Monday, March 27, 2017

Are THREE Wheels Better that TWO? My Recumbent Trike!

After many years, and thousands of miles of BI-cycling, I have switched to TRI-cycling! As the image below indicates, I've changed my T-shirt message from "Got Bike?" to "Got Trike!"

I purchased a used 27-speed recumbent trike from a nice couple in The Villages, had the local Village Cycle shop install a luggage rack, and mounted my laundry basket (for my water aerobics stuff) to the trike with bungee cords. The brand name is Catrike, and, quite fittingly, the model name is Villager.

I made the decision to quit Bicycling due to a tumble in January (from which my right knee is still a bit stiff) and a second fall in February. Actually, my Bicycle falls started back in 2011, when I fell four times, twice during an otherwise wonderful bike-barge trip in Belgium from Brussels to Bruges.

The following year, 2012, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, which is due to insufficient production of Dopamine in the brain. My symptoms include poor balance, tremors, and loss of the sense of smell. I've been taking a medication (Carbidopa/Levodopa) that helps with the tremors, but my balance has declined a bit year by year. Indeed, from 2012 through 2016, I've fallen from my bike once or twice a year, usually when making slow right turns. This despite taking extraordinary care, such as walking intersections and not cycling with large groups. Nevertheless, until this year, I have continued to Bicycle 30-40 miles per week, accompanied by close friends who put up with my antics.

In my younger years, I just hopped aboard and off I went. However, after my second fall this year, I found it increasingly hard to get the bike going. I'd adjust myself on the bike seat, keeping the bike upright with my left foot. Then, I'd put my foot on the right pedal, push it hard to get the bike moving forward, balancing as I tried to raise my left to it's proper place on the left pedal. However, my left foot seemingly "did not want" to leave the ground, and that foot had a heck of a time "finding it's position on the left pedal". It usually took me two or more tries to get going. Very frustrating!

Much easier with the trike!
And, perhaps best of all, my Catrike is MADE IN THE USA (actually right here in Florida!)


My Girl's Bike
Us "Old Dogs" can't raise our legs as high as we used to, so, a few years ago, I switched to a GIRL'S BIKE (images above and below), which is much easier to mount! I purchased it new from WalMart for around $150. Read about it here. Notice the laundry basket for my water aerobics stuff on both my Girl's bike and its predecessor, my fold-up Bike Friday.

I had the great pleasure of riding on my Girl's bike with our granddaughters Samantha and Michaela when they visited in 2015 (image below).
And my bicycling is memorialized for my 70th birthday, in 2009.     

Bike Friday Fold-Up
Here is me doing a bit of "surfing" on my Bike Friday on the hard-packed sand at Daytona Beach, back in 2008. Read more about it here.

By the way, Bike Friday is also MADE IN THE USA (Oregon).


Rental Bicycling Adventure in Egypt
Back in 1997, Vi and I visited Egypt, which was quite an adventure. Read about it here.

In Luxor, after our morning escorted tour that included the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut where several dozen tourists were to be mowed down two weeks later, I rented a bike for $5. For an hour I rode around Luxor, all by myself (image below). At one point, to get off the heavily traveled main street, I strayed into a lower-class residential area with dirt streets. I was wearing a hat that had "NY" on it and children called out to me, in English, and said "hello" and "welcome". 

One boy grabbed hold of the rear of the bike and I shouted "La-a" which is "no" in Arabic, but he held on until I shouted "don't touch!" in English. The dirt streets were winding in and out like a rabbit warren with many dead ends. I had trouble finding my way out and back to the main street, but, eventually I did, with no harm done. I felt quite comfortable during that ride.

Two-Wheel LONG Wheelbase Recumbent
Carpal tunnel effects caused my fingers to become numb, so, in 1990, I purchased a LONG-wheelbase Recumbent bicycle. The steering is under the seat, with a multi-link connection to the front wheel, which makes for a a bit of a lag between moving the bar and the wheel actually turning.

(I had Carpal Tunnel surgery on both wrists which is how I was able to go back to an upright bicycle, my Bike Friday, see above.)

Here I am in Ireland riding my Recumbent. 

The story of my trip to Ireland was featured in our local Binghamton newspaper in 1991.

My Mountain Bike
In 1987 I purchased this mountain bike. I joined the wonderful Southern Tier Bicycle Club (THANK YOU AUGIE MUELLER!) and rode with them most Saturdays. I also rode it to and from work a few days a week.

The First Bike I Owned
As a child, my Dad taught me to ride on a bike we rented. He, my Mom, and I would occasionally go out riding on rental bikes. We lived in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, NY and sometimes rode along the Boardwalk between Brighton Beach and Coney Island (allowed early on Sunday mornings when there were few people). Other times, we rode to Sheepshead Bay and along a bike trail to Canarsie.   

In 1956, when I was in high school, my Uncle Harry, who worked at Macy's, arranged the purchase of an Raleigh "English Racer". We took it home on the subway because my Dad did not have a car. 

I rode that bicycle all around our Brighton Beach neighborhood and along the Boardwalk and the Sheepshead bay trail during my high school and college days. (I lived with my parents and younger brother in Brighton Beach and commuted to Brooklyn Technical High School and the City College of New York by subway.) 

I took it with me when I moved out of the house in 1961 to take my first professional job in Norwalk, CT. In 1963 I took my second professional job in North Plainfield, NJ, Although I had a car, I sometimes used that bicycle to go to and from work.  

While working in Connecticut and New Jersey, I pursued my social life in Brooklyn, spending most weekends at my parent's house. I met Violet Stark, my wife-to-be, and taught her to ride a bicycle and drive a car (and we still got married in 1964 :^) 

In 1965, when I got my job at IBM Federal Systems in upstate Owego, NY, we bought a farm in Newark Valley, about 12 miles from work. I gave up bicycling and my ancient Raleigh was left to molder in a corner of a barn. 

In 1978, we moved to Apalachin, which was only 6 miles from work, but I still did not take up cycling. It was not until 1987 when I resurrected my ancient Raleigh (image below) and thought about using it to commute to work. However, it had only three speeds and our house was up a steep hill, so that old bike was not right for the task. Which is why I purchased the mountain bike described above. 

Ira Glickstein


Lisa Glickstein said...

Enjoyable read! Happy Triking!

Stewart Denenberg said...

I also owned a 3-speed Raleigh in High school ---- never could get the shifter mechanism to work reliably.

Is it possible to find a trike with a battery pack?

Ira Glickstein said...

Lisa: THANKS! So far tricyling has been fun. I'm trying to get back to my old bicycling schedule, but going to the Mulberry pool for DEEP water aerobics is 5.5 miles each way, and involves crossing a traffic circle. So far I've just been doing water aerobics at the Savanah pool which is about 2 miles each way.

Stu: Great to hear from you again! It seems to me the 3-speed Raleigh shifter worked fine and reliably. However, with only 3-speeds the range between high and low was limited. My Catrike Villager has 27 speeds, and I use the lowest to climb the hill up to the second floor of the Freedom Pointe parking garage where I keep my trike.

Ira Glickstein said...

Stu: On your question regarding a trike with a battery pack, I've heard a battery-powered motor can be added to a bicycle (or come on a new bike, such as an "eBike") for about $2,500. I'd guess one could get a battery-powered trike for about that much more than the regular price. I purchased my Catrike Villsger used, but a new one is about $2,600, so an eTrike would likely run around $5,000!