My New Love Affair With Three-Wheeled Bikes

Outside Magazine writer Jen Judge rode a Rambler AT several hundred miles #trikepacking the backroads of New Mexico.

I’ve ridden and loved bikes for 35 years, raced since I was ten, and idolized the greats like Greg Lemond, Bernard Hinault, and Andy Hampston. Cycling is in my blood, and to me it always meant two wheels—until now.

Sixteen months ago, I broke my arm. Everyone said it was a minor break, but the injury festered. The pain worsened, and doctors shook their heads. And then, almost a year to the day, I rebroke it trail running. I started going crazy: I couldn’t ride a regular bike, nor I could I run, do yoga, hunt, or fly-fish.

Then one day, in a moment of frustration, I started looking for recumbent, three-wheeled bikes that could handle dirt. For “serious” cyclists, a recumbent, or trike, is about as appealing as training wheels. I’d never considered riding one, but soon found the Terra Trike Rambler All-Terrain, a brand-new design that landed on my doorstep a few weeks later. And though I hadn’t ridden it yet, and though I’d been couch-bound, and though I had only a week until I left for a photography assignment in Jordan, I concocted a trikepacking tour of the backroads of New Mexico.

Four days, three nights, and several hundred miles later, I was sold. The Rambler takes all the good parts about cycling and leaves out the bad. (More on that below.) Just off the couch and on a two-wheel bike, I would never have been able to log as much time as I did and see so much country. The Rambler, however, gave me the freedom to get out and enjoy what I love. Which is why, though I’ll never completely divorce my bicycle, I foresee a lasting affair with the trike.

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