Sampling the Recumbent Tricycle

Probefahrt

Probefahrt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a rider of traditional, two-wheel, mountain bikes and road bikes, I had for years, looked on the recumbent tricycles with no small degree of scorn, both for the strange-low-to-the-ground appearance, and the quite lazy looking reclined position of their riders, whom sailed along the road on them, in the relaxed luxurious position of someone lounging in a bathtub. Certainly, I suffered no temptations whatsoever in terms of trying one of the recumbent bikes. My small home town sported only one recumbent model, ridden by a slightly eccentric professor, whom would zip down the road dodging cars, while zooming up and down hills, to the consternation of drivers looking down on him from their SUV’s.

Outside my hometown though, recumbent bikes were certainly increasing in popularity. The latest speed record on a bike was even set by a recumbent. But it wasn’t until I moved to Michigan, and began working at a bike shop, that I finally came to experience the recumbent.

Expecting to be working on and selling traditional bicycles, I was quite surprised to learn I would be selling industrial tricycles, and then even more surprised when I found the bike store had a very large collection of recumbent bikes, in many different brands and styles. With some skepticism, I began memorizing the important names, and matching them to the bikes hung up on display. At the high end were the ICE bikes, the Adventure and the Sprint. And another popular kind I soon learned, was the Catrike, whose name I immediately liked, along with that of the sly-sounding Kettwiesel. These bikes, despite their high cost were very popular, and apparently quite satisfying to the customers who purchased them. Still skeptical, I was somewhat appeased by the cool and sophisticated look of the Velotechnik Scorpion FX, which actually quite closely resembled a scorpion, its seat arching up like a poised-stinger; its front wheels in the tadpole style, looking like tough and dangerous glossy claws.

For several days, walking through the display room, I eyed the recumbent bikes, growing used to their site, and finally experiencing some curiosity as to what it felt like to try them. My curiosity must have shown, as a few afternoons later on a frigidly cold day, I was told to try out three different models of recumbent bikes. I was in for a big shock.

Riding a recumbent trike is incredibly fun, not to mention comfortable! As soon as I sat down and began to pedal forward– the bike took off– fast and smooth! I found myself racing like a professional cyclist within the first two meters, and instead of taking the bike once down the small parking lot and back, I changed my mind, and tightly cornered the bike, zooming it down a narrow winding road, I hadn’t yet explored. Several time’s I tested out the breaks, stopping quickly, and then suddenly accelerating. For several exciting minutes, I conducted the bike along the road, whipping it around hairpin turns, and then riding in figure-eights when I reached the big hotel parking lot at the end. I road back to the shop, where two more recumbent bikes were waiting for me to try. I tried out both of them, riding the same distance liking the Rover for its simplicity of design. After that first ride, I find myself waxing enthusiastic about recumbent trikes, and at last converted into a supporter of them. Starting off as a strong skeptic, I have finally shifted to the point where I look forward to purchasing my own recumbent bicycle, someday, and easily envision myself, whizzing down a mountain road, a book open on my lap, as I confidently and luxuriously ride. Image

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Slim Paley Daily #2

A refreshing view of Springtime, as we near the end of winter. Fresh vegetables and fruit, sparkling with nutrients is a wonderful addition to a bicycle rider’s lifestyle.

Slim Paley

L1150100

A Crusty Avocado Tart

in the gardens of “Maisons Des Reves” Dar Ahlam, Ouarzazete, Morocco

It’s Tart Tuesday!

(see what I did there?)

This was one of the most delicious dishes we ate inhaled during our entire holiday in Morocco.

The combination of melty, yet slightly grainy short crust pastry, creamy fresh avocado filling and crunchy baby lettuce & pomegranate seeds was positively dreamy.

So, Yay! Who’s your Mama?? I got the recipe and I’m sharing it with youse guys.

890A7909

L1150099It took literally every ounce of will power (and the fact that I wasn’t alone) to not ask for a second tart.

L1150096Serve with some freshly toasted french bread, chilled white wine

(do not look at that Coke-it’s a mirage-we were in the desert)

and you’ll feel like you are …

L1150103HERE

ZZzzzzzzz….

Until tomorrow.

~

All photos Slim Paley, recipe filched from “Maison Des Reves”*

*Proper props will…

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Buying a kid’s first bicycle

Flickr contributor's description: Even kids on...

Flickr contributor’s description: Even kids on bicycle wear helmets. This kid could be the next Rossi! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At some point during the childhood of most kids throughout the modern world, there rapidly comes a time, usually right after they learn to walk, that we decide to finally purchase their first bicycle. As children, we meet the first bike with squeals of delight and admiration for the paint jobs, which are almost entirely a vivid pink or purple combination for girls, and for boys, a tough-looking bruiser with a jagged orange or green (almost always with black!) design. For the first time riders, training wheels adorn most of the tiny cycles.

And recalling my own riding experience as a child, the best moment was to finally shed those clunky little plastic wheels, and to experience the smooth, slick, and serene experience of gliding down the pavement on a genuine two-wheel bike, finally liberated from its training-wheels.

Teaching a kid to ride a bike, is something I’ve done many times, as a child teaching my peers, and then eventually as an adult teaching kids. It takes and afternoon or two, jogging next to the bike and supporting one of the handle-bars to prevent an upset– but then gradually you loosen your hold, and let go– first for a matter of seconds, and then for longer time periods, as your kid finally experiences the wonderful feeling of riding a bike, and loses that initial fear, so difficult to overcome, of toppling off to one side.  But once that fear is gone.. your kid zooms away on their bike with an expression of pure blissfulness.

But before this victory ride, it is a challenge to pick the correct size of bicycle. Pick too small and within a few months, the bike has already been outgrown. In buying a kid’s bike- buying the bike in a size that is slightly too large is actually quite a good idea, as such a bike can be good for over a year, and will fit perfectly as they grow into it. Thus much better, budget-wise, as it’s will be much longer lasting.

The best way to buy a bike is probably to bring your kid into the shop, to try out bikes– both for style and fit. But if it is a surprise bike, the next best thing would be to measure your kid, and then take those measurements- (the length from seat to ankle) into the store with you. For the very tinniest bikes, but mostly tricycles there are 12 inch wheels. Ages 3-5 have generally graduated to size 16. But if one is at five and looking for a bike, it is a better idea, still, to go with a size 20. (Sizes are written, sometimes a bit subtly on the wheels!) And along with the bike, a cooler- snazzier looking helmet will probably serve as a good motivator to wear it!

A big enough bike- Finding the right size

An often over-looked challenge, and certainly one with a great deal of stigma and social-pressure attached to it, is the oft-repeated message that one should “lose weight” or suffer the consequences which include negative stereotypes such as “lazy, irresponsible, weak, ” or “gross”.

Bike riding happens to be a great solution, for conquering the struggle. An excellent form of exercise, and an ideal form of transportation, it can be one of the funnest  activities there is.

But what if one is already overweight to the point where some bikes such as road bikes and standard racing bikes, make one shudder at the sight?

Will one of those skinny little racing bikes, with a seat as narrow as a banana fit comfortably, or even hold up? I should think it would appeal about as much, as being a size 22, and going into a store that only carries up to size 16, meanwhile enduring looks from size 00 clerks who lack sympathy. Discouraging, to say the least. In almost no instance of shopping can it be fun to be told that nothing will work for you, thus being singled out and excluded.

But; in this case, there is a great solution. There are industrial trikes, recumbent bicycles of multiple brands, some quite interesting, not to mention beautiful. And of these different varieties, several can easily handle weights of 350, 400, and even 500 lbs.  In Jack’s Bicycle shop, in Dearborn Michigan there is a select line of bicycles which are beautifully suited to carry curvy or extremely hefty riders. And for those on the opposite side of the struggle, there are sturdy, safe bicycles for very light-weight and elderly riders, in styles such as the “Fold and Go”. For weighty-riders; there is the Trident Titan, the Explorer in True Bikes, the green machine, the PAV3 and several more. And we will help, with patience and diligence in finding the perfect bike for the customer.