Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Recumbent Rider, Part Two, Doug

Doug and I have been rideing together now for about the last 7 years. Most of our ride have been evening city rides around town for dinner and drink. Always an adventure.
Doug will be riding the Pan Mass Challange on a recumbent ths year as he always has.
Here is how he answered the questions

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

A:Wanted a recumbent ever since the first time I saw someone riding one.
It was in the movie "Brainstorm" with Christopher Walken and Natalie
Wood. (Natalie Wood drowned during the shooting of that movie,
incidentally, but they managed to edit/release it posthumously.) Walken
played some "professor" type and rode a recumbent bike in a couple of
scenes. Turns out it was a Dick Ryan "Avatar 2000". You can see a
clip of the movie at

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

A:About 25 years. :-/

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

A:I was probably "street safe" after a few hours worth of riding around my
neighborhood. Took me a little while longer to lose my fear of riding in

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

A:For commuting to work & winter riding, I ride my 2003 Vision R40
(under-seat steering). For fair weather, open-road riding, I ride my
2008 Bacchetta Corsa SS.

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

A:I bike to/from work (pretty much daily), and mostly do longer
rides (50+mi) when weather/time permit.

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

A:I can stay out on the bike and cruise for hours with no pain at all.
Kids always say "Cool bike, man". ;-)

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

A:By virtue of the fact that they're riding such an "unusual" bike
already, I think it's safe to say that bent riders tend to be open to
new experiences. This is *not* to say that upright riders are not,
however. The "sport" of (upright) bike riding seems to be fairly
"group-focused", with pacelines and pellotons and what-not; whereas
recumbent riders don't (at least not yet) seem have that going on.
I.e., you're *very* unlikely to see a paceline of 6-10 recumbents
racing down a back road on a weekend morning... (*That* would be a

Q: What are your other favorite hobbies?

A:Filling out questionnaires.

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

A:I have zero pain in neck, shoulders, back or ass.
I have an unobstructed of the road and scenery. (My face is upward and not bent over,
trying to maintain an 'aero' position...)

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

A:I always drop behind uprights on the uphills, but pass them on the
downhills. I'd be slow on an upright too, since at 230lb my
'power/weight' ratio is just not *that* good. :-) I just gear down,
spin and try to relax and enjoy the view, knowing that the downhill will
be here eventually. ;-)

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

A:Are you kidding ? People and *animals* stop and stare. That whole
"you're so low; you need a flag" is bullshit, unless you're on a trike
or a low-racer. My "helment" height when I'm on either of my bents is
only maybe a *foot* lower than a normal adult upright rider -- and when
they're in a 'aero tuck' I'm about the *same*.

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


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

A:120 mi.

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


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

A:They think I'm a little weird, but smart. ;-)

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

A:No. Never. I could *never* ride with earphones on. I want to be able to
hear *everything* that's going on around me (e.g., cars/trucks
approaching from rear, dog tags clinking when some unchained doberman
decides to launch a sneak attack, etc.) Also, I've found that my brain
works pretty much a like an iPod on crazy-shuffle: I start hearing music
in my head that lines up with the my cadence, scencery, state of mind
etc while I'm riding. Sometimes a song is triggered by something I
see/hear while riding, or something I overhear from a car that's passing
me, etc. I seem to have quite a large collection of tunes tucked away
in my gray matter -- how they get on my 'internal bike playlist' is a
happy mystery to me... ;-)

Q: How has the Recumbent changed your life?

A: Made new friends.
Got in better shape.
Got me involved in raising money for cancer research (PMC)
Made bike riding a ready source of enjoyment again
I bike more and use a car less (commuting, errands, etc)

Thanks Doug, SRC

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