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  1. #1
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    Bents in the Urban Environment

    I like the bike shop and the owner is a nice guy ( names withheld ) but...when I asked if he carried any recumbent accessories he told me, " we no longer carry recumbents because of the 'urban environment' we are in. Bents are great for the trails and country roads but not for the 'urban environment'." Those are very nearly his exact words.

    I would understand if he said, "that is not our market." I would understand if he said, "we cater to the messengers." As unlikely as it might sound, I would have understood if he said, "I was seriously dissed by a bent rider and no longer want them in my store." This just seems like such a stupid answer.

    It is my understanding that there are a few bent riders in urban environments.
    Could it be that I really am the only one riding a bent in a big city?

    tom o. in Chicago.

    PS. I did not take offense but I now know not to bother returning to the shop for my bent needs.
    Lightning Phantom

  2. #2
    'Bent Brian
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    My commute takes me through the heart of downtown Elyria. Not nearly as big as NYC, Seattle, Albuquerque, etc. but I'm still in busy urban traffic none the less. No problems. Might be a tad more difficult on an LWB as opposed to a SWB but still doable. I think his sales were down and wanted to get out of 'bents. Possibly not due to the "urban environment" either. I wonder how long it will be before he folds his tent because he may eventually perceive an issue of all bicycles in an "urban environment".

    'bent Brian

  3. #3
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    Good point. He is in a cyclist rich area but there is very good competition.
    He is a nice guy and was very helpfull when I rode a df.
    Lightning Phantom

  4. #4
    Junior Member para handy's Avatar
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    Well, there's a good few StreetMachine GTs (including mine) being ridden around London, and it doesn't get more urban than that!

    Seriously, I have always found that it is easier to ride my 'bent around London, than my upwrong. On a regular bike, you're just another menace cyclist, on a 'bent you're something different, on a faired 'bent you're almost a 'proper vehicle'. Given the choice, I always take the 'bent when I go into London.
    "The church tells me that the world is flat but I know that it is round, for I have seen its shadow on the face of the moon and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." Ferdinand Magellan

  5. #5
    Epitome of Mediocrity
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    At least you have a local club "Chicagoland Recumbent Riders". Is that based near you?

    I'm in the middle of nowhere, Iowa.

    Cornfields, gravel roads, and red pickups.

  6. #6
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom o
    I did not take offense but I now know not to bother returning to the shop for my bent needs.
    That's the first step in going out of business. But I wouldn't ride my bent in urban traffic. Heck, I wouldn't ride any bike in urban traffic.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  7. #7
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    There are a *lot* of recumbents in Minneapolis, MN, both on the bike trails and on the city streets. I actually got into recumbents because I felt they gave me better visibility of the road ahead... my last wedgie bike was totaled when someone opened a car door and I didn't see it because I was facing the pavement.

  8. #8
    no particular place to go madbadger4's Avatar
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    I own a Rans Stratus (LWB), which I ride in an "urban environment" @65% of my ride time ..... no different than when I rode my DF in the same environment - I'll amend that statement, by sayinghat I feel MORE SECURE riding my Stratus than I did on my DF, all things considered.


    msm
    Northern, IL (when is the snow going to let up ?)

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    There are mainly two reasons why I prefer recumbents in an urban environment: 1. The visibility is better. 2. The effect of braking is much much better. 3. If you should fall off the bike the ground is nearer you and you won't be hurt to the extent you will be on an upright bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik forsgren
    There are mainly two reasons why I prefer recumbents in an urban environment: 1. The visibility is better. 2. The effect of braking is much much better. 3. If you should fall off the bike the ground is nearer you and you won't be hurt to the extent you will be on an upright bike.
    That's three.

  11. #11
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    The only complaints I have is parking and maneuvering while not riding the bike. Running errands is a bit more of a pain when locking up and such. A short wheel base is a good choice.

  12. #12
    Senior Member MrEWorm's Avatar
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    There are still a few shops around Chicago that carry recumbents. Much better to have a few shops with deep experience and interest than several with shallow exp and int. All that about urban environment is probably just salesman talk for .... "we don't carry them so you shouldn't want one"

  13. #13
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    I ride my Tour Easy all over the urban environment of the Phoenix metro area, almost always on the streets. I feel safer on it than on my diamond frame bike. Anyone with decent bike handling skills and knowledge of how to ride safely in traffic can probably get around just about any city on a recumbent.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeezerGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik forsgren
    There are mainly two reasons why I prefer recumbents in an urban environment: 1. The visibility is better. 2. The effect of braking is much much better. 3. If you should fall off the bike the ground is nearer you and you won't be hurt to the extent you will be on an upright bike.
    Re #1. Do you have eyes behind your head or do you have some secret that you can share about seeing cars behind you? Visibility above me is better on my bent than on a wedgie but that is about the only place.

    Do the burbs count as city? There are a lot of bents in the Minneapolis suburbs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerGeek
    Re #1. Do you have eyes behind your head or do you have some secret that you can share about seeing cars behind you? Visibility above me is better on my bent than on a wedgie but that is about the only place.
    I have rear view mirrors on my trike. My line of sight is better on the trike in all directions.

    I live in a smallish city, Salt Lake City. I can not speak to NY, LA or London.

    When I moved here I had a touring bike, Miata 615, that was great on the open road. But, you had to be in a forward leaning position to use either the brakes or the shifters. It was hard to keep my head up enough to see what was happening on the road.

    I bought a Specialized Rock Hopper with street tires for city riding. My head was up, brakes and twist shifters in easy reach. Unfortunately, the carpal tunnel nerve damage was the price that I paid.

    Since, I have ridden the trike for 2-1/2 years, about 7500 miles, I have felt the safest. The trike is dangerous in that it is so low that it can hidden behind parked cars. But, balance is not an issue so you can slow down at risky intersections and take your time to get it right. You can not easily catch your wheel in some road obstacle and be thrown to the ground. (A hair brush in a wheel once caused me to do a flip into the pavement on my ATB.) You can slam on your brakes in an emergency and not go down.

    All that said, I do not ride at rush hour on major streets. For my kind of riding, the recumbent trike has proven to be the best and safest urban vehicle.

    Regards

    Gary,
    Greenspeed GTO

  16. #16
    Bikeman mtessmer's Avatar
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    I've been riding and commuting in the downtown Minneapolis, St Paul and surrounding suburbs for over twenty years on a recumbent... it works great.
    "Biking for me is like walking with twelve foot strides"
    My Photo Album.

  17. #17
    Senior Member izgod's Avatar
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    Don't be so sure about not getting hurt. I had a slip and fall on some wet leaves in October. I managed to seriously break my right femur, the largest and most difficult bone in the body to break. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and out of work for 2 months. Granted, it was a freaky accident; the surgeon could hardly believe I did on a bicycle, let alone a recumbent. I'm back on the bike, but I'm getting a trike as soon as I get my tax refund!


    Quote Originally Posted by erik forsgren
    There are mainly two reasons why I prefer recumbents in an urban environment: 1. The visibility is better. 2. The effect of braking is much much better. 3. If you should fall off the bike the ground is nearer you and you won't be hurt to the extent you will be on an upright bike.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Seeing behind your back is not a problem at all. All you have to do is get yourself a mirror that you attach to your arm or your hand. I have made one myself and I see everything from behind that is moving towards me.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    To tell you the truth I have fallen off my recumbent at high speed at least three times without breaking any bone. I think this is due to the fact that most of the time when you fall you are likely to land on your side like a tree. In that way a large proportion of your body will damp the fall. I commute every day even when it's winter and snow. I'm sorry you have had such bad luck!

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Ouch! Breaking bones via falls from a recumbent isn't unheard of, but it's not the norm. I've gone down countless times. Usually I'm on the ground before I know what happened, so it's not that I'm 'falling smart' or anything; there just isn't enough vertical speed to cause any damage. Road rash, though, is another matter entirely!

  21. #21
    Senior Member izgod's Avatar
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    As near as I can tell, the bike flipped, rather than just fell over. It went down in such a way, and with such force, that my right thigh was slammed against the pavement. I was going downhill about 15 or 16 mph when I hit a patch of wet leaves. I usually do 27 to 30mph on this particular hill. The oddest thing to me, was that there was no road rash at all, just the busted bone. I didn't even know I broke anything. I thought I would catch my breath and get up. Of course I couldn't get up, and then noticed my right foot turned the wrong way round. I used my cell phone to call 911. I was on a bike trail in a remote area early on a Sunday morning. The only damage to the BikeE was a small tear on the side of the seat.

    I've always used the "You don't have far to fall" line when doing the recumbent talking points to interested folks. Now they see me limping when I'm off the bike and ask if I use the recumbent because of my limp. "No, the limp is because of the recumbent." I'm still pretty nervous about going fast down hill, even on clear dry days.

  22. #22
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Jeeze, thank goodness you had the cell phone. That would have been horrible if you had to wait for someone to come by, and then there'd still be no gauruntee they would have a phone.
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    Ouch! Breaking bones via falls from a recumbent isn't unheard of, but it's not the norm. I've gone down countless times. Usually I'm on the ground before I know what happened, so it's not that I'm 'falling smart' or anything; there just isn't enough vertical speed to cause any damage. Road rash, though, is another matter entirely!
    How you fall is of vital importance. It might mean the difference between life and death. Once I was riding a feathered mountainbike in a descent when suddenly I hit a bump, which made me fly at least 5 yards. I went over the handlebars in a horizontal direction and my only thought was to fold my head, arms and legs backwards in order to prevent those body parts from hitting the ground. I made a successful landing on my chest and belly and got away with some bruises and torn clothes. That was all. If I haden't done this I would probably not even wake up in a hospital.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik forsgren
    feathered mountainbike .
    What is a feathered mtb? Is that european for fully suspended?

  25. #25
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toybox
    What is a feathered mtb? Is that european for fully suspended?
    Specially equipped for flight.

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