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
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!
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 08:29 AM
We are delighted to be the winners of ‘Best International Business’ and ‘Winner of Winners’ at the Cornwall Business Awards.
We were competing against 42 finalists in 14 categories, and hoped that the judges would recognise our ‘niche’ product amongst the other businesses.
For the category of ‘Best International Business’ the judges were looking for companies with significant export sales, and success in accessing overseas markets. We impressed the judges with our world-wide success, especially in countries where there are domestic trike manufacturers. The judges also recognised the important role of design innovation that goes into the ICE range.
We then went on to win the coveted ‘Winner of Winners’ award for the most outstanding business of all 14 category winners.
‘This is great recognition for the team at ICE’ said Chris Parker, director. ‘The judges rightly recognised that our success is due to excellent customer service and high-performance trikes, but we also benefit from a loyal following of ICE enthusiasts. I’d like to thank all of our dealers and ICE owners for spreading the word and helping to make ICE a global success.’
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 08:40 AM
Over the last four days we’ve had great fun unveiling a new option for our ICE Adventure and ICE Sprint trikes – an electric assist motor. The launch was part of an e-bike show in the world-renowned botanical gardens of the Eden Project, England.
Riding an electric-assist ICE trike is like being granted super-powers, making cycling effortless, you just turn the pedals and fly! With minimal effort you can glide up hills and accelerate with ease.
We have been researching electric assist options for a long time, retrofitting them to our trikes and pushing the technology to its limits around our local hilly terrain. We finally settled on the SunStar system because it is reliable, simple to use, lightweight and very effective.
The SunStar system can be fitted to the ICE Adventure and ICE Sprint trikes. A battery pack, positioned behind the seat, powers a motor fitted to the cranks. The system monitors your efforts as you pedal and gives assistance when you need it.
We took an ICE Adventure and ICE Sprint trike, both retrofitted with the SunStar system, to the Eden Project for their e-bike show. The test track took a beautiful loop through the gardens with the lunar-esque Biomes bulging over us like giant glassy mushrooms. Visitors were queuing up to test the trikes and came back grinning from ear to ear!
We were delighted with the feedback, especially from those who rediscovered the joy of cycling. Many riders had never even sat on a trike before, but within a single lap of the test track were confidently cruising and brimming with enthusiasm.
The SunStar electric assist is an elegant new option for ICE trikes, giving riders a boost to cycle easier, faster and further…and maximise their ‘recumbent grin’!
We are only able to supply the SunStar system in the UK, fitted to new ICE trikes or as a factory retrofit. Please call or email us for more information firstname.lastname@example.org