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Tricycle vs Bicycle for the elderly

Old 03-05-10, 09:58 PM
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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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Old 03-05-10, 10:15 PM
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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.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:25 PM
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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.

https://www.pacific-cycles.com
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Old 03-05-10, 10:49 PM
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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 10:54 PM.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:51 PM
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I don't think that training wheels are designed to be used permanently.

Have you looked into Sun trikes? https://www.sunbicycles.com/product_d...l1=ADULT+TRIKE
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Old 03-06-10, 12:57 AM
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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.
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Old 03-06-10, 02:06 AM
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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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Old 03-06-10, 06:40 AM
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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.
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Old 03-06-10, 10:59 AM
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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.
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Old 03-06-10, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
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.
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Old 03-06-10, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
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.
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Old 03-06-10, 04:33 PM
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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?

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Old 03-06-10, 04:51 PM
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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.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:00 AM
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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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Old 03-07-10, 09:13 AM
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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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Old 03-07-10, 04:06 PM
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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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Old 03-18-23, 06:28 AM
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It has been many years ago, but my dad had an upright trike. It was one of those "shopping bikes" with a basket on the back. He was still riding regular bikes regularly and used the trike for hauling stuff short distances (shopping and so on).

I don't know much about training wheels on adult bikes, but don't like the sound of the idea. I'd think a fall would be likely on any uneven surfaces if the rider is unsteady enough to really need them.
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Old 03-18-23, 10:14 AM
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How about a trike that tilts? The TRIS BIKE:

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Old 03-18-23, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Elderly?? ...My wife, 72, rides hybrid and mtn bike.
That's exactly it. I have had riders 10 years older than me at 69 blast by me doing my local geriatric rides. Not to mention the Touring Cyclists coming through town doing 300 to 1500 hundred mile excursions with fully loaded bicycles... IN WINTER!

I would say start off with an economical Step-Through. A new one at WarMart would cost less thena set of Adult Training wheels. After ridding a few weeks you will be able to make a better determination of what will be appropriate.


walmart.com

NOTE: An older female rider needs to take extra precautions. A good evaluation of Proprioception and Bone Density needs to be done. I have had fairly young female athletes (50's) sustain unexpected disastrous injuries due to poor bone density. And it does not have to be a fall that does it...
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Old 03-18-23, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
That's exactly it. I have had riders 10 years older than me at 69 blast by me doing my local geriatric rides. Not to mention the Touring Cyclists coming through town doing 300 to 1500 hundred mile excursions with fully loaded bicycles... IN WINTER!

I would say start off with an economical Step-Through. A new one at WarMart would cost less thena set of Adult Training wheels. After ridding a few weeks you will be able to make a better determination of what will be appropriate.


walmart.com

NOTE: An older female rider needs to take extra precautions. A good evaluation of Proprioception and Bone Density needs to be done. I have had fairly young female athletes (50's) sustain unexpected disastrous injuries due to poor bone density. And it does not have to be a fall that does it...
Shes 85 now.
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Old 03-18-23, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuck Naill
Shes 85 now.
Certainly if you can afford it a Pedal Assisted Trike would be the ticket. The market on these buggers starts at about 1200 USD. It's debatable if these bikes will go up or down in price but I think if you get one now it will retain most of its resale value if you keep a good history on its batteries...
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Old 03-18-23, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
It has been many years ago, but my dad had an upright trike. It was one of those "shopping bikes" with a basket on the back. He was still riding regular bikes regularly and used the trike for hauling stuff short distances (shopping and so on).

I don't know much about training wheels on adult bikes, but don't like the sound of the idea. I'd think a fall would be likely on any uneven surfaces if the rider is unsteady enough to really need them.
At least somebody's keeping this thread on track. A trike is what she wants; might be an uneducated guess by her, but balance and stability on 2 wheels obviously doesn't appeal. Much of the time it doesn't appeal to me either. Now, I see a lady riding a trike regularly, and looks like she enjoys it hugely. I fancied the idea myself; still do, to bring back the childish fun I once had when I was about 4.
I discovered you could go round corners on two wheels at that age.without falling off.
Not suggesting your ma would do this for one moment (don't put the idea in her head, for goodness sake) but one with a nice basket could look good.and get her about in a new way. She'd work out quickly the stuff concerning corners, cambers etc.
These trikes aren't all expensive, nor are they light, but they're low geared to accommodate this.
I wish her well in her choice.
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Old 03-18-23, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
How about a trike that tilts? The TRIS BIKE:

TRIS BIKE
Would anybody cae to explain the point of this bike? Looks good, but why?
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Old 03-18-23, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Would anybody cae to explain the point of this bike? Looks good, but why?
The handling is far superior to a trike that won't lean. If you watch the Tour de France, you'll see many of the cameramen on the back of a three wheeled motorcycle, the Yamaha NIKEN. They are stable platforms at low speeds, and still maneuverable enough to keep up with the peloton.
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Old 03-18-23, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
The handling is far superior to a trike that won't lean. If you watch the Tour de France, you'll see many of the cameramen on the back of a three wheeled motorcycle, the Yamaha NIKEN. They are stable platforms at low speeds, and still maneuverable enough to keep up with the peloton.
Interesting! A kind of half way house. I can appreciate that system in a m/c; it'd have sufficient stability at rest so you'd not need to put your foot down. But they don't sell 'em in Blighty. And if perchance I bought one, it'd be half inched withing the hour . . .
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