By Roz Rogoff
On the TrailUploaded: Oct 18, 2013
In my Trek to Danville blog I wrote about buying a Worksman Port-o-Trike at the California Peddler in Danville. When I got it home I rode it around the street for about half-an-hour and then put it in the garage with the intention of riding it again someday. Well someday finally happened six months later on October 2, 2013.
I kept thinking that I really should get some use out of it and I needed to learn how to ride it better. Besides it was Wednesday and my 20 play Super Lotto ticket expired on Saturday and I needed to buy a new one. I usually bought my Lotto tickets at JV Liquors on the corner of Montevideo and Alcosta. That seemed close enough for my first test ride. It turned out to be not quite as close as I thought.
I live near the bottom of Mangos Drive, about half a block south of the bike bridge over South San Ramon Creek to the back of Cal High. The Iron Horse Trail runs right through there from Pine Valley to Montevideo. I tried to ride the trike up to the bridge, but Mangos is shaped like a hill with the high point in the middle of the street and slopes down to the gutters. The slope of the street made it difficult to keep the trike from tilting; so I walked it up to the bridge and across it to the Iron Horse Trail.
The Iron Horse Trail is nice and smooth and flat and wide. It was just the right thing for me to practice riding. It took a little practice to get the feel for how to peddle and steer.
The IHT going north is up hill and it took a lot of effort for me just to reach Montevideo Drive. Then it was another ½ mile at least on Montevideo to the corner of Alcosta and the liquor store. My ride to JV Liquors took about an hour.
I rode back home directly down Mangos Drive, which is a fairly steep hill from the top, but even on Mangos I needed to pedal. I thought I must be really out of shape. It turned out I wasn't the only thing out of shape on that trike. The tires were flat. No wonder it took so much effort to get to Montevideo.
I called Worksman Bikes in New York to ask if I was too heavy for the bike. The maximum weight listed on their website is 225 lbs. I am now closer to 230 with my biking shoes and helmet. Worksman's Customer Support person said the bike would hold my weight but I should use the rear coaster brake for stopping. I had been using only the front brake.
Last weekend my neighbor came over to do some odd jobs for me around the house. I asked him to check the tires on the trike. The trike came with a standing tire pump with a gauge. My neighbor pumped the tires up to 45 lbs. They were about ½ that when I was riding it.
I made a Doctor's appointment for October 17 at 2:30 pm. I told the receptionist I would ride my trike there. My Doctor's office is in the building next to the gas station at the corner of Market Place and Bollinger Canyon Road. The IHT runs directly behind the building.
I also needed to ship a package to my Sister-in-law in Maine from the UPS store across the street from my Doctor's building. The trike has a big wire basket between the rear wheels which is plenty big enough to hold the package.
I printed out a Google Map of the bike path from my house to my Doctor's office building. Google calculated it as 1.7 miles, with a disclaimer that biking directions are in Beta and not necessarily accurate. Google estimated it would take 11 minutes to bike there. I knew I could not get there in 11 minutes, but I hoped I could make it in ½ an hour.
I left my house about twenty to two and reached the trail at 1:45 pm. The ride was much easier with the tires pumped up. It's still up an incline and there was a cross wind, but I made it to Montevideo in 15 minutes.
As I rode north the cross wind became more like a head wind and the trail was full of cracks and rough spots that are in serious need of repair. The Iron Horse Trail is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system. I may contact East Bay Regional Parks to find out when they plan to repair that section of the trail. The rainy season is due to start soon, which will only make that stretch of trail much worse.
I reached the parking lot behind my Doctor's building with 15 minutes to spare. I went to the appointment wearing my helmet, biking gloves and shoes. After the appointment I walked the trike across the street and rode it to the UPS store. Ground delivery to Maine cost $15.15, but I only had $15 on me. The woman at the store added the 15 cents. I told her I would get some cash and bring back the 15 cents.
After I left the UPS Store I rode through the alley with the Vietnamese Pho Restaurant and down to the Nob Hill Market to pick up some Bisquick and cooking oil. I should have gone back to the UPS store with the 15 cents I owed and taken the Iron Horse Trail to ride home, but I thought it would be quicker going down Alcosta. It was closer to Nob Hill so I rode up to Alcosta.
That was a mistake. Alcosta is all downhill, which should have made the ride easier but it was actually scarier. There was a lot of traffic and I was afraid to ride in the bike lane so I rode on the sidewalk, which shifted between rows of hedges on one side or the other. It wasn't very comfortable either. I followed the Worksman Customer Service recommendation and used the coaster brake all the way home.
In the future I shall stay on the Iron Horse Trail to go to and from the Market Place when I decide to ride there again. I still owe the clerk at the UPS store 15 cents. I'll drive back later today to repay it. I will ride my trike there again but not quite so soon.