Catrike Expedition / by Erin Wade

New Arrival

We have a new arrival within our cycling stable - a new (2019) Catrike Expedition in Atomic Orange!

This was an addition I’d been considering for quite some time. I very much love the Pocket - have from the day I got it - but I’ve had my mental eye on an Expedition for a while. In addition, a little while ago MLW mentioned that she might be interested in riding a trike as well, which put my efforts into high gear.

Mostly I like to buy my machines used, but after spending several months combing through classifieds on Facebook and Craigslist I came to find that A) people who have Expeditions must really like them, because they don’t come up for sale very often; and 2) When they do, they were always at least several hundred miles away. As can be said for all of us, my free time is limited, and spending a day of it on travel - especially with the possibility that the thing you’ve come to see might not be all that was described - was not an attractive proposition. I was extremely fortunate back when I bought the Pocket two years ago because it was only an hour away and, though it was five years old, it had virtually never been ridden - it still had the little nubs on the tires.

So ultimately, after considering several options, I went with Utah Trikes. This let me pick the options I was looking for, including the color, and get it shipped to my door, and they offer a very attractive financing option. I’d actually been to their site multiple times during my search, and configured the trike more than once without pulling the trigger as I was thinking things thru. Once I did finally order it I found folks from UT very helpful. I took measurements of my positioning from the Pocket as they suggested, and sent along pictures of what I’d measured to make sure I’d done it correctly.

Turns out that was a good idea, since I did it wrong the first time around... but it all worked out. And, of course, once it was ordered, there was the waiting.

Einstein has taught us that time is relative, and while I’m certainly no theoretical physicist I’m pretty sure he was talking about the effect that occurs after one has made a decision to go ahead and order something. Over the days and weeks while one is mulling something over time moves forward at a perfectly normal pace, just minding its own business. But once one has actually made the decision time dilates down into a focused, incredibly slow moving stream such that one might feel they have approached the event horizon of a black hole...

Yeah - I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant by it.

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It seems that the folks at UT also have an understanding of this effect. Once my trike was assembled they set up a webpage for it and sent me a link so that I could see it! This was unexpected and very cool.

That interminable, tortuous, painful length of time between ordering and arriving at my door? One week. I did order a color that was in stock, which made things go a little faster, but I think all-in-all that’s a really good turnaround.

And, when I say "shipped to my door" I’m only being slightly metaphorical:

On the truck

The driver for XPO Logistics who was, frankly, just delightful, got it off of the truck for me and once it was down said "should we look inside?" I think he may have been nearly as excited as I was, and he did say he thought it was a pretty thing once we popped the top. At it was:

It’s not even Boxing Day

Opening things a little at a time

I was a little surprised that the box was not filled with packing material - honestly, that’s what I’d expected. Instead there seems to be rather clever placement of additional cardboard buffers and holding sections within the main box to serve that purpose.

The rest of the process the first day was really just getting it out, looking it over, and allowing for it’s inspection by the other members of the household.

Rosie approves

And I also wanted to get a look at it side-by-side with the Pocket to allow for some comparison.

Side by side

Siblings or cousins?

The Expedition is different from the Pocket, of course. It’s bigger in all directions and has larger wheels all around (26" rear and 20" front vs the 2012 Pocket’s 20" rear and 16" front). It’s got a greater degree of angle to the seat - that is, its more laid back or recumbent than the Pocket (37° vs 41° for the Pocket). It also has bar end shifters while my Pocket has grip twist shifters.

While I love the Pocket, two years of experience has provided the opportunity to consider a couple of things that I wanted to be different with this new machine. As such, the configuration I arrived at was mostly stock, but with a handful of extras, primarily:

  • A full fender set
  • The Utah Trikes rear cargo rack
  • A set of pannier bags (Axiom Seymour Oceanwave P25’s)
  • A right-side mirror with mount

And, while I use the TerraTrike heel slings supplemented with Velcro cross straps on the Pocket, I decided this would be an opportunity to give clipless pedals a try (a thing I’ve truly never done before), so I’ve ordered a set of Shimano cycling sandals that I’ll be trying out.

Because the Expedition arrived in the middle of the work week I’ve been stealing snippets of time after work to get things set up. Mostly this involves things like getting the mirrors and head rest positioned and sorting out where to mount my other accessories, and getting the pannier bags placed and loaded up. I also had to spend a little time sorting out how the fender is mounted (there was a bit of tire rub as it was originally set up). I also had to put the SPD clips on the sandals and figure out how that system works.

Because of all of that, even tho it arrived on Tuesday, I didn’t get it out for a ride until Saturday (yesterday) evening. As you might expect - I liked it a lot (there was little to no chance of any other outcome, really). But there are clear differences in the experience between this machine and the Pocket. We’ll talk about those here, after get a little more experience with my new baby.

Time to get ready to ride...