ONLY THOSE WHO RISK GOING TOO FAR … WILL DISCOVER HOW FAR THEY CAN GO
David Massey rides with Glenn Frank in preparation for the PCTA
Below are a few photographs of the trikes that will be ridden on the Pacific Coast Tricycle Adventure. One is an ICE Qnt, manufactured in England, and one is an Azub TRIcon, manufactured in Czechoslovakia. ICE stands for Inspired Cycle Engineering. The ICE is a 2007 model, and the Azub is a 2013 model. Steve will be riding the ICE, and David will be riding the Azub. Also appearing here is a bike (one of those two wheeled vehicles), a Surly model called the Long Haul Trucker, popular with touring bicyclists. Matt Jensen will be piloting the Surly.
David Massey on his Azub TRIcon
David’s trike: Arkel RT-60 panniers (60 liters volume) and Radical Design side pods (25 liters volume)
Matt Jensen and his Surly Long Haul Trucker
Matt on his Long Haul Trucker, behind steve on his ICE Q
One of David’s training rides between Glendora and La Verne
David has a GoPro helmet camera, and a Free on Three patch for his seat
Steve’s ICE Qnt trike on the 2011 CCTE expedition
The new Azub TRIcon just after initial assembly
The rear pannier rack on the Azub
Suspension on the Azub involves a hydraulic shock absorbing system.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus – simply the best tire for long haul triking if you don’t want flat tires!
Steve’s pannier system
Bright flagging is an important safety visibility factor for conscientious overland trikers.
An overnight camp at Boulder Flat campground in the Oregon Cascade Range in 2011
Trikes show up just as well at night as they do in the daytime!
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Steve’s Comments about his ICE Q trike:
My pannier cargo solution consists of Radical Design side seat pods, with a total volume of 25 liters, a pair of Arkel GT-54 panniers on my rear rack, with a total volume of 54 liters, and Arkel’s TailRider trunk atop the rack, with a volume of 11 liters. Behind the seat, I have the ability to carry two Camelbak 100 ounce water reservoirs, which, in addition to the two bottles on the mainframe, provide just short of 2 gallons worth of water if necessary for long remote stretches of travel. Additional strap-on water bottle solutions may be added, as I prefer the most secluded roadways whenever possible due to the serenity of nature not being interrupted by the annoying whine of automobile tires next to my head.
The chainrings are protected by a half-round chain guard, which saves the teeth should the trike accidentally roll into a hard object. I run a TruVativ Touro crankset (SRAM) with chainring sizes of 26-39-52, making an acceptable 13 tooth jump between all shifts up front. The small 26 ring is made by Salsa, and the middle 39 ring is made by FSA. The rear cassette is an 11-34 that provides a very wide range when coupled with the front crankset.
Rubber is courtesy of Schwalbe, the finest cycling tire manufacturer available. I use the Marathon Plus tires for their superior ability to remain flat free. Inside each tire is an EarthGuard tire liner to provide even greater flat protection, which rests against a Kenda Q-Tube, a specially made superior tube that is extremely puncture resistant in its own right. All three solutions are relatively costly and physically heavy, yet I strongly advocate using this setup for any trike pilot who wishes to pedal with virtually no fear of a tire going flat. I have no desire whatsoever to be changing a tube in potentially dangerous touring conditions, so this setup is most assuredly worth it for me. They have not let me down yet!
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David’s comments about his Azub TRIcon and preparation:
Hello fellow adventurers. Preparations are ongoing as departure time gets closer. This will be my very first overland long-distance haul, so I have been nervously planning and creating a list of everything I think I might need to bring along. The kitchen sink is not in there yet, but it’s getting close.
My family and I have been campers for many years, starting off in tents and now, in recent years, a pop-up tent trailer. It’s a bit more luxury of old bones. Over the years our camping/gear list has become very refined. I used it as a basis for the PCTA excursion. My second resource was a site called Bicycle Touring Pro, run by a young man named Darren Alff.
Darren has been touring the globe since he was 17 years old and is an absolute pro on how to conduct almost any type of overland bicycle tour. He has an extensive Gear Checklist on his site as well as a wealth of other information.
Below is a copy of my gear list for the PCTA. Visit my website for more in-depth information by clicking HERE.
❑ AZUB TRIcon
❑ Panniers (Arkel/Radical)
❑ Keens riding sandals
❑ Water bladder
❑ Cleaning chemicals
❑ Spare tubes (two)
❑ Bike Tools
❑ Tire pump
❑ Pressure gauge
❑ Bungee chords (two)
❑ Tail lights
❑ Head lights
❑ Bike ﬂag
❑ Chain lube
❑ Shop towels
❑ Extra nuts and bolts
❑ Extra chain links/pins
❑ Chain tool
❑ Locking cork
❑ Extra brake cables
❑ Extra brake pads
❑ Zip ties
❑ GoPro Camera
❑ Helmet mount
❑ Writing pad (journaling)
❑ Extra storage media
❑ Mini USB cables
❑ AA Batteries (eight)
❑ Mechanical pencils
❑ Ink pens/pencils
❑ Sketching pads
❑ Electronics dry bag
❑ Underwear (6 pair)
❑ Riding shirts (4)
❑ Cycling gloves
❑ Long sleeve riding shirts (2)
❑ Socks (6 pair)
❑ Sweats (for sleeping)
❑ Rain jacket/pants
❑ Jeans (1 pair)
❑ Tennis shoes
❑ Head sweats
❑ Riding shorts (2 pair)
❑ Riding pants (long-legged)
❑ Pant leg strap
❑ Hooded hat (for shade)
❑ Toiletry bag
❑ A+D Ointment
❑ Toothpaste & brush
❑ Eye drops
❑ Chap stick
❑ Wipes/toilet paper
❑ Camp towels
❑ Wrist watch
❑ Credit card
❑ ATM card
❑ Driver’s license
❑ Quarters (three rolls)
❑ Pepper spray
❑ Small sharpening stone
❑ Bear/dog spray
❑ Mosquito head net
❑ Insect repellant
❑ Assorted stuff sacks
❑ Miscellaneous shoe strings
❑ Elastic hair bands
❑ Cook stove
❑ Cooking set
❑ Cooking fuel
❑ Drain stop
❑ Dish soap
❑ Dish rag
❑ Small dish pan
❑ Small plastic bags
❑ One large plastic bag
❑ Water containers
❑ Dried fruit
❑ Energy bars
❑ Instant coffee
❑ Tent footprint
❑ Tent stakes
❑ Sleeping bag
❑ Tent light
❑ Head lamp
❑ Portable camp stool
David’s first impressions of his Azub trike:
WOW! This is too much fun! It’s awesome to simply sit back in a nice seated, upright position and just watch the scenery roll by.
I did not feel nearly as vulnerable as I thought I would. Alertness and caution are still a must, but motorists gave me plenty of room. It’s a great advantage when approaching a corner to simply creep along at 1 mph. You don’t have to worry about falling over while traffic passes and makes its right turns in front of you. You don’t have to go until you are sure all is safe from behind.
Rear view mirrors are a must. I have two, and surprisingly used both equally.
It was much easier to take off from a dead stop than I anticipated. Just be careful to gear down before coming to a complete stop, otherwise too much stress is placed on the knees. It’s very easy to break and downshift at the same time with a trigger shift setup.
The TRIcon was very sturdy and solid. The steering is amazingly tight and crisp, even for an indirect setup. Any wobble I experienced was me pulling on the handlebars for leverage while simultaneously mashing the pedals.
Tricycles are not built for speed. At least ones with 20 inch wheels are not. My largest chain-ring in the front is 52, smallest cog in the rear is 11. On level ground my top speed was about 21 mph. My road bike’s largest chain ring in front is 50. Given the same gearing on my compact road bike as I have on the trike, I would have easily achieved 27+ mph.
Let’s talk about speed. On a quarter-mile 2% downgrade I easily reached 25+ mph. On a 5% downgrade of any appreciable length, I can already tell that speeds of 40 or even 50 mph will be easily attained. My point? You can’t break the laws of physics just because you are on a tricycle. At 25 mph it was startling to experience how even the slightest correction on the handlebar was greatly magnified at speed. Long-story-short: you can flip your tricycle! Anything over 20 mph, you’d better have a good grip on those handlebars and pay attention to the road as to avoid sudden corrections or any otherwise jerky movements.
The only pain I experienced was in my right ankle. I hit a small pot-hole while I had pedal pressure on the right side. Because I was clipped in, it really jolted that joint. Lifting slightly on bumpy terrain helps.
All-in-all it was a great ride. I can’t wait to get back out there.
David getting additional exercise gardening – planting food for pedaling trikes!
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Steve’s tsunami gear is ready to go. You never know when those huge waves are going to wash over one’s trike, so preparation is a key factor to survival. In reality, if there is such a thing, this is called rain gear, the latter being more likely to occur than the former. Jacket by Columbia Sportswear, Pants by REI cycle gear outfitting, Booties by Pearl Izumi, and Gloves (not shown) by Seirus.
It all rolls up compactly for storage in the rear rack trunk.
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52 MILES: OVERNIGHT & FULLY LOADED:
David Massey continues his preparations for the PCTA (JULY). He just completed a 52 mile simulation ride, spending the night at a campground and returning home the next day. You’ll want to read his report because his handlebars separated from his Azub and he had no steering, having to maneuver the trike with one hand on the fender and the other hand attempting to use the brake! Exciting stuff, but surely spooky! Below is his video and story:
It was quite an experience riding under full load. On level ground the extra weight does not reveal itself. With the correct gear selection, pedaling is easy and comfortable. However, on even a slight incline you can feel it. I am learning that it is important to not ride in too high a gear. It puts stress on the knees and uses energy at a more rapid rate than is really necessary.
Looming in the back of my mind is the challenge that will come in the form of daily rides of this nature. The only rest I will receive is the few hours at camp between rides. Recovery time will be less. I will continue to step up training in preparation. I did experience some knee pain, but it was manageable. At night while resting I could feel a few muscle cramps trying to inch their way into my hamstrings. I have been watching the Tour de France, where the riders complete 124 miles under full pressure daily for three weeks. I tell myself, “I can do that.” My wife raises a brow and questions me as to whether I really want to ride 865 miles.
“You’ll miss me.” she says. She nearly put her foot down over the incident you will read about later in this post.
Traffic was particularly gnarly on the second half of the loop. There are tons of 16-wheelers on Jurupa Street which caused me to change riding strategy quite a bit. I think this is why it took longer to ride the 52 miles than I thought it would. Also an unscheduled stop at Farmer Boys for a burger did not help either. The food I was carrying would have been sufficient. I will not make that mistake again.
As expected the last two miles into the camp site were the hardest. On the final half mile with it’s 10% to 13% grade I had to rest for 30 seconds for every 2 minutes of riding. My legs were very spent by then.
In the morning the climb out of camp was also very steep – at least 10% and probably more in some sections. Having fresh legs was a benefit and I used my lowest gear almost the entire way, as time was not a factor. I was only 8 miles from home.
All-in-all it was quite an achievement. With a bit more training I feel I will do well on the PCTA. I am definitely glad I did it, because I learned quite a bit. I have broken down the information into general categories for easier digestion.
The Arkel Panniers swallowed up everything with room to spare. Compartments are handy and those giant zippers are just the ticket. One note however: anything that needs to remain cool should not go into the top compartments. They get really hot in direct sunlight. Electronics, batteries, CO2 cartridges, or anything else that may be subject to heat should not be stored there.
The Quarter Dome T2 Plus by REI is very light and packable. For assembly one needs to at least the watch the video on the REI web site more than once to make sure all goes smoothly. Check me out in the video below. I had the orange poles on wrong side of the large main pole, but once I figured that out, the tent went up fairly easily. The fabric of the tent seemed a bit overly tight over the poles. I had to wrestle with the tabs a bit, but nothing ripped or tore. I would recommend getting a footprint to go under the tent.
The rain fly was easy to install, but by morning, on even a warm night, there was more than a little condensation on the underside of the it. I had to make sure this was wiped dry before folding it away. Since the fly is totally waterproof, I don’t think anything can be done about this. Humans exhale water vapor when they sleep. I did have both ventilation tabs open.
As you know, nothing ever packs back to the same small size it was when it came from the factory. For some reason the tent poles seemed too long to go back into the tent’s stuff sack. The tent body, fly, and footprint went in with room to spare. I ended up placing the poles into the tall sack on the back of the left Arkel pannier, which is designed to hold such items. Problem solved.
Camel Bak Water Bladder
This will not make the trip. It fits very nicely into the large compartment on the Arkel pannier, and the sipping tube is plenty long enough for handy use. The problem is that it is not insulated. Ice melts quickly. The water that remains in the sipping tube between drinks heats up to hot.
The bladder does not dry out quickly which could lead to mildew inside the bag. Now you have to use tablets to clean the bladder and thread a drying tool down the tube to dry it out. Too much work!
ExPed Down Mat Sleeping Pad
This was a dream piece of equipment. It almost self inflates, but some pumping is required. The pump is integrated into the design of the mat. You simply open that valve, place one hand over the opening and press down on the pump, with both hands. It inflates in about two minutes. In inches the size is 77.5 long, 26 wide, 2.8 deep. The 26-inch width was plenty for me.
It was very comfortable. During the night it never lost any air. The down inside the mat insulted from the cold ground underneath. Repacking was a bit fussy. It’s difficult but not impossible to get all of the air out of the mat. The release valve is one-way. Air gets pushed out, but cannot reenter. It took two tries to finally get it back into its stuff sack. It’s worth every expensive penny.
Insulated Hydro Flask (1.9) Liters
I wrestled with this purchase because this item was not cheap – $49 dollars at REI, but am I SO glad I bought it. I filled it with water and ice at 7:30 am. By 8:00 pm the same day the ice was melted but the water was ice-cold and stayed that way the rest of the night. My wife bought me up more ice at the camp site that evening, which I put into the flask. It is now 12:05 pm the next day and the ice still has not melted in the flask. This thing works fantastically. Best of all it fits like a glove into my Radical Banana Pannier. It’s not as handy as a Camel Bak sipping tube, but it’s reachable, and ice-cold water when you want it is a real treat. It’s one of my best purchases.
Speaking of ice, I did take a small canvas covered lunch bag which was insulted and lined with plastic. I used it as a small ice chest. I was very happy I decided to take this along. Ice was kept in a plastic bag inside the single large compartment. Cold oranges and apples are very refreshing on the road. When the ice melted inside the plastic bag I had another source was refreshing ice cold water.
All clothing choices I have made seen to be a good ones. However, jeans are not going. They are uncomfortable for riding, and one pair weighs 2.2 lbs. all by itself dry. Also they are not water proof. Wet jeans must really be heavy. I’ll see about getting pants made of lighter fabric.
I may leave my extra riding jacket home also. It’s versatile, as the sleeves zip out, but it’s water-resistant, not water proof. I also don’t like the high collar on the back of my neck. I think my rain jacket will provide better warmth if I need it.
I need at least two long-sleeved riding shirts made of wicking material. I’ll pick those up at Walmart for $8.
Both my GoPro Camera and my iPhone ran out of power by the end of the day. Actually that time ended up being well over 10 hours which is pretty good. I turned the camera off between every 30-second movie shots which helped preserve battery life. All movies were taken from my helmet mount, which I don’t think I will use. The resulting video is enough to make you sick with its shakiness. I will devise some sort of neck-worn strap that will allow for easy access to the camera.
The iPhone suffered a over-heat outage during the day. It was in a frame-mounted bag under a plastic cover for access. Due to the heat of the sun and the fact that it was running two applications most of the trip, it simply overheated. 10 minutes in the ice-chest solved the problem. This was another instance where I was glad I brought a small ice chest.
I plan to take a small solar panel with me on the trip. I will place it under the mesh of one of my Arkel panniers where it will charge during the day. At night it will be used to re-energize both the iPhone and the GoPro. I’ll let you know which one I decide on.
My Cateye Micro Wireless Speedometer locked up during the ride and stopped recording data. It was the second time this had happened. Research revealed that a Blue Tooth enabled iPhone speaking to a wireless heart rate monitor or other similar equipment such as a Wahoo speedometer interferes with the Cateye. On the tricycle these devices are in close proximity and there was simply too much Blue Tooth broadcasting and receiving going on between the devices.
Once the iPhone was turned off the Cateye began to work properly. I could use the iPhone only but that would require that it run either the Strava application or the Wahoo application. There is no cadence hardware installed on the TRIcon. Using the iPhone would require leaving the screen on full time. That would quickly evaporate energy reserves.
Conclusion: my heart rate monitor will be staying home. Only Strava will run to document the mileage. The Cateye should work fine. Hey, a few more grams of weight will be saved.
Some things that I don’t have now, I will have to acquire are:
a small chamois for drying that rain fly.
flip-flops for the shower; I’d rather not get my Keens wet.
small cloth ice-chest.
two long-sleeved riding shirts.
Take a look at the before and after pictures of the underside of the TRIcon for a clue.
– See more at: http://www.goodnewsonly.com/?p=929#comment-280
What happened? Long-story-short: the two bolts that hold the handle bars to the steering column loosened to such an extent that the entire handle bar assembly disengaged itself. I was literally holding the bars in mid-air with absolutely no ability to steer. I had to physically steer by grabbing the left front fender to a avoid the curb on my right, while breaking with the right hand with brakes that thankfully still operated. Imagine steering by turning the front left fender to the left while braking with only the right caliper which causes your rig to turn right. It was a move orchestrated in skillful panic mode.
Thank you Lord Jesus I was not on a 29 mph descent on some mountain road. I may have not have been writing this article right now. That was scary. I won’t go as far to call it a design flaw, but I will contact AZUB about the situation, which needs addressing before someone gets seriously injured or worse. Lesson learned: check all bolts frequently, especially the ones that may directly affect the operation of the bike. I have already found a loose bolt on one of the disc brake calipers and tightened it up recently. There is no front suspension on the TRIcon which means road vibrations make it through to the frame more easily than a rig with a suspended front end. Things vibrate loose. Check your nuts and bolts.
I will remove the two offending bolts, dip them in Loctite and reinstall them. I also will install a rubber plug into the open end at the bottom of the steering column. It will have a large washer covering the diameter and rubber will be expanded into the opening by turning a bolt in the center of the plug. Even if the two screws loosen again the rubber plug will keep the handle bars in place.
The second problem was not as catastrophic. The rack on which the Arkel panniers sit moves closer to the rear axle when the suspension is compressed, as does the rear fender. During a jolting from uneven pavement the wire support rods on the right side popped loosed from their support, which caused the rear fender to jump into misalignment, which allowed the metal clips that attach to the fender to rub hard and grindingly against the rear wheel. I noticed a nice spray or rubber shrapnel on the chain stays near the rear tire.
I think this entire situation was caused by a combination of the 35 lbs. of weight on the rear rack and having the pre-load set too low on the rear shock. I will torque up the pre-load on the shock. The entire situation did make me seriously reconsider the possibility of the trailer once again. Maybe it’s better not to have too much weight on the actual tricycle. I will invest in the purchase of the smallest torque wrench I can find to help keep those bolts tight. Ugh, that means extra weight.
Shifting at the front chain set and derailleur was a bit off due to cable stretch. I made an adjustment which helped, but it’s not 100% yet. I have to complete a nifty double, trigger/thumb move to get down smoothly to the middle chain ring. Getting to the smallest chain ring is still a problem. I’m working on that.
In spite of the mishaps and sore muscles I am very glad I took the ride. I now have first hand experience on what to look out for and how I may actually perform on the trip. I will take another loaded ride before arrival time of the PCTA.
I shot 90% of the video from my helmet mount. The resultant footage is so wobbly as to make you sea sick. Therefore I will use only a small portion of the helmet mount footage. The video will be much shorter that I wanted, but still enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave comments and suggestions. I need them.
– See more at: http://www.goodnewsonly.com/?p=929#comment-280
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PCTA trike nomad steve greene uses a simple three-step process for preparing his head for an overland journey on a tricycle: 1) Look cool until the last possible minute, 2) Take the barber clippers and shave off only half the hair for a funny photo to make people think you’re totally insane, and 3) Gaze in horror at your new appearance, one that normal people who don’t ride trikes will never understand. Now your’re ready for the road …