DON’T FLIRT, STAY ALERT

 

On the home stretch of my ride today I was on a wide sidewalk near the VA Hospital where they have major construction going on. They have a temporary fence erected along the sidewalk I was on. I am calling it a sidewalk but the city of Fort Wayne calls it a trail. To me at best it is a “glorified sidewalk”. There is no way I could ever call it a trail.

Anyway, as I was riding along I could see for quite a distance that there was no one else around me I was sharing the trail with so I was glancing around as I rode along just seeing what I could see. As I rode along I looked back ahead of me just in time to see a wooden pallet laying down on the sidewalk blocking off a fair amount of it. Thankfully I was able to miss it. There was a second pallet laying down just a few more yards past the first one.

I was quite fortunate to have seen them in time. If I would have hit either one it could have really messed up my day. Both of the pallets had been leaning up against the fence for the last few days. Somebody purposely and maliciously laid them down. I don’t know why they were on that side of the fence to begin with. All of the construction, supplies and equipment were being stored on the other side of the fence. There was no reason for them to be on the outside of the fence.

It indeed can be dangerous out there and flirting with things rather than paying close attention can be disastrous. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

EYE PROTECTION WHILE RIDING

Being already blind in one eye it is most important that I protect my only good eye. I always wear safety glasses while riding. Yesterday while out riding I had a face to face encounter with a fair size grasshopper. I saw it, I heard it and I felt it. WHAM! It struck me hard right in the center of my eye glasses over my good eye. I was fine. I don’t know how the grasshopper faired as I never saw him again. All I know is the eyeglasses saved me. If I had not been wearing them that hard impact would have been to my eye. It might have been disastrous … taking out my eye.

Recently there was a news story about a 2 x 4 board coming thru the windshield of a woman’s car. Years ago I had a  2 x 4 come thru the windshield of my Harley Davidson motorcycle. It came off of a trailer being towed by a dump truck in the north Georgia mountains. The 2 x 4 was about 12 to 16 inches long. It was slowed down a little bit by my windshield but it continued on and struck me in the face. My helmet stopped the worst of the impact but my nose got struck hard. The 2 x 4 had turned sideways so that helped. It still hurt a lot! Had it not turned sideways it probably would have killed me or at least knocked me out causing me to wreck. Fortunately I quickly recovered and after pulling over and stopping to “collect myself” I turned around and chased after the truck. I eventually caught up with him just as he was pulling off of the highway stopping at his place of business. I confronted the driver about what had happened. He was in total denial saying there was no way it could have come from his trailer. I had seen it so I know it did. It cost me a small fortune to replace the broken windshield. I was most thankful that it wasn’t any worse than it was. I had an angel watching over me that day.

We just never know what may happen while we are riding along. We only have one pair of eyes and they can be seriously damaged in an instant.

BTW, the eye glasses in the picture above are not the ones I wear. Mine are wrap around type which also offer side protection. Here is a picture of the ones I wear.

EYE PROTECTION — DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

REAR FACING RADAR

Are you concerned about vehicular traffic approaching you from behind and not knowing about it until they are passing you? Modern day technology is here to help . Check out these products …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

TAKING THE LANE

Growing up I never heard of “taking the lane”.  As a child and up thru my teen years I chose to ride on the left (wrong) side of the road against traffic. My thinking and reasoning was that I was able to see the traffic ahead of me coming at me and, if need be, I could take evasive action to keep from getting hit. I never had a policeman stop me for doing this. Later as I grew into adulthood I started riding on the right (correct) side of the road but I stayed over to the right as far as possible trying to stay out of the way of all traffic. BTW, now I try to avoid riding on the left (wrong) side of the road as I came to realize that doing this does present problems for motorists. It can confuse them and shake them up.

In recent years I started hearing about riding out in the lane of traffic “taking the lane”.

When I first heard it I thought it was nuts … asking for disaster. I started experimenting with riding out in the traffic lane and found that there was no problem in doing so. I got more and more comfortable with it and came to the realization that it is safer and better than riding over on the right hand side. So now I take the lane almost all the time. The exception to that is if I am riding somewhere that has a very wide lane where there is plenty of room for motor vehicles to safely pass by me . I am also leery of taking the lane of a road where there are hills and curves which would make it impossible for a motor vehicle coming up behind me to see me in time to avoid colliding with me. It is best just to stay off of roads like that as they are just too dangerous. I want to be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BTW, I haven’t mentioned designated bike lanes. The concept sounds good but I find them objectionable to use as they are just dangerous. Motor vehicles drive in them, park in them, cut cyclists off not paying any attention to them. Then there is the fact that a cyclist is trapped in a narrow lane between moving motor vehicles and parked motor vehicles. The parked motor vehicles pose a real threat as doors are opened just as the cyclist is riding by. Also the parked vehicles start pulling out often not paying any attention if cyclists are riding along coming up to them. I have also noticed that the surface of bike lanes is usually the worst part of the street as far as the surface. There are lots of manhole covers, pot holes, debris, etc. to contend with. It is difficult and dangerous trying to move about to avoid it.

I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS

Recently I saw a custom safety flag which had “I do all my own stunts” on it. That got me to thinking and so here I am writing this article. I can identify with that. I wish I had some of the things that have happened to me recorded on video. Of course, most of it would be on the embarrassing side. I am talking about tip overs, running into things, running over things, etc. Some of those times I was “hot dogging” a bit. Most of the times they were just accidents. And most of the times I was either sitting still or moving slowly.

I learned how easily a tadpole trike can tip over when on uneven ground or when backing up while turning going too fast. I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any really serious injuries.

One time I was picking up trash alongside of a trail. I was doing so while seated on my trike. I had gone over near the edge of an embankment near a river to pick up some trash just over the edge of the embankment. I tried to reach it but couldn’t so I leaned out just a little bit further. That is all it took to cause the trike to tip over and dump me over the embankment with my trike on top of me. I had a time getting out of that mess. Nobody was around to help me so I had to struggle thru it. I didn’t get hurt but it was sure embarrassing.

Another time right in a curve on the trail my two fiends I was riding with suddenly stopped right in front of me without any warning. I had to brake hard to keep from running into the trike in front of me. Braking hard in a turn is not a good thing to do. Over I went and ended up with some road rash on my arm.

Another time I was downtown riding on the sidewalk. I was watching a motor vehicle out in the street concerned that he was turning into the driveway I was approaching. Ahead of me the pavement narrowed and a curb suddenly appeared. I didn’t see it as I was watching the motor vehicle. I hit that curb and it violently tipped me over and slammed me to the ground. I just missed hitting a concrete column which could have resulted in extremely serious injury. I was laying over and trapped in my trike. I struggled to get out of it. I got some cuts and abrasions and bled a lot. It was quite embarrassing.

One time I had unloaded my trike from the back of my pickup truck and was getting ready to go for a ride. I had parked over alongside the road and a river was quite nearby over an embankment. I sat down in my trike ready to ride when I made the bad decision to back up and turn around. As I backed up I didn’t realize my trike was quickly approaching the edge of the embankment. I got stopped okay but I could not go forward. If I dared to release my brakes in an attempt to go forward I only went further back and was slowly going over the edge of the embankment. I was in a real predicament and there was no one around to help me. All I could do is sit there with my brakes locked. After awhile a jogger ran by me. I hollered out to him asking for help but he just ran on ignoring me. A couple of more people passed by as I sat there and the same thing happened. Finally a guy I knew was going by me and I hollered at him by name. I explained to him what the problem was and asked him to take my hand and pull me as I released the other brake and tried to pedal forward. It worked. I got out of that mess. It would not have taken much more backwards movement before I would have gone over the embankment and possibly into the river.

Hot dogging can be bad. I have been fortunate as I never been injured as a result. A friend of mine has had serious injuries as a result of hot dogging. I hit a bollard once trying to turn off of a road onto the trail. I was going too fast. I was able to get almost stopped so when I hit the bollard I wasn’t going fast enough for any damage to happen. In the picture below the trail runs right along side of a street for a little ways. My friend was riding on the trail (blue line) and I was out in the street (red line). I wanted to get ahead of him so I was going faster. I didn’t slow up enough to make the turn. I hit the center bollard attempting to turn onto the trail.

Not looking where you are going can, of course, result in things going wrong. Once I was looking off to my side at a pavilion downtown. I was riding on the wide sidewalk in front of it. There were handrails protruding out over the sidewalk. They were part of the railing that went up steps toward the pavilion. They were just the right height to modify my face if I were to hit them. Again, fortunately I turned back looking forward just in time to swerve and miss them.

Years ago I created this picture of a trike jumping thru the air. Much to my surprise it has fooled several people as they thought it was real. Anyway, the air time might be fun but I sure would not want any part of the landing.

Yep, I have always done my own stunts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That is mainly because I wouldn’t want to see anybody get injured in my place. I am quite hopeful that my stunts are pretty much over with cause at 73 I am getting a bit too old to do my own stunt work. May we all be safe and .simply …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHAT’S YOUR REASON?

Here is a video showing several tadpole riders sharing why they ride a tadpole trike. I am sure most of us can readily identify with and agree with them.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

 

Early this morning while meeting up with some friends to ride together when I first arrived at the trailhead parking lot my one friend said to me that he saw me riding across the bridge which is about 3/8 of a mile away. He saw my florescent yellow and florescent orange safety flags. I have stressed over and over thru the years about the importance of good safety flags and bright flashing lights front and rear. We need to be seen! All too many trikers ride around with flags that just don’t do the job. Some of them are difficult to see when up close much less some distance away. I put some images together to give you an idea of how far away I was from my friend when he saw me. The first picture is of the bridge I was crossing at the time. The second picture if a satellite image of the area showing where he was (red X) and where I was (red arrow). The third picture was taken from the parking lot where he was looking to the bridge where I was.

I think that is pretty incredible for him to see me from that distance. Of course, all he saw was my flags. He could not actually see me.

I have had a few people locally make the exact same flags that I have. They have done so because they have seen for themselves how effective they are. A few years ago I was riding on a local trail which is “rural” away from the city. It follows a river so it meanders around a bit. There is lots of vegetation on both sides of the trail (trees, bushes, weeds, etc.) so most of the time one can’t see very far ahead. As I was riding along I saw something up ahead of me which caught my eye. I only saw it for a second or two. It was a very long ways ahead of me. I would guess it was about 3/4ths of a mile the first time I noticed it. I assumed it was a flashing yellow light on some sort of maintenance vehicle. I kept riding closing the distance and every once in awhile caught another glimpse of this “flash” of bright light thru very small gaps in the vegetative covering. I kept going getting closer and closer until finally I was able to see the source ahead of me. I was quite surprised and even more impressed when I discovered what I was seeing was two tadpole trikes being ridden by a man and wife couple whom I knew. They were flying flags just like mine … some of the ones who liked my flags so much that they copied them. Amazing! I saw at least one of them some 3/4 of a mile away in heavy vegetative cover.

I encourage every trike rider to take this matter seriously. Your very life may very well depend on it.

You can read more about my safety flags HERE with instructions on how to make them.

Be safe out there ,  KEEP ON TRIKIN’  and ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ARE YOU BLIND?

I am not blind, but I have been experiencing various vision problems over the last several years. I have glaucoma. My mom had glaucoma as did her mom. My grandmother went blind the last few years of her life and my mom nearly did. I am “legally blind” in my left eye. My eye doctor has been trying to save my eyesight I have left. Update: since I first posted this article I have gone completely bling in my left eye.

is not something any sane person would choose and yet many of us who ride tadpole trikes do choose it. We don’t have eyes in the back of our heads and we can only see so far off to the sides. We are not owls with the ability to turn our heads clear around backwards. In short, we need mirrors to see behind us. That is reality and no sane person would argue it. Certainly our laws require left and right outside rear view mirrors as well as an inside rear view mirror. As far as I am concerned they ought to be a legal requirement on all forms of cycles and misc. vehicles.

Susan in Chuck's mirror what's behind no mirror

See what you are missing without a mirror? There is another trike following behind, but without a mirror you wouldn’t know that. Of course, these pictures don’t really illustrate what I am talking about as far as a blind spot. Many tadpole trike riders choose to only use one mirror. I don’t understand it. We are greatly limited in our sight and it is very unsafe for ourselves as well as others. I am sure most all of us have heard of “blind spots”. They are real and they are very dangerous. A blind spot is the area that doesn’t show up in the one mirror some riders have. Obviously that area is closer up to us than what is shown in these pictures.

Here are the blind spots using 2 mirrors. The grey areas are the bling spots. The white areas are where we can see using the mirror(s) as well as with our eyes looking ahead of us. (Ignore the small grey area in front of the rider. I didn’t bother to remove it when I did the photo editing.)

And here are the blind spots areas with only 1 mirror. As you can observe there is a tremendous difference.

Yes, when we choose to only have one mirror we are choosing to be blind on the side we have no mirror. We don’t do it when we operate our cars, trucks, etc. so why would anyone choose to only use one mirror?

I ride with other tadpole trike riders and they only have one mirror. I have to be very careful around them as they don’t see me if I am on the side where they have no mirror … not unless I am quite a distance back behind them. Just recently one of my friends turned sharply to the right and forced me to brake hard to avoid a collision. He had no idea I was there as he is blind on that side and to make matters worse he usually doesn’t turn his head and try to look.  And this situation happens everyday several times a day. I always see them, but they don’t see me. I have talked to them about this, but they stubbornly refuse to install a second mirror. They choose to ride blindly and be a hazard … an accident waiting to happen.

Matt's trike with two mirrors

Matt Galat (JaYoe) … well known for his world travel adventure and videos …

is wise enough to use two mirrors.

When I built my first trike I put two mirrors on it. I have always had two mirrors on my trikes. I can’t imagine not having a mirror on both sides. I don’t choose to be blind … not when it comes to my eyesight nor when riding my trike. What about you? Are you blind? It is a very dangerous thing to ride around blind on one side. It is a very foolish thing as well. And it is a very unnecessary thing as they sell mirrors every day. We need to be safe ourselves and do our part to ensure others are safe from us. In short, we need to be responsible. That means having two mirrors is a must. We all want to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

FREE GIFT awaits you!