TrikeBldr [Bruce’s] Report

The report we have been waiting for from Bruce [Trikebldr] on his interaction with Mr. Giraldo [now making hast to Marshfield, Missouri]. You are thorough and detailed in your reporting. THANKS Bruce!

Jim (and all),

Tour of Discovery - Day 57 068 First, I just want to say that these last three days have been an adventure for me, as well as inspirational to have met Rafael. It would take too much room to tell you all the background into his life that I have learned in this short time. Besides, it will all be in his book(s) that will come from this adventure, so I don’t want to spoil it for those who buy it.

Second, I just read the discussions on BROL this morning for the first time about Rafael’s journey, and I am quite flattered, and humbled by the comments made about me, BUT, I also want to point out that this all about Mr. Giraldo’s many facetted trek across our homeland, not about me and my brief "play day" with new friends! All of this was within a Tour of Discovery - Day 57 075 150 mile radius of home, and is what I would have been doing anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me! It IS a big deal for me to have met Rafael, however! And, thanks to everyone on BROL, the Catrike forum and the TrikeDoctor forum for all the kind words! Very humbling indeed! Oh, and Sierra says I behaved very well the whole three days!

Mr. G’s destination was Ash Grove last night and we found the park where he stayed. It has a nice restroom house with shower and a large area to choose from for camping. The local cop showed us where he could pitch his tent, and left the bathrooms unlocked for him. I set up my temporary "Community Bike Repair" area and started making repairs while Rafael went to get some dinner. More on the repairs later. Then, a group of four DF’ers showed up riding from Oregon to Virginia, so the cop came back and gave us the key to a house used for groups of cyclists. It had AC, a full kitchen and even a piano! Lots of cots to sleep on and plenty of room for all the bikes and Mr. G’s trike inside. After getting Rafael all settled in Sierra and I said our sad goodbyes and headed home.

Tour of Discovery - Day 1 001 OK, now some details about the trike problems themselves. As I understand it, Rafael bought the Expedition through Josh at Atlantic. After assembling the trike, I guess Josh boxed it up for Rafael and shipped it to San Francisco, where Rafael had to reassemble it himself. Now, the reader must understand that Mr. G is a history teacher, amongst MANY other things, and quite capable with tools, but the intricacies of trikes, and their parts is new to him, so things weren’t quite right.


Tour of Discovery - Day 57 090 I found only one thing that was the wheel builder’s oversight; the cone and locknut on the drive side of the rear wheel were loose, allowing the cone to slowly tighten up on almost totally dry bearings. Hey, it made it this far, though! No damage done. The spokes were actually well tensioned and even, in spite of one breaking. More on why later. While following Mr. G Saturday into the campground, I noticed the rear wheel wobbling slightly, so it became my first focus that evening. BROKEN SPOKE! Again, more about why later! I removed the spoke and left the nipple in place, then trued up the wheel, adding 1/8 turn extra on the four spokes to either side of the "hole" to get him through the next day’s ride. I didn’t tell him, but I was nervous about all that 35lbs of gear perched so high over that injured wheel! Mr. G has a bad case of pedal steer, and with the flexibility in the Expo’s frame and rear wheel, that extra weight, mounted so high, made that rear end look like a two-bit whore struttin’ her stuff down the boulevard! I swear, that wheel was crying for me to put it out of its misery! All of the heavily loaded flexing from over 2000 miles of bad pedal steer put some serious stress on those spokes. They were very well tensioned, and even, so looseness wasn’t the problem, IMO. Just a weaker than normal spoke, but it’s now replaced, and he has five more for later?

Tour of Discovery - Day 57 084 The temp wheel repair held long enough to get him from Chanute, Kansas, to Ash Grove, Missouri. When we got to Pittsburg, Kansas on Sunday evening, the local bike shop, Tailwind Cyclists, was closed, of course! I looked inside and they are big on repairs and WHEELBUILDING! A large repair area in the front of the store, with lots of rims, hubs and tubes of SPOKES! Yaaaaay! Right? WRONG! They also are not open on Mondays! Since Mr. G needs to keep rolling, we couldn’t take the chance of waiting until Tuesday morning to find out if they had just the right size, so after a few calls, I found out that my lbs here in the Kansas City area has them. So, as Mr. G makes his way towards Ash Grove from Pittsburg, I made my way back home to pick up some (6) spokes, shower, eat and argue with the kid! Back on the road by 3pm.

A little plug here for my local bike shop, The Bike Stop, in Blue Springs, Missouri, as well as their Lee’s Summit, Missouri store. John, the owner, just handed me the spokes and said "Don’t say I never gave you anything!" They are not expensive, but still…….! Rafael and I both thank him for that generosity!

Remember, it was a full moon day, and it was like swimming upstream, dragging an anchor, but I won’t go into the details of all that! Suffice it to say that a towel-head gas station attendant tried to have my car towed out of his lane when I locked my keys in the car (with Sierra still in the car, and the windows down about 2"). I asked him for a coat hanger, but all he kept saying was "Call the police.” I called AAA, but he called a tow service next door and the tow truck was backing up to my car at the same time the AAA guy showed up and a cop! The tow truck was sent away, my door was unlocked and the towel-head was read the riot act for his actions.

OK, I finally arrived at Ash Grove, found Rafael, and we found the park where he spent the night as described above.

Tour of Discovery - Day 57 046 Mr. G’s pedal steer is also a major factor in his exceptionally high front tire wear. With every pedal stroke, he is causing a tiny bit of scrub from the tires to keep the trike going somewhat in a straight line. Last night I found the right headset loose, as well as the right tie-rod end loose! Both will contribute to variable toe-in settings, as well as handling issues. I set the tension on is headset and checked the toe. I was just slightly toed out, so I set it at about 1/32" toe in IN THE STAND! This will be about 1/16" when he, at about 185lbs of muscle, sits down in it. I showed him why the tie rod probably came loose so he would know how to set the rod ends parallel the next time. I’m hoping that the loose headset, loose tie rod end and his pedal steer are the cause of serious tire wear. I fixed the first two, but can’t do anything about the rider! I tried!

Tour of Discovery - Day 57 089 About the brakes! In Chanute on Saturday night, I spun each front wheel, or at least tried. Less than a half turn after spinning hard! The brakes were still hot after his day’s ride, too! The right rotor was rubbing the caliper body slightly on the fixed pad side! Oh, baby! Really bad alignment! The pads were worn very crooked, too! This was the replacement set after his trip down the side of the Rockies. It was getting late, so I reset the caliper as best I could for now to get them working freely again.

In Ash Grove on Monday evening, I took the calipers off the trike and put some new pads in. I also found that the special cup/ball washers that allow proper alignment of the caliper were put on NOT FACING EACH OTHER for proper function! With new pads and washers put on the right way, I did an alignment and set the gaps. Wallah! Like-new brakes! Don’t ask who put the washers on that way! He’s a really nice guy! Just not a trike mechanic!

Again, on Saturday evening, I was checking the driveline and found the rear derailleur bent in two ways; the cage has a bow in it, and the cage was not parallel with the wheel. Can’t fix the bow, but did straighten it with the wheel. The bow doesn’t seem to cause any problem, though.

The front derailleur was stopping hard against the derailleur post with the small ring set screw back out all the way, and it STILL wouldn’t drop onto the small ring unless you did a banzai shift from the largest ring! Then, you had to pray that it would stop on the small ring! I had to rotate the derailleur slightly to get the cage to push the chain just a little farther! Why is this happening you ask? Because the derailleur post isn’t perpendicular to the bottom bracket shell, and it leans towards the chain rings. The derailleur can’t move far enough to push the chain onto the small ring! My ’08 Speed ALMOST has this problem, but it shifts perfectly only when the derailleur bumps the post! This is not right, and Catrike needs to pay closer attention to welding warpage and also to move the post about 1/4" more to the left of the shell before welding to assure at least some clearance of the derailleur to the post when on the small ring. Actually, Rafael’s derailleur cage is slightly bent, but in a way that helped it shift at all onto the small ring. Nuff said! Edit out what you need to if you post this!

During driveline checks, I tried the large/large sprocket combo and it bound up from a short chain. I can only assume that a boom adjustment happened without anybody checking this. Rafael is not familiar with these things, so it natural! I also think this is what bent his rear derailleur somewhere down the line as he shifted into this combination without knowing. It only took two links to get it set right.

Cranks and front wheel bearings felt good, so I just tightened up his front spokes about 1/4 turn, and then trued them. They were actually good as is, but just not quite tight enough for a trike with 20" wheels. After lubing the chain he was good to go, and Sierra and I said goodbye and headed home at about 10pm.

I don’t know exactly where he will land tonight, but he has changed his overall route considerably. I will let him fill you in on that part. I will be calling him with his projected weather prospects each morning before he rolls out. Should be cloudy, but very little light rain, if any, today, with a high of about 95.

Tour of Discovery - Day 58 079 I didn’t get to ride with him as much as I would like to have, but my focus was getting his trike back into shape and keeping him rolling on schedule, such as it is.

We had a very delightful chat with his daughter in Columbia on Sunday! She has him wrapped around her pinky! I wish I had been able to record it for you all!

When his book(s) comes out, you would be cheating yourselves to not read it! A very interesting man of the world, with an even more interesting family! He confided in me some more details of the purpose of this trip, but that will be left up to him to divulge as he sees fit. Trust me that it is bigger than is known right now! Stayed tuned, and don’t miss a single episode, folks!

Tour of Discovery - Day 57 077 Tour of Discovery - Day 58 016 I could go on and on about meeting Mike and his wife, Kathy, and about Mark, and about many other aspects of the trip, but my focus was on repairs, and I just wanted to answer all the questions about what was found on his trike. He will have to tell the rest.

Now I must go unload a car, clean up tools and camp gear, and me, and spend some time with Sierra!


Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

2 thoughts on “TrikeBldr [Bruce’s] Report”

    1. Josh, my hat’s off to you, buddy, for setting him up with a great trike to begin with. It is the first Catrike that I’ve run into that had wheels that were properly tightened from the start. The broken spoke is just a bad spoke.
      He did tell me that he was rushed with the reassymbly in San Francisco just before he started out, so the problems encountered were just the results of an inexperienced owner/mechanic. We spent a little time for him to see how things should be for the future.
      Also, Your support of him with a new set of tires justshows the level of support you give your customers. I was proud to join the support team for him!
      I am emailing you some more about his trike for when he gets home!


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