Thursday, November 13, 2014

Three Wheels Are Better Than Two

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still a committed cyclist. It’s just that now, the cycle is as likely to be a trike as a bike. Trikes, the 3-wheeled human powered cycles, are an exciting alternative to bikes for a variety of reasons. Note that trikes come in two main varieties: tadpole (one drive wheel in back, two steerable wheels in front) and delta (two wheels in back, one or both of which may be drive wheels, and one steerable wheel in the front.) There may be variations on these, because let’s face it, cyclists tend to be crazy hackers, but most trikes fall into one or the other of these categories.

Regardless, there are a number of distinct advantages that trikes have over bikes. For example,

1. They can’t tip over. (Well, if you’re cornering at high speed, you might be able to, but it’s pretty easy to avoid.)
2. They’re amazingly comfortable, especially on long trips. Imagine sitting on a lawn chair, but being able to zoom around.
3. They’re great for winter. (Did I mention they can’t tip over?) It’s also easier to manage a trike while wearing multiple layers of down, Thinsulate, Merino wool, etc.
4. There’s no weight on your arms, so your wrists and hands don’t get cramps on long trips.
5. Your eyes are at jogger butt level. (Ok, that may or may not be an advantage.)
6. You get to attach cool flags to your vehicle so you can be seen by drivers. (Trikes are typically closer to the ground than bikes.)
7. Climbing hills is easy (though not fast) if you just drop down to a low gear and crawl your way up.
8. You can go without a helmet, especially if you’re away from traffic. (Did I mention they can’t tip over?)
9. You won’t look like a complete idiot. (Well, you can, but it’s not required.)
10. You can stop anywhere, and just sit and rest. You don’t even have to take your feet off the pedals.

I should also mention that, because of the seating angle, you’re looking up at the scenery instead of down at the road.

2 comments:

Bill Costa said...

A lot of these advantages you cite should also be true for 2 wheel 'bents as well. I read where one early recumbent rider claimed that the low seating was actually an advantage in urban settings because you can more easily make eye contact with drivers at intersections.

Peter Davis said...

Did I mention that they can't tip over?
Actually, 2-wheel 'bents tend to have higher seats than trikes, because you're above the wheels rather than between them.