I just re-read the part of Effective Cycling, (I decided to do this prior to burning it), about recumbents. He states he test rode some, liked the long wheel base better then the short, but still does not recommend a recumbent for urban road riding.
John speaking out against recumbent probably comes as no surprise considering all of the other things he speaks out against. But he did not ride one long enough to even attempt to make any sort of opinion about it.
He did test ride both long & short wheel base recumbents & states he had an easier time with control & stability on the long wheel base vs. the short. But some of his comments & opinions about the short wheel base recumbents & about any recumbent is false.
I ride a recumbent, it is a Vision R40 Short Wheel Base, or SWB with Over, or Above Seat Steering, or OSS/ASS. I have no problems riding it in any urban, sub-urban or open road conditions. I have been doing so for the past 6 years. Everything Forester says about riding a recumbent & the problem associated with one is for the most part a myth or false. I can get started while on a hill if I have to stop on one. Yes it is harder, but possible. Yes it is slower to ride up a hill, but it is possible.
The issue with remaining stable on descents is totally false. I almost fell out of my chair laughing so hard at it. I have gone downhill at almost 50 mph & remained perfectly stable. And keep in mind my bike is a SWB. Of course, like with ANY other bike you ride, road bike, mtn bike, etc., you ride according to what the conditions permit. There are downhill sections in my town I feather the brakes while riding & there are sections where I am balls to the wall pedalling as hard as & as fast I can & remain perfectly stable while doing so. The reason is I know the roadway & what the conditions are & what I can & can not do.
When I first started riding mine I would not have ridden it in the manner I describe above. Why? Well I did not have the experience I do now with it. It took me time to learn how to ride & control it. It took a whole week of riding it on a high school track, then an empty parking lot to learn how to control it enough before I took it out onto the roadways. A recumbent is just not the type of bike you jump on & expect to handle like a diamond frame bike. I think John expected this when he rode the ones he did.
With all of these myths & false hoods John wrote about recumbents it makes me wonder what else he has written, commented on or stated & has no proof, other then temporary exposure to it, like with riding a recumbent.
The bottom line John is experience is everything when it comes to riding a bike. You did not then, at the time you wrote Effective Cycling, & I doubt you have anymore experience with riding recumbents even now to form any kind of opinion about them, they way they handle & are controlled, etc.
Before you make such comments again on recumbents try owning & riding one for at least a year. Then maybe we'll listen to you because you'll have a solid bases for your opinions on such things. This goes for anything you write about for that matter.