Odd Sunday Sundae Rides

I want to extend an invitation to our Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club members and our other cycling friends and family to join an informal and nearly bi-weekly cardio-training* ride, beginning Sunday, August 9, 2015, from Lambertville, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ and back. On odd-dated Sundays I’m moving my training ride to this location. Making use of both the D&R trail and Rte. 29, the total route is about 30 miles long, moving at a baseline pace between 11 and 13 MPH (on the gravel surface**), the ride is often punctuated with higher-speed sprints throughout. Speeds on the highway will be somewhat faster. During August, this ride begins at 8:00 AM.

*Note: This is not a leisurely ride. This ride is meant to produce a cardio challenge resulting in increased heart rate, lots of sweat and overall fatigue while increasing strength and stamina.
**Note: Riding on gravel requires about 20% more energy than riding on a smoothly paved surface.

Warning: Consultation with your trusted physician should be seriously considered before attempting this strenuous exercise activity.

I will be taking a brief rest break in Frenchtown, snacking at Maria’s Cafe, before returning.

This will be a regularly scheduled ride that I hope you can participate in. The only times that this ride will be canceled will be when the date conflicts with one of our monthly club rides or if the weather is bad.

Registration is not necessary but it is encouraged. If I know you are coming and you are running a few minutes late, I’ll wait.

Start Location Details:
Parking is available in a small lot located on River Road, a couple hundred feet south from the Rte. 202 exit for Rte. 29, for “Lambertville & Stockton.” This is the first exit when crossing the Delaware River from PA into NJ, the last exit in NJ before crossing into PA.
Geo Location: 40.380023, -74.951699

I look forward to riding with with you.
Wayne K


Taking August Off (sort of…)

Note: This post was updated on Aug. 5, 2015 to change the date of the NJ Coastal Ride. Our ride is now scheduled for September 12, 2015. This change is due to a large scheduled event at Sandy Hook, the 2015 “Iron Girl” women’s triathlon, which will result in restricted access to the park on September 13.  

I’d like to provide notice to our Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club members that I will not be leading a “monthly” club ride during the month of August 2015. Over the past several months I’ve found that planning rides, mapping routes, and scouting trails I haven’t visited for a long while, all takes a fair amount of time – particularly when trying to match these rides with the feedback from club members regarding our current abilities and goals.

While I won’t lead a “monthly” ride in August, I will begin offering a repeating ride, the 30-mile “Odd Sunday Sundae Ride.” More information about this repeated ride will be available in an upcoming post.

If YOU would like to lead a club ride this August, perhaps along your favorite or familiar trail, or if you know of another ride that our club members might be interested in joining, something for fun, for charity, etc., please let me know and I will post the details online.

During this 2015 season – our first riding season – I’ve tried to offer rides that were easy, some more challenging, and one that someone said was insanely difficult. While most of these rides have attracted only small groups, the feedback I’ve received suggests that our club members want to continue group rides… and that is news I’m happy to hear. For much of the remainder of this season I will rely more heavily on destination rides as well as rides organized by others (see details below). These rides have been mostly selected for their trike-accommodating terrain, their proximity to our “home” region (thinking… “day trip”), their visual or historical points of interest and relative ease of access to food, restrooms and nearby mechanical support. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for accommodating weather!

Beginning again in September 2015, here are some club rides I hope you can join:

Sept. 12: NJ Coastal Ride from Long Branch NJ to Sandy Hook and back (<25 miles). The goal is to take a leisurely morning ride to soak up the last bit of summer sun, share a few laughs, catch some refreshing ocean breezes, view some of the historic structures along the route and wrap up with a hearty late lunch at a local restaurant.

Oct. 4: Tour de Pines Final Day, $40 fee, supporting the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (27 or 45 mile loops). This is the final day of five day’s of pinelands bike touring for a single fee. See http://www.pinelandsalliance.org/exploration/ppaprograms/tourdepines/ for details. Weather permitting, I also plan to ride the first day’s tour (Sept. 30) “Ride like the Devil”, a 48 mile loop. These are “follow the leader” (starting at 9:00 AM) or “on your own” rides that are typically well attended. Be aware, they do not provide SAG, so be sure to carry your repair kit. Average speeds on bike-friendly roads, following Tour ride leaders, are between 11 – 13 MPH.

Oct. 24 or 25: Lehigh Gorge Trail. One of two options will be selected depending on your interest (please contact me with your option and date preference). This trip is planned to take place before the end of the peak of fall foliage amongst some of the beautiful vistas  along the Lehigh Gorge Trail. We will likely take several brief stops along the trail to view the many waterfalls, white-water rapids and other points of interest within the gorge. Be sure to bring your camera!

Option 1 (parking fee only – about $6.00 per vehicle): Lehigh Gorge Trail, from Jim Thorpe to Rockport and back (30 miles). We’ll take advantage of a typically warmer, late morning start from Jim Thorpe and enjoy our home-packed lunch at the Buttermilk Falls before returning.

Option 2 (parking $6.00, and shuttle $19.99 per bike): Leaving at 10:00 AM sharp, we will be shuttled (by Pocono Biking) from Jim Thorpe to White Haven where we will proceed at a leisurely pace south along the Lehigh Gorge Trail, stopping to enjoy our packed lunch at the Buttermilk Falls before proceeding to Jim Thorpe. This is a 25 mile, one-way trip.


For each of these club rides, more details will be provided as they get closer on our calendars.

Thank you for your support, interest and membership in our club. I know I’ve made some very good cycling friends these past few months, on both scheduled and ad-hoc rides, and I look forward to riding with you soon!

Wayne K

Re-cap “Trikers’ Choice” Ride

The Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ held their first ride of 2015, on a beautiful Saturday morning (May 2). It was a small group that set out from Stockton to Frenchtown, NJ and back. In addition to enjoying the beautiful springtime vistas including the clear running waters of the Delaware River and the towering natural stone pillar of Devil’s Peak, we shared plenty of warm sunshine and warm conversation as we pedaled along the tree-lined D&R Trail.

Delaware Valley Trike Riders at the end of the "Trikers' Choice" Ride.

Delaware Valley Trike Riders at the end of the “Trikers’ Choice” Ride, outside the site of the Prallsville Mills,  Stockton, NJ.

Upcoming rides will continue to be announced and we hope that you can join us.
Remember, if you would like to lead a ride, or suggest a future ride, please feel free to do so.

I look forward to riding with you!
Wayne K

Triker’s Choice Club Ride (24 up to 45 mile loops)

As a ride leader I wanted to start our Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club 2015 season by offering to lead a ride that can accommodate most everyone’s early-season riding abilities. This ride offers some challenges by making use of several trail and road surface conditions and also offers some wonderful views of the Delaware River as we trike through several historic landmarks and towns… and this is what I’ve come up with for
May 2, 2015:

One Ride with Short and Long Options: (“A” Loop, 24 miles) Prallsville Mills to Frenchtown, returning to Prallsville Mills, then (“B” Loop, up to an additional 21 miles) from Prallsville Mills to Washington Crossing, returning to Prallsville Mills. See the “Trikers’ Choice Ride” trip sheet.

Riders are invited to join us for the “A” Loop only, or the “A” and “B” Loops together.

Please Register your intent to ride via email or phone or a comment to this post (please include your phone number, it will remain protected), by 8:00 AM, Friday, May 1, 2015. This is a fair-weather event and trail conditions may be affected by heavy rain within 24 hours prior to ride. Please include your phone number with your registration – I will call you, or text you if you prefer, if Ride Is Canceled, between 6:00 and 6:30 AM on the day of the ride.

Key Points:
Arrive early – Ride Starts at 08:30 AM, Saturday, May 2, 2015. This is a 24 mile round trip or 45 mile round trip – your choice! Mostly Flat. Average speed: 9-11 mph (faster when on highway). Mixed trail surfaces: highway, paved trail, hard-pack gravel, hard-pack dirt with spotty grass. Mostly shaded and tree-lined. No one left behind and we will stop for breakdowns. There are several opportunities for breakaway sprints.

Please familiarize yourself with Preparation Guidelines and Rules for Club Rides.

We will begin our “A-Loop” rally at the Prallsville Mills/Stockton Visitors Center, following the D&R Canal Feeder Trail North (trailhead located at the same location) to Frenchtown, NJ., where we will take a short < 20 minute break for a stretch and refreshments. The return trip will be via Rte 29 South. When we return to Stockton, the “A-Loop” (24 mile) riders will drop off and the “B-Loop”** (45 mile) riders will continue on to Washington Crossing, via the D&R Trail, where we will turn around for our northbound return trip, on the Canal Trail again, to Stockton.

**Note: The “B-Loop” can be shortened by turning around at either Lambertville (by 13.8 mi.), or the Golden Nugget (by 10.8 mi.). I’ll assess everyone’s interest (and stamina) prior to the start of the “B-Loop”.

This ride boasts of More Restroom Opportunities than on any other trail!
There are Eight (8) Restroom opportunities: Washington Crossing, Golden Nugget Flea Market, Lambertville, Prallsville Mills/Stockton Visitors Center, Bull’s Island, Kingwood Park and Frenchtown. We probably won’t stop at each one but brief photo opportunities can be arranged. 🙂

• Trikes must be walked or carried for approximately 100 yards along a section of narrow boardwalk located about 0.9 miles north of Lambertville NJ (this affects only the “B-Loop”/45-mile riders… Of Course! We’ll help each other.
• Rte 29 is a busy highway with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour. The highway shoulders are intermittently wide and narrow. This highway sees a lot of bicycle traffic on weekends so most local drivers expect to see bikes sharing the highway.
• Please see the Trip Sheet “Trikers’ Choice Ride” for other notes and hazards.

Triking time (estimated):
“A” NB leg 1 (Stockton to Frenchtown): 1.25 hr                         : 08:30 – 09:45
Turnaround/Rest: < 20 min                                                        : 09:45 – 09:55
“A” SB leg 1 (Frenchtown to Stockton): 1.25 hr                         : 09:55 – 11:20
Quick Break/Rest: < 10 min
SB leg 2 (Stockton to Washington Crossing): 1.00 hr                 : 11:30 – 12:30
NB leg 2 (Washington Crossing to Stockton): 1.00 hr                 : 12:30 – 13:30
Total Ride Time: 2.5 hrs or 4.5 hrs.

Prallsville Mills/Stockton NJ Visitor’s Center: 40.409095, -74.984901
Frenchtown NJ: (40.526301, -75.063015)
Washington Crossing NJ (40.296722, -74.867392)

I look forward to riding with you!
Wayne K

Is Your Trike Ready for the 2015 Season?

This is the second of the 2-part “Tis the Season” articles on trike riding preparedness – Part 1, on safety equipment, Part 2, on mechanical integrity.

The Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club plans to offer a fairly aggressive ride calendar, in this, our first full year of existence. In order to get the most out of this season it is important we assess our machines for proper mechanical operation and safety. Waiting for a “break down” is too risky and, if Murphy has anything to say, it could happen when you are out on a trail without access to needed tools or repair parts.

In researching this topic I didn’t find much existing information focused specifically on recumbent trikes – so I hobbled together a collection from more general “check list” items and attempted to edit them so that they would be more trike-oriented. If you think I’ve left something out, or have presented incorrect information, please consider posting your feedback in a comment for this article – we will all benefit from our shared insight and experience.

I’ll admit it… I abuse my machine. I have an affinity for those unpaved, less traveled trails – and likewise for speed. The thrill I feel riding only inches above the ground while it speeds past just a few inches beneath me is likened to, what I can only imagine, the happiness our canine friends feel when given the opportunity to run full-tilt, off leash, in a wide open field. And much like those happy dogs you’ll know it is me on the trail by my panting and persistent grin. It is a testament to the manufacturer of my trike that it hasn’t fallen completely apart while in motion! But, modesty aside, it is also a testament to my constant checking for potential mechanical problems. It is a never-ending exercise in Preventive Maintenance. While researching this article I learned quite a bit more about this practice, defined below, and with it I feel more confident that I’ll be able to keep on pedaling and trust you can keep pedaling also – all while avoiding many costly repair fees. It is a lengthy list but in practice can take well less than ten minutes, and as such, can be accomplished each time you ride.

Inspect chain for wear with a simple tool or ruler. The chain is subjected to stress forces from pedaling and these forces can cause a chain to stretch (bearing wear) and result in additional wear on sprockets and cassette bearings. There are a few different tools on the market that make this inspection easy but it can also be done with a simple, old-school ruler. The mechanics from “Performance Bicycle Shops” offer the following instructions:

  • Place a 12 inch ruler along the bottom chain run, align the 0 mark with the center of a chain rivet. Note where the 12 inch mark aligns on a rivet. If the center or the rivet is at 12 inches the chain is new or nearly new. Off by less than 1/16″ and the chain is showing some wear but is still serviceable. If it misses the 12 inch mark by more than 1/16″ the chain requires replacement and the rear cogs should be closely inspected. Worn cogs on a new chain will typically cause the chain to jump or skip in the worn out cogs.

Inspect gear teeth for wear. Smaller sprockets are more prone to wear than larger sprockets. The sprocket peaks, when in excellent condition, should reveal a machined flat, or smooth top and the sprocket valley should be symmetrical and not show uneven wear. If the peaks are pointed, or the valleys uneven, new sprockets are likely needed. This condition is typically accompanied by, or the result of, chain wear.

Inspect bearings for excessive wear. Wiggle all the places where there are bearings to check for sloppy side-to-side movement. To check the wheel hubs, grab the top of the wheel, apply a little downward pressure to make good contact with the ground and rock the wheel laterally (not rotationally). Any “clunking” sounds or lateral motion jump will indicate the need for bearing replacement.

The method to check the crank set is similar. Grab the crank and push and pull it in a lateral direction (not spinning). Again, any “clunking” or looseness will reveal the need for servicing.

Depending on the type of trike you own, steering mechanisms may also make use of bearings. These are normally found at the intersections of the moving components of the steering mechanism. Some “wiggle” at these bearing joints is often by design (this is true for most tadpole style trikes by TerraTrike), but excessive slop can result in an inability to turn or to straighten again (or at least to do so smoothly). If you find your steering contains some “jitter” it may be the result of failing steering bearings and will require tightening or replacement. It is best to consult with your trike’s manufacturer or your trusted mechanic if questions remain.

Inspect for wheel trueness by spinning each wheel slowly while looking along the rotational line. Of course, your brakes need to be off to do this. If any wobbling of the wheel rim is evident the wheel may require truing, or replacing. I find it easiest to perform this check by raising each wheel off the ground with a small block set under the trike frame nearest the wheel being inspected. This leaves my hands free for spoke adjustments if needed.

Inspect disc-brakes for trueness, cleanliness and integrity. There are a few things that can affect disc-brake performance and most are simple to fix. The first thing to check is disc-brake trueness of the rotor. A simple check is accomplished by spinning the wheel slowly and looking for a wobble along the brake rotor. This wobble may also be accompanied by an intermittent grinding, squealing, or abrasive sound. A true straight edge can also be used to check for any gaps between the flat rotor surface and the straight edge. When using a straight edge you must move it around and check several locations. If the wobble is very slight and has not affected your ability to stop, does not produce braking drift, and does not produce so much friction that your wheel refuses to turn, then you are probably fine and the problem can be addressed at a later time. If the wobble does produce these problems then the rotor must be trued or replaced. There seem to be two main reasons for a rotor to become warped: an accident where some object on your trail strikes and bends the rotor, or more commonly, by leaving the brake pads engaged with the rotor over time (often a mistake made when storing our trikes between rides).

Disc-brakes will fail if the rotor is dirty, particularly when contaminated with some form of oil or grease. If the brake is applied, and the brake pads are engaged with the rotor but the wheel still spins, the rotor is likely contaminated with oil. The simplest way to fix this problem is to apply some isopropyl alcohol to a clean rag and use this to wipe away all of the oils contaminating the rotor (this may take a while). It is best to keep the alcohol from contacting the brake pads as it may affect the stabilizers holding the pad components together. If cleaning with alcohol is not sufficient there are commercial de-glazers (typically a fine abrasive suspended in a water-based paste) available that do a pretty good job.

Check braking integrity by finding a safe area to ride and apply each brake individually to test its ability to bring you and your trike to a stop. If any brake fails, it may be due to a dirty rotor (as above) or the need to adjust the brake pads closer to the rotor. This type of failure is inevitable because the brake pads are continually worn away each time the brakes are applied. Eventually, brake pads will require adjustment and ultimately replacement.

Inspect tire condition. Tires can suffer from a few problems including, improper inflation, excessive tread wear, dry-rot and side-wall or bead damage. Properly inflated tires (as indicated on the tire side-wall) can help to avoid many problems including bead and side-wall damage and bent rims (proper inflation also affects friction, or roll performance). Inflation levels can only be accurately measured using an air pressure gauge. If your tire continues to slowly deflate, the first remedial action should be to check air valve for proper seating. The spring-loaded pin in tire valves can be loosened and retightened using valve tool (often as a built-in tool in some high-end valve caps). An additional check for faster leaks can be performed with a little soap-water solution applied to the valve pin. If bubbles form, the valve is failing and should be replaced if re-seating is not sufficient. If the valve is ruled out the wheel will likely require disassembly to inspect the inner tube for a puncture.

Excessive tread wear is easily determined through visual inspection. Tires with excessively worn treads will likely result in more flat tires due to punctures and can also affect traction necessary for turning safely at higher speeds or on some wet surfaces. Tires with worn treads should be replaced.

Side-wall, bead, and dry-rot is also checked through visual inspection. Worn or damaged side-walls will increase the likeliness of blow-outs and can also result in a failure leading to an accident while turning or when riding over bumpy terrain. While inspecting the side-walls, also check for the appearance of the tire bead. The bead should not be visible as it is supposed to be seated below the inner edge of the wheel rim. If the bead is visible, the tire should be reseated or replaced if reseating does not remedy the problem. Dry-rot inspection is more easily done while the tire is partially deflated allowing it to be manipulated by hand (squeezed, twisted and bent). Dry-rot is present if any cracks are revealed while manipulating the tire and is common on older tires or those that have been in excessive temperatures. A tire suffering from dry-rot is not safe and should be replaced.

Inspect frame for cracks around connections and welded joints. A bent frame is a nuisance while a cracked frame is a hazard. Older damage to welded joints or frame cracks will probably reveal themselves in the form of oxidation rising from under the paint. New cracks may be more difficult to find. The method I use most often is accomplished when I clean my trike after a ride. After washing my trike I like to use a soft terry cloth towel to dry it because it provides an opportunity for a closer inspection. While drying, larger cracks may be visible because their cleft may hold dirt and dust that did not wash off like that on smooth, painted surfaces. Smaller, or questionable cracks can be dusted and rubbed with talcum powder which will become trapped in the narrow gap of a small cracks making them easier to detect. If you find a cracked frame or failing welds your trike needs servicing before your next ride.

Inspecting crank tube extensions for fastness is done by checking for any loose nuts, bolts or other fasteners used to attach it to the main frame. Not every trike is equipped with an extender as they are normally used to provide a proper fit for taller trike riders. If any fasteners are loose, check to see if the crank tube extender has rotated out of position. If it has rotated out of position, loosen the remaining fasteners, straighten the extender, and tighten the fasteners again. Operating your trike with a crank out of alignment will severely shorten the life of your chain, sprockets and cassette.

Inspecting the rear derailleur and derailleur hanger is particularly necessary if you have trouble moving the chain up or down the cassette. While positioning yourself behind the trike, push the pulley cage forward and down, effectively lowering the bottom/lower pulley. If the cage is not perpendicular to the level ground surface it is likely the derailleur hanger is bent. A visual inspection should also reveal that the sprockets of the derailleur and the sprockets of the selected cassette gear should be aligned. In some cases when only a minor adjustment is needed, particularly when out on a trail, you may be able to grab the entire derailleur assembly with your hands, as close as possible to hanger, and gently bend the hanger in or out to achieve a close to proper alignment. This is not an accurate method but might be enough to get you back home if problems arise on a ride. Any proper repairs will require a visit to your trusted mechanic or with a proper derailleur hanger adjustment tool.

Inspect for accurate shifting while avoiding cross-chaining. Cross-chaining occurs when your chain is on the largest front chain ring and the largest rear cog. When the chain is in this position there is a great amount of lateral tension present in the chain that can result in breaking or bending cog teeth. If at any time you experience problems shifting you will likely need to visit your trusted mechanic or spend some time in situ performing a more thorough and nuanced fine-tuning of your shifting mechanisms.

Inspect quick release fasteners to be certain they are holding properly and not projecting their lever in a direction that can catch clothing or poke (maybe puncture) your body. Some quick release fasteners require very little effort to open them and can be accidentally loosened while loading or unloading your trike from a vehicle or carrier. A loosened fastener can simply be tightened again, but if the lever is presented in an incorrect or dangerous position when locked, loosen it and rotate it so that when it is clamped shut the lever is in a safe position.

Inspect seat for fastness. Many seats are fixed with either quick release fasteners or a hex-bolt tensioner. A quick check can be done while standing astride your trike by grabbing the sides of the seat frame and attempt to rock it side-to-side and forward and back. If the seat is loose, check it for proper alignment and distance from the pedals then tighten the fasteners.

Inspect all fasteners and snug them to a proper tightness. Lefty-loosy, Righty-tighty… well, most of the time. Exceptions include non-drive-side pedals and many drive-side bottom bracket cups.

Inspecting free-wheeling chain idler wheels. When inspecting, they should be exactly that… free-wheeling. A simple check only requires the chain to be lifted with one hand so that it is no longer engaged by the idler gear and with the other hand the gear should spin freely with minimal drag. I’ve found idler gears tend to bind with debris from riding on unpaved surfaces. This problem can easily be addressed by thoroughly cleaning them and the chain after a ride. Idler wheels are a wear-and-tear item that do require occasional replacement, but if you follow a thorough cleaning with an appropriate lubricant applied to the chain, the wheels shouldn’t require replacement for a few thousand miles.

Inspect for loose or dangling straps. Straps and strap-like bindings are everywhere on my trike. They are used for tensioning my seat support, on my rear rack, touring rack cargo bag, panniers, pant leg binding and shoe laces. Any of these straps, if too long, can become caught in the moving parts of your bike and have the potential to disrupt your ride or cause a mechanical failure. Inspect your straps after securing all you are carrying and any long, dangling straps should be wound up and secured (I use velcro-like wire ties) or taped or tucked safely away.

Inspect equipment attachment points used for mounting lights, flags, phones, and any other devices you carry. It is a terrible thing to watch a new smart phone fall and go skidding along the road into traffic. After all the investments we’ve made in our machines it is well worth the effort to ensure that our devices are securely attached and remain that way.

I hope that you find this article to be of some value to you. I know that when I begin my ride, after performing these inspections, I can hit the trail without much to worry about except the road ahead.

I’m looking forward to riding with you!

Wayne K

Request for Trail Conditions

Hi Everyone!
I’d like to get our Delaware Valley Trike Riders’ Club rides started soon, especially now that the weather is being much more kind. Have any of you ridden any local trails lately, and if so, could you provide some quick feedback regarding the conditions of that trail?

My report: My home trails, the D&R and the D&L (along the Delaware River between Trenton and Frenchtown) are mostly unpaved and are still too wet in many places due to the recent snow melt. The highways nearby are much drier (only a rare standing pool) but are very poor due to pot holes, debris and some erosion along the shoulders (but I have seen some recent patching).

In the next few days I will be making a reconnaissance trip to inspect the roads and trails I have mapped for the Pinelands rides and will provide a report when completed. I hope to begin scheduling these in the upcoming weeks.

Until then, if you find your trail is in good condition, and you would like to lead a ride there, please let us know. You can:
• Forward your trip to me and I will post it online, or,
• Make use of the members’ email list (and I will cross-post to the web).

One final note: please check the Members’ email list as it has been updated to include new riders.

I look forward to riding with you soon!
Wayne K