The recumbent tricycle keeps Glenn fit and out of the house for hours


After Glenn Cotton retired, he suffered a bad fall and a heart scare. But now he’s fitter than ever after seeing a weird bike online.

“I slipped off the porch and broke my shoulder,” he said.

“I’ve always liked riding a bike. And I didn’t feel safe – I lost my balance a bit.

“And the two-wheeled bike was quite hard on the back and hard on the posture.”

Darwin’s suburban parks are great for keeping fit.(ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne)

One day he was sucked down a rabbit hole while scrolling through his phone and discovered the recumbent tricycle. It allows the rider to be inclined.

“This bike is one of the few bikes, or trikes, I can ride that fits my back and makes life comfortable,” he said.

Man lying on a recumbent tricycle passing a bus stop and a suburban mall.
Glenn Cotton has storage space on his recumbent trike and can shop.(ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne)

Mr Cotton’s doctors said he needed to exercise more after his heart scare and a recumbent trike made this achievable.

“I tried jogging, but the problem was that it hurt my back a lot,” he said.

“Twenty minutes of jogging and I was fucked.

“With this, I can ride for two or three hours without any back pain.”

Several times a week, Mr. Cotton leaves early in the morning and spends hours hiking Darwin’s network of trails.

Blurred image of man in high speed lane on recumbent tricycle.
Darwin’s suburban lanes facilitate connectivity within the municipality.(ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne)

Safety first

Mr. Cotton is easily spotted by the light flags on the back of his tricycle and sticks to the bike lanes as much as he can.

“It’s much safer than riding on the road,” he said.

“The network is extremely good. It’s fabulous. There are a few bumps, bumps, cracks and tree roots growing through the bitumen.

“Most of the bike paths are damn good.”

If you don’t use it

Chief executive of the Northern Territory Council on Aging, Sue Shearer, said staying fit after retirement was key to tackling high cholesterol and diabetes.

“If you want to enjoy your golden years, it’s really imperative that you pound the pavement or [do] water aerobics or yoga [or] chair aerobics,” she says.

“There are all kinds of things you can do now.”

Ms Shearer says it’s important for older people to maintain their physical fitness.

“We’re not as active as we should be, for different reasons, probably because of our joints and things like that,” she said.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it.

“If you can stay fit, you can stay mobile well into your 90s.”

Blurred speed image of man on recumbent tricycle
Mr. Cotton’s luminous flag is visible from afar.(ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne)

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Raymond I. Langston