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Bent out of shape.

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Bent out of shape.

Old 12-17-09, 11:55 AM
  #1  
fig
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Bent out of shape.

I think I may have underestimated the amount of work it takes to pedal a trike. I can ride my DF bike in a 12 mile loop, which includes a pretty large hill that I live on top of. I usually manage it in around an hour and five minutes. I will admit that I haven't ridden much in the last year or so, but did take the DF out for the loop a few months ago. I was wiped out when I got back but I got back, hill and all.

So I got the new KMX Trike and have been riding on it twice. I had dreams of getting on it, and just tooling around all day long. Reality has since set in, and I am either really, really out of shape, or getting my bent legs is going to be harder than I thought. Last night I managed a 2.2 mile ride in somewhere around 17 minutes at a blistering 7mph average.

It almost feels like an elliptical machine. My wife got one, and I got on it thinking sure a 30 minute workout would do me good. I think I lasted about 3 minutes before my legs turned to jelly. And that's the same feeling I have when I stand up from a good spin on the trike. Am I just that out of shape or is it possible that riding in the recumbent position is that much different than riding upright?
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Old 12-17-09, 01:39 PM
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fig,

check to see if you have any drag on the chain idlers? I just purchased a Cobra myself and the idlers were pretty stiff out of the box. I removed the bearing from both idlers and enlarged the hole in the plastic slightly to eliminate the drag. I also took care not to overtighten the idler bolt as this will also cause the bearings to bind.

As far as being out of shape....don't give up...I would bet that riding a DF is VERY different than riding a recumbent. On a recumbent, you don't have your weight helping you push those pedals, it's all LEG BABY!
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Old 12-17-09, 01:43 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by fig View Post
. . . I haven't ridden much in the last year or so, but did take the DF out for the loop a few months ago.. . .. Am I just that out of shape or is it possible that riding in the recumbent position is that much different than riding upright?
Based on my experience, you get out of shape even more quickly than you regain fitness. Not riding much for a year would put me back back at the beginning of riding fitness. The top three secrets for getting back into riding shape are, fortunately enough, very simple. Ride. Ride. Ride. For me, the best way of getting into shape is riding long, pushing faster for a bit, and then dropping down to all day cruise speed.

Your KMX is not the world's fastest machine, but after a few months it can be going fast enough to kill bugs against your teeth as you smile.
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Old 12-17-09, 02:56 PM
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fig
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That's my hopes. I was really upset last night after squeezing out the 2.2 miles and being out of breath so much, and having to stop riding so many times. My out of shape is combined with a weight problem so I have a couple of issues I am struggling with. I am not even really concerned at this point with getting up to the same speed as I was on my DF, I just want to be able to pedal the same distance without turning my legs to jelly.

I checked the drivetrain, and also the disc brakes. Nothing is binding, it's all good.

I will just keep riding and riding. I have the next two weeks off, and out here in CA the weather seems to be holding up, so maybe I can get in some good quality rides. My fear is that people who switch to a recumbent trike aren't having this much problems getting back up to the same level as their DF rides. Or my other more realistic fear is that I am really and truly that out of shape. It's a horrible feeling, and I think that it may be the actual cause here. I found myself huffing after going up a few staircases at the college when I was taking nightclasses a few weeks ago. Maybe this is just the slap in the face that I needed to realize I was headed down a bad road.
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Old 12-17-09, 03:03 PM
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Breathing problems can sneak up on you very slowly.
You might want to see a doctor.
I had problems last year and went to a doctor.
I took a breathing test and scored only 65%.
She put me on four meds and I was OK in two weeks.
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Old 12-17-09, 06:22 PM
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fig
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Were you able to stop the meds, or are they an ongoing thing now. I guess at 41, I am starting to worry about the coming med assault. I watch my parents take a host of pills each morning, and absolutely dread that. Just another reason I need to get into shape. Since I can't go to a doctor without arguing, I will just hope that it's the position I am sitting in causing the shortness of breath. Well, that might be stretching it. But I am considerably overweight at the moment. So I will give this a month or two, and then see how the breathing/gelled legs are, and then consider seeing a doctor. I just know that I have to do something if I want to be around longer to see kids and grandkids grow up.
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Old 12-17-09, 08:18 PM
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Whats the hurry? Cycling is for fun and exercise. It sounds like your getting the work out but seem bummed out for not keeping up with the pace. Just go out and have fun on your tadpole, the legs will eventually catch up....clip ins help
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Old 12-17-09, 08:34 PM
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fig
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Very true Ben. But it has to be something psycological/mental. It's just that even with the tailbone pain, I could ride twelve to fourteen miles with the occasional stop for streets, or a break. I get on my trike and am able to squeak out a little over two miles and standing up feels like I am made out of silly putty. It's kind of scary almost to realize that you are gasping for breath in the distance you used to be able to warm up in. It's kind of a little frustration with some panic tossed in to boot.

I do apreciate all of the replies. I am working on adjusting the trike to better fit. Maybe once I get all of that done I will be in a better mood and this will be getting easier.
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Old 12-18-09, 08:31 PM
  #9  
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By some chance are the front wheels out of alignment (toe in, toe out)? If the front wheels are not set correctly you could be pushing against them and that will slow you down. My LoGo trike has a toe in of 1-2mm at the front and it runs fine. Check that first as I know for a fact that that needs to be set right.

To find out, measure from the middle of the rear of the wheels (at the back) and compare to the same at the front.

Regards
Andrew
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Old 12-19-09, 03:43 PM
  #10  
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Andrewh is correct in stating that if the toe in on the trike is not set correctly, it will make pedaling it MUCH harder. You will also find out that the tries can wear out in just a couple hundred miles instead of several thousand miles. One not very scientific test is to let the trike go on a very slight incline. It should start on its own and roll down the incline and gain speed as it goes. The best way is to measure the toe-in with a homemade tool but the technique is not always simple and varies from trike to trike. Once correctly set, the toe-in should be OK for a long time. The other factor is that you did not buy a trike designed for road riding. KMX trike were specifically designed for off-road and will stand up to the abuse resulting from off-road riding. Trike weight, design, bearing quality, tire design, gearing, and your own fitness all are factors in how easy it is to ride. The good thing is that the more you ride, the easier it gets no matter which trike you own.
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Old 12-19-09, 07:06 PM
  #11  
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I think you should check out the trike. Something's going on there; it shouldn't be that hard to ride.
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Old 12-20-09, 10:28 AM
  #12  
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Worth checking. My Trice will roll in my garage in some spots if I don't set the brake. Which sucked yesterday, because the brake was frozn on after the -3 - 16F temps, preventing a ride.

Doesn't take much incline at all to roll if everything is good.

Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Andrewh is correct in stating that if the toe in on the trike is not set correctly, it will make pedaling it MUCH harder. You will also find out that the tries can wear out in just a couple hundred miles instead of several thousand miles. One not very scientific test is to let the trike go on a very slight incline. It should start on its own and roll down the incline and gain speed as it goes. The best way is to measure the toe-in with a homemade tool but the technique is not always simple and varies from trike to trike. Once correctly set, the toe-in should be OK for a long time. The other factor is that you did not buy a trike designed for road riding. KMX trike were specifically designed for off-road and will stand up to the abuse resulting from off-road riding. Trike weight, design, bearing quality, tire design, gearing, and your own fitness all are factors in how easy it is to ride. The good thing is that the more you ride, the easier it gets no matter which trike you own.
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Old 12-20-09, 10:05 PM
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One thing you could try without spending anythig would be to inflate the tires to 85 psi - no matter what the sidewalls say - and give it a test ride. Cheap BMX tires can be a huge drag, especially if they're not road-tire hard.
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Old 12-22-09, 03:54 AM
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So I spent a couple of hours today adjusting the toe in. It was off a little. Well a little farther than I would have liked, so I spend some time getting it to closer to where I feel good about it.

On the tires, in the front I have Maxxis HookWorms 16x1.95 inflated to the recommended 110psi and on the back is an Intense Micro knobby 24x1.5 inflated to 90psi.

I took it out for a ride yesterday, before the toe in adjustment, and these were my numbers:

3.93 miles, 9.2 mph avg, 18.3 max, 25'28". I feel pretty good about that. I checked my logs, and a ride I did before on the same trail on the Df bike I had about a 12mph avg, and a 25mph max. I think I can live with a 3mph slower average seeing that this bike isn't made for long distance road racing, and my DF is a Specialized Allez.

It does feel to me that pedalling my bent is like sprinting on the DF, and I really wasn't into sprinting on the DF, just more of a leisurely relaxed pace. Thanks to everyone so far. I don't think I would have gotten up the nerve to futz with the toe in and make other adjustments. I will post my progress as I get things ironed out.
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Old 12-22-09, 06:51 PM
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I'm not familiar with that trike, but is there a seat angle adjustment? In my limited experience it seems different angles combined with bottom bracket height has a major factor in leg power and fatique.
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Old 01-05-10, 12:33 PM
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I may have had a eureka moment the other day. My son was home from the Army on leave for the holidays, and he has more Ranger training when he returns (yesterday exactly). So we went out for a few rides/jogs. I would ride next to him jogging for miles. On the recumbent, I was literally slowing him down, but he gave me the answer to why I have been having such a hard time. It's basically the angle my body is at on the trike, and frankly my weight. It's pushing on my diaphragm and causing me to be short of breath. This shortness of breath, or inability to take a deep breath is what's making it so hard for me.

I am not sure I can "adjust" this out on the trike, so I will have to lose some weight before I can start riding it longer distances.
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Old 01-05-10, 03:21 PM
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If your belly is impinging on your lungs, it's also impinging on your other organs - which is very dangerous for your health. I agree; you really need to lose the weight!
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Old 01-09-10, 10:33 AM
  #18  
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Me Too ;)

Seat Angle [if angle is adjustable], Leg extension and Cadence can be critical on a 'bent. If [like me] you need to lose a few, seat too upright and you squish the internals; same can go for the leg extension. If your bike is not set up for your x-seam [basically distance from your cheeks to your heels sitting down] you may be lifting your thighs too close to your stomach and squeezing things. With a pedal at full range, your leg should only be slightly bent just like on a DF when seated. Too much bend and your thighs get into your waist and you can get leg cramps and lose power. Too little leg bend [leg too straight at full extension] and you lose muscle effectiveness and again...cramps and fatigue. Are you a "masher" or a "Spinner"? Like has already been said, you cannot really use your weight to help pedal a recumbent. "Mashing" the pedals on a 'bent' can wear you out fast. Many of us larger, newer riders [GOF's like your's truly ] may do better "Spinning" at 60-80 cranks per minute. I have found that Mashing to speed and Spinning to maintain it works best for me. You might want to check your crank length and the distance between your pedals. Cranks too long can also do one in and the feet not properly aligned with the hip joints can also cause muscle cramping. Try moving your feet slightly off the pedals too see if they are too close together. Experiment with all these adjustments until it all works. Fit the bike to you...not t'other way 'round.

A LBS with 'bent experience can help with all this.

Don't feel bad about taking extra breaks, it takes different muscles to drive a 'bent!...this 61yo overweight fella lost all summer because of a broken hand and I just now got to where I do not have to "take five" at 1.5-2 miles. I did my first 20 miler in over a year over Christmas [had to crawl home but felt great the next day. ]


Keep at it...you'll get there!

B66 [Freezin' in central FL]

Last edited by Barnstormer66; 01-09-10 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Getting old and forgetting things! Over and over again! UH? What was I saying?
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Old 01-09-10, 11:38 AM
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Good point about the hip angle, Barnstormer. If it's just a matter of an inch at the top of the stroke, shorter cranks would help a little bit. Not as much as losing the aerobelly, though. You can buy crank shorteners, so replacing the crankset isn't necessary.

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