November 10, 2004
Now a year out from the crash, I've only put a couple of hundred miles on the trike, mostly because we've put a lot of time in on the tandem.
The trike is still a blast to ride, and I've become more comfortable with riding it at speed. I replaced the original front disc with a higher-end mechanical system that is much smoother and more powerful and only use the rear brakes at very low speeds. Overall, it is the fastest trike of the three, cutting several minutes off average ride times for our standard 24-mile Mission Trail route.
September 19, 2003 First crash...
Since receiving the trike, work commitments had limited my mileage on this vehicle to around 150, so I decided to take advantage of a brief mid-week lull and explore an extension to our normal Mission Trail ride. Joined up with a small group of riders that start at Mission San Jose and loop south and got some ideas for extended rides.
The ride was nice, but I had been experiencing problems with the front brake dragging, enough to significantly increase pedaling workload, so I disconnected the front disk, and figured I could rely on the rear drum brakes. I was feeling more comfortable with the lean steering, but noted the tendency of the trike to wobble as speed increase.
At a speed of around 17 mph, the trike suddenly entered into a wobble, followed by an immediate hard right turn, causing my right hand and knee to hit the ground, then the trike violently rolled to the left, ejecting me from the vehicle. I hit the ground on my left shoulder, resulting in a grade 1 separation and a scrape/contusion to my left thigh. Since my recollection is somewhat hazy, I suspect that I hit my head (I know, I know, should have been wearing a helmet, yada, yada, yada, and now I do, with this trike).
What caused the crash? Probably a combination of the wobble (contributing factors were a less than smooth spin and speed) and lack of front brake. During wobble, the rear wheels may alternately leave the ground and application of the rear brakes by the single lever could cause a raised wheel to lock, which, upon contacting the ground, could contribute to a veer towards the locked wheel.
At this writing (Nov 14), I've almost completely recuperated, and replaced the front brake. Two weeks after the crash, Jayne and I rode the two-day MS150 on our tandem.
July 26, first (short) ride ...
So... the trike goes to the LBS on Tuesday, and I'm on a plane Wed, back home
yesterday evening (I hate it when work gets in the way of my recreation). Stop
at the LBS right before closing - brakes & gears are tweaked, wireless
computer installed (VDO), bottle cages and flag purchased. Home. We have a new
dog (Bella, a French bulldog).
Dog and domesticity prevail, except for a couple of laps down the block. It's
steerable, shifts, and brakes.
1. replace the 40 psi Kenda on the front with a Comp Pool.
1. Get more seat recline. The Optima seat is comfortable, but I like a bit
more relaxed position. Accomplishing this will require new mounting brackets.
July 22, the waiting is over...
After wearing out the UPS tracking site, the trike finally arrives. After about an hour of unpacking, assembling (and one call to Sam), it's finally together, but not dialed in. I take it for a spin down the block and realize that I'm not the best brake/gearing adjuster, so it's off to the local bike shop. Since I have to travel for the next 3 days, the trike will stay there until I return.
July 15, on the road...
Estimated arrival, July 21.
July 1, ready to ship...
Now the waiting really begins...
April 21, 2003, the order is placed...
I've been riding tricycles for about 3 years now, and have bought a new one each year, so, with my fourth year of triking approaching, it's time for something new - and a bit different.
The first 3 were tadpole trikes (2 front and 1 rear wheel), so this time I thought it was time to look at delta (1 front and 2 rear wheels) designs.
Most deltas have a relatively long wheel base and are rear wheel drive, with relatively complex drive trains. A few designers have built front wheel drive trikes, and I became interested in the combination of delta configuration, front wheel drive (fwd), with steering accomplished by leaning the forward portion of the trike (including rider).
Lean steering is more often seen in handcycle designs (I did a parking lot ride on a handtrike to get a feel for the steering), but should be more adaptable to leg powered trikes, since the arms are available to control leaning and act as stabilizers (handtrikes typically have some type of steering damper).
Liking the concept of fwd, ls, delta, I started looking for someone to build the machine. After talking to a number of builders, Sam Whittingham (Forte! Human Powered Machinery) seemed to be the man for the job. Click on Sam's name for more information about him, but just know this: not only does he build bikes, but he rides them - fast!
Sam and I exchanged several emails and phone calls over a 4 month period, and ended up with what I hope will be an interesting experience.