Jim Miller, an advocate for older Americans, writes “Savvy Senior,” a weekly information column syndicated in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. Based in Norman, Oklahoma, he also offers a free senior e-news service at SavvySenior.org.
If you’d like to take up—or continue—bike riding but want a more comfortable experience, adult tricycles are a great alternative. The three wheels help make adult trikes more stable than bikes. Also, they have a low “step-through” design that makes mounting and dismounting easy…typically come with big tires that ensure a smooth ride…have ergonomic handlebars that are easy to reach and grip…and offer oversized seats (some even have backrests) for comfort and support.
There are dozens of styles and models to choose from. Best options…
For short rides. If you’re primarily interested in a leisurely ride around the neighborhood for pleasure, fitness or running errands, the Sun Traditional 24-inch trike is a comfy, practical and affordable bike. It has an ultralow step-through design (15 ? inches high) and comes with a vinyl-coated rear basket for trips to the market. Sold as a single-speed with hand brakes for around $375, it can be converted to a three- or five-speed version with coaster brakes using a kit for an additional $150 to $175. 305-238-1866, www.SunBicycles.com.
For a power assist. If you would like an occasional propulsion boost, the EW-88 Electric Tricycle is a hybrid trike with a 450-watt electric motor as well as pedals, so you can exercise when you want or sit back and let the trike do the work. It recharges on a wall socket. On a full charge, it has an unassisted range of 18 to 25 miles. It also has a backrest and front and rear baskets. Maximum speed: 17 miles per hour (mph). These bikes are legal on most roadways, and no license is needed to operate them. $1,199. 888-518-3588, www.ElectricWheelStore.com.
Recumbent trikes have pedals in front of you, allowing you to stretch out your legs horizontally, making for easier pedaling and faster, longer rides than with upright trikes.
For greater control. The TerraTrike Rover is a tadpole-style (two of the three wheels are in front rather than in back) recumbent trike that is available in one-, three- and eight-speed versions. Both front wheels are used to steer, allowing for a tight turning radius. The nylon seat is 17 inches off the ground (about four inches higher than that of many tadpole trikes) for easier on and off. It can hold riders up to 400 pounds—much more than most trikes. And if you want to ride with your spouse or a friend, the Rover easily can be converted into a tandem trike with an attachment sold separately. Price: $699 to $999, plus $899 for the two-rider attachment kit, which will be available by mid-August. 800-945-9910, www.Terratrike.com.
For more speeds. Fast, fun and comfortable, the Sun EZ-Tri Classic SX recumbent trike has 24 speeds, front and rear brakes and an adjustable cushion seat with a mesh seat back that sits 22 inches off the ground, making it simple to slip into. Price: Around $975. 305-238-1866, www.SunBicycles.com.