James Revillini

Say 'no' to styrofoam.

Tag: cycling (page 1 of 4)

First Ride of 2012

We rode, we drank, we all like cannolis with-fucking-out chocolate chips – we are the Bulgarian Racing Team.

Head-butt a tree

Go ahead and give it a shot.  You will not win.  Not even if you take a running start up to the thing.  Not even if you take a running start up to the tree on a downhill.  Not even if you take a running start up to the tree on a downhill and you’re going at least 10mph on your bike, run into a log that flips you over the handlebars and you do a ninja somersault before impact – you will still not beat the tree unless it is super tiny.

Here was my “plan.”

The tree right about center up ahead of the log is the target.

1) Ride down a hill and crash into a log so you begin the flipping action.

Click to see distance.

2) After flying over handle bars, throw shoulder down into the ground to begin the ninja somersault across the 10 foot space between log and tree.

note: stuff will fall off you

3) After you head-butt the tree (hopefully you did wear a helmet – I did), you will probably need to hunt around for pieces that flew off you or the bike.

who put this stupid log here?

4) Take a moment to look back on how you might have handled that log better, but acknowledge you still won’t beat the tree.

Terratrike Cruiser brake line improvement

Today, I found a kink in my left brake line which was probably the result of the brake line getting caught in the spokes and wrenched. It was making the brake stick, so I got a replacement cable and sheilding from the LBS. After installing, I was testing the steering and I realized that there was a small improvement that could be made to prevent the brake line from ever getting stuck in the spokes again.

Loosely fasten the brake cable to the steering rod so it can shift as needed.

One zip-tie later, and I was in-business. The issue is, I think, a flaw in the design of the Terratrike Cruiser. Luckily the workaround doesn’t bust your budget.

DIY Luggage Rack for Terratrike Cruiser Recumbent Tricycle

You’ve been tearing your hair out because you have an old license plate and you just don’t know what to do with it.

You also have a Terratrike Cruiser (or something similar) with no luggage rack. What can you do?

Terratrike Cruiser DIY Luggage Rack - View from right-rearThe answer is simple: build a luggage rack. In minutes, you can build a luggage rack for your trike that is sturdy, shock absorbent, and requires little to no handy-man skill. I am not a handy-man, just a man. Let’s get to it.

Materials Required

  • License Plate*
  • 2′ Bungee Cord (rope could work but bungee is better)
  • 4 Zip Ties (even very small ones will work)
  • Electrical Tape (optional)

* Anything flat and approximately license-plate sized will work, as long as you can drill holes in it.

This installation assumes that you are doing a right-side installation (your right if you’re sitting on the trike).

Step 1 (Optional) – Put a strip of electrical tape around the edges of the license plate.  You’re going to be attaching this plate alongside one of the rear frame beams, so this should help to minimize scratching and potential clanking when the luggage rack is empty.

Step 2 – Secure the top edge of the plate to the right rear beam using 2 zip ties.  Make sure you go under the chain and any derailleur cables or you won’t be able to go and/or shift. You should probably leave the zip ties slightly loose because this allows the plate to pivot to fold up when not in use!

Step 3 – Attach remaining two zip ties to remaining holes along the lower edge of the license plate. These provide an easy way to hook on the bungee cord.

Step 4 – Hook the back-most zip-tie loop to one end of the bungee.  String the bungee cord through the upper right corner back of the seat, then down to hook to the other bungee cord.

Pictures would probably help at this point.

No Luggage? No Problem.

When you have no luggage, you can unhook the front-most loop from the bungee, pull the bungee (this will cause the plate to flip up vertical), and then hook the bungee to the left upper-corner of the seat so it stays.  This will prevent clanking and you’ll feel cool that it can do this.

Extra Luggage? No Problem.

If you want to carry more than this rack can support, you know what?  You can do the same thing on the other side of the trike!  I know – it’s amazing … but it’s true!


This luggage rack is cat food friendly.

This setup will allow you to carry 15.4lbs of cat food! The proof is in the picture.

Ride 1 on the Trike

I just finished my first real ride on the trike: 11.6 miles, my normal commute to work, and it was wonderful!  I kind of thought I was going to feel unsafe riding next to traffic in a moderately wider vehicle, but traffic was nice to me and gave me a little more room than usual.  I think they like looking at the trike as much as I like that extra buffer zone that’s needed so they can check it out as they drive by.  I did find myself praying that they kept their eyes on the road so they wouldn’t smash into anyone in front of them while they were distracted.  The 6′ flag pole that I bought at the Tractor Supply Store was a perfect safety addition to my trike.  It fits right in the pole that goes up the side of the chair.

After putting 11 miles on it, I feel like I know the vehicle much better.  It’s got some quirks that are no problem to deal with, and I found several advantages to trike riding as opposed to bike riding.  First, the quirks.

Quirk 1) Pedal steering – when in a high (tough) gear, pushing hard tends to move the trike to the side that’s doing the pushing, but it’s not like it swerves the bike all over the road … it’s just a gentle movement.  I found that my body was automatically compensating somehow in the steering mechanism after a short while, and the slight veering ceased.

Quirk 2) Less suspension / shock absorption than a bike.  Even when you have no shocks on a bike, I think your torso and arms do a lot to buffer shock from getting to where you feel it most, your head.  On the trike, you’re lower, you have more wheels to hit things with, and shocks that aren’t absorbed by the give of the seat easily travel up from the tail bone to the head.  Personally, this sort of thing is really cool to me.  It feels more adventurous and daring.  Also, I did NOT stay on paved road.  I went over planked bridges, gravel road, and even over roots, rocks, and grooved pavement.  So I’m not complaining, just pointing this out.

Quirk 3) Extremely responsive steering!  When going fast, the slightest twitch of the steering bar caused the whole machine to wiggle.  I quickly got used to this and was careful not to twitch when moving along.

And now, the good stuff:

1) Excellent power transfer!  Having your back against something and being able to push against the pedals allowed me to move super fast!  I felt that my legs were getting a more complete workout, while my torso and arms got a chance to relax, which was really nice.  Plus, even though I was moving well, I felt like I was kicking back and relaxing.

2) It makes it through those cement trail blockers … you know – those things that they put up to prevent motorized vehicles from getting on the trails?  I was a little nervous that I would have to pick it up and walk it through, but it squeezed through with about 5 inches on each side.

3) Roots, rocks? No problem.  Last week, I took a spin through the neighborhood and ran over a few roots in some yards to see what i could get away with.  Today, in the woods, I got to a spot where there are a bunch of boulders with just enough space for me to squeeze through, but between them, there is a slight incline that’s full of rocks and roots.  My first attempt failed because I was in too high a gear and did not have enough momentum.  My second try in a low gear was a huge success!  I couldn’t believe I got over that!  a slightly knobby tire for the back may be a good idea at some point in the future.

4) Regular shorts and flip flops are OK!  I like looking casual when I ride.  No offense to those who wear the tight spandex stuff, but it’s just not for me.  I was able to pedal in wearing baggy shorts and my flip flops!  I know I need to be careful with the flip flop thing since there’s the threat of foot suck, but I didn’t even feel close to any danger at any point.

It was a very pleasurable ride, especially considering that today is one of those days when the weather people advise everyone to stay inside so as not to get a heat stroke.  BAHHHHHH.  Mind over matter, that’s my motto.

Incidentally, I just looked at my mileage on bikejournal.com and I’m going to be passing the 1000 mile mark for 2010 tonight on my ride home.

James D. Revillini, Age 80

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Day 32

I couldn’t bike to work yesterday (day 32) because I was running late, and where I wanted to park, I would have had to go through road work in an already slow intersection, so I just continued on to work in my car (unhappily).

Fortunately, I had the Winding Trails Triathlon later that day, and I did alright!  The tri included a 4.99 mile off-road bike trail.  Fun!  My road biking paid off in a 3.75 minute gain in mountain biking time, which accounted for most of my performance increase from last year.  I swam a little slower, but I ran faster, beating last year’s time by a minute.

Well, yesterday was the last day of the Terratrike 2010 Car-Free Challenge.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.  I don’t know if they have a winner yet.  I’ll post later if I won.

I don’t plan to continue blogging about my rides unless something significant happens, but I shall continue to log my rides on bikejournal.com.

Day 31

Ride 1

I’m too lazy to copy and paste the stats today.  My ride to work was 9.6 miles (I think), and it was easy and fast!  Nothing much to talk about there.  I’m continuing to work on spinning more and transferring more energy into a full turn of the crank and I’m seeing the benefits in time and speed and reduced fatigue.

Ride 2

I had to go to an off-campus meeting only 4.1 miles away.  Getting there was a little tricky due to construction and it just being a non-bike-friendly road, I I beat the traffic.  I used a truck as my marker and I got there before the truck.  I cheated a little and treated myself like a pedestrian a few times. :)

Ride 3

Coming back from my meeting was not as easy as getting there.  Rt. 6 in Bristol really sucks.  I got hit by my first car, in fact!  But don’t worry, it was more like a rub than a hit.  I didn’t even fall over or anything.  Someone didn’t see me and took a right into a business, forcing me to kind of bounce off their car.  I thought I executed the move pretty slickly.  They didn’t even realize that it had happened.  I pulled up to them to see if they wanted to exchange info or anything, but the girl said if I was OK, then no need to exchange info.  So we went on our way.

Exciting!  It was a nice beamer too.

Day 28

Morning Stats

Distance: 22.90 miles
Time: 01:09:00
Terrain: Road: Rolling
Bike: Specialized Allez Road
Club: 2010 TerraTrike Car-Free Challenge
Weather Conditions: 61F, cool, overcast. Chipmunk index of 3.

Morning Ride

The first chipmunk I saw was running about 20mph across rt 179, just after the Ocean State Job Lot in Canton.  He avoided a truck going one way, a car going the other, and me.  I cheered him on.  I found out from my pals at bikejournal.com that I’m not the only one who talks to the animals a lot when they’re riding.

I told myself as I was leaving the house that I was going to try to keep a mild pace.  It was almost a 23 mile run, and I didn’t want to overdo it.  Well, I overdid it.  My average speed was 19.91 mph.  I hope I’m not stupid on my ride home.  I really should chill out and have a nice long recovery ride.

I’m starting to look at cross bikes … maybe I shouldn’t be.  The one I want is made by Pinarello.  The dude at Benidorm Bikes in Canton says I just asked him for an Aston Martin.  It turns out that maybe I should be looking for a new mountain bike for the type of riding I want to do.  Damn.  I really had my sights set.  Wouldn’t you?

Evening Stats

Distance: 22.90 miles
Time: 01:30:00
Terrain: Road: Rolling
Bike: Specialized Allez Road
Club: 2010 TerraTrike Car-Free Challenge
Weather Conditions: 66F, partly sunny, nice sunset. Chipmunk index of 0.

Evening Ride

Tonight’s ride was long and beautiful.  I took my own advices and kept the pace comfortable.  I even took a minute to stop at the Canton Creamery and have some delicious, home-made ice cream – tahitian coconut with chocolate chips and cinnamon – and I ate it while I was riding.  I marveled at the irony of burning calories and eating a bunch more.

I have to go feed the cats.  They’re bugging my wife.

Day 27

Morning Stats

Distance: 11.60 miles
Time: 00:41:13
Terrain: Road: Rolling
Bike: Specialized Allez Road
Club: 2010 TerraTrike Car-Free Challenge
Weather Conditions: 57F, light mist, overcast. Chipmunk index of 7.

Morning Ride

I tried to break my record from yesterday … 11.6 miles in 39:55, but I missed it by a half minute.  Actually, that’s pretty good considering that I’m wearing heavy clothes today and crappy converse sneakers because my regular sneakers did not fully dry out.  Yesterday’s ride was wet and messy.  Also, my extra pair of sneaks in in my sister’s car, so all I had were my converses.  It really made em appreciate having good shoes normally.

The chipmunks were really busy today.  They were zooming across the pavement, rather than their usual run stop chew something run stop scratch run stop look scared.

I also thought about slowing down a little bit today, because I realized that I was zooming past things breathing hard the whole way.  There seems to be an opposite correlation between pushing hard and seeing interesting wildlife.

Note to self: slow down and enjoy!

Can’t believe there are only 3 days left in the challenge.

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