When you consider recumbent bikes, your first thought, like mine, may be, “Those things are not for me. They’re slow and only for old people.” That is what I believed too.
Until about a year ago I was riding a regular two-wheel, upright bike and never thought I’d make the switch to a low recumbent trike. But here I am.
Life – and aging – is all about adapting.
I’ve always loved bike riding. I’ve loved the freedom, being outdoors, and exercising. In May 2017, I suffered a bike accident on my two-wheeler and broke my left arm and shattered my shoulder. (A small dog ran into my bike from behind, causing me to fall and land hard on my arm.)
When I was finally able to face riding again, I found that not only was I terrified of riding and falling, but also the pressure the handlebars exerted on my shoulder was unbearable.
I moved to Florida later that year and saw that recumbent bikes are more prevalent here on the trails. Since I didn’t want to give up bike riding, I decided to give recumbent bikes a try.
I’m so glad I did! I immediately fell in love with them. They are ridiculously comfortable – think arm chair recliners – and they’re much faster than I thought.
Here are several reasons why you should consider a recumbent trike:
Because you’re closer to the ground and obviously more stable, you don’t have the worry of falling off your bike and getting hurt. If I had been riding a recumbent trike when I had my accident, I don’t believe I would’ve been injured at all.
When I rode my two-wheeler, I was always very nervous of squirrels running in front of me – a common occurrence on bike trails. Now I don’t have that fear.
Even before my injury, I would get neck and shoulder discomfort from leaning over on the handlebars. My rear would become quite sore as well. Because the recumbent position is so comfortable, I don’t have any of those issues. If I didn’t get tired, I could just keep on riding!
Perhaps you never learned to ride a two-wheel bicycle – I know many people who haven’t. Good news – with a recumbent trike, you don’t need to learn – there’s no balancing involved! You can ride a recumbent trike at any age, even if you’ve never ridden a bike before.
I don’t need special, uncomfortable, padded bike shorts or spandex tops as I did on my upright. I can wear regular loose fitting shorts and tee-shirts or tops.
If you ride long distances, or intensely, you may want to wear shirts with wicking ability for sweat. Also, like any bike, you need a helmet, and I recommend clipless pedals – or any kind of foot restraint system that works for you.
I was really surprised, but the fact is, riding a recumbent bike is fun! They can be fast if you choose (especially downhill), and they corner like crazy. Of course, you don’t need to do any of that, but the option is there if you choose.
I had only seen people going very slow on recumbent bikes, so thought they were built only for slow rides. Not true. In fact, I ride with a group that is always on the lookout for the fastest, sleekest models. Many of the 70- and 80-year-old riders can leave me in the dust!
It’s a fabulous, low-impact aerobic workout. You can burn lots of calories based on how long or intensely you ride, or you can go at a comfortable pace and just get a good workout.
Because you’re outside enjoying nature, you may not even realize you’re exercising. Because of the reclined position, I definitely feel I get a better leg workout.
If you find a group to ride with, recumbent bike riding can be a wonderful social experience. You get to ride with friends, and hopefully enjoy tea or lunch together afterwards.
If, by chance, there aren’t any recumbent bike groups in your area, I’m sure bike clubs would welcome you as a recumbent rider as well. Many people that haven’t ridden recumbent bikes will often stop to chat to learn about the trike.
Hopefully, you’ll consider giving recumbent trikes a try. Stop at a local bike shop to see if you can rent one, or check one out at your next vacation destination.
Have you tried riding a recumbent trike? What do you think of the experience? Would you recommend it to our fellow sisters in the community? Please share your thoughts and tips below!
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