Missive #4 from Trike Traveler Steven Telck …

Missive 4

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Present GPS location: 15.88798,108.32855 (Click number to view satellite image)

I was finally able to find someone who had enough working knowledge of how  to set up a mobile phone data network so now I finally have mobile data in Vietnam. One might ask why not just drop in to a coffee shop and use their wireless connection? The simple answer is one often needs navigation info when they are no where near a coffee shop. Most phone shops here can only insert a sim card and if it doesn’t work immediately they are at a loss for what to do next. Well as I said I now have mobile data, 20 GB for 30 days at only $11. Refill costs are even lower. The person who figured out what the problem was happened to be a women. All the young men working in the in the cell phone shop were coming to this lady  and requesting information about how to configure phones. It was clear that she was both the sharpest knife in the kitchen and the boss also. Technically very savvy. The problem was with APN or Access Point Name settings.

Every day of this tour tells us the difficulties of communication. Here is the latest in a series of miscommunications. We go into a noodle shop. We look up and show the Vietnamese word for vegetarian abs show it to the waitress. We then point to the two riders who are vegetarians. The shop girl shakes her head for yes. We look up the VN word for meat. We point to a bowl of noodles with pork and say “no meat”. The girl says OK yet all the noodles show up with pork. Still trying to figure out how this went bad. This language barrier is rather frustrating. Doesn’t do any good to get angry as this is their country and I feel it is my responsibility to figure out a solution, not them. Independent touring has its rewards and frustrations when dealing with everyday problems. If one is not willing to deal with these issues then it is best to stick with touring in countries that speak your language.

It seems many young people do not read their own language well. When shown a VN word in a dictionary they seem very puzzled to what it means. We have tried many different dictionaries just to make sure it is not a bad translation problem. On the other hand if we use a talking dictionary they get it immediately.

We did not climb the famous Hai Van pass as we desired. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill the fog was so bad we could not see 1/4 of a km.  We didn’t see the value of spending 3 to 4 hours struggling up the pass in the fog dodging the fuel trucks only to reach the summit and not be able to see 200 m. Fuel trucks do not use the 11.2 km tunnel under the mountain as the tunnel is only two lanes and if one had a bad day it might mean the tunnel could be shut down for a long period of time, not to mention the possible  loss of life. Our bikes and trikes were loaded up on flat bed truck, tied down and we boarded a bus. 11.2 km later we were on the other side of the mountain.

Early in the morning we were pedaling around a penisula and coming into a small village. A young girl on a brand new Honda scooter, a really nice one, saw some speed bumps just as she passed me. She hit the front brake and should have been able to travel on with out problems. Unfortunately for her it had been raining and there was mud on the bumps and  down she went in front of me very quickly on her right side. Minor damage to the new scooter and some missing skin. If she had just let the scooter ride over the bumps instead of braking she would have been OK.

Tonight we were having our usual game of let’s see if we can get what we order for dinner game. The waitress had zero English ability, but was trying really hard to understand our zero Vietnamese ability. A young man came over and asked what did we want to order in English. We put in our order with his help. We asked if he would eat with us and he accepted. The order arrived and we had a good conversation in English as we ate the meal. I asked where he had learned English to which he replied “YouTube” and other sources. Claimed he had never gone to any class for English and was entirely self taught. He had a very good vocabulary and his syntax and grammar was very good. We jokingly asked if he might like to bike with us to the Cambodian border to which he replied “I would love to, but my boss will have a different opinion”. He said he taught himself English so he could find and get better jobs. It is amazing what one can do if they truly want something.

Being a stray and trusting dog is not a good trait in VN. The dogs on the back of the motorcycle are being pedaled  down the road as a loud speaker blares to the public they are for sale. A few hours later we saw this man coming back towards us with only one dog in the pen. I understand dog is rather expensive in VN. The people also keep dogs as pets. I am guessing if a dog becomes too big of a public problem they end up in a pen on the back of a motorcycle for one last ride.  Before too many people reading this email get upset, one should remember they eat horses in Europe. Cats are also eaten in VN. I have seen very few cats in VN. I don’t think they are as popular as dogs for pets.

Things we have seen, Chinese graveyards fancy old and ancient. Overloaded bicycles, water buffalo still quite a lot of them in the countryside unlike Thailand where the Kubota diesel engine has replaced the water buffalo.

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Triker Telck continues his overland tricycle adventure …

A missive is a particularly lengthy communication to inform someone of some new news. Triker Steven Telck is sending missives to interested followers, discussing his current long distance tricycle journey, which includes some folks pedaling two-wheeled conveyances along with him. When a new missive is sent from his distant outposts along the journey, I am one of the ones who receives a copy, and then I share them here on Trike Asylum with you. If you wish to get on Steven’s missive list, and receive them directly in your email box, just email him of your desire, and he’ll place you on the list (bpetnoi1@gmail.com). And to view all of his photographs of this exotic Asian adventure, just click HERE, and save the link for future photo updates. Okay, now onto Mr. Telck’s third missive of the trip, from his own keyboard to your eyes:

Missive 3

We were getting ready to leave Lao Bao, Vietnam when Richard and I were approached by this women wanting to exchange money on the street.    Every guide book in the world says never exchange money on the street.   Here in Vietnam the main reason is short change artist. They will attempt to find out how much money you want to exchange in say Thai Baht or Lao Kip.  Quick as a flash they are handing over some VND or Vietnamese DONG and yes that is what it is called and saying “OK? “.  Well you can bet Aunt Salley’s pension it is not OK.  On this deal it was going to cost me $4.40 more than the worst bank rate I had seen.

It is easy to get short changed here in Vietnam as two of the bigger bills are in denominations 10,000, 100,000. Doesn’t take a lot imagination on how that little scam works. When things are moving fast one zero is hard to track.  When buying things we are at a disadvantage as no one in the group knows VN numbers.  Every vender will simply pull out the amount of money they want from their purse and show you what it costs. Power of money between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. 1 Thai baht is about 3.2 cents, 1 Lao KIP IS about .00012 cents and  1 DONG is about .000044 cents.  There are large differences in the three currencies. It is a bit silly to keep notes with such large denominations as say 10,000 VND can buy just about nothing.

The first two hours of riding today were hard. 5 and 6 percent grades, fully loaged with heat for many long kilometers in the heat is a sweaty business. Yes it is winter here just like in the states. Unlike Wyoming and many other parts of the US it is also 75-85 degrees , with a relative humidity high enough for fish to swim by your bicycle. It is sort of like riding steep roads out of hells’ sauna!

Our first meal in VN was an eye opener to say the least. We walked into the restaurant to find literally hundreds of  paper knapkins waded up an thrown on the floor, along with pieces of bone and other meal debris. To say the least it did put us off.  We had some colds drinks and thought about the old saw “When in Rome”. Our seems a common practice to just throw anything on the floor when you are done with it in some, but not all restaurants.  Still have not figured this out as to why people do this in some places and not others.

We are in Hue, Vietnam. It has been raining on and off for a day and a half. At the moment it is not raining, but things are still damp. Damp in Vietnam is relative. For those folks young enough not to remember the Vietnam era Hue is the location you can find below. I have enclosed GPS coordinates. I don’t know if they will work just by clicking on the coordinates  when you receive the email. It is possible you have to select them, do I right click and copy, then open either Google Maps or Google Earth and paste it in at the top and hit the search button. It should then take you to the city of Hue and show you where we are on the map.

16.45732,107.58124 … or click this link: (https://www.google.com/maps/place/16%C2%B027’26.4%22N+107%C2%B034’52.5%22E/@16.4573973,107.5809232,708m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d16.45732!4d107.58124)

While riding yesterday I was going up a hill very slowly and I saw a young girl on a bicycle on the opposite side of the street. She looked at me and pushed her bicycle across the street and stood waiting on the side of the street as I approached her. She was smiling and then she said very softly “I am so very happy to meet you sir” and smiled at me and then I passed her as she was waving at me. This young girl said this phrase with a soft sweet voice and I imagine it was the only English she knew, but she wanted to practice it. It was one of those unique sweet moments that happen in life from time to time.

I now better understand the folks that have survived hurricanes in Mississippi and Louisiana. The last hotel or guest house we stayed in was moldy to say the least. All night long you could smell the mold that was in the bathroom.

The Perfume River (Sông Hương or Hương Giang; 香江) is a river that crosses the city of Huế, in the central Vietnamese province of Thừa Thiên–Huế Province. In the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Huế fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma, hence the soubriquet.  One has to take this on faith as the river today looks to be so dirty it is hard to imagine it ever smells like perfume. Keep in mind I said dirty not necessarily polluted with sewage or anything. There must be times of year when the water clears up after the raining stops and dirt stops washing off of the hills and mountains from coming into the river when it cleans up a bit. It must be then then it has some perfume like qualities.

Bread or more specifically French bread in Vietnam is just grand. The only problem is trying to find it. When you use a dictionary and you show someone the word “bakery” they translated as bread. To me and Europeans bakery means some place to buy bread, but also pastries and cakes. It has been a great frustration trying to find a bakery in Hue as everyone just send us to a noodle shop where they always have some bread because they make the bun sandwiches which are very common in Vietnam. The the bread is very good but noodle shops do not carry any croissants, cake or other pastries.

Coffee shops in Hue are thicker than fleas on a dog it seems. Every other shop on any street you walk down seems to be a coffee shop. They are very popular with the younger set and it seems like people spend money and hours a day sitting around drinking coffee and enjoying being together. Unfortunately again one cannot get any bread cake pastry or just anything to eat in these coffee shops. If you want coffee, fruit juice or some other type of drink you can get it all day long, but try to get something to eat with it is not possible.

Well looking into a guest house yesterday a man and young lady came down from upstairs together. The lady was wearing a skirt so short the definition for skirt had to be stretched or to be more specific reduced to make it legitimate. She was wearing one of the usual face masks that many people here use when riding about town to keep  pollution and dust out of their lungs. There was no way she was going to ride her scooter home or wherever she was going in that skirt so she wrapped a sarong around herself and motored off. A few moments later and man and a woman similarly dressed road up to the guest house had a short conversation with the lady who is talking to us and went upstairs. It would appear these guest houses are indeed used for many activities or as Richard would say “knocking shops”.

We are very glad that it is technically the dry season otherwise we might drown riding down the road.

Sent from my LG Mobile – end of Missive 3 ——————–

Editor’s Note: I am not seeing very many trike photos in Steven’s collection, so here is an older photograph of his ICE trike from a previous Asian tour he took several years ago:

… and an image of Triker Telck on a United States Telckian trek:

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Triker Steven Telck – on another epic overland journey!

Recumbent trike devotee and long-time Trike Asylum reader and contributor Steven Telck is back at doing what he does so well … overland trike touring! This fellow is a world adventurer who is not afraid to get out there in new lands on his ICE trike, exploring exciting regions, and meeting new friends along the way. If you wish to read up a little about Steven prior to reading this post and commencing following his latest adventure, click HERE to visit his Trike Asylum page, which will give you lots of insight about what this guy does for fun.

In addition to triking the world now and then, he also climbs the world when he has a mind to. How’s this for HIGH adventure and living on the thin vertical edge? …

In other words, this fellow knows few bounds, and is ready for the next challenge! So, now he has challenged himself to join forces with some other cyclists and do some more pedaling of his planet, which will be periodically delivered to Trike Asylum readers right here in the way of posts.

To begin this latest Telckian adventure, I will simply post information (text/photos) that Steven sends to folks on his “followers” list, in other words, to people who are really interested in knowing where he is, when he is there, and what he is doing in the process. If you would enjoy receiving these updates directly to your own email, in the event that I am remiss in timely representation on this website (which sometimes happens because I’m out pedaling myself), you may send him off an email (bpetnoi1@gmail.com), and he will gladly add your email to the growing list of followers. So, here is Steven’s latest, right from his mouth and camera, with no more comment from the Trike Hobo guy:

* * * * * * *

Missive 1

(December 3, 2017)


This is the first of many emails I will be sending of my trike tour through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and then back to Bangkok in Thailand. If there is anyone in this group email who does not wish to receive an email and a picture or two from me every few days please let me know and I will remove your email address from the group mail. If there are some people who might like to be added to the group please let me know and I will do it.

I have been in Thailand now for 10 days at a small bicycle hostel waiting for my friend Roger to arrive.

We have traveled up from Bangkok on a bus with my trike and his bike to Mukdahan a small town  on the  Mekong River in east Thailand. We are staying at a small cottage called the Bo Tree Cottage which is right on the edge of the Mekong river. If one was a sleepwalker it is possible to walk 100 feet and be drowned in the Mekong River.

The Bo or Bodhi tree is a religious figure in Buddhism.  The tree should never be cut down because of its religious significance. In fact in this small town there is a tree right in the middle of where a road was built and they moved the road around the tree rather than cut it down making one lane so narrow only bicycles and motorcycles could use it.

Tomorrow morning we push off on our tour. We need to ride about 6 miles north along the Mekong River and then cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos. Just after crossing the bridge we all need to stop and obtain visas for Laos. If everything goes right we will only be in Laos for 4 days yet we have planed 6 days to cover unexpected delays.

Navigation while in Laos should be dirt simple. We will be on Highway 9 East through the entire country and into Vietnam. Our plan for our first stop is 50 miles from the border or 80 km. Lucky for three people on the tour we will be riding in countries where they drive on the right hand side of the road. Only one rider will be on the wrong side for three countries and that’s the man from England.

We are now in Laos.  For what ever reason we were not allowed to ride across the Friendship Bridge into Laos even though there was a raised walking platform which would have kept us out of the truck traffic. Laos visa at the border was fairly painless and I got off cheapest as compared to my fellow travellers.

We can not find any accomodations at the two towns in which we planned to stop!  Therefore we might be camping the second and third day of the trip which was not expected. If we can’t find a guest house then it will be a temple most likely..

Gave an aggressive dog a possible heart attack as he would not stop charging me so I gave him two seconds of 140 decibels from the air horn.

(Editor’s Note: Steven is the tall guy on the left, with a recumbent tricycle.)

Missive 2

(December 4, 2017)

It is the end of day to we have traveled 96 km so far. 96 km is only 60 miles but we had a bad first day. Getting across the border into Laos took more time than expected and one of the riders was not feeling well.

All the Lao people we have met so far I’ve been very friendly. I imagine Thailand might be like present day Laos 50 years ago before the Thai economy started to grow.

Not sure who is attracting more attention, me on the trike or Richard on his Brompton. The children seem attracted to the trike, where adults to the ability to fold up the Brompton and damn near put it in your pocket.

I was told that the food in Laos would be disappointing and that is an understatement. Compared to Thailand the food is down right primative in style and taste. In most all towns restaurants are closed until evenings making getting even a bowl of noodle soup impossible during the day.

We were traveling along today when suddenly without notice the paved road turned into hard scrable and dust for nearly 8 km.  There was no sign of any construction being done on any part of the road nor did it look to having been worked on for many years. The dust was terrible and I was beginning to believe the road might be unpaved for the next 200 km to the Vietnam border. During this stretch every time I bit  down on my teeth to prevent having them rattled out of my jaw I could feel the grit between my teeth. Just as suddenly the pavement was back. When ever a new layer of pavement is put down the old one is not removed, the new one  just goes over the old.  This makes for some really steep and quick drops on the edge of many roads. One section of road had an edge which must have been 10 inches high.  I am sure if I had dropped my right wheel off of the edge I would have flipped the trike. If a standard car dropped a wheel off this location it would be high centered on the frame. It is a shame I didn’t get a picture.  We meet a Vietnames women and her daughter who were running a small comvience store in Laos.  Her husband is Latioan and they choose to run their store in Laos as they claim it is easier than doing so in Vietnam.  Must have something to do with communism and the government. I included a pic of her daughter.

So we are peddaling down the road when out of the blue a rather large Vietnamese pot belly pig runs out of the trees and straight up the bank towards Richard.  I was sure he was going run into Richard, but at the last second just before colliding he peeled of back into the ditch and then into the trees.

Tonight we are staying at the most expensive room so far at $18 for double beds with a great AC and large clean room.  The down side is the WiFi is terrible so I have given up even trying to use it. Funny thing is the cheapest room we have stayed in had blazing fast WiFi.

Saw someone in a Stetson hat and begun to wonder how they are made.  Looked it up:

Have nearly worn out my right arm waving at children. They all run out to wave and yell “Sabidee” which is hello.  Some yell ” hello good bye” as they wave at us until we are out of sight. Latioan dogs seem to be as laid back as the people. So far nothing more than half hearted barking.

There are water buffaloes every where as there were once in Thailand. Thailand has mechanized with small tractors whereas the Laoitions are still using a lot of buffalo to work their fields. There is an abundance of one cylinder Japanes and Chinese diesel engines being used for small farm trucks and transport. You can hear one coming half a mile away. They have a distinct chunk a chunk sound. As they are single cylinder engines they have huge flywheel a to smooth out there power, yet they vibrate enough to shake off parts now and then. I have heard of them being run on all grades of oils.

Goats are we to found every where in Laos. I have not seen as many goats since Saudi Arabia. I have never seen a pot belly pig in Thailand but they are everywhere in Laos running wild across the roads up and down the ditches and through people’s yards.

The difference between Vietnam and Laos at the border is like night and day. In Laos it is very difficult to find any restaurant open after 7 p.m. or even find a decent dish of fried rice. When one rides across the border into Vietnam it is like riding another planet. And Laos many of the people look like they would not have $2 to put in their pocket yet they seem extremely happy. I don’t have that sense about Vietnam, it is like everyone is on the make. The minute we arrived in Vietnam we were hit by beggars yet I never saw one in Laos.

With this email I have I have included a link to my Google Drive folder called Asian tour. Everyone who receives this email should have access to that folder from time to time I will move files out of that folder into another folder and just include new files in the old folder so you’re not always looking at the same pictures or videos. Please let me know if the link does not work for you I have tested it here in Vietnam at the border and it seems to be working when I send it to my friend in the same room. This Google drive folder is mashup of short videos and pictures. There are pictures of Thai and Laotian people both in the country and within cities. There are short videos of children running out to the edge of the street to wave at us and shout sabidee, sabidee or say hello goodbye hello goodbye. At first Hellogoodbye seem silly but considering how fast we are traveling past the children most of the time it makes perfectly since the minute they see us they say hello then goodbye and we are gone.

Google Drive link with current photos can be viewed HERE.

My right arm hurts at the shoulder from lifting it constantly all day long waving at the children and yelling back hello and goodbye but it’s hard to resist because they are so enthusiastic. There are pictures of houses up on stilts some of them it appears to be 15 to 20 feet high. I don’t think they are expecting that much water at any given time but many of the country people like to have room under their houses to park their cars and farm equipment to keep them out of the rain. One constantly sees houses in various stages of being complete I was told most people here do not borrow money to build a house. When they have some money they put down a foundation, when they have some more they put up the pillars, when they have a little more they put a floor up and then a roof, and when they have enough they put in the walls and begin to finish it, yet out in the countryside right next to a house that looks like it may have been built 200 years ago and is falling apart will be a brand new modern concrete house with air conditioning and one wonders who is putting up these houses out in the middle of nowhere and for what purpose.

The hotel in which we are staying here at the Vietnamese border is very nice the rooms have about 12 ft ceilings and our double room is large enough to play badminton in with a little room left over. The AC works great and best yet the Wi-Fi is blazingly fast which is why I could load all the videos and pictures up to Google Drive. The hotel could be a small Palace considering the size and the way it’s appointed and when we first checked in I figured it was going to be expensive, but we were tired and it was getting late 18th out delay at the border. When we got the price in Vietnamese Dong it was 600000. When I ran it through the currency converter I found out that that was $26 for two nights.

Please forgive any errors or faults you find with my emails. I am using Google voice to text for writing these emails on my cell phone and it sometimes does the sillest things when choosing what to convert to text and I sometimes do not catch them in my proof reading. Hope everyone enjoys my mental ramblings. As always if you wish to opt out please let me know.

Kickin’ Back playing my Native American flute at the front of the hotel early in the morning before a really noisy wedding party cranked up into high gear …

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Losing one of our own – Gary W. Bunting, trike pilot

Gary Bunting riding the CCTE in 2011

I have just learned that fellow overland triker Gary W. Bunting has passed away. For those of you who have been reading Trike Asylum since 2010, you may recall Gary as an avid recumbent triker who participated in the 2011 Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition (CCTE) and also on a ride along the northern Oregon coast in 2014. Gary was a retired aerospace engineer, who was born, raised, and spent his life in southern California. In addition to spending considerable time in the cockpit of his two trikes, a Catrike Road and a Catrike 700, Gary loved his time spent as a pilot in the sky, in his 1989 Cuby Sport Trainer fixed wing single engine airplane, which he kept at a local airstrip near his home in Alta Loma, California. It was an experimental aircraft that Gary built up himself. Gary’s nickname was Cubmeister.

Gary was proud of his personal airplane, and loved flying whenever he could.

When asked why he took up recumbent tricycle riding, Gary told me: “Upright riding causes too much pain in my hands, wrists, forearms and neck – headaches often ensue. The seat on an upright now causes me too much discomfort in the ‘nether regions’. I can ride the trike for much longer distances without feeling the need to rest, even in an ‘out-of-shape’ physical condition – much more comfortable overall. Plus…there is a feeling of being seated in a Formula 1 race car – I LIKE IT!!!”

Gary pedals his Catrike Road and trailer through Crater Lake National Park in 2011.

GARY’S CYCLING INTERESTS AND TIMELINE: “As with most, I had a trike when really small, graduated to two-wheelers and then to a contraption called a ‘Doodlebug’ that my parents had bought for my brother and me (I was never able to get the feeling of speeding along the ground, so close to it and so fast above it, out of my blood). It was a dark orange, 4-wheel (double cone centers with hard rubber tires), a center, square tube that the front (foot steerable) and rear (solid -bolted to the frame) axles were attached to. To propel the thing, you had a handle that sat in front of the one-person seat, that you pushed and pulled which in turn, operated an eccentric drive mechanism connected to and turning both rear wheels. You could really get moving with this thing, well over child running speeds. This contraption is the root of human locomotion appeal that eventually led me in my adulthood, to the trike, with many uprights and diamond frames in between. I began serious bicycle touring with upper quality machines, in the middle 70’s, when I learned what it meant to ride 75-100 miles loaded (the bike-not me) per day, camping most of the way. Now, after having raised my son as a single parent, I am too old for the ‘Up-Wrongs’ and the aches and pains that riding them all day, bring. So…Now I’m into trikes for comfortable, not-too-fast, long-distance touring (without the pain) and am trying to get back into shape that will allow at least 50-mile days loaded, pulling a trailer.”

David Massey and Gary Bunting setting out on a southern California day ride

GARY’S PAST LIFESTYLES: “Family Machine Shop Brat (learned a lot from my Dad in those days – peaked my interests in materials, mechanics and engineering, not to mention in aircraft that we made a lot of parts for); Chaffee College – Associate of Science/Associate of Arts; BYU Alumni – Undergraduate – Science/Business; SIU Alumni – Undergraduate – Industrial Technology; USAF C-130 Aircraft Maintenance/Flying Crew Chief/Troop Transport Aircraft Maintenance Technician – Vietnam Era Veteran. Past engineering employee of Xerox, General Dynamics, Lockheed Aircraft Corp., McDonnell Douglas (Senior Engineering Scientist on the Space Station Freedom Program – very privileged work), AAI-ACL Technologies, Smiths Aerospace and various other companies that I contracted with as a Senior Engineering Technical Writer for the last 10-years of my work history. I was a professional jazz and popular music musician for a good many years of my youth, up through my college days – that was fun and lucrative for a time. I am now a private pilot and aircraft-owner, although I don’t fly much now with the cost of fuel and my changed lifestyle in retirement and income level. I will keep the plane for a bit and perhaps will become more active in flying when fuel costs settle down.”

Gary maintains his trike at a nightly camp on a remote overland trike journey.

To learn more about Gary Bunting and his trikes, including a few tales of his overland triking adventures out on the open road, please visit these links:

Gary’s Catrike Road, and time on the CCTE, click here.

Gary’s Catrike 700, and time on the northern Oregon coast, click here.

The story of the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, click here.

Photographs of the northern Oregon coast ride, click here.

Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition (CCTE) 2011

Regarding Gary’s passing, my knowledge is minimal. The person who informed me of this did not know the cause of death, nor the date, but thought it was sometime several months ago, probably 2017, but said it may have been earlier. I believe he was 73 years of age. If anyone reading this post has additional knowledge, and would like to share it within our triking ranks, please feel free to leave a comment with details. Gary was a hard-charging and enthusiastic triker, who kept on pedaling even when the going got really tough. Giving up was not part of his vocabulary.

Gary rests after a grueling 13 hour day of overland triking – over a 7,000′ volcano!


keep on triking …

Steve Greene, Gary Bunting, and Glen Aldridge pose for the camera on the 2011 Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, a three-man motley crew if there ever was one!


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Sharing the road – cyclists and motor vehicles

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Cycling on a sidewalk or a bike lane?

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NHTSA cycling safety statistics overview

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation, has this brief and informative cycling overview on their Bicyclists Road Safety website page (HERE). Good info for trike pilots to know:


As you might expect, when a crash occurs between motor vehicle and a bike, it is the cyclist who is most likely to be injured. Bicyclists accounted for 2 percent of all traffic deaths and 2 percent of all crash-related injuries in 2014. Bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20%) and in urban areas (71%). The vast majority of bicyclists killed were male (88%) and the largest number of males injured were between 20 to 24 years old. About one in five bicyclists (21%) killed in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, the illegal alcohol level in all States. A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.

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2017 Recumbent Cycle Con

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Triker and Doctor William Cortvriendt available to help you!

You may remember William Cortvriendt from several interesting Trike Asylum posts, and his individual Trike Asylum page. The good doctor believes tricycling has definitive and long lasting health advantages over the typical sedentary lifestyle enjoyed by millions. He rides an HP Velotechnik fs26 Scorpion, an elegantly engineered German recumbent tricycle designed for maximum comfort and utility, which he pedaled across the United States in 2015. This fellow is super fit and in it for the long haul! He knows his stuff!

Dr. William Cortvriendt on his overland journey with the HP Velotechnik trike

On April 28, 2014, yours truly (Trike Hobo) finished reading William’s fascinating book titled “Living a Century or More, A Scientifically Fact-Based Journey to Longevity“, which presented many keys to living long and finishing strong. For a dedicated, and some may well say fanatical health, fitness, and longevity enthusiast like myself, the book was a fun read. Well, recently, I have once again been in touch with Dr. Cortvriendt, and he has authored a follow-up book that will help many people on this planet, who are sincerely interested in improving their health, find ways to do so that will astound them! There is something in this new book for practically everyone.

Titled “Total Health Reset: Stay healthy, lose weight, and cure chronic diseases“, it is William’s new work that everyone needs to know. But wait, there’s more! This isn’t just a post to introduce his new book to Trike Asylum readers – it is also an open invitation from the doc to assist readers of this website who ride trikes and have a serious desire to turn their lives around. Yep, you are able to contact William directly and perhaps find some solutions to your health problems! What a generous and altruistic offer this is! But before you hurry off to take advantage of this, please read an excerpt of what William recently wrote to me, and then watch a couple of explanatory YouTube presentations:

Hi Steve,

My new book Total Health Reset has been released last week in English. The documentaries (50 minutes) are only available in Dutch, so not really accessible for an English speaking audience. However, there are a couple of summaries in English (2.5 minute each) that are linked to the book introduction. By all means, spread the news, since the results were absolutely miraculous and have since been repeated with hundreds of patients both in The Netherlands and in the USA. Anyone who suffers from metabolic syndrome (basically, this is any combination of overweight or obesity, cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, hypertriglyceraemia) can dramatically improve, if not become completely cured! Feel free to spread the word. In the event you know of any Trike Asylum readers who might be seeking personal advice, they can mail me (williamcor@telefonica.net). I feel that I am on a mission, and will treat any of them free of charge. Kind regards, and keep continuing with your fantastic Trike Asylum site!


Below are the two short video presentations for English-speaking audiences:

What was Dr. Cortvriendt’s motivation to compile the new book? Well, in addition to his sincere desire to help folks live healthy long lives, here is how he explained it to me:

I wrote the book after I was invited by Endemol – one of the largest TV producers – to make a documentary about my previous book Living a Century or More. They challenged me to treat chronically sick patients with my lifestyle advice and guess what: All the chronically ill participants that Endemol had selected recovered within weeks from what we usually refer to as Western diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and arthritis. One guy who barely was alive with 13 different medicines was able to stop his six-times-daily insulin injections and stop nearly all other medications as well. The cardiologist decided to only keep a blood thinner, just for future protection. Six million people watched this documentary. I was asked by the Minster of Health in The Netherlands to advise the Dutch government, and I sold 100,000+ books in The Netherlands. So I decided to translate this Dutch book ‘Hoe word je 100’ into English and gave it the title ‘Total Health Reset.’

Well, I don’t know about you, but rarely do offers of assistance to us humble trike pilots come along from doctors, many of whom seem more motivated to just prescribe pills and schedule surgeries. William Cortvriendt is a unique soul with a kind heart, and, lucky for all of us Trike Asylum readers, also just so happens to be a genuine die-hard human powered recumbent tricycle fanatic. You can now speak to a fellow overland triker, who happens to be a highly qualified medical professional, albeit one who sees our human health in a far healthier vision than traditional medicine. If you have finally had enough of the typical “pills, medications, and scalpels” mentality of the profitable, and often impersonal, medical establishment, and are now seriously ready to take some personal responsibility for your own health, fitness, and longevity, now is a good time for the new adventure to begin! You may wish to read William’s two books and give him a shout.

The Trike Hobo displays Dr. Cortvriendt’s first book, Living a Century or More.

William’s new book, Total Health Reset:

Available HERE if you are ready for the challenge!

Further images of William Cortvriendt and his tricycle adventures:


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Camping, riding, meeting friend – a great day on the road!

This is an excellent presentation from Matt Galat of the JaYoe world tour. He meets a new friend, has a good time at the campground, helps his buddy decide on what cargo is needed on his bike, gets supplies at a bike shop, rides up an insanely steep hill, and even lets his new buddy ride his JaYoe trike down that same hill later that evening (Matt was worried). There is a LOT to like in this one, so here ya’ go Triking Fanatics of Earth:

Oh, and check out the T-shirt Matt’s new cycling buddy is wearing! Cool! Both these guys are going to cycle together up to Mount Fuji. This should be a fun segment of Matt’s challenging overland tricycle journey. Stay tuned.

Mount Fuji, Japan – elevation: 3,776.24 meters (12,389.2 feet)

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JaYoe! rides again, and something about The Donald …

See all of Matt Galat’s world trike tour presentations so far HERE.



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Azub fatrike creates controversy after seen on city street!

Corrine Gurtler riding a new Azub fatrike on the city street in winter

Fatrike Forum member Corrine Gurtler had a photo posted on Facebook of riding an Azub fatrike down the street in winter (see photo above). It generated a lot of commentary, some of it quite intense from non-cycling people. I am reposting the information here so you can read it conveniently if you’d rather not follow the link to Facebook. Please express your own thoughts on the issues raised in the commentary. To get this post started, here is one of many comments you will read from the Facebook posting:

“Register and insure your bike if you are in traffic!!!!! Laws should be made on this !!!!!!! Putting winter drivers at risk with your bike! Stupid! Guess all you will need is to get hit by a motor vehicle before you learn!”

Another Facebook member even had this to say about the Azub fatrike on the street:

“Oh boy, bigger hazards on the road!”

Okay, below are all the comments that started all of this online discussion. This sure seems a divisive topic amongst car drivers and cyclists, but as one Facebook member mentioned, trike riders and cyclists also drive cars and pay taxes.

Here is the link to the Facebook page if you would like to read it there (as you will also be able to see all the replies to each of these comments – even more thoughts):

Facebook fatrike discussion

Okay, here is the commentary to date, as copied from the Facebook page into this Fatrike Forum page (Keep in mind that this is from Facebook, so the most recent comments are towards the top. If you wish to read this chronologically, as the comments actually originally appeared from first to most recent, then just start reading all these comments from the bottom up.):

Sarah Jones: Who thinks cyclist need to be registered and licensed just as much as motor vehicles and they should have to have insurance as they can be the cause of an accident with motor vehicles, contribute to the maintenance of clearing and maintaining bike paths. How do you report a bad cyclist not adhering to the rules of the road? There are exceptions of good cyclists, but as previous people have noted, riding tandem is an issue, coming up the inside of a vehicle already turning, crossing through red lights, a quick jerk beyond the bike path maybe to avoid an obstacle in front of a vehicle causes that driver to have to react even quicker as the cyclist is not protected by a shell…What do you think? I for one respect that cyclist want to make a green choice however I don’t think they should be exempt from having a valid license plate visable to the public (road users and path users) , insuarnace to cover any incident they may be involved in and complete a safe riding course regarding rules of the road for cyclist.

Rob Pelletier: There is plenty of room for all of us. If you are unsure what to do, consult your driver’s handbook for a reminder that you must legally yield to all cyclists. Let’s work together to keep all cyclists, pedestrians and drivers safe and sound.

Louise Dixon: I don’t think people no justhow dangerous winter bikes are. Poor lights on them, darkness, snow piles on the side of almost all roads tones of clothing on the riders and if something happens it would be the driver that would fe el the worst as he she is in the big truck, Or car ,!!!

Yarrum Numb: All these anti-cyclist comments! Though I wouldn’t want to be pushing the weight of all those big wheels up Two Mile Hill, full thumbs up for the perseverance and fortitude. Make room for cyclists, quit last-seconding through the yellow and red lights, and take it easy on the roads. Why praise the single-occupant vehicles and diss the non-polluting cyclist? They are doing unselfish good you might want to emulate. The more do this, the better the City will keep the road-edges cleared. But yes, cyclists do need better reflectors and lighting–and that chin strap needs to be attached!

Casey Kemble: I am amazed there hasn’t been any cyclist killed, especially in Winter. Not as well marked as a vehicle, in the actual traffic lane and just generally thinking they’re a car.

Greg Oldridge: better duck down and get a license for your new bike. Pretty anti cycling, do they realise cyclist drive cars too and already pay road maintenance etc?

Kathi Brent-Brakefield: I wonder why there are cyclists on 2nd avenue at all, what with that beautiful bile trail along the river.

John Vanderkley: I agree with Sarah Jones , but i would like to add that bylaw and RCMP should watch and ticket any infractions perpetrated by cyclists , like driving on sidewalks and becoming pedestrians at traffic lights , ignoring traffic lights ,cycling against traffic etc etc !

Jean Inconneau: Any contraption like that should be licensed, registered and require insurance. No license tag and it gets impounded. No insurance and the driver gets fined.

Ray Biggs: Oh boy, bigger hazards on the road!

Daria Jordan: Heather Jordan Shayna Jordan and these are the people that almost get hit because they think they’re better then the rules of the road.

Rick Lawson: Lights and reflectors would be a good idea.

Don Livingstone: Please light up your bike and trailer good, you would not believe how hard it is to see you.

Louise Dixon: God I hope I don’t meet this on the river dale bridge!

Rob Pelletier: The more I read these comments, the more I see that there is a huge problem here.

Bellalinga Minalina: register and insure your bike if you are in traffic!!!!! Laws should be made on this !!!!!!! Putting winter drivers at risk with your bike! Stupid! Guess all you will need is to get hit by a motor vehicle before you learn!

Bellalinga Minalina: So I guess one big accident with a cyclist in winter will have to happen before it will be made law of registration and insurance on cyclists !

Ray Biggs: If only people would stay in the bike lanes.

Ruby Booth: You should be selling kid rides through town with that , since no one with a pony is.

Faye Silvester: Guess the city better keep those bike lanes cleared. . .

Mike Turek: Could use an electric motor.

Monika Juers: Wow so cool

Nancy Beaman: Coolness for coolness

Antje Beaman: oh my goodness

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Leaving Tokyo …

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Orange Seal knowledge for no flats

If you have tubes inside your tires, use Orange Seal in the tubes. If you have no tubes inside your tires, use Orange Seal inside your tires. Then, ride in confidence, realizing that rarely will you ever get a flat tire again. There are no cycling guarantees in life, but puncture sealants are pretty darn close to certainty. Watch these videos:

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Park Tool cycling tools – new for 2017

Visit the blue Park Tool website HERE.

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How Slime puncture sealant works inside your inner tube

Learn more HERE, at the Slime sealant for bicycles webpage!

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Using the Park Tool VC-1 with tire sealant

To see this little Park Tool VC-1 being used, visit the Trike Asylum page HERE. To watch a movie of it, just check out the videos below:


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Park Tool VC-1 for valve core removal

This tool removes either Presta or Schrader valve cores. For Presta, you must have the type of valve that is removable, as not all Presta valves have removable cores. For Schrader, all of them are removable, as they are the same kind that is used for automobiles and motorcycles. A good use of this tool is when you wish to inject tire sealant into either your trike’s inner tubes, for those who run with tubes, or into your trikes tires, for those who run a tubeless setup.

Most trikers probably have inner tubes, so assuming your valve core is the removable type (either removable Presta or any Schrader), by removing the core you can then inject Orange Seal, Slime, Stan’s NoTubes, or some other brand of puncture proofing sealant into the tube. This will pretty much put an end to your days of flat tires (at least that is what the consensus of the cycling community has to say about it).

You can get one of these useful little blue tools on Amazon ($9.86) HERE, or visit the Park Tool website to see it HERE. Everything Park Tool makes is blue – it’s their color!

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Tired of getting flat tires? Here are solutions!


Whether you are running inner tubes on your trike, or have converted over to tubeless tires, there are ways to stop getting flat tires! Here is an article by Mountain Bike Action (MBA) that compares the top eight puncture sealant products available. People use this stuff in inner tubes, and also in tubeless tires, and it works. Which products work best in which situations? Are some products better than the others? Who has time to test them all anyway? Okay, well, Mountain Bike Action has done all this for us, so read this article and choose the sealant that works best for your situation:

Article by Mountain Bike Action (an online publication):

Riders love searching for new technology that will help make them faster. Unfortunately, many upgrades are expensive and offer only a slight performance gain. Thankfully, however, there are some inexpensive upgrades that can greatly increase your bike’s performance. Any bike shop will tell you that the easiest and least-expensive upgrade is to convert your bike to tubeless. A tubeless setup is essentially a bicycle rim and tire that no longer needs an inner tube to hold air. A liquid sealant is used instead of the tube to ensure the system is airtight and also acts as a safely net in case of a small puncture out on the trail. Today, there are numerous types of tire sealant to choose from, and it can be complicated to figure out which option is best for you. So, the MBA crew decided to do the legwork for you and put the most popular sealants to the test. Special thanks goes out to Ridefast and Arisun for supplying us with rims and tires so we could perform a fair and consistent test.


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Welcome to Tokyo! JaYoe!

Triking and biking the big city!

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Overland Tricycle Journey … some Highlights in Japan

This presentation includes the prelude of Matt and a JaYoe online follower as they prepare to enter the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster area. He gets special shoes, socks, and even a full body suit with mask to remain radiation-free. Oh, and it also includes that happy fellow who you see smiling above. JaYoe fellow trike pilots!

View more of Matt Galat’s world trike tour at: http://jayoe.com/vlog/

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Overland Tricycle Journey … Riding Philosophy

View more of Matt Galat’s world tour at: http://jayoe.com/vlog/

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Overland Tricycle Journey … Hills and Trike Repairs

View more of Matt Galat’s world tour at: http://jayoe.com/vlog/

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Do you have a recumbent trike to sell?

There is now a dedicated page on Trike Asylum, under the “MORE” menu in the main menubar, with the sole objective of providing a place for recumbent trike owners to sell their trikes. On the page, just leave a comment for potential buyers, then wait for your money ;-)  https://trikeasylum.wordpress.com/more/are-you-selling-your-trike/

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Overland Tricycle Journey … sometimes on a ferry!

Matt Galat pedals his HP Velotechnik trike from Hakodate to Aomori, Japan, and also reveals his desire to review great hamburgers all over the world (wait until you see the mega-huge five tier hamburger they serve in Hakodate – and only in Hakodate) …

Oh, and then there’s the matter of the lost bank card – what is he going to do?


By the way, if you want to know a few of Matt’s suggestions about taking an overland tricycle journey, he has authored a guest chapter in The Overland Triker book, which you may notice in the sidebar on the right hand side of this website. Matt’s chapter is called: The Road Is The Ultimate Teacher, and he gives it to you straight for any trikers about to head out on such an adventure of three wheels. Know before you go!

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Overland Tricycle Journey … sometimes in tunnels!

Matt Galat reveals the truth about triking through tunnels, along with the upside of road angels, and how they are helpful for a rider on an overland tricycle journey …


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More on Jen and Tony’s Australian Trike Tour …

Below is an article and photo from the Central & North Burnett Times newspaper about the challenging overland trike journey that Jen and Tony recently completed:

Cyclists venture on a trip of a lifetime
20th Sep 2017 9:45 AM

by Philippe Coquerand

CYCLING: It’s not everyday you see retired cyclists travelling thousands of kilometres on trikes but for Jen and Tony Fleming, it’s been a life long dream. The married couple began their journey in the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns almost five months ago. They are heading towards the Sunshine Coast and plan to be there by next week. Jen said she decided it would be a great way to go on an adventure with the trikes.

“We’re cyclists at home and I’ve been reading up on people who do cycle touring and now we’ve got these trikes we decided it’d be a great way of going on an adventure,” she said. “We thought it would be a good idea of doing something before you get too old and you can’t do anything.” Tony said the pair had packed almost 20kg of luggage which also proves a hindrance when they’re cycling up hills. “We’ve got sleeping bags, a tent, mattress and all that gets packed into the trike,” he said. “We haven’t had any problems with the hills, but we go up the hills around 4-5kmh, we just crawl up but by gee you look forward to getting on top of that hill as there’s always a downhill.”

Jen said the pair encountered several problems along the way.

“When we had a problem with the brake we stopped in the next town which was Moura and they didn’t have any bike links so we went to Biloela where they serviced our brakes and gears,” she said. “When we left the next day we camped at a spot called Dawes Hall and from there we continued our way to Monto where two things happened, it started raining and my bottom gears just dropped out. “For two days we couldn’t fix it and then we looked at it on Sunday (September 17) and the back wheel was loose and that’s why the gears weren’t engaging.”

Jen encouraged more people to follow their dreams.

“Tony is 70 and I’m 62 and lots of people could do things like this if they’re prepared to take a risk and give it a go and it’s quite satisfying to know that you’ve achieved something,” she said. “You know when you get to our age you’ve got to do these things now, you hear of so many people who get sick so you think you have to make the most of life while you can. “We’ve been cycling for 10 years and we have a very active cycling club at home and we have rail trails and single track riding but then we decided to do these ones.” The pair do an estimated 50-70km a day and sometimes will stop for two days in each country town.

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Triker Jen completes challenging trike tour!

This just in from Jen Fleming, the Aussie wild gal who set out on an overland trike journey not long ago. She and Tony have completed the enlightening and challenging trek, and sent me an email link for any Trike Asylum readers who would like to experience their adventure from the comfort of a computer. Visit Jen’s TA page HERE. Email from Jen:

Hi Steve, 
Just thought I’d let you know we completed our journey through I land Queensland. Our two stage journey. We enjoyed it, though found it challenging. But everything in life is a challenge. Link is jenandtonystours.wordpress.com if anyone wants to read it and look at the photos. Having a rest and nesting for awhile. Then we will see where the next road takes us. New Zealand’s looking pretty good ! 


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Overland Tricycle Journey … sometimes in the rain!

Matt Galat discusses triking in the rain, among other things, which include a very helpful review of how his Arkel panniers met the challenge of keeping his cargo dry …


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2015 ICE Adventure for sale – like new …

2015 ICE Adventure RS 20″ Literally like new, less than 200 miles ridden, garaged.

Accessories included: 
Dual bar-end mirrors / Water bottle cage riser and cage / Front mount accessory bar / Rear rack for suspension models with trunk and pannier space / Full QR kit (quick release) / Full fender set / Chain tensioner for QR boom adjustment / Neck rest

Notes: Seller willing to discuss shipping, but it will be freight COD at buyer’s expense. Seller willing to deliver trike to buyer within a reasonable radius of Newport, Oregon.


Contact Michael Rioux if interested in this ICE Adventure: (michael.rioux@me.com)

Price is negotiable.

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To all Hurricane & Fire Trikers: Update us – RE: your safety

This request also goes out to all cyclists, including those with four wheels (quads) and two wheels (bicycles). Please let us all know your condition. What has happened to you and the area where you live? Are you still home? Have you evacuated? Was your human powered vehicle used during this time for any reason? What are you hearing?

With the southeastern region of the United States and the nearby islands being slammed with monster killer hurricanes, and the northwestern region of the United States burning fiercely due to lightning strikes and teenager misconduct, these weeks are quite disturbing for many folks who live in these regions, as well as for people in general. Many have been killed, many more have been injured, and more yet have been evacuated to temporary shelters from the winds, rains, floods, storm surge waters, towering forest flames, heavy ash, and extremely hazardous smoke levels. Not a day goes by that is not filled with news about the disasters occurring on a regular basis.

So, readers of Trike Asylum would like to hear from those cyclists affected by any of these catastrophic events. Please comment to this post, telling the area where you live, what you have experienced, what your immediate future looks like, and anything else that may help us in understanding these deadly and maiming calamities. Thanks for taking the time for the update! We all hope all is well with you! Be SAFE!

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“North Korea launched a missile over my head!” – JaYoe!

A recent video log from Matt Galat, of the JaYoe world recumbent tricycle tour:

For more of the latest JaYoe world trike tour, click HERE.

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Floridian Trikers – Time to Hunker Down!

To all of our triking and cycling friends who live in Florida, including Catrike Quad rider Zachary Mohrmann (otherwise known here on Trike Asylum as the ever-popular commenter armadillozack), please stay safe out there. Park those trikes and quads, bolt down the house, and don’t even peek outside until Hurricane Irma has safely passed. Even Zack, on his huge fatquad monstermobile, is no match for 185 mile per hour winds! Here is some media stuff:

Extreme Category 5 Irma crashes into Caribbean, sets sights on Florida and Southeast U.S.

For more than a day, monstrous Hurricane Irma has sustained Category 5 winds of 185 miles per hour while ripping through the northern Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands. The storm, tied for the second-strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, is approaching Puerto Rico, and headed for the southeastern Bahamas and, by the weekend and early next week, Florida and the Southeast U.S. This is a life-threatening storm that the National Hurricane Center warns is capable of catastrophic damage. Preparations should be rushed to completion near its path.

Forecasters said Irma posed an increasing threat to South Florida, a sprawling and densely populated mass of cities and suburbs hugging the coastline. As dire warnings mounted, schools and offices across the state began to shut down, grocery store shelves were wiped clean and authorities ordered evacuations with more to follow.

The most powerful hurricane to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade, Irma has swelled into a monster force with maximum sustained winds near 185 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The center said Wednesday afternoon that Irma’s “extremely dangerous core” was moving over the Virgin Islands and would “pass near or just north of Puerto Rico” later in the day.

Okay, ’nuff said intrepid cyclists! Hunker down, and report here after you are safe!

Even Zack on his monster quad is no match for monster Irma! Be safe my friend!

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