Trike riding offers an exhilarating and accessible form of cycling that is easy to master with the right understanding and approach. This guide is about electric and purely human powered trikes, not about motor trikes.
With a lower center of gravity and a stable platform, trikes are often easier to ride than conventional bicycles. However, they also come with their own unique considerations and challenges.
Delta and tadpole trikes, the two primary types of trikes, have different entry and exit dynamics. Delta trikes, with one wheel at the front and two at the back, are typically easier to get into due to their higher seat position. Tadpole trikes, with two wheels at the front and one at the back, often have a lower seat position but are still generally easy to get in and out of with a bit of practice.
Once comfortably seated in the trike, there are several important factors to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride:
- 1. Speed Management in Curves: Trikes are inherently stable due to their three-wheel design, but this doesn’t mean they can’t flip. It’s crucial to moderate speed when navigating corners or curves as most trikes don’t tilt like conventional bicycles. High-speed turns can lead to instability and potential tipping.
- 2. Navigating Bike Lanes: With their wider profile, trikes require a bit more room on bike lanes. Care should be taken to avoid crowding other riders and to ensure a safe distance is maintained from the edges of the path.
- 3. Crossing Streets: Most trikes are between 80 and 100 cm in width, which can be challenging when navigating crossings or narrow streets. Extra caution should be exercised at intersections and crossings to ensure the trike can safely traverse the roadway.
- 4. Managing Weight: Trikes are heavier than conventional bicycles, making them difficult to carry or pull. It’s advisable to avoid steep inclines initially until you’re comfortable handling the weight of the trike. Plan routes that are primarily flat or gently sloping for the best riding experience.
- 5. Braking Considerations: The brakes on a trike are essential for controlling the vehicle, particularly given its extra weight. It’s crucial to ensure the brakes are in good working order and can effectively halt the trike. Regular checks and maintenance of the brakes are essential for safe riding.
- 6. Cockpit Setup: The layout of the controls and accessories on the trike, known as the cockpit, should be tailored to the rider’s preferences and needs. This includes positioning of the gear shifter, brakes, and any additional accessories such as mirrors or mounts for devices.
- 7. Sun Protection: Given the recumbent position on most trikes, the face is often more exposed to the sun. It’s important to apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses on sunny days to protect against harmful UV rays.
- 8. Crossing intersections: recumbent trikes are often already on an intersection when the rider hasn’t got full view yet. This can potentially be dangerous.
- 9. Get the right trike gear! A mirror can be very helpful. Other safety features are helmets and reflectors and lights to be visible. Plus potentially a flag to increase the visibility of your trike.
Mastering trike riding requires understanding its unique dynamics and taking the appropriate precautions. With these guidelines, one can fully enjoy the fun, freedom, and stability that come with riding a trike.