Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Road vs Trail Ridng

Trike the road or cruise the trial, it's a personal choice. Here's my take on the subject based on my personal preferences when riding my 700.

For everyday riding I prefer the road. Trail riding is saved for those days when I want to relax, go slow and "smell the roses". It's also a good time to ride with other trikers.

Let's start with the road. 

When riding the road I almost always ride alone. Over the last few years I've seen a couple of other trikers on the road but I've not been able to connect. Riding with others who are on traditional bikes is not a whole lot of fun because recumbents pace differently. Especially in hilly country. On the flats and the downhills I would be waiting for the others to catchup. On the climbs they would be waiting for me at the top.

Riding the roads alone allow's me to set my own pace without stops. I like to open up on the flats and power down the hills. Other trikers who ride performance trikes know the adrenaline rush of a good downhill with the stability of three wheels. When climbing I like to conserve my energy and take it easy on my hips. Even though I kick back on the climbs, at the end of the day I'll still be ahead of my peers on their diamond frames. Yes, a experienced rider on a properly setup performance trike can outperform many a diamond frame rider. Riding on three wheels does not mean you can't move, as many a surprised MAMIL often finds out.

Riding the road gives me the thrill of the ride. However riding on the road requires an high level of alertness, confidence in your riding skills and knowing the rights you have as a cyclist when riding on the road. It also, at times, requires a willingness to own the road, take the lane, when personal safety demands it. No riding the gutter.

Now for trails.

When riding on a trail I can relax, enjoy my surroundings and watch the critters. From time to time I need a break from the road. There are other users on the trails and trail conditions vary but I'm not looking to get anywhere fast. In preparing for a trail ride I change my rear wheel for a softer ride, put on a rear rack and add a set of panniers. I load up with all the necessities (and non-necessities) for a quiet ride and a picnic lunch. Riding a trail with others at a relaxed pace is enjoyable.

There are many trails I want to ride in my home state of California as well as in Oregon and Washington. With more time on our hands Carrie and I can travel around the western states so I (and maybe Carrie if she starts riding) can check out some of the cool Rail to Trail paths.

When I started riding trikes in 2009 I spent the early months riding the Ojai Valley Trail or cruising the residential streets in my neighborhood. I soon discovered that riding trikes on the road is fun and safe. I eventually felt more confident and safe on the road riding a trike then I ever felt riding a traditional bicycle.

Recumbent trikes offer something for everybody (see my Trikes by Type page). Trikes are at home both on the road and on the trail. 

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