Above and below: Jen and her husband Tony pedal Australian-made Greenspeed recumbent trikes on their epic Australian overland journey!
Jen Fleming of Queensland Australia is an avid recumbent triker who rides a Greenspeed GT-5 series recumbent trike, a popular trike “down under” because the company is based in Australia. She has plans with this trike: “I am planning to ride my Greenspeed from one end of Queensland Australia to the other, a distance of approximately 2000 km this winter (1243 miles). My husband and others are somewhat skeptical about the trike’s capabilities due to its small wheels, however others believe this will not be a barrier to long distance travel.” Below are some photos of Jen with her trike and triking friends. We wish her luck with her ambitious cycling endeavor!
Jen, with her triking buddies Lucy and Jenell, enjoy pedaling the planet on their recumbent trikes whenever possible. About this fortunate grouping of female riders, Jen says” “I am lucky to have other trike riders in my town. Jenell lives right beside me! And the funny thing is, all of us were first introduced to a trike in the last few years by the same guy, Jim. Jim Curry is now 86 and loaned us his trike to borrow for a few weeks when we were unable to ride our usual bike. Hence, we were all converted and managed to buy one when we could. None of us knew this until we got together in the last 2 months and started to ride together. Jim has since put an electric assist on his, and rides it still. We also have one more lady named Maggie.”
Jen’s Greenspeed is a fine trike of high quality. Note the sturdy rear pannier rack. Regarding her trike, Jen says: “I am loving my little Greenspeed trike. It is something I have desired since being loaned one to ride for a few weeks about 8 years ago, after I had an operation. I always knew if something stopped me riding my bike I would get a trike. Then the osteoarthritis of the spine emerged and now I have my little “Henty” (named my trike after the town she came from).
Trikes are fairly rare here in Nth Queensland, and most people, (6) , have bought them from farther south in Australia. I have been reading up on the Ice brand of trikes but these would have to be ordered sight unseen. The Greenspeed Magnum is possible to get from only two places in Queensland!“
On the road, her Greenspeed is made more comfortable with a sheepskin seat cover! Jen adds this commentary: “Today I rode my 2 wheeler Trek hybrid with my Wednesday group on a Rail Trail of 23 kms. I hadn’t ridden my bike for 2 months as I was dedicating myself to riding and getting stronger on my trike. But one of my friends talked me into riding back with my SAOs group and I thought I would give it a go. Glad I did. I now know I do not want to go back to 2 wheels. Granted, it was faster. But the discomfort outweighed the speed. I am now getting my Trek ready to sell. I will be happy with one trike. One of my riding mates out of this group has declared his back is so sore he is going for physio and doesn’t know when he will be riding again. I will be taking Henty (my trike’s pet name) around for him to try! He may be converted.”
Another road trip is always a fun event. Here, Jen is parked at Bones Knob Lookout.
KANGAROO POUCH POCKET
Do you have some bicycle jerseys with pockets in the rear over your rear-end, the type of apparel with pockets that are absolutely useless on a recumbent trike? They don’t do much good if you are sitting on them. If you still ride a bicycle, then you can still use the jerseys for that time-honored activity, but if you have happily converted to recumbent tricycles exclusively, opting for comfort regardless of distance ridden, then what about the bicycle-specific pockets-in-back jerseys you have from those archaic two-wheeling days?
Well, Aussie triker Jen Fleming has solved this dilemma in a unique manner! Here is what she has to say, followed by a photo of her wearing one of her quite useful conversions:
Coming from a two-wheel cycling background, I was left with all these bright Lycra shirts that didn’t work on the recumbent trike. Hence, I removed the middle pocket from the back of a few shirts and sewed it on the front like a kangaroo pouch. In this photo I have my phone and wallet in the pouch, which is very handy. I also drop my sunglasses in it at times when my face gets too hot to wear them, then they are easy to put on and off. I still have two remaining pockets on the back if I chose to swap vehicles, and opt for a bike ride. No, I’m not selling these. It is merely an idea for those ex-bicyclists who have a lot of shirts with useless pockets in the back. I find it very handy.
UPDATE MAY 2017 – TRIKE UPGRADE FOR AUSTRALIAN TOUR!
Trikers Jen and Tony just got two Greenspeed Magnum trikes for their big tricycle adventure in the outback. Below are the capable trikes, along with a note from Jen about the trek:
Hi Steve, just an update on ‘trikerJen’. 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.
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
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 break 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 breaks 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 here 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.