Trying a Recumbent Trike!
With so many recumbent trike riders adding an electric assist with our Ridekick power trailer, my business partner, Mark, and I decided to try recumbent trikes. We wanted to understand the appeal that attracted so many “baby boomer” converts? After all, they ride with a smile visible from a quarter mile away, and always seem to be having fun!
We joined a Saturday morning group ride sponsored by our local Rocky Mountain Recumbents bike shop. The staff at RM Recumbents took time to fit a trike to each man, woman, and child (though recumbent trikes are very popular with older adults, they are appropriate for kids, too!) Adjustments to the seat made for easy sitting and comfortable, efficient leverage on the pedals, and adjustments to the pedals gave the legs the best advantage, and saved the back from strain. Though it looked like each rider was in a recliner, exercise was happening as we pedaled along.
The group followed our local bike path along the riverside. It was easy to get the feel of this new ride – stability and comfort being the greatest benefits. There were plenty of opportunities to pedal up and coast down hills. We quickly noticed that to pedal up an incline, it was easy, but tiresome. There were plenty of gears available to suit a rider’s strength, but the lower the gear, the faster the spin, and the fast spinning got tiring. A conversation with our guides assured us that this was a normal phenomenon.
This experience helped us to understand why an electric assist, like the Ridekick power trailer, is sought-out by so many recumbent trike riders. For many, the spinning of the pedals and different geometry for leverage is not a problem, but for some, the experience is unpleasant. That group of riders often begins to look for options to ease the hills with their recumbent trikes.
One way to do that is by installing an electric conversion kit onto trike to carry electric motor, battery and controller. Such systems (Bionx – Canadian company began manufacturing in 2007, EcoSpeed – company based in Portland, OR, started in 2001) can be installed by local bike shops, or DIY (The Ebike Kit – started in 2008 and based in PA) kits can be added to your trike at your home.
A way to add power without converting the trike is to attach a Ridekick power trailer (founded in 2009, based in Fort Collins, CO and back in production after a one-year development sabbatical) to a recumbent trike.
Advantages of a Ridekick trailer:
- Causes minimal change to the look and feel of the trike
- Able to carry cargo (2 grocery bags or equivalent)
- Can be removed when pedal-power alone is preferred
- Can be swapped between any bike or trike at the household. You convert your ride, not your trike!
To complete our official testing so we can understand our customers better, I added a Ridekick trailer to my recumbent trike. Oh my! It felt like a go-kart, only was much quieter, and I could control the speed within my comfort zone. When I tried a hill with the recumbent trike and Ridekick trailer, the spinning fatigue disappeared, and I was able to pop right up and over, ready for new horizons! I felt a giddiness and freedom…kind of like feeling ten-years-old again!