Filed under: Commuting, DRBC, Events, Lifestyle, Outreach
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Gear, How To, Lifestyle
The classic delta tricycle, AKA ‘Grandma’s Trike’.
In an earlier article, I described having broken my left clavicle. Having a deep desire to ride, I’m on a trike with one arm in a sling.
This is the classic Schwinn single-speed delta style trike, borrowed from a friend of mine. It has a rear drum brake on the drive axle and front cantilevers. The gearing is low. 80 RPM spinning gives about 8 MPH. That is all there is to this machine, just a simple three wheeler.
It needed a good test ride, so I gave it a quick going over with lubrication and adjustments, then loaded with bike gear.
The ride. To the state trail, then through several towns on the trail and back.
The first few miles had me thinking the title of this article. I am a seasoned rider and was wondering what I had taken on. Hulk Hogan would have quite a time pedaling one of these this far.
I found the ride to be pretty jostling compared to the standard bicycle. The rear wheels would hit a bump or hole and the whole bike would launch me from side to side. I am tall so with the seat all the way up, it really amplified the effect.
Riding on the bike trails of Wisconsin (limestone), one wheel in the track and two wheels in the grass or middle. Bumpy ride. Riding the streets was better.
During the ride I did some calculations in my head which equaled to many hours of pedaling and the chant in my head of ‘what have I done?!?’.
Once I found a rhythm though, it wasn’t a bad ride and ended up being very familiar to riding any other bike, just slower.
I even found myself out racing a storm.
You may have done this. If not, keep riding and you will. You’re looking behind you at the approaching ‘wall of rain’, looking ahead saying to yourself, ‘where is this place? It must be right up here.’
Looking back and forth, wall of rain, street address, wall of rain, heart pumping, thoughts of getting absolutely drenched, wall of rain, cranking on the pedals…
Now think of doing that on Grandma’s Trike, one handed…
I did make it by about 30 seconds and it really downpoured.
I also went swimming with it (PLEASE don’t do that to a bike. I did a complete overhaul the next day, water was in everything, even the sealed bearings). The trail was flooded and being tired with no desire for the two mile detour, I swam it.
We’ve had a lot of rain and the marsh trail was under water. The water went almost to the top of the 26” tires for about 30 feet. Again, Grandma’s Trike got through, seaweed was lodged and hanging all over it. It made for a fun picture, but a lot of work during the overhaul.
The trip totaled 44 miles starting at 10:30AM. Got home at 6:30PM (4 stops for beer and a lunch).
Sitting bolt upright on a stable platform feels being a passenger along for the ride, like cargo in the basket. The handling is best at slow speeds, a bit more squirrelly when going faster. Sit, pedal, go. A tough go to go far on, not something for long trips, unless you just are not in any kind of hurry. The defining word is: slow.
Conclusion, the single-speed delta trike is a worthy machine. Not really cool or fast, but well maintained, it will keep you rolling, haul lots of stuff and get you there with a bit less stress.
No matter what you think of the Grandma Trike, it’s better than walking…
Guest post by James Longhurst
There’s a bicycle renaissance in America right now, featuring bike share programs in major cities, more bike lanes, increasing numbers of commuters, and new advocacy groups injecting much-needed energy into long-established discussions of bicycles and their place on the road. This 21st century bike boom has also attracted the attention of all kinds of academics and scholars in urban design, politics, history and the culture of bicycling. Many of the books and articles these scholars produce are only read by a small audience of academics; they are fairly arcane and impenetrable for the general public. But a small number of these projects attempt to take scholarly interests and communicate them in an interesting and approachable way.
On March 27, the authors of one of these new books on the history of bicycling came to La Crosse, and presented their research to a large audience from the campus and the community. Nicholas Hoffman and Jesse J. Gant are the authors of Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State, out from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2013. Hoffman is Chief Curator at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin; Gant is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and currently on a research fellowship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
Their book, Wheel Fever argues that the conflict over bicycling in the 1890s — in which the social and cultural symbolism of bicycling was constantly contested between middle-class men, adventurous women, aspiring African Americans, and practically-minded workers — is a means of understanding why riding a bike is strangely politicized even today. As the authors put it, riding a bike has been political from the start: the bicycle “has been defined by a rich and often impassioned debate over who should be allowed to ride, where they could ride, and even what they could wear.” The authors argue that there are two forces – one group who sees the bicycle as a threat to traditional social order; and another group who see “democratic possibilities” through which the bicycle might assist in remaking society for the better.
Gant and Hoffman’s research is an example of social history, sometimes referred to as “history from the bottom up.” These are the stories of how everyday people – not just leaders and rulers – experienced the events of history and shaped their own lives. It’s not a new approach; historians have been working on these sorts of projects for more than four decades. But this approach might be new to non-historians, and so the public talk on the UW-L campus was an opportunity to bring two worlds together.
This mix of the popular and scholarly is most obvious in Chapter 5, “The Troubled Beginnings of Wheel Fever.” This chapter puts Wisconsin bicycling into context with the racial ideology of the 1890s, connecting bicycle history to prominent scholarly works. This kind of approach has already transformed our understanding of the “White City” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The chapter concludes that “In the end, the exclusionary culture of the early 1890s, which reached a peak during the 1893 World’s Fair, put on full display the cultural limitations that would plague early cycling in the Badger State.” It would be easy to celebrate the positive legacies of bicycling in the Wisconsin; but while Wheel Fever does that, it also addresses the complexities and contradictions of race, class, and gender even when in the pursuit of the history of a “great bicycling state.”
The event on March 27 was meant to bring together the popular and the scholarly on the subject of the bicycle – with support from a variety of academic departments on campus, as well as the Wisconsin Bike Federation, and historic bicycle displays from the La Crosse Historical Society, the event brought students from economics, history and physical education together with cyclists and bike advocates from the community. With a lively Q & A, book signing and reception, it was an excellent way to spend a rainy night, and shows a building interest in cycling and its scholarship in the La Crosse community.
Missed the event? You can hear Gant and Hoffman interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Newsmaker program, with discussion of La Crosse bike history, at http://www.wpr.org/listen/559351
— guest post by James Longhurst, Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Sidebar: Scholarly books about bicycling. From different academic disciplines, these are books meant to advance knowledge about the bicycle’s past and present, and are not as widely read as books written for a popular audience by journalists or bicycle advocates.
Luis A. Vivanco, Reconsidering the Bicycle: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing, Routledge, 2013.
Written for the college classroom; includes both historical and current observations on the cultural meaning of bicycles and their riders.
Glen Norcliffe, Ride to Modernity: The Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900, University of Toronto Press, 2001.
The bicycle as a symbol of “modernity” and mass consumer culture in the late 19th century.
Christopher Armstrong, H. V. Nelles, The Revenge of the Methodist Bicycle Company: Sunday Streetcars and Municipal Reform in Toronto, 1888 – 1897, Oxford University Press, 2010.
An enjoyable but complicated story of urban politics, corruption and transportation policy.
Dave Horton, Paul Rosen and Peter Cox, eds., Cycling and Society, Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2007.
Several different approaches to understanding cycling from the perspective of European scholars, especially sociologists.
John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, eds., City Cycling, Boston: MIT Press, 2012.
Collection of articles bringing data-driven scholarship to understanding bicycle policy internationally.
Wiebe Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.
Using the technological development of the bicycle as a case study in what was known as the “social construction of technology” or SCOT debate in the history of technology.
Filed under: Advocacy, Commuting, Events, How To, Outreach, Rides
The National Bike Challenge needs your miles. Commuting or even better, join your local peloton (your friends and neighbors who you love to ride with) and log some fun miles to the local park, trail ride or if you are me, my amazing local brewery.
The National Bike Challenge pits all the states in the US against each other in a challenge to ride the most collective miles. Last year Wisconsin was Third in the Nation! 4455 riders rode 2,616,314 miles (according to Endomondo). That number is hard to imagine. I logged 4814 miles last summer just riding around town (I didn’t do any big rides last year). I missed the Platinum level by 186 miles. Gonna have to do the Tour de Pearl a couple more times this year…bummer
So, how do you do it? Follow these directions:
-Go to the National Bike Challenge site click on this banner.
-Log in using Facebook or your Endomondo login or create a new account
(I had an Endomondo account from last year, so I used it)
-Once you log in, you get three banners. Click the middle one to log your miles.
You can log miles by syncing your Endomondo App on your smartphone or just typing them in on the above webpage clicking the LOG MILES + .
That’s it. go to the website, sign in, log miles.
If you don’t know how far you are riding, try using Google maps. You can set your start and stop point, change the transportation option to bicycle.
Quick logging tip: Use the same route for your regular trips, add manually for others.
Using routes makes logging easy so you don’t have to sign on everyday.
If you are joining the challenge late, backfilling is OK. Pick the days on the calendar and fill in your milage.
Looking forward to seeing you out there.
Michael Baker, President
Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition