In Galveston, trikes aren’t just for tykes
Tricycles, those three-wheel precursors to the bicycle, are a common sight around the island. But it’s not tykes on trikes. Adults are tooling all over town in them.
“I sold six of them just last week,” said Jeff Nielsen of Island Bicycle Co. in Galveston.
And it’s a trend that isn’t showing any signs of slowing. For the past three years, the bikes have been steadily gaining in popularity, Nielsen said.
“No one really knows why, but people from their mid-20s to 40s just want tricycles,” Nielsen said.
One customer suggested it was because it was easier to text while pedaling on three wheels, he said.
Perhaps that’s part of the appeal, but for Raegan Markey, it was about the cargo space.
Nielsen customized a Louisiana State University trike for Markey. It features yellow plastic wheels with plastic tires for splashing around in the saltwater. Most trikes come with a basket between the two back wheels, and Markey’s two miniature Chihuahuas hop in and take off with her. A top covers the basket that keeps the dogs secure.
When the dogs aren’t with her, Markey can use the basket, sans cover, for an ice chest or whatever else she needs to take with her on her trips around town.
Markey owns two-wheeled bikes, but the trike evokes a sense of nostalgia. Soon after she got her trike, several of her friends got one, too. And wherever she goes, people ask her about her trike. Markey likes to go against the grain, she said.
When trikes first came on the scene, women appeared to be the biggest buyers. Not anymore, Nielsen said.
“Guys want them, too, but they want the cooler factor,” he said. And companies such as Sun Bicycles are paying attention by offering trikes in more colors and embellishments.
Some trikers ride in group biking events. Others buy them to pedal alongside their children on the way to school.
People are buying trikes for recreation and work, Nielsen said. On Tiki Island, some residents bought trikes to use in place of golf carts. In Galveston, Pelican Rest Marina, which has floating docks, also bought some for marina workers to get around. The marina makes them available to customers, too.
Maria Dunn never learned to ride a bike as a child. When she moved to Galveston a few years ago, she thought the island was the perfect place to learn.
Dunn tried to learn to ride a traditional two-wheeler, but it didn’t work out. Then she tried the trike. It was a match made in bike heaven.
“During the week, I drive, but on the weekends, I ride my trike everywhere — to the grocery store, to run errands — everywhere,” she said. “People make fun of me, but I absolutely love it.”