Imagine riding your bicycle for dozens, even hundreds of miles without stopping; arriving at your destination free of pain anywhere on your body,aside from normal muscle-fatigue. Say goodbye to painful “saddle issues”, numb hands/wrists, sore necks, backs – that will be history! Also, you’ll have no need for special, expensive padded shorts, “chamois cream”, or other things like special padded gloves or special gel handlebar tape. Welcome to the world of recumbent cycling!
Often casually referred to as ‘bents (and we who ride them as ‘bent riders, taking “‘bent” from the word “recumbent“), these ‘bent bikes will put the smile of a 5-year old back on your face, no matter how long it’s been since the training wheels came off.
Safety – recumbent riders do not go over the handlebars (except in rare instances) as riders of traditional style bicycles do – very few broken skulls or broken collar bones in our ranks – just “road rash” on the sides of our bodies when we do suffer a misfortune on the road and, in the worst case a broken hip. Which would you rather have as your worst case injury – a broken hip or a broken skull? It’s a (pardon the pun) no-brainer in our book!
Visibility – most of us find that we are highly visible in traffic due to the more unique/non-traditional appearance of our bikes. For a while longer, recumbent bikes are still enough of a minority that we really stand out. Get used to hearing children call out to you “Cool bike!” on nearly every ride; you’ll feel like a rock star.
The Learning Curve – “How do I ride this bike?” – Recumbent bicycles have a small learning curve, but the good news is, if you can ride a bicycle – it’s a bicycle! Our shop full of experts will help you with tips that will have you flying around like a pro in no time. We have quiet streets nearby, where you can safely test-ride our bikes. For those of you who are kayakers, the balance is similar. A relaxed upper body and refraining from gripping the handlebars tightly, keeping a feather-light grip are a couple of great pointers to start with.
Riding in groups – You will be a little slower than your friends on traditional bikes when climbing hills, but you will be faster on the flats and, on downhills, you will be rocket-launched ahead of them due to aerodynamics. In most groups we all “ride our own ride” anyway; your overall speed will be faster, but not so much so that you won’t see your friends at rest stops. Fast club rides? We’ve got just the bikes for you. Can your friends draft off of you? Yes – once they learn how and once they gain confidence in your handling abilities of your new steed.
Distance riding – recumbent bicycles are swiftly becoming more and more common on UMCA (Utra Marathon Cycling Association) events, such as RAAM (Race Across AMerica) and RAO (Race Across Oregon) and in many Randonneuring events (www.rusa.org , www.orrandonneurs.org ) where their superior comfort takes the pain out of long miles.
But don’t let these racing statements intimidate – the recumbent bike or trike is also perfect to take you to the market for groceries, take the kids/dog out in a trailer, or for a few miles of smiles on a sunny day down the local bike path; they don’t have to be used for an epic journey to be a terrifically worthwhile bike choice. No pain…. no pain!
Recumbent bicycles have been around since the late *1800s; they are the fastest bikes on the planet due to their aerodynamic design (fully-faired – 82.8mph, “Battle Mountain”, 2009, powered by Sam Whittingham). The best part is, due to the body positioning used to achieve superior aerodynamics; they are also the most ergonomic form of bicycle on the planet – a veritable recliner on wheels!
*So why did recumbent bicycles fade away until more recently? In the 1930s recumbent bicycles began winning a lot of races and the major organization of racing decided to ban them, since they were not designed along the same lines as other bicycles of the day. The UCI (United Cyclists International) decreed that recumbents were HPVs (Human Powered Vehicles) and NOT bicycles and banished them from “legal” racing. That silly ban still exists today.
So come on out for a test ride and see what all of this is about. You’ve got nothing to lose but pain issues as you enjoy the scenery ahead of you as you cruise down the road with a big grin on your face.