About

I’m a recently retired software engineer living in Santa Barbara with my wife Patty. New to the family is Lulu, a very crazy Golden Retriever. Our son, Dave, has left the nest and is living with his longboarding buddies.

DaveLeathers

Dave was recently featured in the documentary, Wheels over Paradise. Check it out here.

Not to be confused with LaidBackBikeReport...

In 2008, when I put up this blog, I chose the “laidback” naming without giving it a lot of thought. Since then an excellent site / video channel, called LaidBackBikeReport, has emerged. I am not affiliated with LaidBackBikeReport, but I am a fan. Please visit that excellent site and enjoy the content.

Michael B.

   

29 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, Michael:
    Craig Johnsen here – fellow with the Quest in Los Osos – Just wanted to relay my phone in case you do decide to head up this way: 760-835-4204.

    BTW, our last 2 goldens – both females – each lived to be 16 yrs. old. Lovely dogs.

    Cheers,

    Craig

    • Hi Craig,

      Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I don’t check my site very often. Thanks for your number. I hope my golden, Lucky Boy lives that long. I hate the fact that dogs live such short lives.

      Are you coming to Sacramento for the trike ride that Wayne’s setting up? I’ll be there.

      thanks,
      Michael B.

  2. Hi Michael: Enjoy your site…Just bought a used Trice “S” ICE after my SUN Tadpole was stolen in Santa Monica…it’s like upgrading from a Geo Metro to a Jaquar! If your ever in SM and want to ride with the SMCC just let me know! Mark

    • The Trice S is a great trike. I’ve had 2 of them. It’s a great platform to use to build a very racy trike. See my PseudoMonster page.

      Thanks for the invitation. I don’t make it down to LA very often. If you’re ever up in Santa Barbara with your trike, drop me a line.

  3. Michael:

    Thanks again for the great experience in purchasing your Catrike 700. Being new to recumbents, I greatly appreciate your personal investment in these bikes and look reward to benefitting from your knowledge and experience. I look forward to seeing you on a ride someday…

    Daniel

  4. Hi Michael, Thank you for sharing what you have on your website. I’m hoping you can help me with some DF shock advice. I purchased an early vintage DF last December and have been having a great time driving it around. I recently did a Florida to Texas trip and encountered the dreaded rumble strips. Barely avoided crashing more than once. I have the old DT Swiss shock and was hoping you might remember how you adjusted Jonathon’s to better handle the rumble strips. Getting ready to pedal Florida to Colorado and hoping to be a bit more stable if I have to cross a rumble strip again.

    • Hi Dave,

      I seem to be the only one that prefers the DT Swiss shock over the new simple strut. If the following info doesn’t help, I’d suggest buying the newer simple strut from ICB and trying that out.

      The air pressure is set to 15 psi. (Yours may be different for your weight.) To see how to set the “sag” air pressure, take a look at this video. The pressure on the DF is quite a bit lower than you’d see on a mountain bike, I assume due to differences in geometry. Be careful when pumping the air into the shock. The air valve stem is made of very thin aluminum and is easily snapped off. I have the rebound damping setting at the lowest setting. I arrived at that setting by just trial and error. Finally, I zip tied the lock out lever so that it wouldn’t accidentally flip to full lock out. That actually happened to me on one ride.

      • I recently re-did the sag test with my son observing the actual sag. It turns out that zero psi works for me at 175 lbs.

  5. Hi, wondering if you are still looking for a glr. I have one that was used in the 4 man RAAM relay. It also has a coroplast full fairing…

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for thinking of me. However, I’m not looking for a GLR any more. After many years of keeping my eye out for a GLR, I just bought one from a man in Portland. It arrived this week. I’ll be posting photos as soon as I get it set up to my liking. I would like to see photos of your fairing if you can post a link.

    • I haven’t done any self supported touring so I’m probably not the right guy to ask. I guess it depends on a lot of variables:
      – how much stuff do you want to carry?
      – how much climbing will you do?
      – are there rough roads requiring extra ground clearance?
      – what’s your budget?
      – is speed important?

      Of the 3 brands that I’ve owned, I’d eliminate the Milan. It’s very difficult to work on and has very limited maneuverability. The DF is slightly faster and has more storage space than the WAW, but the WAW is more maneuverable and easier to work on – a great all-around velomobile. Either would work. Other brands, that I haven’t owned, worth considering are Quatrovelo, Quest, Strada, Alleweder.

      • Thanks for the quick reply!
        i usually carry abot 50 lbs of gear.
        i try to avoid hills but not always is possible
        once on a while there will be some bad roads especially in less developed countries
        no budget constrains
        efficiency and comfort is more important than raw speed.

        please share your experience

  6. Michael:

    Just sold my FAW+. Would like to purchase a WAW next. Would appreciate you letting me know if one might become available. Thank you.

    • Leave me your contact info. If I hear of one, I’ll let you know. I’m not planning on selling mine at this point, but that can change.

  7. Hi Michael
    Fantastic website and a true testament to your love of all things recumbent and your fastidiousness in rebuilding/enhancing them and sharing your vast knowledge.
    You may remember I bought your SLR from the guy who sold you the Trice Meteor back in 2012.
    Well, I’ve just acquired a GS GLR in pretty good shape and have studied your GLR story for inspiration and direction of where to go with mine. It came with 349/406 wheels std 170mm Ultegra 53/39/30 triple, 11/32 rear cassette, XT rear mech and a SRAM 3 speed rear hub – way too many gears in my opinion. Hope disks up front and in good shape.
    Not too much history beyond it originally being an Arizona trike until a couple of years ago when it moved to DC to be sold and little used, gathering dust. All bearings, kingpins joins appear tight (in a good way – no slack).
    As I did with the SLR the plan is to drop a 451 wheel in the back to give a tad more ground clearance and lessen the seat decline, get rid of the nasty yellow seat mesh and go for either: blue, navy blue or black. Obviously I’ll ditch the SRAM 3sp hub. For front rings I was interested to see the set-up you chose 62/42/24 – that’s one heck of a big jump between each ring – how well does the 105 FD handle it? Front rims are 36h radial spoked on the outside and 3x on the inside – is that common for front trike wheels? My X5 is cross-laced on both inner and outer as was the SLR. I also noticed that the rear wheel was laced offset to the centerline of the trike frame – I realized that gave an equal spoke angle drive to non-drive side and therefor a stronger wheel to resist sideways distortion when cornering enthusiastically! However on closer inspection of the trike frame I see that GS brazed the rear mudguard fittings off center by the same amount also – hmmm – GS really planned for an offset rear wheel.
    I’m looking forward to giving it a good few rides before I settle down to changing out parts.

    Stay safe out there.

    Geoff

    • I really wish that I could have gotten comfortable on the GLR. I think that it was a great trike. I had forgotten about that chainring set up. I’m sure that I got it to shift OK, but very slowly. You end up sort of choosing a chain ring and sticking with it – seldom shifting. With that wide range in gearing, you end up with a long chain. So when you’re down in granny, you can probably only use the largest 1 or 2 gears on the cassette. I do recall seeing Greenspeed using mixed radial and cross spoked wheels in the past. I don’t see any problem with that. As for rear wheel offset… I went back and forth on that. I never used rear fenders so I didn’t have to be concerned with aligning with the fender mount. You wouldn’t be wrong to go with Greenspeed’s intended rear wheel offset.

      • Ah, the joys of the Left Coast – naked wheels. I’ll look at a closer ratio front ring set up given that I live in the foothills in Western NC and regularly have to swap front cogs (my drive has 15+ degrees of climb!). I was concerned with the simplicity of the seat profile as compared to the SLR – my initial thought was to create shallow cushions for lumbar support and shoulder to neck to simulate the SLR – a couple of long rides will tell me a lot. I hope I can get comfortable! Stay safe out there.

  8. Hi, I own a rigid 2005 ICE S (inside the “Red Zepellin”, Leew’s stunning Coroplast velomobile still going strong since 2008) and an unfaired 2006 ICE S (with the elastomer rear suspension) which I’ve recently begun riding again, just for fun (I normally ride a conventional Specialized Roubaix diamond frame road bike). Many years ago I swopped out every nut and bolt I could find for aluminium and titanium ones (except the heavy axles) and replaced the groupset to knock some weight off but other than that it’s all original. I was wondering if you actually notice any real world performance improvement between the original ICE S and your beautiful “Trice Special”? I’ve been wondering about a carbon seat and maybe a large rear wheel but (with many years’ recumbent experience) I have come to not expect too much from performance upgrades although I still like an excuse to buy more toys and tinker… I ride short, fairly high effort trips on poor chipseal tarmac on flattish, gently rolling countryside (with one or two short, sharp climbs of only a minute or two’s duration) and my biggest recent discovery has been lower tyre pressures seem to improve how well the trike rolls and consequently my speeds have gone up (plus the comfort and handling improve massively). That’s with Kojak 406s which i think are pretty flexible, my upright bicycle experience suggests that this works brilliantly with a light, flexible tyre but not so much with my stiffer winter tyres. Love the website, I enjoy seeing other folk’s toys too!

    • Hi Guy. I actually seldom ride my trikes any more. I tend to ride velomobiles about 90% of the time. I never rode the original ICE S before I converted it to the blue Trice Special so I can’t give you any information on performance improvements. I just happen to really find the VTX seat to be very comfortable and light. I also like the looks of a long, narrow and low trike. The Trice Special ticks those boxes as does the Trice Monster.

      • Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I admit I haven’t ridden the unfaired trike for 2 or 3 years until the last month or two. We had a long patch of unusually dry and sunny weather (this is the UK!) but with annoying headwinds on the way home for my usual cycle route. As the winds were keeping my speed down anyway I thought I’d dig the ICE S out and it turned out I was having a lot of fun again. I use the velomobile trike in winter mostly when I’m riding at night on unlit and ungritted icy roads as I’d rather do anything than ride indoors on a trainer! Trikes are a giggle on black ice, all opposite lock and big smiles whereas it’s an instant broken wrist or pelvis on my upright traditional racing bikes. Even as a Coroplast velomobile with a trike inside it’s pretty fast and much faster than the unfaired trike at half the weight. It’s also snug and warm. I’m seriously considering a proper, grown-up velomobile now they make the small and light ones as I’ll never be doing huge cargo-carrying distances. I like the handling of the ICE trikes and I’m not so keen on tiller steering in the above situations so I think I’ll wait until one of the DF derivatives comes with “panzer” steering. Suspension would be a huge plus as on our rough, potholed chipseal country roads the velomobile is really too fast for no suspension and it’s quite a violent ride, especially at night when you can’t anticipate the road surface far enough ahead even with excellent headlights. I haven’t tried lowering tyre pressures on the velomobile but I will this winter. At 149lbs I’m around 43PSI rear and 53PSI front on the ICE S now and averaging over 18mph on very short trips now my “recumbent legs” are coming back after a few weeks riding which must be maybe 1 or 2 mph more than I would expect on the trike at 60 to 80 PSI. If nothing else it’s significantly more enjoyable without the constant vibration.

        I might look into the VTX carbon seat alone as it now has the wings for better (human) body control in corners. At the moment I lean and hook a shoulder blade on the edge of the narrow ICE S seat to stay in place. I find it perfectly comfortable though and it has the uprated, vented cushion rather than the solid pad. Everything still looks like new but I’ve always wanted to change the colour so it was great to see your special where the rear boom matches the cruciform. Thanks again for putting up so many photos and info.

  9. Hi Michael,
    I noted in your GLR ‘specification’ you indicated that you were going to experiment with zip ties for the mesh seat and at least a couple of the photos show zip ties on (at least) the upper grommets. Did you draw any conclusions? I’m going to replace the seat mesh on my GLR and was considering the zip tie idea just in the lumbar region (since the seat doesn’t have the lumbar curve of later GS mesh frames) also, maybe, adding pool noodles to those lumbar zip ties to increase the lumbar support if zip ties alone don’t make enough difference. Thoughts? You had mentioned that you never did get comfortable on your GLR – can you elaborate please.
    As always I appreciate your wisdom.

    Best, Geoff

    • I did experiment with the zip ties to allow me to adjust the tension on each individual hole. It didn’t solve my problem. Your pool noodle idea would be worth a try. I would always end up with a sore lower back due to lack of support. I tried a lot of things but probably the one that sort of worked was stuffing some foam between the layers of the seat mesh in the lumbar area. Along with that, I split the shock cord into 3 separate pieces – one piece for the top holes, the second for the middle (lumbar) holes and the third for the last holes. I think I ended up with a very tight lumbar shock cord and the other two were very loose.

      I was disappointed to not be able to get the GLR to work for me since I had wanted one for so long. To me, the perfect Greenspeed would be a GLR with the later lumbar support shaped seat rails. In hindsight, I probably should have made that modification instead of selling it.

    • Hmmm… I don’t recall a conversation about a toe-in alignment tool. I have a few that I use for various trikes and velomobiles. I don’t have 1 tool that works for them all.

  10. Evening Michael, really appreciate your website and incredible details that you post. I have a DFXL on order and I am interested in a few things that you have done. The magnetic mounted windscreen is something I can handle. Some of the others however are a little beyond my current skillset. Do you have a pricelist for the tail extension and tool less ducted hood cover? Have you considered making your own version of the wheel pants? With Euro exchange, international shipping and the tariff, it becomes prohibitively expensive for me. I am interested in ultra distance race events and know little advantages add up over time and miles. Lastly, what was your final decision on the sunshade, aerodynamically a parachute or a worthwhile add on?

    Thanks again for you time and efforts.

    • Thanks for checking out my site. Unfortunately, I don’t sell any of my custom pieces. The quality is good enough for my own use but not to sell. You’d be disappointed. Also, most of my parts are based on molds that I’ve made of IntercityBike’s original parts. I wouldn’t feel right about taking money for their designs. By the way, I’ve come up with a simpler implementation of a screwless access cover using magnets. I’ll be posting some info on that here soon.

      I haven’t considered making my own wheel pants. I don’t think that I could improve on those at all. I never did any real roll down tests on the small sun cap. I doubt that it improves airflow but I could be wrong. My main goal for the part was to provide protection from the sun. It was OK, but I wanted more shade than it provided. This lead to my making the Shade Cap. This is just a copy of my race hood, but with a larger visor area and side cutouts. This provides plenty of shade and enough ventilation that I can use it in temperatures as high as the 70’s.

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