Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One more Trike Improvement?

Well, I think so. This TerraCycle GX Fairing is a pretty slick piece and a bit pricey. But then there is a cost to low production run stuff.

I didn’t weigh it but I think even 5lbs would be a stretch. Initially I thought the plastic screen was too thin since it came wrapped up tight and flexes about even once mounted. But after an initial ride and it seems OK and this thinness certainly contributes to light weight.

The faring is designed to tilt forward to make entry and egress from the trike easier since the fairing extends back to about mid thigh. But I have decided to lock the fold mechanism since in bumpy riding the fairing starts moving forward and up and I’ve found I can easily enter the trike from the side with the fairing in place so there’s no need for it to tilt forward for me.

I bought it mainly for diverting the cold early spring Maine air but I’m very curious as to how much speed is gained for a given power input, i.e. can I carry a higher gear with the same heart rate. My initial ride around the neighborhood says yes but I’ll take the tike out to the Jax/Baldwin rail-trail where I can get a better test. So off to Baldwin this weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Riding on Herbert Hoover Dyke

 We camped at the Clewiston KOA which is few miles west of Clewiston Florida for a couple nights and were pleasantly surprised about the biking potential. Initially we had decided to camp there to use the ACA Florida Connector map as practice but then we heard that there was a hiking/biking path atop the Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee. The path is said to be about 110 miles around but is only paved for about half that. The pavement is on the northern quarter and the southern quarter with the East and West quarter being gravel.

From the KOA the entry ramp was 3.6 miles north on CR-720, then right on Griffin Rd which ends after about .7 miles at the ramp to the dyke. The roads are lightly traveled and the cars all gave wide clearance when passing.

Once on the dike we decided to head for Moore Haven about 6.7 mile west. The pavement was great with gentle elevation changes. There are long views across the sugar cane fields where some were being burned off and the marsh of the south lake.

We meet one group of about 10 hikers who had started in the Keys and were headed for Pensacola. One man in that adventurous hiking group is then headed for Canada via the Appalachian Trail. The really impressive thing was none of these hikes looked under 60 years old. Very inspiring. Maybe that cross Florida hike should be on our bucket list too:)

Can’t say there is much to Moore Haven, probably less than when we stopped there back in ’05 during our cruising on Tschuss. So we headed back towards Clewiston. The ride was easy with the wind at our backs. All told it was a very pleasant 23 miles. I suppose another bucket list item is to ride the hole loop around Lake Okeechobee.
Sailboat in the canal headed towards Moore Haven Fl
Sugar Cane field fires in the distance

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More the merrier!

Looks like there may be some extended family joining Donna and I for the Mackinaw MI to Hayward WI leg of our TrikeTrek ’12.  The emails are flying and we’re trying to figure when we could make it to Mackinaw. We don’t have internet at my mothers or a mapping program on the MacBook so it’s Old School using maps and adding up section mileage.
It looks like if I could ride straight through it would take about 23 days. Naturally I need rest days and weather related days, but how many is a huge question. So we hemmed and hawed and added 7 days to this section. Then we did the same math to get us to Anacortes WA and to a wedding we’re attending in Portland OR on Aug 4th, that resulted in moving the start day back to at least May 1st, 2012.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Decided that the Garmin eTrex 20 will serve my needs. This came about when I decide to install a fairing on my trike which will give many more locations for gadget attachment. I decided that on a trip like this cadence is not needed, i.e. I know when to spin faster. I have a Cateye heart rate monitor already, and Cateye Mitty 8 bike computer with basic speed/distance functions. Now that I’ll have the fairing the only things missing that the Garmin Edge 800 would supply is the power meter display which I never intended to use, and the “Virtual Partner” which is very cool but not worth the $364 extra dollars that can go towards the fairing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

GPS on a bicycle, isn’t technology great!

A GPS on my trike for my cross country ride certainly can’t be counted in the “Need” category. But I’ve been using GPS units motorcycle since the Garmin III+ was bleeding edge tech circa 1998. So I think it’s natural to what to use a GPS on a long bike ride.

After a few hours of research I’m going to get either a Garmin Edge 800 or Garmin eTrex 20. The Edge is best described as a bicycle computer that is GPS enabled, while the eTrex is aimed at Hikers. Both are very small and light weight, under 5oz. So either would easily fit a bicycle handlebar.  So which so I get?

Here are the pros/cons as I see them.
Garmin Edge 800
Integrated Heart Rate monitor.
Integrated Cadence count.
Cool “Virtual Partner” icon to race with.
Comes with handle bar attachment bracket.
Less clutter in the cockpit with integrated functions.
It’s a Garmin and I’ve always had good luck with them.

Expensive!!! $450 for unit, $79 for maps, $44 for HR strap, $35 for Cadence sensor, $50  for mobil charger for s total of about $658.
Internal battery that can’t be swapped for fresh, instead must be recharged each night.
It appears to be a more limited market so updates to firmware probably are not as timely.
Integrated functions means single point of failure.

Garmin eTrex 20
Uses AA batteries, already own a boat load of rechargeable AAs.
Relatively cheap: $185 for unit, $79 for maps, $30 for handle bar bracket. Total about  $294, this is less than I paid for that III+ 14 years ago.
Segregated function so less single points of failure.
It’s a Garmin and I’ve always had good luck with them.

More cockpit clutter since I really would like to have HR and Cadence
No “Virtual Partner”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Cold Weather Ride!

How absurd is it that for someone who currently lives in Maine, and has lived in Maryland for many years that my coldest biking and camping has occurred in Florida! A few years ago we camped near Pensacola and had night time temps under 32degs. Today i tried my cold weather biking preparations in a balmy 25degs. A 20 minute ride revealed that my cold defense has some holes. I recently added a balaclava and cold weather running pants and they both worked great! But toes and fingers didn’t fair so well. I think some kind of rain over glove will help the fingers by keeping the wind from penetrating the glove. Not sure what to do about toes other than wearing boots. But the fairing I’m installing may make bike shoes acceptable.