"The more I find out, the less I know."

Tuesday - November 11, 2008 at 11:55 AM in

The Dorkmobile


Inspired by a combination of high gas prices and a desire to get more consistent exercise, this summer I bought a recumbent tricycle and cargo trailer for my commute to work.

Trike.png

Since June, my goal has been to ride to work at least two or three times every week, about a 16.5 mile round trip. I'm pleased to say that I've put over 900 miles on the trike so far (including a few longer rides for fun), and I've saved about two tanks of gas in the minivan.

I'm not going to pay for the fancy trike through gas savings alone--at least not this decade--but I've found that riding to work has a number of side-benefits aside from the obvious health and environmental ones.

The biggest is that riding the trike is straight-out fun. More fun than driving a car, naturally, but also more fun than riding a bike. The recumbent seat position is much more comfortable than a bike seat (which hurts my butt, and also puts a lot of pressure on my wrists and shoulders), and the low-to-the-ground arrangement gives a palpable feeling of speed like riding a go-kart.

I've also found that the trike gets a lot more reaction from other people. Where a bicycle is common and even a nuisance to some drivers, the trike with trailer is a real novelty. I get lots of kids who wave at me as I zoom by, and cars give me a lot of space (and often wave, too).

Now that winter is setting in, you might think that riding season is over. Not if I can help it!

Within the next week or so, I should be receiving a velokit, basically a tent with windshield for the trike, allowing me to continue riding even on cold mornings. With a trike, slippery roads are not nearly the problem that they are on a bicycle (you can't wipe out on an icy patch).

At the same time I'm doing some upgrades of the drivetrain, switching to all-internal hubs (where the gears are inside the wheel, keeping them from being exposed to rain, snow, sand, etc.). Combined with the velokit, The Dorkmobile will be complete, letting me ride in all but the worst winter weather in comfort and looking like a total geek.


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