Second Ride on Trail

April 19th, 2012

Feeling more comfortable on the StreetStrider today. Was able to start at a point on the trail where I needed to immediately turn to the right. On April 11th, I tried this but couldn't quite manage to start moving and turning at the same time. I also never got as much out of breath as I did that day.

After tightening the crank arms and making sure the foot platforms were secure, I was hoping that there wouldn't be any unusual noises. But there were. When I felt the right foot pedal slip under me, I immediately stopped and walked back to the car. Once there, I called StreetStrider and talked to someone about this. He agreed with me that it was possible that as I'm getting tired, that my pedal stroke may not be smooth and I might be feeling a slip due to that. Same as the first ride -- no noises until I had ridden for a while and gotten tired. The noise continued when I changed gears, so that probably means it isn't coming from the hub.

If anyone is debating whether to spend the extra money for the 8r, I definitely know that I would have made a mistake if at the last minute I hadn't decided to go for the 8 gears. When riding my bicycle, I always downshift each time I stop so that I can start in a very easy gear and then shift once moving. I am doing that with the StreetStrider as well. I think it is much easier on my knees to be able to start without a lot of pressure and then move to a higher gear once I have a bit of momentum. I am mostly riding in 3 - 5 and haven't been on any steep hills yet. I've been starting in either 1 or 2 and have never used 7 or 8. I may end up using higher gears later, right now, I'm getting my heart rate up fairly high in the lower gears.

Hitch Rack, part 3 - Success!

April 17th, 2012

Brought the hitch rack and parts to Ballard Welding. Grant Ballard did an amazing job and the hitch rack now works beautifully. His shop is on Paris Road just north of Vandiver for anyone looking for a welder in mid-Missouri.
Grant Ballard cutting pipe before welding StreetStrider hitch rack

Grant Ballard and I looked at the hitch rack, ball riser adapter, and ATV hitch receiver all attached to my car and discussed the problem and how the rack worked. He suggested cutting several inches off of the long tube of the StreetStrider hitch rack and welding it to the ball riser adapter that fit into the 1 1/4" receiver tube on my car. He also cut a 1" length of pipe and placed it as a spacer to raise the hitch rack up a bit higher off the ground than the ball riser alone. When he was finished, he painted all of the new pieces black and it now looks as though I had bought it new this way. And to top it off, this ended up working better and costing less than if I had purchased a hitch riser 1 1/4" to 2" adapter.

welded hitch rack

Compare the above photo with the image in the April 9 post below using a 1 1/4" to 2" receiver adapter. Not only was the rack too close to the ground and hitting, but look how much farther it originally was from the car bumper.

The angle when the hitch rack is dropped to roll the StreetStrider onto the rack is steeper than originally designed but I can still handle loading the StreetStrider by myself. The rack now is much closer to the back of my car so there is a minimum of up-down travel. And I haven't come close to having the rack hit the pavement anywhere.

I also flipped the hitch rack so that the front wheels are on the driver's side of the car. If you follow the assembly directions and have the front wheels on the passenger side, there isn't a way to roll the trike off of the rack if you parallel park because the curb will be blocking the passenger side.

First Ride on a Trail

April 11th, 2012

Brought the StreetStrider to a trail in a city park. The hitch rack scraped not only in our driveway, but hit the concrete when I turned into the park driveway.

This was undoubtedly the best workout I had in at least a couple of years. I always ease up on the elliptical in the gym, but on the StreetStrider, I kept pushing until I reached a previously selected spot on the trail.

I haven't tried a sharp U-turn so I'm sure I still need a wide space to do that. But knowing how to steer through gradual turns in the trail is intuitive. Probably helps that in gradual turns, I used to turn my bicycle by leaning while holding my handlebars and front wheels straight. The harder thing is going absolutely straight. While striding, it is easy to let your weight shift a bit with each stroke - this makes the trike weave slightly. I'm not weaving much, but I'd feel safer perfectly straight so I need to develop a smoother pedaling action.

After riding for about 10 minutes, I noticed a clunking / creaking sound. I worried that it might be the crank arm, so I stopped riding and called StreetStrider. Someone suggested making sure that both crank arms and the foot platforms were tight.

Hitch Rack, Part 2

April 10th, 2012

After taking a full day to search the internet and local stores for a way to raise the hitch rack to keep it from hitting the ground while driving, I thought this receiver adapter was the best option. But I ultimately decided to take an RV dealership's idea to use a ball hitch riser and a 2" receiver because I could buy those parts locally rather than ordering them.

This looked like it would work but was actually worse than the original attempt (see the April 9 post). The pieces allowed for more play, which means that the rack had more up and down movement. The rack actually hit the ground when I was driving down the street and passed over a slightly wavy stretch of pavement where a crack had been repaired. Yikes!

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of this setup. Here's kind of an idea of what I did. A ball-mount with a 2" drop / rise was placed into the 1 1/4" receiver tube on my car in the riser position. (sample - I installed it upside down from this photo). I attached an ATV receiver hitch onto the ball-mount in place of a ball and slide the StreetStrider hitch rack into the receiver tube.

StreetStrider Hitch Rack

April 9th, 2012

Using the Hitch Rack

The hitch rack is designed to fit into a 2" receiver tube. A converter is needed to use a 1 1/4" receiver tube. I tried a straight 6" tube, but with the new longer tongue, the weight of the StreetStrider pushed the rack too low. When turning into any driveway or parking lot with a slope, the rack scraped the pavement. My small SUV has a high ground clearance, this problem would be compounded with a lower vehicle.

photo showing hitch rack

photo showing hitch rack

photo showing hitch rack