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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 09-10-17, 11:09 AM   #1
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It Takes How Long to Become Competent on a 'Bent!?

Now, I realize that, when I read online that it takes 1,000 hours for a new bent rider to be competent, this is a very general suggestion. We all have different biking experiences, physical abilities, etc.

I've had my bent for 48 hours or so and have ridden about 17 miles on paths, on sidewalks and streets. I'd say I'm 92% competent on it. I've ridden bikes pretty regularly, but off and on since I was 10. I'm 53 now. So I sort of don't get it?

A Thousand miles to become competent sounds daunting to a new bent rider....

How long did it take you to get comfortable on a bent?
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Old 09-10-17, 01:06 PM   #2
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Who told you that? If by competent you mean that you can ride safely and comfortably, then depending upon the style of bent, it could be from just a few miles (as on my long wheelbase Linear) to a few hundred miles on a high racer. Your short wheelbase bike should be somewhere in-between. What you may have misunderstood is the idea of getting your "recumbent legs" which is more a referenced to building the muscles to ride faster and farther than you can when you just start out. That will depend upon your general physical state. If you were a couch potato who hasn't been on a bike in 30 years, it might be a daunting task starting out. If you rode regular bikes a lot, then it would take far fewer miles to achieve the same physical state on a recumbent bike.
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Old 09-10-17, 03:42 PM   #3
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@VegasTriker - OH, that is probably what I misunderstood. Oops. Yeah, I thought what the general rule of thumb was 1,000 miles to learn how to ride one fairly well. I thought that sounded like a lot.

Two observations. As I ride down my driveway and into the street I suddenly think, "I'm not wearing my seatbelt!" Then remember that I'm on a bike - not in the car. Second is that I've caught myself several times saying to myself, "I'm just gonna pedal forever, and ever....."

I also keep thinking, "I'm gonna have great legs!" hahaha. I have a lot to look forward to I guess.

Thanks for the clarification & education.
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Old 09-10-17, 05:42 PM   #4
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I was comfortable enough to ride side-by-side with my friends after 2 or 3 rides. It took me most of the first summer to regain - and surpass - my upright speeds. At that point there was really no reason to keep my upright anymore -- the bent was not only more comfy but faster too.
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Old 09-11-17, 11:25 AM   #5
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A couple of years ago I wandered into the world of recumbent bicycles. I picked up an Edge recumbent in excellent condition for a decent price. I was interested in the comfort aspect of riding a recumbent. I have to say, I never felt comfortable on that bike in that I was wobbly on it. I never got used to the center of gravity and the unsteadiness of it. I fell off the bike five times, fortunately I was close to the ground so it was always more embarrassing than painful. I sold the bike and got most of my money back. It was a good experiment but recumbents and me weren't meant to be together.
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Old 09-11-17, 12:31 PM   #6
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A couple of years ago I wandered into the world of recumbent bicycles. I picked up an Edge recumbent in excellent condition for a decent price. I was interested in the comfort aspect of riding a recumbent. I have to say, I never felt comfortable on that bike in that I was wobbly on it. I never got used to the center of gravity and the unsteadiness of it. I fell off the bike five times, fortunately I was close to the ground so it was always more embarrassing than painful. I sold the bike and got most of my money back. It was a good experiment but recumbents and me weren't meant to be together.
I understand what you are saying but recumbents, being a developing technology, aren't all the same. Some ride much more "iffy" than others. The first time that I was told that recumbent trikes were out selling two wheeled recumbents, I thought the teller must be mistaken.

If you are able to keep an open mind, your day may be coming.
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Old 09-11-17, 12:44 PM   #7
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One person's experience on a particular bike should not be construed as what you will experience on the same bike. The company that made the Edge Haiku ceased production in 2015. There is a 2014 review of the bike by Bryan J. Ball in Bentrideronline http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=9544 His words:
"I’d like to say that the Haiku is also one of best handling highracers I’ve ever ridden, but that would be selling it short. It’s actually one of the best handling recumbents I’ve ever ride. I don’t know exactly what changes Edge made to the old Burley geometry but they nailed it. Low-speed handling is simply outstanding and the low seat height makes you feel even that much more secure. High-speed descents are equally confidence inspiring with the exception of the aforementioned brakes." It was a fairly pricey bike at $2,500 so there probably aren't many out there.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:49 PM   #8
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Yesterday I rode a total of 12 miles, but in three separate outings combined. The morning & earlier pm rides I did really well. In the later afternoon it was warmer and, near the end, I swear I couldn't get the bike started up - was pulling on the handlebars, thus causing me to turn into the grass. I finally got going but thought, "What the heck's going on?!". I'm naturally a morning person, when I'm at my best. Heat wipes me out and just being later in the day my batteries are running low. So I guess I learned that when I'm fatigued, my recumbent starts suck!
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Old 09-12-17, 05:56 AM   #9
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My first bent was a Rans Tailwind. After about 3 rides of 20 miles, I was very comfortable in its handling. IMO tho the easiest bents to start riding are the LWB types.
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Old 09-12-17, 07:34 AM   #10
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I've owned several bents. As a relatively short person, 5'7", high racers required a little more practice before riding in a group. Probably 5 - 6 rides.
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Old 09-12-17, 08:04 AM   #11
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I've owned several bents. As a relatively short person, 5'7", high racers required a little more practice before riding in a group. Probably 5 - 6 rides.
I sat on a Giro A26, where both wheels are 26" & was on my tiptoes. I'm 5'6" on a good day, and a bike that high wouldn't be something I'd choose for urban riding.
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Old 09-12-17, 02:05 PM   #12
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If by competent you mean that you can ride safely and comfortably, then depending upon the style of bent, it could be from just a few miles (as on my long wheelbase Linear) to a few hundred miles on a high racer. .
When I bought my EZ Sport long wheelbase recumbent 16 years ago I got on it and rode it just like any other bike I have ever ridden. The main difference was I had this big smile on my face because of how comfortable it was to ride compared to the wedgies I had ridden until then. I'm still riding the same bike today and even bought a second one a couple of months ago for $130 as a backup.
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Old 09-12-17, 05:05 PM   #13
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@elocs - I'm with you there on the smiling part. I'm smiling and the people I see usually smile when they see my rig. There's this lady who walks her dog by our house often and she seems to have a somewhat sour disposition. So imagine my surprise when she started talking to me about the recumbent. It was a nice surprise.
Also cool to know that you still are loving the same bike for so long. What kind of riding do you do on it? Do you ride most days?
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Old 09-12-17, 05:18 PM   #14
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@elocs - I'm with you there on the smiling part. I'm smiling and the people I see usually smile when they see my rig. There's this lady who walks her dog by our house often and she seems to have a somewhat sour disposition. So imagine my surprise when she started talking to me about the recumbent. It was a nice surprise.
Also cool to know that you still are loving the same bike for so long. What kind of riding do you do on it? Do you ride most days?
For most of the 16 years I have had the EZ Sport I would use it to commute to work rather than drive my car.
I sold my car when I retired 4 years ago and so now my bike is my transportation around town and what I use to pull my cargo trailer. So for me my bike is a tool that I use to go wherever I need to go but I do enjoy it whenever I ride it. I even use it here with our Wisconsin winters. I ride strictly within the city and have never had an interest at all in speed or distance or climbing--I will pick the shortest and easiest to ride route to where I go. Once in awhile on a nice day, like we've had here lately, I will take a ride around the MUPs in my city, usually about a 10 mile ride.
But one thing I have enjoyed for all of those 16 years I have had the bike is hearing people call out to me as I ride, "Cool bike!" or "I love your bike!". That never gets old.
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Old 09-12-17, 08:39 PM   #15
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@elocs - it's nice to hear about other people's bike adventures. I do about the same type of riding as you as far as location. I'm not one to seek out rural farming roads and such. So how does your long wheelbase fare in an urban setting? For some reason I think of long wheel base as a touring, out in the countryside bent, and think of city bents as usually short wheel base.
I suspect I'll eventually get a rear rack and try using the bike for groceries.

I'm still figuring out how to lock the thing! I have multiple U-locks as well as a cable and a chain and snide hard to cut fabric. I typically use the "Sheldon Brown" method of locking up my diamond frames.
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Old 09-12-17, 09:42 PM   #16
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@elocs - it's nice to hear about other people's bike adventures. I do about the same type of riding as you as far as location. I'm not one to seek out rural farming roads and such. So how does your long wheelbase fare in an urban setting? For some reason I think of long wheel base as a touring, out in the countryside bent, and think of city bents as usually short wheel base.
I suspect I'll eventually get a rear rack and try using the bike for groceries.

I'm still figuring out how to lock the thing! I have multiple U-locks as well as a cable and a chain and snide hard to cut fabric. I typically use the "Sheldon Brown" method of locking up my diamond frames.
Let me preface this with saying that some 35 years ago when I was 30 I had a motorcycle and had motorcycles since I got my license at 18. But it finally got to the point where I felt that everybody in a car was out to kill me or make me crash. That car turning left going the opposite way from me was just waiting for me to get close enough and then it was going to pull out on me. I was riding with my heart in me throat too much so I just sold the cycle and never have had one since and still don't want one.

I live in a Wisconsin city between the Mississippi River on the west and bluffs to the east and there are some very busy streets with no bike lanes at all because there's no place to put them. Now I've lived her all my life and so I know all the routes to travel to get to where I'm going and there is not a single busy street here that I need to travel on my bike to get to where I'm going. Ironically our side streets are wide in comparison to the busy ones with cars parked on both sides and still room for 2 cars to safely pass each other going the opposite ways. So that's where I ride and they are the ones that have the bike lanes. I throw into the mix some MUPs and here it is perfectly legal to ride on the sidewalks and far safer than on any busy street. Sorry, I just don't have the faith and trust that every vehicle coming from behind me on a busy street is going to give me 3 feet of clearance or that I won't be taken out by a truck mirror sticking out on the right. Those are battles that I must win every one.
Pass. I'm responsible for my safety and I haven't been hit by a car while riding my bike in the 58 years that I have ridden.

I'm seen well by cars while I'm riding my EZ Sport because I stand out from all of the DFs out there. Some of those who holler out to me, "Cool bike!" are in cars. I'm respectful in my riding with both cars and pedestrians because having driven a car for decades as well as being a pedestrian too I know how some cyclists behave.
I have both an ice cream truck type bell on my bike as well as a battery horn and use them as needed. I pull a cargo trailer with a 300 pound weight limit at times that would be a hazard on a busy street. This year I've pulled the trailer with 250 pounds of patio blocks in it as well as a very large rocker/recliner still in the box. But I've also helped my goddaughter move and have hauled a big dresser in it as well as having totes stacked up 3 high. I had a rack put on it when I bought it along with a messenger bag which eventually just got worn out and I replaced it with a bag that sits on the rack that holds what I want with room for some odd groceries as well. If that's not room enough I bungee a plastic milk crate on top of it and that does well enough so I don't need to use the trailer.

So I have 2 EZ Sports, my original one which is black and the one I bought this summer which is red and both are 2001 models. I must admit that in 16 years I have not locked my bike very often unless I was going to be away from it for more than a few minutes. I park it in a very public space and my philosophy is that locks are to keep honest people honest. I don't think most potential thieves are interested in my bike anyways, especially when the trailer is attached to it. Besides, most of the cops on my end of town know my bike and it would stick out like a sore thumb if it was stolen because there's not another one like it. But I enjoy riding my recumbent and sorely missed it when it was in for its free yearly tune-up (16 years of free tune-ups, did I get a deal there or what?) and I had to ride a DF which kill my butt and hurt my wrists and which caused me to buy a second EZ Sport for a back-up.
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Old 09-25-17, 05:45 AM   #17
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Now, I realize that, when I read online that it takes 1,000 hours for a new bent rider to be competent, this is a very general suggestion. We all have different biking experiences, physical abilities, etc.

I've had my bent for 48 hours or so and have ridden about 17 miles on paths, on sidewalks and streets. I'd say I'm 92% competent on it. I've ridden bikes pretty regularly, but off and on since I was 10. I'm 53 now. So I sort of don't get it?

A Thousand miles to become competent sounds daunting to a new bent rider....

How long did it take you to get comfortable on a bent?
To put it bluntly the person that said it takes a thousand hours for a bent rider to be competent is a nit wit. He must be someone that simply doesnt like bents.
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Old 09-25-17, 09:47 AM   #18
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@rydabent - If I didn't mention it already, it was me who misunderstood what I had read. What. Read implied that it takes about 1,000 miles to get your bent muscles. I gu s this presumes you're completely no from a diamond frame.

It was my mistake. No problems though. I'm a newby to bents.
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Old 09-28-17, 01:21 PM   #19
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Today makes a week that I have been riding my 26/26 Highracer in the parking lot of the local multi-plex. It is a gigantic multi-bay complex and several areas have sloping profiles to the ground. It is about 1/4 mile from home. I walk it there and spend about an hour per session. Except for the weekend (sat/sun) I haven't missed any days. I do not plan to leave the safe environment of the parking complex until I can start moving on level ground, and this I still cannot do. I can carve around with wild abandon once I get some momentum from a down slope, and I surprise myself with the ability to make spontaneous changes of direction, or dodging the occasional pedestrian or driver taking a shortcut.
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Old 09-28-17, 01:31 PM   #20
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I'm still figuring out how to lock the thing! I have multiple U-locks as well as a cable and a chain and snide hard to cut fabric. I typically use the "Sheldon Brown" method of locking up my diamond frames.
I think, if it were me (and it will be soon) I would lock it the way I lock my folder: loop the curve of the 'U' around whatever pole or bike stanchion is there, and sandwich the chainstays between the legs of the 'U'. Bring the legs through the spokes and hopefully (mine should, they are 11" long) there is enough leg end protruding to fit the barrel of the lock to. You may have to fight your way through quite a crowd of gawkers if you leave your baby alone for more than a few minutes. I never worry about my front wheel (20") of the folder, but that is where a cable could come in handy.
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Old 09-28-17, 08:41 PM   #21
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I think, if it were me (and it will be soon) I would lock it the way I lock my folder: loop the curve of the 'U' around whatever pole or bike stanchion is there, and sandwich the chainstays between the legs of the 'U'. Bring the legs through the spokes and hopefully (mine should, they are 11" long) there is enough leg end protruding to fit the barrel of the lock to. You may have to fight your way through quite a crowd of gawkers if you leave your baby alone for more than a few minutes. I never worry about my front wheel (20") of the folder, but that is where a cable could come in handy.
Yes, this is how I lock my diamond frame bikes. I own 3 different sized U locks, a 5' cable lock and an Abus chain in a heavy material tube. I doubt I'll leave it locked up alone for any period of time though.
It's cool that you're practicing so consistently. I think that's the key. I know when we got that heavy rain those several days, I didn't ride. When I went out again to ride I was wobbling all over with my starts. There's a lovely business park near me with various sloping parking lots, so on the weekends or early evenings I go there for my practice. I can ride n a circle clockwise easily, but for some reason going the other direction seems weird. Haven't had enough open space to do figure 8's. I do like these TRP Spyre disc brakes (vs the Avid BB7's I have on my Surly).

Once we're both competent we should try out riding together. I've never ridden the Springwater Corridor out to Boring, but my husband has. It would be pretty his season.
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Old 09-28-17, 08:44 PM   #22
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My current commute bike is a LWB V3. I keep a U-lock, two cables and a padlock on the rack in the garage of the hospital system I work for. U-lock secures the main tube to the rack. One cable goes through front wheel, loops through its other end and goes through the frame, second cable goes through rear wheel, loops through its other end and goes through the seat frame and bike frame. Padlock joins the ends of the two cables. Moderately secure - thief would likely need a bolt cutter and a right angle grinder.
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Old 09-29-17, 12:56 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
Yes, this is how I lock my diamond frame bikes. I own 3 different sized U locks, a 5' cable lock and an Abus chain in a heavy material tube. I doubt I'll leave it locked up alone for any period of time though.
It's cool that you're practicing so consistently. I think that's the key. I know when we got that heavy rain those several days, I didn't ride. When I went out again to ride I was wobbling all over with my starts. There's a lovely business park near me with various sloping parking lots, so on the weekends or early evenings I go there for my practice. I can ride n a circle clockwise easily, but for some reason going the other direction seems weird. Haven't had enough open space to do figure 8's. I do like these TRP Spyre disc brakes (vs the Avid BB7's I have on my Surly).

Once we're both competent we should try out riding together. I've never ridden the Springwater Corridor out to Boring, but my husband has. It would be pretty his season.
As you know, the rainy season is upon us (again). She fussed, but I ordered fenders for Saki but they did not arrive yet, so when I saw that it was coming down pretty steadily this morning I did the mature and practical thing and went out there anyway. Maybe because you are hunched over taking the drops on top of your head and back, I take regular DF rides in the rain quite alright. Lying on your back in it... without a destination even to give the exercise a point, not so much, so after just 15 or 20 minutes I called it a day and went back home.

Have you ridden your bent in rain yet? Do you plan to? Are there fender eyelets on your Bacchetta? Lot's of questions I know. I like TRP Spyre's as well. I was glad they were an option on my bike. Oddly enough I can circle counter clockwise far more easily than clockwise, so since I am starting all over as it were I am going out of my way to spend more time doing clockwise laps to even out my technique. I have heard much about this 'Springwater Corridor'. It may be next spring until I am ready to ride outside of the parking complex, if ever.
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Old 09-29-17, 04:35 PM   #24
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I ordered my Bacchetta with fenders, a special kickstand plate & kickstand, and. one Arm Bandit - an accessory mounted to the tube where the front derailleur is and you mount your light to it. Have not ridden in active rain yet, but will. I also ordered some Schwalbe Marathon 'Racer' tires, a bit wider than I've got now. I haven't installed those yet. I bought Busch & Müeller mirrors, and I've got a bell, lights, and cyclometer from other bikes I transferred over.
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Old 09-29-17, 04:59 PM   #25
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My two bent experiences, decades apart were very different. The first felt like a natural right from the start. (Short wheel base, under the knees steering, relatively upright sitting position, small front wheel.) The second never did. Large wheels, much more of a reclining position, high handlebars. I don't know what either 'bent was other than the first was Prof David Wilson's of MIT, 1976. (I rode the second ~12 years ago.)

I felt much higher and less stable on the second. I also felt my equilibrium was thrown off by laying back so much. Yes, I could probably have gotten used to it, but why? (unless I had to go that fast). The first felt like a bike I could get used to easily and enjoy riding. And it wasn't a slouch. That was my first year of racing I I knew from that loop around the parking lot that, put on sewups and some light, good gear, that bike would have been fast!

I rode a Vision at the Seattle trade show years ago on a trainer. It was, like Prof Wilson's, a small front wheel, short wheel base, low handlebar 'bent. Riding the trainer meant that I got no feel for the bike's handling, but I loved the position.

Ben
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