Welcome to our blog!
We'll be providing lots of entertaining updates about our bikes and trikes and life here at ICE.
The ICE team
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 - 08:52 AM
Did you know that most of the ICE team come from engineering and design backgrounds? Get us talking about education and we get very passionate about the importance of giving children opportunities to design and make from an early age.
We like to encourage children to develop their engineering and design skills, so we offer summer work placements for teenagers, and support the engineering clubs of three local schools.
Last week we invited five teachers to visit ICE as part of a new education project. The event, called STEPS at Work, is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and is designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. The teachers took a tour of the factory and talked with members of the production, engineering and design teams, as well as test riding ICE trikes. It was great to make links with the teachers and explain the skills and experience we look for when taking on new recruits.
Project coordinator Helen Field said “This was a fantastic opportunity to bring local school and college teachers to visit an exciting business and get a better understanding of how science, technology, engineering and maths are used in the workplace and how it relates to the curriculum.”
The day was a great success, although once the teachers got riding the trikes we thought we’d never prise them off!
We are really pleased to support the STEPS at Work programme, and hope that our work at ICE trikes will inspire more youngsters to continue designing and making, for work or pleasure.
Monday, June 03, 2013 - 08:15 AM
I had not ridden a bike in almost 2 years, but I was enjoying every moment of my “epic” first ride of 1.7 miles on my brand-new ICE Adventure HD. The effort to climb the small hills was aided by the mountain bike type gearing, and the downhills were an absolute scream, topping out at 30 mph. Of course, anything is relatively fast when compared to my usual mode of transportation…a motorized wheelchair.
In June of 2011 I fractured the C3-4 vertebrae in my neck at our family cabin in Colorado. I was not found for 2 days, and spent a month in ICU; paralyzed below my shoulders. Thanks to the efforts of my parents, I ended up at a world-class hospital for spinal cord injury (SCI) at Craig Hospital, coincidentally also in Colorado. There I began the journey to heal, which continues today, and will do so the rest of my life. Short of cancer, I believe that SCI is one of the most devastating medical pitfalls. It is like a nuclear weapon that devastates every area of your life; physical, emotional, financial.
Prior to the injury I was an executive in the biotech industry in California, leading a fast-paced, independent lifestyle with a lot of travel and challenging assignments. I was also an avid cyclist, both road and mountain. Long road rides next to the ocean along the Pacific Coast Highway, or blasting down a fire road in the Santa Monica mountains were a great workout and stress reliever. I have never enjoyed working out indoors, much preferring to get lost in the ride and switch my mind into neutral.
My injury changed that, and I spent countless hours in physical therapy, literally re-learning how to do everything. I was very blessed that my spinal cord was not completely severed, and I slowly began to regain use of my arms and then legs. I found that I could pedal a stationary bike on my own, and began to dream of riding again. At that point I was thinking only of my diamond frame bikes, and worked on getting the strength and balance I would need. Ultimately however, my recovery began to plateau short of the point where I could ever ride my old bikes. After being reminded of a recumbent bike that was on display in the lobby of Craig, I began to research recumbents, and then trikes. I rode a demo ICE at a local dealer and was hooked; I was grinning from ear-to-ear in the parking lot.
You can look at the website and see the passion that the folks at ICE put into their work. You can ride one and feel the stable, comfortable and responsive ride; they are great trikes. But for me, the Adventure trike gave me a piece of my life back. Thanks!
- Kevin Stark
For more info on Craig Hospital and SCI, see: www.craighospital.org
Monday, June 03, 2013 - 08:00 AM
In 2000 I had been pedalling a daily 11 mile commute, summer and winter, rain or shine for well over a decade. Over this period using a succession of different bicycles I had suffered my fair share of minor bumps, injuries and close encounters with inconsiderate or myopic drivers. Finally a potentially serious fall on black ice forced me to make a complete review of my journey to work. Reluctant to give up the exercise benefits of cycling commuting I decided I needed something safer that would cope better with traffic and winter conditions along my usual route.
Back then my new Trice XL recumbent trike was a complete revelation; it proved to be no slower than my hybrid bicycle along my usual commute and had the bonus of being completely impervious to cross winds on the A470. Since 2000 the trike’s superior comfort, braking and stability along with its wide “unusual” presence on the road has empirically proved it to be a far safer mode of transport.
In the company of Chris my wife on her own XL, our trikes have carried us (with camping gear) reliably and in comfort on excursions over many thousands of miles covering the length and width of the UK and Northern Ireland. Tours abroad have included rides from Bergen in Norway north to cross the Arctic Circle, the full length on both New Zealand Islands, from the Mediterranean Coast to the English Channel across France, and in the summer of 2011, 2293 miles along the continental section of the North Sea Cycle Route. You can read about our tours and see photos by clicking here.
In 2012 our tour plans had to be abandoned due to the terminal illness of close family member leaving me looking for an alternative challenge that did not take me away from the North Wales Area. Although knowing absolutely nothing about Audaxes I elected to have a go at an event that was advertised in the local press as part of the Wales festival of Cycling. Although I knew I could cope with an extremely hilly 130 km ride, I had far less confidence about completing the route before the final cut off time. A minimum average speed of 12.5 Km/h did seem reasonable until I realised it had to include enforced delays at checkpoints and rest breaks.
On the day of the event with every surplus component stripped off the XL to save weight, I set off using the trike’s speed advantage on the downs to keep pace with other riders on conventional bicycles. As the only rider on a trike, the first flattish 20 km was relatively easy, but I soon fell behind on the first long steep climb. Thereafter I lost more time on the many big hills that followed particularly on the final pull up the Horseshoe Pass. However by using a strategy of riding almost continuously and only briefly stopping to get my brevet card stamped I did complete the ride successfully in 9 hrs 45 min.
With an average speed of only 13.3 Km/h (and no café stops), it was clear that I needed a faster and lighter trike if I was going to complete longer Audaxes with plenty of time to spare. I found my solution after a test ride at ICE’s base in Falmouth on a new Vortex. It was love at first sight, so much lighter, faster and responsive than my old trusty XL.
With some degree of optimism I decided to christen the Vortex by riding the 81 miles of punishing hill climbs in the 2012 Wild Wales Challenge.
Although very fast on the flat and extremely fast on the downs it was as I expected somewhat slower than conventional racing bikes on longer strenuous climbs. Despite regretting having an overdose of cake at the preceding feeding station I found the classic climb up Bwch Y Groes (Wales’s highest mountain pass) straightforward. I was able to crank the Vortex up steadily without stopping while passing some other cyclists pushing their machines. Many had stopped part way, only to find that the gradient too steep to start again without falling off! I finishing the event with a comfortable margin and as the only recumbent rider in the event ended up being featured in a number of locations on the Wild Wales Website!
Over the last few months my Vortex has reliably carried me to successfully complete a succession of Audax events:
1st September – Gwynedd Traverse – 200 km – 11 hrs 49 mns
16th September – Momma’s Mountain Views – 137 km – 8 hrs 15 mins
11th November – Cheshire Safari – 165 km – 9 hrs 10 mins
20th October – The Brenig Bach – 107 km– 6 hrs 10 mins
After investing in some high powered LED lights:
16th December – Winter Solstice – 200 km – 12 hrs 05 mins
24th February – Newport 200 – 201 km – 10 hrs 43 mins
In early April, in the company of two riders on conventional bicycles we completed the 170 mile Way of the Roses Coast to Coast cycle route in a leisurely three days despite unseasonably strong and cold headwinds.
I was thankful that I had not elected to use the heavier XL after dragging and carrying the Vortex along a 1 km stretch of remote mountain lane completely blocked by a succession of high snow drifts.
I regarded my entry to the ETAPE Caledonia this May with a degree of trepidation. Having never attempted a “closed road event” before, I had every confidence that I could complete the 131 Km route with nearly 2000 meters of climb, but had far less certainty about achieving a minimum 21 km/hr average speed with past Audax timings only avenging about 18 km/h including rest periods. I knew that the downhill speed of the Vortex would get me back to the finish with relative ease provided I could get beyond the “king of the Mountains” hill climb and not have my timing chip confiscated by the dreaded sweep car.
On the day over 4200 riders were due to leave Pitlochry at 2 minute intervals from 06:30 am. As rider number 5096 (and the only trike entry) I was placed almost at the back in group Z, due out at 07:20. I eventually got away at 07:30 but despite careful preparations my cycle computer stopped working within a few hundred meters from the start. Having no idea of my average speed, once out of Pitlochry, the undulating route alongside Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch seemed relatively easy going. With no oncoming traffic, no navigation issues and no drag from a safety flag, the speed of the Vortex on the flat and downhill allowed me to constantly pass other riders. Very few were overtaking me except on the longer uphill sections. It was altogether different on the long “King of the Mountains” hill climb but once over the top, the speed advantage of the Vortex on long downs got me to the finish line well ahead of my expectations raising £614.50 for Marie Curie Cancer Research.
My official time on the 81 mile route was 4 hrs 57 mins 26 seconds positioned 2317 out of the 4180 riders who finished. On the flattish I km sprint section my time was a respectable 1 min 51 seconds position 1288. On the “King of the Mountains” section it was a leisurely 13 mins 18 seconds at position 3616!
Having just completed the hilly 100 km Ffestiniog 360 and with little opportunity for an extended tour this year, it’s going to be similar events all this summer!
Not to mention a few Audax events as well.
As far as I know, on every event to date I have been the only recumbent trike rider taking part. There was a two wheel recumbent on the Newport 200 which failed to finish and I passed another on the ETAPE Caledonia, so it would be nice to have another trike for company!