5 THINGS ABOUT RECUMBENT TRIKE RIDERS

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

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

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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MOM ON A TADPOLE TRIKE

This isn’t my mom, but it reminds me of my mom. If she were still alive at an age when she was still able like this mom, I am quite sure I could be making a video like this one of my mom riding my trike. She rode bicycles and motorcycles for many years and really enjoyed it. i occasionally rode with her many years ago. Lots of fond memories filled with fun are mine these many years later. I am pretty sure my mom would be a tadpole rider today if she lived her life in a different time span. And she too would be wearing the infamous “recumbent smile”.

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SPEED VS. DISTANCE VS. TIME

Some riders are all about speed and riding lot of miles. Others could care less about one or the other or both. I have noticed that the older I get the less I care about the speed or distance I ride. For me I am more concerned about how long I am out riding than I am about how fast I am riding or how far I ride.Knowing I am out riding pretty steadily for 4 +/- hours is more important to me. I know I got X number of minutes of exercise that day. A few years ago I rode more miles in a day than I usually do now. I didn’t necessarily ride faster but I think I usually rode longer. Obviously riding faster over the same time frame will result in more distance. I see some bicyclists flying by me and get the same mileage in I get but in a fraction of the time. They quit upon riding a certain distance ¬†I am still out there riding long after they are done. They might be getting healthier exercise, but I really don’t care. I am just out to enjoy riding. For me to try to ride faster or further than I do would turn it into something I would not enjoy nearly as much as I do now.

LEANING IN TURNS

For those unfamiliar with tadpole trikes they are basically a pretty stable vehicle and a lot of fun to ride. They have been compared to riding a go cart or driving a sports car. As neat as they are I would not go so far as to say that they handle as good as either of these two examples. A tadpole trike can and will tip over a whole lot easier than a go cart or sports car. A go cart is quite low to the ground and has a pretty wide wheel base width so they are quite difficult to tip over. They just slide if and when traction is lost. A tadpole trike will slide a little bit if it is pushed hard enough but you can’t depend on this to happen. If an outside tire should suddenly “catch” the trike will start over. It may only go up in the air a little ways and come back down, but again I would not count on this. It could just as easily go on over. So unless you are one who has mastered balancing and riding a tadpole trike on two wheels it is not a good idea to tempt fate.

So what is a rider to do? We all want to have fun, right? Well, maybe not everybody. ¬†I am sure there are many who simply don’t ride that fast to begin with or if they are approaching a turn faster than they are comfortable with they slow down so they can safely negotiate it on three wheels. But for those who like the thrills a tadpole trike can deliver there is a solution … Leaning in Turns. Just make certain you lean to the correct side. This may sound ridiculous but it needs to be said as there are those who have not understood this and have leaned to the opposite side. Needless to say that is flirting with disaster. A word of caution … make sure that while leaning in a sharp turn at speed you don’t find yourself dealing with things such as trees, fence posts, etc. Your face and shoulder is no match for them. We have one particular turn on our trail system I ride where I have to be sure to get my body back over in normal position on the seat just before I reach a wooden fence and the first fence post. Depending upon your speed and the severity of the turn you can …

lean just a little …

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or lean a lot …

leaning in turn reduced

… as much as is needed if some real “hot doggin’ ” is going on.

Riding fast around a turn results in lots of “tire scrub” so don’t expect to get maximum life out of your tires if you do this.

This video shows how to lean into a turn at high speed to help the trike to negotiate the turn without tipping over.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED

I have been riding tadpole trikes now for nearly 10 years and have ridden over 76,000 miles. During that time there are some things I have learned which I want to share here as it might be helpful to others.

1) ¬†Ride smart … don’t leave home empty handed. Carry important things along such as tools, inner tubes, a minimum of a 6 to 8 inch section of chain (to use for making a roadside repair to your chain should something happen to it … hey, it can happen!), master links, air pump, first aid kit, wet wipes, and whatever else you might personally find handy and practical. I carry maps, mosquito repellent, sun block screen, plastic cable ties, electrical tape, a few feet of solid wire, plastic shopping bags, a shop towel, and more.

2)  Keep your tires properly inflated. It is best to run them up to their maximum pressure rating as you will get the best wear out of the tires and the least amount of rolling resistance.

3) Use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as it will mean no flats and much longer wear than any other tire. It still handles great and rolls well. By far the best price I have found on purchasing Schwalbe tires is from Merlin Cycles in the United Kingdom. HERE is a link to their website. That link is for those from the United States. To order from another country just change the information for country, money, etc. There is free shipping to the United States on orders over $75. Because of this in order to qualify for the free shipping I buy 3 tires at the same time. The next best price I have found for ordering my tires is from a company in Germany. HERE is a link to their website. They charge a flat fee for shipping but by ordering 3 tires the total price is still quite low. Try finding this tire elsewhere and compare prices. At the moment I can find this tire at a pretty good price ($41.62 including shipping) here in the U.S. In the past this has not been the case. So I guess one just needs to check it all out to see what is available as the situation changes. The tire lists for about $54. I usually pay $27 or so (less than $30 apiece).

4) ¬†When crossing speed bumps and gently sloping curbs I have found that if it is safe to do so approaching at a minimal acute angle works best as it almost entirely eliminates the “bump” encountered. You might have to make sharp turns on both ends to accomplish this but it is worth it.

speedbump

I made a video showing my trike crossing some speed bumps. I held the camera in my hand as I filmed this. You can see the difference it makes crossing on an angle vs crossing straight head on which I do for comparison a couple of times during the video.

5)  When dealing with small holes, bumps, debris, etc. in your immediate path and there is no time or safe way to steer completely over around it you can usually avoid it if you ride along and aim to have your pedal go right directly over it. Unless it is too wide you should be able to avoid it with all three wheels by doing this.

6) ¬†When riding with others be careful not to cut another rider off when going around a corner or sharp turn. And watch out for others doing this. Try to give sufficient warning to others behind you if you intend to slow down or stop.¬†Colliding together could spell real trouble. Not only can the trikes get damaged but personal injury could result. It is unwise to “hot dog” around others or to do anything messing with their trikes while riding or even sitting still together in a group. Remember the golden rule … do unto others as you would want others to do unto you … or another way of stating it is don’t do anything to someone else (including to their trike) that you wouldn’t want them doing to you or your trike.

7) ¬†Take plenty of water with you and drink it (stay hydrated). Most of us don’t drink nearly as much water as we should. We should drink half of our body weight in ounces each day. In other words, if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink 75 ounces of water daily. Water is by far the most healthy drink there is. We should avoid most every other type of liquid drink as none are good for us and some are very bad for us (especially anything with sugar in it). If we do drink anything other than water it does not count against the quantity of water we are supposed to drink.

8) ¬†Take rest breaks as needed … especially on hot days.

9) ¬†Wearing a bicycle helmet and using some means of keeping your feet on the pedals so they can’t fall off and onto the ground and get swept back and ran over is a good idea. I personally do neither and have never had any problems with my feet hitting the ground. I understand the danger however so I would never advise against doing these things.

10)  Always ride with good safety flags and flashing (in the daytime) headlight(s) and taillight(s) so that other see you. Read my article about safety flags HERE.

11)  It is advisable to ride with at least one other person for safety reasons.

12) ¬†Don’t skimp on buying a trike just to save money. Get the best quality trike you can afford. You won’t regret it. You might regret buying a lower priced lower quality trike however. The saying holds true … you usually get what you pay for. I personally recommend Catrike over any other brand out there. ¬†They make a top quality trike and stand behind their product. ¬†Also figure on a minimum of $150 for accessories as they are important. I am talking about lights, safety flags, horn or bell, cargo hauling items (rear rack, panniers and/or rear rack trunk bag), a cable lock device to lock up your trike when parking it to shop, eat, etc. If you don’t already have bicycle tools these will be an additional investment. Again, buy quality tools … not inexpensive ones which will probably quickly fail you upon use. I personally advise against buying multi-tools where several different tools are together in one tool. They are very impractical to use and sometimes can’t be used at all as they are too big and bulky or not long enough. Instead I advise individual tools.

13) ¬†Check the toe in … it could be off or change after initial setting. Toe in is critical to proper handling and tire wear.

14)  Check for chain stretch and replace the chain if it stretches more than a 1/16th of an inch between links. Sprockets should also be checked for wear and if need be changed. Usually sprockets should last thru two chains but a badly worn chain will quickly wear out brand new sprockets and badly worn sprockets will quickly wear out a brand new chain. A tadpole trike uses about 2.5 to 3 standard length bicycle chains to reach the length of the chain run around the front and rear sprockets.

15)  Keep the chain and sprockets sufficiently oiled to prevent excessive premature wear.

16)  Be a good ambassador (representative) for cyclists as a whole and tadpole trikes specifically. Obey the law and trail rules. You might even consider volunteering on a local trail maintenance organization.

17) When going over a bumpy surface you can’t avoid and you have no suspension on your trike you can eliminate much of the jarring by simply lifting your body up off of the seat. To do this use your shoulders on the top of the seat back and your feet on the pedals to lift your body. In the drawing below the black line represents the seat. The red line represents the rider’s body. The blue line represents the pedals. The green line (arrow) shows the gap between the seat and the body when the body is raised up in the air off of the seat.

road shock

I may add more onto this list if anything more comes to mind.

A FREE GIFT awaits you!