Yes, definitely tadpole trikes are slow … slower than a bicycle. Why woudn’t they be? They are heavier and have 3 wheels rather than 2. We are not comparing apples with apples. But WHO CARES? I rather doubt that most people who buy a tadpole trike are doing so to be able to outperform a bicycle in the speed department. No, other issues and concerns enter the picture. Sooner or later most of us come to our senses and realize that bicycles are rather uncomfortable to ride and they definitely are not safe for many of us to ride as we age. Some bicycle riders have already experienced wrecks which convinced us of the concerns for our safety. Many have suffered life changing injuries or medical/health/physical problems resulting in changing over from bicycles to recumbent tadpole trikes. No, speed is no longer an issue for most of us. We have nothing to prove to others or ourselves.
All that being said, are tadpole trikes really all that slow? Not necessarily. Like any other human powered vehicle the determining factor is the motor. Some riders still manage to ride pretty fast passing up most bicycle riders. The bottom line to the question of how fast is a tadpole trike is … the same for any other type of bicycle … JUST AS FAST AS YOU CAN PEDAL IT!
Most of us don’t qualify. Some of us really slow up as we age and deal with various issues which slow us up. Without the assistance of an electric motor I am pathetic as I ride along at 2 to 3 mph most of the time. I didn’t use to be slow like I am now but after having both knee joints replaced I find that I can no longer push hard on the pedals so I have to ride along in lower gears. But, hey, when I was younger like the rider in this video above I probably could have given him a run for his money. Now at age 74, I have no interest or desire to attempt it much less the ability to do so. With e-assist I no doubt could fly by him if I wanted to. And I do tend to ride fairly fast most of the time as it makes for a lot more fun that the 2 to 3 mph I mentioned under my own power. E-assist has brought much joy back into cycling for me. Riding without it is simply misery and drudgery for me. Riding in constant pain barely moving along being passed by walkers is no fun at all. My e-assist is a game changer. I went from being a slow moving turtle to a road runner out there. So if you see a flash go by you it just might be me enjoying myself while I can. Yes, I pass bicyclists all the time on my tadpole trike, but I am cheating as some point out. Shhhh! Don’t say anything. Some of the bicyclists don’t know it.
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
A FREE GIFT awaits you!
4 thoughts on “SO TADPOLE TRIKES ARE SLOW … WHO CARES?”
I have my tadpole to be able to come out on the road again. I have MS and I can hardly walk but with the trike I feel free again. I can in a good day walk 100 meters but I’ve done 2500km this year with the bike. 4 times to the summit of Mont Ventoux. I don’t care if someone is passing me. I’m not in a competition.
After watching the president fall this week, and realize I was going about that fast when I had my accident that caused a life changing injury. (Severed my humorous and shattered my elbow). It might be time for the president to switch to a trike.
Years ago, I attended a trade show for the bicycle industry. (No consumers, just industry people.) I was surprised at how many people were in wheelchairs. I assume that some of them had been in bike accidents? Trike riding can decrease the risk of becoming one of them.
Hey Steve, I think this post is your best one yet. I answers most of the questions I see on social media groups from people who are considering e-assist and those with medical issues like you mentioned. It felt good to me hearing confirmation that going slower, or a little faster at times with e-assist, is o.k. I just love riding my trike to escape from sitting on the couch due to chronic back pain, mobility problems and general balance. Thank you, I always love reading your common sense column.