Saturday, August 26, 2023

My Last Post but NOT Done Pedaling

I started my blog in July 2009 and I'm ending it today.
 I'll still keep the pages on the title bar up to date.

I'm NOT done pushing pedals by any means. I'll continue with social media. I feel Social Media serves a good purpose in letting other recumbent trike riders know that they are not alone. I for one live where I may see one or two trikes a year riding around my City of Thousand Oaks, CA. Without social media I would have felt very isolated over the years.

On the Web version of this blog I'll keep the links on the side bar and the above Page links up to date. 

On the Mobile version of this blog only the updated Pages can be accessed (arrow at the bottom right corner of title picture).

My Instagram - Crazy On Three  

Instagram is my primary source for sharing my trike rides and information. Even though my age group on Instagram, 65 and older, has a small presence (2.6% of users) recumbent riders including velomobile riders seem to make up a decent share of that 2%. It's my observation that younger people on Instagram are happy to share the totality of their lives while older users tend to target specific activities (and food).

My Facebook - Mark T Rackow

The Facebook demographic for 65 and older is 11%.  Here it seems my age group is more comfortable sharing their daily activities. Generally my Facebook posts on my personal page are automatic uploads from Instagram. If I do post on Facebook it's usually to groups like Recumbent Trike Group and ICE Trike Owners.

My Other Instagram - M_Tracy_Rackow  

This is the Instagram account is where I post my art, photography and poetry.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Back to Road Tires...for now

There is still too much water crossing the trails to have any extended meaningful rides off road. Most of my ride time is still spent on pavement so keeping the GT365s on didn't make any sense. I went back to a road tire setup. So goodbye Schwalbe GT365s...for now. Hello Schwalbe Marathon Plus 35/406 front and a 35/559 on the rear.

I wanted more time off road (see my February Post) but too much water is still crossing the couple of trails suitable for my trike. And I don't want to fold up my trike and travel to another trailhead. I like to just pull out of my driveway and ride.

In addition to putting road tires on I removed the rack and panniers to lighten the trike up a bit. The ride necessities are now trucked away in ICE seat pouches and a T-Cycle frame bag. I’ll use a ICE Sidepod when I want to carry an extra battery and more stuff for longer rides. 

For now, it's the Schwalbe Marathon Plus on front and rear. I have other tire combinations I'll probably try out over the summer. The Plus 35mm tires aren't the lightest or the fastest (but not too slow either). I've gotten use to riding with fewer flats over the last year with the Schwalbe Marathons and the Schwalbe GT365s. I feel the 35mm Plus tires are a good compromise between speed and fewer flats.

My unscientific tire speed tests are (here). 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Broken ICE Boom Bolts

If you're like me and enjoy experimenting with different trike configurations which may at times include moving the boom then read on.

The bolts that secure the boom are under a lot of pressure and suffer from fatigue when tighten and loosened too many times and they may break. Even when using a torque wrench to avoid over tightening they seem to snap after a few rounds of tightening and loosening.

The first time a bolt snapped it was a challenge to remove the manufacturer installed bolt. With the snapped bolt head removed I then had to use my Dremel to mill a slot in the opposite end of the bolt so I could use a flathead screwdriver to get the bolt to stick out. Once it was out far enough I attached a vice grip and finished the removal of the broken bolt by unscrewing it.

Now I use a longer bolt that protrudes out the opposite side about a 1/4 inch. When a bolt snaps, and it will if you play around with them enough, I can easily grab it with a vise grip and twist and remove it.

A 30mm long bolt extends far enough out that 
it can be easily grasped. I put black rubber caps
on the bolt end just for looks.

Vice grip is clamped down on protruding bolt
end. Twist until the broken piece of bolt comes out.

Bolt Depot as the all the bolts, washers and nuts that you'll ever need.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Schwalbe GT365 Front Tire Change

New Schwalbe GT365, 55/406 (20" x 2.15") on the front.

In February of this year I posted about the change to Schwalbe GT365 tires (link here). The GT365 tires have been a joy to use. Currently I have the 55/559 (26" x 2.15") on the rear and 40/406 (20" x 1.5") on the front. But I like to test out different tire combinations so I'm going to take off the 40/406 (20' x 1.5") front GT365s  and try 55/406 (20' x 2.15") GT365s for awhile. I want more steering control in thick gravel and soft dirt. So far after one ride I've gained more steering and braking control off road and taking runts with greater ease but lost some speed on the pavement which was expected and not missed.

Schwalbe GT 365s 55mm front and back.

The narrower 40/406s are excellent on pavement but as I've said in my February post I want to try and reduce my time on the paved roads after my crash last year (link here). Originally to get off the road I put on the GT365s, 55mm on rear and 40mm on the front, and a chainring change (link here) on my ICE Sprint FS E8000. Now I have 55mm GT 365s on the front making my trike even more off road worthy.

Front 55/406 (20" x 2.15")

Rear 55/559 (26" x 2.15")

I'm still spending a lot of time on the pavement and the GT365s are a good hybrid tire. It's nice to know I can take a mental break from all the cars and head off on a fire road or tame trail. Also since my crash I've been hyper vigilant while on the road and it gets exhausting after awhile. Even though the drivers insurance company compensated me well after the crash I DO NOT want it to happen again. So I'll go off road whenever possible.

This picture taken after I left the trail
gives you an idea of how much of
the tire at max inflation is still in
contact with road when
on the pavement.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Adventure Cycling Association - Sylvia Halpern

In emails to the Adventure Cycling Association I have expressed my disappointment with their lack of attention to senior, alternative and adaptive adventure cyclists. The Adventure Cycling Association has always focused on the abled and younger riders with an occasional shoutout to us senior cyclists but yet has no problem asking us seniors to part with our income through their estate gifting program.  

A ray of hope or a one time shoutout? Following an email I sent to ACA on March 7th regarding Sylvia Halpern's latest adventure (Travels by Trike on Facebook), ACA posted about Sylvia on its Facebook (ACA,s Facebook) on March 15th.. Whether my email brought awareness or it's just a coincidence is unimportant. But at least ACA saw fit to recognize Sylvia on their Facebook. She deserves much more recognition for her global adventures. Is it a start? If the past is a teacher probably not.

It seems to me that ACA could easily reach out to the forgotten demographic of senior, alternative and adaptive adventure cyclists through social media. This demographic is out there but unseen my the general cycling community and especially ACA. Such an outreach  would take minimal effort and cost and would not take up expensive space in their Adventure Cyclist magazine. 

I believe in ACA's underlying mission to encourage people to get out and adventure on bicycles but they fall short in reaching out to all cyclists. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to continue my membership with ACA. If ACA shows signs of being more inclusive of seniors and non-traditional cyclists then I'll continue my membership. For now I'll continue to up by financial support to Rails to Trails. Their program includes all colors, ages, abilities and modes of human travel.

Sylvia's global adventures outshine many younger adventure cyclists and is worthy of much more than a one time post on the ACA Facebook. I sincerely hope she gets the attention she deserves. Here's ACA's website if you have something to say to them.

My email to Adventure Cycling Association, March 7th;

Just as ACA has motivated younger riders to take cycling adventures you now have an exceptional opportunity to motivate senior cyclists and alternative cyclists to become ACA members. 

Sylvia Halpern, a senior recumbent trike adventure cyclist, is now starting on a new adventure. She is cycling 9,000 miles on a cross country and back tour. Her YouTube link is ( Her Facebook goes by the same name Travels By Trike. Her earlier international and national adventures are on her blog

At least a feature in your e-newsletter would be a positive step towards recognizing senior and alternative cyclists. We do exist.

I’ve expressed my concerns about ACA focusing on the abled bodied and younger traditional cyclists with only an occasional shoutout to us senior, alternative and adaptive cyclists. Hopefully Sylvia will get your attention.

BTW, Sylvia uses ACA maps and has promoted ACA on her YouTube.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

E8000 38t Chainring

Up to now I never worried about an electronic failure with my Shimano E8000. I know I could call my beautiful wife to come bail me out. Over the years of using e-assist I had to be bailed out only once when I ran out of battery power to the assist drive on a steep long climb. The integrated headlight was to blame for the loss of assist (post here). At that time my lowest gear was 26.5 gear inches. 

Things are a little different now. I'm riding off road a bit more and will be spending more time off road when the rainy season is over. I have to be able to bail myself out if I have an electrical failure to the assist system. That means being able to have gears that I can reasonably use to pedal without power. Right now my low gear is 24.2 gear inches. With the trike weight I can expect a bit of a struggle getting up hills. So I felt a lower gear option would be the smart thing do. I switched out the 44t chainring for a 38t chainring which gives me a manageable 20.9 gear inch ratio with my 11t/46t cassette. I'm giving up some of the high end gear inches which is fine off road but it will slow me down a little on pavement. 

Also there is a long 12 degree grade on one of the off road trails I'll be riding. The 38t chainring will be appreciated.

If I feel I need a even lower gear a 36t or 34t chainring is also available for the E8000.


Original Configuration - 44t Chainring (Shimano), 11t/42t Cassette, Gear inch range - 101.0 to 26.5

Current Configuration - 44t Chainring (Shimano), 11t/46t Cassette, Gear inch range - 101.0 to 24.2

New Configuration - 38t Chainring (E-Thirteen), 11t/46t Cassette, Gear inch range - 87.2 to 20.9

Other available chainrings (Shimano or compatible) for the E8000.  

Possible Configuration - 36t Chainring, 11t/46t Cassette, Gear inch range - 82.6 to 19.8

Possible Configuration - 34t Chainring, 11t/46t Cassette, Gear inch range -  78.0 to 18.7

The old 44t Shimano chainring with the integrated bash guard.

The new 38t E-Thirteen chainring. 
No integrated bash guards are available on smaller chainrings.

NOTE: I would normally remove 1 chain link per each tooth less on the new smaller chainring, that would be 6 links. But when I put the ICE Ergo Luxe sit on awhile back and pushed the boom out I maxed out the chain when on the largest cassette cog. So I only took 2 links off the chain giving the chain a little play when on the large or small cog.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Caring a Cane on My Trike


I resolved the problem of caring a cane without it protruding awkwardly out from my trike.

Up until recently I carried a folding cane in my pannier for my wonky legs (post here "Cane"). There are times when I want to ride without panniers but still have my cane with me. When I'm off the trike a cane keeps me balanced, especially on uneven dirt or gravel. I can manage reasonably well without a cane but I probably look like I've started my day off with a couple of Tequila shots. 

I have three Leki collapsible (not folding) canes that are tall enough for me when extended. The Black Carbon, Makalu and the High Fives. All with a trekking basket at the tip.The High Fives handle is not as comfortable as the the other two but the pack size is just over one inch (3cm) shorter than the other two. It's the cane that fits nicely under my seat.

I'm a big fan of DiNotte lights and I have a bunch of spare fasteners that I incorporated into putting a carrying system together.

Cane tip inserts into fixed clamp. 
The trekking basket on the cane helps 
to keep the cane in place.