Access and Resources
Tricycles and Bicycles
Tricycles and bicycles provide safe, active transportation for people of all ages. You can travel longer distances by bike or trike than you can walking. If equipped with a basket or pannier you can carry groceries and other baggage with you, too.
Tricycles are a great way for older adults to get around. Three wheels make for a stable ride and are just as easy to pedal. The “step through” design makes trikes easy to mount and dismount. An added benefit is the all the storage space trikes offer for groceries, books and other baggage.
For information on how to ride an adult trike, click here.
Of course, lots of seniors ride bicycles as well.
Santa Fe Seniors on Bikes has posted a video that shows you how to start a bike club.
The Biking Bis Blog posts many inspiring stories. Jack Thacker, for example, rides 12km a day at the age of 96.
Cycling clubs are a good way to stay active and involved in your community. Please let us know about seniors cycling clubs in your area.
Getting the Right Bike or Trike
Cycling, whether on two wheels or three, can be a marvellous way to travel, exercise and relax. As with walking, don’t push yourself too hard. Stay comfortable and you will be able to continue the activity indefinitely.
A bike or trike that fits you will enable you to cycle in comfort. It will also help you avoid injury. Eric Moen, PT, CSCS, a Seattle-based “Elite Level” coach with the United States Cycling Federation, provides this advice on fitting a bike. Bicycle Riding for Boomers shows you have to choose the right tricycle.
Why should I buy a Trike?
The trike’s third wheel provides greater stability than a bicycle, making it easier for you to keep your balance. This means you could crawl slowly up a hill without falling over, for example. If you hit loose gravel while riding the trike, you might just spin instead of losing control and falling over. Compared to a bicycle, a trike could be better for you, particularly if you have poor balance or a condition that prohibits you from riding an upright bike safely and comfortably.
When it comes to climbing hills, three-wheeled bikes, especially those with multiple gears, are more capable than traditional two-wheelers. On a two-wheeled bike, the rider must maintain a certain amount of forward motion to keep the bike upright. The three-wheeled bike rider, however, need not worry about balancing, so the rider can simply place the bike in a very low gear and pedal away at a comfortable pace to climb the hill without fear of falling over.
Tadpole and delta trikes utilize a seat that distributes your weight across a large area. Greater weight distribution decreases the pressure you might otherwise feel in your bottom when you sit on the smaller seat found on upright bikes. Since your butt will feel more comfortable, you will be able to ride longer without pain and fatigue. You could potentially burn more calories if you feel more comfortable and ride longer as a result.
Riding a trike is an enjoyable way to exercise. On an upright trike, your legs and arms do most of the work. However, when your legs sit out in front of you on the recumbent versions, you use more of your hamstrings and your core muscles when you pedal. Instead of propping your bike on a kickstand and standing next to it when you get tired, you can take a break while remaining in your seat.
The wide wheel base of upright three-wheeled bikes make them very capable of carrying even heavy amounts of cargo. Even recumbent trikes can be fitted with substantial cargo packs, fitted on racks behind the rider. The trikes also continue to demonstrate good stability, despite the added weight.
What could be the disadvantages?
Some trikes, particularly recumbent trikes, ride very low to the ground. This can present visibility problems, particularly when riding in traffic or in busy parking lots. Drivers in cars may have a more difficult time seeing recumbent trike riders on the road. To help avoid a potential accident, many recumbent riders use a tall fiberglass rod with a flag at the top attached to their trike to make them more visible.
Many three-wheeled bicycles also have a broader wheel base, making them wider and more likely to stick out in traffic when riding in bike lanes on roads or on sidewalks. This can make the trike inconvenient or even dangerous to ride in certain situations, such as in heavy traffic. The narrow body of a standard bicycle also makes it easier to store, compared to the wider body of the trike.
The wider stance of three-wheelded bicycles can make them more difficult to handle. This is particularly true with turning. While traditional two-wheelers are very narrow and have a relatively small turning radius, trikes tend to require more space to turn. Recumbent trikes are more difficult to handle at slower speeds, but typically handle faster speeds well.
What are the different types of Trikes?
Riders of recumbent tricycles all agree they are much kinder to your back, butt, and hands then other bikes. It’s a different kind of trike with a sit back and grin attitude. These are the tricycles that you pedal with your feet in front of you instead of below you. Recumbent trikes have two wheels at the front.
The semi recumbent tricycle takes a page from the semi recumbent bike design in that it uses the pedal forward concept.
The net result is it makes pedaling easier and lowers the center of gravity. Many riders find that this pedal position feels more comfortable as well.
Notice the pedals are well forward of the seat post hence the “pedal forward” description. Also not only does this trike have a seat back but the seat back is higher than other trikes for added support. The handlebars are swept back and raised for a natural, upright, seating position.
“Delta” trikes is the same principle as the recumbent Trikes except that the two wheels are at the back.
Electric tricycles are another great option that you may want to consider. They make pedaling optional so you can get some exercise when you want or let the trike do the work. The electric help can be added to any type of trike, or you can buy a trike directly with the help included.
The Traditional Trikes is like a traditional bike but with three wheels.
A folding tricycle is one of the newer additions to the world of cycling. When choosing a tricycle you may want to consider a trike that folds. They address the limited storage issue and open the door to riding fun to even more people.
An industrial tricycle is simply an adult tricycle that has been seriously beefed up to handle larger carrying capacities. The tricycles shown here are significantly larger than any standard adult trike and, in fact, use 24” or 26” wheels more typical of a bicycle.
You can have special needs trikes to accommodate a vast array of special needs. For example, Hand-pedaled recumbent tricycles are available for those without the use of their legs. Or children, teens and adults with cerebral palsy and similar disorders can select tricycles specially designed to increase strength and coordination.
Fat Trikes make easy work of challenging terrain. This expedition-tough trike rolls over mud, sand, snow and rough trail, giving you greater freedom to cycle wherever, whenever. Fat trikes have a wide range of options, including suspension, wheel type, and components.
How much does it cost?
There are three categories of prices which depend on the type of trike, if you want an electric help, and the carrying capacity of the trike.
Where to buy one in Vancouver?
Where to buy one on Vancouver Island?
Mid-Island Trike Adventures in Parksville sells trikes, does tours and lets you test out what works for you.
They can ship your trike in all Canada, and if you are not satisfied you have 30 days to get 100% refund.
The different brands they carry:
They ship worldwide, and you can call or email them for shipping information.
The different brands they carry:
Belize Bike: If you don’t live near a retailer, they will ship the bike to your house.
Sportwheels: from this website you can buy a tricycle, the shipping is about $4.
Freedom Trike n’ Bike: 6-8 weeks shipping time
Electric-bikes.com: This website offers a large range of electric bikes and E-bike kits that can be shipped to your home.
Electric Bicycle Retailer: offers a large selection of electric bikes, tricycles, scooters, and kits. Shipping in all Canada, the shipping price can vary and you can pay for the assembly of the product.
Varna Bicycles and Tricycles, based on Gabriola Island, can provide you with a new trike shipped at your place.
You can also sometimes find used trikes for sale on craigslist or Amazon.