Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 3 Kellogg to Wallace

The day started out nice an sunny! It was the warmest start so far.


Everyone had gotten a lot of ret and were ready to get out. We joined  a group of about 20 meet and headed for Mullen and Kellogg. So I Got a nice video of the group starting out and then quickly got to the head of the line so I could get to the bathroom at the first stop first.

I tell you, riding a velo sure gets you to the head of the line fast!  Its about 22 km to Kellogg and as we started out I  I thought I boy am I  tired! My calves were getting sore right away and I began to think   I was a lot more worn out from the last couple of days riding than what I had  believed.  Plus I had to go to the bathroom! SO away, I go and go and go. Where is the freaking pit stop? I was sure motivated to stay head of every I tell you! My legs were getting tired I was sweating pretty good, but where is the bathroom?  22 km later I finally get to a pit stop where there is a porta- potty! AAhhh .


But a I was spent! A head wind had picked up and I felt exhausted I was tired. My wife and daughter showed up about 15 minutes later with the rest of the group. I had Time to think and rest.  I decided to ride back, skip the rest of the ride up hill to Mullen and go shopping with my wife and daughter.  We rode around Wallace for a few minutes , picked up a local berry milkshake to share called a Huckleberry MMMMMMMM good.

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You can try the huckleberry flavour in a lot of Hammer nutritional products now a days . It good.

We then headed down back to Kellogg. It was really then I realized why my calves, knees were sore and I why I was so tired, I had been riding up a 2-3 percent grade all morning. The ride back was interesting, I don’t think I pedaled more the 100 meters for the first 15 km. I was coasting along at an average of 22 kph! Wahoo! It was a fun experience that I relished


When we arrived got back at he hotel we took some time to get refreshed then we headed to Spokane to do some shopping at REI and enjoy each others company as a family. I must say Kara is impressing everyone with her great spirit and enthusiasm for riding a Bent! She was the only teenager there and she had never ridden over 30 km and she did several days over 50!


I am pretty proud of her as well';  so far this is one of the best vacations we had as a family! My lil’ girl is growin’ up!  Sad smile  Smile

We got back to the hotel around 5pm and  got ready for a buffet meal at the Snakepit. This was one of three times most of the people attending TOT did some thing as a big group. We rode the 7 km to the restaurant; ate then rode back at dusk.

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Well 99% of the group did.  I was the last to leave as sweep and when I got about 150 meters from the Snakepit my chain broke. I started to rethread the chain as it was getting dark and realized that it was a wee bit more complicated than I thought. So I pushed the velo back to restaurant and made a call to the hotel and got picked up. I must remember to get a video or  pictures of how to correctly rethread the chain in a Mango and other velos to post on my Repairs Page to use as a reference. If you carry a smart phone take a photo or two or even a short video to keep on hand so if you break your chain you can readily reroute it; if not you will find a video here on my blog in the near future.  (Harry, we need more instructional videos!)

Day three was a great day! Talk to you soon!


Friday, June 29, 2012



Sunday  morning a group of about 10 of us headed west. The cool  thing about TOT is the lack of a distinct agenda. There actually was about 4 major groups heading all over the region. Someone picks a direction, places the intent on the white board and people meet and go. It's a great way to meet all sorts of people this way and then at night under the portico everyone relates their days activities to each other and its amazing, new friendships are born.

The ride west from Kellogg is one of the most beautiful rides I have done in western Canada or N.W. States.

Most of the time you are riding along a water way surrounded by low mountains. The Pathway is paved, smooth and  flat. I did some of my highest speed averages, and can see how others in flat countries can maintain such high speeds on their commutes and rides. A velo just wants to fly when it gets up to speed!
DSCF0094We stopped at Harrison on Lake Coeur D'Alene for a lunch on a deck over hanging the water and the sun came out. You can’t ask for a better time

Sunday was the first actual day which started with a BBQ at 5:30pm, hosted by one of the people who got everyone together 6 years ago.

Little did he know how much it would grow! During and after the potluck BBQ, people were looking at bikes, taking them for test rides, and meeting long lost friends.

Of all the bikes/trikes there was a leaning low rider and a local builder who is developing a really well thought out off road quad check these out:


Later around 9:30 pm the crowd thinned out and most people headed to their rooms  for some rest and sleep.
A Great, Fun day was had by all!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 1 at TOT

Well we are here in Kellogg,Idaho. First day done. We a rode 60 km out and back west along the

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The weather started cool and cloudy then turned to a sunny warm day. If you want to see a lot of different trikes this is the place to be. People have driven 3000 km from the south from California, 3500 km from the east from Minnesota, and as far north as Edmonton or Vancouver.
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Its great to be with such a great warm and friendly group. We meet in the mornings and decide where to go. There is no formal agenda or leader. Its all run by consensus. Several groups form and away they go for the day then congregate back to decide where to go for dinner when the ride is over.
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Then after 8 pm begin to group together to socialize until the riding and travel begin to take its toll and people slide away to get some sleep and prepare for the next day. Sunday TOT officially starts at 4 pm with a potluck BBQ. So until next time goodnight!
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

And We're Off...

To the 6th Annual Trikes Optional Tour in Kellogg, Idaho tonight (Thursday June 21)

My wife, daughter and I will get there later Friday night and then will be there until Thursday June 28

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This is becoming the largest trike / Recumbent Event for the Northwest US, Western Canadian Area. The Recumbent Retreat in Fort Stevens, Or. has been the biggest and longest held event which is held in August every year (I was there in '06 long so we're overdue for another visit). So stay in touch over the next week and I will try to get some posts  while there or soon after. Its been 4 years since I was at the TOT, that was number 2, this will be the 6th time the event has been held and it keeps getting bigger and better, with its own very unique traditions and character. I'm so excited!! So Tally HO!!

We left on Thursday night and Arrived at our destination for the Evening at Frontier Lodge Near Nordegg Alberta. It s a youth Camp that i have been involved with since i was a junior counsellor in High school and later as a board member and supporter. My Wife is currently a board member. Its been a highlight to start many of our holidays from there. I usually get up quite early and sit on the peer and reflect on my past year and what I plan for the next one.

Sipping coffee while listening to the loons seems like the best way to start a vacation…

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Sounds of Velomobiles ...

Da hills are alive with da sounds of music …
Have you been on an never ending Quest for the right sound system for you velomobile? I have been riding recumbents of one sort or another for the past 10 years. From almost day one I have tried to find the best way to have some sort of entertainment with me as I ride a lot of time alone and on the same old routes. Having something to listen to helps some times. And No, I am not going to fall into the discussion of “safety of … whatever”, I ride with a sound system often when riding alone. Period no debate here!
Most of the time on my 2 wheeled ‘bents it was a nice set of over the ear  headset phone s like a Panasonic ones with volume controls on the cord:
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or  a nice set of Sony ones
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Both that wrapped around the ear that stayed in place. Sadly over time one side or the other quit working, but...

Then the world changed and suddenly Blue tooth was all the rage, of course I had to try them  so my first pair were From Logitech:

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They have a head set and a transmitter that fit into the earplug of you player. I still really like this headset, it has the best and easiest controls I have found, you just tap one of the four quadrants of the right ear piece for controls, but the transmitter has something loose and only works intermittently now and I can’t get a replacement. The blue tooth signal is not common either so it won’t sync with anything else, darn!

The last Bluetooth headset was/is from Sony
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These are really nice, good sound quality and loud enough so when traffic buzzes by they don’t totally drown out. The controls are not as good as the Logitech, mostly just a couple of rocker switches that are hard to use some days, especially with gloves on.
Sadly its gotten really hard to find a good set of over the ear head sets. Since the IPhone has gotten stronger the types that are prevalent now are the stick in your ear kinds with sound damping, Not good for riding bikes as they mask the sounds around you too much. I like the over the ear because they do allow sounds from your environment to be heard also. more naturally I think!
Because of that I finally found a nice inexpensive pair from Sony that fit in my ear with out sliding out too soon.

Mind you the more I perspire the faster they wiggle free! No! gluing them in just causes a whole whack of other problems. LOL

I have also tried inexpensive portable speaker systems, the ones that worked the best for me have been a speaker from Creative that I used a lot.

It was great for sound and power requirements but was/ is hard to mount on a bike. I found ways to mount it, but never one that really worked. Then I found a nice little cheap package at Wal-Mart that worked well, not bad sound quality, loud and water proof.
                       Kensington Sound to Go
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My wife really likes this one as she could adjust the volume easily on the front.

I found a nice, loud for highway traffic, compact speaker set to toss behind me in my bag and still hear fine. Another system from Creative, The Creative Travel Sound Circa 2003.
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I love the sound from this but in the velo its awkward, big and just doesn’t work for me. I use it mainly as my kitchen speaker to listen to the radio and play with my plugged in iPhone.

For the last year have been using a iHome Mini Speaker Type on my GoldRush and wife’s Tour Easy. Very loud light and simple to use. The quality of the sound is okay no bass to speak of but, not a Tin-ny sound either.
They work great on the two wheelers in traffic and on the pathways. I like them for what they are I have one iHome and 1 from the Source,
 (formerly Radio Shack) that is under $15 a piece, its an awesome wee speaker. But not “good” enough for the Velo.

Finally when I got my Mango velomobile I hunted for the best compact, Bluetooth ready, high fidelity unit around. I believed I found it in The Jambone Jambox.

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Ooh the sound fidelity is just like they say it is, it lasts several hours at near full power for several hours, it small and hides in the velo easily  and connects with my iPhone flawlessly. Plus it makes the whole velo shake and rumble with the low bass it can produce. Fantastic wee speaker.
Sadly on the highway and with passing traffic  the volume is too low and gets drowned out with almost any vehicle passing by. Even with it placed just behind my head on the seat support brace. But i use it in my home, at the shop, on our deck table.. the volume is good enough for those but not the velo. Recently Jambone has come out with one that is 4 times the size and a lot louder, but to big for me, my velo and my wallet, i think. But if you ride mostly dedicated pathways and like a a nice background sound then this a great buy.

Earlier this past winter while trolling the BROL website in the velo section a thread was started by “ckaudio” regarding adding a decent sound system to his Quest velomobile. Man I love the sound of this tiny little unit. Chris (ckaudio) had found this nice tiny amp and exciters on the web and installed them. He said the quality of sound, it lightweight, and coasts were perfect for a velomobile system.

Slowly several other tried the system  and the reports coming in made me curious and somewhat envious.

I was and had been using earphones or the tiny iHome speaker for my rides. So I put them on my “want list” for a future date. As Fathers day and The Trike Optional Tour Coming at the end of June 22-28 In Kellogg, Idaho, (Event report or 2 after the event)  I Decided to give myself a early Fathers Day Gift and Ordered a  DAYTON AUDIO DTA-1 CLASS T DIGITAL AC/DC AMPLIFIER 15 WPC with a pair of Dayton Audio DAEX25 Sound Exciters from Parts Express!
OMG! its small, its powerful, Fantastic Sound quality at high power. The exciters you place on the body and they make the whole shell the speaker. What!?  I had never heard of that. It was fun placing the exciters around various places in the Mango and getting different tones! Finally placed them in the rear about 3/5s from the bottom and about a foot from the t brace. THE WHOLE THING TURNS INTO A FREAKIN SPEAKER ! The Bass is amazing!

I ordered them Sunday June 9 in the afternoon and got them Tuesday June 11 early afternoon! Fast delivery from FedEx was cheaper than USPS!

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Right now I am just using 8 AA batteries and need to find a 12 v  battery when I am in the states next week. Any recommendations that I could pick up while in the Kellogg/Spokane area. My Mango is 6v and the amp is 12v  so it looks like I will be carrying two types of batteries.

So I have taken a long Journey with recumbent sound (along with this post).  The Dayton system cost me less than $75 CDN so far I still need a battery pack  and charger but its an inexpensive quality system that you should look into . My son likes it so much he ordered on to use in his car . When he bought the car the previous owner ripped out the sound system and left a hole. He only uses his smart phone for music and radio any ways so the Dayton AMP was a cheap way to great sound in his college beater!  check out the thread on BROL and at Performance Parts they have a lot of cool options. Thanks for hanging in on this longer than normal post and review