Gearbikesreview is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


Adult Tricycle Riding – An Easy-to-Follow Guide with Tips & FAQs

Adult Tricycle Riding – An Easy-to-Follow Guide with Tips & FAQs
Written by Cobie Brown
Last Update: August 16, 2023

Riding a tricycle for the first time is certainly an amazing experience. The superior control and stability that a trike provides makes you enjoy the ride even more. You won’t have to worry about losing balance and falling to the ground if an obstacle crosses your path.

Tricycles aren’t risky for older people and children. In fact, they’re very safe and comfortable. The wider space between rear wheels and the extra friction added by a third wheel makes tricycles the best eco-friendly transport to prevent accidental falls.

There isn’t much difference between riding a bike and riding a trike. However, there are some tips you should consider to make your first ride the best of all. Today, we’ll show you how to ride once you get the best adult tricycle for you.

How to Ride an Adult Tricycle – Riding Guide

1. How to sit?

How to sit on a adult tricycle

The way how you sit on a tricycle depends mainly on the kind of seat you choose. Usually, tricycles come with two different types of seats:

  • Upright seat
  • Recumbent seat

An upright seat is the one you usually find on a common bike. They’re designed to not interfere with leg movement while pedaling. In addition, they help you regain balance quickly and move faster. Although they’re very comfortable for most riders, they aren’t the most suitable for people with knee pain.

Recumbent seats are much larger than upright seats and allow you to support your back while pedaling. They’re certainly the most comfortable option and are ideal for people with muscle and joint pain. However, they have a big con. They add too much weight to the trike, making the pedaling process more difficult.

2. Learn how to turn

How to Ride an Adult Tricycle: Learn how to turn

Tricycle cornering isn’t as easy as with a bike. When you’re riding a bike, you can change your direction without losing much speed. However, when turning with a trike, you’ll have to apply the brakes on each turn if you don’t want to tip over.

That’s the main reason why bikers don’t really like tricycles. However, maintaining stability and speed when turning isn’t as difficult as many believe. You just need to move your center of mass to the opposite side of the turn for all three wheels to stay on the ground.

3. Learn how to ride

Learn how to ride an adult tricycle

Tricycles are much more stable than bikes because their center of mass is located closer to the ground. That also means that the friction generated on the wheels is even greater.

So, you won’t need too much forward momentum to go up a hill at very low speed. In addition, the extra friction generated by the third wheel will prevent you from rolling back by the action of gravity. That’s the reason why you can stop to rest in the middle of a slope with a tricycle without fear of having an accident.

However, it’s too hard to go up a hill on a tricycle using a single gear, especially if you’re carrying something too heavy. In these cases, you’ll need to install a cassette on the rear wheel to vary the torque and speed at your convenience.

4. Consider the wheel paths

How to Ride an Adult Tricycle - Consider the tricycle wheel paths

The wheel path is the line that wheels follow on a bike. When you’re riding on muddy terrain, you can see how this line is drawn on the ground. Bikes have a single wheel path, so, both front and rear wheels always travel on the same kind of terrain.

However, tricycles have three different wheel paths. So, the three wheels don’t travel the same kind of terrain. The difference in traction and height between the three wheels could cause overturning when moving on high speeds.

Therefore, it isn’t advisable to accelerate too much when the ground conditions aren’t ideal. So, it’s better to slow down if there are too many obstacles in the path or the soil is moist and unstable.

5. Be careful when riding on slopes

How to Ride an Adult Tricycle - Be careful when riding tricycle on slopes

When going up a slope, bikes let you to bend your body forward to move your center of mass and generate more friction in the front wheel. Doing this is safe with protective gear while the rear wheel is still on the ground.

However, doing the same thing on a trike may not be a good idea. When you focus your weight on the front wheel, the rear wheels tend to detach from the ground, increasing your chances of tipping over.

So, you’ll have to apply other methods to increase friction on the front wheel without moving your center of mass. One way to do this is constantly rotate the handlebar from side to side so as not to maintain a linear path over the slope. That way you’ll avoid being pushed back by the action of gravity.

Essential Tips to Remember

  • Make sure the seat and the handlebar are adjusted to an appropriate height for a comfortable riding
  • Push the brake levers before getting on the trike to prevent the wheels from moving and losing stability
  • Don’t accelerate too much when going up slopes or turning
  • Right after getting on the trike, start pedaling slowly and then gradually increase in speed
  • Keep your center of mass in the same position at all times. A slight movement can lift the rear wheels off the ground and tip you over


Q. 1:  Can a toddler ride a tricycle?

Ans: Yes, there are even toddler bikes on the market, let alone tricycles. The trike should be properly sized and your toddler should wear protective gear. A responsible adult should be present to supervise the child and prevent accidents.

Q. 2:  What is the best age to use a tricycle?

Ans: There’s no specific age to start using a trike. However, it’s recommended that children be at least 3 years old to ride a tricycle for the first time.

Q. 3: What is the best age to start pedaling?

Ans: The best age to start pedaling is 3 years, when children develop enough strength on bones and muscles.

Q. 4: Can I build my own adult tricycle?

Ans: Yes, you can! Just follow this guide.

About the author

Cobie Brown

Born and grew up in Colorado, I chose to work in the field of what I liked most, biking. I’ve been working as a full time mechanic in the cycling industry for over 13 years. I started BMXing when I was just a 6-year-old kid and got hooked from the very first day. Then I started riding and not a single day went by since then that I didn’t touch my bike.

Leave a Comment