January 17, 2024
Choosing Pedals Cycling Shoes A good pair of cycling shoes for a recumbent trike is an essential piece of accessory for anyone who is serious about their riding and safety – but the best shoe for you will vary depending upon the type of cycling that you do. For sporty leisure rides during the week or weekend, your journey by trike is your best partner for your fitness and cycling life style. A good shoe that safely keeps your foot on the pedal so that you don’t get heel suck and is comfortable enough to walk into your local Starbucks is a must have. When riding your trike, you want to stay fit, healthy, and have fun and the best way to do this is with a good pair of cycling shoes to increase your performance and keep your feet safe. When it comes to selecting the right pair of cycling shoes, there are a plethora of options from a huge selection of brands. Choosing the right model at the best brand can be tricky. The key variables when it comes to cycling shoes are the fastening system, the sole, the cleat style, and of course the fit – we’ve researched in detail on each of these to help choose a good casual shoe that fits the every day trike rider’s lifestyle. We’ve narrowed it down to two main items, a good comfy shoe and a pedal that securely keeps your feet from falling off pedal and getting sucked under the trike, and is easy to release when you want to get out of the trike. Now shoe models may change from year to year, but the basic concept does not, so we found that a great shoe for a trike rider is either an urban or trekking shoe. These are usually comfortable and easy to put on. We found it best to match the shoe and pedal brand together so they are designed to fit and clip together perfectly. Of all the brands out there we’ve selected Shimano SPD shoes and pedals as the easiest to clip into and fit. The easiest pedal is going to be the Shimano SPD with Click’r technology. It’s has a versatile CLICK’R binding on one side and flat pedal on the other. It has a lighter spring which is easier to catch and clip into the binding. There are a few different models, we find most riders prefer the one which allows a regular shoe with better grip on the flat side for as quick ride around the block and a clip in side for longer rides and safety. The pedals we sell online, but choosing the best cycling shoes can be a difficult process, and if done incorrectly, it can be an expensive endeavor if you get a shoe that is uncomfortable. We recommend trying the shoes out at Laid Back Cycles or your local shop. Still Deciding If Clip In Shoes Are The Way To Go? Once you’ve done the obligatory “My feet slipped off the pedal” heel suck, cleats are safer and more powerful and a lot more relaxing way to go. When you’re clipped in you don’t have to expend energy keeping your legs up on the pedals. You also get around 20% more power for climbing with cleats versus none. They also help prevent your foot from going into the front wheel spokes on a narrow trike, which could end badly. The advantage of a trekking or urban Shimano SPD shoe is that you can walk in them without clunking and the wibbly wobbly feeling of leaning forward of an extended out cleat! For even more performance you can buy good stiff soled MTB shoes over a urban shoe. A stiff sole is important for efficiency and also protects your foot against hot-spot or localized pressure and numbness. You can also find SPD Sandals which works for regular or wider feet. For adaptive pedals check out TerraTrike Platform Pedals. Also, remember we are here to help with your recumbent cycling needs. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call, schedule an appointment to drop by or use the website chat box for a quick response.
September 01, 2023
History of the Recumbent Tricycle The recumbent adult tricycle or “trike” continues to grow in popularity. Recumbent trikes are, to many people, the ultimate ride offering comfort, stability, and staying power. So, how did the modern trike reach its current state and popularity? Let’s look at the history of the recumbent tricycle and the many changes this little machine has experienced since its conception way back in the late 1800s. It Starts with the Safety Bike We actually have to look at the history of the bike first. It was in the late 1890s that we see the first geared recumbents appear after the invention of the popular “safety bike” by J.K. Starley and Sutton in 1884. The safety bike was the closest to the bikes we ride today, with two wheels of the same size, a center saddle and peddles with a chain. It brought riders closer to the ground, making it easier to mount the bike, unlike the cumbersome and frankly perilous “velocipede” or “penny farthing” bikes of earlier days. The safety bike is the template still used today, offering better control, sturdier frames, and an improved bike riding experience. Which Leads to the “Normal” Bike Now, back to recumbents. Charles Challand, an Italian professor living in Geneva, designed what he dubbed the “Normal Bicycle,” the first geared recumbent bike. This precursor to today’s recumbent got its name because, in the eyes of the professor, riding in a reclined position was more natural than awkwardly hunching over the bars of a safety bike. Now, we can go on and on about the many variants of the normal bike but let’s long-story-short-it instead: 1896: Irving Wales of Rhode Island creates a recumbent with hand drive that works like a rowing machine to propel the bike forward, relying on the arms as opposed to the legs. 1901: Harold Jarvis of Buffalo creates a longer wheelbase recumbent with a smaller front wheel and standard rear wheel, steered with a chain-and-sprocket link known as the sofa bike. 1905: P. W. Bartlett of Richmond, England, creates a short wheelbase with the front wheel much smaller at just 16 inches but with the addition of a comfy chair. 1914: A similar design to the sofa bike, an Italian inventor by the name of Guglielmo introduces a steering wheel instead of handlebars. At the same time, a long-wheelbase recumbent bicycle appears in France with possible ties to car company Peugeot, with a much larger rear wheel of 26 inches. 1921: Australian Paul Jaray working for the Zeppelin company, develops a treadle-driven recumbent dubbed the J-Rad, which became widely popular for middle-class families in the Netherlands. The 1930s Recumbent Boom We eventually end up in the mid-1930s when interest in recumbents hit a boom in Europe. Italian engineer Ernesto Pettazzoni developed the Velocino, an ultra-short-wheelbase semi-recumbent machine with a tiny 10-inch front wheel and standard rear wheel. Apparently, Mussolini commissioned the Velocino for easy urban transportation, but World War II put an end to that. We see many iterations of the recumbent through the 1930s, including: 1934: The Kington, designed by F. H. Grubb Ltd. of Brixton features a long-wheelbase with under-seat steering and 20-inch wheels with a welded “stretched” diamond frame and the more recognizable low seat. This leads to the Velocycle with a single main tube replacing the diamond frame, which is closer to the recumbents we see today. 1935: The Moller Auto-Cycle is introduced by Holger Møller of Copenhagen and manufactured by Triumph in England with an indirect steering system and steering wheel. The same year the French Ravat-Wonder factory produces the Ravat Horizontal designed by Henri Martin, which led to the sports version with a 28-inch rear wheel with Reynolds lightweight tubing. All told, the most popular was Charles Mochet’s Vélo-Vélocars which is too long a story to share here. We’ll fast forward to 1932 when the Vélo-Vélocar receives the Grand Prix Lepine for indirect steering for recumbent cycles. The following summer a racing version of the recumbent broke records for 5-kilometer, 10-kilometer, 20-kilometer, 30-kilometer, 40-kilometer, and 50-kilometer showing the world recumbents were much faster than standard bikes. The many race-focused refinements that came after made this recumbent the most influential of 1930s designs. Henri Martin, a worker of Mochet’s, went on to invent the iconic Ravat Horizontal in 1934. Picking Up Production While a few things went on in the 1940s, it isn’t until 1964 that the design of the Velocino gets a second chance thanks to Dutch manufacturer Union. They create the Strano designed by Bernard Overing of Deventer, and the next year, Emil Friedman of Germany shows off his take on the same idea with his “Donkey cycle.” In 1968, Captain Dan Henry builds a long-wheelbase recumbent with sprung 27-inch front wheels. However, smaller front wheels are preferred because they have higher rolling resistance, weigh less, and have less air resistance for better steering. In 1967, David Gordon Wilson holds a cycle-design competition with first prize going to the recumbent Bicar designed by W. G. Lydiard. In 1972, H. Frederick Willkie II of Berkeley, California, designs a short-wheelbase recumbent called Green Planet Special 1, inspired by Wilson and unknowingly very similar to the Ravat Horizontal. His improvements to his design include the following: Lower cranks Moving the small front wheel back to clear the rider’s heels Under-seat steering Improved seat, wheelbase, and geometry The Finish Line There are endless versions of recumbents in the 70s and 80s, from the Avatar 2000 to the Bluebell and the Easy Racer to the Vector. But these recumbents were all about racing and speed. It took a lot of technical advancements to get to where we are today with recumbent trikes sold in the mainstream. However, it was worth the wait. Their low-to-the-ground position makes it almost (almost) impossible to tip over, the absence of “handlebars” takes the pressure off the wrists, arms and neck, and the wide seat avoids the infamous saddle soreness or crotch pain of the traditional bike seat. The reclined position also reduces stress on the entire body, and knee pain is greatly reduced or even eliminated after long rides. If you are interested in taking a modern recumbent trike out for a spin, pop into Laid Back Cycles.
July 14, 2023
A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Used Trikes: Avoiding Costly Pitfalls If you're in the market for a used trike, it's important to navigate the process with caution. While there are numerous options available on platforms like Craigslist and eBay, purchasing a pre-owned trike requires careful inspection and consideration. This guide aims to equip you with essential knowledge to avoid potential setbacks and ensure you make a wise investment. We'll address common issues, explore pricing factors, and provide valuable tips to help you make an informed decision. 1. Assessing the Condition Before finalizing a used trike purchase, it's crucial to thoroughly inspect the vehicle. While you can opt for professional assistance at a local shop, conducting a preliminary evaluation is highly recommended. Here are key areas to focus on: a) Seat and Frame: Check for any visible damage or signs of wear, such as loose parts or stress marks on the frame. Ensure the seat is secure and in good condition, as replacement costs can be substantial. b) Gearing and Pedals: Examine the gears and pedals to ensure they function smoothly and do not exhibit excessive wear or looseness. c) Chain and Hub Mounts: Check the chain for stretching or rust, as well as the hub mounts for stability. Trike chains are longer and costlier to replace, so it's essential to assess their condition carefully. d) Brakes: Verify the condition of the brakes and determine if they have the desired locking feature for added safety. Older models may lack this functionality. e) Tires: Inspect the tires for signs of wear, including cracks or dryness. Keep in mind that unused tires can also deteriorate over time, so be prepared for potential replacements. 2. Age and Availability of Parts The age of a used trike significantly affects its value and maintenance. Older models may be more challenging to find parts for, increasing repair costs and potential frustrations. Consider the following factors: a) Trike Age: Trikes that are three years old or less are generally more reliable, as they benefit from modern design and technology. As the trike's age increases, the availability of parts and the risk of underlying issues tend to rise as well. b) Manufacturer Support: Being the second owner of a trike often voids any lifetime or extended warranties that the original owner enjoyed. Understanding the manufacturer's warranty policy and assessing the support available for used trikes is crucial before making a purchase. 3. Pricing and Value Assessment Determining whether a used trike is priced fairly requires careful evaluation. Here are some guidelines to consider when assessing the value: a) Trike Age and Condition: Factor in the age, overall condition, and functionality of the trike. Consider the cost of potential repairs or necessary replacements to arrive at an accurate estimate. b) Resale Value: Keep in mind that used trikes typically depreciate in value. While resale value may not be your primary concern, it's essential to avoid overpaying for a trike that may not hold its value well over time. c) Consider New Options: Compare the price of the used trike with similar new models. Sometimes, investing a bit more for a new trike can provide greater peace of mind, warranty coverage, and access to updated features and technologies. 4. Where to Look When searching for used trikes, several platforms can help you find suitable options: a) Local Marketplaces: Websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace often have local listings, enabling you to inspect the trike in person before finalizing a purchase. This allows you to assess its condition and negotiate with the seller directly. b) Online Auctions: Platforms like eBay offer a wider range of options, but it's important to exercise caution. Ensure the seller provides accurate information, and consider any additional costs, such as shipping or potential return challenges. c) Local Dealers: Visiting a reputable local trike dealer offers numerous advantages. They can provide expert advice, assess the condition of used trikes, and may even offer warranties or guarantees. Supporting local businesses also helps build community connections. Conclusion When buying a used trike, it's crucial to perform a thorough evaluation, consider the trike's age, assess the availability of parts, and carefully analyze pricing. While cost-saving is a factor, prioritize finding a trike that suits your needs, offers long-term reliability, and brings you joy. Whether you choose to purchase from an online platform or a local dealer, taking the time to research, inspect, and make an informed decision will ensure a satisfying and rewarding trike ownership experience. Watch the Video: VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 0:02 - 0:04: Hey there, in this video, I want to give you some advice on how to avoid getting a bad deal when purchasing a used trike. But first, let's address the missing part on this trike's seat. Stay tuned, because I'll be checking out trikes online later to determine if they're good or bad deals.0:08 - 0:30: There are many used trikes available on platforms like Craigslist and eBay, or you might find one in your neighborhood. However, before buying a used trike, it's crucial to inspect it thoroughly or have it checked by a professional to avoid potential issues and unexpected expenses. As for the missing seat cover on this trike, it was obtained used, and the previous owner gave it away for free due to a stuck crank and a broken seat. If you're the first owner, you usually have the advantage of a warranty on the frame, but if you're the second owner, that warranty may not apply.0:32 - 1:45: When buying a used trike, it's important to consider the age of the trike. Older trikes may be harder to find parts for and could have more problems, even if they haven't been used much. Regular maintenance is crucial, as neglecting it can lead to various issues. For example, certain models require the replacement of specific parts to prevent frame wear. It's generally safer to buy a trike that is newer, as it's less likely to have significant problems compared to one that is five or ten years old. Be aware that older models may have outdated technology or parts that are no longer available.1:46 - 5:00: When assessing a used trike, pay attention to various factors. Check if the gears, pedals, chain, and hub mounts are in good condition. Examine the brakes and see if they have a locking mechanism. Inspect the seat and the frame for stress marks or cracks. Consider the condition of the tires, as even unused tires can degrade over time. Keep in mind that you might need to invest additional money in tires or repairs, so be cautious. Sometimes, the cost of fixing a used trike can be comparable to buying a new one.5:00 - 6:58: To determine if the price of a used trike is reasonable, consider its age and condition. Trikes older than three years may be challenging to evaluate accurately. If the trike is over ten years old, the value decreases significantly. Consulting a local dealer or getting the trike assessed by a professional can help determine if it's a good deal. Buying from a local shop provides benefits such as warranty coverage, better product quality, and community support.6:58 - 13:05: To find used trikes, you can search platforms like Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. However, be cautious about inaccurate age information provided by sellers. It's generally safer to buy locally and from a reputable shop. Shopping at a local dealer ensures a professional has inspected the trike and allows you to ask questions about its condition, warranty, and potential issues. Additionally, local shops often organize group rides and build a supportive community.13:06 - 17:00: Let's now check out a few trikes online to assess their value. Keep in mind that without further inspection, it's challenging to determine if a specific deal is good or bad. A blue Rover trike priced at $875 seems to be in decent condition, but it may be older. Another listing features a TerraTrike Rambler with a motor for $5,000. While it may seem appealing, the older motor and potential battery replacement costs should be considered. A GreenSpeed GT26 priced at $2,500 appears to be a folding trike in good condition, but a shop inspection is necessary for a comprehensive assessment.17:00 - 18:47: Ultimately, buying a trike is about finding something comfortable, enjoyable, and beneficial for your health and lifestyle. Focus on finding a trike that suits your needs and preferences, rather than solely focusing on saving money. Visiting a local shop with a wide selection of models allows you to try different trikes and make an informed decision. If you're interested in learning more about recumbent trikes, feel free to download our free Trike Buying Guide from the description below.Note: The transcript has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
January 12, 2023
STAY FIT OVER 50 - TOP 10 FUN WAYS For active people, it is very difficult to admit that it's becoming harder and harder to stay active with age. However, there are many ways we can all stay fit over 50 and continue to enjoy an active, healthier life. Here we count down the top ten fun ways to stay fit over 50. 10. Yoga Yoga works on slow movements and deep breathing. As a result, you increase blood flow and warm up muscles. Holding various positions builds strength and maintains a better sense of balance. Benefits include: Improved flexibility Stress relief and improved mental health Assists in reducing inflammation Increased strength Improved balance Improved cardiovascular functioning Improved sleep 9. Dancing Whether you were a dancing king or queen in the 70s, enjoy a good polka, or have never danced in your life, dancing is a fun way to stay fit. It's all about choosing the music you love and simply moving to the music. Just dance like nobody's watching. You can dance at home alone, throw a dance party with friends or take to the clubs to enjoy this extremely physical and enjoyable form of exercise. Benefits include: Improved heart and lung health Increased muscular strength Improved endurance Better motor and aerobic fitness Toned, strengthened muscles Weight loss and management Stronger bones Improved agility, balance, and coordination 8. Swimming Swimming is another great way to get some exercise in without too much pressure and wear and tear on your muscles and bones. If you can't swim, it's never too late to learn. You're sure to find swimming classes at your local recreational center. As well you can also choose to take aqua aerobic classes with many benefits, including: Burns more calories than jogging Slows down the aging process Good exercise for people with asthma Activates the muscles Gets the blood flowing and heart pumping 7. Running If you're feeling a lot more enthusiastic about exercise, you can also consider taking up running. Many people discover running later in life and love the challenge of building up their stamina and participating in local marathons. Although running is harder on the body, when done right and using the right shoes, you can really improve your overall health, maintain a healthier weight and look and feel your best. You’ll also: Reduce cancer risk Keep your mind sharp Improve joint health Reduce stress Enjoy some peace and solitude Improve cardio health 6. Hiking Although you're probably thinking hiking is just walking, there's a little bit more to hiking than meets the eye. When hiking, you're getting into some more challenging paths with more hills and varying levels of exertion. You can explore exciting trails and become more in tune with nature. Benefits of hiking include: Good for cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke A boost to bone health as a weight-bearing exercise 5. Tennis Tennis is probably one of the most fun sports out there. It takes some exertion but at the same time, you don't really notice how much you're working because it's just so much fun. You can also choose other racket-related sports like racquetball or squash. All of these activities are also very social, and you'll probably find it's quite addictive. Tennis offers tons of benefits, including: Increased aerobic capacities Lowered resting heart rate and blood pressure Improved metabolic function Increased bone density Reduced body fat Improved muscle tone Improved strength and flexibility Increased reaction times 4. Kayaking and Canoeing Getting out on the water kayaking or canoeing is a wonderful way to explore nature and also relax and just take in the beauty around you. It's also something that can be done on urban waterways, so if you live near a river, lake or ocean, you can take to the waters and give yourself a relaxing but surprisingly beneficial workout, including: Improved cardiovascular fitness Increased muscle strength in the back, arms, shoulders, and chest Increased torso and leg strength 3. Walking No doubt, walking is the most accessible activity for people who are still mobile. It just takes 30 minutes a day to get in a good healthy amount of activity, not to mention take in some fresh air and sunshine. Walking is easy because it doesn't require any equipment and can be done anywhere, anytime. Whether you grab a friend, do it solo, walk in your spare time or enjoy a nice brisk walk on your lunch hour, just pop in some earbuds and head out to enjoy these benefits: Maintain a healthy weight Lose body fat Prevent or manage serious conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, etc. Improve cardiovascular fitness Strengthen bones and build muscle Improve physical endurance Increase energy levels 2. Cycling That brings us to cycling. You'll have to invest in a good bike. But once you've got it, the bike will provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Cycling gives you more staying power and allows you to explore local paths and the great outdoors. You can also start cycling to work if you choose and use your bike to run your daily errands, such as grabbing a bottle of wine for dinner or picking up some groceries. Cycling is also a great thing to do with friends and family and allows you to go further than you would when out walking or running. Cycling also: Improves strength and flexibility Helps improve coordination and balance Provides a multipurpose workout Contributes to mental health Helps manage conditions like arthritis because it’s low impact 1. Recumbent Trikes And number one – drum roll, please: The recumbent trike. Trikes offer the best of all worlds when it comes to fun exercise over 50. It has all the same joys that you get from walking and cycling but none of the stress put on your muscles and bones. You get the benefit of aerobics and also increase staying power because of the reclined, comfortable position. You spread the weight over a larger surface area, so it is a far more comfortable ride than a traditional bike. You also reduce the stress and pressure on your back, shoulders, neck, and wrists. Benefits of the recumbent trike include: Improved strength and flexibility A good multipurpose workout Improved mental health Low-impact exercise to manage conditions like arthritis Improve cardiovascular fitness Strengthen bones and build muscle Improve physical endurance Reduced body fat If you’d like more information on recumbent trikes, stop by Laid Back Cycles. We’re here to help explain the benefits and take you out for a spin.
January 02, 2023
Top Smartphone Apps for Cyclists and Trike Riders If you’re a tech geek like us, you’re likely looking for the latest apps. Here we look at the top Smartphone apps for cyclists and trike riders. Strava If you trike with a group of friends, Strava makes it easy to keep up with each other. The app allows you to record and upload your rides without needing one app as a GPS and another for social sharing. You can also rank your times based on your group’s favorite trails and share the GPS map so your buddies can try out the same experiences. Known as segments, the trails can also be tracked in real-time with speeds, so you know how well you’re performing on more challenging legs of the trail. You can follow fellow trikers, keep up with their rides, and even comment and congratulate friends on their accomplishments. MapMyRide This does precisely what it says, allowing you to map and track routes. It also provides monitoring for things like nutrition and weight. If you pay to go up a level, you can also create training plans and enjoy things like live tracking you can share. This app does have ads unless you go with the premium version. Bikemap Another route-planning and navigation app, Bikemap’s real-time updates are a great tool to share alerts with fellow Bikemap users like flooded-out trails. This is kind of cool, especially for urban riders who are more likely to encounter daily issues like traffic jams, closed roads, construction, etc. You can access an archive of user-generated routes shared by seven million users, so you're bound to find some in your neck of the woods. The free app can be upgraded to premium to access 3D views of your planned routes which are also kind of cool. Google Maps While this might seem like a big yawn, the combination of Google Search and maps makes it a great tool. If you want to find a place for coffee or a smoothie when visiting uncharted territory, this is the quickest and easiest tool to use. It can also show you the most bike-friendly routes to get there from your current location. Komoot We can’t deny Google Maps reigns supreme, but Komoot is helpful too. It uses the OpenStreetMap database to help you plan your rides, whether you’re traveling by road, commuting, or hitting offroad trails. Komoot is all about the most efficient route, not just based on your location but also your fitness level and the condition of the route. In fact, it ranks routes based on difficulty and fitness levels and tells you the types of road surfaces you’ll encounter. If you choose a route. it will also provide speeds, travel distances and how much further you have to go. Local recommendations are provided by Komoot ambassadors. Ride with GPS This is a very user-friendly interface designed to record trips with a tap. If you tend to travel off the grid, the app also works offline. You’ll also benefit from elevation profiles so you can predict major hills. Rides are shared in real-time. If you’re interested in comments, the app will read them aloud as you ride. Since it’s in real-time, it’s great motivation to keep going on difficult rides. The free app is good enough, but you can opt for the basic subscription if you’re interested in live logging or publishing ride reports. Wahoo Fitness Moving on to fitness apps, Wahoo is all about integration and data. It is compatible with things like Bluetooth sensors, heart-rate monitors, speed sensors, etc. and sharable with apps like Strava, MapMyFitness, TrainingPeaks, MyFitnessPal. It also provides eight pages of data with categories that include speed, power, and heart rate. Of course, it also includes a GPS map, but just be aware it will drain your battery juice fast. TrainingPeaks If your ride is all about fitness and personal bests, TrainingPeaks offers comprehensive training plans backed by metrics. It’s also the app of choice for cycling coaches. If you are a high-performance athlete who loves to eat up data and track your performance, you’ll love this app. You’ll be right on top of your fitness and fatigue levels. However, this app is all about you, so if you want a social aspect to the app, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Cyclemeter Cyclemeter is along the lines of Wahoo Fitness but is more customizable. It also provides post-ride analysis with data stored on your smartphone. It is integrated with Google Maps, and as you ride, you can use your iPhone earphone remote button to start and stop rides. It works with other apps like Strava, Facebook, Twitter (if it’s still around!), etc., so you can import and export routes. Elite HRV If you want to keep challenging yourself without killing yourself, this app tells you when you have reached the level to ramp it up. It tracks your heart rate variability (HRV) and provides data with markers so you understand your recovery times. You can then determine when you are ready to manage a more challenging training load. It runs with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and offers free unlimited data storage. You can tag notes so you have more details about your experience, such as stress levels or mood, keeping your performance in context. The longer you use it, the better the insights. Wahoo SYSTM If you use a trainer for your trike, Wahoo SYSTM is an indoor training app providing simulations of real-world climbs. It’s not a virtual world per se, but it provides simulations of pro-race finales or ride along real-world roads through videos. You can also pick and choose workouts with some outdoor options. Zwift The real deal for indoor riding, Zwift works with an internet connection and a collection of virtual roads you can ride or race with Zwift users. It is also an efficient training tool with workouts and training plans, but the true focus is social interaction. Rouvy Augmented reality and route videos offer a very real-life experience. Actual road and elevation data enhance video recordings by taking elevations into consideration, so you feel like you’re actually there. These apps offer something for any type of rider, whether you love a leisurely ride in unfamiliar towns, want to beat local traffic for your commute, or are seriously training and challenging your fitness levels.
November 30, 2022
Does Size Matter for Trike Wheels? There are a lot of things to consider when buying your first recumbent trike. One thing that might have you stumped is whether the size of the trike wheels matter. What’s better? How does size impact the ride, safety, or even the look of the trike? There are many questions about wheel size you might want to be answered. Here we explain why you might consider one size over another with a technical overview broken down into layman’s terms. What Do You Want From Your Ride? We always tell our customers the type of trike features they choose all depend on what they want from their ride. For example, if you want the fastest ride possible, you’re looking at a 26-inch fast wheel. That’s because as soon as you put your foot on the pedal, it does a full rotation, so it pushes farther and faster. If you love the challenge of steep hills or happen to live in a particularly hilly area, a 20-inch wheel, with the small size and right gear ratio, allows you to climb hills with less effort. If you want a little of A and a little of B, the 24-inch wheel is right in the middle. Is It Just About the Wheels? That’s a good question. The gearing can help compensate for any wheel size. For example, a trike that has 16-inch wheels, in theory, are too small if you want to go fast. However, it is fast because it has the right gearing to go with it. As a result, it provides the speed and handling we love. Wheel size does impact how a trike works, but manufacturers compensate for any possible challenges using gearing. It really has more to do with the trike design rather than just the wheel size. The wheel size makes some difference, but it is not everything. And that’s why you’re probably not going to feel much difference just by changing out the wheel. Gear is not the only thing manufacturers consider. The wheel also affects how the designers make the frames. For example, a race trike has a longer wheelbase that tracks straighter at the expense of handling. As a result, a trike like the GTS has a slightly shorter wheelbase. They still use a larger wheel, which has more to do with options for gearing. With standard gearing and a 20-inch wheel, you’re not going to get your speed higher than 18 to 20 miles an hour. Most of us don’t go that fast, so it’s not a problem. But for the real speedsters out there, it can make a real difference, especially going downhill. Why is Gear So Important? Gear is important because wheel size can limit gearing capabilities. Smaller wheels put limitations on gearing. As a result, choosing the wrong gear can mean you don’t have enough chain. For example, a 20-inch wheel is better if you need low gears for things like toting heavier loads or hitting hilly trails. You need more leg power, so lower gears are best. If you need higher gears, the 26-inch wheel is better at holding higher speeds, especially on rougher terrain. You’re looking at a 700c for a racing bike, as they are the fastest around while making high gears easier to access. How Does Wheel Size Impact the Look? When it comes down to it, it often is all about looks. Before even worrying about wheel size, check out the trikes on display and decide which one appeals to your sense of aesthetics. Then you can find out the wheel size and other components to see if it’s a good fit. If this isn’t important to you, you can focus on other features to help narrow down your choices. Other Considerations for Wheel Size There are a few other considerations when it comes to wheel size. For example, some people like a 20-inch wheel on the front and the back. Why is this such a big deal? You can carry one tube in your emergency repair kit for flats instead of needing two tubes for a 20-24 or 20-26 inch trike. It’s not a big thing, but it does make it more convenient. You also have to consider the overall size of the trike in relation to your vehicle or your storage space. The 20-inch is going to be the shorter one, so that’ll be easier to fit in the car or in a smaller apartment. If you want a larger wheel, it’s only going to fit in something like an SUV or pickup truck unless you go for a trike that folds. The folding trike is becoming more popular as people opt for smaller living spaces and smaller fuel-efficient vehicles. What About the Front Wheels? Another great question. Recumbent trike front wheels normally come in one size -- 20-inch. This is because the smaller size tends to be stronger. When you consider how you ride the trike, the front wheels face higher forces than the wheels at the back. Because of this, if the wheel on the front was larger, it wouldn’t have the resistance required to stand up to things like turns. Remember, recumbent wheel size is a decision made by engineers who understand how the front wheel stands up to the punishment of even the harshest ride. As a result, there’s a lot of thought put into wheel design and diameter. Every detail of the wheel impacts performance and strength, including spoke angle and size. So, what we’re saying here is, if, for some reason, you have a sudden urge to replace your 20-inch front wheel with a bigger front wheel, resist the urge. It’s all about balance, strength, and engineering when it comes to front wheels. There you have it. Wheel size does matter, and it all depends on the type of ride you prefer. The larger the wheel, the faster the speed and the smaller the wheel, the less effort it takes to tackle things like hills or heavy loads. Video Transcript Laid-Back Mickey here, going over does size matters in wheels? 20-inch wheels, 24-inch wheels, 26-inch wheels, what does it matter and why would you want to get one over the other? In this video we will have a special guest, Master Tech James, go over the technical side of the wheel choosing process. So, let’s check it out and here we go! People ask me all the time, “What’s the difference between a 20-inch wheel, a 24-inch wheel, and a 26-inch wheel” and “Why would I want one over the other?” I have a lot of people go “I want the fastest wheel possible.” So, I say, maybe we’re going into a 26-inch fast wheel that right when you push the pedal it’s doing a full rotation and it’s pushing off further. Some people will say that they need to climb hills a lot better and a 20-inch wheel, with the small size and the gear ratio, allows you to climb the hills a little better. And the 24-inch wheel is right in the middle. It’s that simple, but the gearing can be compensated for any of the wheels. So, one of my favorite trikes was a Green Speed GT and that one had 16-inch wheels. It was fast, but it had the right gearing to go with it. When it comes down to it, it’s about the looks. You figure out if you like the look of a 26-inch or 20-inch. Do you like the fact that a 20-inch has a 20-inch on the front and the back, which that allows you to carry one tube compared to a 20-24 or 20-26 inch which makes you have to carry two tubes when you are out on the road in case you get a flat tire? Which, hey, get thorn resistant tires if you don’t want a flat tire. And the cool thing is that some people ask “which one fits easier in my car?” Well, the 20-inch is going to be the shorter one so that’ll be easier to fit in the car. With the 26-inch you’ll have to either have a small SUV or maybe you get one that folds in order to fit it inside. Now let’s go ahead and talk to Master Tech James and see what the technical side of it is.Hi, I’m James the Master Technician of Laid-Back Cycles. So, the wheel size from a technical aspect does have little consequences on how they work. But in the big picture it doesn’t matter because the manufacturers compensate by gearing and it really has more to do with the trike design rather than just the wheel size. The wheel size makes some difference, but it is not everything. And that’s why the vast majority of us don’t really feel a whole lot of difference just by changing out the wheel. However, the wheel does affect how the designers make the frames. Like this race trike over here, longer wheelbase things track straighter at the expense of handling. Which is why the GTS has a slightly shorter wheelbase. They still use a larger wheel and that has more to do with options of gearing. With a standard gearing and with a 20-inch wheel we find 18 to 20 miles an hour is as fast as you’re going. Most of us don’t go that fast so it’s not a problem. But for the real speedsters it can make a real difference, especially on a downhill. So, it is easy to go into a rabbit hole on wheel sizes, but the truth is most of the manufacturers pick specific wheel sizes for what they are doing with the trikes. The number one reason that people get larger wheels in our experience is it looks good. Thanks James for the technical side of dust size matter and wheels. So, 20-inch wheels will help you go up the hill easier and 26-inch wheels will help you get going faster from the get-go. But you know, what if you don’t have the strength to go up the hill, what if you don’t have the strength to go faster, and you want to keep up with your friends? Check out this next video and I’ll show you how you can go up hills faster, keep up with your friends better, and we will see you on the next video.
November 03, 2022
Direct vs Indirect Steering We often have customers ask if they should go with direct or indirect steering for their recumbent trike. There really isn’t an easy answer, as it all depends on personal preference. One is not better than the other, and instead, you want to see which feels right for you. How one rides versus the other depends a lot on the overall design. There are a lot of design decisions that will affect the feel, including the design of the handlebars, the angle of the head tubes on both systems, and the engineer’s vision when they designed the overall trike. Here we look at direct versus indirect steering to “steer” you in the right direction for your trike purchase. What is Indirect Steering? Indirect steering essentially puts the steering on a bearing underneath the seat and operates two tire rods. A plate is attached to the axis, which turns when the handlebars turn. Because of the way it's levered, it takes a lot less energy to move. Although you might find the initial movement is less, as you turn, it turns the wheel more. This can give you a little bit more stability when you're going really fast. It also gives you a great turn radius which is perfect when you're on a single-lane bike path. However, if you love the rougher paths, you might feel less connected to the road and therefore not as much in control as you’d like. We find Greenspeed has one of the best steering systems out there. You can easily steer with one hand, and you aren’t likely to find it feels jittery at all. When you turn, it has a natural progressive feeling that you’ll appreciate. Pros of Indirect Steering When looking at the advantages of indirect steering, it’s all about enjoying less wheel vibration through the handlebars, which many riders find more comfortable. As well, if you tend to ride rougher trails, the indirect steering linkage absorbs some of that bounce you experience on uneven paths. When you combine indirect steering with front suspension, you can tame those rough roads and enjoy a better ride. Indirect steering also takes those turns nice and smooth, so you might feel safer. Cons of Indirect Steering Now on the less positive side of things, indirect steering can make you feel disconnected from the road, which can be a little disorienting if you like to go fast. Some people find this feels like they have less control, so if speed’s your thing, you might not like indirect steering as much. Keep in mind many people just need time to get used to how indirect steering feels at high speeds. If you ride a lot, the complex design of indirect steering can become harder to maintain, such as toe-in adjustments that are more complicated. What is Direct Steering? Direct steering has handlebars connected directly to the wheels. This has several advantages because, like a sports car, you enjoy the feeling of being directly connected to the road. You actually feel everything, allowing you to correct when you hit little bumps or divots on the path. As a result, your reaction time is better because you have more input. That said, some riders might find this unpleasant, especially at higher speeds where everything becomes more pronounced. Direct steering is a simpler system run through a single tie rod. For example, the Gran Tourismo’s direct steering is very well-planted. You can feel the road, and you’ll have total control over it. You can move with little effort, even using one hand. Pros of Direct Steering The main advantage of direct steering is you enjoy a better road feel. This is especially appreciated when you hit higher speeds. You’ll also find because it has a simpler design, maintenance is a lot easier than indirect steering, including adjusting toe-in. Cons of Direct Steering You’ll definitely notice more wheel vibration on rough roads, so you’ll need to keep your hands and arms relaxed to avoid getting jarred when you hit bumps. Which is Better: Direct or Indirect Steering? So, that still leaves us with the question, which is better indirect or direct steering? And it still leaves us with the same answer: it depends on what one feels the best for you. To help determine which side of the fence you probably sit on, here’s a look at the ride experience: Indirect Ride: If you travel fast, on smoother terrain and want to put less effort into steering, you might find indirect steering feels better. Also, if you tend to travel on smooth, single-lane paths, you’ll have less worry about those tight turns. You’ll enjoy less wheel vibration through the handlebars, and the trike will absorb more bounce when on rougher terrain for a smoother ride. As long as you don’t long to feel that true connection to the road and aren’t turned off by the fact the indirect steering trike is higher maintenance, this could be a good place to start. Direct Ride: If you live for a good road feel, high speeds and less predictable trails, the direct ride might feel better for you. You’ll always have that connection to the road, so feel you have more control. You’ll also enjoy the added benefit of easier maintenance. Just keep in mind this can also translate into a bumpier ride that can feel a little jarring. When it comes right down to it, you might not really notice much difference between the two types of steering. Where you will find the difference, or more aptly feel the difference is in the ride experience itself. You have to consider the trike as a whole, as opposed to the individual features and components. Triking is all about the experience, so you want to choose a model that makes you feel comfortable on the types of trails you tend to travel. If you are ready to take some trikes out for a test drive, the team at Laid Back Cycles is ready to help. We can discuss your preferred ride, physical ability and even things like storage so we can recommend the best models to take out for a spin. Video Transcript Hi, this is James, Master Trike technician at Laid Back Cycles. Today we are going over direct steering versus indirect steering. Which one is better? Okay, I got you there. One is not really better than the other, they are just different. Indirect steering essentially puts the steering on a bearing underneath the seat and operates two tire rods. Because of the way it's levered it takes a lot less energy to move. Also, the wheels can be engineered because of how they have the tire rods. The initial movement is less but as you turn, it turns the wheel more. This can give you a little bit more stability when you're going really fast; and also gives you a really good turn radius for when you're on a bike path and you have a single lane. Now direct steering also has this advantage. As its name implies the handlebars are directly connected to the wheels. This has several advantages because like a sports car you are directly connected to the road. You actually feel everything, and you can correct when you have those little bumps or little divots inside of the road. You can react to it a little bit more because there's more input to the driver of the trike. It's a simpler system run through us a single tie rod. How it rides versus the indirect depends a lot on the frame designs and the steering designs. A whole bunch of things will affect the feel. The design of the handlebars, the angle of the head tubes on both systems, and what the engineer was thinking when they designed the overall trike. So, we're going to take these things outside and show you a little bit about the differences. The direct steering is very well planted. You can feel the road, you have total control over it, and the ability to move it is actually not that hard. You can do it with one hand pretty easily. This system on this Gran Tourismo is perfect. The Greenspeed, especially the GT20, has one of the best steering systems out there. One hand is real easy and it's not jittery in any sense. And when you turn it has a natural progressive feeling. This thing is great. So, we just got back from our ride over here and as you can see, in actual practice, there's not a whole lot of difference between the two different types of steering. There is a difference in feel though; so you might prefer one or the other. But again the trike is more important than the steering. You should be able to feel comfortable in it before you even get to that point. And then from there if you have two trikes that you like and one happens to be direct steering and one is indirect, pick the one you're most comfortable with. But if you want to know more about the subject you should check out this next video.
October 28, 2022
Affordable Recumbent Trikes in 2022 The cost of recumbent trikes can sometimes throw our customers off track. Recumbent trikes are specialty items filling a niche market. Because of this, simply put, they ain’t cheap. However, because they are becoming more mainstream, we have seen some price drops as more trikes hit the assembly lines. Here we explain what we mean by an affordable recumbent trike based on the competitive pricing we’ve seen in 2022. Cheap vs. Affordable in Recumbent Trike Terms First, it’s important to understand the difference between cheapness and affordability. Ask any elite brand in any category, from fashion to cars and trikes to computers, and they’ll always say cheap infers poor quality, while affordability is all about value. Because you get what you pay for, investing a few hundred or even a thousand dollars less in your trike honestly means you won’t be riding the safest trike. It also means you’re going to run into more problems with the trike, including broken parts and an unpleasant ride. So, when you’re shopping for a recumbent adult trike, the last thing you want is to look for the cheapest brand. Instead, you want to look for the brands and models that offer the best value. What Price is Considered Affordable for Adult Recumbent Trikes? What would we consider an affordable trike? Our affordable trikes range between $1500 and $2750. If this seems like a lot, remember you’re getting far more value in this price range. This translates into a longer-lasting trike that is a joy to ride. It also means fewer breakdowns and costly parts replacements. Although a cheap trike might cost less upfront, you’re investing in a trike that is likely to prove too uncomfortable to ride. We also like to point out to our customers that it does not cost $1,500 to $2,750 every time you ride the trike or each year you own it. It’s a one-time cost that can be broken down into affordable monthly payments. You’re looking at between $125 to $230 a month for a year. That’s very affordable, and once your year is done, so are your payments. Easy peasy. Value Increases Enjoyment and Use We’ve met a lot of customers looking to upgrade their recumbent. Many share something in common: They chose the cheaper model first. And we get this. You really don’t want to invest upwards of $1,500 for a trike you might never use. But here’s the irony in that: A cheap, poorly designed recumbent trike lacks all the benefits of a higher value model. Therefore, you won’t enjoy the ride, so it ends up in storage, and you end up in front of your computer or TV. When you invest in the right trike, you’ll get far more use out of it, not just because it’s built to last but also because you’ll love it. You’ll never want to miss out on an opportunity to take a ride because you’ll feel safer, more comfortable, and less stressed so that you can enjoy the experience. That’s priceless because it keeps you fit so you’ll be around longer, living your best life. Recumbent Trikes are More Complex to Make Adding to the value of our recumbent trikes, there’s so much more involved in the manufacturing process. This is one complex trike with a lot more components and a state-of-the-art design that improves your riding experience. Recumbents reduce pain and allow you to get out there even if you have previously experienced back or knee issues on an upright bike. The ergonomic design allows you to enjoy more comfort and increase the duration of your rides. You’re also safer because the trike has three wheels for added stability and is lower to the ground to avoid toppling. All these things are worth the investment when it comes to the pure enjoyment your trike offers. There’s just no getting around the fact the benefits of your trike impact the cost of production. But the manufacturers fulfill the needs of a niche market, and when done well, they provide the ride of your life. Here’s a breakdown of the components that impact the price: Special machinery to bend the broad tubing A wider seat costing an average of $200 compared to a saddle seat at just $5 Three wheels vs. two Specialty chain lengths to accommodate the trike’s stretched-out position Specialty steering Additional cable housing and tandem lengths Add the shipping costs to get the trikes to our store, and suddenly you’re looking at a higher price tag. Hopefully, you also see that the additional expenses are all justified, not just designed to make the manufacturers rich. The Dark Side of Affordable Recumbent Trikes There isn’t really a dark side, but there is an economic reason recumbent trikes are more expensive. As mentioned earlier, recumbent trikes are specialty items that meet the needs of a niche market. Because there is less demand, supplies are lower, and production costs are higher. As we see more adults aging and wanting to live an active lifestyle, chances are demand will rise. Fingers crossed that an increase in demand will make it more affordable for smaller trike companies to increase production so they can afford to sell their trikes at a lower price. The more trikes they make, the more materials they need, and the less they pay for those materials. Buying materials in bulk always helps cut costs. Right now, they are ordering materials on a much smaller scale, which costs them more. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to pass on those expenses to the consumer. When you understand the difference between cheap and affordable, it feels less like you’re getting ripped off and more like you’re getting a far better ROI. There’s no denying the value of a high-quality trike and the years of enjoyment they offer. Laid Back Cycles carries an exceptional line of affordable recumbents. They offer high-end trikes that won’t cause sticker shock. Stop by to discuss your options, including financing, to make it easier to afford the best trike for your needs. Video Transcript: Over the last decade when we first started at Laid Back Cycles, we brought on a lot of different trike manufacturers. We found that if you go cheap, that's different than affordable. Cheap means it really doesn't function the way you were hoping it to function. There's a difference between cheap trikes and affordable trikes. Affordable trikes are good quality trikes that work well, work well for what you want to do, but they're not that expensive. One of the number one brands out there is TerraTrike and they make affordable trikes. They make high-end trikes with some nice performance, but let's talk about affordability. TerraTrike was one of the first ones to come out with a trike under a thousand bucks - that was the TerraTrike Rover. It was a popular trike but it only had three speeds so they don't offer that anymore. But, they offer something with eight speeds and that's going to be the Maverick or even the Rambler. If you want no speeds you can go with the Rogue. They're all in that rambler frame style which is super comfortable, easy to ride, and is a nice cruise around trike. TerraTrike is one of the few manufacturers in the world that offers a lifetime warranty. That's for the first person that buys it for as long as they own it. If anything breaks on the frame, they will replace it. Parts are one year like everybody else. See terratrike.com for details. They believe in their product; they make a quality product. I know that you've seen out there on videos trikes in the 5 grand, 8 grand, 15 grand range. TerraTrikes are affordable nice cruise around trikes. For under two grand, those are the models that I would look at when I'm looking for affordable trikes. Once you start to get into about 2,500 bucks, that's the beginning of a lot of trikes. You're getting a great quality trike with TerraTrike. You also can start getting into the Catrike Villager so now you have some different choices to really choose from. Another way to afford a trike is financing. At Laid Back Cycles we offer up to 12 months of financing so you can take whatever that price is and then spread it across 12 equal payments. It makes it a little softer to chew or to digest, however you want to say that, and that's a great way to afford the trike that you love.
October 19, 2022
Does Recumbent Seat Height Matter? Recumbent trikes offer a whole new world of comfort, safety and accessibility for cyclists looking for the best ride possible. When purchasing your recumbent trike, you want a design that is comfortable yet accommodates the type of experience you desire. Therefore, your level of comfort depends on where you ride, how you ride and your fitness/mobility level. A major consideration for your comfort is your seat height, as it impacts how easy it is to get in and out of your trike as well as how easy it is to handle. So, seat height does matter when it comes to choosing the right recumbent trike. Here we explain why recumbent seat height matters and how to choose the right height for your needs. The Three Most Important Factors of Your Ride Where you ride your trike helps determine the trike features you need. We always ask a lot of questions about your ideal trail to get a feel for your needs, including: How difficult are the trails? Trails that are hilly, have lots of tight turns or are longer all present more challenges than a leisurely ride to the local coffee shop or your average, flat short trail at your favorite park. What are typical terrains and conditions? Trails with lots of bumps, gravel, mud, and potholes are more difficult to navigate than a well-maintained road or paved trail. If you only ride in pleasant weather, your conditions aren’t as tricky as riding in rain where slick surfaces present an issue. What are the surroundings and environment? Riding on roads with traffic or trails with a lot of wildlife present more dangers than a public park with visible pedestrians. Although both do require things that keep you visible and noticeable, being able to swerve more easily is more important in traffic or areas with a risk of animals jumping in front of you. While the features you need might include everything from a horn to reflective tape on accessories and from flags to fenders, the type of trails you ride on also impacts the best seat height. If you’re all about speed and adventure, then a lower seat is required, while leisurely community or rehabilitative rides call for a higher seat. Delta vs Tadpole Recumbent Trikes Seat heights are also based on whether the trike is a “tadpole” or “delta” style recumbent trike. Here are the differences between the two: Tadpole Recumbent Trike The tadpole is all about speed and stability, and therefore these trikes are lower to the ground. The low seat height provides a lower center of gravity, making it safer to go fast. The front wheels also contribute to stability, especially when taking turns at high speeds. Because they are lower to the ground, the tadpole trike isn’t the right choice if it’s difficult for you to get down low. Delta Trikes The delta trike is more about accessibility of getting in and out of your ride than performance. Although they are just as safe as the tadpole, they do increase the risk of tipping if you take turns at higher speeds. If you want a trike that’s easier to get in and out of and are more about the journey and enjoying the trails than getting there faster, this is the type of trike for you. These trikes have medium to high seats. A bonus of the delta trike is that it allows you to link two trikes together to create a tandem trike. You can carry the pedaling power for a friend with lesser ability than you. Low, Medium or High Recumbent Trike Seats That brings us to the pros and cons between low, medium and high recumbent trike seats: Low It’s not surprising that the lower the seat, the harder it is to get in and out of the trike. If you have mobility issues or back or knee pain, the low seat can make it very difficult to enjoy your recumbent trike. Make sure you find it easy to get into and out of the seat, keeping in mind that although you might feel okay today, your ability to get in and out of your trike in the future is likely to change. If you plan to enjoy simpler trails for years to come, you might want to avoid the lower seat. For those that have the need for speed and are quite fit, the lower seat provides a better center of gravity. Examples of low-seat recumbent trikes include Catrike 700, ICE Sprint, and TerraTrike Spyder. These trikes are designed for speed and efficiency. You are low to the ground to generate more power and don’t have to worry too much about tipping, even when taking a tight corner. Medium There’s always something to be said for that good old sweet spot that sits between high and low. The medium-height seat is good for most people, especially if you tend to enjoy touring. Good choices for medium-height seat trikes are the Catrike 5.5.9 and the TerraTrike GTS. These trikes take you farther, allowing you to travel for miles and miles in comfort. You can also feel safe at higher speeds if the spirit moves you. High For obvious reasons, the high seat is easier to get in and out of, making it the best choice if you have back or knee issues or just find it harder to get down low. That said, the higher the seat, the more difficult it becomes to take on corners at higher speeds. So, if you love to pedal faster and get that rush from pushing yourself to the limit, the high seat isn’t the best choice for you. Good high seat recumbent trikes include the TerraTrike Rambler, Catrike Villager, Greenspeed Magnum, ICE Adventure. With these trikes, your high seat still offers a stable platform so you can feel both comfortable and confident when taking to local roads, as well as your favorite trails. So, there you have it. The height of your recumbent seat does matter for many reasons. Our team can help you find the sweet spot for your trike for a safer, more enjoyable ride.