Need a helmet? What about a trike?

Check out the helmet damage at the end of this accident. What if that had been his head? Human heads contacting antlers or hooves can come up short. Would this fellow have fared any better on a recumbent tricycle like we ride? And I wonder if his high speed was a factor. If he were simply exploring the outback rather than racing through it, would the animal have reacted similarly? Or would he have actually noticed the animal approaching? Based on my former experience as a backcountry motorcycle racer, I realize that racers become fully engrossed with going very fast, and tend to develop tunnel vision, focused exclusively on the trail. Anyway, these days I prefer exploration of the hinterlands rather than speeding through them. Check this out:

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Fatrike fun on a dirt road …

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Bicycle jerseys converted to tricycle jerseys

Do you have some bicycle jerseys with pockets in the rear over your rear-end, the type of apparel with pockets that are absolutely useless on a recumbent trike? They don’t do much good if you are sitting on them. If you still ride a bicycle, then you can still use the jerseys for that time-honored activity, but if you have happily converted to recumbent tricycles exclusively, opting for comfort regardless of distance ridden, then what about the bicycle-specific pockets-in-back jerseys you have from those archaic two-wheeling days?

Well, Aussie triker Jen Fleming has solved this dilemma in a unique manner! Here is what she has to say, followed by a photo of her wearing one of her quite useful conversions:

Hi trikers,
Coming from a two-wheel cycling background, I was left with all these bright Lycra shirts that didn’t work on the recumbent trike. Hence, I removed the middle pocket from the back of a few shirts and sewed it on the front like a kangaroo pouch. In this photo I have my phone and wallet in the pouch, which is very handy. I also drop my sunglasses in it at times when my face gets too hot to wear them, then they are easy to put on and off. I still have two remaining pockets on the back if I chose to swap vehicles, and opt for a bike ride. No, I’m not selling these. It is merely an idea for those ex-bicyclists who have a lot of shirts with useless pockets in the back. I find it very handy.
Jen Fleming (Jen’s TA page)

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Ready for some night riding?

Have a monster fatrike? Want to ride it at night? Want to be seen by crazy car drivers? Want the “cool” factor to soar off the charts? Do as Craig Sandison has done on his ICE Full Fat! Says Craig: “Fitted some led lights to my full fat looks awesome like a spaceship gliding around.”

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Ready for the Iditarod?

Have a monster fatrike? Live in the deep snow country? Want a little help traversing the woods? How about hitching up a couple of powerful canine friends? What a setup!

photo stolen from the ICE Facebook page – they wanted it shared with everyone

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What should I consider when choosing a new trike?

A. One big clue to choosing a good trike that will last many years is to look at which ones are selling consistently well. If a company is producing inferior trikes, sooner or later their business will dry up. They can only cheap-out for so long before the word gets out. With today’s internet forum groups on cycling and trikes, the word of an inferior trike will spread like wildfire, and people will stop buying from that company. Buy from one of the known reliable companies that stands behind its products with excellent customer service. The preferable method to choosing a trike is to go to dealers and actually ride the ones you are considering. If you live in a very large city, this is possible, but not guaranteed because trikes still are hard to find relative to bikes. If you live in a small town like me, you’ll likely have zero opportunity to ride them first, and so must rely heavily on what you can learn online and from other riders.

If you do have the opportunity to personally examine a trike, look first at the welds. If the welds are sloppy looking at all, with gaps, unevenness, and weld splatter, keep looking. Stay away from companies with poor weld quality. Welds from a top quality company are virtually flawless. Also study the paint quality. It should be smooth, glossy, and give the appearance of depth. Assuming you find two or three companies that meet your standards, tell them what your main use of the trike will be, and see which of their models they recommend. If you do that with three companies, you should end up with three different trikes to choose from, which will be made easier if you can at all see them in person.

Ten things to consider: 1) Can I get into and out of the trike easily for my physical abilities? 2) Is the gearing suitable for the terrain I’ll be spending most of my time riding? 3) Is the seat comfortable enough for me? (hard to tell if you can’t take it on a long ride). 4) Are the handlebars well placed for my body structure? 5) What is the warranty? Three years? Lifetime? 6) What do other owners of the trike report on internet forums regarding customer service after the sale? 7) Are the welds and paint impeccable? 8) Are most parts commonly found at bike shops for easy replacement? 9) If having the trike shipped to you, does it come pre-assembled, or do you have to have a fair degree of mechanical savvy to put it together? 10) Is there a return or exchange policy if you didn’t get a chance to see if first, and end up not liking it?

There are a lot more factors to consider of course, so hopefully readers will add comments of their ideas that were not discussed here.

View of some exhibitor booths prior to public showing

A recumbent convention is a great place to get some ideas right from the manufacturers!

 The annual Recumbent Cycle Con is an excellent place to start! The 2017 Recumbent Cycle-Con Trade Show & Convention will be held October 6 – 8 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, PA 19456. Get all the details HERE.

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Learning Curve …

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Do large diameter wheels mean faster speeds?

Click HERE to follow the convoluted path towards enlightenment!

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Can a 16-inch Greenspeed be used for touring?

Okay everyone with an opinion (probably most of us, I suppose), now is the time to comment to this post and help out a fellow triker in Queensland Australia. I have received the following question from Jen Fleming, with grand plans to ride her Greenspeed quite a long distance. Her trike has 16-inch wheels, and this is where the controversy begins. Let’s help her figure this out. Below is her query:

I have a 16″ wheel Greenspeed GT5 series 2. Trike. I am planning to ride it from one end of Queensland Australia to the other. A distance of approx 2000 km this winter. My husband and others are very skeptical about its capabilities due to its small wheels. Any experience with this please?”

Let’s all see what our combined brainpower can bring to bear on Jen’s question. I have already sent her an email with my thoughts, so now it’s your turn to sound off in the comments to this post. The comments are open for seven days, starting now, so don’t hesitate to be heard. Thanks!

By the way, if you wish to see Jen and some additional photos, and also read some of what she thinks about trike riding, under the Rider Stories menu item on this website you’ll now find her story. Click HERE to visit that page.

Jen Fleming’s Greenspeed GT-5 series recumbent trike – click HERE to see more.

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Trident Trikes: Jouta Quad

It’s not a tricycle, but it’s appearing from a recumbent tricycle manufacturer. The fat tire version of the quad will be ready to ship this coming summer. There is already a skinny tire version available now. Click HERE to visit the Trident page. Having been riding a fatrike for over a year now, I sure would opt for the fat tire Jouta to get a more comfortable ride. This vehicle does not appear to have any suspension, so the larger the tires, the softer the ride will be. Go Fat – Be Happy! Two wheel drive also sounds mighty appealing, especially in unpaved situations requiring more traction.

The Jouta Blue Line Quad 7 Speed:

The frame looks pretty beefy. This rig may have a higher weight limit than most.

The Fat Tire version of the new Blue Line Jouta Quad:

JOUTA QUAD
Jouta Blue Line Quad 7 Speed– Front derailleur/Triple Crankset upgrade will be available soon. The Jouta Quad is available with either 1WD or 2WD. 20 x 1.50 Tire version is available now and ready to ship. Fat Tire versions won’t be ready until summer 2017

Pricing
Shipping is $125.00 and is added to the total price in the cart. The Jouta Quad is 95% assembled (in 1 Box). Please call for shipping quotes to AK, HI, Canada or any foreign address.

Jouta Quad 1WD $1299.00 + $125 Shipping / Jouta Quad 2WD $1429.00 + $125 Shipping / Jouta Fat Quad 1WD $1599.00 + $125 Shipping / Jouta Fat Quad 2WD $1729.00 + $125 Shipping

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Trike Hobo’s new guidebook … a heck of a place to trike

Thirteen hundred miles of dirt roads – an endless labyrinth of obscure trails – many not on any maps – most with no names – a few well-known, but most rarely traveled – easy to get lost without proper guidance – potential fatal consequences for those not prepared – a land full of ghosts from the past – laced with deep shafts of bats and rotting timbers – rain evaporates before it hits the ground – few will ever pedal a trike here, but thousands will drive a Jeep – a valley of poison gas and lost wagon trains – the hottest place on the planet – Would you enjoy a trip to hell? If so, you may wish to visit here first to get the hang of things … click HERE if you find yourself strangely motivated to view Trike Hobo’s latest bizarre insanity (if the trike doesn’t kill ya’, the land will).

Death Valley Trike

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Do motor vehicle laws apply to trike riders?

A. The rules of the road are usually the same. On your trike, always stop for stop signs. I have noticed over the years that the vast majority of bicyclists never stop at stop signs. Whatever their reasons, there is a very negative consequence that flows from disregarding stop signs or other traffic laws: Motorists observe cyclists who make the choice to disobey traffic laws, which does not bode well for the cycling image as a whole. Drivers of automobiles have the impression that cyclists are above the law. Then what happens when a cyclist is struck by a car? The injured cyclist will most likely cite some law that the motorist either disobeyed or disregarded. It’s a double standard. If you want to use the laws as a means to protect yourself as a cyclist, then you should certainly be obeying those same laws. If a motorist accidentally strikes a triker because the motorist failed to yield to the triker’s right to take a lane when there is no shoulder, how can the triker in good conscience cry fowl if the triker himself has been running stop signs for the past five years? I feel this principle should be applied to all traffic laws that affect tricyclists. Follow the laws you expect motorists to follow for your protection. It leaves a good impression in the minds of drivers who see a tricyclist dutifully stop at all stop signs. Be an ambassador for all trike pilots out there, so when a driver who watched you follow the law sees the next triker, he will feel that people on trikes do what is right. Besides, on a trike, where your feet are attached to the pedals and you have three wheels, there is no need to undo the cleat and put a foot down, which is probably one reason why bicyclists rarely obey the law.

What STOP signs may as well be saying:

stop-sign

Click on sign, or HERE, to view cycling laws by state.

sun city 32

sun city 26

When a group of trikers are out pedaling around, they become ambassadors for the sport, our mode of silent transportation. What motorists see may result in positive or negative feelings, depending upon the riding style of the group. Being a great ambassador sends a quiet, yet powerful, message.

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Dave Beedon shares his ICE trike … in photos, that is!

Regular Trike Asylum reader Dave Beedon shares some of his rides on his ICE Adventure on his Flickr Page. For those who want to read what he has to say, and see a bunch of photos, give his page a visit HERE. He’s having loads of fun on a recumbent trike, just like we all do!

Dave Beedon heading to the hills

Note Dave’s digital camera mounted above his seat!

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Adam and his Alaskan Azub

One of the active members over on the Fatrike Forum is having a blast pedaling his Azub fatrike all over the Alaskan outback around Anchorage. As Adam proves here, trike pilots need not be side-lined just because winter arrives, as they usually were prior to the invention and manufacture of fatrikes. In fact, winter is an awesome time for these monster machines! Go Adam go!

azub-fatrike-in-alaska

Adam’s Azub in the pristine Alaskan wilds. Note those utilitarian mitts for his hands, and his choice of the popular Arkel TailRider top trunk on his rear rack. This territory reminds me of a favorite television series called Northern Exposure, which ran from 1990-1995! Loved that show!

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The German Pinion Drive for trikes (and bikes ;-)

Internally geared shifting mechanisms are commonly thought of on the rear drive wheel, laced into the wheel as the hub. For example, I have a Rohloff internally geared rear hub on my ICE Full Fat. Recently, I was personally introduced to an internally geared shifting mechanism that is not a hub of a wheel at all, rather mounted on the frame, independent of wheels. It is called the Pinion Drive, which was developed, and now is hand-produced, in Germany. This internal shifting device does away entirely with old fashioned derailleur systems, and the gearing is protected from external weather elements. There is no lateral chain movement, thereby leading to longer chain life.

pinion-drive-internal

Here is what a Pinion Drive looks like on the inside.

From the manufacturer comes this information (translated for me by Google):

Pinion Philosophy

Engineer’s skills, craftsmanship, skill and passion – Pinion is the driving force behind the bike of the future. Our motivation: the pursuit of technical perfection. Our goal: the perfect bike. Developed and produced by hand in Germany, the pinion gearbox is permanently reliable and almost maintenance-free. The compact design allows for an integrally reduced design of innovative bicycles – pinion bikes are superbly balanced and technically perfect. In this way, they reduce the wonderful feeling of riding a bike to the essentials. All Pinion transmissions guarantee unique function in any situation and under all conditions. Four precisely tuned transmission circuits, which meet the highest demands on shifting and driving comfort; On a trip around the world and on the trail as well as in the city and on the weekend tour.

A tutorial movie showing exactly how this internal shifting mechanism works:

.

A fun movie showing the Pinion Drive on a mountain bike:

Notice on this mountain bike that the power is delivered to the rear wheel via a rubber belt material of some sort, rather than through a metal chain, like we have on recumbent trikes. I wonder if this belt technology could be utilized successfully on a tadpole trike – no more broken links!

Click HERE to visit the Pinion website.

PS: This is the shifting mechanism Ed Wade has on his new Azub Ti-Fly (see prior post).

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Ed Wade and his Azub pedal Arizona

My trikin’ buddy Ed Wade recently visited Arizona, and took his new Azub Ti-Fly along for the fun. The first photo below shows Ed’s new wheels. In the second photo, the Azub is hidden.

ed-wade-azub-ti-fly

The fully suspended Azub is a joy to ride on bumpy and uneven surfaces.

ed-wade-with-trike

I see Ed. Do you see his Azub?

Ed has two sets of tires, depending on what type of terrain he will be predominantly riding for a while. For rugged Arizona outback, his Schwalbe Black Jacks are perfect, with knobby treads and sizable footprint. For street riding, his Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires are smoother rolling, and do not make the typical whining noise associated with knobby tires on pavement at speed. Ed’s plan is to eventually have both sets of tires mounted on separate wheels, then he can change them out quickly and easily, without having to dismount the tires and remount the other set, using the same three wheels for both. This Azub has a Pinion drive up front, with only a single sprocket on the rear – no derailleurs anywhere to be found – nice! It’s hard for me to feel nostalgic for derailleurs.

BTW: any Arizona trike pilots recognize where Ed is?

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Having issues with rude drivers? Try one of these:

special-ops-ice-t3

You’ll get all the respect you deserve – but also unwanted attention from S.W.A.T. officers.

SPECIAL OPS ICE T3 RECUMBENT TRICYCLE – BUILT ON FULL FAT FRAME

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How do you make yourself visible to motorists?

A. There are a number of good solutions to this. First and foremost, try to remain visible where you ride. Don’t quickly dart in and out of tight little spots where motorists won’t see you. Wear bright yellow clothing, the day-glow variety if you have such a jacket or shirt. If you don’t have such a garment, get one. Have a bright flag prominently displayed on a pole, with the flag portion about 6-7 feet off the pavement level. If the flag is too high, motorists can miss it if in close proximity to you. Better yet, have two flags, with one on each side of the seat, so the poles and flags move independently of one another, really bringing attention to you (BIG plus). Place reflective fluorescent stickers on your trike. Put a brilliant flashing LED tail light clearly displayed to the rear. Use a bright headlight in darker conditions, whether it be a shaded mountain road or any road at night. A cycling friend of mine is color blind. He told me that the typical bright orange flags that really stand out to people with normal vision only appear a muddy brown to him. He further told me that, by comparison, brilliant yellow stands out very well to his eyes. This is good information to know, and without his valuable tip, I would have never considered such a possibility! Make sure that bright yellow is in your flag and on your trike as much as practical. You could even get a bright yellow helmet – they really show up very well, and reveal your head to motorists. More good news is that trikers have a clear advantage over bikers due to the trike’s bizarre appearance, which subconsciously calls upon people’s brains to figure out what it is they are seeing. Trikes demand identification by otherwise distracted drivers. I can guarantee you’ll get their attention! All this works for me, and I’m still alive to report it to you now. If I missed a tip, please comment.

David Massey on PCTA 2

This triker has a lot of yellow showing to the rear. He also wears a day-glow green tee shirt over his long sleeve riding shirt. His flag (not visible in this photo) is bright orange. So, he has all three main visibility colors, plus his flashing tail light. This trike pilot is David Massey, with whom I set out in 2013 for a Pacific Coast tricycle journey. He is also riding a yellow Azub trike. Imagine if David had on a bright yellow helmet too! Then the package would be complete.

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The Overland Triker (Amazon reviews issue)

I am always learning things I should not have done, what we refer to as 20/20 hindsight. As of this writing today, there is an issue with reviews appearing on Amazon for The Overland Triker, which is misleading. The revised 2017 edition erroneously is showing reviews written for the original 2012 edition. I have been in contact with the good folks at Amazon, and a fix is coming soon, I am told. The original 2012 edition of the book has been discontinued, and is no longer available. The review error resulted from the fact that both books have the same title and author information, and the computer algorithm has not successfully differentiated between the two, thus the review content of the former has been linked to the latter. The Amazon representative has assured me today that the erroneous book linking will soon be cancelled manually by a human, thereby fixing the issue. If I had published the new edition under a new naming, this would not have occurred. Humans still have some advantages over automated computers, it seems. Computers can’t ride tricycles.

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Pros and cons of riding a recumbent trike

Kurt Zeigler has some great thoughts about this, snatched from his great website:

For the complete list, here’s my list of trike advantages and disadvantages. Most but not all apply to recumbents in general. Leave a comment if you have more items for this list.

Advantages

  • Comfort – Even after a grueling day on the road, the most comfortable seat is on the trike.
  • View – Instead of looking down at your front tire, your most natural position is looking outward and upward.  If you enjoy clouds and birds, a ‘bent is pretty refreshing.
  • Stability – High speed descents went from a white knuckle cramp-fest to a low stress blurr.
  • Safety – The stability of a trike lets me focus on what’s around me instead of what’s directly in front of me and threatening to trip me up. Cattle grates, pot holes, debris, RR tracks become an annoyance instead of a crisis. On a trike, rear view mirrors actually work and give me excellent situational awareness in traffic. With two brakes in front, nothing stops faster than a tadpole trike and there is little chance of “going over the handlebars.” Motorists generally give me a wider berth, perhaps because I’m slightly wider and look much different from an upright bike. This makes it easier to take the lane when appropriate. A common complaint about tadpole trikes is that they are unsafe because they are too low to be seen by motorists.  This is simply not true in my experience.
  • Commuting – The comfort, stability, and safety advantages mentioned above all add up to a more enjoyable commute. Add to that the fact that starts and stops are super safe and convenient because you don’t have to un-clip and clip back in your pedals at every stop.
  • Touring – Any weight disadvantage is lost when you start loading up the trike with gear. With conventional rear panniers and custom side panniers you can load at least as much gear as an upright bike, all without affecting the trike’s handling in any significant way. Climbs are more enjoyable because you can gear way down and spin up hills, going as slowly as you want (you won’t fall over or wobble even if you stop). Descents are more enjoyable because even fully loaded you can bomb down hills with much more stability. And after weeks on the road, when roadies start developing all manner of ailments “down there,” your ass and groin area will feel the same as it did on day one.
  • Winter – The stability of a trike makes slick winter roads a ton of fun instead of a ton of stress.
  • Fun – Riding a trike feels different from riding a bike but is at least as much fun.

Disadvantages

  • Climbing speed – addressed in my Triking page.
  • Form factor – harder to maneuver through doorways, won’t fit in a rack on a bus or train, etc. Even the ultra foldable trikes like the Trice series are a challenge to transport as luggage on a plane.
  • The geek factor – Yep, you look different riding a ‘bent. If conformity is your thing, run away. Most people do and I’m becoming convinced this is one of the biggest reasons. That and Lance doesn’t ride one. On the other hand if you like to draw attention to yourself, might I suggest a ‘bent with a Trets, guitar, and little girl attached.
  • Cost – Right again. ‘Bents are expensive, though in a similar tier as high-end road or mountain bikes. But look at what you get. And it’s perhaps never more true than with recumbents; you get what you pay for.
  • Weight – My Trice Q weighs in at about 36 pounds naked.  Some trikes are down in the thirties. Heavy, but not much of an issue for loaded touring considering beefy touring bikes aren’t much lighter, and the weight variance between a good packing day and a bad one is probably greater than the variance between a ‘bent and a sleek upright. And for commuting, who cares?
  • Racing – Unless you’re racing other ‘bents or limit yourself to flat or downhill courses, stick with an upright.
  • Off road – There are trikes designed for use like a mountain bike. Seems to me like an actual mountain bike would be a better bet. I’m talking single track here– trikes do fine on decent dirt and gravel roads. The stability helps here, but the extra wheel and three wheel tracks vs. one starts to become an issue if the gravel/mud/whatever gets deep. You can lose traction going up steep, slick surfaces because on a trike you have less weight on the drive wheel.
  • Stability – How can this be in both lists? Everything has its limits. The trike’s is that if you fly outside the envelope, you can flip it. You have to be trying pretty hard to do this and it’s easily avoidable. But flipping a trike could ruin your day. To put this in perspective, I can bomb down curvy mountain roads at 45 MPH and not reach the limit, with much less trepidation than on an upright bike.
  • Wheel track.  You’ve got three instead of one.  This can be a problem in deep gravel or extremely rough roads.  It also makes it more difficult to keep your tires away from obstacles though the stability afforded by three tracks dramatically reduces the need.
  • Visibility.  The common perception that trikes are too low to be seen is generally not true in my experience.  There is one situation that warrants mention however.   Cars that are parked right up to the edge of an intersection can make it difficult to see oncoming cross traffic.  In these situations I ease out slowly to peer around the obstruction before commiting to crossing the intersection.  With a little extra caution this concern is easily mitigated.

THANKS KURT!

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The Overland Triker: updated, revised, expanded!

I’m spending WAY too much time on this computer – just ask my local cycling buddies Matt Jensen and Ed Wade, who ask me to do a scenic 50 mile ride with them on a sunny day, but I tell them, believe it or not, that I have digital work to do. So, they go have a fun day without me. Well, I’m here to tell ya’ today that the time has passed, and I’m really ready to get out on Bigfoot and do some backcountry exploring with good friends! Word has it that you go blind from computer usage, and I believe it, not to mention that the body gets soft and fat just sitting in an office chair all day. My computer work is nearly wrapped up, and I’m excited.

THE COMPREHENSIVE HOW-TO TRIKE TOUR MANUAL FOR ADVENTURERS, EXPLORERS, AND ROAD HOBOS!

What am I wrapping up? Some of you are familiar with a book I did in 2012, published by a company called iUniverse: it was called The Overland Triker. Okay, so in the last five years, I’ve learned more, some things I said in that 2012 book have proven false, and there were other things that needed updating. To my self, I mumbled at the end of November 2016, “I can make this book better!” That is what I set out to do on December first. On February first of this year, the new 2017 edition of The Overland Triker has become reality for anyone crazy enough to want to pedal long distances for days on end … on nothing more than a tricycle. It’s loads of fun, but let me tell ya’, it’s also very HARD work! BTW: the new edition is 192 more pages, has a lot more fun stuff to read and learn, and the cost is two US dollars less than the old one.

OLD ONE:

TOT Sidebar

The previous 2012 edition is being discontinued.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that a tiny handful of readers of the 2012 edition voiced opinions that I was philosophizing too much in that first book, and one indicated that if he wanted to learn philosophy, he would have bought a textbook instead. Another said that only 20 pages of the original 334 were actually about trike touring (not accurate, but point taken). Well, I took all that to heart, because yes, it’s true, I do tend to get over-zealous at times expressing things that could be a wee bit controversial or offensive, and I proceeded to remove most of that stuff that prompted those critics (few as they were) to rate the book only one star (it’s tough being an author, because you can’t make everyone happy). Good thing enough readers rated it higher, so it wasn’t a total flop. I’ve eaten humble-pie, and republished the book this week. So now we have a new one.

NEW ONE:

overland-triker-cover-200

The 2017 edition, newly updated, revised, and expanded. Click book to learn more.

The 2017 edition of The Overland Triker is now 526 pages with 57 full-page photographs, and packs in more than 25,000 additional words. Okay, so yeah, more is being said, but lots of the philosophy is gone (not all, but most), the chapters have been updated as necessary, and a new Part Two of the book begins about half-way in, and this section is all new stuff. In it are three guest chapters by some experienced overland triker folks who know the ropes from many years of pedaling the open roads of adventure. There is a new story relating day-by-day trike touring too.

If you wish to learn more, click HERE to visit the TA page revealing this new edition.

In the end, two months of slave computer labor have created a rebirth of the original, and it won’t be long now until I’m up in those mountains with Ed and Matt, living this stuff instead of writing about it. Sure, I’ll take some photos to share later, and maybe write-up a thing or two, but my fatrike is screaming to be ridden, and I must answer the call while those fattie tires still have air left in them. Okay, fellow trike pilots of Planet Earth, time to ride …

Old Triker Dude on Tour

It’s hard work, but hey, it’s fun out there! By the way, if the rider in this photo is reading this, let us know who you are, where you were going, and how long it took. Gee, that’s a BOB trailer!

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Alternate routing, for a safer trike journey

Kurt Ziegler, long-time Trike Asylum reader, and avid cycling enthusiast, is familiar with cross country touring, and has certainly logged his share of miles out there on the open road. Below is part of a much larger story he wrote about a particular section of his journey while following the Adventure Cycling Association route. Kurt abandoned the ACA route at times, opting for safer ways to reach his destination. Like Kurt, I have found the ACA routing to be suggesting roads that may be off the beaten path more, but, in my opinion, are not nearly as safe as the main highway (in may case, it was on the Oregon Coast Bike Route, and I talk about it in my book of the same name – the reason I knew not to take the ACA suggested route was because I live out here on the edge of the land, and realized the ACA way was not the safe way).

Well, anyway, below is a segment of Kurt’s interesting story, which I recommend reading in its entirety if you have the time to do so. Here ya’ go …

Alternative Routing
Posted on August 31, 2012 by Kurt
Day 127 • July 6, 2012 •  Danville to Berea, KY •  32 miles

I think I’ve mentioned before how much we appreciate Adventure Cycling and their maps.  Love ‘em.  But we were increasingly not loving the roads we were being routed on.  Narrow, shoulder-less, curvy, hilly roads make for extremely poor sight lines.   Add thick vegetation and a regional pastime of driving waaaay too fast for conditions and you’ve got a potential mess.  This isn’t a trike thing–  the problem is the same for any slow moving vehicle on these roads.  (Note to motorists:  if you can’t see the pavement you’re hurtling toward, slow down!).  So we were increasingly opting to skip the AC routing and choose bigger, straighter roads.  With the one big exception back in Missouri this strategy was serving us well, but the further east we got in Kentucky the harder it was becoming to find good alternatives.

Having decided to follow this strategy yesterday to get to Danville, we were obliged to continue it to Berea where we could intercept the TransAmerica again.  There were a lot of possibilities but we’d had good success yesterday on the direct route following Highway 150 so we decided to continue that thinking today and headed east out of Danville on Highway 52.  This worked well until we reached Paint Lick where we turned onto Route 21.  Route 21 is one of the many Kentucky roads that fit my description in the previous paragraph.  Even so it was in good shape, traffic was light, and the ride was quite enjoyable.  That all changed a few miles from Berea where the light traffic may have actually made matters worse because one of the few cars going in our direction met us on a blind right curve going way over the speed limit.

I first noticed the sound of a racing engine behind us, then saw a blur in my rear view mirror about the same time I heard the sound of brakes locking up on pavement.  There was nowhere we could go so I just watched as the car swerved around us, thankfully not meeting another car or cyclist in the oncoming lane.  I broke my promise with Lisa for the second time on the trip, yelling something stupid and probably profane about slowing down as he screeched past us.  I was a little surprised that the face I briefly saw didn’t look defiant or pissed off or checked out—he looked scared.  A few miles later we reached our destination at the Oh Kentucky campground in Berea and the guy was there, sitting in his car.  We chatted for a while.  He was an intelligent guy.  Young.  Not drunk, stoned or otherwise incapacitated.  He’d just been driving way ahead of his sight and ability to react.  And he was still shaking like a leaf.

To read the rest of the story, including days prior to Day 127 shown here, click HERE.

Gearhead Kurt

Kurt Zeigler

Posted in Triker's World | 2 Comments

TadpoleRider public Facebook page

Steve Newbauer, longtime TA reader, and publisher of the popular TadpoleRider website, has recently created a Facebook page of the same name, which is open for viewing and interaction by anyone who has a current Facebook account. Below is the graphic you will see if you visit the new page. If response to the page is positive, Triker Steve Newbauer will continue it, so if you have a Facebook account, get on over there and show some support for this new public group!

tadpolerider-fb-group

Posted in Triker's World

Q. What are the most dangerous times on a trike? The safest?

A. There are situations that clearly demand strict attention while triking, and there are others where our minds can wander and enjoy the scenery without concern. What generally constitutes danger? The major issue above all others is an inattentive motorist powering a two or three ton hunk of steel down the road at very fast speeds, or a driver emerging from a side street or parking space! The vast majority of drivers have no idea how deadly their actions can be, and for many, driving becomes so mundane day in and day out that they often engage in self-distracting activities while behind the wheel.

When triking through open country, where the road allows unobstructed views, motorists can readily observe the trike long before getting close to it, even if they’re talking on their cell phone or text messaging. In this situation, the driver has plenty of time to assess what is being seen, and nearly always provides a wide margin of room when overtaking. Being seen in advance is the key to remaining safe.

In the United States (driving on right side of road), one of the most vulnerable times for a trike pilot is when negotiating a blind right curve in tight mountains. This is a narrow sharp curve that bends to the right, where little to no shoulder exists, and unless a following motorist sees you enter the blind right, he could come speeding around it and there you are. Much of the time, drivers will see you ride into the curve, and know in advance to slow down. If you are already engaged with traffic, this is a plus, as they know you’re in there. If a blind right is imminent, and traffic is way back, you may be advised to wait until they all pass, or if the amount of traffic is heavy, just make sure the lead car sees you enter the curve. Most drivers cut curves on the inside, further making blind rights in mountains a notorious issue. Left-hand curves are different. You can usually be seen, and drivers who cut the inside are doing so away from you.

Other problem areas are on city streets, where parked cars obstruct everyone’s view. If you’re riding along a long line of parked cars, you may be well advised to “take your lane” as you are entitled to do in most jurisdictions, keeping away from opening doors and quickly emerging cars. If things are really bad, I have been known to use the sidewalk! I will vigorously defend my usage to any police officer who might confront me, and I would rather be alive to explain my actions of riding on a sidewalk than dead or injured just to follow the letter of the law!

One final thought here: Don’t argue with an errant motorist who thinks you have no right on “his” road – remain focused on the fun of the trike and all the other drivers who are always respectful. The problem lies with him, not you. Your pride is not worth endangering your well being. Let it go. Move on. Enjoy the ride! You will feel better for it.

sun city 59

These trike pilots are practicing safe driving skills (Greenspeed and HP Velotechnik). Notice how well the yellow colors appear from behind. Yellow is the most visible color. The lead Greenspeed trike has a bright yellow mesh seat, and on the HP Velotechnik, the rider has yellow Arkel panniers, a yellow safety triangle, and then tops it off with a yellow helmet.

Posted in Triker's World | 4 Comments

How do automobile drivers usually react to trike riders?

Q. How do motorists respond to people on tricycles most of the time?

A. The typical inexperienced thought on this topic is one that seems to be at odds with reality. While motorists may at times present a threat to trikers, they do so unintentionally, and are generally not a true threat. Always watch automobiles with the frame of mind that none of the drivers see you! Pretend like you are invisible, and you will go a long way towards keeping yourself and trike intact. If they see you, they will more than likely afford you extra courtesy. My experience, and that of other well-traveled trike pilots I know, demonstrates that over the course of thousands of miles ridden, only a very minuscule minority of motorists will ever knowingly disrespect the philosophy and law of sharing the road with cyclists. By far, most drivers will demonstrate a noble level of humanity and honor your presence.

Sooner or later though, you will probably encounter one of these drivers who believe the road is only for them, but it’s so infrequent as to be a non-issue when considering getting a trike or taking a ride. The worst things that have happened to me so far are: 1) a driver waiting until her front bumper was even with my head while passing, and then laying on the horn, even though the road was wide open and straight with no other traffic, 2) a motorhome passenger in a very tight and blind mountain curve screaming thoughtless words at me, even though the driver was courteous and allowed plenty of room. I’ve been passed by thousands of cars over many hundreds of miles, in all types of roadway and terrain, and only those two aggressive incidents have occurred.

Remain courteous yourself at all times, even in the face of these rude humans, for if you allow your temper to overcome your intellect by returning their discourtesy, it only sets the stage for the next cyclist that motorist sees, and (s)he will only get worse and more bitter over time. These few drivers are troubled people, so please do not reinforce their antisocial behavior with any of your own! This is easy to do once you realize that over 99% of all motorists will treat you with a very high level of respect and courtesy. Be the change you want to see in the world – it’s an honorable philosophy in all facets of life of course! The negative cycle has to be broken somewhere, be it a wrongdoer or rude driver, and I aim to be the source of change! Let us all be cycling ambassadors, sending a positive image when out in traffic.

Tampa Bay boy on trike

Being a recumbent tricycle ambassador starts young. Teach ’em well for tomorrow.

Posted in Triker's World | 2 Comments