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Winter Gloves

I ride a trike to work all winter, every day in all weather. Last winter I ended up with a set of gloves for different conditions that I really like.   I haven’t driven a car to work in 8 years, so I’m out in all weather, and find it refreshing and pleasant, certainly not a hardship.  Seems like we had more rain and also cold last  winter, so I updated my gloves for both extremes. I went into a bike store and asked for their most waterproof gloves.  I got the Pearl Azumi Elite softshell gloves, which are fleece lined and shown in the middle of the photo.  Turned out they were great cold weather gloves, but not waterproof.  They are good for 35-25 degrees for me.


I went to Cabela’s and found they had WATERPROOF gloves made of neoprene, with a fabric lining, and the seams glued together very precisely.  These are made for fishermen. When its going to rain, or if the pavement is wet, I take these gloves and have been warm and dry in them.  For cold weather riding, like below about 25 degrees, I got the Bontrager RXL Lobsterclaw gloves at the bottom of the pic.  They are insulated with Thinsulate, and lined with fleece.  They are good to at least 15, and there is room to add a thin pair of fleece gloves below that temp.  I usually wear one pair in the morning and a different pair on the return home when its generally warmer.


Fly6 by Cycliq: tail light / video camera combo

I’ve had this cool device for more than a year, so I guess I’d better write something about how cool it is.  Usually when you combine one thing with another you get the worst of both worlds.  Like when you combine a car with an airplane, you get a slow, googy car and a heavy and slow airplane.  By contrast, the Fly6 is a great rear tail light blinky, and a great video camera.


The light function has various light levels and patterns, including a bright, blinking, big red LED, and other smaller LEDs in moving patterns.  When you turn the light on, and video camera is automatically on.  It has a 6 hour run time on video memory, then it begins overwriting what is on the card, so you never have to download the video if you don’t want.  It is rechargable, and runs for about 5 or 6 hours, more if you put the LEDs at lower light intensities. The video quality is excellent.  It sells for $169, and I see that its available at REI. Their website at has more information on their products, which now includes the Fly12, a front facing video camera combined with a 400 lumen head light.

Why do you need a video camera when riding your bike? To get no hassle video footage of your ride, in case you want to make a ride video of scenery and friends.  Another reason is to have a video record of hostile or homicidal drivers.  I’ve had beer cans thrown at me from passing cars, and other cyclists have had worse incidents.  Those incidents are usually not resolved, because you don’t have time to get a license number, and its just your word against theirs.  A video changes the game.  An example was when a cyclist was attacked by a motorist, who then called the police on the cyclist.  When the cops saw the video, they arrested the motorist for battery. The Cycliq site has a bunch of videos taken by their customers which are very interesting.  I feel naked without the Fly6 watching my back, and I’m going to get the Fly12 also.


Keeping Your Devices Charged in the Field

I recently had a chance to try out the TinyCharger5, by  The TinyCharger5 is a lightweight solar panel that has more surface area than a lot of other solar panels for travelers, and its very lightweight.  I used it in conjunction with a soundlogic XT power cell (battery pack), and the solar panel charged the battery pack, and the battery pack kept my cell phone charged for a multiday bike trip plus two weeks at home.


The TinyCharger5 is 8″ by 11.75″, with the solar cells mounted on a card that appears to be weather resistant if not weather proof.  The solar cells are covered by a plastic sheet which appears to be heat fused to the plastic card.  It is 0.10″ thick, about as thick as a credit card, and weighs 4.2 oz.The solar panels have eyelets at each corner which would be used to secure the TinyCharger5 to a backpack or bike, or to hang it from a nail.  I don’t see the TinyCharger5 on their website, but the Featherweight5 looks very similar and is $14.95.

I would get into camp on the bike ride in the early afternoon, set up my tent, and position the solar panel facing the sun.  It would get about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight, and put a fair charge on the power cell.  The power cell had enough juice to charge my cell phone twice.  When I got home, I kept up the charging routine for two weeks, and kept my phone charge for 2 weeks with no connection to wall current.  I was totally impressed with it.  See for ordering information on the TinyCharger5.  The bike ride provided phone charging services, for $5 per charge!  I got two charges per day for free.

The soundlogic XT power cell is also very cool.  I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond, and its available on Amazon.  It has 2 usb ports, and an input jack that goes to the solar panel with a usb plugin in the back of the solar panel.  The power cell has a power level display that is 4 LEDs, which show when you press a button, or when the solar panel is connected.  The power cell weighs 5.0 oz, and the connecting cable weighs 0.5 oz, and similar units are on Amazon for around $12.  It is 5200 mA, and one usb port is 2100 mA and the other is 1000 mA. This panel is great for cyclists on a road trip, backpackers, boaters, or anyone who has some devices to keep charged.  I got a usb battery charger for my camera and flashlight, so I can keep everything charged in the field or when the zombie apocalypse knocks out the power grid.

The Updated PupRUNNER Pet Trailer

The good folks at PupRUNNER, Ben and Anna Carter, have updated the design of their trailer.  It now has several slick features, but the best is that the trailer folds to almost flat, so storing it is made much easier.  The wheels also come off, with a quick release, so its even easier to store.  As in the earlier version, the floor is in two panels and either or both panels swing up to allow one or both dogs to run or ride.  When the pooch gets tired, the floor swings down, and pooch can ride and still see some scenery.

pupRUNNER folding trailer

pupRUNNER folding trailer

We have one issued patent on their pet trailer, U.S. patent 8,950,767, and another patent is about to issue on the folding version of the trailer.  The trailer described in these patents attaches to a bike, and has a floor that folds up, so a dog can run inside the trailer for awhile,


Tools I carry on bikes or trikes

The picture shown below shows the tools I carry on my bike or trike on each and every ride.  Also shown are the patches and glue I use for patching tubes, either at home or on the road.


The tools include blue Park TL-4 tire levers.  These are different from other tire levers because they have a blunt tip, with a groove along the tip.  The groove is to grab the wire embedded in the edges of a clincher tire.  This guarantees that the tip of the lever doesn’t grab the tube and pinch it.  This feature greatly reduces pinch flats.  Other gear includes an Alien II multitool, by Topeak.  This little tool has all kinds of Allen wrenches and open end wrenches, spoke wrenches, and also has a knife, a chain breaker, can opener, and a torx wrench which works with Avid BB7 disc brakes.

Another tool is the CO2 canisters, with a small regulator on the end of one canister.  The regulator is made by Air Rush, and is a minimalist sort of air regulator.  One CO2 canister fills a couple of tires, depending on how big the tires are.  These are super convenient compared to a small air pump.  I carry on the bike or trike a tube patch kit with a piece of sandpaper, a disposable razor (not shown), some small round patches, and a small tube of glue.  The razor is to shave down the ridges in the tube if the hole to be patched is near a ridge.  The tube that comes with a regular little patch kit is mostly filled with air, and has enough glue for about 2 patches, so you are out of glue before you are out of patches, and half the patches are large ones, which I never use.

What I do for patches and glue is to buy small round patches (Rema F1) in a box of 100, then I keep 3 or 4 in the kit on the bike.  I also buy a 10 g tube of glue for taking on the road.  That has to be 5 or 10 times as large as the small ones that come in a kit, and the two tubes are shown side-by-side in the picture.  For patching tubes at home I use Rema Tip Top 2o3 Cold Vulcanizing Fluid in an 8 oz can, which has a brush in the lid.  That way my travel tube of glue will last longer.

I also carry  a new tube for each size tire I have.  The trike has two different sizes.  This setup has served me well in my daily rides.

Updating an 80’s road bike (Fuji Design Series)

I lucked into a fantastic bike about 6 years ago, a Fuji 1987 Design Series road bike.  This was their top of the line road bike, and all components were top quality Campy parts.  It fit my wife Tuckie perfectly, and was her road bike.  We went on some fun short rides, and she never did longer rides or group rides on it.  She didn’t ride it enough to get used to using the clip-in Speedplay pedals, and one time she didn’t get a good push off from a stop, and fell over onto the pavement.  She broke her fall with her hand, and ended up with a broken bone in her wrist.  This was exactly what the bike looked like, but it was not quite as pristine as this one:


The picture below shows the down tube Campy shifters.  Our bike was the same color, same saddle, same components as this bike, but the paint was not as perfect as this one.


While recuperating from the broken wrist, Tuckie rode a mountain bike with flat handlebars, and got used to having all the controls on the bars.  She never really got used to the down tube shifters, nor riding with hands on the brake hoods, as road bike riders of the 80s did.  I talked to a friend of mine who owns a bike shop, and looked at his new road bikes with flat handlebars.  They also had wide rims and heavy tires, and cost upwards of $1500.  I wanted the light weight and speed of a road bike, just with flat handlebars.  He said don’t try to convert the old road bike, as it would be a money pit, and would require a different axle and derailleurs, and I’d never find the right size parts to do the job.  I had a love for the old bike, and I wanted to try to make it work.
So my project was to make a few changes to the Fuji, to take advantage of the light frame, and nice road wheels, and keeping the Campy brakes.  The tasks were thus:

replace the drop handlebars with a flat handlebar, complete with shifters and brake levers

put on a granny gear for getting up the mile and a half long hill to our house

possibly make it indexed shifting, but I knew there was a low probability of that

I had a pair of brand new brake levers, so that was easy.  I bought a pair of Suntour thumb shifters on ebay.  With those components I put on the flat handlebars, and replaced the down tube shifters with shifter cable stops, as shown below.


The flat handlebars, with brake levers, new grips, and the Suntour thumb shifters, are shown below.


That was the easy part.  To add a granny gear, I would need a different axle with a longer end on the drive side, and a triple crankset, with pedals.  I’d also need a long reach derailleur to take up the extra chain slack when using the granny gear.  The chances of getting all these components to fit correctly was pretty small, and would likely be costly but I had two secret weapons.  First secret weapon: We have a bike co-op in Boise, the Boise Bicycle Project.  They have a good supply of bike parts, and I found an axle with sealed bearings that fit my bottom bracket, and would likely accommodate the extra gear of the triple.  We also found a long reach Suntour rear derailleur, and also a front Suntour derailleur.  It was coming together, against all odds.  The triple crankset we found is shown below, after I added a 40 tooth chain ring to replace the 48 it came with.   Cost of parts, about $50 for the axle, triple crankset, derailleurs, platform pedals, and flat bar,  $40 for the thumb shifters.  Second secret weapon: expert advice and coaching by two BBP mechanics, Yon and Michael.  Wow, those guys saved my butt every time I turned around!


So the bike came together nicely, and every thing actually works. We found that the thumb shifter had an indexed setting for a 6 speed cluster, and since the rear cassette was a 6 speed, and the Suntour rear derailleur was compatible with the Suntour index thumb shifter, we had 6 speed indexed shifting!  Awesome, and an unexpected result.  So the bike ended up looking like the picture below.  I also put on platform pedals, which Tuckie wants to use.  Now maybe we’ll get a gel saddle, and do on some rides when the weather gets better.



Recumbent Handlebars

There seems to be a bewildering number of handlebar types for recumbents, especially 2 wheeled ones.  Here is my attempt to define some of them:

Below: Hamster bars

Bruce: I much prefer the hamster bars. I run them on both of my bikes. They place my hands and arms in a “natural”, relaxed position. Very little movement to affect a turn.  I never did understand the “tweeners” style. Limited movement, and if you have really long legs, lots of banged knees. Way too much hand travel for a given steering input, too! Not for me.



hamster bars
Below: Tweeners, (legs between bars) aka Superman, Open Cockpit, OC


Disadvantages: Bruce: I never did understand the “tweeners” style. Limited movement, and if you have really long legs, lots of banged knees. Way too much hand travel for a given steering input, too! Not for me.



Below: Chopper bars (ER and Rans LWB)



chopper bars.45
Below: Praying Mantis

praying mantis.50

Below: Machine Gun bars, Graeme Obree piloting

gunner bars2

Below: Under Seat (Linear Recumbent)


Below: Drop Bars (Chopped Drop Bars)

civl3:  I have drop bars on my Carbent. I used 56cm SOMA Portola bars. When I put my hands on the hoods, they are in the same position as they were with the original OC bars. That hints at how much lower the crossbar is which gives me a less obstructed view forward. I can turn tighter too because the bars don’t run into my thighs unless I’m turning really tightly. If I want a more relaxed arm position I can put my hands in the drops. The drop bars also let me use brifters (Sram Force in this case), which I prefer over bar-ends. The brifters also allow the cables to be cleanly routed along the bars. I tried a tiller set-up but all of the cables obstructed my view forward as much or more than the OC bars. I am using a flip-it style stem because I needed adjustability to find the correct position of the bars. Plus it makes it easier to get off of the bike.

chopped road bars

chopped road bars 2


Below:  Varna Bars, for a fully faired super fast Varna low racer

varna bars




Index to Catrike Maintenance Posts

Catrike Maintenance and Repair topics are listed below. Links are to specific posts or links to information.  Submissions of posts by any Catrike rider for inclusion here are welcomed. FYI, Catrikes are recumbent tricycles, with more information available at the Catrike Performance Trikes site. Information on other trike or recumbent technical topics is welcomed.


Basic Setup and Maintenance

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2004 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2005 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2006 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2007 Manual

Catrike Performance Trike Official 2009 Manual
Catrike Performance Trike Official 2010 Manual

removing the master link on the chain, and replacing it (page 18 of the above manual).
checklist of initial setup items
removing a front wheel
replacing front wheel bearings
replacing rear wheel bearings
adjusting rear derailer (link to Sheldon Brown’s instructions)
adjusting disk brakes (link to Park Tool page)
replacing disk brake pads (link to Park page)
Bruce’s advice on adjusting Avid BB7 brakes on Catrikes
installing front fenders
fixing a flat tire in front, rear wheels
installing teflon bushings in front headsets

Catrike headset adjustment, servicing bearings

cleaning a chain, and lubrication

Troubleshooting section:

rear wheel squeak: lube rubber weather seal
Bottom bracket not horizontal when trike is on flat surface: loosen boom clamp, reorients boom, or file guide tooth
after removing a front wheel, my brake pad rubs: adjust brakes, per this link:
shimmy in steering: purchase teflon bushings from catrike, install
chain routing
brake cable routing
shifter cable routing
setting toe on front wheels of a trike


Facing the bottom bracket edges

Discussion of After market items and FAQs:

Jerry’s flags
Locking brake levers. These are great!
What is Schlump and other drives?
what would Schlump or Roloff give me over the stock gearing?
Terracyle idlers discussion
Super bright (240 lumens) flashlight for use as headlight, tail light
what size bearings does my (year) (model) Catrike use in the front, rear wheel?where does one get replacement steel or ceramic bearings (link, or part number)
ceramic bearing installations in front hubs
options for mounting both a light and a speedometer
list of all tools needed
chain guards, bash guards: Purely Custom, with Catrike Logo available, and many colors, Trice (Utah Trikes) Chain Guard Ring
– Cables: how to order replacements, how to cut to length, how to install end pieces on housing and cable, what tools are needed
– Chains: how to order (how many chains needed/length), brand, types
– Articles on component upgrades (brakes, shifters, derailleurs, etc)
– Common accessories: what has worked well (lights, racks, bags, pedals, mirrors, etc)

Arizona Whip lighted flagpole

Tactical Flashlights for lighting system

The Backstory on Holey Spokes

In fall of 2008 I (Bruce, trikebldr) bought a 2003 Speed. As I hefted it up to put it in the rack on top of my car I thought I would just throw it all the way over the car, it was so light. When I got it home I weighed it at 28lbs, complete with fenders. It made me wonder how light I could make my 2007 Speed. Stock, it weighed 31lbs.

I have a friend in Los Angeles who runs the computers that control the earthquake shift equipment under a high-rise building in downtown. He asked for a lot of pics, dimensions and weights, then plugged them all into this computer to do a stress flow analysis. It gave us back hundreds of diagrams that showed where the trike’s frame, and other parts, were most and least stressed under load.

DF bikes are made from butted and double-butted tubing to reduce weight. For those not familiar with the term “butted tube”, this means that the center has thinned out walls while the ends are thicker walled. These special butted tubes can be made in approximate lengths and cut to fit precisely into a DF’s frame. All trike makers that I know of use pretty much generic, uniform-wall-thickness tubing. It’s simply a matter of economics, since trikes of various frame design require too many tube lengths to be able to provide butted tubing for all parts of the frame. The old solution to non-butted tubing was to drill across the tube in the middle areas to reduce the weight. Tubes under side loading cannot be drilled, but those in longitudinal compression and tension can be. Most DF frames are completely triangulated, meaning their tubes are all under tension or compression, but not side loaded, appreciably. Trike frames are not so lucky!

Holey Spokes was drilled in those areas shown to be over-built as far as tubing wall thickness. The main, one-piece frame was drilled exactly as the computer showed, but I took some liberties on some smaller, easily replaceable parts. In the end the only area that I would do differently would be not drilling completely through the boom’s internal “peace” webbing. A stock, undrilled boom gave me 1/16″ of twist under heavy loading measured at the top of the der post, but the drilled version now gives me 1/8″ of twist, measured the same way. By loading, I mean causing the rear wheel to spin slightly with the front brakes on. This would not be acceptable for all you pseudo-Lances out there, but for me it isn’t a noticeable loss of efficiency.

A lot of criticism has been heard about drilling the cranks. You cannot drill most cranks, but the older Truvativ Elita cranks have a dog-bone cross section to them and the main strength is along the edges. Small, 1/2″ holes can be drilled with no problems. The most stress that can be applied here is until the rear tire breaks free, and I have done that, as well a stomping on them hard.

I have about 200 hours of drilling and de-burring in the project, as well as other tweaks to make it handle quicker. The wheels were tightened up to the max recommended spoke tensions for each rim. Ceramic bearings are used everywhere except in the Frog pedals. I have one set of Stelvio Light tires that are over 11,000 miles old and are much lighter than new Stelvios. I keep these stored except for special rides. I normally run newer Stelvios. I dumped the stock seat mesh and made up a new sling from a single layer of the stuff POC sells. It’s laced inside the seat rails with some parachute cord.

The cost to build this trike (other than the stock trike) was $12.53 for the materials to make the seat, plus about $183 for the new XTR Shadow carbon-cage rear der. The der weighs just 181grams as opposed to the 495grams for the stock Deore der. I was already running Q-rings and hollow-pinned chains, so throw in a bit more money for those if you must. Ceramics for the whole trike run about $500 for everything, including BB and idler.

The base trike weighed 31lbs, 3oz when I started. Set up for final weighing, with the lighter tires, no headrest, mirrors, bottle cages, it weighs exactly 24lbs. I normally run it with newer, heavier Stelvios, one mirror, one cage and a POC headrest. Set up like that it weighs at 25lbs, 14oz.

Holey Spokes drew a lot of flak on the Catrike forum as it was being built. Comments like “fold up around his ears” were found often! The drilling was not done helter-skelter like so many bikes were in the old days. It was done carefully according to indicated high and low stress areas. It’s now three and a half years old, and I ride it about 3000miles a year. I almost always pull my dog in her trailer behind it, too (another 56lbs, total!)! If Cindy is pulling the trailer, I get carried away and take a lot of curves on two wheels. After all, higher performance in handling was what it was built for. I prefer to bicycle it rather than slide through a corner.

I  have weighed between 207 and 225lbs during the last 3-1/2 years, so it has endured a lot of heavy abuse from my riding style, with no failures yet. The reason is, those drilled tubes are not being BENT, but are under tension or compression. The seat side rails were not drilled specifically because they are being pulled sideways, inward from the weight of the rider in the mesh. There’s one short video in the link to my pics of this trike, showing me bicycling the trike as well as doing hard stoppies. This is pretty much normal for me while I wait for others to get ready to ride. It’s just a fun trike to play with like this!

About six others have test-ridden it and two of them have had me do this treatment to their’s. One is a 2008 Speed, and the other is a 2007 Pocket, called Piccolo Pockets. I consider the 2007 to be the very best Speed of all models, especially to do this with.

Shop / Repair Stand for a Trike

If you search the forums a bit, you will find all kinds of homemade repair or shop stands for trikes, generally made of PVC pipe.  I have a better one, one which gets the trike up at a nice height for working on stuff.  It is also very stable, and will hold the trike horizontal, vertical, or any angle in between.  It is a Park PCS-9, and sells for about $130 at Park Tools.  However, there is one critical modification that has to be made to make it strong enough to hold trikes, and that is to make a metal bushing to replace the plastic one that it comes with.   The legs fold up to make it easy to store or transport.

I was lucky enough to get one by Bruce, but I don’t know if has any more for this unit.  The bushing to replace looks like this: