E-trikes are a fun way to get out and about

E-trikes are a fun way to get out and about


By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

What can you tell me about electric trikes for semi-seniors? I used to cycle a lot in my younger years but have some balance problems and don’t trust myself on a two-wheeler anymore. I’ve read that electric-powered trikes are a good option for older riders, but I could use some help choosing one.

Unsteady Eddie

Dear Eddie,

Electric powered adult tricycles – also known as e-trikes – are a great cycling option for older adults with balance or stamina issues because they’re safe and super fun to ride, and easy on an aging body.

With a trike you can ride as slow as you want without ever losing your balance, which is very reassuring for most older riders.

E-trikes also come with a small electric motor to enhance the riding experience, so when you saddle up and apply the throttle, the motor will give you a boost when pedaling, or it will do all the work for you. This makes it much easier to whiz up hills and ride into headwinds without gassing yourself or taxing your knee joints.

In addition, most adult e-trikes are also made with a low step-through design, making mounting and dismounting easier; they typically come with big tires that ensure a smooth ride; have ergonomic handlebars that are easy to reach and grip; and offer oversize seats (some even have backrests) for comfort and support.

There are many types of e-trikes to choose from with prices ranging anywhere from around $2,000 up to $7,000. To shop for one, contact bike shops in your area, or order one online. When shopping, pay special attention to the motor, which determines how fast it will go, and the battery, which determines how far it will go between charges.

Most e-trikes can reach speeds between 15 and 28 miles per hour, and typically go between 20 and 55 miles on a single charge, depending on how much pedaling you do. Battery charge times will vary, too, from three to eight hours.

To help you figure out the right kind of e-trike for you, ask yourself how and where you plan to ride it. If you’re primarily interested in a leisurely ride around the neighborhood, fitness, or running errands, an upright cruiser e-trike that has a rear cargo basket would be a nice choice.

Or, if you’re looking to take longer rides, a recumbent e-trike may be a better option. These are aerodynamic, low-to-the-ground, stretched-out frame trikes that allow you to recline with your legs positioned in front of you.

There are also folding e-trikes, which are practical if you have limited home storage or would like to take your trike with you when traveling.

Electric powered adult tricycles like this one have a small electric motor to enhance the riding experience.

Send questions for Jim Miller to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit savvysenior.org.