Why do you drive a yellow tricycle?
So many reasons exist to explore alternative modes of transportation. Your reasons will be different than mine, but you can take one step toward walking, running, biking, or triking during your regular day.
First, it is good for the environment. Foot power has a lower environmental impact than putting another car on the road. I feel good about reducing my dependence on fossil fuels. While I acknowledge it is not practical for traveling long distances, my daily activities can be centered around a few mile radius.
It’s cheaper: a lot cheaper. The electricity required for a 20-mile charge costs about 5¢. If my car gets 20 mpg in the city, I’m currently saving about $2.20 per “gallon” of travel. Remember when gas cost over $4 per gallon? I save hundreds in parking, licensing, and taxes. My homeowner’s insurance covers the trike. I will be able to provide most of the maintenance for free–thanks to friends who are teaching me. Think about eliminating your car payment, gas, car insurance, maintenance, and tags/taxes from your budget. Wouldn’t that feel good?
Plus, those miles of savings add years to my life! Unfortunately, my DNA includes some not-so-nice codes concerning heart health. Living an active lifestyle is key. I hope to strike a balance between (1) arriving sweaty & out of breath and (2) having a bit of a elevated heart rate. Electric assist makes the trike go relatively fast while reducing the overall effort. However, I still have to pedal if I expect to get anywhere. I’m excited to see the muscles in my legs transform. We can call reason #3: healthy heart and sexy legs.
The fourth reason I decided to drive a trike is probably the most fun: to meet all of you! If you are reading this, you have probably seen me out in the community and were curious about my trike. Please stop and say hello next time, I’d love to meet you! (Making my way on 3-wheels has some disadvantages. I apologize if you were caught behind me going 20 mph for a little while when you were in a hurry. Thank you for slowing down and passing me pretty wide.) Most of the people I meet fall somewhere between curious and down right interested. I’m happy to talk to you about the adventures I’ve had since starting this lifestyle–make no mistake, it was quite a lifestyle change for me. If I’m in a rush I may point you back to this blog. Try again, I’m not always busy, I promise! In fact, one of the great things about my trike is that it forces me to slow down and join the community. My intent is to make this a blog about the people I meet, opportunities I have, and places I visit because of the trike.
Finally–and much less fun–a few physical conditions make it unsafe for me to drive a car sometimes and impossible for me to balance on two wheels. Thank you for your concern, but don’t worry: it’s just a game of managing symptoms and maximizing quality of life. I don’t look sick, I don’t act sick, I am not “sick”. I am fortunate to have doctors who support my driving when I feel capable. Yes, I do have a valid driver’s license! I try to stay positive and think the trike actually improves my life: this is a choice not a concession. However, I admit that sometimes travel is wicked inconvenient. I advocate research for certain conditions that make driving dangerous. People with disabilities are not disabled people!
What kind of tricycle is it and where can I find one?
Riding a tricycle garners many questions about “my wheels”, but I guess that is “how I roll” now, right? I ride a custom tricycle built for me by the great people at MOAB (Murfreesboro Outdoor and Bicycle). While they don’t specialize in e-bikes or tricycles, Xavier SolÌs (manager) answered all of my questions and made several calls to manufacturers to check weights and compatibility. We talked about what I needed and he made my Trike for me. There were a few design hiccups, but Mark (owner) overcame them to build the right bike for me.
I ride a Sun Atlas Cargo Trike with 3-speed internal transmission equipped with e-Bike Starter Kit and 48V lithium ion battery. Her motor has a range of about 20 miles per charge and top speed of 20 mph with assist (or however fast my legs can pedal)! The Sun Atlas Cargo Trike includes industrial durability and the flexibility of a standard bicycle seat mount. I needed a trike that was easy to pedal (light weight with electric power assist) and convenient for errands (large locking trunk). This model also provides a platform for the custom trunk built by my friends at MOAB and can haul up to 250 lbs of cargo. I also thought about safety, specifically visibility and lighting. I want bright lights that run off my main battery and don’t limit my miles per charge. The SON Edelux DC headlamp and Topline E taillight operate seamlessly. Oddly, color is an important safety consideration. I admit that industrial yellow wasn’t my first choice, but Xavier championed yellow for visibility. That said, please be alert when you drive and share the road with those of us on less than four wheels!
If you’d like to build a bike or trike for your journey, you can contact Mark or Xavier at MOAB.
Can you build an adaptive bike for my kid?
Adaptive bicycles are quite expensive and the dedicated individuals at Christopher’s Promise can walk you through the grant application process and design an incomparable bike memory for your child. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skills to address the needs of every child, but the wonderful people at Christopher’s Promise certainly do! For years this organization has made it their mission to see kids get on a bike and just be kids!
Tell Skot I sent you with a HelloKitty suitcase!
Can I ride your trike?
Can I drive your car? I don’t mind if you want to try my trike out, seriously. The more people in the community who drive bikes/trikes the better! If I have time, I’m happy to let your kids explore it. Please understand that it is my vehicle and sometimes I have somewhere I need to be. My trike was built for me and it took weeks to build the right muscles to travel comfortably. You will be more comfortable on a trike fit for you.
How can I be involved?
- Go outside and dust off the bike in your garage! Do it today. You will probably need to put air in the tires. 😉 Wear a helmet.
- Share the road. Please, please watch out for me. If we “meet” on the road, your car will win. I don’t want to lose. I know my wheels are a little wider than the bicyclists and runners, but I think they would appreciate a little extra room when you pass too.
- Get involved in local politics when bike paths are brought up. Let your councilwomen know that you support the use of tax dollars to fund meaningful bike lanes! Try to see transportation and roadwork funding as a budget item for all forms of transportation and mobility (including feet).
- If you own or manage a business, consider adding bike parking. You can find basic U-style racks for less than $200 installed or add a statement piece like one of the ones featured on this blog. Encourage your employees to bike to work.
If you have other questions, please let me know. I’ll try to address them in a future post.
***Special thanks to Louaye Moulayess for his original sketch “Yellow Tricycle”***