Friday, April 24, 2009

Talk to Hugh

Show me a man or woman who doesn't dream about tooling around on a trike and I'll show you a truly dull individual with no imagination. Admit it: we all dream of piloting our own electric green or fire engine red trike around the countryside. The problem is rationalizing the bloody COST, which is...gulp..MORE than you think! Anyway, it's only a matter of time. One day you will break down and get a trike. And then it will be time to talk to Hugh Kern, Chico California's sole trike dealer. Come to think of it Hugh's "territory" extends for hundreds of miles, to include Arcata, where I live, and perhaps Chicago and parts of Manitoba, for all I know. You just don't see a lot of trike dealers in your average town these days.

Hugh claims his customers "are the nicest people in the world." Hugh himself would rank pretty high on the nice-o-meter. When we called him from downtown Chico to get directions to his shop, he materialized twenty feet from our car. Seriously. You need REALLY good karma to bring that off. Here he is with his kids and his trikes.

Perregrine Cycle Works, the nerve center

The Greenspeed Anura, which I rode and enjoyed but then I tried...

The Hase Kettweisel. This felt about as glued to the road and dialed in as a delta trike can get. Great engineering.

You've heard of rolhoff transmissions that make derailleurs obsolete? Here's what one would look like on your Kettweisel Lepus, if you broke down and got one. You shift with your foot at the light from a dead stop.

Here's the thing about trikes: there are no balance issues, no weirdness of any kind and no learning curve. You just get on and a minute later you're tooling down the street with this goofy smile on your face. You have become your inner three year old. But don't take my word for it. Talk to Hugh.

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