What about Tricycles for Seniors?

lady on tricycle

Three-wheel bikes, also known as trikes or tricycles for seniors, are a perfect option for older adults. If you or someone you love has balance or stamina problems, then a trike is the ideal solution. 

Tricycles will provide the necessary stability, and it will make exercising a lot easier. They offer many benefits and features that will help you get back into biking without fearing for your safety. 

In today’s guide, we’ll tell you all about tricycles, from what they are to how they can benefit seniors. We’ll compare them to bikes, and we’ll let you know all the advantages and disadvantages they have.

What Are Tricycles?

Tricycles are a means of transportation that is powered by humans.

Trikes are very similar to bicycles, but they differ in meaningful ways. While a bike is meant for sport or commuting, a trike’s purpose is primarily recreational. 

You won’t be able to go as fast on a trike as you can on a bike, but they offer other unique features. A trike is more stable and requires less physical effort, at least in the standard models. That’s why they are an excellent option for seniors. 

A tricycle is a perfect option for recreation, slow commuting, light exercises, and some models can even help with commercial purposes. There are many possibilities to explore when getting a trike, but it will all depend on the model you’ll choose. 

Tricycles For Seniors – Are they good for them?

benefits of senior tricycles

Adult tricycles are a lot safer than standard bicycles. As they are safer, they are a good option for seniors.

So, if you or someone you care about wants to keep pursuing biking, an adult trike could be the right choice. 

Some seniors have balance problems, which makes riding a bike far more dangerous than it already is. But, with an adult trike, you won’t have to worry about balance problems as they offer better stability thanks to their three wheels design. 

The stability offered is just one of the many ways tricycles can be useful for seniors. Other aspects include the possibility of keeping exercising without harming joints or ligaments. Trikes offer recreational opportunities, but they also provide you a way of staying fit without as much physical effort. 

Trikes can help people with upper and lower body weakness as they require less physical effort than upright bikes. Tricycles can also help people with different disabilities, and there are trike models aimed at people with weight problems. 

Overall, tricycles for seniors are often the right choice when choosing a recreational vehicle or a way to exercise. They are easy to use, offer excellent stability, and are safe. 

What Models Are Best For Seniors? 

When it comes to trikes for seniors, the best options are the upright and the recumbent models. They both offer stability, excellent support, safety, and comfortability for users. 

Recumbent Tricycle

Recumbent trikes are great options for cardio exercising for seniors. The trike design offers excellent stability. More than anything, it will help you make the necessary physical effort to keep you fit.

The recumbent trike allows you to sit in a laid back position, offering the best possible back and neck support. The design allows easy access to the pedals, which at the same time makes it easy to use. 

Another benefit of this model is that it allows for a more comfortable long-ride experience thanks to its design. The frame and handle are closer to your body and at a lower level than bikes or other trike models. With the handles closer to you, you won’t have to stress your shoulders and arms. 

It is the right option for you if you suffer from back or neck pain and if you need extra support for your body.

Upright Trike

This model is very similar to a bicycle, except that it has three wheels instead of one. The seat is closer to the pedals, and it still offers the same stability and security as the recumbent tricycle. 

Upright trikes are perfect for recreational purposes, as they cannot go as fast as bikes or recumbent tricycles. The design of these trikes helps you relieve the lower back pain when riding. 

Features To Consider When Getting a Trike For a Senior

benefits of senior tricycles

Some other features you need to have in mind when buying a trike for you or a loved one are the seat’s comfortability and the handlebars.

Each option and design offers a unique benefit, so choose carefully. 

Handlebars

When buying a trike for seniors, you need to know which attributes and features will help and which ones won’t. For instance, there are different types of handlebars. You can get a traditional one, a chopper one, or a loop handlebar.  

A traditional handlebar is the one you see on most bicycles and trikes. It is easy to control, comfortable in most cases, and it allows for good maneuverability. However, it is not the best option for seniors with mobility problems and limited upper body strength. 

On the other hand, chopper handlebars require the same amount of upper body strength. Still, they are better for seniors with mobility problems. Their unique design helps with maneuverability, and they require less skill to use. 

Finally, the last option is the loop handlebar. The difference is that this type of handlebars allows users to maneuver using any part of the loop. So, you or your loved one won’t have to worry about keeping the hands on a specific part of the handle. It is an excellent option for seniors with weak wrists.

Saddle Seats or Sling Seats

The seat is one of the main parts of a tricycle. Many producers will offer cushioned seats for better comfort or chair-like seats for back support. Each one is good for a specific type of user. 

Saddle seats are the most common type, and you’ll find this seat in all upright trikes. They are placed at a lower level than a standard bike’s seat, and they are designed to keep you stable even when the trike is not moving. 

Sling seats offer a unique set of benefits like back support, a cushioned surface, and better comfort. The seat design will help with the fear of falling or tipping out from the trike as the seat is closer to the ground. 

Weight Capacity

The average weight capacity is around 300 pounds (136 kg), but some manufacturers offer more capacity. If you are going to use your trike for more than recreational purposes, we recommend checking the weight limit. For example, bariatric trikes can carry up to 500 pounds (226 kg) 

What Are The Advantages of Tricycles Versus Bicycles for Seniors?

tips on buying senior tricycles

Tricycles offer many advantages over bicycles when it comes to their use for seniors.

Bikes are designed for young adults that need to commute or adults that enjoy touring the country. Tricycles are excellent for seniors because manufacturers take into consideration their safety and enjoyment. 

Here are some of the advantages that trikes have when compared to bicycles: 

Excellent Safety

Trikes give you the opportunity of going as slow as you want while maintaining perfect stability. This type of man-powered vehicle won’t give you any problem when riding uphill. It would be impossible to use a bicycle as they need constant speed to keep them balanced. 

Another point in their favor is that adult trikes are easy to mount and dismount. Bicycles need you to tilt them towards you to get on, but with trikes, all you need is to press on the brakes. The seat is closer to the ground, and the three wheels offer the necessary stability to allow a smooth ride. 

You can choose from dozens of models, each one offering different features and benefits. Choose the one you believe suits your needs better. 

Back Support

Some trike models offer perfect seats for back support, making them the best possible option for seniors who suffer from back pain. These seats are quite similar to those used by cars. They are comfortable and offer the necessary support for the back, shoulders, neck, and buttocks. 

You can also get a trike with other features like an ergonomic grip and pedals that align with your specific needs. All of these features give trikes the possibility of offering more comfort than bikes. 

Easy-To-Use

Adult tricycles are more comfortable to use than bikes, and they require much less physical effort. The trikes include excellent brakes that make getting on and off more straightforward than with bikes. Not only that, but trikes also do the job of keeping you stable even when going uphill at a slow pace. 

Something important to keep in mind is that a trike won’t fall if you stop pedaling. The three wheels will keep you steady, even if you have to stop for a small rest before continuing. 

It Gives You Independence

Many seniors choose to give up on driving because of safety precautions. If you cannot drive and you suffer from balance issues, then you are left with walking. Walking is a great way to keep your body in shape, but it is challenging to cover long distances.

If you still enjoy going for dessert or buying something you need, then a trike can help you. 

You won’t have to worry about your safety because tricycles offer excellent protection. You won’t have to worry about making a tremendous effort to keep the trike balanced because the vehicle provides balance. All you need to do is ride and enjoy the journey. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Tricycles Versus Bicycles for Seniors?

senior woman riding tricycle

Although tricycles are an excellent option for seniors, bikes do present some advantages over them.

Most bikes will go faster than a tricycle, even if the trike goes at its maximum speed. 

Here are some of the disadvantages that tricycles have when compared to bikes. 

Speed

As mentioned before, trikes are not meant for fast riding. At least, not in the way bikes can travel. Trikes can still go fast, but the bike will take the lead when compared to a tricycle. 

This is because the bike’s design provides the necessary freedom to go as fast as the rider can pedal. Bikes also offer the possibility of switching between speeds, giving riders the option of speeding up or down.

On the other hand, trikes are designed with the mentality that they need to be more stable and safe, compromising the speed. 

For example, a non-professional cyclist’s average speed is around 10 to 12 mph (16 to 19 k/h). The average speed of a tricycle under the same circumstances is approximately 8 to 10 mph (12 to 16 k/h). 

If you still want a fast trike model, we recommend the recumbent trikes for the best speed capacity. 

Maneuverability

Turning is something that bikes excel at. They are better at turning than cars, motorbikes, and scooters. Their two-wheel design gives bikes the possibility of turning while going at incredible speed. 

When compared to bicycles, trikes are not able to turn with the same ease. The three wheels that provide safety and stability make it challenging for users to turn at speed. The most dangerous part of riding a tricycle is turning any corners. 

During turning, you should slow down and give the trike enough space to turn. If not, you risk the chance of falling, which is not impossible even when riding a tricycle. 

Space Required For Storing

Bikes require a lot of space at home, and they are not easy to transport or carry. However, tricycles are even more difficult to store than bikes. Trikes are heavier, tend to have bigger wheels, and need more space than even the most oversized bikes in the market. 

If you are thinking of getting a tricycle, you should consider the necessary space to keep them safe inside the house. It would be helpful if you have a garage to store the trike, but if not, keep in mind that you’ll be needing a lot of space. 

Cost of Tricycles vs. Bicycles

about prices on senior tricycles

One of the main differences between bicycles and tricycles is the cost of each model.

Bikes offer many more features than trikes do, but they are also more expensive. On the other hand, Trikes are built to endure and offer stability, so even the most expensive models tend to be cheaper than the average bike. 

Here’s the average cost of an adult tricycle in USD: 

  • Cheaper models: Between 180 to 250 USD
  • The average cost of a tricycle: 280 to 400 USD
  • Premium trikes: Around 600 USD

Here’s the average cost of a bicycle in USD: 

  • The average cost of a road bike: 350 to 700 USD
  • The average cost of a mountain bike: 1000 USD
  • The average cost of a single-speed bike: 400 USD

As you can see, the average cost of a premium high-quality tricycle is lower than the average price of a mountain bike.

Tips For Starting With a Tricycle

If you are about to start riding a trike after you’ve been using a bike all your life, you might find it challenging.

The reason is that even if they are both similar in appearance, they are different in functionality.

Here are some tips to keep your trike experience enjoyable and safe: 

  • Do not rush when turning a corner: Trikes do not have the same capacity for turning as bikes do. If you don’t give the trike enough space, you risk the possibility of falling or tripping from the tricycle.
  • Do not be afraid of uphill riding: The trike’s stability and its design generate better friction on the wheels. It means that even when going uphill, it is almost impossible for the trike to slip. 
  • Be careful with the weight you carry: Keep in mind that trikes cannot achieve the same speed as bikes, so if you go uphill, don’t take a lot of weight. The weight will make it harder for you to ride uphill as it will require more physical effort than regular biking. 
  • Remember that trikes have more than two wheel paths: Bicycles have two wheels, but they are positioned on the same wheel path, which means that bikes only have one wheel path. Trikes have three wheels, but each one is set in a different wheel path. It means that your trike has three wheel paths instead of two. So, keep that in mind when riding, as it can be hard to do it in narrow spaces. 

Conclusion

Tricycles are an excellent option for seniors and people with disabilities and mobility problems.

They offer better comfort, excellent stability, and more safety than bicycles while still giving you the possibility of exercising your body. 

If you plan on getting a trike for you or a loved one, consider the user’s necessity. For a faster option with excellent back support, you should choose a recumbent trike. For a recreational vehicle with ergonomic handlebars, an upright trike is a go-to choice. 

Overall, a trike will be an excellent ally for seniors that seek some independence in their lives. So, don’t be afraid of learning how to ride one, and enjoy all the benefits that trikes offer. 

Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by Matthew Carpenter

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