15 August - 15 November 2004
I did my first overnighter in Pandora on Sep 17th. I had originally scheduled that Fri as a day of vacation and was going to go to the Human Powered Speed Championships in Battle Mountain on the 17th and 18th (the final two days). However, there was a storm blowing in on Tue and Wed and I was reasonably sure that the races would be canceled because of wind. As it turned out I was right, Fri evening had only 2 wind legal runs out of about 8 participants and Sat was canceled completely. I had received "most" of my Catrike the previous week and the remainder came in from the dealer on the 14th so I took my vacation day and went to Chico and had it assembled. That is where I spent my overnighter, in the dealer's parking lot. It was very restful and I got as good or better nights sleep than I usually do at home.
I'll give you some details and comparisons of the Catrike Road versus the Greenspeed GT3 that I had originally thought I wanted. The Catrike is manufactured in Orlando, FL United States of America and is in its first year of production however other models have been produced for the last 3-4 years. The Greenspeed is from Ferntree Gully, Victoria Australia and is also a first year product but other models have been offered for over 10 years. The Road frame is aluminum rather than the GT3's steel, this gives an advertised weights of 30 lbs versus 39 lbs. Another Road advantage is it's overall width, 30" rather than 35", which allows for easier passage through most doorways. I'm not sure there is much advantage to the Road's 20" wheels rather than the 16" on the GT3 except replacements are easier to find and I liked the ride better. The Road also comes with disk brakes as standard versus the GT3's drum brakes (disks are optional). The Road does not match the folding capability of the GT3 and that may have been the deciding factor between the two. Either of them will fit just fine inside Pandora but the GT3 when folded would also fit in the back of Cousin MINI (a tight fit, but it does fit better than all the pieces of my touring bike). I then found that the dealer could order the Road to be compatible with a Rohloff rear hub and Schlumpf Speed Drive bottom bracket (the Catrike website does not offer this option, however it is available). If that had not been true I probably would have gone with the GT3 that offered these drive train options although I didn't like the 16" wheels that much. The Greenspeed GTO model has been in production for a few years now and has all the options that I wanted as well as S & S couplings that allow the frame to be split into two parts, however, with the options included the price (and the weight) is a lot more than the Road. Therefore I got a lighter trike, with the wheels that I liked best, disk brakes and the same optional drive train for a cheaper price by selecting the Road. The first week of October, Bent Rider Online (a website recumbent e-zine) awarded the Catrike Road "Trike of the Year" based on reader votes. There were two negatives to the purchase however. First, the chain tensioner that the dealer used came apart after about only 2Km during my test ride on Sun. I e-mailed him about this and he sent me a Rohloff tensioner replacement; however, I need to get a local bike shop to make the change. Second, the frame spacing for the Rohloff hub was set incorrectly at 32mm rather than the correct 35mm at the factory. The dealer received a reply from Catrike that was apologetic, made note that future production had been corrected, but did not offer any solution or compensation. The hub and wheel comes out without much difficulty but is a struggle to replace (no quick wheel changes for this trike!).
The three pictures above are my Catrike with rear rack and top bag (I can also carry rear panniers) as well as water bottle carrier. A close up of the Rohloff hub. A picture from the pilots seat; shifter is on the right steering column, mirror mounted on the left, wireless computer is mounted on a mountain bike 'bullbar' and the Schlumpf Speed Drive up front shifts internally to function as two chain rings. Two pictures showing the Catrike flying all her flags in the first one and how the flag holders are mounted in the second.
I did a second "camping" trip on Oct 8th and 9th. On this trip I stayed both nights at Fort Churchill State Park about 20 miles south of Fernley, NV. This was primarily a trip to see if I had all the "camping" gear that I would need, how to secure it and what to do with my Catrike when camped. Everything worked out well with no real surprises. I had only one 3-gallon water container for this trip but plan on adding a second; the need for the second was confirmed. I don't like the way I have secured the camp box and water container - currently they are held in place with a cargo net, I'll probably replace it with some bungee cords. The hold down for my Catrike didn't seem to do the job that I expect and I'll have to look at some improvement to that system. The sleeping arrangements worked out just fine once again and I slept very well. I got just enough rain to test my tarp coverage system for the Catrike and that worked out well also, but probably not enough rain to say that the trailer is leak free. On Friday I stopped in Silver Springs, NV and picked up a pizza for dinner. For Saturday breakfast I drove to Yerrington, NV and while there I unloaded my trike and road around the town for a couple of hours (a great way to see a small town!). I then picked up another pizza before leaving town and going back to camp. This is what I imagine my camping will be like, using restaurants in nearby towns for my meals and only having coffee and maybe canned soup or stew in the camp box.
The week following my camping weekend was one of walking. My apartment complex was resurfacing and re-striping the parking lots and we had to have our vehicles removed. I didn't want to leave my trailer parked on the street so I hitched it up, pulled it to the casino parking lot where I work and left it for the week. At the casino it was subject to security via camera and occasional walking guards. That was the good side of the arrangement the downside was that I had to walk the 1.75 miles to work and then home again. Actually it wasn't that bad, I was lucky that the weather remained cool but not cold and I got some good exercise. Then the following week it rained and snowed with light snow falling here in Reno but no on the ground accumulation except in the foothills. The first storm lasted for 3 days and I saw the longest period of almost continuous rain here since I have lived in Reno. It then partially cleared for a couple of days and became colder before the next storm front came through. This time it only snowed in the higher Sierra with clouds, cold and wind here at the lower elevation.
The stormy weather has had me off the trike for all that time. I have received and installed a nylon strapped water bottle carrying system that I was only able to use a couple of times and don't know for sure if it is going to work for the long term however I think so. I just need to put some more miles on it as a test. The weather has also kept me from taking the Rohloff chain tensioner and trike to my local bike shop to have the old one replaced, however, the old tensioner hasn't come apart again as it did on the very first ride. That is about it for now. My next long letter will discuss my move from Reno to Sparks, NV and all the other exciting(?) aspects of my life.