I’ve always had a fascination with bicycles. I had a Schwinn bike with big double chrome spring in the front for suspension and what looked like a gas tank. It was that bike that I ran into a parked 1940 something car with the license plate standing up on the trunk. It was that sharp edge of the license plate that caught the middle of my forehead as I flew over the handlebars and that wreck required several stitches. That day, I was riding the big fat tire Schwinn that looked like a 1953 Buick with all the chrome in the front. As I remember, it was also on that Schwinn that I slid into the gravel driveway, face first. Yes, that was the day before first grade school picture were to be taken. Later my parents got me an English racer from the Western Auto Store. The English racer had skinny tires and a three speed transmission. Western Auto always had the coolest toys of any store in Sherman, Texas. Even better than the Kress Five and Dime stores.
My Recumbent Bike History
In the mid 80’s, my son, David, started racing bikes and I tried to keep up with him. I didn’t stand a chance of keeping up with him, but we did go on long training rides together. A very good time in life. I bought a well-equipped road race bike that I rode for several years.
Again, in the early 2000’s my son bought a welding machine about the same time I came up with some plans from www.atomiczombie.com, for several recumbent bikes. Together, we built seven or eight recumbent bikes and/or trikes. The picture above is my son, David, on the first test ride of a trike we built. The only problem, they were made of mild steel and somewhat heavy.
In spite of that, I think we both had a sense of accomplishment and many hours of a father, son, and grandson conmradery. I rode this delta trike that we built together for several years.
The Tiny Texas Trike
Now at the age of 72, here I go again. I recently bought a tadpole trike made by TerraTrike.
A tadpole trike has two wheels in front and one in back as opposed to a delta trike that has one wheel in front and two in back. The tadpole trikes are noted as having better high speed handling and stability. It met the approval of all three grandsons after taking test rides.
Powering Up the Tiny Texas Trike
This week the Tiny Texas Trike got electrified. On the electric bike forums I frequent, electrified is a word used to describe a bicycle (or trike) that the owner has installed an electric motor and battery. I now have the trike of my dreams. I bought a rather lightweight, commercial made, TerraTrike Tour. I installed a Bafang 750-watt mid-drive motor with a 52 volt Li-Fe-Po 14 amp hour battery. Woo-Hoooooo.
It’s a sports car. Or maybe a go-kart. Whichever, it’s an open air, low to the ground, fast feeling, fun thing to drive. It’s my transportation to go wherever I need to go in the Canton/Edgewood area. My first trip was to a bicycle shop in Canton. About a 12-mile round trip. My second ride was to Edgewood just to see if I could make it there and back. That was a 22-mile round trip. Yes, I made it there and back with no problems. Just this week, I had a doctor appointment and guess what I used for transportation. A 10-mile round trip. The Texas Tiny Trike turned all of my transportation needs into fun-filled adventures.
Using the Tiny Texas Trike with Cargo
It’s a minivan or maybe a small pickup. This week I added panniers (saddle bags) to the Texas Tiny Trike. Now I can carry things. These are big panniers that could carry a week of groceries for one person. I’ll soon add a trailer so I can haul all my groceries, fishing gear and overnight camping equipment. I see fishing trips in the future to Purtis Creek State Park, Tawakoni State Park, and Lake Fork. All within the range of the electrified Tiny Texas Trike.
I get a lot of attention and questions everywhere I go.
- How fast will it go? Legally in Texas, an electric bike can go 20 mph under its own power on level ground. I’ve hit 45 under my own power on a downhill run but generally I ride at 17 to 20 mph.
- How many miles per gallon do you get? Apples and oranges. I don’t use gas, but I can convert to $ per mile. It cost about .015 cents per mile to charge my battery. It cost about .122 cents per mile to drive my pickup for gas. I have a range of about 50 miles per charge. The Tiny Texas Trike also doesn’t require monthly insurance cost, either.
- Is it comfortable? Recumbent bikes and trikes are very comfortable. No butt pain from sitting on a tiny seat. There is no shoulder, neck, arm, wrist or hand pain from supporting your upper body as on an upright bike.
- Is it safe? Like riding any bike, you have to be forever vigilant of what is going on around you and ride defensibly. I’m more afraid of farm dogs on the country roads where I ride than the traffic. Most people are very supportive of me on the road and give me plenty of clearance. I get a lot of hand waves and happy horn honks.
As Bob Phillips of the Texas Country Reporter program says, why don’t you hop on and see where the Tiny Texas Trike takes us this week.