For people who have difficulty walking there are a wide choice of aids at their disposal, but these are very much aimed at those in the later years of life who either need to only walk short distances or for those who can barely walk at all.
Mobility scooters, for example, offer an element of freedom for folks who may have previously been all but housebound – yet they offer nothing in terms of physical exercise. Consequently, users can easily become accustomed to the ease of use and any strength in their legs they did have soon dissipates. Eventually, they may give up walking outdoors altogether.
There are a huge number of people with health issues though who want to stay as mobile as possible and would prefer to get some exercise as well becoming more mobile. They may have some strength in their legs but have difficulty balancing and lack the energy or stamina to walk or cycle long enough distances to get any worthwhile benefit.
An electric trike, or tricycle, could, therefore, be just the solution they are looking for but, being a fairly recent development, they are not that well known about.
Having three wheels and low, step-over frames they overcome the obvious accessibility issues that such people will have with a conventional bike. The real benefit though is the addition of a pedal-assist electric motor which will power the bike when needed but still provide an element of exercise too.
E-Trikes are also self-balancing which makes them much safer to ride on the road, especially when stopping at traffic lights, since there is no need for your feet to touch the floor.
Another advantage an electric tricycle has is carrying capacity, making them ideal for shopping trips. With the extra boost from the pedal-assist motor, visits to the local supermarket will no longer be such a burden and could, almost, become a pleasurable activity.
An electric trike could, therefore, give someone with walking difficulties the perfect opportunity to not just get out and about but also enable them to get a much-needed physical work-out. Electric tricycles are also great fun to ride, and this will encourage such people to use them at every opportunity.
Jorvik’s electric trike range starts at just under £2000 for a folding option up to just over £3,000 for a dual battery option complete with luggage baskets. Their mid-range mountain-style trikes are the most popular though and will appeal to people of all ages who would otherwise opt for a two-wheeled bike but are drawn to the added stability and carrying capacity that these trikes offer.
An added benefit of these premium e-trikes is the ability to propel themselves at low speed without any pedal assistance at all. A system called ‘walk-mode’ will propel the trike at a gentle walking speed, so you can give your legs a rest – something you certainly don’t get with a conventional 2-wheeled electric bike, unless coasting downhill – of course.
The trikes can also be pedalled backwards, which is an especially useful feature for manoeuvring out of any tight spots.
The best-selling mountain-trikes come with an option of a 250w, 500w or 750w front-hub motor with a range of 28 – 35 miles unassisted or up to 45 miles with a bit of pedalling. More than ample for a decent day out with power to spare and the cost of recharging the battery is almost negligible.
Higher performance models are also available with a mid-drive motor for those who are a bit more adventurous..
Some may baulk at the initial cost but it’s worth bearing in mind that, when compared to a mid-range mobility scooter, the outlay is not that great. Plus, the added benefit of enabling those with a physical disability to venture outdoors and get some essential exercise is something you just can’t put a price on.