Home > Adventure/Travel, Misc > Trike and Trekking

Trike and Trekking

February 16th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Cidell and Trena will not be impressed, but I have a new vehicle (new, that is, as of last fall):

It’s my favorite form of transportation around town (though I’ve also taken it on vacation).  It’s much lighter (only 62 pounds) and smaller than any similar vehicle I’ve seen, and riding it feels amazingly like flying on a two-wheeler.  I love that cargo basket; surprisingly,  it’s saved me a bundle in gas.  Who knew?  (The basket, by the way, folds down if you’re not carrying cargo.  I almost always am, so mine stays up, but the versatility is  a nice feature.)

The rear basket holds groceries and anything else I need to haul — I’ve made a few trips to and from the hardware store — but I wanted a way to keep my bike lock in the basket without needing to attach  it to the frame while riding.  I also wanted to be able to carry miscellaneous things without worrying that they might fall out, or through, the basket.

Naturally, then, I made a liner.  It’s orange ripstop — not my preferred choice of color, but not many people cycle on the streets where I live; visibility trumped any aesthetic considerations.  I plan to do a more refined version once I know how I’m using it, so I just winged this one.

Here’s the layout of the main pattern pieces, along with a fetching picture of my helpful assistant.  The assistant in question is big — the main fabric piece runs about 40 inches from side to side.  The sides of the basket are angled, so I measured top and bottom, and then drew the center strip right on the material — down one side, across the bottom, up the other side — and cut it all in one.  Then I cut the two side panels, and connected them to the center strip.

My assistant was a bit put-out when I began sewing, and, I’m afraid, found himself literally “put out” when he insisted on helping more actively.  Let’s just say that he ‘s not a bobbin’s best friend.

The liner top was cut to fit across the top of the basket, and attached to the body of the liner with zippers.  Because this was a quick and dirty project, I took rough measurements and cut flanges to go around the top flap, and then connected zippers to them.  The zips are two lightweight robe zippers, and I arranged them so that they open behind the seat, rather than in the back.  It’s a nuisance deterrent, like the flaps, so that it’s not immediately obvious how the liner opens, and so that it can’t be easily accessed from the back of the trike.

This is one  feeble sewing job, I’m afraid.  Sadly, that flange is not attached carefully at all, thanks to my having whipped this up just before taking off on a bunch of errands that required the liner, stat.  The corners are a mess, with some gathers and puckers instead of neat joints.  (I guess that makes this a usable muslin, right?)  The liner is held in place with hook and  loop fasteners, but I plan to replace them with snaps and snap tabs if I don’t remake the whole thing.  The liner costs a bit, aerodynamically speaking, and I’d like to be able to drop it to the bottom of the basket when not carrying cargo, to eliminate wind resistance when the basket isn’t full.

This is a hybrid vehicle, meaning that it has an electric assist, which I thought I’d need regularly, partly because I remember the clunky and incredibly heavy adult trikes of old, which weighed over 100 pounds — which is to say, most of my own body weight.  However,  I rarely use it unless I’m climbing a hill so steep that my current level of physical conditioning can’t handle it.

Because of an intermittent balance problem, I thought I’d never pedal again — and I’m thrilled to have been very, very wrong about that.  Though most of my ramblings around town are considerably shorter, I’ve taken several trips from 12 to 15 miles long, and loved every minute.   That’s not at all impressive if you’re a serious cyclist, but it’s not bad for a former couch potato.  And did I mention that I can break the speed limit in parts of town?  Without electric assist?  (Just call me Hot Dog.)  (OK, I might need a hill in spots, but this is a light trike, and it flies!)

I’ve been told that this nifty little vehicle is used in refineries, where nimbleness and and the electric motor are necessary advantages.  It’s turned out to be the perfect vehicle for me, too.  I love not having to drive into town, and knowing that I’m getting exercise even when I’m picking up human fuel at the grocery store.

By the way, guess which demographic LOVES my red trike?  12-22 year old males — go figure!

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  1. March 5th, 2012 at 23:32 | #1

    I want your trike:)

    • March 5th, 2012 at 23:39 | #2

      Funny, velosewer! No, no — I’m afraid it’s mine, all mine!

  2. February 25th, 2012 at 18:43 | #3

    OMG, I also love this! In college I didn’t have a speedy sleek bike like everyone else. Mine really worked out my legs to get any speed, an electric assist would have been perfect. But what I loved about it was that it had a saddle-mounted double basket on the back. My roommate and I would go to laundry and grocery stores with our bikes and while she tied her plastic bags to her handlebars I could load up my basket balancing the load over the two baskets. If I lived in a more civilized city I would consider getting this one day. Maybe in the future…

    • February 28th, 2012 at 08:41 | #4

      There’s something so cool about grocery shopping (or doing other errands) with a bike, isn’t there, Lisa? I’m loving it!

  3. February 23rd, 2012 at 11:12 | #5

    What an adorable trike! I think they are a great option for those who have balance issues. Nice that the cars give you a wider berth too. Wish they would do that for the rest of us! And IMO electric assist can be a necessity. I totally love it on my bike. We have lots of hills and sometimes ride further than my comfort zone. I AM a granny after all! Can’t expect to keep up to the young’uns.

    • February 23rd, 2012 at 11:21 | #6

      Louisa, I been surprised by how little I use the electric assist, but it gives me great confidence if I just want to keep going. It’s so much less of a concern if you have a little help returning! Granny or not, I think a lot of 30-pluses are liking that feature!

  4. February 23rd, 2012 at 09:28 | #7

    I think it’s adorable! I am the opposite of unimpressed. For city biking, I think a trike makes more sense than a regular bike in some ways. At least in DC, I have to stop at stoplights every couple minutes. Being a shortie, I either have to balance on my tiptoe (doing which I have injured my calf) or get off the bike. With a trike, I wouldn’t have to change my posture at all.

    Love the liner, and so smart to put the zip facing the seat to deter the casual vandal/thief. Maybe also some velcro strips on the bottom attaching it to the basket? Wouldn’t interfere with your plan to fold down the liner when not in use but would be another deterrent to the quick grab.

    • February 23rd, 2012 at 10:01 | #8

      Trena, I love that I can just stop at lights! I’m a shortie, too, and that used to drive me crazy.

      I should have said that I’ve got velcro sewn to the liner all around the bottom — with exactly your thought in mind. (Velcro is holding it up along the top, too, under the flap.) The whole line could eb swiped, but it would take a lot of effort, and it would also be a pain just to find all the hook and loop strips on the undersides.

      One thing I’ve noticed is that drivers seem to give me a wider berth than they used to when I rode a bike. I don’t know if it’s because they see me better (bright red, and the tirke’s a bit of an oddity), or whether the width of the rear axle makes it hard for them to calculate how much room to leave me. Whatever it is, it’s a good thing for all, and another apparent benefit to using a trike in the city.

  5. cidell
    February 20th, 2012 at 07:54 | #9

    hahaha! My mom doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I actually considered buying her a trike for a gift. I think she would love to get around on one. Love this post!

    • February 20th, 2012 at 10:03 | #10

      Cidell, this would be perfect for The Colonel! Very stable, though she’d have to be careful about sharp corners if she wanted to hot rod. It doesn’t *feel* at all like a mom-bike, even if used for mom-biking purposes!

  6. February 17th, 2012 at 12:51 | #11

    Good for you! This is one wonderful electric bike. We had a Suede for awhile and the electric assist was wonderful getting back UP to our neighborhood. Please update on charging and other details sometime…we had some trouble with our battery but also had one of the first electric bikes out there.

    • February 18th, 2012 at 14:35 | #12

      Doing an update is a good idea, Mary, and I will, at some point. In the meantime, I’ll just say that the 37 volt battery has worked beautifully, and I’ve been very happy with it. It charges quickly, and holds a charge well. I think the current technology is a huge improvement over the first iteration. (But all of that has more meaning in the context of how I use the trike, so I will try to put a post together giving those details.) We’ve got a hill on the return to our home, too, and that’s what made the assist critical.

  7. Judi
    February 17th, 2012 at 00:46 | #13

    I want one too!!!

  8. Shams
    February 16th, 2012 at 23:01 | #15

    OMIGOSH. Do I LOVE LOVE that red bicycle. The orange liner is perfect and I love your feline helper. Seriously, that bike is to.die.for.

    • February 18th, 2012 at 14:32 | #16

      I’m not sure this is the answer in your neck of the woods, Shams, but it is soooo much fun! (Ask me how much I’d like to see Sham’s’ biking togs! A lot!)

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