Monday, January 28, 2019

Greenspeed GT20

As it turned out I just couldn't get comfortable on the Catrike Pocket. After 100 miles I finally decided it had to go. Fortunately, Trailside bike has a 30 day return policy and they refunded my full purchase price for bike and accessories. Although I said I was not going to buy another trike I couldn't help but scour the classifieds. To my surprise there was a Greenspeed GT20 advertised just an hour away. It was listed as almost new with just 39 miles at a very reasonable price. The seller was into speed and had a Catrike 700 and bought this trike as an extra knock-a-round. He realized it was not for him and put it up for sale. I had considered buying this trike 2 years ago just before we hit the road. It was reasonably priced, had drum brakes and had a compact fold. I was concerned about the ride as it was not suspended and had a stiff aluminum frame. My test ride was impressive and I loved the handling but again the ride seemed a bit harsh and I thought it was more money than it was worth. I also didn't want to get cheap in my retirement and my real heart throb was for an ICE Sprint. After the test ride I decided to pass on the trike. Fast foward and I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Greenspeed GT20.
It took a few days to get the trike tweaked right for me. It's always a challenge getting the seat and boom just right. In addition there was way to much cable housing that needed to be trimmed and the gears needed major adjustments. There are a few design floors one of which is the chain rubs against to bottom seat mount. I put a piece of rubber there which worked to quiet the noise. Another problem is the chain hits the rear fender when in high gear but in flat Florida I will not be using that gear. In fact I have had no need to get out of the big chainring which is 56t. I have put over 125 miles so far this week and I can honestly say this trike is a keeper. The most important thing for me is the body geometry. The trike has a very low bottom bracket to seat ratio which gives me an open relaxed feel and suits my comfort zone perfectly. The seat contours well for my body and so far I have not felt the need for any tush cush as I've had on all my other trikes. The trike has a very small turning circle and handles like a dream. Drum brakes are my favorite as they stop well, require no maintenance and last forever. I definitely prefer indirect steering. The trike came with a few extras like mirror and headrest and I had a rear rack I was able to easily add. Another big plus is the trike folds small for transport.
Although I was concerned about the harsh ride it seems my days of road riding are over. Most of my riding is on beautiful well maintained paved bike paths in Florida. I am able to safely ride to local shops but it is not more than 8 miles round trip and the roads are well maintained.
I am very happy with my new ride and suspect it will be a keeper along with my Xootr Swift.

Rolls like the wind
Tight turning radius
No pedal steer
No tail wagging
No brake steer
Tracks straight, minimal effect on crowned roadway
Super comfy seat
Does have some passive suspension
Drum brakes, no maintenance
Compact fold

Chain rubs against metal seat mount (now fixed)
Chain hits fender in high gear
Way too much cable housing and poor routing of cables
Some drivetrain noise (being hard of hearing helps)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Catrike Pocket

After being trikeless for over 2 years I finally purchased a new Catrike Pocket. My original plan was to get another ICE that folds, but spending near $5k and the bike spending most of its time outside unprotected, I opted for something less expensive. We are Wintering in Central Florida near The Withlacoochee Trail and there is a great recumbent bike shop called Trailside Bikes. I test road a few trikes including Greenspeed and Trident but it was the Catrike Pocket that intrigued me. First off the price was only $1950 with Winter promotion. The trike is well named as it has a small footprint and is one of the lightest trikes made. It easily fit in the back of my CR V which was a major criteria as we travel full-time. It is a low slung trike which concerned me. I opted to add a Ventist seat pad for both added comfort and raised me up just a bit. I added Arkel bags specific for Catrike and a rack I had laying around. The promo color Aqua Blue is beautiful.
I've put just 100 miles on so far and the jury is out on weather I like it. I am not a fan of direct steering but it was something I can overlook based on the price and portability. My main issue is the seating position. I'm not sure I can get used to it. The Ventist pad helps but not enough. If I cannot acclimate myself it will go up for sale. Needless to say my wife is not happy with the monetary loss I will take. If I do sell I don't think I will buy another trike. I have been very happy with my folding Xootr Swift which now has over 10,200 miles in just 2.5 years. It is actually one of my favorite all-time rides and you can't beat it's portability. I do hope I can get used to the Pocket. It is well made with very nice components and accessories at a very respectable price.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Urban Assault

I just picked up this Raleigh Redux 3.
She's a real beauty!!!

Specs can be found here.
As much as I love recumbent bikes/trikes they just don't work well while travelling.
I spent the last 12 months riding my Xootr Swift folder which has proved itself in over 5600 miles.
The only real problem has been the harsh ride on those 20 inch wheels. I wanted a bike with large volume tires, simple drivetrain, nimble handling and no front shock. My ideal ride was one of those 80's rigid mountain bikes made from Chromoloy steel. Unfortunately it would require new drivetrain and wheels and the expense seemed prohibitive. I also felt a new bike was in order. I was looking at 1x 10/11 mountain bikes but it meant a front shock and better road tires as I didn't plan on doing much trail riding and the cost was greater than my $1k budget. I finally came across the Redux 3 which had most of my requirements. My concern was all aluminum and Promax hydraulic disk breaks. I do most of my own wrenching and have no knowledge of hydraulics and know that Promax is pretty bad. As far as the aluminum it's hard to escape as that's what manufacturers seem to be producing. I new the 2.0 tires would soak up the bumps and aluminum will survive the elements. This bike will spend it's life outside on the back of my car. Another reason not to over invest. 
I finally bit the bullet and purchased this $900 bike off eBay for $557. The bike was easy enough to assemble except when it came time to attach the front disk brake. Being the guy that I am I saw no reason to read the directions. The front brake did not go on and I took it apart to make it fit. I broke the hydraulic seal and oil went everywhere including the caliper. I finally went to my teacher, YouTube, and learned it was beyond my capabilities and expertise. The next morning with tail between my legs I brought the bike to a shop. I was told the brake and rotor were toast and the repair/replacement would be $150. The only good from this was I replaced with a quality brake by Shimano. I was fortunate and got the bike back the next day and proceeded to make the final adjustments. I took the bike for a 10 mile trial run and so far am quite pleased. It's plenty fast, has a nice smooth and nimble ride, the 1x9 11/40 cassette with a 40 chainring offers all the gears I need and the brakes work perfectly. I am awaiting a rear rack and kickstand. The seat is comfortable enough at present. The Schwalbe Big Ben 2.0 tires smooth out the chipseal nicely. It does have a more aggressive riding position than I'm used too. I ordered a shorter stem and will see how that works or maybe a 2 inch riser handlebar might be in order. I also had to order a bike rack for car transport.
It's always fun to get a new ride and look forward to all the new miles of smiles.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 STATS

Year                     2017  2016   2015   2014    2013    2012     2011      2010    

Total miles           5636   6493   6560    6305   6900    6169     4714      5354     
Total rides             249     254     199      181     220     199        159       183           
Average speed        11      10       10        9.5      10.4      11         11          10           
Av.miles per ride      23     26      33         35        31        31         30          30             
Bkjournal standing 270      X     205      275      254      460         829        655        
Bentrider standing    7       X        7          9        10        13           24          17          
I am very pleased with these results, 5636 miles over 249 days on my fold-up bike an Xootr Swift. All this while travelling full-time in a Motor-home.
Better than I had hoped.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

On The Road

It's been quite some time since I posted. We sold our house in New Jersey, packed 26 years into a small box and headed out as Full Time Rver's on October 4, 2016.  It has been 10 months and we are currently in Oregon. We have traveled through approximately 19 states  and I have pedaled in most. In preparation of this journey we had to purge much stuff, including some beloved bikes. The 2 keepers where my ICE T trike and my Xootr Swift folder. The trike took up much room and did not always work in areas visited. In November of 2014 I sold it in Lake Worth, Florida. It was a said day for I had that trike 12 years and 35k miles. Be that as it may I have thoroughly enjoyed my Xootr Swift and it currently has 4k miles for the year. It sits in the back of my CRV with room to spare.
We Wintered in Florida for 5 months and it was great for bike trails. Wherever we went there seemed to be a designated bike path nearby. Alabama, Gulf Shores was another fine area to cycle. Other states where hit or miss but I always managed to find something. Ohio is not my most scenic state but the people are the friendliest and it has many designated paved bike trails. Iowa and Illinois had some great trails along the Mississippi and rural roads with little traffic. Although I did not pedal in Nappanee, Indian it would have been a great place to ride. It has flat scenic roads with friendly Amish. The locals are accustomed to Buggy's and cyclist. One of my favorite places to date is La Grande, Oregon. It is situated in a flat valley surrounded by beautiful foothills. It has miles and miles of scenic bikeways. Another week here in Oregon and off for new adventures. I'm looking forward to Utah and Colorado for more miles of smiles.
See you on the road!!!

La Grande, Oregon

Old RV

New RV


Gulf Shores Alabama Trail


Birthday ride.
Alligator sighting.



Rural Georgia




That's not good, Iowa

Took up too much room
Sadly had to go

Not my best look

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Mileage

Pedaled all 31 days this month.
755 miles
Gotta love SW Florida in the Winter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Annual Birthday Ride

Since age 50 I have been riding my age annually in the month of my birthday, January. This year I finally got the opportunity to do it in warm sunny Florida. We are now "Snowbirding" in Ft Myers and thankfully there are many cycling routes available. With the help of the local bike club, Caloosa Riders, I was able to obtain cue sheets for a 40 mile ride onto which I was easily able to add another 25 miles. It was a perfect sunny day with temps in the upper 70's and winds under 10 mph. Wind is the issue in Florida. You would thing that pedaling flat Florida would be easy but it is not. You must constantly pedal without any relief from coasting downhill. With that, there is still little to complain as Florida invests in it's parks and biking/walking paths.
Being on the road made it difficult to store multiple bikes, so all are gone except for my Xootr Swift folder which I have become quite fond of. My daily rides have not been more than 28 miles and I was a bit concerned about 65 miles. In the past few years my high mileage day has been my birthday ride.
Be that as it may, I managed to do the ride and with an additional 3 unplanned miles. I am happy to accomplish this milestone at Medicare eligibility. I suspect this will be my last time. I have accomplished more personal cycling goals than I could have imagined. I will continue to go about pedaling and enjoy everyday I get to ride.