Touring Technicals

Here’s the place to visit to find out about the engineering and technical elements of InnerTuba. I’ve set the goal of writing in some detail about the engineering design elements of using a recumbent trike, towing a trailer.

Topics covered will include the Trike, the Trailer, the proposed renewable energy systems and all the gadgets and kit required to keep InnerTuba on the road in all conditions…..

After a night camping out in the Scottish Highlands, late April 2016.
After a night camping out in the Scottish Highlands, late April 2016.

To kick off, here’s a just a few simple introductory words around why a Recumbent Trike is the vehicle of choice for InnerTuba….

It still amazes me,  even after 16 years of this kind of touring, that I  can pull all that I carry across an entire country.  The laiden trailer alone weighs in at more than 70kg.  This is the thing – I’m not, and don’t claim to be a super fit athlete.  No, what makes this kind of travel possible for someone like me is, of course, a body that works well enough, in combination with  the correct application of a wide range of technologies.

Trikes work better than bikes for pulling big heavy trailers…. here’s why:

With 3 wheels on the ground, it’s very stable – you would have to try hard to fall off it !  Maintaining  balance is not an issue.  In turn, I don’t need to maintain a minimum speed to keep upright.

Because I can ride very slowly indeed without wobbling about (and falling off), I can pull a trailer, up hills, without getting off and pushing. I just ride slowly – within the power output limits of  my body.

Because I – like everyone else – have a limited resource of muscle strength to draw on, I can push the pedals round and round only so hard – before I run out of puff, go red, and have to stop.  (Engineers call that pushing the pedals the delivery of torque.)  To stop getting out of puff trikes can be designed with very low gears indeed – lower than that which I could use on a bike, because I wouldn’t be able to ride fast enough, and – you got it – would wobble about then fall off !

Of course, by regularly climbing  the steepest of hills, (like the ones to be found in much of Cornwall, SW England) I get stronger and fitter – but I can still rest for a minute or 4 when I need to.  Then I  can  get going again, doing a handbrake start  – just like in a car.  I couldn’t do that on a bike !

So, I’ve explained the benefits of Trike stability, and the viability of using very low gears with them.

I close for now by stating that, for InnerTuba’s brief, gearing is just one area that pushes current cycle technologies and components to the edge of what they are designed to do….

Technical challenges and their solutions  are exciting ! We can delve into them more over time,  on these  pages. I hope this introduction has whetted your appetite to return !