SIMPLY ALARMING

This little thing which as you can see easily fits in the palm of my hand and the remote control for it which is even smaller is a Hendun bike alarm. Recently someone posted about it on Facebook and that is how I learned of it. I bought it on Amazon for only $17.90. In and of itself it won’t prevent one’s trike from being stolen. It is more less a tool to be used to alert the trike owner to somebody messing with their trike.  It is recommended that this alarm be used along with a lock to actually help prevent the theft of a trike. It is advertised as being 113 decibels. I have no way of measuring it but it is loud. I am not so sure that it is LOUD Enough  though to be heard if the owner is inside a restaurant or store or even their house.

I especially like the “panic button” on the alarm’s remote control. I have been pondering over using it  in place of my bell or horn. I definitely think it would be heard. The only thing is the remote is so small it might be hard trying to use it while riding along. Here is a video about this alarm.

And here is another video about bike alarms …

The alarm is a different brand name but it looks identical to the one I bought. That is China for ya. HERE it is on Amazon. It lists for 9 cents more than the Hendun I bought. Of course, Amazon has many different bike alarms and many of them are fairly low cost.

I tested the range of the remote today. I got about 200 feet away from my trike using the remote and it was still working. I didn’t bother going any further distance away.

Here is a video of me messing around trying to learn how to use this alarm as far as all the different sounds it is capable of.

Well, I am going to go install my new alarm. I wonder how loose dogs would respond to it.

UPDATE–I installed the alarm and went for a ride. Within 20 minutes I tried to use it and discovered that the alarm quit working.  I would have to say it is typical Chinese junk. I will be returning it to Amazon and get a replacement hoping it will keep working. If not, next time I will return it for a refund. This is all next day service with Amazon.

UPDATE –I RECEIVED THE REPLACEMENT AND INSTALLED IT ON MY TRIKE. SO FAR IT IS WORKING GOOD AND IS A WELCOME ADDITION.

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BIG BEN PLUS TIRES FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

Are you tired of reading my ramblings? Would you enjoy some fresh material written by someone else other than me? Awhile back I “asked for help”. I wanted to see if anyone would be interested in being a contributing editor. I got absolutely no response. Then later I asked again and one person stepped forward.

Please meet and welcome Joe Antonio.

Joe is happily married to Liz and has nothing but praise for her.

 OO LA LA!

DON’T LOOK!

[I concur. STEVE]

… I love this picture! …

Not only is Joe a fellow tadpole trike rider but so is his whole family. Here they are mounted on their Catrikes. Joe is on a Dumont. Liz is is on a Villager and their 8 year old daughter, Scarlett is on a Pocket.

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DISCLAIMER: The views, beliefs, position and opinions expressed by other authors on this website are those of that author and do not necessarily reflect my own personal views, beliefs, position or opinions. 

Steve Newbauer

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Now onto Joe’s contributing article on Big Ben Plus tires …

“To read way too much information about a tire written by an half crazed insomniac keep reading. 

This ramble includes some information about fitment issues that I experienced installing the tires on my older Catrike Dumont. There’s also a bit about folks who report some compatibility on Catrike’s 3×20” models. It’s important to note that the issues I share here are my own experience on my own trike. Many, if not most people including my new boss, Steve Newbauer, report easy installation and a good fit. 

These are my impressions and experience buying, installing and riding the Schwalbe Big Ben Plus performance tire. If you want exact specs and a source to purchase the tires click on the link to Bike24.com. I hope that much of what I have learned and shared is helpful to those considering buying a set. I’ll extend a sincere thank you to Steve for recommending the tire, Bike24 in Germany and most importantly, picking up my review.  

Billled as “the Big Apple’s robust brother”, Schwalbe promises a lot from this tire and in my opinion they have delivered in a big way. [I concur. STEVE] There’s no denying that Big Ben Plus is composed of Schwalbe family DNA. It shares some of the best materials, tech and engineering from the Schwalbe line up. The team at Schwalbe have done a great job of borrowing the very best characteristics and strengths from several tires in the line-up and rolling them all into one great high performance tire.

A common reason so many trikers seek this tire out is its relationship with the ever popular and sometimes maligned, Big Apple and Big Apple Plus. It promises a smooth suspension like ride like little brother but in a more “robust” casing. In my experience thus far I am happy to report that Big Ben Plus rides every bit as nice as the Big Apple Plus. It smooths out things like bridge planks, crusher fine path and dirt roads quite nicely. Mounting a set is not going to give you travel like the latest suspension trikes but it does a wonderful job smoothing out the road. It seems quite capable on varied surfaces. It even provides a bit of protection from those dreaded shots to the kidneys one might really feel without their high volume and forgiving nature. [I concur. STEVE]

So what’s the difference between this big tire and the Big Apple and Big Apple Plus? Big Ben Plus is a real purpose built e-bike tire. Schwalbe’s promise of a more robust tire is evident pretty quickly, especially if you take them out for a ride in town. I enjoyed the fact that they handle sharp imperfections like the edge of a curb, heaving concrete or storm drains so well. I think they are much and less likely to pinch a tube compared to both Big Apple offerings. 

Big Ben Plus also borrows several strengths from the tire so often recommended and positively reviewed the Marathon Plus. It’s shared “Plus” moniker reveals the same high mileage but easy rolling rubber formulation  I would not expect 30,000 miles of service like a Marathon Plus but it should provide good service over many miles if you take care of them.  The Big Ben Plus promises excellent puncture protection complements of a 3 mm Race Guard protective belt and a layer of Snake Skin on the sidewalls. Big Ben Plus is rated 6 out of 7 for puncture resistance, just one point shy of the bullet proof Marathon Plus, two points greater than standard Big Apples and on par with the Big Apple Plus.

Lastly and most important to me and my good experience, is that the tire is branded with the European ECE-rating, (ECE 75 for Ben and ECE-25 for Marathons and Big Apple offerings). It’s an excellent purpose E-bike tire thru and thru. This tire speed rated for speeds up to 50 KPH!  Big brother likes to go fast. It’s stronger casing and reinforced sidewalls ensure that Big Ben handles and holds the road much better than the Big Apple and the Apple Plus. I dare say they handled even better than the smaller sizes of the Marathon Plus. For a balloon tire the Big Ben Plus is an animal at speed. Schwalbe groups this tire with their performance rating and claims that it is excellent for intensive use.  [I concur. STEVE]

So is the Big Ben Plus the very best all-around tire you can buy for your trike? I’d have to say no. In my opinion that distinction still belongs to the Marathon Plus in a 1.75 width. [I concur. STEVE] Most recreational riders will enjoy excellent all around performance and great service from the Marathon Plus for years if you take care of them. Big Ben’s suspension like ride is really nice but for most riders its an awful lot of tire to push around. If you are strictly human powered and not concerned about its e-bike strengths, it’s likely to be more tire than you need.”

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THANK YOU JOE FOR A WELL WRITTEN ARTICLE. I LOOK FORWARD TO MORE FROM YOU. STEVE

DEAR READERS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT AND ENCOURAGE JOE AS HE COMES ABOARD AS A CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR.

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WAYS TO AVOID GETTING FLATS

Utah Trikes produces lots of good videos. Here is one about various available options one can pursue to avoid getting flat tires. I noticed that the very first option mentioned is my choice … Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. It is still the best tire money can buy and most sensible approach to the matter of avoiding flats. You not only get excellent flat protection but you get incredible wear. … 2 to 3 times as much as the Tannus.  It is a lot of tire for the money. I personally am very unimpressed with the Tannus tire.

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WHY GET AN ELECTIC ASSIST ON A TRIKE?

This video states that 70 % of tadpole trikes are being sold with electric motors. All it takes is a ride on one to understand why this is so.

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WINTER BLAHS ALREADY and IT ISN’T EVEN AUTUMN YET

How is it possible that I can already be experiencing winter blahs when Autumn is not even here yet? Well, at least according to the calendar it isn’t here yet. I tell ya …. the temperature has already fallen off. Oh, it will warm back up some as summer has its last hooray, but the overnight lows are already announcing change of seasons are upon us. I was out riding yesterday wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I did put a sweatshirt on and was thankful for that along with the brown cotton gloves in had in the pockets. I assumed as the day went on I would be removing all of it, but the temperature never climbed much so I wore it the entire time I was out. I laid in bed last night covered with only a sheet and was cold all night long. Tonite will be different as I already put a comforter on the bed. I will be warm tonite and hopefully will get better sleep.

Oh, I am looking forward to Autumn and all the beauty of the foliage. I can’t say I am looking forward to the leaves falling onto the trails, especially if the city fails to remove them like they often times do. I used to remove them myself, but I stopped doing it.

I had a friend who also use to remove leaves off of the trail. I liked my leaf removal rig a lot better than his. Mine was made like a plow which off loaded the leaves to the outside  as I went along but his didn’t and they kept  piling up making it harder and harder to pull. Also it would just dump a whole bunch of leaves on the trail that then had to be removed by hand. Here is a video of him with his rig …

HERE is a previous posting about our rigs. All I have to show mine is still pictures … no video. Watching it in action it is easy to see how much better it worked than the one my friend designed and made. Yes, a powerful leaf blower would be great to have and use but I can’t afford nor justify spending my own money on one.

And when winter finally does come and we get snow I may not be able to ride to the trails even if the snow has been removed. And there is a good chance the snow won’t be removed from the trails as the city doesn’t do a very good job of any kind of trail maintenance. It makes no sense to me to build trails if you are not going to maintain them.

One thing I have not touched on is dealing with cold weather. As for me as I have got older I don’t care to deal with colder weather. When I was younger I would venture out in temperatures in the teens but not anymore. Now I usually won’t venture out if it isn’t at least in the mid 30s. Bundling up is not something I enjoy having to do.

It is really bad when snow falls on top of leaves. I am hopeful that doesn’t happen this year. It greatly adds to the winter blahs. I know I need to fight the winter blahs remembering “this too shall pass” and I have survived many winters thus far and I assume I will survive this one. I just want to …

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MORE POWER TO YA … E-MOTOR WATTAGE

250 watts or 15,000 watts. Can one tell the difference? 250 watts is the maximum allowed by law in most of Europe. 750 watts is the maximum allowed by law for onroad use in the Untited States and Canada. Both are ridiculous in my opinion. I can’t imagine being limited to either, especially 250 watts. I have dialed my e-motor down to only 250 watts and it was almost like shutting it off completely. I have read reviews of bicycles with only 250 watt systems. They said they could not even climb a moderate hill under the electric motor power alone. It was necessary to pedal to assist the motor. That is not for me. I want a motor that will “shoot” me up a hill accelerating all the way.

I have a motor on my trike because I need one. As I have aged I no longer have much strength in my legs to pedal and propel myself. I have had both knee joints replaced with man made ones. They just are not the same as the ones Jesus gave me when He created me. Don’t get me wrong … I needed them and am glad I got them, but they are not as good as my original ones used to be.

The motor I have on my trike now is the most powerful one I have had.. It is the 7th e-motor I have had. I am running it on 48 volts. If I were to use a 72 volt battery it would be considerably more powerful. Maybe someday I wiil invest in a 72 volt battery. Then maybe I could launch myself into space. Quite honestly I would like to have at least a 5000 watt motor on my trike. That is not likely to happen as that would cost a lot of moo-la and I am not a rich man. Besides that I am quite concerned that I would wrap myself around a tree if I had one. I am going on 76 years of age. I need to “cool it”.

The Catrike e-cat does not have a manual hand throttle which is a “must have” matter for me. I know lots of folks love the 250 watt Bosch system Catrike uses. Our local Catrike dealer just got in their first e-cat trike with it installed from the factory. It is a 559 model. I don’t like any crank drive system so I am not impressed. But, hey, whether you have a hub motor or crank drive or whether you have 250 watts or 15,000 watts …

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5 THINGS LEARNED FROM RIDING A TADPOLE TRIKE

Fellow triker, David Goldman, once again comes thru with a video worth watching.

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BONTRAGER FLARE RT TAILLIGHTS

Amazingly small, amazingly bright … but only if you can get them to work.

I bought two of them about a month ago and plan on taking both of them back for a refund today. I am not impressed with them. They won’t turn on so I have to do a factory reset on them each time to get them to turn on. Also the battery charge does not last very long. I was having this problem with just one of them at first so I took it back and got it replaced under warranty. That was less than a week ago. Now both of them are faulty. Nope, I am not at all impressed. They are expensive junk in my opinion.

 

Bontrager is owned by Trek Bikes and Trek Bikes only carry Bontrager lights in their stores. This light is designed to mount on the seat post of a DF bicycle. Seat posts are angled back so Bontrager makes the mount for this light angled so that the light itself ends up level as you can see in the picture above. This is fine if you are mounting it on a DF bike seat post but it presents a bit of a problem mounting it else where as the light ends up on an angle instead of being straight and level.

 

My inexpensive BV taillights are just as bright and have always worked great. It comes free with a headlight I love which I paid $12 for a few years ago. Now the price is up to $17 the last time I checked. That is still cheap and a great light for the price. I would not want or need anything brighter in the daytime. I have not had any problem with them whatsoever over the years. I will continue using them and save $140 the two Flare RT taillights cost me. Quite honestly I have had poor luck with more expensive brand name lights whether headlights or taillights.

Well, that is my story based on my personal experience. I can not recommend these taillights. Sorry Bontrager. You sell junk as far as I am concerned.

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COSTLY HOBBY or TEARING IT UP HERE, BOSS

You are looking at  one of many very real menaces and causes of costly repairs. Yep, while riding on a trail ( glorified sidewalk) and crossing a city street I was keeping my eyes on the cars to try to stay safe. Consequently I was not looking down at the pavement I was riding on. About the middle of the intersection I suddenly experienced a major catastrophe. My rear wheel went down suddenly into some sort of hole hitting very hard and the tire went flat instantly. The tire was wore out anyway and I was less than a mile from home so I just rode slowly on the flat to get on home. I installed a new tire and inner tube and was ready to ride. I did not realize that my axle had got bent in the harsh impact of hitting the nasty hole. The motor still works fine electrically but when the wheel turns it sounds like there is gravel inside making a lot of noise and sometimes other loud embarrassing and annoying noises are emitted. The wheel isn’t all that old … probably less than 2500 miles on it. However, with this problem going on I have no choice but to replace it. I am checking into whether or not I can buy just the wheel with the motor laced in it rather than having to buy the entire conversion kit. I think I can. But even if I have to buy the entire conversion kit there is good news … the cost has been reduced from $469 to $416. And having an extra controller on hand would be nice. Anyway, as noisy as it is I am hoping it holds up until I can replace it.

Over the years I have spent well over $1500 in various repairs … mostly on broken spokes and new rims and complete wheels which Fort Wayne, Indiana’s infamous pot holes have broken and/or destroyed. It gets old. It is quite frustrating and maddening. Personally I think the city should be liable for such expenses people incur. Of course, since the city has no money of its own that means that tax payers would be footing the bill. Anyway you look at it it just isn’t fair. I love riding my trike but it sure is an expensive “hobby”. One thing for sure … ya gotta pay to ride.

UPDATEI got some good news. My rear wheel didn’t receive any damage after all. What did receive damage is the freewheel (rear sprockets) which I had planned on replacing soon anyway. The new one is suppose to be delivered today so I am a happy camper …. well, probably better make that happy triker. Now I have a new e-motor conversion kit on its way which I have no immediate need of. Oh, if I ever need it I will have it.

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A VISIT TO THE HOME OF THE CLASSICS – AUBURN, INDIANA

Recently I rode my trike from my home in Fort Wayne up to Auburn, Indiana, known as “Home of the Classics” because of all the old classic cars that are found there often. There are museums, parades, auctions and displays of classic cars on the downtown streets.

The future Poka-Backe Trail is shown by red line in photo above.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg  Museum (ACD Museum)(shown above) is well known. Visitors from all over the world come to Auburn to see it and the many classic cars that appear in Auburn at certain times of the year. The museum is located in the same building where they used to be sold. It has a second story also used to display  these collector cars. There are actually 3 automotive museums in Auburn. There used to be a 4th museum (Corvette Museum) as well as a WW2 museum. They are both gone now.

Auburn was once a manufacturing hub for early cars and, of course, the well known Auburn automobile was among them. Auburn was once called Little Detroit. Yes, Auburn has a very rich car history.

I know Auburn pretty well as I was born and raised there and in Garrett, an even smaller town about 5 miles southwest of Auburn. Auburn is a nice small town although it has grown considerably since I grew up there. With its growth has come a lot of changes and new things. One of those things is a bike trail known as the Rieke Park Trail   shown in red in the image below. The blue line is the Auburn-Waterloo Bike Path which will be used as part of the Poka-Backe Trail along with the Rieke Park Trail. Another part of it is the glorified sidewalk along Betz Rd. shown by  broken line.

I have known of its existence for a few years now but I had never been on it. In my recent posting about the Pufferbelly Trail here in Fort Wayne I talked about it being part of the future Poka-Bache Trail which is a rails to trail project and will be the longest in the state of Indiana … 81.3 miles going from near Bluffton to north of Angola to Pokagon State Park. It will pass right thru Auburn right in front of the ACD museum.

So yesterday I rode up to Auburn and rode in the stretts alongside of these wide “glorified sidewalks”) to check out what this future trail will offer. It connects to the Rieke Park Trail as part of the trail going up to Pokagon State Park. When I turned onto the Rieke Park Trail I was pleasantly surprised as it was as nice of a trail as I have seen or ridden on.

It is only 1.2 miles long however but it sure is nice. It had very smooth asphalt pavement and most of it is very well shaded. While there I encountered a woman out walking her dog and we struck up a conversation in which she told me about the nice paved trails available to ride on at the former Greenhurst golf course which is now called Greenhurst Park. She was referring to the golf cart paths. So after my ride on the Rieke Park Bike Path I rode on over to check out what she had told me about. In the image below Rieke Park Trail is shown in red. Another glorified sidewalk is shown in blue. The Auburn-Walterloo Bike Path is shown in yellow. Greenhurst Park is at the bottom of the yellow line.  The Auburn-Walterloo Bike Path is the continuing trail utilized for the Poka-Backe Trail going to Pokagon State Park.

I thoroughly enjoyed riding around Greenhurst Park on the former golf cart trails. It made the ride more worthwhile than just riding on the short Rieke Park Trail would have been.

Labor Day weekend is the busiest time for the Classic Cars so if you are interested in them it is a good time to come. Be warned however, the city becomes a very busy place. As a resident of Auburn it was always a good time to leave the area so I didn’t have to deal with it. I had my welding business there however and usually had  extra business welding on trails and the cars themselves. I once welded the broken off left front axle on a Mercedes Benz armored car that used to belong to Hitler. It was being auctioned off and I got called to go to the museum building to repair it. The armored car had a bullet hole in the bullet proof rear door  window.

I had a 58.6 mile ride on my trip up to Auburn and back. I ran both of my batteries down to the 20 % level. I just had enough battery to get back home. I turned the power down quite a bit of the time on my 2nd battery to conserve power in it.

BTW, I have ridden up to Auburn and Garrett on my trike about six time previously. It is true … you can never go back home. It is just not the same as I remember it and I never see anybody I know.

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