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Old 01-07-10, 01:07 AM   #1
cantdrv55
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My mom wants to cycle but is afraid to fall. I have an idea - what do you think?

So my parents bought comfort bikes a couple of years ago and put maybe two miles on them. My mom became very afraid that she might fall and break a hip. My stepdad couldn't care less about falling as he's had many injuries through the years being a tough old longshoreman and all. Both are in their mid-seventies.

I called up the bike shop from where they purchased their expensive Specialized bikes and was told they would take them in as a trade-in for a new, different bike. I'm thinking my stepdad can keep his two-wheeler but trade in my mom's for a recumbent trike. She likes the idea but wondered how hard it is to get the bike up and moving.

There is a fella in the club who rides a two-wheel bent exclusively. He is one of the fastest in the club regardless of road terrain. His bike is outfitted for speed though. The trike I thought my mom could possibly ride has fat wheels and tires.

What do you think, too much rolling resistance? Would she need a push to get going? I've never ridden a trike 'cept for my Big Wheel.
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Old 01-07-10, 09:24 AM   #2
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Let me just go on like I know what I'm talking about when really I'm making it all up.

I'm not sure a bent is any easier to balance than a regular bike. When I've been on rides and been near people on bents they often seem pretty wobbly, and appear to have difficulty getting rolling. It looks harder to me that a normal bike.

Why does she think she might fall? Is she generally comfortable on a bike, or is just balancing an issue?
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Old 01-07-10, 10:30 AM   #3
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I've owned a recumbent trike and plan on getting another one soon. They're a gas. A tadpole trike is like a human-powered go-kart.

That said, you can flip a trike in hard cornering (except some of the lowest, raciest models). You're closer to the ground, so you're pulling fewer gees if you hit the ground, but you're not immune.

Rolling resistance on a trike is obviously higher, but rolling resistance for bikes and trikes is very low in general, so that's not an issue. Like any recumbent, a trike will need low gearing for hills. Getting rolling will not be an issue.

An issue with a low-slung recumbent trike is getting on/off. That can be a little bit of a challenge even for a fit person, so that's something your mom would need to know she's comfortable with first.

Look up Zach Kaplan in SF and have her test-ride one of his trikes.
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Old 01-07-10, 12:14 PM   #4
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There's always this trike option... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ci_sku=5679542
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Old 01-07-10, 12:19 PM   #5
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I am no doctor but I do understand your Mom's concern about falling. My Mom, in her late seventies, fell in her kitchen in the Summer of 2008 backing up against her open dishwasher door while she was talking with my wife. She had forgotten the door was down. She broke her femur in a couple places, thankfully my wife was there to call for medical help. She spent four months in the hospital and rehab facility, after that she had a full year of reeducation and is only getting back to normal. Several friends of hers had broken hips from activities we, younger fellows, take for granted such as getting down on a street curb. Older people have weaker bones, it's no secret especially for women, and easily loose their balance. So I am not sure starting cycling as a beginner is a good idea at this age and certainly not on the road. On a paved trail may be but there's always something like a dog or a squirrel that can challenge your reflexes and balance.
The idea of a trike provides a balance safety but what about moving the thing around? I am not talking about rolling but getting the beast out of the home, on the car, down the car, and back in the home?
Of course exercise is recommended. What about hiking? Granted your Mom doesn't have too much joint pain, hiking provides a safe, easy, and healthy activity. And if you want her to spin (often recommend by doctors because of low impact on joints) get her a fix bike at home.
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Old 01-07-10, 12:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
There's always this trike option... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ci_sku=5679542
From the OP, the trike comments I made were based with a recumbent trike in mind. Henry's upright trike suggestion could work very well.

Last edited by gpelpel; 01-07-10 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 01-07-10, 12:43 PM   #7
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A heavier bike/trike will take more work to get going, but if she's just riding for fun and not for too many hours at a time, then a little extra work isn't all that bad.
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Old 01-07-10, 01:39 PM   #8
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There's always this trike option... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ci_sku=5679542
Thanks for the responses guys. I think this is the best option. Getting on/off this thing would be so much easier than a bent trike. Great deal at WalMart too. Performance has the same/similar bike for $550!
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Old 01-07-10, 01:49 PM   #9
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You could investigate possibility of hip protectors. Check out a physio reference for where to get them. You could alo look in to the possibility of bike falls causing hip breakages. I would have though wrists or head injuries would be more likely. Also if the cyclist practices falling in a safe environment it will improve their "righting" and "preventative" reactions, reducing fall risk generally.
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Old 01-09-10, 11:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpelpel View Post
I am no doctor but I do understand your Mom's concern about falling. My Mom, in her late seventies, fell in her kitchen in the Summer of 2008 backing up against her open dishwasher door while she was talking with my wife. She had forgotten the door was down. She broke her femur in a couple places, thankfully my wife was there to call for medical help. She spent four months in the hospital and rehab facility, after that she had a full year of reeducation and is only getting back to normal. Several friends of hers had broken hips from activities we, younger fellows, take for granted such as getting down on a street curb. Older people have weaker bones, it's no secret especially for women, and easily loose their balance. So I am not sure starting cycling as a beginner is a good idea at this age and certainly not on the road. On a paved trail may be but there's always something like a dog or a squirrel that can challenge your reflexes and balance.
The idea of a trike provides a balance safety but what about moving the thing around? I am not talking about rolling but getting the beast out of the home, on the car, down the car, and back in the home?
Of course exercise is recommended. What about hiking? Granted your Mom doesn't have too much joint pain, hiking provides a safe, easy, and healthy activity. And if you want her to spin (often recommend by doctors because of low impact on joints) get her a fix bike at home.
Wow, that is superbly written and flawlessly reasoned.

BAM! that just happened!

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Old 01-10-10, 05:17 PM   #11
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How about an Electra Townie?
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Old 01-10-10, 05:41 PM   #12
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Her Specialized comfort bike is just a little taller than the Townie but she can't put her feet down. We will see both the Electra and grocery getter three wheeler.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:29 PM   #13
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My wife has poor balance. She will not ride her regular bike, but she will ride a Sun EZ1 recumbent. This is Sun's low end 2 wheel recumbent. I used it for commuting to work for quite a while and then bought a Tour Easy. My wife can sit on the EZ1 with her feet squarely on the ground. The sitting position is similar to a chair. Standing up and getting off isn't difficult. Getting underway takes some practice. Unlike a regular bike, you can't use your body for balance. That is why they seem to wobble. Basically you use the steering to balance at low speed. It comes quite naturally after a few minutes of riding. Despite the low end components on the EZ1 I never had a bit of trouble with mine and everything worked smoothly. The brakes are strong and the shifting is quick and precise. The biggest drawback to the recumbent that I experienced is hill climbing. You have to gear down and spin your way to the top. Used ones are usually reasonable priced.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:53 PM   #14
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The last time I remember someone mentioning a delta trike, there was a link posted to an AARP forum that had a lot of people talking about tipping over on turns.
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