Friday, 20 January 2017

Paralympic carrot has too many syllables. Sharing is caring.

Why race a trike?
Have you got neurological disorder that makes you fall over a lot? Wobble about all over the place? Do people try and work out if you’re drunk when you're only popping to the corner shop to get the milk...even when you're clearly attempting your inconspicuous walk...with the minimum of zigzagging?
I’m from Glasgow, so perhaps that’s less about my disability and more about the place in which I live.

Paralympic trike racing is cycling’s biggest up and coming discipline for people with a need for speed, who want to surf the tarmac and are used to feeling unstable (physically...and mentally). Like mastering those powerful waves, trike riding is one part terrifying to two parts fulfilling and a miracle of inertia.

Mastering a downhill or a corner is as miraculous as the flips and tricks of BMXers, snowboarders and surfers. We don't get much coverage- channel 4 didn't film our races in Rio- but if they did Red-Bull would be all over it...or health and safety laws...

Full disclosure though:  I fall off my trike a lot less than I fall off my legs. Walking is more dangerous and painful for me. That’s why trike racing appeals... but it’s no toddlers’ game.

Speaking of toddlers, trike racing first began as a sport for men who were bored of bike racing. Trikes are harder to handle and it's not just the extra wheel.

What's it like to ride a trike?
The trike is stable at rest and requires a lot less coordination to get onto it and get it moving than your average two-wheeled ride.
It takes away the need to weight bear, you never have to unclip your pedals, you can take an hour to heave yourself onto the saddle if you need, if you get the right frame you don’t have to lift your leg high over a crossbar.
It's a constant battle to keep all three wheels on the ground, you have to shift your body weight for every pothole, corner and camber of the road. Try as you might, you can never be fully in control of a trike and that's why it's fun.

Where can I get one?
There are mobility trikes out there, big stable beasts for pavement riding. Then there are light-weight, flashy trike shivs that stab into the horizon in a moment and can take you miles and miles into lands you could never have dreamed about.

That is what it felt like when I changed from my ‘to school and back’ trike to my Geoff Booker light-weight steel custom frame or the one Nissan and Longstaff built me was bit different to your average school run, too. Until it got melted in someone else's gang war when they crashed and burnt my car with it in the boot (that's for another blog).

Getting your hands on a proper racing trike, just to try, without spending the big bucks is the hard part. Harder in Scotland. If you want to try a racing trike through British Paracycling it's really only possible in England and Wales (email about trying out trike riding in Manchester). There is also the Tricycle Association, most active in England that often have second hand trikes to buy. You can always hit me up for more info:

P.S. Photo creds the fantastically talented Eamonn Deane 

1 comment:

  1. Hia managed to get a racing trike on loan to try and now going to buy. I joined the tA group and asked there if anyone had one. Woop. Still trying to get a teqnique going to get on but once one I'm away. Brain went into complete melt down on my first ride screaming like a girl lol. Five and a half miles is my longest trip so far. Just got a new seat on trial so look out. Love reading your posts 😉 x