snow covered trail closed fallen trees reduced

Woe is me … me is woe … well, anyway winter is upon us and many of us don’t or can’t ride outdoors when winter comes. I used to try to ride thru the winter, but I gave it up as I found that all too often I could not succeed at it. Either my trike would not go thru the snow or the trails were closed due to weather caused problems. So this is the third winter I have moved my trike inside the house and set it up in the living room on an indoor trainer right in front of the big screen TV set which is hooked up to a computer with internet service. That means I can pedal away watching most anything I care to which helps immensely breaking up the otherwise extreme boredom of stationary exercise … something I can’t stand. As you can see here in this picture I am riding along a paved bicycle trail compliments of YouTube.

cabin fever solution 063

Indoor trainers come in various types. Nearly all of those available are made for bicycles and not for trikes. That is not to say that they won’t work on a trike. They may or may not work correctly. I had to make modifications to mine to get it to work on a 20 inch wheel. No doubt the best one available for trikes is made specifically for trikes by Sportscrafters. They make two models which in appearance look much the same. The difference is how they work. One is just a resistance roller which sells for $199. The other is designed to mimic actual riding conditions and give the “rider” more of a work out. It sells for $249.

Sportscrafters Mag roller trainer

I would love to have one, but I already have the “other type” which I am probably stuck with. Here is a picture I just took of my setup.

my indoor trainer 2 reduced

This type of indoor trainer is far more common. However, it is not made to accommodate 20 inch wheels. As I already stated, I had to do some modification on it in order to get it to work and it just barely works as things barely make proper needed contact. It does work though. Anyway, there are lots of different manufacturers of this type of indoor trainer. Actually I bought mine slightly used, but still in like new condition from a friend. I bought it not to use as an indoor trainer, but rather to use as a work stand to hold the rear wheel up off the ground so I could perform maintenance/repair work on the back end of the trike. In fact, I had even removed all the extra parts on it which had to do with using it as an indoor trainer since I didn’t use it for that for the first few years I had it.

Keep in mind that we live in a bicycle oriented world and most products which exist were designed for bicycles and not for tadpole trikes. Perhaps this will change as time goes along. Right now Sportscrafters is the only indoor trainer I know of designed specifically for trikes.

Some folks are making their own set of rollers to use. Some have used industrial (commercial) conveyor type rollers.

industrial conveyor rollers

Some have purchased rollers and made their own.

Some have used other things to make their trainers.

homemade rollers 2

People have used PVC piping with roller bearings inserted.

pvc pipe with bearing

Others have used Teflon coated or stainless steel food rolling pins.

Some have made their own wooden rollers turning them in a lathe.

I have not had any success finding a video about a DIY roller indoor trainer for trikes. Everything seems to be for bicycles. Here is one of the better ones I have found …

I have thought about making one myself, but truthfully I probably never will.

BTW, if you lift the back end of a trike up onto some sort of an indoor trainer it is a good idea to also lift the front end up the same distance so that the trike remains level and you sit and pedal normally. They make lifting devices (riser blocks) you can buy or you can just use whatever you have available. I have used books, bed risers, and now I use a 2 inch thick concrete block broken in half… one under each front tire.

half a concrete block 2 inches thick

HERE are some examples of what is available to buy:

 bike wheel riser kinetic riser block multiple riser block

The Kinetic one has 3 different heights to select from. There are other brands like this as well. I don’t know about these various products and what tire widths they will accommodate.

Keep in mind that our trikes are designed so that our feet just barely miss the ground as we pedal so if you raise the back end of the trike up there is a good chance that your feet will be hitting the ground as you pedal.

I would really much rather be able to ride outdoors. Woe is me! I am trying to …


(even if I have to do it indoors … as much as I hate it.)

Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (


  1. I use a Wahoo Fitness Kickr, I like it because it has Power metering, and very fine control over resistance.

  2. If I could fit mine in the house, I would be in the pilot seat 18hrs. a day when raining, and all night while watching TV, and not sleeping…! I like the skateboard wheels idea as that should work fine for anyone… I like it… ! I just need to figure out how to get it in the house…

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