What’s better than a motorist vs. cyclist rant?
Cyclists vs. Recumbant cyclists!
If only it was possible to positively identify dickheads by the bikes that they ride or the cars that they drive.
Many years ago, I saw a recumbent in a magazine called an Aerocycle. It was all straight tubes, so I looked at the trusty old 12 speed with cobwebs on it, took to it with a hacksaw then fired up the MIG welder. The only measurements that had were the wheels and the 92cm wheelbase as well as the steering head angle which I’ve forgotten. I managed to achieve them all and ended up with quite a fun ride. It has been ridden by three of the local recumbent riders who I chanced upon. They were all impressed. What I never got over was the reaction of the average rider. I took it out on a few Big Canberra Bike Rides. The number one comment was “That looks so uncomfortable.”
The conversations then would follow similar paths to this:
“When you get home and relax in front of the TV, do you sit astride a long skinny chair and lean forward or do you lean back into a chair?
“I sit back in a chair”
“Ever put your feet up in a reclining chair?”
“Was it comfortable?”
“So why don’t you go home, sit astride a skinny chair with no back and support your weight with your arms when you’re watching TV?”
“Because after a while, it would get pretty uncomfortable.”
Generally after that, you can see the light dawning.
If the roads were all dead level, you’d see far more recumbents around. They’re not as good an all rounder as a mountain bike but for long distance riding I wouldn’t use anything else.
If you get the chance to try out a recumbent, take it. You may be put off by the fact that the frame stays still in your vision when you turn the bars.
But here are two pieces of critical advice that I give to people who try out mine.
1. Initiate the turns with your head by tilting it to the side you want to go.
2. BEFORE you come to a complete stop, take your feet out of the pedals.
Most people forget the second bit, which is always entertaining.
The problem I have with these guys is the poor visibility. Even with a flag they are hellish hard to see from a car.
Still, as an occasional straight rider I dips me lid to Snarky, Few in our society are so open about their bent proclivities. I admire your courage in acknowledging that you are a bent rider, and the way in which you sing the praises of the bent position!
You can call them ‘bents, to make them seem less daggy, but they still look terrible. As a woman whose steed is a 1980s brown Raleigh (for the moment…birthday hint) I am no bike fashion victim, but these items are embarrassing. What I want for my birthday is one of these. I can imagine riding it down to Tilley’s with pride. (Boring video, which I thought was illegal in Japan, but I love the way two near manga grid girls appear.)
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