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Converting to trike - questions

Old 08-13-11, 04:36 PM
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drmweaver2
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Converting to trike - questions

I mentioned here/elsewhere that I've had to move to a trike from a DF. The early rides I've made since buying my trike have raised some significant questions. Hopefully a few of you might have some insight/encouragement/answers.

1. Obviously, new muscles are in play. Considering I did 30 consecutive days of metric century rides on my DF in May, any rough ideas about how long it'll take me to get my "trike muscles" if I ride 15-30 miles a day 4-6 days a week? (My hip flexors are killing me!)

2. Speed - always an issue/non-issue at the same time. 20inch wheels are going to be slower, I know. However, I seem to have cadence issues now I didn't really have before - probably lost at least 15rpm moving to the trike - which I can't understand. Any ideas? FWIW, same length cranks - 170mm.

3. Cue sheets - having "lost" the convenient location of a handlebar bag for a map/cue sheet, I'm somewhat at a loss for an appropriate trike-specific solution. My Terratrike Cruiser has separate handle grips so there's no in-front-of-me spot to just mount a map/cue sheet. Any ideas/suggestions?

4. General "training" question - Am I correct in assuming that "training" on the trike should be done basically similarly to what I did on a DF - just increase distances 10% or so a week and throw in some intervals once or twice a ride/week to break things up and increase my cadence/speed? Or should I forget intervals completely until I have 500 or so base trike miles? Riding at a pokey 10mph makes going any distance take seemingly forever - even compared to a "roaring" 12-13mph! Lol.

5. Lastly, endurance. It's been somewhat annoying/depressing to find that my current triking endurance is only about half what it was just this past May on my DF. Obviously, this is partly due to the accident/incident that caused me to move to the trike AND it is also partly simply adjusting to the trike itself. Excuses aside, it's annoying. Any comments, ideas, suggestions on making the adjustment to having to "start over from scratch"?

Last edited by drmweaver2; 08-13-11 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 08-13-11, 04:43 PM
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I have a friend that went trike from a DF.
Took him 6 months to get strong with his trike riding.
Just keep pedaling.

Sorry to hear you had an accident.
When did that take place?
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Old 08-13-11, 04:56 PM
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Accident happened the 4th of July weekend. Killed my riding for about two and a half weeks - just could not re-adjust to the DF afterwards and immediately began looking for a recumbent. Finally decided on a trike rather than a two-wheeler due to existing back issues which were complicated by the accident. Also found that I breathed much better on the trike than on the DF - didnt ride enough two-wheeler recumbents to compare.

Also, been fighting bronchitis/allergies most of the Spring/Summer. Shrug. Good drugs help with THOSE issues.
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Old 08-13-11, 07:57 PM
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You've lost some fitness just by riding little for a number of weeks. Recovery from that complicated by moving to the trike and learning how to ride it. Your respiratory issues are slowing down your return to previous fitness level, too. It's going to take a while. Be patient. Weeks, months...........as long as it takes. We lose fitness faster than we gain it. But, we can gain it back.
Took me at least a couple of months to acclimate to riding my first recumbent bike after riding primarily hybrids for years.
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Old 08-13-11, 08:24 PM
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You do want to make sure your seat and/or boom are adjusted correctly.
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Old 08-14-11, 04:06 PM
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There's no reason why your cadence should be lower on the trike. Unless you're trying to push a gear that's too high. Which would cause sore hip flexors. I hope you don't expect the trike to ever be as fast as your road bike. Not that it can't happen, but that's not the normal outcome. Trikes' strong point is low-speed.
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Old 08-14-11, 04:29 PM
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I was thinking the hip flexor pain was just part of the adjustment from a DF riding position to a trike riding position.

I've been staying strictly in the middle front chainring thus far, so pushing too hard a gear shouldn't be a factor in terms of cadence. I really can't explain the drop in cadence which is why I asked about it.
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Old 08-14-11, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
. . . . . I've been staying strictly in the middle front chainring thus far, so pushing too hard a gear shouldn't be a factor in terms of cadence. I really can't explain the drop in cadence which is why I asked about it.
You might try gearing down to the point you are spinning at least 70. If you are like me, there's a sweet spot for cadence and missing even by a single gear leads to leg fatigue. It might even be fun to explore the small ring for a few rides.
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Old 08-15-11, 06:23 AM
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gcottay -Simply by switching to the trike, I have dropped from ~85 to ~70 rpm cadence-wise already. That's where the question originated.

As for riding in the small front ring, um, how to say this politely - well, let's just call it an idea that boggles the mind in flat, flat, flat Southern Louisiana (did I mention where I ride is flat?).
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Old 08-15-11, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
Accident happened the 4th of July weekend. Killed my riding for about two and a half weeks - just could not re-adjust to the DF afterwards and immediately began looking for a recumbent. Finally decided on a trike rather than a two-wheeler due to existing back issues which were complicated by the accident. Also found that I breathed much better on the trike than on the DF - didnt ride enough two-wheeler recumbents to compare. Also, been fighting bronchitis/allergies most of the Spring/Summer. Shrug. Good drugs help with THOSE issues.
Thanks
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Old 08-15-11, 09:31 AM
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I ordered a Greenspeed SLR in 2002, so it's been awhile since I made the leap. My muscles took lots of time to fully adjust (read: years); if you think about it, that makes some sense because it took years for your wedgie legs to develop. More difficult was the transition in thinking - I have some small hills around the DFW area, and I'll get killed by an equivalent wedgie rider on any decent uphill. (On the other hand, nothing short of a racing tandem can keep up with me on a downhill.) Add to that a natural 2-3 mph speed drop and riding the trike can be a humbling experience. That mental issue then translates to pushing too high a gear, which drops your cadence . . .
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Old 08-15-11, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
. . . . As for riding in the small front ring, um, how to say this politely - well, let's just call it an idea that boggles the mind in flat, flat, flat Southern Louisiana (did I mention where I ride is flat?).
So, your mind does want you to regain your former cadence and ease the hip pain? <G> Another approach would be to spin 85 or 90 and use whatever ring/cog combo that allows to maintain cadence with moderate effort.
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Old 08-15-11, 10:22 AM
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There are lots of things that are probably quite different about your TT Cruiser than your DF bike. You don't mention what bike you were riding before. Was it a lightweight road bike with high quality components? How does that compare to the 36 pounds (with no extras like water, tools, and a spare tube) listed for the Cruiser? You also have a much different gear range using the 20" drive wheel on your trike (18 to 90 gear inches). There is the physics of having 3 wheels on the ground and 3 sets of bearings and the larger frictional losses due to three instead of two wheels. When I got my first trike, a TT Wizwheelz 3.4 it took quite a while to get to the same fitness level I had on a 2-wheeled recumbent weighing just a few pounds lighter and having a much better gear range.
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Old 08-15-11, 11:50 AM
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Granted, I had a hip replacement between my DF riding, and my new trike, but I have also found that both my distance, speed, and cadence have gone down on the trike. The plus side is that I am much more comfortable on the trike, and aside from knee pain, a vast improvement.

I was not any kind of lightning bolt on my DF - 25-30 mile daily rides at a 10-11 mph average, but now my longest ride has been 20 miles at 7mph average on the trike.

My point here? You're not alone in what you've noticed. We each must decide what we want, and for me, I'll give up the speed for the comfort. Everything I have read since last OCT has said a 2-3mph speed drop seems to be a fact. Granted, I only have bout 300 miles so far on my trike.
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Old 08-15-11, 12:52 PM
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I'd only been riding again, after a 20-30 year layoff, for about 6-8 months - last July to this past January. I rode a Windsor Tourist (no lightwieght but a decent bike) on a tour in Sep/Oct - about 1100-1300 miles ( I forget). I'd gotten my average speed up to about 14-16mph depending on route/terrain. This past Spring I didn't ride from January thru April but I'd gotten back on the bike for 30 consecutive days of metric centuries in May with mostly respiratory problems, not muscle-related ones.

Accident in early July - result - minor balance issues (while walking(!)), continung back issues (re-injury and long-term injury), head issues(concussion), etc., etc.

Moving to the trike was a spur of the moment thing - well, actually, it was after I dumped a recumbent two-wheeler twice on a demo ride and my ego got whacked. No such balance issues on the trike, obviously. Immediate identification with the "I can still ride" feeling. I don't have ego/jealousy issues about bikes, per se - most of the fancier geegaws are over my head value-wise.

But I do want to get back to how I felt physically on and after my tour last Fall. I could pedal all day long, with a load, and wasn't particularly slow when unloaded - but certainly no speed demon. I guess I'm just having mixed emotions considering the "fitness setback" and the adjustment to the trike. It doesn't help that in comparison to bikes, there's far less info on the Net about actual fitness training with respect to trikes and I'm not sure just how much of the bike training information is directly transferrable.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 08-15-11 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 08-15-11, 02:11 PM
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The short version for me, I rode 1K mile/months back when I was 20, then had the first of 8 knee surgeries, and got back on the bike some 30 years later after my left knee was replaced - did a total of 650+ miles on a Giant Suede DX I bought the month before the TKR, and stopped 07-10 due to shoulder surgery. Then the hip started flaking, so got the trike 12-10, but only rode bout 100 miles prior to the hip replacement 06-11.

So I was just getting into riding shape (sorta) and had more surgeries - and had to give up the bike. After 'pining away' about the loss of riding for 30+ years, getting the trike, AND, being able to ride is simply a godsend! So, yes, I do wish for more miles, and more speed - but, the joy of riding is still there for me. I do expect the miles to increase, but the speed? I just don't know.
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Old 08-15-11, 04:24 PM
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The speed WILL increase with experience and (most importantly) fitness level. I'm 55 and in the best condition now that I've been in years, and my average speeds have gone up significantly this year on both my trike and my wedgie despite the fact I've ridden fewer miles.

There is a strong correlation between aerobic condition and speed. As others have said, the "engine" is far more important than the vehicle.
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Old 08-15-11, 07:29 PM
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Hip flexor pain - is it possible you're pulling on the pedals too much?
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Old 08-15-11, 08:18 PM
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Pllatform pedals without straps on the trike til now, so no possibility that I was pulling up on the pedals.

Things may change after tomorrow as I just received and installed my cleats. I'm hoping that makes all the difference.
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Old 08-16-11, 08:08 AM
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What kind of trike did you get? Not that it should matter for cadence; but there are faster trikes and slower ones.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:42 AM
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OP has a new-to-him TerraTrike Cruiser.
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Old 08-16-11, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
3. Cue sheets - having "lost" the convenient location of a handlebar bag for a map/cue sheet, I'm somewhat at a loss for an appropriate trike-specific solution. My Terratrike Cruiser has separate handle grips so there's no in-front-of-me spot to just mount a map/cue sheet. Any ideas/suggestions?
May not work for you, but I now use a belly bag (fanny pack, whatever) on my trike. If I need a cue sheet I pin it to the belly bag.
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Old 08-17-11, 06:37 AM
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Cork - that idea flitted thru my head on the ride yesterday. I may just give it a try. Thanks.
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Old 08-17-11, 01:55 PM
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It took about 800 miles on my trike to get my hip flexors accustomed to the trike. However, I had not been on any kind of bike for 2 years before getting my trike. Now I feel it in my upper and middle glutes most often.

Now, after 1200 miles, I can still get sore hip flexors if I ride a very long ride or push myself hard or ride more frequently and longer than I ought.

I have contemplated pinning the route sheet to the lower edge of my shorts and using a scrap of elastic around my leg above my knee to hold the other end of the route sheet in place. Have not tried it yet. Often the maps get stuffed under my bra strap.

I use shorter cranks (155) on my trike. My cadence is faster on my trike then it was on my hybrid bike. I've been clipped in since my 2nd ride on the trike but never on the hybrid so that's not a great comparison.

Don't let your ego make you overdo it. If you really strain something and can't ride at all, you'll be really really mad. I know 'cause I've done that several times already!

My average speed over my first year of riding increased by 50% from 8mph to 12mph over the same ride. I'm creeping up on 14mph average for a 15 mile ride. These numbers are on mostly flat rides. Over a long ride (30 miles or more) my average is never over 10. It gets slow like that because I get tired. But I'm more of a tourist than a racer so no worries.

I run out of aerobic capacity on long hills, although I can now charge up shorter ones. Before I had to shift way way down even on the short ones.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:20 PM
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eay - Thanks VERY much for the reply. While I can't use your suggestion of pinning anything to a bra strap (as I don't wear [or need] one last time I looked), the rest of your post resonates to a large extent.

"Don't let your ego make you overdo it." The only ego issue is not riding ~15mph average over even a 5 mile distance. For some reason, that's just something I really want to do - by the end of the year, over 20 miles. I don;t consider myself a racer, but I don't like "walking speed" movement either.

I've also considered pinning a map/cue sheet to my shorts but hadn't considered using an elastic strap to hold either end down as I don't want to cut off blood circulation any more than necessary (not sure if this is a reasonable concern or not). I just saw a pic over on bentriders where someone actually made a holder of sorts that was attached to the front derailleur boom - I might have to look into that (the attachment wasn't clear, only the view from the seat). The same person had managed to mount two waterbottles there too it seemed - again, no clear pic on the actual mount/attachment design.

I've considered using shorter-than-170mm cranks but am putting that decision off until I've ridden at least 500 trike miles. By then I hope to have at least adjusted to the new seating/pedalling position. Same decision delay with possibly moving to a 26 inch rear wheel as my locale is mostly flat so I shouldn't be giving up much in terms of granny gear needs unless I decide to ride "out of area".

Upodate/added: After reading the Granny Gear thread elsewhere on these very forums, I've actually begun to feel better. It's not me - it's the freaking small drive wheel! Lol. Definitely leaning more and more towards upgrading my rear wheel to the 26" size after reading that thread and playing with Michael's Gear Calculator for a long while. The tradeoff in speed with a 20" rear wheel just isn't necessary for where I ride/the flat terrain I ride in .

Last edited by drmweaver2; 08-19-11 at 02:54 PM.
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