it I got them all off. At least he has enough of the leaves off to make it safe. We can see the edge of the trail and that is what is most important.
Hopefully whatever trails you may ride on are maintained and the leaves are removed. Do be careful out there. Riding a tadpole trike is definitely safer than riding a bicycle. I have seen bicyclists go down riding on leaves and wet boardwalks. So …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
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