Triker James and the 700 speed trike (and touring dream)
Here is a letter received from James Alaggio, an airline pilot in Hawaii, who recently acquired a new Catrike 700, painted to match the gorgeous greenery of his idyllic state. He calls it his Green Machine. You can see more photos on his TA webpage HERE.
Aloha fellow trike pilots!
Now that I’m on the ground for a little bit I can write about my Catrike 700 story.
The dream began in 2008 when I fell in love with my first trike, an Actionbent T-1A when I was tired of being in pain on upright bicycles – pain in the neck and the ass. I began my three wheel journey with the most incredible sense of freedom I could have imagined. 10,000 miles gracefully flew behind me in a beautiful flash. 40 mile painful rides turned into 100 mile rides in exceptional comfort at higher speeds. I had fallen in love. The tadpole design, 700c rear and 20″ front wheels, comfortable seat and recline, stability, maneuverability and the light weight aluminum frame features proved themselves to be an optimal configuration. The only thing that could have made this trike better was a stronger seat mount and better support from the manufacturer.
I had to sell the Actionbent in 2011 due to a major job change across the country. I hadn’t realized how important the trike had become in my life – and how much I missed it when it was gone. I thought about what the trike had done for me, and what I could do with my trike. I felt limitless. It was an extension of my mind and body. The trike journey was my manifestation of freedom over land. I needed to get it back.
Fast forward to 2014. I landed my dream job flying airliners around Hawaii. I had bought a Sun EZ-3SX to stay in shape. My dream trike burned deeply in my mind. I narrowed my choices down to the Catrike Expedition or 700. It was a tough decision. My goals are to ride 50-100+ miles a day to “train”, a.k.a. enjoy, for fitness and sustainable transportation. Eventually I will take the time off to do BIG rides. Really big. So I wanted to train on the trike that would become my expedition vehicle. The time had come to purchase my dream trike.
I had been inspired by many trikers such as Lucinda “Pink Panther” Chandler, Greg Kolodziejzyk (okay, he rides two-wheeled recumbents) and Steve Greene, author of “The Overland Triker” and creator of the “Trike Asylum.” Many of the lessons they have learned in their journeys have helped me in deciding which trike will be the platform for my ideal expedition vehicle.
I tested both the 700 and Expedition. Both trikes were incredible. I chose the 700. Why? I wouldn’t have considered it without the 20″ front wheels. I didn’t like the older 16″ front wheels. The larger wheels add stability and smooth out the ride considerably. Oddly enough, Steve Greene had purchased a Catrike 700 exactly when I was looking. His blog proved to be priceless for me to learn from him. Steve – THANK YOU for posting!
Here’s what I did to make my Catrike 700 even more amazing…
This was to be my “Green Machine.” A sustainable human-powered expedition vehicle that would take root in Hawaii. The color was critical. I worked with Utah Trikes during the acquisition to achieve the ideal metallic green color that would match my beautiful island of Oahu. Mission Accomplished! Thanks to Matt and staff at Utah Trikes for bringing this trike alive!
I knew with such a flat seat angle the neckrest would be absolutely critical. I’m planning on spending 5-10 hours in the cockpit so I have to be completely comfortable. I went with KrispySteve’s “Finer Recliner” neckrest for the 700. I love it. The design and construction is incredible. Don’t ask questions, just buy one.
The next most critical point for me was a reliable power meter. I had a PowerTap on my old Actionbent which proved to be an incredible aid to optimize my training and performance. I had my rear 700c Velocity A23 wheel built around a a PowerTap G3 hub coupled with a Joule Computer and heartrate monitor. Priceless. It works like a charm and will help me optimize my output.
The tires are all Schwalbe Marathon Plus – thanks Steve. Rear is a 700x28c and fronts are 20×1.35″. The ride is SUPER smooth and speed is not adversely affected. I covered the rear wheel with a Planet Bike Rear Fender.
The rear rack fits perfectly over the fender. Can you say “TOURING TRIKE”?! I never thought that I’d be able to say that about a Catrike 700. I have Transit Touring Panniers and soon Catrike 700 Arkel Side Panniers to hold my gear.
The pedals are Shimano Ultegras. A big, lightweight platform with a very good feel. My favorite pedals.
I took Steve’s advice and put a 26T small ring on the front. It is perfect for me on big hills here with a light to moderate load. I’m a careful shifter so I haven’t had any issues with missing the ring on a shift.
Besides that I put on some Nathan Reflective tape and dots, a Hotshot LED USB Rechargeable taillight
So, how does it ride? Like the wind. I couldn’t stop giggling like a little boy when I FLEW out of the bike shop in town on my 11 mile ride home. It was, by far, the fastest and most stable trike I have ridden. Absolute comfort has been achieved. The big flat seat reduces pressure points by spreading the weight of your body over a huge surface area. The wrist rests are a great feature as well.
I can’t wait for the next ride. Did a quick 15 mile ride today to get everything dialed in.
I’m happy. Very happy. And soon – even happier. I have my dream trike.