Ride Event: Meet, Greet, Shiver and Roll 12/21/14

I’d like to invite any hardy souls among us to join me on Sunday, December 21, 2014 for the FIRST Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club Winter Solstice Ride of 2014!

The Ride:
Prallsville Mills/Stockton NJ Visitors Center to Frenchtown NJ.
24 mile round trip.
• Please arrive early. Ride will depart the Visitors Center at 11:00 AM – Sharp. Ride expected to end no later than 2:00 PM.
• Primary Route: To & From via the D&R Trail is conservatively about 2.25 hours ride time.
• Optional Route: To via the D&R Trail and From via Rte 29 is about 1.75 hours ride time.
Note: Rte 29 and the D&R Trail run parallel.
• Trip Sheets and Maps will be available online to print (check back later): https://delvaltrikeriders.wordpress.com/ride-archive/

Registration:
If you plan to join me please contact me no later than 8:00 PM Saturday, December 19, 2014.
• via email, please include your phone number so that I can contact you for cancellation if necessary (I will call by 7:30 AM on the day of the ride).
• via Telephone or Text – if I have your email address you will find a message directly from me with my telephone number. *Sorry, we’ve got to agree on an email address list to reduce duplicate notices. With your consent I can post a Members Only email & phone list behind a password.
• via website comment – again, please leave your name and telephone number. All comments are moderated and your comment/personal information will not be posted.

Weather:
Weather is currently (7:00 AM, 12/18/14) predicted to be sunny and clear with 4 mph breezes from the north. Temperatures expected to peak at 42 degrees soon after we start and hold for the duration of the ride. I will cancel this ride if inclement weather (rain/snow) moves in or if temperatures shift downward closer to freezing. This is a flat course so we shouldn’t expect stragglers though I do plan to stop mid-way to regroup. We will also stop for breakdowns.

Preparation:
It will be cold. Dress in warm, wind-breaking layers. Keep Hands, Feet and Face well protected. Helmets are required and a waiver of liability must be signed (at the parking lot). Earphones and calling “Clear” at any time are forbidden. Terrain and road surfaces can be unpredictable in winter so prepare for environmental and mechanical glitches (bring spare inner tube, tools, air pump or CO2). Bring adequate hydration – water is only available at the turn-around in Frenchtown.

Parking:
Parking is available at the Visitors Center and at the Mill located adjacent to and north of the Visitors Center. NOTE: As you approach the parking areas from the south – SLOW DOWN – or you may miss them on the left. The driveway to the first lot at the Visitors Center (traveling North on Rte 29) is both ingress and egress. The next driveway is the egress from the Mill’s parking lot. About 100 yards farther north is the mostly unmarked ingress to the Mill’s parking lot – look carefully because it is a very sharp left turn into the lot (nearly doubling back and below the grade from Rte 29). This driveway is directly across from the small street named “Worman Rd.” If you reach the fork in the road (left, Rte 29; right Rte 519) then you have gone too far.

Visitors Center is at about 22 Risler St, Stockton NJ 08559 (40.409095, -74.984901).
Prallsville Mills is at about 40.411113, -74.986219.
Note: Google Street View can provide a great visual of this location.

Description:
This will be an easy ride at a moderate pace (10-ish MPH… we’ll see what everyone is up for) following the D&R Feeder Canal and State Park trail. This trail is nearly flat and consists of mostly densely packed gravel and hard-packed dirt with a few portions paved. The absence of foliage will allow excellent views of the Delaware River and adjacent farms, though the dense tree lines will keep us mostly in shade.

There are a several places to take a rest stop along the way (porta-potty) and there is a full-service rest opportunity (food, restrooms, etc.) in Frenchtown. On any sunny day we’ll find several other cyclists hanging out with coffee, sandwiches, cakes, etc., at Maria’s and the adjacent bike shop, “Cycle Corner.” Because of the cool temperatures we will not linger long at the Frenchtown turn-around.

Optional Route:
Upon returning, and depending on the group’s consensus, we can make our return, southward trip, via Rte 29. This highway has wide shoulders and is locally a primary training route for road bikes and most local drivers are very aware of cyclists using this highway. The return trip via Rte 29 also provides a very long downhill ride on a paved surface with a few opportunities to switch back onto the Canal Trail if desired.

I’m looking forward to riding with you!
Wayne K

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‘Tis the Season (Part 1)…

‘Tis the Season…
As the deepening of winter affords us fewer opportunities to ride, we (with finger firmly pointed at ME) should take advantage of this time to evaluate our trikes for mechanical soundness and safety. Much of this sport is new to me, along with most of the after market equipment add-ons that are available to keep us safe and comfortable. I have benefited much from listening to advice and conversations from other recumbent trike riders, including some in our Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club – and for this shared insight I am grateful.

In anticipation of participating in our group rides I’m making some investments in a few safety upgrades, some of which I’ve been putting off because I’ve rarely shared the road with any motor vehicles. *I know – it is a poor excuse,* and that is why I’m writing this post with the hope that, if needed, you too will be encouraged to do a safety self-evaluation and gear-up where needed.

First on the list was to purchase a new helmet – one that fits me correctly and comfortably enough that I won’t feel so tempted to remove it during my ride. I spent years wearing helmets in the Army (back then we called them steel pots because that is what they were) and thanks to Uncle Sam I had developed quite an aversion to anything remotely like them. With that in mind, I selected a helmet from Specialized Bikes, the Echelon 2, in “high-viz yellow.” This helmet was recently Consumer Reports top pick and is available at nearly half the price of the next highest rated helmet. I was very impressed by the built-in fitting mechanism and found it to be a fair bit lighter than my old helmet. After walking around the house with it on for about an hour I concluded that my selection was one I could live with, and after receiving a healthy dose of good-humored ridicule I decided to fit the rest of my family with their very own. Revenge can be a good thing!

I’ve also decided to install a couple of devices to minimize the chance of “foot suck.” Only now, being part of a recumbent trike riders’ community with the opportunity to learn from the experience of others, have I come to understand the very real risk of “foot suck” and some of the tools available to avoid it. For those who find this a new addition to their vocabulary – “foot suck” can occur when your foot slips off the pedal while moving and gets trapped between the ground and the front axle housing of a tadpole trike (or some other part of the trike frame). With enough forward momentum it can be quite dangerous and result in very sever injuries to the foot, ankle, lower leg and knee.

After much research (prompted by a luckily benign incident of “foot suck” in late August) I’ve settled on purchasing a set of Power Grips and I will pair this with some version of a “heel sling.” Power Grips are basically a set of heavy-duty straps mounted on a diagonal across the bike pedal and are designed to keep a foot in firm contact with the pedal. In addition to the “attaching” functionality, Power Grips also provide for more effective peddling by allowing some “pull” on one pedal while we “push” on the other. An additional selling point for me was the fact that Power Grips do not require the rider to wear specialized shoes as is the case with clip-less pedals which accomplish pretty much the same thing. My remaining question before purchasing this device is whether to get a pair pre-mounted to their high-end pedals or to buy the strap kit and mount them to the stock pedals of my 2-year old Terratrike Tour 2.

The “Heel Slings” have yet to be selected. By nature I am in the DIY club so I am tempted to attach some braided bungee cord to serve as a heel sling. The alternative seems to be developed by JSRLDesign using some small twisted metal cables with an add-on heel pad that is bolted to the pedals. I haven’t heard of any complaints about this device but a bungee is significantly less expensive and already padded.

I have some super-bright, pulsing, red lights attached to the rear of my trike. These are Blackburn’s Mars 3.0 Rear lights (there is a 4.0 version now that they say is even brighter). I’ve been very happy with them as they can be seen nearly a block away during daylight. For these I’ll pick up fresh batteries.

Finally, I’ll address my need for a new flag. The stock Terratrike flag that came with my trike has refused to remain connected to the whip and no amount of double sided tape seems to save me from turning back on my ride to pick up my fallen banner. In frustration I grabbed one of those silly one-piece orange triangle that most of us left behind after stripping the training wheels from our spider bikes. This is better than nothing but not very visible because the triangle flag is so stiff and small it results in almost no flutter making it useless to warn motor drivers. Since I do have the second whip I’ll opt again for a DIY solution and add some high-viz yellow and orange streamers made from PVC-surveying ribbons. If they tie themselves into a birds’ nest in the first stiff breeze then I’ll search for something else.

I’d be happy to hear about your experiences with these devices and other alternative solutions regarding trike safety and comfort. And…

I look forward to riding with you soon!
Wayne K

“‘Tis the Season (Part 2)…” will focus on addressing the mechanical integrity of my recumbent trike in preparation for our group rides.

Ride Leaders, Charitable Rides & Survey Update

One more quick update from the Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club:
1. About Ride Leaders:
Including myself, two other DV Trike Riders have offered to lead rides – Thank You, Mike B. and Jay S.! These rides may include NJ Pinelands, Delaware River Canal Trails, Belmar to Sandy Hook Coastal Trail, Chester Valley Trail, Thun Trail, Perkiomen Trail, NJ East Coast Greenway (Trenton to N. Brunswick, NJ), Heritage Trail (York, PA), Schuylkill River Trail and others. A group of a dozen or so trikes making way on any of these trails will be quite a sight – and I’m really looking forward to seeing it and being it!

If you are interested in leading a ride (and I hop you are) please contact me ASAP. I would like to hold a brief meeting soon so that ride leaders can come to agreement on a few matters of importance. In the meantime, Ride Leaders and others who may be interested are encouraged to take a look at an excellent document prepared for Ride Leaders in the Bicycle Club of Phila. This BCP Ride Leader Handbook is an excellent (and easy to read) source of “best practices” and provides important considerations for Ride Leaders.

I’ve posted a few Trip Sheets to the Ride Archive page. These can be used as a guideline for creating Trip Sheets for rides you will lead. There are many other examples elsewhere online. Feel free to adapt any you are comfortable with.

2. Fundraising Rides?
If anyone has knowledge of upcoming rides for charitable fundraising, please pass a link on to me and I’ll post a collection of them here. These rides can be an excellent opportunity for us to ride together, network to promote our club and to contribute locally to worthwhile causes.

3. About Survey Results:
The Survey remains open for those who haven’t provided feedback yet. We’ve had a few more respondents complete our survey. The new results don’t change the earlier results except to make them more robust. Below is an example result of where we’d like to ride:

regions

Keep spreading the word of our club when you can.
I look forward to riding with you!
Wayne K