Experiences after 2000K
Approaching 4 months with my Catrike, should have posted more earlier but was busy. I have found the time to have ridden well over 2000 K and the
winter season is not the best time of year for riding here in Victoria.
I have learned more about the trike and become in much better condition for my ride. Awhile ago I shortened my boom up by about 1/2 inch. Made an amazing
difference in my ride. Expending no more effort in my riding my average speed rose by about 1.5 K/H and when I got off instead of my usual stumbling around
until my legs got used to walking again the transition was quicker and more comfortable. Shortened the boom up a bit more and while the comfort rising from the
trike was still good my average speed seemed to have dropped a lot. There is a very fine zone one should set the length of the boom to.
One benefit I had not particularly thought about has been the conditioning of my core. I have never felt the need to make a point of strengthening more core muscles but have noted an improved core since I started to ride again. I have particularly noted the Multifidus muscle (the muscle closest to the spin and particularity noticeable in the lumbar area) has appreciably developed. Improved core strength is good for everyone, I doubt it is possible to over develop it.
As the trip I am planning this summer will be a self supported trip I will be required to pack a fair amount of gear. The question I need to solve is I am best to use just rear pannier bags or would a combination pannier bags and trailer be the best option.
Decide to look closely at the trailer option. I decided to go with a do it yourself option from WIKE... the Walk and Bike Company.
Might have been better off with one of their pre made units but decided a flat deck with a larger surface area would be more versatile. Even before I tried the trailer option I was concerned about controlling and braking a loaded trailer while going down some of the steep mountain passes in BC. I could not design a trailer braking system in my head that I was comfortable with. My first ride with a empty trailer confirmed my concerns when descending an insignificant slope. Even though I had built the trailer with a positive tongue loading the rear wheel hopped a bit while breaking for a turn. Not a problem for that ride but enough to realise I had to think more about braking and control of the trailer.
My solution was to spend an additional $500 plus to add a rear disk brake. I also took the opportunity to use a 36 spoke rim rather than the stock 32 spoke rim to add a bit more load carrying capacity.
There are several ways to set up the braking system. A choice of adding a third lever to activate the rear brake, combine the 2 front bakes into a single action and use the other hand for the rear brake. Use the brake as a “drag” brake or work in a similar manner to the rear brake on conventional bikes and one could also go with mechanical or hydraulic. I decided to go with what I felt was the simplest option of stay with mechanical and combine the front brakes into one lever action. This required a near brake lever for my left hand, one that also has a mechanism to balance the braking on both wheels.
One additional “braking choice” while was not available for me is a consideration for those with ebikes is the regenerative braking. When the regenerative braking is activated it would have the ability to “scrub off” a considerable amount of the downhill speed.
The mechanic that made the conversion felt I did not need to make the change. He pointed out the majority of braking on a bike is done by the front wheels and the trike would have a tendency to “crow hop”/back wheel would jump sideways and the extra brake on the rear would add little to my stopping power. Yes, it is possible to make the “crow hop” and for general riding his comments are good. For my unloaded rides there is little improvement in stopping distance.
When the additional brake was installed I decided to test the trailer ability of the bike. I had some items that I had been meaning to take to the electronic recycler
A trip to the Ewaste Recycle to test my trailer and new brakes With a bit of weight on the rear wheel and more weight on the trailer handled well on a 30 k run down a hill could probably handled more weight than I would want to drag up the hill #cyclists #cyclinglife #bike pic.twitter.com/pkeHgkSHiN— cycling saoirse (@CyclingSaoirse) January 23, 2019
for some time. I loaded the bike itself with about 20 kg of electronic items and put in the order of 30 kg on the trailer, making a point of loading
towards the front of the trailer. The route to the recycle depot included a long hill with a couple of stop signs on the decent. I usually reach a speed of
approaching 50 k. With the trailer on I kept my speed under 40 and felt no problems even when I braked fairly hard for the stop signs.
Dropped the load off at the recycler and headed home. Surprised me on the way home the additional drag of the empty trailer. On the way to the recycler on a slight adverse grade I did not feel the additional weight slowed me as much as expected. The trailer itself rolls easily and weights less than 10 Kg yet even empty it seemed to have around a 15-20% hit on my average speed.
If one is riding locally with little to no load I will suggest the additional braking is not money well spent. In a more specialised situation such as mine I think the additional braking is worth it giving more ability to handle the trailer. When touring I will need to make certain that where ever possible the heavier items are loaded into the panniers and the bulkier lighter items on the trailer
I still have not decided whether to attempt the trip with just pannier bags or a combination of pannier bags and the trailer. I do know that while my conditioning has improved significantly, more conditioning will be better.