WHY YOU SHOULD TRY A RECUMBENT TRIKE

Recumbent trikes have become quite popular and for good reason. They are super comfortable. They are far safer than bicycles. And they are a lot of fun to ride. Like most of us I rode bicycles all my life until I got into recumbents. And initially I rode a 2 wheel recumbent bike … not a trike. I loved riding the recumbent bike until I tried riding a recumbent trike. That is all it took. I was hooked on trikes. I totally lost interest in my recumbent bike so I sold it. I found the recumbent bike comfortable but the recumbent trike was even more comfortable … noticebly more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong. In my earlier years I found riding a bicycle lots of fun. And there are definitely things you can do on a diamond frame bike that you can’t do on a recumbent bike or trike. Some of those things I miss. But as the years rolled along I found that riding a diamond frame bicycle was taking its toll on me.  My body was letting me know that a bicycle is not friendly toward me. I had aches and pains and discomfort that really started to get my attention and no matter what I tried to do … changing the seat, the handlebars, my position … it didn’t help much. I knew of recumbent bikes so being a weldor and metal fabricator I decided to build myself a recumbent bike. WOW, what a difference! I no longer had any discomfort. I rode my recumbent bike thru the year until November when knowing that winter would soon be upon me I made the decision to build my first tadpole trike. I wanted to keep riding thru the winter and I knew 2 wheels on slippery surfaces was unsafe. And I had learned already that a recumbent bike goes down easier than a diamond frame bike. They just are not as stable. Once I got my first tadpole trike built there was no turning back. I was hooked. It was more comfortable than a recumbent bike. It was safer and it was a lot more fun to ride than a bicycle. I rode it thru the winter and come Spring I attempted to go back to my recumbent bike. I rode it for a couple of weeks but discovered that I much preferred riding the trike so I went back to the trike and never looked back. I sold my recumbent bike since I no longer rode it nor cared to ride it. I bought a new 2009 Catrike Trail and sold my homemade trike. I have been riding a tadpole trike now for 16 years and absolutely love it. Well, that is my personal testimony concerning how I got into tadpole trikes.

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THE FUTURE OF TERRATRIKE

From what I have seen TerraTrike is making some good smart moves. I like the idea of going with a rear wheel hub motor on their new e-trike rather than a crank drive system as I am not a fan of crank drive e-drive bikes and trikes. Here is a video about what they are up to.

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RECUMBENT TRIKES … ARE THEY FOR YOU?

You may be asking … “is a recumbent trike for me”? Keep in mind that one does not have to be old  or disabled to ride a tadpole trike. But if you happen to be old or disabled recumbent trikes are likely your answer. They are highly modifiable and can be equipped to meet the needs of nearly everybody. From a basic tadpole trike to a FAT trike to a sophisticated velomobile there are lots to choose from. When it comes to riding on thru the winter most definitely 3 (or 4) wheels are far better and safer than only 2.

That is how I got started with tadpole trikes. Winter was fast approaching and I wanted to keep riding … riding safely. I knew 2 wheels were unsafe as a bicycle goes down readily on slippery surfaces. I had already experienced that more than once. Fortunately I never received any serious injury, but I was well aware it can happen. So I built me first tadpole trike and rode it thru the winter. I fell in love with riding a tadpole trike. It is so much more fun than riding a bicycle and it is much much safer. When Spring time finally came around I tried switching back to a 2 wheel recumbent bike, but quickly discovered that I much preferred riding the trike so I sold my bike which I didn’t care to ride anymore. That was in the winter of 2007-2008. So for 16 years now I have had the infamous “recumbent smile” on my face and never a moment’s regret. Recumbent tadpole trikes are difinitely for me. I bought a 2009 Catrike Trail and sold my homemade tadpole trike.  I now ride a 2013 Catrike Trail.

Recumbent trikes come in two completely different design builds … a Delta with one wheel in the front and two wheels in the back …. and a Tadpole (originally called a Reverse trike) with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back.

Although my personal preference is a Tadpole design you may find you prefer (need) a Delta design.  A Tadpole is like driving a sports car (Corvette) while a Delta is like driving a family sedan (Rambler). Not everybody is able to get in and out of the low seat of a Tadpole trike so for them the Delta is the only way to go. In all fairness there are some Delta trikes which are made low to the ground and built for speed and cornering.

These videos address these subjects:

As shown in the video above there is a lot of difference between a Delta recumbent trike and a Tadpole recumbent trike. I fully agree with the thumbs down for the Delta and the thumbs up for the Tadpole.

One last comment … I have found that riding a tadpole trike brings a whole lot more respect from motorists than one gets riding a bicycle. That, of course, adds greatly to the safety factor.

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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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“THE LOOP” … 130 plus MILES OF RIDING IN THE DESSERT

Several times others have recommended snowbirding to Tucson, Arizona rather than Florida. Quite honestly there is nothing about most of the western states that appeal to me. When I look at the western half of Texas I can’t help but wonder why we fought Mexico for it. It is just miles and miles of nothing but wasteland in my opinion. Mexico ended up more less possessing it anyway and without firing a shot. The states of Arizona and New Mexico also have no appeal to me … just more wasteland. Tucson as a city has no appeal to me. But then I don’t like cities at all. I am a “small town boy”. That being said I am somewhat impressed with The Loop. At 130 or more miles long that is a lot of trail to ride. Of course, it is riding in the dessert … something which probably would not appeal to some of us, including me.  I just looked at their weather forecast. It is a little cooler than I thought it would be and their daily highs are different than what I expected for December. Here in Indiana where I live it gets colder as the winter months pass. December can be a mixed bag of offerings … from the 60s down into the teens. January is usually the coldest month and by March it is usually starting to warm up a little bit with the emphasis on a little bit. In Tucson December is in the 60s for highs and starting in January each month it gets a little bit warmer. By the end of March it is up into the low 80s so for me that would be my cut off point for snowbirding. I don’t like heat and low 80s is as warm as I care for. I could handle all those temperatures from Dec thru Mar. I doubt very much if I will ever get to travel to Tucson and ride The Loop but maybe you might. They have expanded it some already and have plans to expand it more.

PLEASE NOTE — I JUST HEARD THAT E-BIKES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE LOOP. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!

This next video discusses the use of motorized cycles on The Loop …

Click HERE to order the book about The Loop mentioned in the video above.

The sound is lousy in this next video but it shows e-bikes riding on The Loop. At 3 min. 40 seconds into the video there is something I always like to see …

Online maps are available with various information about the trail system.

Here are more videos …

And here is a very long video of a bike ride on the loop where a bicyclists rides about 16 miles or so one way to get to Flowing Wells.

After watching the video above I can see that The Loop is not as appealing to me as I thought it would be. It looks to be very boring to ride. There is very little shade and the scenery really sucks in my opinion. And there looks to be a lot of it which runs right next to busy roads and trail users have to cross these roads. I would not care for that. They do have the trail considerably closed off to any unwanted traffic being able to get onto it. It is fenced in. I would feel quite trapped if I were on the trail as there are very few places where one could get off of the trail. I don’t know what they have for restroom facilities but I didn’t see any in the video. According to THIS there are lots of restrooms available all along the trail.

Floral City, Florida and the Withlacoochee State Trail is looking more appealing all the time. It is partly cloudy and 79 there right now and only 56 in Tucson. And it is raining in Tucson. I would expect that in Florida but not Arizona. But alas, I am stuck here in Indiana with little hope of going anywhere to escape winter. I am hoping we will have an unusually mild winter with above average temperatures and very little precipitation … rain or snow. Now I could handle that. It would help me to …

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KEEPING THOSE HANDS WARM … WHAT WORKS BEST FOR ME

This is a subject I have written about several times in the past. Keeping my hands warm is probably the most difficult thing I deal with when it comes to cold weather riding. I have tried numerous things over the years and it seems that what has worked previously no longer works now. That means I have to come up with something else which will work for me. In the past (last year) I was using “HotHands” mittens made of Thinsalate. I have not been a big fan of Thinsalate over the years as I have tried various products made of it and none of them kept me warm. It has been about 9 days since I last went out for a ride as it has been colder than I care to venture out. Finally it has warmed up a little … into the low 40s (F) so I went for a ride today. I just got back home. I started off wearing the HotHands mittens but only got a couple of blocks from home before my hands started getting cold so I put my  “Hotfingers” mittens on over the HotHands mittens. I rode about 60 % of my 17 mile ride wearing that combination. My hands got cold and they were somewhat uncomfortable as the mittens were too snug on my hands. I stopped for lunch and before leaving the restaurant I changed my glove (mitten) attire. I separated the two pair of mittens and put the HotHands mittens away in my pockets. I replaced them with a pair of 100 % wool hand knit mittens made in Siberia with the Hotfingers mittens over them. I am pleased to report my hands stayed warm with that combination. And now my hands were not cramped inside of tight fitting mittens which made for much more comfort. And with all the room I have inside there is plenty of room to put the packets of chemical hand warmers if and when I need them.

HotHands Thinsalate mittens…

Hotfingers mittens …

Hand knit wool mittens…

Hopefully this combination will work for me thruout the coming winter months as I want to …

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and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

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EFFECTS OF COLD WEATHER

Above is a picture showing my bell (yellow arrow pointing to it). BTW, did you notice the snow on my wheel?

One thing that I notice every year when the temperature plays games cooling down somedays and warming back up other days I am not the only one complaining. Both my bell and my squeeze bulb horn are greatly effected by it too. Below is a picture of my horn mounted  on my right side handlebar below the wrist rest. The red arrow is pointing at the wrist rest.

 

Yep, they don’t like the cold weather any more than I do. If fact, they refuse to work like they normally do in warmer weather. Neither are very loud. It is amazing how they change when cold weather comes along. I bet if I were in Florida I would not experience this. But I would probably find something else to complain about. Fortunately I don’t have that much use of my bell or horn in nice weather so cooler weather is not any big concern as there is even less need of either as there are fewer trail users out once the weather changes. In fact, many times when I go out I am the only person out there on the trails.

Hey, speaking of the effect of cold weather I haven’t mentioned e-batteries. They don’t like cold weather either and will let us know it. They do so by not performing the same as they do in warmer weather. The distance we can go on a full charge will be less than normal. And that’s normal! Fortunately it is not all that much of a concern as most of us don’t care to stay out there as long when the weather is cold. I am starting to shiver just sitting here thinking about it. Who likes bundling up in cold weather anyway. I know I don’t.

Well, it is time to put and end to this before my body temperature starts dropping. It is 35 degrees F. outdoors as I type this. It has not warmed up any at all in the 3.5 hours since I got up. That is discouraging. At this rate if I do go out riding I will need to bundle up like I was in the picture above. When you live in the north this is what we deal with if we want to …

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NOT READY FOR THIS!

looked out the window into our back yard early this morning and what did I see? It was not anything I wanted to see. It was that nasty four letter word … SNOW! And it is only mid October as I type this. I tell ya … I AM NOT READY FOR THIS! Yesterday was cold, windy and light rain off and on. It was not a pleasant day for riding … and it is still early Autumn. Oh woe is me … whatever will I do? I’d give a lot of dough, if only I could know … the answer to my question … is it yes or is it no? Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? When your mother says don’t chew it, do you swallow it in spite? Can you catch it on your tonsils and heave it left and right? Now I ask ya … does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost over night? Old timers will know where that came from, but younger folks won’t have a clue. It doe not have anything to do with anything. It just sort of fit and flowed off of my pen … and I am not even using a pen. (See the video at the bottom of this article.)

By now you have probably figured out that I don’t have anything in mind to write about and am just rambling on here. But the weather outside is frightful and so I think I will remain inside today. I had enough of nasty riding weather yesteday. And we have only just begun. At least 6 more months can be expected. It is probably more like 8 more months before decent weather returns. Why do people choose to live in the north and deal with nasty weather? Well, at least I have something to look forward to today. I will be going to an eye doctor to get my monthly injection in my eyeball. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It is not really as bad as it sounds. When I first heard about it it made me shudder, but after experiencing it I discovered it was no big deal … a piece of cake … at least when the doctor is skilled. I have a great eye doctor I deal with. Sure I would much rather not have to get the monthly injection but it is helping to preserve what eyesight I have left in my one eye. The other eye is already totally blind. Thank God for two eyes as I still have vision in one and it enables me to …

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and most every other thing … even compose a nonsensical article for this blog. Hopefully we will both live thru it.

BTW, the snow had all melted away by afternoon. I understand that we here in northern Indiana were fortunate as some states got 12 to 18 inches of snow and more is forecasted for them.

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Now for a bit of nostalgia …

.

REAL FEEL VS FEELS LIKE

am sure most of us have heard the terms concerning what the current weather actually feels like to our bodies. “Feels Like” is probably to most common. Accuweather has patented their “RealFeel”. Of course, before we started hearing and using these terms we had the good ol’ “Wind Chill Factor” commonly used. Along with it came the explanation that the wind chill is what the weather actually feels like to us humans and animals. Colder weather is coming on. Much of the northern United States  went from warm summer weather to much cooler Fall weather literally overnight.

Hey, it’s that time of year and there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t all move south to warmer weather. Yesterday and today are much colder days than what we have been having. I am not rushing out the door in the early morning as it is just too cold out there to enjoy being out. Even the warmest part of the day which is late afternoon still FEELS rather chilly. I was out riding yesterday and found I was not dressed warm enough. Mostly it was my hands that got cold as I did not have the right gloves with me to cope with the weather. I also did not have the right headwear. I dug all that out this morning and will be taking it with me today. I am even taking some chemical hand warmers along just in case I need them. Hopefully I will get by without them.

One thing I have noticed which I am not too thrilled about is the fact that as I age my internal furnace doesn’t seem to be working as well as it did when I was younger. What I am saying is I get cold easier than I used to. That equates to not going out riding in temperatures I used to years ago. I used to go out riding with temperatures in the 20s. Last year I found I didn’t venture out unless it was at least in the mid 30s. I don’t know what will be the case this year but I can tell you I am already struggling with the mid 50s. Of course, I could dress warmer and probably not have a problem. It is just that we went from 80 degrees one day to mid 50s the next. I wasn’t ready for that.

If only I had a space suit with heating and cooling available to me. I don’t think I could sit on a trike with it on however. Besides that I know myself … I would have it ripped open the first day.

Again, if I were a rich man and single I would be snowbirding in the Floral City, Florida area and riding on the Withlacoochee Nature Trail during the cold months in the north. I would have started doing that several years ago. But alas, I am married and I am not rich. My wife and I have talked about snowbirding but we don’t know if it will ever happen. She is not yet retired so that has to happen first and then see how our finances go. Who knows? We might “git ur dun”. Maybe I will meet up with some of you down there. Unless and until then I am stuck here dealing with colder temperatures.

Hey, it is now 11:10 AM and we are having a real heat wave … 50 degrees F with a feels like temp of 46 and 9 mph winds. I think I will eat lunch and then bundle up to head out. The forecasted high today is about 54 degrees.

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BIG BEN PLUS TIRES FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

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

Please meet and welcome Joe Antonio.

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

 OO LA LA!

DON’T LOOK!

[I concur. STEVE]

… I love this picture! …

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

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

Steve Newbauer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WINTER BLAHS ALREADY and IT ISN’T EVEN AUTUMN YET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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ARE RECUMBENT TADPOLE TRIKES FOR YOU?

am only going to say that the only regret I have is that I didn’t know about recumbent tadpole trikes as a kid growing up as I sure would have been riding them all my life.

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WITH SPEED THERE IS A CHOICE

It is summertime and the heat is on. I  remember well from my motorcycle days riding when it was quite hot outside. When it gets to a certain temperature it makes no difference how fast one rides … IT’S HOT! It is no different when riding a bicycle or a trike in my case. Even with an electric motor by which I am able to gain considerably more speed than I can via my own human power it is just plain hot. What I have noticed is this — I have a choice of riding in an oven at slow speeds or a blast furnace at higher speeds. That’s the way it was on a motorcycle too … oven or blast furnace … the only choices. Either way … either one … IT’S HOT! I do ride with a canopy in hot weather which certainly does help. And when I ride with a canopy I ride without my visor hat as I am cooler without it and don’t need it when I am seated under my canopy. But I guess I would rather feel the heat on me at 20 plus mph than at 2 or 3 mph. We have all heard it said that we lose up to 80 % of our body heat thru our heads. Science has proven that this is not true … not even anywhere close. Cooling off one’s head, however, is effective in relief from being hot. I need to incorporate some means of cooling off such as a wet towel over my head. Maybe I need to install a mister overhead or out in front of me. There is nothing I can do about hot weather so I will just have to deal with it. I am thankful for those things I have already mentioned … my canopy and e-motor do help a lot. I will manage to …

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KEEPING COOL

In case you haven’t noticed it a whole lot of the nation (U.S.) is hot and humid lately. Are you still out there riding in it? If so, what are you doing to help fight the heat? Do you purposely ride in shady areas?

Do you have your own source of shade … a canopy?

Do you wear wicking clothing?

Do you use a cooling headband or neckwear?

BTW, some of it is capable of having ice cubes inserted in them or has built in liquid which can be frozen in a freezer prior to use.

How about a hand held mister fan?

Do you ride anyplace that has a mister installed for trail users?

Do you keep hydrated while out riding?

(I hope you don’t get this desperate.)

Maybe you know a fireman who can help you out …

Hey, speaking of misters … maybe you have a trail which goes thru a park where they use a misting system to water the vegetation …

Several years ago in Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana they had misters in use like this except there were a lot of them and just riding along the trail thru the park was quite refreshing. I wrote an article on misters several years ago. We have one on one trail installed next to a restroom. I have never seen anybody use it. I have just to try it out.

Of course, you can always just pour water on top of your head and cool off. I have done that many times. It is very effective.

Anyway, if you are riding out there in heat and humidity keep cool, man (or woman or boy or girl). We all want to …

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LOOSEN UP THERE!

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author’s opinion.

would rather imagine that we have all heard the saying “in a perfect world” which is usually followed by a statement that a certain thing would exist or not exist. Well, that can be applied to our tadpole trikes. I will preface this by stating that not all trikes are created equal. Some are better designed, engineered and better built approaching perfection. I have long known about and practiced riding my trike using only a somewhat loose grip on the handlebars. In a perfect world … if the trike was properly engineered and made this approach works fine. I came across an article written about this subject. In short using a light touch or grip on the handlebars is desirable, recommended and works best. It just doesn’t take much “input” from the trike pilot to effectively steer a trike that is well designed and in proper mechanical condition. So don’t ride all tightened up … relax … loosen up. If you have never done so give it a try. Just don’t overdo it and loose control.  And don’t get so loosened up that you fall asleep.

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A FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

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