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Old July 17th 03, 09:40 PM
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Default Tandem Trikes?

Brent -

This was extremely helpful information. Thanks!


"Brent Hugh" wrote in message
"N8" wrote in message

I am researching Tandem adult-sized tricycles for a friend of mine and

husband who recently had a stroke.

If anyone has any links or manufacturer names, pls post.

You might consider the type of recumbent tricycle that is built so
that two individual trikes can be linked together to make a sort of a
"trike tandem".

The advantage of this system is that the trikes can be linked together
when you want (either because one person can't independently steer, or
just because it's more fun for two people to ride tandemed up) but
also broken up into two separate trikes when the one person becomes
capable of riding independently again.

We purchased such a pair of trikes for my brother who has balance and
visual problems. At first he always rode tandemed up but after only a
few months he had gained so dramatically in his ability that he now
rides almost always independently, and we only tandem the trikes up
"for fun".

Our family has loved the two trikes that can be tandemed together. We
have gotten an extraordinary amount of use out of them. They are an
awful lot of fun--like riding a pedal-powered go-kart.

I highly, highly recommend such trikes for anyone who has the sort of
disability that makes walking or ordinary bicycle-riding difficult or
impossible. With the tandem option, they are also great for visually
impaired users.

We considered an ordinary tandem bike for my brother, but he's large
and heavy enough that none of the potential captains who would ride
with him had the strength or tandem biking experience to make that
work. The tandem trikes worked very well for him, because he will
never "graduate" to riding an ordinary bike, but he very soon
graduated to riding his own trike.

Yes, recumbent trikes are "expensive" but, even for a pair of them,
the total is far less than the price of a car. When you start adding
up prices for rehabilitation services for a disabled person, even the
most expensive trike starts to look like a bargain.

And yes, the skinny-tired racing set is going to moan and groan about
how "heavy" and "slow" the trikes are. But your friend who has had a
stroke isn't going to care that some tight-bunned race weenie who can
do 28 MPH on his $6000 carbon fiber racing bike can "only" make 23 MPH
on the Penninger over the same course. This is a dramatic difference
for the racing set (like the difference between first place and 179th
place) but for the rest of us it means that it takes us 2 minutes 14
seconds longer to get to the store.

And on your trike, you'll be smiling the whole 2:14, so who cares that
something else might get you there a little faster . . .

Going up a hill can be slow, but (unlike a bicycle) it is *easy* and
very *stable*. Because you needn't worry about balancing, you can go
as slow as you want and you can stop to take a breather whenever you
like (after all, you're carrying a built-in comfortable lounge chair
with you wherever you go . . . ).

As far as I know, there are two makes of recumbent trikes that can be
tandemed together as I described above. One is the Penninger Voyager
(Penninger also make a slightly cheaper model called the "Traveler"
but I would stick with the Voyager if at all possible). See

Charles Penninger, who owns Penninger Recumbents, is very informative
and helpful and I would take a few minutes to call and chat with him
about your situation (phone # is on the web site).

The other tandem-able trike is the Hase Kettwiesel. Look under
"Products", then "Kettwiesel" at

The Penninger is a bit heavier than the Kettwiesel but the rider sits
a bit higher (making it easier to get into & out of, and also
improving visibility in traffic) and the Penninger has other
advantages like the T-Bar, which makes getting into and out of the
seat much easier for anyone with mobility issues. The Penninger's
steering is dead solid and stable and it is very easy to ride and
drive. The Penninger is, in general, extremely sturdy and
"user-friendly", and that is an important concern in the use you are

I haven't had the chance to try a Kettwiesel but from the reports I
have read, people who have them really like them.

You can read short reviews of the Penningers, Kettwiesel, and a lot of
other trikes at's%20Guide/Trikes%202002.htm

You can read some of our experiences with the Penningers at

Here is a page with some adventures of my friend Randy Niere, who is a
stroke, heart-attack (etc. etc.) survivor:

Randy started out riding a trike but made so much progress with his
strength, endurance, and balance that he switched to a (recumbent,
under-seat steering) bike this year.

I'm recommending what are called "recumbent tricycles", which come in
two flavors: delta (two wheels in back, one in front) and tadpole (two
wheels in front, one in back).

But I would strongly advise against the sort of "old-fashioned adult
tricycle" that looks like a blown-up version of a child's
tricycle--the kind where the rider sits up high and there is only one
wheel in front. These can be relatively inexpensive (a few hundred
dollars) but the components are invariably very, very cheap. They
typically have few or no gears (on a trike you NEED a wide range of
gearing) and their design makes them extremely unstable. Your
race-weenie-buddy who can make the Penninger go 23 MPH will only be
able to make the "Giant Kid's Trike" go 9 MPH and will pay for taking
it up to this dangerously high speed when he plants his face on the
pavement turning a corner.

The high center of gravity, forward seating position, and one front
wheel of the Giant Kid's Trike make it astonishingly easy to tip this
kind of trike 45 degrees to the left or right when cornering and/or
going down a slight hill.

A good recumbent trike (either tadpole or delta) is, by comparison, a
marvel of stability and speed.

You might also ask this question on alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent (I've
taken the liberty of cross-posting this message to that group; please
trim newsgroups appropriately if you reply), on the trikes mailing
list at

and/or on the relevant International Human-Powered Vehicle Association
lists at

bhugh [at]


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