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.

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