Saturday, January 19, 2013

Partial Okeechobee Ride

We're staying at the KOA about 1/2 mile from a Lake Okeechobee dike access point. It's an easy ride but a little tricky getting across the junction where Rt 441 t-bones Rt 78. Sometimes the traffic is light but other times it's like rush hour in Washington DC! But then your on the dike and the excitement calms down.
View of dike from KOA entrance.

Ramp up to dike trail and access to boat ramp.

Our trikes just fit through that left access gap!

This is a fishing lake. I've never seen a sailboat on the lake other then when we transiting on the OWW.

I had thought about riding all the way around Okeechobee but on closer inspection unpaved 45 miles or so aren't really a trikes forte. The unpaved section has very long stretches of two track with thick grass in the middle and large gravel/rocks in the tracks.
From our access point there is about a 5 mile ride westward until the dike trail spills out on to Rt78.
End of the ride westward. 

Sharing Rt 78 with big trucks.
I rode on Rt78 for about 30sec and had the closest pass ever. It wasn't the big rigs it was some ass in a pickup with utility trailer. With a wide open road he let that trailer pass within an inch.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Packing up.

It is time to start figuring out how to get our two trikes loaded along with all the stuff for our new Malteses puppy, Tiki, and our living stuff for our 4 or so month trip to sunnier points south. This is the one huge disadvantage of Trikes, they take up a lot of stinking room! Then add in the higher weight and traveling with them in a loaded camper it's the easiest thing in the world.

But I found that the trikes load/store much easier if the wheels are off. Next it became obvious that the front fenders should come off and since their only held on with a few allen screws that was easy enough.

Once my Trident fenders came off it was equally obvious that the Kenda Kwest 100psi tires were pretty much toast. Interestingly the front tires are each more worn than the rear. I guess I'd been thinking that the higher load on the single rear would trump the steering force on the fronts, but not so:)

I suppose I could get a few hundred more miles but since my next big ride includes some long gravel sections I'd like some softer riding tires anyway. I had know I'd need new tires at some point during the spring ride so I have some Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires in house.

Next learning point was that the Trident fender mounting does more than just mount the fenders! I had pulled the fenders off a few days ago and continued to ride on the trainer, very glad I hadn't decided to hit the road:) The bearings are much dirtier than I had expected but I'll wait until Annapolis to clean and repack them. I had thought they would be sealed, another lesson.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Back in the Seat Again

My world of trike riding has been in the doldrums since suspending our cross country trip back in May. After about two weeks off I got back in the seat and did some light riding. This was in the living room on the trainer. I gradually worked back up to an hour ride at a moderate pace, about 10mph. But then life got in the way and we needed to be in Florida for several weeks helping my mother through surgery. Also we really got in to this Paleo DIet/Lifestyle, specifically as espoused by Mark Sisson of It just makes so much sense it was impossible to ignore. One idea is what MDA calls Chronic Cardio is actually bad for the body as well as marathon/endurance type events. Next we joined a local gym to do some weight training. My goal was primarily to strengthen the muscles related to the knee, so squats, leg extensions, leg curls. So after about four months of the trike folded and under a work bench I finally pulled it out again, cleaned it up and started on the trainer again. 

So now I’m thinking agin of a reasonable riding challenge, so tentatively I’ve decided to ride around Lake Okeechobee in south Florida. Its actually a pretty easy ride of about 110 miles but damn near table top flat trail. But the whole trail is not paved.If that goes off without a hitch then I’m really thinking hard of resuming the Northern Tier ride next spring. Now how I square this with Paleo is another question. 

Note on Paleo, we have been following this lifestyle since Apr/May 2012. From a dietary perspective the main item is to not eat neolithic foods, i.e. moderen.  That means no processed foods and more specifically no gaines. This was hard, I love hot, fresh bread topped with melted butter(Bread=Bad, Butter=Good). Not to mention pasta was a staple in our meals. But it's worth it for both of us. My personal results have been fantastic. I've leaned out, dropping 20lbs but the most dramatic thing is my blood pressure. I had been on BP medication for 13 years. In one month of removing grains from my diet I have normal BP without medication! MarksDailyApple is a great resource I highly recommend.   

Monday, May 21, 2012

Early end of TrikeTrek2012

Sadly I’m back home, not that I don’t love my home but I was hoping to be cycling through Ontario Province today instead. My trike adventure is over for now. Now the recuperation period. My plan is to take a week off the trike, then short, low intensity rides on the trainer for a week or two, if there is no pain. Then some easy road and hill rides to get back. 
As my man Eastwood once said “A man’s got to know his limitations”. Well how do you know your limits it you don’t push to extend them? As of today mine are 627miles, +52,062ft elevation gain over 15days(Trip Total was 802miles and +60795ft gain). I’m actually very happy with these numbers, I’m a numbers kinda guy:) Gee I wonder how many spins of the crank, approximately of course, I did on this trip?

First a review of the Trident Stowaway 2 trike: So how did it work in the various weather and road conditions? Well in a word “Fantastic”!! I’m absolutely positive I could not have traveled on the rainy cold days I did ride in. Also I believe I was safer on the road than ever on a two wheel bike. And the +40mph blasts down mountains were awesome. 
I really had no problems. The grip tape on the right side is starting to unravel a bit. But other than adjusting the brakes and rear derailer no work was needed. Tires are getting a bit square but then that’s just a normal wear and tear item. No bent wheels is especially amazing since I did hit a few big pot holes. I think the 20” wheel is stronger than larger wheels is what accounts for this. 

Riding the trike there were a couple common questions I was asked several times regarding safety. So here they are…and my answers.
Q: Is the low seat and hence eye level a problem? Simple answer, No. Extended Answer: The recumbent position meant that my head is always up right and level. Next the stability of the trike means the I can constantly scan by moving my head side to side and to move to get better view of the mirror without disturbing the path of the trike. So I think my situational awareness was an order of magnitude better than on my hybrid bike. Also the complete lack of pain from riding position meant focus could say on the road and not my back, shoulders, wrists, butt, etc. Naturally later knees negated this advantage:)

Q. Isn’t the width of the trike a problem? In the first case they were asking about car/trike interaction since I was riding many roads with narrow or no shoulder. 
Simple Answer: No. 
Extended Answer: I had vastly fewer cars passing close, even in larger car concentration areas. This seems counter intuitive. I think a few things were going on but I suspect the main issue was a trike was unfamiliar to drivers and appears very wide, even though it’s only a few inches wider than a mountain bike. Since it appeared SO wide drivers realize there is not enough room to pass in lane with me. So only a handful were at 3ft, most were greater and many completely in the other lane! Of course a nod goes to ACA for good route selection!

Q. Isn’t the width of the trike a problem? In this case they, mostly bicyclist, meant three wheel tracks vs one wheel track of a bicycle. 
Simple Answer: Here they have something. 
Extended Answer: There is no doubt that finding a clear piece of asphalt is much harder on three wheels. This does mean I’m hitting rougher asphalt more often and there were times I wished for suspension. It was also true that many roads are so bad that there is no clean line. In this case the stability of the trike was great. So no ride is perfect, but I think it’s a small price for the benefits. 

Now a safety question that wasn’t asked concerning low seat height. The low seat hight made me much more wary of dogs. They seemed to react badly to this low ride. Why? I don’t know but horses and cows also seemed upset. Maybe down low I looked like a predator. I only had one instance were I was approached close enough, 2 to 3 ft, by an aggressive dog that I had to use the pepper spray. I’ll always carry pepper spray now and I never did on my bike. 

The next non-safety question was why recumbents and trikes by extension don’t climb as fast a bikes. I’m not convinced this isn’t just selection bias, i.e. young men buy race replica bikes to fit in to the peer group and mimic the racers. And race bikes are two wheel diamond frames since the major racing series have banned recumbents for a hundred years. For myself I looked at the technology and wasn’t swayed by the races for the same reason I drive a Toyota Matrix and not an F1 car on public roads. So until I see the elite cyclists train then race recumbents against diamond frames I’m not convinced recumbents are slower. I’ll admit I’m slow up hill and my reason is simple, I can’t fall down there is no worry or drama stopping mid 12% grade to take a picture, eat a snack, smell the roses or just REST. So my answer to why trikes may go up hill slower is “Because they can!!!”. 

Best part of the ride:
This has to be meeting the people of rural America and Canada. I have to admit that I was getting pretty cynical about people in general. I attribute that to my job. I’m constantly researching the economy, corporations and investments. I mean honestly, who can watch what the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and our politicians have been doing and not get cynical. But during this short ride I meet so many truly good people and I was so looking forward to meeting many, many more. People were helpful, considerate, encouraging and sympathetic.  I Love rural North America!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 18, Burnaby Ontario to Turkey Point Ontario

First the positive. It was a very nice ride today for the most part. Great views of Lake Ontario, friendly people, interesting houses, interesting political fight and great weather. 
The road that follows the north shore, Lake Shore Rd, Front Rd and other names, gives tons of views of the lake with minimal traffic. It’s good the traffic is minimal since shoulders are just about nonexistent.  

Looks like GE 2.5MW turbines near Lake Erie 

Lake Front home opposed to 2.5MW GE Wind turbines:)

The political fight is over wind turbines. Mini Rant: I think of this as the classic NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) fight, remember Teddy Kennedy and Nantucket Sound. I saw dozens and dozens of STOP the wind turbines signs and signs questioning the health impact of wind turbines. So I suppose those STOP folks would rather get their power from the coal plant 20 plus miles away. I just have to chuckle at this because these homes are generally down wind of the coal plant where there is a known health impact. It’s sorta like seeing a Prius doing 80mph, and then the driver complaining they aren't getting 50mpg :) Missing the bigger picture.

Now to the Negative side.  
My knees are killing me. Damn I hate this.  My legs, except for the knees, feel like iron man. The knees are my weak link. After 68 miles I arrived at our camp in Turkey Point Provincial Park, Norfolk Ontario and could barely get out of my trike. My knees just didn’t want to work. And today it’s not just the left, both are very sore. After much contemplation and no internet to confirm or deny my suspicions, I've decided it's not wise to go on. My suspicion is that I need to give these 50 year old knees at least a week of very light duty and no cycling. I’m thinking of this just like a muscle injury and they have got to be given time to heal. So as pretty as the Turkey Point Park is, at $42/day it’s not the place to recuperate. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 17, Sodus Point to .......Buraby Canada

Part 2 Today was the day to test out the left knee. It started to give me pain a couple days ago. A pain just below the knee cap on the front and inside. I’ve never had this type pain before so it scared me a little. So on the 12th I cut the day short at 20 something miles then yesterday only an easy 12 mile ride around Sodus Bay to a new campground. This morning no signs of pain so it was off to Palmyra and the Erie Canal about 27 miles down the road. I had decided that if I arrived in Palmyra, or failed to arrive, with a sore knee we would pack up and head home. When you pay your own insurance and have a huge deductible, risks need to be minimized.

I pulled out of camp at about 5:45 am with 48degF and cloudy skies. I deviated from the ACA route and took SR21 from Pultneyville to Palmyra. A local said it was a much less hilly route and had shoulders. Well….. the shoulders aren’t great but the cars were good in passing so it was uneventful and non-stressful ride. The town of Pultneyville is very pretty with a nice little yacht harbor and once again I heard the siren songs of Hobie cats on the beach. But the best news was that I had very little knee pain when I got to the Erie Canal, yeah!!

From Palmyra we decide to skip the Erie Canal part of the ACA route. I did the entire canal from Buffalo to Albany a few years ago and I really hate repeating routes. So we packed the car and gave the knee a 3 hour rest as we drove back roads to Buffalo and crossed to the Canadian side. I restarted riding near the Ft Erie Park. There is a wonderful paved trail from Ft Erie for 19 miles to Port Colborne. My body came alive on this rail trail. After all those mountains, cold temps and rain, here was a +/- 1% grade with sun and 70degF . I felt like a machine cranking along this lightly used trail!!! After about 50 miles total I called it “A Day” and Uber-SAG Donna picked me up at a church in Burnaby. So tonight we’re in a great Provincial Park that has nicer facilities than any US state/fed park we’ve stayed in. So nice, that we plan to spend every night in a Provincial Park while in Canada.

Fallen Solider Memorial - New York USA
WARNING, WARNING Political non trike RANT ON: I’ve seen several of these types of memorials on the back roads of the north-east USA. It’s an incredibly sad sight, because more than likely it’s for a fallen husband/wife/son/daughter of the home. But what makes me madder than hell is that the vast majority of politicians that have sent these fine people to their deaths will never have this memorial in front of their home. Why, because their privileged sons/daughters will never serve (Jim Webb is the only political exception I know of). I just fundamentally think its wrong to have the power of life and death when you have no skin in the game. We either need to end these endless wars or institute a national draft with ZERO deferments for any man or woman between 21 and 55. You'll see how fast the wars end when every politician's or Wall Street financial big wig's son/daughter can be drafted and goes to the middle east. RANT OFF.

Great camp at Point Sodus on Lake Ontario.

Truth in advertising?????? Luxury-Affordable???

Erie canal in Palmyra NY

Nice trail near Ft Erie Canada

Train turned in to Rail/trail and great run. 

TRUTH in Advertising!

Friendship Trail - part of the trials from Ft Eire to Port Colborne.

Held up in Port Colborne.

Starting in park near Ft Erie, great day to ride!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 15, N. Volney to Sodus Point NY

A short day. We're out of the mountains and now my knee starts to hurt. Not serious and that's the reason for the rest I don't want it to get serious. We have a nice camp at Point Sodus NY on Lake Ontario. They have a beautiful harbor and large protected bay. The sailboats were out racing! Oh how I wanted to hitch a ride, even if just as rail meat. This morning was beautiful still cool at 41degF at ride start but with full sun it warmed up quickly and was 74 by 1pm. The only other negative is that we must be getting near large populations because the drivers are distinctly less considerate than from Knox ME to Boonville NY along the ACA route.

Today I was stopped twice today by fellow bicyclist interested in my strange three wheeled ride. The first was a 65 year old woman "Iron Man" competitor. She easily got me on the climb but I smoked her on the descent! So naturally when this story gets retold in years to come my faulty memory will forget the "65 year woman" and only remember the "Iron Man competitor!!" :) Then an eccentric older lady on a two wheel recumbent. Hard to describe but she took up more of the road on level ground than I do. She wobbled but didn't fall down:)

Aren't All recumbent riders a little eccentric:)

First views of Lake Ontario.