Trip Report - first real ride on my 'bent
Haven't had much chance to get out this year, between the snow and some business travel. The rides I've taken have been on my upright bikes. The longest ride before today on the Sun EZ-Rider AX recumbent that I picked up in January had only been a half-mile.
But today it was 69, no wind, and I had some time. I got it out for an hour of easy riding, stopping a couple of times to adjust things. Put in 10 miles.
At first I was a bit wobbly on it (total lifetime riding on a bent prior to today was around 3 miles), especially when going uphill. After a bit I figured out that it was due to my seat being too far back - I was losing power & stability at maximum leg extension. Tweaked it up a half-inch, and then another quarter-inch and it was much smoother.
The ride was extremely pleasant. With the upright seating position, I was able to enjoy the countryside and greet people as I came to them (I was riding on the paved bike path in a small town near to me). As I cruised around I watched people working in their gardens, out walking their dogs, and looked for signs of Spring. The perspective was not much different than when you take a walk.
The bent's ride was very smooth. It was marketed as an "off-road" bike, and has a full suspension. I had the spring shock dialed to it's maximum firmness, which was still more than enough to take the edge off of bumps. When I rolled off of a curb, the impact was minimal due to the shock and the cushy seat.
I think it would be smoother still if I replaced the off-road tires. You can feel them just a bit, and they are also a bit noisy.
I was very impressed with the shifting. It has SRAM X.9 derailleurs and shifters. They could not have been any quicker, smoother, and precise. Nicest of any bike I've ever owned.
Now to my two long-time bugaboos, hand and rear pain. I've been trying to address hand pain and numbness on all of my bikes, with some success. As there is no weight on one's hands on the 'bent, I rode without gloves for the first time in months. After an hour, I had no pain or numbness at all. Never even had to shake my hands or change my hand position. It was wonderful. Likewise I had no pain in my rear at all, it was very comfortable. First ride in probably 20 years where I didn't have to deal with pain issues in my hands or rear.
Not everything was perfect - for one thing, the bike is on the slow side. I think some of this is due to it's wide (1.5") knobby tread tires. But the shock and the weight (42 pounds with the basket and not counting the water bottle - the standard steel frame version of this bike is another 8 pounds heavier) are the primary factors. Whereas many recumbents are faster than diamond frame bikes on the flats, this is not one of them.
I also need to adapt to the steering. The long handlebars have a little bounce in them and the handling is very different than my other bikes. I'd be nervous about taking it out on roads at higher speeds.