If you are an ardent cyclist, you may have encountered a recumbent tricycle on the road. But maybe you didn’t take much interest in getting to know this type of trike.
A recumbent tricycle places the rider in a laid-back, reclined position. They offer more back support especially to cyclists who need the ergonomic position that’s not provided by upright trikes. It’s no wonder why many riders who prefer this tricycle are seniors; according to the AARP Foundation bulletin. They strive to distribute one’s weight over a large area of the trike helping you gain balance.
Did you know that recumbent tricycles are the fastest growing sector of recumbents? Terra Trike, a major Recumbent Tricycle brand in the USA, believes they are on the rise. And this is for a good reason. If you’re on a budget, take a look at our picks for the best recumbent trike for the money.
Here’s a great video I found all about recumbent tricycles and why so many people love them:
Advantages of Recumbent Tricycles
- More Comfort
A third wheel is clearly better than being on two wheels. Recumbent trikes have a smooth learning curve especially for stopping and riding around tight spaces. They require little to no experience when riding on the road. They have adjustable seats, and since you will be riding with legs stretched out, fatigue is slow to kick in.
- A Good Cardiovascular Exercise
When you hit your senior years, riding an upright bike for exercise can take a toll on your back, neck, and shoulders. With a recumbent tricycle, you will get nearly the same exercise as you would when riding upright. It saves you from countless trips to the doctor and even long recovery periods.
- Made for Speed
The fastest speed ever recorded for a bicycle was on a recumbent. In fact, they don’t even compete anymore as they were banned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). It’s no wonder you will find yourself going faster than you would on a standard bike.
Recumbents have an aerodynamic advantage in that they have a small front profile. This gives them more thrust as the wind speed is lower closer to the ground.
It may depend on your level of fitness, but recumbent trikes will get you to the grocery store much faster than on a two-wheeled bike.
- Safety First
They are faster and much safer. With a recumbent trike, you will be riding closer to the ground. This gives it a lower center of gravity. It means that you won’t hit the ground head first. This indicates that the hands and legs will receive most of the impact as opposed to standard bikes where people fall head first.
With a recumbent trike, it is very hard to go over the handles. And if you fall, the distance to the ground is short. It results in fewer injuries. They are also known to stop faster since you put most of the weight on the rear wheel.
- Lots of Fun
Riding a recumbent tricycle is a whole new experience. As soon as you master the tricks of riding and stopping, it becomes a matter of beating corners and increasing the speed just to check your limits.
- A Better View
Have you ever seen a cyclist on a regular bike admiring the skies? I don’t think so. Staring into the sky or even sideways means applying more balance to offset the angle you will be turning. But on a recumbent, you can look up and take in nature thanks to the reclined seated position.
Drawbacks of Recumbent Trikes
- Are Pricey
Recumbents weigh more than the ordinary diamond frame bike or upright trike. The additional weight is due to the heavyweight frames which support lots of pressure. As such they will cost more, but they are faster so no worries there.
- Are More Difficult to Ride Uphill
Recumbents restrict the user from standing up and charging up a hill. This means you have to spin differently to counter the struggle. It is much harder to go uphill, and it takes longer to get to where you were going.
Who Uses Recumbent Tricycles?
As we said, older riders are the most abundant users of recumbent tricycles. They offer the balance and confidence that one needs not to lose control. Your weight rests on the seat exempting pressure on the arms and wrists. This makes them less susceptible to causing stress-related injuries.
- Persons with a Disability
People with any disease that compromise balance such as the Parkinson’s disease or knee problems will find they can ride a recumbent trike with minimal effort. They have an outstretched angle which makes it easier to control the tricycle.
- Heavy Riders
Overweight and obese riders like the stability provided by a recumbent trike. It is easier on the joints thus offering a comfortable ride.
Whether competitive or recreational, recumbent trikes are used by all kinds of athletes. Some people choose to ride recumbent tricycles simply for their own preference.
Recumbent Trike Safety: Riding in Traffic
One of the many sentiments you hear is that drivers can’t see riders on a recumbent because they are too close to the ground. This should make the recumbent tricycle operator that much more aware of their surroundings. If you’re going to be riding your trike on the road, take note of some important safety tips.
The same safety procedures that apply on a regular trike/bicycle is what is expected to stay safe on the roads.
You want drivers to pay close attention to you. This calls for wearing bright colored riding clothes in orange, blue, and yellow. Also, fit your trike with recumbent trike flags to draw attention to you. This will help other motorists to see you from a safe distance.
Use designated paths and lanes
Bike paths and roads are made to remove the anxiety that comes from riding with other vehicles. You will feel much safer and confident knowing no car is driving too close for comfort.
Furthermore, if you have to share the road, it is important to give yourself some space. Cyclists are entitled to a full lane so don’t shy off and start using the sidewalk. Riding at the center of the road has the advantages of clear visibility by other drivers. Everyone is looking at the middle of the road, so no one will claim they didn’t see you.
Follow Traffic Laws
As much as you are on a recumbent trike, the same rules that apply to motorists also apply to you. You are required to stop at STOP signs and light signs, obey the speed limit, ride in the same direction as traffic, and don’t pass vehicles on the right.
Conclusion About Recumbent Trikes
Recumbent tricycles are kind to your body in so many ways. You will love riding your recumbent trike as soon as you start using one. Even as you experience the fun, speed, and safety of being on a recumbent trike; do remember to ride safely.