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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 10-26-13, 05:12 PM   #1
vol
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Why are some recumbent so low?

I saw quite a few people on their recumbent in Manhattan's Central Park on weekends. The recumbent are so low that they almost touched the ground (I saw the leaves passed by them from underneath being swiped). Once when one of them came up from behind me, I thought it was a dog and was worried I nearly ran it over . Isn't it not only unpleasant to be lower than anything around you, but also dangerous if there is a stone, rock, dead bird, etc., on the road? They could also be run over by another bike and quite easily invisible to a vehicle driver until too late. Those people were almost lying on the ground.
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Old 10-26-13, 06:01 PM   #2
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As long as we're taller than the road markings, drivers should see us just fine. And in my experience, they do (see us just fine.) As far as other cyclists seeing us, well that can be a problem. For all of their bemoaning that cars don't look for them, cyclists are just as bad in their way, only looking for things at their height before changing directions like a squirrel. Luckily, they're easy to deal with; sometimes I give them extra clearance and sometimes I just blow past them before they have a chance to make any dumb moves. If it sounds like I'm putting responsibility on the upright cyclists, I AM. They should be watching the road because if they did, they'd see us too.

Being low is great fun. Being in the ground effect allows for dramatically higher speeds; or if speed isn't your thing, it can mean less effort to go places. And, if I see a stick, a rock, or a lost waterbottle, I can pick it up without stopping.
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Old 10-26-13, 06:25 PM   #3
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And, if I see a stick, a rock, or a lost waterbottle, I can pick it up without stopping.
The other day I saw some dollar bills someone had dropped on the ground, but my bike is too high so I couldn't pick them up

I haven't found a picture to show how low the recumbents I saw were. All the photos I found on the Internet so far are higher than them.
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Old 10-26-13, 09:58 PM   #4
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Like this?

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Old 10-26-13, 10:03 PM   #5
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You probably saw a low racer- one that is really low to the ground and designed for speed. Challenge has some. However, those appear to be higher off the ground than what I turned up on Google-
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Old 10-27-13, 07:25 AM   #6
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Simply stated very low profile equals less wing resistance and a faster ride. For some riders, speed is everything.
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Old 10-27-13, 01:08 PM   #7
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They don't make 'em much lower than mine. With both feet clipped in, I can flat-palm both hands on the ground. The 700c rear wheel is the tallest part of the bike.

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Old 10-27-13, 02:57 PM   #8
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Yes it is fun!

+1 to the perception of going really fast when close to the ground. I've gotten successively closer to the ground as I bought different recumbents over 13 years until now my seat is 6" off the ground and my head is 24" from the ground. I ride a Catrike 700. Luckily I don't have to ride in crowded places like Central Park where there has to be a lot of conflict between cyclists just due to the density of bikes. Riding a low trike down a steep, curvy, two lane road lined with big rocks on both sides at 35 mph is just exciting (road to top of Dante's View in Death Valley NP). I look forward to my first try on the new trike next March. Already made the park reservations. I've reached 38 mph trike speeds in the past and had to brake to keep from going even faster. A fellow rider has done it at 43 mph on his GS GTO trike.
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Old 10-28-13, 02:06 PM   #9
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Like this?

Is that Mowett on his M1?
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Old 10-30-13, 02:27 PM   #10
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because i have reach the age of 67 i find it hard riding because of a few health problems it's hard to enjoy my upright but since i got my recumbent my health,mental problems have improve bright clothes, lights horns,flags make me more visible and happy i'm zooming again don't be a hater join the game!
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Old 11-01-13, 08:08 AM   #11
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I have both a recumbent bike LWB, and a tadpole trike. If the wind is blowing really hard, I always take the trike because it is closer to the ground and has less aero drag.
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Old 11-02-13, 09:44 PM   #12
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Is that Mowett on his M1?
But, of course!
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Old 11-02-13, 10:04 PM   #13
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This morning I saw a group of 3 guys riding recumbents in Central Park, just like the ones I saw before. Their recumbents are all lower than the pictures posted above---or rather, in the pictures above, the lowest point is the hip area, while the upper body is much higher, so it's like "V" shaped; but the recumbents I saw, it's low all over, not just the hip area. The guys were literally lying flat just short of touching the ground, with only their heads higher. They all had a safety flag on. They were not riding fast. If not for the flags, it really looked like inviting a vehicle to run them over. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me.
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Old 11-03-13, 07:44 AM   #14
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Let's see, lower than a lowracer, flying flags, and slow... They must have been tadpole trikes. Hard to say which ones, though.
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Old 11-07-13, 09:49 PM   #15
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They weren't handcycles, by any chance, were they? I saw a couple at a half-Ironman a while back, and it was hard to tell how they could even see where they were going. (And the point of being low here is to gain a competitive advantage in a racing event.)
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Old 11-10-13, 03:38 PM   #16
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/gavtatu...57629578181276
i love my lowracer, i'm actually gonna chop it, and stretch it by 6", just to get laid back some more !
its lower, faster, more fun !
i have the flags on it, two sets of lights front and back, lots of reflectors, so am as visable as i can make myself.
i try to be aware of not getting myself into dangerous situations.
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Old 11-23-13, 06:17 PM   #17
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I nearly hit a recumbent today in the Central Park. The guy was riding the very low recumbent I mentioned (almost lying on the ground), which was also pulling a trailer behind it, so quite long. He wore black clothing, and the recumbent and trailer were both also dark/black, with no flag or other safety signs as far as I can recall. I took a second to adjust my mirror and suddenly he was in front of me--well, actually, about at my feet level.

It seems every weekend there are some recumbents in the Central Park. Hope next time I can take a picture.
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Old 11-23-13, 06:24 PM   #18
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Please, if you see any recumbent in Central Park, post a picture.
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Old 12-07-13, 01:26 PM   #19
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Please, if you see any recumbent in Central Park, post a picture.
Finally got it today. The picture quality is as low as the recumbent but you can see the recumbent and the long trailer--it has 2-3 empty seats, so I wonder if he's going to pick up some passengers . This could be the same guy I saw the last time. It seems recumbents are always active in Central Park on Saturdays.

Isn't the recumbent very low?

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Old 12-07-13, 02:28 PM   #20
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Finally got it today. The picture quality is as low as the recumbent but you can see the recumbent and the long trailer--it has 2-3 empty seats, so I wonder if he's going to pick up some passengers . This could be the same guy I saw the last time. It seems recumbents are always active in Central Park on Saturdays.

Isn't the recumbent very low?

Umm... That looks like a hand cycle to me...
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Old 12-07-13, 03:12 PM   #21
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Umm... That looks like a hand cycle to me...
Funny it never occurred to me there are these two different categories! Well, then it seems most of what I saw in Central Park were hand cycles! Maybe that's why the riders were almost lying flat?
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Old 12-07-13, 04:29 PM   #22
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Yup, the front one at least is a handcycle. In spite of the blurry pic, I can make out the foot cradles. An paralympic-caliber handcyclist might be able to go 15 mph or so. Pulling a trailer would be impressive.

So now we know the answer to the original question. Handcycles rely on upper body strength; and upper body muscle groups are nowhere near as large and powerful as lower body muscle groups. But the design lets them be faster than wheelchairs!
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Old 12-07-13, 05:03 PM   #23
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So now we know the answer to the original question.
Smartest question ever
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Old 12-07-13, 08:10 PM   #24
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Some handcycles are low. Indeed. If I rode one, it would be low and slow.
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