The Two Traveling Trikes – From Dream to Reality

Dream

When this trip was just a dream, Lucia was the dreamer. Her dream was to cross the country on a fully supported 3-month tour while she pedaled on her light as a feather bike, her 13 pound (under 6 kg) Lynskey titanium road bike, “Ti”.

Lucia and "Ti"
Lucia and “Ti”

 

Her dream was actually on the calendar; set for the summer of 2012 … then she met me!

 

Mike on his trike - "Rolling Stone!"
Mike on “Rolling Stone!”

At the time we met, I was riding my Catrike Speed, nicknamed, “Rolling Stone”, because it was fast and seemed to roll with very little effort. Yes, no moss was gathering on this gray-colored cycling machine. When I joined Lucia’s dream, the dream shifted to touring on three wheels, not two; self-contained, not fully supported. My dream included “Rolling Stone” as my ride — well, THAT was truly a dream! Time to wake up and smell the coffee!

As wonderful as this trike is for both short and long day rides, the smaller wheels leave little room for panniers, the aluminum frame has little give to it, and there is no suspension. The inevitable “bumps along the road” aren’t just figurative, they are bone-jarring without suspension. Added to these inherent problems, it just logically seemed illogical to have two very different trikes for the touring rides we are planning, so the search was on for not one, but two trikes that would be ideal for touring. IOW, it makes logistical sense to carry spare parts and tools for one type of trike rather than two, right?

Of course, we immediately turned to the World Wide Web, plus I had a few discussions with members of a recumbent riding group called the CRABS – Crusty, Retired All recumBent Society (oh … I guess now might be a good time to let you know that recumbent bikes/trikes are regularly called, ” ‘bents”, and those who ride them are called, ” ‘bent riders”). A few of the resources that we used were Bent Rider Online (aka, BROL)  along with the previously mentioned Trike Asylum. Online research is great, but it can only do so much when the item you are researching requires total physical immersion, along with quite a bit of mental gymnastics when virtually all of your biking experience has been on upright, two-wheeled devices, ever since you gave up your little red tricycle.

Lucia on her trike @ 2 years old!
Lucia on her trike THEN (@ 2 years old)!

After test riding a number of trikes, we had three finalists – the Azub Tricon 26 trike, the HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 26, and the ICE Sprint 26 RS.

Reality

The winning trike was the ICE! The deciding factors were comfort, comfort, comfort, and a slight weight advantage. Lucia’s red trike, “Ruby”, was delivered in July. For you gearheads, Ruby has a triple chainring 22-32-42 up front and a 10-speed 11-36 cassette on the rear. This gearing configuration was put together with the mountains in mind. Since her delivery, the chain guard on the front has been removed, a Terra-Cycle SeatSide Mount has been added behind the seat to accommodate two Arkel handlebar bags and an AirZound horn.

Lucia on her Trike, "Ruby"
Lucia on her trike, NOW!
Terra-Cycle SeatSide Mount
Terra-Cycle SeatSide Mount
Ruby with Arkel Handlebar bag
Ruby with Arkel Handlebar bag
Air Zound Horn behind the seat
Air Zound Horn behind the seat
Horn trigger - stay away dogs!
Horn trigger – stay away dogs!

Reality, part 2

Now once Lucia’s trike arrived, we had to delay ordering Mike’s for budgetary reasons (yes, there is a budget). Therefore, research continued … that’s when the dream of two identical trikes distorted a bit. You see, Mike read this article on BROL by Larry Varney. Larry put together the “ultimate” touring ‘bent that was very similar to Lucia’s. While still using the ICE Sprint 26 as the platform, the three big differences were Larry’s trike had full suspension, a SON dynamo hub on one wheel to power lights (no batteries!) and a Rohloff 14-speed internally geared hub (IGH) on the rear wheel. Now, did I mention there was/is a budget?? This trike was going to bust the budget for sure. Still, that didn’t stop me from dreaming and playing around with the budget some.

So here is what I settled on: The ICE Sprint 26 RS, just like Lucia’s, but with the Rohloff 14-speed IGH instead of the potential 30 speeds that she has. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

30 is way better than 14, Mike!

Well, it turns out that 30 gear combos have a lot of overlap/duplication, while the IGH offers 14 distinct and evenly spaced gear settings. The 14 v. 30  thing is kinda like going up/down a set of stairs where each step is the same height v. a set of stairs where one step is an inch higher and the next one is 10 inches and the next one is 8, etc. You can still get from one level to the next with either set of stairs, but the more evenly spaced the steps, the better. The downside of the IGH, is maintenance. If something goes wrong along the way, there isn’t an easy fix with my own tools or at a local bike shop. One of the clear upsides beyond the evenly spaced gear steps is … maintenance. The IGH really doesn’t need any for at least 3,000 miles, and the maintenance steps are as follows: change the oil in the hub.

Mike's new ride
Mike’s new ride
A single chainring here
A single chainring here …
... and here
… and here

So here we are, with two traveling trikes – 100 days left until departure!

Keep on rolling!

5 thoughts on “The Two Traveling Trikes – From Dream to Reality

  1. Good writing … I don’t know squat about trikes, bikes or Bents … but I know that your very technical explanation was terrific … I actually understood what you were describing and followed your reasoning. Good job.

    Thanks for keeping me up to date.

  2. Ruby is an appropriate name since it was delivered in July and Julys birthstone is Ruby!!
    Have fun on your journey!! Can’t wait to read all about your travels!!
    Luv
    Pam

  3. Hey Mike/Lucia, enjoyed the short visit with you guys here in Reidsville.. You have the best trike I’ve seen yet.. (don’t get around much, EH ??) I like the hub deal.. My Cannondale hybrid has one, not a Rolloff and it is just as fast as my Trek roadie with no doubt where I’m at in the gearing.. When I have to go to a walker(heaven forbid), that’s what I’ll get, no pun intended..

    1. Ben, we enjoyed meeting you as well. You do a nice job of greeting touring cyclists coming into town, and that’s such a plus! The park was also one of the better ones we’ve stayed in.

      I can tell you that after crossing the country, the Rohloff hub has performed pretty flawlessly. I did an oil change in Yorktown (after over 4,000 miles) and with the exception of chain lube, that’s the ONLY maintenance I performed.

      Check us out on Facebook, that’s where most of our updates can be found.

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