Thursday, October 22, 2009

Racing Trikes

At first glance these things look innocent enough, like something an old man would take to the grocery store. They're not. Though their heyday was in the 1950s, there are still groups of crazies who race them down the twisting roads of the Alps or on ovals - like steel chariots.

The video is by Paul Patzkowsky of Longmont, CO. The video quality is ..well, not good, as it was the first time the operator had used a video recorder. When Paul leans side-saddle through the turns, we can still get an idea of how wild the ride would be in a race with a number of riders.



16 comments:

reverend dick said...

I looked and looked again at the brake set up. I think they'd be better with discs in the rear and just the one front.

It looks fun as hell.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the real bike passed the trike like it was standing still . . .

mw

Gunnar Berg said...

Michael, I think there may be a tough learning curve involved.

Rob, I've seen doubled sidepulls with one behind the front fork. The discs would be better, but is "better" really what we're looking for here? I think the impractically is part of the fun.

Gunnar Berg said...

The first photo is a George Longstaff (great name?) conversion. The bottom is a factory built 1950s Holdworth.

Margadant said...

I'm intrigued, but still skeptical as to the practical application for the trike. The video depicts an all down-hill ride; what's it look like on a straight or the up-hill? Although, in Central Park -- with a Ben Hur style racing format -- distinct possibilities flash through the imagination.

Gunnar Berg said...

Practical? Practical? That's like like asking if Bungee Jumping is practical. Of course not. That's what's neat about it' they are silly and impractical. Racing trikes are geared, so uphill is feasible. Downhill, where weight becomes an advantage is when it really becomes suicidal. They say that the inside wheel lifts off the pavement, and the wheels twist and distort from the stresses of cornering at speed. Oh yeah.

reverend dick said...

We used to have one of the hoopty worksman like trikes at the shop in Telluride. On coffee runs down main street, you could lean it to the side and grab a rear wheel with your left hand while the differential(!) allowed the right wheel to drive.

What a contraption that was. These look eminently more "practical".

I like where you are headed with this. Crazytown.

May I add: what a great application for a railbike?

Margadant said...

I'm liking the railbike application. Berg, are there still rails on the old Bug Line up to Waseca?

Gunnar Berg said...

Not familiar with "Bug Line". The rails through the Grove still run, but they're a major artery. The rail line that parallels 13 is still in use, particularly during harvest. Last week we were north on 13. There were about 3 miles of rail cars staged south of the New Richland elevator. Not on a siding, just sitting, blocking the line...waiting for corn.

Anonymous said...

Regarding my video showing myself riding my trike down the mountain, we'll do another take when the weather improves. At this time of year road crews start putting sand on the mountain roads for traction. A bit dangerous for fast trike riding. Yes, the road bike passed me; he was twenty-something and I'm 62. He would have passed me if I had been on one of my bicycles, too. :-)

Anonymous said...

One other thing regarding the trike video on Youtube. I was taking the corners at speeds exceeding the posted speed limits for the curves. That's all for now.

Gunnar Berg said...

Could be worse. I'm 64 and reeealllly slow.

Anonymous said...

I have a little more time now to address some of the comments previously made. Most trikes that I have seen have two caliper brakes mounted on the front fork in front of the fork. This would often be a side pull or center pull paired with a cantilever brake. This arrangement works very well and is the simplest and lightest. I've also seen a disc brake on the front fork with a caliper brake. Of course, disc and drum brakes can be put on the rear axles.
The trike that you see in the video is 35 years old and the wheels have never been touched since they were built. They're still true and, as you can see in the video, they don't become pretzels in corners. Wheel failure is possible and axles have been known to break so there is some risk I suppose. There is a tendency for the inside wheel to lift when turning. This is opposed by leaning into the corner with the body as seen in the video and by twisting the handlebars toward the turn in some cases.
Is a trike practical? Some enthusiasts would say, "yes",, I would agree for some uses such as winter riding. The primary attraction for me in the trike is the differences. Why would anyone in their right mind want to own an antique car when they could drive a nice, reliable, new Whatever? Because they enjoy a varied experience in motoring perhaps. Riding a trike is very different from riding a bicycle. I enjoy collecting and riding old iron. Most of my bikes are 55-60 years old. My current best time for a century was on a 1951 Bates BAR.
When the trike was new and I was twenty-something I could cover 100 miles in well under 5 hours. Today I need 7 hours for the distance compared to 6 1/2 hours on a bicycle. There are trike riders that can do a century in under 4 hours. That's all, the Oldtrikerider.

Chrisbee said...

Good comment, Paul.

Why would anybody bother to ride a bike when there are racing trikes?

Brakes on the rear of a lightweight racing trike are impractical. All the braking is done at the front. Where the weight immediately shifts on application of the front brakes. Back brakes lock the wheels instantly unless the trike is heavily laden with camping gear.

Gunnar, in retribution for "borrowing" my blog wallpaper I'm "borrowing" your home country to ride my trike. :)

http://pedal-trikes.blogpsot.com/

Mvh
Chris

Chrisbee said...

Sorry. I seem to have misspelt blogspot in my blog URL in my last post. I cannot alter my post so it now appears correctly below:

http://pedal-trikes.blogspot.com/

Regards
Chrisbee

Anonymous said...

This is the most interesting post that I have read this month?!

Rod