Monday, July 11, 2016

The Recumbent Rider, Part Four, Danni

Danni is the "New Smile" with the Boston Recumbent Users Group. She is a Blast to ride with and makes every ride special. I dont ever remember riding up next to her or looking back in the rear view mirror when she didnt have an ear to ear grin. She truly lovers her recumbent. This is how she answered the questions:

Q: What first attracted you to Recumbents and when did you first see one?

A: I saw my first recumbent more years ago than I am willing to admit here. My initial impression was that the design seemed to be a much more reasonable position for riding than an upright bike. I guessed that riding a recumbent would be the land-equivalent to paddling a kayak. It turns out this was an accurate assessment. Riding a recumbent (like kayaking) is about being in the moment in your environment; seeing the sights (something not easily done on an upright), smelling the scents, hearing the sounds, feeling the wind and the motion, and moving through the world using your body’s own energy! It just doesn’t get any better than that! And unlike a kayak, it’s a lot easier to just step out your front door and take your recumbent for a ride.

Q: How long did it take you after you first wanted one to own one?

A: A very good friend and avid cyclist recommended that I try a recumbent when I first started looking into buying a new bike. After a week of research, I test rode my first recumbent and I was hooked. (I definitely had the ‘recumbent silly smile’ going on big time!!) Scott Chamberlain ordered a small Bacchetta Corsa for me since I was too little to test ride the standard model in the store. I rode my little Corsa for the first time a week later. I happily took it home and never regretted for a moment the decision to buy a recumbent. I LOVE my bike!!!!

Q: How long did it take for you to feel comfortable and safe riding on the street?

A: I felt fairly comfortable on the street right away. (Or I should say after having taken “Recumbent Riding 101” with Scott and my good friend, Brad.) However, for the first several rides, I made sure to stay off of the busier roads and when I needed to cross busy streets I did walk my bike. After about a week (around 100 miles), I rode my recumbent pretty much the same as I had ridden any other bike.

Q: What are you riding for a Recumbent these days?

A: I have the cute, petite model of the Bacchetta Corsa. (Bacchetta Corsa 24)

Q: What kind of riding do you find yourself doing most? Touring, commuting, group rides?

A: I most frequently take 20-30 mile solo rides for pleasure in my general neighborhood -Sudbury, Hudson, Marlborough, Lincoln, Concord, etc. (There is some beautiful riding to be done out my way.) I also enjoy doing group rides with my recumbent-riding friends – both my current friends and the new friends I’ve been meeting through riding.

Q: What are your favorite things about riding a Recumbent?


I LOVE that I can ride forever without feeling any pain or fatigue. I LOVE that when I’m riding my bike I am looking up at the world and seeing EVERYTHING as I ride by. I LOVE that my bike is FAST – I’m not an exceptionally strong rider but I’m passing other bikes on the road for the first time in life! I LOVE how my bike leans into the turns. I LOVE how my bike flies down the hills. I LOVE the fact that people are interested in my bike and often make fun comments or stop and chat. (My favorite comment so far was from some young 18ish-year-old boys that screamed out the window as they drove by, “Way to go, lying down Lance!”) I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that whenever I am on my bike, even when I’m really working hard, I AM SMILING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Have I mentioned yet just how much I love my recumbent?

Q: How do you find the Recumbent riders as people? Do you notice any differences to other friends and riders of uprights?

Ahhhh, here is where I must expound upon the true perils of riding a recumbent. Hanging around people that ride recumbents is an extremely dangerous endeavor. It is my experience that recumbent riders tend to be incredibly hedonistic people. It is all too easy to fall into their decadent life style of comfort, good times, and pleasure! It is not surprising that outdoor enthusiasts who seek out the most comfortable way to enjoy the world around them would also tend to seek out the tastiest food, the best beer, the finest wines, excellent music, and extremely interesting and genuine people with whom to share them. Every group recumbent ride I have done has ended with some sort of social gathering focusing on enjoying the things that truly make life worth living; good friends, good conversation, good food and drink, etc. If you think riding a recumbent is just about getting out and getting some exercise - be warned. Riding a recumbent is a life style – and a damned good one, at that!!! But take heed - this life style, and hanging around the recumbent riders that enjoy this life style, is ADDICTIVE!!!

A: What are your other favorite hobbies?

Dancing, Kayaking, Scuba diving, snorkeling, downhill skiing, hiking, and martial arts

Q: Do you see any difference in the ride compared to an upright style bicycle?

A:The difference is night and day. On an upright bike you are working harder and not seeing very much and after a while something is bound to hurt – your butt, your wrists, your neck, etc. On a recumbent you are so busy watching the beauty around you that you hardly notice that you are putting effort into pedaling. Plus the amount of effort you need to exert is so much less to go so much farther and faster. Oh, and did I mention that nothing ever hurts when you ride a recumbent. Just in case you didn’t catch it the first time, let me reiterate - nothing ever hurts when you ride a recumbent regardless of how many miles you ride!!!

Q: Do you find hill climbing a much bigger problem then an upright style of bicycle, if at all?

A: Honestly, for me, in the beginning – yes. I was pretty new to riding, in general, when I bought my recumbent. I hadn’t built up the muscles necessary to power up the hills on any bike – plus I think a different set of muscles are used to pedal up hills on a recumbent. However, after about a month of riding, I built up the muscle strength and found that the hills weren’t that bad and once I switched to clipless pedals they became even easier.

Q: Do you feel more invisible on your Recumbent then you do on an upright bicycle?

A:There are many types of recumbents. I believe that on the style of recumbent I ride, I’m not that much lower than on a standard bicycle. No, I do not feel invisible on my Corsa - that is unless I’m on a steep downhill. It is then that the bike goes so fast that I’m sure I appear as just a colorful blur to the casual observer.

Q: Would you take your Recumbent everywhere you would ride an upright?

A:Absolutely NOT!!!! I would take my hybrid straight to the dump and leave it there. My Corsa is NEVER going there.

Q: What's the longest ride you have ever done in a day on your Recumbent?

A: To date, I have yet to do a really long ride. So far my longest ride has been around 30 miles. However, I have never felt like I was ready to end my day of riding upon the conclusion of a ride on my recumbent. There is ALWAYS that pang of wanting to keep going. (Except for the 101 degree day where our bikes turned into Wayside Inn Pub parking lot almost of their own accord. A beer has never tasted so good!!)

Q: Would you recommend a Recumbent bicycle to a friend?

A: Yes, and I do frequently!! Not only would I recommend a recumbent to a friend but I would even more highly recommend meeting Scott and talking to him about recumbents.

Scott is the sort of person who makes this world a much better place in which to live. Scott is definitely somebody you want to meet in life whether you end up riding a recumbent or not!!!!

Q: What do your friends and family think about you riding a Recumbent?

A: Actually, they are not very happy about it. I used to be around a whole lot more. Now I’m always out on my bike and they miss me.

Q: Do you listen to music while riding a Recumbent and do you feel safer with this style of bicycle doing so?

A: Hmmm. Is it possible to ride a bike without listening to music? I don’t know about safer but it’s definitely MUCH more fun!!! It’s a lot easier to move to the music on a recumbent – that’s for certain. Although I’m pretty sure that the people I ride with wish that weren’t the case. My guess is that it’s fairly embarrassing to ride with me as I dance down the street on my bike. So sorry . . . NOT!

Q: How has the Recumbent changed your life?

A: I enjoy riding my bike so much that I’m out riding all the time, I’m meeting amazing people that I enjoy riding and socializing with, and I’m smiling more than ever before!! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my recumbent?

Great exercise!

Wonderful people!

Extreme happiness!

What could be better?

Thanks Danni! That was Great! SRC

Friday, November 14, 2014

To See and Be Seen

I am re-posting this spot for new readers to see. The question keeps coming up, "Can you bee seen on the road while riding a recumbent?"
The responses to the article were the best, so if you can, please comment with your opinions to help share the experience of what it is like on the road riding a recumbent.
Here is what I wrote:

The worry for new shoppers of recumbent bicycles is if while riding on roads, "Can you be seen?"
The question with today's drivers is , Are they watching the road?
Cell phones and now texting has drivers looking less at the roads for anything else then a car. The chance of getting hit and hurt while driving your car by another car has divers more aware of automobiles then pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Bicycles for the most part slow traffic down. Cars when aware take their time passing and in most cases pass at a safe distance. Once in a while I have been passed too close for comfort. I'm never sure if the driver ever saw me or they were passing at a distance that they felt safe at.
Oddity's on the road have drivers watching. Not sure of what there looking at, has drivers at times not wanting to pas. You see them in your rear view mirror causing other drivers to stack up in back of them. Somewhat awkward, I wave them on letting them know that I can see them fine and it is safe to pass. Always afterwards, I see their eyes in their rear view mirror. I love to wave and then have them wave back.
Its hard to notice how much you are acutely seen and if drivers are letting you pass by being polite. Its not until I find myself back on an upright style bike that I get cut off, sometimes as much as 3 times a ride, and realize that while on a recumbent, drivers not sure of what their seeing, will wait and not come out in front of you.
With a rear view mirror and the "Heads Up" style of riding, on a recumbent, you see everything!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold Weather Destinations

A cold weather cycling destination can be anywhere you might think up. Home to a warm house could be just that good enough, but for those of us who like to ride with our head up and are looking for adventure in our rides, New England has many.
I always want a few details in the arrival of the destination to be somewhat the same. The stopover needs to be both a warm spot and a safe place to park the bicycle. We are lucky here in Southern New England to have many.
Meeting at a coffee shop for a cup works. You usually have the windows to watch the bicycles and warm drinks to bring you back to life. Its always a good spot to start a ride for the simple reason of being able to wait where its warm.
One of my all time favorite Cold Weather Destinations is the Wellesly Collage Green House's.

On the Wellesly campus, the houses are open to the public from 8:00-4:00 every day of the year. The perfect time to go is when its really cold out and really sunny. A little bicycle ride to the tropics. This has been a favorite of ours for years and although never crouded, usually attracts interesting folks to meet while there.
Over the next couple of months, I will be spotlighting spots of interest to ride to and keep you on the road and off the trainer.
Here are the Photos.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Im Back in the Arm Chair Again!

You know your hooked when you find yourself thinking about riding your recumbent when your doing other things. You can be miles away from your bike and in your head, right there in the seat.
I first imagined riding a Recumbent years before I owned one. I had this vision of riding down Wayside Inn Road in Framingham after a stop at the Tavern at the Inn. The day dream was with a group of people on Recumbent's as well. Three years later the dream was realized. Fast and fun, I have now done that exact road many times.
There is no better bicycle for a road trip then a Recumbent. There is a much better view, more comfort and when you stop, the odd machine arracks passer by's. I love meeting new people and a Recumbent is the perfect tool for the job!
If your reading this and have never ridden a Recumbent Bicycle, it may be hard to imagine how great a design it is. Of course it looks a little odd, but sitting back and seeing the sky, trees and the view that most "Heads Down" cyclists miss is enlightening and such an attract to have you thinking about your next adventure!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hot in the Sun, Cool in the Shade!

What a beautiful day for a Recumbent Adventure! Two bicycles and two riders. Vision R40's, under seat steering, short wheel base. Just perfect!

Doug met at our starting point for a little work on his bike. A new right shifter. A gift from Dave C. After a short while the bike was ready to ride

I had not been on a recumbent for a while so frankly, I was a little worried. After a mile, no problem! Its like they say "You never forget how to ride a bicycle!"

The perfect day and the perfect bike. First stop, The Bacon Free Libary. A quick stop to say hello and move on.

Second stop, Jacks Abby. Framingham, Ma. A nice little brewery with a taisting bar. We each tryed 4 beers and finished with one glass of our choice. All very good. Opened from Wednesday to Saturday from 12-8, this little brew pub serves no food but will allow you to bring it in. They also sell bottles and growlers of their beer to go,

Next Stop, Lunch. Just down the street about 100 yards. A great little Mexican Restaurant called The Aztec. outdoor seating. The food was better then I expected and served in style. Low priced and high quality, just the way we like it!

Heading East to Natick center, we stopped at "Listen UP" a store selling used CD's.
You can never really be sure what you will find there.

A great ride was had by both riders. The only thing that would have made it better would be you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fairing Life

The question comes up a couple of times a year if a fairing is a good idea for a recumbent bicycle. At this time of year it is one of the best accessories I have ever owned.
Here are a few things you should know about Fairings:

Fairings are very expensive. Because the failure rate of blowing such a large plastic bubble, the cost of lost plastic sheets is part of the expense of your new fairing. Both Zipper and Mueller have a replacement special price if you have a problem within a certain time of ownership. Both are very reasonable.

Fairings scratch almost the very moment you set them up. Its almost impossible to keep them scratch free. There is polish to make them look better, but I have never been able to remove scratches.

The polycarbonate plastic is not optically correct. The view looking through the plastic is very distorted and not recommended. I have tried it and found it to not be safe. Both manufactures recommend the rider to be looking over the top of the fairing to see and be safe.

Fairings are bulky and noisy. They not only amplify the sound of the drivetrain, but work like a drum when you go over bumps.

The extra length of a faired recumbent make it difficult to move the bike around. Carrying the bike through doorways and up and down stairs becomes a challenge, (as if it wasent before.)

However the advantages do out weigh the disadvantages at this time of year.

Moving into and with the wind is better. Its easier to move into the wind for obvious reasons, but with a tail wing you are pushed along. like having a sail. Because of this its best to not have the fairing held with your handlebars. A strong gust could take the bars out of your hand or steer the bike into traffic or off the road.

Riding in the rain is a treat. Dry feet and body have you smiling in short order. However, rain droplets build up on the surface of the recumbent and when you go over a bump, come off and hit you in the face, all at once. It wakes you up. Arriving with a dry body and feet after past years of rides of being soaked, is amazing.

Riding with a Fairing is warmer. As I have written before, sitting behind a Fairing is like being in a greenhouse. Less warm clothing is needed because less wind chill with less exposure to the wind. There is nothing like heading out on a cold day with only a T-shirt. (I have done it.)

Fairings really look odd. A driver seeing a faired recumbent cant stop looking. Some riders may not like this, but I like being seen around speeding automobiles. With a faired recumbent you are given more space to pass. I have never been cut off by a driver while riding a bike with a bubble.

With the the return to warmer weather, removing the Fairing is like being able to strip a layer of clothing. The bike becomes smaller, lighter and easier to corner, making the return of Spring for us Recumbent cyclists, an even nicer experience!

Check out the links below for prices and availability:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Too Windy and Too Cold?

Ride a Recumbent!

Did you know that riding a bicycle at twenty miles per hour , 98% of the work is fighting the wind? Well then, Doesn't it make sense to ride a bike that the wind sees less of you?

Recumbent bicycles have a rider in a position that has less frontal area. Its different with some designs, but if you have ever spent any time on a recumbent riding in the wind, you know exactly what I mean.

There is a noticeable difference with the cold too. Less wind on the body equals less wind chill. The effect the wind has on the body when there is less for the wind to see, make for a less windy ride.

Fairings make things even better. Sitting in a greenhouse on a cold sunny day will have you warmer then you might expect. I can remember a fast ride on a cold day with no jacket, warm and happy behind my Windwrap fairing.

If there was ever a reason to ride a recumbent, riding in the cold wind is surly one of them. Dry roads on a cold day for a ride to a near by greenhouse will have you smiling that silly recumbent smile once again!

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