Saturday, November 17, 2007

Disaster strikes!

Well, not so drastically, but bad enough in one way. To explain: in the spring my employer was looking for smaller premises. After shortlisting three, one was chosen, and we were due to move there in early August. I was on holiday in July, so my first day back at work happened to be the same day we moved into the new premises.

It turned out that the new place is only 5 minutes' walk from my home - saves me a lot of travelling time, but now I can't trike to work! I no longer have a reason to get Beaatrice out daily! There's certainly no point getting her out, just to go 300 metres to the office!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Busy summer

High time I put pen to paper (or to keyboard!) and told you about my almost trikeless summer!

From mid-July on we were at our summer cottage, and I took Beaatrice (my Trice) to the farm and parked her there, safely locked up and indoors (plenty of room in one of the outbuildings).

Partly because of the weather, partly the painting which needed to be done on the cottage, and also because of a short trip to Estonia, I didn't get time for more than two rides during the 3 weeks we were there.

The first was on a typical warm and sunny summer's day, and my son and I went to the town centre 14 kms away. Our Italian baker friend in the local bakery there was very impressed with Beaatrice, especially after doing a circuit with her himself in the car park.

It was a very pleasant ride to town and back, though my knees were a bit sore on the way back, owing to lack of exercise in the weeks leading up to our holiday.

I didn't get another chance to do a ride until almost the end of our three weeks there, when I decided that "It's now or never" and set off on a round trip that covered about 48 kms. The first 20 kms or so were on dirt roads, and my knees were starting to feel sore before I reached an asphalt surface and a country village after those 20 kms, and made a stop at the village shop. It's a dying institution here, and there aren't many left. It's amazing the variety of things they sell, catering for all the summer visitors to the region, staying in their own or rented summer cottages.

I pressed on after an ice cream, and felt a few spots of rain before reaching a major road, but it didn't last long. The next 15 kms or so were rather uneventful. I must admit it wasn't a very pleasant feeling to have traffic roaring past at over 80 kph (50 mph)!

Gradually my knees were feeling worse with every kilometre I pedalled. It crossed my mind that I could have called my brother-in-law to come with his van to pick me up, but that would have felt like cheating. I decided to push on to the bitter end, and determined not to attempt such a long ride again after a long break without riding.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Triker's update

To put your minds at rest, no, I haven't stopped triking, despite the month's silence on the blog - I've just had so many other things on my mind.

I've been on a couple of longer rides after work. Earlier in June, shortly after my last entry, I went round the south coast of the city, and in the west harbour I spotted these stainless steel spheres.

Later on my way home, disaster struck once again!

For some reason the chain parted, and I was pedalling fresh air briefly, till I realised what had happened. About 10 yards back down the road I found the one part and managed to hook the chain back together, but without the other plate it was too risky to ride. I wheeled the trike back down the road about half a mile, looking for the plate, but it was a bit like the old needle in a haystack. Fortunately I had spare ones at home, and soon got it fixed.

On a more recent ride to the eastern shopping centre I took a new route, and found myself on a bridge I didn't know of before.

The trains sometimes run overhead as you're walking or cycling underneath! One went over while I was there.

An even more recent ride took me round the main park north of the centre. I went clockwise, and found routes I hadn't been on before. I ended up at the old town, where the river gently pours itself over a weir.

This is the same place as in my March post Missed a day - but made up for it the next! but from the opposite direction.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Trike descent on film!

Wednesday afternoon after work I went to the park, and despite the heat wave we're having, I triked up the hill to prepare for the exciting downhill ride that I've been planning to video. At last I've done it - did it twice in fact: after doing the ride and filming it, I went back up and did it again!

Here's the result.

Pity the camera can't handle the change of light, from the darker part under the trees to the bright sun by the road. The bend before leaving the park was tricky, one-handed and at speed!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Longest trip so far!

I'd planned to take the day off today, but the forecast was bad for the whole day, and it was raining in the morning. The schizophrenic that I am (not really!) I was in two minds whether to stay home or go to work. After the others had left for work and school, I decided to stay and see if there would be a big enough gap in the showers for me to do a ride.

In less than an hour the rain stopped, and the sun started to show itself. I began checking the route to some friends' house (K&K), about 19 kms away. Then I rang them, and though they were home, K said they were busy cleaning their windows. So then I considered plan B.

Plan B was to head west and see how far the weather and my legs would allow me to go, bearing in mind that I had to get back too. Eventually I got out into the countryside, which was nice at first, but the traffic was just roaring by, in both directions. So I turned off up a gravel road, and found a nice quiet spot, and there on the hill was this semi-detached house, looking all peaceful.

I went a bit further, but the road turned into a mere forest track, so I thought I'd head back, I'd come far enough.

The ride back was uneventful - except for one event: a thunderstorm up ahead produced a nice rainbow! I felt no more than a few spots, but I could see how much rain I'd missed as I progressed towards the centre. There were large pools at road junctions, which I had to drive through, or in fact I was able to go round the edge and avoid the deepest parts.

On this trip I made several firsts: it was the first time it was warm enough to wear shorts, and thus the first time my knees got a bit sunburnt; I broke my speed record: 55.5 kph (34.5 mph)! I did my longest trip so far: 61 kms (38 miles).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The weakest link?

I went for a ride this afternoon. I was taking a bend to join another path in the park, when the cogs jammed, and I couldn't turn the pedals. At first I didn't know what had happened. Then I noticed the black upper chain tube jammed up on the front chain ring. I could pull it back a bit, but it took a while before I noticed what was stopping it: one of the chain link plates had come off at one end, and it was sticking through the tube!

I immediately had visions of me pushing it all the way home, but I got out my toolkit, tipped her on her side and managed to get the chain free from the tube. I was wishing I'd taken the chain link tool with me! Luckily I had a pair of pliers, and with some effort I managed to get the plate back in place sufficiently to enable me to ride. I decided it'd be safer to head for home than continue to where I'd planned to ride, in case it happened again with worse consequences.

When I got back I found the same link, and put the link tool on it and tightened it up, or made sure it was securely in place. Now I think I'm ready for a longer ride tomorrow (taking a winter holiday day off, if the weather is favourable), but I'll certainly be taking the link tool with me!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Summer Storage Place Solved!

Another neighbour in our complex of three blocks of flats will be moving in to their renovated flat soon, and so far they've put no more than their winter tyres in their cellar space. I finally got round to calling him to ask if I could rent the space, and he gave me permission to use it for the summer months! (This is a different space from the one I mentioned earlier. That guy's space is still empty and locked - he hasn't put anything in there as long as we can remember!)

It'll now be much easier for me to carry Beaatrice downstairs half a flight, through the cellar doors and straight into that almost empty space. It also frees up the balcony for us to use as normal during the summer months, which my dear lady is pleased about!

Advantages in being close to the ground

I was coming up the hill on my way home the other day, in my right place, the cycle part of the pavement, next to a row of bushes. At that slow speed and being close to the ground (compared to an upright bike) you're able to see all sorts, but I didn't expect to see a little Finnkino cinema ticket holder lying in the undergrowth. I pulled it out, and sure enough, there were two so-called company tickets inside, valid until the end of May! These can be traded in for real tickets for any Finnkino film. So last night my dear lady and I had an evening out at the movies. Nice!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May day (not: "May day! May Day!")

I'd just got the trike downstairs this morning, when I noticed a flat tyre! I last rode it Monday afternoon, did a trip into town and back. It was fine then, but I must have picked up the puncture on my way home.

Yesterday being May Day, almost the whole country was partying. Thousands of people were out picnicking in the parks in the main cities and towns! There must have been tens of thousands of people in the park we went to!

So I didn't get round to doing a ride, although I considered returning by trike to that park later in the afternoon, to see what it was like, if the party mood still lingered. But I didn't; if I had done, I would have noticed the puncture then and would have fixed it, instead of it causing me a delay in getting to work this morning.

The good thing about repairing punctures in the front tyres of a trike is that the inner tube is easy to remove, unlike on a normal bike because of the front fork.

We also saw a couple of promobikes in town!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Since acquiring Beaatrice (my Trice) at the beginning of last October, I've kept her on our balcony (we live on the third floor of a four-storey block of flats), as I feel it's too risky to keep her locked up outside, or in our bike shed where others have access. Keeping Beaatrice on our balcony during the winter months, while not the best solution, is a satisfactory temporary arrangement, despite having to carry her through our flat twice a day, and up and down the stairs. I know she’s safe there.

We have storage space in the cellar, and some occupants of apartments in B house also have their storage space in our cellar. They're wooden frames with chicken wire, which can be locked. Of course ours is pretty full, no room for a trike there! But a neighbour upstairs has his cellar space empty, but with a lock on it:

Long before I decided to get a trike, I asked him if he would rent his storage space to us, but he said no. Earlier this year, when I bumped into him on the stairs, I explained our problem with storage space for the trike, and asked him to reconsider, to rent the space to me for the summer months, promising I’d be ready to move her out the minute he requested. He said he’d think about it. Meanwhile in conversation with several other neighbours, they told me similar stories (no, they don’t have trikes!). They also asked him if they could rent his space in the cellar, and had been told no.

A few weeks went by, Easter came and went, and one afternoon last week I met him again on the stairs. He said to me:

‘Uh, it’s no go I’m afraid.’
I said ‘you mean the cellar?’
‘Yes, no go. Thanks’ (odd, but they sometimes say that, not ‘sorry’, but ‘thanks’!)

What could I say? ‘Well, you rotten #&%/&?€, it’d only be for 4 months!’? (And I’d keep it clean, and I’d vacate it immediately you say!) No, no point bothering. I couldn’t even ask him why he’d decided not to rent it to me – that’s his business, not mine. But if it’s because he’s said no to the other neighbours, I’d counter that with the fact that I’d be storing just one item, and it’s easier to get someone to remove one item, than a storage space full of stuff. Plus the fact that I’d put it in writing and sign it for him, promising to keep my side of the deal.

Ah well, our hopes for an easy solution are dashed, and for now we’re stuck with the problem. We’ll just have to hope something will come up.

Airport cafe, at last!

It was on the last but one Saturday of March that I pointed Beaatrice in the direction of the airport for light aircraft, and had a very pleasant trip there, although it was still a bit cold on the toes. This time I was able to rest indoors and enjoy a cup of coffee and something good with it. The girl behind the counter remembered me from the first time I was there last October, and as we then talked about E, who often visits there, she could tell me he was there just the day before! So I missed him by one day!

I took this picture on the way back (similar to the one I took on the 10th, but now all the ice has gone).

I was disappointed to hear from the girl that they don’t do skydiving on a regular basis any more at that airport. They’ve gone elsewhere. Pity, ’cos it was always nice to see them drifting slowly down. Having tried it myself (at that very same airport) I know what they’re experiencing. But one thing we are planning to do is to have a gliding trip at another small airport just an hour’s drive north from here. Something new and exciting to look forward to this summer!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Taking the long way home

Tuesday was such a nice day that after work I decided to make a detour instead of going home by the shortest route. Heading roughly northeast, I reached the park, and turned in a more northerly direction, arriving at the same destination as on my No day off.

Most of the snow has gone, but there was still a ski track circuit passing close to the café there, obviously maintained by the local authorities, and quite a number of skiers still making the most of it (I'd already hung my skis up long ago!).

The paths in the park on my way home were mostly snow-free, if a bit soft in places where there was run-off from snow melting beside the path, and once or twice a patch of rough snow to plough through. Apart from that it was a very enjoyable ride!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Restful weekend and wet start to the week

The sleet banished all thoughts of a pleasure trip with Beaatrice Saturday morning, but Sunday began with bright sunshine. Unfortunately time was a bit tight for a ride, as we were planning on making it to a noon lecture at the "bike, health and hike" exhibition. The sunshine didn't last however; at some point after midday it started snowing again, with quite big wet flakes. By late evening we had a couple of inches of wet blanket. It looked pretty, on the trees and all, but very wet underfoot, as I found out when I went to the local gym.

This morning (Monday) it didn't look like it would be too much trouble with the trike, so I got going early and ploughed my way through puddles and patches of slush. I made it to the office without any problems.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Monday brought good weather, favourable temperatures, and an excuse to make a longer trip than normal (the ride to work): I needed to visit a customer's premises for one job, which was as far again from home as it is to the office. I triked back after lunch, stopped by the office to finish off a couple of things, then headed for home. R had been away from school all day with flu, and had finished the library book I'd borrowed for him, so as it was overdue, I decided to jump back in the driving seat and head for the nearest library to return it. Maybe my legs still haven't got used to it again after my break because of the colder weather and my sick leave, 'cos by the time I got home for the second time, they were telling me "No more!" I really wouldn't like to overdo it and do serious damage to my knees or something.

Tuesday was a normal day, just the usual trip to work, which is getting easier and easier daily as they sweep up more grit (it really does slow you down!) But what surprises me is that I haven't had a single puncture since fitting those chunky tread tyres on the front and the studded one on the back. In November I had four punctures in three days!

Missed a day - but made up for it the next!

I had a day of rest on Saturday (10th), but when during Sunday morning the weather brightened up and the clouds cleared away, I couldn't resist the thought of a ride with Beaatrice.

I thought I'd head northeast first, on the same route as to the airport for light aircraft, where I've triked a couple of times in the autumn. Then I'd take the road east, to a suburb where my friends M and K live (names changed to protect identity).

The going was good in places, but there's still some grit on some pavements from when we had ice and snow, and they haven't got round to clearing it all away. Where it had been cleared, it was a refreshing change from the constant noise it makes as it rattles round with the tyres, under the mudguards. It even flies in all directions, so it's a good thing I've got goggles!

When I reached my destination, M and K weren't home! M was visiting friends just up the road, and K was on afternoon shift. Some other time, then. I could have rung first before I left home, but it made a nice round trip anyway, as I made my way home on the main eastern artery leading into town. Well, not literally on it, as bikes aren't allowed (unless they have a motor!) but on smaller roads and streets, however I could find my way in the general direction of the centre.

It was quite a long trip, almost all in one go (without a decent break for a rest and regain some energy, which I would have got if M and K had been home), and by the time I got home my legs felt like they'd had enough!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It just ain't natural!

Thursday evening, being well recovered from my flu, I decided to resume visits to the local gym. With the gym being only half a km away, it was too short a ride to do on the trike (and anyway I wouldn't want to risk leaving it parked outside the place for any length of time), I decided to go on my old DF (diamond frame) bike. I hadn't ridden it for over 3 months, and as I set off, it felt really awkward, sitting so high up in that upright position, leaning over to the handlebars and trying to steer in a straight line. I wasn't used to having to keep my balance. I almost felt clumsy!

I did my stuff in the gym, keeping it short for this first time after almost 3 weeks' break, mounted my rusty steed and headed for home. I feel I could never go back full time to what feels like such an unnatural riding position.

Hola hombre!

I think it was Tuesday afternoon, I'd just started down the street from work when I passed a somewhat familiar-looking pedestrian heading for the train. He thought I looked familiar too, as he stopped and turned, just as I had. (I don't know how he recognised me in my disguise, goggles and all!) Sure enough it was J, whom I hadn't seen for going on for 3 years! We had a brief chat, and I invited him to try the trike, which he found fun, and he took my picture with his mobile (must have been a good one, as the picture turned out quite good).

As you can see, we still have some snow about, but it's unlikely to stay for much longer. I'm just looking forward to when the temperature no longer drops below freezing, so I can switch back to 'summer tyres', and hopefully by then all the grit will have been swept up off the pavements. (Yes, that's an old dish-washing brush on the back, handy for removing excess snow in rougher weather!)

No day off for Triker!

Saturday 3rd brought temperatures hovering just above freezing, and it being so mild compared to earler, I was very tempted to get out on the trike for pleasure, for a change (as opposed to using it for commuting to work). (So much for taking a break from it!)

I decided to avoid the paths in the park, as the snow on them would probably be softening, and would make the going very heavy. Instead I took to the pavements of our local streets, past the ice rink and headed north. I took a diagonal left turn, thinking I'd that way do one side of a triangle instead of two. I didn't exactly get lost, but probably ended up doing more than three sides of a triangle after all, as I tried to find my way through to the road I needed to be on!

Despite a gentle snowfall, I kept going and eventually made it to my destination, a well-known sports centre on the edge of the park about 6 kilometres from home. I like that trip because there's a café where I can rest and have something to eat with tea or coffee, and watch the skiers making the best of a bad job on the wet ski tracks.

The next day I again couldn't resist going out for a ride, although a day's rest might have done me good! In the afternoon I rode over to T's place, about three kilometres away. Again it was trying to snow, but it was wet stuff, and didn't amount to anything of any consequence. He asked me in for a cup of tea, after he and his daughter had a short test ride and he took a couple of pictures.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


The snowfall we had earlier in the week didn't amount to much, but it was enough to create the effect of cobblestones on the pavements where hundreds of pedestrians had walked, so riding the trike over that was a bit rough, to say the least. Where suitable, I switched to the road/street, and let the traffic sort itself out around me.

The zero Celsius temperatures we had later in the week meant that the going was rather wet, and I had to make detours of large puddles, or slow down enough not to splash when going through them if I couldn't go round them.

The great thing is that at last when I leave home in the mornings it's daylight, and it's still daylight when I leave work! Great that the days are getting longer!

At one point on my way home there's a busy intersection, and after crossing it there's a gentle uphill. As I make my way up it, there's often a queue of traffic waiting at those lights, and I get curious looks and smiles from drivers and passengers, and even bus drivers wave to me! Trikes are still such a rare sight here. It's amazing how traffic will stop for me at pedestrian crossings, most likely because of their curiosity (if I were on a DF bike they wouldn't, they'd make me wait!).

Monday, February 26, 2007

Extreme cold (and flu!) stopped Triker (but only temporarily!)

A couple of weeks ago the temperature here dropped below minus 20 Celsius, too cold for any sane cyclist (or trike cyclist) to get on the pedals and out into the (very) fresh air! A bout of flu also knocked Triker out of his recumbent seat and into bed for a few days. But today dawned milder than for a long time, and with the flu shaken off, he got back in the driving seat and made it to work like he'd never missed a day!

I'm still catching up with past events (as it's still a bit cold for pleasure rides), but I'm hoping to add more stories here soon!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More background - first impressions

When I ordered my trike, I thought at first it’s a lot of money to spend on a bike/trike. After putting it together I soon realised it’s not just a tricycle! It’s a much nicer ride than a diamond frame (DF) or upright bike, and much better for many reasons. Although the type of bike one rides is always the individual's choice, unless you've tried a recumbent, you can't know what you are missing!

As I mentioned earlier, I first tried a short ride on a 2-wheeler recumbent over two years ago. I was on my way home on my DF, and caught up with a guy on a recumbent on his way to work, got talking to him about his bent, when he said 'Wanna try it?' So I did, for about 300 yards of pavement to his works entrance. I was hooked from that first moment! Since then the idea of one day owning one myself had remained dormant, until the summer of 2006. I don't remember what caused it to resurface. I somehow found my way to lots of websites of manufacturers, riders' archives and blogs, and eventually decided I'd get a recumbent trike. I remember deciding on three wheels, because of the icy conditions here in autumn and spring (not to mention winter, because I hadn't seriously considered riding in winter before - now I know that I'm much safer on 3 wheels than on 2). Another criterion was that it had to be foldable, so that I could get it in the car and take with me.

That's what I did a couple of weeks after building it. I took the trike to my brother-in-law's, where they all tried it and liked it. The three daughters enjoyed riding it too - almost couldn't stop the youngest! My mother-in-law even tried it, and she's in her 80s!

I’ve been riding my trike to work since it was ready to ride (early October). The only time I've used my old bike was when I went on a ride with my son, so that we could swap machines for him to enjoy the recumbent ride too!

Lunch used to be the highlight of the day (at work). Not any more! My two daily rides put lunch in third place!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Three wheels on my wagon

Yes, that's right, I've got three wheels under me, and it doesn't matter how slippery it is here in winter, on a three-wheeled recumbent tricycle you can't fall off (or over) unless you take a bend too fast (which I haven't yet)! It's what they call an HPV (human-powered vehicle).

Drop by here any time, to see how I'm getting on with Beaatrice, as I christened my new Trice QNT, shortly after she was delivered. I intend this blog to reflect the fun and adventures that my new hobby rewards me with. Cycling had never been as much fun before! (I may from time to time describe other events, or discuss other topics I feel strongly about, anything I feel I'd like to share with others.)

To put things into perspective:
It was maybe a little over 2 years ago that I tried a recumbent (bent) bike when I met a guy on his way to work in our neighbourhood. I was surprised how easy it was to ride (e.g. balance was no problem) and I found it to be a most enjoyable and satisfying way to ride a bike. One feels very 'laid back' in the seat of a bent!

Beaatrice was given production number 6344. She was the 344th trike to be manufactured in 2006. She gets her name from those numbers, which look like letters in certain fonts (similar to car registration numbers), with the word 'TRICE' added on, appropriately, that being the name of this model.

She arrived at the beginning of October, 2006, and after a couple of evenings putting her together, I've ridden her to work almost daily ever since.