I JUST DON’T SEE IT (the SEARCH BOX that is)

If you use a smartphone rather than a desktop or laptop computer you are missing out on things. On a smartphone you normally only see the one main column of a website. Other columns off to the sides don’t appear. Recently I had a reader of my blog looking for the search feature on TadpoleRider.com. She could not find it. I tried to help her but quickly discovered the problem. She was using a smartphone. In the image below is what TadpleRider.com is suppose to look like. The search box feature in on the far right circled in red.

But when viewed on a smartphone it does not appear the same. Here is a captured screenshot of my website on my smartphone. As you can see you can’t see the searchbox. It is there but a smartphone does not show it.

 

I don’t know a lot about smartphones. I know enough about them to know I don’t like them. They remind me of a Chevy El Camino or Ford Ranchero. The person could not figure out whether they wanted a car or a pickup truck so they got a Ranchero or El Camino and therefore didn’t get a car or a pickup truck.

Anyway … I could not help this person … not immediately, that is. Later after I learned about this I was able to help her.

I have a nephew who is very knowledgeable of anything computer related (inside of it or its operation). I turned to him for help. He told me to simply turn the phone 90 degrees holding it sideways. Of course, that feature has to be turned on in Settings in order for it to work. It is turned on in my phone so I did as he said  and I could see more of what is there, but I still could not see the search box. From there I figured things out for myself and within a few seconds of making some changes in the smartphone’s Settings the search box appeared on my screen. The only thing is it was too small for me to use it with my poor eyesight. Yes, I had to change the Display Settings to a smaller size and smaller font size.

Below is an actual screenshot of my Android smartphone being held sideways. As you can see now the search box is visible on the far right.

Anyway, it can be done, but I will take my desktop computer any day. I never had any desire for an El Camino and don’t have much use for smartphones. I know I would not be constantly changing my Display Settings just to view websites properly. I rarely view any websites on my smartphone. I feel sorry for those who only have and use a smartphone for everything on the internet. And then there are those who have the attitude and thinking of “with a smartphone I have no need nor desire of a desktop or laptop computer”. It is their loss in my opinion.

In the picture above from the James Bond movie, Goldfinger, this Ford Falcon Ranchero would be grossly overloaded if it really had a full size car compacted into this small size sitting in the bed of it. I am reminded of the true story of a guy with a Ranchero who went to a gravel pit to get a load of small gravel stone. He waited his turn and when the operator of the front loader got to him he told the operator to dump a  bucket load in the back. The operator asked him “Are you sure that’s what you want?” He said, “yeah, dump it in”. The next thing … all four tires blew out and the Ranchero was all the way down sitting on the ground. I think the payload for both Ranchero and El Camino was only 600 pounds. His personal theme song had to have been “what kind of fool am I?”

I can’t imagine trying to compose this article only using a smartphone. They have their good points and uses but just don’t compare to a real full size computer. Maybe if you have really good eyesight you can use your smartphone with really small Display Settings. And my fat fingers just don’t work very well with that small keyboard.

I am sharing about this because having the search box to use is an extremely handy and useful tool. You can quickly and easily find all sorts of things on TadpoleRider.com with it.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

For those who are interested here is a video of the car crushing and dropping it into the Ranchero.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

**********

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

*********

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.”

**********

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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 …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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 …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

5 THINGS LEARNED FROM RIDING A TADPOLE TRIKE

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

 

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

THE PUFFERBELLY TRAIL

I thought I had written at least one article about the Pufferbelly Trail previously but upon doing a search I discovered I haven’t. I have talked about it a few times in various posts but I have never featured it. So guess what? Yep, I decided to do so now. The Pufferbelly Trail is an ongoing rails to trail project located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Nearly 7 miles of the Pufferbelly Trail have been constructed: 4.75 miles from Washington Center Rd. north to Life Bridge Church.  Another 2.25 miles is constructed from Lawton Park and Fourth St north to Lima Rd and Ice Way.  Eventually, this trail will extend from the northern edge of Allen County south 13 miles where it will connect with the Rivergreenway in downtown Fort Wayne.  The Pufferbelly Trail is one segment of a State Visionary Trail. When completed, the trail will be part of the Poka-Bache Connector, running from Ouabache State Park near Bluffton to Pokagon State Park north of Angola. This 81.3-mile connector trail will bring Steuben, Dekalb, Allen, and Wells counties communities together. This trail is a crucial part of the United Trails project in our region.

Although** I have not seen or heard of any of it being built other than about 7 miles here in Fort Wayne and Allen County our local trails manager tells me that about 50 % of the 81 miles is already complete. **Until just now I was unaware that anything has been done in Dekalb County north of Allen County. I was wrong. They have built a trail that goes right past where I used to live. It starts near the intersection of County Rd. 11A and County Rd. 56 goes alll the way into and thru  the city of Auburn (right past the Auburn-Cord- Dusenburg Automotive Museum). The trail connects to the Rieke Trail going north out of Auburn and will follow along Betz Rd. to connect to the pre-existing Auburn-Waterloo Trail. HERE is some information of the Steuben County plans.

In Allen County right now the Pufferbelly Trail ends  just a little ways north of Carroll Road at Life Bridge church. Life Bridge church has generously built a connecting trail over to their church and provided a trail head to park motor vehicles there for trail users. They have even built a pavilion near the trail for trail users to use.

Although there remains a few more miles of trail to be built to the north to reach the Allen County line where Dekalb Couny takes over the good news is the State of Indiana has pledged the funds needed to complete it. That being said it hasn’t been made available yet so construction has not started yet. I hope they get it built clear up to Pokagon State Park while I am still able to ride as I would love to attempt it. Fort Wayne is located about half way on the trail so it would be approximately a 40 mile ride to the northern end.

Right now the trail ends to the south at Washington Center Rd. There is a delay continuing it further south from there to connect to the next section they have already built. A major busy road (Indiana State Highway 930 otherwise known as Coliseum Blvd.) must be crossed which eventually a bridge over it is planned but that is many years off as it will be very expensive. Meanwhile the plan is to have the trail cross at ground level. I find that scary. It is very busy and very wide, especially at this planned location. I am told the crossing will be near Industrial Rd.

The map below shows the tuture planned trail route from Washington Center Rd. south across  Coliseum Blvd. and further south connecting to  the existing Pufferbelly Trail which goes right behind the Trek Bike Store making it very handy to cycle to. The Trek Bike Store is our local Catrike dealer.

I am sure many have already figured out where this trail got its name. Those who are old enough probably remember the popular childrens’ song …

Yep, steam engines, affectionately called “pufferbellies” used to operate on this railroad corridor. Thus the powers that be named it Pufferbelly Trail.

I had a little fun photo editing …

Years ago I read that this trail will eventually connect into a future east-west trail in northern Indiana … all part of the “visionary trail network” in Indiana. I see on the map that connecting trail will follow along Indiana State Highway 4 running northwest.

The Pufferbelly is a really nice trail … perhaps my favorite local trail. It is quite popular having more traffic on it than any other local trail. It also goes by Salomon Farms where another tradilhead is provided. Solomon Farms has a nice nearly 2 mile long trail around it which I always ride. Nice restrooms are available there.

Much of it is pretty well shaded which I always appreciate.

The trail passes under Dupont Rd., a busy 4 lane city road.

One of the trail extensions underway.

The trail as it crosses over W. State Blvd.

Some homeowners have the trail right in their back yard. How handy that would be.

I ride all year long as much as I can.

Riding north on undeveloped train track corridor.

Speaking of State Visionary Trails here is a map of future planned trails in NE Indiana …

 

There have been two incidents of trail users on bicycles getting hit by cars while attempting to cross the roads. The first one was killed. The most recently one was seriously injured. I haven’t heard any updates on her. Both of these happened the same way …  motorists stopped at the crosswalks to allow trail users to cross. They are not supposed to do this as it creates a very dangerous situation for trail users. They start to cross the trail and get hit by motor vehicles who are not stopping. In Indiana if there are  people already IN the crosswalk motor vehicles are required to stop and give them the right of way. But if they have not entered the crosswalk motor vehicles are not required to stop. Not only are they not required they are not suppose to because  this is what is happening. People need to get educated. If someone stops to let me cross I motion them to drive on. And I am finding more and more trail users are doing the same. Still, however, there are trail users who take off across the road. Just yesterday I saw a car stop to let trail users cross and a pick up truck went zooming around the stopped car. Fortunately the trail users had not attempted to cross. All of this I am sharing has been explained on the local TV news a few times but there still seems to be a lot of drivers who are not aware that they are not suppose to stop. I have written articles about these .two incidents .. https://tadpolerider.com/2022/03/07/trail-crossings-dont-become-a-victim/  and https://tadpolerider.com/2022/08/19/another-bicyclist-on-pufferbelly-trail-hit-by-car-at-road-crossing/.

Right now there is no practical way by bicycle  to get to the Pufferbelly Trail where it takes off north from Washington Center Rd.  I have a route I take but I end up riding down the the turning lane on Coldwater Rd. and the outside lane of Washington Center Rd. Most cyclists would not do that saying it is way too dangerous. Honestly I feel quite safe doing so and never have any issues with motor vehicles. I have the outside lane on Washington Center Rd. all to myself. A couple of days ago I was driving my car on Washington Center Rd. and spotted a guy on a tadpole trike riding in the outside lane. He turned off to ride on the Pufferbelly Trail. So I am not the only one who does this.

I just found this about the trail development in Dekalb County so now I know a little bit more about what has already been built in Dekalb County … https://www.co.dekalb.in.us/egov/documents/1626786696_485.pdf

BTW, I am originally from Dekalb County and know it well … probably better than I know Allen County where I live now.

If you ride on the Pufferbelly Trail be safe crossing the roads.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

WRIST RESTS ADD GREAT COMFORT

I was under the impression that I had covered this subject before but upon conducting a search I did not find anything other than an article on new handlebars I bought that came with the mount for the wrist wrests. Since I had the mounts for them I went ahead and bought them. WOW, what a difference they make! That being said, now that I have been using them for a few years I find them a bit uncomfortable and wast to make a change in them. Catrike uses a pretty firm rubber compound. I want to find something softer to use to replace them. BTW, I am open to ideas/suggestions.

There are a lot of different brands of tadpole trikes on the market but only a very few that I am aware of offer wrist rests. There is good news however. Trike owners and trike dealers have been using the wrist rests that are available and installed them on trike brands that don’t offer them. Utah Trikes installed Catrike handlebars with wrist rests on a Sunseeker FAT Tad trike.

That is one solution. Below is another solution.

As you can see in the picture above of the HP Velotechnik wrist rest they have a removable mount which would be used on other brands of trikes. Yep, both HP and ICE wrist rests can be installed on most trike brands. And, of course, there is always the option of a person making their own and saving the money involved in buying them. Of course, rarely do they turn out looking as good as the ones that can be purchased.

Yes, wrist rests make a big difference in comfort. I would have to say that adding them to my trike was some of the best money I ever spent to improve my ride and personal comfort.

I would have to say that this is one time ICE and HP outdid Catrike in the design of their wrist rests. That is so hard for me to admit as it is so rare in my opinion. The man said it in the beginning of the video … recumbents are all about comfort and wrist rests add greatly to any tadpole trike.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

IMPORTANT ADD-ONS FOR ANY TRIKE

Once again I find myself in agreement with my fellow triker, David, of David Riders a Trike fame. He covers various items he highly recommends to add on to a trike. Although he likes SPD shoes and pedals and recommends them I don’t personally care for them. He did not cover alternative methods of foot retention but he does mention that there are other means.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

COME RIDE THE FORT WAYNE TRAILS … KIDNEY BELTS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

I have been riding the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Trails for quite a few years now and have racked up over 120,000 miles on them. During that time I have experienced poor trail maintenance and it keeps getting worse. The problem as I see it is that there is no designated maintenance dept. The city of Fort Wayne assigns sections of the trails to the various city departments … Street Dept., Parks Dept., Right of Way Dept. and Allen County Road Dept. They all have their own responsibilities to tend to so the trails are down the list in priority. The city used to hire two men who worked only on trail maintenance and it made a huge difference. But that ended years ago and nothing has been done since to replace them. Most recently we lost our trail maintenance manager who did a lot of trail maintenance all by herself. She was awesome. She quit to take a job in another city up on Michigan. She is really missed. The guy they hired to replace her is next to worthless in comparison. Trying to get the city to do something about this falls on deaf ears. I pretty much believe in … “if you are not going to maintain the trails, don’t build them”. I think it is shameful.

All I have talked about so far is trail maintenance but what I really want to address is trail conditions … the condition of the surface of the trails. I mentioned wearing a kidney belt. I was joking but  it might not be a bad idea. One could lose tooth fillings riding on our trails. They definitely are rough. Even the newest pavement, Becketts Run Trail, is rough. I tried to film a ride on it holding the camera in my hand. I got tossed around so much the video didn’t turn out very good.

I don’t have any suspension on my trike but I do have balloon tires on all 3 wheels and it definitely helps. I don’t have a kidney belt but if the trails get in any worse shape I may have to consider getting one. And I thought they were only for Harley riders. COME RIDE THE FORT WAYNE TRAILS … if you dare.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

ANOTHER BICYCLIST ON PUFFERBELLY TRAIL HIT BY CAR AT ROAD CROSSING

It has happened again. Another woman was hit by a car while crossing a road here in Fort Wayne. She was riding her bicycle on the Pufferbelly Trail when it happened.

This is the second such incident in  less than a year. The first victim died in the crosswalk. This rider suffered life threatening injuries. Of course, the driver was not ticketed.

The video below is local news coverage of the first incident. They cover the proper procedure for trail users and motorists at these trail crossings.

I have crossed these same roads many times. They are dangerous in my opinion. I don’t know what the answer is. Trail users certainly need to be careful  and not be lulled into crossing the road if someone stops to let them do so. Motorists are not suppose to stop to allow trail users to stop if they are still over at the side of the road. They greatly endanger the trail user when they do this. It is much safer to just waive the motorist on and wait until there is no traffic before attempting to cross. All too often other motorists don’t stop and then these horrible accidents happen. I have a hard time calling them accidents. In my opinion there is no excuse for motorists to attempt to go around a stopped vehicle at these crosswalks. When they do this they are guilty of murder as far as I am concerned. Of course, they usually get away with it.

In the video below I am riding the Pufferbelly Trail. Starting at about 3 minutes 17 seconds into the video I am coming upon Carroll Road where the woman bicyclist was killed last year. At the very end of the video I come up to Wallen Road where this latest incident happened.  The trail ended there back when this video was made (2016) but since then it has been expanded a few more miles southward.

Be very careful at trail crossings. Don’t be a victim. Everyone needs to learn what to do and what not to do in order to safely cross roads. The life you save may be your own. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

MOBILITY 4 LESS

Many people are looking for tadpole trikes for a lower price. If you do an online search for “tadpole trike” guess what happens … at least on some search engines. Up will pop images in ads for tadpole trikes offered by Mobility4less. They are paid ads . They offer several different products and I noticed that they also offer financing and layaway.

If you are looking for non-motorized don’t look here as all of their products are motorized. They offer two tadpole trikes  (one regular and one FAT tire) and one FAT tire quad. The frames are made of mild steel. The e-motor systems on the regualr tadpole are 36 volts. It is a crank drive motor. The FAT tire tadpole trike and quad are 48 volt.  Strangely the safety flag is not included. The product arrives at your door shipped on a pallet. It comes with a full fender set and a neckrest. A rear luggage rack is provided which holds the 36 volt 12 aH lithium ion battery which is included. Mirrors are also provided. Below is a picture of the regular tadpole trike model they sell. It has 20 inch wheels on the front and 26 inch on the rear. Disc brakes are found on the two front wheels and a V-brake is on the rear wheel to be used as a parking brake. The trike has rear suspension and the trike folds up for storage and transportation. My guess is that the boom will need to be set for the rider’s x-seam and the chain adjusted to the correct length. I see in one of the pictures they show on their website the chain is way too long and the rear derailleur is not able to handle all the chain.

The trike comes with a hand throttle.

Main Technical Parameters:
Top Speed: 26 MPH (pedaling increases speed)
Top Range: 25 miles/charge (pedaling increases range)
Power: 550 watts or 1500 watts with PowerBooster**
Battery: Lithium 36V 12 ah
Re-charges in: 4 hours
Tricycle Length: 81″ Tricycle Width: 34″ Tricycle Height: 29″
Seat width: 15″
Ground clearance: 7.5″
Wheel base: 40″
Chain: 21 speed chain  (NOTE – their ignorance is showing as there is no such thing … it is 7 speed chain)
Mirrors: Aluminum alloy blue plated
Pedals: VP500 aluminum alloy
Max Weight Limit: 400 Lbs
Crankset: Shimano TX71 48 teeth
Front derailleur: Shimano TX51
Battery Charger: Included
Foldable: Yes
COLORS: Red
MOTOR TYPE: Brushless motor  drive
VOLTS: 36 volt
TIRE SIZE: Front: 20 * 1.5: Rear: 26 * 1.5
SHIPPING WEIGHT: 100lbs
TRICYCLE WEIGHT: 54lbs

They are currently offering free shipping according to their website.

Your Purchasing Options:

Electric Recumbent Tricycle with Lithium battery: $2,495.00
**Optional PowerBooster to get the 1500Watts: $289.50
Here is the trike folded up ….

I chose not to cover the FAT tire trike and quad here. If you are interested you can check them out on their website. I will say this much … they don’t come with fenders and they are a 48 volt e-motor system..

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

CAN’T COMPLAIN ABOUT THE WEATHER … WOULDN’T DO ANYGOOD IF YOU DID

Seventy Five degrees, blue skies, gentle breeze … great cycling weather … and it is mid August which is usually the hottest time of the summer. I am taking advantage of it each day that I can. Tomorrow (as I write this) rain is forecasted as well as the following day. Oh well, I can’t complain … it wouldn’t do any good if I did.

I met up with a fellow tadpole trike rider today. He is from out of town but said that he comes to Fort Wayne a couple of times a week during decent weather to ride the trails.The first words out of his mouth when I pulled up alongside of him were about the great cycling weather we are having. He rides a Catrike Expedition. I rode a few miles with him and his friend who was riding an e-bike.

Yes, rain is in the immediate forecast for a couple of days but then it is more of the same for most of next week. I can handle that. I check the weather forecast in a few other locations daily. Most of the locations are in the Southern U.S. I don’t like dealing with winter up here in Indiana but I sure don’t like dealing with summer down in the south. I lived in the NE Atlanta suburbs for ten years. They don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing. And Florida, is just plain miserable almost year around. The only good thing I can think of to say is they have nice pavement … not potholes and nasty bumps like we have here in Indiana. Those potholes and bumps have cost me a few thousand dollars in trike repairs and wheel replacements. The one thing I did like about Georgia weather besides a much shorter and milder winter is the long Spring and Autumn seasons. But Summer was always brutal.

It is time to go out for another ride taking advantage of this great weather. Adios! I expect to be back.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

 

STUPID Bright

Is it possible to have too bright of lights … front or rear? I say yes. And yet manufacturers keep increasing the power of lights. That would probably be okay if they included lenses which direct the light so it does not shine upward any higher than it needs to be.

But very few manufacturers do this. Most of the lights have the light beam going out 360 degrees shining upward illuminating everything out in front including the eyes of those who don’t appreciate  it. I have only had one headlight thus far with such optics.. I don’t use it as it has more lumens than I care to use in the daytime.

My 300 lumen headlights are certainly guilty of this. They are only rated at 300 lumen but man are they bright! I only use one at a time and I use it on flash mode. The picture below is with both on and on steady mode. That is STUPID  Bright!

Now I have a question to ask you … how bright are you? Riding at night in darkness we need lots of light as long as we are by ourselves.

We need lots of light so we can see the path ahead of us. It is downright dangerous to ride faster than our headlight is illuminating  the path ahead of us. In the daytime when most of us ride we still need lots of light but for an altogether different reason … to be seen by others. With headlights that shine the light beam equally 360 degrees  it does not do much good to aim the light downwards unless we aim it way way down. And if we do that we  then risk others not seeing us at all. So what is a person to do?

I am sure most of us have noticed and complained about newer motor vehicles whose headlights are blinding even on low beam. We often question whether or not they have their headlights on low beam as they are just too bright and seem to be aimed up at our eyes. I doubt very much if anyone is going to do anything about it. We are just stuck with dealing with it. Too bad, so sad! It also seems to be the case with bicycle lights. We want to be seen which means that others are just going to have to deal with it.

I was taught as a young child that if a driver in an oncoming car (truck, etc.) does have his  high beam headlights on and won’t/doesn’t dim them all I can do it look over at the right side of the road … hopefully at a white line painted along the side of the pavement. That is the best I can do in that situation. I would say the same is true for those dealing with our trike headlights. Don’t look at them. And if someone complains about our lights being too bright I suggest apologizing but explaining that I would rather offend someone than get hit by someone who says they didn’t see me.

Every once in awhile I encounter a bicyclist with an extremely bright headlight … so bright that it truly blinds me if I look toward it rather than look away at the side of the road or trail. As far as I am concerned there is no excuse for a cyclist to have such a bright light in use in the daytime. But they are out there and we just have to deal with it. I mean, after all, we can’t hardly shoot their light out. It is stupid and irresponsible to be STUPID  Bright. We all need to follow the commandment of Jesus … “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

I know this bicycle lighting subject is somewhat controversial and not everyone agrees with me. I just had someone say to me that my headlight is too bright and blinded the car driver who almost hit me yesterday when they turned in front of me forcing me to brake hard to avoid getting hit. I don’t agree with that person who said this. If this happened quite frequently I would have to consider it as a possibility. My headlight is bright, but it is not STUPID  Bright. BTW, there is a bicycle light named Stupid Bright. They make various lights besides this one I linked to.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

NOT ALL LIGHTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

That’s right … not all bicycle lights are created equal. It is possible to have a 35 lumen taillight appear to be brighter than  a 100 lumen taillight. How can that be you ask? I have written about this subject before. It is all about optics. Some lights just have better optics in them. The term optics here means lenses along with reflectors. They can sure make a big difference in lights. My 300 lumen headlights are amazingly bright on flash mode in the daytime. Anything brighter would be blinding. People find it hard to believe when I tell them they are only 300 lumen. They think they must be at least a thousand or more.

Here is an excellent example of what I mean. Bontrager offers their Flare R City  taillight pictured above. It is very small in size and is rated at only 35 lumen. Years ago 35 lumen was a powerful taillight but nowadays it would be considered low powered. Yet this particular taillight is quite bright. You would have to see it to believe it.

I just bought a 350 lumen Cygolite Hypershot taillight (pictured above). It is extremely bright of course. I would not think of using it at night time as it would be blinding unless it can be “dialed down” sufficiently. But I ride in the daytime almost exclusively and I WANT TO BE SEEN.  Anyway, I have the same brand of taillights in 150 lumen and they are extremely bright as well. 150 lumens was their most powerful taillight when I first bought mine.  Cygolite first came out with a much lower powered taillight and then kept making new models increasing the lumens each time. They have 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and now 350. I wonder what is next.

You don’t want to look at it up close as you will be seeing a dot before your eyes for awhile. Would you believe that the 35 lumen Flare R taillight is as bright as this 150 lumen? It would seem impossible but I have witnessed it with my own eyes.

I have some 35 lumen taillights (pictured above) made by BV that came free with their 300 lumen headlights I use.

The taillights are very bright but they are not as bright as the 35 lumen Flare R City cube. And the battery charge only last 4 or 5 hours on flash mode. At present I am using my new 350 lumen taillight along with two of the 35 lumen BV taillights. They are working very good together. Here is a video of them flashing.

I was going to buy the Bontrager Flare R cubes to use but I already have these BV taillights and they offer much better side visibility. I still have the 150 lumen taillights I can use if the 350 turns out to be too much as in too bright, obnoxious, overbearing. I don’t want to be guilty of “STUPID Bright” which is the title of a soon upcoming article on this website.

I have such a difficult time understanding most British people when they talk. I found another one I wanted to share but I could not hardly understand a word they were saying. This one is a little better.

 

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.