The NurflugelBlog is a place where I can vent my spleen about pretty much anything that crosses my mind. Politics, religion, those annoying little indignities we all have to put up with - I have plenty to say about them.

Location: United States

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I ride the bike recumbent

When I had surgery on my neck in Germany, my doctors there told me that I should stop riding bikes for any length of time. Short trips were OK, long rides were out.

So, of course, a few weeks ago I went on a longish bike ride, less than an hour, and of course when I got back, my neck was stiff. Hmm, maybe they do know what they're talking about.

So, I went out and bought a recumbent bike. Coventry Cycleworks in Portland, OR is an excellent store for this - they carry five or six lines of recumbents. They were really good about letting me take my time and try many bikes. In fact, they recommended that I come back several times, so I could try as many models as possible and let my recumbent skills improve.

The one I really liked was the Bacchetta Corsa. Of course, it's one of the expensive ones, but I really liked the feel. Here's a picture:

The full page at Bacchetta's site can be found here.

So, first impressions:
  • The guy at the bike store recommended that I not install my SPD pedals until a week or so. Wise advice, you have enough new stuff to think about.
  • The ride can feel "twitchy" at first. That's because there's a tendancy to pull on the handlebars when you're riding, and with every pedal stroke, this throws your balance off slightly, so the bike can wobble. Let your back be the counterforce for the force your legs are exerting, and have your hands just hang from the handlebars. Just use them for steering and shifting.
  • Watch out for heel stikes. It's possible to turn the bike while pedaling and have your heel strike the wheel. Can be disorienting, to say the least.
  • In Oregon, get fenders. They make some really nice removalable ones which use rubber mounts, so you can quickly take them off.
  • Saddlebags are a must. Backpacks just don't work really well with my type of seat.
  • The Corsa fits into my Audi A4's trunk, and the elevator at work. Portability matters.
  • One nice thing about the same size wheels (vs. more traditional smaller front wheels): you only have to carry one size tube.
  • Keep the chain clean! It's right there, and your legs will brush against it. I was advised to use wax/Teflon lubricant, and to keep it dry, not to let it get greasy.
  • Go for lots of practice rides. It's a new bike, and you're having to learn how to ride all over again.
  • Have fun!