Trike diary - February 1999

Friday, 26 February 1999

The last couple of days I took Michael in to nursery, so rode the upright bike. Today I got to go in to work by trike. Somehow it didn't seem quite so much effort - but that's probably not due to my muscles getting fitter!

I half thought it would rain on my way home (half day, so early afternoon), but it held off, so that's a joy I've yet to experience.

Odd comments: It's interesting how noisy (rattly) the mudguards can be - I can see how a fairing could be Very Noisy.

(I'm sure there were other comments, but I'm only getting round to writing this on Wednesday, and my mind has gone blank!)

Tuesday, 23 February 1999

Well, for various reasons I didn't have time to work on any of the cycles over the weekend (having two small children seems to be like that!). Yesterday was very windy, so I was lazy and let Joan give me a lift in to work and back. Today is much better, but for various reasons I've again been lazy. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Friday, 19 February 1999

Joan agreed to take Michael in again (and in fact will probably also be taking him to the doctor - nothing too serious), so I can ride the trike again today. It's a half day today, so cycling home will be in daylight.

I was reminded again that mudguards are a Good Thing - although I've been lucky in avoiding rain so far, I still have to go through quite a few puddles. It's nice not to have to worry about them. (Mind you, nudguards can also be quite noisy - inevitable when the front ones are only attached on one side, I guess.)

It's strange, but I keep missing having Michael behind me - this is strange because on the upright he's normally way back in the trailer, whereas I'm specifically missing him being just behind me. Maybe it's foreshadowing...

Thursday, 18th February 1999

(My birthday - the trike is my birthday and Christmas present for the next mumble, mumble years...)

Anyway, Joan took Michael in to nursery this morning, so I am using the trike. As I thought, adjusting the right brake was easy - I don't claim to have it optimally adjusted, but it now spins freely. I remembered to shorten the boom length as well - I think I have a tendency to make it too long, but as an initial guess I'm trying for the same leg bend (at reach) that I have on the upright.

The start of the trip in is where the "hilly" bits are (heh, this is Cambridge - we don't have what most people would call hills). Anyway, it was still tough on my legs, but got better later on as they limbered up. I'm still using very low gears (including the lowest granny gear to get up the cycle bridge over the railway), but hopefully that will improve quickly with practice.

Today's journey was a lot more relaxed, though - I think I'm just feeling more comfortable on the trike. Although there's still some pain in the bum, but at least it was more general, instead of localised to one point - I tend to assume that's just equivalent to when one starts upright cycling - it's nowhere near as bad as I remember that being.

Odd thoughts:

Home tonight after dark, so that should be instructive...

...Well, that went OK. Riding home is easier than the other way - maybe partly because my muscles are all awake? The front light is excellently bright.

I realised on the ride home last night that I've changed mindset - I'm now thinking "OK, this is the way to cycle, just need to get those muscles up to scratch and sort out any other minor problems", rather than something more like "today I'll ride the trike because I've got to get used to it". I think it means I'm addicted.

Definitely need to think about taking out another link pair from the chain, though.

My muscles still grumble when cycling, but I realised at least that I am managing to get the "one hippa potta muss" rhythm with my legs (i.e., one leg, t'other leg, one leg, t'other leg) which I go for on the upright, so maybe I'm not pedalling as slowly as I thought (I mentioned this today at work to Adrian Wiles, and he said that people had commented on how fast my legs go round when cycling - I take this as a compliment!).

Hmm - the other thing I've noticed is tingly toes after riding a while. I seem to remember discussion of this on the HPV list, but I don't think I've kept the articles. I assume it's probably partly another acclimatisation thing at the moment, though.

Wednesday, 17th February 1999

Took Michael in with the trailer today (as yesterday). It's definitely a "bad leg" week - presumably the cold we've all got. Should get to ride the recumbent again tomorrow - I'll aim to adjust the brakes just before setting off.

Tuesday, 16th February 1999

Rang Rob in the evening. He confirms that I need to adjust the screw on the disk brake to recentre the pads. He also confirms that there should indeed be a guard for the front of the boom - he'll get me another. Meanwhile, Jim is sending another child seat adaptor, so hopefully that should get forwarded on to me soon. I've asked about the child seat as well, since Mark is short of time to investigate this in Germany - Rob has ordered one from Jim, but doesn't know timescale or price yet (he wants to be able to demo the childseat on his demo model).

Monday, 15th February 1999

Finally was able to ride the trike for some distance - i.e., into work and back.

Fit safely across the cycle bridge over the railway, and also (which was the known bottleneck) through the cattle-grid access onto Midsummer Common - this is the gap I measured as 40 inches, but with a street light pole partially occluding the "onto the Common" direction.

Met Peter Hutchison on Midsummer Common, so he was able to get a quick try on the machine - his comment was that it was more like driving a car than riding a bike.

After leaving Pete, while still crossing the (relatively) quiet Common, I noticed a squeak from the trike. Hmm.

Nearly forgot to turn right along [what is that road called] instead of carrying on across Jesus Green. Could have been very silly, as getting across Jesus Lock Bridge would be interesting to say the least. Mitcham's Corner wasn't too bad - the merge into traffic to the right went OK, one just needs to think large!

Kept noticing the squeak on the way into Laser-Scan, but otherwise no problems (except for my leg muscles complaining, and the awkward bit on the right of my backside complaining - I'm sure that's due to me sitting squint because of my short leg, so either a pad on the seat or a built-up pedal may be the answer).

Locking up at work wasn't in fact a problem - just attached an obvious bit of the trike (behind the seat) to the Sheffield stand. Richard was amused to see me arrive - it's a good point that he sits inside by where I normally park, so there will be an occasional eye on the thing.

Before going home I traced the squeak - the front right brake wasn't going off. That meant that whilst the front left wheel would rotate freely if spun, the right one wouldn't. Cycled home anyway (my legs didn't entirely enjoy it). Wonder how much the problem is my legs and how much the brake... Anyway, I was in much lower gear than I want to use for "real cycling".

Got home just before Joan and Michael, so looked at the Sachs leaflet for the brake, and think I've worked out what to do (a screw needs adjusting to "recentre" the pads on the right brake.

We put a cushion on the rear rack, and Michael sat on it for a short ride around the drive (hanging on carefully, with me going very slowly and with Joan walking beside). He enjoyed it, which is a good sign for the future of the childseat.

Saturday, 13th February 1999

Fitted the DataTag widget - required a little paring down of plastic and jamming in to do it, but then it's not meant to come out again!

Took three links (well, link pairs) out of the chain, one by one, and that seems to be just about enough - maybe one more at some time in the future. Each link-pair removed required a quick whiz around the close - that was the fun bit!

Fitted the Mirrycle mirror - it's very good. Fitted the LED backlight, and that was about all I had time for.

Friday, 12th February 1999

Went in to town. Looked at bike seats in University Cycles (having seen a seat fixed like the one we're considering at the nursery the other day). Not encouraged - I think we'll go with the Relax Jockey.

Bought a new mirror, a DataTag thingy and a new LED back light at Ben Haywards, who were helpful as ever. Walked home so I could stop in at Drakes (they don't open Saturdays). Pleased to see they now stock trailers (the Chariot line), and was very encouraged to be told they felt they were still learning about them - although they do strongly encourage people to try before buying. A family run store, which David Green (who taught the bike maintenance course I went on) always recommends. I shall have to add them to my recommendations of where to look for trailers (they're more convenient than D.Tek for people in Cambridge, even if they don't have the breadth of stock). Bought another mirror (the Mirrycle) which looks better than the one from Ben Haywards.

Tuesday, 9th February 1999

I did get time to try the fixed mirror, but unfortunately it snapped again, so I'll need to buy a new one.

I figured out why the drive train was so noisy - the chain tensioner was folding back on itself, so that the chain was rubbing (on itself).

I talked to Rob in the evening, who reckoned it was just that the chain was too long - AnthroTech are generous with the chain length they supply, and Joan and I don't have very long legs. Rob said he'd seen the same problem with a previous customer.

Monday, 8th February 1999

Cycling home with Michael in the trailer behind me, I was trying not to wonder if the new trike would have arrived (Rob had said today was the earliest Securicor might deliver). However, when I got home and opened the garage, there was a large box on its side - my new AnthroTech. (Rob said it wasn't *intended* to go on its side, but obviously Securicor couldn't understand the "this way up" symbols - anyway, it didn't appear to have hurt anything!).

Michael (who is nearly 3) wanted to know what the box was, and I had to promise to let him help me unpack it later on. We went indoors and did various things (had something to eat and drink, helped with the baby, etc.), before we were allowed out to unpack the box. Being on its side didn't seem to have hurt anything, and perhaps even made it easier to get the trike out.

Janice from across the way arrived home with her kids whilst I was taking the machine outside to sort out the chains, get the boom length correct for my legs, etc. She watched for a bit, until it became evident I wasn't going to be finished very quicly. She said she'd keep an eye out from their windows. Michael investigated the box (still on its side). He then demanded to sit on the trike - he was very satisfied with himself that he could climb onto the seat!

My first trip was a few feet down the drive, with Michael insisting he had to sit on my lap (which actually translated as sitting on one leg - fun that...). Everything seemed to work OK, so Michael then helped me put the mirror on (well, he played with the box). I can't blame him for breaking the mirror, that was entirely my fault ("right, I've left that loose enough to adjust, let's adjust it, SNAP, OK maybe it wasn't loose enough"). Hopefully judicious use of superglue will have fixed it.

I then did my duty by playing "house" in the box for a bit (heh! we both fit!), before Joan took Michael back indoors. I did a quick trip round our close, to check that my substiture velcro-on mirror sort of worked, that the boom length was about right, and that I did indeed know how to steer and brake. Neat stuff!

Then a quick trip around a few local streets (in the dusk, so I know the dynamo works!) - out of the close, left onto a quiet street, down to the end and out onto roads with real traffic to work my way back home, with a series of right turns (remember I'm in the UK, so that's turning across the traffic). Still neat stuff - being on a trike feels secure and safe, perhaps because I don't have to balance. My legs, however, are going "you want us to use THOSE muscles? why weren't we told - preferably in writing a week in advance!".

Hmm - it did seem a bit noisy though - is that just because I'm sitting near the gears?

Unfortunately that's the end of playing for the day. I need to refit the mended mirror, and work out temporary luggage arrangements (read that as: find the box to tie onto the rear rack), decide how to lock it to things, etc. I don't think I'll actually have time to sort all that out before Friday at the earliest, and anyway I need to take Michael to nursery, so it will probably be the weekend before I can ride seriously.

Actually, I did manage to get time to extract the mirror mounting from the frame, and to superglue together the broken bits. We'll see if the they work.

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Author: Tibs (

Last modified: Thu Apr 26 16:28:39 GMT Daylight Time 2001