Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End Of Year

I didn't ride today. Just too damn cold! So I played in the garage with my bikes. I took the ICE T out for a spin around the block. This was my main ride all year and I never noticed how sloppy the steering was. I tightened the head sets and all was good again. What's not so good is how upright the seating is compared to the laid back Expedition. I put 200 miles on the Expedition and it is much more comfortable.  Still looking for things to do I decided I would not be riding the ICE much so I removed the fairing. It makes it a lot easier to get on and off the trike and for transport. I then took each trike for short spins up and down the block comparing and concluded how much I will enjoy my new ride. For shits and giggles I weighed each bike and found they are surprising the same 40 lbs after all is said and done. After tweaking the head rest that I don't seem to use I decided to leave well enough alone. I'm now in the process of reviewing my stats for the year. I will publish them later as I know Google will not lose them.
2014 was the year of the "Selfie", so here's one from yesterday.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Go Speed Racer

Today was day 3 and it was beautiful. Temps mid 50's, light winds and pure sunshine. 41 miles is a good day in the Winter but today I added 10 to that and I could have done more. I haven't done that many miles in months. It seemed the more miles I did the faster I got. I felt like "Speed Racer".
It just keeps gettin' better.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


I was finally able to get my new Cat out and see what she could do. It was overcast and there were lots of puddles after all the heavy rain. It was relatively warm for Christmas with temps in the 50's. The big issue, gusty winds. It was not the most ideal day but I was more than ready for a ride. I avoid puddles with fenders and today my ride was without. For now, it was not as bad as I expected. I do have a rear fender which offers no drag and keeps water off the seat and my back. The 2 issues of major concern on a new recumbent is ride quality and comfort. After all isn't that why we ride a recumbent. You can't really tell by riding around the block a few times. I planned on only 22 miles but it was nicer than I thought and the winds were manageable, so it became 36. I am a "steel is real" guy and was afraid the aluminum frame would be too rough. It wasn't, it rode as nice as my suspended ICE T. I guess it has to do with the longer wheel base and larger rear wheel. Whatever the reason I am glad. I sat on a lot of recumbent seats and some you can tell right away if it's not for you. It takes a 20+ mile ride to know better and thankfully after 36 miles no recumbent butt. As nice as my ICE T seat is I still have to use a "tush cush". I road the Cat without a cushion and I was fine. I assume it has to do with a greater recline putting more weight to my back than butt. With those 2 issues out of the way it was time to see if it satisfies my need for speed. It was certainly faster and I was able to push higher gears but is it going to make a Lance Armstrong out of me, definitely not. On this short ride I would guess I'm 2 mph faster but that still makes me slower than shit. The big rear wheel helps on flats and down hills but it is a detriment when climbing. If touring I would have to drop the gearing. My ICE T gear inch is 15-78, the Cat is 21-114. It's fine for most riding but on tour I would have to drop it to at least 18. Easy enough by swapping out the granny to a 26. Be that as it may I bought this bike as a sport tourer and it is just that. There are 3 issues, 1) It is harder to get out of the seat as it sits low. 2) It needs a better brake lock than the inconvenient Velcro strap. I like the push button brake lever on my ICE T. 3) It has noticeable pedal steer. This has been mentioned on trike forums and they say it goes away in time. If I recall I noticed it on my ICE T when new but now no. Either way it's not a deal breaker.
I was very satisfied with today's ride and surprisingly did not have to fiddle with adjustments. I totally understand why people are so fond of their Cats. It certainly is pretty. I am looking forward to more miles and hope for a long term relation.
This is by no means a review. It is my first impressions from one ride.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Kid In Town

Picked up my new Made In America Catrike Expedition and it's a beauty. It is sleek, sophisticated and cries sexy. The burnt orange glistens in the light. I was only able to do a few laps around the block yesterday but it screams push me hard. Today's weather drizzly so no getting this baby dirty, at least not yet. I spent the day in the garage tweaking handle bars, fender, rear rack and computer.  I may not be able to ride, but I can still play. I spent a good amount of time adding an old rear rack I had laying around. It's very light and will work for a trunk bag and light touring. I secured it to the head rest and it is spot on level. The jury is still out on the head rest. I bought the Arkel bags that fit in the frame and they are sweet and sleek. I did not purchase front fenders as I want to keep it lean and mean, but that may change. I have to get out and ride to see what works and whether to add or take away.
Catrike is extremely well engineered with attention to detail. They provide one of the best values in the trike market and come with higher end components. The 10 speed Sram drive chain is nice. Standard accessories include bash guard, front light mount, computer sensor, mirror and mount, head rest, rear fender and even clipless pedals. My only complaint is the cheap PlanetBike fender, but, Laurence of JerseyBents was kind enough to swap it out. For me these are necessities not accessories.  The other big boys give you nothing at a great expense. As much as I love ICE, a comparable Sprint 26 is over $1k more and still does not include those same accessories.  It may be engineered in England but it's made overseas.
I tend to romanticize my new bikes so the true is the test of time. If I enjoy it half as much as my ICE T I will be one happy camper.
Now all I have to do is ride.
The pics below were taken in my garage and do not nearly reflect it's beauty.
In Showroom 

Ride home
Better Fender

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I left early to get 31 miles before it rained. That's how many I needed to hit 6K for the year. It was a bit cloudy to start but otherwise nice and I was able to shed some clothes early in the ride. 10 miles out the sun was peaking through so I changed course to add 5 miles. The weather continued to cooperate and got down right beautiful so I added another 5. I finished with 41 miles and no rain in sight. So much for forecasting the weather.
I am 900 miles short of last year, which was my best ever. It's been a fun year especially with my trip to Florida. 3K miles has always been my goal so anything over that is gravy. I can't imagine doing much more without taking time away from family and life's obligations and besides it's all about keeping it fun.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Candy Store

As some of you know I have been in the market for a new trike. Catrike has an end of year sale with $200 off so I wasted little time in visiting my friend Laurence at JerseyBents. He has quite the assortment of recumbents from major manufacturers as ICE, HP Velotechnik, Terratrike, Azube, Trident, Rans and Bacchetta. I was a kid in a candy store. Initially, I was looking for a folding trike and had my eye on Catrike's New Trail. Then I got this need for speed and started looking towards the Expedition and even the 700. If those didn't work I would bite the bullet on an ICE.
Why only these 2 manufacturers?
1)Catrike offers great "bang for the buck" and is Made In America.
2) I have an ICE and I know first hand it's comfort, quality and handling.
I have owned other brands, some good, some not so good. These are expensive machines and I cannot afford more lessons.
My first trike to try was the New Folding Trail. I loved the new seat cushion but I immediately dismissed it as it was not reclined enough. I next tried the 700 which was an extreme, unfamiliar design for the "tourer" in me. It had a surprisingly nice ride and not as harsh as I anticipated even with those high pressure "Hammerhead" wheels. The recline is extreme and you have to rely on the neck rest which did not sit well with me. Then I was off on the Expedition and like Goldilocks, it was just right.  Unfortunately, test rides are confined to a neighborhood with no hills. It is difficult to get a true feeling of performance and comfort without getting out for some serious miles. I was initially concerned about "Direct Steering" as my ICE is "Indirect and works great. It does seem stiffer requiring more effort but I had no doubt it would handle well at speeds. My other big concern was aluminum frame and no suspension. I tried to find patches of rough road and also pedaled onto the sidewalk. It was not bone shattering and for the brief time seemed more than manageable and plenty comfortable. The Expedition and the whole Catrike line is very well engineered and a true value in the recumbent trike market. I will have to decide soon if I want to take advantage of the discount. Laurence is a great dealer and I highly recommend JerseyBents.
Now all I have to do is make a decision.
Laurence and The Trail

Black Beauty 700



Friday, December 12, 2014


This is my first day out in 5 days. It's been cold, windy, rain and snow. Forecaster's promised above freezing temps and sunshine and I was excited to get out. Well they got it half right with mid 30's and grey skies. The sun did manage to come out but my ride was near over.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with JerseyBents to test ride some new trikes. I sold my Stratus and Greenway with plans on buying a utilitarian trike that folds for travel. For some unknown reason I have developed a need for speed and now am looking at some faster trikes. Fortunately, Laurence stocks all the trikes I'm interested in and more. I will be concentrating on Catrike as they fill all my needs, are made in America and are a great bang for the buck. Tomorrow promises more sunshine and mid 30 temps, not the best climate to test ride, but it will have to do. I already cancelled once due to inclement weather and Catrike is running an end of year sale. They are offering my favorite color and $200 off. Can't beat that!

Sun finally coming out.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Calm After The Storm

Another 40 miler on this unusually warm December 1st. Partly cloudy, tolerable 10 mph winds and 60 degrees. What made this ride even better was the calm after the Holiday long weekend. I hope I will be as fortunate next month when I do my "Birthday Ride". It seems Winter rides are made up of 2 categories, 20 miles, can't wait till it's over and 40 miles, gotta enjoy the day when I can. It will be awhile when the warm days say, I'll just see where the ride takes me.