Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baldwin/Jax trail with fresh eyes!

Yesterdays ride was great. It was an overcast and relatively cool morning. After riding the Nature Coast Trail I see the Jax trail as a much nicer ride. First the practical, there are four rest stops. Next, no roads closely parallel the trial. It’s a great resource for Jacksonville. It would be wonderful if they ever extend this trail. At about 29 miles it’s a little short for us now that we ride trikes.
There are some rough spots that need fixing, these are marked with red paint and cones but for a high speed rider it might be best to reconnoiter the route before doing speed runs. It looks like Jax is committed to this trail also. A new road is being built that will cross the trail and instead of just putting in another at grade crossing with stop signs they built an overpass.  Sweet no need to slow, my one fiscal question would be why not make the trail go over the road instead? I'm sure building a bridge to withstand the weight of HPVs would be much cheaper than building a bridge to carry even a small pickup truck. An added bonus would be a little hill to climb.

Four days and no response from Catrike so I emailed Mt Airy Bikes this morning and had a reply today.

Trail Head at Jacksonville end.

New overpass for new road.

Some areas need work.

Baldwin trail head

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Rail-trail to explore - Nature Coast State Trail Florida

We arrived about 9:30am at the Trenton Fl trail head, which is the old rail road station. Unlike Hawthorne, this trail head is the definition of easy to find, right on the main street of Trenton.  The old rail station had one functional restroom. Better one then none:) Within a mile or so there was a tree blocking the trail. Luckily I could lift the trikes over the tree near it’s base. This is where the Catrike wins in spades! Currently the Catrike only has front fenders, water bottle and cateye bike computer to add to it’s mass. My TS2 carries three bottles, rear rack, fenders, cateye and a rack bag filled with the ‘essentials’. Of course the Catrike aluminum frame really helps in the weight department also. On the way out lifting these two over the tree wasn’t a problem. After a 36 mile ride the TS2 fought me a little and Donna need to stabilize me as I stepped over.  Past the tree we got up to speed on the sunny trail that parallels Rt 26. The traffic is somewhat noisy, but it is well separated from the trail. It’s a wide trail, the guide book says 12 ft. We’re were easily able to ride side-by-side.

Trail near Trenton Fl

We were here to see the Suwannee river, which the trail crosses a few miles past the turn to Chiefland. I wanted to see this simply because it’s part of the Water Tribes Ultimate Challenge. The challenge has small boats circling Florida. But I didn’t get there, the next obstruction on the trail was due to bridge work. The sign did say we could use the equestrian trail, we choose not to.  The bridge is supposed to be reopen mid June.

Trail blocked, detour on equestrian trail.

Our, my, goal was a 40 mile day, so we headed back the Fanning Springs to Chiefland trail and then rode south to Chiefland. The trail to Chiefland was away from any busy roads and had more tree coverage. The first couple miles are the best of the trail that we rode, it was quite and wooded.  But later the trail passed thru some depressed areas and I would not want Donna riding alone. Once in Chiefland we could have ridden a few blocks to be on main street, but it was getting too hot for our taste and decided to head back to Trenton without making it to the trail head.
Heading south to Chiefland

Trenton trail head

This trail is a great resource for locals but it didn’t hold anything that made it worthwhile for us to travel to ride the trail. It’s just like the Baldwin/Jacksonville trail in that respect. Since we visit Jax often the Baldwin/Jax trail is great and we’ve ridden it dozens of times. But if I lived say in Tallahassee the Baldwin/Jax trail would be a pass.

No trike issues, just my personal regret that I didn’t buy them yeas ago. Donna is loving the Catrike and gaining confidence that RAGBRAI 2012 can be done in style on her trike!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trident Front End Alignment Part 2. I goofed in part 1:)

After Tom’s (of Trident) generous offer to make it right on my TS2 pulling left I decided I needed to be damn sure of myself before wasting his time. So I needed to have a halfway accurate way to measure the toe-in. Toe was supposed to be set at the bike dealer. I checked it myself at the dealer with the tech. So what went wrong?
Today I cleaned out the back of the garage where there is a regularly spaced white tiles on the floor. Then I put the TS2 on the tile, lined up the right tire and rolled forward while keeping a straight line. Next I look and can tell at first glance the front wheels are toed out not in! So here is what I think happened, we had not made a rigorous check that the trike was actually tracking straight when we checked toe. This trike is supposed to have Ackerman steering, i.e. the wheel on the inside of a turn, turns sharper than the outside one. This keeps the tires from scrubbing in the turn. Now with the trike tracking straight I set the toe in to 1/8”  and took it out. Still a very very slight left pull, but this could be completely  due to cable routing. Both brake cables loop 180 degs and the rear gear cable comes from the right and does a 90 deg turn. Net there is slight cable push to the left.  So I think all is well and I wrote back to Tom, no worries and thanks!

Wrong part on Catrike.

I have some time to kill today so a 2nd post, this is another Catrike issue. The assembly of the right, as seated, spindle headset at the top. The right dust cover, part number 7 page 10 of Catrike owners manual, is missing the rubber boot that performs the function of keeping dust out of the Teflon bearing PN 6 page 10. The left side has the rubber. My guess is the right one is from Gen 1 (Catrike issue they sent the wrong one) and the assembler didn't pay attention and missed it when doing the build(Mt Airy Issue). Both Catrike and Mt Airy were very responsive when made aware and received the proper part in the mail few days later. Before discovery we had already put some mile on the trike so the teflon bearing has gotten some grim in it. The top cap is torqued to 10 in-lbs so the top surface has a load. I cleaned the bearing off but it probably should have been replaced. With the low load I’d willing to let it go and see what happens over the long run but there is another issue with this top bearing.

This top bearing issues and that it has a loose fit to the shaft that the steering lever is attached to. The symptom is that when stopping at the very last moment there is a small thump felt as the braking fore is unloaded when the trike stops.  My guess is the long term result will be the bearing is pounded out of round and the movement will increase. I’ve sent an email to Catrike,  but this being Sunday and it’s a larger company I don’t expect a response until tomorrow.

Bottle Holders, TS2 Alignment, TS2 Autoshift

Catrike Trail Issue:
Water Bottles: I guess my post about the water bottle situation on the trikes might have been confusing. A poster (dzrtcat) on bike forums couldn’t understand the intent and then made personal attacks.  It is a truly sad by product of the internet age that the anonymous nature of the net has caused such a decrease in civility. I’m quite sure the poster would not speak like he/she did in person. And please ddzrtcat don’t take that as a challenge of you virility just an observation that in my nearly fifty years exchanging O2 for CO2 I can count on one hand when I’ve been talked to that way. As I said on bike forum I don’t know what ax you have to grind.

So to be perfectly clear the issue is not that Catrike didn’t come with a bottle holder, which it didn’t. The issue is that Catrike only has provisions to attach one bottle holder. The trident has three locations. Those are facts which are indisputable. Now my opinion and my wife’s is that the location of the bottle holders on the Trident are better accessed while riding than the Catrikes location. When seated and peddling the Trident bottles can be easily reached without breaking cadence. With the Catrike it’s also possible not to break cadence but you have to lean forward then pull forward to release the bottle, but in our opinion it’s not nearly as easy. And my wife prefers to stop to drink because of the positioning. It’s actually easier for me to hand her a bottle as we ride. I like us to be able to drink constantly while on the fly.  Again this is not subject to debate it is merely our opinion.

There are  couple options as to where to add a few bottle holders. One is on the rear tire down stays(?). I could do a few braze ons but then there would be painting to match or use a couple SS hose clamps. The possible issue is rear rack clearance so I think SS clamps will be the first approach.

Trident Issues:
My Trident is experiencing ‘Autoshifting’. I identified the problem on Sheldon Browns great bicycling web site and would recommend going there for a complete description. But a short description is that when in 8th gear in the rear cog and peddling hard the chain will slip then be in top gear, 9th. When looking at the deraileaur in each gear all looks well. I contacted Tom at Trident and the same day he replied to check cable tension in high gear. Sure enough the cable was lose. Snugged the cable and no more autoshifting.

Next Trident Issue:
My trike has started to pull left on level ground. I check for brake drag, toe-in, axel clamping tightness, rear tire seated in drop outs, and tire/wheel issues by swapping sides. Tom again in great response time suggested “If swapping the wheels doesn’t work, then it has to be a wheel alignment issue. Toe in the left wheel a little, toe out the right wheel a little.”
I tried what Tom suggested but still have the problem so I sent another email Sunday. And a few hours later he responded that If I can come by the shop, which I can, they will make it right!