I just did my first ‘trike’ ride of 2013! No I didn’t steal Sandy’s niece’s or nephew’s three-wheeler.
If you’re not familiar with the modern recumbent trike, you’re missing out on the fringe of the cycling fringe. The ‘tadpole’ recumbent has two wheels in the front and one in the rear. A good friend, recumbent bike and trike rider, and recumbent dealer introduced me to them a few years ago.
When I retired I found myself spending a lot of time in his shop, learning about the different types of recumbents, both two and three wheel models. I had owned a couple of two wheel models, riding them a few hundred miles each before giving up on them.
Even with excellent balance, I never quite got to where I felt stable on them. Sure, they were comfortable, but weaving along the road with cars whizzing by didn’t seem like such a good idea.
The first time I rode one of Richard’s trikes I felt like I was on a little go-cart. Smooth, comfortable, and steady as a rock. I was getting hooked.
With only a few trike rides under my belt, I joined Richard on a recumbent rally on a quiet road that runs parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway, riding thirty miles on twisty roads with hills.
Richard’s shop specializes in an English-built trike that folds up for storage. Driving a Honda Civic, and now living on an upper floor, it’s an option that I couldn’t live with out.
After removing the seat – done by turning two small knobs – the rear wheel swivels forward, placing it flat between the the two front wheels. Fitting the trike into the trunk of the Civic requires the removal of the two front wheels, which is quickly done with two small wrenches. The brake cables are designed to be unsnapped without tools. With a little experience, break down or re-assembly takes no more than a few minutes.
I carry a towel in the trunk that I place on the ground for assembly at the riding site. By the time Richard had his trike loaded in the van, I had mine together.
Today we rode north, with the river on our right. This ride is one of the most popular and beautiful rides on the coast, with views across the Indian River Lagoon and turn-of-the-century homes off to our left. I started riding this road in 1971 after purchasing my first ten-speed Schwinn bicycle. Many of the vintage homes have been replace with modern mini-mansions. But it’s still one of my favorite rides!
I love hiking, and last year I hiked more than ever before. It was great fun, and we saw lots of cool stuff. But deep down, I missed my time riding along on two or three wheels.