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Recumbent Bicycles: A Different View On The World

2016/7/25 11:45:07

Have you ever noticed that if you take the same route to work day after day, you begin to recognize the faces and vehicles of your fellow commuters? One car will be memorable for its hubcaps, another for its bumper stickers. This woman is always putting on her makeup, that man is always screaming into his Bluetooth. But on my daily commute, there is one person who is memorable above all the others, because this man rides a recumbent bicycle to and from work. Now before you judge this individual as a freak, allow me to explain that I live in Seattle, home of health enthusiasts and liberal environmentalists. In this city, it is normal to have at least one person in the office who arrives and leaves on a bicycle. However, even in Seattle, recumbent cyclists stand out.

Recumbent bicycles are strangely futuristic in appearance. These bicycles allow the rider to sit in a supine or semi-supine position, i.e. lying down with the face up. When seated on a recumbent bicycle, the cyclist is rarely more than three feet tall. Such a position allows for much better aerodynamics than typical bikes, which is why recumbent bicycles hold the world speed record for bicycles. In order to regulate the playing field, these bikes were banded from international bicycle racing in 1934. When the cyclist is seated, his back is supported by a back with a seat; his legs extend forward to pedals that are about the same height as the seat. Steering is accomplished via handlebars that are either in front of the rider or under the seat.

Although recumbent bicycles are not the norm, there are actually a number of advantages to this style of transportation. Many recumbent enthusiasts tout the safety of these bicycles. For example, the cyclist is much closer to the ground on a recumbent than on a typical bicycle. That means that any falls are much less likely to result in serious injury. Additionally, the body's positioning, with the feet first, means that the cyclist will almost certainly never go over the handlebars in a collision. Such accidents on typical bicycles are likely to result in serious injuries and even death.

Some recumbent cyclists value the comfort of their bicycles. The supine position is a fairly natural one for the human body, which means that muscle strain is greatly reduced. Many riders find that recumbents alleviate the chronic back and neck pain that can come with riding typical bicycles. The additional comfort means that recumbent cyclists can generally cycle for longer periods of time than typical cyclists. This makes recumbent bicycles particularly well suited for long bike rides and bicycle touring.

Still other recumbent cyclists value their bicycles for speed. As mentioned, these bicycles are far more aerodynamic than their taller counterparts. On flat terrain, shallow inclines and declines, recumbents will almost always outstrip a typical bicycle, even if the two cyclists are putting in the same amount of effort. However, it should be noted that many cyclists, particularly those unfamiliar with recumbents, find it more difficult to pedal up hill.
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