Thursday, February 24, 2011

15,000 Miles On My ICE T

I purchased the trike in June of 06 from Hugh of PBW bikes in California.  It is now just short of 5 years and I have hit the 15k mark.  Over 5300 miles was done last year alone.  This has worked out to be a fantastic purchase and remains my favorite ride in my stable.  The trike rides like the day I got it requiring mostly maintenance.  There were a few unique requirements that both Hugh at PBW and ICE graciously helped me with at little or no charge.  One thing in particular recently was while doing routine maintenance on my home made stand.  The wind blew my trike off the stand.  It turned out the only damage was a bent axle hub bolt.  The wheel that Hugh rebuilt for me at a cost of parts and shipping only remained true.  ICE graciously sent me a new bolt at no charge.  You can't beat that.
I did have a Rans Stratus with over 20k miles that I sold which also stood the test. 
To me these well developed Bent Manufactures are providing quality products with personal service.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Emergency Repair Items Added

After my disasterest broken chain event last Monday, I decided to add a few items to carry in case of emergency field repairs.  The items  I added are 3 pair vinyl gloves, for obvious reasons.  Two sets of Sram Master links for quick chain reattachment.  Two pieces of coat hanger wire to hold the chain together while I make link repairs.  A small chain tool which I always carried, but, hoped I would never have to use.  I posted my Murphy's Law Day on BROL and got lots of feedback.  Besides the gloves, which was obvious,  the coat hanger to hold the chain together like a 3 rd hand seems ingenious.  Having a chain tool and making repairs off the bike is easy.  Using a Master Link to reattach the chain on the bike is much easier than using the chain tool.  The added items account for minimal weight and should serve as a quicker and easier chain repair both in the field and at home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Broke My Chain

The weather here has finally broke and so did my chain.  Temps heading into the low 50's and pure sunshine.  I decided to take things slow but thought this would be a good 50 miler day.  11 miles into the ride on a climb, something pops and I'm spinning aimlessly.  I get off my trike, look down, and there it is behind me on the ground.  My chain.  OH SHIT comes the famous call.  I am out in rural NJ and my wife is out and probably doesn't have her phone on.  Fortunately I had a inexpensive small chain tool with me.  Not something I always carry but will from now on.  Too say the least it was quite challenging and took me 1.5 hrs.  I have changed my chains on many occasions, but not in the field.  Much easier on a stand in a controlled environment.  The biggest challenge is threading the chain properly through the chain tubes  I finally manged to get everything together only to find the tubes were crossed.  No big deal as I was able to pedal, just with caution.  I made it home slowly with no other hazards.  Putting the trike on the stand and using the Sram quick links I was able to untwist the tubes and all works fine.  The grease on my hands make take another month to scrub off.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Take the whole lane when appropriate.

This information is reprinted with permision from Michael Bluejay and his site Bike Safe
It's often safer to take the whole lane, or at least ride a little bit to the left, rather than hug the right curb. Here's why:
Cars at intersections ahead of you can see you better if you're squarely in the road rather than on the extreme edge where you're easily overlooked.
Taking the lane prevents cars from passing you too closely on narrow roadways.
Riding a bit to the left prevents you from being a victim of the door prize.
You might worry about slowing down the traffic behind you if you take the lane. But if you're on the kind of street where you've got cars blocked up behind you or constantly changing lanes to get around you, you're probably on the wrong street and should find a quieter neighborhood street.
Taking the lane works especially well in most traffic circles. The traffic generally moves slower so it's easy to keep up, riding in the lane makes you more visible to motorists, and taking the lane prevents motorists from right hooking you as they exit the circle.
It's perfectly legal for you to take the lane when appropriate.  State Law says you have to ride as far to the right as is "practicable". Here are some things that make it impracticable to ride to the extreme right:
You're in a heavy traffic area with lots of side streets, parking lots, or driveways ahead and to your right. Cars turning left won't see you because they're looking for traffic in the middle of the road, not on the extreme edge of the road. Move left.
Cars are passing you too closely. If the lane is too narrow for cars to pass you safely, then move left and take the whole lane. Getting buzzed by cars is dangerous.
Cars are parked on the right-hand side of the road. If you ride too close to these you're gonna get doored when someone gets out of their car. Move left.
There are risks to both riding to the extreme right as well as taking the lane. Whether you ride to the right or take the lane depends on the conditions of the roadway you're on. On wide roadways with few intersections/driveways, right further right. On narrow roads with lots of intersections, ride farther to the left. It's not always better to take the lane or to hug the curb; it depends on the roadway you're on.

Finally Rode My Trike Today

With temps beginning to thaw and road shoulders clearing I decided it was time to take my trusted steed for a spin.  I have been off to a slow start with only 8 rides and just under 200 miles for the year.  I thought it might be a sloppy ride as the temps were to be in the upper 30's.  My concerns were unfounded.  Low lying clouds and winds over 20 mph prevented any quick melting.  I did the same oval loop I did yesterday with my Rocket.  Half the ride into the wind the other half at my back.  I was 0.4 mph slower on the trike than my Rocket.  I guess the fairing really helps with those head winds.  Anyway, it  was a real joy to get back out there on my trike.  The Rocket is a nice re-addition to my stable and all my bikes have their place, but my ICE T remains my favorite.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

The Gods have smiled upon me today.  The warm wet rains of yesterday helped reduce the mountains of snow.  Today brought warm temps in the upper 30's and plenty of sunshine.  I managed to get in a 32 miler on one of my favorite routes.  Although I so desperately want to ride my trike I dare not.  The roads are still not fully open and melting snow has created rivers.  The Rocket is still the bike of choice for now.  It's nimble handling allows me to maneuver around pot holes and gives me that little extra space between cars.  It's higher seating helps keep me drier.  I am very happy I installed the rear fender and will probably add a front one also.  The Rocket makes for a great commuter and fowl weather bike and has many other great attributes.  Some of the reasons I regretted selling mine in the first place.  I still have some ideas and tweaking I want to do, but need some better weather to proceed. 
I have registered for BikeFL and will be taking my ICE T.
My ride today was like getting back in the saddle.  I finally broke 100 miles for the year.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Finally Did IT

I was finally able to get out today for a 22 mile ride.  Temps were supposed to be in the low to mid 30's.  After painting the kitchen I had more errands to run.  I finished up about 12:30 and decided the temps would be as warm as they were going to get.  Although ice patches make taking the trike better, I decided because of the high snow banks and minimal shoulders that it would be better to take the Rocket.  Sitting up higher and having a better line of sight for both me and drivers seemed like the safer way to go.  I had decided I wouldn't put fenders on the Rocket, but, after my last wet ride and cleaning off my new bag, back and bike, I changed my mind.  I had an old rear fender and adapted it to my Rocket.  To my surprise in spite of the warmer temps, I found few puddles.  There was still quite a lot of ice patches and the snow had a glistening hard sheen.  I suspect even though the temps were above freezing the cold coming off the existing snow made it colder.  Having said all that, I must point out, that I am not a cold weather weeny.  It is the massive amounts of snow that has made cycling impossible for this enthusiast.  I am hoping that we will get rain instead of snow so some of this will melt away.  One can only hope. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can't Take It Anymore

This years Winter Blues have really gotten to me.  I have only been on my bike 3 times since the first of the year.  I need someting to cling to and keep me going through these toughest of times.  My 1st act of passion was to register for GOBA.  This is a 7 day ride in Ohio with about 3,000 cyclists.  I have done this ride twice.  It is well organized, relatively inexpensive and I have made a lot of great friends.  The weather is usually good and the routes are casually paced with many rest stops.  This ride starts at the end of June so I needed something sooner to keep me going.  Today I registered for BikeFlorida.  This is another 7 day tour that begins March 26.  It also is well organized, relatively inexpensive and hosts up to 1,000 riders.  I too have done this event twice.  I stopped going on this ride as it is early in the season and the rides generally run more north.  It tends to be a bit chilly sleeping in a tent and doesn't warm up to the 70's until about 10 am.  Being a 2 day and 1000 mile drive for me it didn't make much sense driving all that way and still be cold.  With all this snow and cold weather those temps seem pretty good.  I am better prepared for those cooler temps in Florida than I was before.  I will take warmer clothes for the nights and bring some shedding clothes for the spring like temps in the day.  It's been years since I have done these event rides and I am looking forward to leaving my cares and woes at home and just enjoying the ride.