Okay, I’m sitting here in December with the sun shining and wishing I could go for a ride. I put the bike away yesterday, taking all the batteries, lights and electronics off and bringing them indoors, and covered it up with a tarp.
I did several rides of length – overnighters – last summer. The trip to Angola for Memorial Day, the trip to the Rochester Hamfest and the Erie Canal tour. But after that, I sort of lost my steam and didn’t get out again all summer. Maybe it was the heat, the rain, other things going on, or just a succession of excuses, but once immobile, I tended to stay immobile. Inertia set in.

But I’ve learned a lot. I loaded the bike to the max. I have to lighten it up some. I need to cut back on the plywood in the trailer that mounts the solar electric system. I’d like to replace the entire sheet under the solar panel with an aluminum frame.

I also want to get the 26″ wheel upgrade for the Terratrike. I broke a couple spokes on the way back from Medina after the canal tour. There is a lot of weight on the back wheel of the trike and I think a larger wheel will stand up to it better. It will also keep the derailleur cage higher off the ground and level the trailer out some more.

I’m also considering some more normal-sized panniers. The Arkels are great and are designed for a recumbent, but being so large, the temptation to fill them is overwhelming. They also completely cover the back of the bike.

The APRS experiment was a bust. I found out it’s not worth the effort and didn’t work so well. APRS coverage was spotty and my tracks looked like big zig-zags, not nice paths, when they showed up at all. I really had no interest in using it for messaging, at least not on the little Kenwood screen. A permanent antenna would have helped but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. I sold the expensive THD72A and will pick up a cheap dual-band Wouxun if I feel the need for a voice-only radio. The solar power will be available for charging lights, computer, cell-phone, and HF QRP rigs when traveling. GPS tracking can be done just as well with a cell-phone app or one of those little trackers you can buy.

The recumbent experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The whole riding experience is so much better when not hunched over handlebars. I’ve been considering getting a 2-wheel recumbent for fun riding, but haven’t decided what type yet. I’ll probably have to do some more test rides.

So, the idea of a grand cross-country tour is still there, but I’m uncertain when it will happen. Most likely, I’ll do more shorter tours and build to the longer stuff. Personal life is still competing for my time as well. My other son is on a transplant waiting list now and I may need to be available for him. I’d still like to do a long-distance tour sometime before I’m too old. Maybe I should ride south where it’s warmer.

At least skiing has started locally…