We don't have a car, so acquiring this stylish piece of kit cut my journey to the city allotment down by thirty minutes. Since I aim to visit the plot twice a week at least, that means I've saved myself at least two hours travelling time each week already.
We have a great local bike shop, and although there's too much traffic in our city, there is also a European funded towpath cycleway along the canal. As far as maintenance goes, the bike shop know me now. Very helpful. I walk in the door - they smile, point and say 'TRICYCLE' - so I don't even need to explain - an annual service costs around forty pounds. I'm not a bike geek so I don't know the technical term - but they put that green gunge in my tyres for me four months ago to stop the punctures and so far it has held up really well and I haven't had any at all. That's pretty good going when you consider the odd sharp bits you sometimes find on our allotment site paths.
Cost? £550 - it was on special offer, reduced by £100. I've seen them second hand too, though. Not cheap, but compared to the purchase and running costs of a car it measures up well. Keep the receipt safely. You might need it. Get it insured, and ask the police if they will post-code it for you. This gives you a certain amount of protection, as does a sign on the back saying 'this vehicle is post-coded' - basically means that if anyone decided to steal it, they would have a problem selling it on. Check with the police about this. They sometimes have public post coding sessions in shopping precincts and will engrave postcodes on the underside of your 'vehicle'.
As far as balance issues are concerned, it took me a little while to get used to riding it, it really is different from a bicycle. You have to lean the right way, but you'd soon get used to it. It does get heavy when it's fully loaded up (I can put half my potato harvest in the back), but if you get tired, just find a quiet spot and stay put and rest your legs for a minute. I've seen more expensive models with a motor that kicks in when you go up a hill. Might be useful. There's a sociable element to it too - people smile when they see it.
So, yes, carbon emissions. There are all sorts of controversies about these. I'm not vegetarian (yet). We eat a little, organic, locally sourced meat. I make it go a long way. Some people think that adopting a vegetarian diet is the best way of cutting down. For more thoughts on this check out my latest Helium article.
Here's another picture of my lovely trike - I'm just about to head off to the lottie.