Trike as Transport / by Erin Wade

There are certainly people who use bicycles or trikes as part of their daily transportation. I have fond memories of this myself, riding around the countryside and, later, around my small town with a bicycle as my primary form of transportation for most of my childhood right up until the day I got my driver’s license. It’s a recollection brought forward for me most recently by the show Stranger Things, since I was also a kid pedaling around in between sessions of D&D, albeit with considerably less telekinesis (though not for lack of trying...).

As an adult I’ve had little opportunity to use my various pedal-powered implements as transportation in any meaningful extent. While I’ve managed the occasional trip to the grocery store with a trailer, the reality of extended commuting distances and large portion of life in an urban setting that didn’t (and doesn’t) embrace bikes as transportation means a lot of time in the driver’s seat instead of the saddle.

There is a very real part of me that wishes I had more opportunities to use my pedal-powered options in lieu of my car. When possible I’ve tried to manufacture those opportunities - last summer I rode to several cemeteries in the region as part of my ongoing genealogical research. This can be a fun way to combine activities and feel like I’m making some progress, but somehow it’s not the same as really replacing the car.

Last week, as luck (?) would have it, I had such an opportunity. Both my car, and my wife’s car, had to go in for repairs. We are out in the country, and the repair shop is in town - about six and a half miles away. To limit time off from work I made arrangements to have the work done on both cars in the same day. This led to the following routine:

  1. Load my Catrike Pocket into car number one (both cars are Honda Fits - and the Pocket... well... fits in them). Drive the car to the mechanic’s shop.
  2. Ride the trike back home.
  3. Load the trike into car number two and drive the car to the mechanic’s shop.
  4. Ride the trike back home.
  5. Wait for the cars to be done (its possible I did other things during that time as well).
  6. Ride the trike in to the mechanic’s shop to get car number one.
  7. Put the trike into car number one and drive it home. And...

Ok - so for contininuity and storyline, I really want item number eight to say "ride the trike in to the mechanic’s shop to get car number two". The reality is that what follows includes gathering up my spouse and enlisting her help to gather up the last car. In my defense, however, we had parent-teacher conferences to attend, and I don’t really have an extra seat on the trike for my beloved, and she objected to the notion of being strapped to the cargo rack, so...

But this was still real-world transportation use for my machine, the sort of which I almost never get the opportunity to engage in. As a bonus, the three trips - two back, and one forth - offered up about 19.5 miles worth of riding, which is at the higher end of a day’s riding for me (my average trip in 2017 is 11.71 miles, according to Cyclemeter).

I realized as I was doing it that this was also some of the first times I’d actually ridden the trike in town. Since I just got the trike in June of this year, and the majority of my riding is recreational in nature, and catch-as-catch-can, I don’t venture in to town often - the open road is both more alluring and more convenient. I’m pleased to say it feels little different from riding a regular, upright two-wheeler in town, something, as I noted above, I had done many times before. Now I just need to find less costly reasons than car repair to ride rather than drive...