May 17 happenings:
May 17 happenings:
Trikers Jen and Tony just got two Greenspeed Magnum trikes for their big tricycle adventure in the outback. Below are the capable Greenspeed trikes, followed by a note from Jen about the trek:
Hi Steve, just an update on ‘Triker Jen‘. I have managed to buy a secondhand Greenspeed Magnum with SRAM Dual Drive. Tony has bought. Magnum XL. These will now be what we will be doing our big outback trip with in July. We believe these will be able to manage the roads and loads we will be taking. No trailer. All will be on our trikes. Our biggest concern is carrying water for three days. We have been experimenting with different bags that we are buying from op shops to set up under our seat area. I have however bought a Sea to Summit 6-litre hydration pack that I hope will fit under my seat. It hasn’t arrived yet. Because I like my seat on the lowest position it doesn’t leave a lot of room. It is fun working all this out though. Tony’s headrest wasn’t comfortable so he made himself one that he said will also do as a pillow when we camp. Keep you posted. I have also set up a blog on WordPress that I will try to keep photos and stories on for our trip. Will pass on the link soon.
Editor’s note: Visit Triker Jen’s TA page HERE.
Here are some latest VLOG (video log) updates from Matt Galat. More of these video logs appear on the Trike Asylum JaYoe! 2017 page, and of course on Matt’s VLOG page of the JaYoe website. He is now placing the newest video logs at the top of the page for quick reference and viewing.
Over the years I have been operating this Trike Asylum website, I have been asked many good questions about riding recumbent tricycles. Back in January 2010 when I first created TA, the reason was to simply put some potentially helpful trike information out there in one easy to find place, as recumbent trike websites were highly scarce at the time. I never expected it to amount to much more than giving me something to do in my spare time. Well, after a while, more and more people began visiting here, and it became apparent to me that these cool three-wheeled vehicles were pretty darn popular all over the planet (except Antarctica, for some reason).
These days, having written hundreds of thousands of words about trikes, both on this website and in my cycling books, I’ve covered quite a few trike-oriented topics. I’ve written so much at this point, and it’s spread out over hundreds of electronic and paper pages, that not everyone has read, or even found, it all. So, I get questions about things I’ve detailed already along the way, but they haven’t had the chance to stumble upon it yet. One of the most frequent questions I am asked is about panniers, and how to carry cargo on a recumbent tricycle, especially without having to pull a trailer.
Wishing to avoid spending hours re-typing responses to people with pannier questions about things I’ve already covered, I decided it might be a reasonable idea to produce a movie presentation about this very topic, thereby creating a place where all the folks with pannier questions could simply go and watch a movie about my thoughts. My personal pannier system has evolved over time, and an article I wrote in 2011 might not accurately reflect my current thoughts. With this new movie, all the thoughts in my head as of 2017 are documented for anyone to experience, and since the setup I am now using is probably the way it’s going to stay for me, this should be the definitive answer from my brain. I don’t think I’ll be changing this pannier setup because it flat works, and very well I might add. So after watching this, you’ll know all that I know (which is rather limited) …
This can be expanded to full screen by clicking the four little arrows next to the “Vimeo” word.
PS: I will put this movie on other appropriate pages of Trike Asylum, so once this post becomes ancient history, the movie will still be viewable. Heck, once I’m dead, you’ll probably still be able to watch it because I don’t think Vimeo or YouTube cancel accounts just because the account holder checks out. That’s the great thing about the internet, even dead people can keep right on yakking away at the world. The permanent URL for this movie is: https://vimeo.com/216942101, and my Vimeo page is: https://vimeo.com/wildsteve. But I have more movies available over on my YouTube account, which is found here. Vimeo is a classier presentation platform, thus the reason I began using it a while back, but there are a bunch of followers on YouTube, so I keep it active.
By the way, for the latest on Matt Galat’s JaYoe! world tricycle tour, visit http://jayoe.com, or the JaYoe! pages here on Trike Asylum, which are found on the main menubar above.
There are a lot of roads the cross over the top of America’s spine, and who knows which one this is, but one thing is certain, Steven had to work mighty hard to reach this photo opportunity! Here he is on his ever-trustworthy and rugged ICE trike, a true high mountain recumbent warrior!
Oh, I just realized who would know where this is! Let’s see if Steven comments below to tell us.
I was out in the garage today, getting my pannier setup prepped for the upcoming expeditions into the mountains, and I was rather startled to discover that my rear wheel and tire did not seem to be vertical! Hmm, I had not noticed this before (must have been asleep at the wheel). On the standard ICE street trikes with 20-inch wheels, this may not be noticeable at all, but today on this Full Fat, with its mega-huge wheel and tire, it popped out at me, as if to shout, “Hey dummy, how have you been missing this?” With a tire this large (26×4.7), a few degrees of tilt off of vertical is much more obvious than with a tiny twenty-by-one point five.
So anyway, my own lame powers of observation aside these past months, I could not let this pass without a remedy of some sort. I retrieved my handy level from the bench drawer just to satisfy my mind that I was not imagining this tilted tire and wheel. Sure enough, those mischievous trike gods had been messing with my mount, up there laughing their heads off that this sorry triker dude wasn’t even aware of a problem. Better late than never! The bubble level tool did indeed confirm that I have been riding down the road with a tilted rear wheel/tire set all this time! How come nobody else ever mentioned it to me? Maybe because they were all ahead of me ;-)
On ICE trikes, the main cruciform part of the frame has the rear part of the frame, which holds the seat and rear wheel assembly, that slides into it. The two frame parts are secured by two bolts so they do not rotate. There is no slotted tube design that holds the two frame pieces in line with one another, so it is possible to assemble them originally slightly askew, which results in the rear wheel not tracking vertical with the front two wheels. If the two bolts were not tight enough, the rear wheel could eventually just rotate into a really bizarre tilted position. Mine was off just enough that I could see it (today finally), but not enough to have any negative effect on handling and riding. Over time however, my minuscule tilt would wear the tire more on the left side than right had I not fixed this weird little alignment issue today.
The two bolts were plenty tight, so it was not a matter of the rear frame portion slowly rotating over the months as I rode the trike. It was really bugging me seeing this tilted tire, and you know how it is: Once you know something is amiss, it just drives you crazy until you do something about it. So, I got out my hex-head tool, loosened the two bolts up quite a bit, and then applied some opposing sideways pressure to the tire (to the left up on top and to the right down on bottom) until I had reached that sweet vertical position. Then, I re-tightened the two large bolts to hold it all in perfect place for all time, or at least until the day I check out of this adventure called life, because this trike is my “keeper” human-powered Jeep vehicle (love the freedom to ride nearly anywhere compared to my former pavement-only days). All this work took only a few minutes.
It was raining outside, but a really pleasant and quite balmy sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are some photos to reveal that which my words only served to confuse:
Man, I’ve got a problem! And I only thought my brain was tilted.
Look at that bubble! Bubbles never lie. I can hear the trike gods laughing at me.
I even did both sides just to make sure it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me.
Now, THIS is what I like to see, but alas, this was the front wheel and tire. Bubble centered.
Notice the two large hex-head bolts that keep the mainframe cruciform tightly anchoring the rear portion of the ICE frame. Essentially all I did was loosen up these two bolts on the orange part of the frame, rotate the black part of the frame by applying pressure to the rear tire, and then tighten up the bolts once everything was perfectly vertically aligned according to the bubble. Ahh, now I am once again one happy trike hobo, ready for the upcoming trail riding season! Yee haa …
By the way, it has been raining here since late October, earlier than usual, and it still is doing it. I’ve heard two proclamations about this weather: 1) one reliable source said he heard it is the rainiest season in all of Oregon’s written history, and 2) the NPR newscaster said it was the second rainiest season to ever be recorded by humans. Either way, it has been keeping riding opportunities limited, or should I say “dry” riding opportunities limited. The rains have not been slamming-down brutal this year, but just consistent moderate showers, sogging-up the unpaved backcountry.
FINAL NOTE: If you own an ICE trike, go get out your bubble level and fix it. See ya’ …
This short movie is a couple of days late, as you know if you are following Matt and his JaYoe tour on the JaYoe 2017 page of this website, but here is some recent backstory from this past weekend:
Here is one of Matt’s VLOGs just prior to departure two days ago. For additional VLOG updates, visit the TA JaYoe page for 2017, or the JaYoe website. Below is one of his recent clips, where he discusses what he will be bringing along on his HP Velotechnik recumbent tricycle as he pedals around the entire planet:
As you read this, Matt is in Korea. More VLOG clips available here or here. Things are moving along quickly now folks! If you are a JaYoe fan, every day will bring new adventures, so be sure to check his VLOG page, where he will be putting up more of the progress clips than will appear on this Trike Asylum website. By the way, on his VLOG page, the newest clips are at the TOP!
The roots of all trike pilots have their start from seeds planted long ago and far away. Fortunately, my father judiciously used his 8 mm Bell & Howell camera on a regular basis as I was growing up, and the following movie short is just one of hundreds of movies he filmed over the years. in order to capture and digitize this required two processes: (1) years ago, after my father’s early death, my mom and I decided to take all the 8 mm films into a professional Burbank movie studio facility for conversion into video cassettes, the best option available then, and (2) recently, I set up my Nikon on a tripod in front of the television set, and captured this portion digitally. Until such time that I convert all the old video cassettes to DVD, this will have to do.
My long-time cycling pal, Matt Jensen, who helped me get started in recumbent trrikes, is really getting into his backcountry explorations in western Oregon. A couple of years ago, he acquired a Motobecane fatbike called the Lurch, which he added to his stable of street bikes. Matt used to have a Catrike 700 when I first met him in 2008. These days, he seems to be spending more time up on the mountain backroads and trails than cruising the paved streets and highways however.
Always seeking the ultimate non-paved experience, Matt now has loaded some tools on Lurch to open up even more pathways in the northwestern woods. He has secured all manner of trail tools to the fat tire bicycle to clear a few of the overgrown roads and trails. In this climate, wild things grow incredibly fast, and if an old two-track road isn’t used for a year or so, the vegetation can close in and make it seem there is no road at all.
So, Matt takes his shovel, branch clippers, and other assorted hardware necessary up on a few forays into the dense forests, then parks his fatbike when the trail closes in enough to prevent further travel, and sets about clearing the overgrowth so that he and his growing group of backcountry enthusiasts can ride unhindered in the wild outback. Here is his rig, with 26×4″ VEE 8 tires, ready to clear (note branch clippers in rear, shovel in front, non-cycling work shoes bungeed to the front rack, and pannier system loaded with food to power his activities):
It’s because of folks like Matt that the rest of us have more trails to explore! Thanks buddy!
Once upon a time, I learned a hard lesson about not depending on a trike manufacturer to get all aspects of design squared away prior to sending me a recumbent tricycle. My brand new extreme terrain, off-road, backcountry buggy visually demanded respect as one awesome looking machine for serious outback explorers. But it had a quiet, yet serious, flaw awaiting just the right terrain and environment before it would manifest itself to me.
Riding across the desert, my rear tire quickly went flat. I put in a new tube. The next day, all three tires went flat within an hour or so. I was kicking myself for deciding not to listen to my cycling buddy Matt Jensen when he had originally told me that riding this new trike across the desert with inner tubes in the tires was a BIG mistake. He was adamant about the declaration, and just shook his head when I informed him that I wanted to try it anyway, thinking that these new Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires would get the job done. They didn’t! After four flat tires in less than 24 hours, it was very clear to my primitive human thinking center that, once again, my buddy Matt was right all along. He warned it was crazy to attempt desert travel on anything less than tubeless tires, and he was absolutely correct. Even Tim, the local bike shop owner here in town, had concurred that tube tires had NO place once out beyond where the pavement ends. Below is the result of not listening to highly experienced cyclists ahead of time (live and learn):
I was dead in the water. I had only three spare tubes in my trail kit, but had four flats! Bummer!
All this was dutifully assigned to the trash can, having learned my lesson the hard way. The three tires and liners were so full of dozens of sharp nasty thorns that it wasn’t even worth my time to try and pick them all out. The tires were not tubeless compatible anyway, so they could not have been converted. The tubes were not repairable at all, a total loss. By the way, if for some reason you wish to read lots more of my sorry tale of wayward woe, click HERE for all the juicy details.
So anyway, all this lead-in is to prepare you for the real topic of this post, and that is a little duty that I must perform every 12 months or so, having long since converted over to tubeless tires. I no longer have flats, just like Matt and Tim said would be the case with tubeless … assuming a good tire sealant was injected inside, of course. I converted over to the “split-tube” method of tubeless, also known more commonly among the masses as ghetto tubeless. The name ghetto at first made me think it was somehow inferior to the other tubeless paradigm, but I have since learned that the split-tube method is preferred, at least for me. It works, and it works very well.
Matt Jensen is in the process of converting my inner tube tires into split-tube tubeless tires. it may at first appear as a daunting conversion, but it was so very well worth the time spent. Flatless!
This product is the magic bullet, but requires periodic replenishment. It’s a very easy job to do!
The Stan’s NoTubes company says that this liquid will have to be replenished every 2-7 months, depending upon one’s environment. Folks living and riding in an arid and hot region will need to perform the job more frequently than those living, as I do, in a very moist and cool region. I have been riding on the initial conversion sealant for 15 months without a flat, but that is probably not advised. I am going to aim for once per year, every 12 months, unless experience reprimands me.
Basically, I remove the Presta valve cores from the tires, which then go flat. I place the valves in the eight o’clock position, slide on the injector connector hose, suck up some sealant, place the syringe into the connector hose, and inject the watery white liquid. Here are some photographs:
Getting ready, I place thick cardboard on the floor in case any sealant drips while injecting it.
I have an old plastic measuring cup, with the 8 ounce level marked with arrows. For these super huge tires, Stan’s recommends between 6-8 ounces. Note my digital tire pressure gauge on the right, which provides precise measurement for these super low pressure fat tires (maximum air pressure is 20 PSI, although I was riding them at 6 PSI with no tire deformation noticeable).
The Park Tool VC-1 is necessary to remove the Presta valve cores, which then allows the liquid sealant to be injected. A little tip I learned: when removing the core, keep it in the VC-1 tool until it is completely free of the valve stem! On the first tire, I used my fingers to turn it out the final few threads, and even though the tires were at 6 PSI, that core shot across the garage like a bullet.
I am about to remove the Presta valve core using the Park Tool VC-1. Unlike plastic valve core remover tools, the Park Tool does not crack or break under pressure because it is metal.
The flexible plastic injection connecting tube is in the foreground. The black area at the end threads onto the Presta valve once the core is removed, allowing the liquid from the syringe injector to flow effortlessly into the tubeless tire.
I am removing the core, using the tool so the core doesn’t launch across the garage from the air pressure that escapes as it is pulled out! Notice the small O-ring under the tightening nut where the valve stem enters the rim – I am trying this to see if it prevents the nut from loosening up, as it was doing all the time when it was tightened against the metal rim (even when I used pliers to snug it up). I have heard that this method is effective for this little problem.
With the core out of the valve, the tire goes flat quickly, but the bead stays seated, which means that pumping these monstrous tires back up is a snap with a regular floor pump.
I pour 8 ounces of Stan’s NoTubes sealant into my old plastic measuring cup. It took 24 ounces to do all three tires because I used 8 ounces per tire. You can use less liquid if you prefer.
I place the connector hose onto the valve stem, ready to accept the injector once I fill it.
With the injector connector hose attached and ready, I now fill the injector syringe with 2 ounces of sealant. Since the syringe only holds two ounces, I must do this four times for each tire.
After attaching the injector to the connector hose, I begin injecting the tire sealant. The connector hose remains threaded on the valve stem until I am finished with this tire. I have paper towels handy to catch any stray sealant drips that occur when removing the syringe each time.
With the 8 ounces of sealant now inside, I reinstall the valve core, and then begin pumping up the tire, which remained seated on the bead during the entire time. The reason the valve is placed at the eight o’clock position is because if it had been at the bottom where the tire is flat, you can see that the sealant would have nowhere to go. A cup of liquid needs room to run down and pool once inside the tire, thus this position. If I had placed it at nine o’clock or higher, the liquid would not have gone inside. So, remember eight o’clock and you’re all set to go!
When the 15 PSI mark is reached, my job is finished with this tire. This is the electronic read-out on my aging, but still functional, Topeak Twister tire floor pump. A special high-volume air pump is not necessary as long as you do not break the bead seat.
All three tires are complete after about 30 minutes of leisurely effort on a warm spring day. Oh, after I finished each tire, I gave it a good spin to distribute the sealant inside. Then, once all three tires were complete, I took the trike for a ride around the neighborhood to assure the sealant was well distributed on all inner tire surfaces. That’s all there is to it, easy even for a beginner like me!
By the way, clean-up is a snap! Simply take the injector syringe, connector hose, and measuring cup out to the outdoor facet and rinse them clean. The sealant is as watery as water, so it is gone in nothing flat. Pull the syringe plunger out to wash the inside of the syringe. Once all cleaned, set the items in the sun to dry while you are out pedaling around the neighborhood distributing the sealant on the insides of the tires. For me, this simple job is well worth the small effort involved because flat tires are a thing of the past, even if you ride through hundreds of blackberry thorns, goatheads, nails, screws, thumb tacks, or whatever else is out there waiting to ruin your day!
Even Schwalbe Marathon PLUS tires will not reach this level of flat protection! They only have the extra protection in the tread area. Using the tubeless tire with Stan’s NoTubes sealant protects even against sidewall punctures, something the Marathon PLUS tire cannot accomplish. Awesome!
As you may know, Trike Asylum has been supporting the JaYoe! World Tour through postings on this website since 2014, when the grand journey around Planet Earth on a robust human powered recumbent tadpole tricycle first saw the light of day. Entrepreneur Matt Galat has never lost his vision of bringing you the world from a tricycle, and while he has experienced two major issues along the way that have set him back for a while each time, our intrepid nomad is now poised to set out once again, and you will be there with him, every step of the way! Notice the JaYoe! menu option above, which produces a drop-down menu, where you can review select presentations of his past riding, and where you can visit from time to time to catch up on the latest. Of course, if you wish to see absolutely everything Matt Galat is up to, simply visit his JaYoe! website, where he lays it all out as he goes, and subscribe to his efforts to remain fully updated live (you’ll get more than offered here on TA). Below is an early April 2017 presentation that fills you in as of today:
Matt’s latest thoughts about his tour as it may be affected by the current world tensions:
Visit http://jayoe.com for more from Matt Galat.
This is a quick follow-up report on the prior posting about the MSR tent stake hammer. Realizing that the rear of the hammer head could cause material wear and tear when in a bag and panniers due to squared-off ends, yesterday I filed the stainless steel pulling ends down into more benign curves. Now, the hammer is not likely to tear or rip something else in my panniers. I first used a medium-course hand file to achieve the overall shape, and then a finer file to smooth it. The images:
Compare the rear pulling end to the photos of it in the prior April 19th posting below.
This is my view from the sleeping bag inside tent, with 50 MPH winds still blowing outside!
I park the trike for the night, typically in some secluded unpaved area devoid of humans and other woes. I’m tired from pedaling all day long, and need some shut-eye, knowing that tomorrow will bring yet another day of adventuring on nothing more than a human-powered recumbent tricycle. Time to pitch the tent, and I look around my improvised camping area for a fist-sized rock, just in case the ground is too hard to drive in tent stakes with the sole of my SIDI Dominator-5 MTB cycling shoe. Rocks often work, but not always, leaving the tent and fly vulnerable to high winds and driving rain during the night. I don’t like midnight surprises of the unpleasant kind.
Rocks don’t always work. They are also hard on one’s hands, leaving me to wish for comfort in setting up my little fabric house and bed. An event in 2015 led me to an epiphany. I had set up my REI Arete’ ASL 2 tent, and a fellow camper let me use his tent stake hammer from his SUV. I then drove in the full compliment of stakes to secure my tent fly, into ground that I would not have been very successful with the stakes if I had used a rock. You know the kind – reminds you of concrete! As it turned out, that night around 2:00 AM, monsoonal rains and 75 mile per hour winds slammed our tents. One group of four had their tent collapse, and had to climb into their car for protection from the extreme weather. My tent held secure. I had no car into which I could escape, only a tiny tricycle that was also being battered by the unrelenting elements of nature.
If you want to learn more about the rough events that led to this post, click HERE.
The winds had died down to 45-50 MPH by morning. Proper staking kept this tent up!
Exposure to extreme wind and rain requires proper tent staking. Here is the crazy movie:
So anyway, that mess taught me that not every night while camping on a trike can be full of fun and merriment. I realized then and there that I needed a hammer, something that is comfortable to hold, fits nicely in my panniers, is very durable no matter how hard it is used, and does not add too much weight to my cargo load, but still has sufficient heft to drive a high-end aluminum tent stake into really solid and very unforgiving ground. The search began. It is now complete, and this post today reveals the results, which you may find useful for your trike adventuring. Yes, this new piece of equipment does add weight to my vehicle, but the trade-off is worth it to me: sleeping in comfort regardless of what the weather is doing outside is a wonderful thing! NO MORE HARD AND ROUGH OLD ROCKS! TIME TO DO THINGS RIGHT!
This hammer, available HERE, weighs 11 ounces as shown. It’s pretty, costs $29.95, but it needed some modification for my personal needs. The handle is slippery, and if really swinging away, it could all just fly out of my hand. I hated to hack it up, being it was so pretty and all, but utility won the day – handle had to go (part of it anyway). Below is the perfectly good new hammer with my implemented ideas:
To begin with, I had to have a comfortable handle that would not slip from my hand, and would not wear callouses on my lovely satin skin. Too far removed from my primitive ancestral past, I’m afraid my ancient survival skills and abilities are not what the cave men had. So, I walked down to the local bicycle shop (no trike shop here), and bought the pair of grips shown below:
So, here’s what evolved after hacking, filing, deburring, and all the grunt work (by the way, sliding that bicycle handle on was a real test of strength and endurance – no, I didn’t use soap or any lubrication in this endeavor – just slid the protective rubber onto the shaft with raw unrestrained hand power):
Now, this is VERY comfortable, won’t slip, is compact, and will drive stakes into any ground! The handle is lightweight aluminum, and the head is tough stainless steel – a great new tool. The hind end of this hammer is designed to pull stakes out of exceptionally hard ground if necessary:
Mountain Safety Research makes high quality outdoor equipment. But I made it even better! For me, this brand new little addition to my trike camping cargo is worth the prices paid, and if I ever do find myself in a nasty situation where I’m being attacked, this could be used as a defensive weapon as a last resort. Below is the size of the MSR tent stake hammer relative to my ICE Full Fat trike. Heavy trikes stay put in high winds!
Overland trike adventures are fun and exciting, yet they are indeed quite demanding. We spend a lot of time each 24-hour period on the ground in our tents. On my adventures so far, I have been compromising my enjoyment of the camping portion of my treks by getting the stakes in any way I could, often a chore I learned to hate. Now, by adding about 10 ounces of weight, I can set up the tent properly, and be fully prepared for any weather eventuality. No more wind and wet rain water worries equate to a deeper and more peaceful sleep! See ya’ …
HAD I NOT PROPERLY STAKED THIS TENT WITH A HAMMER, IT WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED UNTIL MORNING. THE GROUND WAS FAR TOO HARD TO DRIVE STAKES WITH ANYTHING OTHER THAN A HAMMER OR A LARGE HEAVY ROCK.
We humans love our stories. We tell them. We listen to them. These stories we have been telling since the dawn of humankind. Some are more profound than others, some more spiritual, some simply fun and enlightening. Some move us to new personal heights, some leave us laughing, some leave us empty, and others bring us along on vicarious adventures. Our stories are our stepping stones, the pathways that take us through the labyrinth we call the adventure of life. Some of you visit this website for technical information, while others read my thoughts to share in the next adventurous journey upon which I embark. We are social creatures. It is through our personal relationships that we find value in living here on this lava ball as it soars through the cosmos. Without stories and sharing, most of us would get mighty lonely.
So, I continue to share what little my primitive thought center knows. We think we are an advanced life-form, superior to all others on our cosmic home, with our large brain that is capable of doing such great things no other creatures can even conceive of, let alone do, but my take diverges from this common mindset. In my thoughts, I am an inferior life-form to all the others, for while they live in harmony with the natural world, never upsetting the balance of existence and the web of life, I destroy the natural world, using inventions that terminate all that are unfortunate enough to get in the way. My brain has only served, when viewed in light of the greater wheel of non-anthropocentric existence, to weaken that which makes it possible for me to exist in the first place. I do not see humankind as the central or most important element of existence on Earth. I see all as one. My stories are insignificant in reality, only serving to amuse my mind for the time it exists, and maybe even delighting others now and then.
I’m going to tell a little story of tricycle evolution as it has occurred in my ego-centered head. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but you are here reading it, so maybe you also enjoy tiny hills of beans. Perhaps they enrich you too, making all our journeys a little bit easier to bear. After all, we all are making our stand on this planet together, and we all face the same end-points, so if we find little ways of bringing a bit of fun into the mixture, we can smile more than we frown. We can have hope more than we feel despair. My stories are only important insofar as they might uplift another human mind. They will all soon be forgotten and lost. We are all temporal. As the old saying goes: eat, drink, and be merry (I’ll leave out the rest of it). So, let’s have a whopping good time bantering about meaningless stuff, as we laugh and bring some perceived, albeit delusional, purpose to ourselves. This story is trivial, but I’ll take a chance and just start relating what some of my long-time readers likely already know.
Long ago and far away, here and now, a wandering cosmic nomad was drawn to escape the bounds of his industrialized social order, sensing somehow that he was brought into existence too late for his naturalistic belief paradigms. Yet, he knew this was his lot, and had to make the best of a marginal situation. He wasn’t a big city man, having had his fill of it as a smaller physical version of his current self. Eventually, this nomad found methods to escape the artificial reality of his peers, using mechanical devices that heavily and indiscriminately dispensed life-destroying elements into the breathing supply, as his transport. This brought conflict into his thoughts, that he was using ruinous equipment to get him into the wild hinterlands. He loved nature, but was also doing his part to put an end to it just to see it. The wandering pilgrim found a solution, becoming the engine of his newfound tiny vehicle, and eating beans from the hill of beans as the fuel to propel his adventures. He never visited Chevron again.
When he gave up cars, he wanted a tricycle designed to keep him deep in his wilderness realms, off the beaten path, but living where there were hardly any tricycles, and certainly no dealers, he ended up getting a little-used ICE Qnt trike because no tricycle manufacturer made a model that could allow him access to all the places he used to go in his Jeep. In his car days, he had both Corvettes and Jeeps, enjoying what each had to offer, but always ended up preferring where the Jeep would take him. Corvettes were fast, but had little utilitarian use. They were only good for getting citations from the regional constables. Jeeps were escape vehicles. But in the world of human powered tricycles, the cosmic nomad got the equivalent of a street machine.
The wandering tricycle nomad rolls along pushing 375 pounds in 2009.
So he pedaled his ICE Q on his first overland journey, but worried that due to the slowness of the machine, he might perish prior to reaching the next remote store for resupplying food. So, this enthusiastic triangular vagabond decided to bring his own food. Lots of it. So much in fact that he had to pull a large trailer full of 50 pounds (22.7 kilos) of food. This human-powered human had enough to eat for about two weeks, so scared was he of starving out there. His vehicle length was about ten feet, and the rolling weight, which included him, topped out around 375 pounds. This is what he came to eventually term “slow and heavy” travel. The effort to move his gargantuan load down the road, up the mountains, and across the deserts used up more calories than he could replenish each day. The nomad had to find a better way.
Our trike gypsy was wiser in 2013, pushing about 85 pounds less weight (no full trailer).
The next trip, he did not bring a trailer, and learned to exist using ideological strategies employed by backpacking hikers. This worked, and by shedding about 85 pounds worth of cargo. the ride was considerably easier and more enjoyable. Yet he longed for an even better solution, realizing that if losing 85 pounds could make treks this much easier each day, then losing even more should result in even more fun, while preventing overuse injuries to his body, which was the engine behind it all. With this mindset, he sold the Q, and purchased a real speed machine, called a Catrike 700, the tricycle’s world equivalent of his old Corvettes. It wasn’t as robust as the Q, but man did it ever fly! He got little panniers, and further refined his cargo load to the absolute minimum any human could hope to have and still be functional. He came to call this model of touring “fast and light” because the ease of pedaling was so effortless that he could pedal many more miles with much less effort.
Fast and light reached its zenith at the total rolling weight of only 260 pounds.
With fast and light travel however, there came drawbacks. If you cut something back far enough, there will always be consequences that are not favorable. Even though his light vehicle and panniers could be lifted onto a picnic table by himself, and even though his total rolling weight had further dropped to a mere 260 pounds, which included himself, and even though he had no limits to where he could venture on pavement, he was still restricted to paved surfaces used by automobiles. He still had to share the road, and most of the territory through which he adventured was beyond the reach of a low, fast, and light street trike. It’s like wanting to explore up an old dirt road in the mountains through the rugged canyons, but only having a Corvette. With his fast and light machine, he had to remain on pavement, and if the pavement were not glass smooth, the ride comfort was anything but comfortable. The confused nomadic drifter had run the gamut from one extreme to the other, from slow and heavy to fast and light, and he still was missing his primal backcountry days of Jeep roaming. He yearned to be wild and free!
About this time, a deep reverberating rumble shook the recumbent trike world, both figuratively and literally, as monster tricycles with motorcycle-sized tires came into existence. After more than six years of pedaling along on highways, going deaf from the whining tires of millions of high-speed autos, our hero realized that his first love and vision of backcountry travel on a little vulnerable tricycle had come true. His dream machine was his for the taking, assuming of course that he could muster enough financial resources to acquire the mega-priced monster rig. He came up short, and was forced to sell his 700 if he wanted his off-road buggy. So, street trikes were a thing of his past, and he became the owner of what he called a fatrike, with giant over-sized tires that laughed at the terrain that would stop cold any other tricycle. Now, he could explore and ride where other trike pilots never could imagine going. Soft tires and suspension made his tricycle a dream to ride. Of course, this was the heaviest trike he had owned or ridden.
But … it had a different purpose, and that was to be a vehicle with go-anywhere capability, meaning that sharing the road was no longer necessary if he didn’t feel like it. This was his magic carpet ride into the wild and free hinterlands. The lessons he had learned in his evolution from slow and heavy to fast and light however would not be forgotten, so even with the latest set of three wheels, he would still be lighter than his slow and heavy days, but still heavier than his fast and light days. The trade-off was worth it to him though, because he was visible, highly visible in fact, compared to his low trikes of the past. Happy days were upon the realm at long last. Now, the tricycle nomad could go camping way up in the mountains where cars did not exist, pitch his tent in the peaceful forest with the wilderness animals, and play his meditative Native American flute as he drank in all that the natural world so generously provided his senses.
Not fast and light nor slow and heavy, but just right, except for ten ounces.
He had traded in his former tiny one-person tent for a roomier two-person tent, so he could put his panniers inside, thereby preventing raccoons from stealing his Clif Bars. During this transition to the fatrike, he also learned the valuable lesson about how to pitch his tent at night, rectifying a big mistake he had always been making on all his former journeys of pedaling and living on the ground after the sun had disappeared from his limited view at his planetary camp. Fortunately, the circumstances were such that he learned this lesson the easy way, as opposed to his first tricycle trip, where he learned the lesson in a very brutal and unforgiving way. By adding just ten ounces to his cargo load, this old trike pilot made his overnights a joyous time of confidence, never again fearing what mother nature might throw his way. He had been so consumed with achieving the ultimate fast and light traveling paradigm, which he did successfully do, that the thought of adding any amount of unnecessary weight was utterly forbidden. But now, he was wiser, having lived the school of hard knocks, and gladly included those ten tiny ounces.
These days, this seasoned trike hobo definitely recommends to all overland trikers that they carry these ten tiny ounces in their cargo. When the consequences of not having these ten tiny ounces are so potentially unpleasant, simply a matter of luck, which eventually runs out for everyone, why not be safe? This lesson will be shared in the next posting, so that all our triangular comrades will be comfortable in their tents each night, come hell or high water. The first is unlikely, but the second, along with the blow-down phenomenon, is just around the corner, waiting for us all. Ten ounces … just ten measly ounces. It’s a no-brainer. Get these ten ounces, pack them in your cargo bags, and never worry again. Trike journeys are challenging enough. Might want to sleep soundly at night to be ready for the next day. Who needs a big problem after dark? Ten ounces!
Do you have your ten ounce cargo addition? Check back next post to find out.
Can you identify these recumbent trikes?
They call the “leading edge” the “bleeding edge”, which means that folks who buy a new product that was just invented nearly always pay a higher price than if they had waited a couple of years. This is expected with many industries and many products, perhaps the most notable, and radical, example being in the world of computers, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, but are now affordable for practically everyone. Many people like to have the absolute latest and greatest, and companies need to cover their initial design and creation costs, thus the success of the higher pricing paradigm for new stuff. This is normal business as usual, and we all understand it.
Until recently however, I just assumed the recumbent tricycle industry is somehow immune to this later reduction in prices, my experience being primarily with ICE trikes, which I have kept under surveillance since 2009. Inspired Cycle Engineering has consistently raised prices over the years that I have been active with their vehicles, which everyone just accepts as the way business does business in the real world, maximizing company profits. Who can argue? They make great recumbent vehicles, renown for their dependability. I saved up for my ICE Full Fat, and it was worth every penny because it allows me to pedal a tricycle places where standard street trikes can never venture. This is my second ICE trike since 2009.
I had no problem with the cost, because I am using it as a replacement for petroleum powered exploration of the backcountry. It is very inexpensive when compared to the Jeep Rubicon, for example, which is the ICE Full Fat’s comparison in the automotive off-road world. Entry level price for Jeep Rubicon is $33,095, whereas the entry level price for ICE Full Fat
is was $5,456. Both rigs allow rugged and remote backcountry exploration, but you can save $27,639 by using a human based engine rather than a petroleum based engine. With the ICE Full Fat, there are no expensive bills from automotive repair shops. There is no expensive yearly insurance premium. There is no need for a driver’s license. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars each year at gasoline stations. There are no toxic waste products from a tailpipe that destroy our air supply. There is no need for a huge garage or storage area to park it. It only weighs 49 pounds, a whopping 4,083 pounds less than the Jeep Rubicon, so a fit human powered engine is quite capable of accessing the Rubicon’s territory (and if you do get stuck, the trike can be readily pulled by hand instead of a dangerous winch). So I was good with the pricing! I am a happy triker.
Today, I congratulate Inspired Cycle Engineering for taking a step in making the Full Fat more affordable for more people. For reasons unknown to me, ICE has reduced the entry-level base price of the Full Fat by $521.06. Perhaps I am unaware, but I do not recall this type of thing occurring before. The 2017 Full Fat is actually notably less expensive than the 2015 Full Fat. The price has fallen from the 2015 level of $5456.06 USD, and is now £3912.00 / $4935.00 / €3807.00 (entry-level base prices on the ICE website as of this writing). My hat is off to ICE for going against the rampant tide of traditional corporate greed and price inflation, in taking a stand to put the customer first over profits! While some trike manufacturers hold the line on price increases, which is clearly commendable in its own right, it is indeed refreshing and quite a surprise to see a company actually reducing prices! I like this trend, and hope others follow.
Learn more about the ICE Full Fat HERE.
The Full Fat pictured is not the entry-level model, but this is not observable to the untrained eye.
Fat tire trikes, also known as fatrikes, have evolved quickly as riders realize the extreme abilities of these giant Earth-crawling vehicles. Not only that, they are incredibly fun and exciting to ride, the pure joy of which a rider will never know unless a fatrike is actually ridden in its element – namely the outback. Oh, and if you like riding over curbs, they’ll do that too … with ease.
Anyway, as visionary trike manufacturers quickly entered the fatrike market, the machines were being produced with scant accessories and needed options, things like fenders (mudguards) and rear trunk racks. The market was (and is) hot, so trike companies focused primarily on making the vehicle itself. But, this resulted in riders in need of things, like fenders and rear racks.
Fatrike makers are still playing catch-up to rider demand and need, some catching up faster than their competitors. One manufacturer seems to be leading the pack at this point in time, namely the Trident Trike company, makers of the Terrain 20 and 26. They have introduced fenders and rear racks for both their models, which allow owners to now stay drier and cleaner when in rain and muddy conditions, while carrying some cargo in the rear trunk pannier. Kudos to Trident!
To visit the Trident Trikes fatrike page, click HERE.
In the photo above is the Trident Terrain fatrike with 20-inch wheels. Notice the nice fender kits covering all three tires, which will keep riders from having rain rooster-tailing all over them.
In the photo above, the new fenders grace the Trident Terrain 26-inch fatrike. The company has even produced a rear fender, along with a top-trunk rear rack system. The Trident recumbent trike company is leading the way with these much-needed, and very anticipated, fatrike accessories.
A video of this trike with the new 26-inch fat tire mudguards:
GOOD JOB TRIDENT TRIKES! CONTINUE INNOVATING! OTHERS WILL FOLLOW.
Fender Set (F & R) For Terrain 20: $119 + $17 shipping
Fender Set (F & R) For Terrain 26: $139 + $22 shipping
Rear Rack for Terrain 20: $59 + $15 shipping
Rear Rack for Terrain 26: $59 + $17 shipping
Learn more, or order your set, HERE. You can also order the whole trike there too!
From our friends at the GreenSpeed recumbent trike company is this new speed trike:
The Aero has been designed to satisfy the “Need for Speed”. The design builds on the best features of previous GreenSpeed trikes, including the SLR race trike which has dominated Australian Pedal Prix racing for the last ten years. Thus the Aero is a road version of the SLR, with more speed features to make it the fastest production trike in the world.
STREAMLINED AERO DYNAMICS:
At 20 mph, 80% of an ordinary bike rider’s energy goes into pushing the air aside. This is what makes it so much harder to ride into a headwind, than a tailwind. On the Aero you’ll LOVE headwinds! Because when you turn into a headwind on the Aero, you will leave the competition behind, if you haven’t already. Even the cross member on the Aero is streamlined. This is because a streamlined tube has 1/10th the drag of a round tube! The more the seat is reclined, the smaller your frontal area is to the wind and the faster you go. The seat of the Aero is reclined at a low 20 degrees. Wind tunnel testing shows a large gain in speed when using wheel covers. Most bikes and trikes cannot use front wheel covers due to instability in cross winds. The Aero overcomes this and further reduces drag by using 16” front wheels with a 20” rear wheel.
To further reduce air drag, the Aero uses the joy stick steering that was first used on the SLR. This is linear action steering, allowing the hands and arms to be closer to the body, moving fore and aft, instead of moving sideways, where your arms catch more wind. The cranks are above the seat, so that the feet are within the frontal area for the body, reducing air drag. Our wind tunnel testing has shown that the exposed calipers on disk brakes produce more drag that drum brakes, where the drum is contained within the wheel. So the Aero uses special 90 mm drum brakes which have been reduced in overall width to fit within the wheel slim wheel covers. Finally, there is a new headrest available if needed. It has a single support strut, in line with the neck, instead of the two struts on previous headrests.
While weight has less of an effect on performance than aerodynamics, every aspect of the Aero has been examined for weight reduction. This starts with the frame. The frame of the Aero is non-folding, plus the seat frame is an integral part of the main frame so the weight of hinges and other joints and fasteners are eliminated. Plus the frames are mutually re-enforcing, and thus the whole structure can be lighter and more aerodynamic. We have used 7005 aluminium alloy for the Aero. This has reduced the weight of the frame by over 3 pounds, or 30% over the Cro Mo 4130 prototypes. Although the axle size has been increased from the 12mm of the SLR to 15mm on the Aero to reduce axle flex, the weight of the kingpins has been reduced, as has the front hubs, by totally removing the outer flange. Even the weight of the special GreenSpeed Scorcher tires has been reduced for the Aero. Thus you will notice how quickly the Aero accelerates with the first stroke of the pedals.
There is a myth in the cycling world that the larger the wheel, the easier it will roll. This is a carryover from the horse and carriage days, when the larger wheels would sink less into soft ground and a larger steel tired cartwheel would roll easier over a certain size stone. This changed forever with the advent of sealed roads and the pneumatic tire.
There is also a myth that thinner tires roll faster. In laboratory testing at GreenSpeed, on many different types and sizes of tires, it was discovered that not only did smaller diameter tires roll easier that large ones of the same construction and pressure, but wider tires rolled easier than narrow ones. Plus certain types of tire construction rolled easier than others. This led to the design and manufacture of the GreenSpeed Scorcher tires, which have been the number one choice of the top Australian racing teams for the last 10 years.
For the Aero we have taken another look at the design of the Scorchers and managed to further improve the rolling resistance by an extra 15%! When you stop pedalling the Aero and coast, you will be surprised at how easily it rolls.
On a Penny Farthing bicycle, the larger the front driving wheel, the faster it went. This was because there was no gearing and it was direct drive. The ground covered with each wheel revolution was dependent on the size of the wheel, which was dependent on the length of the rider’s legs. Then the Safety came along with the smaller wheels and gearing, so everything changed. However the myth that larger wheels are faster persists to this day.
This myth is perpetuated by the use of gearing designed for bikes with 26” and 700c wheels which is fitted to many trikes with 20” wheels. This results in gearing which is far too low for speed. Thus instead of the standard 50/39/30 cranksets and 11/32 cassettes fitted to many trikes, the Aero has a 56/42/28 crankset and a 9/28 ten speed cassette. This gives a top gear of 20 x 56/9 = 124 inches, V 20 x 50/11 = 91 inches for a standard 20” wheeled trike, or 26 x 50/11 = 118 inches for a standard trike with 26” rear wheel. The Schlumpf Mountain Drive is a popular alternative to the triple, and with the standard 60t ring and the 9/28 cassette, will give a range from 17 to 133 inches. Thus on the Aero you can be sure you will be faster than a trike with a 26” or 700c rear wheel. Plus the Aero will handle better due to less rear end flex.
USES AND ACCESSORIES:
Since the Aero is built for speed, with no compromises, it is intended for use on sealed roads or good, hard packed trails. Accessories include wheel covers, headrest, rear fender and luggage rack. Riders who have previously ridden only recumbent bikes, due to their superior speed, but wished for a more stable machine that they could relax on over long distances, without losing speed, may find their dreams come true with the Aero.
30 DAY TEST RIDE:
We build our trikes with love and are confident that you will love your trike. However, a trike is quite different to a regular bike, and while most people feel immediately at home riding our trikes, some can take a little longer to get the best from them. Thus we offer you a 30 day Test Ride if you live too far from a dealer to take test ride at a dealer’s store. So if you are not 100% happy with your GreenSpeed trike, simply ship the trike back to us within 30 days of the shipping date and we will refund you the full retail price of the trike, less any allowance for wear and, or damage.
Frame: Aluminium Alloy 7005
Width: 30”- 76 cm
Length: 80”- 202 cm
Height: 20” – 51cm
Seat Height: 6.5” – 16 cm
Seat Angle: 20 degrees
Crank Height: 12.5 to 14.7” – 32 to 37 cm
X-seam range: 39 to 47” – 99 to 119 cm
Ground Clearance: 2.6” – 7 cm
Turning Circle: 14 feet – 4.3 m
Track: 28.3”- 72 cm
Wheelbase: 41.3” – 105 cm
Front Wheels: 16” Alloy rims with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Rear Wheels: 20” Alloy rim with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Tires: GreenSpeed Slicks, 16” x 1 ½” & 20” x 1.5” – 40-349 & 40-406, 40 to 100 psi.
Gears: 30 speeds
Cranks: Shun SS-ZO-300 56/42/28 x 165 mm
Cassette: 10 speed 9/28
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105
Chain: YBN S10
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed Bar End
Gear Range: 18 to 124” – 689%
Brakes: GS – Sturmey Archer 90 mm drums
Standard Equipment: Carbon fibre wheel covers
Optional Extras: Head rest, luggage rack, rear mudguard
Rider weight Limit: 250 lbs – 120 kg
Luggage Weight Limit: 66 lbs – 30 kg
Trike Weight: 31 lbs – 14kg
Boxed Size: 58 x 25 x 16” – 148 x 63 x 40 cm
Visit the GreenSpeed Aero website page HERE.