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Old 09-15-06, 07:01 PM   #1
Tom Stormcrowe
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Suggestions to Increase the Visibility of a Tadpole Trike?

My wife will be getting her Tadpole in a couple of weeks or so....
She wants to road ride and it sits a LOT lower than a Diamond Frame bike. I'll be dropping blinkies on it to help as well as a pennant. Any other suggestions?
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Old 09-15-06, 07:07 PM   #2
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An Airzound horn. And lots of bossiness in traffic. Overall people can see you quite well on the straight sections, but at intersections they don't see you as well, and you can't see as well either. But many people swear by trikes as being much more noticable than DF bikes, and swear that you get a lot more respect. I think that is true. Probably because people think it's a wheelchair.
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Old 09-15-06, 07:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
An Airzound horn. And lots of bossiness in traffic. Overall people can see you quite well on the straight sections, but at intersections they don't see you as well, and you can't see as well either. But many people swear by trikes as being much more noticable than DF bikes, and swear that you get a lot more respect. I think that is true. Probably because people think it's a wheelchair.
Thanks! I'll definitely look into an airzound....maybe two!
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Old 09-15-06, 07:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
My wife will be getting her Tadpole in a couple of weeks or so....
She wants to road ride and it sits a LOT lower than a Diamond Frame bike. I'll be dropping blinkies on it to help as well as a pennant. Any other suggestions?
A Nova set to triple-plus-burst mode, perhaps? And how about a HID headlight, they have the combination of high output and long runtime that make for good daytime running lights. If you're not quite into the Nova thing, then Cateye LD1000's or Planet Bike SuperFlashes would be good, preferably out near the edges of the trike to show its width. These are daytime-visible. Make sure to aim them carefully so their hotspot is aiming right where the motorists will likely be.

Neon-lime outerwear like in Diane's avatar photo would also be worthwhile, and that's easily done with a $20-$30 ANSI Class II or Class III reflective vest. The reflectivity may not be much help from the rear but it'll show from the front & sides. I got one of this model in Lime (second pic below), and it's not quite like shown in the picture of the orange one, but the reflective material is some nice stuff and there's lots of it. Anyway, this is a lot cheaper than buying 5 neon-lime jerseys, and goes over whatever layering is needed for the day's temperatures. Whether you really need reflectivity or not, the color will help.

If she does end up riding in dusk/dawn/darkness, then go grab some DOT Conspicuity Tape from an auto-parts store, the red & silver stuff, and you can go to town with it. Rims, cranks, frame. And in darkness, you'll also want whatever stuff your state legally requires, e.g. reflectors.

edit: another idea is to get another vest and put it over the seat, if that can be done, so the rear of the trike's seat has a neon-lime cover with reflective tape. You can take it off and wash it as needed.
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Old 09-15-06, 07:55 PM   #5
ken cummings
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Two: a long thin fiberglass rod with a flag on it sticking up over the trike; a full fairing has such a Gee Whiz factor that it can freeze all the cars at an intersection while they wait to see you go by.
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Old 09-15-06, 08:00 PM   #6
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'nother one that might work out if the vest-over-the-seat idea doesn't:



And if you order a vest from that outfit I got mine from, take my word for it that these are worth the $5.50 too: holy cow, they're down to $4 now!!
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Old 09-15-06, 08:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
Two: a long thin fiberglass rod with a flag on it sticking up over the trike; a full fairing has such a Gee Whiz factor that it can freeze all the cars at an intersection while they wait to see you go by.
That's the pennant I was talking about, but thanks!
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Old 09-16-06, 12:02 PM   #8
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Flag and Strobe

I used a standard bike flag on my Catrike Pocket. I folded over a short piece of plumber's tape and attached it to the rear rack mount hole. This served as a base for the flag pole. I also had a Lightman xenon strobe attached to the top of the flagpole just below the flag facing rearward. I operated the strobe during daylight hours and it seemed to work but would go though a set of rechargable batteries in about two hours. In the end (14 months/2500 miles) I never overcame my fear of getting crushed due to being so low to the ground. The open roads around here are great and have four foot wide paved shoulders. When you enter town however you then come to most peoples bumper level on a trike. Not only can they not see you as well, you can't always see over/around them to know if someone is going to turn behind them and take you out. I loved my trike and if I ever become unable to ride my beloved mountain bike, I will buy another and just ride it on trails and or open road.
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Old 09-16-06, 06:25 PM   #9
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The trike may come with a flag. They often do. I second the motion to put a blinking light on the flag pole. I have one on mine, but it's only visible at night.

I also have a reflective triangle and it provides more visibility than blinking tail lights at night and more visibility from behind than a neon yellow jacket during the day. A definite must have. Get a bike rack and a square bag for the top of it and put the triangle on that. Works great.

Another thing I do is I have two head lamps. The bright one that helps me see where I'm going is attached to the derailleur mount, which puts it only about 2 feet off the ground. I don't think that is visible enough to drivers. So I also have a 3-LED headlight attached to my helmet. That one is at regular bike level to help people in cars have a better sense as to what I am. It also blinks and I can point it at people.

Yes, you do look upward into the wheel wells of many vehicles but overall I find them to be reasonably safe on roads with decent bike lanes or shoulders. Your profile is low but also very wide. So when taking the lane you are actually quite visible. Nevertheless, I do tend to favor bike paths to the streets when good ones are available to me and I'm on the trike.

A big bonus you don't expect with a trike is how well they climb hills. The are slow but nothing climbs the steepest of hills better than a trike. You can go as slow as you want and even stop mid-way and take a nap. You'll never fall over from your feet getting stuck in the clips. Every time you ride you just clip in and stay that way. No clipping out until you need to get off.
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