5 Boro Bike Tour Tandem Trike: The Big Day

written by JerseyJim on May 4, 2015 in Projects with no comments

staten_island_ferryAs dawn broke on the day of the ride the air was cool and crisp. There was no hint of the summer-like temperatures forecast for later in the day as we loaded the bikes into the back of the Baja.

Yes, I said “bikes” not “trike”. Unfortunately, the trike’s freewheel broke during a test the night before and there was no way to replace it. To be honest there were some other tasks that needed to be done before the trike was road-ready but the broken freewheel was the final issue that sealed the trike’s fate.

Fear not, readers. I will complete the trike and it will take part in many adventures that I will share with you here. It was an ambitious undertaking to build a tandem recumbent trike in 12 weeks through one of the worst winters we’ve had here in the Northeast US. Nights and weekends were the only times I could be devote to the project. Without the benefit of a sheltered work space, I was at the mercy of the weather. Finally, I deviated from the Atomic Zombie plans in order to add improvements to the design. This introduced more than a few unknowns and added some unexpected tasks, none of which were part of the standard build schedule. All of those things contributed to missing the deadline, however I don’t want to give the impression that this was an impossible task.

While we may not have been able to ride the trike in this event, I was able to get a 95% complete 2 person human powered vehicle in 12 weeks time. This means that it is possible for one person to build one of the most complex Atomic Zombie projects in a few months of spare time. If you have some skills and a little motivation, there is no question that you can build your own recumbent bike or trike.

If you decide to build one and ride it in an event like the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour, be prepared to answer lots of questions. While I couldn’t ride the trike, I did proudly represent recumbent cyclists by riding my Bentech SWB recumbent. It always surprises me how many people have never seen a recumbent bike despite the fact that they have been around just as long as the standard upright bike.

I’ll be posting my impressions of the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour in a future post. I had some interesting conversations with a few of the participants. I made a few observations about cycling and had lots of fun. Unfortunately I couldn’t share the experience with the person who initiated this adventure. While we where cycling from where we parked to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, Patty had some physical issues that prevented her from continuing. She urged me to go on and represent both of us in the tour. Solo, I reluctantly cycled onward. It turned out to be an absolutely perfect day for any kind of cycling. Riding through the car-free streets of New York City with over 30,000 other cyclists such a day was a huge treat and a great privilege. In my next post, I’ll tell you all about it.