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  1. #51
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    Update...

    So, after sort of fixing some GPS problems, and hacking my speed/cadence sensor so it works on the P-38, today I commuted to work from Home (the long commute).

    Long story short, I basically matched my best DF speed. I captured the metrics and compared my best DF time with the time I did on the Bacchetta Giro, and the time on the P-38. It is evident that I am getting slightly better on the P-38, as my first tries were slower. Plus, at this time, with exactly one month between my best DF time (and never having ridden a recumbent) and today, I have matched the time.

    In the table below, you can see the metrics. Notice that I have counted the number of stops/starts from zero, as those are MUCH more difficult (at least for me) on the recumbent than on the DF. I am hoping that I will get better at that (and I am, but still much tougher). Also I normalized the speeds. As much as I would have liked to claim that my P-38 time beat my best DF time, I think calling the route 19.4 miles (instead of the more accurate 18.9 miles) is a fluke, so I've normalized everything to that, and computed the speed (in red) by dividing 18.9 miles by the moving time.
    SpeedComp.jpg
    The links to the raw data:
    - Best DF ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1813403
    - Bacchetta ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1852002
    - P-38 ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1925574

    Some more tidbits of data.
    - All three of these rides were done at "push push push" effort. In other words, I pushed myself as much as I could. Yes, hardly scientific, but it is what it is I of course don't always commute this way, but every once in I while (today, for example) I decide to go for it so I can benchmark myself.
    - I have been riding recumbents for a short while (a month or so?). Counting this morning's ride, I have 187 miles on the P-38, and 87 on the Bacchetta, total. If you contrast that with the thousands of miles that it takes to develop the "bent legs" (according to the internet fora , I am a total newbie at this

    Finally, while the home TO work side of the equation seems to be progressing, we shall see this afternoon whether the other direction of travel does as well (goes up).

    In closing, the P-38 times are already better than those on the Bacchetta, and within a hair of those of my best DF times. In other words, progress :-)

    Thanks,
    Luis

  2. #52
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    Very nice.

    How was the return trip?

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by RChung View Post
    Very nice.

    How was the return trip?
    There was something about yesterday, cause the return trip was also the best time I've done on a recumbent, and within a hair (though a thicker hair :-)) from my best DF return trip. This is a ride that is essentially all uphill, with a somewhat challenging (at least to me) hills right at the 16 mile mark. Precisely what you don't want :-)

    In any case, here's the data:
    - P-38 best return ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1927050
    - Fuji best return ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1814608
    - Bacchetta (only) return ride: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1854408

    Average speeds: 16.3mph (Fuji), 15.5mph (P-38), 13.3mph (Bacchetta)

    Interestingly, I charged the hills this time and, to my amazement, I actually was able to ride uphill faster on the P-38 than my best DF time, for the segment that includes the hill with the steepest grade (8.5%). See http://ridewithgps.com/segments/Farnsworth-uphill. Oct 15th and 17th are on the P-38, Sep 27th on the Bacchetta, and the rest on the Fuji.

    All in all, there was something in the air yesterday I guess...

    Very happy with having found recumbents, actually. I have so much to learn and train that I hope it gets better (speed, climbing, endurance, etc).

    Thanks much.
    Luis
    PS: I guess bents are a wise choice for me

  4. #54
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lblando View Post
    Very happy with having found recumbents, actually. I have so much to learn and train that I hope it gets better (speed, climbing, endurance, etc).

    Thanks much.
    Luis
    PS: I guess bents are a wise choice for me
    I think you're on the right path...
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by lblando View Post
    There was something about yesterday, cause the return trip was also the best time I've done on a recumbent, and within a hair (though a thicker hair :-)) from my best DF return trip.
    Excellent result.

  6. #56
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    After 30 years of running and twenty years of cycling-races, crashes-etc. I have at least three herniated discs. I still ride a conventional bike 200-300 miles a week but I really like the idea of having my back supported while I ride. Surprisingly my back feels better after cycling with a conventional bike but my neck is showing signs of mild distress. I'm going to train on a recumbent exercise bike this winter and purchase a recumbent this spring. I plan to ride it three days a week alternating with a conventional. I have no idea what's involved in balancing and steering a recumbent but I know I'll figure it out. Hills? Will I be able to stay with the group if they are riding conventionals?

  7. #57
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Hi Ray,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray9 View Post
    After 30 years of running and twenty years of cycling-races, crashes-etc. I have at least three herniated discs. I still ride a conventional bike 200-300 miles a week but I really like the idea of having my back supported while I ride. Surprisingly my back feels better after cycling with a conventional bike but my neck is showing signs of mild distress. I'm going to train on a recumbent exercise bike this winter and purchase a recumbent this spring. I plan to ride it three days a week alternating with a conventional. I have no idea what's involved in balancing and steering a recumbent but I know I'll figure it out. Hills? Will I be able to stay with the group if they are riding conventionals?
    As far as hills:

    1) Recumbents use slightly different muscles than DF bikes, so it will take you some amount of time to acclimate. I would think that riding a recumbent exercise bike would help prepare for this.

    2) Some 'bents climb better than others. One of the biggest issues is how stiff is the bottom bracket.

    3) And remember you can't stand on 'bents.

    Good 'bent riders on good climbing 'bents climb as well as their good climbing DF friends. I climb better on my 'bent than on my DF, but I climb poorly on both.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  8. #58
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray9 View Post
    After 30 years of running and twenty years of cycling-races, crashes-etc. I have at least three herniated discs. I still ride a conventional bike 200-300 miles a week but I really like the idea of having my back supported while I ride. Surprisingly my back feels better after cycling with a conventional bike but my neck is showing signs of mild distress. I'm going to train on a recumbent exercise bike this winter and purchase a recumbent this spring. I plan to ride it three days a week alternating with a conventional. I have no idea what's involved in balancing and steering a recumbent but I know I'll figure it out. Hills? Will I be able to stay with the group if they are riding conventionals?
    Keeping up on hills depends on lots of factors. Most people who get recumbents find they are slower on long climbs, and potentially faster on short ones. Really steep stuff can be a challenge because the bent rider can't stand. Describe your hills, and what your 'competition' is like.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Keeping up on hills depends on lots of factors. Most people who get recumbents find they are slower on long climbs, and potentially faster on short ones. Really steep stuff can be a challenge because the bent rider can't stand. Describe your hills, and what your 'competition' is like.
    Tough. Some of the hills have a 9 percent grade. I'm 66 but strong and fit and I can usually stay with the B group on hills. It doesn't matter because it's not an ego thing any more, it's just to stay fit and healthy and of course, I love cycling.

  10. #60
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray9 View Post
    Tough. Some of the hills have a 9 percent grade. I'm 66 but strong and fit and I can usually stay with the B group on hills. It doesn't matter because it's not an ego thing any more, it's just to stay fit and healthy and of course, I love cycling.
    As said above a light, stiff bike climbs best. One thing to keep in mind is the wide range of body position on a bent. Body position does affect climbing efficiency. For most folks a "closed" position (torso folded closer to legs) allows the rider to develop more power up hills, others do best with a more "open" (flat on your back) position. Only test rides will prove up which works best for you.

    In any event, here's a list of "good climbers" as seen by most folks:

    Cruzbike Vendetta (MBB- moving bottom bracket)
    Metaphysics
    Carbent
    Lightning P-38 (closed position, a classic in the field)

    Oddly enough I climb fastest on my M5 which is not particularly light (upper 20's) but I can make more power in a very open position.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  11. #61
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    You should realize that you won't achieve a comfort level and leg strength with your new bent position for at least 3 months, and it can improve for many months as you get more used to the bike frame. If your current times are while you are sick, and you are liking it, wait till you are feeling strong and your muscles are acclimated.

    I recently bought a high racer, a Rans F5. It is faster than my trike, but the trike is very fun, so I ride the trike more on my commute. The high racer is for weekend fast rides. Have fun with your bent, and keep sharing your comparisons. Info on my learning curve on the Rans F5 is here ( http://bicyclepatents.com/temporary-2/1956/ ) It took me a month before I felt confident to stop and start.

    FYI, I'm 63 and commute by trike everyday, in heat and snow, and have done so for 5 years. Its comfortable, and fun. With my bike I was always finding an excuse to not ride my bike, with the trike I turn down any offers to get a ride to work in a car.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray9 View Post
    Hills? Will I be able to stay with the group if they are riding conventionals?
    If the group wants you to, sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Good 'bent riders on good climbing 'bents climb as well as their good climbing DF friends.
    I don't think there's any evidence of this. However, I think there's both a lot of evidence and a lot of theory that suggests good 'bent riders on good climbing bents can climb as well as their medium climbing DF friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray9 View Post
    Tough. Some of the hills have a 9 percent grade. I'm 66 but strong and fit and I can usually stay with the B group on hills. It doesn't matter because it's not an ego thing any more, it's just to stay fit and healthy and of course, I love cycling.
    Realistically, you probably won't be able to stay with the B group on hills. The dynamics of riding on a recumbent are different: you'll be riding by yourself much more vs. riding with the group. However, as you say, it doesn't much matter if it's no longer an ego thing.

  13. #63
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    i've been mixing my time more evenly between bents and my one last DF more evenly this summer and fall than I have in years past. I have more comparative riding times between the two platforms than I have had before too, so the climbing differences are coming into focus more clearly. On hills, my climbing speeds are slower on the bents, the 5 to 15% range. Where things fall in that range depends on the steepness and length of the hill. Short steep hills accentuate the differences, long and more gradual hills minimize them.

    On real courses, with downhills and some rolling and even a little flat ground in the mix (50 to 70 feet per mile of climbing is typical for my rides), the bents are faster overall. A lot of my typical rides on the bents have average speeds in the 17 to 18 mph range. On the DF, it's usually more like 15 to 16 mph. On very mountainous rides (100 feet per mile or more) the advantage can swing to the DF. But boy, riding the DF it sure seems to take a lot more out of me, overall. A better workout, generally speaking.

  14. #64
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    I find riding a recumbent in a group is similar to riding a tandem in a group, in terms of how we are differently affected by terrain. But the tandem has a huge draft and recumbent has little, so the DF riders' motivation to keep me in the group is not the same.

    If I want to ride with people, and riding brevets there are times when I do, then I'm making a compromise when the roads get hilly. If I ride with people I can easily climb with, then I'm soft pedaling on the flats and braking on the downhills. If I ride with people who make me work in the flats, then I'm going in the red on the climbs.

    I don't know why, don't really care, that's just how it seems to be.
    This has to be a tie between re-frozen slushy uneven dirty ice stuff just right of the nicely plowed pavement, and super-glassy ice with a dusting of fresh powder - SalshShark

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    I find riding a recumbent in a group is similar to riding a tandem in a group, in terms of how we are differently affected by terrain. But the tandem has a huge draft and recumbent has little, so the DF riders' motivation to keep me in the group is not the same.

    If I want to ride with people, and riding brevets there are times when I do, then I'm making a compromise when the roads get hilly. If I ride with people I can easily climb with, then I'm soft pedaling on the flats and braking on the downhills. If I ride with people who make me work in the flats, then I'm going in the red on the climbs.

    I don't know why, don't really care, that's just how it seems to be.
    Yeah, been there too.

    Looking back over the last couple years, my typical LD riding cohorts (who are on DFs, mostly) cause me to lollygag a little bit on the flats, and push it fairly hard, but not excessively so, on the hills. To the extent that we draft each other on the flats (not much), sometimes I do a bit of work, but our pacing is usually pretty relaxed, so drafting tightly isn't generally worth the risk (my opinion, at least). We always finish with enough time to spare, and lots of fun had in the process, so it all seems to be a good compromise. We have lots of interrupted conversations on certain types of terrain (short/steep/abrupt rollers being the worst), but we're all used to that now. If somebody's fitness level changes a lot, we might have issues, but till then, life is good.

  16. #66
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    My experience parallels downtube's and steamer's. If a bent rider can keep up with the uprights on climbs, it's because he's stronger; and as a consequence riding with uprights means loafing on the flats and riding the brakes on downhills. If the bent rider merely 'keeps up' with uprights on flats, he's probably weaker overall, in which case he'll get dropped on climbs. Same-strength means loafing a little to stay back with the uprights on the flats, and working hard and probably getting gapped on climbs (but hopefully catching up before the next climb.)

    The hillier the terrain, the more the bent rider will be alone.

  17. #67
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    My experience parallels downtube's and steamer's. If a bent rider can keep up with the uprights on climbs, it's because he's stronger; and as a consequence riding with uprights means loafing on the flats and riding the brakes on downhills. If the bent rider merely 'keeps up' with uprights on flats, he's probably weaker overall, in which case he'll get dropped on climbs. Same-strength means loafing a little to stay back with the uprights on the flats, and working hard and probably getting gapped on climbs (but hopefully catching up before the next climb.)

    The hillier the terrain, the more the bent rider will be alone.
    This.

    Assuming a good climbing 'bent, that means if he matches on the climb up, he'll not working too hard on the flats and really riding the brakes on the way down. If it isn't a good climbing 'bent, this difference only gets worse.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  18. #68
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    This.

    Assuming a good climbing 'bent, that means if he matches on the climb up, he'll not working too hard on the flats and really riding the brakes on the way down.
    My emphasis. Oh, I never do that (ride the brakes) unless safety / traffic conditions require it. Me coasting away on the downhills only means I get to coast for a little while longer after the descent till they catch up, or it gives me a small head start on the next roller.

  19. #69
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    My emphasis. Oh, I never do that (ride the brakes) unless safety / traffic conditions require it. Me coasting away on the downhills only means I get to coast for a little while longer after the descent till they catch up, or it gives me a small head start on the next roller.
    I did a 1000k brevet this summer, and by choice I rode with a group for about 80% of that distance. They were locals and knew the route well, and quite a nice group of folks to ride with. All DFs but me. The flats were fine, but the hills were a royal pain. I tried letting a gap form on the uphill and coast back to the group on the downhill/flat, but if I misjudged the hill I'd come screaming up on the group - either braking or yelling 'on your left' and blowing by. Neither is desirable. I tried going off the front, letting them come back to me on the climbs, but timing that well was also challenging and could result in passing back and forth. Another tactic I sometimes used was to make myself as aerodynamically dirty as possible on the downhills - splaying out both knees and hanging out one arm. This worked if the downhill wasn't too steep. Overall, the easiest thing to do was just ride with them, and brake on the downhills. My overall average speed suffered, but I didn't miss a turn, had people to talk to, and more lights at night. Brake pads are relatively cheap.
    This has to be a tie between re-frozen slushy uneven dirty ice stuff just right of the nicely plowed pavement, and super-glassy ice with a dusting of fresh powder - SalshShark

  20. #70
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    I did a 1000k brevet this summer, and by choice I rode with a group for about 80% of that distance. They were locals and knew the route well, and quite a nice group of folks to ride with. All DFs but me. The flats were fine, but the hills were a royal pain. I tried letting a gap form on the uphill and coast back to the group on the downhill/flat, but if I misjudged the hill I'd come screaming up on the group - either braking or yelling 'on your left' and blowing by. Neither is desirable. I tried going off the front, letting them come back to me on the climbs, but timing that well was also challenging and could result in passing back and forth. Another tactic I sometimes used was to make myself as aerodynamically dirty as possible on the downhills - splaying out both knees and hanging out one arm. This worked if the downhill wasn't too steep. Overall, the easiest thing to do was just ride with them, and brake on the downhills. My overall average speed suffered, but I didn't miss a turn, had people to talk to, and more lights at night. Brake pads are relatively cheap.
    I am not often prevented from doing the 'blow past' by traffic and such, but my general strategy is to bust ass on the uphills (relatively speaking) so I am not last in the group cresting the hill all the time. Makes the blow past less disruptive. But so long as those other riders are riding at a fairly relaxed pace, my bust ass pace isn't all that terribly hard. Not hard enough to mess me up, at least. On the other hand, some hills are so steep that I am the last to crest no matter what I do, so the downhill is all about catching up - no need to brake or blow past either.

    There is no doubt about it, riding with others requires some commitment and effort, on somebody's part. It's best if everyone does that, at least a little bit - that's the spriit of teamwork as I see it, and can make for very rewarding rides. I try to not be a jerk (much... ), so people are willing to compromise their own pace a little bit on occasion too. These issues are present even if you are all on the same kind of bike, let alone different types.

  21. #71
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    I did a 1000k brevet this summer, and by choice I rode with a group for about 80% of that distance. They were locals and knew the route well, and quite a nice group of folks to ride with. All DFs but me. The flats were fine, but the hills were a royal pain. I tried letting a gap form on the uphill and coast back to the group on the downhill/flat, but if I misjudged the hill I'd come screaming up on the group - either braking or yelling 'on your left' and blowing by. Neither is desirable. I tried going off the front, letting them come back to me on the climbs, but timing that well was also challenging and could result in passing back and forth. Another tactic I sometimes used was to make myself as aerodynamically dirty as possible on the downhills - splaying out both knees and hanging out one arm. This worked if the downhill wasn't too steep. Overall, the easiest thing to do was just ride with them, and brake on the downhills. My overall average speed suffered, but I didn't miss a turn, had people to talk to, and more lights at night. Brake pads are relatively cheap.
    Holy cow, which brevet was that? I'm guessing the Carolina one. And are you aiming for PBP 2015?

  22. #72
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Any way you cut it, the vast number of people can ride a recumbent all day pain free. This is a good thing. Add that to the safety pluses that bents have, again a majority of cyclist would be better off on a recumbent.

  23. #73
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Holy cow, which brevet was that? I'm guessing the Carolina one. And are you aiming for PBP 2015?
    Yes and yes.
    I wanted to do LOL but the organizers were unresponsive, so I did Carolina instead. That turned out to be pretty memorable:
    - Wading through a flooded road, carrying bikes - times 4.
    - Learning a new phrase "dropped in the bathroom"
    - Autographing a brown paper bag at midnight at a small town convenience store, for a lady who was sure we were famous
    - Thunder and lightning and pouring rain (at least it was warm)
    - Dawn to dusk headwind
    - Favorite road name ever: Okeewemee road. You know when you see a road named Okeewemee, it's not going to be flat.
    - Waving like fools at the Google car
    This has to be a tie between re-frozen slushy uneven dirty ice stuff just right of the nicely plowed pavement, and super-glassy ice with a dusting of fresh powder - SalshShark

  24. #74
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    - Learning a new phrase "dropped in the bathroom"
    O.k. I'll bite. What does this mean?

    Sounds like you had a blast.
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  25. #75
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    From time to time when this question comes up I usually post this. Quite often older people, baby boomers, or someone that wants to get some exercise decides a bike may be the way to go. They go to the bike shop, and since there are not very many bent shops, they end up in an LBS that only sells DF bikes. So------------the new rider usually ends up with some form of a mountain bike. After riding it a few times and finding out a saddle is NOT a human friendly object, the bike gets hung up in the garage for a few years. Then it gets sold at a garage sale for 5 to 10 percent of what it cost new.

    However-------------if a person would have bought a recumbent, there is a likelyhood that they would have kept riding, because bents do not cause pain. This statement will infame a percentage of DF riders because I am pointing out what is true for most people riding a bike. Especially a new rider. May I point out two facts. New riders DO NOT have buns of steel like a DF rider that puts on 5000 miles a year has, and will be offended by my statements. And couple that with the fact that almost all of us bent riders have ridden DF bikes for thousands of miles so we know how much more comfortable a bent is. Especially for a new rider.

    I would further point out IMO a new bent rider would find it easier to break into the bent world on either a CLWB, a LWB, or a trike.

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