What do you think of when you hear the words “tricycle” or “trike”? Chances are, those wonderfully bright Big Wheels come to mind. It’s only natural. When something is fun and wonderful as a kid, it tends to stick with you. Well, it’s a new millennium, and we’ve all* grown up. As much as some of us don’t like it, words change and culture shifts. Today, “trike” is becoming synonymous with adult equipment as business people, athletes, and couch potatoes embrace the ease, speed, and comfort of recumbent trikes. Let me tell you why TerraTrike’s Rover ruined regular bicycles for me forever.
1) The Rover is stable.
I am not a skilled cyclist. Years ago, I forgot how to ride a bike after a brain injury. These days, I have a habit of tipping over at odd moments. I’d learned that trikes are a great option for me in the past, so I was up for checking out TerraTrike’s Rover when they asked. Instead of the upright trikes I’d learned to love, I found the Rover sits a scant few inches from the ground. The low center of gravity feels even more stable, and I feel in control at all times.
2) The rover is adjustable and better for your body.
The Rover is great for folks with bad backs like myself. Instead of hunching over handlebars, the Rover’s seat has a tall reclining back which allows the rider to sit at whatever angle works best. The boom (the post on which the pedals are mounted) is also adjustable, allowing you to extend it to the length needed for your knees.
The Rover is shipped fully assembled with the boom set to your measurements, but it was still a little short for me, which was hard on my knees. Thankfully, you can adjust it yourself. If, like me, you’re not the owner of all the required tools, you can swing by most cycling shops for a quick adjustment. Having the boom adjusted cost me $25 at a shop with a good reputation for working on recumbent bikes.
3) It’s easy to ride.
The rover is geared for 8 speeds, and dials through them very easily, so I rarely struggle to climb an incline. Now, I didn’t try to ride up Everest, so YMMV. But I do live in a quite hilly town, and I got around just fine. I also had no trouble adjusting to the different angle, as I’ve heard others did. Thanks to the third wheel, balancing isn’t such a factor, so it was mostly a matter of strengthening different muscles.
4) It’s fun!
I wasn’t expecting to write this section. The Rover has a slightly utilitarian look to it, no frills, all business. Boy, was I wrong. From the first pedal, I was rocking down the lane. I felt like I was riding in the cockpit of a sci-fi racing pod, sans windshield. The rover was responsive, easy to ride, and cycled through gears smoothly. I never had to think about what I was doing, so it felt natural and easy.
5) It can get you back on the horse.
Years ago, I had to quit running because of scoliosis, a medical condition which has caused my spine to twist over time. I also have a hard time riding a bike because of the pressure it puts on my lower back. Thanks to the adjustable seat, I’m able to ride in comfort with my weight more evenly distributed.
Pro-cons: the double-edged features.
1) It’s shipped fully assembled. The box is the size of a refrigerator, but you don’t have to assemble it. Your friendly delivery person may require an appointment for delivery,
2) You’ll get skepticism. Bikers, trikers, and any other type of cyclist you can imagine will be surprised by the Rover, or any of TerraTrike’s models, honestly. My advice is to just ride. You will keep up with any group, so long as you’ve trained. Looks of skepticism will often fade into disbelieving respect.
3) It’s affordable professional equipment. Beginning at $1099, the cost is professional, but affordable. To get the most out of it, you’ll have to train, but the entry skill-barrier is very low. If you’re looking to enter the world of recumbent riding, this is a great place to start.
The TerraTrike Rover is a solid and impressive piece of equipment. It’s a great entry option for recumbent riders, and it is a great fit for riders with physical challenges. The biggest downside is the cost. Even for an entry-level trike, you’re pushing $1,100. If you’re serious about cycling, though, it’s an entirely worthwhile investment.
*Yes, the math still works. All adults were born last century. Until the new year, when we all start gentrifying by necessity of maths.