How to Ride Recumbent Trikes?
They say there are no senseless inquiries, yet there are some that are a touch of uncomfortable. Our professionals are here to make choosing and fitting your recumbent trike pain free so you can ride recumbent trike smoothly. All things considered, no compelling reason to stress or feel unbalanced over posing those questions that may seem awkward.
Here are the basics on how to, and more importantly how NOT TO ride a recumbent trike.
Whether you’re a newbie to triking or an experienced triker, these tips will help you make your trike riding experience more enjoyable and stress free.
How to Enter Into and Exit Out of Your Recumbent Trike?
Just getting in and out of a recumbent trike can be a little intimidating. However, it doesn’t need to be if you follow these few short recommendations. First off, always make sure your trikes brakes are locked to prevent from rolling when entering or exiting.
Start by straddling the front boom and backing toward the seat. Then use the wheels as guides to hold and ease yourself onto the seat. NEVER use the handlebars on linkage steering trikes (like the TerraTrike Tour II) as they are not load bearing members and can be damaged with the pressures supporting your body. You may however use the handlebars on all direct steer trike (TerraTrike Rover, TerraTrike Rambler and TerraTrike Sportster) as a handle. To exit the recumbent trike, again lock the brakes and reverse the process. Watch the video above to see a demonstration of this process as well as the optional side entry method.
How to Pedal Your Recumbent Trike?
We recommend that every recumbent trike be equipped with some sort of foot restraint. Clipped pedals, PowerGrip pedals or our heel strap pedals are great ways of keeping your feet secure to the pedal. Failure to keep your foot secure on a pedal could result in “foot suck”, where your foot can be grabbed by the ground and bent backwards under the trikes frame. This could ruin a otherwise great ride and cause a lot of pain.
The other advantage of attaching your feet directly to the pedal is that it allows you to get twice the power when pedaling. Not only do you get the down stroke, but you get to pull with the upstroke. This results in a more even cadence and less effort to propel yourself. Also, because you do not have to worry about tipping over when stopping (as on an upright bike), you can simply stay clipped in when coming to a stop.
Always find the appropriate trike gear for the speed and effort your experiencing. Using too low of a gear can result in what is known as “spinning out”, where you are going faster than you can keep up with pedaling. Change to a higher gear to give you more control. Likewise, climbing hills or starting off from a stop in too high of a gear can also be damaging to the trikes derailleur and idlers. Always use a low gear when starting from a stop or climbing.
How to Steer Your Recumbent Trike?
Recumbent Trikes come in 2 different steering configurations: Direct steer and Linkage steering. The Terratrike Tour II and Greenspeed’s are the only current models that features the linkage steering and it is commonly described as more of a “Power Steering” kind of feel. Linkage steering uses a sway bar under the frame to “link” the two wheels. Because of this, it is much easier to steer, even with a single hand.
The TerraTrike Rover, TerraTrike Rambler and TerraTrike Sportster recumbent models all use the Direct steer method. In this configuration, the handlebars are attached directly to the wheels for a much sportier and responsive feel. People liken this type of steering to more of a sports-car type of handling.
Both types of steering take a little time to get used to and you will in no time begin to understand how your recumbent trike handles in turns. When taking corners, it is recommended to lean into the corners and not use one single brake but rather both, evenly if need be.
Always start slow get a feel for your trike before taking on higher speeds.
How to Change Gears of Your Recumbent Trike?
Recumbent Trikes come in a variety of gearing options. However, there are really only two different types of configurations – Internally geared hubs and traditional derailleur type systems. The internal geared hubs are a easy to use but are limited in their gear range options.
Changing the gears is as simple as just twisting the gear shifter and continuing on your way. No need to even know what gear you are in. Just throttle up or down depending on your speed or climbing situation. Internal hubs need a little bit of a “pause” before they kick in though. So when changing gears, just stop pedaling for a moment and when you return you will notice that the gears have changed. A nice advantage to this is when you come to a stop after being in a large gear. All you have to do is change to your lower gear and you will start off in that gear.
The traditional derailleur type system is the most popular and is what most people are familiar with. This is the same system as your old 10 speed Schwinn had. Typically there is either eight or nine gears on the rear with a shifter to control those and anywhere from one to three gears in the front with their on shifters as well. Changing through all the gears requires you to shift through the rear gears as well as the front to achieve the full range. A common problem among new riders is called “cross chaining” and can reduce the lifespan of your components and cause your chain to derail.
There are a few key aspects to proper shifting. One aspect is timing. Most people wait too long before shifting into the next gear. When climbing a hill it is necessary to shift before you need it. If you wait until you can no longer push the harder gear then the load in the chain will be too high to let it disengage from the gear it is in. To allow the chain to move from gear to gear easily it is necessary to take the entire load off the chain. This is achieved by backing off the pedal pressure (like putting in the clutch on a car) such that you are not quite keeping with the speed of the wheels. At this moment the chain is load free and will shift smoothly.
How to Easily Transport Your Recumbent Trike?
Transporting a recumbent trike or trikes is not a difficult as one imagines. First off, always use a method that is recommended for recumbent trikes. there are several different bike carriers out there, but they often cannot withstand the strains that a heavier trike puts on them.
The first and most recommended method is to just RIDE IT to where you want to go. That’s the reason you bought a trike isn’t it? However, we understand that there a situations where that may not be possible or that you need to transport your trike a long distance for a group ride or vacation.
The biggest transportation misconception is that these will not fit into a standard car. Untrue. Our TerraTrike Rover model will completely come apart into four pieces and can be easily transported in the back seat or trunk of any sedan. In fact we’ve managed to get two plus a TerraTrike Rover Tandem in a 2 door sedan, and still have room for the driver and passenger. Vehicles with rear hatches can also easily fit one, sometimes two trikes comfortably without the need to disassemble.
The other option is to use a hitch rack. There are many available on the market and allow for easy loading and unloading and transport without sacrificing any space in your vehicle. We always recommend you take off any seat mesh when doing this as the wind can damage the seat over long drives.
Laid Back Cycles – Sacramento, NorCal and Bay Area Recumbent Trike Dealer
At Laid Back Cycles we have the top trained mechanics to repair your trike serving the Sacramento and Bay Area.
Come test ride a recumbent trike, 3 wheel bicycle, recumbent, tandem recumbent, three wheel bicycle, trike bicycle, recumbents at our Sacramento Recumbents Shop in Fair Oaks, CA. We offer service for Terratrike, Catrike, Greenspeed and ICE trikes.