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At 86, I remain an avid biker, riding the trails with many of my neighbors in our retirement community in Oro Valley, Arizona, in the periphery of Tucson. Although there aren’t many old railroad corridors here to create rail-trails, there are lots of other trails, paved and striped, developed by our local governments.
I used to ride a regular two-wheeled bike; however, one morning in the summer of 2020, as I was riding, I got caught up in a tight turn and fell, breaking my elbow and pelvis. After recovering from the accident, I decided to switch to a three-wheeler, so I tried a few options and bought a recumbent electric Catrike.
What I Ride
In my retirement community, many people have trikes, electric or not, and you’ll see them on our nice country trails as well as along on-road bike lanes. My wife and I have one e-trike and one bike, and we ride a few miles every morning. Arizona heats up during the day, so we go out early, trying to be back by 7 a.m. This is a good way to go to be out in the air and enjoy the simple pleasures of getting around.
Trikes can be upright or recumbent and are adjustable to accommodate leg length. My e-Catrike has bright flashing lights and a high flag attached to the back for extra visibility. It has a battery-charged motor that I use sometimes (but it’s optional), which can boost me a little or a lot. The battery seldom needs to be charged but comes with simple charging plug-in gear. I also have a basket that I can attach and have carried things in it from occasional trips to the store.
Where I Ride
Tucson and Oro Valley have many parks and dry riverbeds (called “washes”) connected by paved trails. A popular trail system that we enjoy is called the Chuck Huckelberry Loop (commonly known as simply “The Loop”), which, over the years, has been extended to more than 130 miles. Using these trails, one can ride around much of our region of more than a million people—outdoors, avoiding traffic and without using gas or producing pollution.
We also have a number of golf courses nearby. When one of them went out of business, its fairways and golf cart trails were taken over by our town after we raised $2 million for the effort and obtained the support of The Conservation Fund. The golf course’s trails are now open to the community with the town providing basic maintenance, mowing and pavement repair. It’s a great place to enjoy our desert landscape and mountain scenery.
Why I Ride
My trike is comfortable, secure, goes as fast as I want and offers the kind of enjoyment I was used to on my two-wheeler. We have friends nearby who have trikes, too, and we love sharing our experiences with them. It provides good exercise and keeps us healthy!
Related: Top 10 Trails in Arizona
WHY I SUPPORT RTC:
“I support RTC because of its commitment to being a national voice for advocating for more walkable and bikeable trails across America, including in my community!"—Brenda Dixon, Illinois