Newbie! Just got my new TerraTrike 3.4

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Eric Livingston, Jun 10, 2003.

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  1. Great bike! Very fun, like riding a go-cart :) I was a bit nervous - bought it off the web,
    basically sight-unseen, having only done newsgroup lurking and web-browsing before selecting one.
    Now, however, I'm feeling really good about it, and having good fun while I get the seat adjusted
    correctly, etc.

    I'm hoping to commute on the bike eventually. It's 36 miles round-trip, so I'm working up to it. I'm
    35 and in so-so shape, flirting with weights on occasion and doing some treadmill work every so
    often, but this is clearly something my muscles need getting used to!

    I'm starting out with 12 mile rides, which currently take almost exactly an hour (i.e. about 12 mph
    ave.). I live in a bitch of a hilly area (west of Boston, MA), so find myself cranking up long hills
    a lot. I'm hoping to work up to the full 18 miles and hopefully boost my average speed up a tad -
    I'd like to make the 18 miles in less than 1 1/2 eventually!

    I've tried creeping up hills in 1st gear (it's nice on a trike, since I can just stop and go
    whenever I need a quick rest). However, I've found my legs seem more spent after doing that than if
    I keep the bike in a far higher (tougher) gear and just power up the hill with slow but strong
    cranks, sort of like sitting in a leg-press machine. I have SPD pedals, so I also pull hard on the
    way up as well. I'm still debating the merits of each technique. What do others do?

    Anyway, just thought I'd say hi

    Eric
     
    Tags:


  2. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    Congrats, Eric. I'm envious. That's a nice trike.

    "Eric Livingston" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Great bike! Very fun, like riding a go-cart :)

    Yes! That's exactly what I tell people "tadpole trikes are like human-powered go-carts." My trike is
    an older design; but it's quite low to the ground and very fast. I can get it to tip up sometimes,
    which is a thrill. I've never managed to actually roll it (which is a very good thing.)

    > I was a bit nervous - bought it off the web, basically sight-unseen, having only done newsgroup
    > lurking and web-browsing before selecting one. Now, however, I'm feeling really
    good
    > about it, and having good fun while I get the seat adjusted correctly,
    etc.

    You might find your power output increasing as you dial-in the seat position. There is a sweet spot
    for optimal efficiency and thus increased power output and higher speeds.

    > I'm hoping to commute on the bike eventually. It's 36 miles round-trip, so I'm working up to it.
    > I'm 35 and in so-so shape, flirting with weights on occasion and doing some treadmill work every
    > so often, but this is clearly something my muscles need getting used to!

    Yes, recumbents work different muscle groups that upright bikes, jogging, etc. You might notice your
    abs being tensed, which is probably a good thing. You *do* use clipless pedals and cycling shoes,
    don't you? If not, you should. It will make a huge difference. You won't believe how much more power
    you can create when your shoes are clipped to the pedals.

    > I'm starting out with 12 mile rides, which currently take almost exactly
    an
    > hour (i.e. about 12 mph ave.). I live in a bitch of a hilly area (west of Boston, MA), so find
    > myself cranking up long hills a lot. I'm hoping to
    work
    > up to the full 18 miles and hopefully boost my average speed up a tad -
    I'd
    > like to make the 18 miles in less than 1 1/2 eventually!

    That's a very realistic goal, from the sound of it. You can coast down the backside of those climbs
    to save some energy. Fast coasting on a trike makes me burst out laughing. It's like I'm 9 years
    old again.

    > I've tried creeping up hills in 1st gear (it's nice on a trike, since I
    can
    > just stop and go whenever I need a quick rest). However, I've found my
    legs
    > seem more spent after doing that than if I keep the bike in a far higher (tougher) gear and just
    > power up the hill with slow but strong cranks,
    sort
    > of like sitting in a leg-press machine. I have SPD pedals, so I also pull hard on the way up as
    > well. I'm still debating the merits of each
    technique.
    > What do others do?

    Well, around here we generally agree that "standing on the pedals" in higher gears is very bad for
    one's knees. I personally have experienced sharp knee pains from overexertion related to too-large
    gears and overexertion. Since knee damage is cumulative, you might want to consider kicking it into
    a lower gear and spinning the cranks very fast. This technique is referred to as "spinning," and
    it's used by all cyclists; but particularly recumbent riders, since we can't hop off the saddle to
    creat power in climbs and sprints.

    When I'm spinning, I try to imagine moving the pedals in a perfect circle, applying continuous, even
    power to the cranks throughout the stroke. When I'm doing it well, it feels effortless, and my power
    output is maximized (as is my speed). Everybody has a favorite "cadence" (how fast you turn the
    cranks). I generally hover around 80 RPM for maximum power output. 90 RPM is supposedly the most
    ideal cadence; but it varies quite a bit.

    Keep us posted as you gain distance and speed, and let us know what you think of your trike. There
    are a lot of trike riders on this newsgroup, with a lot of info to share.

    Tailwinds,

    Barry
     
  3. > When I'm spinning, I try to imagine moving the pedals in a perfect circle, applying continuous,
    > even power to the cranks throughout the stroke. When I'm doing it well, it feels effortless, and
    > my power output is maximized
    (as
    > is my speed). Everybody has a favorite "cadence" (how fast you turn the cranks). I generally hover
    > around 80 RPM for maximum power output. 90
    RPM
    > is supposedly the most ideal cadence; but it varies quite a bit.

    Hmmm, that is interesting - 90RPM! I don't think I've ever pedaled that fast on anything (well,
    since I was a kid anyway)! I'll give it a try and see how that goes. I'd imagine, however, that I'll
    burn out quite fast doing that - I'd imagine that there's nothing for it but training and practice
    to build up cardiovascular endurance. I can't imagine what my heart rate would be after 2 minutes of
    pedaling 90RPM up a hill, even if it seemed "effortless"!

    Regarding the knee damage: I've done squats and leg presses for years as part of general weight
    training and, after much research, I've decided that it can be safe on the knees if done correctly
    (i.e. good form, correct weight, correct shoes, etc). However, I guess the number of repetitions
    may matter here - when doing squats, for instance, I'll typically do three sets of 8 or 10 reps,
    for a total of 24-30 "pumps" of my legs. Also, they are working side-by-side, reducing shearing
    forces on my knees.

    On the bike, I'd imagine I push hard with each leg perhaps hundreds of times on a long, hilly ride,
    and the legs are working in opposite directions, rather than symmetrically. So perhaps I can
    understand why that type of hard work may not be good for the knees on a recumbent. I guess I'll
    just have to build my endurance up.

    > Keep us posted as you gain distance and speed, and let us know what you think of your trike. There
    > are a lot of trike riders on this newsgroup, with a lot of info to share.

    I will! Seeing as I've yet to meet another recumbent rider on the road around me, let alone a trike
    rider, it's fun to at least interact with some like-minded folks on the 'net. :) I've already found
    all kinds of good tips on this list - for instance, I purchased the SPD pedals and shoes based on
    posts on this group before even riding the trike, so adamant were folks that "clipping in" would
    greatly enhance the ride. Seems they were right - I love them!

    Eric
     
  4. La

    La Guest

    Eric, The Cateye Astrale computer is on sale now for $20 all over the place as the newer version is
    being phased in. This will give you an RPM (cadence) readout. Start with a target less than 90 and
    work up. It's about using power throughout the entire revolution evenly, rapidly, smoothly. Lon

    Eric Livingston wrote:

    > > When I'm spinning, I try to imagine moving the pedals in a perfect circle, applying continuous,
    > > even power to the cranks throughout the stroke. When I'm doing it well, it feels effortless, and
    > > my power output is maximized
    > (as
    > > is my speed). Everybody has a favorite "cadence" (how fast you turn the cranks). I generally
    > > hover around 80 RPM for maximum power output. 90
    > RPM
    > > is supposedly the most ideal cadence; but it varies quite a bit.
    >
    > Hmmm, that is interesting - 90RPM! I don't think I've ever pedaled that fast on anything (well,
    > since I was a kid anyway)! I'll give it a try and see how that goes. I'd imagine, however, that
    > I'll burn out quite fast doing that - I'd imagine that there's nothing for it but training and
    > practice to build up cardiovascular endurance. I can't imagine what my heart rate would be after 2
    > minutes of pedaling 90RPM up a hill, even if it seemed "effortless"!
    >
    > Regarding the knee damage: I've done squats and leg presses for years as part of general weight
    > training and, after much research, I've decided that it can be safe on the knees if done correctly
    > (i.e. good form, correct weight, correct shoes, etc). However, I guess the number of repetitions
    > may matter here - when doing squats, for instance, I'll typically do three sets of 8 or 10 reps,
    > for a total of 24-30 "pumps" of my legs. Also, they are working side-by-side, reducing shearing
    > forces on my knees.
    >
    > On the bike, I'd imagine I push hard with each leg perhaps hundreds of times on a long, hilly
    > ride, and the legs are working in opposite directions, rather than symmetrically. So perhaps I can
    > understand why that type of hard work may not be good for the knees on a recumbent. I guess I'll
    > just have to build my endurance up.
    >
    > > Keep us posted as you gain distance and speed, and let us know what you think of your trike.
    > > There are a lot of trike riders on this newsgroup, with a lot of info to share.
    >
    > I will! Seeing as I've yet to meet another recumbent rider on the road around me, let alone a
    > trike rider, it's fun to at least interact with some like-minded folks on the 'net. :) I've
    > already found all kinds of good tips on this list - for instance, I purchased the SPD pedals and
    > shoes based on posts on this group before even riding the trike, so adamant were folks that
    > "clipping in" would greatly enhance the ride. Seems they were right - I love them!
    >
    > Eric
     
  5. "LA" skrev...

    > The Cateye Astrale computer is on sale now for $20 all over the place as the newer version is
    > being phased in. This will give you an RPM (cadence) readout. Start with a target less than 90 and
    > work up. It's about using power throughout the entire revolution evenly, rapidly, smoothly.

    Or ye olde tip on how to convert a cheap/old computer to cadence:
    http://www.recumbents.com/mars/pages/proj/misc/computertip.html

    /M
     
  6. Keep training for it - I'm 35 too, and have a 47 miles round trip to work, I usually take my bike
    once or twice every week. My average is about 18mph including all stops. I started riding my
    recumbent last year, and since then my form has increased month by month.

    My best advise - start spinning - my kadence is from 95-105 on the flats, and a bit lower on ascents
    (using the pull technique).

    Regards, Torben

    "Eric Livingston" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]c01...
    > Great bike! Very fun, like riding a go-cart :) I was a bit nervous -
    bought
    > it off the web, basically sight-unseen, having only done newsgroup lurking and web-browsing before
    > selecting one. Now, however, I'm feeling really
    good
    > about it, and having good fun while I get the seat adjusted correctly,
    etc.
    >
    > I'm hoping to commute on the bike eventually. It's 36 miles round-trip, so I'm working up to it.
    > I'm 35 and in so-so shape, flirting with weights on occasion and doing some treadmill work every
    > so often, but this is clearly something my muscles need getting used to!
    >
    > I'm starting out with 12 mile rides, which currently take almost exactly
    an
    > hour (i.e. about 12 mph ave.). I live in a bitch of a hilly area (west of Boston, MA), so find
    > myself cranking up long hills a lot. I'm hoping to
    work
    > up to the full 18 miles and hopefully boost my average speed up a tad -
    I'd
    > like to make the 18 miles in less than 1 1/2 eventually!
    >
    > I've tried creeping up hills in 1st gear (it's nice on a trike, since I
    can
    > just stop and go whenever I need a quick rest). However, I've found my
    legs
    > seem more spent after doing that than if I keep the bike in a far higher (tougher) gear and just
    > power up the hill with slow but strong cranks,
    sort
    > of like sitting in a leg-press machine. I have SPD pedals, so I also pull hard on the way up as
    > well. I'm still debating the merits of each
    technique.
    > What do others do?
    >
    > Anyway, just thought I'd say hi
    >
    > Eric
     
  7. Eric Livingston <[email protected]> wrote:
    : I'm starting out with 12 mile rides, which currently take almost exactly an hour (i.e. about 12
    : mph ave.). I live in a bitch of a hilly area (west of Boston, MA), so find myself cranking up long
    : hills a lot. I'm hoping to work up to the full 18 miles and hopefully boost my average speed up a
    : tad - I'd like to make the 18 miles in less than 1 1/2 eventually!

    If you keep riding lots, and remember to have easy days and rest days, then you will shatter all
    your goals in 1-2 years, and the hills will start to feel laughably easy :)

    Try alternating different rides... slow 30 mile rides, fast 10 mile rides, and so on...

    If you really want great improvement, adopt a heart rate monitor and start reading on training :)

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html varis at no spam please iki fi
     
  8. g19glock1

    g19glock1 New Member

    Joined:
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    :) Congrats, yeah do the spinning thing, you will see a definate differenct in your ability in very short order as your body acustoms to the bent position.

    I spin now regularly at 94 rpm, (p.s. that is one leg not both), seems like a lot, but is very doable. Many report spinning at a much high cadence, 110 or more. I don't, but don't have the need either.

    Your 18 mile trip should be very doable as I have been able to ride the 16 miles to my wife work in 57 mins and not really be pushing too hard. Only one killer hill.

    Anyway, keep at it, you will love the ride.:D
     
  9. Bent4me

    Bent4me Guest

    After doing alot of research and not wanting to go cheap as I did on my Bikee, I finally took the
    plunge and ordered a new TT3.4 It was shipped yesterday and I am very excited. I did try a few GTO's
    and the trimuter and a oouple of older WW. I like the idea of an adjustable seat and steering and
    the reviews have been outstanding and a great price point. My fear is that I will like it more than
    my Stratus. Marty Englishtown NJ 00 Stratus 01 Rocket Eric Livingston" <[email protected]>
    wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Great bike! Very fun, like riding a go-cart :) I was a bit nervous - bought it off the web,
    > basically sight-unseen, having only done newsgroup lurking and web-browsing before selecting one.
    > Now, however, I'm feeling really good about it, and having good fun while I get the seat adjusted
    > correctly, etc.
    >
    > I'm hoping to commute on the bike eventually. It's 36 miles round-trip, so I'm working up to it.
    > I'm 35 and in so-so shape, flirting with weights on occasion and doing some treadmill work every
    > so often, but this is clearly something my muscles need getting used to!
    >
    > I'm starting out with 12 mile rides, which currently take almost exactly an hour (i.e. about 12
    > mph ave.). I live in a bitch of a hilly area (west of Boston, MA), so find myself cranking up long
    > hills a lot. I'm hoping to work up to the full 18 miles and hopefully boost my average speed up a
    > tad - I'd like to make the 18 miles in less than 1 1/2 eventually!
    >
    > I've tried creeping up hills in 1st gear (it's nice on a trike, since I can just stop and go
    > whenever I need a quick rest). However, I've found my legs seem more spent after doing that than
    > if I keep the bike in a far higher (tougher) gear and just power up the hill with slow but strong
    > cranks, sort of like sitting in a leg-press machine. I have SPD pedals, so I also pull hard on the
    > way up as well. I'm still debating the merits of each technique. What do others do?
    >
    > Anyway, just thought I'd say hi
    >
    > Eric
     
  10. Mlb

    Mlb Guest

    you will.
     
  11. > My best advise - start spinning - my kadence is from 95-105 on the flats, and a bit lower on
    > ascents (using the pull technique).
    >
    > Regards, Torben

    Oh, wait a minute - you mean you "spin" at over 90RPM *all the time*? Not just on hills, but on the
    flats, too?

    So, if you ride for 1 1/2 hours, you'd be spinning at that rate for the entire duration (aside from
    stops, of course)?

    Wow - that is a very new concept to me. I'm used to shifting up to a high gear and just loafing
    along at a very low RPM on flats and such. What would you do on a downhill? Coast, or continue
    spinning all the way down as well?

    In general, I'm surprised that would be more efficient - I mean, there's an "overhead" energy cost
    associated with moving your leg: every time your leg goes around, you expend an energy "tax" to haul
    your leg bones and muscle mass around in a circle in addition to whatever energy you impart to the
    pedal. There's also the small, but non-zero energy loss associated with each revolution of the crank
    (as the whole crank/chain/gear/etc assembly isn't frictionless).

    So, in general, I'd have thought that the goal would be to reduce your number of cranks to a
    minimum, thus paying the minimum "overhead" cost of energy lost per crank, and thus transferring
    maximum power, as a percent of energy spent, to moving forward.

    The only way I could be wrong is if fast leg motion is a more efficient calorie burning process than
    slow leg motion - i.e. if more of your caloric output is transferred to motion than internal energy
    loss in the muscle when you pedal fast. Is this true?
     
  12. Mlb

    Mlb Guest

    "Eric Livingston" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    >> My best advise - start spinning - my kadence is from 95-105 on the flats, and a bit lower on
    >> ascents (using the pull technique).
    >>
    >> Regards, Torben
    >
    > Oh, wait a minute - you mean you "spin" at over 90RPM *all the time*? Not just on hills, but on
    > the flats, too?
    >
    > So, if you ride for 1 1/2 hours, you'd be spinning at that rate for the entire duration (aside
    > from stops, of course)?
    >
    > Wow - that is a very new concept to me. I'm used to shifting up to a high gear and just loafing
    > along at a very low RPM on flats and such. What would you do on a downhill? Coast, or continue
    > spinning all the way down as well?
    >
    > In general, I'm surprised that would be more efficient - I mean, there's an "overhead" energy cost
    > associated with moving your leg: every time your leg goes around, you expend an energy "tax" to
    > haul your leg bones and muscle mass around in a circle in addition to whatever energy you impart
    > to the pedal. There's also the small, but non-zero energy loss associated with each revolution of
    > the crank (as the whole crank/chain/gear/etc assembly isn't frictionless).
    >
    > So, in general, I'd have thought that the goal would be to reduce your number of cranks to a
    > minimum, thus paying the minimum "overhead" cost of energy lost per crank, and thus transferring
    > maximum power, as a percent of energy spent, to moving forward.
    >
    > The only way I could be wrong is if fast leg motion is a more efficient calorie burning process
    > than slow leg motion - i.e. if more of your caloric output is transferred to motion than internal
    > energy loss in the muscle when you pedal fast. Is this true?
    >
    >

    Like a lot of us, i felt like you did, for awhile. Then I learned :) Here's an analogy. Huge pile of
    bricks. I can carry 100 lbs at a time, but I'll tire quickly, OR I can carry 25lbs and last all day
    long. Same principle, when you really EXERT on a muscle (mashing up a hill) you quickly wear it out.
    Keep the load LIGHT and you can go ALL DAY LONG! (after a period of adaption). At first it felt like
    MORE work to me, now I believe :) (proved it to myself enough times). Here's another analogy, it's
    often said that a fit biker puts out the equivalent of 1/2 hp. Take an electric motor, put a light
    load on it and it can run for years without trouble. Put a heavy load on it and it will be ok for
    awhile, but burn out much quicker. Same kind of effect with muscle. I'm a big guy and I used to
    think that the incredible thigh pump I got (old upright days) was the BEST! Hammer till those
    puppies want to explode! Eric Heiden legs! Uh uh. And thats JUST about endurance, not even talking
    about the stress on your knees! (which recumbents AMPLIFY!)
     
  13. "Eric Livingston" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Oh, wait a minute - you mean you "spin" at over 90RPM *all the time*? Not just on hills, but on
    > the flats, too?

    Yup.

    > So, if you ride for 1 1/2 hours, you'd be spinning at that rate for the entire duration (aside
    > from stops, of course)?

    Yup. And aside from coasting to the red lights. Yes, I'll work up a sweat, but my knees will last.

    > Wow - that is a very new concept to me. I'm used to shifting up to a high gear and just loafing
    > along at a very low RPM on flats and such. What
    would
    > you do on a downhill? Coast, or continue spinning all the way down as
    well?

    Denmark is rather flat, so often I'll spin. If steep enough, I'll coast (I don't like to waste
    energy for no purpose).

    > In general, I'm surprised that would be more efficient - I mean, there's
    an
    > "overhead" energy cost associated with moving your leg: every time your
    leg
    > goes around, you expend an energy "tax" to haul your leg bones and muscle mass around in a circle
    > in addition to whatever energy you impart to the pedal. There's also the small, but non-zero
    > energy loss associated with
    each
    > revolution of the crank (as the whole crank/chain/gear/etc assembly isn't frictionless).

    It's all about what the muscles are designed for. They will build up acid (?) if you don't spin. The
    extra energy consumption isn't a problem in my opinion - just add more chokolade/bananas/energybars
    during the ride, and you'll last forever. The knees is another problem - they don't like high stress
    for extended periods. Have a look at Lance's style, if you don't believe me ;-)

    > So, in general, I'd have thought that the goal would be to reduce your number of cranks to a
    > minimum, thus paying the minimum "overhead" cost of energy lost per crank, and thus transferring
    > maximum power, as a percent
    of
    > energy spent, to moving forward.

    Do you drive your car by the same theory? Well, my engine likes RPM's, Maybe your's a V8 ;-)

    > The only way I could be wrong is if fast leg motion is a more efficient calorie burning process
    > than slow leg motion - i.e. if more of your
    caloric
    > output is transferred to motion than internal energy loss in the muscle
    when
    > you pedal fast. Is this true?

    No, I think you're right about the overhead (seems logic). But "your way" you'll end up with
    remaining calories and sour muscles, unable to ride any further, perhaps even the next day too.

    Spinning works for me, It might not work for you. I have done it since i got my first DF "racer" at
    age 14 or so. Give it a try (more than one ride!)

    Regards, Torben
     
  14. Mlb

    Mlb Guest

    I preached spinning to my 64 y/o mother before her 2 week riding trip in the Netherlands. She was
    skeptical too until she watched some of the Tour DeFrance.
     
  15. La

    La Guest

    Mikael Seierup wrote:

    > "LA" skrev...
    >
    > > The Cateye Astrale computer is on sale now for $20 all over the place as the newer version is
    > > being phased in. This will give you an RPM (cadence) readout. Start with a target less than 90
    > > and work up. It's about using power throughout the entire revolution evenly, rapidly, smoothly.
    >
    > Or ye olde tip on how to convert a cheap/old computer to cadence:
    > http://www.recumbents.com/mars/pages/proj/misc/computertip.html
    >
    > /M

    Mikael, Good tip. What the heck else do you do with old cylcocomputers? The MARS site is definitely
    worth a visit. Thanks, Lon
     
  16. The Astrale is a first class cyclocomputer. I installed an Astrale on every recumbent and upright. I
    ride with cadence as the BIG middle number and keep changing the small right corner number to
    whatever else I want to know.

    --
    Gator Bob Siegel EasyRacers Ti Rush "LA" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Mikael Seierup wrote:
    >
    > > "LA" skrev...
    > >
    > > > The Cateye Astrale computer is on sale now for $20 all over the place
    as the
    > > > newer version is being phased in.
     
  17. Hunibal

    Hunibal Guest

    --
    Cheers ................. Hunibal "Torben Scheel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Keep training for it - I'm 35 too, and have a 47 miles round trip to work,
    I
    > usually take my bike once or twice every week. My average is about 18mph including all stops. I
    > started riding my recumbent last year, and since
    then
    > my form has increased month by month.
    >
    > My best advise - start spinning - my kadence is from 95-105 on the flats, and a bit lower on
    > ascents (using the pull technique).

    What dose do you mean by? - spinning & Kadence? Sorry - I am am - new to this
     
  18. Spinning: A smooth pedal stroke, some people like to talk of "pedalling round circles". You are
    supposed to apply power on your pedal also forwards and backwards, and a little bit upwards, not
    just downwards. Also involved in the concept are other aspects of smooth, efficient pedalling
    technique. (Some people think this term means just relatively high cadences. It's also a term for
    another kind of exercise you do on a stationary bike.)

    Cadence: The RPMs you do with your cranks, ie. how many times each pedal goes around in a minute.

    Have a look at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/glossary.html as well.

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html varis at no spam please iki fi
     
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