Sunday, September 28, 2008

Peregrine Bike Works

This is my 100th post! How appropriate that I am writing about the place where it all started, Peregrine Bike Works (PBW) in Chico, CA.

I visited PBW today. The owner, Hugh, hosted an open house. He had more trikes than you could imagine in one place.

It was a great place to go to test ride the best trikes as my need for speed develops.

Here is a list of all the trikes I saw today at PBW:

** Recumbent Tadpole Trikes **

Q with mesh seat & 20" rear suspension wheel,
Qnt with hardshell seat & 20" rear suspension wheel,
Qnt with hardshell seat & 26" rear wheel,
T with mesh seat & 20" rear suspension wheel;

X5 (16" wheels, sport folding),
GT3 (16" wheels, touring folding),
GTO (20" wheels, touring take-apart);

Trail (20" wheels front & 20" rear),
Speed (16" wheels front & 20" rear),
Road (20" wheels front & 20" rear),
Expedition (20" wheels front & 26" rear),
700 (16" wheels front & 700c rear);

HP Velotechnik both 20" wheels and rear suspension:
Scorpion (20/20 aluminum frame w. suspension,
Scorpion FX (20/20 aluminum frame w. suspension & folding)

Wizwheelz (Terra Trike):
Cruiser (20/20 - steel frame fits the budget conscious);

** Recumbent Delta Trikes **

Kett-Wiesel (27-speed, aluminum frame),
Lepus Comfort (14-speed w. Rohloff);

Anura (18-sp, with differential and Schlumpf Speed-Drive);

M3-UAX (budget)

There was a lot to choose from to say the least.

I am looking for a bit more speed. Currently, when I am in my highest gear I sometimes find that I could use one or two more gears to power the trike at higher speeds. Higher gearing mainly means that I need a bigger wheel in the back (drive wheel).

So I mainly looked at two different trikes: the ICE Qnt with a 26" drive wheel and the Catrike 700.

ICE Qnt with 26" drive wheel

This is the same trike that I ride currently except that it has the 26" drive wheel. I was naturally very comfortable on this trike because it rides just like the one that I have ridden for 7,000 miles. I love the feel of the steering and I am a firm believer in drum brakes which come standard. I love my current trike, it is very dependable, solid and comfortable. The fact that I could get higher gearing from the same trike is very attractive.

Catrike 700

The main attraction for this trike is the 700c drive wheel. This huge wheel will not only allow higher gearing but this is the standard wheel size for upright road bikes. Therefore this trike will accommodate a standard racing wheel at a reasonable price. One can save a lot of wind resistance with blade spokes or a full carbon fiber disc in the rear.

This trike is much lower to the ground making it more aerodynamic. However the seat angle does not adjust so one needs to be comfortable with the laid back position and reduced vision.

All Catrikes have direct steering. The feeling is way different than the indirect steering on my ICE. This would take some getting used to. Also Catrikes feature disc brakes and do not offer drum brakes which would be a consideration for me.

These are both great trikes. The bottom line is that I want to find the fastest trike available. The true test would be to take each of them out on a 10 mile time trial, may the best trike win...maybe next time.

Along with the trikes we saw other great items such as this crazy contraption:

Somebody showed up with this great traylor hitch rack, which doubles as a sweet display stand for trikes. Hugh does not carry this product but I'm sure if you are interested, he could find it for you.

It was a great event and PBW is a great place. I believe Hugh will ship a product anywhere in the country (World?). If you are interested in a trike just visit the PBW web site or stop by for a test ride if you are in the area. Say hi for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

International Ataxia Awareness Day

Today (9/25) is International Ataxia Awareness Day.

In recognition of this day my Cousin Angela Greene and her husband Ricky Greene held a fundraiser. The fundraiser was held last Saturday in Martinez at the Greene Residence.

Angela and Ricky spent months preparing their new home for the event and the place looked great. They had 5 tables full of silent auction items and 4 tables of raffle prizes. The silent auction items ranged from gift baskets full of wine and cheese to sports memorabilia such as a football signed by the Raiders. The raffle prizes ranged from gift certificates to local restaurants to a Ride Ataxia Jersey. Most of the items were donated by friends and businesses in the Martinez community.

Dinner was provided courtesy of Outback Steakhouse and featured chicken, steak, greens, marinated mushrooms and mashed potatoes (my mouth is watering). Thanks to Outback we were able to cut costs big time and provide an outstanding meal, Thank You.

We estimated that there were about 80 people in attendance and we raised a total of $7,200! 100% of this money will go to the collaborative research efforts of the National Ataxia Foundation and the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance. On top of that, I think we may have recruited a few participants for Ride Ataxia III.

We all had a great time with old friends and we made some new ones too.

A special thanks to Ricky and Angela for their hard work and dedication, you are truly making a difference.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dream Hope Believe

On Saturday 9/13 a local ataxia family held a fundraiser at a local seafood restaurant. The event featured a silent auction, music, friends, drinks and as much crab as you could eat.

The event benefited the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and was organized by family and friends of Ashley Hartigan. Ashley is a 12 year old who suffers from Friedreich’s Ataxia. FA has robbed Ashley of the ability to participate in most sports, keep up with her friends and she struggles more each day to walk.

There were more than 200 people at this event and tickets sold out more than a month in advance. There is a lot of support for the Hartigan family in this community. The goal was to raise $25,000. I do not have the total at this point but by my estimation, the goal was reached.

The best part about the night was a presentation by the 20, 30 Club. Friends of the Hartigans had told Ashley's story and the 20, 30 Club decided to take action. They funded the purchase of a trike so that Ashley can ride bikes with her friends and stay in shape.

It was a great event and I am looking forward to next year!


Last Friday I participated in my first Cycling Race. It was a 10 mile Time Trial. The Time Trial is a lot different than my regular rides because it is all out, as fast as possible for 10 miles. I feel like I got a two hour work out in about 35 minutes, I was feeling a little queasy at the very end but I held it down for a strong finish.

I raced among other Disabled Athletes who all happened to be on Handbikes. We had a lot of fun representing Disabled Athletes. There were 6 of us but we hope to have a much stronger showing next year.

Matt Strugar-Fritsch, Me, Chris Houde

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Around The Lake

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States and the tenth deepest in the world, with a maximum depth measured at 1,645 ft (501 m), average depth of 1,000 ft (305 m). Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest lake (1,949 ft or 594 m) in the United States. Please Note that the depth of Lake Tahoe changes every day as the lake level changes.
Lake Tahoe is about 22 mi (35 km) long and l2 mi (19 km) wide and has 72 mi (116 km) of shoreline and a surface area of 191 mi2 (495 km2). The floor of the Lake Tahoe Basin is at an elevation of about 4,580 ft (1,396 m), which is lower than the surface of the Carson Valley to the east! With an average surface elevation of 6,225 ft (1,897 m) above sea level, Lake Tahoe is the highest lake of its size in the United States. - USGS

Team Ride Ataxia Has Conquered Lake Tahoe!

On Sunday teammates Sean, Greg, Crystal, Mike, Glenn, Doug, I and a few others left Stateline (CA, NV) at 8am heading clockwise around the huge lake.

The group took off and I immediately fell behind (I have plenty of excuses: heavy bike [40 lbs], three wheels [more resistance]...). Crystal stayed back with me and about 5 mi into the ride her back tire went flat. After fiddling around for a while we realized that my pump would not work so we had to flag someone down and borrow a pump (always check your equipment before you hit the road). We lost about 1/2 hour but we got back on the road knowing that this would not phase us.

At mile 13 we hit the "Emerald Bay Switch Backs" that we had been warned about. This hill was super steep but fairly short so we powered through to the Emerald Bay Vista Point:

This is one of the most beautiful spots...ever. However, there was no time to admire the beauty, we had to keep moving so we quickly snapped this photo and jumped back in the saddle.

We hit the first rest stop a couple miles later after a screaming downhill (33mph). We devoured some cantaloupe, strawberries, pretzels and bagels before adding a little more pressure to Crystal's rear tire and we were off again.

Rolling hills are what we encountered for the next 25 miles. We were at lake level for a bit then climbed Dollar Hill and traveled back to Lake level at Kings Beach for lunch. At mile 40, we had covered more than half the total distance but we had spent much less than half the effort required to finish. At that point, my knees were aching a bit which made me a bit nervous but we pressed on resisting the urge to jump in the water at the beach.

We passed through Incline Village which is home to some of the most impressive houses (mansions) in the Tahoe Basin. Then we started the climb. This climb started at about mile 55 and lasted for about 12 miles. Nobody told me about this one...So I cranked it down to my granny gear and grinded out the twelve miles in about an hour and a half. As I was climbing, the outside corner of my left eye began to burn, I thought "shoot, sunscreen in the eye." Then I remembered that I purposely avoided my forehead when applying sunscreen. I realized that my head was so drenched in salt-saturated sweat that it was dripping in my eye and causing a terrible burning sensation...hooray!

My climbing pace is very sluggish (heavy bike, three wheels) so Crystal went ahead and waited for me at the top of the hill. We formed our two person Peleton and headed down the big descent (12 miles to go). During this descent on State Highway 50 we hit speeds over 30 mph while riding the breaks. The road had just been re-finished which made those speeds very enjoyable.

There were rolling hills for the last 5 miles then we finally reached the finish line. We were just about the last ones to finish, but they were not giving out awards for fast times and I think we had just as much fun as everyone else...mission accomplished!

Special thanks to Lyle and Joyce Miller for providing a roof over our heads the night before the ride.