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  1. #1
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    Tricycle vs Bicycle for the elderly

    My mother wants to get a tricycle (upright not recumbent). I thought a light weight bike with training wheels might give her the stability she wants in a faster lighter more maneuverable bike. One problem I can see is training wheels have to be set fairly high off the ground to permit turning as you have lean to turn a bicycle.

    Any thoughts on a bicycle with training wheels for the elderly. Is it a bad idea?

    Any experience with a tricycle, they seem to be very heavy and difficult to store, but I have never owned one.
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  2. #2
    Old Fogy
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    I have a tricycle, and I find it hard to ride, because I want to lean into turns, bicycle style, and the trike refuses to lean. Probably wouldn't be a problem for someone who isn't used to riding a bike. I can't imagine training wheels on an adult size bicycle. They would have to be spaced very wide in order to be at all stable.

  3. #3
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    Take a look at the Pacific Reach CarryAll trike. It has good components, 8 inch wheels, weighs approx 25 lbs, and folds. This is an adult size trike but smaller than the ones you are referring to. Only negative about it is the cost--about $850 msrp.

    http://www.pacific-cycles.com

  4. #4
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Elderly??

    How old is she?

    Any physical complaints/conditions needing special accommodations?

    We have folks here 80+ riding bicycles.

    My wife, 72, rides hybrid and mtn bike.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 03-05-10 at 09:54 PM.
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  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I don't think that training wheels are designed to be used permanently.

    Have you looked into Sun trikes? http://www.sunbicycles.com/product_d...l1=ADULT+TRIKE
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  6. #6
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Look at the Sun recumbent trikes. They're lower and more stable than the upright trikes, but still high enough to be easy to get on and off...and high enough for visibility.

    I think using training wheels is just asking for falls and injury.

  7. #7
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    My dad's 86 and he just got his first bike in years -- a two-wheeler. He got a "girl's" bike so he could easily step through the frame. It's a cruiser, I believe. Paid all of $50 from a Craigslist seller. He loves it!~
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  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Best bet is to let her decide. If she wants a trike and you convince her to get a bike, you own the choice.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    Lance Legweak HIPCHIP's Avatar
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    I see a lot of seniors in my area riding upright trikes. Most have baskets on then so they can do their shopping, etc. Might be a good idea to take her to a LBS and let her try several and see what feels best for her.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    My dad's 86 and he just got his first bike in years -- a two-wheeler. He got a "girl's" bike so he could easily step through the frame. It's a cruiser, I believe. Paid all of $50 from a Craigslist seller. He loves it!~

    Check out folding bikes and small wheel bikes, too. They have much lower stepovers, some more than others, but all much lower than standard. I love them. I have a Swift folder now, and next I'd like to get a good light weight non-folder with 20" wheels.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post
    My mother wants to get a tricycle (upright not recumbent). I thought a light weight bike with training wheels might give her the stability she wants in a faster lighter more maneuverable bike. One problem I can see is training wheels have to be set fairly high off the ground to permit turning as you have lean to turn a bicycle.

    Any thoughts on a bicycle with training wheels for the elderly. Is it a bad idea?

    Any experience with a tricycle, they seem to be very heavy and difficult to store, but I have never owned one.
    The problem with training wheels, they need to be very far apart, and structurally built much stronger and heavier duty for an adult. Think about it, most training wheels are designed for children that weigh less then 25kg, they are not designed for 50kg+ adults. There are two forms of tricycles, upright ones, which look similar to a children's tricycle, the concern is that they may not have enough gears to allow for travel outside very flat areas. There are also recumbent tricycles, there are different designs, some of which are fairly tall, and some of which are quite low. If your mother has trouble with chairs, then she would want a taller model, if she has trouble lifting her legs, then a lower model may actually work better. Recumbent tricycles often have more gears available, so that hills are not an impossibility. In fact tricycles don't have minimum speeds like bicycles do, so even if she is climbing at 1km/h it's not a huge problem. When Sheldon Brown could no longer ride an upright bicycle due to illness, he moved to a recumbent tricycle, until he passed on.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    There are rumors that Raptobike, which makes a front wheel drive lowracer, may soon come out with a narrow-track leaning delta trike. A 10-13 inch seat height would probably still be lower than she wants, though. I agree, training wheels are a Bad Idea(tm). How about some of the flat-foot bikes like the RANS Fusion ST?


  13. #13
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    As already noted, training wheels are not a good long-term solution. I think the big question is how far do you feel she will be riding? If she plans to ride around a trailer park or ride a few blocks to the store, a regular tricycle would be fine. If she is looking to do distances, she'll want something much lighter with some gears.

  14. #14
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    What's her argument against a recumbent trike?

    As many of us know already, the late, great Sheldon Brown spent his last few years riding a Greenspeed Recumbent Trike. Link to article. This was because his sense of balance was suffering. I saw him ride this, and he hammered right along, at least on the flats.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Some ICE recumbent trikes come with raised seats for those who don't want the extremely low seats.
    There are delta trikes that have higher seats and would be more stable than the high seat with basket trikes I have seen.

    Better let her pick it.
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  16. #16
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    My mother was 79 when she got a Worksman PAV, it had a 3 speed hub [we helped her get it]. She had some balance problems due to a CVA a couple years before and couldn't ride a BIke, plus I think she was afraid to ride a bike.
    She loved to ride the PAV. It's color was green, she called it her green machine.
    She lived in a sub-tropical pretty flat area, so she was able to ride it often. She also did a lot of pencil drawing, she would ride it to a spot, sit on it do a pencil sketch; then ride back to her place and finish the drawing.

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