THE PROBLEM WITH BIKE LANES

Personally I have never been a fan of bike lanes. I think they are dangerous for cyclists to use. I would rather take the lane than risk those dangers and concerns. With motorists not paying attention and respecting bike lanes and cyclists using them to vehicles parking and driving in bike lanes to car doors opening out into bike lanes it is challenging. This Canadian cyclist shares some other concerns … all of which I find myself in agreement with. Most of us have probably heard all of this before. I know I have.

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RAIN PROTECTION

It feels like rain drops … so many rain drops … it feels like rain drops falling on my head. So go the words to a popular song from my teen years. Personally I try not to ride in the rain but I know some cyclists choose to go and ride boldly ride in inclement weather.

I used to carry rain gear with me on my trike but I have not now for several years. I don’t even know if I still have any. I never have had any “quality rain gear”. I know it is expensive. The one above is $450 and that is just for the jacket.  I think that is an outrageous price … about 4 1/2 times more than it should cost. I find that the rider’s seat position on a tadpole trike makes it difficult to get proper effective protection compared to what the rider of a bicycle has. This is mostly the lower part of the body I am talking about. If I were a rich man I would have quality rain gear and the means of carrying it along with me on my trike. Maybe someday, but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Here is a pair of $190 rainproof pants …

Being a big person (I am talking about FAT) it is quite challenging and difficult to get in and out of rain gear, especially the pants. It is hard enough to put them on at home but when I am already out riding it is extremely difficult to do.

What about canopies, you ask? They are great for  providing shade but they don’t help much when it comes to rain, especially when the rain is coming down on an angle and wind is blowing it about. At best they might keep the face, head and neck dry. But if the wind is blowing the rain  much … huh uh! I speak from experience. And most canopies offer no protection for the feet and lower legs.

There are canopies which offer more protection … on the sides and the front. Of course, they cost more.

And then there are velomobiles which offer great protection. The one shown above even has a windshield wiper.

I know I don’t like riding in the rain. I have done so many times out of necessity … I got caught out in it … and I got quite soaked just like I had been in swimming with my clothes on.

Lastly, there is always the concern of getting electronics wet. Water and electricity still don’t mix. Cell phones, GPS devices, etc. must be protected. Many of us have electic motors on our trikes.  The motors themselves are water resistant but wiring, batteries, switches, connections, and display consoles can be a concern. I have had moisture get inside of my computer and my display console. Both took days to dry back out. I had a perfectly good battery get destroyed by getting wet inside. That was a costly mistake.

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– 38 DEGREES FAREINHEIT … I’M STAYING HOME

– 38 degrees … Hey, that will wake you up … or if exposed to it too long might put you to sleep … permanently. It is Dec. 24th as I sit here in comfort typing this. It is warmer today than it was yesterday but the wind is still blowing hard resulting in blizzard conditions (white out). It is nasty out there! And it is not just here in the northern states. Atlanta, GA has nearly identical weather. It is below freezing in Floral City, Florida. I need to explain — the – 38 was the “feels like” temperature yeasterday morning … not the actual temperature. The actual temperature was about -8 degrees.

The wind was blowing hard all night Thursday, all day Friday, all night again Friday … and still blowing hard this morning (Saturday). It is my understanding that much of the United States is experiencing this same weather. It is amazing to me how this can happen. We went from temperatures in the 40s and 50s to this frigid weather.

Next Thursday the temperature is forecasted to be back up into the low 50s for 3 days. Crazy man, crazy! I will take it though. Of course, it is also suppose to rain or snow nearly everyday for more than a week. So it doesn’t look like I will be going out riding when it warms back up. It seems it almost always happens this way in northern Indiana.

This has long been one of my favorite trike videos …

I can remember as a kid growing up I would be sitting in the classroom at school looking out the window at the great weather we were having and really looking forward to the weekend so I could enjoy the nice weather. And almost every weekend it would rain. Such is life! But I still want to …

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GOAT HEAD? … WHAT’D YOU CALL ME?

In the 3rd chapter of Genesis we read that because of sin (disobedient rebellion against God) the earth was cursed. God did not originally create the earth with all the bad elements man deals with.  Thorns were unheard of prior to this curse. Where I live we don’t have goat heads so I have never had to deal with them. I sure have heard and read others talk about them. They definitely are a real menace. Here is a picture of the plant that these rascals are found on.

We have other kinds of thorns where I live but rarely are they found on a bike trail.

Those who walk where these thorns exist also deal with them.

Unfortunately there are a lot of cyclists who do have to deal with these thorns.

Without proper and adaquate protection the result is lots of flats. That is never a welcome thing. So what is a person to do? It would be nice if this threat were simply removed but I am sure that is not practical. That means that the cyclist must do whatever it takes to prevent getting flats. There are options available. There are tires which are flat resistant. There are tire liners. And there are sealants that can be used. Some claim that flat resistant tires alone suffice for them while others say they still get flats with them and need something more. Since I have never had to deal with goat head thorns I am not in a position to advise anyone.

From what I have seen and heard these goat head thorns not only are a threat to the bottom of a tire but they also are found sticking into the sidewalls. Sidewalls of tires don’t offer hardly any protection in comparison to the bottoms. In the picture above the longest most threatening part of the thorn  is not what is sticking into the tire’s sidewall. Some sidewalls are more vulnerable than others. Some are quite soft and thin making them easy to penetrate.

In all the years and hundreds of posts on this blog I have never done one about goat head thorns. I know I have mentioned them in past articles but that is all. Probably because I don’t have to deal with them I have never written much about them.  It is sort of “out of sight, out of mind”. Here in the United States they are found mostly in the southwest as I understand. I am in northeastern Indiana so I am far away from anyplace they are found … for which I am thankful.

From what I have read this plant was not native to the U.S. but was “unintentionally introduced here”. I am not sure what that means. I wonder how one would unintentionally turn loose this menace.

Reading about this plant is rather interesting. Man has used it for various purposes.

Here is a video illustraing how to get rid of these plants.

There are lots of videos on YouTube about goat head thorns and cycling.

The next time I hear someone call me a goat head I won’t take it as a compliment.

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ARE E-MOTOR BATTERIES SAFE?

E-motor systems on bikes and trikes have become so very popular. It seems like everybody and their cousins are manufacturing and selling them or components such as batteries. As with anything one could talk about … “they are not all created equal”. We all like a bargain … buying things at a low cost … saving money. BUT, is it safe when it comes to E-motor batteries? Most of us have probably seen at least one video of a battery fire. Definitely these fires look quite scary. I was a Navy firefighter with training dealing with special kinds of fires which have to be handled differently. In the video you can see that dealing with a battery fire qualifies as a special fire hazard and extinguishing it involves a different method than a normal fire. If you don’t know what you are doing you can a bad situation even worse and endanger your own life or any other people around the area. Definitely other people need to stay far away from the fire. Fireballs can come shooting out from the battery.

For what it is worth I believe it is possible to buy quality batteries from Amazon and Ebay. All my batteries I have bought from them have been good quality batteries. I don’t know about Aliexpress so I can’t comment. I mention this because in the next video this subject is addressed and he advises against buying from these sources. I have heard this from others as well. Batteries are expensive and I have limited funds. Quite frankly I can’t afford buying a $1000 plus battery from sources this guy gets his from. I have bought about 5 batteries thus far and they have all been well made in my opinion. I do look for things like UL rated and the European equivalent.

About the only thing I do special in caring for my batteries is making sure I never charge them at or below freezing temperatures. I leave them outside in freezing weather and have never had any problems. They continue to function normal other than lesser performance in cold weather. That is a well known fact about these batteries. They perform better in warm weather. I live and ride in northern Indiana so I deal with winter weather.

I have everything mounted on my trike. My two batteries and their two chargers are always ready to be used no matter where I go. I almost always charge my batteries on my trike. I keep my trike in the bed of my pick up truck so the charging goes on while the trike is in the bed of my truck. It always has worked out well and I have a full charge in both batteries when I go out for a ride the next time. Some times I plug the chargers in when I stop somewhere and put some charge back into the batteries while I am out with my trike. I use the chargers that come with the batteries. It is hard on batteries to use a charger that charges at a higher rate. I have one 5 amp charger but I rarely use it. That is the maximum size of charger I can use without concern of damaging the batteries. Even so 2 or 3 amps is best and healthiest for the batteries. It takes longer but that is okay. I am usually done riding for the day when I am charging.

Well, that is about all I have to say about this subject. Now it is time to go ride. I am doing my best to …

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