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  1. #1
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    Why do df riders heap such scorn on recumbent bikes and cyclist

    In some other heading and threads, when bents are mentioned, DF riders decend on the poster like bees on sugar water. They scream things like "stay out of my pace line, dont talk to me, keep your joke machine away from me, and thats not a real bicycle. For some reason they seem to be threatened by bent riders. It seems to me bent riders would reinforce cycling in general, and they should welcome us. Or is it the fact that they know but never talk about the fact that bents hold all the speed records. Are they jealous of the "bent grin"? So what do others of you think the reason is?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    I think it is merely because people in general are territorial, tribal creatures. Strangeness in any form can seem threatening, causing the negativity of which you speak. I personally don't think there is much to be revealed by trying to analyze this in detail. It's almost like asking "why are people grumpy sometimes?".

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    There's too many reasons to list. Believe it or not, sometimes there's even a good reason. (But not usually.)

  4. #4
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    Agree with Steamer. Bent riders can be negative towards diamond-frame bikes too (and by extension, their riders). You've probably heard them called "upwrongs."

  5. #5
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    As a roadie who ride a recumbent, I have ridden with large (15+ riders) group of road cyclist on my recumbent. You need to know your ride, route and strength to use a recumbent to its advantages among the roadies.

    As the Art of War: Know your enemy, know yourself; hundred battles, hundred victories.
    Master your environment, and you will survive just fine.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    I think DF riders sense (and sometimes rightly so) that we consider our bikes and ways of riding better, that we have discovered something that they have not yet found. Similar to how many who are devout believers are viewed by those who don't (yet) share their beliefs.

    BTW, it is indeed no fun riding behind a 'bent in a paceline. I remember the first time this happened to me, back when I rode a DF road bike. So I can understand how group riders don't appreciate us if we infiltrate their fast pacelines.
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  7. #7
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    I've never had open hostility from DF riders when on my 'bent, just good-natured ribbing. Maybe your riding with the wrong crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    In some other heading and threads, when bents are mentioned, DF riders decend on the poster like bees on sugar water. They scream things like "stay out of my pace line, dont talk to me, keep your joke machine away from me, and thats not a real bicycle. For some reason they seem to be threatened by bent riders. It seems to me bent riders would reinforce cycling in general, and they should welcome us. Or is it the fact that they know but never talk about the fact that bents hold all the speed records. Are they jealous of the "bent grin"? So what do others of you think the reason is?
    Car-Free IT Geek
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  8. #8
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    I think it is merely because people in general are territorial, tribal creatures. Strangeness in any form can seem threatening, causing the negativity of which you speak. I personally don't think there is much to be revealed by trying to analyze this in detail. It's almost like asking "why are people grumpy sometimes?".
    +1, although in Portland the cycling community is large enough and diverse enough to accept that there are other "tribes", but that those tribes can have common objectives. The New Years Day ride I was on had no problem accepting me and my wife on our 'bents, the roadies, the 'crossers, the guys towing trailers, and the single-speeders. I chatted a bit with Rex Burkholder, currently Metro Councilor and running for Metro President- nice guy, for a politician.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Based on my experience, this is a problem almost as serious as riding with stale air in one's tires.
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  10. #10
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    There's too many reasons to list. Believe it or not, sometimes there's even a good reason. (But not usually.)
    Good reasons include:

    1. You fell asleep on your hammock and cut me off.
    2. I am allergic to whatever it is that is stuck in your beard.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  11. #11
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    The only negativity I've gotten in response to my choice of cycling machine is at bike shops and on the touring forum here. Most DF (hardcore) riders here in Sweden range from occasionally indifferent, but most at least smile and nod and often I'll get cheerful waves. Now, if I have my husky running with me, that's when I get the more contemptuous looks from the DF'ers.

  12. #12
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    I have seen far more hostility here in some of forums. Actually my riding expierence differs according to what bike Im riding. Before when I was riding my touring or mountain bike the hard core roadies almost never waved when I did. Now that Im almost always on my bent far more of the wave. Maybe its a money thing with some of them. They know that my bent may cost as much as their racing bike.

  13. #13
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    In 1933 Marcel Berthet, a 43 year old Frenchman, rode a recumbent 49.99 km in an hour, a new record. In 1934 the UCI (Union Cyclist International) outlawed recumbent bicycles, and has not relented to this day. In 1938 Francois Faure rode the recumbent streamliner "velocar" 50.5 km/hour, another new record. Francesco Moser surpassed this mark on a wedgie. Moser rode 51.1 km/hour, but not till 1984, 46 years later!

    Any wonder they hate bents?



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  14. #14
    Senior Member scbvideoboy's Avatar
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    My suggestion would be for the recumbent riders to start showing up looking like they are serious about riding. How many DF'ers do you see in the group in jeans and open toe sandals?

    Group riding takes on a whole new meaning when the group has no confidence in your skills and has to worry about whether your going to crash the pace line.

    Show up looking like you and your machine just set a speed record, you might get a more positive reaction, oh and it's just my opinion...but unless your actually on a week long tour leave the luggage in the garage.

    Perhaps showing up on your DF bike once in a while to get to know the group and work your recumbent in.

    As for the superior recumbent over the DF, I'd forget that line of thought, you'll make more friends, I haven't seen a recumbent yet that didn't have compromises in frame, geometery, driveline, weight and handling factors.

    Dave

  15. #15
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scbvideoboy View Post
    As for the superior recumbent over the DF, I'd forget that line of thought, you'll make more friends, I haven't seen a recumbent yet that didn't have compromises in frame, geometery, driveline, weight and handling factors.
    That's funny, I was just thinking I haven't seen a DF yet that didn't have compromises in frame, geometery, driveline, weight and handling factors.
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

  16. #16
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    I think it is a simple matter of human nature. My car is better than your car. My truck is better than your truck. My team is better than your team. My neighborhood is nicer/safer/prettier than yours, etc., etc., etc... ad infinitum. I also think said negativity is much more common and vitriolic on the internet than in person. It is so much easier to be critical when you are not face to face with someone. The anonymity factor gives great courage to those who might otherwise be gutless. Further, the internet also allows juveniles who are oh so concerned with appearances to pose as adults. Adolescents love to jump into conversations and trash people, usually while proclaiming their own maturity. I've had snide comments made to me once or twice but, in general, I believe people make negative comments out of ignorance more than malice. The majority will assume you are riding a bent because you are: old, too slow, disabled, or suffering from chronic pain. To them, this also means that you are not a serious rider. They cannot imagine any other reason why you would choose to ride a bent because surely you would want a "real" bike like theirs if you could have one. Its stupid, but it is the way most folks think. My daughter wanted a 3-speed beach cruiser. It would have been so easy for me to say " why do you want to ride one of those dumb things when you can have something like mine"? Instead, I just asked what color she wanted...

  17. #17
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    The same thing happened with high bicycle riders when the new fangled safety bicycle started appearing. Funny old thing, life.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scbvideoboy View Post
    As for the superior recumbent over the DF, I'd forget that line of thought, you'll make more friends, I haven't seen a recumbent yet that didn't have compromises in frame, geometery, driveline, weight and handling factors.
    It's true, recumbents have compromises. Even my NoCom (NO COMpromises) has 'em. But then, so do Safety Bicycles. We pick the set of compromises that we can best live with. For instance, I rarely stood to climb hills; so losing that ability when I started riding recumbents was a non-issue.

    In general I agree with you; When you're new to a group, your first goal should be fitting into the existing group dynamic; not upsetting it. In my experience, upright riders are more concerned with your bike handling skills than what bike you're on. So ride a straight line and hold a steady pace. If you're very low, they may want you to ride where they can see or avoid you more easily. There will always be a few who are threatened, but those are usually the ones who are in the lower levels of racing, who despise your bike because it's not race-legal. You can live without their approval.

  19. #19
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    There are silly reasons like fear that one day they might have to ride one to continue riding and refuse to or that they got blown past by a recumbent one day. Then there are those that understand recumbents and have ridden with them and know for many riders they don't pace the same, slower up a really steep hill and faster down a hill and in the wind.
    Most new riders to our social group have told me I have amazing bike handling skills on my recumbent. I don't think I do but since I can ride a straight line at about 2mph on the flats or up a hill everyone doesn't worry about me. Some have told me horror stories about recumbent riders, most likely new riders, who wobble all over the road on any sort of hill and who can't hold a straight line on the flats and take a long time to stop because they don't want to tip over. I've seen em too and I'm scared to ride close to them to but then I see new upright riders having similar problems.

  20. #20
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    . Or is it the fact that they know but never talk about the fact that bents hold all the speed records. Are they jealous of the "bent grin"?
    No, we're just jealous we can't grow a thick gray beard.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  21. #21
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    I might respond to a couple of point others have made here. One was about what bent riders wear. That too is one of the advantages of a bent. Your dont have to buy over priced shorts etc to ride a bent. They are totally comfortable with out them. I might add looks and stylin seems to be big on the part of young roadies. At my age looking pretty is not high on my list. The other point is altho I will be 72 this year, Im clean shaven and not over weight. Weight control is one of the many reasons I cycle.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Skankingbiker's Avatar
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    Simple answer: People coallesce into social groups with certain standards and behavioral patterns. Part of what bonds the group together is loathing/hatred for those not in the group who do not conform. The song from Bowling for Soup "Highschool Never Ends" is apropos. Roadies are the jocks; bent riders are the nerds; fixie hipsters are, well....hipsters.

  23. #23
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    I have had my recumbent for just a few months and I find that recumbents are tolerated as a novelty. I am sure that the fact that a recumbent simply looks different is part of it. For someone to choose differently they have to believe that the chooser believed the recumbent choice was better than the DF choice. This does NOT validate their choice and failure to validate is a powerful anti-group force. People talking about diversity are usually focused on gender, orientation, race, religion, etc. From what I have seen, most bikers are past most of that, or at least appear to be. But THINK differently, or BUY differently, and the diversity of thought comes into play. Conformity is part of the human experience. Fail to conform and you are looking for trouble in all but the most tolerant groups.

    In addition. recumbents have completely different operating characteristics. In a downhill, a recumbent will be faster. That leaves the recumbent rider (RR) the choice of braking all the way down hill (DF Clydesdales experience the same thing) or pull out of the group and pass on the left. Around here, most downhills lead to water and then transition to uphill on the other side. Should the RR have chosen to brake downhill, the uphill will likely result in them shooting out of the back of the pack like last night's burrito. After that the group either has to wait, sit up or drop the RR. Alternatively the RR slides left and goes ahead on the downhill ("Showoff!", spoken or not) then gets passed by the pack on the uphill as DF consider the tortoise and the hare, thinking it would have been much better had you just stayed in the pack. The operating curve of a recumbent is much different than the operating curves of DF's.

    I read somewhere that RR always ride alone, and there is a lot of truth to that. On a group ride, we are either out ahead waiting to be caught or behind catching up. The operating curves, at least where climbing and descending are involved, are enough different that a RR cannot effectively ride with the DF's unless the RR is a far superior and light weight rider on a light weight bike and can afford to brake all the way down hill and then dig deep to climb up the other side with the pack.

    I'm not sure what the RR demographic is, but if I had to bet, I'd bet older and heavier (guilty on bth counts). This makes the likelihood that a RR has the strength to blend in fairly low. I'm sure it happens, but probably 30% of the time at best. 70% of the time we are goofing things up, making the DF pack move around.

    I've read that a lot of RR's just hang off the back, as if stealing draft, in order to let the space open up on the uphills and close up on the downhills leaving the DF group undisturbed. Some will think you are just sitting on their wheel, others will appreciate what the RR is doing by hanging off the back.

    There has also been much made of TdF (and everyone else) banning the "superior" recumbent. They also put a floor on bike weights and prohibited fairing. All of that is about safety, access to the sport and making the event more about the athlete and less about the hardware.

    If faired recumbents were part of the mix, the net effect would be to drive up costs and speeds as well as drive down safety margins. The same amount of biker energy would, by definition, increase speeds and decrease safety margins.

    I really enjoy my Volae Expedition (High Racer), and will be riding with the local bike club this spring, but based on my experience riding with other DF riders in large and small group rides this fall, my goal is going to be to proactively stay out of the group's way as I know that a RR operates much differently by definition, and does create a hazard by virtue of the inherent and almost unavoidable downhill and uphill speed differential.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    No, we're just jealous we can't grow a thick gray beard.
    Are you sure it's not the propeller on the top of the helmet?
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Good reasons include:

    1. You fell asleep on your hammock and cut me off.
    2. I am allergic to whatever it is that is stuck in your beard.
    What if a recumbent ride does not have a beard?

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