How to Ride an Adult Tricycle – Riding Guide

I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a trike bicycle. It seems like it would be fun and easy to do, but I never had the chance. Now that I have my own tricycle, I want to take advantage of this opportunity and share my experiences with others who are interested in learning about adult trikes.

Tricycle Riding Techniques: How to Ride an Adult Tricycle

Learning to ride a tricycle is not the same as learning to ride a bicycle. Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about falling over when you come to an abrupt stop! The rear wheels will help you balance while riding on uneven terrain or rough surfaces. But that doesn’t mean a classic tricycle can’t tip over if you’re not careful.

Step 1 – Get a bike that fits you

The first step in learning how to ride a trike is getting a good fit.  There are a few ways you can do this, but here’s a simple example to get you going.

Get a little notebook and a pen, then walk into a big box store like Wal-Mart or Target. Grab a random bike off the rack and write down its manufacturer, model number, size (wheel size), and price tag. Go home and use Google or another search engine to look up the bike. See what size rider it’s rated for, if there are any other models in this line of bikes that might be better suited for you, etc. Our guide and list with our recommended three wheel bikes is a great starting point for your research. 

If all else fails, just ask an associate at the store. They have training on how to help you select a bike that’s right for you. Your height is a very rough way of determining which size bike you need. Double check that the rear wheels on your new bike don’t put you way too high.

Step 2 – An Adjustable Seat Is a Must

There is not point going for a tricycle that doesn’t feature an adjustable seat. 

Your seat should be level, or slightly down-sloping, with the ground when you are standing over your trike.  Adjustments can be made through lever clamps on your handlebars and/or at the seat tube clamp underneath the seat.

You may need to adjust the length of one or both cranks on your trike. This is done by loosening the bolt that holds the crank arm on, sliding it to the desired length, and re-tightening it back down. 

Step 3 – Climbing On and Off a Tricycle

Finding the right seat height is by far the most important part of getting on and off your tricycle. Climbing on and off your trike can be difficult, especially if didn’t pay attention to the previous steps.

If you have a large trike, then it may be hard for you to get your leg over the top tube. This is especially true if this was not one of those cheap adult trikes from Wal-Mart. In that case, try to straddle the bike as quickly as possible to avoid an embarrassing moment.

Step 4 – Learn How to Drive Tricycle

The only way to learn how to ride a tricycle is by getting on it and riding it. Here are some pointers I’ve learned along the way:

Start form a flat surface. Hold onto the handlebar grips at all times. An adjustable seat will allow you to sit comfortably and safely.

Pedal in a nice smooth circular motion. Try not to make rapid up and down movements with your pedal stroke. It’s vital that you maintain momentum and don’t stop and start suddenly.

Get a feel for it. Use your feet to push the pedals around while you are still on the bike. Feel how much force it takes to get the trike moving and practice shifting your weight through turns.

Practice braking – the brake levers are positioned differently depending on what side you put your hands. When braking, remember to shift your weight toward the front of the trike to get more stopping power.

Practice shifting gears – The shifters should be within easy reach while holding onto the handlebars with both hands. Make sure you don’t accidentally shift into a higher gear when starting or coming to a stop.

Practice steering – You should be able to steer the trike with only one hand on the handlebars without too much difficulty (no wheelies). Remember that your front wheel is very light and can easily be turned side-to-side by tapping the brake levers.

Step 5 – Learn how To Turn Is Probable the Most Important Part in Tricycle Riding

I had some trouble learning how to turn. I kept finding myself on the wrong side of the road, either riding in the oncoming traffic lane or completely off the road onto the sidewalk/grass/what-have-you. The tricycle needs far more room to turn than a regular bicycle, so you have to give it space.

Practice turning on empty side streets or near big parking lots until you are confident in your ability. It’s also best to make wide turns whenever possible. You don’t want to cut across two lanes of traffic only to find out that the road narrows when you are halfway through your turn. You need to plan for any turns as the shift in weight may affect the handling of your trike.

Step 6 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Take your tricycle out for a ride at least once every day until you are confident in your skills. After each ride takes some time to reflect on what you did well and where you can improve upon future rides. You need to be careful when riding on slopes, on roads with a lot of traffic, or around people/dogs.

Step 7 –  Have Fun

Once you have learned how to ride your tricycle confidently and safely, have some fun! Enjoy your new mode of transportation, whether it’s at the park or commuting to work. You can get from point A to point B without the stress of having to be somewhere on time.

Tricycle Safety Tips

Are tricycles safer than bicycles? Well, riding a tricycle on the road is certainly much safer than riding a bicycle. But even though trikes are safes, there are some things to keep in mind when riding. Riding a tricycle can be dangerous and it’s important to practice caution and awareness while riding your trike.

  1. Take notice of the road conditions and environment that you are riding in, especially if you will be traveling on roads with vehicles.
  2. Don’t ride when it is raining or snowing – You can slide around pretty easily when there is wet pavement because of the lack of traction. Keep off the road after it has been raining as well – The road may be wet and slippery even if it looks dry.
  3. Wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and proper shoes. You can damage yourself pretty easily without them on. Your helmet should fit snugly and also cover your ears to protect them from wind gusts. You need to remember that these biking helmets have an expiration date, so you will need to replace them in order to be safe.
  4. Make sure you pay attention to all traffic signs and lights, as well as what’s going on around you. Watching cars while you are crossing the road is important.
  5. Try not to ride on extremely bumpy roads – It’s just hard on your body, especially if it’s a rough patch of gravel or railroad tracks.
  6. Practice in an area that has limited traffic flow and visibility so that other people on the road won’t be distracted or surprised by your presence. Avoid uneven surfaces when you first start riding.
  7. Keep your trike well maintained. Check the screws and bolts every once in a while to make sure they are all tight and there is no rust forming anywhere on the tricycle, as well as making sure everything is still aligned properly. If you find something loose or not working correctly, take it apart and fix it immediately.

Trike Safety Issues to Consider

Can you see over the handlebars easily?

It is recommended to keep your head up and watch what you are doing as well as watch out for other people.

Is your seat adjusted properly?

The seat should be near the top of the frame so that you can turn easily, but not so high up that it is difficult to balance. Also, make sure to adjust the height of the seat before any rides.

Why Is It Difficult to Ride a Tricycle?

As with any new mode of transportation, there may be a lot to get used to. Riding a tricycle is not necessarily hard, but it can take time and practice before you are confident riding on the road or uneven surfaces. Learning how to ride a tricycle takes motor skills and coordination that many people have lost over the years while being limited to cars, buses, or walking. It is important to remember that the most difficult part of riding a tricycle is getting started – it’s almost like learning how to ride a bike all over again.