This Saturday was the Recumbent Bicycle Rally, and had been much anticipated in the days leading up to it. The
morning itself dawned, cold and cloudy, but at least not raining, as I rapidly peddled to work at 9 AM, hoping not to be late for the start time at 10.00.
As I came up, I was cheered to see a tent already in place and a grill patiently awaiting the crowd. Several tables stood, piled with brochures, and pamphlets, and more relevant to me, near the doors of the trike gallery were tables laden with cookies, both chocolate and chocolate chip, and a fine assortment of pastries, resplendent with cinnamon and frosting. A enormous carafe of water was hauled over, (by me!) and then the rich smell of Folgers coffee began to seep through the air and wake Everyone up.
Being in a rush to get to work, and the rally, I had forgotten my jacket and hat at home. And I used the excuse of early customers to go across the drive to the warm bike shop.
When I next ventured out, my jaw dropped. The strangest “bikes” I had ever seen lined the double drive!
There were trikes upon, bikes, upon strange-almost unicycle-like designs. One spindly recumbent, a speedy ICE trike was so small and slick, it’s rider was riding only centimeters off the ground. Other “trikes?” were so bizarre in appearance that Euclid would surely have fainted dead away at the sight of them! Picture a bicycle, with pedals where the handle bars ought to have been, add a reclined seat, the whole apparatus balanced precariously on only two wheels instead of one. In initial impression, the riding of such a bike would be like a bad dare– stunt riding a regular road bike by lying prone on the seat and steering with your feet! Good God! But there were other designs even more mind boggling…
By comparison, our enormous bright-red Harley-Davidson looking Explorer trike was almost just another face in the crowd. Some ancient recumbent trikes had made an appearance too, styling skinny foam seats and fashionably rusted frames. There were multiple Trident Spikes, a few Stowaways, three or four different varieties of ICE trikes, and both blue and orange scorpions, which were covetously guarded by their smug owners.
Our eye-catching and heavy duty side-by-side green machine was certainly a crowd-pleader, but the real excitement came, when a young man with a blue hat pulled up with an actual recumbent racing bike.
He rode it round the corner with the air of a country doctor pulling up in a fine British sports car, and the crowd, which had burgeoned to 25 looked up, gasped as a whole, and then formed a mad migration to where he had parked. The racing bike was the strangest bike yet! Looking like a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out of a bike, yet sporting actual tires, a long chain, and pedals, the rider would pedal in a reclined, submerged within the-two-dimensional-bike posture.
From morning into the afternoon, almost in carnival style, people would take turns trying the various bikes, riding them several blocks down to cheers, applause and sometimes cat-calls from their friends and relatives. Several recumbent trikes were sold on spot
The men running the show, who had brought in their trikes to be sampled, were a pleasant and jovial bunch. Reminding me rather of an astronomy night, they were as enthusiastic as telescope owners, demonstrating the high points of the solar system to the uninitiated.