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.

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ANOTHER FROM THE ARCHIVES … MAGPED

1ST POSTED NOVEMBER 30, 2020

MAGPED … another magnetic pedal offering for foot retention

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=magped+pedals

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CHAIN WEAR & REPLACEMENT

 

I have always gotten phenomenal mileage out of my chains on my trike. I just recently replaced one which had 16,672 miles on it. That is the most I have ever got and truthfully the way it was wearing I think I could have got another couple thousand miles out of it.

I use Rock-n-Roll Gold chain lubricant and am quite impressed with it … more so than any other product I have ever tried.

One of my bike mechanics said to me that I should only get about 1600 miles out of a chain. I said to him “you’re talking about a bicycle, but a recumbent tadpole trike gets far more wear out of the chain than a bicycle”. That is because a trike has 2.5 to 3 standard lengths of bicycle chain compared to a bicycle.That should result in considerable less wear. Even so about 5000 miles is all that one should expect. I have always got far more … usually 9000 to 12,000 miles. One time I got over 14,ooo miles. And, like I said, this time over 16,000.

You may ask me how this is possible. It is possible because of God. That is right! I learned many many years ago to put God first in my finances … to give Him the tithe before I spend money for anything else. He says in His word that if we do this He will rebuke the devourer and we will be blessed. I can not explain this incredible mileage I get out of my chains any other way. The same is true of my tire wear. I have witnessed the result of withholding the tithe. God says it is stealing from Him. One way or another He will get His tithe. If not given freely He will take it some other way. The car or furnace or some appliance will break down costing far more than the tithe would have cost. I have seen it happen in many people’s lives. God is real and everything I am talking about is real. It is truly a joy to give God His tithe. In doing so I also enjoy His many blessings in my life each and every day. May He be praised and may we all …

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BTW, I have written about this subject of chain wear before …  I even used the same title … https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/chain-wear-replacement.

I have also written several other articles concerning chain … https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/?s=chain

You might find it interesting to take a look at the many artists’ creations made out of bicycle chain … https://tinyurl.com/y6zlva4a

 

MAGPED … another magnetic pedal offering for foot retention

 

I don’t know anything about them at this point in time as I only first heard of them 5 minutes ago. Looking at their website , one can readily see that what they offer is a mountain bike pedal with a magnet bolted down onto it. They also have road pedals. The company is out of British Columbia, Canada.

They have various models varying in price … $72 to $208. Wow, I paid $13 for my BMX pedal and they have been great. Some models have just one magnet so the rider can only use one side of the pedal if they want the magnet in use. One model has two magnets so it doesn’t matter which side of the pedal is used as both sides have a magnet. They sell replacement parts such as magnets, pins, shoe plates, etc.

My biggest concern with using a magnetic foot retention system is the magnets picking up metal pieces on them as well as magnetizing the steel plates in the shoes and having them pick up metal as one walks around in them. With my own personal experience with BMX pedals my shoes stay in place on them quite well without anything holding them down onto the pedal. So with the aid of a magnet I would think that they stay in place quite well as long as the magnet used is strong enough. They have some extremely strong magnets nowadays.

I don’t think these would work for me as I like to be able to move my foot around on the pedal if I want to. That would be tricky and challenging using this set up. Besides I much prefer wearing whatever footwear I want to. But I know that there are many who want their feet secured to the pedals when they ride and these pedals just might appeal to you.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magpedNorthAmerica/
Instagram: @magpedNA

So for anyone looking for an alternative foot retention system you might want to consider these. Be safe out there and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

EL CHEAPO BRAKE PADS

 

Several months ago I bought some really cheap (low cost) brake pads off of Ebay. When I say low cost I am talking $3 for one set. Compare that with $21 for the Avid brand. Avid BB-7 is the brake pad involved. I installed a pair of these low cost brake pads and am happy to report that they have been performing great. It is time to replace them now which I will probably do today. I sure can’t complain about them. They have done every bit as well as the Avid brand … maybe even better. I just checked and I have almost 7000 miles on my trike since I installed these low cost brake pads. I don’t have records of the mileage I have got out of name brand Avid BB-7 brake pads so I really can’t compare. I am just going by the time factor the best I recollect it. I don’t think the name brand pads lasted any longer time-wise.  Certainly having great working reliable brakes is quite important. Based on my experience with these brake pads I would highly recommend them to everybody. There is a problem however. They now cost about $10 a pair.  I am glad I bought several pair when I did. Ah ha! That seller may not offer that price anymore but I just found another one which is lower yet … $9 for 4 pair … that is $2.25 apiece. And the shipping is free. Of course, I don’t know anything about them so I can’t recommend them. There maybe others offered thru Ebay but I stopped looking. I don’t know about you but I like saving money and finding great deals. Hey, be safe out there so you can …

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MagLOCK PEDALS

Clipping In” isn’t for everybody. I am among those who don’t like using SPD pedals and shoes. There are various options one can use in place of the SPD system. One option is magnetic pedals and the leader in this seems to be MagLOCK. It is not inexpensive … starting at $110. And that is just for the pedals. You still need to have shoes with a steel plate so the system will work. Regular SPD bike shoes will work and a steel plate and screws comes with the pedals which fits on the shoe replacing the SPD clip. Anyway, MagLOCK offers two different models … their original known as Fort Knox which sells for $175 and Stealth model which sells for $110.

If you are interested in viewing more MagLOCK videos click HERE.

The MagLOCK company offers a rather unique thing. For $135 one can “try out” the Fort Knox pedals which normally sell for about $175. Used pedals  which have been returned are involved. You can read about this program by clicking HERE. You can keep the used pedals for the $135 price or if you want new pedals you return the used ones and pay the$40  difference.

One can add or remove magnets in the pedals to change the magnetic strength. Of course, there is only room for so many magnets inside so there is a limit to increasing the magnetism.

With this system one can move their foot about on the pedal pretty much wherever they want it. That is a big plus for some riders. I have only heard good reports/comments about these pedals. If I were a rich man I might even give them a try. For sure we all need to stay safe out there and …

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

INERTIA OR STORED ENERGY … TORQUE SENSOR

One thing I have noticed since I started using my current hub motor which presently is hand throttle only is that when applying electrical power to the motor it seems to store energy somehow and my trike when I let off the hand throttle will and can coast faster and longer than if I were simply pedaling under human power only. It is considerably noticeable. I am not sure what the term is for this. I titled this post Inertia or Stored Energy but neither one may be correct.

 

I have a new (never installed) torque sensor for the bottom bracket (crankset). I bought one when I bought my e-motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. It required a different crankset than what came on my Catrike so I spent good money to buy one. With my assistance and guidance my LBS installed the torque sensor with this new crankset but the unit was faulty and never worked. Grin Technologies told me that this particular torque sensor has been very troublesome and many have not worked.  Of course, they didn’t tell me this until after I bought it and spent all this extra money to install it. It was a lot of wasted money. Grin Technologies had me send it back to them and they sent me a different torque sensor and, of course, it required yet another crankset. Consequently I never installed this 2nd torque sensor as I just didn’t/haven’t had the money to go thru all of this again. I am considering it now however. I would really like to have true pedal assist and not just a hand throttle. Some hub motors have a torque sensor built into them and are located inside the hub motor. Unfortunately mine does not. I don’t like anything about this “after market” approach as I call it. It is a very poor way to accomplish this. The unit is difficult to install and it is very easily damaged as it has extremely tiny wires which break very easily. That is my story and I am stuck with it as well as sticking to it. I spent the money for a torque sensor initially as I wanted a system that “felt natural” when pedaling. That is still my goal. I need to take the torque sensor into my LBS so they can figure out what is needed in the way of a crankset, discover one and get it ordered. As many of you know having a hand throttle only presents a problem sometimes as it violates some trail rules. Personally I think it is ridiculous but it is the way it is. Remedying this situation will help ensure that I can …

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NOW YOU STAY (ALL ABOUT PARKING BRAKES)

NOW YOU STAY!!!

There is a joke about a woman who drives her car into the parking lot at a shopping center to do a bit of shopping. A man nearby sees her exit her vehicle and then turn toward the car pointing her finger saying “Now you stay!” Thinking she is talking to her car he says to her … “Lady, why don’t you just put it in ‘park’?” What he couldn’t see from his vantage point is the small dog seated inside the car which the lady was talking to.

Now that has absolutely nothing to do with tadpole trikes, but I thought it was appropriate to lead into what I want to discuss here … some means of getting our trikes to ‘stay’ when we dismount and leave our trikes unattended.

Both ICE and HP Velotechnik offer a parking brake … either a caliper type or disc type as both are options.  If any other manufacturers offer a parking brake I am not aware of it.

That being said, Catrike now comes with locking brake levers … a huge improvement over the Velcro strap they used to provide.

So unless your trike comes with some sort of parking brake or locking brake levers you need to come up with some means of keeping your trike where you leave it as I assure you that saying to your trike “now you stay” isn’t going to work.

Using a Velcro strap works, but are a pain in the neck to use in my opinion.

I have also used a heavy duty rubber band of sorts to wrap around the twist grip and hook both ends around the brake lever. This worked pretty good, but again it was a bit of a pain to use.

And I used plastic cable ties which also worked pretty good. It only required one hand to use it. I much preferred it over the Velcro strap.

There are locking parking brake levers which are my preference. They are what I have used for several years now.

For me to use them they require two hands to engage the lock.  They sure beat using the Velcro strap method.

There are other ways to keep your trike from taking off on its own, but these are the most common means that I am aware of.

One thing I want to mention is that if your trike has a rear brake it is intended to be used strictly as a parking brake. Braking the rear wheel, especially by itself with no front brake application, can be dangerous and have bad consequences. The two front brakes on a tadpole trike are plenty powerful and effective enough to stop a trike. There is no need of using a rear brake.

Regardless of what means you use to keep your trike from departing the scene without you aboard I hope you can always …

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E-MOTOR BATTERY MOUNTS FROM TERRACYCLE

TerraCycle makes some great products for our trikes. With the ever increasing popularity of electric motorized trikes having a way to mount the battery is crucial. It is not desirable to mount a heavy battery up high on a trike as it raises the trike’s center of gravity considerably and effects the handling and therefore safety of the trike. Keeping the battery mounted down low and out of the way is important. TerraCycle offers some solutions … some specifically made for certain trike and battery brands and others which aremore less generic. Actually as far as I can tell from their webpage they only have kits for Catrike and ICE (rigid rear) and (suspended models) at this time.

They do offer a highly configurable mount so chances are pretty good they can help a guy (or gal) out with their battery mounting problem. When ordering one needs to specify what trike (brand and model) as well as e-motor system and battery they have so TerraCycle can send the correct spacers needed for the specific kits or to help them in getting you a mounting bracket which will work on your trke.

I said that keeping the battery mounted down low is important as far as the trike’s center of gravity. This is quite true, however, the downside of mounting the battery down low is that it is then very vulnerable to getting water, mud, slush and whatever else flung up on it. I presently have my battery down low, but I am seriously considering mounting it up on the rear luggage rack somehow as my battery is getting so messed up for all kinds of stuff being flung up on it. I don’t like that. When I first got my electric motor pedal assist kit I had the battery located in the rear rack and I didn’t have any issues with handling. The battery certainly stayed a whole lot cleaner up there and it was a lot handier to get to it. Some manufacturers of e-motors offer a special rear luggage rack designed to hold their battery. Unfortunately most of these rack mounted batteries are not very powerful so the cruising range they offer is limited.

A larger battery can be mounted on top of a rear luggage rack, but then the luggage rack can’t be used for a trunk bag. Panniers can still be used. I sure will miss my trunk bag if I end up mounting my battery on top of the rear rack.

The battery can also be mounted on the boom. However, that is a lot of weight sitting on the boom and the boom was never intended to carry weight like this so I don’t know how wise it is to do this. I am not saying that it won’t hold it okay. I just don’t know.

The Beatles said it all in one of their songs … “we can work it out” … and when we do it will most certainly help us to … ENJOY THE RIDE & KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TERRACYCLE – EXQUISITE RECUMBENT PARTS & ACCESSORIES

TerraCycle, not to be confused with TerraTrike,  is a gold mine for recumbent folks. They have much to offer and if you have never heard of them you really need to get acquainted. Here are their own words:

“TerraCycle has a simple mission: to make parts for recumbent cycles that considerably improve the riding experience. Every day, the TerraCycle Team shows up and uses their hands, hearts and minds to create those parts. We know we’re doing well when Tom Caldwell writes us and says: “Great work, great product, great company—I love doing business with professionals!” When a customer comes back to the shop just to see what new add-ons we’ve created for our accessory mounts, when a team of college kids asks for our idlers on their human powered vehicle, or when a couple comes by to show off the new ways they’ve figured out to use their cockpit mounts, then we know we’re doing it right.

With our website, we hope to create a library of information on recumbent cycling and the technologies that empower those who ride. Over the years, we’ve demonstrated our dedication to making the perfect part, which requires knowing just about all there is to know about recumbent cycling. If you haven’t had the chance to try us out, we recommend it. Otherwise, let this site be a place for you to come to learn about that wheeled craft you’ve been riding around. Who knows, you might realize you need something after all.”

Here is a list of their offerings:

“Accessory Mounting
Assist Arms
Battery Mounts
Cargo Monster Load Carrier
Chain in Bulk
Easy Reacher Underseat Racks
FastBack Hydration & Packs
Fenders
Gift Certificates
Handlebars, Stems & Steering
Idlers & Chain Management
Purple Sky Flags
SeatSide Mount System
Stainless Bolt Kits
TailSoks
Tires & Tubes
Velogenesis Seat Clamps
Windwrap Fairings
Xtras, Blems & Discounts”

They also have a FAQ page which you may find very helpful. Here is a sampling:

“FAQ Directory
Here at TerraCycle, we strive to be the world leader in recumbent cycling knowledge. Below are some topics that have caused more head scratching than brand new helmets, and our best attempts to alleviate the discomfort!

Bearings
Cargo Monster
Handlebar Fitting
Idlers
Diagnosing Drivetrain Noises
Steering Systems
Tire Sizing
Underseat Racks
Windwrap Fairings”

They even speak (or at least write) Latin. You’ll have to look thru their website to know what I am referring to here as I am not going to tell you.

TerraCycle also has some videos available on YouTube.

Please note that there is another company called TerraCycle which deals with recycling waste so don’t get confused with them. Because of the shared name our TerraCycle has to use a different name in their website …” t-cycle”.

For those who have followed my personal triking life you know that I recently had my trike motorized with a pedal assist setup. A TerraCycle mini-cockpit T bar was used to mount the display console on. Here is a picture of it. It is the bar furthest forward with the   green area and the white 0 (zero) displayed on the screen of the dispaly console. The TerraCycle part is only the section shown where their company icon is seen. It is where the display console is mounted. The bottom part is made by a different company (it is the Catrike mirror and accessory mount). The two parts look like they are made as one unit.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that.  I have ordered a couple of items from them in years past and they always provided excellent and quick service. Their parts seem to be very well made … top quality. With their help we can …

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CHAIN TUBES … WHO NEEDS THEM?

chain-tubes

Chain tubes seem to be somewhat of a controversial issue among tadpole trikers. Some people just don’t like them and remove them. They replace them with a dual idler pulley setup. Some say that using chain tubes slows them up as the chain drags thru them and the friction involved is the culprit causing the slowup. Some just don’t like the appearance of chain tubes. They say they are unattractive. Some say that chain tubes are noisy and they object to having them because of this. I personally don’t buy into most of the objections people raise. If everything is set up correctly I think chain tubes are a great component to employ on a tadpole trike. They keep the chain cleaner while keeping the rider cleaner. They “manage” the chain keeping it from flopping around unnecessarily, keeping it from rubbing on the frame and also keep it in place, especially if the trike is folded.

dual-idler-pulleys

A few years ago I decided to try eliminating the chain tubes and using a second idler pulley. I ran my trike that way for awhile, but I didn’t care much for it and went back to the original setup. In fact, I even added an additional chain tube on the back side. I personally think the argument about slowing one up is silly just as is the argument about safety flags slowing a trike up and/or making too much noise flapping around. There are always going to be people who think like this and that is ok. They can do what they want. It does bother me however when they try to talk others out of using these things. A good safety flag may very well save your life.

chain-tube-on-folded-trike

You can see in this picture of a folded Azub trike how well the chain tubes

control the chain keeping it in place and protecting the trike frame.

In managing a chain they keep it from making contact with the trike frame and rubbing the paint off of it. They keep the chain from making contact with the rider’s leg and leaving a “tattoo” on the skin or clothing. They keep the chain in place so it doesn’t get relocated somewhere it doesn’t belong and cause other problems. This also includes the fact that it helps eliminate our having to get our hands all messed up trying to get the chain back where it belongs. Keeping a lot of the chain enclosed eliminates a lot of exposure to external elements which get the chain dirty.

chain-tubes-2

The way I look at it the trike manufacturers know what they are doing and they incorporate the use of chain tubes for very good reasons. Yes, they can be eliminated, but why would you want to? In doing so you are defeating the whole purpose of why they were installed. Not every chain tube installed from the manufacturer is set up properly. I will grant you that. I redid mine so that they sort of “float” and stay in line with where the chain moves to when shifting between the various sprockets. I even heated the chain tube and put a slight bend(curve) in it so it better lines up with the chain. I also flared the ends of the chain tubes so that the chain moves thru the chain tubes better. I don’t notice any drag or noise from the chain tubes and I definitely like my leg and clothing from not making contact with the chain thanks to the chain tubing. Lastly one thing I have observed when it comes to the use of chain tubes is that they can be too long or positioned wrong or held to solidly to where they interfere with the chain moving freely allowing proper shifting onto the sprockets … front or rear. This is all common sense stuff but, hey, it happens and needs to be corrected so that everything works right. (Right along with this I have also seen idler sprocket/pulleys positioned too close to the front derailleur and sprockets which do not allow the needed movement and alignment of the chain to shift properly onto the various sprockets. This can also be the case at the rear derailleur. This is especially true with homemade trikes or trikes where someone has replaced the original chain tubes and made them longer or placed them too far forward or back in the case where they are on the rear of the trike.)

So who needs chain tubes? In my opinion we all do. But, hey, you do whatever you want. Forest Gump had it right and they say you can’t fix it! Did I really say that? Shame on me! Hey, …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’ & ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BOOM CHAIN TENSIONERS (CRANK ARM SHORTENERS UPDATE)

Note: I started out writing this article about an update on the subject of crank arms shorteners, but it more less evolved into another topic so I changed the title accordingly.

It has warmed up a bit recently and all the snow has melted. Between that and rain we have had recently the rivers have risen and flooded over their banks so that some parts of our local bike trails are flooded over and closed. Boo Hoo!! Never the less I have been able to ride my tadpole trike which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the nasty wind chill factor. In order to ride my trike I removed the crank arm shorteners I had installed on my wife’s recumbent bike I am using for rehab and exercise here at home. I installed the crank arm shorteners on my trike. (I was even able to move the pedals one hole further out so that means my new knee joints are improving.) What a difference! I really like them (Yes, both the crank arm shorteners and my new knee joints.) 🙂

crank-arm-shortener-on-my-tadpole-trike-3

However, there is one thing that I noticed using them on my trike that I didn’t notice on the bike. With the crank arm shorteners installed on my trike I need to readjust my boom … lengthen it … as I am not getting the leg extension I need with the pedals relocated. I have not done that yet, but I should. It probably will require adding some more chain. That is the main reason I haven’t tried moving the boom out yet. It is winter out there folks and I am not too crazy about working out in the cold to accomplish this task.

A rear derailleur is supposed to be able to handle about 2 inches of extra chain length as far as movement of the boom.  That equates to approximately one inch of boom adjustment. However that figure is based on the boom position at the shortest length the rear derailleur handles to the position of the boom at the longest length it can handle. If the boom is already positioned out quite a ways within that range than most of that 2 inches is already used up. If this is the case then additional chain would need to be added.

One nice option is to employ a Universal Boom Adjust Chain Tensioner designed for the boom of a tadpole trike.

crank-arm-shortener-on-tadpole-trike

They are not cheap ($155), but they do make it easy to move the boom in and out and automatically maintain the proper chain tension. They are especially nice to accommodate various riders of differing sizes. The chain can be made up long enough to move the boom out for a tall rider and when the boom is shortened for a shorter rider the chain tensioner automatically takes care of the extra chain the rear derailleur would not be able to handle. Obviously there is a lot of extra chain and hardware involved and it might appear a bit unsightly to many (myself included), but they do work. You definitely would not want to run it into a curb or such as it would likely be damaged. TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) manufactures these for several different brands of trikes. They can be purchased from some trike dealers and trike manufacturers as well. Catrike sells it for $150, but it is $145 at most of the other sources I have seen including directly from TerraCycle. The Chain Gobbler fits Greenspeed trikes and sells for $149.

Here is a Utah Trikes video on the subject of these chain tensioners …

So this is a very handy and practical option available. Most definitely if you have various size riders riding the same trike this is the way to go. Adding and removing lengths of chain even if you use links which are supposedly quick and easy to remove is a real pain compared to this slick setup. So if you have $150 or so burning a hole in your pocket here is a place to unload that cash and make your life easier. It is always nicer to ride then to “wrench”. And it will even help you and others to …

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YAHOO! THE CRANKARM SHORTENERS WORK GREAT

crankarm-shortener

Yes, I am talking about the crankarm shorteners again. They arrived in the mail today and I installed them on my wife’s recumbent bike I have set up on my indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio. I tried them out and WOW … what a difference! I really like them. I can position my feet normally on the pedals and pedal quite comfortably. My new freshly installed man made knee joints  are loving them. There is only one problem. It is just too darn cold out there even inside the enclosed patio. At least I didn’t have that nasty wind to contend with. And this is jut the start of winter. C’mon April! I chose to install them on my wife’s bike instead of my trike … for now that is … as I don’t intend to try riding my trike outdoors in this miserable weather. Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick note about the crankarm shorteners. They really work great and I highly recommend them. BTW, wouldn’t you just know it? The very same place I bought my crankarm shorteners from is now selling them for over $7 less than I paid for them. The price I paid was the lowest I could find at the time. Oh well, it is truly the story of my life. 🙂

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

Here is a video which explains the need and benefit of shorter crankarms.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CRANKARM SHORTENERS REVISITED

crank-shorteners

For a very long time now I have wanted to try using crankarms shorteners as they are supposed to help those who have knee joint issues. And it is said that short people should use shorter crankarms. I qualify on both. At my rehab physical therapy sessions I am going thru for knee joint replacement their stationary recumbent exercise bike has the crankarms adjusted to their minimum setting and that setting works great for me. I recently ordered a set of crankarm shorteners so I can pedal normally. With my 165 mm crankarms that came on my trike I have to place the heels of my feet on the pedals in order to pedal it. I tried pedaling my wife’s recumbent bike which I have set up on an indoor trainer out on the enclosed patio at the back of the house, but I couldn’t even pedal it with my heels on the pedals. I think it has 175 mm crankarms. I just am not “there” yet in my recovery. At rehab I can pedal with my feet positioned normally on the pedals. I even cranked it up to 100 rpm cadence a couple of times. So the shorter crankarms really do make a difference. I am really looking forward to having them on my trike.

Here is a video which explains the need and benefit of shorter crankarms.

What I am not looking forward to is winter weather for the next few months. I don’t know how much I will be getting out riding thru the winter. If it gets nasty enough I will no doubt bring my trike back inside the house for the third winter in a row and set it up on the indoor trainer in the living room in front of the large screen TV which is also used as a computer monitor. With access to the internet I can find all sorts of stuff to watch on that big screen in front of me including riding on bike trails. It is almost like being there except I can’t lean in the turns. 🙂

Yep, a set of these just might be your ticket as well.

short-crankarms-2

Shortens cranks by 24, 41, 59 and 76mm. I am pretty certain that I will be using the 59 mm position (next to the shortest) as that will give me about 106 mm crankarms which is close to the setting of the crankarms on the stationary recumbent exercise bike I am pedaling at rehab. The really neat thing about using these is that if and as one improves the pedals can be moved further out. I doubt if I would ever go back all the way to 165 mm though.

HERE is an article I wrote previously about crankarm length.

HERE is the best price I have found on them. I am quite certain that they are going to help me to …

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ALUMINUM BICYCLE RIMS – HOW THEY ARE MADE

Yet one more of these videos showing how bicycle components are made. This time it is aluminum wheels. Most of our trikes come with aluminum wheels so let’s take a look at how they are made.

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INNER TUBES – HOW THEY ARE MADE

don’t know about others, but I find it interesting watching these videos which show how various things are made. I tried to find a video about bicycle inner tubes, but the only one I found is motorcycle inner tubes. But hey, there isn’t much difference other than size. Here is the video:

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BICYCLE CHAIN – HOW IT’S MADE

Bicycle Chain Bowl

bike-chain-bowl

Chain is a key component of most bicycles and tricycles. Without it we aren’t going anywhere. Did you ever take a good close look at a bicycle chain? Most riders just take the chain for granted not paying much attention to it. There just might be more to one than you ever realized. Here is a video showing how bicycle chain is made.

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IT’S JUST A HILL … GET OVER IT

steep hill 2

saw those words printed on shirts you can buy and thought they were pretty “catchy”. I think most riders would agree that it is a lot more fun and enjoyable going down a hill than it is climbing it. Many have reported reaching some pretty fast speeds on their descent. I am talking 40 to 50 plus mph. Velomobile riders have reported reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph. Going down the longest steepest hill I know of around here where I live the highest speed I have ever obtained is only about 28 mph. Here below is a picture of the hill I speak of. Looking at the hill one would think that it would yield higher speeds than that. I have only ridden my trike on it once as it is a distance away and not someplace I normally ride.

Tonkel Rd. hill 2

It is said and is quite true that we must climb the hill enduring the challenge and difficulty in order to enjoy the fun and thrill of going down it. Climbing a steep hill only using our human power can indeed be challenging. And certainly our ability to do so depends upon our physical condition and the gearing we have available. Low gearing is a must for hill climbing.

This is a 3 speed internal hub with  a 10 cog rear cassette … totaling 90 speeds. I would love to have something like this on my trike.

3-speed-hub-with-cassettes

I would settle for 81 speeds. The option to shift the internal hub instantly changing the available gear down lower would be a ‘godsend’ as they say.

My tadpole trike came with 27 ‘speeds’ (3 chainrings in the front and 9 cogs in the rear cassette). The newer ones are 30 speeds as they have a rear cassette of 10 cogs. They come with a 34 tooth cog as the largest diameter sprocket on the rear cassette. My trike originally had a 32 tooth sprocket as the largest cog on the rear cassette. I later changed it to 34 tooth which definitely helped a little bit with hill climbing. Still I could really use a smaller chain ring on the front. The hills I normally climb here where I live are not anything like the one in the picture above. I would definitely need lower gearing to tackle something like that. Either that or I would have to make numerous stops to rest. That is one thing good about riding a tadpole trike. Stopping to rest doesn’t involve having to “dismount” and then struggle to get started again like a bicyclist does. And we don’t have to concern ourselves with balancing while going slow. We can climb a hill just as slow as we can manage the pedaling involved … perhaps at 1.5 mph … maybe even slower for some of us. Try that on a bicycle.

50 tooth cog on rear cassette

In the picture above you are looking at a 50 tooth cog . I have seen 42 and 44 tooth sprockets for the rear cassette and just now I found this 50 tooth. Given enough traction and strength in the trike build I would think that a person could just about “pull stumps” out of the ground with that low gearing. 🙂 Of course, one must keep in mind that when talking about a derailleur system the rear derailleur can only handle so much gear range. Going with such a large sprocket on the rear means that the largest front chain ring would have to be smaller in order for the rear derailleur to handle things. (I have an article on rear derailleur capacity.) So what you would gain in low gearing you would lose in high gearing (fastest speed obtainable). If we live/ride somewhere that has lots of hills to climb and yet we also like to go as fast as we possibly can we have a bit of a problem. Solutions are available, but they are not cheap. There are two and three speed internal hubs for the crankset as well as various internal hubs for the rear wheel. Some fabulous gearing combinations can be had for a price … more than what some trikes cost.

Many of us have one or more hills to contend with … GET OVER ‘EM! … and

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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UNDERSTANDING GEAR RATIOS

All those round things with teeth around the outside are commonly known as “sprockets”. (Yes, I know for those who insist on being technical … they are cassettes/cogs on the back and chainrings on the front.) These sprockets are several different diameters and this is for a reason. All those different diameters provide a different gear ratio when the chain goes from one to the other. When the chain is on the smallest sprocket in the front and the largest sprocket on the back it is the lowest gear ratio. And when the chain is on the largest sprocket in the front and the smallest sprocket in the back it is the highest gear ratio. Knowing these gear ratios, lowest to highest, helps us to determine the performance capability as well as the hill climbing ability and effort needed. As to the fastest speed we can ride we can only pedal so fast. Once we reach the maximum rpm we are capable of pedaling we reach the maximum speed we can go. The only way we can go any faster is to have a higher gear ratio. And even then we reach the point of “practicalness” as sooner or later we find too much resistance in our pedaling.

There are other contributing and limiting factors involved in determining the gear ratios such as wheel size and tire choices, but I am not addressing any of that here.

HERE is a well written article on the subject of understanding gear ratios.

large sprocket on tadpole trike

As you can see in the picture above an oversize sprocket has been installed on this tadpole trike. It looks mighty impressive, but the truth is probably not many of us could pedal it to its potential top speed as we just don’t have what it takes. Most of our trikes come equipped from the manufacturer with a 52 tooth sprocket as the largest. The picture above is real, but the one below is fake … a little photo editing fun I had sometime back.

130 tooth chainring on Catrike 700

Mind you there are bikes and trikes with oversize sprockets which have been ridden to accomplish setting new land speed records for human powered vehicles. Usually they have some sort of streamlined bodies on them so they can cut thru the air and not deal with the resistance you and I do with our plain ol’ trikes. Here is a picture of one such vehicle which broke the world record. I haven’t kept up with who currently holds the distinction so this may not be the current record holder.

world record holder

It takes more than gearing to accomplish such a feat. One must be a very top athlete to reach these speeds with just human power. But you can bet there is not 52 tooth sprocket installed here.

Some of us need help with gear ratios as what we currently have isn’t “getting it”. It can get a bit on the expensive side when one starts changing all the sprockets to accomplish such a change in gear ratios. Obviously the best time to do it is when the original sprockets are wore out and in need of changing. And we can only accomplish that by …

KEEPING ON TRIKIN’

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