As the Fond du Lac Loop and other adjacent trails and neighborhood streets see more and more bicycle activity, a trike culture has become more visible. My first local encounter with a trike was on the Fond du Lac Loop. Out on my road bike seeking to get in some quality pedaling, I passed a sharp looking recumbent trike. Determined to put a little distance between myself and the trike, I picked up the pace but could not shake this tough guy on three wheels. Later, I got to meet the rider, Dan Hencke, and another triking phenom, Bruce Fryda, out on the trail.
Both Bruce Fryda and Dan Hencke are Fond du Lac natives who have been friends since the 3rd grade and now – having retired from long careers at Mercury Marine – are finding fitness and fun on their Trikes.
I asked them what the advantages are of a trike compared to a regular two wheeler. They replied as follows:
- A trike has great safety and stability. For example, during the early spring riding season when the temperature is mild but the Loop trail still has ice patches, a trike is so stable that it is nearly impossible to fall off.
- The seating is very comfortable and issues like numb hands or elbows and neck pain do not exist. In addition, the rider sits in a much more back and posture friendly position.
- If you are losing your sense of balance or never developed bicycle skills, a trike allows you to sit pedal and steer with no chance of a spill. The basic learning curve for me was about 3 minutes. All you have to do is steer and pedal with all controls right by your fingertips.
- Trikes are fun! The liberating feel of speed, stress reduction, and the chance to get out onto the Loop with its many safe, separate routes help make for a wonderful and life- affirming combination.
- If you are overweight, the Trike will allow you to get in shape with very little knee, hip and back stress.
- Finally, all of the many other health benefits of pedaling a bike are still there for you.
Bruce Fryda just a few years ago was really struggling with health issues, to include diabetes and too much extra body weight. When his doctor told him to get moving or die, Bruce made a choice to put some extra years onto his lifespan. He got moving with an active schedule of snowshoeing, hiking and gym workouts. He then purchased a recumbent trike and started putting out some big miles on Fond du Lac’s wonderful Loop path system. Bruce has shed 60 lbs and his blood sugar levels are back to normal. He is really having fun as he gets healthier.
You will see Bruce, Dan, and several other trikes out on the Loop, including upright models, and of course the famous hand powered machine of Floyd Freiburg. If you have any interest in testing a Trike, check out these cool machines at Fond du Lac Cyclery or Attitude Sports.