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More Cyclists Opting for Three Wheels

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Employees of Barr Bike in Clive take a spin on the Terra Trike.

Employees of Barr Bike in Clive take a spin on the Terra Trike. (Roger Riley/WHO-HD)

CLIVE, Iowa — Two reasons why three wheels are becoming more popular can be found at one Des Moines-area bike shop.

First, more and more people of retirement age are looking to stay active.  Second, central Iowa has developed a network of trails which lures more people off the sofa, and onto a bike.

The owner of Barr Bikes, Dave Hoss, says he saw sales of the recumbent three wheelers start to take off about four years ago. He has ranked number one in sales nationally of the Terra Trike, though the latest year his store finished second. Barr sold over 200 Terra Trikes.

“Trikes have changed they’re no longer real low you sit upright,” said Hoss. “This one sits just a little bit higher than a church pew,” Hoss added. “So people are more comfortable in these things,” he said. He says the trikes are slower than most two-wheeled bikes. “People riding this aren’t setting a world record,” said Hoss, “they want to be able to climb the hills.”

Hoss says his customer ranges in age from 92 down to the 20’s. Most trike riders are in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s, he said. The recumbent bikes are lower in profile, he says most ride them on bike trails, not on the road.  More people are taking the trikes on RAGBRAI said Hoss, and some choose to make a trip across America with the Terra. He said road bikes do have flags on a wire above the bikes, and lights to improve visibility.

“A lot of people said they couldn’t ride a bike have now rediscovered the bike trails,” said Hoss. The Terra Trike is priced from about  $1,199 up to $1,800 with the very top end bike at $5,000.




  • kwog

    These trikes are no harder to see than a regular cyclist. I only see a problem in a tightly parked area where a guy in a car can’t see past the parked cars. They are rare and some are low but they are just fine to ride on the road. By that logic corvettes only belong on tracks. I can’t believe a guy who sells them would say that.

  • john

    I own a rambler base model, flags, rear tail light & i run a nightrider head light mounted on my helmet. This light is bright & can be seen in daylight! this helps but watch out for distracted drivers going right on red into our crosswalks not looking. This trike rides great happy cycling! :)

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