Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Florida Has Hills?

Who would have thought, not compared to Maine or Wisconsin but enough to use the lower gears on the trikes. Today we rode the Hawthorne/Gainesville rail-trail. We started in Hawthorne where finding the trailhead was something of a challenge. Hint when turning off 301 at he end of the street do the near U-turn and cross the RR tracks then first left.  About 1/4 mile and the park entrance is on the left. This is a great trail and well worth a visit if you're in north Florida. The first half is very straight with some long slight grade changes and is tree lined all the way. But the half near Gainesville is where the fun begins. This is not a rail-trail, no way a train could make these turns or hills. These can be thigh burners as the guide book said. We did get lost in Gainsville as other trails peel off so we turned around at about 16 miles.  Plus we wanted to make it back before the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in. This is easily one of the best rail-trails I’ve been on. Nice pavement, few busy road crossings, good scenery, some fun twists and hills.
The trikes were flawless. I really can’t imagine riding a bike longer distances ever again. After 32 miles only the legs are tired which is as it should be. I do pick up more road grime being closer to the road so glasses are a must. Next I need to put front fenders on Donna’s trike since I could see the stuff flying off the tires in to my path. We’ll have to ride this trail again before we head up to Maine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

That Recumbent Grin:) & H2O Bottle Holders

Today we rode the jax/Baldwin trail again, warmer weather but still a splendid ride. When ridden in the morning I'd guess about 80% of the trail has shade. A few long stretches are tunnel like and very pleasant on a hot sunny day. There were more riders out today and the striking feature was how few smile. Most seem to be suffering. I suppose this is the first time I've ever noticed since we have that near constant Recumbent Grin going:)

Catrike vs. Trident:
On a hot day like today one feature stands out, water carrying ability. Simply put the Trident Wins!
The Catrike Trail has provision for one water bottle holder, the Trident has three and they are easier to reach. Also the trident came with one bottle holder the Catraike zero.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Give me a BRAKE

The Catrike Trail arrived Tuesday, we were in the truck headed south Wednesday and finally put some real miles on the trikes today.  We did the Jacksonville/Baldwin rail-trail. It’s a very nice country ride, arrow straight with only slight elevation gain. It’s mostly shaded before noon and in Florida that’s a very good thing. In fact this morning was wonderful and it didn’t really get hot until about the halfway point.

Donna’s initial review after a 29 mile ride, GREAT! She loves that trike, after those miles no numb butts, sore wrists, tight shoulders, stiff neck, etc. My Trident ran great and I give the same evaluation of the ride, GREAT.

The only trouble on the ride was losing the Catrike velcro parking brake strap. What a cheap solution to the need for a parking brake. You guys on bikes might not understand the need but on a trike that will roll away without the owner on the slightest slope a parking brake is very nice to have. The Trident has a parking brake on each front wheel. Each brake handle has a built in spring loaded pin that are pushed in with the brake lever pulled and holds the brake. Pull the brake a little harder and the pin pops out and your ready to go.  Exactly like the parking brake on my 1953 MGTD! Works great, no fiddling with velcro or lost velcro.  The LBS said the Catrike has “better” brake handles but I don’t see that much difference and on a trike the parking brake is important.  In fact in use the smooth back of the Trident bracket makes for a nice hand hold.

The TS2 has BB7 disk brakes and the Catrike was supposed to have the same but was delivered with the BB5. Mt Airy will swap out later. Given the only difference between the Catrike and TS2 is the handle I think TS2 wins on the brake setup.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Let's try the right tire high

I hit a few of those cul-de-sacs circles today and went around clockwise, i.e. turning right, attempting to ride on the rear and left wheel only. I was able to get it up and balanced but it was nowhere near as smooth as balancing left wheel up. Also the initial lift off speed was a little higher, over 11mph.  Why would it be harder to do right wheel up vs left wheel up? It must have something to do with left/right brain dominance, but I'm an engineer not a neuroscientist so I'll just accept that when I want to show off left is in the sky and right is on the ground!

Anarchist Thought:
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."  U.S. Constitution - Amendment 5,  I take the BOLD section to mean I will never speak to a police officer only my lawyer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From Speed to Tricks

We are still waiting on Donna's Catrike and Catrike will not give a date certain, come on this is 2011 not 1911, I can get an exact date on a $50 Ipod. Ok enough bitching.
It was such a beautiful day that after all my chores were done I had to take a ride. I discovered one section of the neighborhood that has nice smooth asphalt. So I decided to do some performance testing to understand the limits of my trike better. I learned a few things.
  1. The max entry speed to prevent inside wheel lift in a parking lot type 90deg turn is about 9.5mph.
  2. At 10mph I can keep the inside wheel lifted about 3 inches around the entire circle.
  3. Adding body English, i.e. leaning to the inside of the turn, elevated max entry speed to about 13-14mph while keeping the wheel down. 
  4. At just over 10mph I can lift the inside enough to balance and ride on two wheels!
WOW, now that's fun! It does hit me as absurd that I spent all this cash to get a three wheeler only to ride in on two. But hay it's fun!
With just a little practice I was able to ride in a straight line and making left turns and much less sharp right turns. I didn't try lifting the right wheel. I'm right handed but I'm more comfortable making left turns. I'm sure this isn't great for the wheels to have this kind of side loading but these seem OK so far.
Beginning a run

Passing Donna who is taking these pictures

Ready to drop and come back to see the pictures.
My landings could be smoother, basically I just drop at the end of a run. I think that if I initiate a left turn maybe I could drop easier. Something for another day:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day of Speed 3

Today I finally got to ride Harry Truman Pkwy and spun the TS2 up to 39.5mph! That's a solid 2mph faster than my hybrid when it was on the much more daunting "Ho Chunk Hill". By RidewithGPS.com the hill on Mastline is only 46ft, the hill on Truman is 77ft. I can't find the exact hill that was Ho-Chunk Hill but the area around Barraboo WI has plenty of hills over 200ft.
The best thing was the stability again. This descent didn't have sewer caps but it's a busy road so I had to stay on the shoulder dodging the normal trash morons throw out.
I still haven't logged a good long day yet. I can say that after the hours I've put  in the seat, zero issues. No butt, shoulder, neck issues:) As soon as Donna's Catrike gets in we're headed to Florida and before we head to Maine we intend to put on at least one 50+ mile day. I'm searching for a rail-trail that exceeds 25 miles. The one we're nearest to, Jax-Baldwin, is only about 14.5miles and I don't know if I want to drive 3hrs to the Mable-Polk City trial.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Minor but annoying TS2 issue

It's raining today so no ride. I save riding in the rain for tours if at all possible:) So instead here is an issues Trident needs to address. It's minor, but small issues leave a less than satisfied feeling about quality.

I found these little broken O-rings on the porch and sidewalk in front of the house. At first I thought the cable guy who was here a few days ago must have dropped them.
Broken O-rings used on TS2

Then yesterday it hit me, these are the O-rings Trident uses to secure the brake cables to the tie rods. The pictured O-ring is ready to break, it has many small cracks like dry rot.  I would not be surprised if it breaks by morning, or more likely the next ride where it gets stretched when turning.
O-ring brake cable support TS2

I remember thinking about this before I bought the trike. This is an improper use of O-rings, they are supposed to be supported and compressed to seal a joint to keep, typically, fluids from leaking, so naturally these break after only a few miles.

I'll just use a few zip ties to keep the cables from hanging low and possibly snagging on things. I do a little off road and run over small branches and twigs. I don't want to have to worry about the brake cables,  I already need to keep the rear derailleur in mind since in low gear is hangs only about 1 inch off the ground. The zip ties will degrade and break also do to UV but it should take years not days.

Anarchist Thought:
"The graveyards are full of indispensable men." Charles De Gaulle.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day of Speed 2

I am just loving this trike. I find myself doing impromptu speed runs and then when I find a nice smooth stretch without cars, its time to attempt two wheel riding! I can't actually ride a straight line on two, just getting the inside wheel lifted during hard turns.Yeah it seems absurd, I went and spent big money for a HPV with three wheels and I'm trying to ride it with two. But it's just so much fun:)
Today's 35mph(56kph) was on the same hill as the other day on Mastline Drive. It's a fun hill but I don't think I'm going to get too much more speed out of it. The blind left and a raised sewer caps makes things pretty interesting already. The 25mph speed limit is justified not only because its a neighborhood road, it's not built for speed. 
35mph on my TS2
My next goal is 37.5mph because today while reading about a ride we did across Wisconsin back in 08' I found that my max speed on my hybrid bike had actually been 37.5mph coming down a very large hill that our group even named "Ho Chunk Hill" since it was near the Ho Chunk Indian Casino in Baraboo.  My wife's cousin did 41mph on that same hill, he was also on a hybrid.
I don't know how I forgot about Ho Chunk Hill, ever since then our family group is always comparing hills to it and I think it still sands as our biggest. Naturally as time goes by it's getting bigger in every retelling:)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today it's all about Speed

Today's ride was just a few laps around Mastline Dr. At one high spot the hill drops about 100ft over about 1/4 mile while turning left. I hit it hard and maxed out at 32mph! That's 5 mph faster than my best on my standard hybrid bike. If it were a straighter hill without the blind left turn, I think 35mph is achievable. The 32mph felt plenty fast enough for the conditions:) I'll need to head over to Harry Truman for higher speeds with it's hills more like 150ft and is straight!

More Trident details

I had read on the Trident website that the front wheels could be removed without messing with the brake caliper. This is a nice feature for changing tires and wasn't explained to me by my LBS when I bought the trike, but it was kind of hectic at the time. So today while waiting for the outside air temperature to hit my riding value I decided to take a front wheel off and see what the procedure entails. It took less than 30 seconds first time, that's damn easy.
Loosen the quick release a few turns.
Pushing in on quick release then remove quick release and pull axle out. It
does not need to come out completely just enough to clear the brake disk.
Arrangement of axle and outboard spacer
Spacer comes off when axle removed. Now wheel can slide out of brake.
Quick release is removed completely.
Axle and quick release. The spacer that is on the quick release side stays in the kingpin hub.
I used the 2gal plastic paint bucket to support the trike with the wheel off.

It takes longer to explain than to do. The wheel rides on two sealed bearings that rest on the shiny parts of the axle. The only question I have is why are there set screw threads in the outer collar/spacer? When reassembling the quick release should not be to tight as it will bind the bearings and slow wheel rotation, this tightness is my idea not from Trident.
Note about terms:
I hate using the wrong term but I can't figure out what these components all should be called. This is somewhat embarrassing considering how many years I've messed about cars. I call the assembly that connects to the frame minus the wheel the Kingpin assembly since this is what it most resembles to me. I call the removable black tube in the above picture an axle even though it might be thought of as a  removable spindle of a standard kingpin assembly.  

UPDATE: Tom from Trident Trikes responded within one hour to my email about the mysterious set screw threads! Not used in this application. Thanks Tom