For a lot of us, the riding season is quickly closing. Last spring I noticed how painful it was to get back on my trikes after a pretty lazy winter. Not this year!
Actually, I’ve had the set of blocks in the overall view for a couple of years, but we used them for Cindy’s trike last year. So, this time I am building another set so we can both keep our trikes set up for riding all year. I decided to take pics of the parts to make these, just in case anybody wanted to copy them. For both front wheel blocks I used a 4′ length of 2″X4″, a 4′ long piece of 3/4″ ply ripped 6″ wide, a 6″X30″ piece of 1/4″ ply and some scrap carpet. Some carpenter’s glue and 30 1-1/2″ drywall screws hold it all together very well. I also used a 13″X33″ long piece of 3/4″ ply for the roller “pad”, with more scrap carpet under it to protect our bare wood floors and to lessen the sound transfer. These front wheel blocks also give the trike lots of “anti-rocking” stability while pedaling.
Start with the “A” blocks. These are very simple 6″ long pieces of 2″X4″. You will need two for each riser, so that means four, total. After cutting them 6″ long, cut a 45 angle on one end, leaving a blunt corner as can be seen in the pic of the top (third pic).
Next, you have to measure just how high your rollers will lift your rear tire off the ground (first pic). This determines how wide you will rip the “B” block. Mine ended up being the 2-1/2″ width marked on the block in the second pic. Just rip a piece of 2″X4″ to the dimension of the height above the floor of your tire. Simple! Now, the length of this small piece of ripped 2″X4″ will be determined by what size wheels you run on your trike. Mine were sized to work with my 16″ Marathon Pluses and ended up needing to be cut 7-3/4″ long, as you can see in pic number two. 20″ wheels will need it to be cut longer. Make this block just long enough to put most of the tire’s weight on the 45 angles of the “A” blocks. This will make everything more stable when riding. You will need two of these “B” blocks to make two front wheel risers.
The two side “plates” are made from 3/4 ply. They could be made from 1/2″ ply just as well! Just use what ever you have laying around. I ripped mine to 6″ wide and this works quite well for getting enough depth for the wheel to be held solidly. This will work well with any other size wheel, too. The base is also made from this 6″ wide material. The length of these side plates and base will e determined by how long your “B” block ends up. The sides and base need to be the same length as the “B” block plus the width of the two “A” blocks. (I forget just now how wide a 2″X4″ is!) My side plates and base ended up being 14-5/8″ long, as shown in the fourth pic.
Now comes the hard part. If you are running less than about a 1-3/8″ wide tire, the 2″X4″ “A” and “B” blocks alone will give you enough interior width. But, if your tires are 1-1/2″ wide or wider, you will need to make up a 1/4″ thick ply spacer to give you more clearance. Cindy’s trike runs 1-1/2″ wide Racers and her’s will not fit if they are inflated more than 40psi!!! Of course, my Stelvios fit loosely! These new blocks I am making are for her trike, so I am showing the spacers I made to make her’s wider. Just look at your tires when they are fully inflated and see if a 2″X4″ is wide enough to give sufficient clearance. If not, then you will need to make up a spacer to fit your tire. You can see my spacer, with it’s tell-tale saw kerf marks, in the fifth pic.
Once you’ve made up your “A” and “B” blocks, side plates and base, and spacer (if needed), then just glue and screw it all together, then add the carpet to the bottom of the base and go pedal! Paint them if you must, but that will delay your riding!
Even with these very stable blocks I find it helps to lock the locking brake levers, if you have them! If all of your floors are carpeted, no carpet is needed under these front wheel risers or the roller pad.
The recommended rollers are SportCrafter rollers, and at least one extra fan should be added for increased resistance.
The Puprunner Trailer for Doggies!
I have had the opportunity to test drive the Puprunner trailer, a trailer made for dogs and their owners. Full disclosure: the makers, the Carters, are clients of my patent law practice and we are getting a patent on this device. Their website is HERE.
We hooked up this trailer to my Catrike Speed, which is a recumbent trike. The hookup was very easy, and didn’t take more than a few minutes. The photo above shows the Puprunner in a configuration where my dog Ginger can trot along behind my bike. The Puprunner does this by having the floor made of two panels which hinge up and attach so the dog can be on the ground. The idea is that after a few miles the dog might be tired, but the bike rider might want to cover some more miles. When that point is reached, the floor panels of the trailer hinge down, and the tired pooch can ride. It really works, and my dog who is very sweet, but not very bright, figured it out on the first ride.
The Puprunner has a storage area in front of the dog compartment, and a sun screen that goes over the top. It is 33 inches wide, and weighs about 45 pounds. The photo above shows my dog in the riding position, which lets me speed down hills without leaving her behind. The dog is tethered by a chest harness to the frame, not by a collar. I was impressed and thought it would be perfect for a nice ride that is too far for my dog, but would allow her to get a workout.
The temperature here in Boise has been around zero degrees F for the past week, and I have been riding my Catrike Speed to work everyday. The combination of clothes I have keeps me warm all the way, and my only problem is my glasses and ski goggles fogging up sometimes. My clothes are an example of the layering system. The first layer is thick wool blend socks, polypro long underwear top and bottom, and thin polypro liner gloves, as shown below.
The next layer is an insulating layer, which is added to the base layer. This includes Keen cycling sandals, North Face cross country ski pants which are windproof, fleece gloves where are the inner part of a pair of winter mountaineering gloves (Chouinrd winter gloves), fleece neck gaitor, head covering by Pearl Azumi, and Expedition weight Patagonia Capilene pullover. I have a down coat I could wear, but at around zero degrees it is just not needed.
The outer layer is made up of Marmot uninsulated goretex wind pants which zip all the way up the leg, Sidetrak neoprene boot covers which leave the cleat on the bottom of the shoes exposed, the nylon outer gloves of the Chouinard winter gloves, an REI goretex raincoat, a cycling helmet, and a waterproof helmet cover. Not shown are my ski goggles, which I wear over my glasses unless they fog up.
I was wondering how to move my tactical flashlight so it would be in front of, under, or on top of my fairing. The light is usually mounted on the front deraileur post, but with the fairing on for the winter the light really lights up the inside of the fairing, and that blocks a lot of light from hitting the road ahead.
A helpful email from Pat Franz of Terracycle suggested the Terracycle Accessory Mount would probably do just what I wanted. The unit arrived in only about two days after the internet order! I put it on, and it does get the flashlight above the fairing nicely. I’m going to ride it a few days like that, and I think I will try it mounted lower on the fairing frame, maybe even poking through a hole in the fairing. Here is what is looks like mounted over the top of the fairing. It is a bit distracting having that in my line of sight, but I might get used to it.
I have been using this light for two years now, through two winters commuting every day in the dark, rain, and snow. I thought I would post an update on the light setup and where to get the components.
The flashlight is a Surefire 6P tactical flashlight. It is very solid aluminum, water proof, and a bit pricy at around $50. Mine is a Surefire 6P, and other Surfire models would work such as the SureFire 6Z, C2, M2 and G2 or Cabela’s 6 v flashlight made by Surefire ($32). These models are available from Surefire, Amazon, ebay or Cabela’s.
The flashlight comes with an 80 lumen incandescent bulb, which is very fragile, and for my system you take out the factory bulb and replace it with a Malkoff M60 insert. This is an LED bulb with a plastic lens, which boosts the output to 240 lumens, and is apparently an indestructible bulb. My flashlight has hit the pavement at 20+ mph many times, and the bulb is fine. I have a flashlight like this pointing rearward with a red lens, and one pointing forward with a clear lens, and people tell me I’m very visible.
The Malkoff M60 insert is available from the inventor, Gene Malkoff, on his website. Many police use a Surefire flashlight with the Malkoff insert. They say “It will easily illuminate objects at 350+ feet and will blind opponents within a 100 foot radius.” It is very visible in the daylight or dark. I take the flashlight camping, and it will light up a mountainside 50 yards away. The insert is $49.95 alone, but this thing is indestructible, and is truly a lifetime flashlight.
I have been using the same 17670 AW Protected Battery, one for each flashlight, everyday for a year. They seem to wear out after a year, and I’m on my 2nd set. They are available from Lighthound for $11. I get about 2.5 hours from each charge, and I turn them on day or night, summer and winter, and I charge them twice a week.
This is the Malkoff insert, which goes inside the flashlight.
I use either a Fenix 360 Bike Mount light holder, $15, this is high quality in fit and finish, but rattles. A small rubber band between the top half and bottom half stops the rattle. A no-name brand is also pretty decent, on ebay for about $10, search Ebay for “New Bike/Bicycle LED Flash Light Mount Clamp Holder.” These are a little loose on the Surefire, so I put a section of inner tube around the flashlight body, for a tighter fit.
Charger: Ultrafire WF-139 Charger for 3.7 volt Lithium Battery Charger, from Lighthound.com, $18.00 (charges two of the 17670 batteries).
I had a friend get this setup, and on a long bike ride through an old railroad tunnel in northern Idaho, his light was the monster of all the lights in the blackness of the tunnel.
I commute on my trike about 355 days a year (all days except when snow is plowed onto the shoulder of the road), and I need to pick up mail, and have sufficient storage to carry my cold weather gear home, on days when I don’t wear it on the ride home. I had a rack, and panniers, and they worked fine, but I wanted something lighter and that didn’t make the Speed look like a utility truck. I got the $14 Nashbars triangular frame bags at Bruce’s suggestion, and they are great for summer commuting. I still needed a little more storage for winter use.
I saw all the room under the seat and thought I could use a PVC pipe to use that space. But I found a Pickett blueprint carrier which is very light, and with its screw top lid is totally waterproof.
It can carry my rain pants (in stuff sack), my rain coat, gloves, and head covering. They also have extension sections, so I can add another section for longer loads. it would also be perfect for carring lunch, as long as its a round lunch, like bagels, hot dogs, donuts, etc. This tube setup seems light and aerodynamic, and is working well.
A stuff sack in the tube. It holds about 3 stuff sacks like this.
The Wright brothers’ Van Cleve mark lives on in a modern namesake, the Van Cleve bike built by Cycles Gaansari of Springboro Ohio. Here is what Gary Boulanger of Cycles Gaansari adds:
Much is known about the Wright Brothers’ aviation results, but little has been told about how the men designed and tested their theories, and how big a role bicycle technology played in their research and development. Like most self-sufficient and frugal bicyclists, the brothers scrounged discarded bike components to make something useful out of something lying around the shop. In this case, it wasn’t a fixed gear or townie bike, but the airplane that was created, born from Wilbur’s vision for flight in the 1890s.
Cycles Gaansari was born from the need to provide reliable service, durable goods, and exciting products to the Greater Dayton cycling community. We’re housed in a former livery stable/barn built in Springboro in the 1850s, just three miles south of the Wright Brothers Airport, and across the street from the Jonathan Wright House, now a popular bed & breakfast, built by the founder of Springboro in 1815.
To many, the bicycle is a tool for transportation, adventure, freedom, and recreation. Little did the inventors of the bicycle know what impact they’d have on millions of people. Then again, little did two bicycle manufacturers from Dayton, Ohio realize where their dream of manned flight would catapult both them and the fruit of their labor.
Bruce went crazy with his drill press, and removed, if I read his notes correctly, about 13.7 pounds from the normally 30 pound Catrike Speed! This is Catrike #CS754, named Holey Spokes.
Now we need to see that thing assembled, a final weigh in, and a test ride to see if it whistles. Its just remotely possible that Bruce has too much time on his hands. One last picture:
One way to provide some suspension to a bike is to have a seat post with a spring or other shock absorber in it. Joseph Smith patented one such device in 1899.
Recently my 15 year old daughter has "adopted" my wife’s nice road bike, and has been doing some great rides around town on it. So I thought I’d look for another road bike of about the same size to have a road bike available for both of the ladies in my life. I thought I’d go check out a thrift store bike yard, because my partner Steve found a great mountain bike out there. I went to the bike enclosure of the thrift store, and ran into Steve and his wife Jody, who were scouting for a kids bike. We prowled around together looking for gems, and seeing mostly junk.
Steve and Jody left with a nice kids bike, and I saw an aero brake lever on a handlebar, under a pile of nasty bikes. I unraveled the stack of nasty bikes, and got more and more excited as I freed the bike at the bottom of the pile. I saw a Campagnolo brake, then finally got the entire bike free to look it over.
It was a Fuji, with double butted steel tubing, and about the right frame size for my wife. It had Campy hubs, cranks, brakes, headset, shifters, bottom bracket and skewers, and Cinelli stem and bars. The saddle was suede, and it had Shimano pedals. Since one tire was gone, and it was pretty dirty and greasy, the lady at the gate of the bike yard put a price of $5.00 on it. I tried not to jump for joy, paid my $5, and took the bike home to clean it up. It was like Christmas in July, and with new tires and a little soap, the old bike looks pretty decent. This bike was the JACKPOT! Judging from ebay prices, any of the Campy parts would go for $75 to $125, and the whole bike might run $500+ on ebay.