Isn’t she beautiful?
To me, all vehicles are feminine (i.e. la bicicleta amarilla), like ships. I tend to personify them in other ways–naming cars, boats, and even bicycles. [Since “tricycle” is actually a masculine noun in Spanish and French, I inexplicably adopt the feminine German (e.g. die gelbe dreirad).] So, without further ado, I am proud to introduce Nellie.
I purchased Nellie on Friday, April 15, 2016, thus her birthday is established. Because Mike and I wanted to ride around Nashville during the TEDx weekend, he picked her up despite having to return her at some point to attach the trunk.
It was a beautiful weekend and
bringing her into Nashville made Nellie‘s inaugural ride that much more memorable! We parked in Cumberland Park
for free and rode to TPAC where parking is $12 per day. The ride was fantastic. I immediately felt a lot of peace in my car-free lifestyle and in investing in what some people may consider a toy. We began with a John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge crossing and then climbed the bank of the Cumberland River toward the capitol. You can’t beat bike parking: we hitched the bikes at TPAC’s front door.
After the event, we hit several sites just because we could:
- We swung beneath an old Magnolia Tree at Centennial Park;
- We lost ourselves for a moment among the stacks at Bookman Bookwoman and then walked around Hillsboro Village;
- At dusk, we tested her lights and cruised the neon of Printer’s Alley and Broadway, passing a pedal tavern along the way;
- On Saturday, we checked our local geography on the big map at Centennial Capitol Mall Park; and then
- Crossed back over the bridge in time to photobomb several pairs of prom-goers.
As I expected, the Trike drew attention wherever she went. I high- fived a cowboy (only in Nashville), received a smile and thumbs-up from a homeless man, and delighted several children for being an adult on a tricycle (or “training wheels” as one little girl at the pond in Centennial Park happily pointed out). Everyone from a bookstore patron to the officer directing Bridgestone Arena traffic was interested in the big battery.
I found a sense of profound joy in the entire experience: it felt like childhood. It is hard to feel much else when you are on the back of a yellow tricycle on a 75° day with bright blue skies and children splashing in a fountain for the first time in months. Beyond that, I was happy about how the trike performed. She is a tool
not a toy for me and everything worked as well as I had dared to hope:
- 48V front-wheel power assist is enough to take off and get me through busy intersections safely.
- We rode for several miles and it did not register a drop in battery power.
- I didn’t max out the speed or the assist-level, but I registered over 30kph (18mph).
- The lights are bright and so easy to use.
- I can sit comfortably at a stop.
- The gears are internal and automatic, so I didn’t have to think about shifting.
- I had one moment of vertigo while riding and didn’t end up on the ground. It scared me a bit, but I think I will gain confidence the more I have them without pitching over.
The trike is so ridiculously easy to ride that my softer and much-less-fit self (fitness level: slow 3-mile jog) on Nellie could fly past a 7:30-pace-marathon runner (fitness level: can’t be measured) on a mountain bike . As the person always setting the
painfully slower pace, it was marvelous to finally be able to keep up. I need to gain confidence for speed going down hills and hopping curbs, but my physical ability did not slow us down. The relative velocity inspired her name: “Woah, Nellie!”
Some items that I know I need to purchase or address:
- The grips hurt my hands enough to consider either gloves or new grips.
- The chain is squeaky. (Mike says he will take care of that with a little grease.) and the breaks could be tighter.
- I was right: having a lockable trunk is SO IMPORTANT. That feature is an absolute must-have. I had nowhere to hang a chain-lock, hold a purse, or keep anything else. Due to pocket-less women pant design, Mike ended up carrying my phone, wallet, and chain.
- The seat was not stable at first. I survived my first “wreck” as the seat pitched to the right and I ran into a curb . (Mike tightened it up for me, but we are going to add a bit of electrical tape to create a stop too. Are you getting the impression that it’s pretty fortunate I have a Mike to go along with my bike?)
- Accessories to consider: cup holder, key chain (I will have more keys to the trike than to my house and car combined), helmet (light color, ponytail capable), rain and wind gear to keep in the trike at all times, a few emergency maintenance accessories, and potentially a solar charger for my phone.
The first trip was so exciting I could fill pages, but I’d rather jump on Nellie and visit my dear friend/neighbor, Ron. Get out there and enjoy your afternoon!