Recumbent bicycles have become much more visible in recent years and one may think that the recumbent bicycle is a rather new design evolving from the conventional diamond frame. However, you may be surprised to learn that recumbent bicycles have a history dating to the mid 1800’s. Unfortunately, the recumbent bicycle industry was significantly harmed from a decision by the United Cycliste International in the early 1900’s that banned recumbent designs from speed competitions due to their performance advantages over conventional bicycle designs. While recumbent bicycles have remained popular in Europe, they didn’t find their way to the US bicycle marketplace until the 1970’s when a renewed interest in human powered vehicles led to significant developments in recumbent design and production.
Recumbents hold many records for both speed and distance due to their superior design advantages. The decreased wind resistance of recumbents make them the ideal machine for all types of cyclists whether you are an avid touring cyclist, a commuter, or simply a weekend road warrior. A short ride on the plush seat of a recumbent will quickly convince you that the heads-up ride that a recumbent offers is the only way to bike.
Recumbent bicycles are also far superior in terms of safety due to their lower center of gravity and a rider’s improved ability to see and be seen. Hard braking won’t pitch you over the bars onto your head, wrists, or shoulders as conventional designs can do and the recumbent position, combined with a clear line of sight, can allow you to more positively react when you find yourself in a road crisis situation.
Perhaps the best reason for going recumbent is that they are simply unmatched when it comes to fun! You will have the ability to go faster, further, and have more fun on two wheels than you’ve ever had before! Whether it’s on two wheels with the many choices bewteen short wheelbase models used to advantage in the city, or long wheelbase for touring in the country or on trails. It could be on a low racer or high racer, tandem bike or trike, or one of the many exciting recumbent tadpole trikes. The choices are by no means limited, and continue to increase.
Discover the freedom of the many Rails to Trails, located throughout the country where railroad spurs, in most cases, have been adandoned and purchased by the government as Linear Parks. Search out the multitude of bike events offering organized rides of 15, 30, 60 and 100 miles. Do your first Century Ride on a recumbent, even if it’s just a rented bike. You will never be satisfied with anything else!
You’ll be accused of showing the “recumbent smile” not just the first time, but just about everytime you get on one and ride. Those on upright bikes will wonder why, but they just don’t understand. Why? Because riding recumbent is not in step with the crowd. You’re different. You’re having fun and your smile shows it. Their motto is “no pain-no gain.” The recumbent motto is, “Riding recumbent means never having to say you’re sore!” So just “get bent!”