Tandem Recumbent Trikes
The classic bicycle built for two, also known as the tandem bike, is a great way to get around with friends, family members or your significant other. They are also a great option if you want to get out there but could use a little help when it comes to pedal power. Tandem trikes offer more stability and allow you to ride together even if you have different abilities. Here we look at the tandem recumbent trike as an often-overlooked option for people shopping for the perfect trike experience.
What is a Tandem Recumbent Trike?
Tandem recumbent trikes are a two-seater trike designed for traveling with a friend. They are extremely comfortable, safe and easy to ride even if you and your partner have different ability levels. In fact, it’s the perfect solution if you have a friend or partner who wants to keep active but who can no longer depend on their own strength and endurance to continue cycling on their own. The pilot or captain takes the front seat, where they manage the controls and steering, while the stoker or navigator takes the back seat to help provide pedal power and navigate.
Why Choose a Tandem Recumbent Trike?
A tandem trike lets two riders hit the trails without anyone getting left behind. If you find you or a friend can’t keep up with a group when out triking or cycling, this is the perfect solution. It’s great for families as well as you can take turns pedaling, and younger kids can be carried in a trailer cycle. The stronger, heavier rider rides up front to maintain better control of the tandem trike. Tandem trikes also provide more speed. If you like to trike, but want to get where you’re going faster, two sets of legs get you there in record time. It’s the perfect way to tour if you’re traveling with another person. Last but not least, if someone you like to spend time with has never felt comfortable triking, this is the ideal solution to hit the trails together.
Challenges of the Tandem Trike
The most common complaint about the tandem trike is they are harder to ride when going uphill or taking corners. For hills, with a little practice you can learn how to pedal together while shifting to low gear. It’s all downhill from there! For corners, the main challenge is the length of the tandem trike. You have to get used to going slowly around those corners, but at least the extra wheels keep your turns very stable. One last thing is that some people find it’s harder to carry on a conversation on a tandem trike compared to riding alongside a travel companion. However, most love the companionable feel of the tandem as they don’t have to yell back and forth.
Managing Cadence Differences
Cadence is the speed and rhythm each when riding a tandem trike or bike. It’s important because it helps you find the right pace that is suited to both of you. Because one of the benefits of tandem trikes is keeping you and your companion together for the journey, finding a good pace to suit your weaker pedaler is important.
However, it also has to do with leg length which can cause issues if there is a big variance in your height or body structure. Adjusting the crank length can help both pedalers keep pace. A shorter crank allows a slower pedaler to go faster, while a longer crank can slow a speedy pedaler down. Since you’ll want to accommodate the slower rider, a crank about 175 mm tends to work well, while 165 is ideal for those with limited ability.
Independent Pedaling System (IPS)
This is an especially important feature of the tandem trike. The IPS allows one rider to coast while the other pedals. If one rider is in better shape and stronger than the other rider, this is a wonderful way for your companion to enjoy some fresh air pedaling as much or as little as they like. Just be sure the stronger rider understands this is the deal so they don’t end up exhausted and frustrated with the arrangement. Test your skill level to manage carrying the load of two, starting with shorter trips until you get a feel for the extra weight of your companion.
Will a Tandem Recumbent Trike Be Wasted Money?
If you can invest in a tandem and will have someone who will see health benefits to your excursions, it is never wasted money. In fact, if you choose, you can also ride the trike alone if there are days your pal isn’t in the mood for a ride. Although it’s not the most practical solution for all cases, if you do have people in your life who will be going out with you on regular rides, then it really is an excellent investment for your health and social life.
Unexpected Pros of a Tandem Trike
There are some unexpected advantages to the tandem trike, including:
- Two people can travel with less emergency gear such as spare tires, pumps, brake pads, etc., leaving more room for things like foul weather gear, food, or camping gear
- It is lighter weight to carry than two separate trikes
- You can travel farther faster when touring, even if you take turns here and there to coast
- One person can navigate while the other continues triking, so you don’t have to pull over as often
- It’s a great way to strengthen a relationship, and you can spend more quality time with each other
- Families can save money with a single high-quality tandem and a trailer cycle as opposed to buying four or five high-quality bikes or trikes
- You can spend more time with people you love who don’t have a bike or trike of their own
- You can get loved ones out and about who are often left out of physical activities due to disabilities
As you can see, the tandem recumbent trike is the perfect solution for families, couples, or friends with different abilities.