Have you ever ridden a trike? Most of us rode one when we were really little, before we had enough coordination for a bicycle. My son, John, had a Big Wheel that he loved, which was just another kind of tricycle. But they also make trikes for adults. Not just the “old-person tricycles” that my dad dislikes, but cool, recumbent trikes that have all kinds of advantages on a bicycle trail. Tom always wanted one and talked about getting one frequently. Carrying a trike with us while we were in the RV full-time would have been difficult, but now we have a house next to a wonderful bike trail.
Tom had a very nice bicycle that he used for commuting into work every day. We carried it with us while we were RVing full-time because we had a two bike rack. Most of our riding, however, was on the tandem so his bicycle got little use. When we moved into the house, Tom hung his bike in the garage, knowing that he couldn’t ride it until he got it repaired. Finally, we took it in to the local Trek store. After examining it, they said they could fix it up, but it would cost about $1,000! Yikes! We figured Tom could get a new bike for close to that amount. He told the Trek store to keep the old bike (throw it out or fix it up and sell it used) and he started looking for a new bike.
Tom looked at and researched trike models with single-minded passion. He spent hours staring longingly at pictures of trikes, reading about the advantages and disadvantages of particular brands. After talking it over, we agreed that he should get a trike. There are two main advantages to the three-wheeled mode of recreation. 1. A trike is more stable than a bicycle. It is easier to get on and start riding and it doesn’t fall over or cause problems when you have to stop for a street crossing or slow down while going uphill. 2. A recumbent trike puts the rider in a “lounge-chair” position, which is more comfortable for most riders. It also exercises different muscles than an upright bike. Uprights tend to mostly exercise your legs and arms. Recumbents exercise your legs and core muscles.
Tom settled on a folding Catrike 559 which he found at Bicycle One in Gahanna, Ohio. We were pleased to be able to buy it locally because, although there are a lot of bicycle shops, there aren’t a lot of bicycle shops that carry a large selection of trikes. Bicycle One is a wonderful shop with a huge selection of bikes and trikes. Tom bought his Catrike in February while Bicycle One was still in its downtown Gahanna location. The shop was packed with bikes and trikes, and if you wanted to try one out you had to ride outside. Since then, Bicycle One has moved to a more spacious location where they have aisles wide enough for trying out the models inside.
A big advantage to the model Tom bought is that it folds and even has roller wheels. We wanted to be able to get the Catrike home after we bought it, and our only vehicle is the Prius. So our salesman, Kevin, showed Tom how to fold it, and then they lifted it into the Prius. It fit great! Tom also loves the bright green color. As soon as the weather got warm, Tom started riding and has continued riding about 15 miles every day it is warm and dry enough. He says it is much more comfortable than a bike and he “could ride all day.”
When we told Mom and Dad about the Catrike, Dad was very interested. Tom took it up to Mansfield and let Dad try it. Dad had a little problem reaching the pedals because recumbent trikes have the boom adjusted instead of having the seat height adjusted like you do on an upright. Adjusting the boom is more difficult, so each trike is individually adjusted to the height and leg length of the owner. Dad liked it so much that we decided to put down a deposit on a Terratrike Maverick, the entry level trike. Bicycle One called us when the Terratrike came in, and Mom and Dad drove down so we could go check it out.
Dad is 86 and has some stability issues. He is not a strong walker anymore and he made up for that by riding a bike. Unfortunately the stability issues meant that he was falling a lot and getting scraped up. We all worried about him from the moment he tried to straddle his bike until he got off it at his destination. The instant Dad got on the Terratrike, we could see how much he loved it. As soon as Troy, the owner of Bicycle One, got the boom adjusted, Dad took off, zooming down the aisles and around corners. The front wheels lock, which means Dad can use the handlebars for stability in getting up and down. We watched him get up and down from the trike several times and he got more confident every time.
Dad purchased the Terratrike, Troy adjusted the fit and shortened the chain until Dad was comfortable, then we loaded it in their minivan and he took it home. Since Dad bought the trike, he has been out riding it every day. We thought that meant he was riding around the driveway at Wedgewood Estates. But then he described his route up and down the roads and hills that surround the estates, and we were impressed by how far he was riding.
Yesterday Tom and I loaded up the Catrike in the Prius and drove up to Mansfield so Tom and Dad could ride together on the Richland B&O Trail. They rode from Marion Rd to the North Lake Park, the northern terminus of the trail, a distance of six miles round trip. Dad hasn’t been able to ride that far for years! His knees were a little wobbly when he got done, but he did great and the smile on his face was priceless. It is wonderful to see him enjoy doing something that he loves again.
Tom and Dad are loving their trikes and being able to get out in this beautiful spring weather. For us, the invasion of the trike is a good thing!