I have effectively taken a year off from riding my recumbent. The pain due to the arthritis in my knees was bad enough last fall that I didn’t want to take the chance of aggravating it, and after the spate of recent cyclist deaths in this town, I’m not planning on going back to commuting to work. It always scared me to death, and I’ve decided it just isn’t worth it. But I miss tooling around on bike paths, and I miss riding with my kids, and I miss getting the exercise. So I’m thinking about my options for getting back in the saddle.

One of the problems I have is the bike itself. My Koosah (shown below) is a great bike, and it’s a joy to ride. But it’s also 40+ pounds, and very unstable at low speeds. That means that when I’m starting out from a standstill, or when I’m climbing a steep hill, I’ve got to really grind the pedals to get up to or maintain a speed where I can keep the bike upright (and preferably fast enough that I’m not “wobbling” back and forth trying to maintain balance). That grinding is really hard on my knees.

Faired Burley Koosah

So, I’ve been thinking on and off about getting a recumbent trike. The advantage of having three wheels is that you don’t have to unclip from the pedals at stop signs, and you can go up hills as slowly as you want — you CAN’T fall over. The disadvantage is that you’re really very low to the ground. I don’t think I’d want to ride one in traffic for more than a block or two. At any rate, I’ve been mulling over the possibility of getting a trike, and suddenly out of the blue I’ve been given the opportunity to test drive a 2006 Catrike Road over the weekend:

Catrike makes some sweet trikes, and this one in particular got glowing reviews. I’m really excited about trying it out. My only serious concern at this point (besides my ancient and crippled knees) is how low to the ground the seat is. That’s partly an advantage, as it gives you the illusion of going faster than you really are. But I also know some trike riders can have real difficulty getting into and out of their seats, and I hope it isn’t a deal breaker for me.

I’m really looking forward to it.