Why every bike rider should own a trike!

Recently, I switched my bread and butter training bike from the Fuego / M5 CHR two wheelers to the ICE Sprint trike. This is a winter swap and was the main reason I bought the ICE – to keep riding through the winter without fear of road and weather conditions conspiring to cause me an accident. I’ve had falls on both the Fuego and the Cruzbike due to ice and I’m not too keen to continue the tradition any longer! I also found last winter very frustrating as there was so much snow and ice around for months, and I nearly went insane doing sessions on the turbo in the garage. Two wheeler recumbents, particularly agressively reclined ones, are not very easy to keep under control when you lose traction. Ice on any bike without specialist tyres is a big risk of course, but it’s worse when you’re reclined.

I haven’t yet had to ride through any ice on the ICE. I have however been out recently and ridden my ususal 40 mile loop round Innerleithen via the back road to Traquair. There were sections of the road that were completely covered in rotting leaf mulch and pine needles – to the point that you just can’t see the tarmac at all. Slippy orange gunk for a hundred metres at a time, with liberal sections of built up mud and slime. Very slippy, and the kind of conditions I used to fear on the 2 wheelers with skinny tyres. I also had to contend with multiple branches all over the road due to high winds and patches where I was cycling through foot deep wet leaves.

Quick stop at the Granites - cold but sunny.
Quick stop at the Granites – cold but sunny.

On the trike, this all becomes completely immaterial. You just plough through everything without a care for your balance or traction. It’s quite a lot of fun going through foot high leave piles at 30 mph…..

I’m really looking forward to when the snow and ice arrives, just so I can take the trike out and have some fun…. just because I can! I have the studded tyres ready. Last year everywhere was sold out by the time I realised I needed them, so I got them in early this year. I did get caught out in a surprise sub zero snap flurry a couple of weeks ago but nothing that lasted.

Every rider should have a trike. They’re significantly slower than 2 wheelers, they’re heavy and therefore a pig to haul up steep hills, and they’re also completely alien to most people, horses and dogs you encounter, but on the other hand they are just so much fun to ride, and enablers of serious winter training / riding even when the conditions are terrible.

I will be riding mine almost exclusively through till spring next year. You should get one too!

First snow fall of winter 2018/2019
Caught out in freezing conditions and the first snowfall of the winter at the top of the Granites

8 thoughts on “Why every bike rider should own a trike!

      1. Let me first explain that I’ve road tested both a ICE Sprint and a HP Velotechnic Scorpion fs and bought (and subsequently sold) the Scorpion. What I was hoping for from the VTX was something light (in trike terms), mechanically efficient and bearably comfortable over poor UK roads. For me it met all those requirements. The amazing thing is the way it can damp the roughness of the road – both the buzz of tar and chippings and small pot holes. It was really surprisingly comfortable. Not as plush as the Scorpion but much (7 kg) lighter and more efficient. I was pleased with my average speed over a moderately hilly route. For me there were only two negatives (1) The turning circle is huge at around 7 metres radius – you need a wide double track road to be able to turn around and (2) It is white and only available in white. I am in the middle of a career change at the moment and on only a modest income, or I’d almost certainly buy one. They mod’d the frame in 2017, so if you go for 2nd hand I’d suggest 2017 or later. But seeing your stable of machines, I suspect price is not a major factor for you. Bon chance.

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      2. My stable has come about because due to life altering events we stopped keeping savings and spent the money we had saved in things now while we had the chance – there is no more left! Any further purchases will be second hand and based on the sale of an existing bike.

        The VTX does sound very nice. I hope I get a chance to try one some day.

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  1. You’ve covered all the reasons I’ve had for buying a trike but haven’t yet done so. I’ve kept my eyes open on the pre owned market. And as much as I’d like to go with an Ice trike, I’d prefer subjecting a lower end trike such as a Trident to the road crud we experience in Wisconsin, USA. I, like you, will go back to two wheels when winter has had its last hoorah.

    Thanks for the write up.

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    1. What are the winters like in Wisconsin? We generally get a few months of bad weather with maybe January and February having substantial snow, although it varies year to year. I’ve seen years with no snow and years when a foot has fallen in April. They say global warming will make the UK winters colder as the Gulf Stream slowly fades.

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  2. Winters are cold. Cold started earlier than it has in last ten years with November temps near -6 C daytime highs. Temps the last two days have closer to 0C. We’ve had some snow already but has melted already. We could begin getting substantial snow anytime soon, substantial being 4-8 inches at a time over the next couple of months. Odd thing is that North Carolina just was pounded a few days ago. You may have read in BBC news reports. Very unusual for them. The got our snow or snow that would normally have gone well north of them.

    I am a couple hours north of Chicago. The far north of Wisconsin will see several feet of snow come the end of Spring. Here along the western shore of Lake Michigan we’ll see as much as two or three feet of snow. Could be more, but we experience hard cold weather. Before much longer temps will drop below -7 C to -15 C and colder. A few years back we saw continued periods of time when it was -45C. Lake Michigan froze over and it a a very large lake, 300 miles north to south and 100 miles east to west.

    Lake Winnebago, west about forty five minutes is 30 miles north to south and 12 miles east to west. It will freeze growing ice upwards of thirty inches. Fishing clubs will plow snow roads on the lake so fishermen can drive out, set up fishing shacks, drill holes in the ice and fish. I’ve outfitted standard bikes and recumbents with carbide steel studded tires and biked on the lake.

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    1. That’s definitely a bit colder than we get! Lowest I’ve ever seen is -26C, but we did get about 4 feet of snow last winter falling in the space of 2 weeks which was quite a lot for Scotland. Sounds like you need decent winter gear. I’ve got three studded tyres for the trike this year so hoping to bike all through the winter.

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