Sampling the Recumbent Tricycle


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