WHAT HAPPENED TO AUTUMN?

remember growing up we had the beautiful Autumn leaves by late September and a lot of them were already fallen off of the trees. This is a month later (late October) and the Autumn colors are just now starting to change. Most trees are still quite green. What’s going on? No, I don’t believe in what they are calling Climate Change as it is a lie with an agenda behind it. I do believe in  periods of earth’s history where the weather has changed … warming up and cooling down. Remember … there is nothing new under the sun. It has happened before and it will happen again.

What does this have to do with tadpole trikes you ask? Absolutely nothing. The only connection I can make to it is the fact that I am not enjoying seeing those beautiful colors as I am out there riding. And I truly miss them. By the time the leaves have made their annual change of color it will be later in the season and colder … at least that is my guess. It is already cooling off to where it is uncomfortable out there if one isn’t bundled up sufficiently. And I have made the mistake 2 or 3 times of not being dressed warm enough to be comfortable while out riding. I am doing something about that as it is no fun riding and being cold.

Maybe where you are what I am saying does not apply. Perhaps your leaves are already changed at their normal schedule and the colder weather either hasn’t happened yet or it has happened and you are dealing with it. I know some riders quit early in the season and put their trikes away until sometime next Spring. Not me, I try to keep riding thruout the winter. I am not thrilled with dealing with winter and it is getting harder for me as I get older. But I am still trying to keep on trikin’. And yes, I know there are some of you who don’t deal with any of this … no Autumn leaves, no cold weather, no snow, no ice, no freezing rain. Winter season is the only time I am envious. You get to keep on trikin’ while I may have to quit for awhile until the weather improves.

Whether I have pretty leaves to look at or not I am hopefully going to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BIG BEN, BIG APPLE’S BIG BROTHER

Did you know that the Schwalbe Big Apple tire has a big brother? That is what is said about the Big Ben tire. Looking at the two of them they look very similar other than the tread pattern.

However there is a difference. The Big Ben has more tread, that is, the tread is a little thicker so it is a little heavier duty than the Big Apple. I have never ran the Big Apple tire. When I made the decision to switch from the best tire money can buy … the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire to a balloon tire I went right to the superior Big Ben tire. It just makes sense to me to get the better tire. And speaking of making sense … I ordered the Big Ben Plus rather than the standard Big Ben. I want all of the flat protection I can get so I didn’t even consider the standard Big Ben. I am on about my 5th set of these balloon tires now. I really like them but they definitely wear out much faster than the Marathon Plus tires. I have to admit, they spoiled me with their extremely high mileage. The balloon tires definitely provide a much better ride though which is why I keep buying them. I have written previously about Big Ben Plus tires.

I am pleased to say that I have not had any flats since I started running the Big Ben Plus even though they offer 40 % less flat protection than the Marathon Plus tires do. And because there is so much room inside of these balloon tires I use the heavy duty thorn resistant innertubes with them as an extra measure of flat resistance. And, of course, I always use baby powder to help prevent “internal flats”.

The air pressure range for Big Ben Plus tires is 30 to 55 psi. I usually run all three of them at 40 psi. At that pressure they ride good doing a pretty good job of absorbing the bumps and they roll good as well as handle good. Yes, I am well pleased with Big Ben Plus tires. So far I have been able to find them in stock and order them in. I always try to keep a set of new tires on hand. I know that there are other tires besides Schwalbe but I have been so pleased and impressed with Schwalbe tires I just keep on buying them and not trying any others. I am afraid I would be disappointed so I haven’t ventured into getting any other brand.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

MY PERSONAL STORY CONCERNING CYCLING & RECUMBENTS

There is nothing I am about to share here that I have not shared before. I decided to put it altogether in one article so others will know where I am coming from and help them understand my passion for tadpole trikes.

To start with all my life I have been an avid cyclist starting when I was about 6 years old I think. An older cousin helped me learn how to ride a bicycle. I never had training wheels. I just learned to balance my bike right from the start. I first rode a 20 inch bike and gradually got a 26 inch. As a teenager I bought with my own money a white Schwinn 3 speed internal hub English racer style bike. I inverted the handlebars to make it into what was  called a  racer type bike. I was the fastest cyclist where I grew up.  I had a 52 tooth chainring installed and I could really go on that bike.

Stingray style bicycles became popular in my teen years so I made my own 20 inch bike with high apehanger handlebars and banana seat. I could ride wheelies until I decided to end it (literally miles)… far longer and farther than anyone else in town.

When I was in the Navy I bought a lightweight Gitane racing bike … a 10 speed which was all they had at the time. It was a pretty sky blue but it was a prima donna . I swear that spokes would break if I looked at them crosseyed. Over the following years I had several different bikes and continued to ride. It was not unusual for me to ride 50 to 100 miles in a day when I had the time to do so. I was still doing this into my late 30s. I moved to Georgia and found that there was no safe and practical place for me to ride so more than 13 years passed by when I did not ride. I moved back up to Indiana and soon after started back cycling. I found out that there are local bike trails available to ride where I live so I started riding on them. That was almost 17 years ago during which time I have accumulated well over 120,000 miles on them.

As time passed by and my body aged I got tired of dealing with all the discomfort involved in riding a diamond frame bike. It greatly took away from the fun and enjoyment of cycling. I had heard of recumbents and seen a couple of them. I had heard that they are comfortable to ride so I decided to make a recumbent bike.

I used  “donor bikes” and bought a few things like a recumbent seat but I managed to come up with a recumbent bike I started riding which eliminated all the discomfort I had been experiencing on a conventional diamond frame bike. I was really enjoying riding a bike once again. After putting a couple of thousand miles on my homemade recumbent I bought a Sun recumbent bike. In fact, I bought two of them … one for my wife who used to ride with me. They were better bikes than the one I made so all was going well. I put a couple of thousand miles on my Sun recumbent.

However … winter was approaching and I wanted to keep riding. I was concerned about attempting to do so on two wheels as it would be quite risky and dangerous.  I had heard of tadpole trikes so I decided to make my own. I was still working full time so it took me about 3 weeks to design and build my trike. I cut up my homemade recumbent bike and used parts of it to make my trike. It was made out of mild steel so it was heavy. It rode and handled great though as I had done my homework and got everything right in  the construction of it.

I rode it thru the winter and was so happy to have it as it was so safe and so comfortable compared to my recumbent bike. I did not have to concern myself with “going down” riding in snow and  on ice. I made it thru the winter and as planned I switched back to my Sun recumbent bike come Spring only to discover that I much preferred riding the tadpole trike. So I switched back to the trike and never looked back. My recumbent bike just sat around so I decided to sell it. I had my wife’s recumbent bike I could ride if I wanted to. She had stopped riding it and it just sat around.

After I put a couple of thousand miles on it I was able to buy a new 2009 Catrike Trail and I sold my homemade trike to a guy who said he planned to motorize it. As things have always gone for me I was not even able to get the cost of the various components I had purchased to build it.

I loved my 2009 Catrike Trail and it’s “space frame” as they call the solid all one piece frame. After about 3 plus years I discovered a “hairline crack” along the edge of a weld on the underside of the cruciform crossmember. Being a professional weldor I understood what I was seeing and the concern of future failure of the weld so I contacted Catrike sending them this picture to show them what I was seeing. They replaced the frame under warranty.

I was thankful that I received a new frame however, I was not happy that I could not get another space frame. This was 2013 and Catrike had changed the design of the Trail model.  The new frame featured an adjustable seat back angle and the frame design change added 2 pounds of weight to the trike. Ever since then I have wanted to find a used space frame to buy and go back to it. I have no use of the adjustable seat back and definitely don’t like have the trike weigh more. I was hoping Catrike would still have a space frame around that they could send instead of the new design but no such luck. I did not think about it at the time but I wonder if I could have got an Expedition frame and paid the difference. In hind sight I wish I would have checked into it. My 2009 frame was silver but Catrike told me I could have any color they were currently offering so I went with green. All of my old components off of my 2009 trike were reused with this 2013 frame. That is why I have a silver boom with a green frame.

I rode my Catrike for about 7 or 8 years I think before I made the decision to motorize it. BionX  was the big name in e-motors at the time so I went with BionX. That turned out to be a big mistake as it was not only expensive but it didn’t hold up and I went thru a big mess trying to get another motor that worked right … which I never did. So I asked for and received a full refund. This was just before BionX went out of business so it turned out to be good timing. I then tried a Golden Motor and it was faulty right out of the box. I got a refund on it as well and  then went with an eZee hub motor which has been great … until about 6 months ago when a problem developed.  The power would shut off just like I was turning it off with the battery key switch. I checked various things but could not find anything wrong. I suspected that the problem was in the controller which is a rather expensive item to replace. Consequently I did not jump on replacing it. I just dealt with the problem in frustration until finally recently I decided to take the gamble and buy a new controller. I was elated to discover my hunch was right. The new controller fixed the problem and now I am once again enjoying my e-motor assist.

Yes, I am sold on tadpole trikes. I new have about 100,000 miles on my Catrike. It is truly a well engineered and built machine which I highly recommend to anyone looking for a recumbent tadpole trike.

Well, this is my story and I am not only sticking to it but I am stuck with it.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

AND MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP

ride nearly everyday except on Sundays as long as the weather allows it. And I frequently ride on Sunday afternoons as well. Some days I find myself a bit sleepy while I am out riding. That is a bit of a concern to me as it would be all to easy to fall asleep while riding seated comfortably on my tadpole trike. I certainly can not afford to do that. I mean … I have miles to go before I sleep. And that, of course, reminds me of the well known poem by Robert Frost.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
                    *******
It is not winter and there is no snow at this time but the poem  does trigger memories of yesteryear when I was out  in fresh fallen snow walking or riding my bicycle and observing how super quiet it was out there, especially at night. The snow just seemed to absorb the sound and transformed everything into a special wonderland quite unique and enticing.
I once had to return a truck I had borrowed from a friend who lived  about 20 miles from me. I put my bicycle in the bed of the truck and took off. Upon arriving at my destination I unloaded my bike and started off riding it for home. It was winter and cold. It was near midnight so it was already bedtime … not time to be out riding on a 20 miles journey .  Never the less it was also fresh fallen snow and I enjoyed my ride on a quiet night. I had miles to go before I could sleep.
I try not to ride my trike much in snow as first of all I am much older now. Secondly my trike does not go thru the snow like a bike does.  It can be challenging enough to ride in normal conditions as I age and it seems that it is all the more real … miles to go before I sleep. At least I have not fallen asleep while riding. I hope that never changes as I continue to age. I still have MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ARE YOUR HANDS TOO CLOSE TO THE TIRES?

For many years I dealt with my hands being closer to my tires than I liked. In time I discovered something which could and would change this. It involves buying new handlebars. Catrike’s 559 model has taller handlebars than all their other models. I don’t know why that is but I am not complaining. I took advantage of it. My original handlebars were from a 2009 Trail. They were reused on my 2013 Trail frame when Catrike replaced my 2009 frame under warranty. The wrist rests did not exist in 2009 so when I bought the 559 handlebars I got the mouning bars for the wrist rests. I took advantage of that and bought the wrist rests … one of the best upgrades I ever made.

I ride on our local trails and some of them follow along our local rivers. They tend to flood over and river silt gets deposited on them making a muddy mess. With my hands so close to the tires mud builds up on my brake levers and twist shifters. It is a muddy mess to deal with. I no longer have that problem now that those components are higher up away from the tires.

This picture shows that the 559 handlebars are taller than the Trail’s handlebars.

Yes, replacing my original handlebars with 559 handlebars was a great decision. It raised my hands up higher away from the tires and provided a way to mount wrist rests. I like it when a plan comes together. So if you deal with this same issue you might want to try this.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

It is mid August and it is fairly normal for this time of year to be the hottest weather we get. It is this time of year which is often and long been referred to as “the dog days of summer”. I am not going to go into the origins of this saying. You can look it up if you are interested. Dogs don’t and can’t sweat like we humans can so it is harder for them to cool off and control heat build up. Water and shade are essential for them. The same is true for us humans. I have written about the importance of hydration and shade on this blog before. I definitely highly recommend the use of a canopy on a trike it you live and ride anyplace that is hot and where you are exposed to the sun. Having your own portable shade tree helps immensely. HERE is another article about portable shade. Yes, riding in high heat and humidity is like riding in an oven.

Keep your cool by keeping cool. Very few of us have swimming pools waiting for us at the end of our rides. BTW, did you know you can experience heat exhaustion while swimming? I would never guess it myself.

And I doubt very much that we would want to do as this dog is doing …

I would love to join this guy (or gal) during these “dog days” …

Probably the best thing we can do is to avoid venturing out during the hottest time of the day. I like to ride early in the morning and get back home by the time the heat is coming on strong …. usually around 11 AM.

If you can ride in shady areas as much as possible. It feels like riding in a refrigerator compared to riding out under the hot sun.

Don’t take unnecessary risks. It is very dangerous to get overheated. It can be fatal.

Most of us don’t drink nearly as much water daily as we should. We would all benefit and be healthier if we drank the amount we should. And no, other types of drinks don’t count. Yep, water is necessary for life and health. Don’t let yourself get in the predicament the parched man and his mule, Dan, found themselves in …

Would you believe that this song was chosen as number 3 of the top 100 western songs of all time?

One thing that helps me immensely during hot weather is the ability to ride fast without taxing myself thanks to my e-motor. I can generate my own breeze of 20 plus mph .  It really makes a difference.

I almost forgot …. misters are another means of cooling down. If you have one available it will definitely cool you off.

Just avoid getting over heated and you too can be a cool looking dude like this fella …

While we wait for the end of the dog days of summer just remember … “this too shall pass”. Until it does be safe out there so you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

5 THINGS ABOUT RECUMBENT TRIKE RIDERS

Rarely has there been anything fellow tadpole rider, David Goldman, said i his videos that I did not agree with. These 5 things about recumbent trike riders are no exception. He hit his head on the nail again. Wait … I said that wrong … he hit the nail on the head. There, that sounds better. Hey, I am just messin’ with ya … and maybe David too. What can I say? I am known to be a bit ornery. 🙂

Here is a link to all of his YouTube videos … https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHLiC0Jo0lsF4YHimM4qkHA/videos

David has a website … http://davidridesatrike.com/

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

FEET FIRST – THE ONLY WAY TO GO

Feet first …  those words have different meanings, but mostly people think of it as being dead and carried out feet first.

feet first

Well, I think you will be pleased to know that I am not talking about that. Nope, not at all. Rather I am talking about riding a recumbent where one’s feet are out in front of them. As far as I am concerned it is the only way to go.

feet first recumbent 2

It is definitely far more comfortable riding in this …

The word recumbent means reclined or laid back. When one is reclined their feet are out in front of them. Overstuffed recliner chairs are very popular. In fact, as soon as I get thru writing this article I plan on going out into the living room and sitting in one. I not only plan on sitting on one, but I plan on reclining in it and probably falling asleep and taking a short nap. The older I get I am finding I need to do this daily if I possibly can.

I already did my reclining with my feet out in front on my trike this morning and rode getting some exercise before the heat of the day built up. Yep, there is no escaping it … we are all going feet first. We have a choice though. We can go feet first now as well as later. I plan to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

as long as I can and just maybe it will help delay going feet first the other way.

A FREE GIFT awaits you!