12 Reasons Why Recumbent Trikes are Perfect for Kids
Note: The triles shown here are modified adult trikes. Will suit X-seam about 76cm (30″) to about 107cm (42″).
Recumbent trikes are perfect for kids of varying abilities. Here are 12 reasons why we know this to be true …
1. High Speed Stability
With 3 wheels on the ground, recumbent trikes provide excellent stability. Cornering becomes much safer and even if you hit a lose or slippery surface, chances are you’ll still be sitting comfortably off the ground.
2. No Balancing Required
The recumbent trike supports itself as well as the rider.
3. Low Speed Stability
In fact, you can come to a complete stop and still be held in an upright and stable position. This is extremely important for youngsters who need to stop and rest … or who like to stop regularly and observe what is going on around them.
We constantly stop to observe spiders spinning webs!
The seat of the recumbent trike provides security for children as it supports and encompasses their back. It’s basically impossible for kids to fall off a recumbent trike, especially when compared to a two-wheeled bicycle or an upright tricycle!
A standard up-right tricycle has additionally high centre of gravity and in a hard cornering episode, the child’s weight can counter-lever off to the side of the steering wheel. On the recumbent tadpole trike (two wheels at the front) the child’s weight is low and well balanced. For a child with balance challenges, ideal.
5. Low and Easy
… to mount/dismount. Grab handles can be added which make getting up and down easier and safer that easily carry the full weight of even an adult rider.
6. Easy to Ride
The recumbent trike can be steered with ease and has a tight turning circle. Different types of gearing are available making riding uphill a piece of cake!
7. Assist Motors
… are available which are especially helpful for children who are building up endurance levels. They’re simple to use and operate.
The reclining seat spreads the weight of the body over a large area which eliminates pressure on one particular part of the body.
The high seat back provides more leverage when pedaling as the rider can push with his/her back against the seat.
10. Different Configurations
… of recumbents are available to suit the needs of the child and family. Tag-along trikes are available which can be connected to an adult’s bike/trike.
11. Excellent Visibility
High-visibility flags fit on each trike which make the recumbent trike very visible to traffic. Because of their unusual shape, we’ve found drivers give more room for recumbent riders. More here. The tyres have reflective panels which light up brightly when a light is shone on them.
12. Easy to Fold Up
Recumbent trikes fold up so they can fit in the boot or back of the car. This makes them easier to transport to different venues for outings. The seat and front wheels are removed via quick release mechanisms.
Okay, that’s our 12 reasons why recumbent trikes are perfect for kids. There’s just two more important things to mention …
Catering for Riders of Different Heights
These are adult-sized trikes which have been modified to suit small riders. The way the modifications have been done allows the trikes to be adjusted so as the child grows, the trike can ‘grow’ with them. This means that the trike will ‘fit’ for many years to come!
On this particular trike, which my son rides, I can ride it as well by using a chain adjustor (chain gobbler). Chain gobblers allow people of different heights to ride the same recumbent by simply making some quick alterations (using quick release mechanisms). Unlike a two wheel upright bicycle, recumbents are more critical for leg length as the seat does not adjust closer to or further away from the pedal.
That leaves the last point …
Recumbent Trikes are Heaps of Fun!
Seriously, this is true! We LOVE riding recumbent trikes! Getting kids (and adults!) outside has never been easier!
One thing we have found with some children is they find it so relaxing sitting in the recumbent position that they can forget about keeping their feet up. (warm sun, relaxed and birds singing, it’s not un-heard-of to find a young one asleep at the wheel.)
There is a fairly simple and virtually pain free solution, which is to have simple pedal straps. You can also use bicycle cleated shoes and special receptive pedals – but this can be a little more expensive as young feet tend to grow quickly. Simpler to use shoes you already have as the straps are adjustable to many different shoe sizes.
Trikes although sometimes perceived as being invisible to a driver, do have excellent visibility for a driver even from a vehicle like a 4WD.
Here is a rider less than one car length from a 4WD.
From the drivers seat:
Two flags and moving, even better.