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!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So whats it going to be, Head first or Feet first?

If there is ever a question of whats to come, I like to move forward slowly and hold my head back. Walking in the dark comes to mind. Not taking a chance with whats up ahead with my head. Leaning forward and going headstrong into the unknown is always a bit chancy.

Bicycle design over the years still has us riding what resembles a horse. Regulations for racing bicycles has governed design over the last 125 years. The bicycle must fall into a designated shape to qualify. Because of this Recumbent design and the head up and back style has never been mainstream.

People want whats familiar in every style. Only a few thinkers outside the box are willing to take the chance of trying something different.

Recumbent design is outside the box. Its not usual and doesn't fit into what most people think a bicycle should look like. People choose a safer design for anything they would want to buy, but familiarity wins out every time.

Fears of how the new design will perform in situations that they are use to. How will they be received using this item and what will their pears think. Pears play a major role in choosing new designs.

Recumbent owners are proud to wave their eccentric flag when it comes to showing off among friends that already know the fun and fantastic style of Recumbent bicycle design. You see this at events. (If you have ever been so lucky to attend one) Sometimes the wackier the better! "Did you see what Joe rode up on?" "No, but I can't wait, he always has the craziest bikes!" I mean really, deep down inside, don't we love people like that?

When all is said and done, one simple question needs to be asked. "When someone swings a car door out in front of you, would you rather hit it with your feet or your head?" The answer is clear and usually gets people thinking. This time with their head and not their feet.

Life as a Recumbent Cyclist

You would think things would have changed by now. Recumbents have been available for almost 40 years and a more comfortable style of cycling you would think would have caught on. But Nooooooo!

Mostly everyone knows the riding position. They prefer it while getting comfortable at home. Sit back and put your feet up. Why not? Driving isn't too different. Sit back and put your feet forward. How about cycling? Too weird!

"That's a long chain!" Really, is that the only thing they can say when they look at a recumbent? You have heard it before if you ride one!

Can you just imagine if you had never seen a person riding a horse? How weird would that look? Maybe if our story books as children had people riding recumbents instead of horses?
I mean really, If the public can handle a full grown man riding a Razor scooter, why not a recumbent? Beats me.

For now, I will play the roll as the Odd Ball and hope that someday cyclists may want to get comfortable when they ride.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Recumbent Silly Smile (Reprise)

posted by Danni

After three years of riding my recumbent, it amazes me that I still
wear a silly ear-to-ear grin every glorious moment on my bike. I'm
not certain if it's because of the extreme pleasure I experience while
riding my recumbent or the smiles and waves I get from people who are
astonished by my unusual bike. Most probably it is a combination of

Sadly, though, there is one downside to grinning like a fool the
entire time I am riding my bike. After my ride, it is a huge
nuisance trying to floss all the tiny little black bugs from in between
my teeth. Ugh!

Anyway, I hope you are getting out on your recumbent and enjoying this
beautiful time of the year - and if you are . . . don't forget to
floss when you get home! ;)

Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Better Bicycle for My Back

People come to me for Recumbent bicycles. About 50% come because of pain issues. The rest just want something different or just want to go fast.

Its true, Recumbents are good to relive some types of pain. Neck, hand, wrist and tender private spots have less stress while riding a Recumbent. But what about the back?

There are all types of back pain, One person's pain, may not be the next persons. When shopping for a bicycle to relieve back pain, one must consider the reasons for the pain.

Its true, that if you get on any bicycle and ride it harder than you are fit to, you will get off hurting. We at wheelworks at this time of year have many a rider coming in with pain issues because they went too hard, too soon. Taking the Winter off and then hopping back on the bike to ride it as fast and as long as they did in the Fall can be a mistake. Peter Mooney at Wheelworks calls it "Easter Knee." Easter knee is what you do to your knees on your Easter ride. Common as it is, recumbent or no recumbent, You can do damage to yourself by not properly warming up and being in shape.

Pain with your back is another problem. Riding a Recumbent may not solve your problem and heres why:
When riding a upright style bicycle, the rider can stand up. Lifting the back off the seat and absorbing the shock in ones legs of a crack or pot hole in the street. This is something that can not be done on a recumbent. Reading the road may be a little easier on a recumbent because of the heads up style, but un-weighting the wheels is very hard if not impossible. During my times of back pain I have tried to lift my rear end off the seat by bridging between the pedals and the back of the seat with my upper back, but in severe back pain, any road shock at all can make back pain worse.

An up right style bicycle has you pulling on the bars while climbing hills. This in time will strengthen the back and can cause some types of back pain to actually go away in time. I know this first hand.

Another thing about the recumbent style of riding is that you use your back to ride. Pushing into the back of the seat for leverage makes climbing easier. Something that is missed when back on a upright bike.

A simple test to see if a recumbent will be better for your back is this: Ask yourself how you feel sitting in a chair. Although some style of recumbents have you almost lying down, for the most part the sitting position on a recumbent is like sitting in your favorite arm chair. If you find this to be uncomfortable while watching TV, chances are that watching the street and road while seated in a recumbent you will be uncomfortable as well.

Test riding a recumbent may have you feeling comfortable at first, but its the longer rides on rougher roads that will have you in short order wishing for something different.

Please comment to this posting if you have less problems with back pain riding a recumbent style bicycle.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Buying a Used Recumbent.

There is nothing better when it comes to owning a recumbent to have bought it new from a real bicycle shop that has experience and is happy to deal. Warranty issues if any arise and free adjustments for the first year are the unseen extras.

That said, there are good deals to be had in the used recumbent market. Sometimes a customer buys a bike and after a year, wants to sell it. I have actually found that a fair amount of used recumbent sales come from customers that thought it would be a easier bike to pedal. As if it had a motor. Hearts broken, they pass it on to another rider for about half the price.

This can be a good deal for both parties, but there are a few things you just might want to consider before making the leap into the world of used.

First thing, Make sure your buying a good recumbent. Something that has a good reputation of safe and correctly designed bicycle. There has been company's that really never knew anything about bicycles before they started building bikes and selling them. I would have to say, most. Without making a list that could upset readers, ask someone you know who rides a recumbent or call a shop that deals in new bikes. Most likely If a bicycle shop sells the brand, its a bicycle worth owning. They also will be happy to service your used bike. There are brands out in the used market that have key parts that when broken are not available. This could have you parking the bike for good, or having something made that could have you spending more then if you had purchased a brand new bicycle to begin with.

Second, The best way to buy used is to pick up the bike yourself. Having the bicycle shipped is usually where things go wrong. Hers why:

Shipping a recumbent requires a shop that has recumbent experience. The best way to ship is in the box or boxes that the recumbent came in. Usually two boxes are needed to safely ship the bike. If the seller just brings the bike in to any shop, you stand the chance of having it received by someone that really doesn't want to do to do the job or know how. Its just a bicycle until they actually try to pack it.
Make sure the bike is being packed and shipped by someone who knows what they are doing and wants to do it. A grumpy close minded mechanic, (and I have seen a few) could be your first problem.

Third, Make sure unless you know how to assemble a recumbent yourself, that the shop that receives your boxed bicycle sells Recumbents. If the don't, most will tell you that it wont be a problem until later one arises. A good way to eliminate any problems is to bring the bike to a shop that actually sells that brand. If that's imposable, at least ask if they have the special clamp for their"Park stand" to fit the recumbents sized tubing. If they don't, they will not be able to correctly build the bike.

Figure that boxing and shipping from a shop that deals with recumbents will be around $200.00. Assembling the bike by a shop that has recumbent experience will be another $100. If you are quoted less, figure that they have very little recumbent experience if any at all.

Finally, How the bike is shipped is completely out of your or the shop at ether ends hands. I have had perfectly packed bikes go out at night and come back the very next morning, crushed and without the box. How could this happen? It actually sometimes does.

Again, the best way to buy used is to go pick up the bike. You may be able to convince the seller to deliver it themselves for extra money, or to meet you half way. This completely eliminates the dismantling and assembly of the bike that if it can be avoided make the best sense of all, Why fix something that isn't broke,,,Yet.

I would love to see comments regarding this post to further help readers looking to buy a used recumbent. Past experiences and how to avoid problems in the future. Thank You for reading BOSRUG.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thinking About a New Recumbent

Thinking about a new recumbent? Weather you have owned one of these fantastic bikes or are just thinking about looking for one someday, this just might be the information your looking for.

Hopping on a recumbent for the first time is a memorable experience. "Its like learning how to ride a bike for the first time!" is what I hear time and time again. Customers come to the shop with all kinds of information and ideas they have read about on the net, but there is nothing like a ride to give you a idea of what style bike is best for you.
Small front wheel verses large front wheel is always a question. Newer designs have new customers wondering what is the best design for their needs. Its not until you have actually test ridden the two different styles that you will know.
Most customers take to riding small front wheel recumbents quickly. The lower seat allows the new rider to get rolling and find the pedals quicker and easier then the taller crank position with the larger front wheeled bikes. That said, Maybe a 24" wheeled recumbent such as the Corsa 24 may be best for you. The Bacchetta Corsa 24 has matching 24 x 1" wheels that because their smaller size has a shorter legged rider sitting closer to the ground ad starting off easier than a recumbent with a 65oc or the newer 700c wheeled bikes.
That said, most new riders feel right at home, (as if watching TV in their favorite chair) on a smaller front wheeled recumbent, such as the Bacchetta Giro 20, or the aluminum version, Giro ATT.
AS I have told customers, many new riders and owners in the past have purchased the 20" wheeled bikes and after a couple of years come back to by the larger. The only difference with this style of bicycle is that they usually keep their old bike for everyday use and buy the lighter, bigger wheeled bike for "Sunday rides."

Grab your helmet and get out for a test ride. Most shops that carry recumbents will be happy to teach you how to ride and having you in short order wearing we know as "The Recumbent Silly Smile!"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stuffie Alert! Tucks Tavern, Cumberland RI.

This was a true "9" out of a total of ten points.Truly more clams the what was to be expected. We loved every bite!
About a mile from the Blackstone Canal Trail in Cumberland, This little gem of a pub was our lunch stop on Tuesday. Not knowing what to expect made this lunchtime surprize all the better.
Great service makes for happy customers. Everyone was nice.
Outdoor seating if you wish, on warmer days of course, If in the area, Tucks Tavern on Route 122 is a must.
Check out their clam roll and just try to find the roll!

The best Stuffies we have ever tasted,we look forward to our return!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Over, Under, Sideways, Down.

The question that always comes up with new recumbent customers. "What is better and safer? Under seat steering or above seat steering?" The question as many times as I have been asked it always throws me.
I enjoy both, although I now only sell Above Steering Recumbents. If I could, I would sell both, but my supplier only stocks the above style.
The difference is obvious, but the question gets asked anyway.
Bacchetta prefers above seat for the reason of aerodynamics, They feel that having both hands at your side has more wind resistance and a bigger silhouette of rider and bike. The wind "sees" more so by design, its slower. This is taking into account that the rider is riding with both hands. (I don't)
Its hard for me to say what I prefer. I love the under seat design. It gives you a better view and makes it easy to get on and off the bike. For years we sold the "ATP Vision" line of bikes, Most of their line was offered with both styles. I sold only under seat bikes except for the models that only had above seat offered.
The two styles offer two different feels of riding. The above seems faster, but the bikes became lighter in time with lighter wheels. The below always gave me the feeling of the perfect touring bicycle and having me want to slow down and enjoy the view.

What do you think? Most of the readers of this blog have had both or still do. I would like to see what people prefer and why.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Cool Bag

This one really strikes my fancy. I love the way it fits on the rack and how easy it is to remove it. Im not so sure how a laptop would withstand our streets and New England style pot holes, but would be willing to give it a try. Check this out:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter Time Blues

Its days like these that make living in New England tough. Salty, sandy roads are not good for Recumbent any way you look at it.
Damage creeps up so slowly, that you just might not notice. Pivot points on brakes and derailleurs are hard to clean and desalt.
I have no advice for dealing with the salted roads other then to find another bike to ride. Unfortunately recumbent bicycles are not usually found for cheap and sometimes free at the upright design.
Switching for the winter (if you can) may be the best plan. Cleaning of the bicycle will still be important, but an upright bicycle has some of the parts a little further from the road and free from the slop.
Sorry I don't have the perfect answer regarding Winter Recumbent riding, but warmer nicer days will be hear soon and allow us to enjoy the style of heads up riding we all know and love.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Getting Ready for the New Season

A trip to the bike shop could have you spending money on things you all ready own. For the most part, this could be a good thing. Over the past year, improvements in Lighting, Travel Bags and Tools could make cycling a little more easy. Here are some of my favorite.

The Topeak "Quick Track" system. This is a great way to deal with carrying your stuff. That said, Maybe you don't need to carry much on your Recumbent and your rides, but for those of you that live on your bike and need it to get around, this design is the best I have seen, Check out the video:

The MTX/Quick Track system racks will fit most recumbent bicycles. There is a great way to do this that I will show later. The "Explorer" rack has an old school spring clip to hold things down when you just dont need a bag.

There is a selection of bags to fit. One has fold out panniers to expand to carry larger loads when needed.

The second item, also made by Topeak, is a new larger version of their "Morph" frame pump. The New "Mega Morph" is a larger version of the Topeak line of Morph Pumps.

Bigger is better with bicycle pump design. This may not be the best pump for those of you wanting to save weight, but for riders that don't have enough strength to use a convential style frame pump and dont care about the extra size and weight, this could be the tool for the job.

The larger fold out gauge makes it easy to read and inflate to the proper amount

The "Smart Head" allows you to switch from Presta to Schraider valves with out dismantling the head first.

The fold down foot stand keeps the pump stationary while inflating.
Again, the extra size and weight may not make this the pump of choice for lightweight riders, but its design may be a good substitute for having to carry a floor pump on your car, cycling trips.

The third item that I really like is the new Serfas Thunderbolt USB Head light and Tail light.
The Serfas Thunderbolt has endless mounting options for a great price.

The headlight has 15-micro (double strength) LED strip puts out 90 lumens, giving you plenty of light to see and be seen.
The USB-rechargeable Thunderbolt can be mounted virtually anywhere on the front or back of your bike.
Charges from any USB port. The lights Feature a non-directional beam to cover a wider area
Modes: high beam, low beam and two flash modes
Run times: 1.5 hours (high beam); 6.5 hours (low beam); 3.5 hours (high blink); 9 hours (low blink)
Highly Water resistant
Weight: 50 grams
Comes in 7 different colors
Colors: Black, White, Red, Blue, Pink, Green, Yellow I have used these lights on a couple of different bike and love them.

The items I have written above are an improvement of what I already had. Making things safer and easier is always in my mind money well spent. Check them out in person and I think you will be pleasantly surprised of these 3 great designs!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back in the Running

Over the past month I have been working on a gift that was given to me by a great friend. Promising to never sell it, I am now the proud owner of a ATP Vision R 40, Rohloff 14 speed under seat steering, short wheel base, recumbent.
I have been having a blast detailing it and look forward to clean roads and warm days to enjoy it with. Here are some photos of the bicycle so far:

Cool little blinkie bar end lights with all the gear changing in one hand!

Thanks Dave!

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