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  1. #1
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    Need Good Bent Safety Arguments

    Hi, I am new to this forum and would sure like your help.

    To make a long story short, my family, friends and co-workers have banned me from biking. I have broke 7 bones (1 wrist, 1 finger, 2 ribs, 1 elbow, 2 collar bones) in the last year and a half (6 in the last 4 months). I am a 55 yr old beginner who was really enjoying riding a mountain bike mainly on roads. I was doing about 110 miles a week and training for my first century. All, but one fall, were "endovers."

    Thanks for listening, but the reasons for the falls/broken bones are the subject for another thread.

    Needless to say I am bumbed at being banned from biking, but had to agree with everyone that something was wrong and there was no way I could rationalize continuing to ride and risk another fall.

    Well, this week I thought of a loop hole that may get me back on a bike...why not try a recumbent? I have done a lot of reading and it seems they are a lot safer...at least endovers are less almost impossible.

    What I hoping is that you all can provide me with more facts and stories about recumbent safety. I need to be able to convince my family that if I change to a bent they will not have sit through any more emergency room visits or wait on me while I recover from orthopedic surguries.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Ron

  2. #2
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Getting bent is never safe, unless there is a hyperberic chamber nearby. And even then it probably isn't safe.... OH, you mean recumbent bicycles. That's a different story :-)

    Normal people, even beginners, don't crash as much as you do. Give up the mountain bike and try a touring bike or recumbent. And find a mentor who can take you shopping and maybe help you get a bike that fits correctly (poor fit may be part of the reason you crash so much). I see you live in LasVegas. There is another Vegas rider here on the forum, maybe you can hook up with him.

  3. #3
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    "Endos" are indeed almost impossible, especially on the lower-slung recumbents (read: low-racer). The lower your center of gravity, the safer you'll be from being launched off your bike. Moreover, should you suffer a crash, the closer proximity to the ground will work in your favor. You won't escape road rash, but you're less likely to break a bone.

    On the other hand, in the interest of full disclosure, should the dreaded "leg suck" happen, you will seriously reconfigure the bones of your lower leg or ankle. This will only happen should you drop your feet at high speeds, either accidently or in a desperation-stop maneuver. Basically, if you suddenly plant your foot/feet on the pavement while riding fast, your lower leg will instantly be sucked towards the trailing end of your bent while your body and upper leg continue forward momentum. Trust me, you NEVER EVER want to do this - it is not a pretty sight.

    Having said this, it is quite easy to avoid leg suck by practicing at lower speeds first and then using clipless pedals when you become confident in your bent-riding skills. Your feet will not accidently drop off the pedals and they will more likely remain clipped-in on that rare, quick fall from road obstacle, oil-slick, rain, etc. A hematoma on the hip and road rash on your shoulder and/or knee won't necessarily send you to the emergency room and it's a heck of a lot less serious than broken bones (it may not feel that way, though.)

    Last word on bent safety - your riding position is a full-time "heads-up" forward view. You're much more likely to be aware of what is on the road ahead than on any other kind of bike. Prevention is key to safety, right? I can't count the number of times I have had to yell out "heads up" to inattentive pedestrians and oncoming cyclists who were completely unaware of my approach. Road hazards are more discernable in time to take appropriate action, avoiding the panic situation that may cause serious trouble.

    I think your family should give you another chance. The physical and mental benefits of cycling to your well-being are too precious to surrender when a safer alternative exists.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot, riding one of these "weird" bikes is so much fun, I'm surprised it's not illegal.
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  4. #4
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    What about a recumbent trike? You can't fall over. I think they would be the ultimate in safety.

    Dave
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  5. #5
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    Dave,
    Yea, that is plan b; however, they seem to be a lot more expensive. I also think they are slower.
    Ron

  6. #6
    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    Yes, recumbents cost more and trikes are even more costly. There are many reasons for this. Low production and almost all of them are handbuilt to order.
    You may want to look at a trike offered by Wicks see http://www.trimuter.com/ They have demo trikes on sale from time to time. I think they still sell them as kits if your handy with tools.

    E-bay is a good place to look for a used trike. There have been two or three in lately, I think theres one listed now.

    Recumbents.com has an on line list of trike builders.
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  7. #7
    Senior Member Triker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonV
    Dave,
    Yea, that is plan b; however, they seem to be a lot more expensive. I also think they are slower.
    Ron
    Speaking as a 54 year old trike rider and builder, it seems that a trike is cheaper than your medical bills, and that going a bit slower might not be a bad idea

    One does not do endos, especially on the road, unless one is carrying more speed than one can handle. Maybe if your community knew you'd be going slower they might let you ride. And trikes aren't that much slower, apart from climbs--just more fun.
    Trike builder, self-contained tourist, educator, sea kayaker

  8. #8
    Honorable Member beowoulfe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonV
    Dave,
    Yea, that is plan b; however, they seem to be a lot more expensive. I also think they are slower.
    Ron
    I guess you may be right about being slower, but I'm 60 and mostly cruise on the flats
    against the wind at 16-19. Not fighting the wind on the same flat, I'm doing 21-22.
    I'm not that strong, but I can, and do, drop uprights who don't want me to do that.
    I think the thing is, that a trike is SO much fun, you go at it more. Also I don't want
    uprights dropping me, so I hit it harder. My engine is better because I'm on a trike.

    Yeah, and you rarely fall; unless you're showing off.
    Greenspeed GTO 1027

  9. #9
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    Its almost unheard of for regular riders to do an endo on a normal bike on the road. Something really unlucky has to happen, such as striking a deep pothole in the dark, or catching a branch in the spokes. You dont suddenly go over the bars for no good reason.
    Maybe you should think about getting some professional instruction in riding a bike, just like a beginer at skiing or horseriding would. Although "Everyone can ride a bike" and its "As easy as riding a bike", riding a bike is a skill which you need to learn properly. Since most riders learn as children, we dont realise how difficult it is for adults to learn this skill.

    Are you riding in a zoned-out trance ? Are you observing the road and traffic conditions properly ? Do you know how to use your brakes and weight distribution to come to a safe stop ?
    I think you will be a hazard to yourself on any bike/trike if you dont learn properly.

  10. #10
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by MichaelW
    Its almost unheard of for regular riders to do an endo on a normal bike on the road...
    Are you riding in a zoned-out trance ? Are you observing the road and traffic conditions properly ? Do you know how to use your brakes and weight distribution to come to a safe stop ?
    I think you will be a hazard to yourself on any bike/trike if you dont learn properly.
    Jeez, Michael, is this your idea of help?

    I believe RonV purposely did not mention why he had his accidents, instead sparing us the details for another thread. What compelled you to insinuate that RonV must be incompetent and/or negligent?

    He's asking for assistance, specifically whether "you all can provide me more facts and stories about recumbent safety."

    I'm trying to do only that. I'm not sure what you're doing.

    :confused:
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  11. #11
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    I did suggest that he seek some training. I think that is quite a valuable tip.
    Training in NV can be found:
    http://www.ots.state.nv.us/bikeped/bikeed.html
    with more info
    http://www.bicyclenevada.com

    Ive had one crash as a result of zoning out, not a serious one, but its easy to get into a trance-like state on a bike, and something I try to avoid.

    On a ride with my local Cyclists Touring Club branch, a whole bunch of us, on all kinds of machines from solo touring bikes, bents, tandems with kiddie trailers and MTBs went for a gentle 60mile day ride. We had one crash, a newbie who could not keep his full suspension MTB upright with a little sand and gravel on a bend. Safety is really a matter of improving your skill, and riding within your skill, not the particular kind of bike you ride.

    There are some bikes which are faulty, perhaps having unstable steering, or brakes which have non-linear characteristics, so suddenly grab the wheel. It may be useful to get such a bike checked out by an experienced rider.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 03-04-03 at 04:25 AM.

  12. #12
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MichaelW
    Its almost unheard of for regular riders to do an endo on a normal bike on the road. Something really unlucky has to happen, such as striking a deep pothole in the dark, or catching a branch in the spokes. You dont suddenly go over the bars for no good reason.
    I wish this were really true. I'm a very experienced rider (5-10k miles per year for the last 15 years). Every year I see crashes within our club of experienced riders. Sometimes it is due to a riders mistake, sometimes it's unavoidable.

    Consider as example what happens when, out of the bushes, a squirrel/dog/cat/rabbit/deer runs into your front wheel while you are doing 20 mph. You are almost certainly going down. No matter how vigilant you are when riding with regard to traffic and other cyclists, you are always vulnerable to this type of crash.

    Please don't give me that crap about an experienced rider being able to bunny hop the animal. I have successfully done so once or twice but not always and I am not at all unskilled in this type of bike handling.

    While the risk of such type crashes is low, it is not zero. We have someone (usually more than one per year) from our club go down this way every year.

    Dave
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  13. #13
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by hayneda
    I wish this were really true....Every year I see crashes within our club of experienced riders...
    While the risk of such type crashes is low, it is not zero...
    Yes, crashes happen regardless of the kind of bike or the type of riding (see my earlier post on recumbent crashing.) Given this, I'd think a lower body position relative to the bike might have some advantage. A lower center of gravity makes it less likely you'll be launched over the front end of your bike. If you do go down, there's less distance to fall. This was my point to RonV.

    I'm not proselytizing recumbents overall (I ride my MTB, too) but there is some merit in being "seated in" the bike "feet-first" rather than "perched over" it "head-first". After having ridden a low recumbent for a while, I sometimes suffer a fleeting flash of apprehension from my more precarious height on upright bikes - an insecure feeling not unlike that of a child first learning to ride a bike after tricycling. It passes quickly, of course, but when I do ride my MTB now I find I am more aware of my riding position and thoughtful of consequence than I might otherwise be had I never ridden a low-slung recumbent. Less complacency may make me a safer cyclist on any bike now, but for those damn squirrels....
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  14. #14
    Senior Member steversk's Avatar
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    Just some food for thought, one drawback to a recumbent in traffic is that you ride lower and are therefore less visible to cars. Being lower also reduces how far ahead you can scan the road.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    I have found that drivers see me more often riding my bent then my upright bike. You would think I was riding in the nude from some of the looks I get. People tend to overlook things they see often, a rider on a bent tends to stand out just because you don't see them everyday.

    The position on a bent is a heads up position, more of a landscape view then the portrait view you get from the upright riding position you can see much farther in front of the bike, more of the side roads and drive ways. You will want a mirror on a bent, as it is a bit harder to turn your head to see traffic from behind. This is due to the seat back not letting your torso twist.

    The biggest benefit to crashing on a bent is your less likely to suffer impact to the head. Your largest and strongest bones and mussels will take the brunt of the impact, not the much softer head. There have been crash tests done see http://www.science.uva.nl/research/a...ts/Amsdone.htm Scroll down the page and click on "Crash tests with various bikes"

    Do I think bents are safer then diamond frame bikes? No. Do I think they are more dangerous? No. Lets face it if your going to fall, its going to hurt. If you get hit, its going to hurt. Am I going to sit in the house to stay "safe"? hell no!
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the comments. I found them very helpful. I certainly agree with Michael and the need for instruction. I learned this after "endo" #3 going downhill when a car pulled out in front of me. I must have been unconcious for a second or two as I don't remember any from seeing the car and coming to on the ground. Anyway, I realize that in all the riding I was doing, I had never even practiced an "emergency stop." How stupid of me? After that I did them over and over until my muscles reacted before my brain.

    "Endo #4" was also going downhill when my rear tire went flat (I didn't realize it...my first flat.) The front tire became very slightly unstable and almost imediately I was over the top. I do not have a good explanation as a rear flat should not cause this.

    I have discovered the broken bones were probably caused by the onset of osteoprois.

    So I have an explanation of the broken bones, but not the falls.

    Thanks again for your advice.

    Ron

    PS: After all the reading I have done on recumbents, I think I have decided to get one regardless. They sound like a lot of fun.

  17. #17
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    Given your age, you might want to have your ears checked. Inner ear problems can really affect balance. Beyoond that, I think LWB recumbents are safer because your legs can easily touch ground and, they resist over the handlebar accidents. I watched one of these and a 250 lb. man went air born and landed on his eye. Very ugly. I couldn't believe his neck didn't break. However the serious head injury was bad enough.
    At 57, my balance isn't what it used to be. It's comforting to know over handlebar accidents aren't part of the picture anymore. BK

  18. #18
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    I second (third? fourth?) the suggestion to get a trike. Almost no chance of falling off, just watch out for cars in driveways, k?

  19. #19
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    Another benefit of a trike is the dramatically more powerful/safer brakes.
    You can buy them in the states for just over a grand.
    They are imho slower up hill but faster than a mtb on the flat and much faster downhill.
    If you have osteo the trike will save you medical bills in the long run.
    Greenspeed GLR trike
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  20. #20
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    And, at only $1300 for an ActionBent Tadpole, you may end up paying far less on medical bills (both acute and longterm...) than on the trike itself.

  21. #21
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    I just saw an EZ Sun trike, it was very reasonably priced, I thought around $700 may have even been less. I wanted it, my husband said I'm too young yet to get a trike boooo (we're 40). Highly recommend the ActionBent also mentioned here, my husband just bought one (not the trike tho), great company, great guy Randy who runs it. CJ

  22. #22
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    Bents are a huge range, there are some that are pretty safe, and others that are death machines, at least relative to getting mushed. Talk to other riders, hopefuly realist rather than enthusists, about your local scene. If you have a safe environment for bents, go for it. Frankly I feel you are much safer, normaly, on a regular bike. A lot of mountain bike have very uprigh geometry, try a long touring bike, at least try one out, and see if there is any difference for you.

    Trikes are stable, but theya re like driving a go cart in trafic, you are just totaly out of view, even with a flag.

    I think a recumbent is pretty thrilling, not so much real safe. The two wheelers I have tried/own where your legs are mostly above the axles are dramaticaly less stable than a regular bike. Can anyone (No fixed gear) just pose on them waiting for the lights to change, I can't .

    If you have brittle bones, then even a minor lateral tumble getting used to them might cause you a problem. I have yet to fall off, but there is a scary learning curve. I had a bad time cause the handle bars kept getitng loose on mine, and I would be riding along feeling a little twitchy, then when I tried to get going again after a stop it would be impossible, because I had lost stearing control (this is not typical).

    I had some therapy reasons for buying mine. I had circulation problems in one leg after an accident, and basicaly the best exercise would be to cycle with the legs elevated, how perfect is that. Overall it hasn't really been successful for me. My dream of recumbent touring remains a dream. I'm going to buy a regular touring bike.

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