being cool

Riding a recumbent trike will make you irresistibly cool!

Being cool is possessing knowledge of one’s self, being comfortable with that knowledge, and confident about who you are.  Looking cool hinges on self awareness and self confidence.

It’s personalbeing cool

People buy and adult for a myriad of reasons.  An individual’s decision to ride a should be for their own reasons. Your knowledge of self makes you best aware of your physical abilities and riding needs.  After all, it’s your butt in the seat and your physical exertion required to propel the .  

I have read a lot of generalizations when it comes to recumbent trikes.  To me this can be  misleading as there are different styles of trikes. Generalizations would not be appropriate for upright bikes.  We know that there are road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX bikes, or cruiser bikes to name a few.  What may be true of one style may not be true of another.

Trikes comes in styles such as , delta, semi-recumbent.  Trikes can be outfitted in different ways. The tire size, gear ratios, or weight of the bikes can differ from style to style.  Common trike styles are:

  • Tadpole
      • Tadpole trikes have two wheels in the front and one in the rear.  The seats are usually lower to the ground at typically between 6-16”.  The lower profile provides better aerodynamics than other types of trikes which helps at higher speeds.  Tadpoles are generally considered a sportier ride and have been compared to riding a go-kart.  Tadpoles can be broken down into a more defined niches.  Commercially available models can be had that are designed to meet specific riding styles including:
        • Cruiser – comfort
        • Touring – comfort and versatility for long touring
        • Sport – built for speed, not for comfort
  • Delta
      • Delta trikes have two wheels in the back and one in the front.  The seats are around 18” off the ground which make this style trike easier to get on and off.  Delta trikes are generally considered to have a smoother ride as compared to the tadpole styles.  Steering can be over seat steering (OSS) or under-seat-steering (USS).  The OSS style is like traditional bike handlebars. For some the USS gives the rider a more relaxed hand position.
  • Semi-Recumbent
    • Semi-recumbent bikes are a pedal forward design with a seat height that is typically higher than the delta or tadpole styles.  The style that I looked at had a seat height of just over 24”.  The semi-recumbent adult trikes distribute weight in a way that makes them very stable.  One feature that I noticed was the weight limit was up to 550 pounds on some of the models.  This can be an important piece of information for some would-be riders.  I personally had to look at the weight limits of the trike models to see what was available for me.  

Age, physical challenges, or a combination of both can be an individual’s reason for considering a trike.   You could be a veteran cyclist making the decision to change bike styles due to a new physical challenge or a  new rider looking for a fun way to get some needed exercise. There are many pros to a recumbent trike in this respect.

  • Step Through
      • Let’s face it, you’re not as flexible as your once were.  Most adult tricycles, delta trikes, and tadpole trikes offer an easier mount and dismount than traditional bike frames.  The step through feature is not exclusive to trikes but might be an important consideration in overall choice of a bike.
  • Stability
      • For people with balance issues trikes can be a great option.  That third wheel can be quite handy in providing needed balance and stability.  Something else to be considered is that the bike is balanced just sitting there.  You can go real slow or stop completely and not worry about balancing the bike.  
  • Comfortable Seat
      • How much explanation does this need?  Some seats hurt my butt.  The seat on my delta trike does not!  I don’t know if enough can be said about the comfort of the seat on a recumbent trike.  If not having a sore bottom is a desirous trait for you then a recumbent may be the perfect choice.  There are times on our local greenways that you can enjoy musical performances, battle reenactments, fireworks, etc.   I will add here that during those events my delta trike makes a real comfortable place to sit.  
  • Recumbent Posture
    • Use any synonym you please: horizontal, sprawled out, prone, stretched out, reclined, prostrate, or supine.  The fact is that the laid-back position helps spread out weight distribution over a greater area.  My understanding is that a given force, spread out over a larger area will result in less pressure.  I like less pressure; in this case.  Some have noted that they have less back and neck pain than when riding a traditional bike.  

But What’s Right for Me?

Personal awareness of your own needs will be very helpful in determining the trike type you purchase.  It is a good idea to do some research into the matter and there are many excellent resources to build your knowledge base:

  • Recumbent specific magazines, articles, newsgroups, and forums.
  • Talk to your local dealers.  I am fortunate as we have a great trike dealer in our area.
  • Take  test rides on different models.
  • Talk to riders.  Most cyclists love to talk bikes and recumbent riders are no exception.
  • Manufacturer’s literature and  their websites

Some things you may need to consider in your research are:

  • Your size and weight
      • Many trikes models have adjustments that help tailor the fit but you need to make sure that your trike will be appropriate for your weight and height.  I was somewhat limited in my choice of models because I exceeded their rated weight at the time of purchase.  I am happy to say that I have lost nearly enough weight to ride any trike that I want!  
  • Transport
      • Depending on where you will be riding you may wish to transport your trike.  The weight and size of the trike can be important considerations with transport in mind.  Tadpole style trikes have foldable models which may make it more easily transported in your case.  I have a pickup truck and two delta style trikes fit in with ease.  I will admit that the delta are heavy and may become an issue as I get older.  Currently I can just pick them up and set them in the truck.  
  • Storage
      • You should consider where you will store your trike.  Trike size will matter in this respect.
  • Where are you riding?
      • There are trike models that are made for road riding as well as off road models.  I can say from experience that my trike is made for riding on a paved surface and it does not work well at all on an off road surface.
  • Cost and budget
      • As much as I dislike this fact, cost is a driving force behind many of our personal decisions.  Trikes can be purchased in several price points.  Spend some time looking at trikes and reading reviews about different models.  The price alone may not tell the whole story as to the quality and riding experience of the trike.

Will I really look cool?

Trikes give many people access to the enjoyment of cycling who might have otherwise been limited.  A great aid for people with balance issues, great for fitness, and great for building confidence. Cycling can be a solo effort or it can be social.  Riding with a group of like and positive-minded people can help you stay on track for any goals that you have set.  Aside from all of that trikes are fun – A big grin graces my face everytime I ride mine.

Will riding a recumbent trike make you look cool?  Riding a trike is just another form of cycling.  Deciding to ride a recumbent trike for your own reasons – that is cool!


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