Tricycles for Grown-Ups
What can you tell me about three-wheeled bicycles? I'm 65 years old and would like to start cycling again but I have some occasional balance problems and do not trust myself on a two-wheeled bicycle. What can you recommend?
Three-wheeled bikes, also known as adult tricycles, are a great cycling option for adults, especially for those who have concerns with their balance or stamina. Here is what you should know, along with some tips to help you shop for one.
If you would like to take up or continue bike riding but worry about falling, adult tricycles are a smart option to consider because of the stability they provide. With a tricycle, you can ride as slow as you want without ever losing your balance. You can also put both feet on the ground while seated, which is very reassuring for many older riders.
In addition, adult tricycles are also made with a low "step through" design, making mounting and dismounting easier. These bikes typically come with large tires that ensure a smooth ride, ergonomic handlebars that are easy to reach and grip and oversize seats for comfort and support. Other than the frame, tricycles use the same standard components as traditional bikes, so replacement parts are readily available and repairs are typically not an issue.
There are dozens of types of adult tricycles to choose from, with prices ranging anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. To help you figure out the type of tricycle that meets your needs and budget, here is a breakdown of the different styles and costs, along with some popular models to check out.
If you are primarily interested in a leisurely ride around the neighborhood for pleasure, fitness or running errands, upright tricycles are a good choice. These are traditional upright-positioned tricycles that come with rear cargo baskets and limited gear options, usually ranging from one to three-speeds.
A great choice in this category is the Sun Traditional Trike that costs between $440 and $550. For a less expensive option, consider the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle which is usually sold for around $300.
Recumbent tricycles are the low-to-the-ground, stretched-out frame tricycles that allow you to recline with your legs positioned in front of you. Available in various styles, recumbent tricycles are very comfortable, easy on the back and aerodynamic, which make them ideal for longer rides.
TerraTrikes and Catrike are two of the biggest U.S. companies that make tadpole-style (two wheels are in front) recumbent tricycles. Or, consider Sun Seeker, a company that sells several Delta recumbent tricycles. These tricycles have two wheels in back and typically offer a higher seat level. Be aware that recumbent tricycles are much more expensive, typically ranging between $1,000 and $4,000.
If you want a boost from time-to-time, electric tricycles are a great option. These tricycles are hybrids that have pedals and a battery powered electric motor, so you can exercise when you want or, when you need a boost, the motor assist you. Electric Trike offers a variety of options with prices ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. Other brands to consider include Pedego Electric Bikes, ProdecoTech and Evelo.
If you like to travel or if you have limited storage space, tricycles that are designed to fold up to fit in tight spaces are a great solution. The Kent Adult Westport Folding Tricycle and Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Adult Tricycle cost around $300 and are two popular options to check out.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.