Originally Posted by Azygous
My wonderful girlfriend used to ride a bike in college for nearly 2 years. She had a quality, entry-level Trek hybrid with an upright-riding style.
Does anyone have any advice on what she could try to be able to ride a bike again? ...
I'm not familiar with the problem, but you might see if there's any RANS dealers around that have any of the crank-forward bikes on hand.
The noseless seats they use are much larger than a saddle but the bikes still pedal efficiently. Prices start at around $1100. in the past I know they used to sell some frame-sets for the crank-forward bikes (they even sold them through mail-order for a while, something they won't do with their recumbent models), so that is something to ask RANS about if you have a donor bike.
RANS has their own forum oriented towards these bikes: http://www.crankforward.com/
There's other bikes made somewhat-similar to this, but they are not worth it because most of them still use a regular bicycle saddle, which is the cause of most people's rear-end discomfort. The RANS bikes use a totally-custom seat, that will not fit (nor would it be useful) on a regular bicycle frame.
I've got a Fusion, by the way. Not good for racing, but GREAT for casual riding, even over fairly-longer distances. Padded shorts aren't required, though unpadded riding shorts are helpful for their lack of seams (recumbent places online sell them). The bike still looks mostly normal but the ride involves much less seat pain, hand pressure and neck strain.
The crank-forward bikes are easy to ride: they feel just like a regular bike, but with a bit of "chopper" feel from the relaxed head tube angles. Everyone who test-rides mine thinks it's awesome, most people just gag at the price tag because they're used to shopping at Wal-Mart. If you can ride a regular bike, you can jump onto a crank-forward and go--there's no practice required, like with a newbie trying to ride many recumbent bikes.
Up until a couple years ago, RANS was basically a recumbent bike (and airplane) company, so many people who know not much about recumbents have never heard of the crank-forward bikes. A lot of people--myself included
--who only owned recumbents (and thought they'd NEVER
buy another "upright" again) have bought these bikes after hearing how well people used to the comfort of recumbents liked the crank-forwards. I love mine (I've only got two bikes now, one recumbent and the Fusion) and if I lost it somehow, I'd order another one the next day.