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An Introduction to the crazy world of Triking

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An Introduction to the crazy world of Triking

Old 05-05-16, 04:08 AM
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thomalan
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An Introduction to the crazy world of Triking

A few guys have asked me to post a thread about triking. For all you guys stateside riding on 3 wheels must seem like a curious 'old world' anachronism. Why drag around another wheel and all that extra weight? The answer is it requires a lot of skill and gives a lot of satisfaction when you do it right and a lot of bruises and broken bones when you get it wrong!

How did I start triking? Well it goes back to when I was 15 and in a club. This guy had a trike and it looked like fun and he was selling it. I looked at the club TT records for a trike and thought 'how hard can that be to beat' well the answer as it turns out is very difficult. 46'39" for a 25 is no slouch.
So I got the trike, a Holdsworth, and am still riding it 50 years later.

The first thing people say is 'at least you can't fall off'. How wrong can they be, staying on and upright is the hardest thing. Trikes have only one desire, they want to go straight on at a corner and ideally rollover at least once.

Learning to ride one becomes harder the better a cyclist you are because years of riding 2 wheels has given you a completely automatic knowledge of balance and steering which you try to use on a trike. Most cyclists either push off with one of their feet and proceed to run-over their own leg with the back axle. This is funny to watch as they have traveled no more than 10 feet and are in a body/trike heap on the ground. If they do the correct thing and make themselves comfortable and with both feet on the pedals simply ride away they will generally be OK until the first bend or camber change on the road. Now bike riders don't generally notice camber but usually the road has a crown and it falls away to the kerb. With a trike you must constantly turn into the camber if you don't then a trip to the kerb and a crash is the result.
Ok you are slowly and carefully riding then you come to a slight bend the bike rider leans but does not steer. Putting more weight on the inside wheel actually has the effect of steering the trike out of the bend. The bike rider leans some more the effect is increased and crash!
The secret is leaning and steering and the correct amount of each, you must get your body weight out far enough so that the CofG remains in the inside corner side of your top tube, if it goes the other side then you will do a victory roll and if your cleats are tight you will need to tuck your head in stick your elbows out and with luck you will do a full 360 and just have a bit of skin loss.
You need to steer enough to get around the corner but there is another problem the front wheel wants to go straight on and the tire is trying to slide across the road this means that as well as getting your bodyweight out to the side you also have to move it forward to add loading on the front wheel.

Another aspect to triking is braking. The weight all transfers onto the front when braking which means that brakes on the rear wheels do very little before they lock so usually trikes have 2 brakes on the front wheel. Over the years I have tried various combinations and have found that a good cantilever on the rim and a good hub brake is the best combo. The cantilever does the stopping and the hub brake acts like a drag brake and controls your speed on a descent. If you have both brakes on the rim a long descent will make the rim so hot it can blow out a tire.

Well after 50 years you will be pleased to know I nearly have it mastered but on fast twisty descents you need to concentrate all the time.
The next pic taken on a french alpine descent shows the technique, 2 pics joined together



As part of a 1000 mile tour from London to Nice and leaving the Bags at the bottom I climbed Mont Ventoux, of TdF fame. I think I was the fastest trike that day. OK, I was the only trike that day, that week and probably that month. The French don't 'do' trikes and the most common comment was C'est magnifique , mais pourquoi?



You can buy new trikes with Disk brakes and differential 2 wheel drive see here
Lightweight Racing and Touring Tricycles and Conversions
but most of the racing is still done on classic machines, lightweight 531 frames from the '50s to '70s go here for a laugh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k-o2-1IA4A

That's enough for now we don't even want to mention Tandem Trikes!

- Alan
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg
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Old 05-05-16, 05:50 AM
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Thanks so much, Alan, I am glad you decided to post a trike thread here, and appreciate the link to the video you posted. Another member here, Dawesman sent me a link to a trike video, also. You have answered several questions I had about riding an upright, well built frame trike. The link to Trykit is one I had found, and visit some to get ideas in my head, and to keep trikes as a possibility for my riding.

Bill
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Old 05-05-16, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thomalan View Post
... Why drag around another wheel and all that extra weight? The answer is it requires a lot of skill and gives a lot of satisfaction when you do it right and a lot of bruises and broken bones when you get it wrong!...
That's always been my question, and the reply, it seems to me, does not really answer the question! But (I trust you understand) I do not scoff.

We on this forum often get a similar question, why ride a 50-year old bike when new ones are so much better? And we reply... oh, the new ones aren't that much better... or we raise aesthetic objections to the new ones... or we ask, what's the challenge in that? And we do not really answer the question either.

Whatever the reason, your photos suggest it's a heck of a lot of fun. Maybe that's the answer?
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Old 05-05-16, 06:20 AM
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The Crazy World of Triking indeed!

Welcome!
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Old 05-05-16, 02:27 PM
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looks dangerous.
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Old 05-05-16, 02:35 PM
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Tried my hand a setting up a road trike, using a kit. The ride quality was, probably, the worst I have ever experienced. Honestly, I got less than five feet before loosing control on the first attempt to ride. None the less, I had a great time trying to figure out how to build it and then how to ride it and then how to find a new home for it. The Falcon Trike...

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Old 05-05-16, 03:09 PM
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That looks crazy. I often ride around the workmans trike at the shop and it's a hoot. It doesn't help that it has a massive sign on the top of it which makes it very top heavy.

I suspect the experience of riding a trike is similar to getting on a 4 wheeler (quad) (or 3 wheeler) when you're used to riding dirtbikes your whole life. I had this experience when I was ~12 or so. I tried to turn by leaning and I kept going straight! Took me a while to realize that cranking the handlebars + hitting the gas meant turning on a quad.

What was the guy very angry about at ~1:25 in the 2008 trike world championships video?

They look like they're going SUPER slow in that video? Is that just an artefact of the video, or is the average speed for a trike much slower than a bike?
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Old 05-05-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by thomalan View Post
A few guys have asked me to post a thread about triking. For all you guys stateside riding on 3 wheels must seem like a curious 'old world' anachronism. Why drag around another wheel and all that extra weight? The answer is it requires a lot of skill and gives a lot of satisfaction when you do it right and a lot of bruises and broken bones when you get it wrong!
snip

- Alan
Originally Posted by rhm View Post
That's always been my question, and the reply, it seems to me, does not really answer the question! But (I trust you understand) I do not scoff.

We on this forum often get a similar question, why ride a 50-year old bike when new ones are so much better? And we reply... oh, the new ones aren't that much better... or we raise aesthetic objections to the new ones... or we ask, what's the challenge in that? And we do not really answer the question either.

Whatever the reason, your photos suggest it's a heck of a lot of fun. Maybe that's the answer?
It sounds like the question why do C1 whitewater (covered kayak like canoe, kneeling, single paddle) when you can do K1 (kayak, sitting, double paddle) Because it is harder and all in all not practical
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Old 05-05-16, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
What was the guy very angry about at ~1:25 in the 2008 trike world championships video?
Probably got excited and overshifted, maybe threw his chain, for the sprint. You see him get overtaken by 2 others
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Old 05-05-16, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post
Probably got excited and overshifted, maybe threw his chain, for the sprint. You see him get overtaken by 2 others

You are right he was in the lead with 100 yds to go changed gear and threw the chain and the race - Alan
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Old 05-05-16, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
We on this forum often get a similar question, why ride a 50-year old bike when new ones are so much better?
My 20 year old bike is nicer and rides better than my 3 year old bike. It was also 1/4 the price. That's why I ride the 20 year old bike.
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Old 05-05-16, 04:20 PM
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Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing, Alan.
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Old 05-05-16, 05:00 PM
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So, the appeal is it's more difficult and you're more likely to crash? Fun!

No, I do get it. I just don't want to get into it. An interesting twist on an otherwise relatively common pursuit; like motorcycle sidecar racing.

Paraphrasing JFK:

"We choose to [strike]go to the Moon in this decade[/strike] race a trike and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
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Old 05-06-16, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Honestly, I got less than five feet before loosing control on the first attempt to ride. None the less, I had a great time trying to figure out how to build it and then how to ride it and then how to find a new home for it. The Falcon Trike...
You problem was not that the trike rode badly, the problem was you tried to ride it like a bike. Now man up, buy it back and master it.
It shouldn't take more than a couple of years!
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Old 05-06-16, 07:33 AM
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Fascinating post and enough to convince me not to add a trike to my bike collection! I've got a Bob Jackson touring bike and have seen BJ trikes for sale on eBay, and I think they can still custom-build them. However, I think that I'll pass after reading your post.
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Old 05-06-16, 07:51 AM
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You problem was not that the trike rode badly, the problem was you tried to ride it like a bike.
Nope!

The problem was single wheel drive...



The second you stepped on a pedal, the bike (trike) would shoot to the non-drive side. Sure, I did learn how to compensate and I did ride the trike. But it, in my opinion, did not offer anything that even came close to a nice ride quality. Is that because I prefer riding bicycles?

Yup!

And as for the man up thing, can't say for sure until I ask my wife if it is OK:-(
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Old 05-06-16, 09:01 AM
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'Rode' one, once. Did 'OK' at a bare walking pace, until I attempted to ride between two cars, forgetting the extra width behind me. Good thing I was going slowly!

My Uncle built a trike - two front wheels with full Ackerman steering. I'd love to have it, but have no idea whatever happened to it.
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Old 05-06-16, 09:06 AM
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Our Collective has one we use for running around on. It's weird, to say the least. Single wheel drive is pretty crazy. As long as you make left hand turns on it, the weight is going to the wheel with the drive attached. Turn the other way, and the weight is on the wheel that's just there for balance, causing a spin out. It's fun to mess around on, and I think we need to set up a Strava segment/lap just for the Trike, but I can't say I ever want to own one.
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Old 05-06-16, 02:51 PM
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The Tricycle Association has some resources
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