Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A cycling strategy for nonagenarians

A cycling strategy for nonagenarians

When I told my internist that he was now part of the team whose goal was to keep me cycling into my nineties, he told me that, however strong my heart, lungs and legs were, balance would be the key issue. I somewhat facetiously retorted that I would just buy a custom racing tricycle.

I became (morbidly?) curious and it turns out that buying quality tricycles is not so easy and for sure, riding them does not seem to be a piece of cake.

There are only three builders that seem to offer high-end tricycles in Europe and none in America. In 1982 George Longstaff started building custom cycle frames from his garage at home and though he has since died, Longstaff continues to make trikes. Geoff Booker of Trykit, founded in 2002, also offers lightweight racing tricycles and conversion kits to change a bicycle to tricycle.

He designed and manufactures all custom tricycle axles in use today. There is one Belgian builder, AndrĂ© van Bosbeke of 3wielweb who offers the SuperTrike. It also uses Booker’s axles.

All the above machines are one wheel at the front with two at the back. There is then the issue of how to incorporate a dual-wheel drivetrain. The resulting technical issues are all non-trivial: tricycles ideally use custom hubs, cassettes, gear hangers, axles etc.

Races and tours are non uncommon in Britain.

And of course tricycles do show up in the ubiquitous time trials (see separate blog entry):

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