Triking, Everyone’s Nightmare

Honka Honka

Honka! Honka!

I am everyone’s complaint.

I just purchased and am learning to ride, my honking huge big blue trike that takes up half the car lane. If a car can’t see me? They’d miss a smart car.

I see a great many complaints about e-scooters and electric assist.

Then there are chronic complaints about “too slow” like getting somewhere quickly is the entire function of the human race.

Now, I spent years researching what would be the best choice for me.

E-scooters didn’t come the way I wanted. I needed something that balanced better. I can no longer peddle a regular bike due to physical limitations but I still wanted to peddle for exercise and get places. An e-assist bike was out of the question because if I had an asthma attack in the smog, I’d crash. There’s enough time to stop then pull over while heaving for air but if you hit a grate/pothole/streetcar track, simultaneously–you’re road pizza. I know a number of asthmatics who have been seriously injured this way.

I didn’t want a mobility scooter. They take up the whole sidewalk, there are hundreds in my neighbourhood and you can’t use your own power when you’re capable. Nor can you slug home groceries. Or help elderly neighbours who need someone to pick up something at a store they can’t get to with just their bundle buggys slugging home with arthritis.

I needed something eminently practical, balanced and safe for myself and everyone. It had to be as green as I could manage, efficient and cheap to run and if the motor or batteries blew, something I could ride in a crunch, anyway. Something I can mainly fix myself if it goes wrong and can peddle on flats and downhills.

I liked the recumbents but the thought of being so low and breathing exhaust made me panic. Plus the cost was prohibitive.

That left me with one major choice. A heavy, honking, electric assist TRIKE. 100lbs of metal mammoth.

Nothing fancy, nothing fast. Just puttering around at 12 miles an hour getting where I have to go.

I am everyone’s complaint.

Too slow. Too big. Too ugly.

I take half a lane and drivers know full well that can’t try to squish me into three feet of space. If they hit me–well it’s heavy so they’re going to get more than a door ding while they cuss out the cyclist. It IS going to cost them insurance or repairs.

So although you may not like me the odd time I am in your bike lane, remember–the driver that is honking at me, probably wants to run you right off the road.

Now, I try to be very courteous. I stay to back streets whenever I can and pull over so cars can pass me at the curb. I try to park where I’m not in anyone’s way. I follow all the rules of the road and if I need the sidewalk I get off and walk the trike. Since it is unweildy to turn and I am cautious, I walk it across most left turns.

A few cyclists have waved and yelled, “Right on!” but most look at me like I am responsible for their dog’s demise.

Cars honk like crazy. They hate me. My answer? Hey, I’m on this because I can’t breathe in the smog YOU created!

My decision was based on the fact we cannot continue to burn fossil fuels and still breathe the air. I’m not actually trying to annoy everyone–I just want to get around without paying over $5 per trip on my limited budget or cab fare which is outrageous. I’d love to pay a e-pedicab home with the groceries if I had a choice. I don’t.

I think we need to crack open our brains and get cars out of the downtown core unless they are absolutely necessary such as couriers, cabs and other reasons of commerce. We need to stop blaming each other, being elitist and work out some concrete ways that e-scooters, e-bikes, trikes, recumbents, cargo bikes and speed cyclists can all get along.

So, if you see me triking along slowly, just remember:

I am not your enemy. I am the wave of the future. The future where we all get to breathe decent air and cars are not ruling the roads because…

WE do.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey there Trikester, it’s me, the EnigManiac from iBikeTO.

    Let’s remember it isn’t a ‘car’ lane. It’s a travel lane and we are allowed to take as much of it as we need, so if we slow up a few cars, so be it. They need to slow down. They’re often in too much of a hurry and putting people’s lives in jeopardy simply because they’re pressed for time. Put a sign on the bike of the bike in support of the international Slow Movement. That’ll really get ’em wound up. And greet their frustrated, stressed-out honks with a smile and a wave. Maybe the message will register with some of them.

    • Good point! I think I’ll use that. “Travel lane”–what a concept!

      Put a sign on the bike of the bike in support of the international Slow Movement.

      Where would I get one? Gray panthers might be nice and I already have a pirate flag–just working a way to attach it.

      I’m looking around for one of those “slow moving vehicle” signs to stick on the back. I could conceivably string across two flag posts [attached to the back wheels] a big banner too. Hey, maybe paid advertising. I could rent space for cash to pay for new batteries *chuckle*

      Triking possibilities are endless

      At the harley shop on queen there’s a bright orange glow-in-the-dark t-shirt that says, “Do you see me NOW, azzhole?”

      Also, join up fellow trikesters and we shall bloggingly overcome the prejudices against trikesters!

  2. Just make a homemade sign, maybe use a drawing of a 3 wheeled turtle? 😉
    http://www.slowmovement.com has a lot of ideas, they have a forum as well. I probably walk too fast to be allowed in but I like the concept.

    • Oh yes–caution slow moving tortoises! I wonder if they have such signs in South America?

      When the paint job is gacked in a year or two–perhaps I could paint it tortoiseshell!

  3. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

    • Well thank you for coming by Matt!

      HONKA HONKA!


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