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.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 14, W. Leyden to North Volney NY

Quick glove storage. 

I think there is a mailbox in there somewhere. 

Friendly, inviting town?

World Famous says it all. 

Ok my humor is a little warped, but that's funny!

How can this house survive the first storm? 

OK this is taking this Hobbit shit too far:)

Another cold start but look Blue sky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brown barn, of Brow Barn campground. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 13, Inlet to West Leyden NY

Another rainy day with heavy showers passing through, all day long. The town of Old Forge is the first town of any significance since Vermont. The Adirondack region seems to have had better times in the past. There appears to be much poverty. I suppose the active lumber industry doesn't provide the jobs it used to. Today we left the Adirondack park and left the big hill behind. In cold weather clothing I started to use a baclava and what a major difference. Keeping the 39degF wind off the cheeks, neck, mouth, and nose makes riding comfortable. Another bouns is it keep my eye glasses from fogging!
Who is that masked man????

A beautiful lake need a more imaginative name. Oh and there was a sixth and fifth lakes on route. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 12, N. Hudson to Inlet NY

A new personal high mileage and climb day. I must be getting better in tone, because this was not nearly as hard as the Bread Loaf Mountain day. Another cool start, low 40s and light rain but by afternoon the sun was trying to peek out. There is always the question about if recumbents are slower than roadie bikes. I tend to think it has a lot to do with  selection bias, i.e. the young men buy Lance replicas to be cool and race while older folks buy recumbents for touring and comfort. Now I really see the difference on steep long climbs. Why attack the climb, just shift to granny gear and motor up, smell the roses as it were. Stopping and restarting mid climb is so undramatic, no preplanning needed, just stop take a picture and move on. So now my answer to why trikes climb slow "BECAUSE WE CAN!!!!!"
Yet another rainy start:(

I'm sure these mountains look grand on a clear day:(
Whoo, Half way across the Adirondack

Cool sign, Teddy was a great Pres. 

Ok how many stunningly beautiful lakes can you see before they get dull? This picture just does not do justice . 

Yeah the rain stopped and actually warmed up a bit!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 11, Tico NY to North Hudson NY

The sound of rain on the camper roof early this morning said the weather men were right. It was in the low 50s and the rain wasn't too heavy so we decided to push on. Right out of Tico there is a nice nonstop 900ft climb, so the cool temp and light rain was no problem. It's amazing how much heat the body can generate with constant exertion. But the rain got heavier and the temps dropped to the 40s, which is a problem without the proper gear. Clothing in this kind of weather is hard, because on a climb a lot less clothing is needed than a descent. Heck on a climb gloves are not even needed, but on the level or descent they are a must! So a pair of water proof gloves are necessary. Next on the climb a rain coat or wind block isn't needed, not so on descent, an effective rain coat is needed. And finally the head, ears and face, same thing, not on the climb, yes on the descent. And probably the worst part about not having the right clothing on the descent is speed limiting:( There were several really nice descents on this section but I was limited to less the about 13mph on most when I'm sure high 20s to low 30s speed could have been hit.

And I'm seriously disappointed that today without effective gloves I was taken out after only 22miles. I'm also disappointed in Walmart Supercenter, come on guys, no rain gloves? After all we're in upstate NY not Florida. I suppose I'll have this cold weather riding down pat about the time tee shirts, shorts and sun screen become the standard uniform:)
Warm-up stop:) A MUST in this weather. 

Early camp at Yogi campground. Rained all night. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 10 R&R near Ticonderoga NY

We had a great rest & recuperation period at a nice camp ground north of Ticonderoga NY. Cool morning, frost on the picnic table, but warmed to a very pleasant sunny day requiring sun block. It did hurt not to be riding on such a fine day, especially with rain predicted for tomorrow, but R&R was really needed.  So we did some other needed tasks, checking out the car, oil, tire etc, fixing a trailer left door issue and putting a new trailer/car electrical connector. 

I was also thinking some might think food would be primitive while camping on the constant move like we're doing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Donna is a miracle worker with a coleman camp stove! Breakfast can be a 3 egg, salmon/pork,spinach, cheese and onion omelet, plain old bacon and eggs or left over pork patties and walnuts. And of couse fresh brewed coffee. We usually don't eat lunch but I will snack on Beef Jerky, apples, bannas, grapes, sardines, nuts, celery with pennut butter, or dinner leftovers. Dinner is nearly alway a salad and cooked vegetable like broccoli, carrots, onion, mushrooms, green onions.  And the main course has been steak, chicken, pork, salmon, turkey chilly and on day fajitas. 
So as you can see we eat very well all thanks to my lovely wife Donna, I LOVE YOU. 
I can only imagine the treats I'd have had I put an oven in the galley. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 9, E. Middleburry VT to Ticonderoga NY

Starting the day in front of the East Middlebury Library and its 36degF and sunny at 6:45am. I thought today was going to be just plain easy, no dice. Although the ACA map doesn't show much in the way of climbs between East Middlebury and Tico, the 26 miles still had over +2100ft climb. Yeah that's a little bit of whining. I was tried at the start and was really looking forward to basically a coast down to the lake. Yesterday took more out of me than I thought so with Tico in sight it was time for some rest & recuperation. We found a very nice camp site about 8miles north and decided tomorrow was a complete day off.

Thought of the Day: We can't trust our eyes, aka eyewitness accounts are nearly worthless. In my case it was looking ahead and estimating the road grade, i.e. up or down. I found that after big climbs just the decrease in grade from say 8% to 2% gave the illusion of the road going down! Then I get confused, why is my speed down from normal for a slight decline. Am I that tired? Are the brakes dragging? Big headwind? No, No, and No. I look sideways to the direction of travel and it's instantly and obviously I'm still on an upward grade:(

Leaving the White and Green Mountains behind. If Vermont would fix it's roads it would be a great riding experience. 

The Adirondack Mountains ahead.

Local art, saw others but this was the only pic.
Ferry across to Ticonderoga NY. 

Yeah another state down. 

Tico central park is pretty but the town is tired.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 8, Vermont in a day:) Well almost.

We started in Thetford Hill VT early this morning before 7am. This was going to turn out to be my personal best day. Over 60 miles and over +6000ft of climb. Two mountains account for the climb and early start and nice weather the mileage. Started out overcast with threat of rain but by mid day the sun was out!! For the first time I was in shorts and tee shirt. It felt good:) After leaving Thetford Hill there was one big climb but nothing serious. Then a very nice ride through a river valley from about Sharon VT to Rochester VT. Just rolling hills and not too much traffic even for a sunny weekend day.

Then everything changed, dun, dun,duuun. The hundreds of Posrches racing down the hill should have been a clue. But my only thought was there's some money around here. Next the three Lance Armstrong type bicyclist who asked "are you going over the TOP??". The climb started easily enough then after a 50 mile day the full 12% grade kicked in. Several stops later, easily done on a trike, and I was at the top. The reward was a fantastic backside ride. Didn't hit a new top speed but close. But the smooth roads easily made this the best down hill.

River art.

See Really in Vermont, never saw a welcome sign.

And another covered bridge....

Yeah the Sun is out. 

Conquered Bread Loaf Mountain!!!!