Monday, October 18, 2010

Recumbent Ride

HP Velotechnik Street Machine GTe

On Sunday I experienced what very well may be my last short sleeve jersey ride of the season.  Temperatures ranged between 68 and 70 degrees according to my on board diagnostics.  The sky was a brilliant deep blue and contrasted nicely with the golden yellows and reds of autumn.  A steady breeze was present from the north-west but not much of a hindrance on the bent.  

My route was the southern two-thirds of the Richland County B & O Trail running from Lexington to Butler, Ohio.  Traffic was not as busy as I expected for a pleasant fall day which was fine by me.  I saw quite a few road bikers toiling away in their own private hells.  Must not have been any races nearby.  A noteworthy encounter was with a younger couple about my age who were riding low tadpole trikes.  The tadpole design (two wheels in front and a single trailing wheel) is the most performance oriented type of three wheeled recumbent.  This is the kind of bike I would like to add to my collection some day.  They were both fit and healthy looking people.  It's nice to see other young people embracing the recumbent way.  They were all smiles as we passed and I gave them a quick thumb up and a wave.

One of my favorite pastimes while riding the recumbent on rail trails is studying the faces of oncoming cyclists as we draw near and pass.  There is always a few chuckles to be had.  Here is a few of the more common expressions.
  1. Irritable Spouse.  -Usually a woman trailing behind her man who is not easing off the pace for his significant other.  You guys know the look- I don't have to explain it.   
  2. The Roadie.  -Male or Female dressed in the full kit with an intense scowl of determination visible even with the helmet and shades.  If I'm feeling friendly I'll give a quick nod.  Sometimes they respond in kind but most of the time they seem to be in their own world.
  3. Wonder and awe usually accompanied by the word "cooool" as a young boy or girl sees a recumbent and it's rider for the first time.  I always cringe as the pint sized riders inevitably drift towards my lane as they gawk.
  4. The Bent Rider.  -Recumbent cyclists come in all shapes and sizes but what is strikingly similar in every encounter is the friendly smile or nod passed between riders in the know.
I spend equal time on my upright bikes as well as the recumbent so I know what a couple of hours in the saddle feels like.  And I can hack it but some days I like to just kick back in that molded form fitting seat, and just take it all in. 

Ride Time:  1:46
Distance:  25 miles
Average Speed:  14 mph
Max Speed:  19.8 mph


  1. Interesting observations. I relate your fellow recumbent hellos on the road to my jeep waves from when I used to drive a Wrangler (two fingers lifted from the steering wheel). Here in NY, there are so many cyclists that I have accepted that not everyone is going to nod back. Still, I nod if they seem to be looking at me. There's something unsettling about committing to a wave and not getting one in return!

  2. I drove a wrangler for a couple years. I miss that little truck. It was a 2000 Saraha forest green. I always try to be friendly when on the bikes. leave the road rage to the rusty cagers!