Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - Long distance and tricycles?
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08-05-11, 05:39 AM
I've just purchased a TerraTrike Cruiser (a low to the ground tricycle using 20" wheels) and am curious about other riders' experiences with similar trikes on distances over 50 miles a day.
I'm assuming that the small wheel will have some impact on gearing/pedaling efficiency, but have no experience with that.
I have heard of a few people outside of my locale using them on brevets but again, have had no conversations with such people.
Any comments, thoughts, whatever are appreciated.
My father (Cadillac) has a Cattrike and has done several long rides including a 300K randonnee with it.
08-05-11, 07:02 AM
Given the same tire width and pressure, smaller wheels are actually lighter, stronger and more aerodynamic than large wheels. You just have to recalculate the gearing.
My understanding is that trikes are slightly less visible than upright bikes, so you may want to add a flag or use some bright lights during the day.
Bents are reported to be harder when climbing, but I'm not sure if that's actually the case. It could be positional or gearing, it could also just be people assuming that a heavier bike "must" be much worse when climbing.
Otherwise, I'm a bit curious about trike touring, though I probably won't take that step for a few more years.
08-05-11, 07:56 AM
Trikes are only less visible when blocked by parked cars, hedges and such. To overtaking traffic, they're more visible. Probably the novelty factor and they look wider than a DF.
Climbing is a bit worse as there is more weight and you can't stand.
I've completed a century on my handcycle so long distance itself is not a problem.
08-05-11, 08:52 AM
I completed the Cascade 1200 on a Catrike Speed last year, and I am heading to France in a week to ride PBP on the same trike. I am about as fast on the trike as I was on the Specialized Sequoia that I used for 4 seasons of rando rides. The significantly more aero position makes headwind a lot less noticeable, and makes downhills a lot faster, and more fun. The recumbent position improves the overall seat comfort, which for me is critical in rides longer than a 600k, and there is no pressure on the hands from leaning on the handlebar (numbness was an issue on 1000k and 1200k rides on my previous bike). The inherent stability of riding on three wheels is safer (or at least feels safer) when I am having a hard time staying awake on the last 1/3 of a 1200 randonnee. As an added bonus, I can take roadside naps without even getting out of the vehicle. Climbing is slow, but mostly because I am carrying 10 kg of excess weight on my body. I was slow on my old bike as well. The 20" rear wheel, and the relatively low gears, let me spin uphill to climb easily on steep hills that other riders walk. Visibility is not an issue, but then I have copious amounts of reflective tape on the frame, the rims, the fender, and I use a high-viz flag that is also very reflective, in addition to a bright tail light. I have a feeling that drivers notice you more on a trike because you are very different, and they are not quite sure of what you are.
The big drawback for me is that between the fact that your head is a lot lower than on an upright bike, and the speed difference on uphill and downhill sections, makes it hard to ride in a group with more traditional bikes, and have a conversation with other riders. But it is not impossible: I was on a night 200k brevet with 4 other riders two weeks ago, and we stayed together and had great conversations and a great time. The social aspect of rando riding is very important for me.
08-05-11, 11:12 AM
One of the LSR guys recently switched to a trike from a roadbike. That has slowed him down some. I know he has done at least one 200k on it, and a number of 100k's. In addition to visibility issues, you're also right down at dog level.
There are several other recumbent riders in the group, but they all use bikes; Bacchetta seems to be the most common brand.
08-05-11, 12:47 PM
Interesting comments all. Thanks.
A recent accident has forced me to move from a diamond frame to something, anything, else. Initially, I thought switching to a recumbent two-wheeler would suffice, but the Terratrike Cruiser ride feels better over a 15 mile distance/test ride so this is the way I went after a "deal" on a Bacchetta Giro fell through. Looking forward, I'm hoping the low-to-the-ground visibility issues won't be negative enough to prevent me riding the 60-120 mile distances I want to try. There are numerous comfort and speed mods I can try, that's for sure. But I wasn't too aware of what others have done for medium-to-long distance riding though I know of some long-distance touring that's been done on trikes.
08-05-11, 04:11 PM
Something you may be interested in:
08-05-11, 04:25 PM
I have two friends that left Houston on July 10 th heading to Lansing Michigan for her 50th high school reunion (2,200 miles).
They are averaging 47 miles a day in the heat.
08-06-11, 03:46 AM
Interesting reads. Thanks.
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