Posted by: Silver | June 11, 2010

Teething troubles

Warning: the following article is likely to be of interest only if you are a newbie triker. The author of this blog cannot be held responsible for any accidents caused by other readers falling asleep at their computers…

That being said, there have been a few, shall we say, ‘issues’ with Ranger that I certainly would have appreciated knowing about beforehand, so I thought I’d share them here in case my experiences help anyone else.

The most serious problem was the most recent one: my front gear shifter broke. Or, to be more precise: its bottom fell off (not a good thing in any situation, I think you’ll agree). This wouldn’t have been disastrous in itself, but for some reason best known to themselves, Ice have mounted the handgrips (and therefore the bar-end shifters) on open-bottomed tubes, which means that, when the bottom falls off your gear shifter, it also falls out of the bottom of the tube and is lost forever on the road somewhere. And since it appears that you cannot buy spare parts for the shifters, you (or your fantastically kind father) end up having to shell out $130 for a complete new set, just to replace one small wedge.

Do I sound a little sore? Hmm, could be… Clearly, one expects to need to pay for spare parts and repairs eventually, but less than a month after buying a brand new machine…? Needless to say, I shall be taping up the bottoms of the handlebar tubes forthwith.

Anyway, on to some of the other things I’ve discovered:

1) Quite apart from the above escapee, be aware that everything on your trike wants to be free, and with every bump in the road, they will wiggle their way one step closer to their goal: make sure everything’s screwed down really tight, and keep on checking. I’m sure this is the same for any cycle really, but it’s been a lot more noticeable on the trike than on any upright bike I’ve had.

2) The instructions that come with Windwrap fairings are minimally helpful on the subject of installation, and non-existent on the subject of adjusting to fit – expect to spend a lot of time and frustration figuring it all out. (Going into the details of all the problems and solutions we found would, I’m sure, send to sleep even the few readers who’ve made it this far, but if you have a specific query, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help!) It should also be noted that the fairing has been a particularly enthusiastic participator in the above-mentioned bids for freedom.

3) Stating the obvious perhaps, but you don’t have a reverse gear; you also don’t have the world’s best turning circle. Not a problem for the most part, but if, for example – purely hypothetically speaking, of course – you should take a wrong turning on a bike trail and find yourself at a dead end, you will have no choice but get off, pick up the rear end of the trike and turn it round manually. And when you’re clipped in and under a fairing, getting off definitely isn’t the least hassly thing you’ll ever do… Generally speaking, therefore, I think it would be fair to say that the trike is not at its best in tight spaces.

4) You are invisible to traffic light sensors. I waited a long time to turn left before I twigged this one… And since there seems to be no way of knowing in advance which lights are sensor-activated and which are on timed cycles, deciding on your best course of action when approaching a junction is not exactly easy. (If they are sensor-activated, your choices appear to be either sitting around until a car also wants to go the same way as you (but bear in mind that if this were a really frequent occurrence, the lights probably wouldn’t be on a sensor in the first place…), or getting off (see above for the desirability of this option) and walking the trike across the junction at the crosswalk.) Either way, not an ideal situation…

Well, this entry is already longer than I like my posts to be, so I’ll stop there before everybody falls asleep. If this has been useful to you, though, please let me know, and I’ll see if I can come up with any further pearls of inexperienced wisdom for you.

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Responses

  1. Hi Tana,

    Definately not asleep – very entertaining read (though of course I chastise myself for gaining amusement from your not insignificant toils and troubles ….).

    Have you a URL for us that will reveal a picture of this troublesome trike? I feel we are to get to know him quite well….. and I do think it is a ‘he’ giving the problems, particularly navigation issues….

    Hope you are still having fun!
    Charlie.

    • Hi Charlie,
      Lovely to hear from you 🙂 And I don’t mind you gaining amusement from my troubles at all: better that we can all have a bit of a laugh at them than let them get us down! If you have a look at the entry from 18 May, there should be a picture of Ranger there (do let me know if there isn’t!); now that I have all my lights, I hope to post a picture of him doing his Christmas tree impression soon as well – watch this space! (Yes, he is definitely a ‘he’, although I fear I must claim all the blame for the navigation problems myself…) With only three days to go before I finally fly up to Canada to start my big adventure, I think it would be fair to say that ‘panic’ has slightly overtaken ‘fun’ just at the moment, but I’m definitely still really looking forward to getting going 🙂

  2. Wouldn’t ICE replace that gear shifter at no cost since the trike is so new? Seems like it.

    As for a reverse gear, one wonders why there’s not one – whether bike or trike or car – we’ve all been in situations where the only option was to back the heck up, right?

    I came across the blog of a guy who rides his ICE trike everywhere – for commuting and adventure – and he uses a walker or two canes to ambulate. He also has trouble with the no-reverse and wide turning circle issue. Given that I get around the world w/ the partnership of a mobility assistance dog for MS-related balance issues, I worry about being able to “manhandle” a trike properly – as in not falling over myself – in the instances where there’s no choice but to get off the trike, pick it up and turn it ’round.

    I know I’m going a bit off-topic from *your* rant and hitching it to my own, but I find it odd that trikes – which obviously have a solid customer base in differently abled folks (because we frequently don’t have the option of riding bikes anymore) – fail to consider the needs of said differently abled folks. Especially given that what usually occurs when you take into consideration the differently abled, is that you make life a whole lot easier for the able bodied people as well.

    Here’s hoping that Ranger will get all of his kinks and quirks out of the way at the top of the journey, so you can enjoy the road trouble-free for the long haul!

    Happy riding,

    Denise

    • Hi Denise,
      Unfortunately, because my departure for Canada is now so imminent, we simply didn’t have the time to even investigate whether or not Ice would ship out a new shifter from the UK, but perhaps they would be prepared to help anyone who wasn’t on such an inflexible time schedule?
      As for the manoeuverability issue, I quite agree with you. I know it’s possible to get hand trikes, for people who can’t use their legs at all, so one has to wonder how they get round this problem. Certainly, I did actually think of you the last time I found myself in a position where the only option was to get up, pick up and walk: the weight of the trike put even me off balance a little.
      Anyone from Ice reading this?!

      • You thought of me? I find that oddly wonderful. Because one of my fondest hopes in going about in the world w/ a somewhat-broken body & a mobility assistance service dog – telling my story & sharing my experiences – is that other folks will begin to consider what it’s like to not have a healthy, able body now and then. So forgive me if I do a bit of a happy dance at your remark.

        As for the reversibility of trikes, I can only guess it’s much more complicated that we might guess to finagle engineering-wise. I’ve emailed John at ICE in the past – think I’ll shoot him an email and inquire about that. He’s been fabulous and friendly about information and answering all of my questions thus far. And, I have a lot, as you might imagine – given my complex needs in a trike.

        Here’s hoping you won’t need to back out of too many tight spots! Perhaps you should come up w/ your own kind of having-to-get-up-off-the-trike-to-turn-around-hissy fit-dance or a special scream or string of colorful curses? I find employing ritual to be very effective at altering my mood when I’m frustrated ;0)

      • Hi Denise,
        Yes, I thought of you 🙂 As the one-time inhabitant of an almost entirely broken body myself, I do find I still view things with one eye on the implications for those who do not fit into the standard ‘able-bodied’ mould, and I whole-heartedly endorse your attempts to encourage all the CABs (Currently Able-Bodied) out there to bear in mind that their interface with the world isn’t the only one possible, and possibly isn’t the only one they’ll ever have. I have been extremely fortunate to have made an (almost) complete recovery from my own previous disability, but the patience I had to learn whilst waiting for my body to heal is perhaps one reason why I’m so sanguine about still being in southern California just now…!
        And yes, I will certainly keep the updates coming: it’s really lovely to know that my adventures are helping someone else, even before they’ve really started!

  3. Hello Tana,

    I, too, am a new trike-rider. My ICE Adventure 2fs is 1 month old. So far, she is nameless.

    I’ve been riding on hilly South Whidbey Island. I am still finding the optimal position for the cleats on my shoes and the boom length, since my knee is so fussy. HOwever,trike riding is really benefitting my bad knee by building up atrophied muscles in the leg.

    I think I’ll call her Nancy, after a cruel physical therapist from my past.

    I appreciate your posts! I’m going to take your advice, tighten things up, tape the ends of the grip shifters.

    Janet

    • Hello Janet,
      Welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re finding it helpful. Yes, I’m still fiddling with the fit too – I think I’m giving myself a bad knee at the moment – but hopefully we’ll both find the perfect position soon. I hope your trike doesn’t inflict as much cruelty on you as your physical therapist apparently did though: triking should be fun, after all!

    • Janet, Whidbey Island sounds like a heavenly place to ride. I’ve always wanted to go there. (writers I know have gone to some kind of residency there and told how gorgeous it is)

      I find it interesting that you’re thinking of naming the trike after Nancy. Especially as both a physical therapist and the exercise+journeying of a trike can be thought of as means by which one is healed and transformed. Just my 2 cents from someone familiar w/ pain and physical therapists, and eager to experience my own first trike in the near future 😉

      Tana, keep the updates coming, please. I’m learning a lot, and more than that, I’m using your courage and gumption to stoke my own for future adventures/Adventure!

  4. Hi Denise, Yes, it is very nice, but hilly! I see lots of other cyclists on south Whidbey I. They pass me, only once did I catch up to a 2 wheeler, and I think he was lagging to ask about the trike.
    I haven’t seen another trike here. I feel like a trike ambassador, spreading the word.
    Why did I shell out big time for a trike?
    I have knee degenerative arthritis, from injury 40 years ago. I am hopefully postponing knee replacement by building up the muscles with trike riding. And it’s working! I am very pleased!


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