Tips and Trikes

It is a bright morning. The wind is blowing. I am pedaling my trike as fast as I can. My wife rides ahead of me. And I’m smiling.

I’ll pause for a moment. I don’t want to confuse anyone, so I’ll explain what a trike is for the newcomers.

Technically speaking, a trike is your basic tricycle. Though enthusiasts rarely call it a tricycle because this sounds dumb. So they call it a trike. Then the enthusiasts usually spit and talk about football, just so you don’t get the idea that these are kids’ tricycles. Which they are.

My wife convinced me to buy this contraption a few months ago. The reason was because I was depressed.

I don’t like to admit this, but I will. This pandemic has done a number on my brain. Being trapped at home is not for wimps. At one point I was rarely leaving my bedroom except to restock on Cheez-Its.

I once wore pajamas for almost 60 days. In the mornings, I would crawl from my covers, take a shower, fix my hair, brush my teeth, then put on my PJs and go back to bed.

So that’s why I’m riding this trike. Because I’m trying not to be blue. I don’t want to live in a perpetual mind-killing funk. I know that sounds a little melodramatic, but I’m being honest.

We are riding at about 13 miles per hour. I am sweating. There isn’t much traffic.

When the pandemic began my wife was always asking me to go bike riding with her, but I never would. You can call me nutty, but all bikes scare me. People die on bikes.

In 2015 there were 50,000 accidents related to bikes in the U.S. And last year the number of deaths on bicycles had tripled from the year before. These weren’t just little accidents, either. These were SUVs plowing into people.

Here in Florida we have more bicycle-related deaths than any other state. And in case you’re wondering, Florida is also in the top three states for automotive fatalities involving cell phones.

So I usually avoided bikes.

One of my friends finally convinced me to try out a trike because he claimed it was safer. The way he won me over was by telling me trikes were like big wheels.

Ah, yes. Big wheels. Remember those? For the uninitiated, big wheels were low-riding plastic tricycles we children would use to break our fibulas. The handlebars were high, like on Harley choppers. The wheels made rumbling sounds.

My big wheel was black, with imitation mother-of-pearl stickers and official NASCAR decal dashboard. And just to prove I was a tough customer, my handlebars had tassels.

We had a big hill by our house. If you rode down it you could achieve speeds upwards of 124 miles per hour. Your pedals would spin like blender blades and you would crash. Millions of kids died this way.

I once tried this stunt and wrecked horribly. When my father found me I was bleeding and my clothes were shredded. Whereupon my father did what any concerned parent would do: he got his camera.

Why is it when you look your worst, people always want to take your picture? It never fails. In my life, happiness comes and goes, but my worst moments live forever on Kodak.

My mother still has a coffee-table scrapbook containing photos of young me, shirtless, bleeding, and gashed. Mama always touches these pictures and says, “Aww… Remember this?”

Yes. I’m remembering it right now while cruising down a steep hill on my adult tricycle.

We ride past my two neighbors, Jean and Terry, who are out for a walk.

I wave. They wave.

Jean starts laughing at me. I can tell she thinks I look ridiculous. “Hey!” she shouts. “Nice bike!” Then she doubles over.

Terry, who is the George Burns of the team, says, “Where’d you get that thing? Toys R Us?!”

But I pay no attention to them. I’m pedalling too aggressively to care. Besides, Jean and Terry don’t know what I know, which is that my dog poops in their yard sometimes.

We coast by a few more neighbors. One neighbor just moved to our area. He works nights. He looks tired. We exchange waves.

Another neighbor is a young woman wearing a food service uniform. She is smoking a cigarette on her porch. No wave.

I pass another woman who is loading her car with cleaning supplies. Her kids are wearing masks, helping lug vacuums, mops, and buckets. On her bumper is an advertisement for a house-cleaning service in Spanish. I wave to her.

“Hola!” she says.

“HOLA!” shout her kids.

As it happens, I speak a little Spanish. So I pull out some streetsmart Español:

“Hi!” I say.

In a few moments two children are chasing my trike. They have become so genuinely excited they end up racing me on foot, laughing. Suddenly we are having a great time.

“Mira! Mira!” they are shouting. Which literally translates, “old guy wearing helmet.”

I win the race. I take a few victory laps. The kids seem downright giddy. They are half cheering me, clapping, and saying, “Que chido!”

I don’t know what this phrase means, but I’ve never heard anything more sincere than these happy voices. And it makes me feel much better than I did an hour ago.

When my wife and I finally finish our ride, she skids into our driveway and dismounts. She just looks at me and begins to cackle.

I tell her to go ahead and laugh. Sure, I know I look silly on this tricycle. But I’m glad I don’t look depressed.


  1. Gordonthegearhead - August 26, 2020 6:59 am

    Re: “Here in Florida we have more bicycle-related deaths than any other state. And in case you’re wondering, Florida is also in the top three states for automotive fatalities involving cell phones.”
    Isn’t Florida also the state with more old people more square mile than anywhere else in The USA? It’s just that old folk usually get the blame for pretty much everything.
    Not that I consider myself old, you understand; I’m only 75 and still drive quite a lot. I also keep an eye out for bicycles and motorbikes because I have been those people in previous lives.
    But please get yourself a proper bicycle asap, because the only trikes attracting respect are those with humungous motors attached.

  2. Christina - August 26, 2020 7:00 am

    Whatever it takes, Sean. Keep pedaling no matter how cool you look 🤪

  3. Heidi - August 26, 2020 7:58 am

    In my estimation….trike=more biscuits=happy. Go for it!

  4. Christopher Spencer - August 26, 2020 9:44 am

    Jamie was laughing at you because you had your bike helmet on backwards and had a big hole in the crotch of your shorts lol

  5. Geri - August 26, 2020 12:20 pm

    I’m glad you don’t look depressed, Sean.

  6. AlaRedClayGirl - August 26, 2020 3:21 pm

    They are only laughing to hide their jealousy!

  7. Larry Wall - August 26, 2020 3:41 pm

    Sean, stop being depressed, if you actually are. And I really doubt that you are because you have too much of a vision about what life is really all about. But for arguments’ sake, let’s agree that it happens. The answer in these times are for us all to start going about our normal lives without regards to all the medias’ efforts to depress us. Start doing your old routine around town with observing and talking with folks. As the song said, “Don’t worry, be happy”. Que Sera, Sera!! And keep writing, and we will be happy!! 🙂

  8. HT - August 26, 2020 4:03 pm

    OK, this won me over. Trike vs RX – take it any day. Well, having any knee issues after your rides? RIDE ON roving reporter! Report on those knees please…

  9. Steve Winfield [Lifer] - August 26, 2020 4:17 pm

    Nothing like leaving a big ol’ bloodhound log in a neighbor’s yard for them to slip & slide on some morning. Now you need a hidden camera.

  10. Debbie - August 26, 2020 4:44 pm

    You crack me up! And your loyal fans need you to not be depressed … we are lifting you up, Sean! Keep that sense of humor and be happy. ❤️

  11. Jon Dragonfly - August 26, 2020 5:01 pm

    After riding a Bike my whole life (and having a major accident in my teens), I’m now on a Trike, too. It’s great! Keep on truckin’.
    PS It helps my knees, HT.

  12. Susie - August 26, 2020 5:22 pm

    Keep on trucking, we need you and your funny and serious writing.🙏

  13. Kathy Grey - August 26, 2020 5:25 pm

    Oh, Sean, thank for the laughs today. The image of you on a trike will keep me smiling all day!! 😁

  14. Linda Moon - August 26, 2020 5:43 pm

    I’ve suspected that some of your recent columns about depressed people might be about you. In writing, that’s called Metonymy. But today, Writer, you owned it. Being blue in these abnormal times is honest. Deniers of that blue hue are the wimps. I could write a dissertation here about silliness and depression and, well…just The Nature of Man. But I won’t. If you come to my front porch, we’ll sit out there and talk and be silly and serious about everything that’s on your mind, Sean, with a few quotes from Viktor Frankl thrown in!

  15. MAM - August 26, 2020 7:03 pm

    Yay for the trike! I have a friend who regularly goes out for long rides on his trike. And he doesn’t look silly at all. He looks like a fellow having a good time. And it sounds like you had a good time on yours today. Keep riding!

  16. Kimiark - August 26, 2020 8:42 pm

    We had a load of Big Wheels in my neighborhood, and just like you, we would ride them down the biggest hills we could find. That usually involved a hill right in front of my house and continued for about 1/4 mile to the dirt pile by the golf course. The asphalt had pebbles in it, so the entire contraption vibrated so badly everything looked blurry. So fun! Getting back home was a real drag, though. My father always said that if someone drove through our neighborhood and wasn’t watching out at the bottom of Pine Ridge Road, he could possibly wipe out half the population of children living nearby, as we went tearing by, paying absolutely no attention to cars.

  17. Amanda Bay - August 26, 2020 8:58 pm

    Here is a question? Why wouldn’t you want to ride a Trike?! That sounds awesome. I saw one at the beach this summer and literally turned to my husband and said, “I changed my mind. I don’t want a beach bike cruiser, I want one of those,”, pointing to the lady with a dog in her back basket peddling down the street on her trike. He rolled his eyes, but by golly, I am going to get a trike and a small dog to ride in the basket too!

  18. Esteban - August 26, 2020 9:45 pm

    Being funny is a common way to deal with one’s depression. Taking care of others. Doing as much good as you can. But sometimes the beast will get you no matter you do. Exercise is great, when you can summon the energy to do it. The endorphin thing. Prayer. Sometimes the only thing that works is professional help. Whatever works. Don’t ask me how I know. This pandemic has been hard on a lot of people.

  19. Paramore - August 26, 2020 11:02 pm

    Sean, I do live a sheltered life, so I suppose that is why I had never heard about you until about three weeks ago. Someone reposted one of your articles on facebook. I read it and was instantly intrigued. Looked you up, and subscribed to your writings. Even ordered a couple of your books. Now, for better or worse, you are the highlight of my day (I am 71 years old). Truly I can identify with so much you write; it’s so real! Keep up the good work.

  20. Becky & Larry Comer - August 27, 2020 12:01 am

    Sean, we just want you to know we are just like you . . . everyday Floridians that have found ourselves falling into the pits of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, we all are doing better and feeling more hopeful after getting out a bit and enjoying normal activities. Please do not ever despair that you are alone. We look forward to your blog each morning. We met you last December when you came to Milton and bought a couple of your books. I’m so happy that we got to connect with you in person. You’re so much “our kind of friend” and feel strongly that we are your friends. Take care and remember how much you mean to so many folks.

    Becky & Larry
    Crestview FL

  21. Berryman Mary M - August 27, 2020 3:41 am

    Good one, Sean! Do what makes you happy and to heck with what anyone else thinks!

  22. Sylvia - August 27, 2020 2:41 pm

    Que chido….how cool!

  23. Ann Marie Bouchet - August 28, 2020 2:33 am

    Hey, Sean, I love those three wheeled bikes…..I have ridden them, too. But I don’t own one. As I found out that one of them was the price of 3 or 4 cheaper 2 wheelers. I am a lot older than you, so they are supposed to be safer for us old folks….hope I get one, one of these days!!!!!!!!!

  24. TrixC - August 29, 2020 1:33 pm

    Same happened to me…friend posted something by Sean, I was hooked immediately and never miss a morning cup of tea and Sean of the South.

  25. TrixC - August 29, 2020 1:36 pm

    I use to ride my bike (I have 4) and log in 60-80 miles a week. Things happen…work takes over…injuries, but TODAY I shall get my bike out, tune her up and start riding again. Thanks for the inspiration !

  26. This tree created by Emily & Robin Williams. - August 30, 2020 2:40 am

    When Big Wheels were cool, my little brother and friends would race down a hill on our street. I can hear them now, all those Big Wheels thundering down the hill – it was very exciting!

  27. Robin Williams - August 30, 2020 3:02 am

    Back when every little boy had a Big Wheel my little brother and his friends would race down a long hill on our street. Even now I hear the thundering noise of a dozen Big Wheels racing down the hill! The boys were in a race to the death or, if you didn’t brake in time, a race into the creek at the bottom of the hill! Thanks for bringing back that memory. I’m going now to call my “little” brother and ask whatever happened to his Big Wheel!

  28. Josie Retan - September 30, 2020 3:23 pm

    We had to quit riding the two wheels, so we each got recumbent trikes. Even a tandem recumbent!


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