The UPHILL CHALLENGE

Recently I posted a picture on Faceboook Tadpole Rider group of a winding mountain road in Chile, S.A. which is very similar to this one in Italy. Here is a video of a tadpole trike rider riding up this road in Itally dealing with the climb involved. Unlike the mountain pass in Chile it is pretty countryside.

 

 

Lots of bicycles and motorcycles climb this mountain road in Italy.

One doesn’t see many tadpole trikes however . I think he has a 50 tooth rear cassette sprocket …

Below is the picture of the mountain highway in Chile known as Los Caracoles Pass which means the snails pass. It is often snow covered and usuallly bumper to bumper with semi-trucks traveling both directions.

BTW, near the top of this highway pass on the border with Argentina stands a  statue of Christ.

Uphill is followed by downhill …

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7th MOTOR IS A CHARM

am on my 7th e-motor on my trike as my 6th one has the clutch going out in it. I had never heard of this company before. It is an NBPower and is rated at 2000 watts at 72 volts. I don’t have a 72 volt battery however. I am using what I already have which are 48 volt batteries. I hope someday to get at least one 72 volt battery to take advantage of the potential this motor offers. With 48 volts it is still the most powerful motor I have had yet. My 6th motor (an eZee) was faster at top speed by about 6 mph, but not nearly as powerful. Of course, with 72 volts this NBPower motor should be much faster … by at least 16 mph. I really like the price of this motor conversion kit … only $469 plus tax. That includes everything but the battery. Oh, and the wheel does not come with a tire or inner tube. (The eZee motor did.)

I don’t know how strong the rear wheel is. My eZee motor came laced in a wheel that did not hold up to the torture the streets, roads and trails of Fort Wayne, Indiana dish out. I replaced it with a heavy duty BMX rim which has held up great. Anyway, I would recommend this NBPower rear hub motor to anyone looking for a motor for their trike. Amazon charges my State’s Sales Tax.  BTW, this is for a 135 mm rear dropout. I had to spread my rear dropout further apart  to accept a 135 mm width. I did that several years ago for another motor so it was already to go when I installed this one. This does have a cadence sensor for e-motor pedal assist, but it is not torque sensing. It also comes with a manual throttle. It is available in many different wheel diameters.

For those interested here are the e-motors I have had installed on my trike thus far:

3 BionX  motors (had problems with all 3)(finally took  it back and got a full refund)

1 Golden Motor (faulty from factory)(sent it back for full refund)

1 eZee motor (ran it for about 4 years before clutch started going out)(the repair part is currently unavailable as is a new eZee motor)

1 Tongsheng crank drive motor (quit working in less than 2 months)(it destroyed my expensive idler pulleys)

1 NBPower motor (working great with lots of power)

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LOOK MAW, NO PEDALS

TIME FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT

Sooner or later it had to happen. Somebody would make a reverse trike with no pedals … just a motor … and not an e-motor. What we have here is a 3 wheel motorcycle. It is powered by a relatively small 1981 Yamaha SR 185 four stroke engine. This would definitely require registering it as a motorcycle and having a  licence plate on it to operate it on the road. Eventually he plans on making this into a velomobile. He is not that far along yet in this video. He only has a cheap small engine muffler on it which is way too loud. I noticed that he is wearing earplugs while riding it.

More of his videos

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GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT E-ASSIST?

Are you more less uninformed about e-assist and wanting to learn about the subject? Glen Aldridge has compiled a webpage that has lots of information to help others learn. Glen is not only a fellow triker but he has his own business involving bikes and trikes. He rents out such cyclery as well as sells and services customers with e-motors, batteries, etc.

https://mid-islandadventures.weebly.com/electric-assist-kits.html

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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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HOW SHARP ARE YOU?

Yeah, I know … I should have titled this “how sharp can your trike turn?” but I am just too ornery to do so. 😉  It is amazing the differences in turning ability of various trikes. My Catrike could easily make these turns as could my homemade trike. I have friends with ICE and TerraTrike trikes and neither of them could make these turns. They would be stopping and going back and forth to get around these turns. I love my Catrike. It truly is a product of Inspired Engineering.

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MY BEST DAYS MAY BE BEHIND ME, BUT …

Yep, I am getting old … going on 76. My best days may be behind me, but riding my trike nearly every day helps me keep going and looking forward to each passing day. Trike riding definitely adds fun and enjoyment to life and even some excitement … sometimes more than I really was wanting.

I came up alongside a fellow tadpole rider today. He was riding along at 15 mph without any e-motor assistance. I said to him that I was envious that he could ride at that speed without the help of a motor. His reply was right on … “I am younger than you”. Yes, I most definitely have slowed up as I age. I just am not able to ride anywhere near as fast as I could 20 years ago … not even 10 years ago.

I am so thankful for the e-motor which enables me to ride like the wind making riding enjoyable instead of misery like it would be without it. The breeze feels mighty good at 20 mph making it far more comfortable which equates to enjoyable. I can go out riding and not get all sweaty. It really makes a big difference.

Of course, I have no way of knowing how much longer I will  be sucking air. I am already living on borrowed time so to speak … anything beyond 70. I am hopeful that my health will hold up and permit me to continue to ride right up until near the end of my life or the Lord takes me in the rapture … whichever comes first.

My trike is now over 13 years old as far as the “running gear” and it is still performing like it did when it was brand new. Catrike sure makes a great trike. I am confident that it will continue to perform superbly another 13 years or more.

I retired at age 62.5 so I have 13 years of retired life behind me already. I jokingly said that upon retirement my job will be riding my trike and for sure that has been the case. I have over 102,000 miles on my trike. Almost all of it has been since I retired. That is an average of 7846 miles a year. I have slowed up not riding as many miles as I used to but I still manage over 7000 miles per year. I had some years over 10,000 miles early on. I still have a lot of 50 plus mile days. Of course, I could not say that without the e-motor assistance.

My first e-motor was in 2017. Since then I have had 7 e-motors. All have been rear hub type except for one crank drive. I am sold on hub motors and don’t care for crank drive motors at all. E-motors are an expensive addition to a trike. The motor I have now is the cheapest of all of them I have ever had. It is also the most powerful of all of them. I am really liking it and have no regrets having bought the cheapest one I found. They are all made in China and I think they are all of the same quality. I am hopeful this motor I have now will outlast me.  I reckon I will just have to wait and see. One thing is for sure … I definitely want to …

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I DON’T RIDE TO …

was looking thru David Goldman’s videos and found this one I thought I would share here with you. He explains why he rides as well as why he doesn’t ride. That may not make much sense to you now but watch the video as it explains it.

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SW900 LCD DISPLAY CONTROLLER — INSTRUCTIONS WOULD HELP

I make no claim of being an expert on e-motors. That being said I have had seven different e-motors on my trike thus far. The first three were all BionX which the dealer installed. Even with them I had the experience of uninstalling them and reinstalling them myself. And all of the rest of the motors I installed myself. What I am trying to say is that by now I have had quite a lot of experience installing and uninstalling e-motors. The clutch went out on my last e-motor so I started looking at what is available to replace it. I don’t care for crank drive motors so didn’t bother looking at any of them.

I found a complete motor conversion kit for only $469. That does not include a battery but I already have a few batteries so $469 was an attractive deal. Of course, it comes from China and there are no helpful instructions that are provided. Installing it was not a problem but getting it to work without instructions was quite challenging. Fortunately I was able to find instructions online which was a big help. I got it running but the top speed was quite slow. I was ready to send it back for a refund when I sort of accidentally stumbled across the problem and got it resolved. If only the Chinese would include instructions all of this could have been avoided.  For what it is worth, I just now found one user manual which covers what the problem was and why I wasn’t getting much speed or power out of this new motor. Anyway, I am writing this article in hopes it will help others in getting their self installed e-motor system up and running.

My new system uses the LCD-SW900 display console controller which is a common display console controller various e-motor manufacturers use. I did not use the cadence assist hardware component in my installation. I may install it sometime in the future. I only have a manual thumb throttle hooked up. Upon completing the installation using a 48 volt battery (this motor is made for 72 volts) my top speed was only 5.6 mph and had no torque available at all to climb the slightest incline. I rode it that way for a couple of days.That is a mighty slow ride but still better than I can do on my own without any e-motor assist. About 2/3 of the way into my second day of riding so slowly I just happened to discover the answer to more speed and power. I pushed the UP ARROW button on the 3 button control which caused it to go from power level one to power level two. (PAS — power assist — level is displayed at bottom left corner of SW900 display) Simple enough but without any knowledge and understanding of how it works … well … I was stuck at 5.6 mph as when first turning the system on PAS 1 is what it starts out in by default. If only they had provided instructions. Anyway, I knew that 5 levels of e-motor assist were programmed into the SW900 display console controller so I continued to press the UP ARROW button watching it change up to assist level 5 and experiencing more speed and power with each level of increase. Hallelujah! ! Happy days are here again! Definitely this is the most powerful e-motor I have had installed yet. It is not as fast top speed as my former e-motor but I am really liking it as it is whisper quiet and far more powerful. I am tempted to buy a 72 volt battery just to see if this motor will perform as advertised … about 45 mph top speed. I am nearly 76 years old and probably should avoid the temptation as I would likely find myself careening off of a tree unless I wrapped myself around it. BTW, to go down in the assist level pushing the DOWN ARROW button lowers it one level at a time. Turning power on and off is accomplished by holding the middle button down a few seconds. So if you find yourself in the same situation I was in hopefully this will help you.

Speaking of help:

SW900 manual

SW900 manual

SW900 manual with the error codes for troubleshooting

SW900 manual with the error codes for troubleshooting

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WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS

They” say we are having a drought here in northern Indiana where I live. If we are I think it is safe to say that it has come to an end. It is raining hard and the forecast if for it to continue to rain …  for the rest of the week.  Boo Hoo!  So it doesn’t look like trike riding is going to happen. Oh well, I will just have to figure out something else to do. Maybe I could and should build a boat. It is looking and sounding like I might need one. It is really coming down hard out there. I know we need the rain. If nothing else the farmers’ crops need the rain. I just hope they don’t get too much.

With all of this rain the rivers are sure to flood and most of the trails I normally ride will be closed due to flooding. I don’t like having to ride in the streets and roads but with the trails closed I don’t have much choice.

Even if it were to stop raining long enough to sneak in a short ride it would be a wet one with all the standing water on the streets and trails. I have a full set of fenders but they are limited in how much good they do. They don’t stop all of the water and crud from being flung up onto me.

It is so sad that Adam and Eve blew it committing sin (rebellion against God). After they sinned a curse came upon the earth and mankind. Prior to this there was no such thing as rain and flooding. God watered the earth with a dew on the ground thru the night. Wouldn’t that be nice? Yes, if only man would not have sinned things would sure be a lot different. Of course, we will never know. And it is unfair to put all the blame on Adam and Eve. We would have done the same thing. As to the reality of things, they were absolutely pure prior to that. Adam chose to disobey and BECAME a sinner. You and I can’t make any such claim. We were born sinners and therefore we  are at enmity with God Who is Holy and Pure. Being holy and pure He can not allow us into His presence as we are unholy and impure. That is the problem we have and what keeps us separated from our Creator Who loves us and wants us to be in a relationship with Him. We have a serious problem that only God can fix. And He did fix it. He did His part. Now the ball is in our court. You can read all about it HERE. Oh how He loves you and me!

Rain rain go away, Come again another day. I want to …

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MATT’S SAD STORY

Many of us follow the adventures of Matt Galat. And those of us who do and are keeping up with all that is going on with him know that he just took possession of a brand new Azub tadpole trike said to be worth … are you sitting down? …US $13,000. W ell, he was on his way back from Europe to the U.S. with it when the airline lost it. Here is Matt telling the whole story about it. The bad news is the airline has no idea where it is. The good news is that I have a Friend Who knows exactly where it is at. I have asked Him to help the airline to find it and quickly get it returned to Mat plus a proper monetary compensation for all they have put him thru. I am waiting to hear of the safe return of Matt’s trike.

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TrikExplor

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

By now many of us have seen and/or heard of TrikExplor, a Chinese manufacturer of tadpole trikes. They have come up with some interesting models over the years. They have an online store on AliExpress.

Their prices used to be quite appealing but with inflation and the world economy they are now about the same as what we are used to seeing for tadpole trikes being sold here in the U.S.

I find their motorized FAT quad most appealing. It looks truly to be a vehicle which can go just about anywhere and handle about everything. For $8000 it ought to. I much prefer this e-motor setup over a crank drive.

I really don’t know where I would ride it so I don’t have a need for it. I could not justify it. I could not afford it anyway. It is what I consider a rich man’s toy. I am sure it would be great fun if you can afford it and have someplace to ride it..

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INNAUGURAL DRAT RIDE

David (Goldman) not only rides a trike but he heads up a group ride he is calling DRAT. Can you guess what DRAT stands for? That should be easy to answer if you are familiar with David’s videos.David Rides A Trike” and he lives over near Chicago, Illinois where he has various trails to ride on. Here is a video about this group ride which took place earlier this month. It was successful for the very first time he had it. Some 70 riders showed up. David has become fairly well known thru his videos.

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IT WAS A GOOD THING ONE OF US WAS PAYING ATTENTION

was going to title this “Stupid is as stupid does” but I have already used that title a couple of times before and I was talking about the same thing then. Nothing has changed. The trails are full of really stupid people. Today I was riding along and twice I came upon people on the trail who stepped out in front of me without even looking to see if anyone was coming. Now that was really stupid! I had to brake almost to a stop to keep from running into them. It was a good thing one of us was paying attention. They sure weren’t. And the way many cyclists ride it could have been disastrous.  This was a young couple with a young child. They didn’t have a clue I was behind them and what had just happened. And several other times today similar things happened. It is the same thing going to a grocery store. I see it all the time. People make a sudden move turning right in front of another shopper or they turn around 180 degrees right in front of another shopper. They don’t think to look to see if it is safe to do so. Stupid is as stupid does. Forest had it right!

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RECUMBENT MAINTENANCE BASICS

Here is a video which covers several maintenance matters with our trikes.

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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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WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE

My eZee hub motor has been going out for several weeks now. It is the clutch that is going bad. It will still run but it is noisy and slipping some. And it keeps getting noisier and slipping more. So I ordered another hub motor to replace it. I did not order another eZee motor. Instead I ordered a cheaper motor which is direct drive and twice the power of the eZee motor. I received it and installed it right away only to be disappointed. It ran very slow and had absolutely no power whatsoever. Like all e-motors it is made in China so there is a communication problem right off. I got excellent service when I bought it as I had it within a few days. However, all I got was the conversion kit. No instructions on how to install it or program it were included. I didn’t have any problem installing it but I was clueless as to how to go about programming it.  I turned to the seller for help which so far has been a waste of time. What communication I got from them was very poor English … almost laughable. Nothing they offered was helpful. I went online and found what I was in need of. I got it programmed the best I could. The Chinese seller said all the programming looked ok. But it did not seem to be  ok so I uninstalled it and had planned on sending it back since the top speed I got out of it was 3.2 mph (Not 32 … 3 point 2). This motor is suppose to deliver about 40 -45 mph with a 72 volt battery. I am running 48 volts. I have been very unimpressed with this Chinese seller as they don’t seem to know what they are doing. Anyway I gave up on in in great disappointment and reinstalled my failing eZee motor. I have been using it for several weeks now but the clutch problem is getting worse to where I made the decision to stop using it. for fear it was going to fail me completely and leave me stranded. Meanwhile I had another hub motor on order which would have to be laced into my wheel in place of the eZee motor. While waiting in limbo I decided to give this hub motor I already have another try so I reinstalled it. One thing about it … I am getting a lot of practice installing e-motors. When I first got it installed it ran about 7 mph without any load on it. I messed around in the programming of the controller and somehow got it up to 17.6 mph without any load on it. I was encouraged but when I tried riding it that 17.6 mph no load went down to 5.6 under load. I rode it that way for a couple of days. Toward the end of my ride on the second day I reached down to the control switch and pushed the up arrow. I did not know anything about it … I just pushed it. Much to my surprise my speed increased to 10.6 mph. I pushed the up arrow again and now my speed increased to 23 mph and had a good amount of power (torque). Now I am encouraged … thinking there is hope for this thing yet. If only these Chinese had the common sense and decency to include instructions that explained this none of this would have happened. That is why I titled this … “What we have here is a failure to communicate”. Yep, all of this could have been avoided if they would simply communicate. I don’t have 45 mph but even the 23 – 26 I am getting is good enough to do the job so I guess I will keep it. The total cost of this hub motor conversion kit was just under $502 without any battery and with Statoraid added to help keep the motor running cool.  It came laced into a 20 inch wheel. It will suffice for now and take any pressure or urgency off of getting the new hub motor I have on order laced into my old wheel. Besides, the controller for this new motor is out of stock at this time and I have to wait on it. I have no idea how long that will be. It is always possible that something is wrong with either this hub motor I am using now or it’s controller that is keeping it from obtaining the speed it is suppose to be capable of. Quite honestly it is probably for the best as if it could obtain those speeds I might find myself kissing a tree or wrapping myself around one. At 75.5 years old I don’t need to be doing that. The bottom line to all of this is … it is a learning experience. I have the part needed to repair my  eZee hub motor but the motor  needs to be removed from the wheel in order to open it up and replace the clutch unit. It is a good thing I already have the part as it is currently out of stock as is a new eZee motor. So when the new hub motor arrives I will have the eZee hub motor uninstalled in the wheel and the new hub motor laced into the wheel. Then I will have plenty of time to repair the eZee motor. I only have one trike and I will have 3 hub motors available. I think I will be buying another trike for my wife after she retires so I will already have and e-motor conversion kit to install on it. She will need it if she wants to keep up with me. LOL

For any who are interested … THIS is  what I just bought and installed. It is $469. I am quite pleased with it for the price. It does not come with a battery so the expense of a battery must be added into the total cost. It is a 72 volt motor so they are more expensive than the 48 volt I use. Of course, it will run on lower voltages. It comes with a twist throttle which I don’t care for so if you want a thumb throttle it must be ordered separately at an additional expense. Be sure to order one with a long cable.

Lastly, I made the decision to cancel the new hub motor I had on order and just use this one. I will repair  my eZee motor and have it available if I want to use it. It has to be unlaced from the wheel in order to take it apart to repair it. I don’t like that as it is expensive to have it relaced into the wheel. It seems to me that they could have made it so that it could be disassembled while laced into the wheel. Oh well,  I am still able to …

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NICE LIGHT SETUP

I came across this video of a fellow trike rider illustrating the lighting he has on his trike. I really like it. It’s got everything needed … bright headlights, bright taillight, brake lights, side light and turn signals front and back.

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HELPING A FELLOW TRIKER IN TIME OF NEED

I am doing something I have never done before … asking others to consider helping out a fellow triker’s family in a time of need. The end of life comes to all of us sooner or later and sometimes it can be difficult and expensive. Many of us only have Medicare to help us in our old age and often times Medicare does not meet the needs we encounter. I know dealing with my own parents as they aged I watched as the government took all of their savings they had worked a lifetime for only to leave them paupers. In order to get help from the government my dad had to literally get rid of almost all their money when my mom’s health failed her and her care got very expensive … more than their savings could handle. Then when his end of life scenario came about the same thing happened. He was allowed about $68 a month for himself. Everything else went to the nursing home. Go Fund Me did not exist back then so it was not an option. Since its inception it has helped a whole lot of people meet a need. Our fellow triker brother has set up a Go Fund Me account for his dad to help with medical expenses as well the expense of his dad going into hospice care. Please consider what you can do to help. Here is a link to the Go Fund Me page … https://gofund.me/04c09898

Thank you for caring and doing what you can to help. STEVE

“NORMAL” is not coming back … JESUS IS!

 

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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