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Have you ever considered getting a recumbent trike? A recumbent trike is a bike with three wheels and a reclined style. While recumbent trikes are especially great for older cyclists with balance challenges, they are also ideal for all kinds of people for many reasons. Here our Guest Author, Karen Matthews of Florida, presents 7 tips for new recumbent trike riders.
Tip #1: Trike Fit
As with any bike, a proper trike fit is essential. Without a proper fit you can end up with knee pains or other issues. The correct boom length is important so that you have proper leg extension. A local bike shop can help you get the perfect fit for your trike. Once you have the correct adjustment, make sure to go for a short ride and reevaluate the fit. On any bike, proper bike fit is critical so additional tweaking may be necessary to ensure you have no pain riding.
On a trike, I find the headrest to be very important. I tend to have neck issues, but my headrest on the trike is a perfect fit for me and I have no discomfort. You also want to be sure your hands and arms can rest comfortably while riding.
Tip #2: Start out Slowly
With anything new you want to take your time. Your first few rides should be slow and fairly short as you get to know your new trike. Since the leg and knee positions are different than on an upright, you may find you use different muscles. It may take a few rides for your body to readjust and get used to the reclined position. I have to admit I never had any issues from day one on my trike. I felt like it was made for me and I had no leg or knee pain whatsoever and felt immediately comfortable on my trike.
Tip #3: Hills
Hills can be a bit more challenging on a trike than on an upright bike. I found that with proper downshifting (i.e., using the easiest gears), I quickly became used to going uphill. It definitely helps if there’s a downhill before the incline, since you can build up speed and let your momentum help you up the next hill.
Tip #4: Visibility
Make sure your trike is visible to cars, especially when riding on the roads. I always use my flag when I’m riding on the road. Many riders also have lights on their helmets and various light bars, lighted flagpoles, etc. on their trikes. Always wear bright clothing when riding your trike on the road.
Tip #5: Helmets
You’ll probably find you’ll need a new helmet for the reclined position if you are using a neck rest. On my upright bike my helmet had a longer tail which can interfere with a neck rest. I found a helmet style with a flatter back fit more comfortably. As with any bike, I believe helmets are essential and should always be worn when riding.
Tip #6: Sun Protection
As opposed to an upright bike, you’ll find you’re in the sun a bit more. Just be sure to use proper sun protection and you’ll be fine. I added a sun visor to my helmet and often wear sun protective clothing since I’m in Florida.
See my post on Mistakes made by New Recumbent Riders to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made as a new recumbent rider. I also have a post where I offer tips for protecting yourself from the sun while cycling.
Tip #7: Consider Joining a Bike Group
Group rides can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Riders always have a wealth of knowledge and they can help you find the best products and bike shops. The bike groups I’ve been in have been quite helpful and welcoming and make the ride even more enjoyable.
Recumbent trikes are a bit pricier than an upright 2 wheeler, but people find the many benefits far outweigh the cost concerns. A justification I often use is to imagine how far the same money will go for a medical procedure you will hopefully never need because you’re getting regular exercise.
A great option is to rent a recumbent trike at a local bike shop to test them out first, or if not, try one out on your next vacation. Recumbent trikes are definitely worth considering for your next bike.
You might also like: 7 Benefits of Recumbent Trikes
Thanks to our Guest Poster, Karen Matthews
Karen Matthews has been a recreational bike rider for over 30 years and recently switched to a recumbent trike. She shares her biking experiences and tips on her blog, Bat on Wheels, https://batonwheels.com.
To see Karen’s recumbent trike and learn how to ride one, check out her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPs1YTjNVHAmze7vHK6yMYg?view_as=subscriber
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